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

Review Scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick of the Week:

Superman #37
Superman #37

Superman #37 – A

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


Other Reviews: 


Batman Annual #3 – A

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

Deathstroke #3 – B

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

Batman Eternal #39 – B-

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

Robin Rises: Alpha #1 – C

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

Arkham Manor #3 – C

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

Gotham by Midnight #2 – D+

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


IDW Comics:

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #1 – A-

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

Image Comics:

Graveyard Shift #1 – B+

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

They’re Not Like Us #1 – B

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



Superior Iron Man #3 – A

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

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #3 – A-

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

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 – B

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


Funniest Panel:


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

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

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


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

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