Comic Book Reviews 12-24-14 and 12-31-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

Superman #37
Superman #37

Superman #37 – A

Dear sweet baby Jesus… This issue of Superman could be the best one I have EVER read. Neil/Ulysses has revealed that he is not all he was cracked up to be, but I’ll be damned, we had no idea just the kind of horror that he was up to. The amount of crazy here had me running around the house, screaming. I cannot believe that this character who we have only known for six issues could create that much reaction in a book that I had no prior interest in before the creative team switched. John Romita Jr. is a major part of the reason I have been so into this arc, and his full-page panels have been beautiful. I can’t wait to see how the heck Superman reacts to the end of this issue. – Sherif

 

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo: 

Batman Annual #3 – A

For a Batman story not written by Scott Snyder, I was chilled to the bone in this year’s Batman Annual.  James Tynion IV wrote this terrifying story of Joker, who has been taking apart the life of a journalist named Tommy piece by piece for years.  I was strongly reminded of the Buffy storyline about Angel driving Drusilla mad and then turning her into a vampire.  It is horrifying to think of The Joker ever having a friend, but even worse that he would care enough about one person to drive them absolutely crazy.  This story relates to the current Endgame arc, but will likely have no effect on the main story.  However, I highly recommend this issue just for the scare factor. – Adrian

Deathstroke #3 – B

This new Slade Wilson is really good. Tony Daniel is killing it on the art, and the story is interesting enough to keep me engaged. After narrowly escaping the hoard of bad guys, Slade has found his son Jericho. More than anything, I love Daniels’ character designs for Black Tiger and Red Fury. I’m not entirely sold on the story yet, but there’s so much eye candy in the book, I can wait for more of a solid plot to develop. – Sherif

Batman Eternal #39 – B-

I don’t think I’ve ever read such a long weekly series before as it was happening. Let just just say that Eternal has been very straining. I feel like it’s been going on forever. So it’s really nice to see the story turn a corner and make some progress. One of the best and most under-used characters in the New52 is Bane, and to see him in a rematch with Killer Croc was by far the best part of this week’s issue. Who knew that Waylan Jones (Croc) was into French lit? This is a fun and action-filled issue that doesn’t have a ton of substance, but sets a lot in motion for the tail end of the story. – Sherif

Robin Rises: Alpha #1 – C

The only reason this issue is getting a “C” is because of how Damian’s resurrection will effect the DCU.  Not only is he alive (crazy!) but he is a 10 year old with superpowers.  We don’t know how that happened, and neither does his daddy-o, but it will definitely alter the story in the Batman & Robin series.  You may want to read this issue if you want to know the details of the first night back to life for Damian, but over all, it felt a little slap-sticky and silly. – Adrian

Arkham Manor #3 – C

I was instantly sold on the idea of Batman going undercover as an Arkham prisoner to uncover a conspiracy – in his own home, no less. Arkham Manor has all the makings of a great horror book, but with this last issue, it seems to have fallen a bit short by playing it safe. The big reveal at the end of the issue is a bit disappointing, honestly. With everything going on in the other Bat-books, to just piggy-back off the other books seems like a cop out. That being said, I still very much enjoy the dark nature of the book brought by Gerry Duggan, and reinforced by Shawn Crystal’s art. If I were less patient, and not the Batman fanatic I am, this would be the issue I stopped reading it. – Sherif

Gotham by Midnight #2 – D+

What the hell just happened?  I have no clue.  None.  Between the art (Ben Templesmith is perhaps better fit for something else) and the lack of story telling, this book was so confusing.  I know there are creepy nuns and priests out there.  That’s about it.  The ending was enough of a morsel that I will come back next month, but unless there is cleaner story-telling, I’m not sure how much longer this book will last. – Adrian

 

IDW Comics:

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #1 – A-

Hell yeah! This is a crossover I can get behind. This new book, a collaboration between IDW (Star Trek) and Boom! Studios (Planet of the Apes), is one of the best pairings I have seen thus far. I will say that there is a LOT of exposition in this issue, but most of it is just banter between the crew as they attempt to escape Klingon ships. The original crew is all there, and they are a delight to read about. We haven’t seen much of the Apes, but that will come in time. Don’t expect this to knock you out of your seat, but it sets up a very promising book. – Sherif

Image Comics:

Graveyard Shift #1 – B+

What can I say?  I’m a sucker for vampire stories (and puns).  Graveyard Shift is a mini-series about a cop, his cop buddies, his girlfriend, and vampires.  The first issue didn’t hook me as far as writing goes, mostly because I didn’t find any one character compelling.  But the art was absolutely exceptional.  The use of colors and small details (like graffiti in a public restroom) was its own form of story telling.  I am hoping next month’s issue allows for more character development from our main character.  However, if you like vampire stories (and not that Twilight crap), then Graveyard Shift might be the mini-series for you. – Adrian

They’re Not Like Us #1 – B

I’m intrigued!  They’re Not Like Us begins with a girl jumping off a hospital roof-top in attempt to kill herself.  Needless to say, it doesn’t work.  She is then kidnapped by a group of super-humans/mutants with different abilities, all a kind of mash-up of DC and Marvel characters, but without the costumes. Turns out the suicide attempter is a telepath who couldn’t take the voices anymore. The man in charge is like a really messed up Charles Xavier, with Magneto’s philosophies. The premise is interesting, the characters have a lot of potential, and the cliffhanger definitely made me want to read next month’s issue. – Adrian

 

Marvel:

Superior Iron Man #3 – A

Tony Stark is better than you, and he wants you to know it. you “speck.” The evolution of Iron Man as a character has been brilliant. He’s not playing God, he’s playing human. As bad as I feel for Daredevil for trying to stop Tony from getting the world hooked on the Extremis app, I also can’t help but think that this will be the best Iron Man story I’ve read when things are all said and done. It’s definitely one of the funniest, and Injustice: Gods Among Us writer Tom Taylor is hitting all the high notes with this new title. – Sherif

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #3 – A-

Katie Bishop and Deadpool are the best tag team in Marvel right now. These two are so adorable together, even more so than Hawkguy and Deadpool. Toning down his murderous ways has really made Deadpool more accessible as a character in the Marvel books, so this book is much more fun and adventure than shoot em up, and it really fits Deadpool’s style. I hope that when they continue making Deadpool mini-series, and you know they will, that they will caryr on the whimsical nature of this one. – Sherif

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 – B

One issue in and I’m already more excited about the next issue of this than I am for the return of the TV series. Marvel capitalizes on the momentum of the show to bring about a sort of “what if” scenario for the same team that has made the show a pleasure to watch. Writer Mark Waid (Daredevil) has the luxury of unlimited guest stars and special effects, but there’s still substance in his story from the get-go. From what it seems, this book will assemble fantasy teams of S.H.I.E.L.D. resources, resulting in some great panels to come. I am still very interested in how Quicksilver could kill the Hulk. – Sherif

 

Funniest Panel:

 

They're Not Like Us #1
They’re Not Like Us #1

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
S.H.I.E.L.D. #1

 

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 12-17-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

batman 37 POTW

Batman #37 – A+

(A+) It’s so good.  It’s just so good.  The Snyder/Capullo duo are back in action this month, and God does it feel soooooo good!  Yet absolutely terrifying and horrific and “oh God, did that really just happen?!”  Nobody likes clowns and nobody likes zombies.  We get Joker-faced zombies taking over Gotham, and nothing to stop them— except the possibility of patient zero. All of this is absolute horror for most. Meanwhile, Jim Gordon is researching the history of the hospital where the outbreak started, only to get the scare of his life – The Joker can be seen in pictures from the hospital for over 100 years, including in one of his own children.  Is Joker immortal?  Is this just a gag? I suppose that is part of the allure of “Endgame.” Oh, and it’s official, he knows who Batman really is, and proves it with one of the biggest gags to date.  The artwork as fan-frickin’-tastic, per usual.  Greg Capullo’s storytelling is just as significant here as Snyder’s, and in this issue even more so.  Can I grow up to be just like them? Please? – Adrian

(A+) I picked up Batman for the first time EVER this week. I build a base by reading issues 35 & 36 immediately prior to reading this week’s issue. Let me tell you something – these three issues are probably the best thing I’ve read in the last two months. Snyder and Capullo are masterminds!! Even missing the prior 34 issues didn’t put a damper on my experience. The threat facing Gotham is epic in scale and I was genuinely FREAKED at the events happening to Commissioner Gordon. I’m saddened that I’m just now jumping on this train, but more than that, I’m so glad that I’m finally on board. I suggest you hop on too! – Taylor

 

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo: 

Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures #1 – A+

I can’t locate the interview now, but I read Grant Morrison describe this book as the “pure adventure” book of this event; that, for those people who don’t like “weird meta Grant Morrison” (as he described himself), this is the book that functions as a simple superhero adventure. I can’t fathom someone who doesn’t like “weird meta Grant Morrison,” but I think this still has some quality Morrison weirdness. The art looks very much like Jeff Smith’s Shazam story from a decade ago, which I really liked. It gave the book a retro feeling without feeling outdated, and helped reinforce the notion that this was, above all else, a fun story. In short: the evil Dr. Sivana figures builds a technology and science powered equivalent of the Rock of Eternity. This creates an eighth day of the week (which he names after himself), and allows him to tap into time itself to turn his children into an evil version of the Shazam family. Like I said: there’s still some weirdness (“How can there be two eternities?”) and some light time travel. I don’t know a ton about Shazam as a character – apart from his complicated legal history and DC’s possibly shady acquisition of the character – but I have the sneaking suspicion that I would really like him. If, that is, Grant Morrison were the writer. While it’s not quite the exhilarating best-single-issue-of-a-super-hero-comic-ever-written perfection of Pax Americana, I’m still compelled, obligated, delighted, to read this book. – JH

Batman and Robin #37 – A-

He’s back! For reals! The build-up for twenty-plus issues has finally been realized. This next Father’s Day, tell your dad to step up his game, because he ain’t got nothin on Bruce Wayne. Batman has travelled to Apokolips to rescue his son’s corpse, and risked it all to bring him back. I normally wouldn’t spoil things like that, but DC announced his return months ago… bastards. Anyway, the epic showdown between Darkseid and Batman was just that, epic. It seems as though the story will continue along the lines of what Damian’s return means for the rest of the Bat-family, and I am all for that. This series is severely under-rated, and hopefully more readers will take notice with the return of the Son of Batman. – Sherif

Wonder Woman #37 – B+

Behold, mortals, at the God of War in all her glory. It’s only been two issues since the Finches took the helm for Wonder Woman, and already I question how I could ever be mad that Azzarello and Chiang would ever be replaced. David Finch, who is one of the best artists for full-page spreads in recent Batman books brings the fire here with some beautiful rendering of the Queen of the Amazons. With so much responsibility pulling Wonder Woman in different directions, the Amazons have grown distrustful of their heiress and selected an… “alternative” method of protection, and it’s one that Wonder Woman fans will geek out hardcore at! The story doesn’t have an distinct direction to go in yet, but I am fully behind this new creative team and the dark direction that they are taking this mystery character. – Sherif

Justice League #37 – B

Though the Amazo Virus sounds silly in name, it is anything but in life threatening potency. The Justice League is still in bad shape with pretty much Batman, Superman and Wonder-Woman being the only heroes in commission. The crafty Lex Luthor is still held up safely with his sister, waiting for the still standing members of the Justice League to deliver patient zero so he can whip up a cure. He’s obviously still hiding something. My anxiety continues to rise as Batman and Lex both take significant blows. Things are going to Hell and it’s making for very entertaining read. Even in light of this very bleak situation the ultimate resolution is fairly predictable. This Amazo Virus arc will probably serve to set up larger events yet to unfold as a result as the Wayne-LexCorp merger. I’m just glad that this super-Ebola storyline is more entertaining that it is distracting. – Taylor

The Kitchen #2 – B-

(B) The Kitchen has a lot of things going for it.  Mobsters, women leads, and it’s set in the past.  These are all things I enjoy.  This week, the girls find themselves getting blackmailed for putting Franky, the brother of a famous mobster, in a coma.  They all make decisions that will surely set them up for the rest of the series.  But one thing is for sure, they are not just playing while their husbands are in the pen; they are playing for good.  While the art isn’t always clean, I appreciate the details from the 70’s very much. It’s not a superhero comic, and very niche-y, but I think it is worth the read. – Adrian

(B-) Ok, The Kitchen picked up somewhat in the second issue. The ladies are entrenched now; it’s hard to get out of it when you’re beating and murdering people to make sure you yourself are not murdered. And now they have to explain themselves to one of their husbands unhinged friends recently let out of prison. The story has improved from the first issue but the art still doesn’t tickle my fancy. If the book remains interesting enough the art can be easily looked around. I’ll be keeping up at least for another issue. – Scott

 

Dynamite Entertainment:

Django/Zorro #2 – A

Tarantino does many things very well in story-telling. This second issue of Django – Zorro gave audiences a fantastic example of “building a bad guy.” I loved this issue! I featured very little of Django or Zorro, but that’s okay. Gurko Langdon is man of the hour – the nemesis! His backstory is compelling and epically grandiose. This is exactly what I would expect from a story of this caliber. My hope is that the eventual clash of these gargantuan forces is as mesmerizing as Langdon’s rise to power. I was a bit nervous at the end of issue #1, but my faith has been restored. I can feel the Tarantino! And it feels good! – Taylor

 

IDW Comics:

Star Trek #39 – B-

The Cardassians have control of just about everything and despite all of our heroes gaining their freedom in some way in this issue, things are not looking good for Q’s No Win situation he has put the original Star Trek crew in. This series has given us great references to all series of the franchise, with the new films and Deep Space Nine being the main concentrations. The artwork leaves something to be desired, as it looks like the motion capture animation used on films like A Scanner Darkly where it looks detailed while also looking very simple. It gets a little distracting because it makes for some weird images here and there, but ultimately the story has been good and it will be sad to see Q Leave the series after the next issue… but then we get a Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover! – Jacob

