Best of 2014: Comic Books

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage for all categories.

This year’s nominations are…

Best Comic Book Series (Monthly On-going)

  • DC Comics – Batman (Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)
  • Image Comics – Black Science (Rick Remender & Matteo Scalera)
  • Image Comics – Saga (Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples)
  • IDW Comics – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Tom Waltz & Mateo Santolouco/Ross Campbell)
  • Image Comics – The Walking Dead (Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard)

Results here.

Best Story Arc

  • DC Comics – Batman: Zero Year (Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)
  • DC Comics – Batman: Endgame (Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)
  • Marvel Comics – Spider-Verse (Various writers and artists)
  • DC Comics – Forever Evil (Geoff Johns & David Finch)
  • DC Comics – Multiversity (Grant Morrison & various artists)

Results here.

Best Creative Team

  • Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples – Saga (Image Comics)
  • John Layman & Rob Guillory – Chew (Image Comics)
  • Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard – The Walking Dead (Image Comics)
  • Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo – Batman (DC Comics)
  • Tom Waltz & Mateo Santolouco – TMNT (IDW Comics)

Results here.

Best Writer

  • Geoff Johns – Superman (DC Comics), Justice League (DC Comics), Forever Evil (DC Comics)
  • Josh Williamson – NailbiterBirthright (Image Comics), Captain Midnight (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Matt Fraction – Hawkeye (Marvel Comics), Sex Criminals, Satellite SamOdy-C (Image Comics)
  • Rick Remender – Black Science, Deadly Class, Low (Image Comics)
  • Scott Snyder – Batman, Superman: UnchainedThe WakeAmerican Vampire (DC Comics), Wytches (Image Comics)

Results here.

Best Artist

  • Fiona Staples – Saga (Image Comics)
  • Greg Capullo – Batman (DC Comics)
  • Leila del Duca – Shutter (Image Comics)
  • Mateus Santolouco – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW Comics)
  • Mike Henderson – Nailbiter (Image Comics)

Results here.

Best New Comic Book Series

  • Image Comics – Deadly Class (Rick Remender & Wes Craig)
  • Marvel Comics – Ms. Marvel (G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona)
  • Marvel Comics – Moon Knight (Warren Ellis/Brian Wood & Declan Shalvey/Greg Smallwood)
  • Image Comics – Nailbiter (Joshua Williamson & Mike Henderson)
  • Image Comics – Shutter (Joe Keatinge & Leila del Duca)

Results here.

Best Comic Book Mini-Series

  • Marvel Comics – Deadpool vs. Carnage (Cullen Bunn & Salva Espin)
  • Marvel Comics – Edge of Spider-Verse (Various writers and artists)
  • Marvel Comics – Hawkeye vs. Deadpool (Gerry Duggan & James Harren)
  • Vertigo Comics – Sandman: Overture (Neil Gaiman & JH Williams III)
  • Dark Horse Comics – Serenity: Leaves on the Wind (Zach Whedon & Georges Jeanty)

Results here.

Onto: Best of 2014 – Movies

Best of 2014: Comic Books – Best Mini-Series

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best Comic Book Mini-Series

  • Marvel Comics – Deadpool vs. Carnage (Cullen Bunn & Salva Espin)
  • Marvel Comics – Edge of Spider-Verse (Various writers and artists)
  • Marvel Comics – Hawkeye vs. Deadpool (Gerry Duggan & James Harren)
  • Vertigo Comics – Sandman: Overture (Neil Gaiman & JH Williams III)
  • Dark Horse Comics – Serenity: Leaves on the Wind (Zach Whedon & Georges Jeanty)

WINNER – Serenity: Leaves on the Wind (Whedon/Jeanty)

FIREFLY! I was so excited when this series first came out and remained excited issue to issue. Like every Browncoat out there, I can never get enough of all things Firefly and seeing what our ragtag team of rebels got up to after the events of the film Serenity was a dream come true. The plot was well placed and characters as diverse and wonderfully-flawed as ever. This is the comic that made me most jived this year and I was really sad to see it end. Speaking of it ending: holy cliffhanger Batman! For someone who has historically steered clear of cliffhangers, Joss Whedon sure did end this series on one. I got to talk to artist Georges Jeanty at Denver Comic Con for a little bit (Adrian did too. Check out her interview here!) and when I asked him why Leaves on the Wind was ending so soon he said that the Whedons don’t write something if there isn’t a story. He doesn’t force anything. Does that mean there isn’t a great Firefly story down the line? No, but for now we have an amazing comic with hope of something more whenever Joss has a story in mind for our favorite, little, cargo ship. – Charlotte

Second Place – Edge of Spider-Verse (various)

edge of spider-verse 2 mini series best of 2014
Edge of Spider-Verse #2

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Spider-Man was a villain? What if instead of Peter Parker getting bit by a genetically-modified spider, it was Gwen Stacy? What if Spider-Man wore a mechanical suit instead of revealing spandex? What if Spider-man was a kid? What if, what if, what if?! Well, lucky for us pontificators, Marvel was also curious! Hence, they decided to bring fans Edge of the Spider-Verse mini-series. In all five issues of the series we got to experience alternate versions of Spider-Man and their vastly different backgrounds and rise to power. Stories ranged from playful, whimsical and adventurous to dark, creepy and thrilling. It was great to witness the creativity and how the multiple writers and artists that were involved with this event interpreted the wall crawling hero. It was the perfect draw-in for the Spider-Verse event that came right on this events heels. My personal favorite was the Japan-residing Aaron Aikman that wore a mecha-Spider-suit and squared off against a most deadly cyborg named Naamurah. This issue was captivating and a lot of fun to read. As were all the issues in this mini-series. Hush definitely puts the Edge of the Spider-Verse mini-series as one of, if not THE, best mini-series of the year. – Taylor

Third Place – Deadpool vs. Carnage (Bunn/Espin)

deadpool v carnage 2 miniseries best of 2014
Deadpool vs. Carnage #2

 

The biggest mouth in the business goes against the craziest symbiote in the universe. What could go wrong? I don’t remember a single thing that I liked about Carnage but Deadpool was hilarious. It really is worth a read, especially only at four issues long, just for the Deadpool dialog alone. There are too many little jokes or panels to describe here, but the series was a riot from beginning to end. If Deadpool isn’t one of your favorite characters after reading this, nothing can convince you of his awesomeness. – Robert

RUNNER UP – Hawkeye vs. Deadpool (Remender/Craig)

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #1
Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #1

Deadpool does not get along with anybody, apparently. In the past couple years, Deadpool has taken on the entire Marvel Universe, along with classic literature, and the end result has been more or less the same – Deadpool murders everything. What if Deadpool actually got along with the one he shares the title with (or not; we really still don’t know)? Hawkeye vs. Deadpool is the buddy cop book we didn’t know we wanted, sticking the bumbling idiot with the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent has been nothing but enjoyment. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Sandman: Overture (Gaiman/Williams)

Sandman: Overture #1
Sandman: Overture #1

As a great man once said, “I have a Dream,” and that Dream was once pulled abruptly away from his realm and forced to spend seventy years as a prisoner to his captors.  Why was the almighty Dream of The Endless able to be captured by a few mere mortals seemingly playing around with Satanic rituals they clearly did not understand?  This is the question Sandman enthusiasts have been debating since the final issue of Sandman.  Finally, Neil Gaiman has returned to the series, with the aid of J.H. Williams psychedelic and outstanding artwork, to deliver a prequel that will address this conundrum and put many theories to rest. – Jake

Next Category: Best of 2014 Movies

Comic Book Reviews 10-22-14

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:

The Flash #35

 

The Flash #35 – A

With the new CW television show really taking off, it’s important that we don’t forget that Barry Allen has a super-awesome story going on in his New52 series. In an maligned attempt to stop the Speed Force from becoming further disrupted, Barry has traveled back in time to kill his present self. It’s a concept that may lose others not familiar with the book’s tendency to skip around in time, but the fallen hero angle is a great look for The Flash. There is a particular reveal in this issue that will make long-time fans giggle with joy, but whether or not this character sticks around is yet to be seen. Simply put, The Flash is an incredibly well-done book each month, and with the new series doing making such an impression, it’s time the rest of the world realizes that, too. – Sherif

Other Reviews: 

Boom! Studios:

Memetic #1 – B

(A) Holy balls, this book is awesome. Memetic is a story about the end of the world like we’ve never heard before and it’s honestly kind of terrifying. Memetic #1 starts on an average day in the life of a college student, he’s in a text fight with his boyfriend and perusing Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter when he sees a kind of creepy meme of a sloth giving a thumbs up. People are obsessing over it and talking about how it gives them a euphoric feeling simply to gaze upon it and suddenly the idea of our society being destroyed by our own mindless obsession with all things internet is introduced. This is a 48 page special edition and I have to say, it did not feel like it. It was a quick read and I was hooked pretty early on. The characters are well written; I actually give a damn about them. The writing is compelling and I honestly had fearful reactions to it, which in my opinion is really impressive. My stomach sank at the right times, and the dark places the story goes are genuinely pretty creepy. I mean, rage zombies are a scary son of a bitch am I right? I’m not going to lie, as I read through it there were times when it seemed a little silly. The idea of “Meme Warfare” is kind of absurd, mostly because I have no idea how such a thing would even be possible, but aside from that I have no qualms up to this point. Memetic is scary, it’s bloody, it’s smart, and while it may be a little elitist with its obvious “Our obsession with technology will be our own downfall” message I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who likes a good horror book or anyone who’s ever scrolled through their Facebook feed and felt like humanity really is doomed. – Keriann

(C+) I adore the idea of the apocalypse. Is that weird to say? That I really like the idea of slews of people dying so I can struggle to survive? Admittedly it is, but it’s also true. So Memetic seemed like the perfect place to port some time into this week. Who doesn’t want an evening stroll down a blood covered lane to see all that the end of the world has to offer? So I geared up, counted how many days of food I had stored in my house and dived in eyes wide shut. Memetic takes an age old apocalyptic story and tries to give it a twist. I can’t explain the details because half of the fun is finding out in what way the apocalypse will take shape (you understand, right?), but what I am willing to reveal is that what Memetic tries to do so artfully, that new twist, falls flat for me. The word memetic is the idea of Darwinian cultural information transfer. That like language or fire, certain information transcends geography and time because it is simply necessary. What Memetic does is use that same theory to turn that idea of survival backwards, and through that idea the world is thrown into a chaos. That being said, this book does a lot of things right. Witty and funny dialogue, simple yet well designed art, complex characters, and the protagonist is gay which I happen to really like (I like characters that break the script). There’s a lot of promise between those pages and like any good Shakespearian play, setting the stage is as important as the main act.  So while I may be lukewarm on this issue as a stand alone, I will be walking on down that blood covered lane trying to survive another day, all the while expecting bigger and better things. – Zach

Dark Horse:

Predator: Fire & Stone #1 – A

I’m in love with the Dark Horse Fire & Stone storyline! Weaving together the cornerstone Alien and Predator worlds with the newer Prometheus and Alien vs. Predator spin-offs, this adventure has raised my expectations of each of these franchises. Each entry in the Fire & Stone series does an exceptional job of staying true to the host title AND weaving in with the other arcs. This is especially notable considering that nothing is in chronological order at this point. Now that I think about it, Fire & Stone has demonstrated one of the best uses of the comic medium that I’ve ever seen. I’m certainly enjoying these issues WAY more than I enjoyed Aliens vs. Predators: Requiem. If you haven’t started on these yet I recommend it! Be sure to read in the order they’ve been released though! I promise it will add to the experience. – Taylor

