The Buy Pile: Of Mobsters and Spider-Men

Thu, November 14th, 2013 at 11:28am PST

Comic Books
Hannibal Tabu, Columnist

WHAT IS THE BUY PILE?

Every week Hannibal Tabu (journalist/winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt/blogger/novelist/poet/jackass on Twitter/head honcho of Komplicated) grabs a whole lotta comics, sorting these periodicals (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 NOVEMBER 13, 2013

Astro City #6
(Vertigo/DC Comics)
A wonderful, elegant, intimate character piece once again showcases why "Busiek and Anderson" will be a combination spoken of with deference and honor for decades to come. A mysterious power has appeared over Astro City's river, and the locally connected bag man comes calling, setting up an unusual set of circumstances and a conclusion that'd be an Emmy clip if it were on TV. Deftly detailed, brilliantly crafted, from concept to execution -- this is how it should be done. Yes.

Superior Spider-Man #21
(Marvel Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile.
In a wonderful game of spinning plates, the man in the Spider-Man costume is faced with problems personal and public as his bid for a doctorate is placed in jeopardy by his own history and his public persona is under threat as an ex doesn't have all the facts and uses that misinformed state to cause lots of property damage. With some fun twists and turns, including a development in Carlie Cooper's investigation subplot, every page of this issue hums with entertainment value. Solid work from the entire creative team of Dan Slott, Guiseppe Camuncoli, John Dell and Antonio Fabela.

WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?

Hot damn, those are some entertaining freaking comics!

Also, if you didn't pick up "Watson & Holmes" #5 (which can't be reviewed due to conflict of interest but which is really good), you're surely missing out.

THIS WEEK'S READ PILE

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

"G.I. JOE" #10 was really close to making the jump, as "Mad" Monk plays all his cards, making him an extraordinarily compelling character to watch, and Duke's secrets all come to light while the team wrestles with terror threats all over New York City and Cobra gets internecine in Scotland. The plot balance was almost right, but a few missteps in transitions (the "road trip" scene, "chasing their tails" and the quickness of Duke's finale) made this a little too facile, some of which was script and some of which was art. Not bad at all, though.

"Thor God Of Thunder" #15 was a pretty doggone good fantasy yarn, with murder and cries for vengeance, with colorful character stereotypes and flowing alcohol. It didn't, however, have any cleverness in it, as facile as stuff Jim Zub could do in his sleep, and even a pensive Odinson seemed strangely out of sorts when he should be bringing the ruckus. Not bad, per se, but despite being in reach of greatness, never found it.

"3 Guns" #4 had tons of engaging quotes and barbed threats, saw bad people being bad and not so bad people being smacked around, all while making a complex game of lies and deception even more convoluted. Interesting, but not enough dots connected to make it a winner.

"Deadpool" #19 had, perhaps, the best Captain America scene since "Do you think this 'A' stands for 'France?'" However, with Deadpool wrestling with some thorny moral issues and "feels," the issue as a whole rang hollow, since so much guilt not only seems out of character, but the additional memory alteration lacks oomph as well. Great character work from guest stars, but the lead fell behind in his own book.

"Doctor Who Prisoners Of Time" #11 revealed the secret plan behind most of the previous issues, as the Doctor's history, through most of his incarnations, returns to haunt him with a deadly threat to those he worked hardest to protect. The artwork does a good job of conveying the 11th Doctor's challenge, but the pacing put too much weight on the latter half of the script, as well as relying too much on the reader's familiarity with different eras of the iconic character. For longtime fans, this will be a treasure trove of easter eggs and memories, but for anyone else, its insularity is an uphill climb.

"Three" #2 is an unflinching look at the city if Sparta after its fall from grace, a place of corruption and brutality and free love that'd make Woodstock look like a weeknight with Mitt Romney. As a story it doesn't do much, but as a historical examination it takes an intriguing look at something held so high in western culture and looking at the human costs and experiences therein.

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

"Noir" #1, "Bounce" #7, "Superboy" #25, "Archer And Armstrong" #15, "Constantine" #8, "Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction" #3, "Justice League Of America's Vibe" #9, "Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Oz" #4, "Star Wars" #11, "All-New X-Men" #18, "Manhattan Projects" #16, "Harbinger" #18, "Codename Action" #3, "Resident Alien The Suicide Blonde" #3, "Worlds' Finest" #17, "Superior Foes Of Spider-Man" #5, "Herobear And The Kid The Inheritance" #4, "Manifest Destiny" #1, "Justice League Of America" #9, "S.H.O.O.T. First" #2, "Katana" #9, "Transformers Prime Beast Hunters" #7, "Batman" #25, "All New Soulfire" #1, "X-Men Gold" #1, "Triple Helix" #2, "Grimm Fairy Tales" #91, "Suicide Squad" #25, "Clown Fatale" #1, "FBP Federal Bureau Of Physics" #5, "Herobear And The Kid 2013 Annual" #1, "Unity" #1, "Green Lantern Corps" #25, "Umbral" #1, "Bloodhound Crowbar Medicine" #2, "Captain America Living Legend" #3, "Sons Of Anarchy" #3, "Shaolin Cowboy" #2, "Pathfinder" #11, "Avengers Arena" #17, "Battlestar Galactica" #5, "Star Trek: Khan" #2, "Forever Evil: Arkham War" #2, "X" #7, "Superman Wonder Woman" #2, "G.I. JOE A Real American Hero" #196, "Walking Dead" #116, "Batgirl" #25, "Fearless Defenders" #11, "Chronos Commandos Dawn Patrol" #5, "Deathmatch" #11.

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

Hey, no stinkers! Cool!

SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?

Lotsa "meh" in there, but not bad (literally) for a change.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

Let's start with noting that nothing was bad enough to be called "bad." Then, let's look at three fantastic purchases. We have a winner!

THE BUSINESS

You didn't forget that the writer of this column has his debut comic book available for pre-orders, did you? That's that aforementioned conflict of interest -- "Watson & Holmes" #7, written by the creator of "2 Guns," CBR alum Steven Grant, and the jackass behind this column, hits retail January 15th and is available for pre-order now!

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 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!

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