Comic Book Reviews 03-05-14

Review Scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick of the Week:

Starlight #1 – A

Starlight, the new series by MillarWorld, was a surprising hit for me.  Written by the legendary Mark Millar (of Kick-Ass fame) and drawn by Goran Parlov, Starlight follows a man named Duke who is going through a hard time.  His wife dies in their 38th year of marriage, his sons aren’t very good to him, and on top of it, kids in the grocery store make fun of him.  Why?  Because when he was an astronaut, he ended up on another planet and saved the aliens who lived there from a dictator.  Not only was the story incredibly intriguing, but it is crazy amazing artwork.  It reminded me of a 60’s vibe with modern day coloring.  The story stayed fresh by bouncing around in timelines, but was never confusing.  And the thought of going into outer space is pretty normal for mere humans, but saving a planet is pretty cool.  And the reality that if you come back to Earth and tell people, they are going to think you are a tad out of orbit.  The quips were funny and the ending made me wanting more.  Starlight is one of the best #1’s I have read in a while. – A

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse Comics:

The Veil #1 – B-

Not every day that a crazy naked lady shows up in the city. And it’s even less likely that this lady has powers to manipulate people who threaten her into killing themselves. It’s pretty much all we get out of the debut, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s plenty of intrigue surrounding this issue. Who is Veil, and why does she play the name game? It has more of a horror vibe than an action movie, as Veil is frightening. After knowing nothing going in, I’m excited to see more of her secret origin revealed. – S

DC/Vertigo:

Forever Evil #6 – A-

Holy crap! I never saw that one coming. I was pretty afraid to read this past issue of Forever Evil, as it’s been rumored that it will end with the death of Dick Grayson. I’m still scared out of my damn mind, but not for the same reason. Without giving away too much detail, just know that the Earth 3’s version of Shazam! has yet to be revealed. It’s gonna lead to some craziness in the finale. That being said, the whole issue read like the epic gun battle in Wanted. You just knew something bad was going to happen, and it was like I was hyper-ventilating through the whole thing. We do finally get a well-deserved beat-down of the Syndicate. After a methodically slower first five issues, my eyes could barely keep up with my hands on this issue. With Geoff Johns putting outstanding work into everything he does, he can do whatever he wants to Dick Grayson… Okay, not really, I will freak the f*** out if Nightwing dies! There are tons of spoilers to be had, and it’s hard for me to keep my mouth shut, so I will end this review by imploring you to read Forever Evil. – S

Batman/Superman Annual #1 – B+

The most interesting part of this story is the contrast between Supes and Bats and the way that they approach things mentally. Superman’s family is full of people that are super powered and when it comes to choosing who to include on his team, their safety isn’t really the first concern. Batman, on the other hand, has to worry about everyone from his camp not only because they are human, but because they have all suffered some greater tragedy in their own major storylines. At the end of the day, however, this story isn’t so much about the ever looming threat of the earth being destroyed as it is about the relationships that have formed between these heroes despite everything. At the end of the day, both of these Leaders have suffered major losses in their camps and it is ultimately one of the things that makes them such a great team. – R

Trillium #7 – B+

Jeff Lemire, you crazy bastard, you’ve done it again! Everybody’s favorite space love story is back. Not just back for the month, but back at the top of my list of weird comics I love. After a confusing stretch of upside-down, round-and-round page-flipping issues, Trillium is finally starting to culminate  into… well, I still don’t quite know. What I do know, is that Nika and William, and the rest of the world, are going to be in deep doo doo if they don’t save the day. The Caul, the infectious disease wiping out the whole planet, can only be stopped with the Trillium flower. I’m nervous for the fate of humanity in the finale issue, but I know Lemire will blow it out of the water. – S

