Comic Book Reviews 06-24-15

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:

xmen 92 1 POTW panel 06.24.15

X-Men ’92 #1 – A
We finally get a glimpse into what the 90’s X-Men are up to, which it turns out, is Laser Tag at a local mall. It’s a time of peace between Humans and Mutants among this world and, other than minor changes, the world seems almost just as we left it. This current state is peace is brought to us by a place of healing and forgiveness called Clear Mountain where criminals are taught to live peacefully among humans. The X-Men go to investigate and all looks fine, but in true X-Men: The Animated Series fashion, nothing is as it seems. In this issue, we get a great mix up of the X-Men comics by Jim Lee and Chris Claremont and the animated series – combining the best of both worlds from a time many consider the best time in X-Men history. Chris Sims and Chad Bowers do a great job writing here and meld together the best of the best for a great X-Men nostalgia explosion. Scott Koblish comes in with his art and fills you with all sort of feelings making you wish we were back in the 90’s rushing home to see X-Men only for it to be the same damn Phoenix Saga episode you had seen 100 times. – Jacob

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo Comics:

We Are… Robin! #1 – A-
I must admit, before reading the book, I was not sold on the idea. A group of teenagers with poor grammar taking back Gotham with nothing but their fighting skills and unlimited text messaging plans? Sounds like a knock-off of the Mutants in The Dark Knight Strikes Back. That’s before I knew that Suiciders creator and legendary artist Lee Bermejo was writing it, and that the story would be introduced by Duke Thomas, the little boy from Batman #35. It’s the little rewards like that that put so much excitement into reading. Duke is incredibly charismatic and the Team Robin looks incredibly interesting. I just hope it can maintain its momentum going forward. – Sherif

Justice League 3001 #1 – A-
Justice League 3000 is a book I picked up from the library on a fluke. It looked potentially interesting, and I had nothing else to do, so I was surprised to discover that not only did it have a clever premise, but great art and solid writing. This new volume, subtly titled 3001, leaves me with a gap in my knowledge, but as a #1 (as long as you know it’s part of a larger arc), it’s a good book. The same creative team returns with the same caliber of storytelling and art. This issue opens with the roster of Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern (Guy Gardner… so what happened to Kyle?), and Wonder Woman trying to free a planet from a legion of mind controlling face-sucker starfish called, collectively, Starro. However, they discover that future bureaucracy has considered slavery legal. So… what’s a JLA to do? It’s been a good month for #1’s. The only reason it gets a minus is because it’s just ever so slightly less good than E is for Extinction. – Montgomery

Superman #41 – B+
If you don’t like Superman because his problems aren’t relatable, then this new arc is for you. Ever since John Romita Jr. took over art duties, this series has really turned a new leaf. The biggest allure of a Superman book isn’t necessarily to watch him hit things harder, but to solve problems that we are normal humans cannot do. With Superman losing a bulk of his powers (similar to Phoenix Force in Avengers vs. X-Men), things are actually dangerous again for him. And then there’s the danger of somebody exposing his identity, which, if there’s continuity (ha, fuck continuity) between the DC books, it’s Lois. I’m all for hating a bad Superman book, but this isn’t it. It’s Superman, dummy! – Sherif

Batgirl #41 – C+
The thing I don’t really like about this new Batgirl creative direction is how polarizing it is. Babs Tarr’s art, as much as I love it, is so comparable to the DC Animated Shorts “Super Best Friends Forever” that it makes me feel like I’m reading a kids book. However, the content in it suggests something more mature. It’s not crazy adult-like, but do we need a butt shot of Batgirl when she is dressing – subtle things like that. Anyway, the whole dad vs. daughter thing is a little played out thanks to Spider-Gwen, but it’s a nice approach to story-telling. How they managed to turn back time on Jim Gordon is something else entirely. I’m not sold on this book yet, but chances are that you’ve made up your mind on whether or not it’s for you. – Sherif

Deathstroke #7 – C
Here’s a series that’s nothing like what I expected. A new arc means a new contract – business as usual. However, it’s not that usual that the target is a freaking GOD. Wonder Woman‘s (and I guess Greek mythology’s) Hephaestus makes a solid guest appearance, which means it’s not too long before WW herself joins the fun. There’s really not a lot to follow here, other than Slade has to have set up by… whoever. However, you can always bet your bottom dollar that Tony Daniel (artist and writer here) will impress readers with his panels, and that’s the only thing really keeping me in the game. Not that the story is terrible, but I need a reason to keep going. – Sherif

The Flash #41 – C-
Reverse-Flash is back. Kind of. He’s mostly just lurking in the shadows, trolling Flash. I am excited for where this is heading, but I was not excited to spend an entire issue just to find out that Thawne is coming back. See, look. I just saved you $3. I will say that Brett Booth’s pencils are a big reason that I come back to this series. There’s a particular panel at the end of the book that splits portrays a sort of yin-yang of Flash and Reverse-Flash that would make a great tattoo. At the end of the day, if you’re not a Flash fan, you won’t like this book. It could get better, though. – Sherif

IDW Publishing: 