Image Comics:

Wytches #3 – A

(A+) Wytches #3 made a strong showing once again this month, only further confirming my suspicions that it will most likely skyrocket to becoming my favorite series. It seems to gain more and more momentum as each issue comes out and the further the story unfolds the more entranced with it I become. This issue, we find out that our beloved Sailor has been pledged, although there’s no reveal of who did it or why or what being pledged will really mean for her, but it’s exciting and terrifying all the same. Meanwhile, in Sailor’s disappearance her absolutely amazing father continues his quest to always protect her, and he has an attack-meeting with the only person-creature who may be able to help him save her. And then there’s poor Reggie… Poor, poor Reggie. Overall, Wytches this month was a great read and it really made me wish this was a weekly book, not a monthly one (grumble). If you haven’t started this series yet, I highly recommend you catch up while you can because I really think this book is going places. Scott Snyder is doing amazing things here. Also, I have a quick side note. I don’t normally like to play the “mom card” because I know that it’s not universal. But I have to say, this series really grabs me as a parent. I have two itty-bitty boys and the way Scott Snyder writes Charlie Rooks , with the fear and overpowering all consuming love and need to protect his daughter is so true to my heart. Like he said in the first issue, having kids is like having a vital organ leave your body and walk around the world saying hi to people. And it takes you over. So much of the fear in Wytches comes from that feeling alone. Basically, this is some of the most powerful writing I’ve come across in all my years. Okay, mom rant over. – Keriann

(B+) The thing is this: Scott Snyder is a genius.  And Wytches is truly terrifying.  This week, we begin to see that the Wytches hauntings are going beyond Sailor, the protagonist up to this point.  I am finally starting to realize that Sailor isn’t as much the protagonist as her father is.  And it is so refreshing to see a story where the father/daughter bond is very tight.. a rarity in any type of literature.  While the story is progressing well, and there are some very scary things going on, what made Wytches an amazing read this week was the letter in the back of the book.  Snyder has a knack for giving his readers the chills, and he succeeded with his explanation of Wytches and being a parent in today’s society. It is a must read. – Adrian

Rumble #1 – B+

(A) My first impression of Rumble was “ooooh pretty.” James Harren’s art combined with Dave Stewart’s colors are an outstanding combination and are a delight for the eyes. Rumble has a Devil May Cry feeling to it, but with a very reluctant Dante. A super creepy scarecrow wreaks havoc in a bar, removing some patron’s limbs in the process. The bartender defends his customer and is unwittingly put in a situation he surely doesn’t want to be in. Pestered by demons and a scarecrow that’s harder to kill than expected the bar tender is going to have to swing a big sword to deal with his problems. Pick this up, now. – Scott

(B) I’m not sure what to say other than this book has a lot of potential.  Rumble seems to be about an untold war between humans and monsters, but honestly, I don’t know.  What I do know is that it was humorous enough to remind me of Ugly Americans with a little Scott Pilgrim mixed in there.  But just because I don’t know what’s going doesn’t mean I don’t want to read more; I most definitely am interested in why a hooded man is cutting people’s arms off and what the heck is so important about the sword he did it with. – Adrian

 

Marvel:

Avengers & X-Men Axis #8 – A-

Only one more issue left of my personal favorite comic event of the year! Up until now, we have seen both the Avengers and X-Men turn evil, a fair amount of villains have been turned good, while Deadpool is just at peace while being in pieces. Will things finally be resolved? Will Spider-Man, The old Steve Rogers, and the new Villain Avengers be able to stop the madness in time? Although this is a great issue we’ll (eye-roll) have to wait until net week for the conclusion to this massive event. The story so far has been great, making you love characters you hate and hate characters you love. The art is some of my favorite of the year as well and really adds to the already great story. – Jacob

Miles Morales: the Ultimate Spider-Man #8 – A-

What’s the opposite of “meh?” I am…. pleasantly surprised…. I think. After last month’s exciting, and twist-filled issue, we immediately start to get some answers. I’m loving the gritty and shadowy feel of the artwork this time around; it definitely fits with the flashback tale from Jefferson Davis’ perspective. Again, the issue starts to give us some answers, but I’m not sure it’s to the questions I’m really curious about any way. Here’s to seeing where the next issue takes us. – Moke

Deathlok #3 – A-

Great, purposeful characters in this issue. The writers have brought in both Tony Stark and Micheal Collins (Original Deathlok), which promises great things for this story arc. What I really like about Deathlok so far is that the story is being carefully laid out one piece at a time, which is something that lets the reader really immerse themselves in the story, where nothing feels rushed; this issue is no different. I liked that we got a bit of sneak peek into what Biotek’s priorities are and that they gave us a different view of some of the assignments Deathlok carries out. It was an act of good (or relative good. Nothing is black or white) this time, and that was interesting to watch. I also like how Andrea asking to speak with Micheal Collins paralleled and foreshadowed Domino breaking into Micheal’s house for information. Andrea finds a way around getting the information she wants by going to Tony Stark. Domino just takes it. Seeing the comparison there was interesting. Andrea’s wish for information also paralleled JJ asking about Biotek’s motives and being shot down. Considering she is on the side of the antagonists, this was also an interesting comparison, albeit subtle. I can’t wait to see what’s next in this comic. Definitely starting out on a good, metallic, foot. – Charlotte

Spider-Woman #2 – B+

My vote for quote of the week: “This is why spider-man and spider-woman don’t hang out.” So far Spider-verse excels when it focuses on just one spider at a time, and this issue doesn’t disappoint. Jessica Drew’s secret mission to loom world is pretty f’ing entertaining at this point. There’s not much action this time around but the plot points that the issue hits are absolutely superb. I can’t wait for the next issue of Spider-Woman to see where this goes. – Moke

Scarlett Spiders #2 – B

It’s Spider-Verse Episode 2: Attack of the Clones! The infiltration team of cloned Spider-Men and Women work their way deeper into the Jennix complex searching for the Achilles heel of the Inheritor’s cloning complex. This issue is a fun and anxious ride! I love reading special-ops and behind enemy lines type stories – Scarlett Spiders is based in this theme so I’m soaking it up. The creative Marvel team has done a good job of working this side story into the bigger Spider-Verse event. The Spidey’s and their opposition are well selected. This yin and yang does this title a lot of good. It’s hard to see how (…if…) our heroes will make it out of their situation intact. In practically every dimension of the Spider-Verse the Spiders are getting served. I hope this band of three can pull a “W” for the web slingers. – Taylor

All-New X-Men #34 – B

Admittedly, I was a bit disappointed with the way this story began, totally randomly with no sense of direction. The original mutants have all been scattered throughout time and space, and they must figure out how to get back. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is. A bulk of them landed in the Ultimate universe, and the awkwardness makes for some great banter between Miles Morales and the X-Men. All this book really needs is more Bobby, all the time, because he has something hilarious to say each panel. Here, he learns a valuable lesson about intolerance – easily the best piece of the issue for me. There are still some moments that come off too strong, like when Jean Grey has the urge to give herself a big old hug, but overall, this issue was a step back towards normalcy – or whatever the hell that is for them. – Sherif

Black Widow #13 – B

First and foremost, this art in this book is to die for.  Phil Noto, you rock my socks.  The colors, and contrast between gray and autumnal colors was mesmerizing to look at.  And the way he makes certain panels look like a photograph that is only focused on a certain part of the picture, while the rest is faded is incredible.  This man has talent, people.  The art is by far my favorite part of the book, but the story is getting pretty good, too.  Unlike the other female-led books in Marvel, Black Widow has a story going on.  She is being hunted. Granted, it seems like an easy story for the former KGB spy and current Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., but there are a lot of little factors going into it.  I like complicated.  – Adrian

Captain Marvel #10 – B-

Lately, Captain Marvel has felt very silly to me, and not in a good way.  This is a good time of year to step back from the silliness and take a break from it all.  Carol receives letters from home and is able to catch up with Kit, Spider-Woman, and Iron Patriot.  It was a nice reminder for Carol and for her readers, that she does have a home, and there are people there who care about her. Unfortunately, Grace Valentine, expert hacker who is totally jealous of Carol, is also still thinking about Carol. The next issue, Carol is going back home, which will hopefully rejuvenate the story to be a little more serious, while still having a good sense of humor, rather than just a silly way for other Marvel characters to be added in for no reason. – Adrian

Storm #6 – C+

Storm, thus far, has had no direction.  There is no real plot line, and we find our weather controlling heroine in a different, odd situation each month.  While this week’s issue was better than most (she is on a plane that is attacked by Eaglestar International, and Storm saves the plane), it still is lacking.  There is no character development, no story, no overarching themes.  Frankly, if this were my first introduction to Storm, I would be bored.  Spice it up Marvel!  Storm is deserving of a good title.  – Adrian

Guardians of the Galaxy #22- D+

The coolest part about any book where an unstable Venom teams up with a group of characters is that when Venom goes crazy – and he always goes crazy – is that we get to see each character as a wacked-out symbiote. This time, it’s the Guardians of the Galaxy. Most of this issue is a slugfest between Venom (sans-Flash) and the Guardians, and thanks to a lack of funny or exciting, left me feeling pretty let down. Spoiler: Rocket + Venom = Rocket (in algebra, that means that Venom adds no value to the equation). There is some more development to the Captain Marvel part of the story, but they really aren’t meshing together like they should. Consider this issue a waste of space if you’re not a fan of GOTG. – Sherif

Death Of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #4 – D

I don’t really know why I have continued to read this series because every time it seems to pique my interest, something comes out of right field and reminds me that this is a terribly stupid, uninteresting and unnecessary story. I do think the art for this series has been great, despite the character design of the main character; the covers to this series are the highlight to me, but as any book reader knows, “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” I ultimately think that having a great cover is the strategy for this series but that is not saying that it doesn’t have good characters, or situations. I would have almost rather have seen this “team” as a separate new series that only had slight connections to Wolverine. I could see these characters being good but the fact is that the characters seem to know as little about themselves as we do makes it a bit confusing and a difficult to relate to. – Jacob

 

Funniest Panel:

 

Justice League #37
Justice League #37

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Wonder Woman #37
Wonder Woman #37

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 12-10-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

TWD 135 POTW

The Walking Dead #135 – A

Issue #135 of The Walking Dead pissed me off! Not because it was bad, but because Kirkman does an excellent job of writing in the most STUPID and UNGRATEFUL, idiot characters!! How did so many selfish morons survive the apocalypse?!?! I felt anger, pride, fear and anxiety all throughout this issue – for making me feel all the feelings, I gave TWD an A this month! I can feel it in my bones that we will soon know what’s become of Michonne. There was also some magnificent (just SUPERB) foreshadowing of Carl Grime’s future in this newly formed society. I felt the need to nervously pace my apartment after reading this issue. It’s one of the better “build-up” issues I’ve read. Whether things escalate or the simmer down from here it’s hard to say, but what’s for sure is the “aww shit” seed has been planted and it’s only a matter of time before it blossoms and eats your face. Maybe an undead face mask isn’t a bad idea after all… – Taylor

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Prometheus: Fire & Stone #4 – B

And so concludes the first set of Fire & Stone comic series. There’s not a whole lot to say about this final chapter besides that it really drove home the best qualities of the Alien franchise. The issue was thrilling, bloody, left one with a sense of hopelessness, and open ended. It’s that last part that was also the downside to Prometheus F&S’s finale – there wasn’t any real closure. Because we all know that this story weaves into other comic arcs it didn’t really dampen anything, but compiling JUST the four issues together there’s a definite lack of simple plot structure. Minor overall and definitely overshadowed by all the happenings this issue. I’m sad to see this title go – it’s been such a fun ride! Let the gore and guts continue to spill in the sister issues!! – Taylor

DC/Vertigo: 

New 52 Futuress End #32 – B-

Now we’re getting somewhere. …Or at least it’s starting to feel like we are. There’s no action in this issue but at least we’re starting to get the set up of some sort of cohesive storyline. I’m not sure what clicked in the last issue or two, but I think I’m starting to actually care what happens here. So far my largest gripe against Future’s End has been the seemingly endless meandering of the plot. It seems as though we’re starting to get to the point; here’s hoping Future’s End keeps it up. – Moke

Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1 – C+

There are three different story arcs in this cliché holiday issue, but I only really liked the first one. The others didn’t hold much weight for me and had they been omitted, I wouldn’t have felt like the issue was missing anything. In fact, I thought the comic was over after the first story. That being said, the other two weren’t horrible, they just seemed to be supplementary to the first story line. While this issue could be a throwaway, it was nice to see the cute side of her character – sentimental, deranged, and looking for some hell raising fun – all without The Joker. But even still, this book may be one you can skip. – Charlotte

Dynamite Entertainment:

IDW Comics:

TMNT #41 – A

This series always amazes me how each week continues to be good – even the worst issues seem to be better than some of the best stuff out there. This issue continues the awesomeness with ¾ of the turtles focusing on taking out Shredder with Old Hob and the Mutanimals while Donatello sets up a meeting with Shredder. Fugitoid and Baxter Stockman join forces despite their differences to take down Krang. Things are not looking good for Krang as no one is on his side but himself, but it’s Krang so no one really cares seeing him hurt. This story arc has been really good and I absolutely love Cory Smith’s art, in fact I might say he is my favorite artist for this series overall. I would pick up here since it is the start of a new arc. – Jacob

Samurai Jack #15 – B+

Everything is on the line and there is nothing to fight with for our hero Jack. With the sword gone and him deemed unworthy, Aku sees his opportunity for attack and takes Jack by storm.  The battle takes up this whole issue and gives us one of the most action packed Samurai Jack issues we have seen. By the end, we don’t really have an idea of what is coming next but we do get one of those most exciting issues to date. It also helps that the subscription cover was done by the main man himself, Genndy Tartakovsky. – Jacob

