Comic Book Reviews 12-24-14 and 12-31-14

Review Scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick of the Week:

Superman #37
Superman #37

Superman #37 – A

Dear sweet baby Jesus… This issue of Superman could be the best one I have EVER read. Neil/Ulysses has revealed that he is not all he was cracked up to be, but I’ll be damned, we had no idea just the kind of horror that he was up to. The amount of crazy here had me running around the house, screaming. I cannot believe that this character who we have only known for six issues could create that much reaction in a book that I had no prior interest in before the creative team switched. John Romita Jr. is a major part of the reason I have been so into this arc, and his full-page panels have been beautiful. I can’t wait to see how the heck Superman reacts to the end of this issue. – Sherif

 

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo: 

Batman Annual #3 – A

For a Batman story not written by Scott Snyder, I was chilled to the bone in this year’s Batman Annual.  James Tynion IV wrote this terrifying story of Joker, who has been taking apart the life of a journalist named Tommy piece by piece for years.  I was strongly reminded of the Buffy storyline about Angel driving Drusilla mad and then turning her into a vampire.  It is horrifying to think of The Joker ever having a friend, but even worse that he would care enough about one person to drive them absolutely crazy.  This story relates to the current Endgame arc, but will likely have no effect on the main story.  However, I highly recommend this issue just for the scare factor. – Adrian

Deathstroke #3 – B

This new Slade Wilson is really good. Tony Daniel is killing it on the art, and the story is interesting enough to keep me engaged. After narrowly escaping the hoard of bad guys, Slade has found his son Jericho. More than anything, I love Daniels’ character designs for Black Tiger and Red Fury. I’m not entirely sold on the story yet, but there’s so much eye candy in the book, I can wait for more of a solid plot to develop. – Sherif

Batman Eternal #39 – B-

I don’t think I’ve ever read such a long weekly series before as it was happening. Let just just say that Eternal has been very straining. I feel like it’s been going on forever. So it’s really nice to see the story turn a corner and make some progress. One of the best and most under-used characters in the New52 is Bane, and to see him in a rematch with Killer Croc was by far the best part of this week’s issue. Who knew that Waylan Jones (Croc) was into French lit? This is a fun and action-filled issue that doesn’t have a ton of substance, but sets a lot in motion for the tail end of the story. – Sherif

Robin Rises: Alpha #1 – C

The only reason this issue is getting a “C” is because of how Damian’s resurrection will effect the DCU.  Not only is he alive (crazy!) but he is a 10 year old with superpowers.  We don’t know how that happened, and neither does his daddy-o, but it will definitely alter the story in the Batman & Robin series.  You may want to read this issue if you want to know the details of the first night back to life for Damian, but over all, it felt a little slap-sticky and silly. – Adrian

Arkham Manor #3 – C

I was instantly sold on the idea of Batman going undercover as an Arkham prisoner to uncover a conspiracy – in his own home, no less. Arkham Manor has all the makings of a great horror book, but with this last issue, it seems to have fallen a bit short by playing it safe. The big reveal at the end of the issue is a bit disappointing, honestly. With everything going on in the other Bat-books, to just piggy-back off the other books seems like a cop out. That being said, I still very much enjoy the dark nature of the book brought by Gerry Duggan, and reinforced by Shawn Crystal’s art. If I were less patient, and not the Batman fanatic I am, this would be the issue I stopped reading it. – Sherif

Gotham by Midnight #2 – D+

What the hell just happened?  I have no clue.  None.  Between the art (Ben Templesmith is perhaps better fit for something else) and the lack of story telling, this book was so confusing.  I know there are creepy nuns and priests out there.  That’s about it.  The ending was enough of a morsel that I will come back next month, but unless there is cleaner story-telling, I’m not sure how much longer this book will last. – Adrian

 

IDW Comics:

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #1 – A-

Hell yeah! This is a crossover I can get behind. This new book, a collaboration between IDW (Star Trek) and Boom! Studios (Planet of the Apes), is one of the best pairings I have seen thus far. I will say that there is a LOT of exposition in this issue, but most of it is just banter between the crew as they attempt to escape Klingon ships. The original crew is all there, and they are a delight to read about. We haven’t seen much of the Apes, but that will come in time. Don’t expect this to knock you out of your seat, but it sets up a very promising book. – Sherif

Image Comics:

Graveyard Shift #1 – B+

What can I say?  I’m a sucker for vampire stories (and puns).  Graveyard Shift is a mini-series about a cop, his cop buddies, his girlfriend, and vampires.  The first issue didn’t hook me as far as writing goes, mostly because I didn’t find any one character compelling.  But the art was absolutely exceptional.  The use of colors and small details (like graffiti in a public restroom) was its own form of story telling.  I am hoping next month’s issue allows for more character development from our main character.  However, if you like vampire stories (and not that Twilight crap), then Graveyard Shift might be the mini-series for you. – Adrian

They’re Not Like Us #1 – B

I’m intrigued!  They’re Not Like Us begins with a girl jumping off a hospital roof-top in attempt to kill herself.  Needless to say, it doesn’t work.  She is then kidnapped by a group of super-humans/mutants with different abilities, all a kind of mash-up of DC and Marvel characters, but without the costumes. Turns out the suicide attempter is a telepath who couldn’t take the voices anymore. The man in charge is like a really messed up Charles Xavier, with Magneto’s philosophies. The premise is interesting, the characters have a lot of potential, and the cliffhanger definitely made me want to read next month’s issue. – Adrian

 

Marvel:

Superior Iron Man #3 – A

Tony Stark is better than you, and he wants you to know it. you “speck.” The evolution of Iron Man as a character has been brilliant. He’s not playing God, he’s playing human. As bad as I feel for Daredevil for trying to stop Tony from getting the world hooked on the Extremis app, I also can’t help but think that this will be the best Iron Man story I’ve read when things are all said and done. It’s definitely one of the funniest, and Injustice: Gods Among Us writer Tom Taylor is hitting all the high notes with this new title. – Sherif

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #3 – A-

Katie Bishop and Deadpool are the best tag team in Marvel right now. These two are so adorable together, even more so than Hawkguy and Deadpool. Toning down his murderous ways has really made Deadpool more accessible as a character in the Marvel books, so this book is much more fun and adventure than shoot em up, and it really fits Deadpool’s style. I hope that when they continue making Deadpool mini-series, and you know they will, that they will caryr on the whimsical nature of this one. – Sherif

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 – B

One issue in and I’m already more excited about the next issue of this than I am for the return of the TV series. Marvel capitalizes on the momentum of the show to bring about a sort of “what if” scenario for the same team that has made the show a pleasure to watch. Writer Mark Waid (Daredevil) has the luxury of unlimited guest stars and special effects, but there’s still substance in his story from the get-go. From what it seems, this book will assemble fantasy teams of S.H.I.E.L.D. resources, resulting in some great panels to come. I am still very interested in how Quicksilver could kill the Hulk. – Sherif

 

Funniest Panel:

 

They're Not Like Us #1
They’re Not Like Us #1

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1
S.H.I.E.L.D. #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 IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 12-17-14

Review Scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick of the Week:

batman 37 POTW

Batman #37 – A+

(A+) It’s so good.  It’s just so good.  The Snyder/Capullo duo are back in action this month, and God does it feel soooooo good!  Yet absolutely terrifying and horrific and “oh God, did that really just happen?!”  Nobody likes clowns and nobody likes zombies.  We get Joker-faced zombies taking over Gotham, and nothing to stop them— except the possibility of patient zero. All of this is absolute horror for most. Meanwhile, Jim Gordon is researching the history of the hospital where the outbreak started, only to get the scare of his life – The Joker can be seen in pictures from the hospital for over 100 years, including in one of his own children.  Is Joker immortal?  Is this just a gag? I suppose that is part of the allure of “Endgame.” Oh, and it’s official, he knows who Batman really is, and proves it with one of the biggest gags to date.  The artwork as fan-frickin’-tastic, per usual.  Greg Capullo’s storytelling is just as significant here as Snyder’s, and in this issue even more so.  Can I grow up to be just like them? Please? – Adrian

(A+) I picked up Batman for the first time EVER this week. I build a base by reading issues 35 & 36 immediately prior to reading this week’s issue. Let me tell you something – these three issues are probably the best thing I’ve read in the last two months. Snyder and Capullo are masterminds!! Even missing the prior 34 issues didn’t put a damper on my experience. The threat facing Gotham is epic in scale and I was genuinely FREAKED at the events happening to Commissioner Gordon. I’m saddened that I’m just now jumping on this train, but more than that, I’m so glad that I’m finally on board. I suggest you hop on too! – Taylor

 

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo: 

Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures #1 – A+

I can’t locate the interview now, but I read Grant Morrison describe this book as the “pure adventure” book of this event; that, for those people who don’t like “weird meta Grant Morrison” (as he described himself), this is the book that functions as a simple superhero adventure. I can’t fathom someone who doesn’t like “weird meta Grant Morrison,” but I think this still has some quality Morrison weirdness. The art looks very much like Jeff Smith’s Shazam story from a decade ago, which I really liked. It gave the book a retro feeling without feeling outdated, and helped reinforce the notion that this was, above all else, a fun story. In short: the evil Dr. Sivana figures builds a technology and science powered equivalent of the Rock of Eternity. This creates an eighth day of the week (which he names after himself), and allows him to tap into time itself to turn his children into an evil version of the Shazam family. Like I said: there’s still some weirdness (“How can there be two eternities?”) and some light time travel. I don’t know a ton about Shazam as a character – apart from his complicated legal history and DC’s possibly shady acquisition of the character – but I have the sneaking suspicion that I would really like him. If, that is, Grant Morrison were the writer. While it’s not quite the exhilarating best-single-issue-of-a-super-hero-comic-ever-written perfection of Pax Americana, I’m still compelled, obligated, delighted, to read this book. – JH

Batman and Robin #37 – A-

He’s back! For reals! The build-up for twenty-plus issues has finally been realized. This next Father’s Day, tell your dad to step up his game, because he ain’t got nothin on Bruce Wayne. Batman has travelled to Apokolips to rescue his son’s corpse, and risked it all to bring him back. I normally wouldn’t spoil things like that, but DC announced his return months ago… bastards. Anyway, the epic showdown between Darkseid and Batman was just that, epic. It seems as though the story will continue along the lines of what Damian’s return means for the rest of the Bat-family, and I am all for that. This series is severely under-rated, and hopefully more readers will take notice with the return of the Son of Batman. – Sherif

Wonder Woman #37 – B+

Behold, mortals, at the God of War in all her glory. It’s only been two issues since the Finches took the helm for Wonder Woman, and already I question how I could ever be mad that Azzarello and Chiang would ever be replaced. David Finch, who is one of the best artists for full-page spreads in recent Batman books brings the fire here with some beautiful rendering of the Queen of the Amazons. With so much responsibility pulling Wonder Woman in different directions, the Amazons have grown distrustful of their heiress and selected an… “alternative” method of protection, and it’s one that Wonder Woman fans will geek out hardcore at! The story doesn’t have an distinct direction to go in yet, but I am fully behind this new creative team and the dark direction that they are taking this mystery character. – Sherif

