Comic Book Reviews 08-12-15

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:

secret wars battleworld 4 funny panel 08.12.15

Secret Wars Battleworld #4 – A
Easily my favorite of the SW titles this month, and probably the best of the Battleworld anthology books. Two stories starring the Silver Surfer, and both the kind of stories Battleworld need to be: characters trying to subsist in upside down worlds. In the first (with art by the incredible James Stokoe), Surfer hunts monsters to sate the appetite of his master Galactus in exchange for the safety of his Egyptia-themed homeland, Zenn-La (remember that X-Men story in Egyptia? DO YA? Ya should, because it’s the best 12 pages to come out of Secret Wars to date). Except, monsters aren’t enough for Galactus because he’s supposed to be eating planets. In the second, Surfer retrieves his board, stolen by Maestro. Both excellent stories with fantastic art, both very difficult to pull off in 12 pages. – Montgomery

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Gotham Academy #9 – B
Werewolves are here! Gotham Academy sure does attract the supernatural. The modern day Scooby-Doo but with real monsters keeps me coming back, and this issue was no different. Except we got one serious cliffhanger about Olive’s mom. I am really looking forward to see what all that is about. I love Maps and her “Part Flow” to catch the wolf. The thing I love most about this book is the coloring. I am never not blown away at how the colors jump off the page. – Adrian

Batman #43 – B-
Okay, so Batman is a scientific character, right? Well, get yourself ready for a boatload of bullsh*t science to explain how the hell he escaped that cave with the Joker (who we can only assume is walking around with amnesia. That will be interesting…) and forgot everything. And because Batman is so smart, he designed some weird ass cloning system to recreate who he was after his parents got killed. IT’S SO STUPID… If you can swallow that, then it’s one of my favorite issues of Batman. There’s a great philosophical debate between Alfred and Superman, the emergence of a frightening new villain, and more beautiful Greg Capullo art to admire (who seems very much at home with this type of bad guy). Bat-Gordon is so screwed… – Sherif

Second Opinion (B+): Damn. Bruce Wayne was sexy. Clark Kent was sexy. Mr. Bloom is a very cool and fresh new concept that I am very intrigued with. How are they gonna do Penguin like that? The explanation of Bruce being alive was blah, but Alfred going over his life was very sad. Did I mention I like the way Greg Capullo drew Bruce and Clark? – Adrian

Action Comics #43 – B-
So, this is a new take on Superman. He’s now leader of some Neighborhood Watch/Black Panther coalition. He’s a victim of hate crimes for being an alien, and he’s punching cops in the face. This is not your father’s Superman. It’s an approach that I enjoy reading. I don’t necessarily relate to this new version of him, but it’s not like I did with the original, either, and it’s a take on the character that’s unique and entertaining. The “I am Superman” social justice campaign could be something that has real parallel to the real world, so I’d suggest tuning in. – Sherif

Earth 2 Society #3 – C+
There is something about this comic that bothers me, but I can’t quite figure out what it is. I feel like the story is trying to spread itself so wide, they end up losing the point of it all. And I end up losing the reason why I should care. For instance, this entire issue was one big flash back to Lois Lane’s life after the crash. We legitimately only saw about 4 pages of main story content. In the end, I just end up not caring. With how often they switch between current and past times, they lose me. With how many characters they are trying to build a story around, they lose me. I’m sure for some people, this comic is dope as hell; however, I’m simply not starting to care what happens. It’s so jumbled that it confuses me and it makes it difficult for me to stay up with whatever the point of the book is. – Evan

DC Bombshells #1 – C
I have to admit, I didn’t dislike this. My mindset going into it was that pin-up style clothing may be cool, but pin-up style sexism would not be all that fun to read. However, Bombshells finds that little pocket of sunshine that really embodied women being just as able-bodied and capable as the men who were off to war. Plus, I’m pretty sure that if I follow closely enough, Wonder Woman is going to punch Hitler in the face. Eat your heart out, Steve Rogers! – Sherif

Second Opinion (C+): I love the way the clothes are drawn in this series. So much so, I am considering making a bombshell version of Batwoman for Cosplay. I found each woman’s story very intriguing. Supergirl is Russian? That was the most intriguing of all. I will most certainly keep reading this series that is full of imagination. – Adrian

Justice League: Gods and Monsters #1 – C-
It’s fair to say that this probably won’t make a lot of sense to those who haven’t seen the animated movie. Here’s all you need to know: the Trinity (Supes, Bats, WW) are all different, and they kill people – openly. It’s basically Watchmen starring characters you kind of know already. The book dives into each situation a bit more, but there’s nothing to blow your mind, and all of the characters are off-putting; Wonder Woman is the only likable character – until she uses Superman as a sex object. The art is decent, and it’s not bad as far as retcons go, but you could spend your money on something better if you tried. – Sherif