October Faction #3 – B

This month’s October Faction somewhat made up for the previous issue’s slow start, but it still left me wanting a little more. In my opinion, this was the most interesting issue so far, but overall its hook still just hasn’t landed. There hasn’t been enough time spent really hashing out the world these characters live in so it’s hard to get excited and speculate where the story might go. So much time has been spent on the family dynamic, and while they are likable enough characters, it feels like Niles energy could be spent in better ways to get his story really rolling. I get that this book is supposed to have a heavy emphasis on the family drama, but so far they don’t feel dysfunctional, more like Leave it to Beaver, just with the whole seeing dead people and fighting monsters thing. This issue had a werewolf fighting a robot boy and a cocky assbutt getting shot for being smarmy and making threats, I want more of that! As of now, this series does not having me drooling and obsessing, but I can at least say that its most recent showing certainly kept my interest and I’m looking forward to next month’s issue. – Keriann

Image Comics:

Southern Bastards #6 – A

This week, I decided to jump into my comics mid-series. I figure that if the story is good, no matter what issue, it should generate enough interest that I’d want to check out the rest. To that end… the 6th issue of Southern Bastards was a bad one to walk into as it’s all about football. I am so indifferent and acerbic toward sports that I make people who also don’t care about football uncomfortable. I care about high school football less, and that’s what this is all about. In huge detail. There’s even a Magical Negro™ who courageously, though blind, teaches our white protagonist how to best foot the most balls. There were points where I wasn’t sure if this story was serious or making fun of itself. The shit does get real: our hero, a boy named Euless Boss (what?) wants to impress his abusive dead beat dad by making the team. Which he does! Though his dad dismisses him because he’s mid-orgy. But when things get real (a definite spoiler), my interest was piqued, and maybe Image hadn’t lost their minds and published a football comic (who the hell would even read that? Weren’t we all beaten up by the football team in high school?), but something deeper was happening. Sure enough, I read about it online, and it’s a comic about American south small town corruption (of which football is a small-large part since they love them some football). And my interest is definitely piqued. – J.H.

Sex Criminals #9 – A-

Aside from the slight loss in momentum due to inconsistent publishing dates, this issue ends with a giant mind-f***. Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky are the cutest creative team in the industry, and you would never know it by their unabashed approach to talking about one of the most uncomfortable topics, SEX. SEXY SEX SEX. Now that I have your attention, this book is seriously great. There’s definitely a polarizing reaction to the sexual expression that the characters have, and in all honesty, this book kicks it up a notch in the debauchery department when introducing a new character. None of it is smut just for the sake of smut, because it is all tied to a mind-blowing new path for the story to take. Look, you can feel uncomfortable, you can feel ashamed that you laugh, but this book is a triumphant story for all the twenty-somethings out there who wish they could stop time with their orgasms – and that can’t just be me, right? – Sherif

Shutter #7 – B+

This hiatus that writer Joe Keatinge and artist Leila del Duca took from Shutter came right on the heels of an epic finale that made the mid-season finale of Arrow look weak (okay, just kidding. Nothing tops the Arrow/ al Ghul showdown). The series drew me in instantly with its cast of fantasy characters and complete lack of regard for the status quo. Simply put, Shutter is a new experience. Unlike other books that try to cross into uncharted territory, a book with assassin foxes riding Triceratops into battle is just called “Issue #6.” As the arc is taking a new and unexpected turn, there’s so much to pay attention to and enjoy. I’m glad this book is gearing up for a second arc; I just hope that it can hold onto the magic that has made it so special. – Sherif

Bitch Planet #1 – B

This is the start to a really interesting sci-fi social commentary on how our society treats women and especially women of color. I love it when sci-fi uses its genre to create social change and this new comic definitely has that on their agenda. This issue definitely reminded me of the Buffy episode “Anne” where the prisoners are pushed to be compliant and denounce their individuality. And much like Buffy, Kamau Kogo gives that idea a roundhouse kick to the face. I love the representation in this comic, showing women of all sizes and color. This story arc has the potential to be really influential in the comic book world and I’m super excited to see what this new feminist icon gets up to next. – Charlotte

Copperhead #4 – D

This comic needs to go somewhere. I mean that in a bad way. It’s obvious that Faerber is trying WAY too hard to get readers to care. Cooperhead is a perfect example of trying to cram 10-pounds of stuff into a 5-pound bag. Some stories just can’t have it all and be successful! The comic flips drastically from one character to the next and alters themes just as dramatically. There’s only the mildest bit of cohesion and it’s the only thing saving this review from a failing grade. Added stories elements actually take away from the whole and make me more frustrated. It’s just one big colorful mess drifting in space. In order for this series to be saved, Faerber needs to trim the fat, pick a single theme, and just work it! No more giant teddy bears stupidly falling from rooftops or pissed of alien-hillbillies beating up manual laborers. Then I might be interested. – Taylor

Marvel:

Avengers & X-Men Axis #7 – A

This series has to be my favorite of the year. Per usual, any Marvel story featuring Apocalypse will end in death and destruction. It will be interesting to see just how this happens, especially with the twist of heroes as villains and vice versa. But this issue had a major bombshell that will be sure to change the aftermath of all the carnage to ensue. – Jacob

Spider-Man and the X-Men #1 – B+

Oh, how the times have changed. Remember the times when Peter Parker was the young rapscallion causing mischief wherever he went, making wise-cracks as he went? Yeah, now he has to deal with “actual” responsibilities – not saving the world or his girlfriend, but impressing upon today’s mutant youth the values of superhero ethics. Beyond the fact that this book is hilarious – I mean, picture an adult Ferris Bueller trying to teach detention, there are actually some words of wisdom that the book imparts to discuss an actual adult topic. Very sneaky, Marvel. There is a convoluted back-story as to why Spidey is teaching the “Special Class,” but the book flows far more easily without it. Sadly, this looks to be another ploy to stuff Spider-Man in our face while he’s hot, but that doesn’t make Spider-Man and the X-Men any less entertaining; it just means the ride will be a bit shorter than warranted. This could be its own version of Dangerous Minds if it stuck around long enough. – Sherif

Amazing Spider-Man #11 – B+

Rally the troops!!!! That was pretty awesome! Tension continues to mount as the Spidey(s) continue to lack even the inklings of the beginnings of a plan. However, even in the midst of an incredibly bleak situation for our heroes, Dan Slott and Co. still manage to find moments to bring the funny. We also get to see 616-Peter begin to take a more decisive leadership role (in an extremely satisfying manner, I might add). The only reason the issue doesn’t get a higher grade is because the frequent cutaways to other happenings in Spider-verse drastically hinder the pacing of the action. Every time another group of Spiders gets sent away on a mission, I can’t help but feel I’ve seen this before and the gimmick is starting to get a little tired. That being said, I can’t wait to see where else Spider-Verse takes us. – Moke

Thor #3 – B 

(B+) What to give this book? It’s hard for me to wrap my head around. I like the art, and I like the idea of woman Thor, but the execution is so uninteresting and typical. The teaser for next month’s cover gave me an eye sprain from rolling too hard. Since I am not much of a “superhero” guy, a book of this type has to be leagues greater than the standard for me to take notice. Well, I say it’s not my bag, but a well-written superhero comic is impossible to say no to. I’d say if you know anything about Norse mythology (and highly respect it), you’ll probably give this comic a C, but if you like super hero books a whole bunch, it’s probably worth a read. – J.H.

(B) I have mixed feelings about Thor this month. At the onset of the issue I was very pleased with the attention to backstory. If you read my reviews enough, you’ll know that I mention “depth” a lot – Jason Aaron added some of this critically good stuff in this issue, which was a plus. Introducing Skrymir, King of the Frost Giants, was entertaining and smart. But — now he’s dead. Oh yeah… Spoiler alert… In three issues of Thor it seems that the plot is both rushed and slow-walked in all the wrong places. By the issue’s end, I found myself, yet again, screaming at the pages, “WHO IS SHE?!” My outbursts aren’t based in the well-crafted “this story is doing a good job at keeping suspense,” but rather the irritating, “there’s no point to keeping this a secret anymore!!” This story isn’t better because I don’t know who The Goddess of Thunder is and it bugs me that the story hasn’t moved on from that yet. That aside, this issue is my favorite thus far. I think we’re close to having a good thing here people. Just hold on a little longer. – Taylor

Rocket Raccoon #6 – B-

Despite this series always being good, this issue and the last one (which happened to be favorite of the series) have been so far removed from the story they set up it almost feels like they threw away the last two issues to rev up again for the new year. That does not mean the story isn’t good, but after loving the last issue and ready to get back into the story it was kind of a shock to not have a mention of Blackjack O’Hare, the other Anthropomorphic raccoon, or any real significant piece of the story and just have Rocket taking odd jobs. I did love the story and seeing Cosmo is great to any past Guardian fans. Skottie Young’s art is wonderful and offers a very different side to a lot of the super realistic Rockets that we usually see these days. – Jacob

Deadpool: Art of War #3- C

I have to say I am not following where this series is going much. Although very entertaining and will likely get some comic fans to seek out the actual Art of War by Sun Tzu, this series doesn’t offer that much past a light entertaining read and some awesome art. By the end of this issue, you kind of feel the whole idea is destroyed a bit and leaves you wondering if the rest of the series will follow the Art of War as much as these first 3 issues. Despite being a bit lost within itself, the idea is as fun as any Deadpool story and allows you to see some pretty awesome battles. I would say pick this issue up for the art alone as it is the highlight of the whole series for me. – Jacob

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #6 – C

Despite me trudging through everything Death of Wolverine related, I keep reading and yet another issue seems to be dull and offer nothing much to the story. Andy Clarke does well with the art for Mystique in this issue. The writing is not bad, but just feels unnecessary and unsatisfactory.This issue focusing on Mystique offered the most out of anyone of the characters in the series. However, in the last panel we go, “Back to the Beginning!” I actually have hope for the new series that may come from this. – Jacob

Spider-Verse Team-Up #2 – C-

Oh well, they can’t all be winners. I guess it had to happen eventually, but this was just utterly disappointing. I get the “why” of the art style for the first half of the issue… but ugh, that was bad. I, for one, am glad the Adam West campy days of super-heroism are over. Eh, different strokes for different folks, I guess. The art of the second half was marginally better, yet the self-contained story was pretty paint by numbers. I can’t help but feel like they set the bar pretty low with this one. Le sigh. Onto the next issue. – Moke

 

Funniest Panel:

Spider-Man and the X-Men #1
Spider-Man and the X-Men #1

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Shutter #7
Shutter #7

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 12-03-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

Detective Comics #37
Detective Comics #37

Detective Comics #37 – A

It could be the name, or the silly costume he had in the 80’s, but Anarky has never been taken seriously as a villain. That all changes in Detective Comics #37, thanks to a great set-up story by Francis Manapul and phenomenal artwork by Brian Buccellato. This creative team has completely resurrected the series and their work is just as morbid and suspenseful as it is visually stunning. There’s also a bit of Gotham Central flowing through its veins, as a large chunk of the story follows Harvey Bullock – a heavily misused character in the New52. This is the perfect jumping on point for a new reader, so if you’re willing to take a gamble that you might actually enjoy a Batman book that doesn’t have Snyder or Capullo on it, this is the one to bet on. – Sherif

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Hellboy and the BPRD #1 – B

Sadly, the prequel to the Hellboy we should all know and love left me unsatisfied. While I’m sure this series will really find its roots and become grounded, I am not so impressed, but still pretty interested. The first issue moves slowly, which I understand is necessary for exposition, it just didn’t quite grab me the way I wanted it to, being a big fan of Hellboy. There were definitely some hints of way more interesting things to come, what with conspiracies and the origins of why Rasputin summoned Hellboy, and some sort of big bad down in a Brazilian prison. I’m sure this series will take off, and I’m very excited to see which beasties present themselves, the first issue just didn’t hook me. Perhaps that is because Hellboy himself had barely any “page time.” Panel time? He was barely in the book and he said almost nothing. It was kind of disappointing, to say the least. Either way, I still have mostly fond feelings for this book, but that could be because of my existing love of the character and possibly a fool’s faith that I know this will turn out awesome. – Keriann

Aliens vs. Predator: Fire & Stone #3 – C

It took approximately 10 issues for a so-so issue of Fire and Stone to hit comic book shelves. Now that the shock value of witnessing the after effects of direct contact with the mysterious, black alien-goo has passed, there’s a little more room to scrutinize the other aspects of this very well-conceived story arc.   First off – this issue is solid! I liked it. It lives up to its predecessors well and continued to hold my attention. The only reason I graded it the way I did is because none of this seems to fit anymore. I could be missing something, but it seems like the events occurring on the Geryon aren’t apart of the Fire and Stone storyline anymore. Yes – the accelerant is crazy. Yes – you all want to kill each other. I’ve got all that down already. I wanted more surprises and twist and continuity. Like I said – it’s still wildly entertaining, but feels pretty aimless. There’s only one issue left in the AVP portion of Fire and Stone. It undoubtedly will be a gory and unsettling bloodbath. High five!!! – Taylor

DC/Vertigo: 

Secret Six #1 – B+

(B+) Gail Simone is back, and not only is she working on another DC title, but it’s the New52 reboot of one of the best titles out. Gail Simone’s Secret Six was extremely revered by the entire spectrum of comic book fans, so when I heard that it was being rebooted, I couldn’t wait to read it. The team is a bit different than in the original, although Catman makes a return. The rest of the misfit team is rounded out by other obscure characters that hope to add some flavor to the mix; Strix from Simone’s Batgirl run also makes an entrance. The first issue doesn’t reveal much, but there’s a Suicide Squad vibe, as well as a little Saw thrown in for good measure. If this can prove to deviate from what’s already out there, I have no doubt that Gail Simone will do great things with Secret Six. – Sherif

