The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.
A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters
B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.
C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.
D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.
F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.
Pick of the Week:
Starlight #1 – A
Starlight, the new series by MillarWorld, was a surprising hit for me. Written by the legendary Mark Millar (of Kick-Ass fame) and drawn by Goran Parlov, Starlight follows a man named Duke who is going through a hard time. His wife dies in their 38th year of marriage, his sons aren’t very good to him, and on top of it, kids in the grocery store make fun of him. Why? Because when he was an astronaut, he ended up on another planet and saved the aliens who lived there from a dictator. Not only was the story incredibly intriguing, but it is crazy amazing artwork. It reminded me of a 60’s vibe with modern day coloring. The story stayed fresh by bouncing around in timelines, but was never confusing. And the thought of going into outer space is pretty normal for mere humans, but saving a planet is pretty cool. And the reality that if you come back to Earth and tell people, they are going to think you are a tad out of orbit. The quips were funny and the ending made me wanting more. Starlight is one of the best #1’s I have read in a while. – A
Dark Horse Comics:
The Veil #1 – B-
Not every day that a crazy naked lady shows up in the city. And it’s even less likely that this lady has powers to manipulate people who threaten her into killing themselves. It’s pretty much all we get out of the debut, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s plenty of intrigue surrounding this issue. Who is Veil, and why does she play the name game? It has more of a horror vibe than an action movie, as Veil is frightening. After knowing nothing going in, I’m excited to see more of her secret origin revealed. – S
Forever Evil #6 – A-
Holy crap! I never saw that one coming. I was pretty afraid to read this past issue of Forever Evil, as it’s been rumored that it will end with the death of Dick Grayson. I’m still scared out of my damn mind, but not for the same reason. Without giving away too much detail, just know that the Earth 3’s version of Shazam! has yet to be revealed. It’s gonna lead to some craziness in the finale. That being said, the whole issue read like the epic gun battle in Wanted. You just knew something bad was going to happen, and it was like I was hyper-ventilating through the whole thing. We do finally get a well-deserved beat-down of the Syndicate. After a methodically slower first five issues, my eyes could barely keep up with my hands on this issue. With Geoff Johns putting outstanding work into everything he does, he can do whatever he wants to Dick Grayson… Okay, not really, I will freak the f*** out if Nightwing dies! There are tons of spoilers to be had, and it’s hard for me to keep my mouth shut, so I will end this review by imploring you to read Forever Evil. – S
Batman/Superman Annual #1 – B+
The most interesting part of this story is the contrast between Supes and Bats and the way that they approach things mentally. Superman’s family is full of people that are super powered and when it comes to choosing who to include on his team, their safety isn’t really the first concern. Batman, on the other hand, has to worry about everyone from his camp not only because they are human, but because they have all suffered some greater tragedy in their own major storylines. At the end of the day, however, this story isn’t so much about the ever looming threat of the earth being destroyed as it is about the relationships that have formed between these heroes despite everything. At the end of the day, both of these Leaders have suffered major losses in their camps and it is ultimately one of the things that makes them such a great team. – R
Trillium #7 – B+
