Comic Book Reviews 01-15-13

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:

Uncanny X-Men #16 – A

If you’ve been reading any X-title post- AvX, then you would think Magneto had turned into an impotent, outdated vigilante with a change of heart. You (and I) would be sorely mistaken. Since the Phoenix entity was defeated, leaving Magneto, Emma Frost and Cyclops allwith clipped wings in terms of power, Magneto has had a difficult time adjusting to his new sage-like role. As Erik takes some time off from the other Uncannys, he is led to a Genosha-like island where all the children are being pumped with growth hormones. Looking somewhere between Max Payne and Master Roshi, Magneto absolutely loses his mind. Has he become unhinged? Was he faking his power loss all along? All I know is that Magneto is back, and not in a good way. Well, that is, not in a good way for anybody but the reader. – S

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse Comics

Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #2 – D

I wonder if the news about Marvel taking over the comic book rights to all Star Wars comics is getting Dark Horse writers down.  If so, is showed in this issue of Cry of Shadows.  We pick up right where we left off in issue #1.  CT-5539 who, during his hiatus in the dessert after being abandoned by his Jedi generals, has decided to name himself Hock rejoins civilization and signs up for service in the new Galactic Empire as a Stormtrooper.  We are also regaled with additional background from Hock’s training and service to the Jedi, prior to Order 66.  As a whole, this issue was very disjointed.  I’m confused in the direction Tim Siedell (author) is moving this story.  Nothing of any notable significance occurred in the 25 pages of Cry of Shadows #2.  While I do appreciate the story telling perspective – through the eyes and thoughts of Hock – the tales are about as exciting as listening to my brother describe the sandwich he just made… It was ham… I had high hopes (and somewhat still do) for this series.  I hope issue #3 provides some direction and I really hope we get to experience more exciting themes through Hock’s eyes as the story continues.  And for any Dark Horse writers out there that might be reading this – cheer up!  I’m sure Marvel has a spot lined up for you in 2015.  You all know as well as I do that The Force works in mysterious ways. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Superman/Wonder Woman #4 – B+

Kneel before Zod!! While nothing too crazy happens in this issue, it does take the lull as an opportunity to touch on some interesting aspects of superhero relationships as well as the potential consequences for regular humans. It also starts to take a closer look at the deeper differences between Clark and Diana in regards to their upbringing and how that will affect their future together. Zod, unfortunately, didn’t play as major of a part as I was hoping/anticipating. That’s not to say that he won’t play a major part in the future, it just feels as though they may have showed their hand a little too early.  Only time will tell how this pans out, but even if they don’t do anything major with Zod, the threat of Doomsday still lurks on the horizon. – R

Batgirl #27 – B

We got a tidbit of a preview of the Gothtopia arc in last week’s Detective Comics #27, where all our heroes are dressed in white as they patrol the shiny, crime-free streets of Gotham. This issue sees Batgirl, or Blue-Belle, is trying to save a group of children from a woman gone mad at the Joker Ice Cream Company – so you already know something isn’t right. It’s a great introduction into the story arc, as the Pleasantville-esque setting is as entertaining as it is eerie. The only thing really lacking from a phenomenally-written Batgirl (kudos to Gail Simone) is a consistent artist. The art in #27 is choppy at best, to the point where it detracts from my focus on the words and a far cry from the gorgeous cover art we see each month. That aside, Batgirl continues to be a silent juggernaut in the DC Universe. -S

Batman: Li’l Gotham #10 – B

What amazing artwork!  I am a fan of all the “Li’l” artwork anyway, but this was beyond expectation.  We open with Poison Ivy taking us through the seasons.  When she reaches Autumn, her least favorite she becomes catatonic.  Throughout these panels, she seems fairy-like and almost ethereal, especially because of the color-scheme.  The story here is pretty great, too.  Selena, Harley and Mr. J all think of creative ways to try to cheer their friend up.  Is it weird that I think all kids should read this to learn about friendship?  The second half of the story focuses on Damian who is suspicious of Alfred.  After convincing his friends that Alfred is a murderer, they all find out he was just cleaning up around Wayne Manor.  This section was notably darker than the first.  While it was cutesy and nice to see Damian in comics, it would be nice if Damian did a bit of growing up in future issues. -A

Justice League 3000 #2 – B-

Welcome back to the year 3000 again in the newest issue of Justice League 3000.  The genetically recreated five member team (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and The Green Lantern) is sent on a mission by their creators – The Wonder Twins – to take out a Garrison of the mysterious “The Five.”  Things go very astray once the dysfunctional group encounter Locus – a super charged, teenage, alien girl that has can alter any and all aspects of reality.  As a reading I’m developing a love-hate relationship with this series.  What I love about the story is the way Keith Giffen (author) subtly develops plot and reveals how and why The Wonder Twins have decided to recreate the original Justice League.  I also love the nuances in character personality and team interaction from the JL of the prior millennium.  Flash is a bit too nancy, Batman is slightly more introspective (but still the coolest), Green Lantern is missing pep from his step, Wonder Woman needs a double dose of chill pills and Superman is way more of an ass-hat than usual.  What I’m having difficulty appreciating is the almost annoying omission of a greater conflict.  Referring to “The Five” incessantly isn’t providing any additional suspense.  Before too long I need to know why it is The Five are to be feared across all galaxies and how our heroes plan on taking them down.  I’m banking on major development in issue #3 to keep me engaged. – T

IDW Comics:

Black Dynamite #1 – B-

If you are a fan of Black Dynamite and his authentic Chinese Kung Fu, then chances are you will enjoy this book. I like that fact that with this issue, the fans get the sense that this arc is going to be more than just a comical story about our beloved hero. There is definitely something deeper at play right from the get go. And I also appreciate the way the story was told: we begin with a mystery, the middle portrays background relevant to the current story, and the end goes back to the present and revealing more about the mystery along with a little twist. One reason I liked this book is because it has classic Black Dynamite quotes that are both hilarious and awesome. It makes you think, “Man, I wish I was cool enough to say that.” The art was cartoony, but not in a bad way. It really reminded me of the old Fat Albert cartoons which makes sense for both the genre and time period. The only reason I didn’t give this comic a higher grade was because there wasn’t anything truly grasping me into the story. Yes, it was fun and cool, but noting made me excited, nothing made me truly invested in the actual story. A much as I love Black Dynamite, I’m not too sure I would pick this comic over others out this week, but if you do have time, it has its funny moments. – E

Marvel:

Amazing X-Men #3 – B+

Feels like just yesterday that Kurt Vagner.graced us with his presence, his devilish, blue tail BAMFing around in Heaven. Three issues in and his return isn’t any less shocking. One of the best characters in X-Men history is back, and sees to have brought a hell of a villain with him. Ed McGuinness and Jason Aaron are a comic book making machine, as the art and story complement each other perfectly. This issue focuses on Beast, as he is BAMFed into a fight with Azazel aboard his ghoulish pirate ship. Beast battles with grace, as well as sass, while Nightcrawler and Storm reunite once more for some more-than-friendly interactions. I was so enthralled that I was sad to have it end at all. Great job by this team; this is beginning to form into a great story, and at only three issues in, you need to jump on board. Get it? Pirate Ship? On Board? Whoo… – S

Daredevil #35 – B+

This run of Daredevil has been one of the best runs of any comic book out recently. This “everyday hero” aspect given to Matt Murdock is what makes him so easy to relate to. After putting The Sons of the Serpent, an underground white supremacy group with reach throughout the justice system, on blast last episode, they seem to have an ace in the hole against Matt: his best friend Foggy and his secret identity. Dardevil spends the issue debating the right thing to do – whether he “the right thing for the wrong reason [or] the wrong thing for the right reason.” Issue #35 is a very introspective issue and embodies the character as a whole. I can’t say enough about Mark Waid as he has re-crafted a character thought to only exist in the darkness of Frank Miller’s world. – S

Miracleman #1 – B+

The return of Miracleman is finally here!  OK, I’ll be honest.  I don’t know that much about him, but this issue explains a lot.  Mircleman was originally called Marvelman.  There were some legal issues regarding the character and he became Miracleman, who is science based.  He has been written and rewritten several times over.  The newest reprisal is actually a reprint of Alan Moore’s 1980’s reboot, which is the only reason Miracleman #1 gets a B+ this week.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading the 1950’s story and then the updated 1892 story.  The story is clearly classic and Alan Moore’s reworking of it brings it to the more serious side.  The artwork from both eras is pretty incredible.  I am looking forward with what a 2014 take on Miracleman will look like for the future, and I am honestly glad this issue was more of history lesson before we delve into the modern update.  – A

Seekers of the Weird #1 – B

Seekers of the Weird is based off a concept from Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump.  Years ago, his idea for the Museum of Weird was supposed to be its own attraction at Disneyland, but never came to fruition.  Now, it is coming alive through the comic book.  We are introduced to Max and Melody Keep who have normal teenage problems.  They go to the family curio shop called “Keep It Weird” and things certainly do get weird.  Their parents are kidnapped by demons and their never before seen Uncle Roland leads them to the Museum of the Weird to find their kidnapped parents.  Max and Melody will have to explore the museum to figure out what happened to their parents and find out what weird things they have been getting into.  I enjoyed this comic, but everything seemed to happen so fast, that it was hard to find something relatable about the characters.  It did have a modern Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego vibe, which was one of my favorite shows growing up.  I am looking forward to delving into the Museum of the Weird and what adventures we will go on with Max and Melody. -A

Marvel Knights: Hulk #2 – B-

With the second installment of Marvel Knights: Hulk, I came in still not knowing what to expect after reading the first issue; however, at the end of the issue, I was pleased, but I had to wait until the end to reach that feeling. For the beginning and middle of the book you begin to see a little bit more of a glimpse as to what is happening, yet they still have a ton of information left in the bank – hopefully for later issues. The writing can be stale at times, seeming like a dull point in an action film, so I wasn’t too excited about the progression that was happening. However, the ending saved it all for me. The design and flow of panels, the art work (by the talented Piotr Kowalski of image Comics’ Sex), and the evolution of the last few pages hit me and all of the sudden I was excited and intrigued again. I got to see the Hulk I know and love, but it is obvious that there is a little something different this time around.  There are still a ton of questions I have, that I’m sure can’t be left out for future issues, but nevertheless I am excited and interested to see where they take it from it. It can either turn out to be something really unique and entertaining, or it can be a complete flop; it truly has the potential to fall any which way at this point. – E

Superior Spiderman #25 – B-

We’ve been putting up with Otto Octavius as Spiderman for an entire year now, and the pompous super-genius is really starting to wear out his welcome. He’s tossed Mary Jane to the side, used his Avengers’ status selfishly, and even managed to take his anger out on poor Aunt May. It’s been unsettling, but for the sake of story-telling, we went with it. As Spidey is consumed by the Venom symbiote, he’s letting all his feelings out. The Avengers need to be called in to subdue Spiderman, and a huge reveal is made along the way. This reveal, which is so big I have to SPOIL, is that Peter Parker is not dead and gone. He is in fact returning to comics in April. That was a saving grace in a book that has been plauged by Otto’s obnoxious attitude. We want Parker back! – S

Night of the Living Deadpool #1 – C

Sporting a clever name like Night of the Living Deadpool and plenty of puns and potty humor, this book pits Deadpool against an army of the undead. Basically, if you’ve been waiting on a Deadpool zombie book not titled Marvel Zombies, this is for you. However, you probably haven’t been waiting for said title, so let’s disect the book for what it really is. As interesting as it is to watch Deadpool chop hordes of zombies apart, I got the sense that I’ve read something like this before. As a fan of the Merc With A Mouth, I will likely keep reading the series, but to call this a great series in the making is just too far of a stretch. – S

All-New X-Men #21 – D+

It wasn’t too long ago that Jean Grey and friends burst onto the scene as literal blasts from the past. The emotional shock of Cyclops turning into a felon and the physical shock that Iceman and Beast had when learning of their physical transformation was enough to keep me completely hooked. However, now that the novelty has worn off a bit, the All-New team seems, well, stuck. Battling a group of religious zealots called the Purifiers is just as mundane as it sounds. The potential for good things to happen later will be the sole reason I keep reading, but this arc isn’t doing All-New any favors. – S

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 4 B’s, averaging out to a 3.00

Marvel Comics: 1 A, 6 B’s, 1 C and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.77

Independents: 1 D and 1 B, averaging out to a 2.00

Funniest Panel of the Week:

photo-2

Epic Panel of the Week:

image

Cover Art of the Week:

Batgirl #27
Batgirl #27

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.