Justice League #37 – B

Though the Amazo Virus sounds silly in name, it is anything but in life threatening potency. The Justice League is still in bad shape with pretty much Batman, Superman and Wonder-Woman being the only heroes in commission. The crafty Lex Luthor is still held up safely with his sister, waiting for the still standing members of the Justice League to deliver patient zero so he can whip up a cure. He’s obviously still hiding something. My anxiety continues to rise as Batman and Lex both take significant blows. Things are going to Hell and it’s making for very entertaining read. Even in light of this very bleak situation the ultimate resolution is fairly predictable. This Amazo Virus arc will probably serve to set up larger events yet to unfold as a result as the Wayne-LexCorp merger. I’m just glad that this super-Ebola storyline is more entertaining that it is distracting. – Taylor

The Kitchen #2 – B-

(B) The Kitchen has a lot of things going for it.  Mobsters, women leads, and it’s set in the past.  These are all things I enjoy.  This week, the girls find themselves getting blackmailed for putting Franky, the brother of a famous mobster, in a coma.  They all make decisions that will surely set them up for the rest of the series.  But one thing is for sure, they are not just playing while their husbands are in the pen; they are playing for good.  While the art isn’t always clean, I appreciate the details from the 70’s very much. It’s not a superhero comic, and very niche-y, but I think it is worth the read. – Adrian

(B-) Ok, The Kitchen picked up somewhat in the second issue. The ladies are entrenched now; it’s hard to get out of it when you’re beating and murdering people to make sure you yourself are not murdered. And now they have to explain themselves to one of their husbands unhinged friends recently let out of prison. The story has improved from the first issue but the art still doesn’t tickle my fancy. If the book remains interesting enough the art can be easily looked around. I’ll be keeping up at least for another issue. – Scott

 

Dynamite Entertainment:

Django/Zorro #2 – A

Tarantino does many things very well in story-telling. This second issue of Django – Zorro gave audiences a fantastic example of “building a bad guy.” I loved this issue! I featured very little of Django or Zorro, but that’s okay. Gurko Langdon is man of the hour – the nemesis! His backstory is compelling and epically grandiose. This is exactly what I would expect from a story of this caliber. My hope is that the eventual clash of these gargantuan forces is as mesmerizing as Langdon’s rise to power. I was a bit nervous at the end of issue #1, but my faith has been restored. I can feel the Tarantino! And it feels good! – Taylor

 

IDW Comics:

Star Trek #39 – B-

The Cardassians have control of just about everything and despite all of our heroes gaining their freedom in some way in this issue, things are not looking good for Q’s No Win situation he has put the original Star Trek crew in. This series has given us great references to all series of the franchise, with the new films and Deep Space Nine being the main concentrations. The artwork leaves something to be desired, as it looks like the motion capture animation used on films like A Scanner Darkly where it looks detailed while also looking very simple. It gets a little distracting because it makes for some weird images here and there, but ultimately the story has been good and it will be sad to see Q Leave the series after the next issue… but then we get a Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover! – Jacob

Image Comics:

Wytches #3 – A

(A+) Wytches #3 made a strong showing once again this month, only further confirming my suspicions that it will most likely skyrocket to becoming my favorite series. It seems to gain more and more momentum as each issue comes out and the further the story unfolds the more entranced with it I become. This issue, we find out that our beloved Sailor has been pledged, although there’s no reveal of who did it or why or what being pledged will really mean for her, but it’s exciting and terrifying all the same. Meanwhile, in Sailor’s disappearance her absolutely amazing father continues his quest to always protect her, and he has an attack-meeting with the only person-creature who may be able to help him save her. And then there’s poor Reggie… Poor, poor Reggie. Overall, Wytches this month was a great read and it really made me wish this was a weekly book, not a monthly one (grumble). If you haven’t started this series yet, I highly recommend you catch up while you can because I really think this book is going places. Scott Snyder is doing amazing things here. Also, I have a quick side note. I don’t normally like to play the “mom card” because I know that it’s not universal. But I have to say, this series really grabs me as a parent. I have two itty-bitty boys and the way Scott Snyder writes Charlie Rooks , with the fear and overpowering all consuming love and need to protect his daughter is so true to my heart. Like he said in the first issue, having kids is like having a vital organ leave your body and walk around the world saying hi to people. And it takes you over. So much of the fear in Wytches comes from that feeling alone. Basically, this is some of the most powerful writing I’ve come across in all my years. Okay, mom rant over. – Keriann

(B+) The thing is this: Scott Snyder is a genius.  And Wytches is truly terrifying.  This week, we begin to see that the Wytches hauntings are going beyond Sailor, the protagonist up to this point.  I am finally starting to realize that Sailor isn’t as much the protagonist as her father is.  And it is so refreshing to see a story where the father/daughter bond is very tight.. a rarity in any type of literature.  While the story is progressing well, and there are some very scary things going on, what made Wytches an amazing read this week was the letter in the back of the book.  Snyder has a knack for giving his readers the chills, and he succeeded with his explanation of Wytches and being a parent in today’s society. It is a must read. – Adrian

Rumble #1 – B+

(A) My first impression of Rumble was “ooooh pretty.” James Harren’s art combined with Dave Stewart’s colors are an outstanding combination and are a delight for the eyes. Rumble has a Devil May Cry feeling to it, but with a very reluctant Dante. A super creepy scarecrow wreaks havoc in a bar, removing some patron’s limbs in the process. The bartender defends his customer and is unwittingly put in a situation he surely doesn’t want to be in. Pestered by demons and a scarecrow that’s harder to kill than expected the bar tender is going to have to swing a big sword to deal with his problems. Pick this up, now. – Scott

(B) I’m not sure what to say other than this book has a lot of potential.  Rumble seems to be about an untold war between humans and monsters, but honestly, I don’t know.  What I do know is that it was humorous enough to remind me of Ugly Americans with a little Scott Pilgrim mixed in there.  But just because I don’t know what’s going doesn’t mean I don’t want to read more; I most definitely am interested in why a hooded man is cutting people’s arms off and what the heck is so important about the sword he did it with. – Adrian

 

Marvel:

Avengers & X-Men Axis #8 – A-

Only one more issue left of my personal favorite comic event of the year! Up until now, we have seen both the Avengers and X-Men turn evil, a fair amount of villains have been turned good, while Deadpool is just at peace while being in pieces. Will things finally be resolved? Will Spider-Man, The old Steve Rogers, and the new Villain Avengers be able to stop the madness in time? Although this is a great issue we’ll (eye-roll) have to wait until net week for the conclusion to this massive event. The story so far has been great, making you love characters you hate and hate characters you love. The art is some of my favorite of the year as well and really adds to the already great story. – Jacob

Miles Morales: the Ultimate Spider-Man #8 – A-

What’s the opposite of “meh?” I am…. pleasantly surprised…. I think. After last month’s exciting, and twist-filled issue, we immediately start to get some answers. I’m loving the gritty and shadowy feel of the artwork this time around; it definitely fits with the flashback tale from Jefferson Davis’ perspective. Again, the issue starts to give us some answers, but I’m not sure it’s to the questions I’m really curious about any way. Here’s to seeing where the next issue takes us. – Moke

Deathlok #3 – A-

Great, purposeful characters in this issue. The writers have brought in both Tony Stark and Micheal Collins (Original Deathlok), which promises great things for this story arc. What I really like about Deathlok so far is that the story is being carefully laid out one piece at a time, which is something that lets the reader really immerse themselves in the story, where nothing feels rushed; this issue is no different. I liked that we got a bit of sneak peek into what Biotek’s priorities are and that they gave us a different view of some of the assignments Deathlok carries out. It was an act of good (or relative good. Nothing is black or white) this time, and that was interesting to watch. I also like how Andrea asking to speak with Micheal Collins paralleled and foreshadowed Domino breaking into Micheal’s house for information. Andrea finds a way around getting the information she wants by going to Tony Stark. Domino just takes it. Seeing the comparison there was interesting. Andrea’s wish for information also paralleled JJ asking about Biotek’s motives and being shot down. Considering she is on the side of the antagonists, this was also an interesting comparison, albeit subtle. I can’t wait to see what’s next in this comic. Definitely starting out on a good, metallic, foot. – Charlotte

Spider-Woman #2 – B+

My vote for quote of the week: “This is why spider-man and spider-woman don’t hang out.” So far Spider-verse excels when it focuses on just one spider at a time, and this issue doesn’t disappoint. Jessica Drew’s secret mission to loom world is pretty f’ing entertaining at this point. There’s not much action this time around but the plot points that the issue hits are absolutely superb. I can’t wait for the next issue of Spider-Woman to see where this goes. – Moke

Scarlett Spiders #2 – B

It’s Spider-Verse Episode 2: Attack of the Clones! The infiltration team of cloned Spider-Men and Women work their way deeper into the Jennix complex searching for the Achilles heel of the Inheritor’s cloning complex. This issue is a fun and anxious ride! I love reading special-ops and behind enemy lines type stories – Scarlett Spiders is based in this theme so I’m soaking it up. The creative Marvel team has done a good job of working this side story into the bigger Spider-Verse event. The Spidey’s and their opposition are well selected. This yin and yang does this title a lot of good. It’s hard to see how (…if…) our heroes will make it out of their situation intact. In practically every dimension of the Spider-Verse the Spiders are getting served. I hope this band of three can pull a “W” for the web slingers. – Taylor

All-New X-Men #34 – B

Admittedly, I was a bit disappointed with the way this story began, totally randomly with no sense of direction. The original mutants have all been scattered throughout time and space, and they must figure out how to get back. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is. A bulk of them landed in the Ultimate universe, and the awkwardness makes for some great banter between Miles Morales and the X-Men. All this book really needs is more Bobby, all the time, because he has something hilarious to say each panel. Here, he learns a valuable lesson about intolerance – easily the best piece of the issue for me. There are still some moments that come off too strong, like when Jean Grey has the urge to give herself a big old hug, but overall, this issue was a step back towards normalcy – or whatever the hell that is for them. – Sherif

Black Widow #13 – B

First and foremost, this art in this book is to die for.  Phil Noto, you rock my socks.  The colors, and contrast between gray and autumnal colors was mesmerizing to look at.  And the way he makes certain panels look like a photograph that is only focused on a certain part of the picture, while the rest is faded is incredible.  This man has talent, people.  The art is by far my favorite part of the book, but the story is getting pretty good, too.  Unlike the other female-led books in Marvel, Black Widow has a story going on.  She is being hunted. Granted, it seems like an easy story for the former KGB spy and current Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., but there are a lot of little factors going into it.  I like complicated.  – Adrian

