Comic Book Reviews 05-20-15

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:

Wytches #1
Wytches #1

Wytches #6 – A+
What can I say about this month’s issue of Wytches? Well, that one shredded my heart into a thousand pieces. What a powerful and beautiful issue. One moment I was flipping through pages as fast as possible and the next I was holding my breath and afraid to read on. It wasn’t just because of the Wytches themselves, although they are terrifying. Things became so intense as the plot unfolded and we learned who pledged Sailor, and why. For a moment there it seemed like Charlie might give in, but then he proved he’s the best dad ever and sacrificed himself to the Wytches so Sailor could survive and escape. The alteration between present day and memory was flawless and added so much sadness to what I was reading. It gave Charlie such a heart wrenching farewell, and it painted an amazing picture of how much he loved his daughter and how scared she is now. I was blown away by this issue. Wytches is an incredible series, and this was an unforgettable ending to the story arc. – Keriann

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Shaper #3 – A
Once again, I’m standing up in my living room offering a standing ovation for Shaper. So freaking cool!! This issue, we received some insight on Cal Victus’ (the bad guy) background and how his current ruthless motives of the present were formed. I love it when a bad guy “makes sense!” Victus isn’t driven by evil, or desire for power, or glory. Fear and boredom is what’s at the core of this guy! 10 points to Heisserer for crafting a dynamic and believable (and bad ass) bad guy. 10 more points for Kaylen. Any character that can safely fly through the vacuum of space, break through walls, and effortlessly deflect plasma beams instantly has my heart. She’s undoubtedly my favorite character so far. This comic book is shaping up to be one of my favorites of all time. Like what I did there?… – Taylor

The Goon: Once Upon A Hard Time #3 – A
Have I ever told you I love The Goon? I do. I truly do. I love that the book drew me in with its cartoon zaniness and anti-superhero antics, but then I love that occasionally, you get arcs like the current Once Upon a Hard Time that are stone serious and written with every bit of literary grit as the books it references. My stand out moment is when Goon talks to the gangster. After killing the hired men sent to kill him, Goon has a sort of break with reality where he momentarily can’t stand his line of work. He spills his guts to the gangster and you think maybe Goon is handing this gangster his letter of resignation. Then he kills the gangster. And that’s the first three pages. The rest is monsters and witches and dread. Pure dread. Despite being a (predominantly) funny book, I love that its legitimate gangster stories slow the pacing down and show that, in reality, no one living this life is having a good time, and if you’re a good person living this life (arguably Goon), it’s slowly eating at you like acid. And Powell’s art is from a parallel world: the art constantly shifts to match the tone: sometimes color, sometimes sepia; sometimes cartoon, sometimes realistic; sometimes detailed, sometimes abstract; sometimes painted, sometimes drawn. I love The Goon. – Montgomery

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Convergence #7 – B
This is the best issue of Convergence so far. The unfortunate thing is that what makes it good is breaking from its established pattern: the JLA of the New Fitty Two are the heroes (finally) and the group we have been following largely fades into the background. Deimos is, well, gone at some point, which is a relief because he never felt necessary or threatening for reasons that ever made sense. I mean, this is literally only the third series he’s ever been in over the past 40 years, and there’s a good chance that, excluding Convergence, you could count all the comics he’s been in using both hands. Anyways, this issue was actually enjoyable, but I continue to get the sense that the central story of Convergence is significantly less important than all the peripheral stories. A giant stone god shows up, and there wasn’t even the vaguest hint of his arrival last issue, which must mean that he appears in one of the related books that isn’t the central event. It is so surreal how closely this mirrors Marvel’s Secret Wars. I think that’s always been DC’s problem: instead of focusing on what makes/could make them popular, they imitate Marvel thinking it will make them popular. – Mongomery

Convergence – The Flash #2 – B
The Flash won! By default! Barry Allen’s world is supposed to battle the world of Superman from Earth-9. Since Superman is telepathic, there really isn’t a match. Then Superman tells Barry that The Flash doesn’t belong in the world he has been in, and that his life if pretty much a lie. On the heels of last week’s The Flash TV episode, this felt similar because of all the time travel fragments, but this felt very unresolved for the last issue in Convergence for The Flash. I did enjoy Barry’s quips and the fight scene, but the ending was lackluster. – Adrian

Mad Max: Fury Road Nux & Immortan Joe #1 – C+
One of the largest complaints of the recent Mad Max: Fury Road movie was the lack of depth to each story’s backstory. Thankfully, Vertigo is putting out multiple prequel issues that explain at least a little more of the interesting characters in the movies. The premiere issue focuses on Immortan Joe and Nux. Each story is serviceable, but not really all that interesting – especially Nux’s story. Immortan’s story is fairly robust, going into detail how he overtook the Citadel and then the Bullet Farm and Gastown. It would have taken maybe ten minutes of movie time, and been much cleaner in presentation, but this comic book supplement is decent, too. The story was even written by George Miller himself. Worth grabbing if you felt the movie needed more background, but I got the same amount of enjoyment out of this as I would have reading a Wikia page. – Sherif

Convergence: Wonder Woman #2 – D
God, this issue sucked. I had such high hopes for this comic because the first issue was freaking amazing. This time around, though, the tables were 100% turned. What I loved about the organic reveal of the world in the first issue was total gone in this one. This thing had exposition written all over it. In big letters. Highlighted. The entire time reading all I could think was “Jesus, let me figure a few things out on my own!” There was really no pay-off here. Steve get turned and essentially dies. Diana tears everyone apart. She makes it out of the church, and now what? What did she accomplish? What did she learn? And what else is out there? It’s alluded to that things aren’t finished yet, but we’re not given any sort of idea of what that is. It seemed in the first issue like the vampires were going to be the big bad in this story, but they got offed— easily I might add— in the second issue! Now what? I hope this story goes up from here because Wonder Woman deserves better. – Charlotte

Dynamite Entertainment: 

Shaft #6 – B-
Shaft finally got his revenge. It wasn’t as sweet as I had hoped for, but he avenged Arletha’s death, ending this arc. What really stuck out to me this issue was the theme of identity. Who is Shaft? Who was Shaft? What are his morals? What made him get there? He struggles a lot with that through the issue. By the end he has a little bit more figured out, but he still has a long road to go. The first page of this issue really zeroed in on Shaft’s identity in one of the best ways I have seen; the same Shaft, never changing positions or facial expressions, but the moments in time are different. It really brought the point home. – Adrian

Marvel/Icon Comics:

A-Force #1 – A-
I’m very excited about this new comic. It’s about time we have a badass group of females kicking butt together. I also love how diverse A-Force looks to be so far. Characters of every color, background and sexual orientation make up the team. I may have totally read this wrong, but it even looks like there’s a romance between America Chavez and Loki, but it’s not over the top nor the only facet of their characters, which I appreciate on a realist level. This comic is definitely smashing glass ceilings left and right. So far, this story-arc looks great. The first issue has set up the world nicely, especially for those of us who haven’t been 100% up to date on everything in the Marvel-verse. They don’t spend an enormous amount of time on exposition— which as a writer and reader I appreciate— and get right into the action. The dynamics between each character are well laid out without being overly explanatory. We understand how they relate to each other in a panel or two, which for a introductory issue is quite impressive. I’m excited for what’s coming next. She-Hulk has been forced to send America away and the team is pissed, Nico especially. I can’t wait to see who that “star girl” is and what she means for the team. I also can’t wait to see where that crazy shark came from. The pins are set up to fall nicely and it’ll be interesting to watch how everything goes. For more infortmation on this new story, check out our article with all the lowdown on the new team. – Charlotte

Uncanny X-Men #34 – B+
The Brian Michael Bendis saga is nearly at its end. It’s easy to get distracted with all that’s going on in the Marvel Universe, but Uncanny X-Men has been one of the funniest and most consistently good books on the shelves. This book covers Dazzler’s retribution and her confrontation with Mystique. Dazzler has always been kind of a joke to me, so the depth she shows here is refreshing and more closure than I expected to get from her. Now that Scott Summers has gone off the deep and launched a war on the humans, it’s up to the new recruits to lead their own lives. This series has classic X-Men dynamics with a fresh new face. I’m just so sad it ends next month. – Sherif

Spider-Verse #1 – B+
Spider-Verse is taking place in Secret Wars world, so pretty much all the Spider-People (plus one pig) are on the same Earth. We really get a good chunk of the issue with Gwen Stacy. Her smarts and wit shine through in this issue. There were several moments where I laughed pretty hard at her humor. There was good explanation of what was happening for those who didn’t keep up with the individual Spider-Verse issues that came out between 2014 and the beginning of 2015. If you are interested in what is happening in the land of all the Spider-Men, Women, and Swine, this is a great issue to jump in to. – Adrian

Star Wars #5 – B+
This was another nice character development issue with a touch of the rough and tumble. Jason Aaron is doing a good job at building the relationships we know will eventually come to fruition. We see a little bit of that Han and Leia love starting to grow. I really liked the scene where Han acts too hastily with the stolen shuttle and shows everyone his very lack luster improvisation ability. This is was an obvious homage to the detention level scene from A New Hope. Meanwhile on Tattooine, Luke is searching for answers about Obi-Wan and Boba Fett is looking for Luke, and he finds him. This issue ends on a good cliff hanger and a twinge of excitement in anticipation for the next issue. – Scott

Ultimate End #1 – B
Finally, a book that describes what’s going on without having to read books upon books of spliced together clues. Marvel’s Ultimate Universe is ending, and this is the book to read to find out why and how it will happen. Seeing two Tony Starks yell at each other is pretty fun, and watching Spider-Man freak out about everybody knowing his secret identity was hilarious, too. All these characters together make a wonderful ensemble. I’m excited to see where this leads story-wise, but it’s one of those books that will rely heavily on jokes to get through the storyline. Luckily for us, we also are treated with some of Mark Bagley’s finest works as an artist. This will be a fun ride on a grand scale, so kick back and enjoy the end of the Ultimate Universe. – Sherif

Secret Wars: Battleworld #1 – B
Man, if this new Battleworld mini-series is any indication, Battleworld might not be as terrible an idea as it (still) sounds. It seems to be more of a creative idea than I would have guessed since the outline appears to be, “Remember all those time Marvel was awesome? Huh? yeah? Well, we’re just going to do that again instead of doing anything else.” Battleworld #1 is anthology style with two short stories: in the first one, the vampire ghost of Dr. Strange possesses The Punisher (this sounds like an episode of Venture Bros.) who plots against God Doom but is stopped by The Infernal Four (the purgatory rescued spirits of Spidey, Logan, Hulk, and Ghost Rider), deputies of Doom. The second is Too Many M.O.D.O.K.s. (not really, but I wish that was its name). MODOK summons a whole bunch of MODOKs from across the multiverse with the goal of overthrowing Doom. But, it turns out MODOK is really dumb, and the more you add the dumber they get. I really like this Marvel “Recognizing the Absurdity of Its Own Cast” thing. The first of the two stories is a little cluttered and felt a little rushed, but I like the unique mix of stories. – Montgomery

Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #1 – B-
I’m as big of a fan of Deadpool as the next guy, so when I heard Cullen Bunn (MagnetoDeadpool vs. Carnage) was going to be writing some weird spin-off/spoof of Secret Wars, I was all about it. To be expected, Deadpool’s traditional approach to comedy is in full effect – throw 50 darts at the board and hope a couple stick. Nothing really… happens, but it’s a fun book. It’s a whimsical alternative to trying to keep up with whatever the hell is going on in the ACTUAL Secret Wars, and there isn’t too much exposition to keep you from just enjoying yourself while reading. Don’t expect anything but the Deadpooliest Deadpool story. – Sherif

Moon Knight #15 – C+
In its run so far, Moon Knight has been reliable for two things: unique art and murder. However, if you’re looking for a developed story in this title, then you may be disappointed. The book has really gone nowhere. There are many other series out there that have done more with less issues, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m let down by the series. It’s very mysterious and a methodically slow burn in terms of progression, but there’s still potential for the book to impress me with its plot. However, slaying Boogeymen with machine guns just isn’t what I had in mind. If that sentence intrigued you, then this book is still for you. – Sherif

Planet Hulk #1 – C
Did somebody order a buddy cop barbarian film starring Cap and Hulk? This issue made the rest of the mini-series look promising, but really was a whole lot of nothing. Cap is forced to slay beasts for the crowd’s amusement, gladiator-style, and he has a pet T-Rex. That’s gotta be important. It has the makings of a story with so many genres mixed in, and thankfully, none of it screams Planet Hulk reboot. I’m wholly excited for what could be – a slugfest with Captain America and Hulk in a land infested with Gamma-radiated beings. Fallout meets Hunger Games with Hulk characters? Maybe, but you won’t see any of that this issue. – Sherif

Loki: Agent of Asgard #14 – C

This issue is kind of a half full, half empty deal. I absolutely adore the new Loki. They’re deviant but still somehow nobel and deliciously sly. Not sure which gender they’re going to stick with here, but I love it when Marvel actually expresses the fact that Loki is genderqueer. It’d be cool if they kept switching back and forth. Both character designs are to die for. Other than the new Loki, though, there’s not a whole lot going for this issue. It’s very rushed and we get that’s there’s some huge apocalyptic shit going down, but it’s pretty vague and I wasn’t totally sure why no one wanted to band together to defeat it. If it’s pride and long held grudges, that’s fine and dandy, but that wasn’t really made apparent here. I wish they’d either split this idea into two issues or made the comic longer and more detailed because I did not understand, nor did I feel emotionally invested in the coming doom. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t worried about anything. It’s just some big, bad force and that’s as detailed as it gets. I hope this comic gets better. There’s so much potential with the new Loki that the writers really should be able to pull it off, but this story-arc has been all over the place quality-wise since it’s start. I don’t have much hope for it, but I still really want to see it do well. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see how it all pans out. – Charlotte


Funniest Panel:

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Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

 

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

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to all the publishers for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 05-13-15

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:

Darth Vader #5 – A+
Kieron Gillen may have actually outdone himself with this issue. He may have actually done something cooler than two hilarious murder droids. This Darth Vader series is one of the most compelling books I’ve read in a long time. Maybe it’s my indomitable love for Star Wars or maybe it is the fact this this is one of the best current comic series. We’re now looking at a cyborg with the cylon-like ability to boot up a new copy of his self when the current one goes down training a group of warriors to potentially be Vader’s replacement, as order by the Emperor! I don’t care that I have the misfortune of knowing how this is going to work out for them I’m still kind of concerned with how this will play out for Vader. I have to wait another month for the next issue!? COME ON! That’s just unfair. – Scott

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios

Lantern City #1 – A-
If you love post-apocalyptic stories and aren’t sick of them yet, this is the comic for you! There are servants, protectors who look like red stormtroopers, and the Greys, the family they all serve. This intro issue introduces the reader to servants who have rationed goods. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the servants know that their time is limited. The art of Lantern City was exactly what I wanted out of that title; the colors are rich, and the lines clean. This series could be one I’m in for the long haul. – Adrian

Dark Horse Comics:

Rebels #2 – A
Brian Woods continues to show that he’s one of the best war-time writers in comics. Rebels #2 shows a growing conflict in both Seth’s personal life and more so the coming war with England. Seth is torn between fighting to free his land, which started out as just Vermont, and living the life he’s building for him and Mary. The narrative is still very poetically told and as enjoyable to read as the character interactions. The last few pages get kind of muddled with what exactly is happening and that will make the transition to the third issue a little rocky but not so much that anyone will be left out of the loop. This is listed as issue 2 of 6 but I’m hoping it goes much farther than that. – Scott

Harrow County #1 – B
Harrow County felt familiar to me very shortly after I began reading it. Years ago a witch or demon who lived in Harrow County was shot, stabbed, hanged and burned after the townspeople discovered what she was. She swore to return and it seems she has by way of an innocent farm girl named Emmy who lives alone with her father. Those elements of the story didn’t quite jump out to me the way I hoped, especially after Cullen Bunn’s intro about “Haints”. Harrow County may not have started out very strong, but I am at least very intrigued by where it left off. It’s dark and chilling and so far told very well. The artwork by Tyler Crook is absolutely beautiful and adds just the right haunting element to the story. This may not be the most original storyline I’ll come across, but so far there are plenty of indications that this series will absolutely be worth a read. I’m not in love yet, but I am very eager for the next issue. – Keriann

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Convergence #6 – D
I feel certain there’s a good book in here, but damned if I can find it. It sure isn’t in Convergence #6. Deimos? Apparently? Is the new big bad guy? Never having heard of him, I wikied him: I’m not the biggest DC buff around, but generally, I can recognize the characters. I feel like the cuts have to be deep and obscure for me to not recognize the character. Well, Deimos appeared in a DC owned anthology comic as a bad guy for a character named Warlord, and then in an episode of Justice League Unlimited. He had a toy in 2011. Those are his claims to fame, and this is where Convergence fails and other books (again, Earth X, and even Future’s End, the prequel series to Convergence) succeed. It’s cool when comics make us care about their obscure characters. Howard the Duck? Squirrel Girl? I just picked up Future’s End because I saw it on the shelf at the library, and I had no idea who Plastique was before picking the book up, but I’m genuinely interested in her story when I see the trauma on her face when she sees her cyorgified corpse from an alternate future. Frankenstein’s a stupid character (IMO), but the dread in his story makes him interesting. Deimos? Dumb. Telos? Double dumb. Oh, and in light of the new Supergirl TV show coming, can we talk about Supergirl’s suit in the beginning of this issue for just a second? Jesus. A swimsuit with a bright red S shield over her vagina. IWONDERWHATTHATSTANDSFOR. Ridiculous. – Montgomery

IDW Publishing: 

