Comic Book Power Rankings – August 2015

Nobody here at Hush Comics loves sports metrics more than I do. A die-hard NBA fan, I frequently rank players, teams and track stats every night to see who I should be picking up on the waiver wire (a term I know, but still do not understand at all) in our fantasy basketball league. It’s not really to be the best, but largely because I love the processes behind it; I love spreadsheets and systemic processes in how I arrive at these decisions. I even made a House of Quality together in order to break down which qualities I value in comic book series. This was all inspired by the creation of our Best of 2014 Comic Books collection of articles (which you should check out! A lot of hard work from our team went into those articles), when I realized that we had not been keeping track of which books were the best throughout the year.

Below is a list of what I consider the Top 20 comic books of the previous month. The opinions of these rankings is solely mine (unless noted), although they are influenced by the weekly review grades that our team doles out. I’m no expert on the ins and outs of the comic book industry, and I admittedly can’t read every book out there, but as long as I have this awesome platform to force my opinion on readers, why not use it? As always, we LOVE sparking conversations about the things we love, or even the things we don’t, so commentary is encouraged!

Rank Book Title Publisher Issues In Previous Movement
1 Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra Marvel 1
  He’s just a normal family guy, trying to cut it in the blue collar goon industry. Trying to place the normal within the insanity that is Battle World creates comedy gold.
2 Prez DC 3
  As far as political satires go, Prez is hands down the funniest, and is so hyperbolic that the fact that it’s relatable at all is appalling. Root for the little guy in one of DC’s rare non-cape books.
3 Rasputin Image 8
  Rasputin is my favorite comic at the moment. So far it’s the only book that’s compelled me to send fan mail. It’s a well written narrative, beautifully drawn, and spectacularly colored. I get something out if every issue I read and feel satisfied. Totally in love with this series. – Jené
4 Ms. Marvel Marvel 17
  Although Kamala briefly got caught in the web that is Secret Wars, her last issue, a heart-warming team up with Captain Marvel herself gave this book a special place on my shelf.
5 The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Marvel 8
  Three of the top five books are led by young women. Coincidence? Hell no! Squirrel Girl is hilarious and relatable – which says a lot since… ya know, she’s a squirrel.
6 TMNT IDW 49
  Not even shell-shock could stop Donnie! Things are getting heavy as a battle royale contest between the turtles and Foot knock down the door of the upcoming #50 spectacular.
7 Justice League DC 43 5 -2
  This is the best JL story since Forever Evil, and the most desparate time we’ve seen the team in of all New52. Geoff Johns continues to write an amazing book.
8 Batman DC 43 2 -6
  This is not the same book we read with Endgame. Bruce is in identity crisis mode and Gordon has taken over as Batman. Wacky story aside, Snyder/Capullo produce.
9 We Stand On Guard Image 3
  With the right creative team, even Canadians can be interesting. Brian K Vaughan’s new title makes you hate America more effectively than Donald Trump’s presidential run.
10 Bizarro DC 3
  Bizarro no am good book. Bizarro am very bad book. Book no am funny. Art is very ugly. Bizarro very normal, and Jimmy Olson (Bizarro’s worstest enemy) never wear disguises. Bizarro no am have hijinks. – Montgomery
11 Superman DC 43 8 -3
  We finally learned how Lois spilled the beans about Superman’s identity, and it’s refreshing to see Superman fight an enemy he can’t defeat by punching.
12 Old Man Logan Marvel 4
  While I love seeing an out-of-place Wolverine wander around Battle World in a confused rage, it’s Andrea Sorrentino’s panel layout that really keeps me engaged.
13 Groot Marvel 3
  As much as I loved the recently-retired Skottie Young Rocket Raccoon book, Groot is just as adorable. It’s good for all ages, with feel-good lessons in friendship and kindness. Aww.
14 Deadly Class Image 15 5 -9
  While the Remender/Craig tag-team reigns champion, I can’t get over just how scathingly manic-depressive this book got this month. It’s a downer for sure.
15 Nailbiter Image 15 16 +1
  The deeper we keep falling into the mystery, the further the bottom seems to be. It’s a phenomenal book, but I feel just as lost now as I did at square one.
16 The Walking Dead Image 145 4 -12
  I still look forward to this book every month, but the more I read it, the more I realize that Robert Kirkman is becoming George Lucas 2.0. There’s just too much TWD in the world for me right now. That being said, this new threat is gonna bring back the funk.
17 E is for Extinction Marvel 3
  Thank you, Chris Burnham, for making unsexy comic books cool. His raw art is perfect for this post-Morrison, Morrison-style book, which is as awesome as it is awkward.
18 Giant Sized Little Marvel AvX Marvel 3
  This book makes me feel like vomitting rainbows with each issue. It can be formulaic, but it’s just so darn cute – how could anybody not love this??
19 Postal Image 19 11 -8
  Mark, the autistic one-man Scooby gang, is tearing this conspiracy wide open. Although, just because it’s getting bigger doesn’t mean it’s getting better…
20 Batgirl DC 43
  It can be silly at times, but that’s part of the charm. Babs Tarr’s art has definitely grown on me. I’m fully on-board after some post-Gail Simone withdrawals.

 

Notably absent:

Most of the Secret Wars: I’m burnt out on Secret Wars. Marvel must be murdering DC in sales as of late, but their long game is tiring fans out.

Shutter and Birthright: For books that started as two of my favorite Image titles, the convoluted stories in both books have derailed their momentum significantly. I don’t expect that too last, though, as both books have the creative teams to handle it.

Wonder Woman: David and Meredith Finch have been a refreshing addition to the book, but the last couple issues have been noticeably lacking in substance or style. Plus, Donna Troy is completely one-dimensional and incapable of independent thought.

Retired books/ Hiatuses (Hawkeye, Saga, Bitch Planet, Sex Criminals): Some of the best books in the biz took the month off, making way for some newcomers to really shine this month!

Comic Book Power Rankings – February 2015

Nobody here at Hush Comics loves sports metrics more than I do. A die-hard NBA fan, I frequently rank players, teams and track stats every night to see who I should be picking up on the waiver wire (a term I know, but still do not understand at all) in our fantasy basketball league. It’s not really to be the best, but largely because I love the processes behind it; I love spreadsheets and systemic processes in how I arrive at these decisions. I even made a House of Quality together in order to break down which qualities I value in comic book series. This was all inspired by the creation of our Best of 2014 Comic Books collection of articles (which you should check out! A lot of hard work from our team went into those articles), when I realized that we had not been keeping track of which books were the best throughout the year.

Below is a list of what I consider the Top 20 comic books of the previous month. The opinions of these rankings is solely mine, although it is influenced by the weekly review grades that our team doles out. I’m no expert on the ins and outs of the comic book industry, and I admittedly can’t read every book out there, but as long as I have this awesome platform to force my opinion on readers, why not use it? As always, we LOVE sparking conversations about the things we love, or even the things we don’t, so commentary is encouraged!