Written by Sherif ElkhatibTaylor LoweEvan Lowe, Adrian Puryear and Robert Michael

Comic Book Reviews 01-08-13

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:

Black Widow #1
Black Widow #1

Black Widow #1 – A

If you’re looking for a kick-ass superhero book, pick this up. Black Widow has always been a character worthy of her own series; an ex-KGB and current Avenger, Natasha Romanov is shrouded in mystery and has the skills to take on anything. The art in Black Widow is amazing, giving off the feel like the whole story is being told through the lens of a spy, with extreme color detail (nod to Phil Noto!). I’m instantly sold on just how bad this chick is as she takes on two cases with ruthless efficiency. Not much developing yet in terms of a plot for this arc, but the issue itself is thoroughly entertaining with just enough detail to make you pine for the next one.  – S

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse Comics

Star Wars #13 – C

The beginning of a five part spinoff story starts with Star Wars #13 this week.  The topic – Vader’s revenge!  Sounds cut throat and exciting right?  Well… not so much in this issue.  Following events in the previous 12 issues, Vader is out to force choke the life out of everyone who played a part in allowing the double crossing Bircher to take command of the Devastator.  He recruits young Imperial ensign Nanda to chauffer him around the galaxy on his vengeance quest.  While I enjoy the prospect of Vader violently using the force on others as an anger management technique, I can’t help but feel that this theme is overplayed.  Through the entire issue there was only one moment in which readers experience the “Vader moment,” and even at that it only spanned two pages.  The most intriguing and exciting potential for the next five issues are the elite, black-ops Stormtroopers (that have no record of ever existing) and what they will bring to Vader’s foes. The story has me interested, but not on the edge of my seat.  I hope we get to see more out of Nanda and that Vader jumps into action soon. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Detective Comics #27 – A

This is not your average “special anniversary” issue. With DC celebrating 75 years of the Dark Knight in 2014, Detective Comics #27, which was the original comic that the Bat-Man appeared in dating back to 1939, is a great way to ring in the year. This issue is full of mini-stories, both feel-good and reflective, that explore a different aspect of Batman’s history. All are thoughtful and put a smile on my face, with Gregg Hurwitz & Neal Adams’ nostalgic story stealing the show. You can tell that the creative team that worked on this book had fun making it, and I had fun reading it. – S

Batman Black & White #5 – A-

Bringing back this collection of short stories about our vigilante hero is the best idea DC has had for a long time. Each issue is a series of vignettes about the Bat. All of the writers and artists so far have been a hodgepodge of the comic book elite. Issue five does not disappoint. I guess what I find so appealing is the old gumshoe approach that they have taken. The first story by Ivan Brandon puts us in the middle of a training exercise between Alfred and the bat. Several of the other stories focus on how clever Bruce Wayne is when he is tracking his prey. “Cat And Mouse” by Keith Giffen and “Hope” by Jimmy Palmiotti are great detective stories. My favorite, hands-down, is “I Killed The Bat” written by Blair Butler and illustrated by Chris Weston. This twisted tale of a cartoonist turned murderer will put a vicious smile on your face by the end of story. – J

Forever Evil: Arkham War #4 – B

The Bane we all know and love is back. With the Justice League out of commission by the Crime Syndicate, the Gotham rogues are left to pick up the pieces of territory. This arc reminds me a lot of No Man’s Land, where Gotham plunged into chaos and the rogues all fought over the remaining territory. All villains are scheming and plotting to get the upper hand over one another, but no tag team is more fun to watch than Bane and Talon. This issue is a full-out Battle Royal between the Gotham baddies that can get clustered at times, but well worth the price of admission. With Freeze and Scarecrow unleashing their own mind-controlled Talons, I can’t wait for the next one. – S

Batman/Superman #7 – C

Batman and Superman are in a colossal fight to death. Bats has been fitted with cyborg technology from the alien villain Mongul. He has been turned into a playable character in a global video game. Over 90 million gamers are in control of the Batman and are hell-bent on killing Superman. The overall story is a bit trite, but the artwork of Brett Booth gives this issue a vibrant look. This issue felt rushed, but if you’re in the mood for a quick mindless read with pretty pictures this is your choice. – J

 

Dynamtie Entertainment:

Lil’ Vampi #1 – C

Li’l Vampi, a one shot by Eric Trautmann and art by Agnes Garbowska, follows pre-teen Vampi in her new adventures in Stoker, Maine.  The puns from vampire, werewolf, and monster lore are cleverly put throughout the book.  Vampi is a loner who doesn’t really get along with her peers because she is… well, weird.  Her story reminds me a bit of if Buffy had taken place in her late elementary/ early middle school years.  Vampi plays detective to the morbid in the town of Stoker.  But her pet cat, Pantha is a good distraction from the social mishaps she endures.  The best part of this book is Pantha, particularly when he turns his litter box into a miniature replica of the Pyramids of Egypt.  Overall, I felt the story was a bit confusing, especially for the young targeted audience.  The story bounces between the actual happenings of Vampi to her diary, without much warning, which could be confusing to new and young comic book readers. I do have to say the art was very well suited for the genre, of course, with cover work from Art Baltazar.  This was a decent read, but definitely was out-shined by other releases this week. – A

Image:

Sex Criminals #4 – A

Across the back of issue four reads “For Mature Readers Duh,” something that readers should definitely take heed of. This is not the book you read with your friends. It’s raunchy, and foul, and my mother would be ashamed of me, but I love it. The story is written superbly by Matt Fraction, the writer behind the acclaimed Hawkeyeseries (ongoing!) and it focuses on two young lovers, Suzie and John, who can freeze time when they orgasm. This issue introduces us to Her and the sex police. It’s crude humor of the best kind and I can’t get enough of Sex Criminals. It’s only been four issues so I implore you to catch up, but only if you can handle that type of humor. – S

The Walking Dead #119 –B+

Excuse me a moment while I put my foot in my mouth, because TWD just shut me up with their latest issue. After a forgettable #118, we join our Survivors back at Alexandria as they regroup and prepare to defend themselves from Negan’s retaliation. We seem to have found a soft spot in Negan, as he killed one of his own when they try to sexually assault a POW a few episodes ago. That all seems to fade, though, as we get a reminder why we hate/love him so much. – S

Kaboom! Studios:

Adventure Time: The Flip Side #1 –B

Adventure Time: The Flip Side may seem like a children’s book and, although it isn’t as popular as superhero comics, the first issue was enjoyable. It’s lighthearted, easy to follow, and good for some laughs at any age. If you are as big fan of the T.V. show as I am, you will enjoy reading this issue as you watch Finn, Jake, and Beemo take on a rather interesting and unexpected adventure. There isn’t anything dire going on – no threat of planetary destruction which only our heroes can prevent and no grand mystery that is looming over our heads. It’s about a group of friend going on an adventure because that’s what they do best. This book is humorous, enjoyable, relaxing, and just plain old Mathematical! I look forward to the next issue. – E