(B-) Color me intrigued. I can’t help but feel like the general set up is a familiar one (Is this a B-List Suicide Squad?), yet I’m pulled in just the same. This comic is mostly plot set up, a touch of story, and absolutely no character development. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and hope the story and characters will come later this being a serialized medium and all. The art is a little involved for my taste but that’s more personal preference than anything else. I must admit: I never followed the original Secret Six. As such, I have no idea who these characters are, but I’d definitely like to know more. – Moke

Batman Eternal #35 – B-

Through nearly nine months of Batman: Eternal, one thing has become abundantly clear – this book does not need 52 issues. More of a drunken ode to the Dark Knight, Eternal has rolled more eyes than heads. Finally though, we’re getting to the juicy stuff. Jason Bard is more than meets the eye, and it seems like we finally get to find out what that is. Maybe, eventually. It sounds very promising but I don’t know that we won’t continue to get jerked around for another dozen issues before we figure out what’s really going on because there are just too many convoluted storylines taking place on top of one another. I’m still convinced this mega-story can shock and awe, but less convinced that they needed 52 issues to do it in. – Sherif

Gotham Academy #3 – B-

While this book can get very tweeny, the art is incredible, and the reason for the high grade this month.  At times it feels like Thomas Kinkade may be going under a pseudonym and drawing/coloring this book.  I cannot get over the scenery from panel to panel.  It really never misses a beat.  The colorists, Geyser, Msassyk and Serge LaPointe, should be HIGHLY commended on their contribution to the art of Karl Kerschl.  And while I do find the story more apt for a 12 year-old girl rather than a 27 year-old woman, I also have to realize that I am a 27 year-old woman who is still reading comic books.  That being said, the story involves a lot of boy problems, but I like that this group of misfit teenagers is like a Scooby-Gang, and who doesn’t love a Scooby-Gang?! – Adrian

Wolf Moon #1 – C

(B) Personally, I liked this book.  Because it is a Vertigo title, it gets the DC flavor, but with an “Image” twist, if you will.  Wolf Moon follows Dillon who is on the hunt for a werewolf.  But not just any werewolf; this one jumps from host to host from month to month.  I have never been too big on the werewolf story, but this one intrigues me, particularly because Dillon was infected himself once.  Hence his mission.  The art, particularly the coloring, was clean and crisp.  This is a mini-series, so if you are looking to get into comics, but don’t want a big commitment, I suggest starting here.  Plus it feels like a mix of Buffy/Angel/and Supernatural.  – Adrian

(D) Eh, the art really sucks. Sorry to be such an ass about it. Everything is so vague and quickly drawn that I can’t really get a feel for the environment, the setting, or the characters. I can’t even really see what the character reactions are to one another. Just disappointed. The cover art was amazing, but the rest of the book doesn’t live up to it. And the story isn’t much better. Trite, cliché, and boring. It kinda reads like a bad spin off episode of Supernatural. I almost gave up on it after four pages. It does get better towards the end, the story that is. But I don’t know if I’ll have enough cares to read the next one. – Jené

Dynamite Entertainment:

Shaft #1 – A-

I won’t lie; when I first heard that Dynamite Entertainment was coming out with a Shaft series, I was worried that it would be just like the recently-resurrected IDW comic book, Black Dynamite, only not funny. Well, Shaft proved that it doesn’t need to rely on simple-minded humor to make a story. And it’s easy to forget that Shaft was one bad man in the days of pulp movies and Blaxploitation that his courage to stand up for himself and fight had more of an impact than a Whorefanage ever could. This is the origin of John Shaft, and you should care because it’s not only entertaining, but inspiring. – Sherif

Battlestar Galactica: The Death of Apollo #1 – D

I don’t get the point of modeling the comic off the 1970’s version of Battlestar Galactica at all. Maybe I just can’t appreciate the retro feel to it, but I’ve always liked the newer version of Apollo compared to his previous counterpart. Whether it’s my thing of yours, it does still capture the essence of a throwback comic, and for that, I have respect for what the authors are doing with it. At first it seems that fleet haven’t been in contact with the Cylons for a while, and everyone is enjoying a level of peace, which is until, dunt, dunt duuuuhhhh they’re still being hunted by them. The title and the trite dialogue between Starbuck and Apollo give the plot away and with it takes my interest. This comic was meh. A take it or leave it read. – Jené

IDW Comics:

X-Files Season 10 #19 – B-

A new artist and a new story arc come into X-Files this month! I have to say I absolutely love Tom Mandrakes style of art from the get-go, but it does change drastically from panel to panel where the likenesses of people very easily disappear if he draws them from a certain angle. As far as story, we get lots of the Cigarette Smoking Man, Some daddy issues with Mulder, and a super drug created by the government called G-23 and of course Langley from the Lone Gunmen wants to try it. This sets up what could be an insane story and be exactly like they say in this issue, “…stranger than the plot of any Cheech and Chong movie.” I would definitely try and pick this issue up as it is a good place to jump into this series and will likely be the craziest arc yet. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Nailbiter #8 – A

The last issue of Nailbiter eluded to there being bees this month and they did not disappoint. There were bees, but I was kind of expecting some new serial killer who kills people with bees! But what I got was a weird old man in a basement dissecting bees to learn their secrets while singing a children’s song to himself. Insanely creepy, but not quite what I was expecting, and yet still good – as always. Nailbiter is a book that, so far, has not let me down when the new issue comes out. The main storyline was hashed out a little more this month as Finch continued his quest to find out what happened to Carroll, and the townspeople of Buckaroo begin to band together in a false fashion against whatever it may be that makes serial killers out of its residents. It was not the most action packed issue, and this time around there was basically no gore which to me is just a testament to how great the writing really is. Joshua Williamson keeps me captivated, what can I say? Well, I guess I can say this series is great and you should be reading it. – Keriann

Birthright #3 – B+

The third issue of Birthright all but makes up for the slower pace of the last issue. This time around, I got completely hooked again. There was finally a face to face introduction to one of the bad guys that Mikey must face in Terranos, and some terrifying fantastical beasts. I began to worry about this series because I found myself not so interested in the Terranos story, the characters seemed kind of unlikeable and I just kind of felt bad for poor basically kidnapped Mikey. I still feel bad for Mikey, but the Gideon kids seem less like cliché jerks and the universe in itself just feels much more exciting. I really like the way the book is split between the modern reality and flashbacks to Mikey’s life in the alternate realm, the transitions are really well timed within the storyline. I could ramble on, but it may be easier to just sum things up with this: Birthright is awesome, and I’m excited to read it. – Keriann

The Humans #2 – B

The Humans, for being a book about a bunch of murderous drug-addled biker chimps screwing each other, is charming. It clearly smacks of 70’s animation, particularly the Ralph Bakshi variety, that featured animals as human analogues in all their boozing, drugging, sexing glory in a way that makes it feel like 70’s noir, if such a thing exists. Not just that, its use of colors and lines sticking to Earth tones and an economy of line where just enough is given to make the chimps emotional and relatable. It manages that balance struck by things like Godfather and Vikings where you care about beings who are, by all accounts, garbage people. Issue 2 was a good read; we don’t really know who Johnny is or his significance to the group, but he’s back from Vietnam and he’s miserable. And what’s the deal with the chimp that, apparently, carts a human sex slave with him? There’s some subtle horror buried there. – J.H.

God Hates Astronauts #4 – C

(B) I will be really, really sad when this series is over. God Hates Astronauts has been and continues to be one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. From cover to cover, I wear a gigantic smile. On the pages were I’m not smiling I’m laughing hysterically. Even the goofy advertisements and the “fan” content at the end are great. There are a few consistency flaws in the story – maybe not flaws – more like grievances. Some of the character storylines have nothing to do with the events of the upcoming war. In fact, most character storylines seem to have no connection to the greater event at hand. The part of my brain that generates laughter hopes this means spinoffs and continuations! And ultimately, it really doesn’t flipping matter (I think I said that last review). Even if these events and people are just randomly sewn together, it still makes for a very entertaining read. I can’t wait to read the next issue titled “All Out War!” I never thought I’d say something like this but, I’m actually really looking forward to this war. – Taylor

(D) Ugh. What the hell, God Hates Astronauts? What the hell? I feel like Ryan Browne has written a comic that’s review-proof. I can’t help but feel 2 things: 1. Browne is desperately trying to be Axe Cop without the five year-old writer that makes Axe Cop interesting. Without that, I feel like this book is full of the world’s worst commentary on… nothing? 2. I know the current releases are a sequel, or at least a second volume. Does the first explain anything about what’s happening to me? Does anyone read this and get it or think it’s funny? Please for the love of Sweet Baby Jesus say something! Convince me why this deserves an A and not an F! Because as good as the art can be, and as close to funny as the writing gets (without ever really crossing over), I can’t help but feel this book deserves a D, at the most. – JH

Marvel:

Angela – Asgard’s Assassin #1 – A

 I love bad-ass things. I also love women. Hence, I was quite smitten with the premiere issue of Angela – Asgard’s Assassin. I picked up this comic this week for no other reason than because the word “Assassin” is in the title – honestly! I had no idea who Angela was or where she came from or what her abilities were. But after reading just one issue, I can tell you she is a very infection character. Her past is rich (of which we get a brief glimpse) and she has impressive skills. She’s no nonsense, very lethal and has a very rigid mind-frame. The bounty hunter/highest bidder angle she wears on her sleeve (if she wore sleeves) is way cool and adds depth to her character. I generally enjoy Thor & Loki based stories; I mean, who doesn’t?! But after strong reflection I, personally, have a new top contender for favorite Asgardian (just one issue!!). This one is a solid read people. – Taylor

Deadpool #38 – B

Well, good ol’ Zenpool, as he is being called, is helping everyone and politely asking for names and writing them down on a list. Yeah, not the normal Deadpool you are used to but it sure gives us an interesting take on The Faux-Men, Shikla, the evil X-Men and Avengers, and Deadpool himself – being the most at peace while the planet is in utter chaos. In this issue, we see Deadpool trying to escape the X-Mansion with the Faux-Men and trying to get them to safety and also trying to work on things with his wife, Shikla. The latter of which is really not working out with the whole save the world without violence Deadpool we have. Mike Hawthorne does a great job on the art and the vintage cover done by David Nakayama is awesome! I would say definitely pick this one up as this story arc is definitely proving to be another great one by Posehn and Duggan. – Jacob

Thanos vs. Hulk #1 – B-

Let’s get to it already!!!! Ok, ok, ok, I get it; the big rumble probably won’t come until much later, but I’ve got to say… I really don’t care too much about the setup of this story. I just want to see them fight!!! The grown up in me really wants to understand how these two are going to match up evenly, but my inner twelve-year old really just wants to see the carnage. Nothing bad to say about the art, and the panels between Maria Hill and Tony Stark are sure contenders for funniest panels of the week…. But who cares!? I only signed up to see Hulk smash!!! – Moke

Legendary Star-Lord #6 – C-

Star Lord is the new Indiana Jones – and not just in what he does, but in popularity, too. That is the only reason Marvel can pull off an entire episode where Quill is on a date with Kitty Pryde’s hologram and must make all the moves while ducking various mercenaries trying to collect a bounty on his head. Or at least they can try. This issue was so fluffy and boring, and the humor is laid on thicker than the frosting on a grocery store white cake. It’s sad because I actually dig the relationship between Peter Quill and Kitty Pryde, but it’s one that doesn’t need to be forced – and one that is served better as a side story in a team book (ala Guardians of the Galaxy or All-New X-Men). – Sherif

Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #3 – C-

I have not been the biggest fan of this series at all; although, it does seem to be getting better with each issue. We are following a group of super-powered being made to try and recreate Wolverine and in this issue they are trying to track down Sabretooth to get information and maybe some help. Ultimately, we get some insight into the characters you still don’t know or care about, but it finally brings the story to a point where I would say you should try and read this issue if you want the whole Death of Wolverine story; still, I would not recommend it to anyone not trying to read every Wolverine thing now. – Jacob

Funniest Panel:

Secret Six #1
Secret Six #1

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Birthright #3
Birthright #3

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 11-26-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

 

Pick of the Week:

Ody-C #1
Ody-C #1

Ody-C #1 – A

I’ve never read a Fraction book before, but if they’re all anything like Ody-C, I might have to start. In short, at its most perhaps offensively basic, Ody-C is a science fiction space opera gender swapped taking its the Odyssey. The book is full of crazy ideas feeling much like a Hickman book – like Pax Romana or the Manhattan Projects. The art is appropriately abstract, colorful, and French looking (think Moebius or Marvel’s Soleil line) to reflect that kind of story telling approach. The two coolest ideas come aboard the ship in which the captain (Odyssia, the gender swapped Odysseus) and her for co-captains must float in psychic in order to stear the ship, and her symphony that must reprogram space as they fly through it. The book is incredibly enjoyable and a lot of fun to look at, and I do highly recommend reading it. My only criticism is the source material: I know I’ve read the Odyssey at least three times in my college experience, as I’m sure any other liberal arts major has, and I found myself being too distracted at times trying to crack the gender code to be able to focus on what was going on. I guess I would have liked either a longer first issue or a more basic one just to get my footing before launching into the crazy stuff so that I could get a sense of what from the original Greek masterpiece mattered. – Cuyler

 

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Alien: Fire & Stone #3 – B

One word – creepy! Creee-py!!! This series continues to be great and It continues to freak me out. However, some aspects are starting to get old and, for the first time since the Fire and Stone series began, I found myself a bit tired with the “mysterious black goo” ponderings. We’ve gotten plenty of examples of what this stuff is capable of and how horrific its effects are on any life form. This is a minor gripe overall, and it certainly doesn’t take away from the story. There’s only one issue left in the Aliens arch of Fire and Stone – this will effectively round out the prequel of the ongoing events. There’s plenty of action left to be had and a ton of mystery to be unraveled. After this many issues, I’m confident that Fire & Stone’s conclusion will be eerily fantastic. – Taylor