Captain Marvel #10 – B-

Lately, Captain Marvel has felt very silly to me, and not in a good way.  This is a good time of year to step back from the silliness and take a break from it all.  Carol receives letters from home and is able to catch up with Kit, Spider-Woman, and Iron Patriot.  It was a nice reminder for Carol and for her readers, that she does have a home, and there are people there who care about her. Unfortunately, Grace Valentine, expert hacker who is totally jealous of Carol, is also still thinking about Carol. The next issue, Carol is going back home, which will hopefully rejuvenate the story to be a little more serious, while still having a good sense of humor, rather than just a silly way for other Marvel characters to be added in for no reason. – Adrian

Storm #6 – C+

Storm, thus far, has had no direction.  There is no real plot line, and we find our weather controlling heroine in a different, odd situation each month.  While this week’s issue was better than most (she is on a plane that is attacked by Eaglestar International, and Storm saves the plane), it still is lacking.  There is no character development, no story, no overarching themes.  Frankly, if this were my first introduction to Storm, I would be bored.  Spice it up Marvel!  Storm is deserving of a good title.  – Adrian

Guardians of the Galaxy #22- D+

The coolest part about any book where an unstable Venom teams up with a group of characters is that when Venom goes crazy – and he always goes crazy – is that we get to see each character as a wacked-out symbiote. This time, it’s the Guardians of the Galaxy. Most of this issue is a slugfest between Venom (sans-Flash) and the Guardians, and thanks to a lack of funny or exciting, left me feeling pretty let down. Spoiler: Rocket + Venom = Rocket (in algebra, that means that Venom adds no value to the equation). There is some more development to the Captain Marvel part of the story, but they really aren’t meshing together like they should. Consider this issue a waste of space if you’re not a fan of GOTG. – Sherif

Death Of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #4 – D

I don’t really know why I have continued to read this series because every time it seems to pique my interest, something comes out of right field and reminds me that this is a terribly stupid, uninteresting and unnecessary story. I do think the art for this series has been great, despite the character design of the main character; the covers to this series are the highlight to me, but as any book reader knows, “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” I ultimately think that having a great cover is the strategy for this series but that is not saying that it doesn’t have good characters, or situations. I would have almost rather have seen this “team” as a separate new series that only had slight connections to Wolverine. I could see these characters being good but the fact is that the characters seem to know as little about themselves as we do makes it a bit confusing and a difficult to relate to. – Jacob

 

Funniest Panel:

 

Justice League #37
Justice League #37

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Wonder Woman #37
Wonder Woman #37

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

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 12-10-14

Review Scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick of the Week:

TWD 135 POTW

The Walking Dead #135 – A

Issue #135 of The Walking Dead pissed me off! Not because it was bad, but because Kirkman does an excellent job of writing in the most STUPID and UNGRATEFUL, idiot characters!! How did so many selfish morons survive the apocalypse?!?! I felt anger, pride, fear and anxiety all throughout this issue – for making me feel all the feelings, I gave TWD an A this month! I can feel it in my bones that we will soon know what’s become of Michonne. There was also some magnificent (just SUPERB) foreshadowing of Carl Grime’s future in this newly formed society. I felt the need to nervously pace my apartment after reading this issue. It’s one of the better “build-up” issues I’ve read. Whether things escalate or the simmer down from here it’s hard to say, but what’s for sure is the “aww shit” seed has been planted and it’s only a matter of time before it blossoms and eats your face. Maybe an undead face mask isn’t a bad idea after all… – Taylor

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Prometheus: Fire & Stone #4 – B

And so concludes the first set of Fire & Stone comic series. There’s not a whole lot to say about this final chapter besides that it really drove home the best qualities of the Alien franchise. The issue was thrilling, bloody, left one with a sense of hopelessness, and open ended. It’s that last part that was also the downside to Prometheus F&S’s finale – there wasn’t any real closure. Because we all know that this story weaves into other comic arcs it didn’t really dampen anything, but compiling JUST the four issues together there’s a definite lack of simple plot structure. Minor overall and definitely overshadowed by all the happenings this issue. I’m sad to see this title go – it’s been such a fun ride! Let the gore and guts continue to spill in the sister issues!! – Taylor

DC/Vertigo: 

New 52 Futuress End #32 – B-

Now we’re getting somewhere. …Or at least it’s starting to feel like we are. There’s no action in this issue but at least we’re starting to get the set up of some sort of cohesive storyline. I’m not sure what clicked in the last issue or two, but I think I’m starting to actually care what happens here. So far my largest gripe against Future’s End has been the seemingly endless meandering of the plot. It seems as though we’re starting to get to the point; here’s hoping Future’s End keeps it up. – Moke

Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1 – C+

There are three different story arcs in this cliché holiday issue, but I only really liked the first one. The others didn’t hold much weight for me and had they been omitted, I wouldn’t have felt like the issue was missing anything. In fact, I thought the comic was over after the first story. That being said, the other two weren’t horrible, they just seemed to be supplementary to the first story line. While this issue could be a throwaway, it was nice to see the cute side of her character – sentimental, deranged, and looking for some hell raising fun – all without The Joker. But even still, this book may be one you can skip. – Charlotte

Dynamite Entertainment:

IDW Comics:

TMNT #41 – A

This series always amazes me how each week continues to be good – even the worst issues seem to be better than some of the best stuff out there. This issue continues the awesomeness with ¾ of the turtles focusing on taking out Shredder with Old Hob and the Mutanimals while Donatello sets up a meeting with Shredder. Fugitoid and Baxter Stockman join forces despite their differences to take down Krang. Things are not looking good for Krang as no one is on his side but himself, but it’s Krang so no one really cares seeing him hurt. This story arc has been really good and I absolutely love Cory Smith’s art, in fact I might say he is my favorite artist for this series overall. I would pick up here since it is the start of a new arc. – Jacob

Samurai Jack #15 – B+

Everything is on the line and there is nothing to fight with for our hero Jack. With the sword gone and him deemed unworthy, Aku sees his opportunity for attack and takes Jack by storm.  The battle takes up this whole issue and gives us one of the most action packed Samurai Jack issues we have seen. By the end, we don’t really have an idea of what is coming next but we do get one of those most exciting issues to date. It also helps that the subscription cover was done by the main man himself, Genndy Tartakovsky. – Jacob

October Faction #3 – B

This month’s October Faction somewhat made up for the previous issue’s slow start, but it still left me wanting a little more. In my opinion, this was the most interesting issue so far, but overall its hook still just hasn’t landed. There hasn’t been enough time spent really hashing out the world these characters live in so it’s hard to get excited and speculate where the story might go. So much time has been spent on the family dynamic, and while they are likable enough characters, it feels like Niles energy could be spent in better ways to get his story really rolling. I get that this book is supposed to have a heavy emphasis on the family drama, but so far they don’t feel dysfunctional, more like Leave it to Beaver, just with the whole seeing dead people and fighting monsters thing. This issue had a werewolf fighting a robot boy and a cocky assbutt getting shot for being smarmy and making threats, I want more of that! As of now, this series does not having me drooling and obsessing, but I can at least say that its most recent showing certainly kept my interest and I’m looking forward to next month’s issue. – Keriann

Image Comics:

Southern Bastards #6 – A

This week, I decided to jump into my comics mid-series. I figure that if the story is good, no matter what issue, it should generate enough interest that I’d want to check out the rest. To that end… the 6th issue of Southern Bastards was a bad one to walk into as it’s all about football. I am so indifferent and acerbic toward sports that I make people who also don’t care about football uncomfortable. I care about high school football less, and that’s what this is all about. In huge detail. There’s even a Magical Negro™ who courageously, though blind, teaches our white protagonist how to best foot the most balls. There were points where I wasn’t sure if this story was serious or making fun of itself. The shit does get real: our hero, a boy named Euless Boss (what?) wants to impress his abusive dead beat dad by making the team. Which he does! Though his dad dismisses him because he’s mid-orgy. But when things get real (a definite spoiler), my interest was piqued, and maybe Image hadn’t lost their minds and published a football comic (who the hell would even read that? Weren’t we all beaten up by the football team in high school?), but something deeper was happening. Sure enough, I read about it online, and it’s a comic about American south small town corruption (of which football is a small-large part since they love them some football). And my interest is definitely piqued. – J.H.

Sex Criminals #9 – A-

Aside from the slight loss in momentum due to inconsistent publishing dates, this issue ends with a giant mind-f***. Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky are the cutest creative team in the industry, and you would never know it by their unabashed approach to talking about one of the most uncomfortable topics, SEX. SEXY SEX SEX. Now that I have your attention, this book is seriously great. There’s definitely a polarizing reaction to the sexual expression that the characters have, and in all honesty, this book kicks it up a notch in the debauchery department when introducing a new character. None of it is smut just for the sake of smut, because it is all tied to a mind-blowing new path for the story to take. Look, you can feel uncomfortable, you can feel ashamed that you laugh, but this book is a triumphant story for all the twenty-somethings out there who wish they could stop time with their orgasms – and that can’t just be me, right? – Sherif

Shutter #7 – B+

This hiatus that writer Joe Keatinge and artist Leila del Duca took from Shutter came right on the heels of an epic finale that made the mid-season finale of Arrow look weak (okay, just kidding. Nothing tops the Arrow/ al Ghul showdown). The series drew me in instantly with its cast of fantasy characters and complete lack of regard for the status quo. Simply put, Shutter is a new experience. Unlike other books that try to cross into uncharted territory, a book with assassin foxes riding Triceratops into battle is just called “Issue #6.” As the arc is taking a new and unexpected turn, there’s so much to pay attention to and enjoy. I’m glad this book is gearing up for a second arc; I just hope that it can hold onto the magic that has made it so special. – Sherif

Bitch Planet #1 – B

This is the start to a really interesting sci-fi social commentary on how our society treats women and especially women of color. I love it when sci-fi uses its genre to create social change and this new comic definitely has that on their agenda. This issue definitely reminded me of the Buffy episode “Anne” where the prisoners are pushed to be compliant and denounce their individuality. And much like Buffy, Kamau Kogo gives that idea a roundhouse kick to the face. I love the representation in this comic, showing women of all sizes and color. This story arc has the potential to be really influential in the comic book world and I’m super excited to see what this new feminist icon gets up to next. – Charlotte

Copperhead #4 – D

This comic needs to go somewhere. I mean that in a bad way. It’s obvious that Faerber is trying WAY too hard to get readers to care. Cooperhead is a perfect example of trying to cram 10-pounds of stuff into a 5-pound bag. Some stories just can’t have it all and be successful! The comic flips drastically from one character to the next and alters themes just as dramatically. There’s only the mildest bit of cohesion and it’s the only thing saving this review from a failing grade. Added stories elements actually take away from the whole and make me more frustrated. It’s just one big colorful mess drifting in space. In order for this series to be saved, Faerber needs to trim the fat, pick a single theme, and just work it! No more giant teddy bears stupidly falling from rooftops or pissed of alien-hillbillies beating up manual laborers. Then I might be interested. – Taylor

