Comic Book Reviews 02-04-15

Review Scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick of the Week:

Postal #1

Postal #1 – A+ (Top Cow)

(A+) Holy crap, what a freaking awesome book Postal is and what a wicked cool introduction to the story this first issue was. I’m hooked, officially. Postal focuses on the goings on of Eden, Wyoming, a town of all criminals that tolerates no crime. They have their own rules and if you break them you will be executed in front of the masses. In a church, by a priest. And the story is all being told by an extremely endearing and awkward mailman with Asperger’s named Mark. He’s a lot like Norman Bates, but more cuddly. Mark accidently rats someone out for making and selling drugs which leads to that man’s death. However, just after dealing with that he and the whole town are confronted with the body of a dead woman no one seems to know. The whole book is illustrated in tan tones giving a very serial killer-y vibe that fits the town so well. The characters are intriguing, the story is creative and I think this book is going to go to some psychotic dark places – in a really good way. – Keriann

(A) Honestly, I had no knowledge of this book going in, and that was a good thing. Postal takes place in a town in Wyoming called Eden. It’s pretty tricky though, because Eden is a place where criminals go for their last chance. Our “hero”, of sorts, is Mark, the mail man of Eden. Mark happens to be the town Mayor’s son, but more importantly, he has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is sure to tell you is a “difference” not a “disability.” This character flaw, or rather strength, allows the audience a much different view of the town’s people. Mark’s mother, Dana, has her own rules in the town, and murder is not below her. Mark’s love interest, Maggie, has a colorful past of her own. Seemingly, Mark is the only “good guy.” His portrayal was very thoughtful, using the symptoms of his syndrome to his advantage, rather than making him unrelatable, Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins do an amazing job of character development in only 22 pages. – Adrian

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics: 

Rat God #1 – F

Just when I thought I’d hit the comics jackpot with all the amazing titles I’ve read this week, I opened up Rat God, and holy crap, this book sucks. The story, if you can call it that, seems poorly thought out and went nowhere. If they were trying to go for mysterious they missed and landed square at what the hell am I reading instead. And why do all the characters look like potatoes? Seriously, everyone in the book has a potato head and the white main character was drawn in such a way that as I read his lines I could only hear Don Knotts voice in my head. This book is a no-go on nearly all accounts. Its only selling point is that I want to know what the hell this story is supposed to be about, but not in a good way. – Keriann

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Superman #38 – B+

With this recent news of Convergence ending the New52 imprint, part of me is actually relieved that creators are no longer chained to the lineage of past work. Although, that’s about the only thing I like about it. This amazing arc by Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. is almost over, and the penultimate issue of it is one worthy of a finale. I would say that it wrapped up a little too quickly and too easily, but the new superpower that everybody has been flaring up about is really as cool as it sounds. It just pisses me off that I knew about it a week before I read the damn book. Stupid internet. Thanks to Romita’s sweet panels, it’s a spectacle that I looked at over and over. I can’t help but feel very sympathetic towards Neil/Ulysses, and I hope that Superman does not neglect the obligation to help in his rehabilitation, because this guy has the potential to be the WORST villain Supes has ever faced. – Sherif

Wolf Moon #3 – B-
Dillon was able to find the Wolf this month, this time in St. Louis. The guy went to a strip club first, and wolfed out on a bunch of college kids. Then he took his little wolf-y self to his job at the mall and there was mass carnage. Only someone has been following Dillon (who is following the Wolf… it’s like Wolf Moon Inception) and stops Dillon from finally killing the Wolf. There wasn’t really any new developments this week. While I am still intrigued, the next issue needs to ramp it up (other than having strippers) for me to continue my interest until the end of this mini-series. – Adrian

Lobo #5 – C-

Lobo continues its trudge into mediocrity. This time they tried to shoehorn in some lackluster backstory of how Lobo is the last of his kind due to his planet exploding. Also, the explosion of Czarnia also took out the sister plant of Xrexia. This will all come into play later with a modicum of importance. The unfortunate soul that Lobo has to do away with this time goes by the moniker “The Businessman.” Although, Lobo is not the only one looking for this lizardy man. Now most of you have guessed where this story is about to go. The other person looking for “The Businessman” happens to be the only survivor of Xrexia, and it’s a lady! So essentially Lobo is going to be fighting the lady version of himself from here on out and they’ll probably have sex at one point. NEXT! – Scott

