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 MARCH 24TH, 2010
Jump from the Read Pile.
It's a directory, you say? Chock full of the characters that have made up the life and times of the man who may or may not be Wade Wilson? Done, let's crack that puppy open and see what we've got. Oh, Montgomery...it's been a long time, hasn't it? Outlaw? You're a cold piece of work with six guns and a mini-skirt. Madcap! Wow! You're so awesome, how has it been so long since you've been in comics? Unfortunately, there's a lot of duplicate information here -- Asp, Anaconda, Black Mamba, Flatman and his team...largely the same content in multiple entries. You get to dip into some of the weirder parts of Marvel's history (both Howard the Duck and the spawn of the Impossible Man show up here) while brushing against big crossovers and storylines that spanned multiple calendars. Not the most compelling handbook, but some gems hidden amongst the roughness.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Not bad, per se, but ...
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
Oh, event comics: people are fascinated by them. "Nemesis" #1 is one such comic, a comic so big that writer Mark Millar unofficially claiming that he got a Times Square billboard to celebrate the launch...oh, wait a second...no he didn't (it looked even less like Millar's ad this morning). But enough about lies and what not. Without besmirching any branded trademarks, what if the brain of a relentlessly brilliant (probable) billionaire with a penchant for cowls were wrapped in the personality of a humor-obsessed psychopath who kills for kicks? What if he had a trademark -- picking a city's top cop, putting his name on a card and choosing the exact moment said cop will die, all while compiling a body of chaos and murder that would make Osama Bin Laden blush? Sure, the premise of super-crime with panache is pretty interesting, but then you get to some of the problems: the supposed American super cop he's aligned against is milquetoast at best, and the whole issue flies by in almost two or three story beats, regardless of the delightfully wicked dialogue. Would you pay three bucks to watch the first fifteen minutes of an action movie in a franchise you'd never known anything about? Few would. Let's see if the pacing improves.
In "Thunderbolts" #142, Norman Osborn's wetworks team has been dispatched behind enemy lines to retrieve the spear of Odin. Under the administration of Nuke, er, Scourge, this team has become considerably less incompetent than they were under a Black Widow, and that's a plus. However, the "plot" (as it is) is still very scattershot and a set of US Agent-led Pym-vengers didn't do as well as they could have, given their advantages.
"Air" #19 was okay, with Blythe stepping up to her role as a...well, that'd be telling. In any case, there's good character work on her behalf and a sliver of okay work with her supporting cast, but nothing you can really hang your hat on.
"Secret Warriors" #14 would likely read much better if it was prose, as there's a whole flashback and reveal shtick here that lands flat from the artwork (the character in question hasn't had the best build up). Not bad by a long shot, but still not living up to its potential.
Speaking of character work, there was some good stuff in "Transformers: Last Stand Of The Wreckers" #3, but the art and coloring didn't do much to make the 'bots stand out from their backgrounds in a fast-paced issue. There's a lot of cast members here, and following them gets a little challenging even though the individual art on each looks good. Hm. Maybe that is largely coloring, then.
Guido was good in "X-Factor" #203, a small-focused issue which has Monet trying to rescue her father from a mysterious assailant who has some 616 history. The problem? The assailant's an empty shirt, Monet's normal charms are all muted and only the panels with Strong Guy actually held together. Not a bad effort, just too little of the effective sections.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
"Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal" #1, "Captain America" #604, "Hunter's Fortune" #4, "New Avengers" #63, "Wildcats" #21, "Uncanny X-Men" #522, "Darkness" #83, "The Guild" #1, "Power Girl" #10, "Fall Of Hulks Red Hulk" #3, "Scalped" #36, "Prelude to Deadpool Corps" #4, "A-Team: Shotgun Wedding" #2, "Avengers: Initiative" #34, "G.I. Joe" #16, "Breaking Into Comics The Marvel Way" #2 and "Thor" #608.
No, just...no ... These comics? Not so much ...
It's spring-time, for Sin-estro and Kor-u-gar..."Green Lantern" #52 firmly installs a man surprisingly named Thaal (seriously? Created in 1961 and we're just now finding out dude's first name?) wielding the brightest of white lights against the endless rampaging hordes of Black Lanterns. Sure, there's an easy interpretation of that whole thing that's...well, sad. But focusing on the overly chattiness of this issue is a more valid criticism, as well as looking at the limp depictions of scale and combat. Also, fun fact, you can see the germ of crossovers to come, which is not at all entertaining (when "Infinity Gauntlet" was going on, the seeds of "Infinity Crusade" were there, but they weren't so obvious). This should really, really stop.
"You trapped him?! In his lab?! You fools!" Despite that hilarious (and frankly out of character) line, "Mighty Avengers" #35 was mostly sad with a closing page implying a disturbing fixation that's not so heroic. The art's pretty good, though.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Not bad, per se ...
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Coming in at under five bucks, there's not much to complain about, but there's also not much to be proud of in a week that just limped by.
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.