Marvel:

Marvel NOW Point One #1 – A-

This issue is designed to introduce multiple new arcs that all begin in the next few weeks. Point One is a great read throughout; some of the series will pique readers interest and some will not. Unlike the weekly previews publishers come out with that have only two or three pages, each of these stories actually have a starting and ending point. Especially engaging are the Black Widow and Ms. Marvel series. It’s about time we see some kick-ass women in comic. This isn’t your average variety comic, this is a collection of stories about Marvel’s soon-to-be front-running comics and they deserve your attention.  – S

All-New X-Factor #1 – B

Serval Industries wants is open for business, their model, “we just want to help people.”  But the real special thing about Serval Industries is their business associates – superheroes!  Polaris has recruited Gambit to work for the seemingly noble and industrious Mr. Snow.  Why shouldn’t a powerful, cutting-edge company recruit mutants?!  What could go wrong?!… The concept put forth by Marvel and Peter David has got this reader very interested.  I haven’t seen a concept like this explored in comics before.  The theme is very down to Earth and jives very well with all us grownup nerds out there working a 9-to-5.  The plot balances predictability and mystery nicely and the characters in focus are well selected.  For casual Marvel fans, like me, I appreciate the effort to put well-know, but very dynamic characters into the story.  I see a lot of potential in the follow up issues.  I expect to see many more familiar faces and I can’t wait for the plot to gain additional depth.  I recommended this issue for anyone out there interested in Marvel, but doesn’t necessarily know the entire cast and crew of Avengers vs. X-Men. – T

Avengers World #1 – B-

Unlike the current Avengers title,which centers around intergalactic epidemics, Avengers World takes the series back down to Earth, quite literally, as the Hand (again, no relation to the Foot) emerges as the threat. All your favorite Avengers are in action, with Captain America and Bruce Banner getting a majority of the spotlight. Banner is very witty and sarcastic throughout the issue and is instantly my favorite character. There’s a lot that happens here, and it’s great to see Marvel put out an Avengers book that focuses on what’s going on down here instead of out there. – S

Deadpool #22 – C-

After an intriguing last issue, Deadpool #22 keeps the momentum going with Deadpool tracking a traitor amongst S.H.I.E.L.D. A special All-Star appearance by Agent Coulson keeps the book fun and exciting; even his ’62 Corvette, Lola, is part of the action. There is not a lot of intrigue here, as most of the story is made of up situational humor. That being said, it is a Deadpool book, so it’s around the lines of what I was expecting. – S

 

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 2 A’s, 1 B and 1 C, averaging out to a 3.25

Marvel Comics: 2 A’s, 2 B’s and 1 C, averaging out to a 3.20

Independents: 1 A, 2 B’s and 2 C’s, averaging out to a 2.80

Funniest Panel of the Week:

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Epic Panel of the Week:

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Cover Art of the Week:

Jim Lee's variant to Detectice Comics #27
Jim Lee’s variant to Detectice Comics #27

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.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib, John SowetoAdrian PuryearTaylor Lowe and Evan Lowe

Diggin’ Through the Crates: Lupe Fiasco “Lupe Back”

Artist: Lupe Fiasco

Song: “Lupe Back”

AlbumFriend of the People: I Fight Evil (2011), a mixtape that followed up his third studio album (Lasers). Free download here.

Lyric: “Reinforced with hardness of Wolverine’s arms with the harshness and overall sharpness”

Meaning/Character Reference:

All you gangsters and hoods out there think you hard? You know what’s really hard?? Adamantium. In Lupe Fiasco’s Black Friday mixtape of 2011, he sets out determined to let the rap world know not only is he coming strong only months after he released his 3rd studio album, Lasers, but he has been putting time and effort into his craft. This mixtape differed quite a bit from Lasers, seeing that much of the studio album contained radio hits and mainstream rhymes, which has never really been Lupe’s style. Friend of the People was no hold barred with lots of strong instrumentals and little to no hooks – just straight up Lupe lyricism and he sets to prove it all with the lyric of the week. Let’s break it down X-Men.

If Lupe can’t shove it through your head that he is lyrically blessed, then he is going to stab it through with his adamantium claws or words or…whatever. He claims that everything he puts out is strong, reinforced, and he can back it all up because the only thing that goes as hard as Lupe, is the claws of The Wolverine. We appreciate the nerdy-ness of this line due to the fact that Lupe seems to understand that Wolverine’s claws aren’t made out of adamantium, but rather only reinforced by it. Score one to Mr. Fiasco! Similar to Logan’s claws, Lupe’s rhymes not only go hard, but they are sharp. Over the years Lupe has gained the reputation of being a conscious, smart rapper. This is prevalent in other songs and lyrics such as his hit song “Dumb it Down” and a more recent lyric from SLR2: “Go to Harvard to be a Lupe Stan,” shout out to Eminem. His lyrics cannot be taken lightly, his intelligence rap requires you to re-read the lyrics over and over and use your best detective skills to decipher the meanings. So basically if you were to fight Wolverine in a one-on-one battle the best weapon you can bring is Lupe Fiasco’s rhymebook. I would pay good money to see that fight! I guess if the pen is mightier than the sword, can we infer that the words are mightier than the claws…sure why not!

astonishing xmen wolverine are you a beer

 Written by Evan Lowe

Comic Book Reviews 12-18-13

Pick of the Week:

Locke and Key: Alpha #2 (IDW Comics) – A
And that, my friends, is how you wrap up the greatest horror series in comic book history. This was a Locke for pick of the week before it was even announced. Kudos to Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez for an amazing run of almost six years. I won’t judge you if you haven’t read this book, as it’s been critically acclaimed but still very rarely marketed. There are no cliffhangers, monsters or murderers – just closure. It’s a welcome finale when writers are far more concerned with the integrity of the story rather than a spin-off or a mini-series event. As the son of the great Stephen King, Joe Hill has plenty else to look forward to. The only disclaimer I have for this issue is that you must have read the story to understand the gravity or the events of what transpire in the series finale. I know it’s a bummer but you can get started by reading our review of the first volume here.
Locke and Key

Other Reviews:

DC:

Harley Quinn #1 (DC Comics) – B+

Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, Harley Quinn issue #1 made quite the entrance into her own comic series.  Picking up where we left off in issue #0, Harley has packed up all her belongings, at least the ones that were in decent condition after Mr. J blew her stuff up.  On her very own Harley, our heroine (to be debated later) is on her way to Coney Island where she has suddenly come into her own property.  On her way there, she talks to her beaver (woah, inappropriate) that only she can hear, and rescues an abused dachshund.  A girl who likes animals more than people is my kind of girl.  The artwork is really amazing.  Illustrated by Chad Hardin and colored by Alex Sinclair (Jim Lee’s right-hand man), One of the best panels features Harley pulling up to her new pad.  We see all the people of her new hood, including a beggar on the street corner wearing a Guy Fawkes mask and holding a sign that reads “Please help me pay off my student loans.  Thanks-V”  It’s a nice little nod to the Occupy Movement. The art allows Harley to have a bit of a sexy look to her, but in certain panels we still realize that she is a creepy, crazy clown.  She even makes a jab at herself when trying to recreate her Harleen Quinzel look, “That’s what I get for getting an all over bleach job.”   Her crazy wit is cute and funny throughout the comic, and we get to see how extreme she can be, especially during roller derby.  It looks like this series will be following Harley in her adventures in the big city ala Sex and the City.  But we all know Harley is a little less Carrie Bradshaw and a little more Lorena Bobbitt. The only gripe I have with this issue is seeing Harley as such a BA, yet at the end, a dude saves her life.  When is Harley gonna be her own woman?  Hopefully at some point in this series, Harley will realize how great she is without anyone to save her.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #26 (DC Comics) – C

This issue leads up to the conclusion of the current story arc and while it doesn’t offer anything crazy as far as advancing the plot forward, it does have some incredible artwork throughout. This series has been very hit or miss for me. While I love how awesome Red Hood can be, I personally can’t stand Arsenal as character, and Starfire seems like she should be too powerful for a group such as this. Nothing in 26 issues has changed my opinion of this. I continue to read because of the potential it has to intertwine with Batman; however, since the disassociation with Batman after death of the family, I have been left with a longing for Jason to return to Gotham to dispense his brand of vigilante justice. Only time will tell if this is a book I will continue to read in the future. It definitely has the potential to shine but it will depend entirely on the writers to be able to make it genuinely interesting to read. Perhaps changing the team around wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

Supergirl #26 (DC Comics) – B+

If there was a good point to drop into the middle of this series, issue 26 would be the perfect one to do it. Kara does a little souls searching and while in the middle of that, the issue gives a great summary of the events of the last 25 issues. Sure there are some small things that someone just getting into the series would have to catch up on, but none of it is anything major that can’t be read later. What really makes this issue shine how is the introduction of the most badass bounty hunter in the galaxy. Lobo! While he isn’t given a large amount of time, what time he is given is well utilized and promises to make this current arc one of the best so far. My only complaint with this series thus far is that it requires you to stay current with Superman and Superboy, otherwise you risk missing out on key plot points due to the way the stories intertwine

Teen Titans Go! #1 (DC Comics) –  B+

Teen Titans Go! Issue #1 was a pleasant surprise for me.  It was clearly intended for the younger audiences, but was packed with witty humor. I found myself laughing out loud at several panels throughout.  This issue was broken up into two parts.  Part one is the mystery of who is eating Cyborg’s sandwich.  The mystery aspect of the story was very cute with Robin taking it upon himself to interrogate the group.  Using black and white panels for this section and giving Robin old-timey detective lines worked perfectly.  Part two focuses on a bet between Robin, Cyborg and Beast Boy on the mini-golf course.  Meanwhile, Raven and Starfire go to the arcade.  Raven cleverly uses her levitation powers to get a stuffed toy out of the claw machine.  Starfire asks, “But where does the claw come in?”  “Beats me.” Raven replies dryly.  The wittiness of this issue is what carries it.  The dialogue is quick and pokes fun at itself a little.  The outcomes of each episode are a little silly, but what else is expected for the teens? Teen Titans Go! is a good read for new and seasoned comic readers.

Wonder Woman #26 (DC Comics) – C

Wonder Woman has pretty much carried the torch for women in DC Comics for the past few years. Protector, warrior, princess of Olympus – Wonder Woman is by all means a powerhouse. Thanks to some great writing by Brian Azzarello, Wonder Woman has undergone quite the transition into the fight for Olympus. After a godly issue #23, though, things have quite slowed down. It feels like they’re trying to do too much. There are several different story-lines playing out, and over the span of months, I’m beginning to forget what the big picture actually is. While I’m sure this would read better in a graphic novel format, it’s just too complex of a story to be able to pick up every month. However, don’t let that discount the great character dynamics and fantastic use of Greek mythology; this is still a highly enjoyable book.

Marvel:

All New X-Men #20 (Marvel Comics) – B

Laura Kinney (X-23) is back! She’s popping blades and not taking any lip from anyone! She awakens in the old Weapon X factory, (it’s since been converted to the New Xavier School For the Gifted). Scott and Laura have a heart to Adamantium talk about why the X-Men have time traveled. She explains that she has been tortured for a year and is now being hunted by an anti-mutant group called, The Purifiers. This anti-mutant group is led by William Stryker’s son.  Can we say daddy issues? The X-Men gear up and prepare to raid this new threats’ hideout when…

Amazing Spiderman #700.4 (Marvel Comics) – C

Bravo to Pasqual Ferry and Andres Mossa for the cover art. The issue is worth the pick up for that alone. Peter Parker is still in the Kaiser Permanente from hell. He has been admitted to a hospital for criminals. Joe Casey writes some harsh lines about our do-gooder, “Consider his reputation, an anti-hero at best…not exactly Captain America. He would not be missed.” Peter’s identity as Spider-Man has been compromised by the staff and now he is in a fight to get out of there.

Amazing Spiderman #700.5 (Marvel Comics) – D

No rest for the weary. Spider-Man tries to enjoy a nap after a day of crime fighting, and who should come flying through his window? Johnny Storm! Brian Reed writes this issue, Spider-Man and The Human Torch. This issue is a throw-away. The story is rushed, poorly planned and boring. Johnny steals some kind of machine from the Baxter Building that came from future Ben. It will destroy the universe and old flame-boy tries to enlist Spidey to help him get rid of it. The Fantastic Four track him down to retrieve the device. Skip this one and give Superior Spider-Man #24 a shot.