Father’s Day #1 – B-
 
Father’s Day is a new four part comic by the creator of Dark Horse Comics himself, Mike Richardson. This book is a fast-paced, mobster crime mystery following Silas aka The Eastside Butcher, and his daughter Denise.  Silas left his life of crime 20 years ago to protect his daughter.  But when Denise comes looking for him, she accidentally brings the mob with her.  The book never lulled, but I found Denise’s incessant questions annoying.  She slightly redeemed herself at the end, but I really hope her character grows up fast.  My favorite part of the book was the art.  It is so crisp with incredibly bright colors; it was eye candy for sure.  I look forward to getting to know the Eastside Butcher more, but I’m really looking forward to more incredible art. – Adrian

DC/Vertigo:

Deathstroke #1 – A-
You know what DC is missing? Some good, old fashioned violence. It’s been a while since we’ve gotten to experience high octane action from start to finish starring a recognizable character that’s just plain fun to read. Well, it seems we’re in luck, because Deathstroke is here. Written and pencilled by the legendary Tony Daniels (Batman: Battle for the Cowl), this debut is style over substance all the way, and that’s just kinda the guy Slade Wilson is. You’ll find a very adult book in this new series that is very reminiscent of anime, with lots of blood and even more crazy plot twists, but if that’s your thing, you will LOVE this book. It’s a nice departure from the norm at DC, and I hope that it will continue to dazzle me. – Sherif
Superman #35 – B
We knew the time was going to come sooner or later for Superman and Ulysses to butt heads, but I didn’t see this plot twist coming. Superstar creative team Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. have been tearing it up since Superman #32, but this issue has hinted at the first real conflict of this arc. We get a legitimate threat in The Machinist, but it seems that Ulysses’ handling of Earth’s perchance to violence in a way that Superman will surely not approve of. While we’re just scratching the surface of Superman’s true psyche, there’s no question that the Blue Boy Scout is making a comeback. – Sherif

Arkham ManorC+

(A-) This is a very interesting concept. Arkham Asylum has been destroyed and Wayne Manor has become the new location to house it former occupants. I don’t have a lot to say about this, but, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It is very much an exposition issue and sets us up for, what I hope to be, a very enjoyable read. I did have one glaring problem with this book, all of the characters looked like various versions of Jay Leno…what’s with big chins? Either way, give this one a go as Batman has to fight his enemies in his childhood bedroom. – Cody

(D) It’s just not that good. The writing is boring and the art just doesn’t fit. Batman looks like he hasn’t eaten in a week. I honestly was turned off and bored rather quickly. I did not find it worth to finish the book. – Scott

Earth 2: World’s End #3 – C-

Wow, a lot happened in 20 pages. This had a little bit of everything and that wasn’t necessarily good. This one picked up where last week’s left off in that things are still all over the place. It’s becoming difficult to keep track of everything and everyone. I’m starting to lose interest so hopefully they reel this thing in a bit. – Cody

Multiversity – The Just #1 – D

Let me be clear. The only thing keep me from flunking this comic is Ben Oliver’s art work. About the only redeeming quality of Multiversity – The Just is the awesome character detail and composition. The Just was terrible. Almost every cardinal sin of telling a parallel universe/multidimensional story was perpetrated in this new DC series. Overflowing with unnecessary complexity, bastardizing beloved characters, panels containing superfluous and perplexing content, failure to focus the story or provide a plot, inability to harness potential (this story actually had all the necessary pieces that could have made it great), and my list goes on and on. This was the most massive disappointment I experienced all week. I’d steer clear if I were you. This one isn’t worth the time. – Taylor

 

IDW Comics:

TMNT/Ghostbusters #1 – B+

(A) I’ll admit, this is the first Turtles book I’ve read, and I loved it! A great mash up starts between the Ghostbusters and the Turtles and it’s executed wonderfully and stayed true to both franchises. The art was really great and I appreciated the change in styles. In fact, this book was drawn by three different people, one for each plane of existence. I especially liked the ghost that the Ghostbusters fight.  Does anyone else think it looks like Mike Wazowski? I’ll definitely be reading the next issue and you should definitely read it, too. It’s a great, fun Halloween read! – Cody

(A) I was as wary of this series as I was excited for the X-Files: Conspiracy crossover with the Lone Gunmen. I felt that series left each story a little short and didn’t put enough focus on each different property they were crossing over with. This one seem to be more grounded, well-written and, hey, they both live in New York (despite it being other dimensions). The artwork is solid and the story so far has been great and will only improve now that the two teams have met and know the conflict. I am not sure I even need to tell anyone to read this – and if you need convincing, you need a huge 80s culture slap to the head. – Jacob

(B-) Yes you read that correctly, adolescent fighting reptiles team up with those crazy guys who fight ghosts but have cheesy commercials. Is it as awesome as it sounds? No, not really, but it is a wonderful piece of nostalgia for people like myself. The writing is little cornball. If you watched the Ghostbusters cartoon as a kid like me, you’ll understand what I mean. If you’d like to know what I mean, head to YouTube and find The Real Ghostbusters. I appreciate that both groups make early reference to the films, even if the turtles are referring to Turtles in Time. The art is pretty average, very cartoony, but that’s to be expected and doesn’t bother me. The only art qualm I have are the Ghostbusters themselves; they don’t really represent the characters I grew up on. None of the Ghostbusters really look like what you would expect, especially Winston, who is awkwardly big lipped. This first issue is just interesting enough for me to continue the series. It survives a lot on the nostalgia factor. -Scott

Samurai Jack #13 – B

We last left Jack with basically no hope and no way to fight Aku because his magical sword had been destroyed. With this, Jack was left to wonder the earth in hiding as Aku sent out killers and posted wanted posters all over the place to capture Jack.  Will he find a way to defeat Aku without his sword and finally find it back to his time? Well it is highly likely the first one will happen but don’t expect a happy ending just yet. The art in this series has continually been fantastic and this arc is by far the most. If you a fan of Jack please get the back issues, and try and catch up as this is all leading up to something big. – Jacob

Edward Scissorhands #1 – B-

(B+) Oh man, IDW are you living inside my mind? Because you seem to publish books about everything I love. With that being said, this Edward Scissorhands series is going to be a lot different from the story of the film and they make damn sure you know that as it takes place many years in the future. Kim from the film is dead from the start and the human it focuses on is her granddaughter. So the whole town will be different and the only person you will recognize is Edward. The art alone is wonderful, and even reminds me a bit of the animated Beetlejuice. The story seems good so far, setting up Edward to be a hero of sort instead of the wanted murderer the town saw him as at the end of the film. If you love the original film, or Tim Burton in general, do yourself a favor and pick this up. – Jacob

(C) This is a tough one for me, as I think it will be for anyone who has a love for the movie Edward Scissorhands. I have preconceived ideas about how this book should be, and unfortunately that does not quite work in its favor. The writing isn’t bad, the story is even pretty interesting, albeit not what I was imagining. This miniseries will apparently tell the story of Kim’s (Winona Ryder) granddaughter as she goes to find the monster man her grandmother used to tell her about before she died. Meanwhile Edward has been up in his house, doing his thing, being lonely… The story seems sweet enough but it’s already gone in a strange direction with Edward finding another “boy creation” from The Inventor, but this one seems to like murdering rats for some reason. It’s weird and frankly it doesn’t make sense and I don’t like it. At least Edward is written as a gentle and sweet and Kim’s granddaughter seems to share her spunky rebellious nature. My biggest problem with this book is absolutely the artwork. Don’t get me wrong, I will never be the person to insult someone’s craft, but the imagery just does not fit with this world. The drawings are cutesy and would fit way better in a Sunday morning comic strip or children’s book. The dark world of Tim Burton is no place for cutesy cartoonish drawings and it’s not just distracting, it honestly brings the book down a few notches for me. I would recommend that lovers of the movie give Edward Scissorhands #1 a try, but if you’re not a fan of the movie or have never seen it for some insane reason then I wouldn’t bother because you’ll probably hate it. Overall Edward Scissorhands is not a bad read, it’s just telling a story no one was asking to hear. – Keriann

The X-Files: Season 10 #17 – B-

Shits’ going down in X-Files; well, I guess that is true all the time, but now we get a peek into another series coming out soon of Millennium by bringing in another Chris Carter-created character Frank Black to help with the current case in this series. I personally can’t wait for Frank Black to have a bigger role and his own series starting soon as Millenium was a very underrated show that was different but lived in the same universe as X-Files. The case to bring these two together for both series requires a psychic like Frank Black so within both series we will see Mulder and Frank investigating the strange happening going on. I really do love the art of this series, but if only they could create well-lit scenes, that would make it feel a little more normal as the shadows are über-extreme. However, the writing in this issue was really good and hopefully they will keep it up here and have a great crossover going on here. – Jacob

Super Secret Crisis War! Cow and Chicken #1 – C+

I always liked Cow and Chicken but it was a cartoon that was along the same vein of Ren and Stimpy with very gross humor and an abnormal amount of butt shots. This kept my mom from letting us watch too much of it, but it still brings back very good memories and this issue captured the nature of the show perfectly, even the abnormal amount of butt shots of the characters. The story felt way too long for what was happening and ended with anything to really show for it. So although it is enjoyable as a stand-alone Cow and Chicken comic, it does not connect nearly as well as the past one shots to the main story line. – Jacob

The X-Files: Year Zero #4 – C

Two X-Files books in the same week! That is definitely awesome for any fan of the franchise. This mini-series has only one issue left until we finally finish off the first case in X-Files history. Personally, I have felt this is the weakest entry of X-Files‘ tenure at IDW but it still offers a good story into the history of something we never knew we wanted to know. We have Werewolfs, weird Demons/Aliens being calling themselves Zero/Xero, and all sort of weird Hijinks going on connecting a current case to the first case. I am hoping next month’s finale gives us a good ending that will finish this story up well but if it continues the way it is now it will likely be a lack luster ending. The art of this series is a bit too simple for my taste, as it looks like someone took a cartoon and added shadow to try and make it look detailed which gives it an interesting look but overall a bit distracting when reading a serious story. – Jacob

Image Comics:

The Walking Dead #133 – B

(B) The roller coaster is still climbing upward! The shroud of eerie mystery surrounding “The Whisperers” continues to give my bones goosebumps! The living society is so strong and calm at this stage of the game. I know – because it is, after all, THE Walking Dead – that everything will come crashing down in the most phenomenal fashion. To think of the magnitude of the threat needed to bring Rick and team to their knees is mind-blowing. It’s coming and it’s tearing me up and I love it! I’ve also come up with a theory. I think the deliberate absence and failure to mention Michonne issue after issue is significant and connected to The Whisperers. All this unsubstantiated and only in my head at this point, but you don’t just drop an all-time fan favorite without offering even the smallest modicum of an explanation. We’re due for a punch to the gut very soon Hush-fans! Brace yourselves! – Taylor

(B) The group continues to live in relative peace and harmony, but those weirdos are still out there. A lot of stuff goes down in this issue, none of which will make Rick happy. We get a bit more of those Leatherface wannabes and they sure are an interesting bunch of “people” who are guaranteed to give you nightmares. Some of the character building in this one was a little stale, I’m just not a big fan of romances during zombie apocalypses so that was a bit tedious to get through. Rosita has done something totally uncool to poor nerdy Eugene and he takes it like a man like that would. I have a feeling things are going to get really heavy, really soon so get to reading because TWD has never been this good. – Cody