 

DC/Vertigo: 

Superman #36 – A

Wow, I can’t believe I am this excited about a Superman book. Geoff Johns has gotten me hooked on another superhero I have been skeptical about. Ulysses is finally coming clean about a secret he’s been keeping from Superman. Only, we still have to wait another issue to find out what it is! The reference to Brian Azzarello and Jim Lee’s For Tomorrow stands at the forefront as the best pat of this issue. Superman has since learned that while he is the strongest being on Earth, he still cannot cure disease, cannot control men’s urge for war. It’s some really deep stuff that I really feel deserved to be revisited here. Cheers to another knockout issue for Johns and Romita Jr.! – Sherif

Arkham Manor #2 – A-

After DC has spent the past couple months throwing new Bat-related titles to the wall, I think this could be one that has finally stuck. Arkham Asylum has fallen and Gotham has found the perfect place to house the criminally insane – Wayne Manor. To infiltrate the Manor and find out what is really going on, Bats has disguised himself as Jack Shaw, a John Doe criminal. Things take an interesting turn when it turns out he can’t protect the inmates anymore than he can the other citizens; hopefully he hasn’t bitten off more than he can chew. I love the originality of this series, and it immediately reminds me of Jeph Loeb’s The Long Halloween with the mysterious tone it takes. If you love Batman, or mystery, pick this book up while it’s still in its infancy. – Sherif

Futures End #30 – B-

That… was, surprisingly, not all that bad. I’m going to try to not get my hopes up, but I’m tempted to believe that this might actually go somewhere interesting. This week’s edition of Futures End focuses on one of the plot points that actually seems to matter so far. I’m dubbing this, “Attack on Cadmus Island” (Catchy, ain’t it?). Attack on Cadmus Island has everything I could really want: the action is great, decent art, and to top it all off actually moves the story forward! There’s even a couple of pretty great surprises in store for those who’ve been keeping up so far. To quote Big Barda, “….Did not see that coming.” – Moke

The Flash #36 – C

This trope may have been done before, but when future Barry Allen came to kill present time Barry Allen, things got a little mixed up. Now, they have swapped places… sorta. The Barry Allen from the future is now parading around like he owns the present time while the other Allen is stuck in some parallel dimension. Basically, the story is getting really convoluted, and the point I thought was the climax ended up just dragging the story out a little further. That being said, this future Flash is brutal and efficient, and willing to kill anybody he knows will upset things in the future. I’m not sure where this arc will go, but I can definitly stay on until I see what kind of awkward mess this is going to be for the present-day Flash to iron out.  – Sherif

 

IDW Entertainment:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters #2 – A

Most 80’s kids have already imagined this team-up in their heads with toys, but still seeing it come to fruition is awesome! Crossovers are always kind of iffy, as the IDW X-Files one that crossed over with these two properties earlier this year was a little weak, but this one so far has been great. Seeing the banter between Donatello and Egon is exactly what I wanted it to be and the pairing of characters is perfect. The story has just barely gotten past the, “Ghosts don’t exist!” or “You’re a giant talking turtle!” things – which will obviously be there, but it still is setting up something good. The art is as good as you could ask in mixing styles and characters and, all around, this issue is must have for any 80’s kid or any nostaligia-loving enthusiast. – Jacob

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #40 – A-

The fight between the mutants of the series continues in this issue as we see the mutated animals battling the humans-turned-mutants, Bebop and Rocksteady. All this while, Casey helps out the O’Neils, and Donatello is off doing his own thing and may be going behind the turtles back to do so. All of which makes for a great issue of TMNT and although it seemed more to set up next year’s Mighty Mutanimals book, it still felt like a solid piece of the story and was a really enjoyable read. Santolouco continues to impress as the artist and it always brings a smile to my face to see Kevin Eastman contribute on an issue. – Jacob

Samurai Jack #14 – B+

Jack has been on a quite a journey recently since he lost his sword, which was the one thing that could defeat Aku and send him back to his time. In this issue we now see Jack being judged for losing such a weapon of power and whether or not he should be worthy of such a gift again or not. We don’t figure out whether or not they decide on this issue, but we reach a point where everything is on the line and Jack must act out with only his wit and no weapon. This story has been a very enjoyable read and I have loved the art of this whole series, as Tartokovsky’s style transfers so well to comics – which is why his other book, Powerpuff Girls, is so successful, as well. – Jacob

X-Files: Year Zero #5 – B-

This month’s Year Zero brings the story to an end and we finally get to see how the first case in X-Files history brought about what the X-Files is today. Despite being an interesting story and idea I think the execution was a bit wrong as I was never really into the story as much as I usually am when it comes to X-Files. It has a pretty cheesy ending over all and the different art styles for the modern and past X-Files teams makes me more interested in the series both I have not been a fan of most of the art coming out of X-Files as it just has way too may shadows. Ultimately I would say try and pick up this book to complete the series but over all this issue and mini series as a whole is one that will likely be forgotten in time and maybe even retold differently depending on the future of `. – Jacob

 

Image Comics:

Shadow Show #1 – A-

Shadow Show is not what I was expecting, but that ended up being okay. Initially, I was disappointed because the first page opens up and where I was expected something more fantastical and dark, I was greeted with warm artwork that was more reminiscent of a children’s book or Miyazaki movie. I’m not normally a fan of children’s book artwork in the comics I read, but as the story continued I realized what a great fit it really was. The adaptation of Joe Hill’s By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain was wonderful. The story is sweet and sad, and while the climax may have been a little predictable I was not left wanting. It had a great flow and to it and read really well. While it was a sad story, it still left me with happy feeling when I finished it. I’d definitely recommend this book. – Keriann

Rasputin # 2 – B

They say a picture is worth a 100 words. Whoever they is, they sure are right. Rasputin relies more on the art than it does on narration and dialogue. I’m a big fan for the way the storyline is unraveling itself between his history and the present. It feels organic and seamless and for a story steeped in so much mystery and magic, so the sort of timelessness really works well for the story. The use of red is brilliantly well-used. It’s a life force or death, but it’s the red the use of blood that’s really the narrator. It succeeds in a way that Trees kinda of fails. A lot of information and intrigue happens within panels of each other but while at the same time it doesn’t feel rushed. Rasputin is off with a Antoine to Verkhturye and to his ultimate destiny… (Insert maniacal laugher here.) – Jené

Trees # 7 – C

You can tell that Trees is gearing up to actually start – kinda of like the first act in a film; I think I’ve already said something similar about this storyline the last time I reviewed it. And it still seems that way. I think we only have to wait about two or three more issues until things really start coming to a head. At the moment, it still feels like there are too many characters and storylines; I want them to start weaving together more. I have my favorites and I’m bummed I can hang read more about the artist and the biologist more.  Still not all that sure where Ellis is taking the storyline, but, Transmetropolitan was amazing and I trust Trees is going to be just a good. He’s still doing something right if I’m glad to see Trees on the list to review. Overall, it’s an issues to get to a means. – Jené

American Legends #4&5 – C-

American Legends came to an end this week and it will not be missed. Overall the series just really missed the mark in my opinion. It never really hit that level of excitement I think it was striving for. It was campy as all hell, even through to the very end. The last panel concluded in such cheesy fashion I basically heard 80’s family sitcom music in my head while I read it. Now don’t get me wrong, the series wasn’t horrendous, it had its moments and it came with a really fun premise, it’s just that every week I felt this issues fell a little short and issues 4 and 5 were no exception. Davy, Sally and Mike’s adventure came to a close, naturally, and if anything it was poorly thought out, rushed, and a little confusing with a pretty boring climax. That’s what she said! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. The main problem with issues 4 and 5 really was that everything just felt rushed. Maybe it was supposed to be interpreted as nonstop action, but for me it didn’t read that way. It all just felt very choppy and hectic. I didn’t like that Paul Bunyan appeared to be a relatively normal sized man with a blue goat, instead of an ox. Johnny Appleseed was written like a no good dirty hippie, but was still probably the best character in the whole series. And apparently it is extremely easy to kill people with his apple seeds. I’m pleased that the series at least had fun and creative ideas, but sadly in my opinion it was mostly just a flop. – Keriann

 

Marvel:

Superior Iron-Man #2 – B+

I love me some good guys behaving badly. Tony’s acting like a bit of a d*** and I, for one, am thoroughly entertained. Extremis 3.0 is a hit, problematically so. Naturally, one of the more traditional hero-types comes to investigate (Not gonna lie: I didn’t even know Daredevil was in town) [Ed note: Daredevil relocated to San Francisco after his law license was stripped in NY for exposing his identity]. They fight. Hilarity ensues. Let’s be honest, although a bit morally ambiguous at the moment, Tony hasn’t fully crossed into villain territory. I find myself wondering what implications this might have on the Marvel U as a whole.  A**holishness aside, I think I could get used to this new Tony. Though it initially caught a lot of flak, Superior Spider-Man ended up being wildly popular, and I’m just itching to see the type of damage a Superior Iron-Man could cause. – Moke

Scarlett Spiders #1 – B

The Spider-Verse event has begun branching into smaller, varied events that focus on a few particular Spider-Men/Women. Scarlett Spiders follows the three primary cloned Spideys. They’ve been given the very important task of unveiling the secret behind the cloning capabilities of their pursuers, The Inheritors. I really enjoyed the set-up. The setting is gorgeous, the danger feel real, and the interaction between all the Spider-heroes is engaging. I can see the potential for the Scarlett Spiders series. My biggest fear is that it will become cluttered with non-essential and distracting characters. The level at which I’m invested in the Spider-Verse plot and chronology has made me a bit more impatient than typical; hopefully it won’t backfire on me! – Taylor

Spider-Man 2099 #6 – B

I’m all about all the Spider-Men and Women lately! The comic book world has been inundated with Spider-heroes of an infinite number of alternate realities and so far it’s all made for a great adventure. The plot in this series of Spider-Man 2099 maintains it original composition while weaving in the Spider-Verse happenings without making things seem too forced. This issue highlights multi-armed Peter Parker, Miguel O’Hara and (my favorite) May a.k.a. Lady Spider. It’s fairly apparent that the grand planners at Marvel are strategically placing certain Spider-Men in particular storylines. Each one has a specific role to play and thus far this has played out in a very exciting way. Spider-Man 2099 will be one of the branched series to really pay attention to. Their relation and interaction with Morlun is sure to be pivotal to every other arc.

All-New Ghost Riser #9 – D 

Ever since the end of the introductory arc of The All-New Ghost Rider I’ve been losing interest in the series. The first five issues rocked my world; it resulted in a high-set bar for the follow-up story. Filipe Smith (writer) has displayed a vast lack of creativity by essentially copying the plot from the previous arch. Dialogue is incredibly corny. Altered and added story elements are unbelievable and forced. The artwork is quite difficult to read. A lot of aspects are misfiring. The outlook is equally bleak. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for this series to improve – Smith has everything locked in fairly rigidly. To diverge now would feel awkward and unnatural. Our best prospects are to hunker down and wait for this all to pass. – Taylor

 

Funniest Panel:

Superior Iron Man #2
Superior Iron Man #2

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Superman #36
Superman #36

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 11-19-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

 

Pick of the Week:

The Multiversity - Pax Americana #1
The Multiversity – Pax Americana #1

The Multiversity: Pax Americana #1 – A+

I actually had to go through and pair down my review because it was running wildly out of control. If you want the easy version, this book is A+∞. Grant Morrison writes what might be the most mind expanding single issue of a super hero comic ever, and Frank Quitley is an unparalleled master. The more complex version is something like this: this is an alternate version of Moore’s Watchmen, which was a gritty adaptation of the Charleston Comics characters DC bought in the 80s, which was in itself (while gritty) making fun of the grit of comics at the time. Morrison’s Pax Americana is all about the struggle of determining what’s real and what’s linear while (like Moore’s alternate 80s) a politician (who might either be insidiously crooked or divinely inspired) tries to engineer America’s greatest panic and then greatest recovery. This is so packed with easter eggs and symbols: The Question quotes from Colorado native philosopher (and self proclaimed chaos magician like Grant Morrison himself) Ken Wilbur and his color spectrum of societal development; and when the vice president talks to Captain Adam on the bridge, I think that page forms the center wheel around which the entire story spins, and might imply it’s possible to read this comic in both directions. I can’t tell if that’s real, or I want it to be real so bad that I feel like it is. I’m honestly, flabbergasted by this book. It’s incredible. I don’t know if I can wait 4 years for all 52 of these books to come out. Buy it. Buy 10. Buy one for your grandma so that she can tell you she just doesn’t understand the appeal of comics (unless she does, then she’ll love it). – J.H.

