The Buy Pile: Heading Home Emptyhanded

Thu, March 29th, 2012 at 11:28am PDT | Updated: March 29th, 2012 at 12:42pm

Comic Books
Hannibal Tabu, Columnist

WHAT IS THE BUY PILE?

Every week Hannibal Tabu (two-time Eisner-winning journalist/blogger/novelist/poet/jackass on Twitter/head honcho of Komplicated.com) 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 MARCH 28, 2012

Nothing (No publisher)

Yep. Nothing was good enough to buy. This meant picking up a handbook and dealing with the fact that it was a rough week. How rough? Keep reading...

WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?

Well, it was certainly...inexpensive...

THIS WEEK'S READ PILE

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

"Voltron" #4 explains a few things about King Zarkon that...well, they're hard to take back, as a mage from Arus tries to sell the villain (and the reader) on a He Who Fights Monsters shtick. You get to see Voltron in action (even as a telepresence) and there's more to the lions than we've originally been led to believe. An ambitious script, to be sure, with art that does the job, but every moment away from the Voltron team is less than ready for prime time. The team has come a long way, though, and can hopefully get away from the less-than-powerful backstory.

"Avenging Spider-Man" #5 was a cute book as Peter Parker tries desperately to find common ground with Steve Rogers, leaning heavily on the elder hero's experience as a comic book writer and artist. This led to some awkwardness, as Captain America's not exactly chatty when in the field, and seems to have a desire to distance himself from his funnybook past. It ends saccharine sweet, but it's cute, not crucial for your collection.

The new Commander has one dictate in "Cobra" #11, and that's "salt the earth." With the Baroness as his primary agent of mayhem, the previous leadership cadre -- i.e. the people who gave him the job -- have to be completely exterminated. When the Joes stumble upon this bloodletting, things get messier, not simpler, as even favorites like Tomax and Major Bludd are sent into the tall grass. The closest to making the jump, but it wasn't a story, it was a series of moments without even the requisite character moments (aside from Krake's at the end) to carry it over the hump.

"Elephantmen" #38 was a clear done-in-one that involved a vengeful murderess affected by the bloody history of the genetically engineered miracles. Not bad, but a side trip into a romantic subplot needlessly distracted.

Even thought it might have seemed like a lost issue of "Damage Control," "FF" #16 cleans up New York City after Johnny Storm's triumphant return. This leads to a lot of Valeria voiceover and some kooky developments (new living arrangements for Johnny). This tried hard, and was more coherent than previous issues, but still didn't quite hit the mark.

Great moments, great fights and great quotes (the stuff from Ben Grimm especially) led to a weak and inconclusive ending in "New Avengers" #23, but if you could get a great story out of a collection of moments, lots more comics would make the jump. This instead danced between the panels of things that happened elsewhere.

More dim coloring sandbagged parts of "Magic The Gathering" #3, which was much heavier on melodrama than the edge-of-your-seat tension that worked in the earlier issue, especially with a cookie-cutter rebellious female character that needed much more to make her fully realized.

Finding a new set of friends had everybody in "The Walking Dead" #95 tense in a funny, brutal issue that swung suddenly from gallows humor to blistering, pulse pounding action. Not bad, but kind of like "Invincible" in terms of it being a fragment of a story, not a story itself.

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

"Star Wars Crimson Empire 3: Empire Lost" #6, "Astonishing X-Men" #0, "Bulletproof Coffin Disinterred" #3, "Aquaman" #7, "Hawken" #3, "Daredevil" #10, "Choker" #6, "Batman The Dark Knight" #7, "Moon Knight" #11, "Blackhawks" #7, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" #8, "Alpha Girl" #2, "The Twelve" #11, "Justice League Dark" #7, "X-Men Legacy" #264, "Legion Secret Origins" #6, "Clive Barker's Hellraiser" #12, "Savage Hawkman" #7, "Dorothy of Oz Prequel" #1, "Voodoo" #7, "G.I. Joe Retaliation" Official Movie Prequel" #3, "Morning Glories" #17

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

Wildstorm strikes back as Helspont says our favorite Kryptonian is the most powerful superhuman around in "Superman" #7. Supes is curt and snippish as Helspont engages in monologuing that'd make Julius Schwartz blanch with embarrassment while looking like Dormammu had a child with the local gas company. In trying to be bombastic and old school, this issue stumbled and fell into a whole pit of awful.

Starting off the emo section of our comics, "Avengers" #24.1 showed the Vision back in action and getting caught up on everything that happened since he was killed when the Avengers got Disassembled. Sure, you wonder, he's an android -- why not just plug in an SD card and download the whole shebang, chatting it out with Tony Stark seems needlessly labyrinthine. In any case, a quick travelogue to have a chat with Magneto and then Captain America for a sad sack issue that just dragged on for some time.

Speaking of emo, "The Flash" #7 had Captain Cold crying a lot (and showing a weird new vulnerability) and having powers that are more problem than providence, with the new "edgier" DC motif for their heroes. Ending with a "gotcha" intro, this issue was, in a word, terrible.

Haven't had enough of that mass murdering wackadoo Wanda wandering around? "Avengers vs. X-Men" #0 has you covered as she tries to get back in the game (with some help from Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman) and gets some fallout from the aforementioned "Avengers" comic in the same manner Barbara Walters would when she's trying to make somebody cry. Then, would-be mutant messiah Hope beats up the Serpent Society (they're really a set of punching bags, aren't they?) while praying for the day she gets her "wings" and becomes truly crossover-worthy. Double your badness, double your blah.

Speaking of double trouble, "The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men" #7 had lots of Jason Rusch standing around and talking while Ronnie Raymond showcases the kind of ill-conceived, half-cocked attitudes that made...wait, did fans clamor for this kind of idiocy? Really? Half dull and half dumb. What a combo.

"Uncanny X-Force" #23 was a cut below "meh," but with the sloppy artwork (indie styled, not as stylized as some of the characters needed) and sloppy plot (Otherworld waited for deus ex machina, argh) dragged it down into this section.

SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?

There was no shipment of "Secret Avengers" #24. Nothing any of us can do about that.

It was actually kind of terrible.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

No purchases. A good number of very stinky comic books. Let's write this week off, because it wasn't getting it done.

THE BUSINESS

Komplicated is awesome. Checking out a professional fighting gamer and a stuntperson who both happens to be Black women, finding a toy to unite LEGO and Lincoln Logs and whatever else, enjoying the new trailer for "Mechwarrior," examining the first recorded Black surfer Nick Gabaldon, robots that can throw grenades, free MP3 downloads and so much more. Updated at least three times a day, every day, Komplicated is doing it for the block and the blogosphere, capturing the Black geek aesthetic.

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, you should use the contact form as the CBR email address hasn't been regularly checked since George W. Bush was in office. Sorry!

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