Dynamite Entertainment:

Shaft #3 – C+
This week, Shaft went looking for the killer of his lady. While the story is still compelling, it feels like it is dragging a little bit. We have yet to see Shaft be, ya know, Shaft. There was a little bit of progress made; Shaft figured out who his girlfriend scrapped with before her death. I look forward to the next issue when (hopefully) the man gets tortured/beaten/murdered by our main man. The best thing about this book is the song selection in the back of each issue. – Adrian

Django & Zorro #3 – D

If I wanted to “read,” I would pick up a book. That sounds bad… I promise I DO read books… I LOVE books. But when it comes to my comics, I need that visual stimuli to make it worth it. Django – Zorro was lacking in that category this month. Lots of conversation and plot building occurred this issue, but a lot of it seemed inconsequential and generic fluff. The story is kind of all over the place too. Getting insight to Hildy’s whereabouts is cool (I guess), but there’s a strong lack of connection to the situation at hand and why it’s important. Lack of focus is never a good choice! I was feeling good about this series after last month’s release, but now I’m back on the fence and leaning pretty distinctly to the “not feelin’ it” side. If I can get some real conflict and witness better usage of the panel then it might help balance me out. – Taylor

Image Comics:

Saga #25 – A

Saga is the only book I know that can skip three months of publication and suck me right back in without even flipping open the first page. Writer Brian K Vaughan takes advantage of the hiatus by giving us background on how life was during the war between the wings and the horns – a perspective that we had no idea of previously. It’s that type of grand-scale insight that makes me fall in love with and truly believe in the story. In sort of a Game of Thrones-like way, this issue is centric to every different storyline that is unfolding – a technique that keeps the momentum going while leaving behind a trail of cliff-hangers. That way, when the final jaw-dropping cliff-hanger is revealed, the reader is too caught in the headlights to understand what just happened. I love this book. – Sherif

Nameless #1 – A-

(A) Grant Morrison is the kind of guy that makes you want to stop doing anything — because whatever you want to do he’s probably already done, just better — and just enjoy his stuff. I mean, what can I possibly say about this? Chris Burnham’s there, so you know the art is somehow beautiful and ugly and incredibly detailed. Nameless #1 also references extra-dimensional cults, ritual magic, lizard people, angry space gods, other universes, magical coincidence, dream realities, benevolent billionaires (so that you know it’s just a pretend book), far-reaching government conspiracies, at least three references to Jesus as Solar Messiah, and the kind of optimism in the face of bleak despair that makes Morrison absolutely indispensable for a healthy inner life in a world that looks more and more like the first act of a Morrison comic. I can hardly wrap my head around how he does all that in 32 pages without it feeling forced or crowded. – Montgomery

(B+) I need more time to process book. Sad robot…Human fail. Seriously, they are using Nan Madol, lizard people, ancient aliens stuff!?? It’s all my mystic shit/conspiracy occult rabbit hole I go down. The dream world was really cool, but the whole “help us save the world in 33 days, we know what you did, you have no family and nothing to live for” is very trite and cliché. But, it’s Grant Morrison; I have to believe there is some weird shit ahead. – Jené

Birthright #5 – A-

(A+) My god, this is a good issue. Dare I even say the best one of the series so far? Methinks yes. I was just blown away by this month’s issue of Birthright. It had so many emotional ups and downs and there was finally some proper insight into what/who the hell possessed Mikey and what the evil plot is. The first few pages were heartbreaking, with a sweet 8 year old boy refusing to come to terms with death being an inevitability. Cut to an epic fight between wizard and Mikey where it quickly becomes unclear who is good and who is bad. This issue was intriguing and kind of mind blowing and with Rya’s pregnant appearance at the end I am more than excited for the next issue. Birthright is a comic that does fantasy so well I can’t even come up with an analogy that does it justice, or makes sense. So let’s just go with Birthright does fantasy so well I can’t even sentence. – Keriann