Uncle Scrooge #2 – B
Scrooge is back for another couple adventures in his new comic with Huey, Dewey, Luey – even Donald is tagging along. This issue’s main story follows the gang trying to go fishing until Scrooge gets an idea to make an abandoned and supposedly haunted pirate ship his new money making scheme. Despite warnings from others, Scrooge and the gang make their way onto the ship only to be trapped inside once they all go into the cabin. Once locked in, the ship starts to sail away carrying our favorite ducks towards a mystery destination. This main story written by Jan Kruse with art by Bas Heymans is a very fun adventure for any pirate fan, or like Scrooge, anyone who loves treasure. This leads into the short one page story written by Bruno Sarda with art and ink by Andrea Freccero; a very short and funny story about Scrooge finding ways to save on electricity for his washer. The art is a little more modern cartoon style with a hint of classic Disney, but still fits well within the other two very distinctive classic Disney style of art. The last story, co-written by Frank Jonker and Paul Hoogma with art by Maximo Torajada Aguilar, has Scrooge having a battle of the finances with his fellow rich duck Flintheart Glomgold. As they both compare their fortunes, Scrooge realizes Flintheart is closing in on equaling his riches and must figure out a way to extend the gap between their finances. Heavy money stuff for a kids book eh? The story takes them out to search for a meteorite that had fallen to earth to try and use its foreign resources to… you guessed it, make tons of money. Lots of trouble ensues, and we kind of end up full circle from where we started. Overall this three stories an issue format is obviously leaned towards the kids market and may leave a adult wanting a bit more out of such a huge book, but if you are a fan of Ducktales, you owe it yourself to follow these adventures. – Jacob

Image Comics: 

Birthright #7 – A
Alright, someone’s got to say it, Birthright is the best fantasy-adventure book on the shelves now. Joshua Williamson has such a great understanding of the genre and has an amazing way of getting the reader so invested in his characters. Mikey is so polarizing it seems that issue by issue or sometimes even page by page I switch off rooting for and rooting against him. Somewhere inside of him I know there is a sweet little 8 year old boy who broke my goddamned heart when he just wanted to go home so his family could sing him Happy Birthday. Then cut to the current action and he’s robbing people and possessed by some evil Lord and doing all his bidding on Earth. Rya is awesome and I can’t wait to learn more about her as the series continues, I’m also super glad she flew away in front of Brooks so now he has no choice but to believe Terranos is real. I could go on way too long writing about things I love about this series and how the most recent issue made me happy, but realistically it’s easier for me to just say “Way to go Williamson, you nailed yet another issue. – Keriann

Mythic #1 – A
Mythic starts off strong with a comical “what the fuck” moment when a bunch of monkey looking creature things leap out of a wart on an old woman’s chin and attack Nate, the unknowing newest member of the Mythic Lore Services team. After that introduction we are brought out into the desert where the team is trying to figure out the cause of a drought. Their prophet, Cassandra, reveals it’s because the sky and the mountains haven’t fucked in while (I’m not being vulgar, just using the terminology from the book) because they are in a fight over their unfaithful relationship. Oh and by the way, this is a world where magic rules all and the masses are fooled into believing that science is a thing, when in reality it is just some made up phenomenon to nullify the public. This book was not at all what I was expecting. I figured it would be dark and creepy, but in reality it was way more on the goofy and fun side. Think B.P.R.D. with a drinking problem or Hoax Hunters without the really dark backstory. The man who runs Mythic Lore Services, Waterson, feels a lot like a tribute to Hunter S. Thompson, which I love. He even kind of looks like him. Phil Hester’s dialogue is cheeky and reads really well and John McCrea’s art is a perfect fit for the story. The sheer absurdity of the situations these characters are in really sets this book apart from all the others. I think this series is going to shape up to be a lot of fun, and possibly completely insane at times. The quirky comedy mixed with the supernatural is likely to make this a series most people will not want to miss out on. – Keriann

The Walking Dead #141 – B+
You know, Dwight doesn’t look so bad with his hair grown out. It’s nice to see him again, but let’s get to the real story – what the hell is going on in Rick’s head? Negan’s mind games should be getting to Rick. He’s the first one to call Rick on his BS, asking him if he ever thinks that he might be the villain to any outsiders. That’s the difficult question that we’ve been asking for years, and I’m glad it’s being actualized inside the story. It’s coming at the most opportune time, too, because Rick thinks he’s the second coming of Christ at this point. I’d be tired of his crap even if I were his friend, so I can’t imagine what it’d be like to be Negan. Rick might live in fantasy-land, but Maggie has a much different view on how the world should work. – Sherif

ODY-C #5 – B+
This book continues to be the most impressive awe-inspiring book. I feel as excited as I felt toward Multiversity. ODY-C is also very difficult to talk about. Mentioning almost anything about it is automatically a spoiler. This issue is this world’s crazy women-only equivalent of the aisle of Aeolus with a couple interesting twists. Also? Hera has a beard, and that’s not a deal breaker. And, I don’t want to note you guys to death, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out what’s happening and who’s doing it. It’s incredibly cool that only the gods speak in word balloons and everyone else is narrated through dialogue boxes, but it can make keeping track of the conversation pretty intensive sometimes. And I desperately need a spreadsheet of all the gender bent characters involved in this book. It was easy at first, but we’re 5 issues in and the cast has exploded. But don’t let those small quibbles stop you. This book continues to deliver. – Montgomery

RunLoveKill #2 – B+

Maybe it’s been too long between issues for me but I felt lost coming into RunLoveKill this month. I know I enjoyed the first issue, heck I gave it an A, but this issue felt disjointed from the first. It was like trying to learn the series all over again. That’s not to say it’s bad; it’s still a good issue. It is just kind of a shock to the system at first. The art though is some of the best looking panels in any comic. This is specifically true for the scene at the night club. Eric Canete paints such a vibrant and stylized world that it’s almost distracts from the storyline. It’s one of those good problems. – Scott

Injection #1 – B
(A) At this point, I will read anything written by Warren Ellis. I don’t know if I’m such a big fan that I’m now biased but, Injection is another great story comic. I don’t really know what’s going on right now and I haven’t read the summary that comes along with the issue. I didn’t want it to influence my read. The way the issue is set up drops us in the middle of the action and we’re left to slowly bring the pieces together. The exposition is brilliantly done and as we’re only given a taste for the organization and the sciences involved without the whole first issue being an explanation dump. I love the way Ellis always does this. It’s a nice change from the easy to figure out plotlines. The art compliments Ellis’ style and was easily absorbed into the story. It left me trying to puzzle out the nature of the plot and what exactly is the “injection?” From what I can gather, geographical time anomalies, blended timeline, and some sort of computer organic matter hook up? Ellis and the artists he work with seem to have a flare for the esoteric. There is a blend of science fiction and the occult and how all of these concepts run into one another. It a lovely companion to the work with Trees. There seems to be similar themes that he is working out in these two storyline. I’m really looking forward to adding this comic to my reading list. – Jené

(C) Injection tells the story of…uh, you know I’m not quite sure. That is to say if I hadn’t gone online to check the book out before I read it I would have absolutely no idea what this series was even supposed to be about. It has the makings of a strong series, the writing is good and the artwork is really nice, but for a first issue this one was way too vague. So much of the dialogue was shrouded in mystery, acronyms, and government branches and nearly nothing about the plot was revealed. Injection’s saving grace is that readers may be unclear about where the story is going but we were at least granted a very strong introduction to who’s going there. The artwork also really made up for what the dialogue left out. The characters are short on details about what they’re doing but the haunting and damaged world they are in at least hints at what may have happened before we were dropped into this one. I’m torn on this series so far, I liked what I read but I am frustrated with how elusive it was. I didn’t leave the first issue with the sense that I had just started a story, it felt a lot more like I jumped into the middle of something that I’m not sure I’m interested in enough to finish. – Keriann

Saga #28 – B
The universe of Saga just keeps getting bigger and bigger! Assuming that Vaughan and Staples want to keep this thing going forever, and I hope they do, this series will be the most immersive and original franchises since Star Wars. Let me just break this down: a kid and her lie detector cat are on a mission to collect dragon semen. Meanwhile, a robot with a TV for his head is on a mission to rescue his baby (and a horned guy’s baby) from a band of anarchists. Really though, this book has been heart-breaking ever since Hazel got kidnapped. Well things got even sadder in this issue, with the death of a character you never really liked, but felt sorry for in the end. I’m not at all bored by the book, but it’s getting harder and harder to define to other readers. It’s not just a serial; it’s an experience that, unless you follow it, you just wouldn’t understand. – Sherif

Black Science #14 – C
The train was speeding on the tracks a few issues ago!  Now the train is wobbly and near derailment.  As exciting as a train crash might seem, I’m less elated for the simple fact that I am currently on said train.  For the better part of 14 issues now, I’ve been in love with Remender’s storytelling and Matteo’s blow-your-balls-off artwork.  Both of these were lacking this issue.  I was all psyched for a “journey to the onion core” last issue, and now all the focus is on “just going home.”  It’s very jumbled and inconsistent.  And ever since the plasma-hippo-dragon died the panel pics have only been awesome instead of super-freaking-awesome.  I did really vibe with Shawn’s soapbox speech  (definitely one of the better ones of the series).  I need the monotony to stop, though.  Those dimensionauts better get to gettin’ to the onion core and they better find another hippo-dragon to get them there!  Or a lightning-turtle.  That is also acceptable.  – Taylor

The Mantle #1 – C
Some punk dude and his girlfriend go to a show. It sucks, so they get shrooms and pot. Then the due trips balls and sees rainbows everywhere. All of the sudden he is a superhero. He is put in the quickest training ever by the people who told him he is a superhero, and then he meets his nemesis. It is quite possible he is still tripping, but it is also possible he really is a superhero. I don’t know yet. I typically don’t like recreational drug use talked about in comics so cavalierly, but since the whole thing is a mystery to me, I will check out the second issue to find out what happens next. – Adrian

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Howard the Duck #3 – A
I have to say this issue was my favorite of the series by far. The only reason I personally would not give it an A+ is because anyone not familiar with the classic Volume One series of Howard may think this series took a rather odd right turn from the cameo filled and sort of sequel or reference of sorts to the post credits scene in Guardians of the Galaxy we got with the first two issues. In this issue, Howard is finally able to tackle his first case head on and with some help from She-Hulk and his new friend Tara. It ends up old people have been brainwashed and Aunt May ends up stealing the necklace Howard had recently acquired for his client. This all leads up to Howard encountering an old enemy, many references to his past including his mastery of Quack-Fu, which subsequently was the subject of the first Howard the Duck #3. Chip Zdarsky has wholeheartedly captured the classic feel and stories of Howard making this feel very much like a classic Steve Gerber Howard story peppered with enough modern twists to make this book my favorite on the stands right now. Joe Quinones has the style down perfectly for a Howard book and makes him just the right amount of cartoon and just the right amount of reality needed for a modern incarnation and Rico Renzi comes in and colors them to make the issue just about as perfect as a Howard fan past or present could want. This issue also includes a short story at the end with art done by Jason Latour about Howard being hired by superhero reenactors to help find Wolverine and it also is done in a very original Howard feel and makes me super excited to know at least this series survives Secret Wars. – Jacob

Secret Wars #2 – A
Let’s get this out in the open: Battle World is a dumb, dumb (dumb) idea. I hate it a whole bunch. I think it’s untenable, not very interesting, and feels like something a 7th grader came up with for the 13 seconds he got bored drawing pictures of boobs: “What if, like, all the X-Men had to fight? I mean, like ALL The X-Men.” But so far, as an event book, Secret Wars is streets ahead. Lots of cool experimentation and interesting detailed (detailed. You hear that, Convergence? Of course you don’t) takes on established characters. I mean, Doom’s Valhalla and the Thor cult are amazing. Like, I want to go to there. Well, not really. It was hard at first to accept Doom-as-god, but they convinced me. I feel like Secret Wars is Marvel looking at Morrison’s Multiversity (at least the first six absolutely perfect issues) and saying, “What? Nuh uh! Me too!” – Montgomery

Captain Marvel #15 – A-
That was the saddest way to end a book. This run of Captain Marvel has been a bit of a roller coaster for me; there were lots of ups and downs, but the final issue drove home the true essence of Carol Danvers. She is incredibly caring and giving. She does so much for others, she often forgets about herself. The way the story was told was done amazingly well; Carol returns home to find her friend Tracy has passed away. Tracy then tells her about all the stories to go with the things she is giving to Carol. It was very touching, and did indeed bring a tear to my eye. I feel that DeConnick, Lopez, and Loughridge all put their hearts and souls into this issue. I was absolutely blown away at the colors this time. Captain Marvel will be missed. – Adrian

Silk #4 – B+
You know what Cindy Moon and Johnny Storm have in common? Pretty much nothing except for superpowers. It was pretty awkward to watch Johnny court our heroine. I absolutely loved that they decided to skip the date and go “superpowering” instead. This issue wasn’t just about the date, though; Cindy has some major anxiety. It could have something to do with being in a bunker for 10 years, or that Black Cat has it out for Cindy, or just that many young women have anxiety issues about not being good enough. This issue got back to being funny and witty, particularly when Dr. Richards of the Fantastic Four is checking on Cindy’s faulty Silk-Sense and plays Galatacus to test her. And he loves pretending to be Galactacus. – Adrian

Thor #8 – B
Well the time to know who the new Thor is now and all is revealed in this last issue for this ongoing series. Hopefully after Secret Wars is over, we will get a totally new series for this Thor. Jason Aaron does a good job wrapping up this series and answering most of the questions we had, despite leaving Thor out of the loop. This all is encompassed within one large battle against The Destroyer with almost every woman Odinson (the classic Thor) knows within the Marvel universe by his side to help the current Thor. While Odin continues to be a typical asshole in power his entire family rebels at his feet and decided earning a punishment is worth the risk to stop his greed and let this mysterious new Thor helps the universe in the way it was meant to be helped: by a god. The battle subsides but Thor leaves before he can get a confession out of Thor of who she is while she goes off and reveals who she is to us, but now there is only Secret Wars. A lot of these series ending at Marvel because of Secret Wars have left me feeling very cheated; they all had great potential but many fans are left with an #8 issue series which seems an awful lot more like a mini-series than an ongoing series. Maybe Marvel should have told us? Or maybe the writer should have known about in since the ending seems a bit rushed? This series was definitely one of my favorites of the past two years. I am at least glad we know we will see more of this Thor in some capacity thanks to the All-New All-Different Avengers comic released on Free Comic Book Day. – Jacob

Storm #11 – C+
Well that’s over. The final issue of Storm pitted her against former student Kenji, and he was pissed. There were tie-ins from all the mutants Storm helped in past issues, and after a lot of confusing action, Storm was able to pull the team together and win. While I didn’t totally enjoy this issue, I did appreciate Storm never deviating from herself; good triumphs over evil and then everything is “happy.” Considering Secret Wars and Battle World are here, nothing is ever happy, but the ending of Storm seemed that way for now. – Adrian

Magneto #18 – C
We’re in full Battle World mode here, and the filler books are being flung by the Big 2 (Marvel and DC) like monkeys throwing poo at each other. Magneto usually hits home-runs with me, but the Last Days of Magneto is shaping up to be another excuse to make some money. Surprise, Magneto will spend his last days saving the world from… sentinels. Dammit. We are spoiled with at least the same writer, Cullen Bunn, for these one-offs, and there is an enthralling flashback series about when Magneto first met Namor. It’s nothing too exciting, but it’ll do as far as a cool Magneto story goes. – Sherif


Funniest Panel:

Saga #28
Saga #28

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Magneto #18
Magneto #18

 

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

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to all the publishers for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 05-06-15

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:

nailbiter 12 potw 05.06.15
Nailbiter #12 – A
This month’s Nailbiter took a small break from the action and focused more on giving us all the juicy details we’ve been craving. I am so excited that Warren is beginning to tell his backstory and the secret of the Buckaroo Butchers, and I hate that he most likely won’t get to the end of his story anytime soon. I don’t actually hate it, this book just has me perpetually on the edge of my seat and counting down the days until the next issue arrives so it’s mostly just that the suspense is killing me. That being said I am still quite pleased with this issue. I’m really excited about where Buckaroo seems to be going and how the serial killers are clearly not the only bad people in town. No good can possibly come from the organizing of the religious mob. I don’t know about you but I can’t think of a whole lot that makes me more nervous than a group of religious extremists in robes and masks, picketing and thinking they are doing “god’s work.” Nailbiter added some great new layers to the drama this month and there is just so much awesome going on in this book. – Keriann

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios

Arcadia #1 – D-
I have no idea what I just read. There is a lot of incomprehensible exposition followed by magic. In this case the magic is actually computer code, so that was neat. But that was about it. – Scott

Dark Horse Comics:

Baltimore: Cult of the Red King #1 – B
Issue #1 was a solid start for this series. The mission is mysterious and everything gets straight off into a fascinating supernatural world. This issue focused more on character exposition, so someone new to the series gets a pretty good background on who Lord Baltimore is, but all he’s been through is still a little hazy. This is a relatively easy jumping off point for new readers because it’s not overly detailed in back stories they may have missed, but it doesn’t waste too much time explaining things for fans of the series. I thoroughly enjoyed the dark and adventurous nature of the story. It doesn’t take off with too much action for a first issue, there is no crazy WTF climax but I’m still really interested in what is to come. The characters are likeable, their journey is intriguing and using my amazing powers of previous knowledge I’m pretty sure this series will be pretty dang good. – Keriann

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Convergence – Nightwing-Oracle #2 – B+
This was a cute story. Guess what? The heroes won! It was never a question of if they would lose, but more like a character study on Barbara Gordon as Oracle. I enjoy Gail Simone’s writing so much; and she knows her character better than anything. I am happy with how this story turned out. Nothing is perfect, and Dick and Barbara let us know they know that. – Adrian

Convergence #5 – D
How long until we care about anything happening? Am I being punished? Five issues in, and I still have a hard time giving a crap about anything. I sincerely want to talk to someone who thinks Convergence is THE BEST THING EVER and have them explain why. I just want to understand. To recap: in issue 5, none of the iterations we like of the popular heroes we love encounter Deimos (who?), who frees/kills(?) Brainiac, but not unil after reminding Telos of who he is… but I have no idea. A bearded guy hates Deimos, but Convergence makes the bold choice of not informing us who the bearded guy is. Deimos kills (but probably not) Brainiac and makes himself king of the planet. Just to recap: A Villain we kind of care about controls a villain we’ve never heard of, only to be killed by a villain we don’t care about. Bold choices DC. – Montgomery

