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:
(A+) First of all, kudos to Joshua Williamson for coming up with yet another fantastic original idea. Birthright tells the story of what could happen when a child disappears in the woods. As in, the child could have just gone missing, or, he could have been called off to another realm where he alone is the chosen one picked to defeat an evil king and free all creatures from his torment. Whoa. Now that is something I may not have considered. Birthright #1 comes out swinging and grabbed my interest right away. It’s a great mixture of adventure, originality, and genuine heartfelt emotion. It is very well written, and the character introduction was so successful that I already care about them. I was sad when they were sad, excited when they were excited and so on. I truly enjoyed reading this book and even though the ending was a little strange, I am very excited to read what will happen next. Williamson tells very unique stories and Birthright falls in line with his other projects in that fashion. Good fantasy comics are few and far between these days but I think Birthright will make a name for itself in a very short time. It’s compelling, well written, endearing, and exciting. – Keriann
(A) I am not often surprised. But f***ing hell I was surprised by this book. I thought I had it figured out, but panel after panel I was questioning myself and then Mikey came back into this reality. The kid gets lost into another dimension and then spit back a year later only to find that he is some dragon slayer. You know that it’s going to be a brother against brother story, but you have no idea how it’s going to play out. Well done, well done. Go f***ing read it RIGHT now!!! – Jené
(A) Ok, Joshua Williamson, you’ve hooked me again. Birthright is the story of Mikey. Mikey is playing catch with his dad, and the ball goes into the woods. Mikey goes to get the ball, and disappears. After investigations and media scrutiny, Mikey’s dad is publicly blamed for the disappearance of his son. That is until Mikey returns, as a grown man and full-on demon hunter. Williamson says this idea came to him because as a child of the 80’s, all his favorite movies had kids going on great adventures and returning to normal life like nothing happened. He likes to think there are consequences to our… birthrights. The story flowed so easily. I felt like I was reading a comic version of every 80’s movie that I love, also. I absolutely loved the art, too. The coloring was perfect for each seen, depending on the mood of the characters. I am definitely looking forward to where Mikey is going.. or rather where he has been. –Adrian
Sabrina #1 – B
Attention 90’s kids: this is not your childhood Sabrina. If you were like me, you ran home after school and tuned into Sabrina the Teenage Witch, laughed at Salem, scoffed at Libby, and wished you lived in a cool house like Sabrina Spellman did. That version is long gone, friends. The new comic Sabrina is dark and twisted. Especially for an Archie Comic. This story takes place in the 50’s and 60’s, giving it a little bit of a Bewitched vibe, but in an American Horror Story type way. The grotesque is definitely evident. All of this is not to say it was bad; in fact, I did enjoy it, but I was wearing rose colored glasses until Sabrina’s father has her mother committed to the asylum – and that was one of things that was easier to swallow. There are a few new characters, but the book does a good job of keeping some symbolism of the T.V. series. After all, what is a witch without her familiar? And Salem is as sharp as ever. – Adrian
Hexed #3 – C+
While this month’s issue of Hexed was a step up from last month’s, the series still hasn’t gotten its groove. I find some of the quips laugh out loud funny, but as a whole, the story relies too much on the unclear rules of the supernatural world. The first story arc has been surrounding the main character, Lucifer, being dead and trying to get out of that seemingly permanent predicament. I find it odd that the heroine has been dead this whole time. I don’t mind dead main characters, but there has been no history for the audience established, so I find it hard to care. I also strongly dislike how much is emphasized on the supernatural, and that none of it makes sense. I have always been a fan of witchcraft and demons, but usually when a story is strong without that aspect. However, I did think this month’s issue did a good job in the humor department and gave us a pretty decent cliffhanger. Let’s hope next month’s issue takes a step back from so much fantasy and gets into some character development. –Adrian
Batman #35 – A
