Comic Book Reviews 03-11-15

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


Howard the Duck #1 – A

(A+) I know, I know. An A+ for Howard the Duck makes me seems like I am quacking crazy, but trust me, this issue deserves it for many reasons. To start off, this series caught a lot of flack because of the movie and past controversy which has kind of damned this character to obscurity despite the fact he was once a character Marvel banked on so much that his film was the first full length film based off ANY Marvel character. This issue does bank off the success of his second film appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy a bit, but does so in a way that it is its own universe while also connecting Howard to a more celestial level than just hanging in Cleveland. But the good stuff here is seeing the artist for Sex Criminals, Chip Zdarsky take on the writing duties for Howard, bringing together a little of the past good incarnations of Howard together while also adding a large amount of humor and wit. This issue also features cameos from some great Marvel characters from Howard’s history making this a very enjoyable read for old fans while also making sure to create a Howard all his own that will blow any memory of George Lucas’s film out of your mind like water off a duck. Joe Quinones does the art for this issue, which is a perfect mix of realism and absurdity. This art fits Howard very well as the series is obviously meant to make a joke out of Howard while also making sure to let people know he is a duck you always have to take seriously. So I suggest you migrate to your nearest store and pick up the breakout Marvel Comic of the year, because if this series keeps up this quality, not liking Howard will finally be the odd opinion out. – Jacob

(B+) I think the statement, “I kind of liked the Howard the Duck movie,” probably ranks up there with, “Hitler had some good ideas,” in the various nerd realms. However, I kind of liked Howard the Duck movie, and ever since my dad showed me that cinema monstrosity as an 8 year old (duck boobs certainly left… an impression), I’ve really loved the character of Howard. But I feel so burned by Marvel from the past decade of churning out terrible and clichéd after terrible and clichéd event books that I’m still nervous about relaunches, despite some fantastic books like Squirrel Girl and Young Avengers, and especially relaunches of characters I like. But I liked Howard the Duck #1. I liked the art, I liked the fact that he wasn’t written as “Wolverine, but, like, a duck,” which seems to be the easiest out. I like the way the story starts in the middle of the action with him being released from prison. I like the way it made Spider-Man seem kind of like a wiener. I like the way it admits Marvel totally stole the Black Cat idea from DC’s Catwoman. I like that, this go around, Bev is arguably the more badass of the two. I like the fact that Marvel is finally embracing the fact that, if their universe were representative of reality, it would be weird as hell, and so you have She-Hulk as his secretary reading a BuzzFeed article entitled “20 Cat Pictures That’ll Make You Forget You Live in a World of Super-Powered Wonder and Horror.” I like that the book’s action and drama is serious enough to make you care about Howard as a duck, but the world isn’t so serious that it isn’t willing to look itself and say, “Yeah, I guess this is a little silly.”

– Montgomery

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Batman: Arkham Knight #1 – B

The events of the Arkham games are coming to a close. This series takes place between Arkham City and the new Arkham Knight. To no one’s surprise, despite being dead, the Joker is still as deadly as ever. I’m still not sure if we’re going to see some return of the killer clown. Putting a body in an incinerator kind of finalizes things, but you never know. It seems that Bruce Wayne still can’t catch more than a 24 hour break between having to deal with all of the nasty that Gotham City has to offer. I feel bad for the guy. The Arkham Knight has yet to reveal himself to Batman yet, but the Electrocutioner had an up close encounter. I’m waiting to see what the Scarecrow’s plans are since we haven’t seen him since the first game and we know he has a bunch of Titan with him. – Scott

Detective Comics: Endgame #1 – B
I’ve never read Detective Comics, but I really liked what I read here. In the same world as the Joker-pocalypse, a kid named Lonnie realizes he needs to save his mom from the Jokies (That was my attempt at splicing the words Joker and zombies tother. It’s lame, I know.). Batwoman, Batgirl, Nightwing and a few other step in and help Lonnie and his friends save his mom. The whole thing was pretty bad-ass and there was even a moral at the end. I enjoyed this issue enough that I realize my mistake in not reading Detective Comics before. – Adrian


Shaft #4 – B+
This is the best issue of Shaft so far! Bookended with the theme of home, this is the first time Shaft has shown us the detective skills of John and just how seedy everyone around him really is. I was particularly affected by the artwork this week. I don’t know if that was partially because I thought the story was better, or because the art was really just that much better, but either way, it was pleasing to my eyes. Now that John has pieced more of the puzzle together, it looks like this arc will end soon and hopefully pave the way for a deeper character study of this bad mutha. – Adrian