IDW Publishing: 

Samurai Jack #19 – A-
We are at the penultimate issue of Samurai Jack here, and what a better way to get us ready to send off this great series than with an adventure with The Canine Archaeologists?? Some of Jack’s fan-favorite characters make a return to the comics, needing Jack to help them find the tomb of the first talking dog in history. After a little bit of travel they make it to the site to find all their diggers are quitting due to a curse on the site that has them all scared. Once they enter the tomb of the talking dog, they find him haunting the place and demanding tribute, but with no tribute, there is no telling what Jack and our favorite dogs will face. I found this story to be vey fun and much more light-hearted than the next issue will be. Who knows whether or not this will finish Jack’s journey, or if fans will have to wait for another incarnation to see this story through? Jim Zub does a wonderful job bringing us this tale for Jack and giving us another chance to see the Canine Archeologists before this series ends. The art for this issue by Christine Larsen is pretty good and mimics the style of the show well, but is not as spot on as previous artists; there was even one instance that had me think that Jack was not Jack as he was drawn oddly and from a strange angle. Ultimately, the style seems much more Disney animation to me than Tartakovsky’s style, and although it has no ill effect on the story, it did seem to throw me off from time to time being a huge Samurai Jack fan. I did have to hand it to IDW for bringing us a great series for Samurai Jack. Even though this issue obviously gave us no hints of what’s to come in the final issue, I advise you to pick it up as just a fun Jack story before the curtains close. – Jacob

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutanimals #3 – B
There are definitely some huge changes to this team; not only are the members of the team different from the original Archie comics series in this IDW mini-series, but they go up against Null – who has been gender-swapped from the original into a demon woman with horns. Not sure if I should find that sexist or not?!?! In this issue’s story from Paul Allor, we see all the Mutanimals but Mondo Gecko and Slash and it is up to them not only to save the other Mutanimals, but all the mutants Null has been experimenting on. We also get a little bit of story with the two scientists working with Null and how the scientist Jillian fooled her friend Lindsay to come work for Null out of fear and now they both are stuck helping a demon. Both stories are not as good as I would hope, and maybe it is due to just lacking a lot of the characters for an issue and a half here. Now with a bigger team and a much bigger agenda on their shoulders, will the Mutanimals be able to stop Null? – Jacob

Image Comics: 

Descender #3 – B+
(B+) I genuinely love LeMire. I should probably stop there. The third  issue of Descender has our poor boy Tim coming to in a weird robot limbo full of the robots murdered to death by their owners. I love LeMire’s ability to blend the mundane with the supernatural and each feel like it belongs equally. I mean, that’s kind of all I’ve got to say. I love this book. I love this art. LeMire’s on my list of “People Whom I Will Lick if I Ever Meet in an Attempt to Absorb Their Powers.” Go read this. – Montgomery

(B) The question of “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” has been answered, sort of. It turns out that while TIM is unconscious he dreams of broken bots. In TIM’s dream, he sees a collective of robots that seemingly are planning a revolution against humanity, and any other species that get in the way. This leaves a nice story open for the future. First of all, TIM dreams somehow and that’s astounding. Now, TIM is being taken from the colony by Quon and Telsa. I’m very interested to see the reaction once they arrive at where they are going. And just how bad is Telsa going to be? – Scott

Wolf Moon #6 – D
Wolf Moon came to a conclusion this week, and what started with a bang ended in predictable disappointment. The story really lost its way about halfway through the series, so the ending was fitting for where it was headed, but definitely left me unsatisfied. So it turns out some random guy who I don’t remember ever coming up before is also tracking the wolf so he can work some witchcraft to make himself the host again. There wasn’t much build-up to that outcome so it basically just felt phoned in. Dillon and Cayce think they’ve at least finally stopped the wolf but in reality there are more werewolves and they will never be stopped. There was no gut wrenching climax, there was nothing unique to the end of this series. It basically just quietly trailed off and died. The only thing close to a twist was that the wolf was finally killed by a silver letter opener after surviving a barrage of silver bullets. However, as they paid no attention to that fact it’s less of a twist and more of a stupid addition. I’m disappointed. I loved this series when it started and I really wish it had gone to better places. Oh well. – Keriann

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Guardians Team-Up #5 – A-
With the end of his solo series coming to an end and his involvement in Secret Wars, it was nice to have a Rocket story where Death or just ending all together was not a imminent threat. In this issue of Team-Up, it’s all about Rocket and his team-up with the Pet Avengers. Rocket is led to a poker game with the Pet Avengers, which is soon attacked by the evil Vulture Von Doom and the Pets of Evil Masters! Rocket must now (reluctantly) team-up with The Pet Avengers to save the world from the evil menace of a Vulture Doctor Doom and all your favorite bad guys evil pets. This story was definitely fun and one of the better Guardians Team-Up stories. It also comes with an awesome cover done by Humberto Ramos and Edgar Delgado. The story was written by Andy Lanning and Andy Schmidt (insert Hot Fuzz The Andies joke here) and as I said before they did a great job here and made a very fun short story for any Guardians fan, but especially for Rocket fans. Gustavo Duarte does the art for this issue and it was a great style to choose for this story as it was very reminiscent of Skottie Young’s style from Rocket’s own series while also making this a very distinctive and memorable issue all his own. – Jacob

Spider-Gwen #1 – A-
I’ve been observing this series from a distance, not really sure how to react at its very existence. This issue dropkicks me over the fence onto the side that thinks it’s one of the edgiest and honest books Marvel has come out with in recent memory. A large part of that is the combination of Robbi Rodriguez’s crisp pencil work and Rico Renzi’s vibrant coloring. Together it combines for something that’s like a younger sibling’s imiation of Image’s Deadly Class – and that’s one of the highest praises I can have for a book. There’s not much going on in terms of story progression, but the honest conversation that Aunt May has with Gwen is one of the more intellectual ones I’ve read in a teen book, one that challenges readers to ask questions, even if they aren’t ones that the world is ready to hear the answer to. This issue is a lull in action, but it’s one that stimulated my brain way more than a beat-em-up book would. I hope this creative team can keep the momentum going. – Sherif

Rocket Raccoon #11 – B+
In the last issue of Rocket’s first ongoing series, which barely overshot double the amount of his original miniseries, we see Rocket finally getting a hold of the Book of Half-World and having all his secrets at his fingertips. But remember that other “Raccoon” we saw earlier in the series? Well, she has something to say about what is inside the book and is not too happy Rocket has is all to himself. The story for this series comes to a good close, and although we don’t find out everything we would want to about Rocket with this last issue, we see that he does and we can take some comfort in that. Skottie Young took this amazingly-popular character who to most people didn’t exist years ago and gave him an awesome series – one that not only helps define Rocket, but defines Young as an artist and a writer. – Jacob

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5 – B+
This was a filler issue, and it was so good. The only reason it got a “B” instead of an “A” is because you have to have some prior knowledge of Squirrel Girl to thoroughly enjoy the book. But I certainly did! Doreen’s roommate Nancy is being held hostage with a group in the Statue of Liberty, and once Squirrel Girl is mentioned, the nit-wit group starts telling ridiculous stories about her. The great thing about all the stories was their trip through history, with the hokey jokes from the 50’s, the explanation of every little thing from the 90’s, the overdone exposition of today, and the idea of what “future” means in comics. It was hilarious, and more of an insight on Nancy than Doreen. I am totally ok with that. – Adrian

Ant-Man #5 – B
What a tear-jerker! This issue was action packed. Scott had to battle his nemesis Darren Cross. But most importantly, Scott had to deal with the reality of his family life. As often the case with Ant-Man, the book deals with the bad guys, but the big moments are always about Scott the dad, not Scott the hero. He had to make a big decision about the safety of his daughter, and it’s a pretty sad decision. Because of the weighty plot, the dialogue wasn’t in it’s usual form. But I can’t fault the issue for that. – Adrian

Secret Wars #1 – B
Jesus, Marvel. I think Battle World will be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of, but Secret Wars is how you do events. You hear that DC? Of course you didn’t. You’re too busy doing whatever the hell it is you guys do, but writing a good event book definitely isn’t it. I missed the first Secret Wars. It came at, like, the midnight of the dawn of my time as a comics reader. This second time (although, really, I think this is the third Secret Wars. The second one I didn’t even pay attention to) through is pretty hard to not get sucked up into. I mean, significant deaths, significant resurrections, and that’s just issue 1. In case you don’t know, or haven’t been paying attention, Marvel is smashing their Ultimate universe with the on-the-reg 616, and the process of smashing is the ensuing Secret Wars. I mean, comic book logic is already dodgy, but I don’t have to tell you that it’s silly that the collision of these two universes will create continents on Battle World like Age of Apocalypse world, or a Civil War continent. But whatever. Anyways, DC should have been taking notes: put people we know and love in important roles. Let us see Reed Richards being an egghead, Cyclops with a crazy mutant scheme, the Guardians team being shooting friends. Thanos and Doctor Doom lurking in the back being mysterious, and Punisher carrying out his insane-o justice despite the planet currently effing itself. It’s not the best-paced book ever, but compared to Convergence, this might as well be Shakespeare. – Montgomery

Avengers Vs. #1 – B-
This is why we can’t have nice things, Loki! He just seems to be giving Asgardian goodies away to whichever bad guy might want one. First Red Skull goes all Night at the Museum in New York; secondly, Attuna is summoning Nordic Gods to attack our friendly Avengers. Avengers Vs. is clearly directed toward a younger audience, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s got corny jokes and quick bashing fights. It reads like a bunch of short stories, like quick cartoons. All of the stories are loosely tied together with the idea that Loki is causing trouble as a he does by giving artifacts to whoever wants one. It’s entertaining enough because it’s the Avengers, and it’s the same team we are all currently enjoying in the many movies. – Scott

Return of the Living Deadpool #4 – B-
The finale to this mini-series did seem a bit rushed as a lot of series ending lately have when it comes to Marvel. The story by Cullen Bunn is still written well and the story comes to a good close, but maybe I just want more Deadpool and this abrupt ending was just surprising. The story continues with the many different Deadpool Priests we met last issue and they all are almost Evil Dead-style trying to get the good Deadpool to joining them while Liz is terrified in the background. Eventually, after the usual Deadpool slaughter-fest, they begin to set up the saga for another mini-run. I definitely enjoyed this story as a whole, but ultimately the art done by Nik Virella for this series is what kept me reading it. The art in this does just what Lebowski’s rug did for his room; it really tied everything together. The worst thing about this issue is it is just more Deadpool ending… At least we get a movie soon, right? – Jacob

Hulk #16 – D
Jeez, this series just won’t die! Maybe I’m over-reacting a bit, as the book just came off a high of an issues-long Red Hulk vs. Hulk battle. I’m just not finding this enjoyable. Hulk is dying of cancer? The Extremis that made Hulk hyper-intelligent is wearing off? Bruce Banner is in love with Betty Ross (Red She-Hulk)? I really don’t know or care. Also, this issue takes the misleading cover trope to a whole new level, as Maestro is barely mentioned at all on the cover; including him would have made the story much more interesting. Writer Gerry Duggan is not helping the book at all with this lame story. On the other hand, Mark Bagley’s (who will be taking on Ultimate End) full-page spreads are beautiful. It’s the only reason I even bother. – Sherif

Valiant Press

Dead Drop #1 – C
I haven’t read many Valiant comic books and so I’m not sure what I’m getting myself into. It appears Dead Drop is a Valiant superhero team that covers people from different times and planets. In the first issue, we see Aric, who seems to be an artificial intelligence of some sort. He’s chasing down a woman who’s got her hands on “the virus.” A vile of purple doom to be exact (Why is evil always purple?). Though, it appears it might be a bit more benign than that. Anyway, that’s pretty much it for this issue. You get a few hints here and there that nothing is as it seems – an echo of the cover. The first issues leaves me to question is Aric the good guy or the bad guy? It could go either way depending on the perspective. One thing this issue did really well was show the speed and movement of the chase in the art form. It’s hard to show physical movement on the page. I was really impressed with how well it was drawn out. It added to the momentum of the story and drew me in a little more than the exposition. I think this issue would have been better with just the chase between him and his target. The few pages of exposition got in the way and I found it to be annoying. I wanted the mystery of the virus to be maintained and not even hinted at as it was. I feel like I know too much about what’s going on. Other than that the issue is a solid beginning and I’m up for reading a few more issues to see where it goes. – Jené


Funniest Panel:

 

Nailbiter #12
Nailbiter #12

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

hulk 16 awesome panel 05.06.15

 

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 all the publishers for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 04-15-15

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:

RunLoveKill #1
RunLoveKill #1

Runlovekill #1 – A
Rain Oshiro is just a girl trying to get out of the highly controlled city Prygat. Runlovekill feels like a more futuristic 1984. “The Origami” controls everything in Prygat, including information; they run the show. Rain has had enough and is looking for a way to get out of town, desperately, but things aren’t going to go the way she wants. The art is outstanding. It looks very much like Aeon Flux, but with more motion to everything. Runlovekill is an intriguing story over a fantastic sci-fi back-drop. I’m really looking forward to the next issue.  – Scott

Other Reviews: 

Archie Comics

Archie vs. Predator #1 – B+

Oh no, you didn’t read that wrong; good old Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica take on the most dangerous hunter in the universe. The art is classic Archie style and the dialogue is perfect – nothing out of place from any other Archie comic. This one does come with a little twist over the traditional stuff though and that is the inclusion of freaking Predator. The gang wins a trip to a tropical island, Predator’s natural hunting ground. The snooty rich kids show up and are jerks, of course. Well, Predator doesn’t like jerks. After a rough day of infighting, the crew head back home and they don’t know they have an extra passenger. Let’s see how people handle an alien monster hunting down Riverdale’s residents.  – Scott

Dark Horse Comics:

Shaper #2 – B
Hooray!!  Shaper is back this month.  Ever since issue #1, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the next installment.  This series is so solidly put together.  Just check out this string of words: humans shape-shifting into dragons, spaceships, cowboy with lasers, disintegration, space-samurai-hunter-killer… I mean, come-on!  You know you want to pick up a copy right now.  And you should!  The elements of the story are enough to make any nerd excitedly sweaty, but the story and plot is so excellently catered to these elements that we nerds run the risk of having that excite-sweat turn into full on pleasure-panic-attack.  That’s a thing right?  If not, it will be if Shaper continues to be this good! – Taylor

 

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Convergence – Catwoman #1 – A
I was freaking out the entire time I spent reading this. It’s like Stephen King meets DC Comics! And with Catwoman thrown in the mix? I knew I was in for a good time. I really appreciated that they showed before the dome went up, going about her usual, immoral business in the rich town of Metropolis. It makes the contrast of her robbing and her saving the day that much greater. I also LOVE that SHE was the hero they got. Catwoman— whose entire existence seems to reject the sparkling city— is the one who wound up with Metropolis citizens under her protection. As exposition-y as it came out, I loved the social commentary this concept is making – how humanity would pretty much right itself in the event of something like this, but power would always be the biggest currency. In a world where there’s nothing left for a cat burglar to steal, power and responsibility is all Catwoman has. I really hope she survives the coming war, but man, against Kingdom Come Batman (shown up in the sky on the last spread,) I just don’t know. – Charlotte

Convergence: Suicide Squad #1 – B
Amanda Waller has put together a terrifying group of the Rogue’s Gallery, and with the Dome down, it’ll take a lot of power to take down any of the heroes, let alone all of them. The squad is first tasked with taking out Green Latern, whom in this world is more powerful than ever, having absorbed his ring. This time around, the Suicide Squad is adding in Bane, Deathstroke, Black Manta, and Lex Luthor. Luthor packs extra heat with a yellow ring. There’s going to be a big fight with a heavily armored, and fully powered Green Lantern very soon. I’m in. – Scott

Convergence – Aquaman #1 – C
I haven’t read anything with Aquaman in it for a while.  I also don’t really know what the whole Convergence storyline is about.  So imagine my surprise when I see Aquaman swinging from rooftops with a harpoon-grappling hook that is actually his hand!  What the hell happened?!  Add to that, everyone in Metropolis is trapped under a magical dome (by some unknown person or group).  Even with lack of prior context, I found myself enjoying the issue!  I hate to say it, but I think the least interesting thing about this issue was Aquaman.  The predicament of Metropolis and the numerous other superheroes trapped under the dome (and what’s about to happen next… no spoilers) is incredibly interesting.  Aquaman as a focal character – less so, but don’t let that deter you! – Taylor

Convergence #2 – C-

Guys, I’m not sure what the deal with Convergence is. I understand its outline; Brainiac is abducting cities and forcing their occupants to battle — but I don’t quite get why I should care about how the alternate world Batman, Superman et. al struggle against it. Well, in basic comic book terms I get it: because they’re the good guys and Brainiac is the bad guy, but I don’t get why it matters in a larger literary sense, why it’s this iteration of these characters, what makes them worth caring about more than Earth 1’s iteration of these guys, why in a meta universe of hundreds of versions of the same characters are these specific versions the ones best equipped to save the rest. Especially when the glimpses we’re getting of the other multiverses seems maybe a little more compelling (I mean, the book opens up with an invasion of an alternate Earth by Darkseid and a planetary evacuation) than the tale we’re actually reading. The whole point of this book is Batman needing to locate a Gotham so that they can get some help. The climax is very spoiler-laden, but then it doesn’t really seem to amount to anything. Maybe later it will, but in this issue it seems like something that just… happens. Instead, the resolution is Flash finding Deimos. Also, what’s the deal with the four panels of Flash narration just to get a lame Superman pun? Not cool, Convergence, not cool. But, I do want to give a shout out to some of the alternate Earth teams I noticed: Stan Lee’s version of the DCU from his Just Imagine series fighting evil JLA cyborgs; Lex Luthor in his Superman armor from All-Star Superman fought conspicuously red and blue colored Supermans; and I think the other Batman is maybe Tim Burton’s Batman? Hard to tell, because the batmobile is definitely Nolan’s, but the suit looks like it’s from Batman Inc., and Alfred absolutely looks like Alfred from the original animated series. – Montgomery