(B) This comic is all-around a good time. I love the back and forth between the fantasy land and the modern landscape. It’s so seamless and integrated. It’s cool to see Mikey’s life and his development in the other world and then to see him in his brother’s. At times the way he interacts with his father and brother almost make it seem as if no time has past. We finally have a clue as to what is part of him. The “Nevermind” is interesting and it’s becoming more clear of what Mikey’s mission turning is. Also, flaming sword awesome and creepy blood demon face. – Jené

Wytches #4 – A-

(A+)So month after month I find myself impatiently awaiting the arrival of the new Wytches. Once again it came in to my life only to increase my heart rate, drop my jaw and leave me alone, waiting once more. This book is nonstop awe-inspiring goodness. Poor Sailor is a god damn warrior and she is fighting tooth and nail to survive. Charlie met up with the crazy old woman only to learn the horrifying truth of where his daughter is and then to witness her suicide. Scott Snyder knows his shit; he is a master of writing in layers and keeping the reader at bated breath because he writes characters we care so deeply for. This isn’t just some blood and gore book, there is no gimmick (although the wytches themselves are pretty freaking terrifying) this is just a truly enthralling story that is genuinely scary because it’s written with heart. I’ve never read anything like it, and issue after issue I am just blown away. – Keriann

(B) This month, Wytches gave us some answers. Who was the woman who broke into the house? Answered. Why is Sailor’s dad so protective? Answered? Where is Sailor now? Answered. But! The end left us with even more questions. This issue did a good job of showing the past, a very odd scene with Sailor and her dad at an abandoned amusement park, and the present, with Sailor trying to get out of the hole, and her dad trying to get answers from the creepy woman. The whole thing was still very scary, but for some reason, this issue didn’t grab me like the rest did. I do look forward to next month, though. – Adrian

Nailbiter #10 – B+

(B+) This month’s Nailbiter once again just left me wanting more. It flew by so fast I hit the last page and could have sworn I’d just started it. The mystery of The Buckaroo Butchers is building and now it really seems like the serial killer origins may be supernatural, or a curse or…something. I don’t really know and honestly I might be a little bummed if it ends up being like a Mayan curse or something that the temple under water kind of hints at. Joshua Williamson promises that won’t turn out to be what we think it is so I’ll take his word on that. At least for now I can be content with a bus full of children NOT being drowned and a sweet little girl in pigtails taking her revenge on her captor’s jugular with very sharp blade. Not to mention, Finch has had it with all the bullshit dead ends he keeps hitting so he’s taken the fight straight to the Nailbiter himself which will no doubt be a gruesome, amazing, and possibly hard to read show down. Personally, I can’t wait. Ultimately the story just keeps getting more and more enticing and at this point the answers to some burning questions seem almost tangible.  – Keriann

(B+) Shit got real in this book. This was not an issue showing macabre humor, which Nailbiter has been known for in the past. The bus driver who was ready to kill all the kids last month, actually drove the bus into the lake. But all the kids made out alive…except something really terrible happened afterwards. Needless to say, the bus driver didn’t make it. While saving the kids, Sheriff Crane and Finch found an underwater shrine of sorts. Also, Finch decides to torture Nailbiter. While none of this was the book I am used to, it was really enjoyable. The characters were pushed this week. The decisions and moves they make after the events of this week will catapult what ever comes next. – Adrian

Cluster #1 – C

Two parts Starship Troopers and one part The Condemned (starring Stone Cold Steve Austin), Cluster is an ok sci-fi action drama. In the world of Cluster, if you are sentenced to life in prison you can lower your sentence to only 15 years if you fight for your planet against aliens who want the same thing humans do. The story revolves around a new female prisoner, Samara. Where have I heard that name before? She is the daughter of a very famous and powerful father, whom has yet to be revealed. Oh, and while you’re out fighting, if you don’t make it back within 24 hours, your insides will be very painfully liquidated by an implant called “punch.” So far, that’s all there really is. – Scott