Daredevil #34 (Marvel Comics) – B-

After an odd stint in Stone Hills, Kentucky, Daredevil is back in New York City and back to the main storyline; the Sons of the Serpent, a white supremecy group, have corrupted the justice system and look to be taking the whole city from the inside. This story has been building for about ten issues now, and it finally would seem that Daredevil is gaining momentum against the Serpents. After an empowering speech over the airwaves, Daredevil has gone on the offensive against the Serpents. On display are very run-of-the-mill pages from Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez. The series has lost a bit of the appeal it had in earlier issues, but it’s still fun to read. With the story, and the series’ run wrapping up in two issues, there’s a lot of ground to cover.

Deadpool #21 (Marvel Comics) –  B

So I’ll admit, I got a bit carried away with Deadpool #20, the ridiculous story about battling inter-galactic monsters in Wakanda. I’m not perfect and neither is Deadpool. This issue has us follow our favorite hero as he continues his journey to separate himself from S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Preston, who is sharing space aside the multiple personalities of Wade Wilson. It doesn’t make sense if you haven’t read the whole way through, but having read all the issues, it still doesn’t make sense. As he tries to satisfy Preston by watching Madea he is hunted by S.H.I.E.L.D. mercenaries, an irony that is not lost on me. The issue was thoroughly entertaining and full of hilarity. This is the start of the Deadpool vs. S.H.I.E.L.D arc, so it’s a great time to jump on to watch the Merc With A Mouth take down the system. … at least for a few episodes until they put out another stupid filler issue.

Scarlet Spider #25 (Marvel Comics) – C-

This final issue in the series really brings this particular story arc full circle. What I find the most dissatisfying is that you could have almost replaced this issue with the first one and ended the entire series right there. It basically felt like a carbon copy of the first issue, only Kaine has the chops to go through with actually leaving Houston the first time. The artwork wasn’t anything particularly special but it was not bad by any means. This ending felt a little sloppy but after reading the afterword, I am assured that this isn’t the end for Kaine. This character has great potential if explored properly. I really like the idea of a Peter Parker that is tainted and willing to go places and do things that Peter Parker would never do. It is the perfect opportunity to explore that dark side and while this ending may have been a little disappointing, I am looking forward to the future of Scarlet Spider when he returns in NEW WARRIORS #1.

Superior Spiderman #24 (Marvel Comics) – C+

Oh great, as if Spiderman wasn’t arrogant enough. With the great narcissistic Otto Octavius at the helm of the Venom symbiote, things are not looking so great for those close to him. Really, enough is enough. You can make him an asshole, you can make him break up with MJ, you can even make him dance around like an idiot in Spiderman 3… but you do not get to disrespect sweet ol’ Aunt May; that is off-limits. As Spidey’s ego goes to his head, there are a lot of things set in motion by the police, the Golbin gang and The Avengers. I like where this is going, as it’s obviously time for Peter Parker to come back from oblivion and return to the spotlight. The weekly splurge of Amazing Spiderman hints that a Parker return isn’t far off.

IDW:

Samurai Jack #3 (IDW Comics) –  B

This month’s issue of Samurai Jack was a nice change from there the series could have gone.  With the first two issues requiring Jack to defeat an unbeatable foe, I was worried every issue would follow the same script.  So far, Issue #3 is my favorite.  Jack, still following the magical Threads of Time to rewind history from his enemy Aku, lands in what seems to be Ancient Greece.  He meets the warrior of the town, Gloer the Great of Grantus.  The alliterative character shows Jack around town.  But instead of having to fight Gloer, as was expected, he sees that Gloer’s town has already been demolished by Aku’s terribleness.  The series is already a little Mr. Peabody-esque.  This issue is Mr. Peabody meets Stepford Wives meets Disney’s Hercules.  It’s very cute, but still a great use of medium to provoke some pretty deep thoughts for the intended elementary level reader. I highly recommend picking up this issue for your new little comic book reader.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #29 (IDW Comics) – B+

We join our turtles after the fallout of City Fall as they drive to a Northampton countryside home where April O’Neil’s parents live. The family is in shambles and I can feel Splinter pain as he tries to repair the damage that Shredder and the Foot have wrought upon his family. The issue is divided between the turtles and their family issues and the O’Neils meeting Casey Jones for the first time. Ah, but the plot thickens! Our heroes had an unwelcome guest follow them to Northampton (Although not unwelcome to me, as this is secretly my favorite character in the book). Meanwhile, April finds out that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to the mutagen, and her parents are the one to tell the secret. Ross Campbell has picked up art duties for the main story after doing a couple of the Micro-Series (Leonardo, Alopex) books. Although I was initially sad to see Mateus Santolouco’s grimy style end with City Fall, Campbell’s art is intrinsically beautiful and fitting of the subject matter. As we build towards another storyline, I was thoroughly pleased with TMNT #29, as it serves as a great jumping-on point for fans new to the series while still reflecting on the events of City Fall.

Image:

Black Science #2 (image Comics) – A

The second issue of this deep space thriller, Black Science, opened up the story and explained a lot of character dynamic without giving too much away for what’s to come. It’s a captivating sci-fi tale that mixes a little bit of Mass Effect with an 80’s space thriller twist. What Black Science succeeds at so well is its ability to draw in a reader with it’s amazing character dynamics and between-the-lines story-telling. Two issues in and you already know who you are supposed to like and who you are supposed to loathe. Throw in a well-placed flashback scene and now you’re part of the family. First, mutant frog people and now futuristic Native Americans killing Nazis; this is shaping up to be one special series, and it’s not limited to cliches and superheroes.

Saga #17 (image Comics) – A

“The only journalists that deserve killing are sports writers.” Saga is written too well for me to fully appreciate. It’s filled with literary quips. I feel like it’s written only for English majors or burnt-out authors. Needless to say, it’s brilliant. Issue 17 masks its social and political dogma behind vibrant panels and fashionable sarcasm. We find our two journalists greeted by yet another Freelancer named, The Brand. He enchants them with an Anti-snitching potion (Embargon) to impede them from continuing their story about inter-species love. When Upsher and Doff ask The Brand why their writing is so threatening the response is, “It’s the stories with no sides that worry them.” Saga engages everything is our current social spectrum. Nothing is taboo. Homosexuality, popular media, inter-racial relationships, and child-rearing are all on the table. As readers we are also unclear to Vaughn’s stance on these issues. This is what makes Saga so intriguing.