Goners #1 – C

I applaud any effort to build a story based on the merging of something “real” with something otherworldly. In Goners case, this merging would be that of the human world as you and I know it and the realm of the paranormal. The concept is solid. The delivery, less-so. The structure of an individual comic issue does not support multi-themed story telling. Reading this premiere issue, I found myself distracted and uninterested in the softer, family oriented parts of the issue. I wanted more creepy ghouls and intense action (this aspect being the other theme throughout)! By the time I ran out of pages the fishing hook had just been cast – it never had an opportunity to land. I’ll give it one more issue before I call it quits. – Taylor

 

Marvel:

Avengers & X-Men Axis #3 – B+

This series has definitely proven to be really entertaining and has already had a battle spanning three issues. In this particular issue, the plot lines takes a huge right turn from what has been set up until now, and we see the Villains come in to combat Red Onslaught as we saw in the last panel of last months issue. I am hoping something else comes up in this story because it will be hard to top the already epic battle. The art is definitely great and the story line is one of the better Marvel events I have read this year. – Jacob

Deadpool #36 – B

This Deadpool issue ties in heavily to the Avengers & X-Men Axis issue this month and even takes a lot of its story directly from the pages of Axis since Deadpool played a large role in this week’s issue. That doesn’t mean this issue does not have its own story. It starts where last month’s issue left off, with Deadpool donating his organs to his friends, the Faux-Men, at the X-Mansion to help them live, and then go crazy from there. As always, for the main Deadpool series, the art is great and although a bunch of this issue covers stuff you already know if you read Axis it still gives us the story through Deadpool’s eyes, and that usually can always give a story a boost in the right direction. – Jacob

Amazing Spider-Man #8 – B-
With the Spider-Verse arc rearing its head, every Spidey-issue coming out is another piece to this huge puzzle, and we are finally getting to point where the bigger picture is becoming more clear. Before that, though, we are subjected to the painfully adorable team-up of Peter Parker and Kamala Khan. It’s not that I don’t think Ms. Marvel needs to team up with other heroes to get recognition, but it certainly seems the way Marvel feels about her. There are some cute lines and well-drawn panels, but this is really Spider-Man’s book, and this issue didn’t really feel like it until the epilogue, a story that was well worthy of it’s own Edge of Spider-Verse title. I’m very excited to see where that arc brings us, but in the thick of it all, there really isn’t time for cross-title shenanigans. – Sherif

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #2 – B-

The stories stemming from Wolverine’s death seem to have a much more interesting story than his death itself (although I found it beautiful in its own way). But this series had an initial beginning issue covering all of Wolverine’s closet friends and foe. Now each issue is covering one of those characters and a story of what Wolverine meant to them. This week we got to see X-23, Wolverine’s female clone. who he took in as a daughter and trained. Although this isn’t the best story, I would still give this series a chance as it is going to show us so many different aspects of who Wolverine is and how much he really did do to keep the entire Marvel universe together. – Jacob

 

Funniest Panel:

Amazing Spider-Man #8
Amazing Spider-Man #8

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Deathstroke #1
Deathstroke #1

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, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 10-15-14

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:

Justice League #35

Justice League #35 – A

(A) Amidst all the mindless superhero nonsense that we get every week, there is the occasional book that takes time to transpire an uplifting message about what it means to be somebody’s hero. It would be a great complement to DC’s We Can Be Heroes if it weren’t for the fact that it was all fabricated B/S! LexCorps merger with Wayne Enterprises pits two of the most powerful mortals against each other in an entertaining battle of the wits. While this is just a prologue for the next arc, the way it is approached opens a can of worms, and kept me entertained the whole way through. Geoff Johns does it again, and new readers will find this an appropriate time to jump on the JL bandwagon. – Sherif
(A) This issue brings us to a new story arc. Lex Luthor is still a part of the Justice League and is announcing LexCorp partnership with Wayne Enterprises. I enjoyed this issue quite a bit. We get to see Lex and Bruce match wits and it is quite the show. Joe Prado and Ivan Reis take over for the art in this issue which is always good in my book. You can see in Lex’s face that  he’s up to something. With a shocking ending that will have you thinking of certain current events, I would definitely recommend you give this one a read. You don’t need to have read the previous 34 issues, and these sort of story lines tend to be my favorites! – Cody

Other Reviews: 

Boom! Studios:

Lumberjanes #7 – C

This story is totally picking up. It’s finally found its stride and doesn’t feel so all over the place anymore. It’s a really solid young adult comic centered on a group of dynamic kick-ass girls. I like that we are finally getting behind the mystery going on in the camp and all the creatures that have been attacking. We all know if Greek Gods are at play then everyone is in danger. There is something still super fishy with the camp director and I wonder when the Bear Woman is going to come back into the picture. And this week, the story ended on a pretty crazy cliffhanger. I’m really looking forward to how it might resolve. – Jené

Dark Horse:

Prometheus Fire & Stone #2 – A

I’ve been anxiously anticipating the second issue of Prometheus Fire & Stone. The first issue was masterfully done and left me on the edge of my seat. My return to the mysterious alien jungle this week was a rewarding experience. Where the first issue was eerie and suspenseful, the follow up was full of bloody mayhem! The issue was full of death, more super-cool alien animals and face huggers! I’m surprised that after 8 or so movies I still love watching bumbling adventurers’ first encounters with face huggers. The gruesome revelation of their true purpose and results are timeless. I really applaud Paul Tobin this issue. The issue’s conclusion presents a very interesting scenario and could elevate this story to an even higher level! Ever wonder what a cyborg alien might look like? It’s just a tease at this point, but I’m excited as I was at the end of the first issue. One more thing… Alien sharks are my new favorite animal. – Taylor

DC/Vertigo:

Batman and Robin #35 – B+
The uber-arc that writer Peter Tomasi and penciller Patrick Gleason have been working on since the New52 launched is 35 issues in… and things are just starting to heat up. We know Batman isn’t afraid to walk right through the fires of hell to save others, but what happens when that becomes more than a metaphor? Batman and Robin#35 happens! Equipped with the Hellbat suit, forged by the entire Justice League, Batman is ready to trade blows with a GOD to get his son’s body back. The issue is a great showing for not just Batman, but the whole Bat-family, who decides to go after him. There’s humor and action and sentiment; it’s the perfect action movie – in comic book form. Go read Batman and Robin, as it’s one of the most consistently good titles out now, but will not make a whole lot of sense unless you’ve kept up with it. – Sherif

Earth 2: World’s End #2 – C+

I was hoping that this series would find it’s footing this week and … it kind of did. There’s still a lot going on and our heroes are spread out across the world to fight Apokolips. This one definitely had more of a story to follow, but, it really jumped around a lot. It was almost like every page was something different and that got a bit distracting at times. The villain was good and she is definitely someone you don’t want to mess with. Definitely give it a shot if you’re interested in the Justice League but read it with a bit of an open mind. – Cody

The New 52: Future’s End #24 – C

Same story, different day… “Five years from now.” Ugh. I cannot stress how slow moving this story is. I often forget that I’m reading Future’s End weekly! It’s tough to reflect on a story where the same thing happens every issue. All of the characters that I can remember are in the same situation they were in 10 issues ago. Nothing resembling a conclusion or big finale is in sight. Questions continue to pile up. Week to week it’s starting to feel like I open up the issue and then proceed to flip a dozen pages containing nothing more than “BLAH BLAH BLAH” on every page. Maybe my attention span is too short or perhaps I don’t have enough background to fully appreciate what’s happening. It could also be impatience. I image that once the series is over it will make for a great compilation book. Hmm… that doesn’t sound like a bad strategy now that I say it out loud… – Taylor

Dynamite:

Alice Cooper #2 – C-

I have never really understood why I like Alice Cooper because as a person he is nothing like his character, actually almost the exact opposite. I like his music but can’t name many songs of his. This is kind of how I feel about this series as I feel like I am trying to like it because it is Alice Cooper, but the actual story is nothing to get excited about. This issue got real dark at the end and kind of out of nowhere. It made the series turn a totally different direction than what they had set up in the first two issues. I would say if you are a die hard Alice Copper fan, give the series a try, but avoid this title if Alice Cooper is not in your music collection at all. – Jacob

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #39 – A-

A complete beat down of almost every mutant in the series so far, and most of them are on the side of good (well kind of). It is a beat down of Bebop and Rocksteady against Old Hobs army, Three Turtles, Splinter, and you can’t forget Alopex who joins everyone back in New York as well. Nothing much gets accomplished in this issue besides a bigger divide between Donnie and the rest of TMNT. I loved this issue because it was a great way to show off all the mutants in one giant fight. The Hermit Crab fan in me is going nuts seeing his fight alongside the Turtles. This was definitely a good stand-alone issue and a continuing the story for those keeping up. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Cutter #3 – C-

I’m struggling to find the words to describe Cutter #3, but all I can come up with is: the story continued, and it still isn’t interesting. It’s crossed into somewhat unbelievable territory, as in people who you thought were dead can dig themselves out of their own grave and start killing people and no one seems to mind or question how insane that is. I know that in horror stories the reader has to allow the suspension of belief so that things like this can happen, but why are none of the characters in Cutter questioning it? Oh it’s no big deal, we all killed this girl as teenagers but now she’s killing us off as adults because she never actually died but maybe she did and she’s just undead now. Sounds legit. The story picked up a little bit at the end, but still Cutter #3 is lazy, and boring even though it doesn’t seem to know it. Maybe I don’t know it either because I just keep reading it. – Keriann

Trees #6 – D+

(C-) I like Warren Ellis and I know that he weaves am intricate and engrossing story. It’s just rather a slow build at the moment and a lot of readers may have a hard time sticking it through. I can tell that the story it gearing up to a moment that will catapult the story along. Up until now, the books have been about meeting the characters and setting up the plot. It’s kind of like the first 20 min of a film before the big event. It’s feeling slower than I would like though. As much as like liked the conversation between Uncle and Chengei I wanted more progression of the plot, which didn’t happen till the last panel of the book. I don’t know if it’s a book that you can skip, seeing how massive of a story this seems to be, but you might not get the enjoyment you’re hoping for compared to the last book. – Jené

(D) Dear Trees, I hate you. Not necessarily because you have really wasted my time up to now, not because your premise really intrigued me and you’ve let me down time and time again, not even because in issue 6 you wasted even more of my time discussing the sexual pleasures of some confused kid. I hate you because after all the bullshit, when I had finally decided I was done with you, in the last two pages of issue #6 you FINALLY suggested that something of worth pertaining to alien life might actually happen and you convinced me to give you one more shot. Trees has not been the most compelling read up to this point, its slow moving and issue #6 is no exception. Maybe it’s me, perhaps I got into this book for all the wrong reasons when I wanted to read about alien life showing up on earth in the form of vacant structures that haunt the landscape and not about the lives and problems of certain individuals who live in the towns where said alien structures are. Trees is a character driven book and frankly I don’t really care about the characters. Not because they’re bad, but because they merely take away from what I thought this story was supposed to be about. I’m not saying that nothing of interest happens, but it may be the slowest moving in book in the history of ever. Issue #6 merely continues on the slow moving path to Nowheresville. As I mentioned earlier, the only thing worth mentioning is that the most recent issue seems to end with a slight cliffhanger that suggests the story may take off from here. I didn’t enjoy reading this book, but I will give issue #7 a chance because of that, even if I do hate myself for it. – Keriann

Marvel:

Death of Wolverine #4 – A-

Yeah, yeah I know this whole Death of Wolverine thing has gone on for a really long time and the story up until now has been a bit weak, but now that he is dead in this issue, we can all relax and take a look back at the hero everyone, even non-comic fans, have grown to love. The ultimate arc here seemed dull up until this point and led me to think Wolverine was not going to get the ending he deserved, but I felt the way things went gave him a great arc and a satisfying death that was beautiful in a way and left the reader knowing he is as dead as dead can be… That is not saying he wont be back. I hope they bring him back but in a fashion of a new Marvel universe reboot where it is a new universe, or just stories from his past. Although the events leading up to this issue were not the best, the last couple pages of this left me feeling overwhelmingly satisfied at the life and death of one of my favorite heroes. – Jacob

Uncanny X-Men #27 – A-
There isn’t a book I’ve read with a greater sense of consequence than this issue of Uncanny X-Men in quite some time – a book that leaves you wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the anticipation of what’s to come. After the jaw-dropping “Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier,” the bombs get louder and louder. I do not want to spoil much, but this issue looks to mark the beginning of a very dark time for Scott Summers. It looks as though he did not learn his lesson from the Phoenix Force not to play with fire. This is a thrill-ride from start to finish, and the story sparks what would be the greatest and most relevant debate in recent comic book history. Should a mutant’s powers be suppressed if they are deemed “too dangerous?” – Sherif

Avengers & X-Men Axis #2 – B-

Well Marvel, what a lovely book of death you have here! But in all seriousness, these first two issues I think I have seen more great characters die or “die” (read the issue) than in most of the Marvel books I have read this year. Not to say it is a bad thing, but a little overwhelming at first. Red Onslaught brings down more terror upon our heroes and the end seem near… again, as I am sure it will every issue. The story so far has been rather good, and even if I dislike Cyclops, it is good to see him being a hero again, despite his storyline right now in the comics. – Jacob

Deadpool’s Art of War #1 – B+

(A) What a solid concept! Sun Tzu’s Art of War as interpreted (and influenced) by Deadpool. I was sold before opening up the issue. I bow with much respect to David Peter for merging the hilarious musings of Deadpool with one of the most renowned strategic texts of the past TWO millennia. It’s expectedly funny throughout, but what’s particularly well done is how Tzu’s ancient lessons and instructions are demonstrated on the panel. Deadpool pit’s Loki and Thor against one another, employing the war general’s philosophies upon the Gods of Asgard. While the brother’s armies duel, Deadpool narrates quotes directly from Art of War. It’s magnificent. I suggest you all pick up a copy this week and follow along. There is much to learn from the now wise and insightful Deadpool. – Taylor

(B) This first issue was not the best, but the idea and the art definitely deserve a high rating. The only reason I did not give it an A is because of the confusing writing. I am sure the series will improve, but I felt they tried to explain why this was happening a little too much instead of just letting the story play out. I have had a copy of Sun Tzu’s Art of War for many years and is one of the many books on my to read list, so I’m not versed in the source material, but I found Deadpool’s way of explaining a bit confusing. I am guessing that it will explained, because comic usually explain themselves sooner or later. – Jacob

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #1 – B-

I am very intrigued by the idea of this as it is all of Wolverine’s best rivals teaming up or at least being captured for reasons we don’t know. I have a soft spot in my heart for all things Wolverine, and although Daken and X-23 may be the ones I know the least about they still are major characters in the life of Logan/ James Howlett/ Wolverine. Not much is explained in this issue but a sight of the guy who captured them all and the fact they may have all been under control of Abraham Cornelius who ran Weapon X.  I hope the series keeps up momentum with the issues focusing on each character and we get to learn more about the past of Wolverine that although explained many times still seems like the biggest mystery in comics. – Jacob

Original Sins Annual #1 – B-

(A) This was a fun one. Original Sins is a good action sci-fi, IN THE PAST! It starts with Howard Stark and Nick Fury placing the body of an intergalactic war hero into a portal leading to an alien sun. This man was Woodrow McCord, one time protégé of a similar character Stafford, who kind of looks like Space Santa. But instead of delivering gifts he delivers flaming hot death to alien invaders. He’s an all around old guy badass. I think the best thing from this issue was Woodrow alluding to H. G. Wells’ novel War of the Worlds actually happening. The story is fun with all of the laser blasts and evil alien bad guys a man like myself could ask for. I really enjoy the art, the lines are a little softer than most books and the colors are slightly muted except when they need to be bright and powerful, like with laser blasts and the like. It’s an interesting story with characters I’ve never known before. I will be keeping up on Original Sins for sure. – Scott

(D+) I have to admit I didn’t really want to read this issue as the whole Original Sin event left me rather disappointed, but decided to pick this up because I felt it may give us a part of the story that would ultimately make me happy. But this story was so completely unneeded, and, to me, didn’t add anything to the story besides giving us a story we never thought of, knew about, or wanted and felt like it was almost a way to make another quick $5 off of people. As a stand-alone story with some small references to Nick Fury and Howard Stark, it was actually an entertaining read but when connected with Original Sin it felt totally useless to any advance of story besides what we already. – Jacob

Storm #4 – B- 

For an issue that is directly related to Death of Wolverine #4, Storm had absolutely nothing to do with it. When telling friends about what happened in Storm #4, we actually had a good laugh about it. Me: “So Storm cried for like 2 seconds about Logan’s death. Which for two people who were lovers seems like not enough time. Then she created some Aurora Borealis thing… or some Ororo Borealis thing (see what I did there?) out of anger. Then she wound up in Las Vegas and told Yukio that Logan was dead. But Yukio is in a wheelchair. So then she tried to jump off a building.” Them: “How did she jump off a building if she’s in a wheelchair? Did she fling herself off?” Me: “I don’t know. But then Storm saved her in some cloud thing. Then they got on an elevator and wound up in some basement Fight Club thing and now Storm has to be Yukio’s Fight Club Champion.” How do any of these things relate? I’m not sure. Why such a high grade? I thought the 80’s style montage of Storm and Wolverine’s relationship was beautiful. And even though it makes no sense, I am very intrigued by this Fight Club thing. Let’s see how Storm gets out of this one next month! – Adrian

Hulk #7 – C+
While I wouldn’t exactly say that The Hulk has been neglected as a whole by Marvel, but he sure has been a token character with not a lot of purpose since Indestructible Hulk ended. This new Hulk series is definitely giving Hulk something new, but I’m not sure I buy into it. In attempt to “cure” other Gamma-radiated beings, he has made an anti-Gamma vaccine to reverse the effects. Hulk vs. The Hulks is a great concept, but what does any of it mean? Will it be canon? Why is it so easy for the Hulk, sorry Doc Green, to get the upper hand? The whole thing feels like a bad dream, and I’ll be sorely disappointed if the rest of the series goes that way, too. – Sherif

Edge of the Spider-Verse #5 – D

My favorite movie last year was Pacific Rim (A++). Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of my favorite Anime series of all time (it’s basically Pacific Rim in Japanese). You can imagine my jubilation upon seeing the cover for this week’s Edge of the Spider-Verse at the end of the last issue. To no minor degree, I was PUMPED to see Spider-Man as a Japanese fighting robot. I hate to say that my burning heart has condensed into a frozen block of ice. Two thumbs down for SP//dr. Here are the top three reasons this story was a failure. (1) It made ZERO sense. Peni Parker (this Spider-Verse’s protagonist) pilots a Spider-suit to fight crime in Japan. But, somewhere in there she has special abilities (maybe???). Not once was it clear how Peni is special and why some random bum in Tokyo couldn’t don this badass suit and save the day. (2) It was much too similar to issue #3 of Edge of Spider-Verse where Aaron Aikman also wore a gadgetized Spider-suit. As badass as it was, the SP//dr suit was pretty much double the size of an average person with nothing else going for it except that it was made of metal and had headphones built in. It would have been a much better statement if SP//dr had been a 30 story tall, lumbering juggernaut (ergo the awesomeness of Pacific Rim). Imagine how badass it would have been to see all the multidimensional Spidey’s posing on a giant Spider-Man robot!! (3) Nothing happened. Literally. There was basically no plot. No notable bad guy, no underlining theme. Nada… Hard to have an adventure with no story. With the Spider-Verse event around the corner I hope that Marvel has better plans for SP//dr. Otherwise, I hope the power-cells run dry real fast for Peni Parker. – Taylor

Funniest Panel:

Deadpool's Art of War #1
Deadpool’s Art of War #1

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

 

Batman and Robin #35
Batman and Robin #35

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, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 10-08-14

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:

 Birthright #1Birthright #1 – A

(A+) First of all, kudos to Joshua Williamson for coming up with yet another fantastic original idea. Birthright tells the story of what could happen when a child disappears in the woods. As in, the child could have just gone missing, or, he could have been called off to another realm where he alone is the chosen one picked to defeat an evil king and free all creatures from his torment. Whoa. Now that is something I may not have considered. Birthright #1 comes out swinging and grabbed my interest right away. It’s a great mixture of adventure, originality, and genuine heartfelt emotion. It is very well written, and the character introduction was so successful that I already care about them. I was sad when they were sad, excited when they were excited and so on. I truly enjoyed reading this book and even though the ending was a little strange, I am very excited to read what will happen next. Williamson tells very unique stories and Birthright falls in line with his other projects in that fashion. Good fantasy comics are few and far between these days but I think Birthright will make a name for itself in a very short time. It’s compelling, well written, endearing, and exciting. – Keriann

(A) I am not often surprised. But f***ing hell I was surprised by this book. I thought I had it figured out, but panel after panel I was questioning myself and then Mikey came back into this reality. The kid gets lost into another dimension and then spit back a year later only to find that he is some dragon slayer. You know that it’s going to be a brother against brother story, but you have no idea how it’s going to play out. Well done, well done. Go f***ing read it  RIGHT now!!! – Jené

(A) Ok, Joshua Williamson, you’ve hooked me again. Birthright is the story of Mikey. Mikey is playing catch with his dad, and the ball goes into the woods. Mikey goes to get the ball, and disappears. After investigations and media scrutiny, Mikey’s dad is publicly blamed for the disappearance of his son. That is until Mikey returns, as a grown man and full-on demon hunter. Williamson says this idea came to him because as a child of the 80’s, all his favorite movies had kids going on great adventures and returning to normal life like nothing happened. He likes to think there are consequences to our… birthrights. The story flowed so easily. I felt like I was reading a comic version of every 80’s movie that I love, also. I absolutely loved the art, too. The coloring was perfect for each seen, depending on the mood of the characters. I am definitely looking forward to where Mikey is going.. or rather where he has been. –Adrian

Other Reviews: 

Archie Comics:

Sabrina #1 – B

Attention 90’s kids: this is not your childhood Sabrina. If you were like me, you ran home after school and tuned into Sabrina the Teenage Witch, laughed at Salem, scoffed at Libby, and wished you lived in a cool house like Sabrina Spellman did. That version is long gone, friends. The new comic Sabrina is dark and twisted. Especially for an Archie Comic. This story takes place in the 50’s and 60’s, giving it a little bit of a Bewitched vibe, but in an American Horror Story type way. The grotesque is definitely evident. All of this is not to say it was bad; in fact, I did enjoy it, but I was wearing rose colored glasses until Sabrina’s father has her mother committed to the asylum – and that was one of things that was easier to swallow. There are a few new characters, but the book does a good job of keeping some symbolism of the T.V. series. After all, what is a witch without her familiar? And Salem is as sharp as ever. – Adrian

Boom! Studios:

Hexed #3 – C+

While this month’s issue of Hexed was a step up from last month’s, the series still hasn’t gotten its groove. I find some of the quips laugh out loud funny, but as a whole, the story relies too much on the unclear rules of the supernatural world. The first story arc has been surrounding the main character, Lucifer, being dead and trying to get out of that seemingly permanent predicament. I find it odd that the heroine has been dead this whole time. I don’t mind dead main characters, but there has been no history for the audience established, so I find it hard to care. I also strongly dislike how much is emphasized on the supernatural, and that none of it makes sense. I have always been a fan of witchcraft and demons, but usually when a story is strong without that aspect. However, I did think this month’s issue did a good job in the humor department and gave us a pretty decent cliffhanger. Let’s hope next month’s issue takes a step back from so much fantasy and gets into some character development. –Adrian

DC/Vertigo:

Batman #35 – A

(A) Most weeks, I read a lot more comics than I review. Some of them I don’t feel are worth reviewing, so when an issue like Batman #35 comes out, it is like a breath of fresh air. After reading this issue, I also obsessively stalked Scott Snyder so I could find out his literary path. And it was because of the Orestes reference at the beginning (and his epilogue in Wytches, also out this week) that made me realize that he has a strong background in literature. Turns out, I was very under-schooled in one of the best writers in comics right now. On top of the outstanding writing, the artwork is flawless. I am amazed out how much detail Greg Capullo can fit into his part of the story telling – and don’t be fooled, Capullo is a master of story telling in the same capacity Snyder is. I felt this issue was incredibly poetic. It was clear that this is the beginning of an unforgettable story arc, especially with the big reveal on the last page. And unlike Orestes, who gets his deus ex machina, Batman and Gotham may be out of gods to swoop in to save them, but then again, when did Batman need to be saved? – Adrian

(A) With Zero Year finally in the books, I was pretty giddy to begin what Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have referred to as the grittiest and most epic story they’ve done yet. Considering the past few stories have been: Zero Year, Death of the Family and Court of Owls, this is quite the boast. This issue did not disappoint – it actually terrified; “HE’S BAAAAAAAAACK!” Capullo and Snyder are at it again, and they have formed the perfect marriage on Batman, to all of our pleasure. It doesn’t really matter if you have read the last 34 issues, because this is the perfect jumping on point to see the best creative team in the business. – Sherif

The New 52: Future’s End #23 – B

The New 52 Future’s End series does an exceptional job of disappointing me and entertaining me all at the same time. Predominantly I feel as though this story is being dragged out much too excessively. A series so overflowing and crammed with characters should be much more deliberate. I’m losing patience in the snails-pace journey to the climax. The thing that gets me every issue are the jaw-dropping moments that keep me hungry for the next issue. My “B” grade for this issue of Future’s End is solely attributed to the jaw dropping moment that occurred at the end of the issue. One of our beloved heroes undergoes a most disturbing transformation. This new development is bound to be exciting, but ultimately it’s just another puzzle piece in this already complex and muddy storyline. My simple mind can only take so much more complexity before it shuts down completely. – Taylor

Earth 2: World’s End #1 – C+
There’s a lot to take in here, so be prepared to read it a couple times. Apokolips is attacking and it’s up to Earth 2’s version of the Justice League to take him down. Don’t get to attached to anyone cause they may not make it as Apokolips’ minions are pretty ruthless. The art is good and the heroes outfits are unique enough without copy the originals too much. The story is decent and hopefully will become a little more grounded next week. This is definitely worth a read for any DC fan.  – Cody

Klarion #1 – C-

(B) My first reaction was WOW it’s sooo pretty and hypnotic. The artist Trevor McCarthy and colorist Guy Major did a phenomenal job. I spent a lot of time just staring at each panel. At times it felt a little overwhelming and chaotic, but appropriate for a multiverse narrative. The panels are also something I would love on my walls and on my desktop. If anything, I am going to check out what else they have worked on. My second though: multiverse… science meets magic FUCK YEAH.  Interesting, interesting, interesting. It’s like cyber-tech-punk with a mixture of gothic alchemy in the same setting. The art seems to be relaying more of the story then the writing at the moment and the dialogue between the characters is rather awkward, but still somehow fitting as if everything is a dream and the natural order doesn’t exist. The book is kind of a puzzle. But, some sort of order is involved, people who watch events happen, and people who mean to intervene. I’m really intrigued to see what will come next. I think this series is going impress and amaze. – Jené

(D-) Do yourself a favor – think more Wytches, less “witches.” I get that it’s Halloween and DC wants to explore more of their supernatural characters in time for the spookiest time of the year, but Klarion is not the way to go. I will concede that he is much more tolerable than his animated companion, but I have no damn clue what just happened in this book. It tried to seem modern and futuristic, but relied too heavily on the presumption that we understood the world we were reading into, which is made even more convoluted by the busy artwork. I’m sorry Klarion, it’s 2014 and, still, nobody likes you. – Sherif

Batgirl #35 – D

I am so disappointed with this issue of Batgirl, it almost marred her Future’s End one-shot for me (which I loved). I know that the two stories are totally different, and that this is a new start with new writers, but if this Barbara Gordon is supposed to be how she was in the Future’s End story, there has got to be a HUGE transformation. This issue was ultimately inconsequential and a waste of time. While the story (Barbara’s computer was stolen, and other tech from other college students was also stolen) was a pathetic attempt to connect to a younger audience, the characters were an even worse attempt. Full of references to Tinder, Instagram, and the ubiquitous hashtag, this issue was shoving 20-something hipsterdom down our throats like the Jehovah Witness did with The Watchtower when he knocked on my door yesterday. And while this may appeal to a much younger audience, portraying Barbara Gordon as a partying, drinking, overly sexualized “hero” who “accidently” set Black Canary’s stuff on fire, perhaps this isn’t the way to inspire a new generation of impressionable comic fans. But I would hope that even 12-year-olds who take pictures of their food would see through the bull that this issue provided. – Adrian

IDW Comics:

The October Faction #1 – B+

(A-) Now this is a story I could potentially get behind. Anyone familiar with Steve Niles knows that he is a master of modern horror and monsters. The October Faction appears to be no exception. As is the case with most first issues, a lot of time was spent establishing characters and the universe they exist within so at times it felt like a slightly slow read. However, Niles did a great job of drawing the reader in with intriguing characters and a dark background that creates a lot of questions. He is doing what he knows best, which is obviously monsters, but this time he has introduced us to a family of apparent monster hunters, some of who may have supernatural inclinations in their own right. The story line is not overly strong yet, that is to say the book didn’t start off with a bang, but its subtle introduction got the job done. The dialogue is cheeky and charming, a Niles trademark, and the artwork, done by Damien Worm, is stunning and at times is more reminiscent of an old haunted painting than it is a comic book. Needless to say it is a great fit and it enhances Niles writing quite well. – Keriann

(B) The October Faction almost lost me in the first few pages, but I want to emphasize the almost in this sentence. Social outcasts with powers in the unnatural find ways to triumph over their rude and evil high school tormentors whilst embarking on adventures among’st the supernatural. It’s a wet dream for those that love monsters and hated high school, and while the setting and plot aren’t really my bag (that’s right… I said my bag like I’m Austin Powers, baby!) it is done artfully with exquisite dialogue and morbid yet decorous art. The comic seems to shift and turn in story line at just the right moments with writing that is neither to heady or to low brow. It is definitely geared to those seeking the alternative. If you have a love of the dead or simply the eternal, this is right up your alley. Even if you don’t, this is a comic that shows an immense amount of promise and this reader will be awaiting The October’s Faction’s next release to see if it builds upon it. – Zach
Dead Squad #1 – D+

Dead Squad is a foray into a military thriller with a sci-fi twist. A small delta squad detachment is turned rogue via double cross and must find redemption, and revenge. That’s right, you guessed it, we are diving straight into A-Team waters. It’s an interesting premise, and one this reader was excited to explore. Unfortunately I was left wanting. It’s a first issue, that’s to be expected, but while Dead Squad has a few twists and turns, this adventure into the lives of three elite soldiers is laden with cliche one liners and a plethora of the expected. It is by far more action than content, and if you’re looking for action porn, this is a dive worth taking. Otherwise, it brings nothing special to the table. The art is fitting but not memorable with writing that has thus far been bound in mediocrity. The story does have some grip to it, and I’m hoping the upcoming issues make up for the lack luster start. Only time will tell, but stay tuned, it’s issue #1.Dead Squad could take a turn for the better! At least, that’s what I’m hoping. – Zach

Image Comics:

Wytches #1 – A
As you’d expect, this issue was a lot of exposition and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I was hoping for a good horror story for Halloween and Wytches delivers, being written by Scott Snyder, that’s not surprising. From the super dark opening panels, to the super creepy last ones, this was a very intriguing read. The protagonists, the Rooks family, are troubled by a recent event involving their daughter and have moved in order to try to distance themselves from what happened. Unfortunately, what happened was national news and everyone at school knows what Sail Rooks has been a part of. There are some exceptionally disturbing images, courtesy of Jock, that will make you think twice next time you’re near a tree. You’re definitely going to want to read this on some dark night with as many lights off as possible and prepare to be scared. – Cody

Sex Criminals #8 – B+

This book continues to make me laugh in ways that I never thought I would feel comfortable in doing so. Let’s just say that this is not the type of book you take out in the middle of the library. After the culmination that ended in a dildo sword fight (that’s exactly what I mean) in issue #7, John and Suzie have decided to take a break, Ross and Rachel style. The result here is a LOT of dialogue, but instead of the usual awkward sex banter, we have ornate character development – and even manage to meet a couple new characters. If you are repulsed by the off-hand nature of which cervixes and brimping (brimper.com, it’s a thing) is talked about, then this will never be the book for you. However, those readers in their 20-30’s who can handle the honesty of adulthood will find them instantly attached to Sex Criminals. – Sherif

Black Science #9 – B

The wait between issues of Black Science always seem so unbearably long. Every issue so far has left readers on the edge of a multidimensional cliff. Each issue has been creative, adventurous, intense and visually stunning. Issue #9 maintains this trend! With the group of dimensionauts split into two smaller groups, Remender has begun working two sub-plots into the panels. Because the story is so character driven these sub-plots have been very nice treats for us readers. So prepare to grow even more elated because Remender added a third sub-plot in this week’s issue. And in true Black Science fashion – it’s earth shattering. I’m so excited to see how all these moving parts intertwine and impact one another. This roller coaster ride through the Eververse just keeps getting better. – Taylor

Copperhead #2 – C

(C+) Well, it’s had a bit of a rough start, but, I’m still enjoying Copperhead. They still seem to be building to something but we’re just not getting there yet. Kind of hard to stay interested month to month if that keeps up. However, next month we should start to see the story come together a bit more. My favorite part has to be the art, mainly I like looking at all the aliens. We get introduced to a couple new characters this month, one of which is totally badass and may perhaps turn out to be our antagonist, but, who knows. We’ll have to wait until next month. – Cody

(C) I’m a bit torn on this series. The first issue of Copperhead, I felt, was basic and only mildly interesting. I picked up issue #2 this week to see if that impression would stick. For the most part it did. The plot progressed in the most marginal fashion and character focus was mostly dull. The highlights of this issue revolved around the mysterious badlands and the introduction of the inebriated doctor. I think issue #3 will make or break Copperhead. Pivotal moments are abound and if they fall flat in the next issue I think I’ll take this book out behind the space barn and put a plasma bolt between its eyes. -Taylor

Cutter #2 – C-

(C) So it turns out that people are really hard to convince that a ghost is hunting them. We still haven’t quite gotten the background on what happened to this supposed ghost, other than she was fairly mistreated by half the town. Although for me it’s kind of a stretch to think someone is killing from beyond the grave because of some people that were less than kind. I’m still enjoying the art; it hasn’t gotten stale. The character and plot development just isn’t quite there for me. The story this week went in the zombie direction with the group of townspeople holding up in a fortified location with fire arms, but hasn’t that been done enough? Cutter is just barely holding on to my attention. – Scott

