Comic Book Reviews 07-29-15

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:

sex criminals 11 POTW panel 2 07.29.15

Sex Criminals #11 – A
Reunited and it feels so good! So much has happened since the last issue of this phenomenal series came out in January: Chip is now writing two of his own books, and Matt has started an epic journey on Ody-C. The story gets zanier, with even less inhibition than before (if that’s possible). Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky are an amazing tag team, and even after half a year, the chemistry is there. This series belongs on Skinemax. – Sherif

Second Opinion (A): Finally our favorite Sex (Heroes) Criminals are back and just as raunchy and well written as we remember. Oh and Manime is crazy weird! – Jacob

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Lobster Johnson – A Chain Forged in Life #1 – C+
Lobster Johnson, other than having the best superhero name ever, is pretty awesome. The problem is, he’s not really in this book. The story is told from the point of view of a kidnapped charity volunteer Santa Clause. A nice storefront Santa is a witness to a murder robbery and is in turn kidnapped by the guilty party. Naturally, Lobster Johnson is at every turn in the criminal’s attempt to escape. Lobster is a terrifying figure in the night. He’s kind of like Batman; he just kind of appears in the darkness. I just wish this issue had a little more of him in it. – Scott

DC/Vertigo Comics:


Superman #42 – B+
After a while of increasingly “Super” problems, DC figures the best way to make Supes relevant again was to depower him – and we’re all better off for it. It makes everything a challenge again, and it means that Superman has to rely on his wit and friends to save the day. This is the best Superman title since he died – and that was a big deal. Jimmy Olsen is a grreat counterpart thanks to his Xander (Buffy)-esque awkward humor. Hopefully people give this book a chance, or has the world forgotten about Superman? – Sherif

Deathstroke Annual #1 – B
After an eventful launch into a new storyline surrounding Wonder Woman and god-killing, this annual leaps into the battle between those to and Lapetus. Tony Daniels’ books always have solid art, but this issue really outdoes itself on the creative panel design. There’s also humanizing events that make Slade and Diana a much more palpable team (not to mention that Slade is hot for the way WW swings her sword). This book is one of the bigger surprises coming out of this convoluted DCYou brand. – Sherif

Batgirl Annual #3 – C+
I’m still not sure how to feel about this book. It entertains me in some ways, but leaves me thoroughly unimpressed in others.This particular issue is split into a few different sections, with various artists taking the lead – which can get confusing at times. Most of the issue surrounds a relatively pointless story about a near run-in with Dick Grayson, but thankfully ends with a rather long and adorable section helmed by Disney animator Minjue Helen Chen in the style of Gotham Academy. It’s a mixed bag, but overall a fun read. – Sherif

Gotham By Midnight Annual #1 – D
Unfortunately, there was nothing interesting about this story. I felt I was reading a book adaptation of Scooby Doo with all of its ridiculousness and childlike storytelling. To be honest, it felt like a half-assed story with a few elements of drama and action thrown in. I don’t like to be a negative person, but there was little I enjoyed about this comic. With Jim Chaddock being the “ghost” who is not a ghost, possibly a specter looking to take back what is rightfully his, nothing will stop him. Except he is stopped a lot by Drake and her fellow detective. Overall, very disappointed with what I just read. – Evan

IDW Publishing: 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #48 – A
Things are getting crazy and time is winding down until the epic 50th final issue. With the Turtles under attack, we see Old Hob and Herman the Hermit Crab help Hun… Wait WHAT?! Things are getting crazy and weird for everyone here in the TMNT universe. With Casey and April off on their own crazy road trip, the turtles are left without their closest companions. Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, and Tom Waltz have taken TMNT and turned this series into a hybrid of past and present while making it its own and taking risks (although sometimes more for shock value than others.) Together they’ve made this one of the best TMNT volumes we have ever had. Cory Smith is absolutely knocking it out of the park on the art here as well. Each panel is gorgeous and he manages to make Baxter Stockman quite a bit more terrifying than Shredder, which is a hard task. My only complaint? When are we getting a mini series about Hermin the Hermit Crab? – Jacob

Second Opinion (B): Another action-packed issue full of surprises and subtle hints to the future. It’s weird to think that we’ve had nearly 50 issues of a book based off an oddity created 30 years ago with relatively no loss of quality. That’s something I can only say about Snyder/Capullo’s Batman right now. – Sherif

