The Buy Pile: Bill Willingham Takes On Camelot

Thu, January 2nd, 2014 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 DECEMBER 31, 2013

Fables #136
(Marvel Comics)
The establishment of a new Camelot has Rose Red reluctantly taking on the mantle of King Arthur as people around wonder if fate will push this to end the way the original did -- with blood and tears and chaos. A convincing case is made for a Morgan le Fey waiting to turn Rose Red's redemption ride into a short one, especially with a question about her parentage. A good issue if not a great one that asks some intriguing questions while frustratingly holding the answers just beyond your reach.

Artifacts #33
(Top Cow/Image Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile.
The writer of this column is one of the three winners of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, and as such wanted to buy this issue so he could refer back to what another winner did. However, given the close relationship to the contest, it would be unfair for him to really review this comic. He is a loudmouthed jackass, however, so thoughts may get Tweeted on Thursday. In any case, this was a purchase, but not due to ordinary reasons, so do with that information what you will.

WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?

Slow start, but okay so far …

THIS WEEK'S READ PILE

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

A mysterious death at the Vatican and the possibility of a cover-up stretching to the highest levels of Catholicism's hierarchy. That's the hook for "Revelations" #1, a fairly engaging procedural with some nice twists and turns. Unfortunately, the flat characterization of almost every player here leaves too much weight on the fairly stereotypical shoulders of Scotland Yard detective Charlie Northern, who could easily win a "Pete Wisdom Cosplay Contest" or be cast as a character for a Warren Ellis comic, right down to the cigarette smoking poses. His quips are cute but almost predictable, his movements telegraphed, all of which takes a little momentum out of the narrative. Throw this on in the middle of prime time and you'd be fine, but for the price, even with Carlos Pacheco's evocative art, it's a hard sell.

"Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure" #1 was a pleasant surprise, as "Fables" writer Bill Willingham teams up versions of the Green Hornet with Vampirella in a world of dirigibles, goggles, bustiers and brass. It's not bad, but not knowing anything about the characters will likely leave a reader lost, and the shorthand characterization seemed a bit facile. Not bad, though.

"Flash" #26 was an actually kind of interesting issue as the titular speedster had to contend with an amoral super villainess who was one step ahead of him. There's scientific surprises (dealing with not being able to fly was nice) and solid artwork, but Barry's still stiffer than plywood and the droning over-narration grew tedious rather quickly. Some surprisingly good elements, just note executed well enough.

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

"New Avengers" #13.INH, "Talon" #14, "The Star Wars" #0, "Superman Unchained" #5, "T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents" #5, "Red Lanterns" #26, "Clone" #13, "Larfleeze" #6, "Michael Avon Oeming's The Victories" #8, "Justice League Dark" #26, "Manhattan Projects" #17, "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe" #9, "Executive Assistant Assassins" #17, "Green Team Teen Trillionaires" #7, "Savage Wolverine" #13, "Grindhouse Doors Open At Midnight" #4, "Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Quest" #2, "Damian Son Of Batman" #3, "Hawken Melee" #3, "Catwoman" #26, "Catalyst Comix" #7, "Batwoman" #26, "Juice Squeezers" #1, "Superior Foes Of Spider-Man" #7, "Batman The Dark Knight" #26, "Occultist" #4, "Aquaman" #26, "True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys" #6, "All-Star Western" #26, "Sinister Dexter" #2, "Forever Evil A.R.G.U.S." #3, "Guardians Of The Galaxy" #10, "Teen Titans" #26, "Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Oz" #5.

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

Aside from having its racist moment, apart from its ridiculous excuse for a plot, ignoring what passes for characterization and the two mild chuckles it produced, "Todd The Ugliest Kid On Earth" #8 failed because its central protagonist could have been replaced by a rock and very little would have been different about this comic book. That's less like storytelling and more like drunken blather.

SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?

Just one really bad book? That's not much to complain about.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

One buy, one loser, a week worth of "meh" between ... that week's a wash, which hopefully won't bode badly for the year as a whole.

THE BUSINESS

This column's writer dropped a new opinion piece on super heroes and fascism at Komplicated.

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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