Rank Book Title Publisher Issues In Previous Movement
1 Saga Image 25
  There is a whole new danger afoot. I like the direction that this already-stellar series is taking our protagonists, even if it is head-first into danger.
2 Batman DC 39 1 -1
  Joker has been playing with his food up to this point. With Batman up against the ropes, the Caped Crusader is getting desperate, and the Clown Prince of Crime is getting brutal.
3 Spider-Gwen Marvel 1
  Who would have thought that one issue of a mini-series would launch such a cult following? Marvel really Hit the Jackpot with this one.
4 The Walking Dead Image 137 4
  I’m as enthralled as I am disgusting with the eyeball-licking love session at the end of the last issue. I’m excited to see Carl grow, no matter the nasty cost.
5 Deadly Class Image 11 6 +1
  Marcus isn’t out of the doghouse just yet. The last thrill-ride of an issue keeps the adrenaline flowing.
6 Suiciders Vertigo 1
  There’s no better way to spend your time in a post-apocalyptic world than to see drugged up gladiators with cybernetic enhancements pummel each other to death.
7 Batman and Robin DC 39 5 -2
  While it wasn’t as emotionally pleasing as the last issue, Robin getting a spot at the table with Batman and Superman is a big deal.
8 Superman DC 38 16 +8
  The end of the last issue was so explosive that I’m surprised I was able to hold onto the page. In just six issues, Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr created history.
9 Amazing Spider-Man Marvel 15
  Even though Spider-Verse winded down this month, Spider-Man has left behind a wake of Spider-lore that will continue to effect the Marvel U… until they reboot it all, anyway.
10 Bitch Planet Image 3
  This book is extremely polarizing, but it has resonated with women in ways that no super-powered chick has. It’s very real and very original.
11 Postal Top Cow 1
  I’ve got a fever for creepy mystery books, and this Norman Bates-ish post boy is the cowbell of creepers. After one issue, this is already among my favorites.
12 Detective Comics DC 39 14 +2
  Anarky is afoot in Gotham, bringing an aspect to Bat-books that has been sorely missing. Add in amazing artwork and a Harvey Bullock back-story, and I’m sold.
13 Mortal Kombat X DC 3 10 -3
  MKX is trying to build a cohesive backstory to the upcoming video game, and its doing a commendable job. Due to it being a digital first, the issues are a bit short, though.
14 TMNT: Mutanimals IDW 1
  How can one mutant be on the same level of wicked awesomeness as Mikey? Mondo Gecko, along with Hob and the gang, are just as interesting as the TMNT – if not more.
15 Wonder Woman DC 39
  David and Meredith Finch have done a fine job with Wonder Woman since taking over, but what has me geeked out is an inevitable showdown between Diana and Donna Troy.
16 Nailbiter Image 10 18 +2
  Like this series could get any creepier… Finch is done doing the Hannibal Lecter dance with Nailbiter, and we are going to have quite an interesting arc coming up.
17 EI8HT Dark Horse 1
  Time travel and dinosaurs have never NOT been a winning combination, and this new series is no exception. I haven’t enjoyed a new sci-fi series this much since Black Science.
18 TMNT IDW 43 8 -10
  Everything is coming to a head with Shredder and Krang, but the confrontation between the two factions left more to be desired. A great book, but I wish it would stop teasing us.
19 Shutter Image 10 17 -2
  Kate’s world has practically exploded in the last few episodes, and the epiphanies just keep on coming. I could do with some more Alarm Cat, but I’m still enjoying the ride.
20 Magneto Marvel 15
  The Master of Magnetism got his mojo back, and he has a new scary focus that is all about his business. I bet Sabretooth is wishing he got the memo earlier.

 

Notably absent:

Birthright: Daaad! There’s something weird going on with Mikey! This fantasy book about a long-lost brother is really just now getting juicy, but there’s a dark secret lurking in here somewhere, and I’m not sure I like the path that Birthright is taking just yet.

Nameless: This book almost made the list this month if not just for the fact that two of my favorite creators are working on it (Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham). That being said, I have no idea what the hell is going on. Not even a little bit

Hawkeye: Bittersweet that one of the most underrated books in the whole industry is moving on after this month, but Matt Fraction and David Aja had such great chemistry. I can only hope we will be that lucky again.

Deathstroke: The Expendables of comic books, right here. I mean, maybe not really at all. The explosions and punny retorts are there, but this isn’t your father’s Slade Wilson. Beautiful panels by Tony Daniels don’t hurt, either.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: The first book swallowed me up so wholly that I was feeling let down by the second book. There weren’t nearly as many jokes, and the set-up for the next arc felt kind of boring. I don’t expect that to last.

 

 

Comic Book Reviews 02-11-15

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:

All New Ghost Rider #11

All-New Ghost Rider #11 – A

First things first – shout out to Fiona Staples for rocking the cover of this month’s All-New Ghost Rider. Second things second – shout out to Marvel for switching up pencilers and letting Felipe Smith work the panels. Instantly, from very first square, I saw improvement. Every panel was so much cleaner and easy to follow – something that’s been missing with Damion Scott’s issues (in my opinion).   It goes a long way to be able to SEE what’s happening in a comic book (go figure). Enough on that subject, let’s talk a little bit about the story. S*** is getting real! And dark!! I get that the whole undead, fiery-soul occupying the body of another human angle isn’t meant to make me feel warm and fuzzy, but still… things are getting pretty out of control in a very disconcerting way. The upside to this is that it’s not boring. The All-New Ghost Rider has been hit or miss for me ever since it started up last year. This month was a “hit” issue. And from the looks of things at the end of the issue, next month is likely to be a repeat performance. – Taylor

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios: 

Adventure Time: Marceline Gone Adrift #2 – A

I’ve been on a huge Adventure Time kick recently. I’m finally all caught up on the show, and I’m unreasonably excited that there’s also a whole world of comics for me to dive into. And I hope it’s all as good as the current run. Issue two picks up right after issue one, and surpasses it in every way: better visuals, more story, a longer read time. It starts to peel back the layers of the deceptively complicated emotional pallet of the world. And did I mention the art? I haven’t heard of Carey Pietavg before, but I’m totally sold. Definitely more worth cover price than the first issue. – Montgomery

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Secret Six #2 – B

This band of misfits are badasses! The Secret Six are obscure characters who would never be able to hold their own series, but together just manage to manage an enjoyable couple of issues, with potential to get even better. With Gail Simone at the helm, this series could return to the glory it had prior to the New52 launch. The focus of this issue is basically the end of the prologue, ending in the unleashing of the team upon the world. There are some characters I like, and others I’m not so fond of, but I am excited to see where we go from here. – Sherif

Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day SpecialC-

This just simply wasn’t very good. The plot was super long and convoluted and the change in art just felt lazy. In fact, they literally told the readers it was lazy because the main artist didn’t have enough time to draw the comic and meet their deadline, so they brought other artists in to do the dream sequences. This would have been fine if they weren’t so darn weird and convoluted. There were funny moments in it, but overall, this was just … weird — and not in a good way. – Charlotte

IDW Comics:

Edward Scissorhands #4 – B-

This series has been a hidden gem. This week, we see Edward and Megs find difficulty in warning people about Eli, the seemingly violent experiment Edward’s creator never activated. Most of this this opposition is the same as the film, as it comes solely from moronic adults who never listen to the kid who actually knows what is going on. The writing has gotten progressively better as this series has gone on and will hopefully come to a good ending next month in the final issue. My favorite thing of this whole series is the art by Drew Rausch because he makes Edward Scissorhands all his own while also appeasing this Tim Burton junkie pleasantly. – Jacob

Image Comics:

The Walking Dead #137 – A-

Well that got awkward. This book ended in perhaps one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve read in TWD – and believe me, there are enough to choose from. Love is in the air on the Hilltop as Carl continues to be wooed by one of the Whisperers. The issue really dives into the difficulties and paradox of how to rebuild society and the plain fragility of it all. There is trouble a’brewin; nothing this nice can last long. It only takes a few jerk-offs to ruin everything. Luckily for Maggie, Jesus sees everything. I’m also really liking that Carl has grown with the times. He’s the only one I’ve seen both threaten to murder a girl and get her in the same issue. – Sherif

The Empty #1 – B

I’m impressed; this is one of the first comics I’ve seen where the entire book was done by one person. Jimmie Robinson is the creator of The Empty, he also wrote, illustrated, colored and lettered it. Oh if only I could do all of those things. The Empty is an interesting post-apocalyptic story that is set in a part of the world covered in roots that expel a poisonous gas, mutating and poisoning the land. Tanoor is a hunter for her village. She braves the wasteland with her handy, and very cute, foxalope, Fenx. After one hunt Tanoor notices a body floating in the river near her village and it’s a woman named Lila. Lila is from a part of the world that is still lush, green and untainted. Tanoor and Lila set out to return Lila to her home. The art style makes some choices that I could take or leave. The people of Tanoor’s race are fairly normal human looking, except for the fact that their arms go down to their calves. Lila is drawn in a similar style but with different strange proportions, neck length and facial proportions in this case. There is also a backstory to Tanoor that I hope is covered. She only where’s bandages and her entire body is covered in very large scars. It will be a letdown if at some point that’s never touched on. – Scott

Shutter #9 – B-

I’ve understood all the weird shit that’s gone down in Shutter: the ninja ghosts, the steampunk Monopoly man, even the zany half-siblings angle, but the first half of this issue made absolutely no goddamn sense to me. I will say that I loved Owen Gieni’s color work in this issue. The flashback spread is beautifully crafted and, even though I had absolutely no clue what was going on, I was very visually stimulated. All this is forgiven when the book kicks it up about 20 notches at the end there, and the next issue will surely be a trip! – Sherif