Green Arrow #29 – B

The Outsiders War has been the best arc of the series thus far, by a long shot. We’ve been introduced to different tribes, all represented by a different weapon and a style that personifies said weapon. A lot is happening in this issue, but the drawn out dialog between Arrow’s back-ups is a bit lengthy. Another issue down, another There’s some real drama brewing between Komodo and Emiko, and Ollie ends up being the one catching the collateral. The ending is shocking, but it happened so abruptly that I’m still not sure if it even happened. Definitely check back in for issue #30 to find out what the hell just happened. – S

Forever Evil: Arkham War #6 – B

Bane proves time and time again that he is the baddest rogue in the gallery. While Batman is off saving the world, all the villains in Gotham have run rampant, with the big, bad Bane staking his claim over the city. Inch by inch, Bane has backed them all into a corner – until the Riddler was desperate (although not in his eyes, because he’s a genius, duh) enough to give everybody Venom to defeat Bane. Hardcore fans will remember that Venom is a temporary drug, and the effects of having done the drug are crippling. I suppose Nygma should have done his homework. It’s a great issue about Bane (#6 was even better!), and I can’t wait to see how Forever Evil: Arkham War wraps up. – S

Batman: Detectve Comics #29 – B-

Batman is, by and large, the most popular character in DC Comics. There are nearly ten books in the line-up dedicated to him and his Gotham City cohorts, and seven (BatmanDark KnightDetectiveBatman/Superman, Batman ’66, Batman & ___,  and the upcoming Eternal) with his name on it. The challenge of keeping these books fresh is coming up with different angles. Batman: Detective Comics has succeeded tremendously into really diving into the detective work with the Gothtopia arc. Devising schemes and synthesizing antidotes, the science aspect really contributes to making an otherwise unimpressive book into a Sherlock Holmes-worthy triumph. For the first time in the New 52 Detective Comics, I’m excited for what comes next – S

Dynamite Entertainment:

TurokL Dinosaur Hunter #2 – B-

This time around we are blessed with a little more action which is a nice change of pace. I’m not really sure if I am thrilled about the whole crusaders with dinosaur’s thing. It really seems to take away from what Turok was originally about. Unfortunately if you take the crusaders out of the picture you really don’t have a story, so I am left with mixed feelings about the series so far. I hope that they have a clear purpose with where they are taking this story and only time will tell.

Image Comics:

Burn the Orphanage: Born to Lose #3 – D+

Okay, so somebody’s got to be pulling my leg, right? Just a week ago I was boasting that this was one of the best independent books on the market. It’s over-the-top fight scenes and 90’s video-game satire made the first two issues very enjoyable, but the third (and final) issue of this chapter fell flatter than a Street Fighter II character model. The folly of Burn the Orphanage is that, even though it may create intrigue, develop characters and find an identity, it fails to put it all together in any meaningful way. It spends a good chunk of the “finale” not even talking about Rock (the main character). The weak ending didn’t want to make me stop buying the books, but I hope they step their game up for Reign of Terror. – S

Marvel:

Magneto #1 – A

Poor Magneto, all he’s ever wanted to do is liberate the mutant race. Since his departure from the rest of the Uncanny X-Men, he’s been seeking to do just that, but on his own terms. Luckily for readers, that means blowing things up, murdering degenerates and a whole lot of metal bending. The way he’s tracking down these enemies of the mutant population is COLD. BLOODED. It’s like what would happen if Robert Duvall played Denzel Washington’s character in Man on Fire.

Moon Knight #1 – A-

You know how Batman loves to lurk in the shadows and cloak himself with the blackness of night?  Think of the awesomeness of the Dark Knight and now pretend that he wore a blinding white suit of armor instead of the pitch black cowl.  That’s what you get with Moon Knight (except he doesn’t wear armor and isn’t quuuite as cool as Batman – but he is pretty BA).  Issue #1 of this series gives me a few mixed feelings.  Warren Ellis’ (writer) opening book teeters on the edge of cliché and creative.  “Mr. Knight,” as he is called in the issue, has a backstory that left me confused, but also extremely intrigued – typically a good combo. The art in the issue was also amazing; the use of the surrounding colors to highlight Moon Knight’s pure white statue.  It wrapped up in a bang that guaranteed my purchase of issue #2.  I’m anxious to see what else Mr. Knight can do. – T