Marvel:

Avengers & X-Men Axis #7 – A

This series has to be my favorite of the year. Per usual, any Marvel story featuring Apocalypse will end in death and destruction. It will be interesting to see just how this happens, especially with the twist of heroes as villains and vice versa. But this issue had a major bombshell that will be sure to change the aftermath of all the carnage to ensue. – Jacob

Spider-Man and the X-Men #1 – B+

Oh, how the times have changed. Remember the times when Peter Parker was the young rapscallion causing mischief wherever he went, making wise-cracks as he went? Yeah, now he has to deal with “actual” responsibilities – not saving the world or his girlfriend, but impressing upon today’s mutant youth the values of superhero ethics. Beyond the fact that this book is hilarious – I mean, picture an adult Ferris Bueller trying to teach detention, there are actually some words of wisdom that the book imparts to discuss an actual adult topic. Very sneaky, Marvel. There is a convoluted back-story as to why Spidey is teaching the “Special Class,” but the book flows far more easily without it. Sadly, this looks to be another ploy to stuff Spider-Man in our face while he’s hot, but that doesn’t make Spider-Man and the X-Men any less entertaining; it just means the ride will be a bit shorter than warranted. This could be its own version of Dangerous Minds if it stuck around long enough. – Sherif

Amazing Spider-Man #11 – B+

Rally the troops!!!! That was pretty awesome! Tension continues to mount as the Spidey(s) continue to lack even the inklings of the beginnings of a plan. However, even in the midst of an incredibly bleak situation for our heroes, Dan Slott and Co. still manage to find moments to bring the funny. We also get to see 616-Peter begin to take a more decisive leadership role (in an extremely satisfying manner, I might add). The only reason the issue doesn’t get a higher grade is because the frequent cutaways to other happenings in Spider-verse drastically hinder the pacing of the action. Every time another group of Spiders gets sent away on a mission, I can’t help but feel I’ve seen this before and the gimmick is starting to get a little tired. That being said, I can’t wait to see where else Spider-Verse takes us. – Moke

Thor #3 – B 

(B+) What to give this book? It’s hard for me to wrap my head around. I like the art, and I like the idea of woman Thor, but the execution is so uninteresting and typical. The teaser for next month’s cover gave me an eye sprain from rolling too hard. Since I am not much of a “superhero” guy, a book of this type has to be leagues greater than the standard for me to take notice. Well, I say it’s not my bag, but a well-written superhero comic is impossible to say no to. I’d say if you know anything about Norse mythology (and highly respect it), you’ll probably give this comic a C, but if you like super hero books a whole bunch, it’s probably worth a read. – J.H.

(B) I have mixed feelings about Thor this month. At the onset of the issue I was very pleased with the attention to backstory. If you read my reviews enough, you’ll know that I mention “depth” a lot – Jason Aaron added some of this critically good stuff in this issue, which was a plus. Introducing Skrymir, King of the Frost Giants, was entertaining and smart. But — now he’s dead. Oh yeah… Spoiler alert… In three issues of Thor it seems that the plot is both rushed and slow-walked in all the wrong places. By the issue’s end, I found myself, yet again, screaming at the pages, “WHO IS SHE?!” My outbursts aren’t based in the well-crafted “this story is doing a good job at keeping suspense,” but rather the irritating, “there’s no point to keeping this a secret anymore!!” This story isn’t better because I don’t know who The Goddess of Thunder is and it bugs me that the story hasn’t moved on from that yet. That aside, this issue is my favorite thus far. I think we’re close to having a good thing here people. Just hold on a little longer. – Taylor

Rocket Raccoon #6 – B-

Despite this series always being good, this issue and the last one (which happened to be favorite of the series) have been so far removed from the story they set up it almost feels like they threw away the last two issues to rev up again for the new year. That does not mean the story isn’t good, but after loving the last issue and ready to get back into the story it was kind of a shock to not have a mention of Blackjack O’Hare, the other Anthropomorphic raccoon, or any real significant piece of the story and just have Rocket taking odd jobs. I did love the story and seeing Cosmo is great to any past Guardian fans. Skottie Young’s art is wonderful and offers a very different side to a lot of the super realistic Rockets that we usually see these days. – Jacob

Deadpool: Art of War #3- C

I have to say I am not following where this series is going much. Although very entertaining and will likely get some comic fans to seek out the actual Art of War by Sun Tzu, this series doesn’t offer that much past a light entertaining read and some awesome art. By the end of this issue, you kind of feel the whole idea is destroyed a bit and leaves you wondering if the rest of the series will follow the Art of War as much as these first 3 issues. Despite being a bit lost within itself, the idea is as fun as any Deadpool story and allows you to see some pretty awesome battles. I would say pick this issue up for the art alone as it is the highlight of the whole series for me. – Jacob

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #6 – C

Despite me trudging through everything Death of Wolverine related, I keep reading and yet another issue seems to be dull and offer nothing much to the story. Andy Clarke does well with the art for Mystique in this issue. The writing is not bad, but just feels unnecessary and unsatisfactory.This issue focusing on Mystique offered the most out of anyone of the characters in the series. However, in the last panel we go, “Back to the Beginning!” I actually have hope for the new series that may come from this. – Jacob

Spider-Verse Team-Up #2 – C-

Oh well, they can’t all be winners. I guess it had to happen eventually, but this was just utterly disappointing. I get the “why” of the art style for the first half of the issue… but ugh, that was bad. I, for one, am glad the Adam West campy days of super-heroism are over. Eh, different strokes for different folks, I guess. The art of the second half was marginally better, yet the self-contained story was pretty paint by numbers. I can’t help but feel like they set the bar pretty low with this one. Le sigh. Onto the next issue. – Moke

 

Funniest Panel:

Spider-Man and the X-Men #1
Spider-Man and the X-Men #1

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Shutter #7
Shutter #7

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

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 06-04-14

Review Scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick of the Week:

Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #3 – B+

This book reminds me so much of Afro Samurai, and I love it. The gritty and violent tone, the way the panels are organized, right down to the old-timey page creases drawn down the middle, Iron First feels like the book we all wanted it to be. Already three issues in, and we have just gotten a taste of what to expect. Another flashback to Danny’s origin means additional clarity on how this story will unfold. It’s not the greatest book out, but it’s different and awesome enough to keep me eagerly reading. – Sherif

I don’t know much about Iron Fist, so this issue was sort of a treat for me. We are given more of the background story but not many questions are answered from the last two issues. I know that it is only a matter of time before they answer everything but I wish they would focus on answering some questions for new readers instead of creating many more each issue. The best part about this issue is the way they use the art to show the flow of Iron Fist’s kung fu. I would love to see more Kung Fu sequences like this. – Robert

Other Reviews:

 DC/Vertigo:

Batman Eternal #9 – B+

Just when you think that the story has gotten a bit stagnant, they go ahead and throw in a total curve ball in the very last panel. I won’t ruin it but I also don’t know quite what to make of it either. Things haven’t really developed on the “why” everything is happening as quickly as I would have thought. These last few issues are setting up for what seems to be a major climax. I still think we will see the death of Jim Gordon. This was still a pretty good issue and watching Batman pummel people through the whole issue is always a pleasure. – Robert

Green Arrow #32 – B-

I can’t help but feel like these last few issues, with regards to his city, and this new story arc are nothing but a rip off from Batman just not done nearly as well. I read this after reading the new Batman Eternal and the whole time I couldn’t help but feel like I had just read this. I do like seeing Arrow in action and the reintroduction of a character from a few issues ago could make for an interesting change of pace. This is just the beginning of a new arc and with the introduction of Diggle, who knows what’s in store for the future. – Robert

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #34 – B-

Metalhead is here! One of the classic and well-loved characters all fans know has made its debut in this issue with a change in his origin as well. Not a whole lot happens in this issue and although we see Metalhead for the first time and Old Hob and Slash return, it is a rather slow issue, as it seems 80% of it is getting us to meet and then defeat a malfunctioning Metalhead. Mateus Santolouco is as always awesome with his art and the new design for Metal head is a great reference to the past while also updating it for the times. If you read the series or are a TMNT fan then of course read the issue but ultimately this may be one to miss for those not already enthralled into the Turtles universe. – Jacob

Marvel:

Magneto #5 – B

I will always root for Magneto. This gritty book has finally taken a break from the insane amount of murder to bring in a new element. A woman has been trailing him for quite some time and seems to have studied everything about him. He doesn’t trust her, but against his better judgment, he decides to hear her out since she has something Magneto really wants. Magneto doesn’t seem to be a team player, so this pair up can only end in disaster. The ending gives a whole lot away, but left me with many more questions than answers. I am absolutely pining for the next issue! – Sherif

Not much has happened this issue but they are taking the time to try and flesh out Magneto’s character and trying to make us feel like he isn’t a “bad guy”. The setup for this next arc was actually rather confusing to me. Even with the introduction and the little bit of backstory they gave us, I am not really sure of the motivations of this new “sidekick” of Magneto’s. This issue was a bit of filler but I’m sure it is a setup for more badassery. – Robert

Original Sin #3 – B

This story sure is getting crazy now. If the Orb at the end of the last issue wasn’t enough to have you scream, “what the hell is going on?!,” then this issue will make sure and have you doing just that. Heroes now know everyone elses deepest secrets (or Original Sins) and things have disbanded after the Watcher being murdered. As far as the main part of this series goes, the art is very dark and filled with shadows making it almost feel like Marvels takes on their heroes in a film noir style. I may not know the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a lot of tings in this series but it does have my attention enough to figure out how these obscure villains got the run around on the Watcher. – Jacob

Amazing X-Men #8 – B-

Okay, okay. Maybe I was a bit too harsh on Amazing. To my defense, the last issue was really, really bad. Issue #8 is a good nudge back in the right direction, though. Ed McGuinness takes over pencilling duties again, and it’s a sight for sore eyes. Meanwhile, the new writing team of Craig Kyle and Chris Yost bring back the Wendigos. Back in Uncanny X-Men #140, it took Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Alpha Flight and more just to subdue the beast. Now there are a whole pack of them. The story needs some more explaining, but I’m looking forward to seeing where this is going. – Sherif

Cyclops #2 – C+

Star Wars meets Pirates of the Caribbean is the best way to describe this series so far. I actually like it more for its similarities to Star Wars than the whole “Space Pirates” thing they are trying to achieve. This whole series kind of feels like it takes away some of the things that make Cyclops special. Watching him as a teenager who is playing second string to his father, all the while not having developed yet makes me wonder how this whole thing will affect the entire Marvel Universe. – Robert