Image Comics:

Surface #1 – B+

I can’t tell you how much I love the fact that weird sci-fi is becoming a new standard over at Image. I think it’s part of what makes them better than the other guys. Surface takes some pretty high concept ideas, like the holonomic theory of the universe (pioneered by David Bohm, friend of Owen Barfield, the Oxford Inkling’s in-house philosopher), which purports that the real reality of the universe is an infinite single dimension plate of infinitely defense information. Our experience of the universe is a 3D projection of that information. I tried to read David Bohm’s book he wrote on his theory, but it is a single 400 page long physics equation. Surface takes that idea, and some others, and has a mysterious Garden of Eden-like wonderland spontaneously appearing across the planet. A group of misanthropes (my favorite kind of thropes) rebelling against their post-apocalyptic 1984 always observed world to find an appearance of the Surface. It’s a really cool book so far. The art feels like it’s tapping into Transmetropolitan and Akira, and the storytelling mimics what it’s like living in a world where your thought processes can be interrupted at any moment by advertisements and competing media. Which is jarring, and while I’m positive that’s the author’s intention, the interspersed interviews with an author (who I’m 90% certain is supposed to be Grant Morrison) get a little too jarring. Nevertheless, this is a pretty awesome book that’ll help stuff your brain with real knowledge meat. – Montgomery

Spawn Resurrection #1 – B

It took some convincing from God, who came in the form of his old dog. God spelled backwards is Dog, surely that can’t be coincidence. Al Simmons is back from purgatory to seriously hurt some people. With a world that is mirrored after our own we see “We can’t breathe” signs and police protests. Needless to say I can’t wait to see Al take up the mantle again and deal with the corrupt and evil. Also I wouldn’t hate to see more God dog… idea for a comic book. – Scott

Postal #2 – B-
Was it just me, or was this issue incredibly short? I still am really interested in the story of Mark and this crazy town he lives in, but I felt like we didn’t get enough of him this week. He is most compelling character, so I really prefer his story and his prospective. There were more questions created than answers…answered this week. I suppose that is a good thing, but after the debut issue, I thought we would go more into the mystery of who the dead girl was then have it answered so non-chalantly. I am looking forward to where this series goes and certainly won’t judge it for a mediocre second issue. – Adrian

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Ant-Man #3 – A-

This issue was absolutely hilarious. Scott finds himself doing security for an office supply warehouse that had just a few too many paperclips. Enter Taskmaster. Who as it turns out is just a witty as Scott is, so this issue had some of the most amazing back and forth I have seen. I am continuously telling people to read this book. It isn’t life-changing or poignant (at least not yet), but it is the perfect comic for anyone who is new to the genre and for anyone who is a devout fan of Marvel books. – Adrian

Deadpool #43 – A-

If you like your Deadpool extra brutal then this is the issue for you! But what else would you expect from the Merc with the Mouth when he only has two issues left to live and obviously knows it. In this week’s issue, we see the battle between Deadpool and Omega Red and the Roxxon corporation continue making for one of the most violent Deadpool issues for many months. With Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan doing the writing for these last couple of issues we can guarantee that Deadpool will have a couple pretty dramatic and brutal issues leading to his life ending quicker than Chimichanga’s digesting inside his stomach. Salvia Espin does the art for this issue with Val Staples as the colorist and man… I cannot imagine the amount of red they used to color this issue. But the art and story here combine to create a very dark start to the end of Deadpool and one that will likely make Wolverine’s death look mild. – Jacob

Star Wars #3 – A-

(A) Jason Aaron continues the excellent writing for this Star Wars series. Luke’s anger and inner struggle comes through very well. And Vader’s obsession with Obi-Wan is strictly expressed with the dialogue. The always excellent John Cassaday brings the page alive, especially when Chewbacca is bashing aliens in the face, aliens that seem to just be a gathering of tentacles by the way. A small highlight from the book is toward the end seeing two men bringing “yet another dead Rodian” out to the desert to bury. As usual I will be looking forward to the next issue. – Scott