The Uncanny X-Men #19 – B+

With all the hoopla about Jean Grey and the original X-Men team in space, I haven’t had a second to think about how Scott Summers would feel about losing his beloved Jeannie again. This issue covers that, and more. The most noticeable thing about this book is the frantic artwork. I don’t mean frantic in a bad way – the raw character design and panel separation is an acute reflection of the rage and confusion going on in Cyclops’ head. More than a year removed from the tragic death of Professor X, Kitty Pryde gets her feelings off her chest; it comes off a bit cheesy, but I can give it a pass. My favorite moment is the awkward bonding between Cyclops and his younger self. We know there’s nothing that can separate Summers from Grey, so I can’t wait to see what the world’s greatest mutant threat will do to get her back. – S

Loki: Agent of Asgard #2 – B+

Loki goes speed dating!  That should be all the convincing you need to pick up this issue.  While the mainline of Loki: Agent of Asgard has me all kinds of confused, the issue focused plot is excellent.  This is one of those purely “fun” books to read.  The trickster god is a great story teller and his antics are endless.  The lead supporting character also adds a lot of value to this issue.  If you want to see how a lovely lady with the power to tell when someone is lying behaves during a speed dating session, you definitely need to snag this issue.  It’s hilarious.  Furthermore – I just cannot get enough of that Nordic style font.  It makes me feel so much more sophisticated in my comic book reading.  If you haven’t, you definitely need to try it out. – S

The Punisher #3 – B-

Punisher has gotten off to a great start. Explosive, violent and dry assassin humor splatter the pages like a well-placed headshot. The story is building towards something, but it has yet to reveal itself. I love action in my Punisher books, but if you’re gonna use Die Hard as your inspiration, there needs to be more plot development. The addition of Electro in his new variation was pretty cool, and of course the action scenes were man-gasmic, but after I put the book down, I gave little thought to it until I started my review. I want a book I can brag to my friends about; Punisher did that the first few issues, so I know it’s capable of giving it to us. – S

Wolverine & The X-Men #1 – C+

Warning folks – this review comes from a reader whose last X-Men comic adventure was Avengers vs. X-Men.  Some time and critical events have passed since that time and it’s obvious they are crucial to the story.  Take my critique with a grain of salt!  I’ll start by saying the artwork is beautiful in Wolverine & The X-Men.  Mahmud Asrar (artist) and Israel Silva (color artist) kill it on the environment and action panels.  Focus is placed on The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning along with its instructors and gifted students.  Roughly 90% of the highlighted characters are of a newer generation of X-Men.  I’ve already got special feelings for Eye Boy and Nature Girl.  And the OG X-Men are still holding it down – especially Storm and her rockin’ mohawk.  I’m not 100% committed to the series yet, but that’s only because I’m behind!  If nothing else, Wolverine & The X-Men #1 has kicked me into gear to catch up so I can get the full effect awesomeness in the next issue! – T

She-Hulk #2 – C

This month’s issue of She-Hulk was scattered.  The story was mostly filler.  To recap from issue #1, Jennifer Walters, an attorney, is fired from her job, takes on a case pro bono against Tony Stark, gets paid anyway and then opens her own law office.  This month, she hires an assistant with a monkey, gets drunk with Hellcat, fights S.H.I.E.L.D. and then is commissioned by Victor Von Doom’s son.  See?  Scattered.  There seemed to be no point to it.  Not that every book has to have a point, but the only memorable moment was the assistant bringing her monkey everywhere.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it a great story.  I look forward to future She-Hulk’s, but if the story doesn’t go anywhere, it may not last long. – A

Night of the Living Deadpool #4 – D

I think we all knew this moment was coming. Night of the Living Deadpool has been cliché from the start. Parodying several popular zombie books, there was never really anything that made the mini-series live up to its potential. There were the occasional chuckle-able jokes and some zombie massacring every once in a while, but, ultimately, Night of the Living Deadpool falls short where most Deadpool books do. There was simply nothing to glue the story together and make it seem like there was any reason to exist in the first place. I’m not bitter about it, as my expectations were in line from the start, but anybody looking to find a mini-series with more value than the play on words in the title will probably be disappointed – S

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 1 A and 5 B’s, averaging out to a 3.17

Marvel Comics: 2 A’s, 3 B’s, 2 C’s and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.75

Independents: 1 A, 2 B’s and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.76

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.