Loki: Agent of Asgard #5 – C-

While I’ll admit I’m just getting into the world of Marvel, I haven’t been super impressed by this series as of yet. It’s interesting to see Loki in this new light, but the plot seems scattered issue to issue and number five is no exception. It feels rushed to say the least. Loki uses the characters he has at his disposal (Thor, Lorelei, Verity Willis, and Sigurd) to break into the most guarded prison in Asgard (which was way too easily breached for my taste), then just sort of dumps them while he carries out his own mission alone. That mission? It ends abruptly with meager dialogue and didn’t make me excited for the next issue. I love Loki as a character, so I hope the writers can step up to the plate and give him the story he deserves as this series progresses. – Charlotte

 

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

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 04-09-14

Review Scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick of the Week:

The Walking Dead #125 – A

Finally!  A TWD issue that sustainably elevated my heart-rate!  I’d forgotten what that felt like.  We are one issue away from the conclusion of the All Out War arch of the series and all things are stacked up accordingly.  What’s got me even more excited is I can actually still envision a future for this series – all thanks to THIS issue.  How the war ends will be exciting and interesting (I’m betting), but real trademark of The Walking Dead series is how Kirkman and Image are able to keep that baited hook dangling in front of readers – ensuring that the everlasting question, “what will happen next?!” stays on the forefront of fans’ minds.  Maybe I’m still just on my high from #125 and I’ll be off of it by tomorrow morning.  But after being thisss close to putting this series to bed, I’m right back where I was when I first picked up this series – dying to keep reading.  See what I did there?… – T

The spirit of The Walking Dead has reanimated from the corpse that has been the last ten issues. When Rick first butted heads with Rick – and then promptly murdered one of the most beloved characters on the show – we knew there was going to be a showdown that lasted a while. However, with the way that (at least it seems from the last panel) it is wrapping up, it isn’t sitting well with me. In a GREAT way. Is Rick really the good guy? This issue contains quite possibly the greatest soliloquy the series has ever had – and then throws it all away in the name of survival. Damn you, Robert Kirkman, you had us all fooled. – S

“But seriously, there’s nothing weird about wanting to piss all over Rick Grimes’s dead bloated body.  He ruined everything, every motherfucking thing. It’d be weird if I didn’t piss all over him.” Hilltop is in shambles, and The Saviors are in the woods waiting nearby to finish the job. Negan is waiting for the remaining survivors to surrender after Rick dies from his injury following Dwight’s arrow to the back. While we fear for Rick’s life, Carl gives Mikey some much needed advice as he watches his father die. Hang on tight Dead-heads! The last page of issue #125 is exactly what we have been waiting for since this war began. – JS

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse Comics:

Star Wars #16 – B-

I’m still riding this Star Wars wave.  The first 15 issues have taken me up and down in my enjoyment.  I’m on my way up with the latest issue and hoping that it keeps building.  After the plot “reset” that took place last issue, I ‘m glad to see that this issue followed up in appropriate fashion.  It’s become a story of depth and internal struggles – something that defines classic Star Wars.  But man… I sure do wish Wood (writer) would drop the whole “Luke still has a crush on Leia” angle.  I shutter in disgust way more frequently than I should reading a SW comic. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Batman: Eternal #1 – A

Batman is getting a LOT of attention this year, and for deserved reasons; we celebrate the Dark Knight’s 75th Anniversary with Batman: Eternal, a weekly series headed by Scott Synder and James Tynion IV. Usually I’m a bit skeptical of weekly series, but Eternal is the real deal. The first issue pulls no punches. We’re given a glimpse of the future and it looks terrible; Gotham is in flames, and whoever is doing this knows Batman’s identity. My money is on Ra’s Al Ghul. He’s been too quiet in the New 52. Anyway, the issue also sets precedents. We’re given a new police officer recruit, and Jim Gordon gets himself in DEEP doo-doo. It’s everything I want out of a Bat-book and more, and the fact that it is weekly means they will be propelling Batman’s universe four times as fast with new (and returning) characters making an impact. – S

Superman – Wonder Woman – B+

I’m not really sure how the hell Wonder Woman has become the God of War since I don’t keep up with her regular book, but I think they could have done a better job summarizing what happened there for the rest of us. This issue wasn’t so much about the past as it is about the future. Starting with the next issue as well as the next Superman issue, they will be starting Doomed, which can only include one villain when you think about it. But just in case it doesn’t immediately come to you, I won’t spoil the ending of this issue for you. My biggest question is how will these two fare against one of the greatest DC foes of all time? Will the combined might of the God of War and the Man of Steel be enough to conquer true evil? It sure as hell better be because Supes was able to do it by himself once before so I don’t wanna see any weak crap in the next few issues. This book has been very solid throughout and I would hate for it to turn into some kind of love conquers all cliché. – R

Batgirl #30 – C

What the hell is going on in Gotham City right now? Where have all of these supernatural demons and vampires come from? I hope these last few issues haven’t been a setup for some bigger supernatural plot line they are going to introduce, because with the way they have written the last few issues regarding it, it would be enough to make me seriously consider not continuing to read this book. Aside from all of that the artwork was great and there was nice introspection from Barbara about Dick Grayson that meshed with the story very well. – R

When I first found out that Gail Simone didn’t write this issue, I freaked out. Luckily, this is just a one-time thing, as she returns to writing in #31. That being said, what was so special about this issue that Simone got bumped back an issue? I don’t really understand the Alien-like symbiote; it could be setting up some weird gooey future storyline, but it’s unclear as to how that will happen. What I really don’t get – and makes me want to chuck the issue altogether – is that she spends the entire issue pouting and “mourning” Dick Grayson. I think this is an unbelievably dumb move, because his fate is still in the balance in Forever Evil, so it’s like “Shut the hell up, Barbara, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Gail Simone would never have been so sloppy, so I’m glad next month we can get back to normal. – S

Dynamite Entertainment:

Flash Gordon #1 – B

I’ve had the misfortune of being born in the 20th Century.  The internet, smart phones, and automated coffee makers that will, in all likelihood, enslave the human race one day have all been the norm for me.  As such, I never got to experience Flash Gordon in his original form as a 1930’s adventure comic hero.  So imagine my surprise when I was hit with nostalgia and wonderment when reading the new Flash Gordon series.  Weird right?!  It’s abundantly clear that Parker (writer), Shaner (illustrator) and Dynamite have an agenda with Flash and his courageous crew in that they are bringing a cherished piece of nerd history to the present.  The beauty of issue #1 is that it’s cliché in nearly every aspect of the original comic book medium – from the artwork, to the general plot and character banter.  But it’s all done in a way that captures my attention and makes me want more.  I mean, if George Lucas used this as inspiration for Star Wars, that means it guaranteed to be good. – T

IDW Comics:

Rocky and Bullwinkle #2 – B

In the second issue of Rocky and Bullwinkle, we have the same format as about every episode of the show and the last issue. It is a two-part story with a “Dudley Do-Right” story in the middle. This series reads so much like the show, which makes them absolutely wonderful for fans of the past. It is hard to get through without speaking the lines as Bullwinkle or Boris and yet Snidley has not tied Nell to train tracks yet. This issue brings up a almost Burt Wonderstone feel of how magic is lost in modern times and no one goes to see the magician, the Great Griffin anymore. Moose and Squirrel find him and try to help him make it onto a reality show competition but as magic is no more in this modern era, he inevitably fails. The baddies Boris and Natasha try to kidnap Griffin to have him open a safe and only with the help from some old friends will Rocky and Bullwinkle be able to save the day in time. The Dudley Do-Right story is great as well and puts the well known Mountie phrase to the test, “A Mountie always gets his man!” Filled with many great gags, references, and even a Kardashian joke to wrap it all up, this series is a great read and always bring lots of nostalgia into your life. – JR

Samurai Jack #7 – B-

Samurai Jacqueline and the Scotswoman are back for another adventure…wait. With Jack and the Scotsman under a spell that has turned them into women, the Leprechauns whom cursed them send them on a journey to defeat a bothersome giant. Once the duo reach the giant and attack it relentlessly they find out the giant is actually a good person and his screams drown out the spell making both Jack and the Scotsman men again. Once that gender switch is taken care of the heroes now head back to the leprechauns with their giant friend to defeat them once and for all. This two-issue story was quite entertaining and left you almost wanting to see the gender bending team stay on for more than just two issues. As always, the art of the Samurai Jack books are great and the dialogue is slim which makes it just like the series. A great read for any Jack fan and of course if you had read last months issue. – JR

Image Comics:

Shutter #1 – A-

Seriously, does Image Comics have a bad book? Their latest new book, Shutter, is a fantastic story of a young girl who was groomed to be the world’s greatest explorer. The traumatic death of what we think is her surrogate or biological father derailed her ambition, but “She’s seen some shit,” so she says. Somewhere in the middle, there are holographic ninjas and mechanical Monopoly men. The book is funny and exotic and I can’t wait to keep reading. I mean, any story in which the moon is considered boring must be an adventure worth taking. – A

Marvel:

Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #1 – A

This comic was amazing; it was dark, filled with that reminded me of a brutal anime (Afro Samurai) and set the tone for a great story to take place. I really like this new Iron Fist, and I only want to see more of him. For those of you that love the character, or know nothing about him, this is a great comic to check out. I can’t wait for the next issue to come out and I highly recommend it.  – E

Kick-Ass 3 # 7 – A-

Hit-Girl is back and s*** is about to go down. There is only one more issue left and it finally feels like we are going to see the badass kickass we have been waiting to see since the beginning. Three storylines in the making, and he finally is done being such a wuss. Lots happened this issue, but none of it is as important as what is coming up next issue. This conclusion could mean the death of one, or both, of our heroes, as Millar has said before that this will be the last installment of the epic trilogy six years and two movies in the making. I don’t know how they are going to end it all but I can’t wait to find out, this issue has got me pumped for the finale. – R

Captain Marvel # 2 – B

That Flerken Cat! Captain Marvel is back in space after an awesome introductory issue. We get a good scope of how strong of a character she is, physically and in character. The only thing that could make her book even more enjoyable is a team up with the Marvel darlings, Guardians of the Galaxy! Rocket Raccoon steals the spotlight a bit, as he always does, and the whole issue is entertaining. I’m really excited to see how this team-up builds and, of course, Kelly Sue DeConnick‘s writing shapes the story wonderfully. Go buy this! – S

All-New Ghost Rider # 2 – B

Only into the second book and this series has proven its worth. We still don’t have an explanation as to why Robbie Reyes has become the Ghost Rider but I am sure we will get that soon enough. This series and the characters are growing very nicely and we are definitely getting to sympathize with Robbie and beginning to dislike many people he will likely be battling and defeating in coming issues. This issue shows us what the mystery pink pills that were in the car Robbie borrowed to race can do, and it introduces us to multiple people who may end up being main adversaries throughout the series. Although the standard Johnny Blaze and the motorcycle we all know and grew to love are gone, this new, gritty and very different artistic take on Ghost Rider is guaranteed to please old fans and create many new ones. – JR

