Comic Book Reviews 11-04-15

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:

howard the duck 1 RTJ

Howard the Duck #1 – A
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Joe Quinones

Like always, Howard the Duck ends up being my favorite comic of the week and so much of this is due to my past love of the character, but much of my love for this new and the pre-Secret Wars series are due to Chip Zdarsky’s fantastic writing! It is such a great mix of classic and modern Howard that it melds together better than peanut butter and jelly. This story seems to take place not that far after the events before Secret Wars, but Howard is still depressed and feeling out of place. Despite having his new Skrull friend Tara Tam and Aunt May starting work at his office, Howard still wants to get home to Duckworld, despite hating it there. So Howard and Tara take a trip to ease his stress, only to find out that is was a ruse from Howard to try and find a portal into the nexus of all realties, with help from his old friend Man-Thing. But Man-Thing is busy with the Howling Commandos of Shield, so Howard is left with a couple villains trying to use the portal and ends up in yet another stressful interaction for our duck detective. Also, Gwenpool WTF?!?! – Jacob

Second Opinion (A)Anyone else feel a little uncomfortable with how hot septuagenarian Aunt May is? It’s making me question myself. Seriously though, I really love this duck. – Montgomery

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios:

Klaus #1 – A
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora

It’s really hard to not give a Morrison comic an A+ on merit alone. But this book exemplifies why I hate the most commercial aspects of Christmas: the tradition handed down to us from, literally, Woolworth’s is garbage. All the stories are insipid, and the lesson of all of them is that desire is the kindling of magic. This Klaus, however, is awesome in a way our chubby fat guy in a red suit never is. Klaus is a wanderer outside of some place very Germanic and very frozen. He wanders into the wrong town (which used to be the right town) and is kicked out and nearly hunted. The town is run by a despotic and despondent family who, because of desire, have lost all sense of life. There isn’t much exploration of Klaus as a character in this first issue, but an image painted of what kind of world needs a Santa in the first place. This Santa’s pretty metal, and a little psychedelic. – Montgomery

Second Opinion (B)I’ll tread carefully for fear of coal in my stocking, but the book needs to do a better job of merging silly tone with extra-violent theme to really get on my Nice list. The art, though, is freaking incredible. – Sherif

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Justice League Darkseid Wars – Flash #1 – D
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Jesus Merino

Man, DC Comics is feeling like a lame college party trying to compete with a new fraternity rush. They are completely being outdone by Marvel in every way. Even the Darkseid Wars, which is one of DC’s strongest arcs right now, is being watered down by the multiple spin-off titles. Batman’s spotlight last week wasn’t bad, but this one was just awful. Barry’s obsession with saving everyone has forced him into a stand-off with Death. Sloppy art and a few “profound” moments later, and you’ve successfully wasted $4. – Sherif


Justice League Darkseid Wars – Superman #1 – F-
Writer: Francis Manapul
Artist: Bong Dazo

I wish I could truly tell the world how much I hate this issue. We get it – dickhead Superman is not relatable. He’s also a douchebag who yells at the waiter for not getting his apple pie in 3 panels. It’s basically a superlative for every stereotype we’ve ever thrown at DC for the Man of Steel. Super seriously, it’s something not even Mad magazine would wipe their ass with. You should be fucking ashamed of yourself, DC. – Sherif

Dynamite Entertainment:

James Bond #1 – B-
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Jason Masters

This was a pretty quick read because there were no words for the first seven pages. Which is a little odd. However, I just finished watching Spectre, and this was a decent read in comparison. I like a story where drugs are considered bad, and this let’s us know from the get-go that we dealing with some bad people. It’s hard to tell how well this story will unfold, but for now, it was a decent first issue. – Adrian

Second Opinion (C+): I liked this iteration of James Bond. I especially like the parts with no words and lots of killing. – Sherif

IDW Publishing:

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #46 – B+
Writer: James Roberts
Artist: Alex Milne

When I saw Grimlock on the cover, I peed a little. TF:MTMTE has excelled at playing its cards close to its chest, and playing a long game. I think it’s been at least two years since we last saw Grim. Fort Max is sailing the universe rounding up former Decepticon fugitives guilty of selling Cybertronian technology. He runs across The Scavengers, a team of well meaning and mostly harmless Decepticons, who have been unknowingly been involved in a sort of robot trafficking scam. They’ve also been taking care of Grimlock who, the last time we saw him, was wondering aimlessly with seemingly no thoughts in his head. The story isn’t particularly ground breaking, and his return isn’t quite a world breaking fireworks show (nor is it a full return yet, from what we can see), but the whole comic was a sweet character study of some pretty minor characters. – Montgomery

Image Comics:

Monstress #1 – A
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Sana Takeda

Damn. One amazing start to a new story. This creative team is a force not to be reckoned with. To be honest this was the first time I’ve heard of Liu, but after looking her up she has quite the resume on her.  She’s worked on Astonishing X-Men and Black Widow. At the end of the comic Liu says she got the inspiration for this comic from this stories her grandparents told about horrors they experienced during World War II. She wanted to write a story about survival, racial hatred, and the concept of fighting something monstrous. I really loved the fact that this was 75 pages instead of the usual 15-25. I don’t think I could have handled this same story taking three week to get to.  Maika the main character of the story and are is too good for that. Yes, let me wax poetic about the art. It is come of the most beautiful and intricate stuff I have seen in a long time. I found myself getting lost/wondering in the panels longer than I do with most comic books. It really begs you to sit with it longer. The narrative also treats you like you’re part of the world and doesn’t give you any heavy exposition. You’re exploring the world as the characters move though the plot. Creep factor that still makes me squirm: the witches of this series literally cut the Arcaics into chucks and eat them in order to absorb their power. So very gross, but also interesting in terms of creating a certain type of magical system. I highly recommended that people read this story. I don’t think many will be disappointed in what is all trying to be accomplished here. – Jené


Elephantmen #67 – A-
Writer: 
Richard Starkings
Artist: Axel Medellin

For Walking Dead fans, I compare this issue a lot to this last week’s episode with Morgan and his Yoda-esque idol Eastman; I am left wondering much like with Glenn, and similarly, I am wondering what happened to Ebony in Elephantmen. This issue, although just as action-packed, gives us little hope for Ebony and even makes us even more terrified of his outcome in seeing one of those damn alligators dragging him and biting his leg before going back to the action with the main crew for this story. Despite the action continuing and all the Elephantmen and their friends being in terrible danger at the start of this issue, we get to see a great flashback with Trench and how he actually saved Agathe years back, which must be pretty damning realizing how many Elephantmen he killed after that day. We leave this issue with just as much anticipation as the last ,wanting to know more now and making sure our heroes are fine… At least in the month until we find out what happens next we will likely find out about Glenn on The Walking Dead. – Jacob


Axcend #2 – B
Writer: Shane Davis
Artist: Michelle Delecki
Colorist: Morry Hollowell

In the last issue the in game betas started to show up in real life, which also includes the special in game powers. At the start of this issue we are introduced to the real life persona of Rayne. In this case she is a famous pop-singer gamer also called Rain. Rain is that pop star that tabloids love. She’s big on sex, drugs, and drinking. She’s also a world class gamer. She pulls Dog out of the game and they track down Morn and now they are teaming up to stop Ruin before he gets his beta. Ruin is sort of an unstoppable killing machine so it would be in everyone’s best interest if he was stopped. Maybe next issue. – Scott


Paper Girls #2 – B
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Cliff Chiang

I like how little dialogue there is in this book. The art and colors are still really mesmerizing to me, which helps me read it quickly. I have more questions than answers this time. Is it demons? Time-travelers? Aliens? The Japanese? I don’t know, but I look forward to finding out. Also, I hope the cool girl isn’t really dead. – Adrian

Second Opinion (C): Just because no Remender book can be normal reading, Paper Girls gets way to convoluted way too quickly. Hopefully Remender can help guide readers to the actual story sooner than later. – Sherif


Nailbiter #17 – C
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Mike Henderson

That was disappointing. I still love this series, but what a bunch of filler. There was nothing that was memorable. The most important players in this issue have had little to no time in the series before, so any revelations that were to be had seemed minuscule to the audience. Better luck next time, I suppose. – Adrian

Second Opinion (B-)Don’t get me wrong, I still very much enjoy Nailbiter but at this point it feels like they are building up so much intrigue, and so much mystery that there is no way the actual climax will live up to its own hype. I’m really into the new story lines outside of Buckaroo at this point, but I can’t shake the feeling that even after all these issues we all haven’t accomplished much. – Keriann


We Stand on Guard #5 – C
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Steve Skroce

Call me bitter, but I got really bummed when I found out this would be a six-part mini-series instead of an on-going tale. All the momentum and excitement I felt I’d have for years is now going to be boiled down into one final issue, and for that to be the case, I was largely underwhelmed. Turns out that Amber’s brother is still alive, in some weird prison with Chief McFadden. There are some interesting moving parts in the story, but it doesn’t feel much like a climax is building. Vaughan is now killing characters at will now to help wrap things up. I’m just really disappointed – for a minute there, I almost really liked Canadians. – Sherif

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Invincible Iron Man #3 – A
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

I love everything about this book. I’m ready to let go of all inhibitions and just be an Iron Man fan. Bendis has made this book hilarious but action-packed, the tech upgrades are subtle yet impressive, and the art, holy cow, the art is spectacular. This is by far my favorite book of the All-New All-Different launch, and mostly because it keeps me dying of laughter while actually having a story to tell. Some books fail by being so funny they don’t think there needs to be a story, or taking themselves so seriously that they have been pigeon-holed into not being relatable. This is a complete 180 from the a-hole Tony Stark in Superior Iron Man, and I am loving it. – Sherif

Second Opinion (B+)The art is still off the wall. The “rude” retorts are hilarious. And it is good to note to say “Hail Hydra” to anyone if you want to date them, just to make sure. You never know. – Adrian


Star Wars #11 – A
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

The was full of actiony goodness. There was excellent pacing between the three story lines happening at once. It didn’t feel clunky going from storyline to storyline. Watching Chewbacca fight Dengar was pretty sweet. I like these look-ins on these lesser known characters. Luke is busy fighting a giant beast that regularly eats lava monsters, so that’s no good. We finally got the story on the whole Mrs. Solo thing, to so surprise it was a way to con someone. My favorite bit came at the end though when we got Han being Han. – Scott


Doctor Strange #2 – B+
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Chris Bachalo

There seems to be a pattern with these new Marvel books of using a two issue arc to tease at a larger narrative. It’s not bad, but it makes the introduction to these “new” (new like the 60s) worlds seem a little shallow. The librarian with the maggot cursed brain continues receiving help from Strange (spoiler: she gets better). Strange’s magic goes wonky. In a serious missed opportunity, she wanders into a room in Strange’s house that leads to a wasteland paved in bones roamed by the walking dead. I want to go into THAT world! I think the problem with this story and the Vision story is half the world is populated by characters we don’t really have much reason to care about (the librarian isn’t a very gripping character, especially given who Strange drinks with) and making them the focus. Whatever. I’m old and nearly dead. These are comics for Dora-the-Explorer hologram children. I can read it or lie in the street and wait for nature to reclaim my corpse. Note: not actually nearly dead. – Montgomery.


Extraordinary X-Men #1 – B+
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Colorist: Edgar Delgado

What Jeff Lemire does best is taking something that’s been convoluted and over-complicated, and making it feel organic; he did it with Green Arrow, and Justice League Dark, and here again with Extraordinary X-Men. There are some gaps in time that beg some explaining to new readers, but it’s a wonderful transition from the last All-New X-Men canon. Not only is Old Man Logan joining the fold, but Illyana (one of my favorite X-Men who never gets any shine) and Piotr are back. The mutant “situation” is worse than ever, with mutants being hunted down like animals, and the Terrigen Mists eliminating the possibility of new mutants sprouting up. It’s X-Men at its roots, something that I am completely behind. – Sherif


Deadpool #1 – B+
Writer: 
Gerry Duggan
Artist: Mike Hawthorne, Terry Pallot, Val Staples

This issue starts off in a grand Deadpool fashion with craziness abound. Just like most post-Secret Wars titles, there isn’t much explanation offered as to how things got to where they are. Despite being all over the place, and having TONS of Deadpools, it was very well done, and even ties into the Uncanny Avengers title a little bit, which will help explain how Deadpool is an Avenger now and why and how he is helping fund the Avengers. Gerry Duggan comes back as writer in a grand Deadpool fashion: plenty of laughs, confusion, and bloody action. It also has plenty of nods to Deadpool’s pre-Secret Wars life with glimpses of Shikla, Adsit, and Preston, but not enough to know how they are or why Adsit has a huge beard. Mike Hawthorne’s pencils and Terry Pallot’s inks are fantastic for this issue and give me lot of hope for Deadpool art in the coming future, and Val Staples colors complete the trifecta of art into near Perfect Deadpool fashion. – Jacob


Drax #1 – B-
Writer: 
CM Punk, Cullen Bunn
Artist: Scott Hepburn, Matt Milla

Drax finally has his own modern series where we see his adventures outside the Guardians, but it proves to be a little lackluster when compared to Rocket and Groot’s solo adventures. I am sure in time this story will flourish and my negativity may just come from the fact I enjoyed/ am enjoying Rocket and Groot’s solo adventures (even if the other is in each others stories). This story worried me from the start though because the modern take on Drax has a very dry sense of humor to it while also having the potential to be extremely violent, very much on the same side as Deadpool, but at least Deadpool knows he is and tries to be funny where Drax is funny by just being dead serious. I do have to say CM Punk (with Cullen Bunn) had a great story here for his debut with his full series for Marvel and can only see him improving which gives me a lot of hope for the future of the series. Scott Hepburn and Matt Milla’s art is a spectacular mix of near surrealism and realism mixed into comic book fashion. Definitely a style I am totally down with. – Jacob


Nova #1 – C+
Writer: Sean Ryan
Arist: Cory Smith

Ugh. I hate kid heroes. “How’m I going to balance school work and killing giant lizards? What if Lizzie won’t go to the prom with me? Oh no! All my acne ruptured inside this helmet!” Dumb. What’s with all these “stay in school kids!” messages in all the Marvel books I’ve read this week? This book wasn’t terrible, but I feel like it’s a waste of time to pick up a book about one of Marvel’s cosmic heroes and have half the book be about seeing a movie with your buds and passing an English test. I mean, seriously, I’ve got another five paragraphs in me about this topic. It’s the same reason I hated Sesame Street as a kid: if I wanted to see regular sauce humans stumbling around being horrible and stupid, I’d just pay attention to the noxious swarm buzzing around me 24/7. When I pick up a book called NOVA about space cops, I expect to see some space action, not literally rescuing cats from burning houses. Spider-Man can handle that. I mean, also regular people can handle that. Like I said, the comic isn’t horrible, but if I don’t get equal parts space adventure in my space comic, I couldn’t care less about a hero’s personal life. – Montgomery


Vision #1 – C
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Vision is one of those characters whom I really love and identify with, but for whom finding a good story seems impossible. Since the new Marvel turned things around with Doc Strange, I had hopes for Vision. But I was kind of let down. The premise is that the Vision has made a family for himself and wants to live as normal a life as the thinking feeling son of Ultron can (so, that’s the origin we’re sticking with?). He has a wife, a son, and a daughter. The book has a cool premise, but it spends so much time trying to be literary in that way that screams “THIS IS WHAT SITCOMS THINKS WRITERS DO” that nothing really seems to happen. I mean, it wasn’t terrible, but, look: Because, yeah: nothing screams well adjusted like high schoolers. Maybe the point is that Vision isn’t as intelligent as he thinks he is, but things like this smack more of lazy writing, or perhaps some kind “let’s get the kids reading the comic books” PR initiative, than something the Vision might actually do. I feel 100% convinced that someone as smart as him would watch TV for 15 minutes and, correctly, conclude, “Oh, for sure, school is the last place I want to to send a person I have any hope of being balanced. And then they all get murdered. But probably not. – Montgomery

 


Funniest Panels:

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Panels with the Most Awesomeness:

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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 all the publishers for putting out great books.