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Darth Vader #1 – A-

(A) With the new Star Wars comics up and running, I’m really excited for this Darth Vader series. You never really saw many of Vader’s interactions with his fellow Empire cohorts. How much trouble did he really get in after the destruction of the first Death Star? Darth Vader #1 shows a little bit into the life and times of the Sith Lord. It’s really interesting seeing how Vader operates on a personal level. He really enjoys taking his anger out on those around him. This book also introduces some new characters, like a bad-ass looking wookie bounty hunter named Black Krrsantan. I also really loved the scroll in the beginning of the issue, it’s from the Empire’s point of view. So far, my only problem with the book is I never know how to read what Vader is saying. The emotionless mask with a speech balloon is hard to interpret, but what are you going to do? – Scott

(B) Marvel’s got a tough assignment with Darth Vader. Take the most notoriously cruel and terrifying villain in sci-fi history and create a unique, engaging and untold story about him. What makes this so challenging is that in all of Star Wars’ totality there isn’t a more iconic nor a more well-explored character than Darth Vader. The success or failure of Marvel’s first swing at the Sith lord’s solo title will only be apparent at the end. Which means getting a fair and solid reading from the first issue is highly unlikely (ask C3PO for the exact odds). That being said, there were a few things that exceeded my expectations in Darth Vader #1. The short list is this: the events of Marvel’s Star Wars title are interwoven, Darth Vader isn’t just a puppet for The Emperor, who’s this guy with half a Rodian for a face, and (this is the best one) Boba Fett has a BAD-ASS looking Wookiee bounty hunter partner (whaaaa?!?!). I’d say that this issue succeeded in capturing my attention and making me want more. Especially if that “more” includes watching this unnamed Wookie rip off a limb or two. – Taylor

Thor #5 – A-

Things have gotten pretty crazy in the world of Thor as of late, with the armless and Mjolnir-less hero no longer taking the name of Thor and giving it to the mystery woman able to pick up the hammer. Odin is not too happy with his son and the loss of his hammer. He is going to make sure he finds out who the new Thor is no matter what old Thor (no new name yet) or Freyja have to say about it. So as it stands now, Odin is likely as much of an adversary to the new Thor as is Malekith and his dealings. This series feels like most of it has been tiny tidbits of what it is placed within this issue. With Jason Aaron at the helm, he creates a very awesome intro to what definitely will be a great whodunit type of story where we will constantly be guessing who Thor is. Jorge Molina does an outstanding job with the art in this issue and really makes me wish he was more than just a guest artist. – Jacob

Guardians of the Galaxy #24 – B+

It’s the second part of the Black Vortex event, and in this issue we pick up right after the Black Vortex Alpha issue ended. Peter and Kitty are finally free of Knife, and in the process got ahold of the Black Vortex. The Guardians and the X-Men are under attack by the Slaughter Lords until Gamora submitted to the Black Vortex and beats the crap out of them all while everyone escapes to safety. Now they must decide what to do with the Black Vortex before any one of the many people after them find them again. The writing for this issue is pretty good; I always love little banter between characters you seemingly think should never work together, but we obviously can expect it to be good with Brian Michael Bendis helming this issue. Valerio Schiti kills it with the art, although the reflection in the Black Vortex at the end had me a bit worried about designs down the road. Definitely pick up this issue if you like either team or generally like to read big events, as it is definitely one of the better ones from Marvel in awhile. – Jacob

Nightcrawler #11 – B+

The Nightcrawler series has become pretty darn introspective.  At times this has driven the series down (Issue #7).  However, the last few issues have done a nice job at jazzing up the path to enlightenment with some good old-fashioned violence.  The latest issue of Nightcrawler focused much less on Nightcrawler.  However, instead of taking the approach of issue 7, an old fashioned battle-royale gave us a glimpse into where the X-Men started as we witnessed the bravery exhibited by two of our newest and bravest mutants, Rico and Ziggy.  Will the new X-Men simply run from a terrifying human/mutant trafficking ring?  Heck no!  As Nightcrawler grapples with the meaning of his second, and now third, life let’s hope he remembers to listen to his pupils as they so eagerly listen to him.  Also, how do I go about getting my own BAMF?  Those things are would be so adorable as well as handy to have around. – Jake

All-New X-Men #36 – B+

As many parallel universes as there are in DC and Marvel, the stories both publishers are putting out seem like parallel versions of each other. Heck, the term “Multiverse” is actually used during this issue. One little girl with zero training has the power to open and close a portal to any dimension. With no Charles Xavier to quell her agitation, this can only end in utter disaster. Saying goodbye to the Ultimate Universe in this issue was also kind of sad; I wish I could carry Miles Morales around with me wherever I go. There is a lot to build off of with this story, and it continues to be one of the most consistent book out. – Sherif

Wolverines #6 – B+

This series and the events leading up to it have left most people with a bad adamintium taste in their mouths, but with this issue it may change a lot. We finally see the X-Men get involved in some aspect with all that is going on with Wolverine after his death. With The X-Men showing up it is now X-Men, Paradise, and The Wolverines together against Mr. Sinister. Although the X-Men mean well, they may have just destroyed all hope of the mission at hand and Wolverine’s body may be at risk. I definitely felt this issue was the best thing from this series so far and will likely mean next week would be a great time to jump into the fold of the never-ending “Death of Wolverine” and its after math. The art by Jason Masters also adds a nice touch.  This issue may be the start to something good. – Jacob

Spider-Woman #4 – B

Here’s our first post Spider-Verse event comic. Having dealt with the Inheritors threat, what is next for Jessica Drew?? Apparently it’s finding a new job. One that comes with substantially less inter-dimensional travel and fewer encounters with giant alien monsters (both of which occur in this issue!). Overall this book felt a bit disjointed. It was half wrap-up of issues surrounding Spider-Verse and half transitioning into a standalone title. This made for only a moderately entertaining read. This is understandable – it’s hard to switch gears so quickly and maintain previous pace. I’m generally excited to keep up with this title. A new Spider-Woman costume is enough enticement alone (I am not a fan of the current getup)! I’ve got a good feeling about where the new Spider-Woman is heading. – Taylor

Captain Marvel #12 – B-

Oh thank the gods. Captain Marvel regained some of its old wit. There were no tropes, and we got to focus on The Cap’ herself. There was some banter between her and the ship, Harrison. But mostly there was a lot of good artwork. I love when space books take the time show you the vastness of the universe, and this issue did that very well. This new arc, in which Lila and Grace Valentine are no longer the focal point, will take an interesting turn now that the Flerken is the most powerful Flerken of all Flerkens. – Adrian

Amazing Spider-Man #14 – C

And so it ends. The Spider-Verse event is over. And while it was a super-fun ride throughout the “epic” conclusion was just a smidge below my expectations. It was exciting, but I found that as I flipped the pages I wasn’t as anxious or as nervous as I’d hoped. On top of that, there was just too much going on. The ritual, the rebirth of Leopardon, Solus’ soul crystal, Doc Ock being an A-hole, the revenge of Karn, Hamboozling. Each component was good, but because there was so much content there wasn’t any room for focus. No one aspect really brought it home and by the time is was over it was just… over. All in all, I got enough closure for comfort. What’s even better is the stage has been set for numerous spin-offs, follow-up events and completely new stories. You’d better believe that I’d pay money to read a dedicated “Spider-Ham” series. The Spider-Verse is calm again, but let’s see how long it lasts. – Taylor


Funniest Panel:

All New X-Men #36
All New X-Men #36

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Spider-Woman #4
Spider-Woman #4

 

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.