Written by Sherif ElkhatibAdrian PuryearTaylor Lowe and Robert Michael

Comic Book Reviews 02-05-14

Review Scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick of the Week:

IMG_3839

Ms. Marvel #1 – A

Take away the costumes, super-powers and alter-egos – we read comic books to find a relatable issue that is dealt with in ways that we simply cannot. Every once in a while, though, we get a special kind of book that inspires us to deal with those issues without using super-powers or high-tech gadgetry. That book is Ms. Marvel. Kamala Khan is everything you have never read in a comic book. She is a young, Muslim woman. Growing up in a matriarchal Muslim family, I could relate to every inside joke, every snide comment. There are really no good or bad guys (okay, that’s a lie; obviously Ms. Marvel is a good guy), there’s just life. To be honest, thanks to the always amazing G. Willow Wilson (Cairo, Alif the Unseen), I forgot that this was even a book about a superhero. Do yourself a solid and buy this book, you will not regret it. – S

Other Reviews:

DC/Vertigo:

Forever Evil #5 – A

Never in my life would I think that Batman would be in a position to take orders from Lex Luthor. Well, that’s just what happened in Forever Evil #5. I’ve never found myself rooting for Luthor, Captain Cold, Black Adam or Sinestro, but the bad guys have turned into the good guys as they begin to “eradicate” the Crime Syndicate. The best part of the issue, by far, has to be Sinestro. He puts the hurt on Power Ring, and has a flirtatious conversation with Batman about using the yellow ring. We also end on somewhat of a major cliffhanger. Forever Evil has been a solid book so far, but for the first time in this storyline, I’m genuinely excited for the next installment. – S

Green Arrow #27 – B+

Thanks to the work of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino, Green Arrow is a complete turnaround of what it was just a year ago. The current arc, The Outsiders War, puts Green Arrow in the middle of a war between all the clans. You’ll be horribly out of touch if you haven’t been following Outsiders War, starting issue #26. There is a lot happening in this book, so even if you haven’t been following the story, the way the creative use of every spot available on the page to tell this epic story will be enough to sell you on Green Arrow. – S

Forever Evil: Arkham War #5 – B

I will admit, yes, the Arkham War story has been not much more than an over-the-top slug-fest between Batman’s rogues gallery. But the last few episodes have really opened up a great storyline for Bane and Scarecrow, both of whom are in a struggle to control the Talons. Bane is pretty much the man now, adorning himself in makeshift Batman armor. It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen in comics recently, and I can only hope they make a figure out of it. Scarecrow, on the other hand, has a much more interesting approach on defeating Bane, and I found myself genuinely interested in this series that I thought was nothing more than a poor man’s No Man’s Land. – S

Joker’s Daughter #1 – B-

This week’s DC one-shot was truly disturbing.  Joker’s Daughter introduces a teenaged girl who calls herself “Joker’s Daughter”.  She takes us through her very twisted world after the supposed “death” of The Joker in Death of the Family.  And when I say twisted, I mean some of the creepiest stuff I have ever seen.  Not only does she enjoy torture, pain and murder, she also seems to have some, ahem, daddy issues.   In this recount, we are reminded that the girl isn’t really The Jokers’ daughter, but forces herself to believe she is when she finds his flesh mask floating in the sewers below Gotham City.  As she traipses through the city with The Joker’s face strapped to her own tortured face and causing mayhem where ever she goes, it was hard not to want to know what this insurgent will get her hands into next.  She is a little mesmerizing and that makes the reader just a little sympathetic to her neurosis, although it is of note that she is not nearly as much as we are to Harley Quinn in any adaptation.  This issue was almost entirely female produced which is a huge testament on how the comic book world is changing, and for the best. – A

