Comic Book Reviews 05-20-15

Review Scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick of the Week:

Wytches #1
Wytches #1

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

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

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

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

DC/Vertigo Comics:

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

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

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

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

Dynamite Entertainment: 

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

Marvel/Icon Comics:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Loki: Agent of Asgard #14 – C

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

Funniest Panel:

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Panel with the Most Awesomeness:


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

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