 

IDW Publishing: 

Transformers #40 – A-
I have been so absurdly and ridiculously in love with Transformers since I was a kid. It’s one of the few loves that doesn’t seem to die out. I have entire twenty minute swaths of dialogue from the original 1986 animated movie memorized, but it’s been awhile since I picked up a TF comic. Not by design, but by… fate… I guess. So the whole Combiner War thing is mostly new to me. The Combiner War story continues (some of the finer points of which are lost on me since I haven’t kept up in awhile) with Prowl discovering Starscream (newly elected ruler of Cybertron, a nice commentary on the futility of politics) has stashed a secret spacebridge, and since no matter what, ain’t no one trust no Starscream, the only possible conclusion is that Starscream’s going to wreck some shit. Rattrap is still his sycophant, which always bothered me a little bit. I felt the inclusion of Beast Wars (which takes place a million years or so after G1) confused things a little bit, i.e. why is a robot who’s never visited Earth in the present timeline have an Earth rodent as his alternate? Plus, Beast Wars’ toys were profoundly not fun to play with. Anyway, two things I’ve always admired about IDW’s (and the now-defunct Dreamwave) take on the ‘formers is: 1. How respectable of a story they’ve managed to carve out of a franchise whose only blatantly purpose was, originally, to sell toys. Their stories are complex and the characters are well rounded, even when dealing with D listers that never had a scene in the original cartoon. And; 2. The art. Wow. The TF books is one of the few that has a rotating roster of artists, and all but one or two have the same quality. I can’t stand it when the primary artist on a book takes a break, and his stand-in produces mud. That almost never happens in a TF book. Anyways, God love the ‘formers. Nothing too profound happens, but good art and nostalgia. – Montgomery

The X-Files: Season 10 #23 – B+
We are getting dangerously close to the end of this Season 10 series before we receive a break and then start the Season 11 series leading into the new 6 episode mini series. With this last story arc, we see a grown up Gibson Praise leading a modern version of the syndicate and kidnapping his former friend Mulder for his ultimate plan. We also get little more insight into the crazy factory like place where the Cigarette Smoking Man’s clones are all kept and into why exactly there are so many clones of this one man. This story gives us a whole lot of nostalgia from the series as well as kind of taking those memories of a nice little Gibson Praise and destroying those memories right off the bat. Joe Harris has done an amazing job at writing this series and giving us X-Files fans a better story than whatever happened in Season 9. With only two issues left for this season, people batter latch onto, read and finish this series, as well to get an idea of the direction this new mini-series on Fox may have. – Jacob

Image Comics:

October Faction #6 – B+
This time around the focus on the family aspect is what really made this book work. The “October Family” is comprised entirely of orphans, as we found out this issue and instead of killing Dante, or Robot Boy as I’ve been calling him, the welcomed into their clan. I loved that, I’ve felt bad for poor Robot Boy this whole time and it would have been sad to see him die. He is just a kid avenging his father’s death after all. I do wish they would shine more light on his backstory and who his father was and why Frederick killed him, but I’m sure that will come up later. I’m still pretty perplexed about what is going on with Opal and Cope, and whoever the hell their “Momma” is. I feel like if more details had come up I’d be more compelled by their story and actually fear what is to come, but for now it just feels kind of disconnected from the main action. The main plot still feels a little listless, but overall this is definitely still an enjoyable read. – Keriann

Tithe #1 – B
Praise the lawd!!!  And then take his money!!!  That’s essentially the plot of the new Image series, Tithe.  Actually there’s a bit more to it.  It’s like cops and robbers, but with Jesus and computer hackers mixed in.  As it starts out, a rouge band of tech-savvy thieves, known as “The Samaritans,” infiltrates the secret money safe of a wildly popular Church.  The Church has been less than honest about what all the generous donations and collections are spent on – like the pastor’s Mercedes (say whaaat?!).  The Samaritans, however, do know.  And more than just making out with big stacks of dough, they make sure the all the faithful believers are aware of the truth.  And they blow up the Mercedes.  Hashtag – Jesus whip explosion.  Tithe looks like it’ll be a really good “the people” vs. “the man” type of story.  Definitely worth checking out! – Taylor

Shutter #11 – B
Even if I couldn’t enjoy this story’s unraveling twists and turns, I feel safe knowing that Leila del Duca’s ridiculously fantastical and refreshingly unique art will carry the story for me. Thankfully, I can follow this story, and I want more!In one of the best parts of the series so far, Alarm Cat reflects on his existence and finally gives himself a name. Meanwhile, Kate and her half-sister are on an adventure to… well it’s just an adventure! Okay, so I don’t really understand what is going on, but I still enjoy the hell out of it. – Sherif

Chrononauts #2 – C+
Dicks with time machines.  Mark Millar is excellent at writing completely unlikeable characters. Chrononauts appears to be about two guys with utterly no regard for damaging the timeline of the entire planet. Basically, if the douchiest two frat guys you ever knew solely used time machines to slip through time having sex with every famous woman they could and disrupted every part of history you could think of. They are pissing off everyone around them too, not just the reader. The plus side to Chrononauts is Sean Gordon Murphy’s artwork, it’s absolutely fantastic. – Scott

68: Bad Sign (One Shot) – F
Boo! BOO! This is not one I would recommend to anyone, outside of maybe Steven Segal movie lovers. The dialogue was unbearable, the characters were morns and the only female was nothing more than a glorified sex object. Case in point, she has sex with her partner because “hey, why not?” and then requires his entire protection every time they go out in the field. The whole execution of the idea felt flawed from the get go. The action takes place during the zombie apocalypse which has basically nothing to do with the plot action. Instead it’s the only cops still in action in America investigating and finding a super fucked up serial killer with origins a la Red Dragon and Psycho (aka nothing original) who’s killing women. No offense, but aren’t there bigger concerns for the cops to deal with during the zombie apocalypse? Like yeah this guy is killing a few women, but zombies are kind of killing EVERYONE. The idea is unique, and could have been a good read but the manner in which it played out made this one a total miss. – Keriann

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Loki: Agent of Asgard #13 – A-
This is the first issue of this series that I’ve liked in a long time. They’ve really cut the melodramatic “woe-is-Loki” crap. Finally, he’s taking matters into his own hands instead of wallowing over himself. While nothing is certain, it seems like Loki is more or less over his whole redemption thing, but he’s also over the whole “I’m-evil-and-I-can’t-escape-it” thing. Instead, he’s decided to change things around and be the “God of Stories” – much better ring to it. It also leaves things up to ambiguity, which is what I’ve always liked best about his character. His morals aren’t stagnant, and his motivations change. His main concern is looking out for himself, but he’s also not totally heartless either. It seems like the new Loki that we’re going to be seeing in the next issue is going to be more of the morally ambiguous nature, which I was missing in the previous issues. I like it when it’s emotionally messy, which hasn’t been done— or at least done well— until now. I’m looking forward to seeing how this new God of Stories Loki develops. He’s got a look in his eye that gives me hope for this comic yet. – Charlotte

Deathlok #7 – B+
The way this comic deals with free will and what effects outside sources have on it is amazing. This does an excellent job of showing the parallels between the mysterious Biotek organization and S.H.I.E.L.D. Both agencies are using the two Deathlok program individuals to get what they want. Both agencies are forcing the other’s hand and in essence, taking away their free will. The two men have no choice but to do what the separate organizations want. Not really. It’s nice to finally see Henry breaking away from the company trying to control him. He first tries to do it by killing himself in front of a truck, showing just how desperate he is to have his own will back. Then, when his daughter is put in danger, he goes charging back to headquarters, vowing to “rip your arms off before you touch her.” Henry’s fatherhood is what draws the whole story and it’s incredibly strong. I can’t wait to see what happens next issue when Seraph and Henry go head to head. – Charlotte

Ms. Marvel #14 – B+
It’s been a while since I’ve read Ms. Marvel, which is a shame since I loved it so much when it came out. I guess the Inhuman element lost my interest for a bit. Well, I have some catching up to do because it’s still the amazing series it was a year ago. The link between real issues and their superhero translations is still very strong, now being focused on Kamala’s crush on Kamran. There’s even some REAL talk when Bruno spills his guts to Aamir about being in love with Kamala. I love this book and I’m willing to overlook the Inhuman aspect to enjoy reading it again. – Sherif

Thor #7 – B
Who is this new Thor and what is her connection to the original Thor? We may not find out this issue, but it does give us a look into Roz Solomon before the new Thor became Thor and it sets it up for us to believe she may be Thor now, but nothing definitive is given until next issue. In this issue we do get the story with Roz and how even she is affected by the loss of the original Odinson Thor and how her small crush on him actually meant a lot more than just a crush. In the present time though Thor is in a battle with the Destroyer sent by Odin and getting the snot beat out of her. A third story happens as well where the Odinson Thor and his mother Freyja collect a bunch of Marvel’s best heroines to come and help with the Destroyer and I am sure it also was to dwindle down who the new Thor could be for Odinson and his mother. The creative team for this issue is the same as #6 with Jason Aaron on the writing spectrum and Russell Dauterman as the artist. Both men work together spectacularly and give us one of my personal favorite Thor stories for awhile. The story has been a little dragged on as every month we are led to believe we will know who Thor is, but besides that gimmick this has been an outstanding series and very much worth your time going into Secret Wars as this Thor will likely play a huge role in what happens in that event. – Jacob

Uncanny X-Men #33 – B-
Now that the awful Black Vortex arc is over, I can enjoy the best X-Men title on the stands. Or can I? The crisp art that I used to know is gone, replaced by Kris Anka’s (Wolverines) awkward faces. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great art (especially the scenery he paints), but the faces aren’t recognizable to me; it’s more of an issue of consistency than skill. Anyway, the real selling point in the issue is the banter between an estranged Kitty and Illyana. They play off each other so well. This new mutant is full of surprises, which means I’m ready to get excited about Uncanny again. – Sherif


Funniest Panel:

Shutter #11
Shutter #11

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

 

Uncanny X-Men #33
Uncanny X-Men #33

 

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

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to all the publishers for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 04-08-15

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:

Savior #1

Savior #1 – A+
Ladies and gentlemen, Todd McFarlane has done it again. He made his triumphant return to comics with Savior and I think he hit this one out of the park. This book is very smart and extremely well-written. The main character, Jill Bennett, is eloquent and intelligent and raises excellent questions for the reader during her lecture on confirmation bias at her former high school. I even made a note to myself why I was reading those panels about how well-worded her arguments were, and that I hope young comic fans give this book a shot so they can read her words. The whole thing is based on the idea of how the society would actually respond if a “messiah” appeared, working his miracles and either confirming or destroying certain religious beliefs. That in itself has me hooked, but this book made and extremely strong entrance for a first issue. The artwork resembles a painting more than a drawing which adds a really nice touch to the storytelling. At one point during my read I even got chills on this one. I cannot wait to keep reading it and see where it goes. – Keriann

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Rebels #1 – B+

Rebels reads like a war diary, which completely makes sense and works perfectly for the story. Rebels comes to us from Brian Wood, creator of amazing series like DMZ and Northlander – that’s big points right there. The story follows a young man in New Hampshire in the early years before the revolution. New Hampshire is being overrun with redcoats from Albany (New York (GEOGRAPHY!)), the British occupiers are taking land from the locals and a group of them are not going to stand for it any more. With a little bit of a love story that doesn’t feel ridiculously shoehorned in, it looks like Rebels will be a good run. – Scott

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Convergence #1 – B
The event book Convergence should just be retitled Grant Morrison’s DCU, because the opening pages are the same as the ending pages of Multiversity #1, which is cool (if you’re into continuity), because, yes Virginia, it means that Multiversity means something for the overall DCU. Personally, continuity is something I don’t care about even a little bit, but event comics can be fun (like Final Crisis. So like I said for #0, I haven’t been keeping not even a little bit of attention to what’s happening in the DCU that leads up to this, but the great thing about something like Final Crisis is that you didn’t have to really know what was coming for the whole thing to be interesting and coherent. I get the sense that is not true for Convergence as the villainous consuming ennui that formed the major villain for Multiversityseems to be replaced by Brainiac, who’s collecting cities from across all incarnations of the DCU to have pit them against each other for… reasons. Disregarding my confusion about the story, it’s just not very compelling thus far. Remember four years ago when we were introduced to the New 52, and it was supposed to totally do away with the old continuity? Just kidding. So the “story over continuity” endgame of Convergence doesn’t feel convincing. Come 2019, DC, like a crack fiend, will be returning to the well trying to fix their brokeass continuity that was never intended to be a continuity in the first place. – Montgomery

Convergence: Nightwing – Oracle #1 – B
I read this issue after I read Convergence: Batgirl. This is all for context as to how I felt about the Nightwing – Oracle issue. The difference in writing from Gail Simone is really superior. Even if I hadn’t read Convergence, I feel as though this issue carried enough personality, bad-assery, and though provoking lines, that the plot didn’t really matter. Of course, the plot does matter, but the fact that Nightwing and Oracle must fight for their right to.. have their city, wasn’t the overarching theme here. I like that it was still just about them. Considering their names are in the title, that worked out pretty well. – Adrian

Convergence: Batgirl #1 – B-
When I first read Convergence: Batgirl, I had not yet read Convergence. Big mistake! But upon reading Convergence, it all (sorta) makes sense. Plots and characters from all time and space are, well, converging. Stephanie Brown was picked as the Batgirl to fight for Gotham City. And not on Earth. There isn’t a whole lot that makes sense about it, but I thought the justice done to Stephanie Brown here was pretty decent. I feel like it is a pretty good re-introduction for fans of the character. I don’t know where it will go from here as far as her character goes, but this was an enjoyable read. Ya’know, after I figured out what the hell was going on. – Adrian

Convergence: Batman and Robin #1 – D-
This was stupid. What is happening in Convergence I really do not know, but I know that I did not enjoy this book at all. It vaguely reminded me of the continuity I used to know before the New52 changed everything, but the art was just god-awful. I’m leery of DC “events” already, and my first venture into Convergence was a crappy rendition of one of my favorite time periods in comic books. I may just have to bury my head in the sand until this is all over and read the results on Wikipedia. – Sherif

IDW Publishing: 

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #5 – C
The sci-fi crossover event we all wanted but never thought of is at an end, and as Kirk, the Enterprise crew and Colonel George Taylor finish up their plans to take out the Klingon Leader, Kor, the Apes themselves are on the verge of their own civil war. The events in this issue sure seemed to be rushed when a lot of this series seemed slow. Ultimately, I feel this issue got rather confusing as it moved too quickly. Despite this, Scott Tipton and David Tipton did a good job bringing these universes together in a way that despite the subtitle of this series (The Primate Directive), it wasn’t cheesy or overdone. The art for the series done by Rachel Stott was done with precision like accuracy and brought things into the series only the biggest nerds of each franchise would notice, and everyone else would just think is cool anyway. This issue is definitely worth picking up to finish off the series and it does come with a great tribute to Leonard Nimoy at the end with words from all the creators of the series, and as with every great franchise, they left it open for more if the fans demand it. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Birthright #6 – A
Birthright embarked upon a new story arc for this issue and it was a little slower moving than I’m used to. That is not to say it was bad by any means, but it went back to elemental storytelling instead of action based storytelling. Mikey and Brennen are still on the run, and Aaron is in police custody only to find out that the search for his boys is now an issue of national security. The plot didn’t advance a whole lot (except of course for the whole Terranos coming to the Earth realm thing at the end thing!), but we did get to see a lot more of what Mikey is like and how it seems Lore has taken a much stronger hold on him since he killed Ward. Mikey is becoming kind of scary, and I was horrified when I saw what he did to that poor bear. I’m wondering if this arc will go in a direction where Mikey becomes more of a villain than hero as Lore continues to force him into his bidding. Overall, I’m still pretty much in love with this book, even though there was no acknowledgment of the pregnant Gideon coming to the Earth realm from the last issue. – Keriann

Saga #27 – B+
Yay, backstory! Marko has had such a colorful background before meeting Alana, and by colorful I mean murderous. The entire episode centers around Marko’s crazy drug trip, and the one time he hit a girl as a child. Naturally, there’s the first-page traumatizing genitals panel that have been signature to the series, but the rest of the issue is full of life thanks to Fiona Staples’ amazing colors. It’s a lull in the action, and it doesn’t reveal a whole lot, but it makes me excited to see the more vicious side of Marko come out. – Sherif

Ody-C #4 – B+
This book is so beautiful. Every month there are pages that make me full stop and stare; like this month, the page with Poseidon. The way Poseidon herself is composed of interlocking orbs of water, never quite formed, never quite dissolved. The representation was something else. I know I complain about issue 3s (see: The Nameless and Tooth and Claw), but somehow Ody-C is every other series’ #4. We’re still with the (horrific) Cyclops, and while it gets dealt with, I feel it lacks the original Odyssey’s clarity and wit. But, the book does end with a pretty huge shocker that only Hitler would want to ruin. I still love this book despite the little lag in momentum. – Montgomery

Big Man Plans #2 – B
Holy freaking hell this book is goddamn brutal. This is by far one of the most violent books I’ve ever read. At times it is hard to read, what with the baseball bat beatings, drywall hammer bludgeoning, pulling out of teeth with pliers and, of course, the setting people on fire thing. Even though the main character is basically a twisted psychopath killing people in extremely barbaric fashion, I still find myself rooting for him. That is probably the most unique element of this book. In between the gory bits there is a heartfelt story. Obviously, living as a dwarf is hard, and this poor guy had everything that ever mattered to him taken away and he was left to fend for himself at a young age. The story flashbacks to him and his father are heartbreaking. He may be a cold blooded killer now but at one point he was a scared and bullied little boy – now he’s just getting the ultimate revenge on all his bullies and I am super on-board with it. Sometimes the dialogue is a little hard to get through because I refuse to believe that anyone, even in the south, actually talks by saying “that there river” or “somebody done beat the livin’ piss outta ‘im”. Overall, I think this is a really strong revenge tale told in a unique fashion, although it may not be for the faint of heart. – Keriann

