Comic Book Reviews 03-25-15

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:

Darth Vader #3


Darth Vader #3 – A

(A+) Let’s have a round of applause for Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca (writer and artist respectively for Darth Vader).  Of the three new, Marvel published Star Wars comic series, Vader is my favorite.  This month’s issue firmly put this title at the top of my list.  There are SO many things that Gillen is doing right.  He has maintained the classic Star Wars theme while introducing altogether brand new concepts.  Perfect example:  droid duo 000 (Triple Zero) and BT-1.  Picture C3PO and R2D2, but as psycho, murder and torture machines.  Add to that a new character, Dr. Aphra (who, in my opinion, has as much EU appeal as crazy-popular Mara Jade) and we’ve got a line up that will give us sweet dreams (or horrific nightmares) for ages to come.  And all the little details in this series are STILL giving me goosebumps.  Google a picture of Aphra’s personal ship, Ark Angel, right now!!… That nerdgasm you just had – you’re welcome.  I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely ready to enlist in Vader’s personal army. – Taylor
(A) Vader is recruiting a personal army.  In this issue we get a brand new expanded universe character, Dr. Aphra.  She’s sort of a combination of Anakin Skywalker and Han Solo; she’s kind of bad ass.  A tech wizard and quite roguish, she will surely be a fun new character.  Two more interesting additions in this universe are murderous protocol droids and assassin droids disguised as astromech droids.  It’s like C-3PO and R2-D2 have evil twins with goatees.  It’s strange seeing all of the droids from the prequel movies, considering that these books take place after A New Hope and they aren’t anywhere in the original trilogy.  Their presence takes me out of the story a little bit because they don’t feel like they should be there.  It looks like we’re getting even more of them in the next issue with a return to Geonosis.  The series is running strong, though. – Scott

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

ElfQuest #7 – C
I just realized that ElfQuest was suddenly back and had to read it.  It sure was a trip down memory lane.  ElfQuest was one of the first comic books I ever read.  After ElfQuest all other comic books came.  Hell, ElfQuest was how I really learned to read (when I was 11).  It was fun to visit a world I hadn’t in a long time.  I was less lost than I thought I would be jumping into book 7.  I’ve pretty much read everything else about ElfQuest – it was easy to get an idea of where the story came from and where it is heading.  ElfQuest is about ancient space-faring elves who crash land on a planet with two moons.  The story is about Cutter and his Wolf-Elf tribe.  This time around, Wendi and Richard Pini are bringing the story several generations away from the Wolf-Elves and their small tribe.  All elf tribes have been magically linked up psychically.  They have a decision to make: stay on the planet with two moons or migrate to “the great place” and take their place among the stars.  ElfQuest is a rather different kind of comic.  More cerebral and relationship based than it is action/violence based.  I hope people give it a chance!  It’s nice to be immersed in a world of magic where words and relationships (against a background of greater conflict) are the point of the story.  There’s still a bad ass villain in the story but it looks like we have yet to meet her.  I’m looking forward to continuing to read this series. – Jene