Trillium #6 – D+

Trillium has been somewhat of a roller-coaster ride thus far. It started off on a really high note, introducing a new world, illustrated and written by Jeff Lemire. Time travel, plagues and a magic flower – I was ready for the ride. Lately, though, there has been so much build-up and confusion that I’m beginning to lose interest. We spend the entire issue #6 explaining what could have been shown in a few pages. None of this was made any easier to swallow by the fact that I read this digitally and the flipped orientation of the pages made this a real chore to read on ComiXology. One saving grace was the conversation that Nika had with her mother about being scared and alone. Otherwise, I’m just glad this series will be wrapping up; unless Lemire can really bring something to the table in the next few issues, I’ll be wishing I went back in time to not pick this series up at all. – S

Detective Comics #28 – D

If you had your hopes up for this new Gothtopia arc, you can consider yourself let down right now. The idea behind Gothtopia is that the Scarecrow has brain-washed the city of Gotham to make everybody think that things are safe and shiny, when really, the rogues are running things. It’s a great idea that’s so poorly executed I don’t know that I can bring myself to read another issue. The writing seems horribly forced and out of character for a Batman book. While Gotham keeps pretending to be a nice place, it seems that Batman is the one pretending in this issue. – S

Dynamite Entertainment:

 Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #1 – C

If you ever wanted to know what the Native American version of the O.C. would look like, then Turok is for you. There was nothing that made any sense in relation to the N64 game other than the look of the character. It had even less to do with the PS3 reboot apart other than both having dinosaurs. Turok is riddled with weird design decisions. From the teenage drama to the dinosaurs controlled by crusaders, where is this comic going? I am not sure I am thrilled about the initial direction this book is taking but I am such a fan of the video-game that I owe it to myself to at least see where they take things. – R

 

Marvel:

The Punisher #1 – A

With the start of this new story arc of The Punisher, Frank Castle is back in full swing and as bad-ass as ever. In this comic, they definitely stay true to the character and what he stands for – shooting people, creating massive explosions, feeding people to crocodiles – all are in The Punisher’s to do list for this issue. What I particularly like about this comic is that it has an overall tone of harsh justice and “punishment” yet it doesn’t seem too dark and gloomy. I’m really excited to see where this story will progress to and what is in store for the upcoming issues. Perhaps one of the best quotes to come out of this issues is as follows: “That’s why we need The Punisher around here. More than we need the Avengers.’ ‘How’s That?’ ‘Because everyone isn’t afraid of the Avengers.” WHOA, that’s scary, and that is exactly what this comic is showing you. It is showing you The Punisher as he is, a man people should fear.  – E 

Black Widow #3 – B

Black Widow isn’t building much in story, but each issue is exciting.  This week, we found Natasha in Argentina doing a prison break.  It really would be nice if in next week’s issue SPOILER ALERT, that her mission did not go south.  The same storyline is already getting old.  However, this week in her voiceover, Natasha tells us about home.  It really beautifully written, giving the audience something more substantial to hold on to about her character.  And as always, the artwork is stellar.  – A

Wolverine #1 – B

Wolverine is Dead….. or is he? This isn’t the Wolverine that we all know and love. Killable has left him stripped of his mutant healing factor. What we have this time around is combat armor that makes it appear like nothing has changed. I can’t help but feel like we have been here before; this will be the third time that Wolverine will have lost his healing factor that I can remember off the top of my head. The idea of killing him is interesting but I still don’t think it compares to things like the Hulk ripping him in half and throwing the pieces a mile apart. As far as the current plot goes, Sabertooth is still around causing trouble but Wolverine has a new group of people he is mixing in with. If history is any indication of the future, Wolverine will be back to his old self in no time. Besides it’s not like he doesn’t have 5 other books that have his normal persona instead. – R