Nameless #3 – B
Issue 3 is, I think, always the worst issue of any series. The novelty and momentum of the story starts to wear off as we settle into the routine of the drama and before it winds up for the climax. It’s not that they’re bad, it’s just that the world starts to become familiar. Even Grant Morrison doesn’t seem to be immune… which isn’t to say shit doesn’t keep getting weirder, just that the weirder is becoming more understandable. There’s definitely some cool stuff here: zombie quadrocopters, ancient alien tombs on an asteroid, and vaults locked with tarot cards. In terms of story, though, it just feels like a retread of the story before it: astronauts in space, mission control has become murderous, and they’re still just outside the asteroid. Cool images, just not a lot of forward momentum. But the art is horrific and doesn’t fail to deliver. – Montgomery

The Walking Dead #140 – C
At the end of this issue my thoughts were, “…Really?… REALLY?!…” I’m not going to spoil anything for you, but let me tell you – complacency sure has made the folks of Alexandria stupid. Or at the very least, a few people with pretty major responsibilities. <<Mad voice>> – Let’s talk about something else! The majority of the issue continues to focus on Michonne and Carl and their current situations. Michonne’s been back for two issues now and I’m about ready for her to pick that katana back up and start doing some damage. I’m immensely intrigued by Carl’s predicament. He’s become a very interesting character and his dealings with the Whisper’s is sure to make for some solid issues. Ugh… I just can’t get over those last couple pages… REALLY?!?! – Taylor

Descender #2 – C
This one will tug at your heart strings. Robots that deal with mortality are always sad. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot going on in this issue. This issue bounces back and forth between TIM-21 running for his life and a flashback to when he was first created and arrived on the planet. You meet Tim’s family (warm fuzzies) and he sees what’s become of them (cold sadness). It turns out that Tim has sweet Iron Man like hand cannons though. This issue was all backstory and filler, so not overly exciting, but I believe things will pick up again in issue #3. – Scott

Jupiter’s Circle #1 – C
(B) You know that moment where it seems like it’ll be one thing (the typical thing) and you have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to be another? Well, that’s Jupiter’s Circle for you, and it’s awesome. I’m not going to even hint at the awesome that it is. Just know, that if you’re reading something from the writer of a superheroes are going to be turned on their head a bit and a lot. I am thoroughly excited and too much of a sly grin refusing to leave my face. Only complaint: 6 superheroes one woman… lame. – Jené

(D) Umm… Okay. First I’ll say that I have not read Jupiter’s Legacy. Even if I had, I’m not sure it would have significantly altered my opinion of the follow up series’ premiere. I just didn’t vibe with this comic – in fact, the only reason I picked it up in the first place was because it had the word “Jupiter” in the title. Don’t be fooled, folks. This story has nothing to do with the biggest planet in our solar system. In what I interpreted as an attempt to provide commentary on the ever-growing hot topic of same-sex relationships (against the much less accepting backdrop of the late 50’s) I found myself incredibly bored and unenthused. I can see what Millar’s going for, but it just doesn’t work for me in this medium. Now, excuse me – I’m going to go read Jupiter’s Wikipedia page. I refuse to be disappointed today! – Taylor

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Howard the Duck #2 – A

Imagine the excitement I have as an old school Howard fan being able to not only have a new series going, but have it be good, one of Marvel’s best even. Well all I have to say is as a fan-boy I am living on cloud 9 right now as far as Howard goes. This months issue we see the continuation from last month with Howard locked up I prison with Rocket Raccoon by The Collector, or at least one of his goons. This issue provides a absolutely wonderful banter between Howard and Rocket border Looney Tunes-esque at times with Howard calling Rocket a Werewolf and little misunderstood jokes only the anthropomorphic animals of Marvel tend to make and understand. We do get to see the other Guardians of the Galaxy in this issue as they help in the Prison Break Howard and Rocket obviously try and make during this issue (no robotic limbs were used or harmed in this prison break). As far as writing goes, Chip Zdarsky blows it out of the park here showing us this man could easily be writing and doing art, as he does for the comic Sex Criminals, for a series all by himself and have it be just as well done as any other. Lest we forget Joe Quinones who offers up wonderful art for this series, and give us not only a great Howard representation as well as the Guardians but his backdrops and seeing all the other aliens in the prison offer up some of the best art in the issue and give us a sense that there are a lot of floating crazy alien prisons in the future. I would definitely recommend this issue to anyone wanting to keep a little piece of 616 going while Secret Wars is destroying everything, but this series offers us not only a comedic look at Marvel, and offers us a look into Marvel through the eyes of the only character who feels as out of place as any of us would in the Marvel Universe. – Jacob

Darth Vader #4 – A
Last issue’s awesomeness continues with the fourth installment of Vader! I cannot get enough of Triple Zero or BT!! This pair of mass murder-torture droids is stealing the show and it’s working beautifully. Dr. Aphra is also adding a lot to the series. I’m not sure what she’s going to “be” for Vader as the story continues. She’s so pragmatic, nonchalant, macabre and totally in sync with Vader. I wouldn’t consider it a surprise if she became a love interest for the Dark Lord. At the very least I am in love with her. That definitely counts for something. The plot also took a step up this issue. The urgency of Vader’s next mission has my blood boiling! More torture/murder droids! More severed body parts and force chokes! More Vader!!! – Taylor

Captain Marvel #14 – B+
The “Black Vortex” storyline really worked for Captain Marvel. Kelly Sue DeConnick did an amazing job of keeping Carol’s personality, but giving personality to characters who have never made an appearance in the book. Carol has to make sure that only Kitty Pryde gets the Black Vortex. Of course, that doesn’t end up going perfectly, and DeConnick shows us how aware she is of that trope. And it worked. Carol had the chance to gain an insane amount of power, and in the best panels of the issue, contemplates why she chose to make her journey this time around. It was to be a better her, not necessarily a more powerful her. Those are two very different things; something every human being should take time to think about. I love when a comic can get all existential, and then make me laugh hysterically not two seconds later. – Adrian

Deadpool #45 (250th issue) – B
This is a hard issue to review as a whole seeing as there are eight distinct stories done by different writers and artists spanning over 90 pages with a price tag more than double the normal $4 ringing in at $10. But Marvel for some reason decided Deadpool’s Death had to be a part of a major event and have much more importance than Wolverine’s Death just months earlier. As far as story goes, the main running story for the series has a stupendous first and second act, but the third and final act leaves us a little short and wanting more, maybe that’s why they gave us six individual stories about Deadpool’s friends including a great one about Ben Grimm (The Thing) and Benjamin Franklin in a short adventure together. The issue ends with a Infinity Gauntlet tie-in where Deadpool gets ahold of the Gauntlet himself and uses it the throw his own roast, officiated by none other than the old and yet new breakout star Howard the Duck. This roast is by far the best part of this whole issue and despite everyone being there because the Gauntlet made them, we see some very good digs at characters, and at Deadpool of course. If the main ongoing story is Deadpool saying goodbye to his friends and family, then the roast is his way of saying goodbye to the rest of the marvel universe in the best way he can, insulting everyone. Ultimately this issue is a must-have for Deadpool fans for the short stories and the roast itself, but ultimately even if you hate Deadpool, you may want to pick this up as it does give us a HUGE idea of what is to come in Secret Wars. – Jacob

Hulk #14 – D+
This is another Marvel book I can’t wait to end in time for Secret Wars. Doc Green has been going out of his way to eradicate the world of Hulks, and has been successful at eliminating all except Thunderbolt Ross, the Red Hulk. All we get this issue is a giant slugfest between the two, and it’s about everything you dreamed it would be… when you were ten. Ridiculous onomatopoeic exclamations and terrible writing are the status quo here, so don’t get your hopes up there. There is an amazing Deadpool cameo worth reading, though. – Sherif


Funniest Panel:

hulk 14 funny panel 04.08.15
Hulk #14

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

birthright 6 awesome panel 04.08.15
Birthright #6

 

 

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

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to all the publishers for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 04-01-15

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.

April Fools!

We sent each of our writers a copy of Lesbian Zombies from Outer Space and didn’t say anything to them about it. We got one review back.

When Sherif dropped this one in my inbox, he said, “I don’t know if it’s a reward or a punishment.” And I’m still not sure. Lesbian Zombies from Outerspace comic opens with Ace, a porn connoisseur, working in a video store when he gets a call from his friend telling him that “Cathy said yes to the threesome.” Ace takes off to watch (he’s not actually invited to be a part of it. Or watch it. Or know about it). Meanwhile, two budding lesbians witness a mysterious crash in the woods, and upon investigation, find a beautiful, well, “beautiful,” green glowing naked woman at the crash site. One of the budding lesbians investigates (tellingly, the hotter of the two) and then instantly makes out with the green chick. Then the central drama of the book becomes women who just want to have sex with each other, and then devour (as in literally eat) men, starting with their penises. In terms of number of drawings of naked women, I guess the book can be enjoyed… I guess… but the whole thing just feels gross. I think it’s trying to be a parody of a 70’s exploitation film, but at no point is it self-aware or funny enough to come across as parody. And none of the characters are substantial enough to make me believe that there’s anything here other than shock value. The whole thing just comes across as gross misogyny produced by the same guys who’d say things like, “girls just play games to get attention from guys,” and, “you’re different. You’re a real geek girl.” They’ve probably (thinking they’re pretty damn funny) posted “TITS OR GTFO” on forums. Hopefully (probably? maybe?) I’m wrong about the authors, but if their book is anything to go by, they seem like they’d be bummers to be around. Anyways — the book had pretty good art (especially for a no-name publisher), but the story wasn’t actually shocking enough to appeal to anyone who isn’t 13 (and probably male), and it wasn’t funny or self-aware enough to come across as anything other than simply exploitation. I mean, seriously, if I had the space, I could easily write a feminist essay about this comic. – Montgomery

Pick of the Week:

Nailbiter #11
Nailbiter #11

Nailbiter #11 – A+
Holy shit. I’m not entirely sure how to put into words the feelings I’m feeling right now. Nailbiter begins a new story arc with this issue and it looks like we all need to prepare for things to get a lot darker. The Butcher of Buckaroo is back and it seems he is the one who’s been down in the tunnels, and he’s keeping people in cages. Apparently the crazy old man with the bees knew the secret of the Buckaroo Butchers, and for that he was kidnapped, kept in a cage, AND THEN CHOPPED INTO PIECES WITH A CLEAVER. And on the other side of the story Finch chewed off his own fingernail to aid him in getting answers from the Nailbiter. Holy shit, again. This book is explosive and one of the most captivating mysteries I’ve ever read. I always want to know more, I always hate the month I have to wait until the next issue. The writing is so smart, and all of the characters are so layered with fragments of heroes and villains it’s just impossible not to enjoy reading. – Keriann

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios:

UFOlogy #1 – B
(BUFOlogy started well enough, although I was hoping it would be a little creepier. The whole thing felt a lot more adolescent than I was expecting, but I’m still pretty content with what I read. It had a warm feel, kind of like E.T., it takes place in a sleepy little town full of happy families but of course there is a sad boy whose mom I can only imagine was abducted by aliens. I’m sure there will be conspiracies related to aliens on earth in this book as that’s pretty much already been laid out, but I doubt it will get any darker. I’m not sure this is the book for me, but I can see it being a really fun read for younger audiences. I’m sure it will be heartwarming and adventurous and have great moments, but right now it kind of feels more like a family bedtime story than a comic book. – Keriann

(B) I honestly think this is going to be my next favorite comic. My inner UFO, Crypto-zoologist is squealing ever so slightly on the inside. The cover is stunning in a way that I can’t explain. Had I been in comic store I would have picked it no questions asked. It’s nice to know the rest of the book stood up to the cover. We don’t know what’s going on – just that aliens are somehow involved in the seemingly normal town. We got Malcolm in detention with a UFOologist for a dad. Then there’s Becky, who’d rather stay in the small town then head off to college. The beginning storyline and characters are simple enough, but it drags you to the end of the comic and is over before you realize. You feel automatically connected to the characters and are wanting to find out more about them and how “aliens” are somehow involved. I think this is a comic to keep an eye out for. Sure has my attention. – Jené

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Convergence #0 – B-
I realize the practice of marketing something 0 is a gimmick, and they (theoretically) act as prequels, but I can’t help but see Anything #0 without a funky Liefeld aftertaste. Numbering aside, I’ll be frank in saying I have no idea, really, what Convergence is all about. I understand the gist of the story — every DC Universe ever is colliding to do battle with themselves — but I have no idea what led up to it or why, or what the ultimate stakes are. As a concept, I feel like this is the (DC) 1,000,000th time they’ve done this (please tell me you see what I did there), but apparently, the aftermath of this event is yet another (soft) reboot of DC that will resort in a vague promise of story over continuity. Which sounds like an exasperated parent of a toddler shouting, “Fine! Color on the wall!” The story itself is that Brainiac (but really, “the planet”) is collecting cities from all times and places within the DCU to find out what’s strongest. Superman of the NuFittyTu is there — I don’t know why, I just wanted to see yet another comic company’s yet another attempt to deconvolute their continuity — before he deus ex machinas himself out of that scene. As a single issue, it wasn’t bad. I like that DC has pretty blatantly made itself Grant Morrison’s universe as they pretty liberally steal from his Multiversity and Seven Sons of Victory bags. I also appreciate that, finally, at least one of the big two is recognizing that continuity isn’t what’s important with super hero books, but I wish it didn’t have to have a “never before seen the stakes have never been this high” continuity smashing event book to precede it. Because you know when else the stakes were never this high? Identity Crisis, Final Crisis, Flashpoint, Brightest Day, Darkest Night… whichever one drops in 2018. – Montgomery

Wonder Woman #40 – C
There’s a good story in here somewhere, I just know it. Unfortunately, Wonder Woman seems just as unsure of her new status as we are as readers. David Finch is able to save the day each issue with his ridiculous full-page spreads, but we’re gonna need something other than White Walkers to get by on; I could do without the entire Justice League story, honestly. I’m much more interested in the Donna Troy vs. Wonder Woman story. That girl is ruthless! I’m rooting for a great Wonder Woman book. DC NEEDS a great WW book. Up to this point, though, there’s nothing keeping engaged past the art. – Sherif

Wolf Moon #5 – C-
The Wolf Moon series only has one issue left, and for whatever reason it seems they decided to kill time for yet another issue. NOTHING happened in this issue. Dillon and Cayce showed up in a town, talked to some people, tried to find the wolf (who is a little girl), found her dad instead and discovered that she had been kidnapped. There is still some psycho lurking around trying to stop people from killing the wolf, and now he’s kidnapped the wolf but we are no closer to knowing why. I get saving all the big answers until the final issue, but the second to last one was frankly kind of boring. It was the same old same old; some girl got her head ripped off and Dillon shows up to a small town with a bunch of gun toting hillbillies. For a story that started out so strong I’m really disappointed at the slow fizzle it’s deciding to conclude with. – Keriann

Batman and Robin Annual #3 – D
Okay, I’m calling it – this is Invasion of the Pod People. Where did the real Peter Tomasi go? This issue is complete garbage. It was just last week that I gave the highest praises to Batman and Robin #40, a hell of a finale that wrapped up the series in a neat little bow. And then this crap comes along and pretty much “Michael Jordan on the Wizard”s everything. It’s not funny, it’s hardly entertaining, and thanks to some brand new art by Juan Jose Ryp (which is pretty good in all honesty), it feels completely foreign. I have no reason to connect to this, so if you haven’t been into the series yet, this won’t convince you otherwise. – Sherif

Image Comics:

Black Science #13 – A
You know how when you travel to foreign nations sometimes you have to visit the doctor to make sure you’ve been vaccinated accordingly? It’s standard protocol. And now that our roving band of dimensionauts have jumped to a world ravaged by some crazy other-worldly virus, I bet they’re wishing they hadn’t skipped their last physical. It’s unclear where the virus stemmed from, but it’s crystal clear that it’s no joke. Boils all over, bloody noses, and insane thoughts are just some of the side effects. I’m also pretty sure that everyone in the group has contracted it too. It’s like they all canon-balled into a pool of AIDs needles and Ebola. All of this was interesting, but the main reason I loved the issue is because of the family moments we see through Pia’s memories. Remender’s fantastic story telling method really gives the touching and tragic moments some weight. Things keep going from bad to worse in Black Science and I can’t get enough of it. – Taylor

Graveyard Shift #4 – B+
I was pretty happy with the conclusion of this mini-series. Liam and Hope find her sire and confront him about his murders, why he keeps girls in a dungeon, and why he turned Hope into a vampire. The twist was that instead of Liam saving the day – as he has done the whole series – Hope killed her sire and saved the female hostages from doom in the dungeon. She also found out there was a cure for vampirism. Now she and Liam are on the hunt for the cure. They ride off into the night (not the sunset, because you know, she is a vampire), but not without the sunset, on her tablet, of course. One of the last panels in the book is a great not to other horror/vampire stories. Above them is a highway sign that reads “Jerusalem’s Lot” (a nod to Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot), “Collinsport” (a nod to Dark Shadows), “Santa Clara” (a nod to Lost Boys), and “Sunnydale” (a nod to Buffy the Vampire Slayer). I geeked out about this and just wish the rest of the series had been this cool. – Adrian

No Mercy #1 – C
If you’ve ever gone on a group study abroad, this comic will speak to you. It sure does speaks to my annoyance of stereotypical American travelers. Such as, the naive (didn’t do any reading on said country), the Namaste asshole, and the iPhone addict. Gather all these stereotypes and other non-stereotypes together, shove them in a bus, and throw misery-and-a-half at them while traveling in Mexico and see how they respond to them. No Mercy isn’t my typical read but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The drama and dynamics of the characters pull you in right away, and you want to see how they’ll interact and get through this situation that’s been created. – Jené

