Comic Book Reviews 09-16-15

Review Scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick of the Week:

Captain America White #1

Captain America: White #1 – A+
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Tim Sale

In short, Captain America: White is going to remind the world how comic books should be made. Not the waiting half a decade thing, but the amount of care, talent, and love put into it. [Read the whole review here]

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios:

UFOlogy #5—B
Writers: James Tynion & Noah J. Yuenkel
Artist:  Matthew Fox
Colorist: Adam Metclaf

I’m really digging this comic book. UFOlogy has the ability to pull you in and get you emotionally invested into what’s happening to the characters. I pretty much like every character introduced so far. They are intriguing and make sense. With a title like UFOlogy, you’re going to get UFO’s and then some aliens! In this issue, we finally get to meet them. Dunt, dunt, duh. Also, the art is great. Loving the sloppy, messy, colorfulness that’s going on. Really works for the book. – Jacob

Dark Horse:

Paybacks #1 – C+
Writer: Donny Cates & Eliot Rahal
Artist: Geoff Shaw

You ever read those comics where you cannot decide if they are good or bad? Well, welcome to Paybacks! This comic seems to host characters which resemble some of our favorites in the DC and Marvel universe; however, they all come with a bit more quirkiness. I am not sure if I missed something, but this group of “crime fighters” seem to work as a repossession agency and as a normal super human battalion. Either way, I really enjoyed the humor in this book. Yet, at the end of the day, I still can’t tell if it’s good or bad. The world may never know.  – Evan

Death Head #3C
Writer: Zack Keller
Artists: Nick Keller, Joanna Estep

When I read the first issue of Death Head, I was genuinely excited for what seemed like it was going to be a truly creepy book. I am disappointed to say that in the second issue, and especially in this week’s third issue, the story has really backpedaled. It no longer has the elements of terror and suspense that originally set it apart. This week’s issue really seemed to bounce between seemingly pointless characterization (I get it – the teenage daughter is a bitch, and being a teenage girl is haaard), unexplained gore (wait – why did that guy blow his head off at the lighthouse?) and some really cheesy Casper the Friendly Ghost-esque kiddie stuff. Death Head #3 really let me down, and I can only hope it gets back to its roots from here. – Keriann

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Bizarro #4 – A-
Writer: Heath Corson
Artist: Gustavo Duarte

Although this series has been great and one of my favorite comics on the shelves, I feel this issue was left a bit flat compared to the others, maybe because Zatanna is not nearly as interesting as the other characters Bizarro and Jimmy have run into in this series, or maybe it was the lack of mentioning Colin the chupacabra which I feel could really use some more story. Although this story felt a bit weaker than others, Heath Corson does another amazing job in writing as it still was my favorite book of the week, personally. The magic switch up with Jimmy being like Bizarro and Bizarro becoming human was a great twist and showed how similar the two are despite being complete opposites. Gustavo Duarte’s art for this series is a major plus for me as it is just the right amount of cartoon/comic feel for the humor and just the right of realism to know it is part of the major DC Universe post Convergence. Overall this issue was good, not great like the others but with Corson and Duarte, not much could make it bad. – Jacob

Second Opinion (A)Ignore very closely. Very terrible. Unfavorite DC comic. – Montgomery

Constantine: The Hellbalzer #3B+
Writer: James T. Tynion IV
Artists: Ming Doyle, Vanessa Del Ray

Constantine: The Hellblazer has really grown into a compelling story. This week’s issue pulled together all the strings of the storyline that have been laid out so far and tied them all together – and quite successfully I might add. On the surface it may have seemed like this issue was just Constantine walking around completely hammered and being a total dick, but the connection to his past and the monster he is currently facing came together perfectly by the end. Not to mention the twist at the end was a pretty damn good one that I didn’t even see coming. I am so eager to find out more about the Tentacle Monster (Veronica) and how she came to be and if she is in fact killing ghosts. Some readers may be turned off by Constantine’s whining and brooding about how everything is his fault, but I found it quite bearable. I mean, everything is kind of his fault, even if he didn’t mean for it to be. My one qualm is still that I’m not crazy about the artwork in this series, primarily the interpretation of Constantine himself. It’s not a deal breaker, but it does still bother me from time to time. – Keriann

