WHAT IS THE BUY PILE?
Every week Hannibal Tabu (two-time Eisner-winning journalist/winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt/blogger/novelist/poet/jackass on Twitter/head honcho of Komplicated) 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 SEPTEMBER 4, 2013
Jump from the Read Pile.
If you haven't been reading this series, this issue won't make a lick of sense. As a matter of fact, if that's the case, feel free to go on to the next review, no harm, no foul. See ya! Now ... are they gone? HOLY CRAP, THAT WAS AWESOME! With the kind of skill only a master plotter can wield and the kind of collaboration only two as well synchronized as John Layman and Rob Guillory could provide, this issue danced between the raindrops of previous chapters in a flashback style "Lost" and "Arrow" would be jealous to see. Knowing the future that lay waiting for her, NASA agent Toni Chu apparently put a number of things in motion to continue the quest for justice, stopping along the way to help her sister like Tommy Vercetti stopping to deliver pizzas. Ignoring the fact that this issue is wholly insular, if you've been following the series, it's like a winning lottery ticket. Wonderfully entertaining.
Pieces from multiple stories (and even the sister series "Fables") come to bear as Prince Charming returns to his reign as maharajah and hears stories from friends old and new. "That could have gone a lot worse," one character says, and it's true that the sequential art format didn't do this story any favors -- the whole of this storyline could have been a solid prose novella --but the solid visuals from Stephen Sadowski, Russ Braun, Phil Jiminez, Christian Alamy and Andrew Dalhouse still infused Sean E. Williams rather exposition heavy script with charm and magic. None too shabby.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Mmm, that's good comics.
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
If you like "LA Confidential," or much of Howard Chaykin's output, "Hit" #1 should be right up your alley. With the booze soaked casual racism and sexism of "Mad Men," this noirish, suited police story bends the law to its breaking point when a buxom blonde enters the picture. A solid effort of craft for nostalgia-starved fans of two fisted tales of tawdriness.
The universe-building back-up prose story in "Red Ten" #4 was more complete than the actual main narrative, which moved its prophetic, psychotic nursery rhyme forward one stanza, addressing the Captain Ersatz Green Lantern (from a corps much closer to the wartime GLs than the spaceborne peace officers of old). Alibis were bandied about and the murder mystery got put on standby, which left the plot drifting a little. Maybe this will click more when all is said, done and collected.
The interplay between He-Man and Teela was the best part of "DC Universe Vs The Masters Of The Universe" #1, a largely talky and pedestrian book dragging the action figure-based chocolate into the DCU's peanut butter, showing a bored Skeletor looking for trouble while biding his time to return to Eternia. Queen Marlena and Madame Xanadu are heavy with the exposition, throwing some of it off track. Not as bad as it could have been.
If you read "G.I. JOE The Cobra Files" #6 and consider it a chapter in a spy novel, you'll appreciate the delicate handling of Flint's past, the psychological forces that molded him into the ill-suited head honcho of a team of traitors and malcontents. Even the moody, somber coloring and artwork make that approach work. However, as a comic book, it stumbles in telling its story, it comes close with its sheer charm and misanthropy, but doesn't connect because its lead isn't as interesting as he should be, even in his self-denial. An ambitious attempt, though.
Great action and tension in "Deathmatch" #9, but the revelations for Captain Ersatz characters lack weight and the outcome seems laborious.
In "Love Stories To Die For" #1, the space based claustrophobic second story has an exquisite ending, but the cliches in getting there bogged it down. The lead story featuring norsemen, Christian monks and the undead had a savvy conclusion that likewise took a pedestrian path getting there. Solidly not bad and likely loved by fans of things like "The Outer Limits."
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
"The Star Wars" #1, "Invincible Universe" #6, "Detective Comics" #23.1, "Danger Girl: The Chase" #1, "Quantum And Woody" #3, "Sheltered" #3, "God Is Dead" #1, "Earth 2" #15.1, "Catalyst Comix" #3, "Flash" #23.1, "Witchblade" #169, "Forever Evil" #1, "Hoax Hunters" #10, "Green Arrow" #23.1, "Charismagic Volume 2" #5, "Justice League" #23.1, "Suicide Risk" #5, "Justice League Dark" #23.1, "Blackacre #10, "Justice League Of America" #7.1, "Michael Avon Oeming's The Victories" #5, "Superman" #23.1, "X-Men Battle Of The Atom" #1, "Invincible" #105, "X-Factor" #262, "Reality Check" #1, "Superior Spider-Man" #17, "Batman The Dark Knight" #23.1, "Superior Foes Of Spider-Man" #3, "Shadowman" #10, "Batman And Robin" #23.1, "Iron Man" #15, "Absolution Rubicon" #3, "Batman" #23.1, "Shahrazad Prologue," "Infinity" #2, "Action Comics" #23.1, "All-New X-Men #16, "Massively Effective" #3.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
Hey! Nothing was awful! Cool!
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Hey, wait a second, nothing stank? Cool!
WINNERS AND LOSERS
A jump plus no losers means a clear win for the week! Woo hah!
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!
The writer of this column is DJing a number of nights at the LA County Fair's End of Summer Concert Series. Brothers Johnson, Rose Royce, Ke$ha, The Jacksons and Tower of Power (and maybe Bad Company). Fun for all.
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 will do our best to make sure 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!