Rat God #3 – C-
I just finished the third issue of Rat God and wouldn’t you know it, I still have no idea what the hell is going on in that damn book. This issue was comprised mostly of sound effects and fighting, really freaking weird hallucinations that shed zero light on what the hell is going on, and child sacrifice. Oh, and there was a man acting as a god and wearing a giant rat head who is sacrificing people to some sort of actual phantom rat god. I don’t know why I can’t turn away from this book, it has a very strange allure that makes me want to keep reading. It’s original for sure. It’s some sort of strange mix of Lovecraft and Native American mythology, and while it can be loathsome at times I get the feeling that the story will build up in a way that the payoff will be worth it. I’d like it if the storytelling felt more thorough, and this book is by no means a gem, but it’s basis is at least original enough that it can stay afloat. – Keriann

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Kanan – The Last Padawan #1 – A
Star Wars Rebels has been over for a while now and it’s left a void in my heart (it’s a really good series – catch up if you haven’t already!). So when I heard that Marvel would be releasing yet another Star Wars comic, I back-flipped for joy. Then I remember I don’t know how to backflip and I landed square on my face. No worries though. I just wiped away the blood and opened up Kanan. When it was over I attempted another joyous backflip. Failed again. More blood. Point is, this issue was awesome! I love, love, LOVE the artwork; Pepe Larraz’s style works amazingly well in the backdrop of A Galaxy Far, Far Away. His Jedi action sequences were some of the best I’ve ever seen on panel. There’s a good balance of action and meaningful plot. Also – Kanan (his real name is actually Caleb Dume) was trained by Jedi Grand Master Depa Billaba. And you know who trained Master Billaba, right?! Yup!! – Mace (Snakes on a Plane) Windu. Essentially this means that Kanan is a byproduct of the greatness that was Mace Windu. Let’s try just one more backflip… – Taylor

Guardians Team-Up #4 – B+
Green Women unite! I have to be honest and say this is one issue of this series I have been looking forward to the most actually… I am not sure if it is because of my love for strong female characters, the fact I generally enjoy both Gamora and She-Hulk, or just because green is my favorite color. No matter the reason, this team up was bound to happen sometime. The joke of them both being green is not just mentioned but an integral part of the plot of this issue and they both use this to their advantage for multiple scenarios. I did like the dynamic between the two characters and how there was an almost instant Mother/Daughter type of relationship that turned into a friendship and one that made the other a better person for it. So my hat is off to John Layman for mixing the right amount of action, humility and a bit of cheesiness to the story to make for a great Team-Up and also to Otto Schmidt for an amazing job with the art for this issue. He has some of my favorite art and definitely my favorite depiction of Gamora from any of the Guardians series running now. – Jacob

Return of the Living Deadpool #3 – B
This third issue of Deadpool’s romp into the black and white world of Zombie infestation treads a fine line between Deadpool being a very loving and caring person to being bat shit crazy within a manner of a couple panels. Although Deadpool is always a bad ass mercenary it does add a lot to the character to see him humanized a little every once and awhile, and having an even crazier horde of Deadpools around sure helps make the main man seem a bit tame in comparison. Putting aside the fact Deadpool’s heart is both literally and figuratively shown, this issue really takes quite a turn within the last couple pages that ultimately had me laughing but was also scratching my brain. It isn’t terribly confusing but just a jump out of nowhere that tossed the story up a bit when it wasn’t needed, but this series has improved with both the writing and the gore within making this a very viable zombie story, despite zombies kind of being the minority as far as humans, Deadpools, and zombies go. – Jacob

Spider-Gwen #3 – B
Spider Gwen is like an aircraft climbing too steeply. Intense and exciting at first, but it’s only a matter of time before the engines stall. Spider Gwen is just on the verge of stalling. I’m still digging the character focused story and the unique twists on other, well-known Marvel heroes, but the plot is suffering a little for it. I’m still confused as to why King Pin is so mad at Spider-Woman and I’m a little tired of seeing Vulture all the time. Notice that I’m using the term “a little” a lot. Remember… we’re just short of stalling. Overall the series is still engaging and enjoyable. I’d like to see a more cohesion and less Vulture and then we’ll be back in business. And where the heck is Spider-Ham?!?! – Taylor

Amazing Spider-Man #17 – B
Amazing Spider-Man? Pshh… More like Amazing Anna Maria!! I never read Superior Spider-Man so I largely have no context on Anna Maria or her origins. But each time I see her in ASM I like her more. This issue she goes around town dropping reality bombs on foo’s left and right. She should have been carrying a bag of microphones so she could drop them at the end of some spoken truth! She’s quick to action and very smart. See – I’m not even talking about Parker or Spider-Man; it was all Anna Maria this issue. An old Spidey villain did make an appearance this issue, though. Ghost!! He’s got a crazy backstory (wiki it) and he’s got an awesome appearance. Also, being able to phase in and out of a tangible state (hence the alias “Ghost”) is about as bad-ass as it gets. – Taylor

Rocket Raccoon #10 – B
Rocket starts a new story arc this month and one that seems to have a huge importance to his existence, as we know it. With this new arc, we are thrown right into the action and see Rocket and Groot in a giant space battle with what seems to a be a humongous space Lobster, while also trying to figure out whether to pay off a debt owed or buy info from a man with a secret Rocket would find very useful in finding out more about his home. If you know Rocket, you know he picked to find the info, so now he has info on whereabouts to a book of Halfworld and also has multiple people after him for his debt. Hey! All is normal in the life of Rocket and Groot and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Skottie Young is still on writing duties and likely will hold that title until the series ends with Secret Wars coming soon, and Jake Parker does the art which is still very Skottie Young-esque but distinct enough to hold its own in whichever Marvel universe this Rocket story takes place. – Jacob

Guardians of The Galaxy: Best Story Ever #1 – C
Another Guardians of the Galaxy one-shot that looks amazing, but this one ultimately feel flat and left me thinking yet again of the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” When you first see this issue it seems to have everything and everyone involved and in some capacity it does. But in that sense, it seemed like everything celestial or Guardians related at the moment was thrown together and then the story was added into the gaps much later. Given the amount of story and characters one had to include in a one-shot not much larger than a regular issue, I do have to hand it to Tim Seeley that the story ultimately did hold together well and was enjoyable for any modern Guardians fan. The art of this issue though is what won me over and made me enjoy this issue as every panel is of an epic proportion and despite judging the book by its cover, it is a pretty awesome cover to judge upon. – Jacob


Funniest Panel:

Return of the Living Deadpool #3
Return of the Living Deadpool #3

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Wonder Woman #40
Wonder Woman #40

 

 

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

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to all the publishers for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 03-25-15

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:

Darth Vader #3

 

Darth Vader #3 – A

(A+) Let’s have a round of applause for Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca (writer and artist respectively for Darth Vader).  Of the three new, Marvel published Star Wars comic series, Vader is my favorite.  This month’s issue firmly put this title at the top of my list.  There are SO many things that Gillen is doing right.  He has maintained the classic Star Wars theme while introducing altogether brand new concepts.  Perfect example:  droid duo 000 (Triple Zero) and BT-1.  Picture C3PO and R2D2, but as psycho, murder and torture machines.  Add to that a new character, Dr. Aphra (who, in my opinion, has as much EU appeal as crazy-popular Mara Jade) and we’ve got a line up that will give us sweet dreams (or horrific nightmares) for ages to come.  And all the little details in this series are STILL giving me goosebumps.  Google a picture of Aphra’s personal ship, Ark Angel, right now!!… That nerdgasm you just had – you’re welcome.  I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely ready to enlist in Vader’s personal army. – Taylor
(A) Vader is recruiting a personal army.  In this issue we get a brand new expanded universe character, Dr. Aphra.  She’s sort of a combination of Anakin Skywalker and Han Solo; she’s kind of bad ass.  A tech wizard and quite roguish, she will surely be a fun new character.  Two more interesting additions in this universe are murderous protocol droids and assassin droids disguised as astromech droids.  It’s like C-3PO and R2-D2 have evil twins with goatees.  It’s strange seeing all of the droids from the prequel movies, considering that these books take place after A New Hope and they aren’t anywhere in the original trilogy.  Their presence takes me out of the story a little bit because they don’t feel like they should be there.  It looks like we’re getting even more of them in the next issue with a return to Geonosis.  The series is running strong, though. – Scott

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

ElfQuest #7 – C
I just realized that ElfQuest was suddenly back and had to read it.  It sure was a trip down memory lane.  ElfQuest was one of the first comic books I ever read.  After ElfQuest all other comic books came.  Hell, ElfQuest was how I really learned to read (when I was 11).  It was fun to visit a world I hadn’t in a long time.  I was less lost than I thought I would be jumping into book 7.  I’ve pretty much read everything else about ElfQuest – it was easy to get an idea of where the story came from and where it is heading.  ElfQuest is about ancient space-faring elves who crash land on a planet with two moons.  The story is about Cutter and his Wolf-Elf tribe.  This time around, Wendi and Richard Pini are bringing the story several generations away from the Wolf-Elves and their small tribe.  All elf tribes have been magically linked up psychically.  They have a decision to make: stay on the planet with two moons or migrate to “the great place” and take their place among the stars.  ElfQuest is a rather different kind of comic.  More cerebral and relationship based than it is action/violence based.  I hope people give it a chance!  It’s nice to be immersed in a world of magic where words and relationships (against a background of greater conflict) are the point of the story.  There’s still a bad ass villain in the story but it looks like we have yet to meet her.  I’m looking forward to continuing to read this series. – Jene

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Batman and Robin #40 – A-

I definitely got thrown for a loop when it comes to this book.  I had no idea that this would be the final issue prior to reading it.  But after I let it sink in, I’ve come to terms that this was the best I could have asked for wrapping up the series.  Damian “leading” the Justice League was amazing, and to see that Batman always finds a way to come out on top was so satisfying.  When Convergence comes in a few months and wipes continuity off the face of the Earth, I’ll be glad that they were able to wrap this one up in a tidy manner.  There is still one Annual issue left, but this saga ends at #40, for me, on a happy note. – Sherif
Suiciders #2 – B
Yeah, still don’t really know what the hell is going on here.  To start, Lee Bermejo’s art is so engulfing.  It’s phenomenally well-crafted, making you look at the book as  if an Italian renaissance painter tried his hand as a crime scene artist.  We’re given a bit more introspect to Saint’s humble beginnings, and by the end, get the overwhelming feeling that he is a mouse, caught in a cat’s game.  It’s a very worn out concept, but there’s a unique twist that makes me want to keep reading.  It almost makes me less anxious that this will be a limited series, so we’ll have to learn sooner than later what the hell it all means. – Sherif
Batman Eternal #51 – C-
Once again, I put my foot in my mouth this week.  Last week’s Eternal had me spitting out my cereal at the dumbest arch-villain ever.  The true face of evil was revealed, and it was the most convenient arch-villain ever.  I won’t spoil who it was (not the Joker, thank God), but just know that it has the potential to be the greatest misuse of a character’s entrance ever (if this last issue of Eternal sucks – which it likely will). I kind of like the epic showdown on the rooftop where Cluemaster spills the beans about his plans, only to be foiled before he can complete them – ala Bond – but the message he gives is kinda lame.  Dude, there’s a reason you are a D list villain… Even if you don’t read this book, might as well catch the show for the finale.  Things could get really mediocre. – Sherif
Gotham Academy #6 – B+
I got all the way to the end only to find out that Gotham Academy won’t be back until June.  June!  That’s two full months without a fix of this book!  Gah!  Ok so now to my review.  As usual, the art is everything.  It’s just so mesmerizing!  This issue did include some of the best story – the Killer Croc story line was wrapped up (for now), and now I will only look at him as a victim of his circumstances and an O.K. guy (croc?).  Batman did some good ole ass-kicking, Olive did some brooding, and Maps was still adorable.  But the cliffhanger really made this book.  Freakin’ Damian Wayne will be attending the school.  It’s about to get real at Gotham Academy. – Adrian 

IDW Publishing:

TMNT Mutanimals #2 – B+
Reeling off of the events of this months TMNT #44, going into Mutanimals #2 was a bit scary.  Especially considering the history of this team and how the last series about them ended.  Nervousness aside, things do get pretty insane in this issue.  The gang tries to go back to the Null corporation and help free the other two mutants the company has captive.  But, seeing as the team is not yet “a team” and mostly just outcasts thrown together by Old Hob, they are ultimately led into a huge ambush.  Will any of them be able to escape and remedy the situation, or is the Mutanimals going to be a very short lived series?  Next month’s issue will hopefully answer that.  This issue definitely touches on elements from the past while also creating something of its own – especially since hardly any members of this team were in the original Mutanimals and the villain, Null, is now a woman instead of a Hulk sized man.  This story has definitely changed.  Let’s hope this creative team can give us time to recover from the loss us TMNT fans have already experienced this month, before throwing more pain is thrown our way. – Jacob

Samurai Jack #17 – B+
Samurai Jack this month offers us the second part to the “Master of Time” storyline.  It guides us into the last phase of this series.  This issue was particularly enjoyable.  It was very much a representation of what 007 would be like if he were a 12th century Japanese warrior.  “The name’s Jack… Samurai, Jack.”  Jack is joined by a very cunning and very eager thief on a mission to break into the Master of Time’s lair to hopefully return Jack to the past.  This is the best hope Jack has had for getting home in awhile, but will it hold true and allow our hero to finally be at peace?  This issue was definitely entertaining and offered up a side of Jack these comics have not shown before;  more of his Ninja side, and less endless robot destruction.  Overall, this is one of the more fun issues of Jack, but as a result the storyline suffers a little and leaves us a bit unsatisfied with the ending.  Still pleased with the journey, though! – Jacob

Image Comics:

The Empty #2 – B+
The Empty gets a little more intriguing this issue.  Lila and Tanoor with a Mool (crazy rabbit like monsters).  On the other side of the world Lila’s fiancé is starting to ask questions, realizing that something may have happened to Lila.  It turns out that the roots are not what was expected and they are going to be a little more difficult to deal with than previously thought.  The Empty is a good story and I’m still thoroughly impressed that the entire book is done by one guy.  I’m looking forward to the next issue. – Scott
The Walking Dead #139 – B+
Finally!  Michonne makes her post-All Out War debut.  Turns out that it was nothing spectacular, though.  She ran away from the perfect life with Ezekiel to be…well, a sea captain.  Commandeering a ship in the zombie apocalypse should be on everybody’s bucket list now, if it weren’t already.  The unfortunate thing about the issue is that primarily ALL it talks about is Michonne’s homecoming.  I’m more interested in the little bits of Carl’s story that’s going on.  He’s obviously got a dark streak, and is quite the legend at Hilltops.  What the hell is going to become of his most recent escapade with the Whisperers?  And how long until Negan comes back into the picture? – Sherif

The Mice Templar #5 – B

When you start a new comic and don’t know what’s going on… gotta be grateful to the recap. I’m kinda wondering if there is any relation to the Secrets of Nimh? The art and tone are very similar.  The mixture of watercolors and ink give the imagery a life that is really magical.  Different mediums seems to be used for different characters and situations.  The epic proportions of what’s going on in the story is almost too much to condense into a nice precise nugget. There is this mouse with a weighty and huge prophecy to carry on his shoulders; creatures and other worldly entities all investing and using Kalric for their own means.  But currently the Mice of Templar are dealing with a mad king who threatens a kingdom.  For not having that much background I was intensely pulled into the story. You get a real feel for how the world operates and not a second thought crops up that the world is told from the perspective of rodents and other animals. It’s awesome how epic one can develop mice this way!  I’ve got so many comic books that are awesome to read now I don’t know what to do with all my time.  But seriously, try this out. – Jené

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Deathlok #6 – A-

This is one of my favorite comics right now. It really pulls at your heartstrings. Henry no longer has a facade to hide behind. There’s nothing to keep him from witnessing the horrors created by his own hands. The ability to erase his memory has been compromised and with the well-being of his daughter being dangled in front of him, he has no choice but to do the missions he’s been assigned. His life is becoming so manipulated that even his own daughter has been altered into a more “convenient” version of herself. And what exactly is happening to Agent Hope? The last panel of the issue suggests there’s more going on than meets the eye, as well. The character dynamics are really what make this issue. Everyone has clear motivations driving them forward. Mike’s only concern is the safety of his daughter. Agent Hope is hellbent on discovering the truth. Stories work best when the driving elements are strong and in this comic, they’re both strong and complex. While Mike is disgusted by the work he’s being forced to do, he is willing to sacrifice his morality as a medic to keep his daughter safe. It’s this complexity that really makes Deathlok an interesting narrative. I can’t wait for more. – Charlotte

Deadpool #44 – B
Well, this is the last issue of Deadpool for the upcoming months – like it is for many other Marvel heroes.  With this issue we don’t really see much into the how or what of Deadpool’s death, but we do get a good look at why, who will do it, where it may happen, and we obviously know when it will happen.  Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan are making sure to hit us in “the feels” before hitting Deadpool with the final blow.  This issue is enjoyable because it makes us actually like Deadpool.  Even some of the most die-hard Wade fans will tell you they still don’t “like” him as a person.  The story in this issue brings everything “Deadpool” to the forefront.  Shiklah is back for a huge moment, Evan (Apocalypse) is hiding at Deadpool’s house with Michael and Benjamin Franklin, Preston still lives next door taking care of Deadpool’s daughter, and we even get a small panel showing a actual nice moment between Deadpool and Wolverine (another one of our favorite fallen Weapon X comrades).  The story definitely seems to be coming to a very tragic, yet beautiful ending for the Merc with the Mouth we love to hate.  The art is also spectacular, coming from Salva Espin this month. There’s a lot of humor infused into the art.  Dramatic scenes typically show Deadpool with his mask off thus demonstrating the seriousness of the situation.   Definitely try and catch up if you aren’t already.  Pick this up and get ready because we only have one more month until (as odd as it sounds) Deadpool will finally say his last words. – Jacob