Donald Duck #2 – B-
This month’s Donald Duck, much like Uncle Scrooge, continues with the three-story element, one being part of a two-part story, one being of medium size, and one only being a page long. Although I liked the format of one long story and a shorter one at the end, this issue proves to still be enjoyable and fun despite feeling a bit overabundant in content. The first story by Romano Scarpa has Donald investigating a suspicious kidnapping that may have been done by Uncle Scrooge all along! The second is a very short fishing story with Donald and Fethry written by Francois Corteggiani and art by Lara Molinari, and the last story is about what it’s like being Donald’s neighbor; it’s both written and drawn by Al Taliaferro. Overall, these Disney comics have been fun but are definitely for those with shorter attention spans. The main story could have just been one issue alone; nevertheless, these comics are made for the right reasons and although, as a kid, I would likely give an A+, as an adult it loses some appeal. – Jacob

Transformers More Than Meets the Eye #42 – C-
This is the kind of story where I feel like TF:MTMTE fails. It has a cool premise; some of the B-squad Transformers tackle a mystery, along with some characters you’re not quite sure were ever part of the original Transformers mythos, but then it caves into a hole of its own wide-eyed anime navel gazing. Which, I recognize that navel gazing is what makes this the superior book, but too many beets will make you pee red. Anyways – Nightbeat uncovers a parasite, a personality tick that feeds on vibrant personalities. He reasons that sending an SOS to Rodimus and Megatron will give them an overdose of personality and neutralize them. It works. Dumb. At least it ain’t Combiner Wars. – Montgomery

Image Comics:

Invisible Republic #4 – B
(B) There is a lot of excellent background story in this issue. Seeing Maia pull her life together is heartwarming. She went from being on the run from people trying to kill her to having a regular job and a place to live her life without having the constant fear of everyone she runs across planning on murdering her. I would like to know what’s going on with McBride. At the same time, we are watching Croger’s life get more and more complicated – more complicated, but not confusing. There are a lot of people looking for the journal and things are not going to get any easier for Croger. I really like where this book is headed. The dystopian felling of their world comes through with every panel. – Scott

(B) I’m never bored by an issue of Invisible Republic. However, I was glad that the story slowed down some. Instead of the high-intensity action, this issue was about developing the history of the moon and progress Maria’s story outside her brother, all while Croger and his associate Woronov try to figure out the missing pieces form the Mallory Regime. It was nice to get getting better idea of the history of the moon and see more actual locals of the area. Croger gets on my nerves. He’s in it for the story without any real care to the people of the planet. The art has also shifted. It appeared more fluid than the harsh cross-stitching of previous issues. I quite like the change and hope that more issue will employ the same fluidity in other issues. I wish there was more to read. I really want to be in the mystery already. – Jené

Kaptara #4 – B
Space Aliens, then Cat-Tanks… What’s next? A naked bad-ass wizard who hates Glomps and could potentially kill our heroes or save the day? Oh yeah that is exactly what comes next.  As strange as all of this sounds, if you have a expansive imagination and an affinity towards the macabre and strange, and a slew of homosexual tension, this series is for you. I am sure it appeals to others, especially with Chip Zdarsky at the writing helm and the awesome Kagan McLeod doing art! It’s refreshing to see two great creative minds create something you can’t explain without sounding crazy, but make you love it enough that you still try. That is definitely where I stand with Kaptara as it is a story I can’t stop reading or take my eyes off of, but find myself constantly questioning what is going on. The beauty of Kaptara to me though is despite not knowing what is happening at times, much like the hero Keith, I find myself shrugging off the craziness and randomness of it all at times and really enjoying the story and characters. – Jacob

The Walking Dead #143 – B-
As intrigued as I am of what the hell will happen next, I have to say that I never anticipated the MAJORITY of roamers out there to be people in masks made of dead people. The logistics just don’t make sense. Alpha finally laid her cards out on the table for Rick to see, and his group definitely seems to have the losing hand. Not only is he horribly outnumbered, but his son would rather be with some eye socket-licking biznatch he just met than with him. I’m not sure this is doing anything more than making me dislike everybody involved or making me wonder why the Whisperers haven’t started murdering the actual walkers, but I like that there is a much bigger picture to what humanity has done to preserve itself thus far. – Sherif

Marvel/Icon Comics:

E is for Extinction #1 – A
I think of all the Battle World stuff I’ve read so far, this might be my favorite. And coincidentally enough, I started my 4th reread of the amazing, crystalline, near-perfect work it’s based on: Grant Morrison’s New X-Men run, of which the first arc is titled E Is for Extinction. This particular comic exists in an alternate universe in which Xavier’s threat of suicide had to be carried out. The original X-Men have dissolved: Cyclops’ and Wolverine’s powers seem to be in decline; Beast has opened a private practice; White Queen enjoys manipulating Cyclops. Magneto has taken over the school transforming it into the Atom Institute. But no matter how good Magneto is, he’s never really all that good. Morrison’s X-Men run was so good, that it singlehandedly burnt me out on comics for nearly a decade, but it feels good returning to that world. I even like the art’s obvious homage-without-directly-copying to Frank Quitely. I also loved that there was maybe only one reference to the fact that they live in a kingdom or realm or whatever. Constantly being reminded that what seems like a fully-fledged world is just a tiny sliver of a larger world composed of tiny slivers tends to diffuse the drama of the book. – Montgomery