New Avengers #14 – B-

The New Avengers have been building up to and fighting off some type of ridiculous galactic force since the series began. Earth’s elite minds are now preparing for another apocalypse, and it seems like Dr. Strange is the only one willing to sacrifice it all to save it all. There are some pretty graphic scenes in the book, but I couldn’t really tell if it happened in an alternate reality, or not at all. My gripe with this book all along has been the over-complication of the storyline, and this issue doens’t really clear up much more than it provokes new questions. The spotlight of Dr. Strange is great though, so i would recommend readers to spend a little change for something Strange.  – S

Loki: Agent of Asgard #1 – B-

With the crazy awesome attention that Loki’s character has gotten, thanks to the fine acting of Tom Hiddleston, so it seemed only natural that the God of Mischief would get his own book. This Loki is oddly estranged compared to the one in comic book’s past, and that’s for good reason. Apparently, someboy did a good ‘ol Civil War on the Asgardian and this title Loki isn’t the “real” Loki. However, the jerk with the ridiculous helmet is back, and he is drawn in such a way that I can’t help but feel frightened for the The Avengers and the rest of Midgard. It was a bit confusing, but I’m totally into whatever happens next. – S

All-New Invaders #2 – C+

This week’s issue of All-New Invaders still impressed heavily with the artistic aspect of the comic. However, it simply wasn’t as action packed and thrilling as the first issue was. That’s okay, though. Not every issue can be a rollercoaster of emotions and excitement. What I did appreciate about this issue was the development of the story. Things are progressing nicely and I can see this turning out to be a pretty good story in the end. If you are someone who is unfamiliar with the Invaders, doing some prior research might help with the overall understanding of the comic. Especially if things continue to go down the road they are on, it could be very helpful to understand more about the characters. I also believe it would make it more enjoyable to the reader. But as for the comic itself, I thought it was a fairly good read. I didn’t lose interest, but I wasn’t amazingly engaged either. The art is still amazing to me however. I hope the story continues to develop and grow, and hopefully we can see some greatness out of it. – E

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 1 A, 3 B’s and 2 D’s, averaging out to a 2.50

Marvel Comics: 2 A’s, 4 B and 1 C, averaging out to a 3.14

Independents: 1 C earning a 2.00

Funniest Panel of the Week:

Captain Cold in Forever Evil #5 isn't afraid of anybody... in the light
Captain Cold in Forever Evil #5 isn’t afraid of anybody… in the light

Epic Panel of the Week:

Frank Castle is one BAMF in The Punisher #1
Frank Castle is one BAMF in The Punisher #1

Cover Art of the Week:

Ms. Marvel #1 - Art Adams Variant
Ms. Marvel #1 – Art Adams Variant

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.

Written by Sherif ElkhatibAdrian Puryear, Evan Lowe and Robert Michael

Comic Book Reviews 12-04-13

Burn the Orphanage - Born to Lose #2, our pick of the week
Burn the Orphanage – Born to Lose #2, our pick of the week

Pick of the Week:

Burn the Orphanage: Born to Lose #2 (DC Comics) – A

It’s about time we had a fun, over the top Jean-Claude Vanne Dammey comic come out. Full of total guy nerd references and comedy, this over-the-top book is about a local hero who has extracted revenge on the man who burned down the orphanage he lived in as a kid. It might feel like a rip off of 90’s nerdom, but that’s because it is – and the creators have no shame in admitting that. The character looks just like Ken from Street Fighter and he is entered into a Mortal Kombat-style tourney in another realm. Independent comics are still alive and well here in this unapologetically witty and fun book, and that’s what should make you want to keep coming back.

Other Reviews:

Action Comics #26 (DC Comics) – B-

Finally, an enjoyable Superman title that isn’t carried by the best tag team in comics (Superman: Unchained). With Lana Lang in danger, Superman must try to rescue her and the other civilians in the area from a giant monster dog thing. It’s more than meets the eye when we realize that maybe the monster isn’t the alien after all. Superman gets frustrated with the civilians and the military for attacking the alien instead of being the unwavering Blue Boy Scout. It’s a change that’s pretty enjoyable to see in the Superman comics.

