The Buy Pile

Thu, January 21st, 2010 at 12:50pm PST

Comic Books
Hannibal Tabu, Columnist

WHAT IS THE BUY PILE?

Every week Hannibal Tabu (journalist/blogger/novelist/poet/karaoke host/jackass on Twitter) goes to a comic book store called Comics Ink in Culver City, CA (Overland and Braddock -- hey Steve, Jason, Vince and Quislet) and grabs a whole lotta comics. These periodicals are quickly sorted (how?) into two piles -- the "buy" pile (a small pile most weeks, comprised of planned purchases) and the "read" pile (often huge, often including comics that are really crappy but have some value to stay abreast of).  Thursday afternoons you'll be able to get his thoughts (and they're just the opinions of one guy, so calm down) about all of that ... which goes something like this ...

THE BUY PILE FOR JANUARY 20TH, 2010

"Gravel" #16
Gravel #16
(Avatar Press)

This issue got a leg up "jump from the Read Pile" because the last two issues made the grade, which felt like a trend. This done-in-one did almost everything right, from the interaction between "the king of all magic" to the confrontations that closed the issue. Perhaps the only thing one could point to as a flaw was a little shallowness in the characterization of Layla and Kanika, two members of the new Minor Seven. Mike Wolfer's matter-of-fact artwork with Juanmar's detailed coloring look good together and Warren Ellis' gruff script almost makes one miss "Fell." Good stuff.

"Incredible Hercules" #140
Incredible Hercules #140
(Marvel Comics)

The titular character and teenaged genius Amadeus Cho are working to batter down the mad plans of Hera to create her own universe without anything she dislikes -- including her upstart daughter Athena, her loutish stepson Hercules or anybody else who's ever stood in her way. The issue spent a little too much time dwelling on Haephaestus' tragic beginnings (Hera really had some issues with kids), but the heroism/friendship moments between Herc and Cho make things work well while the Agents of Atlas have a quick and largely forgettable fight scene as a backup feature. There's a little more fisticuffs than plot, but still good stuff.

"Anna Mercury 2" #3
Anna Mercury 2 #3
(Avatar Press)

This issue is all about action as the titular character takes on...wow, murderous interdimensional vikings with relentlessly detailed artwork by Facundo Percio and Digikore Studios on colors. This book's far prettier than filled with facts, but it does create the seeds of a multi-world alliance and a united front against antagonists wielding swords with skulls carved into the blade tips (wholly impractical). Also, there's the introduction of a new character that gives Anna's agency some fun possibilities and writer Warren Ellis gets to make some goofy, juvenile jokes.

"Fables" #92
Fables #92
(Vertigo/DC Comics)

This easygoing issue probably won't be remembered as one of the "wow" ones, but it's a fun introduction to the kingdom of Haven and the unlikely community of people living together in peace. Mostly. Romance plays alongside a mystery as the goblin pitcher who brought home the Haven Pennant (what, mythical creatures can't enjoy a little game of baseball?) falls under suspicion of...well...murder! Characters get a decent amount of development and David Lapham's art meshes well with Lee Loughridge's colors.

WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?

Nothing leapt off the page but everything was enjoyable.

THIS WEEK'S READ PILE

... will not be reviewed. It's the reviewer's birthday, and who wants to deal with stuff you don't like on their birthday? So no Read Pile. Carry on.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

Nothing made an actual jump (although everything got read) but nothing went wrong. Not a bad way to turn 37.

THE BUSINESS

Got a comic you think should be reviewed in The Buy Pile?  If we get a PDF of a fairly normal length comic (i.e. "less than 64 pages") by no later than 24 hours before the actual issue arrives in stores (and sorry, we can only review comics people can go to stores and buy), we guarantee the work will get reviewed, if remembered.  Physical comics?  Geddouttahere.  Too much drama to store with diminishing resources.  If you send it in more than two days before comics come out, the possibility of it being forgotten increases exponentially.

There are now two official ways to get Hannibal Tabu's blog-related wisdom. For all personal things, there's Hannibal's relaunched Soapbox and for his views on the weird, wild world there's The Hundred and Four, where I also post (mostly) weekly commentary tracks about these reviews.

Finally, if you don't know, this reviewer is taking a year-long sabbatical from social networking (including Twitter, Facebook and whatever else) to focus on his newborn daughter, family, blogging, fiction and continuing his schemes for world domination. Just so you won't be surprised when there's no responses.

TAGS:  the buy pile, gravel, incredible hercules, anna mercury, fables

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