(D) The second issue of Cutter tries once again to get the reader enthralled with a less than gripping plot. They spared the blood and gore for this issue, except for the very end, and relied solely on the story to keep the pages turning. I respect the effort, the problem is that the book has yet to reach a point where I care. There is no character development, no one compelling, interesting, or endearing so I find myself not rooting for anyone to survive in a book where people are seemingly being picked off one by one. The key to successful horror is in the characterization. If there is no strong hero, or monster, the story will inevitably fail because with no one to root for, horror just become pointless carnage. The second issue also walked a lazy line between the supernatural and real world terrors, but it was written in a way that was almost insulting. If you want me to believe that a ghost may be exacting revenge from the grave, fine, but then please explain to me where it got a car and how it drives it around. Cutter doesn’t offer anything in the way of originality or emotion. The only page turning quality it has is my need for it to just be done already. – Keriann

Punks #1 – F-

Don’t bother. – Scott

Marvel:

Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1- B+

(A-) I am definitely behind a lot of the stories that join into this Axis event. At the start I was a bit lost. But the writer does give you a couple pages worth of back story to catch you up to where this event starts. I have to say the idea behind this may end up being better than the execution. So far the big bads Red Onslaught and Ahab have really handed the Avengers and X-Men’s asses to them on a platter and it is not looking too good for anyone during this first issue. I feel from the start that this event will be better than Original Sin and include more characters we all know and love and some most of us have no idea who they are. The art so far has been great with no complaints from me and the story has been good with hope that it will be great in issue #2 next week. – Jacob

(B) You couldn’t start out anymore randomly then having Iron Man and the lot suddenly fighting Plantman of all villains. Immediately you know that something bigger is on the way, and shortly our hero’s minds are infiltrated. Red Skull/Red Onslaught as the most powerful psychic on the planet, now that’s a proper problem. The art is standard fare; I did particularly like the inside of Red Onslaught’s psyche though. The writing isn’t bad but when all of the heroes show up at the end there is an endless chain of witty retorts and one-liners that is kind of hokey. The heart of this issue comes at the very end, it’s just interesting enough to keep a reader going and it’s all Tony’s fault. – Scott

Rocket Raccoon #4 – B
(A-) Rocket finally meets that murderous raccoon who has been framing him, or does he? I was really looking forward to finding out more about this mysterious raccoon, and I was not disappointed. Skottie Young obviously has respect for Rocket’s original stories which is great because he could have taken it in an entirely different direction, but, I for one am, glad he went the way he did. A lot of things happen to poor Rocket in this issue, (some of which is deserved) but, we get to see more emotion than we’ve seen from him before. It is nice to get some depth with the character. My only complaint would be the unoriginal ending, hopefully, it will all work out. More and more, these Guardians books are becoming my favorite things in comics, check ’em all out, but, start with Rocket. – Cody
(B-) I have LOVED this series so far and Skottie Young’s art is great for a Rocket book, but something about this issue irked me a bit. It still was a good story and really showed us a lot of who Rocket is but the whole storyline with the other Raccoon just ended rather badly, only to set up almost the exact same story. Either way I imagine it will lead into something better and that it ultimately wont have a cop out ending. – Jacob

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #1 – B+

(A-) I have to admit this was my most interesting read of the week. The complete opposite personalities of these two heroes makes for a rather enjoyable story. This series will definitely be a fun and rather hilarious adventure with these two. But why is it Hawkeye VERSUS Deadpool? Sure they have had a couple small arguments but are they not on the same side in this story? I just don’t understand why it can’t be Hawkeye & Deadpool instead. Maybe we will see them fight at some point… But still the title aside, this issue was great. – Jacob

(B) It’s a lot of fun reading anything with Deadpool in it. Issue #1 of Hawkeye vs. Deadpool is no exception. I found myself smiling and laughing at almost every panel focused on the Merc with the Mouth. There is a lot of contemporary humor peppered through the issue that adds to the enjoyment. Unfortunately, that’s the only thing going for this series so far. The plot is somewhat interesting, but at best it will serve to complement the amusing antics of Deadpool and Hawkeye. I’m okay with that. I doubt there are many people out there that pick up a Deadpool comic for the “story line.” If you think the same way, then you’ll enjoy this issue. – Taylor

Captain Marvel #8 – B-

The first issue of Captain Marvel allowed me to fall in love with this medium all over again. I was enthralled with the art and the story and the heroine. I’m still enthralled, I just thought that when Carol Danvers was going to space to find the edge of herself, it would be … more about finding herself. While I like the dynamic between Rocket Raccoon, Carol, and the flerken cat Chewie, I felt this issue was major filler. I don’t mind filler when a story has been going on for a bit, but I feel we are still in the beginnings of this story, and Chewie laying eggs isn’t about Carol finding herself. I hope that the story can find it’s way back to the root of intention; otherwise, it could just be a trope, which would be a shame for the best stand-alone female Marvel has right now. – Adrian

Funniest Panel:

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #1

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Batman #35

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, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 10-01-14

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:

The Walking Dead #132

The Walking Dead #132 – A

(A) Holy crap, Hushsters! This issue blew all my expectations out of the water, taking what could have been a cheesy concept that George Romero is following now and making it one of the most frightening things I’ve ever seen in The Walking Dead – and if you’ve been following the series so far, you know just how exciting that is. I’m teeming with excitement at the thought of what is to come, for this issue is the equivalent of a graphic showing a TWD Calvin pissing all over George Romero. With the secrets unfolded in this issue, the series goes from soap opera to full-blown horror story again. Charlie Adlard’s art deserves all the credit that, and maybe more than, writer Robert Kirkman does. His art is instrumental in the story-telling, and the book succeeds by being succinct with the dialogue. If you haven’t picked up The Walking Dead in a few issues, this is a good place to jump on, but the anticipation has been building for a few issues now. – Sherif

(A) After Negan’s capture I have loved everything since. I really enjoyed the Negan story (as much as a person can enjoy a story that gruesome) but, this is the best writing Kirkman has done so far and I’m glad I’ve stuck with it until now. Last month’s issue gave us our first real look that everything may not be all right anymore. This month’s issue further explores that idea, and, well, things can’t be good forever, it is The Walking Dead after all. – Cody

(A) This month’s issue of TWD kept its momentum.  There’s been a huge and looming question surrounding the latest threat facing our band of survivors.  We received a glimpse into the heart of this threat and let me tell you – it’s pretty damn gross.  But awesome and ensnaring too.  To be honest, this latest twist is something I expected, but that’s okay.  The proverbial bucket of shit is full again and that ceiling fan is starting to spin pretty fast – I hope Grimes and crew are ready to duck!  I do have one concern – that the direction of the story is headed could be one we’ve already experienced.  What a monumental waste of opportunity that would be.  I’d be utterly remorseful to see this development fizzle into a familiar theme just dressed in a new suit.  I’m mostly confident that Kirkman won’t squander this chance to take the plot to a new level. – Taylor

Other Reviews: 

Boom! Studios:

Fiction Squad #1 – B

(B+) Fiction Squad #1 gets off to a good start with introducing its abstract take on every day stories. Paul Jenkins did a great job of creating a compelling alternate world that immediately drew me in and made me want to know more. I enjoyed Fiction Squad #1; it was cute and creative. It was not the most ground-breaking thing I’ve ever read, but while it does repeat ideas and principles I’ve seen before, I was not turned off by that fact. The writing is charming and gritty, with a great comedic edge. The characters are likable and fit perfectly into their universe of nursery rhymes, be it the actual rhyme characters or the Nicholas Angel like detective who is living in their midst and cleaning up the streets. I really liked the art work, there is a wonderful use of color and a cartoon style to fit the child like themes, but it is still adult enough to fit the crime noir motif. My only qualm is with the depiction of the female characters. Somehow the abnormally large busts and heaving cleavage just don’t fit the art style used in every other panel. – Keriann

(B) Fiction Squad is a fairy tale, crime, noir drama that looks like it’s straight from Saturday morning cartoons. The story follows detective Frankie Mack who comes from the crime realm of Fablewood. His short story will get no sequel so he decided to cross genres and is now a detective in the nursery rhyme realm. When Humpty Dumpty is pushed off a wall, he gets embroiled in a mystery involving some of our favorite characters from fiction. This was a very enjoyable read and it was fun to see these characters, who you think you know, take on completely different roles. Definitely check this series out, especially if you liked Fairy Quest and Fables. – Cody

(B) I keep reading these crime books every week and it’s working out quite well. Fiction Squad is two parts Shrek and one part every 40’s style crime noir novella. In fact that is where Frankie Mack, our main character, comes from. Fiction Squad takes place in the world that all storybook characters live. Frankie Mack is a detective that investigates crimes that happen in the City of Rime. Rime is where children’s fairytale and nursery rhyme characters live. The story starts with Mack investigating who has pushed Humpty Dumpty off of a wall, in an apparent attempted homicide. (ovacide?) There seems to be an old mob style feud between The Madonnas, fairytale queens, and The Witches. Everyone has henchmen and Rime is as dirty as Gotham. Fiction Squad is a fun read that is not really deep. We all already know the characters, aside from Frankie, so you can instantly make a connection to the world. My only one real gripe comes with the art choices. While the art by Ramon Bachs is bright and detailed, the story is set in a world of children’s fictional characters, so why do we aggressively busty female characters? Other than that, I enjoyed Fiction Squad, and I’m ready to continue the story. – Scott

Dark Horse Comics:

Dream Thief Escape #4 – C

Well, that ending was disappointing. Dream Thief Escape wrapped up with issue #4, and John was finally able to help his dad avenge his death. But the humor that was so prominent in the previous issues was lacking here. If the entire thing had been sentimental because John’s dad was going to die once his death was avenged, I would have been ok with the sappy. There was only a glimpse of that, and while it was good, it wasn’t enough. I am looking forward to see what happens from here; even though it was the final issue, there was a tease for a future. I think there is always a future in avenging murder. I just hope that there can be some humor in it whenever they bring it back. – Adrian

DC/Vertigo:

Gotham Academy #1 – A-

I am truly impressed with Gotham Academy. It had everything in a book that I enjoy: a strong female character, a little bit of drama, a little bit of mystery, good art, and a bonus of a Batman appearance. Gotham Academy follows a teenage girl named Olive Silverlock (who is kind of destined to live in Gotham with a name like that), who is a little dark and a little bit of a loner. She is in charge of new student Maps, who is adventurous, but also happens to be Olive’s ex-boyfriend’s little sister. See? Rife with teenage drama. I really liked the art in the book; Gotham Academy almost felt like Hogwarts, which I’m a sucker for. Whatever is hiding in the school, and in Olive’s past with Bruce Wayne is enough to keep me intrigued, but I’m also excited for the strong female led cast of characters. – Adrian

Green Arrow #35 – C+

Sigh. The Jeff Lemire/Andrea Sorrentino saga has come to a close. After a dozen or so issues surrounding the island, the totems and a whole bunch of secrets that revived the series, we get a new creative team. The newest issue of Green Arrow is an ideal place to start off, and right in time for the television show to debut Season 3 next Wednesday. There’s not much happening in this issue as far as action or advancing the story, but look out for some great dialogue between Oliver and Diggle. The big news here is the introduction of Felicity Smoak to the comic books. And she doesn’t appear to be a good guy at the moment. There is also a very awkward scene with Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne that is very uncharacteristic of Bruce Wayne that left me feeling uncomfortable with how his character was portrayed. The issue shows that the new writer/artist combo has the potential to be successful with the Green Arrow, but a few missteps with Oliver Queen, the man, left me a little discouraged. – Sherif

Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse #5 – C+

Usually, I think Tiny Titans is incredibly cute. When I read it, I am known to squee. You can ask; it’s true. This issue was pretty strange though. Cheetah paints Wonder Woman’s invisible jet with camouflage paint. Even as a kid, I would have seen the humor in it, but after several panels of the Tiny Titans and Wonder Woman looking for her jet, the joke was over. However, it was the epilogue that pulled this story up, chalking Earth Two up to being coconut heroes. It was a good laugh for this Tiny Titan fan. – Adrian

Lobo #1 – B-

(B) This was a new one for me!  Until this premiere issue I had no idea who Lobo was.  I had no idea what his claim to fame is or what his background entailed.  I was very pleased to learn that the ruthless, alien, cut-throat mercenary was right in line with what I like most about a tough-guy character.  Lobo carries a deep and heavy past and takes to murdering for profit as a coping mechanism.  This intro issue grabbed me right away and held me throughout.  The greater story is set up as a classic space-western adventure of sorts and I’m anxiously anticipating Lobo’s continued hunt and how it will weave into his tormented past.  The more limb and body severing, the better. – Taylor

(B) Psychopathic alien bounty hunter/assassin Lobo starts out this new volume in an argument with the recently decapitated head of the apparent Lobo impersonator we’ve been reading about all these years. The current incarnation of Lobo is more toned down from the large hairy biker character of the past. He’s slimmer and clean shaven, but the good news is he still kills a lot of guys, just no dogs. The art is high DC quality, but the coloring really brings it to life for me. It’s bright and exciting and visceral when needed. This is the first issue, so the story line is just getting started. By the end of the issue, it’s clear that there is a lot on the line and Lobo has to deal with eight infamous assassins to get the job done. Although, if they all go down as quickly as the first guy, there won’t be much to talk about. – Scott

(D+) I’ve been silently dreading this moment for a while now. As The New52 has dictated, DC Comics revealed to us that the Lobo we knew and loved (and oh, he was loved) is an impostor, a scrub, a fake. Instead of the hulking, cigar-smoking, uber-manly biker, we were expected to believe that this professional, thin, metro-sexual son of a Bastich was the real deal. After disposing of the inter-galactic merc I’ve known for years, we’re given a long, drawn-out sob story from the new Lobo. This works completely against the entire point of Lobo. A guy who slices heads open (the only redeemed factor of this book) doesn’t need a pity party, but just a lot of ass kicking and some hilarity.Instead, we’re given an over-abundance of one-liners a third-grader could out-do. I do not like the character’s redesign, but it’s really the content of the book that has immediately turned me off. What makes it even worse is that Cullen Bunn wrote it. Bunn has had great success recently with writing the hardened anti-hero with books like Sinestro and Magneto, but, the whole industry may have to lobotomize this series to keep the nightmares at bay. – Sherif

Dynamite:

Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini #1 – B

I like it. Not much more to say really then that. If you like Holmes and Houdini and their respective tales then you’re going to like this line up. I’m really glad that Houdini is being written about again. He was a very fascinating man in history surrounded by a lot of intrigue and mystery. This pairing seems like a natural course of action. I also like that the book is going back to the root of what Sherlock was. Sherlock has been missing the element of the occult/spiritualist with the modern retelling of the narrative. Add a dash of logic and deduction it’s setting itself up to be a great story. – Jené

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #38 – A-

(A) It is hard for me to ever give TMNT a bad grade but this issue was really well done with new and old characters and an interesting family issue between the Turtles. All of this leads to another meeting with Old Hob. Will he be able to help the Turtles or will he play a part in their downfall? Hopefully the former rather than the latter. I think the way this story is going is top notch. Definitely pick this issue up; it is a great starting point for TMNT. – Jacob

(B+) The TMNT, which was my top book of 2013, has been taking a deliberately slow approach since the City Fall arc drew to a close. The Northampton story brought us back down to Earth after an adrenaline-fueled takeover of New York by Shredder, and the turtles have returned to New York to prepare to face both Krang and The Shredder – who are at war with each other. It’s all a little too formulaic for me. However, there’s an aspect to the story that has my eyes bulging. Enter, the Might Mutanimals – or at least that’s what I remember them as. This team of mutagenized animals were a short-lived comic book, made several appearances in the TV series, but most memorably, had their own sweet action figures. Joining us this issue are an old favorite of mine, who is sure to get along swimmingly with Michaelangelo, and a new, hysterically-interesting character. These new “recruits” for Hobbs army have me absolutely gleeful about what is to come. The issue is not without its faults though, as a riveting speech by Donatello is undercut by Mikey’s own awkward rant, and April’s lecture to Casey falls flat of making an impression, but in a franchise that has only seen Shredder and Krang as the supporting characters, it’s nice to know that writer Tom Waltz isn’t afraid to blow the doors wide open on this one. – Sherif

Usagi Yojimbo Senso #3 – B

You can never go wrong with a Stan Sakai written and drawn work. He has been busy at work on Usagi Yojimbo and his latest story Senso is continued here in issue #3.  Usagi and everyone of his time and planet face an alien force invading their planet during an important battle between forces. This issue gives us some major action, some brutal anthropormorphic animal deaths, and the writing and art is at the top of its game like you can always expect from Stan Sakai and Usagi Yojimbo. – Jacob

X-Files: Year Zero #3 – C-

I have really been enjoying IDW’s main X-Files series from day one but with their spin-off mini series, its like a bunch of great ideas executed badly. I think ultimately this story will end up being better than the Conspiracies story line they had with The Lone Gunmen meeting other IDW characters, but still lacks in content compared to the main series. I wish mini series got the same attention as the main ongoing series. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Nailbiter #6 – B

(B+) Often times, I am unhappy when comics take a “breather” from their normal story lines. But with this month’s Nailbiter, I was pleasantly surprised. Rather than focus on Nailbiter himself, we got a closer look at the strange teenager Alice and the Sheriff, Crane. We also were introduced to perhaps the most terrifying character yet, a pregnant woman hell-bent on having her kid in Buckaroo, hoping she will be famous once he becomes a serial killer. I suppose The Kardashians claim to fame looks sweet compared to that. This was a good issue to jump into because there is enough background given to catch up. Yet, there was still the question of Alice’s sanity and her relationship to the Sheriff. I have a feeling that Alice’s origin is a little … complicated. – Adrian

(B-) I’m still loving Nailbiter. Joshua Williamson took the character development route in this issue, as the last couple of issues have been pretty intense. While it’s not as intense as the last couple of issues, it still has the gut-tug, edge of your seat reading feel. Character development and relationships are always my favorite part of a story. It’s especially necessary for this kind of narrative. Getting inside the character’s worlds is really important. More and more I am drawn in by Alice’s character and I want to know what she’s going through. I also want to know who she reminds Crane of. What sorts of parallels is she seeing in this young woman? I think this story is doing a good job of unraveling the character backgrounds and inner lives. We just get enough information to speculate, but then it’s left alone until other issues. I also notice the environment that is built up through the art. Certain panels pause on small parts of the body, little visual moments that are simple but seem to add a lot of significance. The scale is also on point and I’m pulled into the depths of it. If you haven’t started it, you all need to catch up. – Jené

Cutter #1 – C

(C+) Cutter is a month long story arc starting this week. It’s a classic slasher story that, so far, hasn’t really done anything new or that exciting. It’s only going to be four issues long, so it moves very quickly; several minor characters die in the first issue. Cutter goes along the old slasher stand-by of “something bad happened now someone who was supposed to be dead, or a potential friend or relative of said supposed dead person is out for revenge.” Oh, though in this case it could be ghost or a Crow-esque person. It’s hard to tell at this point. The art is nice, it’s a very sketchy style. At some points it looks like pen and marker, with some half toning for shading. It works well with the story and keeps pace with the frantic mindset of the main character, Jeremy. The character dialogue is a little hokey and doesn’t always sound like something a regular person might say. Cutter is a decent book, just not a very striking one. If you like slasher movies you’d probably want to grab this, but unless you’re a diehard fan for the genre, you can probably skip it. – Scott

(C) First things first, kudos to a horror book put out just in time for Halloween. The timing is great, and I think it automatically adds intrigue to a book that I otherwise might have skipped right past. However, as I read through the first issue, my intrigue quickly transformed into a notion of “been there, done that.” What could have been something new and unique seems to be just another revenge story, and its one we’ve all heard before. A group of teenagers make a mistake in the heat of youth and partying, someone gets hurt/dies, they all carry the secret to their graves, but “shocker”, the victim never died and one by one they will exact their revenge on those who wronged them. Cutter, so far, offers no evidence that it didn’t just reveal its entire story arc right there. It’s predictable, which is all too common in the horror genre these days. I worry that it will rely on carnage and violence to set it apart as opposed to originality and a strong storyline. The dialogue is well written and has a natural flow, and the art work understated and very well done. I do not want to be the person who immediately rules something out because I predict I know exactly where the story will end because, well I guess I’m always hoping for that twist that will make my jaw drop and shut me up. For this reason, I will continue with Cutter to see what it has to offer, but over all issue #1 did not do a great job of selling a horror fan on my favorite genre. – Keriann

Marvel:

Edge of Spider-Verse #4 – B

(A) I debated for a long time on whether or not to give this week’s issue of Edge of the Spider-Verse an “A” grade or not.  As you can see, I opted for the A.  And here’s why.  (1) When conceiving of what a Spider-Man from an alternate universe might be like – this version is nowhere close to where my imagination would take me.  (2) Every Spider-Man story I’ve experienced, whether it be in comics, movies, video games or otherwise, has retained the same theme.   Meaning, every Spidey story is (to some extent) playful, lighthearted and charming.  THIS WAS NONE OF THAT.  And finally (3) we, as an audience, were given segue to the greater story to come in Spider-Verse at the expense of a Spidey version we never EVER want to see again.  In slightly fewer words, this issue of Edge was Creepy. As. Hell.  Seriously.  I think I’ll have nightmares for the week.  I found this issue so endearing because it lacked anything, well… endearing.  This was by far the darkest and most tormented Spider-Man story I’ve ever experienced.  The shock value alone was enough to make me appreciate it.  I squirmed and cringed as panels progressed, but I couldn’t put it down!!  Final reflection ultimately led me to feel that this was a solid issue.  I recommend you pick up this issue of Edge even if you haven’t been following up to this point.  It’ll show you what a Spider-Man of you nightmares is made of. – Taylor

(D) Remember two issues ago when I said that I could read a new Spider-verse every week? Yeah, well that did not apply to the disturbingly sociopathic Spider-Man that turns into an evil spider that burrows and breeds within its victims. Sorry for the confusion, Marvel, but I think the world could have done without this one. Reading this issue gave me a genuine sense of horror, and I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but it’s definitely not what I look for when I read a Spider-Man title. In this issue, we follow Patton Parnel, who enjoys killing animals and refers to people as “tests subjects,” which should be a clear sign that you should not be on his side. Sure, he gets bullied and his uncle beats him, but does that really excuse the exceedingly creepy tone that the book takes on? Maybe this just isn’t the book for me, but I’m just as disappointed in the writing as I am in the fact that this is supposed to be a Spider-Man title. – Sherif