Thanks to Marvel’s earlier studio movies – okay, really, it’s just Nicholas Cage’s fault – fans have a sour taste of Johnny Blaze in our mouths. Couple that with the fact he hasn’t been around since the end of Fear Itself a couple years ago, and it just screams reboot! Robbie Reyes is to the barrio what Kamala Khan is to Muslim Americans; there’s a certain honesty that All-New Ghost Rider carries with it is refreshing and unique. The new outfit, vehicle and art style are very polarizing. I feel like you either love how it feels or you think it looks cheap and poorly designed. You can add me to the list of the former, because Ghost Rider is quickly catapulting to the upper echelon of books in my pull list. – S

(Note: can’t win ’em all) The new Ghost Rider has a new look, and as Tim Gunn would say, “This concerns me.” The new GR is a Los Angelino named Robbie Reyes. No more flaming chopper and black leather jacket, our hellish vigilante is pushing a muscle car and looks more like a H&M model than hellfire corpse. Look at it this way, I read this comic so that you won’t have to. – JS

All-New X-Men # 25 – B

This book is beautifully illustrated. I’m not sure that I am versed enough in comic folklore to fully appreciate the massive team of talent that went into this singular issue…if you are a comic head you will appreciate this Dream Team roster of artistic talent; Bruce Timm, Laura Martin, Arthur Adams, Justin Ponsor, David Mack, Skottie Young, Jason Keith, Robbi Rodriguez, Lee Bermejo and Marte Gracia to name a few. Beast is visited in the middle of the night by The Watcher. He plays a Ghost of Christmas future role and shows Hank all the damage he caused by bringing the X-Men to the future. What this issue lacks in story, it makes up in production. – JS

All-New Doop # 1 – B

If you see the cover of this and are immediately turned off because it’s ridiculous and dumb, then you can hand in the keys to your childhood right now. Doop is described as the “green potato thing,” and boy is that on the money…. I guess. Doop reminds me of a cuter version of DC’s Bat-Mite as he sneaks around behind the scenes and meddles with the X-Men’s affairs in Battle of the Atom. It’s just overall a really cute book that adds a breath of fresh air, especially in a week filled with so many anniversary and tribute issues. Take this book for a spin and I bet you won’t be disappointed. – S

Daredevil # 1.50 – B-

Here we get yet another anniversary issue, celebrating fifty years of Matt Murdock. We begin with a letter from the editor revealing that The Avengers came about solely to fill in a gap when the writers of Daredevil were late – very interesting. This anniversary special is broken into three parts: one written in the future by current writer Mark Waid, one by legendary writer Brian Michael Bendis, and the final a reprinting of an old Gene Colan piece (RIP). It’s better than a lot of tribute issues as of recent where too many writers just too few pages to tell a meaningful story. Instead, we’re given unique and powerful panels that remind us why Daredevil is The Man Without Fear. Even fans not caught up with the book can appreciate this. – S

Deadpool # 27 – B-

Dubbed “The Most Important Issue #27 in Comic Book History,” I was already offended before I flipped to the first page Note: This is a joke, of course, but Detective Comics (1939) #27 gave us the first appearance of Batman, who is experiencing his 75th Anniversary this year. The cover to this issue is amazing; it would be a fun game to see how many of the 232 characters we know (key in the back of the issue). This issue is really long-winded, but serves as a tribute to and from all the writers and stories Deadpool has had over the years. There’s a really cool sense of ownership and community of the character. It kind of lost its mojo part way through, but the general consensus is that Deadpool has been lovestruck a lot and now that he finally has a bride, things can’t go his way for much longer. – S

Nightcrawler #1 – C

Disappointing effort from Chris Claremont. I was expecting something completely different. Nauck’s art lacks depth (in my opinion) and this book falls short. This was a boring first attempt to reenergize a fan favorite. Let’s hope there is more to come. – JS

For a book that sees our beloved Nightcrawler return from the dead, there sure wasn’t a whole lot to celebrate here. Acclaimed writer Chris Claremont is back to write the series, but a lot of the “umph” that he had in the 90s. His signature style of explaining every little nuanced detail of the character’s personality was endearing twenty years ago, but readers really don’t need that much background anymore. As for Nightcrawler, he’s really not even the focus in this book; he takes the backseat to both Wolverine and Amanda (Claremont explains everything but the history of this character, who is important to Nightcrawler, but not really in the X-Universe). At the end of the day, I just wanted more of the lovable BAMFer and less distracting side-story. The man just came back from the dead, can we get him a beer or something? Expand upon the stories of Heaven, Hell and Azazel? I’m willing to give it another chance, but I’m ready to teleport out if the next issue is as disappointing. – S

All-New Ultimates #1 – C-

This comic was fairly good. When there was action, it stood out and was very entertaining, however throughout a good part of the comic it just felt like nothing was happening. I do like that they didn’t make this new team the “ultimate weapon” right off the bat. They are still very new and green and they showed that side in the comic. Overall I enjoyed it and I recommend it to people that enjoy the characters. – E

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

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib, Evan Lowe, Adrian Puryear, Taylor Lowe, Robert Michael, John Soweto and Jacob Robinson

Comic Book Reviews 01-22-14

Review Scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick of the Week:

batman 27 epic

Batman #27 – A

If you were reading Scott Synder’s Zero Year arc, you may have forgotten that the series is 75 years old. Every panel feels brand new, yet strongly nostalgic. Batman #27 was thiiiis close to an A+. Long-time Batman fans will cringe as they watch Bruce Wayne clash with James Gordon; what has blossomed into a historic bromance has very hostile beginnings. Throw in Dr. Death and a looming Riddler threat, and you have an origin story worth telling – one that’s far darker than Frank Miller’s Year One and more colorful (not just in ink, but in personality) than the Bob Kane stories that spawned Batman. With the arc wrapping up in Batman #29, I’m basically camping out Black Friday-style at Mile High Comics until they release it. To be stuck in the past is usually an unhealthy delusion, but in the case of Batman: Zero Year, it’s a delusion I can live with. – S

Other Reviews:

Action Lab-Danger Zone Comics

Bo: Plushy Gangsta #1 – C-

I have to admit that when I first saw the cover of this comic, I was very excited to read it because it simply looked awesome. A thugged out teddy bear that everyone seems to fear. However, in the actual read some things fell short in my opinion. First of all, the dialog at times was somewhat hard to read because it was written as hardcore inner-city hood dialect. For example, “ ‘lcome, ladies. They call me The Cut, and this is my ‘umble estate, ya-‘ear? Yeah, yeah!! Ya must be tired after de ride, but I thought…it’s still a ‘ood time to, ya know, ‘et to know each other. So…” the entire book was filled with this ghetto speak which took away from the moment of whatever was happening because I had to re-read certain things just to make sure I was reading them correctly. Secondly, it did take a long time to get to the point of it all. Toward the end of the comic, we do finally get to hear the story behind “BO” and why he is a plushy bear, however we don’t actually get to see his face or hear him talk till the second-to-last panel. Nonetheless, he is still a plushy teddy bear gangsta that everyone fears which wrangles in some of the entertainment factor which is accommodated nicely by the art work with the use of bright colors and smooth textures. I do have higher hopes for this book with upcoming issues because Bo is finally introduced so we should be seeing a lot more of him. So even though this issue was slow, somewhat hard to read, and lacking humor and comedy, I would actually like to read the next issue just to see what happens. For goodness sake, it’s the hood version of TED and I think the rest could be interesting now that the introductory issue is out of the way. – E

Dark Horse Comics

Star Wars: Legacy II #11 – D+

The cover of Star Wars: Legacy #11 displays a rugged (unknown) man leaning in for a passionate kiss with our heroine, Ania Solo, and title caption reading “History Repeats!”  Know what I have to say about that?… Banta Poodoo.  Ania in tow with her alien, droid and Jedi partners have taken up interstellar freighting/smuggling as they casually (almost nonchalantly) hunt down the Sith forces that are taking over the galaxy.  Though this greater plot is mentioned zero times in the issue, there seems to be a new story unraveling.  Ania and crew end up running into a stranded vessel along their journey that happens to be occupied by a man and his crew.  It’s apparent that Ania knows this gentleman quite well.  I could tell from the immediate and unhesitant kiss she laid on him the instant he takes his helmet off.  Learning only that this scruffy looking dude (…this guy hasn’t earned the title “nerf herder”…) is named Ramid and that he is from Ania’s past does little to instill the “history repeating” factor.  It’s quite underwhelming for a die-hard fan like me and makes me wish this series would just wrap it up already.  Still – there remains just a faint glimmer of potential in this series.  Can I get a “woop-woop” for the Lightsaber Whip appearance?!  A plasma whip to the face is exactly what Legacy needs to keep me flipping pages. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Scribblenauts Unamsked: A Crisis of Imagination #1 – A-

This book is just absurdly cute. I laughed, ooh’ed and aww’ed my way through the entire issue. Inspired by the videogame (unfortunately only for Nintendo) of the same name, Unmasked follows our hero Max in his plight to help save Gotham, Earth, and the entire galaxy. The premise of the book, and the game, is that Max owns a magic notebook that can bring to life any appropriate tool or item to complete a task. TONS of fun ensue as this concept is applied to the DC Universe. The story is witty and fun, and the art is simplistic, but detailed in the best kind of way. This is fun for all ages and a solid investment.  – A

Wonder Woman #27 – B

I don’t know how Brian Azzarello does i every month, but he manages to make every single issue of Wonder Woman look like a battle between the gods. This could be because every issues is, in actuality, a battle between the gods – Wonder Woman herself now included among them. The grandiose scale of each struggle makes you feel like the world is really at stake, yet it is still somewhat personable because of it’s human characteristics . While the war for Olympus is waging, Apollo has decided to torture Zeus’ first born in order to persuade him into joining Apollo’s side – and he does a pretty crappy job at it. Issue #27 has so much to offer in story, from Wonder Woman’s angle (she be schemin’!) to Zola’s predicament. Something crazy’s about to happen, and I wouldn’t want to be caught in the middle when it happens, but as a reader, I cheer for blood like any other Greek would! – S

Justice League #27 – B-

Victor Stone AKA Cyborg has had quite the upgrade (get it?) when the New 52 began. No longer a member of the rag-tag Teen Titans,Cyborg has become arguably the most valuable member of the Justice League, with the exception of Batman, obviously. Using his connection to every single network in the world, he’s the Big Brother you actually want to have (get it?). Justice League #27 showcases the metal man with the big heart. While I definitely appreciate the sentimental relationship between Vic and his father, it comes across as corny, with no real build-up to make you care about what is happening. That being said, Cyborg gets a kick-ass upgrade to his suit, and the “Red Room” is a cave of wonders that made me drool in excitement. The issue left me really wanting more, in a negative way. It did, however, prove that Cyborg could carry his own story. I’m excited to see his character continue to develop in the New 52 and will wait patiently for his show-down with Grid. – S

