Comic Book Reviews 12-10-14

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:

TWD 135 POTW

The Walking Dead #135 – A

Issue #135 of The Walking Dead pissed me off! Not because it was bad, but because Kirkman does an excellent job of writing in the most STUPID and UNGRATEFUL, idiot characters!! How did so many selfish morons survive the apocalypse?!?! I felt anger, pride, fear and anxiety all throughout this issue – for making me feel all the feelings, I gave TWD an A this month! I can feel it in my bones that we will soon know what’s become of Michonne. There was also some magnificent (just SUPERB) foreshadowing of Carl Grime’s future in this newly formed society. I felt the need to nervously pace my apartment after reading this issue. It’s one of the better “build-up” issues I’ve read. Whether things escalate or the simmer down from here it’s hard to say, but what’s for sure is the “aww shit” seed has been planted and it’s only a matter of time before it blossoms and eats your face. Maybe an undead face mask isn’t a bad idea after all… – Taylor

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Prometheus: Fire & Stone #4 – B

And so concludes the first set of Fire & Stone comic series. There’s not a whole lot to say about this final chapter besides that it really drove home the best qualities of the Alien franchise. The issue was thrilling, bloody, left one with a sense of hopelessness, and open ended. It’s that last part that was also the downside to Prometheus F&S’s finale – there wasn’t any real closure. Because we all know that this story weaves into other comic arcs it didn’t really dampen anything, but compiling JUST the four issues together there’s a definite lack of simple plot structure. Minor overall and definitely overshadowed by all the happenings this issue. I’m sad to see this title go – it’s been such a fun ride! Let the gore and guts continue to spill in the sister issues!! – Taylor

DC/Vertigo: 

New 52 Futuress End #32 – B-

Now we’re getting somewhere. …Or at least it’s starting to feel like we are. There’s no action in this issue but at least we’re starting to get the set up of some sort of cohesive storyline. I’m not sure what clicked in the last issue or two, but I think I’m starting to actually care what happens here. So far my largest gripe against Future’s End has been the seemingly endless meandering of the plot. It seems as though we’re starting to get to the point; here’s hoping Future’s End keeps it up. – Moke

Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1 – C+

There are three different story arcs in this cliché holiday issue, but I only really liked the first one. The others didn’t hold much weight for me and had they been omitted, I wouldn’t have felt like the issue was missing anything. In fact, I thought the comic was over after the first story. That being said, the other two weren’t horrible, they just seemed to be supplementary to the first story line. While this issue could be a throwaway, it was nice to see the cute side of her character – sentimental, deranged, and looking for some hell raising fun – all without The Joker. But even still, this book may be one you can skip. – Charlotte

Dynamite Entertainment:

IDW Comics:

TMNT #41 – A

This series always amazes me how each week continues to be good – even the worst issues seem to be better than some of the best stuff out there. This issue continues the awesomeness with ¾ of the turtles focusing on taking out Shredder with Old Hob and the Mutanimals while Donatello sets up a meeting with Shredder. Fugitoid and Baxter Stockman join forces despite their differences to take down Krang. Things are not looking good for Krang as no one is on his side but himself, but it’s Krang so no one really cares seeing him hurt. This story arc has been really good and I absolutely love Cory Smith’s art, in fact I might say he is my favorite artist for this series overall. I would pick up here since it is the start of a new arc. – Jacob

Samurai Jack #15 – B+

Everything is on the line and there is nothing to fight with for our hero Jack. With the sword gone and him deemed unworthy, Aku sees his opportunity for attack and takes Jack by storm.  The battle takes up this whole issue and gives us one of the most action packed Samurai Jack issues we have seen. By the end, we don’t really have an idea of what is coming next but we do get one of those most exciting issues to date. It also helps that the subscription cover was done by the main man himself, Genndy Tartakovsky. – Jacob

October Faction #3 – B

This month’s October Faction somewhat made up for the previous issue’s slow start, but it still left me wanting a little more. In my opinion, this was the most interesting issue so far, but overall its hook still just hasn’t landed. There hasn’t been enough time spent really hashing out the world these characters live in so it’s hard to get excited and speculate where the story might go. So much time has been spent on the family dynamic, and while they are likable enough characters, it feels like Niles energy could be spent in better ways to get his story really rolling. I get that this book is supposed to have a heavy emphasis on the family drama, but so far they don’t feel dysfunctional, more like Leave it to Beaver, just with the whole seeing dead people and fighting monsters thing. This issue had a werewolf fighting a robot boy and a cocky assbutt getting shot for being smarmy and making threats, I want more of that! As of now, this series does not having me drooling and obsessing, but I can at least say that its most recent showing certainly kept my interest and I’m looking forward to next month’s issue. – Keriann

Image Comics:

Southern Bastards #6 – A

This week, I decided to jump into my comics mid-series. I figure that if the story is good, no matter what issue, it should generate enough interest that I’d want to check out the rest. To that end… the 6th issue of Southern Bastards was a bad one to walk into as it’s all about football. I am so indifferent and acerbic toward sports that I make people who also don’t care about football uncomfortable. I care about high school football less, and that’s what this is all about. In huge detail. There’s even a Magical Negro™ who courageously, though blind, teaches our white protagonist how to best foot the most balls. There were points where I wasn’t sure if this story was serious or making fun of itself. The shit does get real: our hero, a boy named Euless Boss (what?) wants to impress his abusive dead beat dad by making the team. Which he does! Though his dad dismisses him because he’s mid-orgy. But when things get real (a definite spoiler), my interest was piqued, and maybe Image hadn’t lost their minds and published a football comic (who the hell would even read that? Weren’t we all beaten up by the football team in high school?), but something deeper was happening. Sure enough, I read about it online, and it’s a comic about American south small town corruption (of which football is a small-large part since they love them some football). And my interest is definitely piqued. – J.H.

Sex Criminals #9 – A-

Aside from the slight loss in momentum due to inconsistent publishing dates, this issue ends with a giant mind-f***. Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky are the cutest creative team in the industry, and you would never know it by their unabashed approach to talking about one of the most uncomfortable topics, SEX. SEXY SEX SEX. Now that I have your attention, this book is seriously great. There’s definitely a polarizing reaction to the sexual expression that the characters have, and in all honesty, this book kicks it up a notch in the debauchery department when introducing a new character. None of it is smut just for the sake of smut, because it is all tied to a mind-blowing new path for the story to take. Look, you can feel uncomfortable, you can feel ashamed that you laugh, but this book is a triumphant story for all the twenty-somethings out there who wish they could stop time with their orgasms – and that can’t just be me, right? – Sherif

Shutter #7 – B+

This hiatus that writer Joe Keatinge and artist Leila del Duca took from Shutter came right on the heels of an epic finale that made the mid-season finale of Arrow look weak (okay, just kidding. Nothing tops the Arrow/ al Ghul showdown). The series drew me in instantly with its cast of fantasy characters and complete lack of regard for the status quo. Simply put, Shutter is a new experience. Unlike other books that try to cross into uncharted territory, a book with assassin foxes riding Triceratops into battle is just called “Issue #6.” As the arc is taking a new and unexpected turn, there’s so much to pay attention to and enjoy. I’m glad this book is gearing up for a second arc; I just hope that it can hold onto the magic that has made it so special. – Sherif

Bitch Planet #1 – B

This is the start to a really interesting sci-fi social commentary on how our society treats women and especially women of color. I love it when sci-fi uses its genre to create social change and this new comic definitely has that on their agenda. This issue definitely reminded me of the Buffy episode “Anne” where the prisoners are pushed to be compliant and denounce their individuality. And much like Buffy, Kamau Kogo gives that idea a roundhouse kick to the face. I love the representation in this comic, showing women of all sizes and color. This story arc has the potential to be really influential in the comic book world and I’m super excited to see what this new feminist icon gets up to next. – Charlotte

Copperhead #4 – D

This comic needs to go somewhere. I mean that in a bad way. It’s obvious that Faerber is trying WAY too hard to get readers to care. Cooperhead is a perfect example of trying to cram 10-pounds of stuff into a 5-pound bag. Some stories just can’t have it all and be successful! The comic flips drastically from one character to the next and alters themes just as dramatically. There’s only the mildest bit of cohesion and it’s the only thing saving this review from a failing grade. Added stories elements actually take away from the whole and make me more frustrated. It’s just one big colorful mess drifting in space. In order for this series to be saved, Faerber needs to trim the fat, pick a single theme, and just work it! No more giant teddy bears stupidly falling from rooftops or pissed of alien-hillbillies beating up manual laborers. Then I might be interested. – Taylor

Marvel:

Avengers & X-Men Axis #7 – A

This series has to be my favorite of the year. Per usual, any Marvel story featuring Apocalypse will end in death and destruction. It will be interesting to see just how this happens, especially with the twist of heroes as villains and vice versa. But this issue had a major bombshell that will be sure to change the aftermath of all the carnage to ensue. – Jacob

Spider-Man and the X-Men #1 – B+

Oh, how the times have changed. Remember the times when Peter Parker was the young rapscallion causing mischief wherever he went, making wise-cracks as he went? Yeah, now he has to deal with “actual” responsibilities – not saving the world or his girlfriend, but impressing upon today’s mutant youth the values of superhero ethics. Beyond the fact that this book is hilarious – I mean, picture an adult Ferris Bueller trying to teach detention, there are actually some words of wisdom that the book imparts to discuss an actual adult topic. Very sneaky, Marvel. There is a convoluted back-story as to why Spidey is teaching the “Special Class,” but the book flows far more easily without it. Sadly, this looks to be another ploy to stuff Spider-Man in our face while he’s hot, but that doesn’t make Spider-Man and the X-Men any less entertaining; it just means the ride will be a bit shorter than warranted. This could be its own version of Dangerous Minds if it stuck around long enough. – Sherif