Yesterday in the Nerd Verse… Feb 9, 2015

Big news! Spider-Man is FOR SURE going to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Straight from the big wigs themselves. Source: Marvel

This news has already caused a ripple in the release dates for four major films in the next couple years. Source: Marvel

If you know Hush, you know we love all things Breaking Bad. That’s why we jumped for joy when we found out that Better Call Saul had the highest ratings EVER for a series debut on cable television. You can read our reviews here. Source: EW

You knew the Joker was coming to Gotham, but now there’s a trailer to confirm it. Source: Comicbook.com

A trailer for the upcoming animated series, Batman Unlimited, has hit the web. Source: Cosmic Book News

Don’t cry, Walking Dead fans, Beth (highlight text for SPOILER) may be gone from the show but you can see Emily Kinney again on The Flash, where she will play the Bug-Eyed Bandit. I hope we see more of Kinney in the Nerd Verse. Source: Instagram

IDW Publishing and Hasbro have rekindled the fire and extended their contract, allowing IDW to create books based on the TransformersMy Little PonyG.I. JoeDungeons and Dragons franchises, and more! Source: IDW

Looking for a much darker incarnation of Daredevil to appear on the Netflix series? You’re in luck! The series’ homepage shows that it will be rated TV-MA. Source: Netflix

Remember when Patrick Stewart said he wouldn’t be in X-Men: Apocalypse? Well, there was a catch. Seems that his best bro Ian McKellen will be in the movie. Yaaaay! Source: Oregon Live

 

Comic Book Reviews 02-04-15

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:

Postal #1

Postal #1 – A+ (Top Cow)

(A+) Holy crap, what a freaking awesome book Postal is and what a wicked cool introduction to the story this first issue was. I’m hooked, officially. Postal focuses on the goings on of Eden, Wyoming, a town of all criminals that tolerates no crime. They have their own rules and if you break them you will be executed in front of the masses. In a church, by a priest. And the story is all being told by an extremely endearing and awkward mailman with Asperger’s named Mark. He’s a lot like Norman Bates, but more cuddly. Mark accidently rats someone out for making and selling drugs which leads to that man’s death. However, just after dealing with that he and the whole town are confronted with the body of a dead woman no one seems to know. The whole book is illustrated in tan tones giving a very serial killer-y vibe that fits the town so well. The characters are intriguing, the story is creative and I think this book is going to go to some psychotic dark places – in a really good way. – Keriann

(A) Honestly, I had no knowledge of this book going in, and that was a good thing. Postal takes place in a town in Wyoming called Eden. It’s pretty tricky though, because Eden is a place where criminals go for their last chance. Our “hero”, of sorts, is Mark, the mail man of Eden. Mark happens to be the town Mayor’s son, but more importantly, he has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is sure to tell you is a “difference” not a “disability.” This character flaw, or rather strength, allows the audience a much different view of the town’s people. Mark’s mother, Dana, has her own rules in the town, and murder is not below her. Mark’s love interest, Maggie, has a colorful past of her own. Seemingly, Mark is the only “good guy.” His portrayal was very thoughtful, using the symptoms of his syndrome to his advantage, rather than making him unrelatable, Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins do an amazing job of character development in only 22 pages. – Adrian

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics: 

Rat God #1 – F

Just when I thought I’d hit the comics jackpot with all the amazing titles I’ve read this week, I opened up Rat God, and holy crap, this book sucks. The story, if you can call it that, seems poorly thought out and went nowhere. If they were trying to go for mysterious they missed and landed square at what the hell am I reading instead. And why do all the characters look like potatoes? Seriously, everyone in the book has a potato head and the white main character was drawn in such a way that as I read his lines I could only hear Don Knotts voice in my head. This book is a no-go on nearly all accounts. Its only selling point is that I want to know what the hell this story is supposed to be about, but not in a good way. – Keriann

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Superman #38 – B+

With this recent news of Convergence ending the New52 imprint, part of me is actually relieved that creators are no longer chained to the lineage of past work. Although, that’s about the only thing I like about it. This amazing arc by Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. is almost over, and the penultimate issue of it is one worthy of a finale. I would say that it wrapped up a little too quickly and too easily, but the new superpower that everybody has been flaring up about is really as cool as it sounds. It just pisses me off that I knew about it a week before I read the damn book. Stupid internet. Thanks to Romita’s sweet panels, it’s a spectacle that I looked at over and over. I can’t help but feel very sympathetic towards Neil/Ulysses, and I hope that Superman does not neglect the obligation to help in his rehabilitation, because this guy has the potential to be the WORST villain Supes has ever faced. – Sherif

Wolf Moon #3 – B-
 
Dillon was able to find the Wolf this month, this time in St. Louis. The guy went to a strip club first, and wolfed out on a bunch of college kids. Then he took his little wolf-y self to his job at the mall and there was mass carnage. Only someone has been following Dillon (who is following the Wolf… it’s like Wolf Moon Inception) and stops Dillon from finally killing the Wolf. There wasn’t really any new developments this week. While I am still intrigued, the next issue needs to ramp it up (other than having strippers) for me to continue my interest until the end of this mini-series. – Adrian

Lobo #5 – C-

Lobo continues its trudge into mediocrity. This time they tried to shoehorn in some lackluster backstory of how Lobo is the last of his kind due to his planet exploding. Also, the explosion of Czarnia also took out the sister plant of Xrexia. This will all come into play later with a modicum of importance. The unfortunate soul that Lobo has to do away with this time goes by the moniker “The Businessman.” Although, Lobo is not the only one looking for this lizardy man. Now most of you have guessed where this story is about to go. The other person looking for “The Businessman” happens to be the only survivor of Xrexia, and it’s a lady! So essentially Lobo is going to be fighting the lady version of himself from here on out and they’ll probably have sex at one point. NEXT! – Scott

Dynamite Entertainment:

Shaft #3 – C+
 
This week, Shaft went looking for the killer of his lady. While the story is still compelling, it feels like it is dragging a little bit. We have yet to see Shaft be, ya know, Shaft. There was a little bit of progress made; Shaft figured out who his girlfriend scrapped with before her death. I look forward to the next issue when (hopefully) the man gets tortured/beaten/murdered by our main man. The best thing about this book is the song selection in the back of each issue. – Adrian

Django & Zorro #3 – D

If I wanted to “read,” I would pick up a book. That sounds bad… I promise I DO read books… I LOVE books. But when it comes to my comics, I need that visual stimuli to make it worth it. Django – Zorro was lacking in that category this month. Lots of conversation and plot building occurred this issue, but a lot of it seemed inconsequential and generic fluff. The story is kind of all over the place too. Getting insight to Hildy’s whereabouts is cool (I guess), but there’s a strong lack of connection to the situation at hand and why it’s important. Lack of focus is never a good choice! I was feeling good about this series after last month’s release, but now I’m back on the fence and leaning pretty distinctly to the “not feelin’ it” side. If I can get some real conflict and witness better usage of the panel then it might help balance me out. – Taylor

Image Comics:

Saga #25 – A

Saga is the only book I know that can skip three months of publication and suck me right back in without even flipping open the first page. Writer Brian K Vaughan takes advantage of the hiatus by giving us background on how life was during the war between the wings and the horns – a perspective that we had no idea of previously. It’s that type of grand-scale insight that makes me fall in love with and truly believe in the story. In sort of a Game of Thrones-like way, this issue is centric to every different storyline that is unfolding – a technique that keeps the momentum going while leaving behind a trail of cliff-hangers. That way, when the final jaw-dropping cliff-hanger is revealed, the reader is too caught in the headlights to understand what just happened. I love this book. – Sherif

Nameless #1 – A-

(A) Grant Morrison is the kind of guy that makes you want to stop doing anything — because whatever you want to do he’s probably already done, just better — and just enjoy his stuff. I mean, what can I possibly say about this? Chris Burnham’s there, so you know the art is somehow beautiful and ugly and incredibly detailed. Nameless #1 also references extra-dimensional cults, ritual magic, lizard people, angry space gods, other universes, magical coincidence, dream realities, benevolent billionaires (so that you know it’s just a pretend book), far-reaching government conspiracies, at least three references to Jesus as Solar Messiah, and the kind of optimism in the face of bleak despair that makes Morrison absolutely indispensable for a healthy inner life in a world that looks more and more like the first act of a Morrison comic. I can hardly wrap my head around how he does all that in 32 pages without it feeling forced or crowded. – Montgomery

(B+) I need more time to process book. Sad robot…Human fail. Seriously, they are using Nan Madol, lizard people, ancient aliens stuff!?? It’s all my mystic shit/conspiracy occult rabbit hole I go down. The dream world was really cool, but the whole “help us save the world in 33 days, we know what you did, you have no family and nothing to live for” is very trite and cliché. But, it’s Grant Morrison; I have to believe there is some weird shit ahead. – Jené