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Batman and Robin #40 – A-

I definitely got thrown for a loop when it comes to this book.  I had no idea that this would be the final issue prior to reading it.  But after I let it sink in, I’ve come to terms that this was the best I could have asked for wrapping up the series.  Damian “leading” the Justice League was amazing, and to see that Batman always finds a way to come out on top was so satisfying.  When Convergence comes in a few months and wipes continuity off the face of the Earth, I’ll be glad that they were able to wrap this one up in a tidy manner.  There is still one Annual issue left, but this saga ends at #40, for me, on a happy note. – Sherif
Suiciders #2 – B
Yeah, still don’t really know what the hell is going on here.  To start, Lee Bermejo’s art is so engulfing.  It’s phenomenally well-crafted, making you look at the book as  if an Italian renaissance painter tried his hand as a crime scene artist.  We’re given a bit more introspect to Saint’s humble beginnings, and by the end, get the overwhelming feeling that he is a mouse, caught in a cat’s game.  It’s a very worn out concept, but there’s a unique twist that makes me want to keep reading.  It almost makes me less anxious that this will be a limited series, so we’ll have to learn sooner than later what the hell it all means. – Sherif
Batman Eternal #51 – C-
Once again, I put my foot in my mouth this week.  Last week’s Eternal had me spitting out my cereal at the dumbest arch-villain ever.  The true face of evil was revealed, and it was the most convenient arch-villain ever.  I won’t spoil who it was (not the Joker, thank God), but just know that it has the potential to be the greatest misuse of a character’s entrance ever (if this last issue of Eternal sucks – which it likely will). I kind of like the epic showdown on the rooftop where Cluemaster spills the beans about his plans, only to be foiled before he can complete them – ala Bond – but the message he gives is kinda lame.  Dude, there’s a reason you are a D list villain… Even if you don’t read this book, might as well catch the show for the finale.  Things could get really mediocre. – Sherif
Gotham Academy #6 – B+
I got all the way to the end only to find out that Gotham Academy won’t be back until June.  June!  That’s two full months without a fix of this book!  Gah!  Ok so now to my review.  As usual, the art is everything.  It’s just so mesmerizing!  This issue did include some of the best story – the Killer Croc story line was wrapped up (for now), and now I will only look at him as a victim of his circumstances and an O.K. guy (croc?).  Batman did some good ole ass-kicking, Olive did some brooding, and Maps was still adorable.  But the cliffhanger really made this book.  Freakin’ Damian Wayne will be attending the school.  It’s about to get real at Gotham Academy. – Adrian 

IDW Publishing:

TMNT Mutanimals #2 – B+
Reeling off of the events of this months TMNT #44, going into Mutanimals #2 was a bit scary.  Especially considering the history of this team and how the last series about them ended.  Nervousness aside, things do get pretty insane in this issue.  The gang tries to go back to the Null corporation and help free the other two mutants the company has captive.  But, seeing as the team is not yet “a team” and mostly just outcasts thrown together by Old Hob, they are ultimately led into a huge ambush.  Will any of them be able to escape and remedy the situation, or is the Mutanimals going to be a very short lived series?  Next month’s issue will hopefully answer that.  This issue definitely touches on elements from the past while also creating something of its own – especially since hardly any members of this team were in the original Mutanimals and the villain, Null, is now a woman instead of a Hulk sized man.  This story has definitely changed.  Let’s hope this creative team can give us time to recover from the loss us TMNT fans have already experienced this month, before throwing more pain is thrown our way. – Jacob

Samurai Jack #17 – B+
Samurai Jack this month offers us the second part to the “Master of Time” storyline.  It guides us into the last phase of this series.  This issue was particularly enjoyable.  It was very much a representation of what 007 would be like if he were a 12th century Japanese warrior.  “The name’s Jack… Samurai, Jack.”  Jack is joined by a very cunning and very eager thief on a mission to break into the Master of Time’s lair to hopefully return Jack to the past.  This is the best hope Jack has had for getting home in awhile, but will it hold true and allow our hero to finally be at peace?  This issue was definitely entertaining and offered up a side of Jack these comics have not shown before;  more of his Ninja side, and less endless robot destruction.  Overall, this is one of the more fun issues of Jack, but as a result the storyline suffers a little and leaves us a bit unsatisfied with the ending.  Still pleased with the journey, though! – Jacob

Image Comics:

The Empty #2 – B+
The Empty gets a little more intriguing this issue.  Lila and Tanoor with a Mool (crazy rabbit like monsters).  On the other side of the world Lila’s fiancé is starting to ask questions, realizing that something may have happened to Lila.  It turns out that the roots are not what was expected and they are going to be a little more difficult to deal with than previously thought.  The Empty is a good story and I’m still thoroughly impressed that the entire book is done by one guy.  I’m looking forward to the next issue. – Scott
The Walking Dead #139 – B+
Finally!  Michonne makes her post-All Out War debut.  Turns out that it was nothing spectacular, though.  She ran away from the perfect life with Ezekiel to be…well, a sea captain.  Commandeering a ship in the zombie apocalypse should be on everybody’s bucket list now, if it weren’t already.  The unfortunate thing about the issue is that primarily ALL it talks about is Michonne’s homecoming.  I’m more interested in the little bits of Carl’s story that’s going on.  He’s obviously got a dark streak, and is quite the legend at Hilltops.  What the hell is going to become of his most recent escapade with the Whisperers?  And how long until Negan comes back into the picture? – Sherif