The Dark Tower: The Drawing of Three – House of Cards #1 – B-

It’s really hard to go wrong with a comic when you’ve got content from Stephen King to work with. While this issue relies a little too much on exposition at times for my taste, it is a genuinely good narrative. The mix of modern, western, and sci-fi elements always makes for a fun time and this issue really used them to it’s advantage. The humor is also really well done, especially when it comes to Eddie Dean’s scene in the lavatory. “What the hell are you doing in here?” “Curing cancer. What’s it look like?” The dialogue is great even though it doesn’t leave much to the reader’s imagination. Marvel definitely knows what it’s doing when to comes to adapting King’s work. Despite it’s change in medium, the same King feel comes across. Fans of The Dark Tower series will be pleased and those who don’t have much exposure to the author’s writing style will enjoy it all the same. -Charlotte

 


Funniest Panel:

 

Batman and Robin #40

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Suiciders #2

 

 

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

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to all the publishers for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 03-18-15

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:

Red One

Red One #1 – A
Good thing I’m not writing this review on paper.  The drool stains would make it impossible to comprehend (the amount of saliva on my keyboard IS kinda gross and annoying though…).  Another solid new comic on the scene this week.  Leave it to Image to prove that comic books are not just for age old or typical “superheroes.”  Red One is a story that takes place in the late 1970’s and is centered on some of the major hot topics prevalent during the Cold War (and today even!).  But this isn’t your typical war time story.  The story is completely about an infectious, sexy, elite female agent trained pretty much from birth by the Red Nation.  Her latest mission is to become a superhero in America.  That sounds incredibly lame, I know, but hear me out.  The depth of this comic is bananas.  There was sooo much development in this premiere issue!!  I’m already dangerously attached to SEVERAL characters.  If you’re a bit winded from your typical “superhero” comic <cough** Marvel ** cough ** DC> then you will DEFINITELY want to grab a copy this week. – Taylor

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Shaper #1 – A
Yes… Yes… SO MUCH YES!!  As I read this comic rain is pouring hard outside my window drenching everything in sight and I feel like I too have just been drenched.  Not with water, but with the completely ensnaring creativity and brilliance of a fantastic new sci-fi story.  Until reading issue #1 of Shaper I hadn’t realized how severe my sci-fi drought had been.  The last time I was this excited (and pleased) about an otherworldly adventure was when Pacific Rim was in theaters.  This comic’s got fantastic environments, intriguing characters (some of which can shape shift into freakin’ dragons!!), a solid and simple plot, well told narration and a spaceship load of potential.  If you appreciate the sci-fi and fantasy genre, you’ve to pick up a copy of Shaper this week.  All of the yes!! – Taylor

Frankenstein Underground #1 – C+
I had to take a little time to really compose my thoughts after reading this one. I have a predisposition to like it because of my affections for Mike Mignola and Frankenstein, which really made me want to focus and review what I actually read, not what I wanted to read. That being said, Frankenstein Underground was not was I was expecting and I’m not so sure that is a good thing. I’m really on the fence about it. So far it just seems a little strange and dare I say a little nonsensical. The pros are that it is well written and really takes a new perspective on a very old story. As I am a sucker for stories based on Frankenstein the sentient compassionate and very human monster I really enjoyed who/what Mignola created here, I’m just a little unsure of how the Mayan gods will work with this whole thing. The book was good enough and I’m certainly intrigued and impressed by where the story seems to be going, I guess I’m also just a little worried about where the story might end up. Does that make any sense whatsoever? At the very least I got a panel of Hellboy fighting Frankenstein, so that’s awesome. – Keriann

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Superman #39 – A-
Screw you, Superman. Take your moral high ground and shove it where the red sun don’t shine. Just kidding. It has been a long time since I have read a Superman issue that made me consider the gravity of what it takes to live as courageously as the Man of Steel. Winding down the short-lived Geoff Johns era, #39 takes on an entirely different pace. Now that Superman has shared his secret identity with Jimmy Olsen, the majority of the issue was spent with casual banter between the two centered around what it’s like to have the power that Superman possessed – remedial stuff that you’ve read before. But unlike other times that the subject was been broached, Superman is himself without powers for a day due to the epic Dragonball Z solar flare from issue #38. That doesn’t stop him from being the beacon of hope and courageously stepping in front of a bullet. I haven’t felt that level of symbolism since he helped that little girl in All-Star Superman from jumping off a ledge. I’ve been a Batman fan through and through for as long as I can remember, but I might have just made some room in my heart for the Big Blue Boy Scout. – Sherif

Batgirl: Endgame #1 (One shot) – A-
This comic’s use of dialogue is great in that there is none; the plot is moved along through action and scene rather than lengthy conversations and exposition. In a high stress situation, it makes sense that there wouldn’t be a lot of dialogue. There’s no time to talk about the infection. Things need to move along and quickly. Having no dialogue in this issue raised the stakes and made the comic more enjoyable than it would have been with dialogue. While this issue doesn’t have much of a wow factor, it was an enjoyable, well-crafted read. – Charlotte

Batman Eternal #50 – D+
Ladies and gentlemen, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… Seriously? Cluemaster? I don’t even care that I’m spoiling this for everybody. I’m actually doing everybody a favor by saving them from the 4-1/2 months of mediocrity I’ve had to endure to give you good people the scoop on this stupid book. Batman has been put through the wringer with pretty much every single villain in the rogues’ gallery and finally we arrive at Cluemaster. Three issues from the finale and the writing is just about as tired and lazy as I feel reading it. I have enjoyed the umbrella of Bat-characters covered in the book – as we really haven’t seen them work together since the end of Death of the Family, and the art is occasionally impressive, but the fact is that I wouldn’t recommend this to anybody, even avid Batmanreaders. It’s especially fruitless when you consider that all of it is for naught; the entire DCU is going to collapse on itself, hopefully leaving Eternal buried deep in comic book lore, less like a hidden treasure and more like a cat would leave its excrement. – Sherif
The Kitchen #5 – D
I used to look forward to this series, but I feel like it is really stagnant now. It isn’t moving forward in any way whatsoever. The girls commit crimes, albeit pretty major ones, and their are a whole bunch of men who conspire against them behind their backs. There is a lot of talk about women being gangsters and how it isn’t natural, but there is no moral to it. Even a bad moral. – Adrian

Dynamite Entertainment:

Lady Rawhide and Lady Zorro #1 – C-
This issue just wasn’t all that well done. The dialogue felt stilted and too expository, I really had no idea what the stakes were and the plot was just generic “wild west vigilante protects the natives” story arc. The art was really all this issue had going for it, but there was no wow factor to that either. The Legend of Zorro is one of my favorite franchises and reading this comic felt like a bit of a disappointment to me. Better luck next time. – Charlotte

IDW Publishing:

X-Files Season 10 #21 – B+

A new and foreboding enemy shows his face this issue, which leads us into the final story arc and issues of Season 10 of X-Files. With the start of the story “Elders” we see a somewhat similar group to the broken down “Syndicate” meeting together with a new a very creepy glassed man calling the shots. On top of that we also see a bit into Mulders past when a former abductee he was helping when he was first starting out confronts him and after this confrontation it brings this new “Syndicate” down on Mulder starting what is bound to bet a great ending to a great series. Joe Harris obviously has writing duties as he has had for the whole of the series only sharing it with Chris Carter for the first couple issues, but then we see the return of Matthew Dow Smith to contribute the art who did the whole Pilgrims arc as well as other random single issues stories along the way. This series has been pretty consistent with the tone of the art overall and with Smith being one of the main contributors it is no different here. With this new and last story arc starting for X-Files it is probably a good idea to start reading now if you haven’t because it isn’t too long now until the truth wont be out there to read anymore. – Jacob

Star Trek/ Planet of the Apes #4 – C+
Who can resist two classics meeting like this? Well maybe you can miss an issue or two… This series so far has been overall enjoyable and entertaining, especially for having the tagline “The Primate Directive,” but with the last couple, it feels like the storytelling was a little stretched out, leaving us at the end of this issue where we likely should have been story-wise by the end of the second or third issue. Ultimately, it just feels like there has been a lot of fights that led nowhere and questions that only lead to more questions. This is not to say the story is  not enjoyable. It still melds these two worlds together well and creates one all its own that we never knew we wanted to explore. We finally see the Enterprise crew getting along and working with George Taylor after a whole issue of basically learning they just had to talk to him to have him stop attacking them. But we get to a point where we see a little more of the intention the Klingon Kor has in dealing with the rouge gorilla army on this world, as well as him supposedly finally starting a conflict beyond him just being on the planet with weapons of his own. With the same creative team behind every issue for this series, we can definitely expect the same kind of storytelling throughout this issue and the rest of the series as it goes ahead, which is good and bad as we are guaranteed a fun and entertaining read with very well done art, it just may end up taking a while to get there. – Jacob

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #44 – C
(A) What a month for TMNT fans this was… Not to spoil anything, but chances are you’ve heard the news about this issue somewhere along the line if you have any interest in the series. I have to say this issue really pulled no punches here in showing us that IDW is no normal comic company and that TMNT may be in the best hands they have ever been in. This is mainly due to the story here, which is part four and the conclusion of the Attack on Technodrome arc, leaving us to deal with the rubble and the aftermath of the attack on Burnow Island. We have Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow and Tom Waltz on story here, which is a great team to end this arc and bring us into the next phase for the Turtles universe for IDW and man do they ever in this issue… Cory Smith provided the art which is some of the best the series has seen so far, melding together elements from ever other artist in the series history to make a style all his own while making sure to also keep a consistency going artistically through the whole series. But when it all comes down to it this issue is monumental and ends with a turn that will change TMNT history forever, making this an issue you owe yourself to read. Despite what feelings it may or may not make you feel toward IDW, TMNT, or just the world in general, this issue will be one for the history books.- Jacob
(F) Sighhhh…. Okay, this is where is gets real. The last handful of TMNT issues have been total crap. Here’s the honest truth of it: TMNT used to be my favorite book. Whether it was the sharp art, the exceptionally creative storytelling or the nostalgia factor, I could not say. However, once the book started losing out in value to the Nick television show (and trust me, it has), the story has culminated in an “epic battle” with all sides facing off. And in desperation, since there’s really no amicable way to end it, they kill of one of the turtles… seemingly. Creators have been killing characters off for decades, and it’s always in a desperate attempt to shake things up and engage new readers, but I can see absolutely no way to spin this story off to make me enjoy it again. In the case of killing off a ninja turtle, it’s nightcrawling in comic book form, and it makes me sick. – Sherif

Millennium #2 – C
Okay, full disclosure: issue #2 confused the hell out of me. Maybe it’s because I’m tired, but I found myself rereading certain panels a few times to try and trigger something in my brain that would clear the confusion. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work. The first issue of Millennium was exciting and clear, this one felt muddled and like it moved too fast with too little detail. This issue was lacking in exposition and I very quickly got the feeling that I should go back and read the first issue again just so I could make some sense of what was going on. I am aware of the complicated nature of the story and characters involved here, but something just didn’t click for me here. The pieces didn’t fit or the pace was too fast without enough intrigue. Either way this is a second issue I was really looking forward to that I was kind of disappointed in. – Keriann

Powerpuff Girls Super Smash-Up #3 – C
This series is filled with a ton of nostalgia but then leaves the story a bit behind, trying to shove as much into one issue they can. With this series, every issue is a trip for the Powerpuff Girls to visit a different show in Cartoon Networks history while they chase down a mutant Dee Dee from Dexter’s Laboratory. This issue focuses on the show Cow and Chicken with a short story from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy at the end setting up that world for a future issue. So with four shows already being included you think that would be the limit but then they thrown it characters from the Cow and Chicken spin-off  I Am Weasel just to make sure we try and remember every character we miss from our childhoods. Camming so much stuff into one issue has left a very short and not-too-satisfying story, leaving me to believe the Powerpuff Girls don’t care about Dee Dee destroying all life as we know it since each issue they find here and she escapes right away. All that aside, this series wins me over overall as it works for the format of these cartoons, which is exactly what they are going for here, so its hard to disappoint in that sense, however, if it was any other regular comic story, it would never work so well. – Jacob

The Fly: Outbreak #1 – C-
I knew going in to it that this book would be kind of a wild card. I’m a big fan of The Fly movies so I figured I would give it a shot. The story is definitely unique, it’s a little chaotic at this point and could really benefit from some proper focus. I’m clear enough in that the main character is the son of Dr. Brundle from the movies, but I’m pretty uncertain how this son came to be and how on earth he would be “infected” with the fly genes that took over his before he killed himself. Hopefully that will be explained soon, but it does seem odd to make a connection that doesn’t quite fit. The art is beautiful and stands out for a comic, but for me it suffered at properly portraying the story at points. Although I must say that the fly monster is pretty freaking awesome to gaze upon. It just would have been helpful to have any insight into who this “Anton the Fly/Man” was. Little time was taken to characterize, at this point all I know is that the main character insists on using condoms, has had a vasectomy, is somehow fly infected, and is into BDSM or at least minor bondage. Interesting, yes, but probably not the most relevant things to start a guy’s introduction with. Overall, The Fly: Outbreak isn’t bad, but it’s not off to a great start. – Keriann

Image Comics:

Invisible Republic #1 – B-
(B) Invisible Republic is written by Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko. I read the comic because it was marketed as a cross between Breaking Bad and Blade Runner. It definitely has a Blade Runner quality and the violence/anti-hero to match Breaking Bad. It’s the year 2843 on a distant moon named Avalon. I reporter finds an old journal of the local fallen dictator. It’s a gripping first book simple yet engaging. I’m really curious to see how everything is going to play out. A lot of story idea are seeming to come out that deal with off world colonies and the dystopian like environment. Seems like writers in the U.S are working out something in our collective conscious. It’s interesting to watch all these stories interrelate with one another. I wonder how this comic will hold up with Roach Limit or Trees. – Jene

(C-) I’m not really sure what’s going on in this book. It’s a future totalitarian world for sure and there is a reporter trying to get a story. And he may have found one. Other than that there is a flash black to a fight on a beach and some crazy armored space fish but not a lot else happens. There is no story progression. That’s all I can really say about this one. – Scott

Chrononauts #1 – B-
Chrononauts #1 kind of shows the problem of starting at the very beginning of a story: it’s really hard to care about it as it gets rolling. It’s the same reason the first hundred pages of the LOtR trilogy is insufferable (light me on fire now… I welcome your immolation); it’s hard to care about people while the going’s good and when shit hasn’t hit the fan. That’s not to say it isn’t interesting to start with: the first 2 pages feature the excavation of a pyramid storing a secret jet. That’s a hell of an attention getter. But it’s hard to know if you want to stick around for issue two when you feel like issue one might have already spilled its own beans. But the art’s pretty damn great. So there’s that. – Montgomery

At first I was excited to read Chrononauts, I’m a big fan of time travel. The art is sketchy and exciting. There is a lot of movement and action expressed through Sean Gordon Murphy’s art. But we already know that Murphy is a superb artist. There is one glaring issue I have with Chrononauts. The scientists are bros. They even call each other bro. Unless the bro in question is actually your brother, this is unacceptable. It’s as if the every stereotypical frat guy from pop culture were suddenly super scientists. The story is alright, upon actually using their new time traveling suits something goes horribly wrong and the two bros wind up in the exact wrong place, naturally. It’s a little predictable and a little ridiculous. I’ll keep it going for now but it better not get more bro-tastic. – Scott

Manhattan Projects: The Sun Beyond the Stars #1 – D
What the hell did I just read? I am honestly confused by what’s going on. I could appreciate it in some ways. In general, I like the whole “get dropped in an alien part of the galaxy and see what happens.” However, there was almost a little too much of the discombobulating going on. And for being a rather random situation, I was able to guess what was going to happen with acute accuracy which sort of annoyed me. I honestly can’t tell if I liked or hated the comic. I think I will have to read a few more books to make up my mind. I am going to miss the purple alien. Sad face. – Jene

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Silk #2 – A
I LOVE this book. Cindy Moon is officially my hero. She is awkward, cute, and funny. Basically she is most 27 year-old nerd girls. And guess what?! I am a 27 year-old nerd girl, so I get it. This month, she is still on the hunt for her family, trying to figure out her Spidey, ahem, Silk senses, and regretting how she broke things off with her boyfriend. The majority of Cindy’s dialogue is hilarious, yet I still feel really bad for her situation. It’s pretty rare when I think a character is funny and I can feel bad for them. Especially with new characters. – Adrian
Magneto #16 – A-
Magneto attracts more drama than he does metal. Having established Genosha as his own, and successfully kicked out S.H.I..E.L.D. would warrant one issue of peace. Hell no. Continuing the theme of anti-Semitism, this issue jumps right into a vicious hate crime on his domain. The pensive internal monologues of Magneto – one of Cullen Bunn’s strongest skills – make the reader rethink Magneto’s point of view, forever blurring the lines between merciless ruler and freedom fighter. Magneto is forever at war, and me enjoying this book comes at the expense of his eternal torment. If the issues continue to have this level of depth, then I’m willing to accept the cost. – Sherif
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3 – A-
This month, Squirrel Girl got even closer to fighting Galactus, but was distracted by Whiplash and some Bank Robbers. But we did get a nice big panel of Galactus at the end. Doreen is always funny, as are the writer’s notes at the bottom, but Doreen’s roommate Nancy was the real winner this month. She is always a bit sardonic, but this time she was able to help out with the bank robbery situation through her dark personality. This book continues to be kick-butt and very metaaaaa (that was my best Shirley Bennett from Community voice). I love it. – Adrian
Black Widow #16 – B+

This was a solid issue. We finally got a glimpse into Natasha’s history – a small bit, with major repercussions – showing her love for a Russian ballerina and finding out that ballerina was being abused. I really liked this aspect of the story. The past of Natasha has always fascinated more so than her future, which is where I think the story lost me a little. The Prophet shows Natasha “The Future” which is run by Chaos and asks her to join them. It just seemed out of place considering the arc has been all about why we should hate Chaos. The turn around here was pretty quick. Nevertheless, Natasha’s childhood story was so well done, this issue gets a pretty high grade. Also, Phil Noto is da best. – Adrian