Arkham Knight: Genesis #2 – B+
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Alisson Borges
Colors: Dave McCaig

This issue is quite the upgrade over the premiere one. No more pitiful Jason Todd whining about how Batman didn’t love him. Instead, we get a deeper view into why he hates the Bat family, how he is tactically preparing to dismantle the family, and how he “dies” the first time. A lot of it is kinda an old story with a new hat on it, but it’s put together in a way that is still entertaining and good to look at. With this book following the game story instead of comic book canon, there are sure to be some surprises up Tomasi’s sleeves. – Sherif

Martian Manhunter #4 – B
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Eddy Barrows

Have you ever been on top of a speeding ambulance and realized a small portion of the true power of being a Martian? If not, then you are really missing out on life, because you can do some pretty crazy stuff with that sort of knowledge. From the arrival of Aquaman, and the awakening of Phobos, and all of the other great things happening, I can see this comic setting up a solid story arc for the future. Probably the one thing I truly appreciate about this comic is how well it portrays chaos. Things are falling apart and only a few people can hold it together. Therefore, there is a lot of panic, fear, and chaos occurring, and this comic displays it very well. Good stuff is on the horizon for readers…not so much for those actually in the comic though. – Evan

Prez #4 – C
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Dominike “Domo” Stanton

So far, this is the weakest issue of Prez. The concept is still really intriguing to me, and there was just as much commentary in this one, but I did feel like we were going anywhere with it. The world is a terrible, terrible place. Now what are we going to do about it? Let’s get the ball rolling on changing things. Since this story is only 12 issues, I’m pretty worried about where this is going. – Adrian

IDW Publishing:

D4VE2 #1 – B+
Writer: Ryan Ferrier
Artist: Valentine Ramon

I have no idea how to start this review besides saying you all need to go read this book. The reason this comic is fascinating is because it is hilarious and awkward; however, you genuinely end up caring about the story and the characters. By the end of the comic, you end up wanting D4VE to be the hero he once was and someone to truly root for. I cannot wait to read more of this comic and see where it all goes. Also, D4VE shares my exact sentiments on traffic. – Evan

Image Comics:

Tokyo Ghost #1 – A
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Sean Murphy

Remender is my favorite writer in comic books right now, with two other exceptional titles out (Deadly ClassBlack Science) on Image’s roster. In this new book, he combines forces with renowned artist Sean Murphy for a gritty, futuristic dystopian story following two bounty hunter-like constables as they fulfill their contract. The whole issue is thrilling, and I was never quite sure what was going on. It was all very reminiscent of the first time I read Black Science, but this time the concept is much more grounded and relatable. I haven’t even touched the social commentary, which is so spot-on that it makes me feel bad about myself. Overall, a phenomenal book, and I look forward to what comes next. – Sherif

Second Opinion (B+): A pretty cool book with lots of colorful ideas that haven’t been seen in a long time (plus 10 points for Gryffindor for use of Akira style bikes). I think it was supposed to be a pretty rhythmic and fast paced read, and as such, it felt bogged down by too much speaking, but I’m definitely looking forward to issue #2. – Montgomery

ODY-C #7 – B
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Christian Ward

I wish this book had a slightly more traditional format. It’s gorgeous, and if nothing else, I love looking at the art, but I have no idea what in the hell is happening. And it’s thanks in part to the haphazard narration style. It’s not haphazard – narration is in white, each character gets their own color coded narration box, and only the gods use speech bubbles – but the layout ends up feeling haphazard. 4 characters in a panel, a single blue narration box, and you better have been paying attention 3 months ago when they showed who gets the blue narration box or you’ll be lost. I feel torn: I love that Fraction’s book is so ambitious and bizarre and I wouldn’t want him to dilute that vision, but I wish just once I had any sense of what the hell was going on and who is talking. I honestly wish it was a book just straight released as a graphic novel instead of monthlies: virtually the only reason I gave it a B instead of a much lower grade is because I feel confident if I could sit and read more than 24 pages every 30 days, I’d have some sense of what’s happening. – Montgomery