Harley Quinn #2 – B-

In it’s second issue in, Harley Quinn is beginning to find its own identity. PETA fans will love this episode, as Harley tries her best to rescue a shelter full of animals in danger of being euthenized. Harley can’t do it on her own, though, as she enlists the help of Poison Ivy to do so. Here’s where things get interesting; Ivy and Harley have always had a… colorful relationship. That relationship has been kind of a fanboy fantasy that’s playfully hinted at in Bruce Timm’s Harley & Ivy mini-series, as well as Gotham Girls; I mean, there are Tumblr pages (SFW, as far as I could tell) devoted to it. I’ve always felt that it’s a lot more subtle than in this issue, with Harley getting morning-after kisses and Ivy getting really excited about the prospect of seeing Harley’s beaver. Often compared to Marvel’s Deadpool books, Harley Quinn has much more going on; the art by Chad Hardin is fantastic and there is actually a storyline going on, two aspects that Deadpool sorely lacks. I highly recommend this fun and interesting book! – A

Dynamite Entertainment:

Bad Ass #1 – B+

For an introductory issue to a newly established character, the author didn’t waste any time getting the ball rolling. There was plenty of humor and action to go around; however it seemed a little light on a cohesive introductory story. We are thrown into a random world with some unexplainable characters plus a minor side story about the character. While all that can change, it may take a few issues to flesh out some of the details. Who is this main character? What kind of background does he have? How realistic is this world he is living in? These are just a few of the questions that I hope get fleshed out in the next few issues. I will say that the artwork is solid, nothing spectacular, but definitely drawn well enough as not  to detract from anything else. This is one book I will be keeping my eye on for the future. – R

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Age of Utrom (mini-series) #1 – B-

Taking a little break from the turtles, Age of Utrom focuses on Krang and his quest for domination, as narrated by our sad robot friend, Fugitoid. For those not obsessed with TMNT, an Utrom is a brain-like creature of extremely high intelligence; in the TMNT cartoon, they are all simply referred to as the Krang. I love that they are starting to bring the inter-galactic war into the comics. The art is wonderful, accented perfectly with late 80’s heavy color sci-fi era. It’s an interesting concept, but to be honest, I don’t know how I would feel about it if the Turtles name wasn’t attached to it. The confrontation Krang had with the leader of the Fighting Lizards was pretty cool, but I can tell that this mini-series is just a set-up for the next big reveal in the main TMNT series. It would be great to get more Krang in the future issues, as his cunning and ruthlessness make him a fun villain to watch. – S

Samurai Jack #4 – C+

After some great debut issues, Samurai Jack has entered the land of mediocrity. Jack is still kickin butt and taking names, but the honeymoon phase is ending and the expectations for the book are rising. In this issue, Jack travels to a frigid land led by a monarch who imprisons Jack. Jack leads an uprising against the evil Queen and collects another Thread of Time on his journey to face Aku. The series is beginning to get a little formulaic, but it is still in no way a dull read. The same magic from the animated show is here, but the writer is taking his time to get to the showdown. This is still a solid book and I recommend it to anybody interested. – A

Image Comics:

Deadly Class #1 – A

If there’s one new book you pick up this year, make it Deadly Class. Rick Remender is simply a comic book genius, as his other ongoing title, Black Science, has stunned me with it’s captivating plot and panicky pace. Deadly Class spends most of the book setting up the story of an orphan, living on the streets. It’s quite possibly the saddest thing since [enter superhero here] died. What our protagonist doesn’t know is that he is being secretly recruited for an underground school of trained assassins. The art by Wes Craig, complemented by the astounding color work of Lee Loughridge, is some of the best in the industry. Along with Black Science, image Comics has become an absolute powerhouse in the comic book industry. You need to pick this book up –  end of discussion!

The Walking Dead #120 – C-

The war is halfway over folks!  I sure hope that means better things are to come for TWD.  I applaud Kirkman for keeping the story alive, but I just can’t help but feel it’s being forced (and has been for a while).  In this issue Rick has just returned to Alexandria when Negan arrives in “explosive” fashion.  In addition to lobbing grenades over Alexandria’s walls Negan’s undead-Trojan Horse takes a bite out of the Alexandria community.  Meanwhile, Jesus continues to be the baddest mother-SHUT YO MOUTH-amongst the ever shrinking human population.  By combination of running out of explosives and getting chased off by some unexpected reinforcements, Negan and army eventually pull back.  Convinced he’s won the war, Negan cracks a smile and continues on this merry fu**ing way.  Like last issue and the issue before… and the one before that (you see where I’m going with this)… I’m left longing for more in this corner stone comic series.  The All Out War arc of The Walking Dead still has potential.  But what will determine my continued allegiance (and funding) of this series will largely depend on its conclusion and where the series head’s next.  Crossing my fingers for major develops in the next issue! – T

Marvel:

All-New X-Men #22.NOW – A

Now we’re playing with fire! After two filler issues about the Purifiers, a wacko religious cult, All-New X-Men is making waves again. Kids will be kids, as the issue opens up with a hilariously passive-aggressive argument between Jean Gray and Scott Summers. Without much dialogue, Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen remind us that these mutant legends are still just children, still coping with this bizarre situation. As the group is startled by a group of invaders, they rush into action to defend their base. The invaders, the Ski’ar, have had great relations with the X-Men, but those who have read the Phoenix Saga know that they’re not so crazy about Jean Grey. To close the book, the X-Men are greeted by one more group of space travelers – let’s just say there’s a reason those new uniforms look just like space suits! I’m ready for the best team-up in comics to happen NOW (get it?)! – S

All-New Invaders #1 – A

While reading this comic, I found there to be several things rather enjoyable about this book. First off, I found Steve Pugh’s artwork to be amazing, particularly the epic fight scenes between Tanalth, The Pursuer, and Jim Hammond. The way they were drawn with the bright colors and smooth textures, it was just truly eye catching. The overall story was good, and where it is about to go I can see being great with how many different elements are involved in this story. What I appreciate about this book is that they give you enough background knowledge so you don’t have to be completely lost to the situation, yet they still hold a strong mystery and entertainment element to keep you invested in the story. After seeing everything that happened I am fairly excited to see where this goes and what is to happen next. The only thing I wish would have come out of this issue was a little bit more character info. I’m sure prior knowledge would help and that such knowledge could reveal itself during the next issue, other than that however, I found this comic to be rather enjoyable. Oh yeah, and did I mention that the art was amazing, particularly during the fight scenes? – E

Origins II #2 – B+

Even after the original origins story, details on Wolverine’s pre-Weapon X days are still rather scarce. Considering how long he has lived however, I’m not surprised. So far, what I have gathered from this series is there will be a few more answers to that lingering question of “what happened to Logan before Weapon X?” This issue marks the introduction of Victor Creed AKA Sabretooth, and while nothing really happens between the two, it should allow for some really interesting tussles later in the series. Creed even throws in his trademark “runt” taunt towards Wolverine. The artwork so far has been spectacular including some really gritty scenes that are colored very well. The story is still a little ambiguous as to where in the continuity we are and with what they are ultimately trying to achieve in writing a sequel to his first origin story. The first Origins revealed so much about Wolverine so I am very interested to see where they take this and what revelations will be uncovered by the end. – R

Black Widow #2 – B

Phil Noto, where have you been all my life? The art in Black Widow is so mesmerizing. While that is what lured me in, Nathan Edmondson’s writing is what goes for the kill. As is popular in comics, we begin at a certain cliffhanger and build up background story until we arrive back at the beginning. There isn’t a whole lot of great spy monolog like in the debut issue, which left me asking more questions about what was going on than answering them. Either way, I’m excited to read the next issue to see where this Iron Scorpion thing takes us, if not just to see more great Noto art. Here’s to hoping there is a clearer scope going forward. – A

Avengers #25 – C+

I think the new Avengers comic book is being told through the wrong medium. The amount of dialogue in this book has been almost excruciating. No doubt, writer Johnathan Hickman can tell a story, and the art by Salvador Larroca fits the mood quite well, but there’s nothing to ruin the pace of a comic book by having every panel be a bunch of long-winded characters (ahem, Stark…) standing around explaining why they’re so smart. That gripe aside, I’m a fan of any multiverse stories, especially those with a Thor as brutal as the one we saw today. Throw in a dead Avenger, and we have quite the mystery on our hands. – S

All-New X-Factor #2 – C

Last we left our mutant business associates they had just crashed the A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) lab run by true evil, genius Doctor Terrance Hoffman.  Knowing only that they were tasked to rescue captured mutants, Polaris, Gambit and Quicksilver begin searching high and low.  Before long Hoffman learns of the Serval team’s intrusion.  What a perfect time to try out the awesome, new, evil power he’s been cultivating!  The catch is – live mutant specimens are needed to fire it up.  Specimens for today?  Reaper and Abyss!  Fatale is also one of Hoffman’s lab rats, but seems to have passed her usefulness to the doctor and is eventually found by Polaris.  Hoffman charges up, and starts a rumble with the Serval mutants.  How it ends… you’ll have to read!  All-New X-Factor #2 gets a mediocre score this time.  The second installment diverges from many of the aspects that made #1 alluring.  From cover to cover, this issue was mostly cliché good guys fighting bad guys.  Depth was lacking and I was much less familiar with the new mutants that appeared in the series (there’s definitely some backstory I’m missing).  Gambit’s inner-monologue was limited and dull.  All in all, a mildly entertaining read.  I do have to give mad props to Peter David for the Star Wars reference near the end of the issue… Looks like Marvel is already warming up for next year’s takeover.  I suspect next issue will pick up again and get back to the focus on Serval Industries and their mysterious CEO Harrison Snow. – T

Avengers World #2 – C-

After an amazing premiere issue, #2 is lackluster in just about every way. Smasher, who is a new incarnation of the character in the Marvel NOW! relaunch, doesn’t really have enough clout to carry her own story, although those drawn to the character will definitely enjoy the story. I can appreciate what Hickman is trying to do, but I feel that the first issue was just a ruse to get us invested in the futuristic Scientistic Supreme storyline. On the plus side, Dr. Bruce Banner makes his hilarious return as he schools everybody that will listen. – S

Hawkeye #2 – C-

Haweye has been one of the most consistently enjoyable books out there, but this issue just wasn’t up to par with any of the rest in the series thus far. I think a lot of that is the fact that Katie may still be Hawkeye, but she’s nowhere close to being Hawk Guy.Clinton Barton is a clumsy, skilled, but mostly lucky hero, who constantly gets the crap beaten out of him as he tries to do the right thing. Watching Kate parade around like Harriet the Spy with no direction is getting a bit frustrating. Pretty soon, even the cat food guy is going to stop listen. – S