Jeff Lemire, you crazy bastard, you’ve done it again! Everybody’s favorite space love story is back. Not just back for the month, but back at the top of my list of weird comics I love. After a confusing stretch of upside-down, round-and-round page-flipping issues, Trillium is finally starting to culminate into… well, I still don’t quite know. What I do know, is that Nika and William, and the rest of the world, are going to be in deep doo doo if they don’t save the day. The Caul, the infectious disease wiping out the whole planet, can only be stopped with the Trillium flower. I’m nervous for the fate of humanity in the finale issue, but I know Lemire will blow it out of the water. – S
Green Arrow #29 – B
The Outsiders War has been the best arc of the series thus far, by a long shot. We’ve been introduced to different tribes, all represented by a different weapon and a style that personifies said weapon. A lot is happening in this issue, but the drawn out dialog between Arrow’s back-ups is a bit lengthy. Another issue down, another There’s some real drama brewing between Komodo and Emiko, and Ollie ends up being the one catching the collateral. The ending is shocking, but it happened so abruptly that I’m still not sure if it even happened. Definitely check back in for issue #30 to find out what the hell just happened. – S
Forever Evil: Arkham War #6 – B
Bane proves time and time again that he is the baddest rogue in the gallery. While Batman is off saving the world, all the villains in Gotham have run rampant, with the big, bad Bane staking his claim over the city. Inch by inch, Bane has backed them all into a corner – until the Riddler was desperate (although not in his eyes, because he’s a genius, duh) enough to give everybody Venom to defeat Bane. Hardcore fans will remember that Venom is a temporary drug, and the effects of having done the drug are crippling. I suppose Nygma should have done his homework. It’s a great issue about Bane (#6 was even better!), and I can’t wait to see how Forever Evil: Arkham War wraps up. – S
Batman: Detectve Comics #29 – B-
Batman is, by and large, the most popular character in DC Comics. There are nearly ten books in the line-up dedicated to him and his Gotham City cohorts, and seven (Batman, Dark Knight, Detective, Batman/Superman, Batman ’66, Batman & ___, and the upcoming Eternal) with his name on it. The challenge of keeping these books fresh is coming up with different angles. Batman: Detective Comics has succeeded tremendously into really diving into the detective work with the Gothtopia arc. Devising schemes and synthesizing antidotes, the science aspect really contributes to making an otherwise unimpressive book into a Sherlock Holmes-worthy triumph. For the first time in the New 52 Detective Comics, I’m excited for what comes next – S
TurokL Dinosaur Hunter #2 – B-
This time around we are blessed with a little more action which is a nice change of pace. I’m not really sure if I am thrilled about the whole crusaders with dinosaur’s thing. It really seems to take away from what Turok was originally about. Unfortunately if you take the crusaders out of the picture you really don’t have a story, so I am left with mixed feelings about the series so far. I hope that they have a clear purpose with where they are taking this story and only time will tell.
Burn the Orphanage: Born to Lose #3 – D+
Okay, so somebody’s got to be pulling my leg, right? Just a week ago I was boasting that this was one of the best independent books on the market. It’s over-the-top fight scenes and 90’s video-game satire made the first two issues very enjoyable, but the third (and final) issue of this chapter fell flatter than a Street Fighter II character model. The folly of Burn the Orphanage is that, even though it may create intrigue, develop characters and find an identity, it fails to put it all together in any meaningful way. It spends a good chunk of the “finale” not even talking about Rock (the main character). The weak ending didn’t want to make me stop buying the books, but I hope they step their game up for Reign of Terror. – S
Magneto #1 – A
Poor Magneto, all he’s ever wanted to do is liberate the mutant race. Since his departure from the rest of the Uncanny X-Men, he’s been seeking to do just that, but on his own terms. Luckily for readers, that means blowing things up, murdering degenerates and a whole lot of metal bending. The way he’s tracking down these enemies of the mutant population is COLD. BLOODED. It’s like what would happen if Robert Duvall played Denzel Washington’s character in Man on Fire.