Sex Criminals #12 – C
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Chip Zdarsky

This comic book is brazenly sexual. Tentacled jizz monsters and stimulating (ha…) clitoric conversations are the norm in this book. It’s different from anything out there, and thanks to Matt and Chip’s awesome chemistry, it’s just as enjoyable as it is uncomfortable to read. Most of the time… This issue, however, tried to balance a very deep and thoughtful lecture at the college about “abnormality” when it comes to the female body (think Masters of Sex as a comedy), with a giant tentacled vagina demon, and – here is where is gets crazy – a chick getting gangbanged by human-sized penises…. Yeah, it was all a bit much for me. It also detracted from the story, which inched along like a micropenis. I don’t mind laughing at sexuality, but I must have missed the joke here – Sherif

Second Opinion (A-):  Every issue gets crazier and crazier it seems but also better and better. Matt Fraction is killing it writing wise and I can’t get enough of Zdarsky’s art and the tiny jokes in posters and items around certain settings in the story. Can’t wait to see where this arc is going! – Jacob

Beauty #2 – C
Writers: Jeremy Haun and Jason H. Hurley
Artist: Jeremy Haun
Colorist: John Rauch

An STD that makes you “beautiful” and then kills you. Oh, and a global conspiracy…How original. For once, I would love to see a global pandemic that’s just random like the medieval plague. It killed a lot of people, gave the western world the middle class, and the rest is history. Don’t get me wrong, I like the whole virus governmental/cooperate conspiracy, but there are already tons of them. It be nice just to see society deal with a pandemic that at the end of the day ravages everyone, a random element that fucks things up. – Jené

Second Opinion (D+): Meh… I mean, if you’re into abstinence, this book is great. The Beauty is an STD that makes them really pretty before their heads explode. No, really. – Sherif

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Star Wars: Lando #4 – A-
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Alex Maleev

It’s the penultimate issue of Lando and his heisting adventure and man does Sh** get real in this issue. With Lando and his crew having discovered the treasure of ancient Sith artifacts and knowing it is Palpatine’s ship, things take a turn for the worse when a bounty hunter, Chanath Cha, is sent after them and one of the twins, Aleksin, cuts the arm off the other twin, Pavol. Lando and Korin must find a way before Aleksin get out or the bounty hunter Chanath gets in. This story is turning into a great heist comic that just happens to feature Star Wars main ladies man Lando and showcasing a lot of his talents we had not seen as much of in the films. Charles Soule and his writing is perfect as he very easily turned one character from bad ass hero to horrifically scary villain in a matter of three panels and is really showcasing Lando in all his glory. Alex Maleey just adds to the perfection with his art making each panel a picture I would frame and hang on my wall, making this story one of the best comics Marvel has to offer at the moment. – Jacob

Star Wars #9 – B+
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Stuart Immonen

Things are shaping up to be rather crazy for Luke and the whole Original Star Wars gang. With Luke being caught by a Hut for his Jedi memorabilia collection and Han, Leia and (Han’s wife?) Sana are on the run from troopers on the hunt for Princess Leia and the rebels helping her. We don’t get much as far as explanation of who Sana is yet but am sure once they escape the Empire’s forces they will have to have a lengthy discussion letting us in on the up and up of Han’s love life. The writing for this issue by Jason Aaron is spot on and I read it as if the actors voices are delivering the lines, which is about as much as you could want from a Star Wars book. The twists and turns and new canon stories only add to the story without taking away from the original which is beyond perfect for anyone who felt the prequels were missing something. Stuart Immonen also does a great job bringing the characters back to life with spot on representations of the actors while also having his style shine through, making it a perfect mix. – Jacob

Miracleman #2 – B+
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artists: Mark Buckingham