Amazing Spiderman #700.1 (Marvel Comics) B+

Amazing Spiderman #700.1 is a reversion back to the Steve Ditko and Stan Lee’s classic comic series. It is been a year since the “superior” Spiderman murdered Peter Parker, so his homecoming is much welcomed! I was thrilled to see David Morrell as the writer on this project, not only because his novel First Blood was transformed into the blockbuster Rambo movie franchise, but for his writing for 2007’s Captain America series: Chosen, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This Spidey book entitled “Frost” and follows the emotional and physical struggles of a young man gifted with incredible abilities after a science experiment gone terribly wrong. He seems more civil-servant than flashy superhero. This has always been the draw to Spiderman. In the early days he found himself more of a policeman walking a beat than he did A-lister superhero. Klaus Johnson’s artwork only contributes to this nostalgic feel, bringing a scene of Spiderman saving a gondola off the 59th Street Bridge to life. Reading this book took me back to a simpler time when superheroes felt closer to home. This book has everything the old-school Spidey fan loves, J.J. Jameson, Aunt May and an ordinary kid given extraordinary powers.

Amazing X-Men #2 (Marvel Comics) – B-

After the revelation of the debut issue that Nightcrawler is alive… kinda, this issue shows our X-Men being sucked into heaven and hell. It was a good issue, with Iceman’s humor really stealing the show. The book reads a little slow, as Nightcrawler is constantly narrating what the pictures explain, and describe teammates like Wolverine and Storm like you’ve never heard of them before. Not a whole lot was explained story-wise, but we can guess that the team isn’t in a good place when they were transported. With Nightcrawler poised to make a move on his father, Azazel, the next issue is sure to be a little more exciting.

Batman/Superman #6 (DC Comics) – C-

All bets are off: the heroes are being controlled by videogame players (really, who wouldn’t want to do that?), the entire comic is in landscape format (really, who would want to do that?) and Batman has a freakin’ hole in his chest. What began as a well-crafted story with freakishly good art from Jae Lee has become a jumbled mess of a book. While the Toymaker angle is interesting, there’s nothing cohesive enough to call this book “good.”

Deadpool #20 (Marvel Comics) – F

Oh, good. For a second there, I was worried that the Deadpool book had standards. Silly me. After a sincere and comical story arc had finished about the Weapons X program in North Korea, they drop this trash about Deadpool shooting and blowing up inter-galactic monsters in Wakanda. In 90’s print. For no damn reason. Growing up, Deadpool had always been the mischievous, “do what I want” misunderstood merc with a mouth. With the success he has garnered in pop culture, it seems writers are literally willing to do whatever they want. It’s not cute, and I don’t even think that every die-hard Poolians (I just made that up) should give this series a shot anymore.

Green Arrow #26 (DC Comics) – B

Thanks to the CW’s Arrow, Oliver Queen and company have enjoyed some much deserved attention in the comics. Throw in tremendously talented writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino, and you have the next face of your brand. The start of the Outsiders War arc was not full of action, but full of ambiance. Arrow’s return to the island was charged with emotion as he reflects on his time there. It’s looking like this arc is gearing up to be fun and exciting.

Indestructible Hulk: Annual #1 (Marvel Comics) – B-

Ever since Tony Stark and Bruce Banner teamed up for S.H.I.E.L.D its been non stop action. Banner is motivated by a desire to repair his reputation as the world’s leading scientist and not a raging green monster, while Stark is motivated by…whatever motivates a genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist. The pair run errands for the clandestine organization and we are thankful for it.  Indestructible, penciled by Mahmud Asrar is filled with epic battle panels with Iron-Man and Hulk. If this buddy-cop match up is one you’ve been waiting for, Indestructible Hulk won’t disappoint.