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Comic Book Reviews 10-28-15

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:

rumble 8 POTWRumble #8 – A
Writers: John Arcudi, James Harren
Artist: Dave Stewart

Things have calmed down since the first appearance of Rathraq but on Halloween Night he’s back, sword swinging. Bobby seems like he might have a normal life, but we all knew that wouldn’t last. In this issue he’s Good Guy Bobby helping two kids find their mom. I really like how Del has become his own character, always brave although maybe not the smartest guy. Of course Bobby isn’t going to go back to a normal life and it’s Halloween so why wouldn’t a new adventure start that night? This issue was a lot like the very first one. By that I mean it seems like a normal day and Rathraq’s appearance is very sudden. If you haven’t read the story previously you could actually jump in now without too much of a problem. This is a great book for Halloween. – Scott

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios:

Adventure Time 2015 Spooktacular – A
Writer & Artist: Hanna K.

The stories about Marceline and Simon way back in time just following the Mushroom War are some of the most somber and gratifying. I think it was actually a Simon/Marceline flashback in the cartoon that keyed me into Adventure Time’s zany dynamic. In the Spooktacular, Marceline’s mostly grown up wandering the wasteland with her dog after Simon has gone full Ice King and abandoned them. This story doesn’t do much to clear up any of the mythology’s (large) dark and unknown spaces – we still don’t understand how Marceline got the way she is or where she is – but it’s a pretty somber and intimate look at the world post-Mushroom War. Marceline treks the waste and finds a settlement of humans living in fear of vampires. She goes hunting and vows to outlive all of them. So Marcy’s for sure not a vampire. I love the art in these Adventure Time comics. It bends my brain a little bit that a cartoon based on such a simple art style could be the progenitor of such lush and complex themes and representations. – Montgomery

Dark Horse Comics:

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953-The Phantom Hand & the Kelpie #1 A
Writer: Mike Mignola
Artist: Ben Stenbeck

Much like the Adventure Time Spooktacular, B.P.R.D. and Hellboy side stories are almost always gratifying; they might not progress the mythology or central story, but they give the world real weight. Of the two stories here, “The Phantom Hand” is definitely the superior. In 1953, Hellboy and his adopted father, Trevor Brutenholm, along with a local occultist travel to London to investigate reports of a murderous ghostly hand. They find the hand and discover it’s the hand of a child murderer who claims the devil made him do it. Turns out he wasn’t lying; his hand was possessed by a large and powerful demon. Hellboy engages in fisticuffs and manages to beat him back with a surprising object. The real hook of the story, however, is when Trevor remarks on Hellboy’s power and potential, and how he seems to have natural ability, where others fail, to eliminate these threats and literally change the atmosphere. It’s actually quite moving. – Montgomery

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Justice League 3001 #5 – B+
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis, Keith Giffen
Artist: Howard Porter

I still love this book. This particular issue felt more like a holding pattern than it did progress, but it was a marked improvement over the last issue. One of the Starro horde now lives with Green Lantern in order to learn about and perhaps to come to accept the League. Green Lantern is having weird lapses in memory that just may be her hose DNA trying to crawl back to the surface of memory. Meanwhile, Batman and Supergirl (god Supergirl is so badass in this book) are hunting an impostor Batman on the prison world, and Lois Lane’s robot slips to Superman about her plan. I guess a lot of story did get progressed. It’s just that this issue is busy setting so much stuff up that it felt like no one thing in particular happened to make this issue memorable. But that impostor Batman? Stylish. – Montgomery


Prez #5 – B
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Ben Caldwell

What would happen if America apologized for all of our crimes? Well, it turns out, that is a tough question to answer. Either way, it made for a pretty interesting story line. But what was best about this month’s Prez was that War Beast escaped Guantanamo Bay, and then headed to a church group. It was so hilarious I spit out my coffee. Make sure to scroll for our funniest panels to catch the zinger of all from this issue. – Adrian


Justice League Darkseid Wars: Batman #1 – B-
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Fernando Pasarin

First of all, let me just say that Batman looks utterly ridiculous rolling around Gotham in a giant Tron chair. The gist of this issue is that Batman is now going through Gotham with his all-knowing super chair and stopping all the crime before it happens – and he’s being kind of a dick about it. It’s all very reminiscent of Superman/Batman #53 where the two switch powers. It’s kinda corny, especially when “it gets personal.” However, the issue ends on an exciting note when Chair Batman is looking to take on The Joker again. I’m curious what kind of continuity is taking effect in Justice League since it clearly isn’t in line with Batman. – Sherif


We Are Robin #5 – B-
Writer: Lee Bermejo
Artist: Jorge Corona
This book is still really interesting to me, but this issue was a little blasé. We did find out more about Izzy and her background. The crew was then sent to find out more about the nest. There are so many unanswered questions still. I do think this was a bit of a filler issue, but I’m okay with that. There is enough mystery here to keep me going. This is one of the best DC book out right now! – Adrian

Batgirl #45 – C
Writers: Cameron Stewart, Brendan Fletcher
Artist: Babs Tarr
Colorist: Serge Lapointe

The wedding is finally upon us, and as always, Barbara finds herself pulled away at the last moment. Dick Grayson makes an impromptu appearance for… seemingly no reason at all other than to bug her. Everybody loved Grayson before the elaborate death faking incident, but now he just seems to be hanging around town like the cool guy from high school who can’t move on. For Babs, though, there is a huge growth moment for her where she pretty much tells Dick that she’s moved on and that he shouldn’t hold her back anymore. It’s quaint, but there isn’t much else to lean on as far as the book goes. – Sherif


Art Opts #1 – C
Writer: Shaun Simon
Artist: Mike Allred
 

So… art is alive. There’s a secret organization that helps paintings/art wondering around the streets. There’s a man with an artsy squiggly hand and shadows that are alive that can rip off arms. A masked vigilante whose mere presences makes people sick and helps works of art in the whiteness protection system and some sort of evil trying to destroy art. Yup, that’s pretty much everything going on in this comic. I think it poses an interesting exploration into the whole concept of life imitating art/art imitating life sort of kit and caboodle. It’s a very strange and disjointed narrative that’s aim is more philosophy than story, but interesting none-the-less. I’m not sure if it’s something that I’ll be able to keep up with but it has my attention for now. – Jené

Second Opinion (D): While the art was crisp (and it better have been, it’s a book about art), the dialogue was often cheesy. It was almost as if the characters weren’t really supposed to have dialogue, but should have been thinking something to themselves. Instead, it came off as trite. And none of the characters were likable, so that didn’t help either. – Adrian

IDW Publishing:

Transformers Redemption #1 – A
Writer: John Barber
Artist: Livio Ramondelli

I think the this month’s theme for me might be “side stories.” I feel like almost every book I’ve reviewed thus far has been a side story. In Redemption, the four remaining Dinobots struggle for purpose in the wake of armistice and their missing leader, Grimlock (I think we saw him once maybe 30 issues ago, suffering from amnesia and discovered by the hardcore Decepticon group? But not since?), and struggling to keep Slug’s restlessness and rage from pulling them down. Sludge is the triceratops in case you didn’t know (which you almost certainly didn’t). Believing their purpose is to do the dirty stuff for the good guys, they take a shadowy mission from a couple Camiens and one of Starscream’s secret police. It’s a pretty cool story with some interesting twists and very cool noir like narration that doesn’t feel canned like a lot of superhero narration. By the end of the book, the Dinobots end up adding a member to their group (but not who you think). Much like the Hellboy side stories, I love when the writers of the TF books slow things down to really focus on a neglected group or group and imbue them with character. But I can’t help but wonder when Grimlock’s coming back. – Montgomery


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #51 – C
Writers: Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow, Kevin Eastman
Artist: Ken Garing

The all-new saga of TMNT begins after a magnanimous ending to issue #50 left Splinter “honor-bound” to The Foot. After one issue, I am not impressed. The new art from Ken Garing is actually more on par with the original gritty Eastman work, but it doesn’t look as polished and appropriate as Santolouco’s pencils did. Plus, Raphael is just about as into this Foot thing as I am, and Mikey on his own is a sad sight. The reign of The Foot may be over before it begins, and there are several new players about to create waves. It’ll be interesting to see what happens from here, but this issue gets a big “meh” from me. – Sherif

Second Opinion (A-)This issue may just not be up to par for me because of the insanity that was issue #50 but it still was my favorite of the week. I can not wait to see where Michelangelo’s story arc here begins to go!

Image Comics:

ODY-C #8 – A
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Christian Ward

I can’t believe this is only issue 8. I feel like I’ve been reading this series since I was in high school, or something. And, finally, on the 8th issue, I’ve discovered the secret to reading the comic, and it’s the same advice one of my favorite professors gave me: read it out loud. I read it out loud, and for the first time in months, I feel like I have a grip on the story. Now that we’re in the Arabian Nights arc (of which I know nothing, so I’m picking up almost none of the references), this one follows two brothers confined to a kingdom of their making. Their lovers leave and get involved with each other, so the brothers murder everyone. It was nice to feel like I had any sense of what was going on. And Christian Ward continues to deliver the best visuals in current comics. I don’t want to spoil what’s happening in this picture, but that’s an entire country built out of the bones of a single person. So, y’know… hobbies? I guess? – Montgomery


Black Magick #1—B
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Nicola Scott
Colorist: Chiara Arena
 

As first issues are concerned, I’m extremely excited about this series. It’s the first time in forever that a witch has been painted in a light that’s not some evil spawn of the devil. Anything that connects to the Salam Witch Trails has my attention. I guess having an ancestor hang for witchcraft will do that to a woman. So far the story is mystical yet realistic and pulls you in right away. At first I thought it might be something akin to Witchblade. It’s not. It’s way better than then that. And the art is fracking spectacular. Breathtaking even. The sort of noir art style is amazing. And the one color page that highlights Rowen’s powers shows the power that the artist is leaning to the narrative. All in all I’m really excited to continue reading this comic book. – Jené

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 – B+
Writer: Frank J. Barbiere
Artist: Brent Schoonover

I have to be honest and say I have no idea what I just read here and how it fits together, but despite that fact I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. Since the Howling Commando’s made of monsters appeared in the Secret Wars Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos series, I was hoping we would get some variation of that team. As a monster fan , and a big fan of the character Man-Thing, this series seemed right up my alley and I have to say, despite being majorly confused at how things got to where they are in this issue I found it to be everything I wanted from this series within this first issue even with the robotic Dum Dum Dugan. I have complete faith in Frank J Barbiere’s writing after this issue and expect much more explanation as the series goes on. Brent Schoonover does a spectacular job on the art mixing all these different monsters together from the incredibly bad ass  Hit-Monkey to the rather dumb Zombie Jasper Sitwell., Definitely a great series to sart so close to Halloween! – Jacob


The New Avengers #2 – B+
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Gerardo Sandoval

I missed the first issue of this, which is a shame because the first issue might have been an A+. This issue was still pretty good though. The only minus (which seems pretty significant, hence the drop of a whole letter grade) is that the crystal headed guys are actually NBD if you just scream right. Way to deflate all the tension. Also, how does Squirrel Girl beat up a sub-hulk exactly? At any rate, the Avengers post-Secret Wars, as I’ve commented elsewhere, has a very Grant Morrison feel. I kind of wish maybe Grant Morrison would be allowed to do for Marvel what he does for DC, like, twice a week. Those Lie Minus crystal headed guys seem ripped right out of Doom Patrol. And the concept of Life Minus seems ripped right out of Kirby’s Fourth World and the bulk of Morrison’s DC work, which centers around the anti-life equation and universal conquest. But the Ultimate universe Reed, called the Maker, who is totally bonkers, is the guy behind it all. I’m a little exasperated that we’re only two issues into the all new all different Marvel universe, and Maker is already talking about other universes. What was the point of the last year, Marvel? What? Was? The? Point? Anyways, the demon he conjures is pretty badass, and Morrison as anything that’s Morrisoned a Morrison. – Montgomery


The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 – B+
Writer: Ryan North
Artist: Erica Henderson
I was worried this book might lose some of its allure since it is the second reboot in only a year. I was proven wrong, and I love when that happens! The new series starts in Doreen’s sophomore year at Empire State. She and Nancy have a place together, and the whole team seems closer than ever. There are some allusions to Doreen’s place in the New Avengers, and there are lots of good jokes surrounding that. Doreen’s number one fan came to town, a.k.a. her mom. There was a lot of play with just how embarrassing but also awesome moms can be. I thought the “bad guy” was a little silly, but I am still happy that Squirrel Girl is around. – Adrian

Chewbacca #2 – B
Writer: 
Gerry Duggan
Artist: Phil Noto

The second issue into Chewbacca’s adventure without his cohort in smuggling Han Solo brings him to the point where he is helping a young girl named Zarro free her friends and family from the evil gangster Jaum. This issue focuses on them basically getting to where they need to be and starting their plan, but it ends at a place where we don’t know if anyone survived. Gerry Dugan does a good job writing, especially for Chewbacca seeing as all he says is, “Hraa, Rawrrrrr!!” and similar manuerisms. You definitely get the point across by the great art of Phil Noto as well making sure Chewies expression comes across very clear and we know what he is thinking simply by the illustration. Duggan of course has the supporting cast help out with the emotions and plot but overall this series seems to just be getting its footing and the end of this issue leaves us eagerly awaiting the third issue. – Jacob


Deadpool vs. Thanos #4 – B
Writer: 
Tim Seeley
Artist: Elmo Bondoc

The final issue in this series finally brings us the versus in Deadpool vs Thanos and boy is it an insane battle. After Deadpool and Thanos finally find out where Death is they along with Black Talon head straight to her location to find she is prisoner of Eternity because of the chaos she has caused in, well, all of eternity. Eternity battles Deadpool and Thanos and ends up actually killing them but Death brings them back as the undead to battle Eternity but Thanos gets a little out of control and Deadpool has to try and take him out before he actually destroys everything by killing Eternity. The story ends well and we see a couple epic battles, but overall the series was a little disappointing in that the journey to the good end was a bit unneeded. That is not saying it isn’t an enjoyable ride, but the series could have had a bit more substance to it and a little less mindless journeying. I do have to say Tim Seeley’s writing is enjoyable the whole time, despite some of it feeling filler material and Elmo Bondoc’s art is what really carried me through the series. – Jacob

Funniest Panels:

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Panels with the Most Awesomeness:

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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 all the publishers for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 10-21-15

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:

agents of atlas 1

Secret Wars: Agents of Atlas #1 – A+
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Steve Pugh

Wow. I really didn’t expect this to be as good as it was. I picked it up mainly because I remembered how Agents of Atlas was a quirky throwback to pulp spy and hero teams. Instead, we have what is easily one of the top five best one-shots of Secret Wars, and it makes me wish the whole thing was like that. This issue makes me realize that Agents of Atlas has Grant Morrison’s name all over it (and in fact, wrote an amazing limited series for Marvel Boy, a member of this iteration of Atlas). But it was fun and dense and as quirky as I could have wanted, and the art was clear, expressive, and colorful. Read more in the full-length review here– Montgomery

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Justice League #45 – A
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Francis Manapul
Colorists: Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato

If you’ve read the last issue of Justice League, then like me, you have no idea what the hell is going on. After a huge plot twist last issue, things have gotten even zanier. The New Gods are not just random weirdos with fancy names; they are the Justice League! The way I interpreted it is that the band just broke up, and there are four new solo albums on the way. I’ve never seen anything like this happen before, and I’m stoked to find out what comes next. I’m glad DC did the right thing here and didn’t spread this book to the far corners of the other DC titles – that would be a clusterf*ck. Instead, Geoff Johns is just doing his thing, and I keep reading because of it. – Sherif

Bizzaro #5 – A-
Writer: Heath Corson
Artist: Gustavo Duarte

This penultimate issue of Bizarro is filled with lots of story and leaves us wondering exactly what could happen in the last issue. But in the mean time, we get a great X-Files reference with good ol’ Chicken Soup (What Bizarro calls “Mulder” of just the male agent). This issue also sees Colin the Chupacabra leave the group and a betrayal of Bizarro’s worst friend Jimmy actually anger Bizarro so much Jimmy becomes Bizarro’s best friend and may be the end of the team. Heath Corson does a great job with this story and really made me care for all the character along the way and made up a rather good team with Bizarro, Colin, Jimmy and Chastity Hex. It makes me really want this as an ongoing series and not just one more issue. Even if this last issue next month sees the last of Bizarro, this creative team did just about everything I would want from a Bizarro series and more and just as much as Corson’s writing is brilliant and fun, Gustavo Duarte’s art completes this series as one I will display proudly on my comic book shelf. – Jacob