 

Other Reviews: 

Bongo Comics:

Futurama #73 – A

I love Futurama! That much is obvious if you know me at all. This comic series has had it’s fair share of bad issues, but this one was one of the greats. This issue happens to be the Halloween issue and deals with a massive robo zombie apocalypse brought on by Bender trying to avoid work. Throughout this issue it had me laughing out loud at multiple things like Professor Farnsworth saying, “Oh my, This has gone from Bad-to-Kirkman much sooner than I could’ve imagined…” and Hermes saying, “Sweet sparrow of George Romero!” So the comedy and zombies references definitely work very well together and make for one of the best issues of this comic in its entire run (for me at least). – Jacob

Boom! Studios:

Lumberjanes #8 – C

Lumberjanes was both educational and entertaining this issue. Number eight seems like the conclusion to this particular story arc. Diane is being a complete butthead, but then what do you expect from a Greek goddess? Poor Jo is still a stone statue which doesn’t make the rest of her friends happy. Are the Lumberjanes able to save her? And which god will claim the ultimate power? You’ll have to find out on your own. As always a fun carefree read. Enjoy. – Jené

Sleepy Hollow #2 – C

I don’t know, Sleepy Hollow is a rather absurd concept and somehow it works out. The characters are interesting enough that you’re willing to suspend your disbelief and even more so in comic book form. I think I like reading Sleepy Hollow more than I like watching the show. The story is just fun. I don’t have to think that hard and I don’t have to put a lot in to get a lot out. This issue slowed down compared to the last one, and it took its time with the monster/demon of the week motif. Crane is obsessed with solving a puzzle, which surprise, surprise is holding the soul of a body who wants to get out a wreak havoc on the masses. Margarite Bennet has written really good dialogue for the characters and food observations of Crane raise a few pleasant chuckles. The cheese is laid on a bit I think, but I can go with it. I do wish there was more detail in the art. Sometimes I feel the characters expressions get lost in the background and can be a little difficult to follow. – Jené

 

Dark Horse Comics:

Predator: Fire & Stone #2 – B

My praise for the Fire & Stone arch continues people! The plot and gore thickens as we pass the halfway point in the grand story line. I’m just as full of intrigue and interest as I was at the very first issue (Prometheus: Fire & Stone #1). I love the Predator storyline and witnessing how the Predator interacts with Galgo. The dynamic of two ruthless sentient individuals who can’t understand each other is ensnaring and a bit comedic. It’s difficult to predict exactly what will happen next because the characters, creatures, situations and environments are constantly changing! It makes for very entertaining reading. The best prediction I can make is that some grand-royale will occur on LV-223. It’s sure to be bloody, terrifying and, most importantly, a hell of a lot of fun. – Taylor

 

DC/Vertigo: 

Wonder Woman #36 – B

(B+) Wonder Woman really distrusts Swamp Thing! But that’s not important. So, Wonder Woman is now the God/Goddess of War and a lot of her Amazonia sisters are not very happy with her. I mean, she allowed men to live with them! But the more important story here is that someone is wiping villages of the planet with water, very large amounts of it. Diana is really struggling with her newfound godliness taking care of her people and still be a major Justice League player. Sadly, this issues kind of all over the place though the story doesn’t really have a strong handhold, at least not yet. I have to say that David Finch’s art is outstanding, combined with Richard Friend’s inking and Sonia Oback’s coloring, each page is very eye-catching, especially the pages with Swamp Thing. I’ll say, for my first Wonder Woman book, I’m definitely interested to see where this is going. – Scott

(B) Azzarello and Chiang’s long and exciting arc that lasted 35 issues is finally over. A lot has happened since the New52 relaunch; Wonder Woman has denounced her title, battled Greek gods, became a Goddess herself, and then came back to becoming Wonder Woman. Now, we finally get to see her interact with the rest of the world. The new version of Wonder Woman is undeniably beautiful. David Finch has been sorely missed from the New52 (his last stint was the first run of Batman: The Dark Knight), and his wife, Meredith, who gets her writing debut here, is a solid storyteller. While it’s nice to see a new direction for Wonder Woman, between this book, Justice League and Superman/Wonder Woman, I would like DC to get a better handle on the kind of person they want her to be – nurturing humanist or angsty warrior. I like where the mystery of the story is headed, and I totally endorse this new creative team. – Sherif

Justice League #36 – B

It just got real for the Justice League! What Ebola is to us humans is what the Amazo Virus is to the meta-beings of the Justice League. Bed-stricken and in comas, all super-powered humans of the League have been given a 24-hour timetable following the accidental unleashing of Lex Luthor’s deviously crafted virus. This is bad, but it’s not the worst part. While most superheroes are TKO, all the Joe Schmoes affected by the virus have a very opposite reaction – they develop superpowers! Unfortunately, these kick-ass abilities will only be temporarily lived because to humans, this virus is totally lethal. This makes for a really entertaining and anxious issue, but it’s a bit distracting from the overall plot. Luthor vs. Wayne was just getting started and then super-Ebola hit! I’ll be on the edge of my seat waiting to see how the League gets themselves out of this one, but hopefully we’re back on track before too long. – Taylor

The New 52: Future’s End #29 – C+

(B) Freeze!!! For just a minute… Let’s break this down. Issue #29 of Future’s End may be the best one yet. Now, being “the best” among a pile of crap may not be saying much (hence the “B” grade), but there are some significant improvement-takeaways from this week’s issue of Future’s End. Primary and above all others is the fact that this issue was focused! It highlighted a specific and small set of characters, all of which had relevant ties to one another; It wove in a plot that was epic and with substantial impact to the primary characters. But what I loved most… it has NOTHING to do with the Brother Eye end of the world plotline. This week we got a glimpse of what a good comic was made of. This 29th issue could essentially spin off from the Future’s End series right now and become a standalone and successful comic. All because of a little bit of focus!!! If Future’s End had been structured this way from the start I would have a 180-degree difference of opinion of the overall story (which so far has been shitty). Maybe this marks a change for the better… I won’t hold my breath though. – Taylor

(C-) Is it bad I’m a little relieved that the whining and bickering is finally over? Maybe now we can actually get back to this whole saving the world thing?  The most interesting part of Firestorm’s storyline so far has been Batman showing up to tell Ronnie and Jason to put their collective big-boy pants on and resume superhero-ing (I’m paraphrasing).  Alas, there was none of that this week. There’s some action and even a special guest to assist with the butt kicking, but over all, I’m still not quite sure why I’m supposed to care. Maybe Firestorm will actually DO something now that the status quo has changed a little bit since absolutely nothing has been accomplished so far. I am not intrigued, excited, or in anyway interested in the outcome of this story anymore. I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself every week. Future’s End continues to meander on, and unfortunately still continues to deliver a weekly dose of “WTF!?”. I have the sneaking suspicion that, by April, when we get to the end of this “Event”, none of this is going to matter. Meh. – Moke

Batman and Robin #36 – C

Batman is more honey badger than I have ever seen him in this issue. After slipping through the grasp of the Justice League, he has fought his way through Apokolips to retrieve his son’s corpse. It’s a fun issue and the way the team reunites feels oh so good, but really, there’s not a lot of substance in the issue. I don’t feel any differently about the situation than I did when I read the book a month ago. I will say that Patrick Gleason’s art is in top form here. There are a number of panels that spill into each other, and it forces the reader to really feel the frantic pace that the book takes on. I have no doubt things will get more interesting as the next issue unfolds (especially after what happened after Final Crisis), but this issue was, for the most part, filler. – Sherif

 

IDW Entertainment:

Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War #6 – B-

So this has to be my favorite comic event of the year! Even if the writing was subpar, and the ending left me wanting more, it still was a wonderful romp through my childhood that always left me wanting other characters to show up (luckily the Powerpuff Girls are having a massive crossover in January!). This issue shows us the continued exploits of the heroes. I do have to say that even though I did absolutely love this series and this issue, it is very childish at times (obviously it is cartoon characters) so some people find it upsetting that their cartoons didn’t grow up with them, but if you are a fan of the characters, please pick it up and look out for the new Powerpuff Girls event next year! – Jacob

Image Comics:

American Legends #3 – B-

The first two issues of American Legends were a little slow and hokey, but this time around it was complete madness. Issue #3 in the miniseries is basically non-stop action in what I can only assume is an effort to make up for what the first two issues may have lacked. It was good enough, I’m just still not in love with it. The heroes face a saber tooth tiger, the LaFitte gang, some more crazy voodoo, and a Wendigo all in the name of catching up to the Lewis and Clark expedition to help prevent Napoleon’s plan to ruin everything for President Jefferson. And to save Sally Thunder’s brother so that Davy or Mike or both can get in her pants. This time around, Davy Crockett and Mike Fink were much more toned down with the cheese factor so they were less Dukes of Hazzard and more Simon and Simon. Sally Thunder still kind of sucks and there is little to no effort to make the bad guys actually seem like bad guys, but…eh. At least at this point in the series I’m no longer really bothered by that because I’m just along for the ride and kind of curious to see where this whole thing goes. – Keriann

Intersect #1 – C-

(B) Intersect is the fevered dream of a mad man, but that’s good. First off, I really have no idea what’s going on. I’m not sure if what I’m seeing is a dream, or a Matrix-like simulation. The story is told in prose almost, it’s all very flowery speech. The art seems to be watercolors and pages are set up very haphazardly. It’s not easy to read in a proper sequential order. Also if I’m supposed to be able to tell what’s going on, I am not succeeding so far. Reading Intersect is kind of like having a seizure, or at least I’d imagine. It’s frantic and confusing and when you’re done you’re not really sure what happened. On the plus side, I want to figure out what happened. Let’s see where this one is going. – Scott

(F) I have no idea what the f*** I just read. Honestly. I have no freaking idea what the hell that was. Intersect #1 feels more like a bad acid trip directed by David Cronenberg than it does a comic and that is not a good thing. I can do weird, in fact sometimes I really like the weird, dark kind of artsy stuff (Alan Moore’s Fashion Beast) but this book is TOO weird and it comes off in a way that made me feel like if I didn’t get it, then I was the dumb one. It also seems like it wants to be deep and if I didn’t get it I was just part of the problem. Screw you book, you made no god damned sense and while the artwork was really, really cool it didn’t help your cause at all. I will say that the last few pages of the book with the bizarre imagery and what I can only assume are Ray Fawkes poems were pretty great, but up to that point it was just too freaking bizarre in the bad way. There is no effort to explain what the story is, who these people are, and what the hell they are doing. And for that matter why there seems to be multiple people living in one body? Is that what was happening? I have no f-ing clue honestly. Frankly, if not understanding this book means I’m dumb, then I’m not sure I want to be smart. – Keriann

Marvel:

Moon Knight #9 – A

(A) Moon Knight has been magnificent, and even though it lost Warren Ellis as its writer, Brian Wood has done a great job of keeping the series moving at a good pace. The biggest knock I have had against the series is that there hasn’t been enough substance to the type of man Mr. Knight is underneath the mask; we’ve seen a bunch of great action, and the art has been top-notch, but I wanted the book to big deeper into the history of Khonshu. Thankfully, right from the get-go, this issues takes a very deep turn. The time that Moon Knight takes on the “Doctor’s” chair is enthralling, and the conversation is both an invitation to conversation and refreshingly personal. Plus, the shocking twist at the end was something I did not even know was possible, so I will be waiting with baited breath to see where the story takes us from here. – Sherif

(A) In nine issues of Moon Knight, very few aspects of this comic have been handled poorly and an even greater number of aspects have been handled extremely well. The first six issues of Moon Knight served to introduce Marc Spector and his flashy and total badass vigilante persona, Mr. Knight, via a series of one-off adventures. Now that an actual story arc has begun, I’ve raised my expectations, hoping to see this series step it up a level. I got exactly what I hoped for this week! “The Doctor” has always played a role in Moon Knight, but this week she emerges as a major player in the things to come. What’s more is that I’m completely compelled by the developing plot. In issues past there were clear cut lines – good vs. bad, righteous vs. evil. Now the waters have become muddied and it’s done a great service for this already impressive series. I want a whole lot more of what Moon Knight has got to offer. – Taylor

Deadpool #37 – A

There has been a change Deadpool books recently, and it hasn’t just been the fact that Deadpool is now a zen Buddhist. I feel Deadpool, although still funny, has really gotten into the hang of handling drama just as well as Tacos and Chimichangas. That drama comes into play in this issue, which also ties into the A&X: Axis storyline. It shows us how Deadpool handles the switch in attitude by becoming the “Monk with the Mouth” instead the “Merc with the Mouth.” The craziest thing though is Deadpool is always in about 5 stories at once so it will be interesting to see how this comes into play and whether or not his Peaceful nature will pass over to the other books he has going now. I would pick this up if you are a fan of Deadpool, are reading Axis, or just want to be introduced a completely different Deadpool than you are used to. – Jacob

Avengers & X-Men Axis #6 – A-

This gets better and better every week. We have evil heroes and heroic villains all across Marvel. The art has been wonderful and the writing is spectacular, especially in showing the same character but the exact opposite and yet having it work perfectly. I look forward to seeing where this event takes us and how the characters will all change drastically after this. How will Carnage and other absolutely insane villains handle the fact they were heroes? Will Cyclops be ostracized for teaming with Apocalypse? We likely won’t find out for quite some time now, but in the mean time, pick this issue! – Jacob

Black Widow #12 – B- 

While I think the Black Widow series is good, it isn’t great. The question this month was #WhoIsBlackWidow. And yeah, it really is a hashtag. Asked by Anderson Cooper. Ok, now that I say that out loud, it sounds silly. However, Anderson Cooper has a point. We have no clue about her, 12 issues in. I just hope that the hashtag bit is gearing us up to find out more and not a way to get vapid internet junkies to tweet something ridiculous. – Adrian

Spider-Woman #1 – C+

I’ll admit I’m not a guru when it comes to the Spider-Verse, but I felt like I was missing something throughout this issue. I understand that the villains here have the munchies for all things Spider, but we aren’t given much backstory to these characters in this issue, and I think because of that, the stakes didn’t feel as high as I wanted them to be. However, the dynamics between all the heroes is really interesting, and because of that, I think this comic will get better as it develops. There’s some great writing here and it has a lot of potential to be a great addition to the Spider-Verse. As a start up to a new story arc, however, I was slightly disappointed. – Charlotte

Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #2 – C-

I went into this issue pretty biased as I loathed the first one in this series. This second issue is a bit better. While it offers some meaning to the Death of Wolverine event, it still lacks significance. Not to mention, I don’t care about these characters. On top of that I think Weapon X steals costume ideas from other superheroes (i.e. Deadpool is to Spider-Man as Sharp is to Star Lord) which is rather distracting. Despite the character design of Sharp, the books offer some great covers and art inside, which is a major point in me still purchasing the series. – Jacob