Donald Duck #3 – B
I am loving these Disney comics, but as an adult I definitely feel my attention span is much too long for some of these stories.  After a while, you see a pattern in a lot of them. They’re basically the same comic with a different character name on the front. In this issue, we don’t even see Donald until page six as the first part is all about Scrooge. However, as soon as the adventure starts with Donald it picks up and we get quite a fulfilling and engaging story. Unfortunately, it ends very abruptly not long after. Overall the main story is one of the most enjoyable stories from IDW’s Disney books so far and the short second story is a two pager from 1949 all about missing the trash man that still seems pretty relevant today. In general, this comic is worthwhile for any avid Disney fan as it gives you a chance to read some past comics and is a great way to introduce kids to comic books. – Jacob

X-Files Annual 2015C
I have to say with all the X-Files news happening right now for the new show, I may have gone into this issue a little too excited and came out finding it a little dull and lacking in a lot of what made past X-Files comics great. The story does entertain in its own way, but the unsatisfying ending made me wondering why I had read it in the first place. More than anything, the story was unnecessarily depressing even for an X-Files comic. This was especially true in Mulder’s office when Scully was belittling him about what happened. I don’t want to be totally unfair. Up until the ending, the story is very engaging and you care about what’s going on just as much as Mulder.  It’s the outcome of finding everything out that makes for a rather lousy story. However, fear not, we have Season 11 comics starting next month to give us longer stories to enjoy until the new TV series! – Jacob

Transformers More Than Meets the Eye #43 – C-
Just when I was praising MTME for not depending on an earth addiction- I spoke too soon. I can’t figure out what’s happening: this book was the best Transformers comic by a Roman mile, but lately it’s gotten so stupid silly and anime-nerd navel gazing. I mean, the cover gives me indigestion. Swerve (the bartender guy, because I know no one knows who that is by name alone) is… something… so holographic Earth… and all the ‘formers have to be pretend humans. Dumb. The whole thing was dumb. – Montgomery

Shrinking Man #1 – D
I feel like I am supposed to like this book – or at least be more patient with it because it is based on the famed 1956 novel The Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson but the fact is that I was bored nearly before it began. The simple truth is that a man shrinking 1/7 of an inch every day and fighting with his wife about it is just not that compelling. The story break aways to the 5/7 inch version of Scott trying to get to some crackers while fighting off a black widow even left me yawning. The story is slow moving and at this point lacks any real ability to hook readers. As I mentioned earlier, the only thing in this comic’s corner is what it is based on and my sheer faith that it will pay off because of that. Overall, this was a disappointing and flat read. I can’t in good conscience recommend it to readers, because it has so little to offer. With any luck my determination to stick with it will pay off sooner rather than later, but right now I am not looking forward to the next issue. – Keriann

Image Comics:

Rasputin #7 – B
Rasputin is beautifully haunting. Ivan Plascencia is a genius colorist. Every issue is treated with such care and I am always very sad when I get to the end of one. I like that we see Rasputin in the modern day and how the writers are weaving the history, occult, and conspiracy theory into one story. I really am surprised no one else has thought to take Rasputin and do something with him sooner. And I like how he is painted more as the hero and not the villain. – Jene

God Hates Astronauts #10 – B
Glorb hordes Aquafina!!  The Cosmic Apocalypse arch is at its end.  Hilarious as it was, I’m glad this series will moving onto a new theme.  The dramatic conclusion of the Earth vs. Crabulon war did not disappoint.  The long awaited King Tiger Eating a Cheeseburger vs NASA’s Hippothesis showdown finally popped off and did not disappoint.  The collective Star Grass gathering was also in full effect.  I cannot get enough of these guys.  I can’t wait to see what Ryan Browne hits us with next.  Knowing his style, it will probably be a killer whale filled with bloody confetti and a three eyed animal-human hybrid.  Bring it on Mr. Brown. – Taylor

Invisible Republic #5 – B
Invisible Republic is a continual: what-the-f*ck-is-going-to-happen-get-to-it-all-ready. I can’t I wait… rush of adrenaline and then the book ends. It’s fucking annoying and yet utterly brilliant. The plot thickens. Maia is the ghost of the past, her presence hunting the present begging to be head. It’s hard to remember there are two stories and Maia’s in many ways is over or seems to be. I’m wondering how her story is going to affect the present day time line. I want to know if my theory is going to prove right (Though, it seems like some of them are right. Maia is defiantly still alive!).  – Jene

Marvel/Icon Comics:

X-Men ’92 #2 (4-5 digitally) – A
I’m reviewing these as a single issue because GOOD LUCK GETTING YOUR HEAD AROUND WHAT MARVEL’S DOING WITH IT. I like this book. I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it 3 more times before Secret Wars is finished running its course: the X-books have without a doubt been the best so far. I dig that this book is mostly a commentary on both the excess of 90’s Liefeld and Lee (I mean, you see those Cable guns?) and the flood of parent fear-mongering of the 90’s as characterized by Cassandra Nova’s obsession about what’s too violent or too sexual. It’s such a well aimed nostalgia trip. 20 years after that original cartoon, and I still hear the original voice actors when I read anything X. – Montgomery

Star Wars #7 – A
The Star Wars series continues to impress. This issue takes a step away from the regular story to give Luke a little bit of inspiration. Luke has found a journal left for him by Obi-Wan, a journal that tells of Obi-Wan’s life on Tatooine before he lead Luke on his current path. We see that Obi-Wan can’t stop being a Jedi so easily. Like a true Jedi, Obi-Wan will always help those in need, which could get him in trouble with Jaba’s thugs. But he’s pledged to look after a young boy. Jason Aaron opened up a interesting avenue. Normally I don’t care for big diversions from storylines I’m invested in, but this one worked; it added another layer to Luke. – Scott

Deathlok #10 – A
WOAH! He tore his freaking face off! Dude! And Agent Hope is a cyborg too?! This issue was packed to the brim with new, exciting material. Just when I think I know where the writers are going, they twist things. It was cool to see Henry take control of his own life; for him to say “eff this!” and take his own action. I felt so terrible for his daughter. I hope she can one day understand what actually happened. I’m also super excited to see Agent Hope’s character develop with this new addition to her character. Great stuff! – Charlotte

Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #3 – A-
This series has been rather enjoyable for any Deadpool fan and is a great refresher or new fan starting point for the original Secret Wars. However, this really changed some plot details of characters and events from the original Secret Wars series, such as playing off Spider-Man’s costume change for a good chunk of the story and then adding an aspect trying to get us to actually love Deadpool instead of the love to hate him attitude most of his fans have. Collen Bunn is doing great things with this series and if it keeps heading down the road this specific issue took, I think it could be one of the top stories out of this whole Secret Wars thing. To top it all off, Matteo Lolli’s art is fantastic and the vintage style in a new book makes for a wonderful read. – Jacob

S.H.I.E.L.D. #8 – A-
This was an awesome issue. It really served as a reminder of what S.H.I.E.L.D. has always been about (or at least what it’s supposed to be about): helping people who are lost in a new side of themselves. The character design was stunning in this issue and I look forward to seeing more of these kids in the future. Perhaps we’ve got a new line of X-Men characters in Marvel’s future? Could be a cool way to connect the two worlds. – Charlotte

M.O.D.O.K. Assassin #3 – B+
I wasn’t so hot on the first issue of this series – and I’m still not super hot that it likes to flirt with melodrama so much, but I dig it when it’s funny. And this was probably the funniest issue so far. M.O.D.O.K. is in love because OMG ANGELA SUCH KILLS, and that makes him flustered in his own psychopath murderer way. I like this version of M.O.D.O.K.: it’s like if you combined Garrett from Community with Asperger’s, and gave the result infinity weapons. My favorite line: “But what hurts more is the thought that Thor will no longer find me <<ATTRACTIVE>>.” I almost wish this was a (failed) romance comic instead of regular comic stuff. Because his romantic feelings are the biggest draw. – Montgomery

Thors #2 – B+
Not a bad issue. Ultimate Thor meets de-hammered Odinson while in the pursuit of Jane Foster’s murder. They uncover a murdered Donald Blake. They think Loki did it (I don’t). – Montgomery

Age of Ultron vs Marvel Zombies #2 – B
This series has proven to be a pretty solid story among the hordes of Marvel Zombie arcs out there. It gives us a twist that definitely has me interested in how things will turn out by the end of this series. James Robinson does a swell job of mixing these two universes into one. We even see a glimpse of 1602 Punisher! It makes it even better that Steve Pugh’s art fits the story perfectly. I loved the retro style and the coloring done by Jim Charalampidis in the flashback stories. It added a cool aspect to the story. – Jacob

Second Opinion (C): This comic’s not winning any awards for “easiest title to say.” This seemed like the dumbest concept, but it’s pretty interesting. Bummed that Puritan Punisher got murdered in a page. All the talking head action on the wall is pretty insufferable. Just bring on the zom-bot action. – 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.