Birthright #5 – A-

(A+) My god, this is a good issue. Dare I even say the best one of the series so far? Methinks yes. I was just blown away by this month’s issue of Birthright. It had so many emotional ups and downs and there was finally some proper insight into what/who the hell possessed Mikey and what the evil plot is. The first few pages were heartbreaking, with a sweet 8 year old boy refusing to come to terms with death being an inevitability. Cut to an epic fight between wizard and Mikey where it quickly becomes unclear who is good and who is bad. This issue was intriguing and kind of mind blowing and with Rya’s pregnant appearance at the end I am more than excited for the next issue. Birthright is a comic that does fantasy so well I can’t even come up with an analogy that does it justice, or makes sense. So let’s just go with Birthright does fantasy so well I can’t even sentence. – Keriann

(B) This comic is all-around a good time. I love the back and forth between the fantasy land and the modern landscape. It’s so seamless and integrated. It’s cool to see Mikey’s life and his development in the other world and then to see him in his brother’s. At times the way he interacts with his father and brother almost make it seem as if no time has past. We finally have a clue as to what is part of him. The “Nevermind” is interesting and it’s becoming more clear of what Mikey’s mission turning is. Also, flaming sword awesome and creepy blood demon face. – Jené

Wytches #4 – A-

(A+)So month after month I find myself impatiently awaiting the arrival of the new Wytches. Once again it came in to my life only to increase my heart rate, drop my jaw and leave me alone, waiting once more. This book is nonstop awe-inspiring goodness. Poor Sailor is a god damn warrior and she is fighting tooth and nail to survive. Charlie met up with the crazy old woman only to learn the horrifying truth of where his daughter is and then to witness her suicide. Scott Snyder knows his shit; he is a master of writing in layers and keeping the reader at bated breath because he writes characters we care so deeply for. This isn’t just some blood and gore book, there is no gimmick (although the wytches themselves are pretty freaking terrifying) this is just a truly enthralling story that is genuinely scary because it’s written with heart. I’ve never read anything like it, and issue after issue I am just blown away. – Keriann

(B) This month, Wytches gave us some answers. Who was the woman who broke into the house? Answered. Why is Sailor’s dad so protective? Answered? Where is Sailor now? Answered. But! The end left us with even more questions. This issue did a good job of showing the past, a very odd scene with Sailor and her dad at an abandoned amusement park, and the present, with Sailor trying to get out of the hole, and her dad trying to get answers from the creepy woman. The whole thing was still very scary, but for some reason, this issue didn’t grab me like the rest did. I do look forward to next month, though. – Adrian

Nailbiter #10 – B+

(B+) This month’s Nailbiter once again just left me wanting more. It flew by so fast I hit the last page and could have sworn I’d just started it. The mystery of The Buckaroo Butchers is building and now it really seems like the serial killer origins may be supernatural, or a curse or…something. I don’t really know and honestly I might be a little bummed if it ends up being like a Mayan curse or something that the temple under water kind of hints at. Joshua Williamson promises that won’t turn out to be what we think it is so I’ll take his word on that. At least for now I can be content with a bus full of children NOT being drowned and a sweet little girl in pigtails taking her revenge on her captor’s jugular with very sharp blade. Not to mention, Finch has had it with all the bullshit dead ends he keeps hitting so he’s taken the fight straight to the Nailbiter himself which will no doubt be a gruesome, amazing, and possibly hard to read show down. Personally, I can’t wait. Ultimately the story just keeps getting more and more enticing and at this point the answers to some burning questions seem almost tangible.  – Keriann

(B+) Shit got real in this book. This was not an issue showing macabre humor, which Nailbiter has been known for in the past. The bus driver who was ready to kill all the kids last month, actually drove the bus into the lake. But all the kids made out alive…except something really terrible happened afterwards. Needless to say, the bus driver didn’t make it. While saving the kids, Sheriff Crane and Finch found an underwater shrine of sorts. Also, Finch decides to torture Nailbiter. While none of this was the book I am used to, it was really enjoyable. The characters were pushed this week. The decisions and moves they make after the events of this week will catapult what ever comes next. – Adrian

Cluster #1 – C

Two parts Starship Troopers and one part The Condemned (starring Stone Cold Steve Austin), Cluster is an ok sci-fi action drama. In the world of Cluster, if you are sentenced to life in prison you can lower your sentence to only 15 years if you fight for your planet against aliens who want the same thing humans do. The story revolves around a new female prisoner, Samara. Where have I heard that name before? She is the daughter of a very famous and powerful father, whom has yet to be revealed. Oh, and while you’re out fighting, if you don’t make it back within 24 hours, your insides will be very painfully liquidated by an implant called “punch.” So far, that’s all there really is. – Scott

Oddly Normal #5 – C

Oddly Normal is so much fun to read. It’s not out of this word, where my comfort zone in books is, but I enjoy reading it every time it comes out. The art is so much fun and the characters are a treat. I wish I was reading this as a teenager; I’d love it even more. Oddly is a stranger in her own world and even stranger in a strange land, still having to cope with the joys of an elementary like school experience. Vampires are all levels of douche no matter what genre you put them in, but at least she now has an interesting new friend to hang out with possibly hang out with. This is a lovely read but not something to write home about. – Jené

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Return of the Living Deadpool #1- A-

Zombies and Deadpool will always be awesome, and in this series, which continues after the previous Night of the Living Deadpool mini-series, we see that zombies are actually second tier to a much worse plague devouring humanity. If this series is anything like the previous the art will be fantastic, with the same style of all black and white – other than Deadpool – which gives the comic a much different feel than the normal Deadpool series. The story is as funny as you would expect from Deadpool, but on top of the black and white the idea that zombies are not the real threat reminds me of The Walking Dead. But then again, most good monster stories don’t have the monster as the real bad guy and use simple things like normal everyday people as the truly terrifying thing; although here we have Deadpool, so the “normal” person aspect makes just about anything you can imagine that is terrifying look like an adorable puppy, thanks to the humor of the man and the smell of his day-old Chiminchangas. – Jacob

The only thing that really disappointed me about this issue was that there could have been a few more classic Deadpool one-liners.  At least the zombies have some comical lines in the series!  I didn’t read the series prior to this, although I really wish I had, but the first issue does a decent job at setting up the scenario.  There is a traveling hoard of extra evil Deadpools who are a liiiittle bit rapey.  Then there’s one, I don’t want to say good Deadpool, that’s better than the other ones.  Then there are the zombies, and they’re pretty social during their meals.  I’m excited about getting into this story.  Are the evil Deadpools just the Dead’s tools, or will they eventually be Dead fools?  Either way, it’s pretty Deadcool! – Jake

Ant-Man #2 – B+

(A-Ant-Man continues to show us the trials and tribulations of your everyday man Scott Lang. Writer Nick Spencer is doing a stellar job of showing us this superhero, but letting us know that this superhero, he’s just regular guy. And he is going through a serious rough patch. Does that mean it’s hard to get through? Not one bit. This week, Scott tries to get a bank loan, fails, then has to fight a Nazi robot, wins, and ends up getting the loan. He is taking small steps forward, and you can’t help but root for the guy with the dry humor. Tony Stark makes an appearance that is laugh-out-loud. And there are a few side characters who reveal that they are more than they seem. Now that Scott has his own Security Solutions business (because of the loan), he will probably be more of a target, but the antics (see what I did there?!), will surely be worth the wild ride. – Adrian

(B) I love the simplicity of this series. It’s just a story about a guy with a super-suit, trying to juggle a family, an honest (non-super) career and “life” in general. Sure, some “super” things happen along the way – like fighting an angry man in a bear suit (hilarious), or taking on a giant Nazi-era robot that kills by smelting you in gold (hilarious AND awesome) – but what I enjoy most about this comic is Lang’s continual struggle to handle the basics! It kinda boils down to relatability. I may not understand how it feels to fight off interdimensional aliens or defend Earth from galaxy conquering armies, but I do know how it feels to fill out 100 applications in search of a minimum wage job! This one is fun folks – you should snag a copy. – Taylor

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2 – B+
 
This is the best female-led series Marvel has out right now. Squirrel Girl is cute, quirky, smart, and very very awkward. But for a nerdy girl like me, this makes for the perfect hero. The month, Doreen aka Squirrel Girl goes looking for a club to join at her college, but gets interrupted by news from Tippy Toe (her squirrel friend, duh) that Galactus was going to destroy Earth. It’s always the weirdest stuff that interrupts our college activities, isn’t it? This issue was delightfully cute. The best part is the commentary on the bottom of all the pages. I did feel that the Stark Industries break-in was a little drawn out, but overall, this book is still far exceeding my expectations. – Adrian

Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: Black Vortex AlphaB

(A) The X-Men can’t even catch a break around a bunch of rogues from space – disliked on earth and disliked amongst the Guardians.  Maybe after that sweet battle royale the two gangs of misfits will get along better.  This is one of the better opening issues to a series that I’ve read in a while.  Ed McGuinness’s artwork is amazing to start off with.  There were some really cool panels (I spent about 20 minutes just looking at the big battle scene toward the end).  I also like how this team up, although facing some cosmically terrifying baddies, is still quite confident that they will safely find the Black Vortex and save the day yet again.  This is how both teams of heroes have always been.  Why not fight a bunch of baddies who have reached their full cosmic potential? – Jake

(B) I didn’t know too much going into this story of what to expect because, although I love both teams, I have not really been reading the comics for either of them at the moment. But with just random tidbits of what is going on, it was easy to jump on board and really enjoy this issue. So maybe brush up a tiny bit on what is going on in The Legendary Star-Lord, X-Men, and Guardians and the Galaxy before reading this issue to get everything perfectly. The art is spectacular throughout, and gives us a real idea of the scale of what the Black Vortex and the enemies are capable of. As far as the story, it definitely is a strong opening to something that will likely be second to Secret Wars for Marvel events this year for me. – Jacob

Star Wars #2 – B

Two issues in and still not too sure how I feel about this series. Don’t get me wrong as I absolutely enjoyed it and am looking forward to it, Darth Vader and the Princess Leia series as I love everything Star Wars – yeah, even the prequels and especially Jar Jar Binks. Now that you are done throwing things at me for that last statement, I only question this series because the timeline of where this story has happened is a little vague to me and maybe in time we will get more of an explanation, but ultimately all we know is it is between Episodes 4-6. This issue we got to see Darth Vader fight more, which is always a good thing because a lot of the bad asses of Star Wars really never do anything at all. On top of that, the art is wonderful and definitely does a great job of interpretations of the actors and making it feel very cinematic in its storytelling. Despite not knowing when this takes place at all, the story has been quite solid and given us even in just two issues, a nice and deeper look into the characters we thought we knew all about. – Jacob

A month has gone by since the premier issue of Marvel’s Star Wars. Just enough time to let the novelty effect and nostalgia wear off a bit. This month’s issue gives us a chance to critique on the merits of what generally makes a good comic book. I’m glad to say that there’s no disappointment to be found in issue #2 (not that I was worried). Aaron and Cassaday have thoroughly nailed the “Star Wars” aspect leaving only basic plot and storytelling elements to be mastered (which is currently on track for great success). Much justice is given to Vader and his bitterly evil ways. He snapped a Stormtroopers head 180 degrees for accidentally catching Vader with his helmet off!! And then there’s the predicament of the rebels – I have no idea how they plan to escape. This uncertainty and anticipation is making this year’s first Star Wars title an excellent experience. – Taylor

Hawkeye #21 – B

Ugh. Matt Fraction and David Aja, the ones who made this Hawkeye book one of the best selling trade paperbacks of 2014, will be leaving the series after the next issue. This has been announced for a while, but it didn’t really hit me until I read this penultimate issue, the one where Clint and Barney gear up to defend the building from the Russian Bro mafia. I feel sort of the way a guy feels when he plans a trip with his girlfriend just to find out she didn’t think it was that serious. I had great plans of sitting in bed, reading Hawkeye until I got old and wrinkly, but now that’s all ruined. Oh well… The art in this issue continues to carry the story-telling in the same magnificent fashion, but the tragic ending and angst of only having one issue to close this out just came too soon for me to really prepare myself. – Sherif

Wolverines #5 – C+

I am a pretty big Wolverine fan or basically just a Weapon X fan in general, but this series and the others leading up to it have been the most subpar Wolverine story ever, which could have something to do with Wolverine being a hunk of adamantium at the moment, but whatever. This issue broke open the story a little and finally got to a point where it seems these events will matter outside of its own story. It also offers up a new artistic approach and has a very watercolor feel to it, which can be absolutely beautiful at times, and then also very confusing during some times as well. I loved the style and would love to see more books done like his, but the drastic change definitely was a bit distracting at first. Hopefully in next weeks issue we will finally get to a point where I will actually feel like it was a good choice to read every story from Death of Wolverine. – Jacob


Funniest Panel:

Ant-Man #2
Ant-Man #2

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Superman #38
Superman #38

 

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.

Comic Book Power Rankings – January 2015

Nobody here at Hush Comics loves sports metrics more than I do. A die-hard NBA fan, I frequently rank players, teams and track stats every night to see who I should be picking up on the waiver wire (a term I know, but still do not understand at all) in our fantasy basketball league. It’s not really to be the best, but largely because I love the processes behind it; I love spreadsheets and systemic processes in how I arrive at these decisions. I even made a House of Quality together in order to break down which qualities I value in comic book series. This was all inspired by the creation of our Best of 2014 Comic Books collection of articles (which you should check out! A lot of hard work from our team went into those articles), when I realized that we had not been keeping track of which books were the best throughout the year.

Below is a list of what I consider the Top 20 comic books of the previous month. The opinions of these rankings is solely mine, although it is influenced by the weekly review grades that our team doles out. I’m no expert on the ins and outs of the comic book industry, and I admittedly can’t read every book out there, but as long as I have this awesome platform to force my opinion on readers, why not use it? As always, we LOVE sparking conversations about the things we love, or even the things we don’t, so commentary is encouraged!

Rank Book Title Publisher Issues In Previous Movement
1 Batman DC 38
  There just isn’t a better book out there, and starting off Joker’s 75th birthday with Endgame is a great way to ensure the top spot.
2 Sex Criminals Image 10
  Unabashed sexuality and humor make this the most honest book on the shelves. And the freezing time with orgasms thing is great, too.
3 Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Marvel 1
  Plenty of silly to go around, Squirrel Girl isn’t just a great new book, but has potential to bridge gaps between comic book readers of all creeds.
4 The Walking Dead Image 136
  Carl is both a lover AND a fighter, as new dangers loom on the horizon (as always). Kudos for making this small world into a bigger, scarier place.
5 Batman and Robin DC 38
  Damian is back from the dead – with superpowers; he may be bulletproof, but he is not immune to the human condition as he deals with his own mortality. Beautifully done.
6 Deadly Class Image 10
  Sure, there’s the teenage angst of the 80’s, the murder, drug trips and the love triangles. But really, “That was no fart” is why this book is so high on the list.
7 Justice League DC 38
  How could Lex Luthor create more havoc as a good guy than as a villain… In any case, a zombie Batman JL vs. Supes and WW? Get the popcorn.
8 TMNT IDW 42
  Mutanimals attack! There is so much going on in TMNT right now, but the mounting war with Hob and Splinter interests me most.
9 Superior Iron Man Marvel 4
  Ever think to yourself, “self, Tony Stark sure straddles the line between good guy a-hole and bad guy a-hole.” Well, self, you’re right, and this book is why.
10 Mortal Kombat DC 4
  I’ve been waiting for a legitimate MK comic book for years. This is just as bloody and fun as the game, and will get me over til its April release.
11 SHIELD Marvel 2
  It’s like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but worth the time investment. We still get the strategic genius of Agent Coulson, now with superheroes!
12 Star Wars Marvel 1
  Who would I be if this on the list? In what was the most anticipated book this month, I’m already more into this run than I ever was with Dark Horse’s.
13 Multiversity DC ?
  Seemlessly poking fun at the Multiverse while creating a cohesive story, Grant Morrison does what Grant Morrison wants. Good for us.
14 Detective Comics DC 38
  I would never have guessed that Anarky would be the next great Batman villain. This book puts the “detective” back in Detective Comics.
15 Birthright Image 4
  What child doesn’t wish they could go on a Jumanji-style demon-slaying adventure with their family? A really lame one, that’s for sure.
16 Superman DC 38
  A new creative team introduced a new character, and really revived a series which has since been oerwhemingly underwhelming.
17 Shutter Image 8
  Shutter has been suffering recently from the necessary lull of storytelling, but it’s so unique and gorgeous that I won’t dare remove it from the Top 20.
18 Nailbiter Image 9
  Each issue has increasingly given me the heeby-jeebies. In a good way. I am not a horror comic fan but I am most definitely a fan of this book.
19 Moon Knight Marvel 11
  Shuffle around the creative team, take away his armor, Mark Spector is still one BAMF. Moon Knight is my new underground favorite at Marvel.
20 Tooth and Claw Image 3
  Making the list solely on the principle of curiosity, Tooth & Claw is a fantastical book of magic, anthropomorphic animals, and other ill s***.