(A) Most weeks, I read a lot more comics than I review. Some of them I don’t feel are worth reviewing, so when an issue like Batman #35 comes out, it is like a breath of fresh air. After reading this issue, I also obsessively stalked Scott Snyder so I could find out his literary path. And it was because of the Orestes reference at the beginning (and his epilogue in Wytches, also out this week) that made me realize that he has a strong background in literature. Turns out, I was very under-schooled in one of the best writers in comics right now. On top of the outstanding writing, the artwork is flawless. I am amazed out how much detail Greg Capullo can fit into his part of the story telling – and don’t be fooled, Capullo is a master of story telling in the same capacity Snyder is. I felt this issue was incredibly poetic. It was clear that this is the beginning of an unforgettable story arc, especially with the big reveal on the last page. And unlike Orestes, who gets his deus ex machina, Batman and Gotham may be out of gods to swoop in to save them, but then again, when did Batman need to be saved? – Adrian
(A) With Zero Year finally in the books, I was pretty giddy to begin what Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have referred to as the grittiest and most epic story they’ve done yet. Considering the past few stories have been: Zero Year, Death of the Family and Court of Owls, this is quite the boast. This issue did not disappoint – it actually terrified; “HE’S BAAAAAAAAACK!” Capullo and Snyder are at it again, and they have formed the perfect marriage on Batman, to all of our pleasure. It doesn’t really matter if you have read the last 34 issues, because this is the perfect jumping on point to see the best creative team in the business. – Sherif
The New 52: Future’s End #23 – B
The New 52 Future’s End series does an exceptional job of disappointing me and entertaining me all at the same time. Predominantly I feel as though this story is being dragged out much too excessively. A series so overflowing and crammed with characters should be much more deliberate. I’m losing patience in the snails-pace journey to the climax. The thing that gets me every issue are the jaw-dropping moments that keep me hungry for the next issue. My “B” grade for this issue of Future’s End is solely attributed to the jaw dropping moment that occurred at the end of the issue. One of our beloved heroes undergoes a most disturbing transformation. This new development is bound to be exciting, but ultimately it’s just another puzzle piece in this already complex and muddy storyline. My simple mind can only take so much more complexity before it shuts down completely. – Taylor
Klarion #1 – C-
(B) My first reaction was WOW it’s sooo pretty and hypnotic. The artist Trevor McCarthy and colorist Guy Major did a phenomenal job. I spent a lot of time just staring at each panel. At times it felt a little overwhelming and chaotic, but appropriate for a multiverse narrative. The panels are also something I would love on my walls and on my desktop. If anything, I am going to check out what else they have worked on. My second though: multiverse… science meets magic FUCK YEAH. Interesting, interesting, interesting. It’s like cyber-tech-punk with a mixture of gothic alchemy in the same setting. The art seems to be relaying more of the story then the writing at the moment and the dialogue between the characters is rather awkward, but still somehow fitting as if everything is a dream and the natural order doesn’t exist. The book is kind of a puzzle. But, some sort of order is involved, people who watch events happen, and people who mean to intervene. I’m really intrigued to see what will come next. I think this series is going impress and amaze. – Jené
(D-) Do yourself a favor – think more Wytches, less “witches.” I get that it’s Halloween and DC wants to explore more of their supernatural characters in time for the spookiest time of the year, but Klarion is not the way to go. I will concede that he is much more tolerable than his animated companion, but I have no damn clue what just happened in this book. It tried to seem modern and futuristic, but relied too heavily on the presumption that we understood the world we were reading into, which is made even more convoluted by the busy artwork. I’m sorry Klarion, it’s 2014 and, still, nobody likes you. – Sherif
Batgirl #35 – D
I am so disappointed with this issue of Batgirl, it almost marred her Future’s End one-shot for me (which I loved). I know that the two stories are totally different, and that this is a new start with new writers, but if this Barbara Gordon is supposed to be how she was in the Future’s End story, there has got to be a HUGE transformation. This issue was ultimately inconsequential and a waste of time. While the story (Barbara’s computer was stolen, and other tech from other college students was also stolen) was a pathetic attempt to connect to a younger audience, the characters were an even worse attempt. Full of references to Tinder, Instagram, and the ubiquitous hashtag, this issue was shoving 20-something hipsterdom down our throats like the Jehovah Witness did with The Watchtower when he knocked on my door yesterday. And while this may appeal to a much younger audience, portraying Barbara Gordon as a partying, drinking, overly sexualized “hero” who “accidently” set Black Canary’s stuff on fire, perhaps this isn’t the way to inspire a new generation of impressionable comic fans. But I would hope that even 12-year-olds who take pictures of their food would see through the bull that this issue provided. – Adrian