Not quite as good as the last issue. In this one, a man whispers to Miracle Woman that he loves her as she flies overhead. She stops and has sex with him. Several times. Then she confronts him about his terrible treatment of women and his demand for perfection (he once dumped a woman because she had an appendectomy scar). She transforms into her human form and has sex with him a final time and leaves forever. He becomes less shitty. The next story focuses on some grade school friends talking about the battle of Bates – the grand finale of Moore’s Miracleman had a showdown in which Miracleman impales Kid Miracleman on a steel girder (but don’t worry, he was actually a full grown adult and totally evil) – and one girl in particular who thought Kid Miracleman was kind of hot. And then a vague ending about maybe one of the kids is the villain reborn? I ain’t know. – Montgomery

Secret Wars Journal #5 – B
Overall, this was a pretty effective anthology book. See my breakdown below:
“Risk of Infection”
Writers: Jen and Sylvia Soska
Artist: Alec Morgan
It opens with Nicole Carter discussing organ death while suturing her own skull. The implication, I believe, is she is excising zombifying flesh (but I’m not certain). The book ends with an, of course, ironic ending, but as a ~10 page vignette, it succeeds by being quick and having striking images that hook you immediately. It also has an arch that lets you get in and out like pow.
“Mill-E: the Model Citizen”
Writer: Aaron Alexovich
Artist: Diogo Saito
This one was OK. The schtick is a council of Doombots have sent out Mill-E, a super feminized blonde haired Doombot sent into the world(s) to try to win them over with winning looks and a good attitude. The story starts with her being recalled to Doomstadt for being bad at her job and getting fitted with upgrades. Those upgrade take the shape of an override switch and a plethora of cannons, which she uses to wreck up Westchester before heading on. As a single story it was good, but connected to the larger Secret Wars event just reminds me about how confused I am about the actual limits of Doom’s power and who can do what and why. It just highlights, with a bigass highlighter, the paradox of Doom’s godhood… which of course isn’t and cannot be actual, but it feels unsatisfying because you can’t figure out if that’s by design or oversight. – Montgomery

Guardians of Knowhere #4 – B-
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato

I have been enjoying this series quite a bit and with this issue being the last it was a little bittersweet minus the sweet. I say this because it ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger asking us to read the rest of Secret Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy #1 from the All New, All Different Marvel coming soon. Although I am going to read both those series, it still felt as if the majority of what has happened up until now is meaningless since the conclusion is changing everything basically. Not to say the writing is bad; the story is good up until the words “To Be Concluded in… Secret Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy #1!” But with a lot of these Secret Wars stories, they seem to have almost have just been one-shot specials other than a 4-5 issue series. I am sure we will get an ending at some point with the new series, Bendis at the helm of this series, and the new Guardians, and when that happens my opinion will likely change but as of right now, I am definitely a little disappointed that such a great series had such a lame ending. – Jacob

Age of Apocalypse #4 – C
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Iban Coello

This series is not aging gracefully, and it’s not an old book. How about that Emma’s ass shot on the cover? dumb. The story becomes pretty incoherent (Apocalypse’s plan backfires in a nonsensical way that I’m 1,000% confident the legit Apocalypse would plan for), and the monthly artist is on hiatus to let some other guy take over. He’s not bad, but he’s not as big and expressive as his counterpart. Anyways, the story is just quickly deflating, and we’re all bummed about it. – Montgomery

ONI Press:

Invader Zim #3 – A
Eric Trueheart
Artists: Aaron Alexovich, Megan Lawton

After the initial story of the first two issues we have a one-shot story here that ends in a rather cataclysmic way and in true cartoon fashion. We see Zim planning a new way to destroy the human race and searching for an ancient mysterious being that could help him with his goal of world domination. The figure in question is none other than the legendary Star Donkey! DUN DUN DUH!!! As Zim and Gir figure out what needs to be done to summon such a being, Dib is figuring it all out and trying to devise an attack plan to stop Zim. Eric Trueheart does a great job capturing the spirit of Vasquez’s writing and feel of the Zim universe while Aaron Alexovich and Megan Lawton capture the artistic side just as perfectly. This series is shaping up to be just as enjoyable as the show and it make the child in me smile every time I get to see and read new Zim! – Jacob

Funniest Panels:

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Panels with the Most Awesomeness:

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

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