 

Notably absent:

Saga: “What have you done for me lately” is the name of the game here. Expect Saga to knock one of these series off its high horse when the series returns from its three-month hiatus this week.

Wonder Woman: Barely missed the cut. Great panels and intriguing characters keep me coming back each month.

Spider-Verse: Another Marvel “event” has worn out its welcome and left me pining for the end. I’m done buying six books to understand one story.

Powers: Brian Michael Bendis’ soon-to-be streaming series is a whole new world (to me), but I think I need to learn more before I can really dive in.

Shaft: I expected this to read more like the comic book embodiment of Public Enemy, but it’s got more bark than bite at this point.

Injustice: Gods Among Us: I love this book, even more so since Brian Buccaletto took over, but there is just too much emphasis on “The Dark” recently for my taste.

 

 

Comic Book Reviews 01-28-15

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:

Batman 38 POTW 1.28.15

Batman #38 – A+

(A+) Snyder and Capullo do it again. I could just gush and gush, the thing is, is that no review I could ever write would be with your time to read as much as actually going and picking up a copy of Batman #38 and reading it yourself. Batman must go down in history for the sheer literary genius it is. This particular issue is packed with so much history, Gotham, Batman, Greek Mythology and word origins. Here’s what I can say: any book, comic or not, that schools me on Dionysus and the meaning of the word “tragedy” is absolute perfection. – Adrian

(A+) Beating a dead horse here, but reading Batman: Endgame is one of the smartest investments of your time you can make. You don’t need much background knowledge, and you know why that is? Because your whole world will be flipped upside down with this issue! Nothing you have ever known about the Joker is true. It’s such insanity that not even Batman has a plan for what to do about this revelation. There’s a reason that nobody has ever given Joker’s origin, and that was revealed with this issue. DC must have a lot of trust in Snyder and Capullo to allow them to cement their legacy here. Some teams make great comic books, but this team makes history. – Sherif

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Multiversity Guidebook #1 – A+

Holy crap, you guys. I was excited at the notion that this book would just be some nerd-style manual circa 1995 that would explore each of the 52 worlds – a simple guidebook like you might find in the lobby of a Holiday Inn. Not only is it that, but it still has a story. In fact, it has guidebook in story, in story (…in story). It starts with adorable little mini Justice League getting super-duper murdered by robots created by the legion of evil Sivanas, and mini Batman as the only survivor fleeing to a neighboring universe where he teams up with a Batman who looks like Buzz Lightyear, except Batman colors (later we find out that because of space reasons, ALL the super heroes look like Buzz). That kind of Never-ending Story whatthefuckery is enough to total overload every nerd bone in my body. Knowing one story entirely fills out everything Multiversity is, but in addition to that story, Morrison has figured out how to weave every single incarnation of DC Comics into one whole narrative. So far the only thing disappointing about this mega meta arc is that there aren’t 52 issues of it. – Montgomery

Gotham Academy #4 – B+

Can I have a Maps? Please. The kid sidekick, who is actually the smart one, is just so cute. As usual, Gotham Academy knocks it out of the park with art and coloring. I am continuously finding myself lost in the art. This issue had a panel with a ghost that had me entranced. Olive found herself encountering many aspects of her life she has been avoiding, but in the process, she found a secret passageway in the Academy where she found a very special guest star living behind the walls. Many things were answered this week, but many doors were also answered. Get into this book before it gets too far ahead of you! – Adrian

Batman Eternal #43 – C

I love Harper Row, er… I mean Bluebird. I do wonder how an outspoken teenage can hide her secret identity when her signature purple and bright-blue Mohawk are completely visible, but I can get over that. Either way, it looks like we’ve found Batman’s next ward. That was almost the only highlight of the issue, though. We do close some gaps on a scene that’s nearly a year old, but there still aren’t any hard-pressed issues addressed. We know something big and bad is coming, but we’ve also known that for 43 issues. Big win for Harper Row, though. – Sherif

Effigy #1 – C

I had a big time love affair with 90’s Vertigo (with the exception of Constantine, regardless of how hard I try…). I love the super-weird, the super-witchy, the mystical and occult: if it has curses and multiple dimensions, count me in. At some point, though, Vertigo shifted to a focus on more violent books (LeMire’s stuff being a very noteworthy exception). Reading the press materials for Effigy, it sounds like my jam: vapid Hollywood crossed with ritual murder and maybe multi-dimensional mish-mash. This first issue, though, it focuses on a former child actress as she tries to move on with her life and move into being a detective, but struggles against her glory hound mother who wants to move her back into the limelight. Which is all stuff I don’t really care about. The really interesting stuff was the space gods we just glossed over (literally two panels. They get two panels). The art is another sore spot; maybe I’m just a big dumb dinosaur that needs to lay down in a tar pit and accept my place in the world, but I loved the gritty haphazard horrific art styles of the old Vertigo. This book has that art style that looks like maybe it’s some kind of very design heavy flash sidebar ad that’s become really popular with high-concept indie books recently. It’s not that it’s bad, but when it’s, like, the third book this week you’ve seen with that art style, it gets hard to tell them apart. – Montgomery

Arkham Manor #4 – C

Alright, so I may have over-reacted when I got to the conclusion of the last issue of Arkham Manor, when it seemed like the Joker was the big bad in this mini-series. Arkham Manor holds its own just fine, and so very little of that has to do with Batman. Victor Fries takes center stage here, and wouldn’t ya know, he is the funniest person in a Bat-book not named Dick Grayson. This book won’t revolutionize anything, but it’s an interesting departure from the status quo for books focusing on the Dark Knight. – Sherif

IDW Comics:

X-Files: Season 10 #20 – B+

We continue the story of the experimental government manufactured marijuana called G-23. Now, Langly and Mulder are tripping out on the drug in the desert and neither is sure what is real and what is just a massive hallucination. In the issue, we find out the secret behind the drug, who is behind it, and become paranoid of government-regulated marijuana, but then again that is just the Mulder coming out in me. As far as art goes, I really enjoy having a different perspective, and Tom Mandrake’s style blows my mind when it comes Mulder’s hallucinations, really making you feel the effects and making me never want to take hallucinogenic drugs. I would say pick up this issue if you generally enjoy X-Files, or if you maybe want to see what X-Files could have been like if Vince Gilligan added more if his Breaking Bad ideas to the show, which I totally felt that vibe with the panic and struggle of using the drug at hand. – Jacob

TMNT/Ghostbusters #4 – B

This mini-series comes to a close this month leaving our 80’s hearts empty yet again to deal with the modern tells of both franchises. With TMNT already getting a sequel, and the all-female Ghostbusters on the horizon, it was nice to see this team-up while it was still relevant. This story in this series is much better than anything I came up with when I was five. Ultimately, the story is not integral to the main story line of each property, so despite this issue and the series as a whole being very enjoyable, it is not needed to understand anything but a small reference in the mains series. – Jacob

Powerpuff Girls Super Smash-Up #1 – B

Taking place after the events of the Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War, this new series focuses on Dexter and the Powerpuff Girls combining forces to traverse all the different worlds within the Cartoon Network brand to track down a mutated Dee Dee. We start with the intro and a short story of Courage the Cowardly Dog – setting up next month’s issue. We may get every issues like the one-shots having a prequel of sorts to the main CNSSCW story. The story so far definitely has some plot holes and things left unexplained, but then again, it is a cartoon book and anything is possible. I would say pick this book up if you are young as it is a blast and also for nostalgia reasons as one of your favorite cartoons is likely to show up at anytime and give you all sort of warm feelings as if you just ate some Oops All Berries and washed it down with some Ecto-Cooler. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Sex Criminals #10 – A