(B) Explosions, lightsaber battles, wookiee tosses!! Issue #3 of Star Wars was violent and action packed. And I applaud the show. The panels are beautifully detailed. Scenes of destruction are epic and brilliantly illustrated. Props to John Cassaday and Laura Martin! The other aspects of this issue ooze with classic Star Wars themes and structure. Luke is still a cheery, optimistic farm boy in every way. Han is a scruffy looking nerf-herder, Leia is a fiery, no-nonsense princess and they both have a secret “thing” for each other. 3PO is annoying, Chewy is bad ass, and Darth Vader is not to be f**ked with. I’m torn with my feelings at this point. On one hand I love the nostalgia and how Jason Aaron is staying so true to the franchise. On the other hand, I want to see something new and different. I’d like to see the limits pushed (just a little bit…). We’re in a new era of Star Wars. The classics will never die and let that console us all. Now is the time to start mixing things up – very minimally. – Taylor

Captain Marvel #13 – B+

I was really impressed with this month’s Captain Marvel. We got away from the silliness of recent issues past, and the wonderful humor from the first few issues was put back in place. The Captain had some great banter with her ship, she saved the day, and characters who could sometimes be distracting were set free, but in a good way. I don’t know what this means for Captain Marvel’s future, but it seems like the entire first 13 issues of this series will be but a memory for a while. I’m ok with that. – Adrian

Guardians Team-Up #2 – B

In the second issue, we start off where we left off with everyone knocked out and Gamora taken by Nebula. As everyone regains consciousness they realize Gamora is missing and immediately head after her taking the very earthbound first issue into the Guardians normal battleground of space. They end up tracking Nebula down for a final battle but will they be able to retrieve Gamora from her and what are the motives of why Gamora was taken in the first place?  It all wraps up at a point where we can see how this story will be influencing the Black Vortex story within this series for next week’s issue. Long time Guardians writer Brian Michael Bendis does a great job mixing these seemingly two-tiered Avengers with the Guardians and making sure both fit together well and that the story is written well enough to not discount any character involved, even with Rocket insulting all the Avengers involved. Stephanie Roux and Jay Leisten take on the art for this issue together and give us a very solid issue artistically, keeping up with last issue and hopefully paving the way for more artists to amazes us each week this series goes on. – Jacob

Spider Gwen #2 – B

Yay!! More Spider-Gwen. Double yay for more Spider-Ham!! For fans familiar with the Spider-Verse events, you’ll be pleased to know that Spider-Ham has become Gwen Stacy’s conscience. If you’re unfamiliar with the origins of Spider-Ham, then this issue will be annoyingly baffling. I highly recommend reading the Spider-Verse comics if you haven’t! There’s lots of character focus in this issue – which is great and necessary for this type of story. We’re also getting a good mix of other Marvel characters. Vulture, King Pin, Matt Murdock. In a juicy and interesting twist of events the blind and acrobatically talented lawyer is actually a bad guy this time around. Love it. Marvel and Jason Latour are 2 for 2 on this new web-slinging title! – Taylor

Thor #6 – C+

This week’s Thor brings us a story more based on the male Thor, or just Odinson as he calls himself now, and his investigation into whom the new female Thor could be. This investigation takes him across the universe questioning anyone he can and visiting just about every woman he knows, all the while Odin is being a typical power hungry god and sending all his forces after Thor to retrieve Mjlinor and bring it back to Asgard. It was a little refreshing to see what everyone else is up to but also quite odd to have an issue where the main character only appears on a couple pages and most of those are one-panel pages. Jason Aaron still has writing duties for this issue which surprises me a little seeing the lack of Thor in Thor despite the original Thor being present, confusing enough yet? Well everyone else in this comic universe is just as confused and nothing gets figured out this issue leading us to believe this mystery of Thor may not be discovered until Secret Wars is closer. Russell Dauterman takes art duties and does an incredible job bringing Thor to life here, and gives us a great mix of reality and Thor’s Norse mythology together to make for a very visually pleasing issue. – Jacob

The Amazing Spider-Man #16 – C

Things are slow to getting back on track with a non-Inheritor themed storyline. Before the Spider-Verse event Peter Parker and Parker Industries made a grand proposal for construction of a superhuman prison/rehab facility. This is where we start in issue #16. Spider-Man is busy fighting Iguana while simultaneously taking phone calls from Aunt May and Anna Maria. The situation is the same-old here – Peter is neglecting his non-superhero duties. That really sums up what’s happening this issue – it’s pretty uneventful. I’m also confused as to why Parker Industries has to present a proposal and compete to build the super-prison when it was Parker Industries that came up with the idea. The brightest moment came on the very last panel where we meet Spidey’s new nemesis, Ghost! Spider-Man vs. Ghost… I’m excited. – Taylor


Funniest Panel:

Ant-Man #3
Ant-Man #3



Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Surface #1
Surface #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 all the publishers for putting out great books.