The Mice Templar #5 – B

When you start a new comic and don’t know what’s going on… gotta be grateful to the recap. I’m kinda wondering if there is any relation to the Secrets of Nimh? The art and tone are very similar.  The mixture of watercolors and ink give the imagery a life that is really magical.  Different mediums seems to be used for different characters and situations.  The epic proportions of what’s going on in the story is almost too much to condense into a nice precise nugget. There is this mouse with a weighty and huge prophecy to carry on his shoulders; creatures and other worldly entities all investing and using Kalric for their own means.  But currently the Mice of Templar are dealing with a mad king who threatens a kingdom.  For not having that much background I was intensely pulled into the story. You get a real feel for how the world operates and not a second thought crops up that the world is told from the perspective of rodents and other animals. It’s awesome how epic one can develop mice this way!  I’ve got so many comic books that are awesome to read now I don’t know what to do with all my time.  But seriously, try this out. – Jené

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Deathlok #6 – A-

This is one of my favorite comics right now. It really pulls at your heartstrings. Henry no longer has a facade to hide behind. There’s nothing to keep him from witnessing the horrors created by his own hands. The ability to erase his memory has been compromised and with the well-being of his daughter being dangled in front of him, he has no choice but to do the missions he’s been assigned. His life is becoming so manipulated that even his own daughter has been altered into a more “convenient” version of herself. And what exactly is happening to Agent Hope? The last panel of the issue suggests there’s more going on than meets the eye, as well. The character dynamics are really what make this issue. Everyone has clear motivations driving them forward. Mike’s only concern is the safety of his daughter. Agent Hope is hellbent on discovering the truth. Stories work best when the driving elements are strong and in this comic, they’re both strong and complex. While Mike is disgusted by the work he’s being forced to do, he is willing to sacrifice his morality as a medic to keep his daughter safe. It’s this complexity that really makes Deathlok an interesting narrative. I can’t wait for more. – Charlotte

Deadpool #44 – B
Well, this is the last issue of Deadpool for the upcoming months – like it is for many other Marvel heroes.  With this issue we don’t really see much into the how or what of Deadpool’s death, but we do get a good look at why, who will do it, where it may happen, and we obviously know when it will happen.  Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan are making sure to hit us in “the feels” before hitting Deadpool with the final blow.  This issue is enjoyable because it makes us actually like Deadpool.  Even some of the most die-hard Wade fans will tell you they still don’t “like” him as a person.  The story in this issue brings everything “Deadpool” to the forefront.  Shiklah is back for a huge moment, Evan (Apocalypse) is hiding at Deadpool’s house with Michael and Benjamin Franklin, Preston still lives next door taking care of Deadpool’s daughter, and we even get a small panel showing a actual nice moment between Deadpool and Wolverine (another one of our favorite fallen Weapon X comrades).  The story definitely seems to be coming to a very tragic, yet beautiful ending for the Merc with the Mouth we love to hate.  The art is also spectacular, coming from Salva Espin this month. There’s a lot of humor infused into the art.  Dramatic scenes typically show Deadpool with his mask off thus demonstrating the seriousness of the situation.   Definitely try and catch up if you aren’t already.  Pick this up and get ready because we only have one more month until (as odd as it sounds) Deadpool will finally say his last words. – Jacob

The Dark Tower: The Drawing of Three – House of Cards #1 – B-

It’s really hard to go wrong with a comic when you’ve got content from Stephen King to work with. While this issue relies a little too much on exposition at times for my taste, it is a genuinely good narrative. The mix of modern, western, and sci-fi elements always makes for a fun time and this issue really used them to it’s advantage. The humor is also really well done, especially when it comes to Eddie Dean’s scene in the lavatory. “What the hell are you doing in here?” “Curing cancer. What’s it look like?” The dialogue is great even though it doesn’t leave much to the reader’s imagination. Marvel definitely knows what it’s doing when to comes to adapting King’s work. Despite it’s change in medium, the same King feel comes across. Fans of The Dark Tower series will be pleased and those who don’t have much exposure to the author’s writing style will enjoy it all the same. -Charlotte


Funniest Panel:


Batman and Robin #40

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Suiciders #2



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.