Second Opinion (B)All you need to know is that Superman is still an ass-hat.  Only this time, he has a creepy goatee. – Taylor

IDW Publishing: 

Orphan Black #5 – B+
I might be a total sucker for origin stories, but this series has been really cool. As an Orphan Black fan stuck in the terrible clutches that is hiatus, I appreciate the additional material. While this comic definitely relies on the source material to make sense, the gaps it fills are really interesting, especially when it comes to this issue. Watching the show we don’t know a ton about Rachel’s past. We know she was raised self aware; We know she was told her parents died in a fire; And we know she can be a total self entitled bitch. What this issue really clears up for us is why and how she got where she is. It’s a cool insight to read. This issue also sets up season four, introducing a brand new clone that hasn’t been on the show yet! Veera looks like she will be an interesting addition to the Clone Club. I’m excited to see her come onto the show this November. Looks like Rachel’s past is coming to bite her in the ass once again. – Charlotte

Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum Wars #2 – B-
I’m still super pumped about this crossover. I’d never thought about bringing these two worlds together, so the concept is still exciting. However, I feel like the set up is taking a few too many shortcuts. While Chekov is definitely a capable young man, I felt like he shouldn’t have been able to use the ring so quickly, so easily. Same thing with Chang. Shouldn’t there be some sort of learning curve with this stuff? It just jumped in a little too quickly for my taste. I do like who they’re bringing to the table when it comes to the other ring bearers, however, especially with the Romulans as it ties in the reboot universe really well. Looks like we’re gearing up for an awesome showdown. – Charlotte

Second Opinion (B)Color me impressed. I really wasn’t expecting to like this story so much. It’s awesome. Just a really fun issue. Gorn being chosen a Lantern? Wonderful. – Jené

X-Files: Season 11 #1 – B-
The start to this new series of X-Files is a direct sequel to the past Season 10 series, which left most of our friends in trouble and running from it while Gibson f*cked stuff up the way any telekinetic can, just causing complete chaos. We leave off with Mulder a runaway, Scully being constantly questioned, The Lone Gunmen on the run, and the F.B.I. severely downsizing, especially the X-Files, trying to modernize and rebrand since everyone is doing it these days.  Although this story is intriguing and I am looking forward to seeing where this comic takes us, this initial issue did not offer much for me, other than another chance to see The Lone Gunmen. – Jacob

Second Opinion (A)Shit’s on guys. It just keeps gettin’ realer. – Montgomery

Image Comics:

ODY-C #6 – B+
I swear to baby Jesus (possibly featured in a future issue), if I knew what the hell was happening in this, it’d get an A+. But this book is so bizonkers and crazy, I feel like I need to reread everything published so far as well as an academic essay or two. It features a character who I think is supposed to be Dude Cleopatra, but dressed like the Minotaur of Minos. He’s kept as Queen Ene’s sex slave, but then Hercules’ (a rapist) sons (also rapists?) come to free him, but Dude Cleo doesn’t know what to do with his freedom, so he sweeps the floor at a popular universal brothel. What the hell is even happening. Is this related to the prior 5 issues? In the back there are two essays about how this is based on The Iliad and 1001 Nights, but who knows what is happening. And would it hurt our boy Fraction to use a word balloon? I know he reserves those for the gods, but sometimes it feels punishing to keep track of that much narration. But: mad props to the Zeus cosplayer in this month’s letter section. And the art is relentlessly atomic. – Montgomery

Second Opinion (B-): This whole time, I’ve only been pretending to know what the hell is going on because Montgomery did. Now I can openly say I have no f*cking clue what is happening. It sure is nice to look at the pretty pictures, though. – Sherif

Descender #6 – B-
Book One is complete, folks! I had a pretty good emotional connection to this series, but was underwhelmed with this issue. The back story to how the A.I. was created was a little long and seemed oddly placed. However, the big reveal at the end of the book was MIND-BLOWING. The set up for Book Two was very well done, and I cannot wait for Lemire and Nguyen to team up once more. – Adrian

The Walking Dead #145 – B-
Things are really heating up in TWD… or, they will… one day… The slow burn of this series is killing any kind of momentum the big events happen. Charlie Adlard continues to be a hero, making a dull issue really pop with his emotionally-charged pencilwork. As much as I look forward to this book each issue, the amount of teasing foreplay is making me consider just buying it in trade format. That aside, I’m curious whether Rick decides to march everybody into certain doom, or try to lie to them about what is going on. – Sherif

Second Opinion (C)I still don’t know how to process the pain and torture this comic puts me through.  It’s awesome 😀 – Taylor

Injection #4 – C
Readers are getting closer to knowing what Maria Kilbride and her team have done to the world. It’s being dangled like a carrot in front of me, pulling me from one issue to the next. Compared to the last issue, I was disappointed in the story and the character development. It was slow and didn’t feel like it revealed all that much. The issue is split between Marian’s battle with/search for what the injection is, and her past – where it is slowly divulged exactly what the injection is and how it works. I’m thinking AI something or other? All I know is it’s messing with the space-time continuum and monsters seem to be real. I feel like you could skip this issue without missing any critical information. – Jené

Shutter #14 – C
One of the things I’ve always loved about Shutter is that it never takes itself too seriously. Writer Joe Keatinge can stop mid-scene and say something ridiculous to make readers laugh. However, it’s starting to happen so much that it’s making me lose interest in Kate’s plight. Also, the story is just getting more and more ridiculous; it’s the comic book equivalent of Homer Simpson endlessly falling down the Springfield Gorge, with no relief. Leila del Duca continues her amazing artwork, and the characters are becoming more dynamic each issue (MORE CASSIUS!!). It’s a fun book, but I don’t think I could convince anybody new to read it at this point. – Sherif

Beauty #1 – C
The story’s premise is an attractive one (pun intended). It has a lot of potential to explore our relationship to beauty. But, I wasn’t all that gripped by it. For a first read, it’s rather meh. I do hope the story finds its stride as it develops. – Jené

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Secret Wars #5 – A-
I like that when Secret Wars isn’t being pedantic and formulaic, it’s being weird and inventive. In the fifth issue, Sheriff Strange’s death is honored, and Doom visits the real source of his power, which was a relief. It’s been bugging me this whole time that Doom is portrayed as being as powerful as he really is. But he ain’t!! In Earth-X (LOOK IT UP!) style, some minor footnote character ends up being the key to all of it. Doom’s daughter has to hunt down the survivors of the 616 and the 1610. It’s one of the more engaging and experimental Marvel events, like I said, when it isn’t being by-the-numbers… like I also said. – Montgomery

Inhumans Attilan Rising #4 – B+
I wasn’t feeling this series that much until this issue. This answers some key questions and introduces some good reasons why I should care about Attilan, specifically. Like I said, too many of these SW comics are “Doom bad,” but Black-Bolt-Just-Kidding-Not-Black-Bolt has good specific reasons for doing what he does. To recap: Medusa’s probably good, but doesn’t know she’s a puppet. Black Bolt refused the terrigan mists because he doesn’t want to be tracked. And Doom uses mind control rays. The bastid. – Montgomery

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8 – B
This series has been one of my favorites of the year. I love the meta-ness that Doreen and Nancy possess. This issue had me laughing hysterically at all the Wikipedia and CatThor jokes. While those jokes were necessary for the essence of the series, I did think this issue was rushed. Then again, I know it was because Squirrel Girl is getting “rebooted” with a second #1 issue later this year because of Secret Wars. This was a good run. I hope it keeps up like this in the future series. – Adrian

Star Wars: Lando #2 – B
Okay, so I got over the silliness of the Emperor chasing Lando around the galaxy and decided to roll with it.  I’m glad I did because it makes the second installment of Lando that much sexier.  The intrigue is high, as it’s still not know what Lando has got his hands on that old man Palpatine wants back so badly.  Add to that an exciting showdown with an impressive Imperial space fleet, and we’ve got a solid issue.  It was true in the premiere issue and it’s true here too, that this series has a very unique composition in comparison to the other Star Wars titles running right now.  I think this is mostly due to Lando’s inherent ability to be super entertaining and crazy charming.  Is it weird for a grown ass man to blush at a comic book character whenever he drops a smooth line or does something incredible??  My cheeks are cherry and I’m loving it! – Taylor

Howard the Duck #5 – B
This issue is the end to this series/story arc of Howard, but don’t worry as he will return in the All-New All-Different Marvel universe, yet all the same creative team, in Howard the Duck #1. But for now and next months Howard the Human, the was a fantastic ending to a very well done story that would delight even the slightest Howard fan and make a fan out of any new comers to the world of Howard. The final battle is here and Howard and Tara Tam have to help every hero take down Talos and Tara just may have a trick up her sleeve! Chip Zdarsky’s writing is brilliant and he turns who could likely be known as Marvel’s Jar Jar into a great modern series working from the past, the present and seldomly the future. Joe Quinones is also perfect on art and Howard is lucky to have such a damn good creative team behind him – Jacob

A-Force #3 – B
This was a solid issue. I like the way the newcomer is coming into this for the most part, but it’s all still a little vague with what her purpose in the narrative is. I was expecting more of a reaction from She Hulk over her. Afterall, she did appear out of nowhere directly after America was banished. That’s gotta mean something. You’d think She Hulk would be a little more affected. We’ll have to see how this new girl comes into play as the comic goes forward, but so far I like her well enough. The rest of the story is pretty good too, but something just seems to be missing. These Secret World narratives always leave me feeling less than stellar. They’re good, but they’re not great. This whole new universe feels like they’re just trying to follow in DC’s New 52 footsteps and it’s just making things confusing and messy rather than complex and engaging. That being said, it’s not a bad comic. It’s just not their best. – Charlotte

Second Opinion (A-)Where has an all-female Avengers been all my life? This is one of the best, and most consistently good, series out of all of the Secret Wars titles. Jennifer Walters/ She-Hulk is just the best! – Jacob

Planet Hulk #4 – C+
Although I truly love all things Hulk, I feel as though this comic continually shows the same story over and over for every issue. Captain America is too bold and stubborn to listen to Doc Green. Therefore, Cap charges ahead without any concerns. Doc Green ends up having to save him, and then they carry on. Throw in the occasional missing dinosaur who always finds his way home, a few long speeches about how Bucky must be found and the Red King must die, and add a slightly surprising ending and boom…you just created your one Planet Hulk comic issue. The one thing I can appreciate is the violent battle sequences, and how we tend to see a small addition to Greenland every issue. I simply wish we saw more of the mudlands – that place seemed stupidly scary. – Evan

Second Opinion (B+)Clever and engaging use of Bucky and Steve Rogers. And Devil Dinosaur. I feel like I’ve read the other issues, but none of it seemed to stick. I like the portrayal of a world gone Hulk rampant. – Montgomery

Ghost Racers #3 – C
This is a difficult book for me to get a read on. I like the Ghost Rider, but I feel he’s at his best when he’s pulpy and vengeance-y, where the art is scratchy and 90’s Vertigo looking. Ghost Racers looks right when everyone’s ghosted up, but it doesn’t feel right… yet. I don’t know if it will, either. So far, it feels like yet another Secret Wars checklist in which it simply has to go through the motions of “Doom bad, (insert character name here) smash Doom.” I’d rather just see how a vengeance spirit operates in this bizarre world. But our main character isn’t even a vengeance spirit? I guess? At least that’s what this book claims. And the art looks too much like not a Ghost Rider book to really grab me. Some of the Secret Wars books make sense as “must stop Doom” books, but I wish some, like Ghost Racers, would be insular. – Montgomery

Second Opinion (B-)Shit! Not Gabe! The ending of this tore my freaking heart out. It was an obvious choice, taking the kid brother hostage, but there’s something so much worse about making him compete in Reyes’ place that really hits you right in the feels. I’m anxious to see what happens to Gabe. Poor little dude. – Charlotte

Years of Future Past #4 – C
I can’t wait to see the second opinion on this book because I find it confounding. I feel like I’m reading a foreign language: none of what I’m reading sticks or seems to make sense, and there seems to be an unnecessary amount of information switching. Is Logan’s son his son? Oh no, turns out it’s Colossus. Is Magneto good? Nope. Er, wait. Yep. Just kidding. Or am I. Anyways, Pryde and Piotr’s kids are fighting about who gets to murder who, and it seems to eat its own tail and be very difficult to keep track of. Sherif? Agree? Disagree? – Montgomery

Second Opinion (C+): This is like Les Mis for mutants, Jesus. The betrayal of Magneto was unexpected, and almost a little too dramatically extreme. Do we kill Chrissie Pryde and lead a mutant martyrdom or kill Robert Kelly and help wipe out all the mutants? This is the mutant equivalent of “paper or plastic.” – Sherif

Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos #3 – C
So far, I haven’t been super impressed with this comic. The dialogue is exposition-y, the plot is confusing and the characters lack depth. The only redeeming thing about it is Deadpool’s commentary and given that Frankenstein is the only one who can hear him, he’s not really in the plot yet and therefore can’t be utilized to his full advantage. Perhaps once he makes contact with Shiklah things will get more interesting, but right now it’s a little weak. – Charlotte

Funniest Panels:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Panels with the Most Awesomeness:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


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.