The Will is still bleeding out after being attacked by a possessed Sophie (slave-girl). Gwendolyn is desperate to find help. She makes her way to D. Oswald Heist’s lighthouse. She arrives after Klara’s attempt to save his life from Prince Robot IV.  This week’s issue submerges us deeper into this space-opera and will give you a good giggle and gasp (See Prince Robot’s erotic revelation).

Sex #9 (image Comics) – B

Now we’re talking! There’s been a lot of foreplay leading up to Sex, but it seems that the buttons are finally coming undone. What we are shown is a genuine origin story starring our hero Simon as The Armored Saint and his techie sidekick, Keenan. It really brings the story together and explains a lot in the first eight episodes that didn’t make a whole lot of sense the first time through. Guest artist Morgan Jeske’s art has a very distinct appearance from the rest of the series, and gives the issue a very raw, Dark Knight Returns vibe. And, of course, there is raunchy, gratuitous sex – as is expected when your crime-fighting secret hideout is a whore-house. Here’s to hoping that we get more exciting issues like this and less build-up.

Dark Horse:

Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – B

Enter Clone Trooper CT5539, after the Clone Wars and after Order 66. One of Jango’s copies has settled down working and living quite unremarkably on what appears to be a desert planet (perhaps Tatooine – some of the best Star Wars stories star there!). By way of true “events,” Cry of Shadows #1 really has none. The pages are filled with narration and storytelling. Flashbacks and imagination dominate. This isn’t a bad thing though! On the contrary, I was able to connect with CT5539 almost immediately because I was reading his inner thoughts. It’s critical to note that the flesh and blood Vader (or should I say, metal and lube-oil) makes no appearance besides what’s being imagined by CT derived from stories told by drunk cantina-goers. Vader remains a fantasy and a symbol in CT’s eyes. The ferocious tales are vividly and beautifully illustrated by Guzan and Atiyeh. It could be my bias, but Vader remains as imposing and awesome as ever. After meandering through post-war life, CT finds a spark and journeys out to see if the stories about Vader are true. What better way to obtain answers than ask the guy yourself?! The build-up is well done in Cry of Shadows #1 and I’m already anxious to see how the real life Vader measures up to the Vader of CT’s dreams and aspirations.

Ghost #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – B-

The series is a continuation of the original 1990’s Ghost series where Elisa, a journalist, uncovers a crazy secret; the Mayor of Chicago is actual a demon in disguise. The possessed mayor banishes Elisa to hell only to have her brought back to the living world in ghost form by two paranormal investigators, Vaughn and Tommy, after which she proceeds to pull the demon from the mayor. That same demon, however, is able to escape and possess a new host – Doctor October. This is essentially where we pick up in Ghost #1. Elisa is still hunting for Doctor October as well as other possessed persons of power in Chi-town. Issue #1 starts out pretty intensely with Elisa kicking serious demon behind on the monorail. There’s lots of plot development in the first issue (as expected) and it makes for a somewhat slow read. Authors Kelly Sue DeConnick and Chris Sebela appear to be working depth into the story and I enjoy the direction its heading. In Elisa’s return for the demon realm, she only partially recovered her memory; this aspect does much to move the story along and kept me engaged. Demon sketch lack originality, but are beautifully grotesque in detail (props to Ryan Sook). Ghost herself is also pretty B.A. She stunts some really cool tricks and maintains a fearless and confident attitude throughout. I’m looking forward to Elisa’s pursuits to purify her city, recover her memory and take on Doctor October!

Funniest Panels of the Week:

Epic Panels of the Week:

Cover Art of the Week:

TMNT #29 by Ross Campbell gets our cover art of the week for its beautiful use of color
TMNT #29 by Ross Campbell gets our cover art of the week for its beautiful use of color

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, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Written by Sherif ElkhatibJohn Soweto, Taylor Lowe, Robert Michael, and Adrian Puryear

Comic Book Reviews 12-04-13

Burn the Orphanage - Born to Lose #2, our pick of the week
Burn the Orphanage – Born to Lose #2, our pick of the week

Pick of the Week:

Burn the Orphanage: Born to Lose #2 (DC Comics) – A

It’s about time we had a fun, over the top Jean-Claude Vanne Dammey comic come out. Full of total guy nerd references and comedy, this over-the-top book is about a local hero who has extracted revenge on the man who burned down the orphanage he lived in as a kid. It might feel like a rip off of 90’s nerdom, but that’s because it is – and the creators have no shame in admitting that. The character looks just like Ken from Street Fighter and he is entered into a Mortal Kombat-style tourney in another realm. Independent comics are still alive and well here in this unapologetically witty and fun book, and that’s what should make you want to keep coming back.

Other Reviews:

Action Comics #26 (DC Comics) – B-

Finally, an enjoyable Superman title that isn’t carried by the best tag team in comics (Superman: Unchained). With Lana Lang in danger, Superman must try to rescue her and the other civilians in the area from a giant monster dog thing. It’s more than meets the eye when we realize that maybe the monster isn’t the alien after all. Superman gets frustrated with the civilians and the military for attacking the alien instead of being the unwavering Blue Boy Scout. It’s a change that’s pretty enjoyable to see in the Superman comics.

Amazing Spiderman #700.1 (Marvel Comics) B+

Amazing Spiderman #700.1 is a reversion back to the Steve Ditko and Stan Lee’s classic comic series. It is been a year since the “superior” Spiderman murdered Peter Parker, so his homecoming is much welcomed! I was thrilled to see David Morrell as the writer on this project, not only because his novel First Blood was transformed into the blockbuster Rambo movie franchise, but for his writing for 2007’s Captain America series: Chosen, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This Spidey book entitled “Frost” and follows the emotional and physical struggles of a young man gifted with incredible abilities after a science experiment gone terribly wrong. He seems more civil-servant than flashy superhero. This has always been the draw to Spiderman. In the early days he found himself more of a policeman walking a beat than he did A-lister superhero. Klaus Johnson’s artwork only contributes to this nostalgic feel, bringing a scene of Spiderman saving a gondola off the 59th Street Bridge to life. Reading this book took me back to a simpler time when superheroes felt closer to home. This book has everything the old-school Spidey fan loves, J.J. Jameson, Aunt May and an ordinary kid given extraordinary powers.