Legendary Star-Lord #4- B

Star-Lord has moved on from his previous venture and is now on the hunt for Thanos. This truce is up and Star-Lord needs to take care of business. This issue was definitely better than last month’s. There are some really awesome panels when Thanos and Star-Lord meet and inevitably fight. I’m not exactly sure where they will be going after this issue; there is the possibility that it could get kind of cheesy for some time, and I hope that doesn’t happen. This is actually a great issue to get started on, but, I would definitely suggest starting at the start because it has been a very good series so far. – Cody

Black Widow #11 – B-

While I have been on and off Black Widow all year, I feel like it is an easy book to jump back into. The plot is never complicated enough that I don’t know what is going on. The story has still never fully delved into Natasha Romanov’s background; her past is just as mysterious as it was in Issue #1. Which is why it is hard to justify giving the book a stellar review. Was it good? Sure! X-23 was in it and she is arguably more bad-ass than Natasha herself. But I feel that there is so much to tell about the infamous former KGB operative, yet nothing has actually been told. I hope that in the near future, the writing changes Black Widow from being a static hero with a mysterious past to a dynamic heroine whose story is known. – Adrian

Death of Wolverine #3 – B-

This month’s issue of Death of Wolverine was definitely an improvement on the last issue but still lacks in story for what any long time Wolverine fan would hope to see. I have enjoyed this story arc for what it is and seeing Wolverine humanized really does make you realize how boring a weak Wolverine can be, but also how much of a better person he has become because of it. My grade may have to do with Kitty Pryde being incredibly bad-ass in this issue and that is always good to see. The art is fantastic and the “weapon” etched hologram foil covers are way worth the $5 price tag these issues ask for. – Jacob

Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #1 – C+

This was good but a little out there. Bucky Barnes now works for S.H.I.E.L.D. as their cosmic watchman, keeping an eye out and performing secret missions at the behest of Nick Fury. Daisy Johnson, a.k.a. Quake, is Bucky’s new partner, but not his sidekick. This issue was a little confusing at times, but I enjoyed it. The art in this is absolutely the high point, it’s absolutely gorgeous and you’ll get lost in the images. I’m not a hundred percent sure, but it looks like it’s all done with watercolor. It’s one of the best illustrated books I’ve seen in a while. – Cody

Guardians of the Galaxy 3000 #1 – C-

The original Guardians are back in a new, modern story and it was confusing as all get out. They use language that doesn’t make any sense at times and that got a little strange, granted, it was all expletives and exclamatory remarks, but, it forced me to stop and re-read things which took me out of the story. Things happen that are so confusing, and while they do eventually get explained, it still left me scratching my head for the majority of the read. If you’re a fan of the original Guardians, then you may find some enjoyment out of this title, but if you’re looking for something similar to the new Guardians then you’re out of luck, this team reminds me more of the X-Men than the Guardians. – Cody

Moon Knight #8 – C-

Since Warren Ellis left after issue #6, Moon Knight has lacked the certain “umph” that had me glued to each page. This issue is undoubtedly unique and interesting, with each panel playing out like a scene in a crime drama. Mr. Knight is attempting to thwart a man holding hostages, bomb strapped to his chest. The art by Greg Smallwood, who has taken over quite nicely for Declan Shalvey, is good enough, but the oddly placed panels just don’t make sense at times. Nowhere in the book do I feel attached to the situation, or Moon Knight himself. It’s as if somebody entirely different is beneath the mask. That’s not to say that Moon Knight doesn’t handle business; he is quite brutal to the perp when he goes down. The personality that Ellis brought to the first arc has been constricted, though, leaving something that looks like Moon Knight, but doesn’t quite feel like Moon Knight. – Sherif

Thor #1 – C+

(B-) Well, lady Thor is finally here! Dude Thor has somehow lost the ability to pick up his hammer, Mjolnir, and so has everyone else, but, you probably already knew that, and now someone must take his place. This issue was definitely a set-up issue. We’re getting an idea of what the new Thor will be up against soon. And, I’ll tell ya, it’s some pretty heavy stuff (literally). As always, I love the way the Asgardians speak and the font of their speech. This was a rather average story, but it’s definitely worth your time to see where they are going to take this new character. – Cody

(C+) So, cool… I guess. New Thor still hasn’t actually arrived yet. Just one panel. Not gonna lie, I’m annoyed she hasn’t been introduced. I get that we had to get rid of the old Thor, but there has been all this build up to the start of this new series and I was expecting a grand dramatic entrance. I was also expecting the change in command to be told from the lens of the new Thor. I would have been more impressed with it I think. I do hope in the next issue we get her story. The story writing is solid and engaging and the art is fantastic, so major plus on that end. In general my enthusiasm and excitement hasn’t been fully damaged. I’m still super stoked for this story line. The writer has been gearing up for this for a while now and I have faith that it’ll be what the fans have been craving. I also hope she’ll be around for a while. It’s a major change up and I plan to support it as long as the writing is good. – Jené

(C) I was looking forward to this new series because it is a monumental event. However, I found this issue to be rather boring and uneventful. We got as much information about why Thor lost Mljolnir as we did when we saw him on the moon in Original Sin #8 and we got hints at who the female Thor probably is, but it was never confirmed it is who they were hinting at. This issue felt more like a Thor #0. Next month’s issues will really feel like the kick off to the series. – Jacob

(C) Everyone is so balls-to-the wall about Thor as of late.  In observing this grand act of testicular theatrics it’s hard not get excited and join in.  So though I kept my pants on, I did make special note of when this new series would be available.  The fateful day has arrived and I must say… I was fairly disappointed.  This is driven primarily by the fact that Thor (new, female Thor that is) wasn’t actually in the issue (at least not in an impactful sense).  The buildup seems decent enough and the peripheral characters were cool, I guess.  But the big reveal was little more than just badass artwork sprawled across the final pages.  I’m a man of substance and I need my characters to have substance from the very beginning all the way to the very end.  Based on a cover to cover experience this new series isn’t anything to get crazy about.  Yet.  So… for the time being, I’ll keep my pants on and wait to see if next the issue has what it takes to loosen me up. – Taylor

Funniest Panel:

Green Arrow #35
Green Arrow #35

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Thor #1
Thor #1



 

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, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

“Respect My Craft” – Gwendolyn Willow Wilson

In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of comic books, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.

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Name: G. Willow Wilson

Profession: Writer

Notable WorkCairo, AirVixen (mini-series), Ms. Marvel (right meow!)

“You need to have integrity, even when you’re writing fiction. If you tell a story that gives a false or misleading impression about a real person or a group of people, you’re accountable for that, just as you would be if you were writing a nonfictional story. Fiction is not a license to lie.” – Gwendolyn Willow Wilson

You may recognize the name as the writer of the new Marvel series, Ms. Marvel, but G. Willow Wilson has been dropping knowledge for over a decade. Her path to Ms. Marvel was a unique one, as where she ended up is nothing compared to the journey that got her there. We may be a little biased because Wilson hails from Boulder, Colorado. Through all her worldly travels, she still considers Boulder home, although she lives between Cairo and Seattle now. “Like Frodo at the end of The Lord of the Rings, I can’t quite go back to living in the Shire, much as I might want to. I’ve seen too much of the rest of the world, and living in a small town involves a lot of pretending that the rest of the world does not exist.” If Boulder is the Shire, then Cairo must be Mordor itself. After graduating from Boston University, where Wilson got her first gig in the industry as an intern at Komikwerks (a defunct online comics publisher), she moved to Cairo to teach English.

In Egypt, Wilson took up various journalism jobs, writing for The New York Post MagazineThe Atlantic Post and the Egyptian anti-government publication Cairo Magazine that frequently challenged the Murbarak regime, years before the Arab Spring. However, GWW’s passion wasn’t always in journalism; She is a self-claimed fangirl and has been an avid comic book reader since she was a young girl. Thus, within a day of landing in Egypt, G. Willow Wilson was writing her first graphic novel, CairoCairo is the fantastical journey of six individuals and how a stolen hookah containing a Jinn (genie) leads them to a path of enlightenment. A lot of elements in the book were borrowed from her own life, which added to the honesty of it. There is a noticeable religious undertone in Cairo, but it feels neither forced nor preachy. Wilson should be applauded for her ability to share culture with readers, as opposed to making us showing it off. From Fortieth Day to Jinn mythology to dialect, G. Willow Wilson’s Cairo is educational for some, and warmly familiar for others – the embodiment of how graphic novels should be used to explore cultural diversity.

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What makes her perspective so unique in the comic book world is that she is not a typical American, nor is she a typical Muslim. At first glance, she is not automatically accepted as either identity. As an Egyptian-American, this resonated with me. Growing up “too American” for my Egyptian peers and “too Arab” for the guys on the basketball courts, I gravitated towards books like Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Wilson’s style seems much of the same. You are who make yourself, and in a male-run industry with so few Muslim contributors, G. Willow Wilson’s success is a huge motivator for other outliers like myself trying to break out in the industry.

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Cairo opened the door for Wilson to write Air in 2008, a peculiar series about a flight attendant named Blythe who finds herself traveling through time and space. It was a “very, very weird” book, as Wilson puts it. It garnered enough acclaim to become nominated for an Eisner Award, but flat sales led to its cancellation after 24 issues. Now, this wasn’t to say that DC wasn’t impressed with her writing skills, as she wrote several one-shots and mini-series for DC over the next several years. After writing Air for Vertigo, Wilson had several runs with varying mini-series, notably the five-issue run of Vixen. G. Willow Wilson described the run as Dan Didio’s attempt to “do a DCU story set in Africa that didn’t involve armed, talking gorillas. It seemed like a worthy goal.” Vixen plays the familiar part of an outsider among her own people. It’s fascinating how universal of a feeling alienation can be, even with people of the same ethnicity, beliefs and economic background. Overcoming those feelings is the reason that we read comic books in the first place.

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Wilson has also written two novels: The Butterfly Mosque and Alif the UnseenThe Butterfly Mosque is a memoir that chronicles when she converted to Islam, fell in love with a Cairene man, and other findings during her time in Egypt. Alif the Unseen follows an Arab “hacktivist” trying to spark a digital revolution in an Arab police state. The latter was a book that was released during the Arab Spring, which has seen Egypt in political and social turmoil after the revolution that finally saw Mubarak, and subsequently the Muslim Brotherhood..

Another challenge in the transition for Wilson was writing somebody else’s character instead of her own, and it’s an especially interesting one because most writers who start out in the industry go the opposite direction – writing somebody else’s character so they may create their own work some day. However, when GWW writes a character, you know that she wrote it; her blend of down-to-earth hilarious quips is somewhat of a trademark of hers.

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G. Willow Wilson has already lived such a wondrous life, and thankfully has chosen to share it with us. She’s written a post-9/11 story about a nation drenched in ignorant fear. In Egypt, she contributed to a magazine that was a cog in the revolutionary wheel and wrote two novels that share the beauty of Islam and Egypt in a way that makes readers learn, have fun and want to come back for more. Just one issue into Ms. Marvel, and I already like I relate more to Kamala than I do to Batman (and that’s saying something).

Checked out her bibliography and still want more? Check this out:

G. Willow Wilson is strong on the Twitter scene, and her blog is full of social commentary about race and gender in comic books. Wilson frequently interacts with her fans on an individual level.

Staying involved in the community is important to Wilson, as she frequents comic book conventions and other geo-political conventions. We will be visiting her in just a short couple of weeks for Emerald City Comic Con.

I wanted to point out that none of this art is mine; it is all credited to the original publishers (Marvel and DC/Vertigo Comics) . Thanks for all the love and support for You Nerd Like A Girl. Look to us next week for more “Respect My Craft!,” featuring the industries most talented contributors.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib