Comic Book Reviews 05-06-15

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:

nailbiter 12 potw 05.06.15
Nailbiter #12 – A
This month’s Nailbiter took a small break from the action and focused more on giving us all the juicy details we’ve been craving. I am so excited that Warren is beginning to tell his backstory and the secret of the Buckaroo Butchers, and I hate that he most likely won’t get to the end of his story anytime soon. I don’t actually hate it, this book just has me perpetually on the edge of my seat and counting down the days until the next issue arrives so it’s mostly just that the suspense is killing me. That being said I am still quite pleased with this issue. I’m really excited about where Buckaroo seems to be going and how the serial killers are clearly not the only bad people in town. No good can possibly come from the organizing of the religious mob. I don’t know about you but I can’t think of a whole lot that makes me more nervous than a group of religious extremists in robes and masks, picketing and thinking they are doing “god’s work.” Nailbiter added some great new layers to the drama this month and there is just so much awesome going on in this book. – Keriann

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios

Arcadia #1 – D-
I have no idea what I just read. There is a lot of incomprehensible exposition followed by magic. In this case the magic is actually computer code, so that was neat. But that was about it. – Scott

Dark Horse Comics:

Baltimore: Cult of the Red King #1 – B
Issue #1 was a solid start for this series. The mission is mysterious and everything gets straight off into a fascinating supernatural world. This issue focused more on character exposition, so someone new to the series gets a pretty good background on who Lord Baltimore is, but all he’s been through is still a little hazy. This is a relatively easy jumping off point for new readers because it’s not overly detailed in back stories they may have missed, but it doesn’t waste too much time explaining things for fans of the series. I thoroughly enjoyed the dark and adventurous nature of the story. It doesn’t take off with too much action for a first issue, there is no crazy WTF climax but I’m still really interested in what is to come. The characters are likeable, their journey is intriguing and using my amazing powers of previous knowledge I’m pretty sure this series will be pretty dang good. – Keriann

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Convergence – Nightwing-Oracle #2 – B+
This was a cute story. Guess what? The heroes won! It was never a question of if they would lose, but more like a character study on Barbara Gordon as Oracle. I enjoy Gail Simone’s writing so much; and she knows her character better than anything. I am happy with how this story turned out. Nothing is perfect, and Dick and Barbara let us know they know that. – Adrian

Convergence #5 – D
How long until we care about anything happening? Am I being punished? Five issues in, and I still have a hard time giving a crap about anything. I sincerely want to talk to someone who thinks Convergence is THE BEST THING EVER and have them explain why. I just want to understand. To recap: in issue 5, none of the iterations we like of the popular heroes we love encounter Deimos (who?), who frees/kills(?) Brainiac, but not unil after reminding Telos of who he is… but I have no idea. A bearded guy hates Deimos, but Convergence makes the bold choice of not informing us who the bearded guy is. Deimos kills (but probably not) Brainiac and makes himself king of the planet. Just to recap: A Villain we kind of care about controls a villain we’ve never heard of, only to be killed by a villain we don’t care about. Bold choices DC. – Montgomery

IDW Publishing: 

Samurai Jack #19 – A-
We are at the penultimate issue of Samurai Jack here, and what a better way to get us ready to send off this great series than with an adventure with The Canine Archaeologists?? Some of Jack’s fan-favorite characters make a return to the comics, needing Jack to help them find the tomb of the first talking dog in history. After a little bit of travel they make it to the site to find all their diggers are quitting due to a curse on the site that has them all scared. Once they enter the tomb of the talking dog, they find him haunting the place and demanding tribute, but with no tribute, there is no telling what Jack and our favorite dogs will face. I found this story to be vey fun and much more light-hearted than the next issue will be. Who knows whether or not this will finish Jack’s journey, or if fans will have to wait for another incarnation to see this story through? Jim Zub does a wonderful job bringing us this tale for Jack and giving us another chance to see the Canine Archeologists before this series ends. The art for this issue by Christine Larsen is pretty good and mimics the style of the show well, but is not as spot on as previous artists; there was even one instance that had me think that Jack was not Jack as he was drawn oddly and from a strange angle. Ultimately, the style seems much more Disney animation to me than Tartakovsky’s style, and although it has no ill effect on the story, it did seem to throw me off from time to time being a huge Samurai Jack fan. I did have to hand it to IDW for bringing us a great series for Samurai Jack. Even though this issue obviously gave us no hints of what’s to come in the final issue, I advise you to pick it up as just a fun Jack story before the curtains close. – Jacob

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutanimals #3 – B
There are definitely some huge changes to this team; not only are the members of the team different from the original Archie comics series in this IDW mini-series, but they go up against Null – who has been gender-swapped from the original into a demon woman with horns. Not sure if I should find that sexist or not?!?! In this issue’s story from Paul Allor, we see all the Mutanimals but Mondo Gecko and Slash and it is up to them not only to save the other Mutanimals, but all the mutants Null has been experimenting on. We also get a little bit of story with the two scientists working with Null and how the scientist Jillian fooled her friend Lindsay to come work for Null out of fear and now they both are stuck helping a demon. Both stories are not as good as I would hope, and maybe it is due to just lacking a lot of the characters for an issue and a half here. Now with a bigger team and a much bigger agenda on their shoulders, will the Mutanimals be able to stop Null? – Jacob

Image Comics: 

Descender #3 – B+
(B+) I genuinely love LeMire. I should probably stop there. The third  issue of Descender has our poor boy Tim coming to in a weird robot limbo full of the robots murdered to death by their owners. I love LeMire’s ability to blend the mundane with the supernatural and each feel like it belongs equally. I mean, that’s kind of all I’ve got to say. I love this book. I love this art. LeMire’s on my list of “People Whom I Will Lick if I Ever Meet in an Attempt to Absorb Their Powers.” Go read this. – Montgomery

(B) The question of “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” has been answered, sort of. It turns out that while TIM is unconscious he dreams of broken bots. In TIM’s dream, he sees a collective of robots that seemingly are planning a revolution against humanity, and any other species that get in the way. This leaves a nice story open for the future. First of all, TIM dreams somehow and that’s astounding. Now, TIM is being taken from the colony by Quon and Telsa. I’m very interested to see the reaction once they arrive at where they are going. And just how bad is Telsa going to be? – Scott

Wolf Moon #6 – D
Wolf Moon came to a conclusion this week, and what started with a bang ended in predictable disappointment. The story really lost its way about halfway through the series, so the ending was fitting for where it was headed, but definitely left me unsatisfied. So it turns out some random guy who I don’t remember ever coming up before is also tracking the wolf so he can work some witchcraft to make himself the host again. There wasn’t much build-up to that outcome so it basically just felt phoned in. Dillon and Cayce think they’ve at least finally stopped the wolf but in reality there are more werewolves and they will never be stopped. There was no gut wrenching climax, there was nothing unique to the end of this series. It basically just quietly trailed off and died. The only thing close to a twist was that the wolf was finally killed by a silver letter opener after surviving a barrage of silver bullets. However, as they paid no attention to that fact it’s less of a twist and more of a stupid addition. I’m disappointed. I loved this series when it started and I really wish it had gone to better places. Oh well. – Keriann

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Guardians Team-Up #5 – A-
With the end of his solo series coming to an end and his involvement in Secret Wars, it was nice to have a Rocket story where Death or just ending all together was not a imminent threat. In this issue of Team-Up, it’s all about Rocket and his team-up with the Pet Avengers. Rocket is led to a poker game with the Pet Avengers, which is soon attacked by the evil Vulture Von Doom and the Pets of Evil Masters! Rocket must now (reluctantly) team-up with The Pet Avengers to save the world from the evil menace of a Vulture Doctor Doom and all your favorite bad guys evil pets. This story was definitely fun and one of the better Guardians Team-Up stories. It also comes with an awesome cover done by Humberto Ramos and Edgar Delgado. The story was written by Andy Lanning and Andy Schmidt (insert Hot Fuzz The Andies joke here) and as I said before they did a great job here and made a very fun short story for any Guardians fan, but especially for Rocket fans. Gustavo Duarte does the art for this issue and it was a great style to choose for this story as it was very reminiscent of Skottie Young’s style from Rocket’s own series while also making this a very distinctive and memorable issue all his own. – Jacob

Spider-Gwen #1 – A-
I’ve been observing this series from a distance, not really sure how to react at its very existence. This issue dropkicks me over the fence onto the side that thinks it’s one of the edgiest and honest books Marvel has come out with in recent memory. A large part of that is the combination of Robbi Rodriguez’s crisp pencil work and Rico Renzi’s vibrant coloring. Together it combines for something that’s like a younger sibling’s imiation of Image’s Deadly Class – and that’s one of the highest praises I can have for a book. There’s not much going on in terms of story progression, but the honest conversation that Aunt May has with Gwen is one of the more intellectual ones I’ve read in a teen book, one that challenges readers to ask questions, even if they aren’t ones that the world is ready to hear the answer to. This issue is a lull in action, but it’s one that stimulated my brain way more than a beat-em-up book would. I hope this creative team can keep the momentum going. – Sherif

Rocket Raccoon #11 – B+
In the last issue of Rocket’s first ongoing series, which barely overshot double the amount of his original miniseries, we see Rocket finally getting a hold of the Book of Half-World and having all his secrets at his fingertips. But remember that other “Raccoon” we saw earlier in the series? Well, she has something to say about what is inside the book and is not too happy Rocket has is all to himself. The story for this series comes to a good close, and although we don’t find out everything we would want to about Rocket with this last issue, we see that he does and we can take some comfort in that. Skottie Young took this amazingly-popular character who to most people didn’t exist years ago and gave him an awesome series – one that not only helps define Rocket, but defines Young as an artist and a writer. – Jacob

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5 – B+
This was a filler issue, and it was so good. The only reason it got a “B” instead of an “A” is because you have to have some prior knowledge of Squirrel Girl to thoroughly enjoy the book. But I certainly did! Doreen’s roommate Nancy is being held hostage with a group in the Statue of Liberty, and once Squirrel Girl is mentioned, the nit-wit group starts telling ridiculous stories about her. The great thing about all the stories was their trip through history, with the hokey jokes from the 50’s, the explanation of every little thing from the 90’s, the overdone exposition of today, and the idea of what “future” means in comics. It was hilarious, and more of an insight on Nancy than Doreen. I am totally ok with that. – Adrian

Ant-Man #5 – B
What a tear-jerker! This issue was action packed. Scott had to battle his nemesis Darren Cross. But most importantly, Scott had to deal with the reality of his family life. As often the case with Ant-Man, the book deals with the bad guys, but the big moments are always about Scott the dad, not Scott the hero. He had to make a big decision about the safety of his daughter, and it’s a pretty sad decision. Because of the weighty plot, the dialogue wasn’t in it’s usual form. But I can’t fault the issue for that. – Adrian

Secret Wars #1 – B
Jesus, Marvel. I think Battle World will be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of, but Secret Wars is how you do events. You hear that DC? Of course you didn’t. You’re too busy doing whatever the hell it is you guys do, but writing a good event book definitely isn’t it. I missed the first Secret Wars. It came at, like, the midnight of the dawn of my time as a comics reader. This second time (although, really, I think this is the third Secret Wars. The second one I didn’t even pay attention to) through is pretty hard to not get sucked up into. I mean, significant deaths, significant resurrections, and that’s just issue 1. In case you don’t know, or haven’t been paying attention, Marvel is smashing their Ultimate universe with the on-the-reg 616, and the process of smashing is the ensuing Secret Wars. I mean, comic book logic is already dodgy, but I don’t have to tell you that it’s silly that the collision of these two universes will create continents on Battle World like Age of Apocalypse world, or a Civil War continent. But whatever. Anyways, DC should have been taking notes: put people we know and love in important roles. Let us see Reed Richards being an egghead, Cyclops with a crazy mutant scheme, the Guardians team being shooting friends. Thanos and Doctor Doom lurking in the back being mysterious, and Punisher carrying out his insane-o justice despite the planet currently effing itself. It’s not the best-paced book ever, but compared to Convergence, this might as well be Shakespeare. – Montgomery

Avengers Vs. #1 – B-
This is why we can’t have nice things, Loki! He just seems to be giving Asgardian goodies away to whichever bad guy might want one. First Red Skull goes all Night at the Museum in New York; secondly, Attuna is summoning Nordic Gods to attack our friendly Avengers. Avengers Vs. is clearly directed toward a younger audience, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s got corny jokes and quick bashing fights. It reads like a bunch of short stories, like quick cartoons. All of the stories are loosely tied together with the idea that Loki is causing trouble as a he does by giving artifacts to whoever wants one. It’s entertaining enough because it’s the Avengers, and it’s the same team we are all currently enjoying in the many movies. – Scott

Return of the Living Deadpool #4 – B-
The finale to this mini-series did seem a bit rushed as a lot of series ending lately have when it comes to Marvel. The story by Cullen Bunn is still written well and the story comes to a good close, but maybe I just want more Deadpool and this abrupt ending was just surprising. The story continues with the many different Deadpool Priests we met last issue and they all are almost Evil Dead-style trying to get the good Deadpool to joining them while Liz is terrified in the background. Eventually, after the usual Deadpool slaughter-fest, they begin to set up the saga for another mini-run. I definitely enjoyed this story as a whole, but ultimately the art done by Nik Virella for this series is what kept me reading it. The art in this does just what Lebowski’s rug did for his room; it really tied everything together. The worst thing about this issue is it is just more Deadpool ending… At least we get a movie soon, right? – Jacob

Hulk #16 – D
Jeez, this series just won’t die! Maybe I’m over-reacting a bit, as the book just came off a high of an issues-long Red Hulk vs. Hulk battle. I’m just not finding this enjoyable. Hulk is dying of cancer? The Extremis that made Hulk hyper-intelligent is wearing off? Bruce Banner is in love with Betty Ross (Red She-Hulk)? I really don’t know or care. Also, this issue takes the misleading cover trope to a whole new level, as Maestro is barely mentioned at all on the cover; including him would have made the story much more interesting. Writer Gerry Duggan is not helping the book at all with this lame story. On the other hand, Mark Bagley’s (who will be taking on Ultimate End) full-page spreads are beautiful. It’s the only reason I even bother. – Sherif

Valiant Press

Dead Drop #1 – C
I haven’t read many Valiant comic books and so I’m not sure what I’m getting myself into. It appears Dead Drop is a Valiant superhero team that covers people from different times and planets. In the first issue, we see Aric, who seems to be an artificial intelligence of some sort. He’s chasing down a woman who’s got her hands on “the virus.” A vile of purple doom to be exact (Why is evil always purple?). Though, it appears it might be a bit more benign than that. Anyway, that’s pretty much it for this issue. You get a few hints here and there that nothing is as it seems – an echo of the cover. The first issues leaves me to question is Aric the good guy or the bad guy? It could go either way depending on the perspective. One thing this issue did really well was show the speed and movement of the chase in the art form. It’s hard to show physical movement on the page. I was really impressed with how well it was drawn out. It added to the momentum of the story and drew me in a little more than the exposition. I think this issue would have been better with just the chase between him and his target. The few pages of exposition got in the way and I found it to be annoying. I wanted the mystery of the virus to be maintained and not even hinted at as it was. I feel like I know too much about what’s going on. Other than that the issue is a solid beginning and I’m up for reading a few more issues to see where it goes. – Jené


Funniest Panel:

 

Nailbiter #12
Nailbiter #12

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

hulk 16 awesome panel 05.06.15

 

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.