Gotham Academy #11 – B+
Writers: Becky Cloonan & Brenden Fletcher
Artists: Karl Kerschl with Msassyk and Mingjue Helen Chen
Colorists: Serge LaPointe & Msassyk Colors
It was our ragtag teams biggest adventure yet! The big city… Gotham City! Maps created a masterful plan to get info on Olive’s mom. Red Robin made an appearance, and some fun was poked at DC for the amount of Robins they have. It was a rare meta appearance, but a welcome one. I was thoroughly entertained while reading this issue; there was laughter at Maps, exhilaration at the plan, and awe at the art. Gotham was portrayed so well, it almost felt as if I was watching a live-action cartoon instead of reading a comic. Gotham Academy never disappoints with the art. – Adrian
Titans Hunt #1 – B
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artists: Paulo Siqueira & Geraldo Borges
This book has piqued my interest, but be warned… this book is not for Teens. Notice that they aren’t Teen Titans (albeit, they aren’t teens anymore), but the “Titans” part might make you think it is a good buy for a teenager. Nay. Anyhow, considering there is a large cast of characters and none of them are in the same physical place, I really liked how they told many different stories. Some characters are more familiar than others, like Dick Grayson and Roy Harper. Learning about the characters I don’t know too much about will be a good time, and I enjoyed this book enough that I feel it will be my avenue to find out more. – Adrian

Wonder Woman #45 – F
Writer: Meredith Finch
Artist: David Finch

This is me reading Wonder Woman after Brian Azzarello left
This is me reading Wonder Woman after Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang left. – Sherif

 

IDW Publishing:

Transformers #46 – B+
Writer: John Barber
Artist: Sara Pitre-Durdcher

It’s pretty cool to see that they have a woman doing the art. She’s damn good too. I’m a little bummed that Earth is still a central element in this book’s plot, especially when there are so many other cool things happening: a surreptitious return of the Decepticons; Prime seeking the Lightbearers (semi-divine angel-like robots); Cosmos perhaps joining up with Soundwave; Jazz trapped in an acidic… egg? There’s cool stuff and Earth, speaking as someone who lives here, is stupid. I’d rather see robots. I mean, I see humans everyday and I’m rarely impressed. – Montgomery

Back to the Future #1 – D
Writer: Bob Gale
Artist: Brent Schoonover

If you want to remake the magic so badly, go to Goodwill, get a VCR player, and buy the first two movies. Better yet, go buy a ridiculous BTTF hat, or a $20 Pepsi Perfect. When does this rebranding madness end? A few days ago (10/21) was a huge milestone in nerd culture. We finally caught up to the future time in Back to the Future. Instead of letting that day gracefully pass in honor, it’s been exploited to shit, and the result is shitty comic books like this. This is a whore of a book, and an easy way for “the man” to collect on your money. Ut’s not the worst thing ever, but it even smells desperate. – Sherif

Image Comics:

Tokyo Ghost #2 – C
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Sean Murphy

After only two issues, the in-your-face social commentary is beginning to wear on me. It’s almost too much of a caricature to be enjoyable. Oh, and the floppy wiener. Really? The part of the story I enjoyed the most was the background story of Debbie and Teddy, and how she lost him to being plugged in. I wonder if that’s a metaphor for the missing million (called hikikomori) in Japan. It’s a beautiful book, and the concept is very intriguing, so I will continue reading. – Sherif

Second Opinion (B+)I like this book, but something about its pacing and construction makes me feel a little claustrophobic and panicky. – Montgomery

 

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Journey to Star Wars The Force Awakens: Shattered Dimension #4 – A
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Marco Checchetto

As this series ends, we get a huge look into how these characters new and old will connect for The Force Awakens even if some may not even be present. We end this series with Shara Bey having to accompany Luke to a secret base of the Emperor to retrieve a secret possession had stolen and kept for years. We get a lot of action and an explanation at exactly why Poe Dameron may be so closely connected to everyone in the new film. Greg Rucka did an excellent job with the story for this issue and the series as a whole and gave us a great, albeit short look at some things to expect from the new film while also making sure to keep things ground in the past six films leading up to Episode VII. Marco Checchetto’s art is what really sold me on the book. It is insanely detailed to the point even the back of an alien head is gorgeous and deserves to be a print sold everywhere. I look forward to the future stories leading to the new film and can only hope this creative team keeps on working on Star Wars books. – Jacob

The Uncanny Inhumans #1 – A
Writer: Charles Soule
Artists: Jay Lesiten (pencils), Steve McNiven (inks)

I am surprised at how good these Marvel relaunch titles are so far. So much more interesting than the bland-as-snow-in-a-snowstorm New 52 launch. Uncanny has that adjective attached solely, as far as I can tell right now, because Beast is working with them. There are two plots: Black Bolt with two of his friends — Reader and his dog Forey, and Inhumans mainstay Triton — are trying to track down Black Bolt’s son against the wishes of Kang the Conqueror; meanwhile Medusa in a very-much-Morrison-inspired-style is performing global rescue operations scooping up all the humans-turned-Inhuman and taking them home. Also she’s banging Johnny Storm. Inhumans and mutants have been my two favorite Marvel groups for probably the past 20 years, and it’s interesting to me they would hate each other as is very much implied (well, stated) by Beast. It’s also interesting because it hints at the animosity that often exists between repressed groups, though I’m unaware of any stated tension between people on the LGBTQ spectrum (mutants) and refugees (Inhumans). Oh, and th@ art tho. – Montgomery

Karnak #1 – A
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Gerardo Zaffino

Sometimes when Warren Ellis writes for Marvel, he gets way too caught up in being Joss Whedon, and tries to make every single one of his characters the king of the empire of snark instead of doing the thing that makes him Warren Ellis. Maybe that’s a function of working for Marvel: Marvel seems to think that witty dialogue can be an easy stand-in for character development. But th@ Karnak tho. He managed to avoid the curse. Karnak has left the Inhumans and lives in the Tower of Wisdom contemplating the meaningless of bricks, and what he and bricks have in common, namely that the universe doesn’t care about any of them. I love that Ellis and Morrison both seem to be tapping into that good old fashioned True Detective-born philosophical nihilism – which really means that it’s the book’s responsibility to teach Karnak the error of his ways. I’ve always loved the Karnak type (see also: Spock, Agent Cohle, Silver Surfer): the person who puts the value of knowledge above all else no matter how terrifying the conclusion. And, apart from a weak ending (which, if not for this, this book would have been an A+) Ellis nails it. The book has a sort of existential bleakness that is oddly comforting. – Montgomery

Invincible Iron Man #2 – B+
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Another short issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ new Iron Man series wraps up, and it was full of solid art, intrigue, and gut-busting snarky comments. The only character in the Marvel U that can out-snark Tony Stark is Doom, and his time in panel is great entertainment. The AI he programmed in his suit, Friday, is also made for maximum sass. It’s a really fun issue, even if you aren’t a huge Iron Man fan. However, with Doom and Madame Masque up to Doom knows what, this will be an interesting ride. – Sherif

Second Opinion (A) – I am so invested in this series. I love Friday’s “To-do List” that let’s us know what happened and what is happening. I love the clean lines and colors. I love the very “Tony Stark” way of doing things. And Madame Masque is a freaking bad-ass. LOVE! – Adrian

The Amazing Spider-Man #2 – B
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli

This series continues on with the funny. Peter Parker may not be that hometown hero anymore, but he can still make some pretty good quips, and that’s why we love Spider-Man, isn’t it? The fact that he is a CEO now is a little hard for me to wrap my mind around, especially because the tech he made doesn’t seem to be for good, per se. But who am I to judge? I do think this issue did a better job of creating a storyline, and I am very interested in getting to know the Zodiac even better. – Adrian
The Astonishing Ant-Man #1 – B-
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Even though Spencer is still on this series, it feels different from the Ant-Man series that just wrapped up before the reboot. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I hope that changes in the next few issues. Lang is still funny, but this issue seemed more on the serious side. I know part of that is Lang’s relationship with his daughter, which was one of the appeals of the other series. The best part of this issue was the commentary on apps and how people use them. It made us all look like damn fools, which I always enjoy. Here’s to a stronger issue next time! – Adrian

Age of Apocalypse #5 – F
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Ibal Coello

This is the most disappointing resolution to a Secret Wars comic I’ve read yet. Everything about this comic was deeply fulfilling: the very talented Geraldo Sandoval quit interior pencils after maybe the second issue; the story made no goddamn sense at any point; and, in general, everything felt very claustrophobic and small. So, as sort of a recap, Apocalypse wants Douglas Ramsey (Cypher, for anyone who cares. Oh, you don’t? I guess that makes sense) for… reasons. And other people want… things? I’m not even sure. Fast forward to issue 5, and Apocalypse accidentally kills himself (gigantic copout), and his science lackey, Nemesis, wants to murder everyone. Uh, things happen? People die, and then a part of Emma Frost’s brain is put into Jean Grey to reactivate the Phoenix, which doesn’t make any sense. The hope is that Phoenix will take on Doom, but no. She wakes up and deletes all the mutant genes. Just so we’re clear: according to this comic, the way to deal with a maniac despot that puts your people in a ghetto is to appease him. In this case, that means Phoenix makes everyone a regular human, which is disturbing when the X-Men have most often been metaphors for communism, socialism, and the full array of alternative sexuality. So, just ditch your alternative political beliefs and that offensive sexuality you were born with, and you too can be happy living under the thumb of a maniacal god. Oh. And Douglas Ramsay is never any good to anyone… I can’t even believe how terrible this ending was. – Montgomery

Oni Press:

Invader Zim #4 – B
Writer: Eric Trueheart
Artist: Aaron Alexovich

We have yet another one-shot issue here where we see an Irken engineer make a portal so that the Irken leaders can send anything to any invader at any time, but they have to be careful because this is a one way portal and nothing can be sent back without blowing up half of space. Naturally, the Irken leaders use this technology to play an elaborate prank on Zim by sending him trash and telling him it is an Irken super weapon and he needs to protect it with his life. As Zim prepares for other aliens and evil forces to come steal his weapon and the Irken leaders laugh endlessly about the whole thing, we see Zim have a visitor at his door. This story was definitely a fun one and one that felt very much like a true Invader Zim episode with the same great humor and twistedness we come to expect from Invader Zim. A huge round of applause to Eric Trueheart for his writing here. Aaron Alexovich does a near perfect job with the art, as well, which really brought this all together and made it read and look just like classic Zim. – Jacob

Funniest Panels:

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Panels with the Most Awesomeness:

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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 all the publishers for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 06-17-15

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:

dr fate 1 potw 06.17.15

Doctor Fate #1 – A
Call me biased, but it’s been too damn long since I’ve read a superhero comic book and felt immersed in something new and exciting. Today’s capes and cowls have so much baggage that it can be hard to feel the same thrill and magic that made them wonderful in the first place. Thankfully, Doctor Fate made all those feelings flood right back. The premiere issue isn’t too much more than the description leads it to be, but we get a close look at Khalid, the new Fate, and what will motivate him as Fate – he’s not yet a Doctor. Thanks in part to the color work of Deadly Class‘ Lee Loughridge, the art style is easy on the eye and has a nice fantastical look to it. Maybe my preference is biased due to its heavily-Egyptian story, but Doctor Fate is by far the best book out of the new DC lineup. – Sherif

Other Reviews: 

Archie Comics:

Archie vs Predator #3 – B+
It doesn’t look good for the Riverdale gang. Predator claimed a two more victims. Poor Jughead and Dilton never saw it coming. I mean it; they were killed from behind. Last issue we saw most of the crew taken out and now with these losses, we’re down to just Betty, Veronica and a very injured Archie. Next month will wrap up the saga of Riverdale. Also, I really enjoyed the cover this time around – Predator never looked so happy. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this series, I wrote it off as nonsense, but now I’m actually looking forward to the last issue. – Scott

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Prez #1 – A-
Political comic books are a very fragile thing. Not in terms of how people will react to them, but how to straddle the fine line between satire and still coming out with a legitimate story. The trick is to come off as never taking itself too seriously while still having something to say other than “this sucks.” Prez really pulls it off. The full veil has not been lifted on the story yet, but the picture has been painted; everything is fixed, and social media is completely puppeteered by corporations… so basically an exaggerated version of today. The only hope is a random teenager inserted for the running to become President, known only as Corndog Girl. – Sherif

Mad Max Fury Road: Furiosa #1 – B+
First off, Mad Max: Fury Road is probably the best movie in a solid decade. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong. And, I’m not passing judgment, but if you haven’t seen it, you know who else hasn’t? Hitler. Feel free to draw your own conclusions. Furiosa #1 covers the span of time between the women’s escape and Furiosa’s appointment over them. It has the same problem of a lot of movie adaptation/movie prequel comics in that it’s very obviously trying to aim the narrative in a direction, so it feels obvious and guided from the very first moment. Plus, it contradicts the movie? Maybe? We know from the movie that Furiosa comes from the Land of Many Mothers (doesn’t place sound great?), but the wives in this comic postulate she was a former wife and she doesn’t refute them. But it succeeds in making Immortan Joe even more repulsive: he can’t have sex with his wives without thinking of them as his war boys. Which is gross. I really liked the dusty scratchy looking art, and the story-within-a-story motif reinforces the popular fan theory that the Mad Max movies are folk tales being told in a burnt out future. – Montgomery

Robin: Son of Batman #1 – B+
Puberty is already tough enough, but when you throw in this whole “The Year of Blood” curse thing, you get some of the most terrifying nightmares imaginable. For us, though, it’s good, because this is a brand new book written and pencilled by Patrick Gleason (artist of the Batman & Robin saga that just wrapped up. No matter how hard Damian tries, he just can’t shake his past of being bred to lead the League of Assassins. Nobody’s (villain from Volume 1 of New52 Batman & Robin) daughter makes an entrance, too. There’s a lot to love about the book, but it can be very confusing to new readers; hell, I was confused at times, too. For instance, what is this Goliath creature? It’s confusing, but I’m going to stick with it. – Sherif

Martian Manhunter #1 – B
Damn Epiphany, you scary!!! With J’onn questioning his ability and destiny to be a superhero, all hell is breaking loose on planet Earth and it is leaving even the Justice League baffled. All of this chaos and mass destruction can only be explained by one thing, “The Epiphany.” What I liked about this comic is how it wastes no time getting messy. Sure, there is a lot of “what is going on, this is crazy” banter happening; however, it only adds to the suspense of what appears to be an inevitable global take over. Overall, I’m excited to continue to see J’onn’s strange character development continue in the wake of the Epiphany. – Evan

Harley Quinn and Power Girl #1 – B
(A) This comic is just flat out fun. Harley is hilarious as always and, while Power Girl tends to be the more rational, level-headed one, she has her witty moments, too. Together they make one hella-awesome, grrl power team. I’m usually kind of wary of reading anything new with Harley Quinn because I haven’t really appreciated what the Palmiotti & Connor have done with her character as of late, but this comic changes everything. Here again we see the strong, whimsical, just-a-little-off-her-rocker badass we’ve come to know and love and Power Girl is her perfect complement, maybe even better than Poison Ivy if I dare say. I love how they bicker but ultimately trust and rely on each other. The scene where Harley blows that misogynist’s head off is golden as is the majority of every other panel. The setting is goofy but somehow manages to take itself seriously at the same time. There’s some really great mojo happening here and I can’t wait to see where it goes. – Charlotte

(C-) Ok, I’m not really up to date with what’s going on here. I know there was a big clash between many universes. That’s cool but a little back story here would have been nice. So Harley and Power Girl traveled through a portal with the help of a magic toe ring. Seems legit. This time around, they landed on a planet in an alternate universe where apparently Power Girl runs a sexy good times type place. I thought it was poignant to have an creature assume Power Girl is a prostitute based solely on the interpretation of her costume. Now Quinn and Girl have to track down another teleportation ring from a man being held captive on the lust moon of Lustox. What? – Scott

Wonder Woman #41 – B-
Heavy is the head that wears the crown, I guess. Wonder Woman has been through a rough few years, and the breathing room that she gets in this issue is only the assurance that they will get much worse very soon. Most of the issue takes the time to talk about how great life is with Zola, as well as how well the rehabilitation of the Amazons and Donna Troy is going. Her next villain seems to be a mortal, which will be a nice break from all the Geek mythology of Azzarello/Chiang’s saga. I’m also enjoying the good-sized panels that allow David Finch to do his thing; it’s worked very well for the new creative team. – Sherif

Black Canary #1 – D
I had pretty good excitement for a Black Canary reboot. And I’m a fan of Brenden Fletcher’s work, so I was really looking forward to this book. I know that Fletcher tends to write to teenage girls, but I’m not even sure they would be intrigued with this book. There was no clarification for new readers why there was a Black Canary band, who the members were, and why the lead was beating up people. There was no connection to any character through writing or art. Overall, this was a huge disappointment. Sorry, Fletcher. – Adrian

IDW Publishing: 

Transformers #42 – B
Thank god the Combiner Wars are over. In fact, the fallout is much more interesting than the event itself; Optimus has to deal with the fact that Prowl is the Autobot’s version of Starscream, Arcee and Galvatron are trying to scam each other on an unknown swampy planet, and Arcee is planning secret missions to Earth. That last part bums me out. I’m tired of the Transformers/Earth romance, but at least there are no more combiner wars. Plus, this issue started a cool trend of different art styles for different locations: G1 cartoon style for those Earth-bound, and that scratchy sort-of confusing look for those staying on Cybertron… I’m so happy Combiner Wars is over. – Montgomery

Edward Scissorhands #9 – B-
Things are getting crazy for Edward and the gang in this issue. Edward is about to appear on Get Wells for his makeover. As Edward makes his appearance, Megs hears the chants of the audience and jumps out to defend him. Dr. Wells takes advantage of the situation and makes Megs sign up for a makeover as well. Could this be just a dark plot to keep the whole gang on the show longer? Who knows. It’s looking like most the action will happen next issue with how Edward and Megs will handle these makeover if they are indeed makeovers at all. We have the normal team set-up this issue with Kate Leth writing and Drew Rausch with his awesome, unique art style. If you have been following the series make sure to pick this up and get ready for the conclusion next month. – Jacob

TMNT: Casey & April #1 – C+
A TMNT book with a road trip and no mutants? That is what you would believe from the set up of this series and especially the first two covers. We basically just see Casey and April talking, furthering their relationship while also moving it back a hundred steps. The story ends on a cliffhanger, which is weird to say about two people who are just driving forever. Suffice it to say, a classic TMNT villain shows up at the end that makes me very excited for the second issue. Here’s hoping the next story will have a lot more action and meaning to the overall plot of the series. This issue definitely felt like too much of a set up to them dealing with their relationship problems. However, the new villian’s intro is brilliantly done by the writer Mariko Tamak. Irene Koh illustrates this villain in a way we have never seen before, with a very interesting, creepy look. This issue definitely more of an animé feel,  but that artistic style has always fit the Turtles well and definitely helps this story more against the bland landscape and boring plot. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Tales of Honor: Bred to Kill #1 – A
I effing love this story! Take Star Trek, mix it with Battlestar Galactica, throw in a little Firefly and you’ve got Tales of Honor. Harrington is a total take charge badass who knows what she wants and how to get it. I’m head over heals for this character and what she brings to the table going forward. We need more strong female characters in charge and Harrington fits the bill perfectly. The world is very nicely crafted and I love the creatures that inhabit it. I’m looking forward to finding out more about its culture as the story continues. So far, it feels extremely rich. I love that the servant Harrington converses with corrects her terminology when she uses the term “sex slave.” It shows a sex worker positivity that we’ve only really seen before in Firefly. This comic promises big, exciting and groundbreaking things. – Charlotte

Southern Bastards #9 – B
Now, I’m not saying that this is a great book… or even a good book, really. I’ve followed it from Issue #1 and this is the first time I’ve started to understand the whole picture. Throughout the short series, the book has been narrated by three different people’s account of what goes on in Craw County, Alabama and the conspiracy that Runnin’ Rebs coach Euless Boss is at the center of. Each account gets deeper and deeper into what it means, how it started, and if it will end. I’m usually not a sucker for this kind of story, but there’s somebody about it that I can’t let go of. If you can stand all the hillbilly-ness of the book, it’s worth picking up. – Sherif

Trees #10 – B
The last book was harrowing and has had me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next comic book. While the last issue surrounded a major event (leaving puddle of my own tears) this one still left me sad and haunted. The book is titled “The Little Things” and true to its title, shows us what appears to be minor character development and plot development. But, Trees is  layered and the small things always add up. The story brings us back to New York where the Mayor is talking to the Commissioner of the NYPD. We also get to see a little bit more of when the Trees were landed in New York. And on the surface it seems that the Mayor investigating the Commissioner. While in London we are introduced to another character in a coffee shop. The conversation with the barista sticks out to me. It has a lot of weight in light of the overall narrative of this story. “They say nothing changes anymore. But it does. They just change so slowly we don’t notice thing until they’re gone.” I think in this next volume we are going to see just how much the little things add up. – Jené

Surface #3 – B-
Holy cow, this book and ODY-C need recap pages. Especially since this book is routinely trying to turn your brain inside out. It opens with Nasia in orange soup with a disembodied voice telling her to, essentially, “go into the light.” She falls out of a tube to find that she wasn’t in the jungle with her friends like she thought she was, but rather her boyfriend’s father kidnapped her and induced a hallucination to find information. What the what? That makes remembering the last issue nearly impossible. I like this book’s vibe – both the “what’s really real?” and “can you trust your own senses?” vibes – but with 30 days between issue and no recap page, it feels perplexing. Do they assume you’ll pull out last month’s and do a cross reference? Anyways – good enough as a single issue, but mostly confusing. – Montgomery

RunLoveKill #3 – C+
We got a little back story for Rain this month. Like a lot of good heroes, Rain has morals that don’t let her just do a job because it’s asked of her. The story is a bit chaotic in this issue. Rain is attacked on the dance floor we left her on from the last issue. People clearly want her out of the way because she knows too much; it’s kind of cliché, but it works. The art always has a lot of movement to it and for what’s going on in this issue, it works. The panels are a little hard to follow, but still, the art is beautiful. There wasn’t much in the line of plot in this issue, unfortunately. Everything starts and happens at the same location. I’ve enjoyed the previous two issues very much and I really want to get back into the story next month. – Scott

Empty Zone #1 – C+
Well that was weird, and I’m not entirely sure how to feel after reading this. Part of me is excited due to the overall strangeness of it, mixed with the science fiction aspect. While, on the other hand, I am concerned this comic is going to have a ton of awesome aspects, and then just never connect the dots together. Regardless of all that, the main character, Corinne, intrigues me. She is the kind of person I want to walk up to and say “tell me a story.” Of course, she never would because she is a badass who has no time for my bullshit, but I know she has some seriously messed up stories. Maybe I’ll keep reading and hope some stories get told. – Evan

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Deathlok #9 – A-
Oh shit! Big things are happening in this issue and the cliffhanger gave me goosebumps. While all the right people finally seem to be on the same side throughout most of the issue, there’s still a ton of problems to sort out. Henry’s daughter is still in danger. Control still has leverage against Henry. S.H.I.E.LD. still doesn’t have everything they need and, with Henry’s daughter’s life on the line, it doesn’t look like they’re much closer to getting it than they were before. And with the room full of new Deathlok operatives shown in the last panel, things still have a long, terrifying way to go before they get any better. I’m excited to see Micheal, Henry and Domino working together, and I can’t wait to see which direction Henry chooses to go now that his daughter is threatened. Lots happening here! – Charlotte

Old Man Logan #2 – B
We pick up where we carried off last issue with Logan climbing a wall, only to meet a Thor at the top and be knocked down into the other side. Unaware of where he is, he is suddenly met by some familiar– but less-than-welcoming– faces. Sabretooth shows up with three friends who together claim to be the Four Horsemen. Then a couple more familiar faces show up to even the odds, faces Logan never thought he’d see again. How will things go now that Logan has some “friends,” and what is this new world? While Bendis does a good job with the story for this issue, it ultimately it feels a bit flat with far too much exposition. Sorentino’s art is fascinating but the confusing panels take away from the story, leaving the dialogue to do the heavy lifting. I do very much enjoy this story, but it has a lot to live up to. Luckily, it looks like this story will have enough time to meet those expectations. My advice? Keep reading as it is guaranteed to be one of the most important stories for Secret Wars. – Jacob

Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2 – B-
This series is definitely not the best thing out there, but if it’s the only Deadpool we get, then I am fine with it. It’s basically a recap of the old Secret Wars. As enjoyable as the references, exact original dialogue and art by Matteo Lolli are, I can’t help but think of this series as a hit or miss depending on what kind of fan you are. If you have read the original Secret Wars, you are basically reading the same– slightly funnier– story here. However, if you have not read the original Secret Wars, this is a good starter series. Writer Cullen Bunn cut the second story arc completely out of this issue to go for a one full story. So basically, pick up this series if you want some backstory or are just a fan of Deadpool. Otherwise, it will likely be boring to you if you’ve read the original. – Jacob

Thors #1 – C
THORS is filmed on location with the men and women of Thor enforcement.” It really is like the show COPS, but this time it’s with, like, 15 different Thors including a scene in which Ultimate Thor puts on latex gloves to examine a corpse. I feel like that was a missed opportunity to have the Thors use some cool Norse-style divining to interpret crime scenes. The Thors are investigating a series of murders all involving the same woman. The reveal of the woman feels too neat and makes this unbelievably vast world feel way too small. It’s really hard to have an emotional reaction to this book. I feel like the idea is cool, and there’s cool elements (the opening squad consists of Ultimate Thor, Storm Thor, Beta Ray Bill, and Leif Thor, or rather, the original time-displaced 616 Thor), but as a book it feels overwhelming and underwhelming. A pretty cool premise that has lots of potential, but pretty flat as an opener. My favorite element is, without a doubt, hobo-Loki (Hoboki) who we are lead to believe knows the for real truth of Battle World. – Montgomery

Armor Wars #2 – D
This is stupid. As I was talking with Sherif about how it’s a waste of time to continue reading this, he made an extremely valid point regarding this comic. If we were younger, this sort of thing may truly appeal to us; however, having a ton of Iron Men play out a soap opera is both boring and stupid. The story isn’t nearly strong enough to hold my interest and I’m failing to find anything interesting about this comic. I know I sound like a cynic, but you would too after you read 20 some pages of pure nothingness. Sadly, I won’t think I’ll be reading issue number 3. – Evan

Moon Knight #16 – D
The funny thing about this book is that I enjoy it. A lot. However, I can’t sit back and pretend it’s good anymore, either. There is absolutely no plot. I’ve only read 3-4 issues max that have a connected story. The rest is just random murder and cool gadgets, and honestly, now that Doctor Fate will be whetting my appetite for badass Egyptian gods, I might even stop reading this altogether. It’s flat out failed to reach any bit of the potential I thought it had with Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey at the helm. The series definitely still has potential, and I want to see it succeed, but not producing anything more than murder porn won’t cut it in today’s industry standards. – Sherif


Funniest Panels:

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Panels with the Most Awesomeness:

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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 all the publishers for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 06-10-15

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:

Birthright #8
Birthright #8

Birthright #8 – A
Birthright is so frustrating for me right now. Mikey keeps coming so close to being cleansed and going back to being good, and while this issue ended on that being a likely conclusion, I have a sinking feeling that it will not happen. Williamson writes wonderful characters, especially ones that have such conflicting elements and motivations. I want to be rooting for Mikey, but at this point, he is kind of the only bad guy in the whole book. It seems as though Brennan will be okay, and that Becca may join their party and likely reveal some sort of hidden purpose. Once again, Andrei Bressan’s artwork is absolute amazing; the panel of Terranos on earth was downright beautiful. The story action did not move forward a whole lot in this issue, but I am very excited about the new characters/Mages that were introduced. I think the action and drama is just going to skyrocket from here, and Birthright is continuing in a really great direction. – Keriann

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Harrow County #2 – A
Harrow County got off to a much better start this issue. The writing flowed really well and instead of being relatively vague like the first issue, the plot and “haints” were much more straight forward. Emmy is a likable enough character, and that she has somehow made friends (at least on her end) with the Tattered Skin (skin of a little boy haint) that she carries with her is somehow endearing. There was better focus on who will play key roles in this series in issue #2 and there were some genuinely creepy parts, highlighted brilliantly by Tyler Crook’s unique art style. So far I am really happy with this book, even if so far it is not the most original material I’ve encountered. There are not a whole lot of comics out there that successfully capture the fear in proper ghost stories, but so far, Harrow County is on the right track to being one of the few that get it right. – Keriann

Midnight Society: The Black Lake #1 – B-
First off, I’d like to address that I love creator-owned books and it is in my nature to always support them. That being said, I was less thrilled with Drew Johnson’s creator-owned debut. His artwork is absolutely stunning and he writes great dialogue, but for a premiere issue, I really felt like the story was lacking. I appreciate the background on the characters that was given, and the introduction to Arcturus and Kevin was an excellent read, but when I reached the end, I felt torn on whether or not I was even interested in finding out where it all goes from here. Although, I really do want to know what happened to that little Pixie baby that got left behind – poor thing. I’m into the hunt for the Loch Ness Monster, and it seems that Johnson may be creating a fascinating monster rich universe with this story but something about lacked that wow factor. This book revolves around topics that will normally keep me reading, but I couldn’t shake that it all kind of felt too strongly based on B.P.R.D., but without the familiar charm. – Keriann

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Constantine: The Hellblazer #1 – B+
The best part about the first issue of Constantine: The Hellblazer is that it did an excellent job of reintroducing the character for new readers. This issue was not especially story-driven, but instead it introduced John Constantine in a thoroughly charming fashion for people who may be unfamiliar with him. A first issue that focuses so heavily on character development might fall dead in another series, but this issue succeeded by pairing that with very skillful writing and paneling. The walk through Blythe’s Nine Circles of Hell exhibit was very clever, even if I did have to go back and re-read it after figuring I had read half of it in the wrong direction. I was not blown away by this first issue, but it was not without its charm. The cliffhanger that eluded to where this story arc is headed was interesting and while this may not be the best book of the week I imagine it will only get better from here. – Keriann

Gotham Academy #7 – B+
Maps gets her own issue! Since she is my favorite character, I am pretty happy that she got some of the spotlight this month. Because Damian Wayne is now a student at the Academy, I figured it would be more about him. Maps and Damian shared the space equally, but I did find it aggravating that Maps had to be in “love” with Damian. He stayed true to being a total ass, and Maps just fell right into his dreamy blue eyes. She has been the toughest character in the book, so I worry she will just be in love with Damian and lose her own voice. However, the backdrop of The Raven and magic was well done. And the art — still my favorite of ANY comic I currently read. – Adrian

Red Hood/Arsenal #1 – B
I personally hate Arsenal as a character and hoped that he would die for the entirety of the Outlaws series. Unfortunately, they decided to get rid of Starfire instead. It is also unfortunate that, Red Hood being one of my favorites in the DC universe, the only way that I am able to get a regular comic book of him is if he is paired with the hero I like the least. On the plus side, Arsenal doesn’t look like such a bro d-bag anymore thanks to the costume change. He sort of has a look that is reminiscent of the older look he had as the Red Arrow. Red Hood also got an unnecessary costume change that I am not sure how I feel about. It seems like they were trying to milk the look of the upcoming Arkham Knight game. Story-wise, nothing happened but I am excited to see how things turn out. – Robert

Batman/Superman #21 – B- 
I’m not really a fan of the way these two characters have been handled in the DC YOU (or whatever the hell it’s called), but together, they present a very unique and interesting story. Superman has been essentially de-powered, and Batman has been replaced by a giant robot with Jim Gordon inside it. My first thought was, “wait, nobody took the time to call up Clark Kent and tell him that Batman died? That’s f*cked up!” Superman is in the dark, and alone. And a public enemy – definitely no friend of this new Batman. It’s pretty trippy. My interest has been piqued, but I’m not sold yet – Sherif

Batman #41 – C+
First off, I have no idea what’s going on because I have not read the last 40 issues. I do still know the overall progression of the series, so maybe the sense of unfamiliarity isn’t just me. With that said, I’m not entirely sure I can get behind this new story with Jim Gordon being the Batman. I have no doubt Scott Snyder can make this book awesome, but it’s simply not the Batman I’ve grown to know and love. There are somethings I did enjoy about this book, both small and large. The metal Batsuit with the bunny ears did not do it for me, but I did appreciate the various color schemes of the suit which winked at Batman’s history (check out our list of Best Batsuits). I also enjoyed the new, unarmored Batsuit, which had a very Thrillkiller vibe to it. Perhaps one thing I want to see the most is the upcoming progression of Jim Gordon and how he works towards transforming into the Batman. I’m still not sure if this progression will work in favor of the story line, but only time will tell. – Evan