Oddly Normal #5 – C

Oddly Normal is so much fun to read. It’s not out of this word, where my comfort zone in books is, but I enjoy reading it every time it comes out. The art is so much fun and the characters are a treat. I wish I was reading this as a teenager; I’d love it even more. Oddly is a stranger in her own world and even stranger in a strange land, still having to cope with the joys of an elementary like school experience. Vampires are all levels of douche no matter what genre you put them in, but at least she now has an interesting new friend to hang out with possibly hang out with. This is a lovely read but not something to write home about. – Jené

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Return of the Living Deadpool #1- A-

Zombies and Deadpool will always be awesome, and in this series, which continues after the previous Night of the Living Deadpool mini-series, we see that zombies are actually second tier to a much worse plague devouring humanity. If this series is anything like the previous the art will be fantastic, with the same style of all black and white – other than Deadpool – which gives the comic a much different feel than the normal Deadpool series. The story is as funny as you would expect from Deadpool, but on top of the black and white the idea that zombies are not the real threat reminds me of The Walking Dead. But then again, most good monster stories don’t have the monster as the real bad guy and use simple things like normal everyday people as the truly terrifying thing; although here we have Deadpool, so the “normal” person aspect makes just about anything you can imagine that is terrifying look like an adorable puppy, thanks to the humor of the man and the smell of his day-old Chiminchangas. – Jacob

The only thing that really disappointed me about this issue was that there could have been a few more classic Deadpool one-liners.  At least the zombies have some comical lines in the series!  I didn’t read the series prior to this, although I really wish I had, but the first issue does a decent job at setting up the scenario.  There is a traveling hoard of extra evil Deadpools who are a liiiittle bit rapey.  Then there’s one, I don’t want to say good Deadpool, that’s better than the other ones.  Then there are the zombies, and they’re pretty social during their meals.  I’m excited about getting into this story.  Are the evil Deadpools just the Dead’s tools, or will they eventually be Dead fools?  Either way, it’s pretty Deadcool! – Jake

Ant-Man #2 – B+

(A-Ant-Man continues to show us the trials and tribulations of your everyday man Scott Lang. Writer Nick Spencer is doing a stellar job of showing us this superhero, but letting us know that this superhero, he’s just regular guy. And he is going through a serious rough patch. Does that mean it’s hard to get through? Not one bit. This week, Scott tries to get a bank loan, fails, then has to fight a Nazi robot, wins, and ends up getting the loan. He is taking small steps forward, and you can’t help but root for the guy with the dry humor. Tony Stark makes an appearance that is laugh-out-loud. And there are a few side characters who reveal that they are more than they seem. Now that Scott has his own Security Solutions business (because of the loan), he will probably be more of a target, but the antics (see what I did there?!), will surely be worth the wild ride. – Adrian

(B) I love the simplicity of this series. It’s just a story about a guy with a super-suit, trying to juggle a family, an honest (non-super) career and “life” in general. Sure, some “super” things happen along the way – like fighting an angry man in a bear suit (hilarious), or taking on a giant Nazi-era robot that kills by smelting you in gold (hilarious AND awesome) – but what I enjoy most about this comic is Lang’s continual struggle to handle the basics! It kinda boils down to relatability. I may not understand how it feels to fight off interdimensional aliens or defend Earth from galaxy conquering armies, but I do know how it feels to fill out 100 applications in search of a minimum wage job! This one is fun folks – you should snag a copy. – Taylor

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2 – B+
This is the best female-led series Marvel has out right now. Squirrel Girl is cute, quirky, smart, and very very awkward. But for a nerdy girl like me, this makes for the perfect hero. The month, Doreen aka Squirrel Girl goes looking for a club to join at her college, but gets interrupted by news from Tippy Toe (her squirrel friend, duh) that Galactus was going to destroy Earth. It’s always the weirdest stuff that interrupts our college activities, isn’t it? This issue was delightfully cute. The best part is the commentary on the bottom of all the pages. I did feel that the Stark Industries break-in was a little drawn out, but overall, this book is still far exceeding my expectations. – Adrian

Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: Black Vortex AlphaB

(A) The X-Men can’t even catch a break around a bunch of rogues from space – disliked on earth and disliked amongst the Guardians.  Maybe after that sweet battle royale the two gangs of misfits will get along better.  This is one of the better opening issues to a series that I’ve read in a while.  Ed McGuinness’s artwork is amazing to start off with.  There were some really cool panels (I spent about 20 minutes just looking at the big battle scene toward the end).  I also like how this team up, although facing some cosmically terrifying baddies, is still quite confident that they will safely find the Black Vortex and save the day yet again.  This is how both teams of heroes have always been.  Why not fight a bunch of baddies who have reached their full cosmic potential? – Jake

(B) I didn’t know too much going into this story of what to expect because, although I love both teams, I have not really been reading the comics for either of them at the moment. But with just random tidbits of what is going on, it was easy to jump on board and really enjoy this issue. So maybe brush up a tiny bit on what is going on in The Legendary Star-Lord, X-Men, and Guardians and the Galaxy before reading this issue to get everything perfectly. The art is spectacular throughout, and gives us a real idea of the scale of what the Black Vortex and the enemies are capable of. As far as the story, it definitely is a strong opening to something that will likely be second to Secret Wars for Marvel events this year for me. – Jacob

Star Wars #2 – B

Two issues in and still not too sure how I feel about this series. Don’t get me wrong as I absolutely enjoyed it and am looking forward to it, Darth Vader and the Princess Leia series as I love everything Star Wars – yeah, even the prequels and especially Jar Jar Binks. Now that you are done throwing things at me for that last statement, I only question this series because the timeline of where this story has happened is a little vague to me and maybe in time we will get more of an explanation, but ultimately all we know is it is between Episodes 4-6. This issue we got to see Darth Vader fight more, which is always a good thing because a lot of the bad asses of Star Wars really never do anything at all. On top of that, the art is wonderful and definitely does a great job of interpretations of the actors and making it feel very cinematic in its storytelling. Despite not knowing when this takes place at all, the story has been quite solid and given us even in just two issues, a nice and deeper look into the characters we thought we knew all about. – Jacob

A month has gone by since the premier issue of Marvel’s Star Wars. Just enough time to let the novelty effect and nostalgia wear off a bit. This month’s issue gives us a chance to critique on the merits of what generally makes a good comic book. I’m glad to say that there’s no disappointment to be found in issue #2 (not that I was worried). Aaron and Cassaday have thoroughly nailed the “Star Wars” aspect leaving only basic plot and storytelling elements to be mastered (which is currently on track for great success). Much justice is given to Vader and his bitterly evil ways. He snapped a Stormtroopers head 180 degrees for accidentally catching Vader with his helmet off!! And then there’s the predicament of the rebels – I have no idea how they plan to escape. This uncertainty and anticipation is making this year’s first Star Wars title an excellent experience. – Taylor

Hawkeye #21 – B

Ugh. Matt Fraction and David Aja, the ones who made this Hawkeye book one of the best selling trade paperbacks of 2014, will be leaving the series after the next issue. This has been announced for a while, but it didn’t really hit me until I read this penultimate issue, the one where Clint and Barney gear up to defend the building from the Russian Bro mafia. I feel sort of the way a guy feels when he plans a trip with his girlfriend just to find out she didn’t think it was that serious. I had great plans of sitting in bed, reading Hawkeye until I got old and wrinkly, but now that’s all ruined. Oh well… The art in this issue continues to carry the story-telling in the same magnificent fashion, but the tragic ending and angst of only having one issue to close this out just came too soon for me to really prepare myself. – Sherif

Wolverines #5 – C+

I am a pretty big Wolverine fan or basically just a Weapon X fan in general, but this series and the others leading up to it have been the most subpar Wolverine story ever, which could have something to do with Wolverine being a hunk of adamantium at the moment, but whatever. This issue broke open the story a little and finally got to a point where it seems these events will matter outside of its own story. It also offers up a new artistic approach and has a very watercolor feel to it, which can be absolutely beautiful at times, and then also very confusing during some times as well. I loved the style and would love to see more books done like his, but the drastic change definitely was a bit distracting at first. Hopefully in next weeks issue we will finally get to a point where I will actually feel like it was a good choice to read every story from Death of Wolverine. – Jacob

Funniest Panel:

Ant-Man #2
Ant-Man #2

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Superman #38
Superman #38


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.