The Buy Pile

Thu, May 5th, 2011 at 12:28pm PDT

Comic Books
Hannibal Tabu, Columnist

WHAT IS THE BUY PILE?

Every week Hannibal Tabu (journalist/blogger/novelist/poet/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, and here's some common definitions used in the column) about all of that ... which goes something like this ...

THE BUY PILE FOR APRIL 4, 2011

Secret Six #33
(DC Comics)

There's a showdown in Hell between the arguably named titular team and Ragdoll, who's now a ruler in the infernal domain and serves directly under the daughter of Shazam, Lady Blaze. They don't have to fight -- they could skip the whole "dying and getting sent to hell" part and just stay, to rule at Ragdoll's side. The division amongst who chooses what is a defining moment of character, followed by extreme violence and hilarity ("Someday, this will be a terribly romantic story. And not so much an awful abduction in Hell and all that"). There is such an effective showing of character here, writer Gail Simone is almost literally on fire with her script. As always, the artwork of J. Calafiore and John Kalisz is top notch and this issue hits all the right marks.

WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?

Also picked up the latest Thor/Avengers/Cap Official Index of the Marvel Universe, which is engaging reading. So, at less than eight bucks -- that's solid entertainment.

THIS WEEK'S READ PILE

Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy

The art and action in "Moon Girl" #1 are pretty good, with great visuals and kineticism, but the story itself is deathly dull and the characterization is as thin as a war refugee. Not quite living up to the promise of the visuals.

The Plutonian's powers are explained in "Irredeemable" #25 while he struggles to escape the inescapable. The divided focus of the issue did it a disservice, not giving Tony's lunacy nor the fractured environment back on Earth enough room to shine, but it wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination.

"Gladstone's School for World Conquerors" #1 was a cute start, establishing the characters and making the situation plausible, in that a whole school full of super villains would just be able to exist. The ending kind of threw things for a loop and the cutesy tone was incongruous with the kind of people involved, but there was nothing wrong with this work, just nothing so right that it had to come home.

"Spike" #8 was pointlessly, wonderfully heroic as the title character took on the senior partners of Wolfram and Hart, got a new mission in life and generally made himself look awesome without any of the histrionics he previously engaged in.

"Intrepids" #3 ended with an intriguing question that gives some pause to characters involved, but the plot of the issue itself meandered about and the characterization didn't click as well as the previous installments.

The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title

"Wolverine/Hercules: Myths, Monsters and Mutants" #3, "Artifacts" #7, "Adventure Comics" #526, "Vampirella" #5, "Blue Estate" #2, "X-Men: Prelude to Schism" #1, "Batman Beyond" #5, "Red Spike" #1, "Astonishing Thor" #4, "Doom Patrol" #22, "Captain America: First Vengeance" #1, "Freedom Fighters" #9, "Fear Itself: Spider-Man" #1, "JSA All-Stars" #18, "Moon Knight" #1, "Green Wake" #2, "Superboy" #7, "Uncanny X-Force" #9, "Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Sun" #5

No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...

Nothing really that bad this week. That's a pleasant surprise.

SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?

Nothing stinks? That's a gift in and of itself.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

It felt like a very light week, but if there's nothing infuriating, that's almost a win in and of itself. However, given that it was Star Wars Day, why were there no "Star Wars" comics available?

THE BUSINESS

Last weekend saw the launch of a new website called Komplicated!

It's a niche website aimed at Black geeks and people who like to get down like them. Doing it for the block and the blogosphere, we have a weekly hour long webcast (the first one sucked but taught the team a lot) featuring "Total Recall" writer Vince Moore and style geek Myshell Tabu as well as daily posts in the arenas of escapism, music, culture and technology. This column's writer would personally appreciate you checking it out ... but no, The Buy Pile isn't going anywhere, it'll stay here no matter what!

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.

Oh, blogs: thanks to Suuru Designs you'll find blogs at the Soapbox. That's where you'll see Commentary Track blogs on these reviews (last week's blog was missed, sorry), normally within a day or two of their publication. Also, Wednesdays have two sneak peeks at what's going to be in the column (one Wednesday afternoon, the second hopefully by midnight) from the Operative Network Mobile Edition. Enjoy!

May the Fourth be with you ... always.

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