Earth 2: Society #1 – C+
You know when your friend is telling a joke, and there is a long story to go with it, and after all the anticipation the punch line isn’t funny and just barely makes sense. This comic may not be exactly like that, but it may belong in the same category. I see the concept of Earth 2 as a very interesting idea, especially after the apocalypse; however, I just felt like nothing mattered in this comic. The backstory was nice, but unnecessary, and from what we saw in the flashbacks, little to none of that information was portrayed in the current happenings of the issue aside from Batman. If you could all take a moment and look beyond my bitter words, I do have hope for this book, because cool shit exists in Earth 2. If the writers find a way to utilize all this cool shit in a productive manner, then I will be excited to continue reading. However, as of right now, I’m not the greatest fan of what I have read. – Evan

Detective Comics #41 – C
Let’s talk about how crazy it is that Jim Gordon is the new Batman. Oh, spoiler alert… Well, it’s crazy. Not sure how long they’ve been trying this one out, but it’s designed to fail. Batman and the police can’t be the same thing. The reason Batman exists is because the city and police department suck at their jobs. Sure, the GCPD has does a 180 since the Loeb days, but eventually, somebody’s jurisdiction, corruption or moral ambiguity is going to get in the way of Justice. I’m going to stick with the idea that the GCPD is too incompetent to be trusted with WayneTech. The issue did bring back vibes from Batman: The Animated Series with Montoya’s return, so I’ll give it another shot. – Sherif

Starfire #1 – C
I said this about the promo for the Supergirl TV series, too…. It’s The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt with super powers! Add in the sexy factor, and writing that isn’t as good, and you have a mediocre book. Kori AKA Starfire takes every idiom and cliché literally, and that can be funny. And the intro to Starfire’s story was good. But everything in between was silly. She doesn’t know what marijuana is! She doesn’t know you can’t be naked in public! Bring on the laughs! Except it isn’t funny because in a lot of ways this is a book geared towards kids, but kids won’t get those jokes. – Adrian

All-Star Section 8 #1 – F
When they were sitting at the drawing board and someone proposed the idea for this book, who the hell thought it would actually be a good idea? This book was quite possibly the worst thing I’ve had the displeasure of reading in a long time. This is the second book this month that has tried to capitalize on Batman in some way – and at least Bat-mite was funny. There is almost no redeeming quality of this book. – Robert

IDW Publishing: 

Uncle Scrooge #3 – B
This month’s Uncle Scrooge is by far the best one yet from the series! I think a lot of that comes from the fact they cut this issue down to two stories, one being almost the whole issue and a short one at the end. I think this format worked best as the main story, written and drawn by Romano Scarpa, gives us a full arc where it doesn’t feel rushed, flows well and is actually a great story and one that belongs right in the old Ducktales cartoon. The story focuses on Scrooge’s bank trying to lure customers in by offering them $100 to keep if they invest it or turn it into more money. Scrooge then tries to make sure everyone fails and in turn owes the bank money. The art is perfectly fitting for a Disney book, but it also has a very classic comic book feel to it, which makes the fact I am reading Uncle Scrooge feel even more nostalgic. The short story at the end doesn’t have an author credited but the art was done by Tony Strobl and it focuses on Scrooge using a talking parrot to try and hypnotize Donald and the kids. This second story is very short and fun and that is for the best; the parrot gets to be extremely annoying very quick and would not be a fun longer story. – Jacob

Transformers: Windblade: Combiner Wars #3 – C-
I feel a little like a traitor right now, because I’m sick of Combiner Wars. First: I’m kind of tired of the OMG CYBTRONZZ ALL TIEMS storylines where the robots endlessly obsess about their home planet. I get why it’s important, and I even like them having to counter-scheme against the scheming Starscream, but event after event staring at Cybertron’s navel gets old. Second: I feel like calling it a war is a stretch when there’s maybe four combiners involved. Third: I feel like the Cybertron based events are so hard to follow. I feel like this series, more than More Than Meets the Eye, is obsessed with sticking more robots into the picture, especially because Combiner Wars are on sale right now and it just reminds me how much I can’t afford them. Maybe that’s what I hate. Maybe I’m just burnt out on the series-formerly-known-as Robots in Disguise. But probably not. I’m just sick of all the combiners. – Montgomery

Image Comics:

Saga #29 – A
Grab some tissue, folks; the circumstances of this book are going to get much worse before they get better. Fiona Staples’ art has always been phenomenal, but this issue stands out as one of her best to date… especially the traditional disturbing double-page spread in the middle of the issue. This issue is full of bittersweet victories, with a goal being fulfilled, but at a high cost to our protagonists. Story-wise, the book moves at breakneck pace. Even so, Vaughan takes time to point out the intricacies of war, and how it’s affected more than just the core characters we’ve met so far. There’s something for everyone in this issue, and the ending will leave your mouth gaping. – Sherif

Nameless #4 – A
Whoa. What the legit nuttbuttz is going on here? I think this is the first Morrison book I’ve read since the underwhelming climax of Multiverse, so thank god this didn’t disappoint. Our hero astronauts proceed plummet toward the meteor Xibalba. Only Nameless and the futurists daughter survive. The inside of the astronaut has a bubbling tumorous growth on it that they didn’t expect to find. They both start hallucinating like crazy: her therapist looks like Sigmund Freud, and slowly the walls of her reality peal back to reveal utter chaos; he’s being torn apart by the tumors. Except that it might not be a hallucination? Man. This was a damn cool read. – Montgomery

Descender #4 – B+
Descender keeps things lively this month. It looks like not even shiftspace (hyperspace) can protect Tim from scrappers. The interactions between Tim and the other robots is heart-warming, even when he’s getting drilled to be a killer. Dr. Quon knows that there is much more to Tim’s “dream” than anyone else wants to admit. We also got some insight to Telsa’s life, which is nice. Up until now, he’s just kind of been a heartless blue lady. I wouldn’t be surprised if she starts to see Tim as more than a just a companion bot; it’s understandable considering what happened to her mother. The story is really expanding, albeit slowly, but it’s going to get really good really soon I feel. – Scott

Black Science #15 – B
I’m coming down from a Darth Vader style “nooo!” after that ending.  I won’t spoil anything, but know that the situation just keeps getting worse.  I like how the story is splitting and tackling multiple themes in a single issue.  It allows for cool action sequences and calm, somber moments all at the same time.  There is still, however, an overall lethargic feel to the grander plot.  The ending gives me hope that things will come to a head very quickly, which is sure to be glorious with blood and destruction.  Yay!! – Taylor

Injection #2 – B
I still have absolutely no clue what’s going on and I kind of like it that way. We’ve got a spy out looking for some sort of material that he can’t find. It seem to be important to the story and what this secret injection team is or was working on. That’s all I have figured out after reading this comic book. I like how, from an audience perspective, we have been thrown into the action and the plot of the story as if we are supposed to know what’s going on. It makes teasing out the story that much more enjoyable. I found myself reading on the edge of my seat as the op took out a bunch of people that I have no idea how they fit into the story. I am still really curious about Maria. It is clear that she is the center of the action and her fragility of her mind trying to work through its fragments makes for an interesting protagonist. I’m looking forward to the next installment of this story. – Jené

Starve #1 – B-
Brian Wood brings us another new comic series about the struggles between an overwhelmingly powerful group – in this case the super wealthy – and essentially the rest of the world’s population. In Starve, Mr. Cruikshank was a world famous chef with a No Reservations-type show whom eventually bails on everything and goes to live in Southeast Asia. The financial gap in the majority of the world has grown exponentially. The network that carries the Starve TV show has brought Cruikshank back to his show that has been retooled into an Iron Chef like creation, but is a little more twisted. Now that he’s back and has lived like most of the world, he’s had enough of the gross opulence that he’s performing for. The art is very dark and heavy with the inks, but it fits the style of the book very well. It’s not a happy world, at least not what you and I are used to. This is guaranteed to be dark and edgy in good Brian Wood style. – Scott

The Walking Dead #142 – C
Talk about a filler issue, jeez. You can’t be that mad at the series, which is really meant to be digested as six-issue long trade paperbacks. This issue particularly, though, stands out as an overall waste of money. In a way, it’s poetic that the once savage lands of the Hilltops has transformed into a pseudo-civilization, but the fact that we know it won’t last makes it hard to get behind. Maggie finally lets Rick in on the secret that Carl ran away, which I thought took a little too long. Most interesting is Alpha, who is obviously the antagonist to come, but isn’t necessarily interested in waging war is avoidable. She brings the savage element back into a book that sorely needs it… Oh, and then there’s Negan – Sherif

Chrononauts #4 – D-
If there’s one thing Chrononauts has taught me it’s that as long as you have a time machine and some forethought, there are never any repercussions. Time machines save everything. I can’t believe this heap is going to be a movie. The only reason I don’t give Chrononauts an F is because of Sean Gordon Murphy’s art; it’s the saving grace of this series. – Scott

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Ghost Racers #1 – A
I’ll be honest; in the first few pages, I was worried this issue was going to suck. I figured it would be some sort of cliché race story with too much action and not enough plot. Despite the vast, complex world in which Robbie Reyes lives, nothing feels forced. The exposition of the world comes through very naturally and the race holds a lot of suspense, something that’s hard to do in a 2D format. I’m curious to know what Robbie’s dynamic with the rest of the racers is. It’s hinted at that he feels bad and maybe there’s some sort of kinship there, but I look forward to seeing them interact more off the track. I like Robbie a lot, but I also kind of want to see Alejandra kick his ass… Okay, I really want to see that. This is shaping up to be an awesome run for a cool comic. I can’t wait to see what’s next. – Charlotte

Silk #5 – A
Holy crap! Things got real! I love that Silk is taking no time to bring on the big reveals about what happened to Cindy’s family. The whole issue seemed that for once, Cindy was going to have a good day. And she pretty much did. Jameson was human for once. Spider-Man was a great sidekick. But the book was enveloped on darkness. And I like that element a lot. Cindy and Peter are still very funny; their humor is the best in Marvel right now. But I like that things aren’t perfect and that the world is a dark place, particularly for Cindy. The next issue going to be very crucial, and this issue was the perfect set up. This issue may have mentioned Cindy as being a B-List Hero, but I think it put her in A-List status. – Adrian

Spider-Verse #2 – B+
I loved, loved, loved everything Spider-Verse, so this mini-series has been an absolute blast after just two issues. Spider-Gwen and Peter Porker team up with several other Spider-people. We don’t know why; they don’t know why, either. All I need to know… is that, in time, we will know. Anyway, it’s fun enough just listening to the characters’ banter that I don’t need an intricate story to follow (did you know that Spider-Ham was a spider that was bitten by a radioactive pig?). Spider-Man Noir also makes an entrance after a death that came all too soon in the original Spider-Verse event, and he is a complete reflection of his time. It’s amazing. If you like Spider-Man, you’ll love the new Spider-Verse book. – Sherif

Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos #1 – B+
This one threw me for a loop, and the issue even makes fun of itself for the exact reason why I felt confused. With that being said, this was one title I was looking forward to the most in this Secret Wars event. The story by Gerry Duggan takes a turn that makes you question why on Odin’s green earth are these monsters named after Dum Dum Dugan’s old team, and why Shikla is even called Mrs. Deadpool in this, other than to have Deadpool’s name on the front. Shikla is delivering her brothers ashes across the river styx accompanied by The Howling Commandos including Frankenstein, The Living Mummy, Werewolf by Night, Man-Thing, and Marcus the Minotaur with a Symbiote who also happens to be diabetic, which leads to some jokes I appreciated being a diabetic myself. The art this issue is done by Salva Espin, and is great as his style fits the characters perfectly as he gives them the obvious scary elements, but also humanizes them as a team that fits together well, making for a solid story while also being as confusing as the hell they creeped out of. – Jacob

Inferno #2 – B+
In Inferno #2, Colossus descends, literally, into hell to rescue his sister-turned-probably-the literal-devil cementing Madelyn Prior as an ally and earning a giant bad ass demon sword. We meet Nathan, Madelyn’s son (and a nice nod to legit 80s/90s continuity), who insists on being called Cable. Madelyn agrees under duress. I know I’ve already said it, but I’m digging these X-Men continuities. I can’t help but wonder if their, so far, total lack of Professor X means that it will be a huge deal when he shows up. So far there have been 0 Xaviers, while we already have something like 7 wolverines. I’m anxious for some Charles Francis Xavier. – Montgomery

Weirdworld #1 – B
Weirdworld is weird, and I love it. With Arkon stuck on this land trying to make it back to his home, Weirdworld is not short on surprises. From Gun Ogres to Squidsharks, and even underwater apes, Arkon cannot take more than a few steps without having to fight for his life. Not only is this book captivating due to its chaotic nature and overall strangeness, but it is funny as well. There is a portion of this book, where Arkon looks at a map he has been constructing of Weirdworld, and I just about pissed by pants. Additionally, the artwork is beautiful. Some may not enjoy it due to its deviation form classic comic book art; however, I think its style works perfectly for this book. Overall, I enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading the next issue. – Evan

Marvel Zombies #1 – B-
Although this was interesting, it seemed very much more of a zombie story than a Marvel Zombie story. I wasn’t expecting much from this series, as Marvel Zombies has been going on for a while and the quality has varied extensively from volume to volume. Marvel has used a lot of lesser-known or unpopular characters in recent Marvel Zombies years by including Howard the Duck, Machine Man, Dum Dum Dugan – and in this issue’s case, Elsa Bloodstone. Elsa seems to be in command of this zombie part of Battleworld and is a badass, which is very relevant when she battles a zombie Juggernaut. Despite Elsa not being well-known, the story by Simon Spurrier is very much disconnected to Marvel with it being more focused on survival than the fact Juggernaut is a terrifying zombie, which makes Elsa a great character to introduce to people in this story. The art by Kev Walker really adds a lot to the story as there is so much detail you can almost feel the zombies in your presence, which I am not sure is a good thing. But if you are a fan of past Marvel Zombies series check this one out; otherwise, it may be one to miss. – Jacob

Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #1 – C+
It isn’t for lack of writing or bad art that I give this book an average grade. I loved the feel of the book; it was post WWII-esque, which is a time I really love reading about. The action was good, the humor was good. Carol’s interactions with her all female squadron were the best parts of the book. But I was left with way more questions than answers, which isn’t something I like coming out of an issue #1. I haven’t been keeping up with Battleworld, but I didn’t understand what time period we were in, what happened to the Carol Danvers from her latest series, what the heck was going on with the Thors, and anything about the Ultron boat. I know DeConnick and Thompson are capable writers, so I hope that the next few issues do a lot more explaining. – Adrian

Secret Wars: 2099 #2 – C
Little by little, this comic is getting a feasible plot; however, we simply aren’t there yet. With the introduction of a new super-group in this issue, perhaps bigger and better things are to come. Basically what is happening with this comic is, I find myself asking the question, “Why should I care?” and sadly, I am struggling to find an answer. There isn’t much to discuss about this issue simply because not a whole lot of meaningful context occurred. If you take the first few pages, and the last few pages, that is all that really matters. The remaining pages felt like filler in my opinion, and served little purpose outside of individual character development. Oh well, maybe next time, I guess. – Evan

Inhumans: Attilan Rising #2 – C-
The second issue of Inhumans felt a little tedious. Black Bolt owns a bar and a bunch of people are plotting Medusa’s overthrow. Matt Murdoch (what’s the value in spelling it just slightly differently?) is planning an invasion of her kingdom. It was a lot of talking heads talking a lot about almost nothing. Black Bolt’s Great Gatsby style bar isn’t too attractive an idea for me. And I suppose this is where weaknesses in the Battleworld idea show through: what exactly is most important about a character when we totally befugger their world into this new thing? How important is it to preserve a character’s character? Because sometimes it’s cool seeing a new interpretation of an old character (like Egyptian-style X-Men), but other times the interpretations just feel baffling. – Montgomery

Ultimate End #2 – C-
Idealistically, the thought of merging the Ultimate Universe and the Marvel 616-Earth is cool. There are now duplicate versions of all heroes and villains, filling holes of fallen comrades and doubling up on heroes that have taken different paths. But let’s talk, logistically, about how the hell any of this will work. Doom has willed that the Ultimates will stay in this new world, and the Thor Corps burn Hawkeye to a crisp to make their point. The rest of the issue wavers around, only pointing out how awkward everything is now that they are one. There are so many questions left unanswered with the merger of these two universes, and the sparse action isn’t enough to distract me from asking legitimate questions. – Sherif