Amazing X-Men #2 (Marvel Comics) – B-

After the revelation of the debut issue that Nightcrawler is alive… kinda, this issue shows our X-Men being sucked into heaven and hell. It was a good issue, with Iceman’s humor really stealing the show. The book reads a little slow, as Nightcrawler is constantly narrating what the pictures explain, and describe teammates like Wolverine and Storm like you’ve never heard of them before. Not a whole lot was explained story-wise, but we can guess that the team isn’t in a good place when they were transported. With Nightcrawler poised to make a move on his father, Azazel, the next issue is sure to be a little more exciting.

Batman/Superman #6 (DC Comics) – C-

All bets are off: the heroes are being controlled by videogame players (really, who wouldn’t want to do that?), the entire comic is in landscape format (really, who would want to do that?) and Batman has a freakin’ hole in his chest. What began as a well-crafted story with freakishly good art from Jae Lee has become a jumbled mess of a book. While the Toymaker angle is interesting, there’s nothing cohesive enough to call this book “good.”

Deadpool #20 (Marvel Comics) – F

Oh, good. For a second there, I was worried that the Deadpool book had standards. Silly me. After a sincere and comical story arc had finished about the Weapons X program in North Korea, they drop this trash about Deadpool shooting and blowing up inter-galactic monsters in Wakanda. In 90’s print. For no damn reason. Growing up, Deadpool had always been the mischievous, “do what I want” misunderstood merc with a mouth. With the success he has garnered in pop culture, it seems writers are literally willing to do whatever they want. It’s not cute, and I don’t even think that every die-hard Poolians (I just made that up) should give this series a shot anymore.

Green Arrow #26 (DC Comics) – B

Thanks to the CW’s Arrow, Oliver Queen and company have enjoyed some much deserved attention in the comics. Throw in tremendously talented writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino, and you have the next face of your brand. The start of the Outsiders War arc was not full of action, but full of ambiance. Arrow’s return to the island was charged with emotion as he reflects on his time there. It’s looking like this arc is gearing up to be fun and exciting.

Indestructible Hulk: Annual #1 (Marvel Comics) – B-

Ever since Tony Stark and Bruce Banner teamed up for S.H.I.E.L.D its been non stop action. Banner is motivated by a desire to repair his reputation as the world’s leading scientist and not a raging green monster, while Stark is motivated by…whatever motivates a genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist. The pair run errands for the clandestine organization and we are thankful for it.  Indestructible, penciled by Mahmud Asrar is filled with epic battle panels with Iron-Man and Hulk. If this buddy-cop match up is one you’ve been waiting for, Indestructible Hulk won’t disappoint.

Inhumanity #1 (Marvel Comics) – B+

Every Marvel event comes with a certain level of gravity. The world, galaxy or universe is always in danger and it’s the duty of our heroes to sacrifice and blah blah blah – sound familiar? This story, though, has an awesome feel to it. Unless you read or saw the animated version of Inhumans, you would not know that Inhumans are awakened through Terrigen Mists that activate super powers in normal humans. Karnak walks readers through the story of Black Bolt and what the fall of Attilan has to do with Thanos. It’s an epic event in the Marvel U that actually deserves the description.

Marvel Knights: X-Men #2 (Marvel Comics) – B-

With all the complicated twists and turns of the other X-books, it’s nice to see a book go to the simplest of times. Knights debut ended with Wolverine finding his buddy Sabretooth in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. Continuing the story, which had a very pulpy, Scooby-Dooish vibe, we find another lonely and confused mutant with the ability to project memories (good thing this wasn’t a teenage boy). It has a bit of social commentary that has been absent in X-Men recently. This is definitely a short series worth checking out.

Superior Spiderman #23 (Marvel Comics) – B

Man, just when you think you can get used to Octavius as Spiderman, he pulls a major jerk move and messes with our pal Flash Thompson AKA Venom. We saw him go too far with his black & white justice approach with Cardiac earlier in the series, and now he’s really fighting with fire, tricking Flash into undergoing surgery to help him walk again, but extracting the Venom symbiote from Flash altogether, who now has Darth Maul legs. Once free, it latches onto the most suitable host in the room. I’m pretty excited to see how Otto thinks he can get himself out of this one, if he even wants to.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Micro-Series (The Shredder) #8 (IDW Comics) – C

When you really think about it, Oroku Saki aka The Shredder never really talks. I mean, he never really has to. A few speeches about how much he hates Splinter and the turtles or how disappointed he is in the Foot, sure, but when it comes to actually talking, it just doesn’t happen. This whole issue focuses on Shredder’s journey through the after-life, which is on its own, pretty entertaining and well-drawn. However, his lack of personality really put a damper on what could be a pretty cool Japanese folklore-based story.

Terminator: Salvation – The Final Battle #1 (Dark Horse Comics) – B+

This Terminator comic begins almost exactly like the first three terminator movies. Human and Terminator alike come back in time, Terminator kills people for clothes and the human runs from the police. The story fluctuates between the present day timeline and the future of 2029. Being a continuation of the movie, it is actually necessary that you watch the film in order to understand who a few characters are. That being said I am very excited to see where they take this series. Being a major fan of the series, I am very interested to see how they finally end the saga.

Trillium #5 (Vertigo Comics) – A-

The dimensions of a comic book page are 6-7/8″ x 10-1/2″ and Jeff Lemire seems to fill up every square inch with quality work. Issue #5 is split horizontally into two stories, read from opposite ends of the book to give the impression of two different stories. Swapped places in time and space, Billy and Nika are losing their minds trying to figure out how they got there. Right off the bat, things are out of place. There will be nobody named Clayton in the future of outer space; I simply refuse to believe it. I don’t know where this wild ride is going, but we have three issues to save the world and get these star-crossed lovers back to each other.

Velvet #2 (Image Comics) – B+

James Bond meets La Femme Nikita in this spy thriller. Only two issues in and we are uncovering a web of lies and a screw job within a secret government organization. Full of action and espionage, the second issue digs a bit deeper. Velvet boasts a strong female lead and a deep storyline to explore. If you haven’t picked up on Velvet yet, I strongly suggest getting into this spy thriller.

Funniest Panel of the Week:

Bobby breaks the ice in Amazing X-Men #2
Bobby breaks the ice in Amazing X-Men #2

Epic Panel of the Week:

The real Peter Parker saves  the day in Amazing Spiderman #700.1
The real Peter Parker saves the day in Amazing Spiderman #700.1

Cover of the Week:

TMNT Villain Micro-Series #8, written by Paul Allor and drawn by Dan Duncan
TMNT Villain Micro-Series #8, written by Paul Allor and drawn by Dan Duncan

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, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Written by Sherif Elkhatib, John Soweto and Robert Michael