The Buy Pile: Oh What A Tedious Web We Weave...

Fri, December 28th, 2012 at 10:28am PST

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 DECEMBER 26, 2012

Nothing
(No Publisher)
To be fair, it looks like, what... ten actual comic books were distributed through Diamond this week. Looks like the whole industry hung up the Charles Barkley "Gone Fishin'" sign. So no "official" purchases. Unofficially -- because not buying anything is rude -- the column picked up the "Prince of Cats" OGN (whch is a bit too lengthy to be reviewed in the time we have available here) and the first two issues of "Shadowman," which were considered "very close" in some very crowded weeks. So, no buying recommendations from what shipped this week, save the fact that... well, we'll discuss that in a moment...

WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?

Inexpensive, at least.

THIS WEEK'S READ PILE

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

Once upon a time, a little website aimed at Black geeks ran a program called #whodwin Wednesday where fans argued which characters could beat the hell out of other characters in "Thunderdome" conditions -- no escape, no preparation, dropped in to an enclosed space with only one instruction: smackdown. It was far from the first time people had engaged in these kinds of discussions, a comic shop staple for decades, and even played a role in great moments like "Contest of Champions" or the much lauded "Secret Wars." #whodwin Wednesday was, however, organized and reasoned and forced to follow certain rules. Why mention any of this? It's not to say the dollar comic "Deathmatch" from BOOM! is derivative -- perish the thought -- as it's populated by Captain Ersatz analogues like "Jewish Hulk" (really), a moderately powered Batman send-up and a Black Superman who (of course) is the first to die. Despite Paul Jenkins trying valiantly to imbue this collection of stereotypes, cliches and familiar strains and samples of songs you already know with some kinds of emotional resonance, nothing stands above its source material, the action scenes are serviceable but not memorable and even the Rorschach analogue seems to be trying too hard. Interesting to see if it can catch on, because sales on "Civil War" surely taught the industry that its meat-and-potatoes fans love to see the core characters tear each other down.

With a twist ending wholly unexpected, Brian Wood again lays claim to the future with "Mara" #1, more "Hunger Games" than dystopia. The lead character's as dull as a brick and the supporting ones may as well have been named Darko and Mark Madsen for all they contributed. Still, intricate world building and a sneaky last few pages make it at least "TV good."

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

"Aquaman" #15, "The Shadow Special" #1, "Before Watchmen: Nite Owl" #4, "Hip Flask: Ouroborous"

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

"Amazing Spider-Man" #700. No. Really. There's not much more to say about [SPOILER] something like this, a development that's already drawing "Clone Saga" comparisons and... look, just "no," really.

Swap the Serpent Crown for a mysteriously misfired missile and "Justice League" #15 could easily fit in with 1989's Atlantis Attacks or maybe even "Amazons Attack" as US cities get flooded (*cough*Ultimatum*cough*) to prepare for an invasion by angry undersea warriors sick of the surface world's incursions, et cetera, ad nauseum for comics cliches about Atlantis from the last century. Add to this the tyro League acting like they just met (which doesn't make sense after the Steve Trevor issue) and you have a tedious exercise made more abysmal by the corruption of Billy Batson into a beer-swiping, petulant jerk.

Can one have a team up with... no one? "Avenging Spider-Man" #15.1 answers that with an entire issue worth of monologuing as the "new" Spider-Man gets settled into Peter Parker's life while getting an early start on topping Reed Richards' chauvinist streak and generally being a jerk. Not even a funny jerk, at that. Can we just fast forward to the "triumphant return" the guys in licensing will demand by the time the next movie rolls around?

SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?

Pretty crappy, to be honest.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

Three awful stinkers easily beat out nothing being good enough to buy to end 2012 on a sour note.

THE BUSINESS

As of right now, you can spend ten bucks and get about 175,000 of fiction from the writer of this column. The links that follow tell you where you can get The Crown: Ascension and Faraway, five bucks a piece. Love these reviews? It'd be great if you picked up a copy. Hate these reviews? Find out what this guy thinks is so freakin' great. There's free sample chapters too, and all proceeds to towards the care and maintenance of his kids ... oh, and to buy comic books, of course. What are you waiting for? Go buy a freakin' book already!

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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