Loki: Agent of Asgard #8 – C-

I’ve been pretty disappointed with this comic from the get go. Loki is one of my favorite Marvel characters and I was really excited that he was getting his own comic, but it just hasn’t had much to offer lately. This latest issue in particular was just really lacking, and if you hadn’t read the comics referred to in the footnotes, you only had a vague sense of why Loki was suddenly a noble dick. It all came across as a very strange, out of character, the-writers-have-run-out-of-ideas add-in. I really don’t understand how Loki being turned good helps the plot at all and they’ve completely lost me as to where this comic is going in the future. I really hope it gets better because Loki is a great, complicated character who deserves a kick-ass story. – Charlotte

Magneto #12 – C-

There seems to be a trend of books this week having the need to feel “epic.” The grand scale which Magneto took on was largely disappointing; starting at what seemed a great face-off between Magneto and Red Skull turned into a ridiculous arc that undermined the whole point of having a Magneto book. I was almost flung from the Cullen Bunn bandwagon with the last few issues, and throwing together a sentimental conclusion issue with Magneto and Professor X just couldn’t save the train wreck that Axis has become. I’m glad that Magneto will get back to exploring the anti-hero’s messiah side, but I can’t help but feel like there is a little bit of trust lost here. If Bunn can stick to the subject material without getting dragged into massive events, this series can really carve out a place in the books. – Sherif

Storm #5 – D

First of all, the guy that Storm has to fight in honor of Yukio tells her to “meet in the desert at sunset.” Is that the mutant’s answer to a flagpole after-school? The corniness of this line made me spit out my coffee. But that turned out to be the best part of this issue. The rest of it involved a mutant fight in the desert at sunset. Can you believe that? And then they tried to act like Logan had something to do with it because we can’t forget he died. But trust me, the fights by my 3rd grad flagpole were way more compelling, and probably actually about Wolverine. – Adrian

Funniest Panel:

 

Spider-Woman #1
Spider-Woman #1

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Amazing Spider-Man #10
Amazing Spider-Man #10

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 11-12-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

 

Pick of the Week:

batman 36 potw 11.12.14

Batman #36- A

(A) There needs to be a limit on how much of The Joker Scott Snyder is allowed to write. I cannot remember a version of The Man Who Laughs that terrified me as much as Snyder’s version does (aside from Brian Azzarello’s Joker, yeesh). Endgame is already shaping up to be able to stand next to Court of OwlsZero Year and Death of the Family in terms of quality. The best way I can describe his writing is like a spider; he reels you in, thinking that you have it all figured out, until the story pulls the carpet from under you until you realize that you are trapped. Snyder’s horror background (The Wake, Wytches and American Vampire) makes him a perfect fit for the most terrifying villain in Batman’s history. This is all perfectly complemented by Greg Capullo’s pencil work. Having had the chance to interview Capullo, we know what a craftsman he is; his eery art style that worked so well on Spawn and Court of Owls fits perfectly with the Joker. The use of colors is dire to the issue’s success, as well, with FCO Plascencia really blending the brightly colored Superman scenes with the dreary Arkham moments. We cannot praise this book, this team enough. Right now is your chance to get in on history in the making, so go out and start reading Batman before the party is over. – Sherif

(A) The New52 Batman is absolute genius.  Yeah, it has been going for a few years now, but I feel the need to remind everyone, just in case they forgot.  Endgame Part 2 continued to showcase the exceptional writing of Scott Snyder and mesmerizing art by Greg Capullo.  The first panels of the issue start slowly with Batman talking about a specific sound he hears in his nightmares.  It forces you to read everything about the page and to experience what Batman himself is experiencing. This is a rarity in comic book writing, in my opinion, and should be lauded.  In this world without the rest of the Justice League, Gotham and beyond become scarier and scarier, but there was one panel in particular that terrified me to my core: a close up of The Joker’s deranged eyes.  No one but Capullo could have pulled it off.  If you are behind, or have yet to start in on this story arc, quit reading my review, and go pick it up at your local comic shop now! – Adrian

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios:

Deep State #1- C-

A government conspiracy between Russia and America when the moon landing really happened – the first thing that jumps out is the opening narration that is void of any comic cliche comic book writing: just describing the action in the panel, and then saying, “My name’s John Johnson, and I am Fly Guy.” It’s really nice and sets up the expectation that what you’re about to read is going to be creatively written, but then all the dialogue reads like this: “For instance, the question you want to know right now is how I could possibly expect you to believe a word I’m saying.” It’s the kind of writing that’s trying really hard to be intriguing, but points too vigorously to itself. The art is OK; it’s like someone simultaneously trying to do Hellboy and anime, which aren’t complimentary. Man, I want to love every comic I read so bad, and this one was right in my wheelhouse (government conspiracies, alien life, ancient astronaut, probably), but the dialogue was so clunky that it made 25 pages seem like infinity. Page 24 is definitely the most interesting to look at. – Cuyler

Dark Horse Comics:

Resurrectionists #1- B+

Resurrectionists was a fragmented story and there was a lot of content that was covered really quickly, but it’s done right. There are well formed characters to start, with some very interesting dynamics between them. The first part leaves you a little intrigued, but you have to hope that comes back around in a way that does it justice. Overall, though, I liked it a lot. It has a bit of everything: intelligence, action, intrigue, and what it does best is the interpersonal dynamics between the characters. I think some of my favorite books and comics always built that as their foundation, so it has me wanting more. I’ll definitely have to grab the next issue. – Zach

Prometheus: Fire and Stone #3 – C

This is my first review for the series though I’ve read every issue of it so far. The artwork is beautiful. Last issue had some truly beautiful panoramas of the planet. The biggest problem is the overstuffed staff. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of ten characters, and the story gives each one near-equal screen time, which means I have no idea who to root for. I assume the main character and captain simply because she’s a take-charge woman, and those are the only people to make it out alive in the Aliens/Prometheus universe, but it tries to be tense and mysterious, and hints at some fascinating ideas – monkeys, ants, and giraffe-ish looking animals that all developed as a result of the black goo from the movie, and an android that mutates as a result of exposure to the goo – but never gives anything real screen time. The best Aliens comics have always had some sort of philosophical answer to look for, and the worst were simple run-n-gun stories. I might be the only person on the planet who liked Prometheus, but this is a simple run-n-gun story with way too much trying to be accomplished at any given moment. – Cuyler

DC/Vertigo: 

The Kitchen #1 – B

(B) The Kitchen follows three women whose mobster husbands have been sent to prison.  So basically, it’s Mob Wives, but instead of you feeling bad about watching trashy reality all day instead of organizing your garage, you can now read the same storyline in a comic in 15 minutes!  And honestly, it was better than reality TV.  Set in the 70’s, the story feels a little like Charlie’s Angels, with the blonde, brunette and redhead.  But ya’know if they were in the Mob and didn’t give a single fuck.  The three women must make do with their lives sans husbands, and by the end of the first issue, they have already gotten themselves into a mess. But oddly, I find myself rooting for them.  – Adrian

(B-) I’m usually a big fan of crime books, but The Kitchen just doesn’t quite do it for me. I’m not saying it’s bad, just not really my cup of tea. The story of The Kitchen follows the lives of three mob wives learning how to live after their husbands are put away for five years. The three women handle it their mob lifestyle in different ways. Kathy, the toughest of the three does her best to pick up where he husband left off, even to the point of picking up protection money. The other two are a little more toned-down characters. The art isn’t bad but the lines around the faces of the women are a little too dark and age the characters I think more than they need to be. Perhaps that’s to better convey the hardened lifestyle they live.  The Kitchen is good enough to keep up on it for now, but I hope that it picks up a little more. – Scott

Earth 2: World’s End #6 – C

Well, things are all over the place again, and like before, it’s not bad, it’s just a lot of information to cram into a couple dozen pages. The cliffhanger from the last issue is disappointing and I was definitely hoping that it was going to go in a different direction, but, who knows; things will probably still head to that end, anyway. – Cody

The New 52 – Future’s End #28 – F

I… Don’t… Care…  Those three words perfectly sums up how I felt about this entire issue of Future’s End.  Here’s the thing – the plot is so confusing and mutilated that when an issue drops and it focuses solely on this butchered storyline, all it makes me want to do eat a hamster.  I know that doesn’t make any sense!!!  That’s the point!!!!  This issue COULD have been saved IF the faceoff between Terry McGinnis and Bruce Wayne would have been as epic as the cover art indicated, but noooo.  All I got was a grappling hook to the foot and a broken window.  Wasted time and effort on this one folks.  Be warned. – Taylor

Dynamite Entertainment:

Django/Zorro #1 – C

This comic was probably my most highly anticipated release for this week.  Django Unchained was my favorite movie of 2012.  As a kid, I used to pretend I was Don Diego himself – swinging rapier like sticks in the backyard, carving “Z”s into the tree trunks.  In fewer words: I was PUMPED!!  Well, with great expectations comes the risk feeling great disappointment.  Risk not adverted.  Before I go further let me disclaim, I did enjoy this issue and I’m looking forward to the follow up issues very much.  What irked me about this first issue was that it was far too much buildup.  I know who Django is and how deadly he is with a pistol, and I’m acutely familiar with Zorro’s unmatched fighting ability and cunning; you don’t have to spend 70% of the issue building up to what we already know!!  I guess the important thing is that these two badass vigilantes are finally together and are planning to stir it up big-time in Arizona.  Not quite the BANG-SLASH intro I was hoping for, but an intro nonetheless. – Taylor

Alice Cooper #3 – C

The story for this series is dark and brooding, as expected, and offers the brand and style Alice Cooper has grown to be known and loved for. That is where the parallels end between the music career and the comic of Alice Cooper. As great as it is to see him in the limelight again, I wish it were in another capacity as these comics definitely leave something to be desired.  The art is actually quite fantastic, but the story just seems rushed with not much focus and it is kind of just gliding by the seats of its pants. Not to say as a fan of Alice that I don’t enjoy it every month but only get this book if you are a big fan of Alice Cooper and his mythology; otherwise, this series offers nothing too incredible to entice you into caring. – Jacob

 

IDW Comics:

Star Trek #38 – B

Reeling after the surprise death of the last issue, we see the crew still separated, multiple threats appearing, alliances disappearing, Q being the scheming bastard he always is, and new allies and friendships forming. I have thoroughly enjoyed this crossover of every Star Trek property, but this issue it left me wanting a bit more as I felt they really grounded themselves with certain characters and wasted or not even used very good characters from the entire franchise. Instead, they choose to focus on characters that may seem minor to those that only really know TOS and TNG. I would still say that this series is a Star Trek fan’s dream no matter what series and Captain you follow; now, if only we could see Captain Janeway appear, this may have been a grade A issue. – Jacob

Black Dynamite #4 – C+

If you are looking for any sort of cohesive story, keep on keepin’ on; this is not the book for you. Black Dynamite books have been completely random, with no real direction. However, it is good for a laugh. In this issue, Dynamite takes on the shoe industry after a famous basketball player is murdered when attempting an alley-oop from half-court completed by Evel Knievel while jumping over three Ford Pintos – pretty standard stuff here. Either you love Black Dynamite, or you think he’s one of the most ridiculous things on paper. I will say that the writers have found a good medium to keep the book at without going overboard… just in time for this to be the final issue. If you like Black Dynamite, you might enjoy the animated series, which returned to adult swim on Saturday, 10/18. – Sherif

October Faction #2 – C-

(C) The first issue of October Faction started off strong (or maybe I told myself it did because of how much I adore Steve Niles) but sadly issue #2 did not take that momentum and run with it. In all honestly it fell a little flat. The most recent installment focused entirely on building the story, the only problem is that it was still a little too vague at times and not so compelling at others. Overall, it just moved a little slow. They introduced a few new beasts, a werewolf and what I can only assume is a killer robot, which I like because it at least hints that down the road we may get to witness some epic battles and meet some cool characters. The members of the hunting family were building to be interesting but I don’t feel like they are developed enough by this point that they are likable or not, they merely exist. I wish I could say more, I really do, because I am so rooting for this series to take off and be amazing, but for now it really is just kind of fell dead in its tracks. – Keriann

(D+) October Faction’s initial release had me intrigued. It’s first issue had style, timing, and all the hall markers of a good story building into something more. The second issue took all of that build up only to bring you right back down to earth, and not in that nice gentle way that generally comes to mind. Think sky diver without a parachute type of coming to earth. Like a bad second date, I finished reading October Faction’s second issue feeling as if I was staring at a beer in a restaurant, wondering why I even bothered. That’s a harsh review, I know, but this issue is almost all fluff. Filler and family drama that could have just as easily been squeezed from a bad sitcom or a teenage family lifetime movie. It has it’s twists and a new character that could lead to something very interesting down the line, but when it comes to this issue it’s too little too late. So let’s hope this is just a lull proceeding the storm because when it comes to issue #2, October Faction left me wanting in all the worst ways. – Zach

The Bigger Bang – D+

I went into this one intrigued by the idea of a second Big Bang. If you read the Origin Story on inside cover (which I didn’t at first), it explains the idea of a second Big Bang or Bigger Big Bang that destroyed the universe we live in and in the wreckage was left this new multiverse in which the comic takes place. This had so much potential. It’s too bad it was executed so poorly. The two biggest problems I have with this comic is the melodramatic tone and the dialogue. Honestly, it reads like the half-formed idea of a sad teenage boy. I’m TIRED of the atonement-seeking hero and while I understand that *SPOILER* the hero’s whole thing is survivor’s guilt, it doesn’t come across as such. The character has no reason to save the people he does. There’s nothing driving him forward, or at least nothing that is revealed to the reader. The dialogue tells us everything flat out. I know the cliche “show don’t tell” is getting old, but apparently the author of this comic has never heard of it. I didn’t need to be told flat out that Captain Wayne (who is arguably the only redeemable character in the comic) doesn’t understand why she’s being ordered to kill the hero. She doesn’t need to say that. I get it that she’s torn and if I didn’t, there would have been a better way to go about making that clear than saying “but he seems so kind!” The only reason I would recommend this to someone is if they were a studio artist, because the art is actually quite good, even though it seems a bit out of place set in space. – Charlotte