(A-) Now this is a story I could potentially get behind. Anyone familiar with Steve Niles knows that he is a master of modern horror and monsters. The October Faction appears to be no exception. As is the case with most first issues, a lot of time was spent establishing characters and the universe they exist within so at times it felt like a slightly slow read. However, Niles did a great job of drawing the reader in with intriguing characters and a dark background that creates a lot of questions. He is doing what he knows best, which is obviously monsters, but this time he has introduced us to a family of apparent monster hunters, some of who may have supernatural inclinations in their own right. The story line is not overly strong yet, that is to say the book didn’t start off with a bang, but its subtle introduction got the job done. The dialogue is cheeky and charming, a Niles trademark, and the artwork, done by Damien Worm, is stunning and at times is more reminiscent of an old haunted painting than it is a comic book. Needless to say it is a great fit and it enhances Niles writing quite well. – Keriann
Sex Criminals #8 – B+
This book continues to make me laugh in ways that I never thought I would feel comfortable in doing so. Let’s just say that this is not the type of book you take out in the middle of the library. After the culmination that ended in a dildo sword fight (that’s exactly what I mean) in issue #7, John and Suzie have decided to take a break, Ross and Rachel style. The result here is a LOT of dialogue, but instead of the usual awkward sex banter, we have ornate character development – and even manage to meet a couple new characters. If you are repulsed by the off-hand nature of which cervixes and brimping (brimper.com, it’s a thing) is talked about, then this will never be the book for you. However, those readers in their 20-30’s who can handle the honesty of adulthood will find them instantly attached to Sex Criminals. – Sherif
Black Science #9 – B
The wait between issues of Black Science always seem so unbearably long. Every issue so far has left readers on the edge of a multidimensional cliff. Each issue has been creative, adventurous, intense and visually stunning. Issue #9 maintains this trend! With the group of dimensionauts split into two smaller groups, Remender has begun working two sub-plots into the panels. Because the story is so character driven these sub-plots have been very nice treats for us readers. So prepare to grow even more elated because Remender added a third sub-plot in this week’s issue. And in true Black Science fashion – it’s earth shattering. I’m so excited to see how all these moving parts intertwine and impact one another. This roller coaster ride through the Eververse just keeps getting better. – Taylor
Copperhead #2 – C
(C+) Well, it’s had a bit of a rough start, but, I’m still enjoying Copperhead. They still seem to be building to something but we’re just not getting there yet. Kind of hard to stay interested month to month if that keeps up. However, next month we should start to see the story come together a bit more. My favorite part has to be the art, mainly I like looking at all the aliens. We get introduced to a couple new characters this month, one of which is totally badass and may perhaps turn out to be our antagonist, but, who knows. We’ll have to wait until next month. – Cody
(C) I’m a bit torn on this series. The first issue of Copperhead, I felt, was basic and only mildly interesting. I picked up issue #2 this week to see if that impression would stick. For the most part it did. The plot progressed in the most marginal fashion and character focus was mostly dull. The highlights of this issue revolved around the mysterious badlands and the introduction of the inebriated doctor. I think issue #3 will make or break Copperhead. Pivotal moments are abound and if they fall flat in the next issue I think I’ll take this book out behind the space barn and put a plasma bolt between its eyes. -Taylor
Cutter #2 – C-
(C) So it turns out that people are really hard to convince that a ghost is hunting them. We still haven’t quite gotten the background on what happened to this supposed ghost, other than she was fairly mistreated by half the town. Although for me it’s kind of a stretch to think someone is killing from beyond the grave because of some people that were less than kind. I’m still enjoying the art; it hasn’t gotten stale. The character and plot development just isn’t quite there for me. The story this week went in the zombie direction with the group of townspeople holding up in a fortified location with fire arms, but hasn’t that been done enough? Cutter is just barely holding on to my attention. – Scott