1602: Witch Hunter Angela #1 – F
Um… What a bloody mess of a book. The artistic style was all over the place. It was never consistent and seemed to be a mash of different mediums that didn’t fit together. The dialogue was badly excited and over rote with fake sounding Shakespearean language. On top of that, the story was all over the place. I mean, at the end to the day, it is simple: Nunnary of women trained in the art of taking down witch breeds and other sinister characters. There also some sort of pagan tree enchantress. Anyway, bad art, bad dialogue, bad story. It’s not bloody worth the read in my opinion. – Jené

Funniest Panels:

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Panels with the Most Awesomeness:

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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 all the publishers for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 06-03-15

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:

Giant-Sized Little AvX #1
Giant-Sized Little AvX #1
Giant-Sized Little Marvel: AvX #1 – A+
I don’t usually judge people by their tastes in comic books, but if you picked up Little AvX and didn’t like it, then you and I can no longer be friends. Scottie Young’s Little series is the most universally enjoyable book on the shelves today. Period. Yes, it’s funny because it’s cutesy-wutesy, but there’s also some substance to the books. The story makes sense, and you don’t have to work towards figuring it all out. Plus, the whole gang is invited this time, which means Little Spider-Gwen, Little Gambit, and the most coveted of all the Littles…. DEADPOOL! Stop taking this stupid Battleworld thing so seriously, and enjoy yourself a Little fun. – Sherif

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Rat God #5 – F
Rat God finally came to an end this week and so much was revealed. Most importantly, that I really wasted my time reading this series. The story finally went somewhere, and I’ll give it this – it wrapped up in a nice enough manner for being the stupidest story ever told. I have no idea why this even took five issues. So much of this series was wasted on weird and pointless bullshit that, now that I’ve seen the conclusion, I have no idea why it was included. Here is literally all Rat God was about: a potato headed guy falls in love with a native American girl, then goes to find her after driving her away in an argument. It turns out her village is inhabited by rat-hybrid looking people (although that is never addressed) who worship a giant rat monster (how, why, or wtf are also never addressed). He wastes a lot of time, meets some elders who make no sense, almost gets sacrificed to said rat god, escapes, finds out he’s actually a member of the native American tribe, moves back to the village and becomes a polygamist mayor. This series was not at all what it was sold as and I still fail to see the point of it existing. For the record, I think I am the only human on the planet who read it and I can really see why. It’s only merits are simply that it is bizarre and it touched on native American folklore. However, it did nothing with the really cool legend it seemed to be building to. In retrospect, Rat God feels more like a literary practical joke than an actual miniseries. – Keriann

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Bizarro #1- A
Well, this book sure stinks! Me never like Bizarro as good as Superman, and me really love Superman! So this book absolute worst DC book to be released after Convergence…. Oh sorry there I was blasted by a Bizarro ray and my backwards self was writing there. Anyway, this issue is the first ongoing DC comic I have read in awhile. This isn’t because I dislike DC by any means, but there was just nothing I could really grasp onto character-wise besides Batman, who is kind of his own entity. However, when Bizarro #1 was announced I freaked, then read it and then freaked out ten times more. The issue starts with Bizarro and Jimmy from the Daily Planet going on a road trip to take Bizarro to Canada, as America is sick of him accidently destroying everything. In this adventure, Bizarro brings along his pet and partner, Colin the Chupacabra, as if they needed me to like this story anymore. These three end up crashing the car in Smallville and having to get it repaired at the weirdest Egyptian themed car dealership around. Not only does Jimmy almost get tricked into buying a car, but the dealer gets tricked into being taken over by aliens and forcing everyone but Bizarro feel the need to buy a car. Will Bizarro’s backwards mind be oblivious to the mind control and will Bizarro be able to save Smallville without destroying everything in the process? Tune in next month for issue #2 and part 5 of 6 in this Bizarro series… oh I mean part 2 of 6… Sorry Bizarro Jacob got on again. – Jacob

Justice League #41 – A-
So much just happened! Everybody is so SCREWED! It only took one episode for so many bad things to happen at once. The issue starts a bit slowly, with Lashina (one of Darkseid’s Furies), and Kanta (some guy with horns) searching for Myrina Black. Myrina Black is the mother of the weird looking Daughter of Darkseid from issue #40. Well, anyway, they are just going around trying to kill everybody named Myrina Black (by using Google or some shit?) and that gets the attention of the Justice League. Oh, and the daughter of Darkseid and said Myrina Black, Grail, hops out of The Flash’s mouth and starts kicking everybody’s ass. Mister Miracle is in there, too, for a while. Simply put, this issue was a whirlwind of WTFs and OMGs. All I know is that this Darkseid War is going to have the most grand-scale story we’ve seen in Justice League so far. – Sherif

Bat-Mite #1- B+
I gotta say that when I saw this on my list of things to review, I had a Karl Malone reaction. What da heck? But after reading it, my opinion was definitely changed. This book has a small amount of action and wasn’t very long but it was hilarious. It has a sort of Deadpool feel that pokes more fun at the world we live in today than anything. I couldn’t see this being interesting beyond the six or so issue run this is apparently getting, but it is worth a read. – Robert

Lobo #7 – B
Ok, Lobo is getting better from where it first started out when it came back. Lobo is really taking a “don’t F with me” approach to things, which is nice. The series is getting violent, which is right where it should be. For example, you can find Lobo exploding one head of a Siamese-twin alien prostitute, leaving the other head to go on about their business is fantastic. Lobo has now been hired as a lead assassin of sorts of a larger group. He’s still on the mission to find who wanted Earth and Czarnia destroyed. Next time around it looks Lobo is going to the hunted, by a group of alien bounty hunters it looks like. Bring it on! – Scott

Batman Beyond #1 – B-
I was shocked that the first page showed a man being decapitated by The Jokerz; this is not the kid’s cartoon from my childhood. In fact, there is near nothing about this comic series that resembles the TV series. Terry McGinnis is dead, and Tim Drake is now Batman. Matt McGinnis lives with a woman named Nora Boxer, Barbara Gordon and Max Gibson are stuck in a place called The Lodge, and the world, other than Gotham, is absolutely destroyed. I felt there wasn’t a fair enough explanation for all the changes, and was disappointed in The Jokerz motive for destroying Gotham (wah, we are the only ones alive! wahhhhhh). But I was impressed with the art and the use of the word “schway,” so I’ll give it a chance. – Adrian

Green Lantern #41 – B-
I’ll be honest, I have not read an issue of GL since Geoff Johns left after issue #18. I’ve found the series meandering around the same pseudo-Star Wars B.S. for over 20 issues. I figure that the end of the monstrosity that was Convergence met a whole new era of material, and so I figured checking out Green Lantern once more was worth a shot. Good call on my part! Right away, I was drawn to this Han Solo-esque Hal Jordan, who is living on the run due to some “disagreement” with the Corps. He rescues a guy named Virgo from this intergalactic gladiator arena. Thinking about it now, there wasn’t much story, but it was in what was shown than what was told. The Lantern Corps is no more and I need to know why! Also, Alex Sinclair’s (usually works with Jim Lee) epic color work makes everything look better. If you’re a long-lost GL fan, this is a pretty good jumping on point. – Sherif

Wonder Woman Annual #1 – B-
While I enjoyed both the nonlinear structure and LGBT representation in this comic, it tended to be a little confusing at times.  It took a little more time than usual to connect the dots, which is not a bad thing, but even after stitching everything together, there still seemed to be some missing pieces. This definitely isn’t a comic you want to jump into the world of Wonder Woman with. I liked Hippolyta’s backstory not only because it provided some clarity on who the crone was in the first part of the comic (if it was Derinoe), but also gave greater historical context. I’m also always super pleased to see DC getting into the diversity game and their romance felt very organic to me, rather than overdone. I eagerly await more on Derinoe’s storyline. – Charlotte

Midnighter #1 – C+
This comic had both positives and negatives for me this week. Positive, watching Midnighter kick ass in the restaurant was about as much badassery I could handle for one day, especially with the compliment of the smaller panels showing the carnage, Mortal Kombat style. However, the smaller panels placed throughout the entirety of the comic book made it difficult to visually read and caused a distraction. Overall, I am very interested in Midnighter as a character. I’m not quite sure on the story line yet, but I believe with time to evolve and grow, this could turn out to be a decent book. – Evan

Omega Men #1 – C+
Two disclaimers for ya’ll: I knew nothing about Omega Men before I read this issue, and this is not the book for everyone. That being said, I did enjoy it. So why the average score? Yeah, it’s just not the book for everyone. I did like the minimal dialogue and the use of the same dialogue over and over. It forced me to study the art and the meaning of the dialogue more than I typically do in a comic. If there weren’t so many mentions of the Lanterns, I would have thought this was an Image title, especially because of the violence. I hope more is explained in the near future. – Adrian

Green Arrow #41 – C-
This is the start of a three-book story arc, so I wasn’t expecting much. I’m not sure who this new villain is supposed to be; he seems new, but he reminds me of a racist version of Morpheus from the old Spider-Man cartoon. I’m not sure where they are going to go with this plotline as almost nothing of importance happened, but it seems like something is being setup that could have an effect on more than just this book. I’m interested to see where this goes. – Robert

IDW Publishing: 

Samurai Jack #20 – A
In this last issue of Samurai Jack, we get a pretty good ending, but it also leaves it open to new animation or comics if we bug IDW enough. This series did give some closure to fans of the classic animated series and allowed many of us to see characters we loved and thought we may never see again. Props to IDW and Cartoon Network for bringing us this awesome series! For this last issue, we get a great tribute to the incredibly talented Mako, who voiced Aku for the original series. A scribe travels around the world collecting stories about Jack, and trying to find someone who has actually met him and may even know where he is. This issue covers a lot of what went on in this series with flashbacks and old friends showing up and plenty of great references to the show including Jack as King. More than anything, this issue is a loving tribute to everything that encompassed Jack and the art is no different. This time we have writer Jim Zub and artist Andy Suriano. They have a great tribute in the back from the creators of this series, describing their experience working on Jack and assuring us they are just as big of fans as anyone reading. Because of these creators, this series captured the heart and soul of the show. I can only hope someday we will get more, or at least an actual final ending to the series. In the meantime, issue #20 of Samurai Jack is the best ending we have or could possibly get. That is, unless that movie we were promised ten years ago finally happens. – Jacob

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutanimals #4 – B
As a long time TMNT fan and knowing this was the last issue of Mutanimals, I had some pretty big fears going in. After all, their last series ended with none if them really surviving. From the beginning, this series proved to be much different than its previous Archie incarnation, from the characters involved to even the sex of the main villain, Null. With the changes came a pretty enjoyable story and lots more of Herman the hermit crab, which is always a plus. This being the last issue, we obviously get to see the big battle with Null and taking down her company. While Old Hob takes care of Null herself, the rest of the crew take out any guards of opposition making their way into the heart of the company. After ground rules are set and the team departs the battlefield, friendships become stronger, the team grows larger and all of a sudden this team becomes a family. Definitely a much lighter turn than the last series. This series also solidified the Mutanimals as a force for good despite never really knowing about Old Hob. Paul Allor wrote again for this issue, ending us on a somber and sweet note. This ending left things WIDE open for more, which was kind of upsetting to know we only get one story of this series when it is just begging for more. However, I am sure we will see them all a bunch in the regular, ongoing TMNT book. We have Andy Kuhn doing the art again for this issue. Although I tend to prefer a lot more details in my comic art, Kuhn still has a wonderful style. His art is a very welcome addition to the awesome talent we have seen from TMNT and its mini-series. Hopefully more TMNT starts soon as way too much stuff ended this week or is ending soon. Anyone down for a Herman the Hermit Crab mini-series? – Jacob

Image Comics:

Big Man Plans #3 – A+
I have thoroughly enjoyed the previous two issues in this series, but this one is by far my favorite. Eric Powell and Tim Wiesch do such an incredible job with making Big Man horrifying, disgusting, lovable, and someone you feel so bad for. All of the flashbacks are so amazing, and the juxtaposition between the violent and brutal things Big Man is doing now and the abuse and bullying he had to suffer through as as child give the story and characters so much depth. When I reached the last page of Big Man Plans #3 for the first time I was so on the edge of my seat I hated the realization that I’d have to wait one more month to see what is going to happen next. Big Man is going on a complete rampage of revenge and while it started out vague now every move he makes is so much more purposeful and I find myself rooting for him so much more. This issue was gruesome, but Big Man is such a captivating character that even when he does rip apart a man’s head and face with a pair of pliers, you still feel like he is doing the right thing. He would never have been this way if the world hadn’t been so cruel to him, and he’s not a bad man. He does the right things for the right people and just really makes those who make poor choices suffer. This series just gets better and better with each issue. I’m very excited to read the final issue next month, and a little disappointed that it will be my last. – Keriann

Autumnlands Tooth and Claw #6 – B-
In the sixth issue, the human hero meets with the bison in a parley, and there’s betrayal. Then there’s intrigue, and then there’s more betrayal. I’m not sure if I’ve been kicked in the face by a horse lately, or if I got in the way of a sperm whale while it was hunting (their echo-location clicks carry the force of being kicked by a horse. LOOK IT UP), but I feel like this is the first issue where I’ve really noticed Kurt Busiek is the writer. Which is insane: I always look at the creative team because that biz is important. But I feel like we’ve entered the Busiek Problem Zone (really, we entered it like 2 or 3 issues ago) in which Tooth and Claw has established a sort of holding pattern where things happen in the story, but at the same time nothing’s really happening. I mean, stuff does happen at the end, but I feel like the amount of buildup vs. payoff should have really been trimmed down into an issue or two. This should be issue 4, not issue 6. It’s the same kind of thing that made Astro City sort of a drag back inna day. But the art’s still gorgeous. Unparalleled really. – Montgomery

Nailbiter #13 – B-
I still enjoy Nailbiter, but I am kind of over the big secret being dragged out so long. I suppose I will have to wait until an important issue number for the reveal to happen, but every month we get teased that so-and-so doesn’t know the “truth” and every month just a little more gets revealed, but not enough for the reader to be able to form any opinion of their own. Now that I have ranted, I still think this was a good read. I like the flashbacks; finding out that Crane dug Nailbiter more than he dug her was a little shocking. And we can now figure who the WTF killer is, so there is that. I hope this book picks up soon! – Adrian

The Covenant #1 – D
I didn’t know what I was getting into when I signed up to read Covenant, but I didn’t care for it at all. I mean the history if the Arc of the Covenant is fascinating, and the fact that there is a comic book exploring the history and the myth is pretty cool. But, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I might read a couple more issues to get a sense of the characters as there was a lot introduced in a short amount of space. Maybe it’ll have an interesting plot and character development. However, it did not grip me in the least and left me rather board by the time I read the last panel. I’m sure someone will get enjoyment out of it. It’s by no means it badly written, it’s not something I care to read about. – Jené

The Empty #4 – D
From complete disaster to miracle worker, The Empty has done a complete 180 in about five pages. We last saw three of group horribly-impaled by giant bug spikes. Assuredly something would happen to make sure the main characters didn’t all die off in one issue, but I wasn’t suspecting such a turn around so quickly. I figured bring people back to life would take more than a tear. Now everyone can talk to each other without problem, the giant bugs are really forgiving and Lila can cure any wound. It’s too strange that everything just changed for the better all at once. I thought that the ending to the previous issue had written the series into a corner and I think I was right. The creator had to get himself out of a bad situation quickly. It was all just too convenient for me. – Scott

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Darth Vader #6 – A
It’s always nice when a comic book can be primarily character and plot development with a very small amount of action and still be compelling. The Emperor has shown his displeasure in Lord Vader by hiring Cylo to train potential replacements. The twins have been trained and designed for the last twenty years, which tells us The Emperor never had a lot of faith in Vader. The most important part of this issue comes at the end. Boba Fett reveals to Vader the name of the young boy who destroyed the Death Star, Skywalker. It’s the first time Vader realizes his child survives. Oh and don’t think I missed the Warhammer 40k reference, Mr. Gillen. – Scott