Princess Leia #2 – B
Leia and Evaan make their first stop on their journey to rally the “orphans of Alderaan.”  Too bad it’s the home planet of the currently reigning galactic Emperor Palpatine.  Witnessing Leia’s reactions and attitude while traveling the streets of Naboo was somewhat intriguing.  Most intriguing about this issue, however, was reading the flashbacks of Leia’s childhood.  It dawned on me, Leia’s upbringing is vastly unexplored territory.  This is an exciting notion as I’m sure there are some wickedly entertaining stories of Leia’s past.  I mean – you aren’t just BORN a bad ass Jedi princess.  There’s got to be something in the royal blue milk that helped form Leia into the captivating character we know and love today.  Hopefully we get more of this in future issues. – Taylor

Moon Knight #13 – B
My thoughts prior to opening to page one of this month’s Moon Knight was, “I’m going to be upset if this is just a filler issue.”  And what did I get?!  A filler issue!!!!!  Was I upset?!?!  … … … No … I wasn’t.  I don’t know what it is about this character Marc Spector and his unendingly bad ass superhero persona, Moon Knight, but I could read issues like this month in and out and not grow tired of it.  I attribute most of this feeling to the artists that have consistently killed artwork month after month.  This issue showcases a fantastic display from Ron Ackins and Tom Palmer.  I never knew blood splatter could be so artistic and captivating.  As long as the level of artistry remains this high and as long as Marc Spector continues to be cooler than a polar bear on Pluto’s north pole, then I think we’ll all be just fine. – Taylor

Loki: Agent of Asgard #12 – C+
This issue is better than the last few have been, but only just. It starts off strong enough but after a while feels very passive and expositional. Again, we get it. Loki did a lot of bad shit, didn’t learn his lesson and doesn’t fit in anywhere. He’s an angsty teenager who never grew up. What I wish the writers of this comic would do is make Loki a more complex character. For the “God of Lies” he’s pretty transparent and I wish he’d hold his cards a little closer to his chest. I had high hopes for this comic but as of yet, I’ve been ultimately disappointed. – Charlotte

Storm #9 – C+
Despite being a filler issue, this was a fun one. Gambit and Storm team up for some thievery. There is a good amount of banter which is slightly funny. As usual, Beast was the voice of reason. Marisol, the young mutant from earlier issues may be returning to the school. There was no push forward on story, other than some light exposition juxtaposing Marisol’s situation with Ororo’s. The very last panel did show us that something is infiltrating the school and causing the electronics to do some pretty messed up stuff. Since this series is ending soon, I wonder how much we will get out of this story before it ends. – Adrian

 


Funniest Panel:

 

Chrononauts #1
Chrononauts #1

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

superman 39 awesome panel 03.18.15
Superman #39

 

 

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

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to all the publishers for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 03-11-15

Review Scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick of the Week:

Howard the Duck #1

 

Howard the Duck #1 – A

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

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

– Montgomery

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Batman: Arkham Knight #1 – B

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

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

Dynamite:

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

Image Comics:

Surface #1 – B+

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

Spawn Resurrection #1 – B

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

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

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Ant-Man #3 – A-

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

Deadpool #43 – A-

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

Star Wars #3 – A-

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

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

Captain Marvel #13 – B+

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

Guardians Team-Up #2 – B

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

Spider Gwen #2 – B

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

Thor #6 – C+

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

The Amazing Spider-Man #16 – C

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

 


Funniest Panel:

Ant-Man #3
Ant-Man #3

 

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Surface #1
Surface #1

 

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

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to all the publishers for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 03-04-15

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:

Descender #1

Descender #1 – A

(A)The first thing that strikes me with Descender is the artwork. It’s soft and beautiful. It looks like it’s done with watercolors; you can actually see the texture of the paper. Now that’s out of the way, the story is very intriguing. The nine core planets of a solar system are attacked by massive robots that appear above the planets. Over 80% of the population is wiped out. Yet almost all of the artificial intelligence on the planets is left unharmed. This leads to a robot genocide and all future AI use is strictly prohibited. On a mining moon outside of the nine core planets, an android designed as a child companion awakes after 10 years to find all of the people of the mine have been dead for years and the mine is now populated by skeletons. And there is a connection between this “boy” Tim and the huge robots, called Harvesters, that attacked the planets. This is going to be really good and probably really sad at some points. I’m in. – Scott

(AI love that Lemire is one of these guys like Hickman that seems to come from nowhere, but cranks out amazing stories with almost brutal efficiency. And Descender is a perfect sci-fi follow up to the expertly delivered Trillium. It’s a little weird reading a Lemire book without his art, but god is Descender‘s water color art gorgeous. And I love the mystery of future apocalyspes and giant robots, and the slow meditative way in which Lemire tells his stories. Everyone should read this book. Maybe only those who really, really, hate sci-fi wouldn’t get something out of it, but I want more. More please. – Montgomery

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Neverboy #1 – C-

Neverboy #1 chronicles the existence (or lack thereof) of a former imaginary friend to a little boy, whose services are no longer required, so now he is clinging to the real world with the use of drugs. This is one that sounded so original and interesting but man did it really fall flat. It wasn’t bad, but at no point did it have a catching moment. It was boring and while the idea behind it is great, the vision didn’t translate well in print. Neverboy himself is not so endearing as I hoped he’d be, and while it’s sad the boy who imagined him died, the story didn’t really do much to touch on how he still exists, let alone how he gets ahold of and consumes hallucinogenic drugs. Not having these answers doesn’t ruin the book, but it does contribute to the feeling that this comic doesn’t have a whole lot going for it. Maybe if I imagine hard enough, the next issue will be worth reading. – Keriann

Rat God #2 – D+

I really don’t know what possessed me to come back and give Rat God another try, but I guess I’m kind of glad I did. I think. Issue #2 was at least more interesting than the first, and I really appreciate that this takes place in a universe where the “white civilized” people worship Lovecraftian gods – that’s neat. Overall though, I still kind of feel like I hate this damn book. The main character, Clarke is kind of a befuddled asshole and there still isn’t a lot of sense or reason behind anything that is happening. I’m not sure if it is just the artwork or if certain people are supposed to look like potatoes and others are supposed to look like rats, but either way I hate looking at it. Judging by the title, I’ll assume the rat people are supposed to look like rat people but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Rat God has basically no charm, but for some reason I want to know what happens. – Keriann

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Lobo #6 – C+

Ok so my prediction of sweet, sweet extremely violent lovemaking from issue 5 was wrong. There was a violent entanglement and penetration, but it was from swords. So the first story arc is done, Earth is saved, and some characters no one cared about died. Now Lobo is on a new mission to track down the man who commissioned the destruction of Earth and Lobo’s home world. It was kind of interesting to see what really happened to Czarnia. It has a lot to do with the royal blood line, and a light of blood from a completely crazy person. So that was neat. I’m hoping the story pans out a lot from here because this first go around was not very engaging. – Scott

Wolf Moon #4 – C

Where Wolf Moon started out with a bang it really seems to be fizzling to nothing now. The last two issues have had so little story development and so much pointless carnage, I’m really finding myself losing interest. The story seems to be turning in a strange direction now that has very little chance of offering a big payout in the end. So someone is trying to keep the Wolf alive? Okay, but there are very limited ways that storyline can turn out that won’t suck. And the showdown between Dillon and Hodge at the mall was kind of annoying. Like hey there is a giant werewolf tearing people to shreds, but we should probably waste time and ammo on each other because our methods of werewolf hunting differ. In the meantime, 100 extra people died. Good job guys. I just don’t see where this is going anymore and I’m certainly not on the edge of my seat with anticipation. – Keriann

Dynamite:

Project Superpowers: Blackcross #1 – B-

Blackcross did not get off to a strong start for me. So far it’s telling individual stories that will undoubtedly crash into one another before long, but for a first issue it really didn’t provide enough to hook me. It was too cryptic to be truly intriguing. Once again, I like the idea behind it of alternate realities overlapping in one town, but there was basically no mention of that in this issue. I only know that is a (supposed) plot point because I did my research and I read the preview for the second issue. The intros to each character were too short with very little depth and while mystery can be good, it is not quite working in Blackcross’ favor. – Keriann

IDW Publishing:

Powerpuff Girls Super Smash-Up #2 – C+

This months Powerpuff Girls issue follows the Girls on their dimension-spanning journey to recover Dee Dee, who has turned into a monster by being doused with chemical X.  This issue we see the Girls travel to the world of Courage the Cowardly Dog with new transporters Dexter had created to help aid in the pursuit of Dee Dee, and the girls get mistaken for the dark and mysterious dog sitter and think of course hijinks ensue. Now the writing and art for this issue was done by Derek Charm and despite some small plot holes which can be expected in cartoons, we have a pretty solid story so far. The art as well is wonderful; IDW has really done a good job of getting artists to cross mediums of these shows and make them fit together nicely instead of smashing them together as the title may suggest. – Jacob

Star Trek/ Planet of the Apes #3 – C

In this third issue, we continue where we left off with Chekov knocked out and George Taylor has run off with his communicator trying to get beamed up to the Enterprise which takes most of the crew back up to the Enterprise. Not much else to the story in this one and honestly I felt this was the worst issue so far, especially due to the story here. It felt like the whole plot with George Taylor could easily have been skipped, as the conflict here could easily have been resolved last issue with a few extra lines.  Don’t get me wrong though because as a whole Scott Tipton and David Tipton do very well with the writing here. The short intro with Dr. Zaius, and then the scene at the end between the Klingon Kor and the ape, General Marius, were the best parts of this issue and definitely saved it a bit for me as they moved the story along a bit better. Rachel Stott does return for art with this issue and I do hope she continues for the whole series because her art is definitely one of the main things that convinced me this crossover could work and not just be a cheesy jump-the-shark moment as we have seen with crossovers many times over. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Nameless #2 – A-

Nameless keeps delivering with a couple of shocking (and gory) twists with the nameless titular character, Nameless, now aboard the secret moonbase in pursuit of the meteor Marduk. It’s gargantuan sized weirdness, and I can’t possibly say no. And the amazing image of astronauts plastered with occult symbols. Seriously: it’s one of those designs that’s so simple and awesome that I feel a little jealous I didn’t think of it first. – Montgomery

Nailbiter – Hack/Slash #1 – B+

I have never read Hack/Slash before, but after this one-shot, I am very intrigued!  This issue featured two stories – one based more on the Nailbiter story, and one based more on the Hack/Slash story. Both were written by their respective writers, but they both seemed to really work. Considering the Hack/Slash concept is of a girl, Cassandra, trying to find serial killers because her mom was one, it all makes sense that she would wind up in Buckaroo with Nailbiter himself. I was thoroughly entertained throughout, and I am not considering going back and reading some Hack/Slash namely because of Cassandra’s sidekick Vlad, who is absolutely hilarious. – Adrian

Big Man Plans #1 – B

I’m not entirely sure how to summarize what I just read because I’m not entirely sure what I just read. Big Man Plans is one of the strangest things I’ve read in a long time, yet it had its moments of being sad and heartfelt too. And then it seemed to end with the main character just about to beat in an elderly woman’s head with a hammer, so who the fuck knows. It’s dark as hell and I thought it was starting out as a comedy but then it quickly veered into some pretty heavy territory. As in killing people in Vietnam, beating people with tire irons, ripping dudes throats out with plastic forks…yikes. Big Man Plans is very well written though; it really carries you through the ups and horrific downs of this poor man’s life and eventually to a place of scary, angry hopelessness. I’m pretty sure I was supposed to close this book exactly the way I did, considering the last page is an editorial from the author titled “What the Fuck Just Happened?” This was definitely a strong introduction to a story I’m pretty sure I want to hear the rest of. – Keriann

God Hates Astronauts #6 – B

If you’re like me, then you too have ALWAYS wondered, “What’s the honorific title of a crab-man that heads a space vessel?” AHEM… … …Crabtain. Freakin’ fantastic. Nothing really makes sense in this series, but let me reassure (as I do every month) you that this has no bearing on how enjoyable this comic book is. New characters keep popping up and the old ones continue to perform hilariously. I’ve come to realize that I spend more time on GHA than any other comic. I scan every inch on every panel on every page for fear of missing something utterly sidesplitting. Often times I’m rewarded. The only thing keeping GHA from an “A” grade is the lack of coherency. Overall, not a big deal. But I can imagine how much funnier this story would be if it had a bit firmer grasp on reality. On second thought, scratch that. I don’t know what I was thinking. As long as GHA never stops, I’ll be content. – Taylor

Saga #26 – B

This month’s issue of Saga pushes our heroes further apart, but does very little to actually progress the story. Each story is left on a dramatic cliff-hanger that doesn’t do much by itself except for set up the next step in the journey. It’s unnerving, in a very Game of Thrones way. Just like the epic HBO TV show, you can’t complain too much – because it’s freaking awesome! More than anything, I am just anxious of how long the separate stories will be, well, separate. I love that we are introduced to new characters still, and I am unsure of them as I am the direction of the book. But still, I read on. – Sherif

Black Science #12 – C

My eyes and brain were on fire last month after reading issue #11. The story was right on the edge of spinning off into “rinse, wash, repeat” format. So much happened in the last few panels that blew away all my fears that this book was on a downward spiral. Traveling to the core of the onion!! Hell yes!! The first step towards the center was sure to be epic, right? Not so much. This month’s issue had me thinking, “I’ve already seen this – just in a different universe.” There was no significant plot or character development and all the pages were primarily filled with action which, oddly enough, did not add to this issue. The crazy backstory on Grant McKay was pretty mind blowing, but it still doesn’t get us closer to the core!! What’s in the core?! What’ll happen there?! Who will die next?! I want an onion!! Oh… and just when you thought futuristic psychedelic, robo-ninja shaman couldn’t get any cooler… he can cure diabetes. Boom… – Taylor

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Rocket Raccoon #9 – A-

In this issue we get the idea of why Star-Lord contacted Rocket last issue about Groot being a major threat, and the issue really throws us straight into the story by showing us a future where Groot is already destroying Earth by the time we open the issue.  In fact the actions of Groot see Hulk, an old Iron Man and Captain America battling him until Iron Man sends his consciousness to a suit in space to try and bring Rocket in to calm Groot down. We actually don’t see Rocket until page 7 of this issue but the reveal of him in the future is worth it – he is much darker and obviously seen a lot more shit than any Rocket we have seen in any reality to date. This issue sees another change in artist with Jake Parker taking that credit with both Skottie Young returning as writer and Jean-Francois Beaulieu as the colorist and this team definitely works well together and with this character. Jake Parker pulls off the look Skottie Young had for this series off very well and the introduction of Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America into this style works and actually adds a bit of vastness to a story that has limited itself to Guardians of the Galaxy for one or two issues and Deadpool in one panel. This issue can definitely be seen as a bit of a stand alone story, but it is definitely one of the better Rocket issues so far and may give us an idea where the series could go or ultimately end. – Jacob

Guardians Team-Up #1 – B

For this new weekly series, we see the Guardians of the Galaxy teaming up with different heroes, but for the first couple issues and the first story arc we will see them teaming up with the new Avengers team. A strange alien force has tracked down the Guardians and chased them to Earth where they crash-land and meet up with Avengers all the while the aliens move in to take both teams down. The story for this was a little predictable. However, Brian Michael Bendis does a great job creating a nice intro story and giving us a look into one of many situations that can bring these two teams together. Art Adams and Paul Mounts take the duty of Penciller and colorist for this issue and I have to say it is some of my favorite art to come out of Marvel for a couple months. The use of color in this issue is brilliant as it takes a switch from dark and gloomy space to a brighter and more realized Earth. – Jacob

Princess Leia #1 – B

What’s got two eyes, two legs, two arms, two buns and is ready to take on the galaxy?! Princess Leia is damn right! Marvel has got a trifecta of comic series running: Star Wars, Darth Vader and now Princess Leia. The story picks up immediately following the conclusion of Episode IV. The Rebels are still on Yavin IV and they’ve quickly transitioned from celebrating the destruction of the Death Star to planning their evacuation and finding a new home base. Leia finds herself a bit useless in the effort as all her fellow leaders refuse to let her take on any responsibility and encourage her to “grieve” the loss of her parents, people and planet. Well if I know Princess Leia (and you BEST believe that I do…) she’s not going take any of that sitting down. Like the true warrior Princess she is, she grabs another hot, young Alderaanian sista’ and they take to the Stars to corral all the remaining Alderannians in the galaxy. All signs point to this being a solid series. Terry Dodson’s penciling fits really well in the story (everything looks chic and sexy) and I like the aspect of bringing in new, alluring characters! I’ve got high hopes for my new favorite Disney Princess. – Taylor

Spider-Woman #5 – B

So Jessica Drew is mixin’ it up. She quit The Avengers, got a new costume and is practicing being a “normal superhero.” I made an oxymoron! I was most excited for the new suit this week. I couldn’t stand the old face mask and giant, bland tringles. The new suit looks better, but not by much. It’s more of a jacket with wings and a pair of odd goggles than it is a “suit.” But I guess it fits the whole “normal” persona pretty well. Listen to me – I’m like a regular fashionista over here (full disclosure – had to look up the definition of fashionista). As a whole the issue is pretty good. It’s got the workings of a good plot, but it’s too early to tell if it’ll be work continued reading. I like Jessica Drew as a character and if you do too then you’ll enjoy the issue. – Taylor

Return of the Living Deadpool #2 – B-

In this second issue of the series we see a separate group has a prophecy of a good Deadpool who will help them rid the world of both viruses but they are not too keen on the idea of a nice Deadpool and plan to kill him off like any other zombie er… Deadpool of the times. But the main story continues the adventure of Deadpool with the girl, Liz, and trying to save her family who was taken by the herd of Deadpools we saw last issue. They track the family to a train controlled by the Deadpools and get ready for an old west style train robbery, just with more zombies and violence of course. The same team behind last issue is leading this issue with Cullen Bunn on writing and Nik Virella doing the art respectively. The writing so far has been pretty enjoyable, especially for a Deadpool mini-series. I think the main great thing here is the art; the black and white style with only Deadpool having color leads for some very interesting and often beautiful images despite rotted dead people being in the frame. – Jacob

 


Funniest Panel:

Saga #26

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

God Hates Astronauts #6

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

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to all the publishers for putting out great books.