(D) The second issue of Cutter tries once again to get the reader enthralled with a less than gripping plot. They spared the blood and gore for this issue, except for the very end, and relied solely on the story to keep the pages turning. I respect the effort, the problem is that the book has yet to reach a point where I care. There is no character development, no one compelling, interesting, or endearing so I find myself not rooting for anyone to survive in a book where people are seemingly being picked off one by one. The key to successful horror is in the characterization. If there is no strong hero, or monster, the story will inevitably fail because with no one to root for, horror just become pointless carnage. The second issue also walked a lazy line between the supernatural and real world terrors, but it was written in a way that was almost insulting. If you want me to believe that a ghost may be exacting revenge from the grave, fine, but then please explain to me where it got a car and how it drives it around. Cutter doesn’t offer anything in the way of originality or emotion. The only page turning quality it has is my need for it to just be done already. – Keriann
Punks #1 – F-
Don’t bother. – Scott
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1- B+
(A-) I am definitely behind a lot of the stories that join into this Axis event. At the start I was a bit lost. But the writer does give you a couple pages worth of back story to catch you up to where this event starts. I have to say the idea behind this may end up being better than the execution. So far the big bads Red Onslaught and Ahab have really handed the Avengers and X-Men’s asses to them on a platter and it is not looking too good for anyone during this first issue. I feel from the start that this event will be better than Original Sin and include more characters we all know and love and some most of us have no idea who they are. The art so far has been great with no complaints from me and the story has been good with hope that it will be great in issue #2 next week. – Jacob
(B) You couldn’t start out anymore randomly then having Iron Man and the lot suddenly fighting Plantman of all villains. Immediately you know that something bigger is on the way, and shortly our hero’s minds are infiltrated. Red Skull/Red Onslaught as the most powerful psychic on the planet, now that’s a proper problem. The art is standard fare; I did particularly like the inside of Red Onslaught’s psyche though. The writing isn’t bad but when all of the heroes show up at the end there is an endless chain of witty retorts and one-liners that is kind of hokey. The heart of this issue comes at the very end, it’s just interesting enough to keep a reader going and it’s all Tony’s fault. – Scott
Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #1 – B+
(A-) I have to admit this was my most interesting read of the week. The complete opposite personalities of these two heroes makes for a rather enjoyable story. This series will definitely be a fun and rather hilarious adventure with these two. But why is it Hawkeye VERSUS Deadpool? Sure they have had a couple small arguments but are they not on the same side in this story? I just don’t understand why it can’t be Hawkeye & Deadpool instead. Maybe we will see them fight at some point… But still the title aside, this issue was great. – Jacob
(B) It’s a lot of fun reading anything with Deadpool in it. Issue #1 of Hawkeye vs. Deadpool is no exception. I found myself smiling and laughing at almost every panel focused on the Merc with the Mouth. There is a lot of contemporary humor peppered through the issue that adds to the enjoyment. Unfortunately, that’s the only thing going for this series so far. The plot is somewhat interesting, but at best it will serve to complement the amusing antics of Deadpool and Hawkeye. I’m okay with that. I doubt there are many people out there that pick up a Deadpool comic for the “story line.” If you think the same way, then you’ll enjoy this issue. – Taylor
Captain Marvel #8 – B-
The first issue of Captain Marvel allowed me to fall in love with this medium all over again. I was enthralled with the art and the story and the heroine. I’m still enthralled, I just thought that when Carol Danvers was going to space to find the edge of herself, it would be … more about finding herself. While I like the dynamic between Rocket Raccoon, Carol, and the flerken cat Chewie, I felt this issue was major filler. I don’t mind filler when a story has been going on for a bit, but I feel we are still in the beginnings of this story, and Chewie laying eggs isn’t about Carol finding herself. I hope that the story can find it’s way back to the root of intention; otherwise, it could just be a trope, which would be a shame for the best stand-alone female Marvel has right now. – Adrian
Panel with the Most Awesomeness:
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, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.