It almost feels dirty putting this book in the reviews, but I absolutely love this book. I decided to sit down in the hotel lobby I’m at, and read this book (of all books, right?) on my tablet. Of course, this had to be the issue with the most dicks and vaginas out of all of them. That experience would be equivalent to watching the salad-tossing scene in Girls, when all of a sudden your grandmother and five-year-old nephew walk in the room. To you, shirt-cocking. It’s that awkward, but I love it anyway. Sex Criminals takes the taboos of weird sex things and explains that it could get a whole lot weirder. – Sherif

Bitch Planet #2 – B+

(A) If you’re not reading Bitch Planet you are doing yourself a disservice. Kam is as badass and noncompliant as they come. She’s true to her beliefs and stands strong by them. It is only when she sees an opportunity for escape that she decides to accept the offer given to her by “the fathers.” There are still a lot of parts of this world falling into place, and we’re not 100% sure how everything operates in the Bitch Planet universe, but I am so excited that a comic like this exists. We need more of these stories and I can’t wait to see what comes next month in this story arc. Bonus: Don’t forget to read the essays at the end of these issues. This month’s was on how feminism is often misconstrued and I reread it aloud to my friend, it was so good. – Charlotte

(B) Orange is the New Black meets Hunger Games meets messed up dystopian future…and I love it! It’s raw, intense, and gritty and at time hard to read. Sure is a soccer punch to the gut. The covers art of the comic as a retro feel to it a comingling of time periods. The future is the past is definitely a theme to this book. Sexism is in its hyperbolic form and I think this does a lot to highlight how insidious, subtle, dangerous it’s become in our culture. In this book we get more info about the “male” Earth and its society and the politics of Bitch Planet. The inmates are thinking of using the brutal games to 1) let Earth think they are generating entertainment but 2) really they are going to use it to change the indoctrination of gender roles. Brilliant! Honestly, there is so much packed in visually and linguistically and I could write a paper on it. It’s a comic many will be talking about for year. Go read it! – Jené

Casanova Acedia #1 – B

So there’s a badass body guard with no memory of his past and he protects this other, old guy who also doesn’t have a memory of his past. There’s a fight scene that takes on a diving board with a hot naked girl. Uhh… there’s also bad guys that don’t have heads or faces. Oh! And the world is going to end in nine days for some reason. In much fewer words, issue #1 of Casanova Acedia is one healthy serving of “HUH?!?!” That being said – I didn’t hate it. In fact, I recommend you read it! It’s a simple and classic storyline with some really, really weird twists added in for what I assume is alluring intent. Whatever this is, I’m into it (I think…) and I plan to stick with it until the weirdness overwhelms. – Taylor

Rasputin #4 – B-

This series is hauntingly beautiful. I wish the books weren’t so short, but it seems like the art style probably takes a long time to finesse. Rasputin has finally made it to the winter palace and has healed Alexi of the bleeding disease.  What this book offers is insight into his powers and how they work. Being able to heal isn’t all fun and games. As always looking forward to the next one. – Jené

Graveyard Shift #2 – C+
 
This week, Hope, Liam’s girlfriend and now vampire, tried to kill him for 6 pages. Then it turned out she’s a good vampire and quit trying to kill him. Then for the rest of the comic, we found out she is just a classic vampire. Can’t touch crosses, or hit the sunlight. Also, she’s hungry … for blood. This book was forgettable, but the saving grace is when I flipped to the back and saw it was rated “T” for Teen. Now I realize that if this is a teen’s vampire book, they could be reading Twilight, and this is waaaaayy better than Twilight. – Adrian
They’re Not Like Us #2 – F
 
Last issue, it seemed like this book would be a little bit like an X-Men rip-off, which I was more ok with than the garbage that was this week’s issue. The specials, or whatever they are called, beat up a guy and steal all his stuff, all because he was going to graffiti, and they make it seem justified because tagging would bring the cops to the neighborhood. What the hell? Does tagging really deserve not only a whole story line that attempts to explain why they deserve what comes to them and an entire panel that says “F*ck Taggers?” I think its an abuse of power that comic writers have to convey a belief that is very closed-minded. And the main character questions the actions of the others, but then accepts it because she is “free?” This is not modern day The Awakening, this is badly written tripe. – Adrian

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Thor #4 – A

“Lady Hammer Pants.” Spider-Man FTW on picking out the Goddess of Thunder’s new name. That and an epic duel between “both” Thors made this a pretty great issue. My annoyance at not knowing the identity of lady-Thor has plateaued to the point of (nearly) no longer caring. I’m almost convinced that writer Jason Aaron doesn’t know the identity either. It’s been building up for so long now that when the reveal finally happens it will probably fizzle, like month-old Coke-a-Cola. I’ve come to accept (and expect) this reality and instead focus on the plot for primary value. The outlook is optimistic at the end of the issue. I’m very intrigued at how things were left off and I’m excited to see where it goes. That being said, Thor will have to significantly impress this critic if it want another “A” rating anytime soon. – Taylor

Uncanny Avengers #1 – A

I’m really liking the Avengers and X-Men mashups that are increasingly common these days.  My favorite musician-turned comic writer, Max Bemis, even had a hand in the AVX series, much to my delight.  The Avengers and X-Men are at it again in the newest volume of Uncanny Avengers.  In this new series, we join Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Rogue, Quicksilver, Vision, Sabretooth, and Brother Voodoo as they travel to Counter Earth.  This first issue left me with a lot of questions, but has enough action and plot to make me want to figure out what in the (Counter) world is going on.  How will the Avenger Unity Division get out of the hostile situation they have gotten themselves into?  Where are Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver?  So many questions, but I guess I’ll have to wait. – Jake

Spider-Man & The X-Men #2 – B+

Does it get much better than superheroes fighting dinosaurs?  Actually, in the case of another Avengers and X-Men team up, it does!  While this entire issue was packed full of action and awesomely lame one-liners, my favorite part was seeing our new X-Pal, Glob, transform into an adorable and transparent dinosaur.  Although the new batch of mutant heroes isn’t exactly my favorite team so far, the story-line has not been relying very heavily on the mutants, but instead seems to pave the way for a what feels like a new Spider-Man solo story.  The first two issues have been entertaining thus far, but I am eager to see the character progression of the X-Men as they begin to trust their impulsive new teacher.  On a side note, don’t fret, Shark-Girl, though you may have turned down love, there’s always other fish in the sea. – Jake

Deadpool #41 – B

Well after the events of AXIS have died down and our Roxxon flashback issue is behind us, we can get back to the regular Deadpool we all know and love. There is only one problem with that – Wade Wilson as we know him is a different man and his daughter, wife, friends and all he should hold dear are changing because of it. The main story for this series is really delving into Deadpool’s psyche. You actually sympathizing and caring more for Deadpool than you thought anyone could. I would say grab this issue to get ready for the new arc and the countdown to his inevitable death in April, as well as it has the best comic cover of the year so far in my opinion, done by Mark Brooks. – Jacob

Spider-Man 2099 #8 – B

If you haven’t heard it yet, I’ll say it for you now. I LOVE Lady Spider! This issue of Spider-Man 2099 is actually more about the sexy, female steampunk version of Spidey than it is about Miguel! I hope this attention to the character is foreshadowing and that fans (especially me) will get more of this captivating character in some other Spider-Man title following the conclusion of Spider-Verse. I’m also pumped that the Japanese Spider-Man Megazord has been re-commissioned and is geared up for the final battle. The atmosphere is critically electric leading into what will be THE final comic book issue of the Spider-Verse event. Everybody hold on tight and hope that the day will be saved!! – Taylor

Wolverines #4 – D-

I have had so much hope for things since I did really enjoy the actual Death of Wolverine story, but the changes it has made and the stories it has created have me to a point where I am very much at peace with Wolverine being dead forever, if it just meant his friends would shut up about it and stop trying to bring him back. The dynamic between the two teams of this series is pretty fun, only to see Sabretooth, Mystique, X-23, Daken, and Deathstrike working together. But in this we add Fantomelle who took the focus from last weeks issue become part of the team, and she is generally the first new character who holds any interest to me. The artwork for this issue is a little rough around the edges, but generally works for a weekly title, although the cover this month was definitely the worst cover to come from anything Death of Wolverine related. If you are the completest that I am of course you should pick up this issue, otherwise, please avoid Wolverine and most things associated with him from now until Earth 616 doesn’t exist anymore… – Jacob


Funniest Panel:

Batman Eternal 43 funny 1.28.15

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Thor 4 awesome panel 1.28.15

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.