Inhumanity #1 (Marvel Comics) – B+

Every Marvel event comes with a certain level of gravity. The world, galaxy or universe is always in danger and it’s the duty of our heroes to sacrifice and blah blah blah – sound familiar? This story, though, has an awesome feel to it. Unless you read or saw the animated version of Inhumans, you would not know that Inhumans are awakened through Terrigen Mists that activate super powers in normal humans. Karnak walks readers through the story of Black Bolt and what the fall of Attilan has to do with Thanos. It’s an epic event in the Marvel U that actually deserves the description.

Marvel Knights: X-Men #2 (Marvel Comics) – B-

With all the complicated twists and turns of the other X-books, it’s nice to see a book go to the simplest of times. Knights debut ended with Wolverine finding his buddy Sabretooth in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. Continuing the story, which had a very pulpy, Scooby-Dooish vibe, we find another lonely and confused mutant with the ability to project memories (good thing this wasn’t a teenage boy). It has a bit of social commentary that has been absent in X-Men recently. This is definitely a short series worth checking out.

Superior Spiderman #23 (Marvel Comics) – B

Man, just when you think you can get used to Octavius as Spiderman, he pulls a major jerk move and messes with our pal Flash Thompson AKA Venom. We saw him go too far with his black & white justice approach with Cardiac earlier in the series, and now he’s really fighting with fire, tricking Flash into undergoing surgery to help him walk again, but extracting the Venom symbiote from Flash altogether, who now has Darth Maul legs. Once free, it latches onto the most suitable host in the room. I’m pretty excited to see how Otto thinks he can get himself out of this one, if he even wants to.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Micro-Series (The Shredder) #8 (IDW Comics) – C

When you really think about it, Oroku Saki aka The Shredder never really talks. I mean, he never really has to. A few speeches about how much he hates Splinter and the turtles or how disappointed he is in the Foot, sure, but when it comes to actually talking, it just doesn’t happen. This whole issue focuses on Shredder’s journey through the after-life, which is on its own, pretty entertaining and well-drawn. However, his lack of personality really put a damper on what could be a pretty cool Japanese folklore-based story.

Terminator: Salvation – The Final Battle #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – B+

This Terminator comic begins almost exactly like the first three terminator movies. Human and Terminator alike come back in time, Terminator kills people for clothes and the human runs from the police. The story fluctuates between the present day timeline and the future of 2029. Being a continuation of the movie, it is actually necessary that you watch the film in order to understand who a few characters are. That being said I am very excited to see where they take this series. Being a major fan of the series, I am very interested to see how they finally end the saga.

Trillium #5 (Vertigo Comics) – A-

The dimensions of a comic book page are 6-7/8″ x 10-1/2″ and Jeff Lemire seems to fill up every square inch with quality work. Issue #5 is split horizontally into two stories, read from opposite ends of the book to give the impression of two different stories. Swapped places in time and space, Billy and Nika are losing their minds trying to figure out how they got there. Right off the bat, things are out of place. There will be nobody named Clayton in the future of outer space; I simply refuse to believe it. I don’t know where this wild ride is going, but we have three issues to save the world and get these star-crossed lovers back to each other.

Velvet #2 (Image Comics) – B+

James Bond meets La Femme Nikita in this spy thriller. Only two issues in and we are uncovering a web of lies and a screw job within a secret government organization. Full of action and espionage, the second issue digs a bit deeper. Velvet boasts a strong female lead and a deep storyline to explore. If you haven’t picked up on Velvet yet, I strongly suggest getting into this spy thriller.

Funniest Panel of the Week:

Bobby breaks the ice in Amazing X-Men #2
Bobby breaks the ice in Amazing X-Men #2

Epic Panel of the Week:

The real Peter Parker saves  the day in Amazing Spiderman #700.1
The real Peter Parker saves the day in Amazing Spiderman #700.1

Cover of the Week:

TMNT Villain Micro-Series #8, written by Paul Allor and drawn by Dan Duncan
TMNT Villain Micro-Series #8, written by Paul Allor and drawn by Dan Duncan

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, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib, John Soweto and Robert Michael