George Romero’s Empire of the Dead #1 – C-

While George Romero is considered one of the pioneers of the zombie genre, I must admit that I have not been a fan of his last few films. Zombies that think and are able to operate guns? Zombies that have some deep embedded memory of who they were before they turned? If that sounds ridiculous to you then not only will you not like those films, you will not really enjoy this book either. The only thought running through my mind while reading the inner monologue of a recently turned zombie was that Warm Bodies did it way better. The art was great and unique but other than that I was able to find few redeeming qualities about this story, particularly the ludicrous “twist” at the end. All of that being said, if you have been a fan of George Romero’s work up to this point, last few films included, I think that this will be something you can enjoy. – R

 

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 2 A’s and 3 B’s, averaging out to a 3.40

Marvel Comics: 2 A’s, 2 B’s, and 5 C’s, averaging out to a 2.67

Independents: 1 A, 2 B’s, 3 C’s and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.43

Funniest Panel of the Week:

The Walking Dead #120
The Walking Dead #120

Epic Panel of the Week:

All-New Invaders #1
All-New Invaders #1

Cover Art of the Week:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Age of Utrom #1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Age of Utrom #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 IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Written by Sherif ElkhatibTaylor LoweEvan LoweAdrian Puryear and Robert Michael

Comic Book Reviews 01-08-13

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:

Black Widow #1
Black Widow #1

Black Widow #1 – A

If you’re looking for a kick-ass superhero book, pick this up. Black Widow has always been a character worthy of her own series; an ex-KGB and current Avenger, Natasha Romanov is shrouded in mystery and has the skills to take on anything. The art in Black Widow is amazing, giving off the feel like the whole story is being told through the lens of a spy, with extreme color detail (nod to Phil Noto!). I’m instantly sold on just how bad this chick is as she takes on two cases with ruthless efficiency. Not much developing yet in terms of a plot for this arc, but the issue itself is thoroughly entertaining with just enough detail to make you pine for the next one.  – S

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse Comics

Star Wars #13 – C

The beginning of a five part spinoff story starts with Star Wars #13 this week.  The topic – Vader’s revenge!  Sounds cut throat and exciting right?  Well… not so much in this issue.  Following events in the previous 12 issues, Vader is out to force choke the life out of everyone who played a part in allowing the double crossing Bircher to take command of the Devastator.  He recruits young Imperial ensign Nanda to chauffer him around the galaxy on his vengeance quest.  While I enjoy the prospect of Vader violently using the force on others as an anger management technique, I can’t help but feel that this theme is overplayed.  Through the entire issue there was only one moment in which readers experience the “Vader moment,” and even at that it only spanned two pages.  The most intriguing and exciting potential for the next five issues are the elite, black-ops Stormtroopers (that have no record of ever existing) and what they will bring to Vader’s foes. The story has me interested, but not on the edge of my seat.  I hope we get to see more out of Nanda and that Vader jumps into action soon. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Detective Comics #27 – A

This is not your average “special anniversary” issue. With DC celebrating 75 years of the Dark Knight in 2014, Detective Comics #27, which was the original comic that the Bat-Man appeared in dating back to 1939, is a great way to ring in the year. This issue is full of mini-stories, both feel-good and reflective, that explore a different aspect of Batman’s history. All are thoughtful and put a smile on my face, with Gregg Hurwitz & Neal Adams’ nostalgic story stealing the show. You can tell that the creative team that worked on this book had fun making it, and I had fun reading it. – S

Batman Black & White #5 – A-

Bringing back this collection of short stories about our vigilante hero is the best idea DC has had for a long time. Each issue is a series of vignettes about the Bat. All of the writers and artists so far have been a hodgepodge of the comic book elite. Issue five does not disappoint. I guess what I find so appealing is the old gumshoe approach that they have taken. The first story by Ivan Brandon puts us in the middle of a training exercise between Alfred and the bat. Several of the other stories focus on how clever Bruce Wayne is when he is tracking his prey. “Cat And Mouse” by Keith Giffen and “Hope” by Jimmy Palmiotti are great detective stories. My favorite, hands-down, is “I Killed The Bat” written by Blair Butler and illustrated by Chris Weston. This twisted tale of a cartoonist turned murderer will put a vicious smile on your face by the end of story. – J

Forever Evil: Arkham War #4 – B

The Bane we all know and love is back. With the Justice League out of commission by the Crime Syndicate, the Gotham rogues are left to pick up the pieces of territory. This arc reminds me a lot of No Man’s Land, where Gotham plunged into chaos and the rogues all fought over the remaining territory. All villains are scheming and plotting to get the upper hand over one another, but no tag team is more fun to watch than Bane and Talon. This issue is a full-out Battle Royal between the Gotham baddies that can get clustered at times, but well worth the price of admission. With Freeze and Scarecrow unleashing their own mind-controlled Talons, I can’t wait for the next one. – S

Batman/Superman #7 – C

Batman and Superman are in a colossal fight to death. Bats has been fitted with cyborg technology from the alien villain Mongul. He has been turned into a playable character in a global video game. Over 90 million gamers are in control of the Batman and are hell-bent on killing Superman. The overall story is a bit trite, but the artwork of Brett Booth gives this issue a vibrant look. This issue felt rushed, but if you’re in the mood for a quick mindless read with pretty pictures this is your choice. – J

 

Dynamtie Entertainment:

Lil’ Vampi #1 – C

Li’l Vampi, a one shot by Eric Trautmann and art by Agnes Garbowska, follows pre-teen Vampi in her new adventures in Stoker, Maine.  The puns from vampire, werewolf, and monster lore are cleverly put throughout the book.  Vampi is a loner who doesn’t really get along with her peers because she is… well, weird.  Her story reminds me a bit of if Buffy had taken place in her late elementary/ early middle school years.  Vampi plays detective to the morbid in the town of Stoker.  But her pet cat, Pantha is a good distraction from the social mishaps she endures.  The best part of this book is Pantha, particularly when he turns his litter box into a miniature replica of the Pyramids of Egypt.  Overall, I felt the story was a bit confusing, especially for the young targeted audience.  The story bounces between the actual happenings of Vampi to her diary, without much warning, which could be confusing to new and young comic book readers. I do have to say the art was very well suited for the genre, of course, with cover work from Art Baltazar.  This was a decent read, but definitely was out-shined by other releases this week. – A

Image:

Sex Criminals #4 – A

Across the back of issue four reads “For Mature Readers Duh,” something that readers should definitely take heed of. This is not the book you read with your friends. It’s raunchy, and foul, and my mother would be ashamed of me, but I love it. The story is written superbly by Matt Fraction, the writer behind the acclaimed Hawkeyeseries (ongoing!) and it focuses on two young lovers, Suzie and John, who can freeze time when they orgasm. This issue introduces us to Her and the sex police. It’s crude humor of the best kind and I can’t get enough of Sex Criminals. It’s only been four issues so I implore you to catch up, but only if you can handle that type of humor. – S

The Walking Dead #119 –B+

Excuse me a moment while I put my foot in my mouth, because TWD just shut me up with their latest issue. After a forgettable #118, we join our Survivors back at Alexandria as they regroup and prepare to defend themselves from Negan’s retaliation. We seem to have found a soft spot in Negan, as he killed one of his own when they try to sexually assault a POW a few episodes ago. That all seems to fade, though, as we get a reminder why we hate/love him so much. – S

Kaboom! Studios:

Adventure Time: The Flip Side #1 –B

Adventure Time: The Flip Side may seem like a children’s book and, although it isn’t as popular as superhero comics, the first issue was enjoyable. It’s lighthearted, easy to follow, and good for some laughs at any age. If you are as big fan of the T.V. show as I am, you will enjoy reading this issue as you watch Finn, Jake, and Beemo take on a rather interesting and unexpected adventure. There isn’t anything dire going on – no threat of planetary destruction which only our heroes can prevent and no grand mystery that is looming over our heads. It’s about a group of friend going on an adventure because that’s what they do best. This book is humorous, enjoyable, relaxing, and just plain old Mathematical! I look forward to the next issue. – E

Marvel:

Marvel NOW Point One #1 – A-

This issue is designed to introduce multiple new arcs that all begin in the next few weeks. Point One is a great read throughout; some of the series will pique readers interest and some will not. Unlike the weekly previews publishers come out with that have only two or three pages, each of these stories actually have a starting and ending point. Especially engaging are the Black Widow and Ms. Marvel series. It’s about time we see some kick-ass women in comic. This isn’t your average variety comic, this is a collection of stories about Marvel’s soon-to-be front-running comics and they deserve your attention.  – S

All-New X-Factor #1 – B

Serval Industries wants is open for business, their model, “we just want to help people.”  But the real special thing about Serval Industries is their business associates – superheroes!  Polaris has recruited Gambit to work for the seemingly noble and industrious Mr. Snow.  Why shouldn’t a powerful, cutting-edge company recruit mutants?!  What could go wrong?!… The concept put forth by Marvel and Peter David has got this reader very interested.  I haven’t seen a concept like this explored in comics before.  The theme is very down to Earth and jives very well with all us grownup nerds out there working a 9-to-5.  The plot balances predictability and mystery nicely and the characters in focus are well selected.  For casual Marvel fans, like me, I appreciate the effort to put well-know, but very dynamic characters into the story.  I see a lot of potential in the follow up issues.  I expect to see many more familiar faces and I can’t wait for the plot to gain additional depth.  I recommended this issue for anyone out there interested in Marvel, but doesn’t necessarily know the entire cast and crew of Avengers vs. X-Men. – T

Avengers World #1 – B-

Unlike the current Avengers title,which centers around intergalactic epidemics, Avengers World takes the series back down to Earth, quite literally, as the Hand (again, no relation to the Foot) emerges as the threat. All your favorite Avengers are in action, with Captain America and Bruce Banner getting a majority of the spotlight. Banner is very witty and sarcastic throughout the issue and is instantly my favorite character. There’s a lot that happens here, and it’s great to see Marvel put out an Avengers book that focuses on what’s going on down here instead of out there. – S

Deadpool #22 – C-

After an intriguing last issue, Deadpool #22 keeps the momentum going with Deadpool tracking a traitor amongst S.H.I.E.L.D. A special All-Star appearance by Agent Coulson keeps the book fun and exciting; even his ’62 Corvette, Lola, is part of the action. There is not a lot of intrigue here, as most of the story is made of up situational humor. That being said, it is a Deadpool book, so it’s around the lines of what I was expecting. – S

 

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 2 A’s, 1 B and 1 C, averaging out to a 3.25

Marvel Comics: 2 A’s, 2 B’s and 1 C, averaging out to a 3.20

Independents: 1 A, 2 B’s and 2 C’s, averaging out to a 2.80

Funniest Panel of the Week:

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Epic Panel of the Week:

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Cover Art of the Week:

Jim Lee's variant to Detectice Comics #27
Jim Lee’s variant to Detectice Comics #27

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

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib, John SowetoAdrian PuryearTaylor Lowe and Evan Lowe