Howard the Duck #4- A-
Well we are at the penultimate issue of the first arc of Howard the Duck; hold on to your tail feathers, we are going old school with this one! As Howard and his new friend Tara continue their investigation into the gem and Talos the Tamed who ended up being the man who hired Howard, they find they are in need of a Doctor and quick. Howard turns to an old “friend” and turns to Doctor Strange to help him figure out what the gem really is and what exactly Talos could be planning. With a funny nod to the original Secret Wars storyline and even an appearance by Deadpool and tie-in to Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars, this issue not only helps cement Howard into the present.. whatever the present Marvel universe may be… but it also makes sure we don’t forget his past with many references to his old series still while keeping it fresh and making us realize why Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones are the perfect pair to makes us love this duck all over again. – Jacob

Loki: Agent of Asgard #15 – A-
Finally, this story is getting good again! I absolutely adored the two-track plot here. Seeing Verity’s upbringing was really cool and I’m glad they decided to interlay it with the battle scenes. Had it just been one or the other, the issue wouldn’t have been as interesting. I feel so much more for Verity now that we know how she got her gift. The Civil War tie-in was also a nice touch. I especially enjoy how introverted she is and how she adamant she was about getting a job she could work from home at. It was a subtle, but nicely crafted character trait. The little lies she points out in the footnotes along the way were also a nice touch. I’m very excited to see Loki more actively represented as genderfluid. The first page labels Loki as a Goddess and I’m pretty sure we’re going to see them switching back and forth more as we go forward. No matter their gender, though, Loki has been smoking ever since their rebirth. Damn! – Charlotte

Age of Ultron Vs. Marvel Zombies #1 – B
If you’ve been paying attention, you know Battle World is a single world split up into distinct districts each considered their own kingdom. One of these 40 or so kingdoms is populated by nothing but zombies, and the other is Ultron run rampant. I’m unclear if there’s no solid wall or delineation between these two realms or if it’s been broken down. The zombies in pursuit of an exiled Tigra being punished for an unknown crime cross paths with a marching horde of Ultrons. They massacre each other. Meanwhile, a steampunk Hank Pym has been given the option of voluntarily throwing himself off a wall for committing the sin of making a steam powered man (I can’t understand the politics of his realm. They sound stupid). He thinks (or at least I think we’re lead to think he thinks) he will jump over the wall and manhandle that there Ultron. The whole thing was better than I thought given I don’t really care for either premise by itself, and the oversaturation, culturally, of zombies. I liked the dark smudgy art, but the excessive narration felt like it was way too high on its own fart air. – Montgomery

S.H.I.E.L.D. # 7 – B
This is a solid issue. The story was lacking for a little while there, so I’m glad to see it picking up. I love seeing Dr. Zabo in this. His dynamic with Daisy/Skye has always really peaked my interest. They’re a messed up duo. He’s a crazy mess; she’s damaged and angry. It makes for a stimulating interaction story-wise. I also love to see her kick his ass. I used to kind of dislike Skye, but I’m growing more attached to her as she grows her own agency and her relationship with Phil always makes me very emotional. That’s another thing that I really enjoyed in this issue. Phil is my favorite character in S.H.I.E.L.D.. Always has been. Seeing him defend his team like they were his family is always very moving for me and we luckily get to see even more of that in this issue. – Charlotte

M.O.D.O.K. Assassin #2 – B-
Issue 2 had more of the gonzo humor that the pretty awesome short in Secret Wars Journal #1, whose absence made the first issue of Assassin kind of hard to work through. Issue 2 opens up with a misunderstanding between Angela and MODOK as she assaults him for attacking her. He tries to reason his way through the fight, but is blinded by love. Meanwhile, assassins, Kingpin, blah blah blah, no one cares because this book should be funny and every time it isn’t it’s a bummer, and the Kingpin is never funny. One thing I can’t figure out, because I’m not sure if I’ve ever read a comic with MODOK in it, present company excluded, is if he was ever to be considered a serious threat, or kind of a winky joke the whole time. And either way, I can’t tell if anyone else in his universe considers him a threat, or if they’re just winking at him the whole time. – Montgomery

Planet Hulk #2 – C+
In a world where everything is infected with gamma radiation, and everything becomes Hulk in nature, your chances of survival absolutely suck. However, with the team of Captain America, Doc Green and Devil, your chance of survival… still kinda suck. At this rag tag bunch of badasses continue the journey to kill the Red King and Save Bucky (both for personal and business reasons), it is not an easy journey. One of the things I enjoy most about this comic is seeing just how dangerous the Greenlands really are. I’m a personal fan of the Hulk and anything Hulk, so seeing a world full of Hulk-like creatures is exciting; especially when they have to fight each other for survival. And judging off of the last panel, things are about to go down. – Evan

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.