X-Tinction Agenda #1 – A
I hate on continuity, but my love of X-Men is partly responsible. They just totally burnt me out with so many c-c-c-c-combo breaker events one right after the other (not necessarily in order): The Phalanx, Onslaught, Age of Apocalypse (probably my favorite), that guy Bastion and his kooky sentinels, curing the legacy virus… I know there are others. There have to be. It got to the point that when Grant Morrison finished his run on New X-Men that I walked away. “Nothing can top it,” I thought and so I stopped reading comics for years. Nevertheless, X-Men events are my absolute favorites, and so the great thing about Battleworld and the X-Men is that all their books are essentially held in suspension, like perpetual in medias res. And given that I had a bad addiction to anything with an X on the cover (and the 90s and early 2000s took advantage of that boy howdy), any X event that’s perpetually in progress is speaking my changuage. X-tinction Agenda is therefore just that: the original X-Tinction Agenda’s resolution could never come because the people living in X-Tinction’s zone are stricken with an unnamed plague (my guess is Legacy virus) and the neighboring X zones refuse help because they fear contamination. Doom (who is super racist b-t-dubs) even refuses help for fear of spreading this virus. It was a good read with the opening flashback featuring artwork designed to look like an old 90s X-Men comic. I was fully on board. – Montgomery

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6 – A-
This issue was laugh-out-loud from start to finish. Hippo the Hippo. Kick Butts and Eat Nuts. Girl Squirrel. All the puns and funnies had me doubled over. We found out some very important information about Doreen’s crush, how the squirrel suit really works, and that Chuck X. Avier is just a regular human. I absolutely adore the banter that goes on in this series. It really isn’t about people who can talk to animals; it is about people who are really awkward, and that is ok. Also, the reason this book got an “A” from me is because of the very sly Buffy reference. You know I have to give it major props for that. – Adrian

Years of Future Past#1 – B+
The world of Days of Future Past has stalled long enough that Kitty and Collosus had a daughter, and Wolverine and who knows had a son. Most mutants are dead or living in internment camps with Wolverine and his son being two of the few left roaming the outside world while the mutants on the inside (led by Magneto) plot their escape. I liked this book, and this isn’t a criticism of this book, but I can’t help but wonder what the significance of any one character’s life is. I think this is the 4th Wolverine I’ve seen, and while Beast was mourning the death of Piotr in X-Tinction Agenda’s X City, I’ve seen 3 other Piotrs wandering around. I guess because Battleworld was built specifically to have the entire universe in a continuity, and all the characters are aware of the other zones, I don’t understand how I’m supposed to feel about these multiple iterations, what they feel about themselves, and what that means in the grand scheme of things. Definitely a criticism against the Battleworld idea, but not this book specifically. – Montgomery

Secret Wars #3 – B+
Secret Wars keeps delivering. Battleworld seems to be in full effect or nearing full effect, and we’re already getting answers about why it is what it is. Why Doom is god; why there seem to be all these estranged vaguely Eastern European feeling subcontinents; why only some heroes seem present (i.e. there’s Susan, but where’s Reed?); why Strange would be Doom’s whipping boy. It’s a pretty cool event book in a way that I wouldn’t have predicted. There’s a silly pathos moment with Doom, and I ultimately don’t know how feasible the explanation for Battleworld’s construction can actually be, but Secret Wars is making me feel interested in the characters and their new inventive connections. – Montgomery

Superior Iron Man #9 – B
We’ve hit a point of no return for Tony Stark. The Extemis armor has made him Superior, yes, but also a complete dickhead with no remaining sense of compassion or humanity. Pepper Potts has tried to do what she could to destroy his armor, rehabilitate the monster Tony’s become, but ends up falling short in the worst way. There’s gotta be some bit of humanity in there, but by the end of the episode, Tony becomes everybody’s worst nightmare. The issue has one of the best fight scenes of the week, and has enough action to keep readers engaged, but it’s the dialog that makes you realize how lost Tony is in all of this. The issue ends predictably, with Tony alone, with a bottle. This can’t be good… – Sherif

Future Imperfect #1 – B
I really enjoyed reading this comic. Although the story line may be a bit misguided and rushed, it is forgiven due to the action and overall badassness of everything. And if I could only say one thing about this comic, it would be this; The Maestro is one bad dude…and I love it. Honestly I’m pretty excited to see how this story line progresses simply due to the exciting panels to come. Not all comic books need to be heavy on story with intellectual undertones and motifs; sometimes all you want to see is two people punching each other in the face over and over again. I believe this comic is going to be one of the latter, and I am okay with it. I’m excited to see the next issue where hopefully Maestro will battle “The Boss.” – Evan

Groot #1 – B
(A) This first issue of Groot was spectacular. Despite his use of only three words, there was plenty of dialogue from Rocket and the many people they encounter in this first issue. Rocket and Groot are trying to escape their bounties and in the process cause even more trouble by breaking their ship, hitchhiking and having to battle space sharks. They wind up hitchhiking again with a bunch of Skrulls and saving a diner from a robbery. Later on, you could even say they kill Marvel’s Superman by stealing the ship they sent Kal-El to Earth in right before the planet blew up. After all this, they end up being found by Eris, an evil space pirate trying to make money off of Groot’s Bounty. This issue is, of course, the major set up for this series and it definitely led into it with a very good story by Jeff Loveness. Brian Kesinger is an amazing (usually steampunk) artist and former Disney author and animator, which is VERY apparent in his art and style. This style fits the Groot book perfectly, though. It really grinds in the point that Groot and Rocket can totally be cute and cuddly, but when it comes down to it, you would not want either of them close to you, at least if you like living a long, healthy life. I look forward to seeing how this story could tie into Secret Wars and when we will actually get these two to show up in the current running Battleworld universe. – Jacob

(C+) I’m not sure what I was expecting with this comic. The humor is there but the jokes get more of a chuckle and less of a gut bust. A lot of it is more short clips of the dynamic duo’s shenanigans which was fine and dandy but makes the comic read more like a kids book and less like a story you would expect with trash-talking Rocket in the mix. Maybe that was their goal, as Groot is a more PG character, but it doesn’t seem to be marketed as such. If you ask me, this comic is playing it a little too safe. It’s not a bad issue by any means, and I look forward to seeing what the next issue has for its readers, but it could use a little more grit. – Charlotte

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1 – B-
This book is supposed to give fans that were upset at the continuity change of Peter’s marriage to MJ some closure. I don’t know if that is what you will get out of this, but I took away a new perspective on Peter Parker and his role as Spider-Man. It always seems like no matter how bad his life gets, he is never willing to give up on the Spider-Man persona. This book really goes to show how far Spider-Man is willing to go when pushed, and he doesn’t respond in the ways you might think. Also this issue had eight variant covers, and I am particularly fond of the Skottie Young variant. – Robert

Secret Wars: Battleworld #2 – C+
Is there some rule with these Battleworld anthologies that they have to have one good story and one subpar story packaged with each other? The first story is an almost uncomfortably Blaxploitation 70’s style Blade hunting vampires through New Quack City (the Duck Distritct, duh doi) and runs into a duck Drakula and Howard the Duck. The whole thing hovers on the edge of uncomfortable stereotypes (I mean, not all New Yorkers are ducks), but it felt fun and like a genuine artifact of 1977. The second one was an arena full of dafuqs; War Machine fighting zombies in an arena organized by Taskmaster, and there’s a mention of “Steve Rogers and his giant T-Rex.” But mostly, War Machine wants revenge for the death of his daughter. It mostly felt cluttered and hard to decipher, both in terms of who was who and what I needed to be caring about. But the Howard one was fun… Oh, and can we talk about the cover teaser for the next Battleworld? In the middle of this issue, there was a caged zombie Sabretooth, and that made me think of Wolverine’s death and now how thanks to Battleworld not only is Wolverine not dead, but there are more than ever before. It made me hope there’s a Wolverine comic titled something like Too Many Wolverines where the title is a word balloon coming out of Don Knott’s mouth. Well, the cover for Battleworld #3 is plastered with Wolverines. Not quite the Too Many, but knowing someone somewhere anticipated my desires made me happy. – Montgomery

All-New X-Men #41 – C+
This series has been one of my favorites of the past few years, and I’m sad that it’s coming to an end soon. At first, I thought bringing back the original X-Men to the current day was an odd, recycled way to reintroduce the characters – and for some of the series, it has been. Overall, though, it’s breathing new life into these characters whose mutations, evolutions, and personal growth have rendered them unrecognizable as the faces of human struggle that X-Men books have been so well heralded for. Their naivety allows them to ask the questions about social inequality that have made them so relatable in the first place. So, I love this book. I may not have loved this issue specifically, but I’ll weep for the series when it’s all over. – Sherif

Armor Wars #1 – C
When I first heard about this book, I was pretty excited; however, after the first issue, it’s safe to say my excitement has dropped somewhat. I really didn’t find anything special or overly interesting about this issue. Yes, it is a cool concept that all the people of Technopolis must wear a suit of armor in order to simply survive, and we get glimpses of some of our favorite heroes wearing some badass suits; yet, that is about all we saw. With Iron Man being the Baron of Technopolis, and having watch over the city for Dr. Doom’s sake, this task may not be so easy with his brother, Arno, questing for power. One thing which will allow me to move onto the next issue is seeing James Rhodes as Thor in the “next time,” advertisement in the back of the book. Cape + suit of armor + awesome hammer = potential for awesome panels with the slight chance of a huge let down. Let’s hope not! – Evan


Funniest Panel:

 

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Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

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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 all the publishers for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 05-27-15

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:

Deadly Class #13 review
Deadly Class #13 review
Deadly Class #13 – A+
Sweet baby Jesus, this book is so good. It puts readers in a constant manic state, thanks to the onslaught of violence and rage, but it is the much deeper layer of violence and rage that I really latch on to. Seriously, the whole off-campus adventure is one of the most heart-pounding, frightening and enthralling stories I’ve ever read. There is some major depth to it, too. Each character has their own complex backstory, and makes difficult decisions based off those decisions. In this issue, it’s all about Maria. The inner turmoil she has while getting revenge for her parents’ deaths is beautifully converted into each panel, and not enough can be said about the superb pencil work by Wes Craig or the apropos colors by Lee Loughridge. The end of this one will through readers for a loop, though. I’d put it on the level of Batman #40 the way I had to reread the last few pages and make sure I understood the situation correctly. Who would have thought that the most dangerous place for the students isn’t the streets, but the academy itself. – Sherif

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Fight Club 2 #1 – B
Forgive me for being skeptical, but usually when books, TV shows, etc. are continued in a comic book medium, they… suck (that’s right, Dark Horse, I’m looking at you for Buffy). That doesn’t seem to be the case here; Fight Club was a terrific book and movie that seems to translate very well into comic book form. Sebastian is a very boring man, his urge to suppress Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) from making him do all types of ill shit. With a failing marriage and reliance on pills, Sebastian is close to the breaking point when it comes to medication. We’re all hoping that he gets one eensy push into insanity. The scale of events in Fight Club 2 look to be much grander than the first book. There’s enough of familiarities and differences between the first book and this one to keep new readers engaged and old ones satisfied. – Sherif

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Convergence – Justice Society of America #2 – B+
The old men got their youth back! I really liked the concept – the Justice Society of America are now like a bunch of retired cops; they are old, they get coffee together, and they talk about their glory days. But on this particular day, they didn’t just talk about the glory days; they relived them. The appreciation of their strong minds and strong bodies was evident. Most people will never get to do what they did, much less be a superhero one last time. This was a fun read, and my favorite series out of all the Convergence stories. – Adrian

Convergence: Shazam #2 – B+
Ok, this was a lot fun. Shazam is fighting a giant robot controlled by a tiny worm, who was also controlling a bunch of early 1900’s versions of Batman villains?! I love the old school touch to these comics. The art is absolutely fantastic. Now there may not have been a whole lot going on in these issues, they’ve seemed pretty inconsequential, but they were a lot of fun. I really like Batman flying a small dirigible. Naturally, Billy and the gang wins and all is right for Fawcett City. SHAZAM! – Scott

Suiciders #4 – B-
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’ve lost interest in this book, but I’m starting to see through the vail of the story a bit. Lee Bermejo’s art is still magnificent, especially when the story is focused on the arena fighting, which this issue gets a heavy double-dose of. We continue to switch between the present and the past, a method that helps connect the big players of the games, and how the situation in New Angeles came to be about. However, since the debut, I feel that Suiciders has largely undelivered on that plane, and instead focuses on this conspiracy that surrounds Savior. I don’t doubt that this will tie back into how New Angeles came to be, but there is just too much forced mystery getting in the way of great art and story potential. – Sherif

Convergence – Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters #2 – C+
The last Convergence – Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters was pretty good, so I was a little disappointed that this issue focused more on how the Nazis can get one over on the good ole Americans and then not be able to get one over on the good ole Americans. The best part of this issue was the updated version of the old newspaper print. It wasn’t part of the paper, like it used to be, but added as a kind of homage to the tales of yore. It is an enjoyable book, but with the updated art, I figured the storyline would be updated too (beyond robots). – Adrian

Convergence #8 – C-
Convergence has been kind of problematic from the start. It feels similar to Homer Simpson’s float: he drives an automatronic float onto the field featuring a man with a college sweater whipping another person on all fours wearing fetish gear. As the crowd hisses and boos, he shouts back, “Bear with me for a moment! There’s a lot of symbolism!” That feels like my experience with Convergence. Here in the final episode, Brainiac (who’s now good? Or at least not-bad?) just deus ex machinas the shit out of everything with the explicit promise of “returning the multiverse to the way it was before the first crisis.” What does that mean? Are we now back in 1986 DC? Pre-Flashpoint? Events like these are what actually drove me out of cape books 15 years ago: we promise something epic, but really, the “epic” is just an excuse to return things to normal. This, the eighth and final issue of Convergence, was a letdown in multiple ways. 1. I read it in probably five minutes; 2. It half-a-nips us with some tantalizing ideas (like Brainiac evolving alongside the monitors) that I feel it should have been delivering on earlier; 3. The ending is very underwhelming. Essentially, the walk away is a guy we never cared about (Telos) remembering his real name (the significance of which is kept hidden from us, as well as what his name is), and then an ending shot of a smiling grandma. Smiling grandmas giving the thumbs up are how you know your heroes saved the world from unremitting horror. – Montgomery

IDW Publishing: 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #46 – A
This issue of TMNT is filled with so much story development and dialogue, you almost have to read it twice in one sitting before taking it all in! Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow and Tom Waltz are definitely bringing their A game to this current arc, which scared fans half to death with the fear of killing off Donatello (I even knew people who stopped reading al together…buncha drama llamas). By having Donnie’s mind transferred to Metalhead, they’re actually borrowing from the old Image Comics run where Donatello became a cyborg. This issue starts with Donnie treating himself in an out-of-body experience, and teaching the others. Angel and Alopex make their way to Casey’s only to find Hun there being his normal drunk idiot self. Karai takes charge of the Foot clan, Metalhead Donnie and Fugitoid discuss being sentient minds in robot bodies, and Mikey take a pizza break with his pal Woody before setting out to find the Mutanimals. April finds an ancient text that likely is foreshadowing something terrible that will happen soon, Baxter and Shredder tighten their friendship for whats to come, and Hun decides to start a war…whew those are the basics AND only the basics of what happens. See why I said it was packed with story? I feel like I read all of war and peace within 30 or so pages. But every word was great and progressed the story tremendously. The art, of course, is on par with Mateus Santolouco’s usual genius, as he is back at the drawing table for this arc, which has me excited for the giant #50 and what will come in that! – Jacob

The Fly: Outbreak #3 – A
Well, I think I finally have this series figured out: it has absolutely horrible characters, it’s choppy and lacks a good flow but it has really amazing artwork and a genuinely scary story. Maybe it’s because seeing the movie as a kid fucking traumatized me, but an outbreak of the monsters from The Fly sounds just god damn terrifying. Martin is such a whiny emo douche that it is basically impossible to root for him as the good guy. I get it, it’s all you fault, stop crying about it and move on. But I haven’t stuck it out with this series because I care about what happens to the people in this book; I keep reading because it’s genuinely haunting, and a great horror/sci-fi crossover. The latest issue really pushed the story forward with the monsters hatching and breaking out of the quarantine facility. I imagine from here things can only get more horrific and now more than I ever I am glad I gave this series a shot. – Keriann