Amazing Spider-Man #11 – B+

Rally the troops!!!! That was pretty awesome! Tension continues to mount as the Spidey(s) continue to lack even the inklings of the beginnings of a plan. However, even in the midst of an incredibly bleak situation for our heroes, Dan Slott and Co. still manage to find moments to bring the funny. We also get to see 616-Peter begin to take a more decisive leadership role (in an extremely satisfying manner, I might add). The only reason the issue doesn’t get a higher grade is because the frequent cutaways to other happenings in Spider-verse drastically hinder the pacing of the action. Every time another group of Spiders gets sent away on a mission, I can’t help but feel I’ve seen this before and the gimmick is starting to get a little tired. That being said, I can’t wait to see where else Spider-Verse takes us. – Moke

Thor #3 – B 

(B+) What to give this book? It’s hard for me to wrap my head around. I like the art, and I like the idea of woman Thor, but the execution is so uninteresting and typical. The teaser for next month’s cover gave me an eye sprain from rolling too hard. Since I am not much of a “superhero” guy, a book of this type has to be leagues greater than the standard for me to take notice. Well, I say it’s not my bag, but a well-written superhero comic is impossible to say no to. I’d say if you know anything about Norse mythology (and highly respect it), you’ll probably give this comic a C, but if you like super hero books a whole bunch, it’s probably worth a read. – J.H.

(B) I have mixed feelings about Thor this month. At the onset of the issue I was very pleased with the attention to backstory. If you read my reviews enough, you’ll know that I mention “depth” a lot – Jason Aaron added some of this critically good stuff in this issue, which was a plus. Introducing Skrymir, King of the Frost Giants, was entertaining and smart. But — now he’s dead. Oh yeah… Spoiler alert… In three issues of Thor it seems that the plot is both rushed and slow-walked in all the wrong places. By the issue’s end, I found myself, yet again, screaming at the pages, “WHO IS SHE?!” My outbursts aren’t based in the well-crafted “this story is doing a good job at keeping suspense,” but rather the irritating, “there’s no point to keeping this a secret anymore!!” This story isn’t better because I don’t know who The Goddess of Thunder is and it bugs me that the story hasn’t moved on from that yet. That aside, this issue is my favorite thus far. I think we’re close to having a good thing here people. Just hold on a little longer. – Taylor

Rocket Raccoon #6 – B-

Despite this series always being good, this issue and the last one (which happened to be favorite of the series) have been so far removed from the story they set up it almost feels like they threw away the last two issues to rev up again for the new year. That does not mean the story isn’t good, but after loving the last issue and ready to get back into the story it was kind of a shock to not have a mention of Blackjack O’Hare, the other Anthropomorphic raccoon, or any real significant piece of the story and just have Rocket taking odd jobs. I did love the story and seeing Cosmo is great to any past Guardian fans. Skottie Young’s art is wonderful and offers a very different side to a lot of the super realistic Rockets that we usually see these days. – Jacob

Deadpool: Art of War #3- C

I have to say I am not following where this series is going much. Although very entertaining and will likely get some comic fans to seek out the actual Art of War by Sun Tzu, this series doesn’t offer that much past a light entertaining read and some awesome art. By the end of this issue, you kind of feel the whole idea is destroyed a bit and leaves you wondering if the rest of the series will follow the Art of War as much as these first 3 issues. Despite being a bit lost within itself, the idea is as fun as any Deadpool story and allows you to see some pretty awesome battles. I would say pick this issue up for the art alone as it is the highlight of the whole series for me. – Jacob

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #6 – C

Despite me trudging through everything Death of Wolverine related, I keep reading and yet another issue seems to be dull and offer nothing much to the story. Andy Clarke does well with the art for Mystique in this issue. The writing is not bad, but just feels unnecessary and unsatisfactory.This issue focusing on Mystique offered the most out of anyone of the characters in the series. However, in the last panel we go, “Back to the Beginning!” I actually have hope for the new series that may come from this. – Jacob

Spider-Verse Team-Up #2 – C-

Oh well, they can’t all be winners. I guess it had to happen eventually, but this was just utterly disappointing. I get the “why” of the art style for the first half of the issue… but ugh, that was bad. I, for one, am glad the Adam West campy days of super-heroism are over. Eh, different strokes for different folks, I guess. The art of the second half was marginally better, yet the self-contained story was pretty paint by numbers. I can’t help but feel like they set the bar pretty low with this one. Le sigh. Onto the next issue. – Moke

 

Funniest Panel:

Spider-Man and the X-Men #1
Spider-Man and the X-Men #1

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Shutter #7
Shutter #7

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.