Moon Knight #1 – A-
You know how Batman loves to lurk in the shadows and cloak himself with the blackness of night? Think of the awesomeness of the Dark Knight and now pretend that he wore a blinding white suit of armor instead of the pitch black cowl. That’s what you get with Moon Knight (except he doesn’t wear armor and isn’t quuuite as cool as Batman – but he is pretty BA). Issue #1 of this series gives me a few mixed feelings. Warren Ellis’ (writer) opening book teeters on the edge of cliché and creative. “Mr. Knight,” as he is called in the issue, has a backstory that left me confused, but also extremely intrigued – typically a good combo. The art in the issue was also amazing; the use of the surrounding colors to highlight Moon Knight’s pure white statue. It wrapped up in a bang that guaranteed my purchase of issue #2. I’m anxious to see what else Mr. Knight can do. – T
The Uncanny X-Men #19 – B+
With all the hoopla about Jean Grey and the original X-Men team in space, I haven’t had a second to think about how Scott Summers would feel about losing his beloved Jeannie again. This issue covers that, and more. The most noticeable thing about this book is the frantic artwork. I don’t mean frantic in a bad way – the raw character design and panel separation is an acute reflection of the rage and confusion going on in Cyclops’ head. More than a year removed from the tragic death of Professor X, Kitty Pryde gets her feelings off her chest; it comes off a bit cheesy, but I can give it a pass. My favorite moment is the awkward bonding between Cyclops and his younger self. We know there’s nothing that can separate Summers from Grey, so I can’t wait to see what the world’s greatest mutant threat will do to get her back. – S
Loki: Agent of Asgard #2 – B+
Loki goes speed dating! That should be all the convincing you need to pick up this issue. While the mainline of Loki: Agent of Asgard has me all kinds of confused, the issue focused plot is excellent. This is one of those purely “fun” books to read. The trickster god is a great story teller and his antics are endless. The lead supporting character also adds a lot of value to this issue. If you want to see how a lovely lady with the power to tell when someone is lying behaves during a speed dating session, you definitely need to snag this issue. It’s hilarious. Furthermore – I just cannot get enough of that Nordic style font. It makes me feel so much more sophisticated in my comic book reading. If you haven’t, you definitely need to try it out. – S
The Punisher #3 – B-
Punisher has gotten off to a great start. Explosive, violent and dry assassin humor splatter the pages like a well-placed headshot. The story is building towards something, but it has yet to reveal itself. I love action in my Punisher books, but if you’re gonna use Die Hard as your inspiration, there needs to be more plot development. The addition of Electro in his new variation was pretty cool, and of course the action scenes were man-gasmic, but after I put the book down, I gave little thought to it until I started my review. I want a book I can brag to my friends about; Punisher did that the first few issues, so I know it’s capable of giving it to us. – S
Wolverine & The X-Men #1 – C+
Warning folks – this review comes from a reader whose last X-Men comic adventure was Avengers vs. X-Men. Some time and critical events have passed since that time and it’s obvious they are crucial to the story. Take my critique with a grain of salt! I’ll start by saying the artwork is beautiful in Wolverine & The X-Men. Mahmud Asrar (artist) and Israel Silva (color artist) kill it on the environment and action panels. Focus is placed on The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning along with its instructors and gifted students. Roughly 90% of the highlighted characters are of a newer generation of X-Men. I’ve already got special feelings for Eye Boy and Nature Girl. And the OG X-Men are still holding it down – especially Storm and her rockin’ mohawk. I’m not 100% committed to the series yet, but that’s only because I’m behind! If nothing else, Wolverine & The X-Men #1 has kicked me into gear to catch up so I can get the full effect awesomeness in the next issue! – T
She-Hulk #2 – C
This month’s issue of She-Hulk was scattered. The story was mostly filler. To recap from issue #1, Jennifer Walters, an attorney, is fired from her job, takes on a case pro bono against Tony Stark, gets paid anyway and then opens her own law office. This month, she hires an assistant with a monkey, gets drunk with Hellcat, fights S.H.I.E.L.D. and then is commissioned by Victor Von Doom’s son. See? Scattered. There seemed to be no point to it. Not that every book has to have a point, but the only memorable moment was the assistant bringing her monkey everywhere. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it a great story. I look forward to future She-Hulk’s, but if the story doesn’t go anywhere, it may not last long. – A
Night of the Living Deadpool #4 – D
I think we all knew this moment was coming. Night of the Living Deadpool has been cliché from the start. Parodying several popular zombie books, there was never really anything that made the mini-series live up to its potential. There were the occasional chuckle-able jokes and some zombie massacring every once in a while, but, ultimately, Night of the Living Deadpool falls short where most Deadpool books do. There was simply nothing to glue the story together and make it seem like there was any reason to exist in the first place. I’m not bitter about it, as my expectations were in line from the start, but anybody looking to find a mini-series with more value than the play on words in the title will probably be disappointed – S
GPA by Publisher:
DC Comics: 1 A and 5 B’s, averaging out to a 3.17
Marvel Comics: 2 A’s, 3 B’s, 2 C’s and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.75
Independents: 1 A, 2 B’s and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.76
That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!
All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.
Written by Sherif Elkhatib, Adrian Puryear, Taylor Lowe and Robert Michael