Infinite Loop #2 – C
The sequence feels a bit off in this book and less natural than the first one. It almost feels like there should have been a book before to help transition the narrative. I would have liked to see more of how Ano is affecting a switch in the perception of Teddy’s world. Teddy was pretty adamant about maintaining the order of her world. More so than her friend, Ulysses. Instead, the story jumps from Teddy finding the anomaly that is Ano and then suddenly they’re running away from the icky people who irradiate the anomalies. The villains come off as a little too over the time and we don’t get enough time with the wise old man at her hideaway. It’s clear that it’s love at first sight and she plans to save the girl. We still don’t know who she is or where she’s from even though the woman seems to be aware of what’s going on. Despite the jagged nature and the story holes, I was still enjoyed the story. It’s something different that speaks to that annoying romantic side of me. I still want to root for their infatuation and hope that they find their bliss in the end. – Jené

October Faction #7 – C-
Issue after issue of October Faction, I tune in, hoping to fall in love. This week, I think I’ve finally decided to give up. Steve Niles is a great writer and is responsible for some of my favorite series, but this is not the one for me. The story has yet to really take off, and while each character has their own charm I am just not feeling them the way I probably should be. Each issue revolves so much more around family quirkiness than actual story action that even now by issue #7 I have no idea what the overarching storyline for this series is. Way too little attention is paid to what is going on around the characters so it almost feels like there is no real story at all. The werewolf, Lucas, has cancer in his human form but can live healthily as a werewolf. That problem has a pretty easy solution so theres no real drama there. Dante was a bad guy, the very bad guy responsible for the wife being hospitalized in the first issue but now he’s a member of the family. I know this last issue tried to end on a cliffhanger, but it flopped. I highly doubt the local sheriff is much of a threat to a supernatural family of monster hunters. As much as I hate to say it, October Faction may just be kind of a dud. – Keriann

Image Comics:

Postal #4 – A+
Postal seems to alternate a lot between stronger and weaker issues. Lucky for us, this month was one of the strong ones. Overall the series is pretty darn great, but I am especially pleased with this one because it gave me that great feeling I got when I finished the first issue. At this point I’m really pleased with where the story is going, it is not at all predictable and really enthralling. I think this issue stood out so much because it was really heavy on characterization. This is the first issue I’ve given a crap about Maggie and I honestly really started to like her. Mark’s mom is fearsome, but also kind of awesome in that evil Mallory Archer sort of way. Mark is so lovable, and he became even more endearing with the story about when he was a little boy and hid in a hole all night waiting for his mom to find him after being beat up. Not only that, but he also became kind of badass when he hunted down all the people who hurt him. Overall, I think this series has some of the best writing and is one of the top crime books out right now. – Keriann

Material #1 – B-
(B) I had to go over and over this one, both while I was reading and once I was finished. I kept trying to wrap my head around it; was this book super deep and it just went over my head? In all honesty, the jury is still out on that one. Perhaps I should clarify; Material does not follow a direct plot line and instead jumps from place to place, person to person, conversation to conversation. Some of it touches on things that are very real in our world: there are direct quotes for Darren Wilson’s deposition, some of it follows a survivor of Guantanimo Bay and what his life has been reduced to, and some of it follows a young black men being held by white police officers for being a peaceful protester during a riot. But some of it follows a professor who is supposedly being contacted by the first real AI in existence because it wants to prove a point to him. So basically, just when I thought I was really getting the gist of it I was thrown a curve ball. I enjoy the artwork and the writing is thoroughly well done, so even through the confusion it was an enjoyable read. I have to say that I do really hope the second issue pushes out at least a little more structure because I would like to keep up with this series, but I fear I will lose interest if I keep feeling like I’m missing something. – Keriann

(C) Well that was weird. Overall, I appreciate the interesting concept behind this book; however, I am not certain it is enough to hold my interest as time progresses. Following four different stories which may or may not be connected is somewhat cool; yet, several stories stick with you more than others. And let’s be honest, it’s clever leaving your readers with four cliff hangers compared to just one, very clever. I understand how this book attempts to be “deep” and introspective, yet somehow it somewhat comes off as hipster-ish. I am still deciding if that is a negative or not. Either way, it’s a coin flip if I will be reading the next issue or not, just depends on how interesting my Wednesday is that week. – Evan

Invisible Republic #3 – B-
(B) This book is still proving to be an intriguing one. It’s fast paced and yet not at the same time. Not much really happened in this book. The Croger finally has claim to the mysterious journal of Arthur’s cousin and we still don’t understand why it’s so important.  Only that she’s related to this famous “freedom” fighter that is still famous. Back in time the Arthur and his cousin have split up. It is interesting because I think in the last panel it hint to something that will prove to a very interesting reveal. I think she has more to do with this concept of an “invisible” republic than just a bystander in her cousin’s story. The art is dark and gritty and has an edge to it I really appreciate or maybe strong is a better word for the art. Anyway, I’m bummed I have to wait so long for the next few pages. – Jené

(C) So far, Invisible Republic is hit and miss. Issue three was essentially one long chase sequence, in both flashback and current time. Croger doesn’t do anything except lose his bag and get it back after chasing the man who was going to drop him off a ledge. The story between Arthur and Maia is a little dramatic, which is to be expected after Arthur finds out Maia didn’t deal with her problem. But the rest of the issue is them running from the police only to be forcefully separated from each other. Now Maia is on her own with no one else. Here’s hoping there’s more substance next time. – Scott

Sons of the Devil #1 – C+
Well, the book title definitely is reflected in the panels. I always appreciate some mystery in my comics, and I believe this book has enough to keep my interest. Following Tyler and his journey for answers seems to be one he may not be ready for. With a life full of anger, violence, and confusion, Tyler needs to make some major changes, and do some major soul searching before he becomes a devil himself. There are so many questions I have and the only thing I truly hope is that the answers to these questions don’t turn out to be stupid. I have a fear this book will turn out like so many I’ve ready before, where the ending simply turns out to be stupid and I feel like I’ve wasted my time. Yet, I have hope for this book, and I believe good things will come from watching devils. – Evan

Providence #1 – D
The first issue of Providence was not at all what I was hoping for. The whole thing moved really slowly and bordered on full-blown unreadable. Alan Moore writes fantastic dialogue, but the overall plot was too far hidden behind the nice linguistics. From what the story FINALLY eluded to, in the very end of the book where you have to decipher three pages of hand scrawled journal entries, there could be something very interesting and dark here. The idea of books that cause people to kill themselves after they read them an intriguing idea, and so is the theory that all of America is built on each individuals lies. In all honesty I’m pretty sure this series will end up being really good, but I don’t like that I’m sold on it out of blind confidence in the writer and subject matter as opposed to what I saw on paper. – Keriann

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Inhumans: Atillan Rising #1 – A
Wow. This is a number one. Right out of the gate legitimately cool stuff is going down: a ’40s gangster looking Ghost Rider called G-Man invades The Greenlands (I’m thinking essentially Planet Hulk) with a mist designed to give the hulks back their intelligence. The Thors Corp (sticking with the vaguely Nazi imagery that Doom is playing with, they’re like Hitler’s SS) show up and wreck everyone’s junk. The art is crisp and stylized with gorgeous thick black lines, and immediately we get a sense of how this world works: political intrigue, awesome Ghost Riders, a bizarre array of hulks, and good ol’ Manhattan. – Montgomery

Old Man Logan #1 – A-
(A) Before picking up this series, I suggest picking up the original 2009 Old Man Logan as this issue seems to take place very soon after the last series ended; plus, the original series is by far one of the best Wolverine stores of all time, written by the awesome Mark Millar. This time, Marvel brought in another seasoned and well-liked writer to helm the new series, Brian Michael Bendis. The biggest thing that may have fans of the original a bit wary of is the art by Andrea Sorrentino (I, Vampire and Green Arrow), as it is drastically different from the original run, but it does separate this as its only solo story and if you don’t think every panel done by Sorrentino is gorgeous and worthy of framing, you are likely blind. The actual story for this issue was great, but lacked explanation for a many things and the ending left me rather confused at what exactly is going on. All we know is that Old Man Logan is brutal – like Sabretooth on PCP brutal – while still being the good father to the Hulk Baby he took in from the original series. I just love this universe so much it is hard to take even the largest flaw and say it makes this issue bad, but I am lucky that it is no where near being bad and is actually the best and most interesting title from Secret Wars to me at the current moment. – Jacob

(B+) I’m sold on the pure chaos in this book. Although not much happened, what did occur was enough to hold my interest and bring me back to the next issue of the comic. It’s nice to see Logan being Logan – keeping his murder game strong. Perhaps what I liked most about this book was how thematically reflective it was of Logan’s overall life: very dull, gloomy, little hope, and pure determination. These themes were so evident throughout the entire story, from the interactions with the goons wearing the Daredevil suit, Gladiator and his son, and all the way through Emma Frost. I’m interested to see where Logan’s journey will take him in this new world. With straight determination but unclear guidance, I suspect Logan’s journey with be once full of pain. Awesome. – Evan

All-New Hawkeye # 3 – A-
I’m a total sucker when it comes to Kate Bishop, so having her as an integral, independent, kick-ass character in this comic has made it a joy to read. Don’t get me wrong. I love Clint and he is fantastic in this as well, but there’s something about watching Kate kick butt that really makes me happy. The scene where Clint takes a backseat to Kate’s beat down was really cool. He knows she’s strong and can take care of herself, so he doesn’t get in her way. He even warns one of the scientists not to make her angry when she’s asking questions. “Girl? That’s Hawkeye, dude. You really want to piss her off again?” What I love about Hawkeye is the gender equality it promotes. They both have the same name. Kate isn’t Lady Hawkeye or Hawkgirl. She’s Hawkeye and she’s just as deadly as Clint. Clint also shines in this issue. Seeing his backstory unfold issue to issue and the fantastic parallels between past and present really makes me emotionally invested in the story. The change of art style is also really cool and works well for the medium. The depictions of Hawkeye’s childhood are absolutely beautiful. I have a weak spot for origin stories, so this part is particularly interesting to read. I can’t wait to see more about Clint’s life as a carny and just what’s in store for him for breaking the rules. Going by the next issue cover, I’m guessing it isn’t good. – Charlotte

X-Men ’92 #1 – A-
For fans of the X-Men Animated Series, don’t be alarmed; this is not 1992. Contrary to what it looks like, this is a completely different book. The nostalgia is so strong with this one, long-time fans will instantly find themselves falling back in love with the X-Men. Ya know, before it turned into whatever the hell it became today. Cyclops is still an insufferable douchebag, Logan is still creepily in love with Jean Grey, the tension between Rogue and Gambit could be cut with a knife, and there are tons of Sentinels! I forgot how much I loved this storyline, and unlike other series that are just being slapped together right now, you can tell that creators Chad Bower and Chris Sims know their stuff. It’s a wonderful reintroduction to the timeline, and I can’t wait for it to keep going. – Sherif

Secret Wars Journal #1 – B+
Secret Wars Journal is another anthology comic, like Battleworld before it containing a couple vignettes inside the greater Battleworld universe. The first one takes place in King James’ England, and is, I think, a story about Agent Carter. But maybe she’s also Hawkeye – there’s a lot of bow and arrow-ing. She’s trying to steal… a… thing from Doom’s castle, but gets arrested. Maybe I just don’t care enough about Agent Carter or Hawkeye to really care about this story, but it was mostly uninteresting. It felt like a slow build up for a reveal that could only possibly matter if I already knew what was coming next. As is… it ain’t so great. The second story is hot molten awesome. Khonshu, the Egyptian deity worshiped (or “worshiped”?) by Moon Knight has enslaved all mutants in a world resembling agent Egypt (which makes the absence of En Sabah Nur interesting) and tasked them with building her pyramids. A plucky band of mutants bearing an uncanny resemblance to the X-Men (I see what you did there) decide they need to murder this goddess for her treatment of the slaves. Things get bananas. I feel like the entire structure of Battleworld has a finite end in sight; I doubt the entire premise and ponderously interconnected world could sustain much more beyond 12 issues, but so far, I’m really enjoying the experimentation and creativity.If not for the uninteresting first half, this might have been an A+ book. – Montgomery

Inferno #1 – B+
One of my favorite things about the X-Men was how they equally straddled the worlds of science fiction and horror fantasy, and now we get Inferno, which capitalizes on the horror fantasy. It seems a little darkest-timeline esque for the X-Men: not only were they not able to rescue the fabled Ilyana – Collosus’ sister – but she’s set up residence in one of the alternate Manhattan’s as a kind of queen of hell. And she wrecks the X-Men’s junk. There was a slow spot between the first few pages and the last third of the book where I wasn’t sure what I should be expecting, but god’s balls, this book kind of brings back the fun of the X-Men comics I remember from the 90s. It’s interesting to see Cyclops as the governor, or whatever, of that particular zone, but it makes me wonder where Professor X is. Fun, but probably not even the best X-book to probably be coming down the pike. – Montgomery

Black Widow #18 – B
It feels as though every issue of Black Widow is about to be the last one. The good thing about it is that I am content with the closure. The bad thing about it is that every month, I think, “Oh! There is a new Black Widow?” As much as I have enjoyed this series, I am ready for a send off. One of the final panels in this issue showed Natasha on a boat saying that no one will ever know her full story – a true testament to how the series as been handled. I’m fine with that, but it easily could have been the last panel of the series. Oh, well. See you next month Natasha! – Adrian

Secret Wars 2099 #1 – B-
What I really appreciate about the 2099 story line is how cool everything appears to be at first glance. It offers us the same heroes we love, simply with new faces, new suits, and new perspectives. Okay people, I’m about to go on a slight tangent, ready? Everything seems cooler. Captain America is dope, Iron Man is dope, Hawkeye is dope, the Vision is dope, and Black Widow is dope. If I can see more of Black Widow’s crazy ass, I am there. Perhaps the coolness of this comic is enough to shadow the fact that the story in this issue was simply not there. Perhaps we will see more story in the future; however, within this certain issue, nothing really happened. I also appreciate having women of color being two major characters within the new Avengers. So yeah, I think I’ll be cool and continue to read this one. – Evan

M.O.D.O.K. Assassin #1 – C+
M.O.D.O.K. is probably the most unintentially-turned-intentionally goofy Marvel character. So, in the first issue of his Battleworld, it kind of makes sense that he’s set up a world for himself where he’s the first and last authority. He’s like the Kim Jong Il of Marvel. He revels in the fact that he’s killed all the heroes and rules the people through sheer terror. The setup is pretty funny stuff, and the cover art is shabamz, but the actual story itself was a little flat. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t the pure goofy funny I’d learned to expect from last week’s Secret Wars: Battleworld, and that’s kind of a bummer. I also feel that, as funny as M.O.D.O.K. may be, he probably doesn’t have the power to sustain a series for long. Another plus is that I just noticed M.O.D.O.K. looks a lot like Garrett from Community, so now my internal voice for M.O.D.O.K. is Garrett. Crisis alert! – Montgomery

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. # 6 – C+
While I enjoy that this comic finally had some sort of lasting story arc, it’s not very original. We’ve seen rage virus before and while there’s a little bit of originality thrown in with the magicians, it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. I’m also not totally sure where this big bad comes in and if he’s so easily defeatable with the help of Crusher Creel, then I’m not sure how long this story-arc is going to last. I absolutely adore Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so I was excited to see it in comic book form, but as of late, the comics have lacked the thrill and hilarity of the first three issues. If they could bring back a little more of the wit and fun they had in the second issue with Ms. Marvel. I think what this comic needs is more intel into exactly why we should be so terrified of this virus. Right now it just seems like it’s some chaos feeding on smart people. What’s the objective here? If Dormmamu’s controlling it, why and to what end? The stakes just aren’t quite made clear here. We know it’s not good and people are going to die, but what’s the overall meaning here? What’s the endgame? I want to know. – Charlotte

Infinity Gauntlet #1 – C+
I knew there was a reason I didn’t like bugs. I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again, it’s about damn time we see women of color as headliners in comics. It was hard for me to pinpoint exactly what the aim of this comic is going to be. I fully understand it’s a quest for the infinity gauntlet particularly on Thanos’ part; however, other than that, I see the direction as fairly open. It was nice to see the perspective of a struggling family who fail to understand a hero’s sacrifice, simply because we often see it from the other perspective. We typically see our hero reflecting on their unbearable choice and wondering how the family can ever forgive them; however, in this comic we see how that sacrifice can turn families against each other while the love still holds strong. Overall, there was nothing special about this comic this week, but I am interest to see more of the infinity gauntlet and the Nova Corps. – Evan


Funniest Panel:

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Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

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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 all the publishers for putting out great books.