 

Image Comics:

The Walking Dead #134 – B+

(A-) There’s finally some conflict and traction in The Walking Dead. After about a half-dozen issues of catching back up with current times, we have quite a situation on our hands. Carl and Sophia are finally the tag team we always knew they would be, and we get a better glimpse of who the heck these guys attacking travelers are. I love the concept of these meat sack guys (that’s what I’m calling them for now), and I cannot wait to see more of their background story. The best part of this issue, hands down, has to be the multiple pages of Adlard’s work that show Jesus going off on the meat sacks. Even though a team of people have had encounters with the meat sacks, I think only a couple of them know what they actually are – and bringing one back to camp is a good way to find out. – Sherif

(B) This series continues to be the best it’s ever been. Whatever these things are, it’s messed up. This issue has a couple big moments but the one that stands out to me the most happens between Carl and Sophia. This issue did a lot in terms of setting up a new B story and finally getting some hope that were going to find out what these things are that are attacking everyone. Seems pretty obvious, but, you never really know with this series. – Cody

Wytches #2 – B

Wytches lost some momentum this week, but overall it still held pretty strong as one of the best horror books out right now. Issue #2 was a little convoluted and it definitely lacked the cold brutality that made the first issue pop so much, but it was still a solid read with a good flow. There was more of a focus this time around on the Rooks family members and how they are each dealing, but there was still a healthy helping of super creepy and what the hell is that moments – especially at the end after Sailor hijacks a school bus and runs out to the woods to escape confront her demons. There was good sprinkling of exciting things are to come, so even though this month’s Wytches may have been a little tame, it was still the best book I read all week and I’m certainly looking forward to the next issue. – Keriann

Drifter #1 – C+

(A-) Drifter is a sci-fi with a little bit of post-apocalyptic flavor. A so far nameless man crash lands on a planet that doesn’t quite have a working society. He wakes up in a Mad Max style outpost town after his crash, and after being shot by the way. So far the characters are nameless, there is the crash landed pilot, a medic, and the man who shot him. One thing I did notice that I didn’t really care for was that some of the conversations don’t seem to make sense. More than once I felt like there were questions being answered before they were asked. What Drifter really has going for it is the art. Nic Klein does an outstanding job. The colors are particularly outstanding. Drifter is definitely one to pick up this week. I’m sure it will worth the read every issue. – Scott

(D) To be honest, I’m not sure what to make of this book. It started off kind of choppy and had a very Pitch Black feel to it, but the lead character has less charisma overall than Riddick has in his pinky finger. To be fair, he actually has less charisma than that girl who dressed as boy to be cool that nobody liked. But I’m getting carried away in the wrong direction; it’s just that remembering watching Pitch Black is more interesting to me than this book was. The dialogue is way too fragmented; no one speaks in complete sentences and that’s annoying to read over and over. The characters just use have thought out metaphors and what I think is supposed to be gritty just sounds like bad writing with no real flow to it. So far the plot does not seem well thought out, or at least it comes of that way. Drifter seems to really miss its own point, at least so far. The characters were without depth and they all spoke like Steven Segal, or the villains from his movies. The plot is too choppy and tries to be mysterious without revealing anything to actually give it a hook so why should I care? Short answer: I don’t. Long answer: See above. – Keriann

American Legends #2 – C

American Legends returns with its second issue and this time around I think it might actually be growing on me. I’ve come to accept that this story is basically going to be The Dukes of Hazzard featuring a handful of historic characters and now it’s easier for me to sit back and enjoy the ride. The book isn’t great; the writing is full of camp and, frankly, it’s not that clever or funny, but it is at least kind of enjoyable if you can just take it for what it is. Issue #2 progresses the story a bit more; although, it is still unclear of exactly what point they might be building to. It also introduces a few new historical characters into the mix. Unfortunately, Sacagawea is kind of lackluster considering she should be awesome and there is so much they could have done with her along the lines of historical embellishment intermingled with fantasy. At least the explanation of how the feud between the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s started is kind of funny. Other than that gem, Sally Thunder’s insanely giant boobs that pop out of her shirt in basically every panel and a few nearly unbearable “Duke Boys” moments between Crockett and Fink, American Legends #2 really didn’t have a whole lot to offer. – Keriann

Copperhead #3 – C

(C) The mostly dull sci-fi-western, Copperhead, continued this week.  Being largely unimpressed and barely intrigued after the first two issues, I expected more of the same.  In that regard – I was not let down.  The story is progressing much too slowly to really keep me interested; this is one of the poorer uses of the comic book medium I’ve seen lately.  A few dozen pages isn’t much to work with; it’s important to hit readers hard and fast to keep us interested!  By this point I’m expecting twists, gadgets or anything new and different.  The thing saving this review from a “D” grade is the twist (if you can call it that) revolving around Ishmael, the artificial-human dessert nomad, and his involvement with the mass murder of an alien-hillbilly family.  While floating among pages of lackluster content, I was immediately sucked in at the last two pages of the issue.  I hope issue #4 keeps me drawn in – I don’t know if I can take much more of this boring space adventure (if you can call it that either). – Taylor

(C) This series continues to be good, if not a little one dimensional. Things are panning out just as you’d expect in any cop drama and it’s unfortunate. I’d really like to see some cosmic cowboy justice but it just isn’t happening yet. The one thing that keeps me coming back is the art and how unique everything seems. – Cody

Marvel:

Spider-Verse #1 – A

Spider-Man is quickly becoming my favorite superhero.  Mostly because there are an infinite number of him (and her, and ham).  Even though Spider-Verse #1 did nothing to advance the plot-at-large that is the “Spider-Verse Event,” it did a great job of showcasing the many different ways one can enjoy Spidey.  Comprised of three mini-stories and two even more-mini stories (all with different writers and authors) I found myself really enjoying the wide birth of Spider-Man experiences brought to life on the panel.  My particular favorite was Steampunk Lady Spider!  I don’t even understand Steampunk, but I really dig Lady Reilly and her gizmo-geared-spider-contraption suit!!  At its core, this issue is just flat out fun.  It’s refreshing to be able to take a step back from the epic epic about to take place and just enjoy a comic for the sake of it.  The comic book community is having a lot of fun with this Spider-Verse event.  You should definitely join in if you haven’t already. – Taylor

Avengers & X-Men: Axis #5 – A-

This week’s issue pretty much opened up the entire plot for what seems to be the rest of the series. Without spoiling too much, we see many people changing sides, unlikely team-ups, and Apocalypse is here – which is never a sign that thing will go well. So things are not looking so good here after the events of Red Onslaught as he is now free and hiding out somewhere for the time being while all the heroes kind of duke it between one another hoping something will be resolved. The art has been very consistent and enjoyable for this whole series and offers up some great iconic images along the way and the story is definitely the best of the major Marvel events so far this year. – Jacob

Superior Iron Man #1 – B+

I have to admit, I have not been an avid Iron Man reader, ever. In fact, aside from Extremis, this is the first Iron Man-titled book I have ever read. I quite enjoyed this. The Tony Stark we get here is very much a product of his bout with alcoholism, as well as his fatally narcissistic personality from the movies. This time, Stark has created the Extremis 3.0 app, which lets people experience perfection. However, the app was released as a free trial – and the cost to re-up is $100 a day. Superior will try to shed light on people’s addiction to physical flawlessness and technological enhancement – something I don’t doubt will be reflected back onto Stark himself, who insists on playing God to other humans. There is a ton of sarcastic humor in this, which is what makes Iron Man such an enjoyable character. There’s trouble to be had in San Francisco, and I certainly aim to be around when it happens. – Sherif

All-New Captain America #1 – B

Sam Wilson has finally put on the suit, and he looks damn good in it. While the former Falcon attempts a routine mission to save a kid hostage, he’s met by Batroc the Leaper. While the issue itself doesn’t really break any boundaries or set any new standards, it is really fun to read, and the cute comments about Sam getting acclimated to the shield give the issue a whimsical tone. I also loved Batroc’s attacks on American culture and addressing the adversity that Wilson will have to overcome to be respected by Cap’s enemies. It would have been nice to get a little more development out of the issue, but it was a strong start. – Sherif

Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #7 – B-

What the whaaa…!?!?!? I’m not sure what just happened… But I think it was awesome! I feel a little guilty about it, but I like this issue in spite of itself. There’s plenty of action, zero story, and a little bit of extra something(s) thrown in at the end for good measure. The art is as crisp as I’ve come to expect from this series, yet the action (not to mention the current storyline) is still a bit confusing to follow at times. Maybe this ties into Spider-Verse. Maybe we’re getting the Ultimate version of another mainstream character. Maybe this is all a dream… I don’t know, and I don’t think you will either. I’m thoroughly confused, but I’m still unabashedly along for the ride. – Jumoke

Thor #2 – C

(C+) This issue really didn’t do a whole lot for me and was kind of just filler it seems. I know they are not going to reveal everything right off the bat, but when you are dealing with a very short weekly story to try and entice fans I kind of hope that there is a little character progression past, the thoughts of ”I have the power of Thor now! Cool! I’ll just beat up this guy and this guy and oh, no I am not really Thor. I’m just a woman with his hammer who doesn’t know how to use it yet.” For someone who seems to have spent a lot of time around Thor and his friends and knows an awful lot about them, she should probably know a little more about Mjolnir than she seemed to have. Either way, it is just the intro to the whole grand scheme and intro are always difficult even for the best stories. Despite the little things that bugged me personally, the story and art are both wonderful and offer us something we never thought would happen. So I am sure this will improve in time and it is good to see more badass women in comics, albeit the Thor armor sure got a lot more revealing when a woman picked up the hammer… – Jacob

(C) While this issue of Thor was better than it’s 1st issue, it still feels off.  We were finally able to see the female Thor in action, but the writers are making it very clear that she isn’t actually Thor.  Then why title the book as such?  Just to create controversy? I don’t think that is necessarily the best idea.  This issue put female-Thor (they have yet to give her a name) on Earth to battle Ice Giants who have frozen the Avengers.  While the idea is neat, it seems premature.  We have yet to even know the lady’s name and she is forced to save the biggest names in Marvel.  While some of the dialogue was clever, it was extremely exposition heavy.  I think if Thor has been a favorite of yours, this book is up your alley, but if not, it may have already failed. – Adrian

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #2 – B-

(B) Kate Bishop! Kate Bishop! Kate Bishop! This month’s Hawkeye vs Deadpool was a really enjoyable read. What I love about this comic is how relatable, funny, and well executed the characters are. Both Clint and Kate are awkward as all hell and it makes the comic all the greater. All the characters read not as high-class, 100% serious, “Get-out-of-my-way-I’ve-got-shit-to-do” heroes, but as real people who just happened to save the world frequently. While the comic has its serious parts and there’s a definite urgency to get the precious files on S.H.I.E.L.D. agents into the rightful hands, it is also largely funny. I was constantly laughing at the bickering interactions between Clint and Deadpool and the hilarious one-liners and general quirkiness of Kate. I also love how similar Clint and Kate are and the friendship between them is really enjoyable to read. One thing that I really appreciate in this story arc as a whole, is that they address the fact that Clint is deaf. They joke around with it (without being offensive) in scenes where Clint can’t read Deadpool’s lips because of his mask, which Deadpool comedically takes advantage of when he’s asking Clint for permission to do something but really doesn’t want an answer. This comic is definitely a must read for both Hawkeye and Deadpool fans alike – and if you’re a Kate Bishop fan, you’ll be happy with how present she is in this issue. I’m super-excited for what is to come in this story arc. – Charlotte

(C) From what started off as great chemistry between Hawkeye and Deadpool has turned into a slop of an adventure with no real direction or desire to find an endpoint in two more installments. There are still a lot of cute lines and subtle jokes made throughout the book, but it lacks any of the pop that sold me on the last couple issues. The inclusion of Kate Bishop is pretty helpful, as the banter between her an Deadpool is flat-out adorable, but the issue begins to drag on when all they do is talk about how Kate is better than Hawk guy. Even the twist at the end loses its impact when there is such a lack of cohesion throughout the rest of the book. – Sherif

Captain Marvel #9 – D

The only shred of anything that saved this week’s issue was the vague cliffhanger.  Otherwise, I am so disappointed in how this series is shaping out.  This week, Lila Cheney, mutant rockstar who can teleport, lands on Captain Marvel’s ship and takes Captain Marvel and Tic to a planet that only speaks in rhyme. Yeah, the whole book rhymes.  The point of going to the planet is to stop Lila’s marriage to a boy she made a pact with as a kid. It seems really early to introduce a character like Lila, how has added little to no value to the Marvel Universe in the 30 years she’s been around. It could have waited until issue, I don’t know, never.  It’s almost as if someone at Marvel was like, “Hey it’s cool that you wanted to write a story about Captain Marvel and have her be a bad ass woman and all, but this month, you must insert Lila Cheney, the story line must be inconsequential, and it must all rhyme!”  Bleh. – Adrian

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #4 – D

I keep getting my hopes up that the next character covered in this series will have a better story to offer than the last, but yet again that is not the case here. Although, I am trying to read the entire Death of Wolverine series and spin offs, I am finding out that very few of the issues of this event whether the main story line or one of the one-shots offer anything substantial. This particular issue left me rather confused and made me question not only why I read it, but also why it was written in the first place. It does offer a good look into Lady Deathstrike, but by the end I was not sure of her intentions or her true feeling for Wolverine. I would say unless you are already invested in the series, or just a huge Wolverine fan, then this entire series will be a been a let down for what should have been quite a great look into how Wolverine’s closest connections handle his death. – Jacob

Funniest Panel:

Black Dynamite #4
Black Dynamite #4

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

spider lady steampunk

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.