The Buy Pile: Of Assassins and Scoundrels

Thu, February 27th, 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 FEBRUARY 26, 2014

Five Weapons #7
(Image Comics)
This issue slows down its pacing a little to show how the brilliant protagonist Enrique Garcia struggles when up against an intellect as finely honed as his own -- the kid he grew up with, Tyler Shainline. Moved away from the students who respected him and the girl he wants to be with, Enrique is two steps behind instead of being the smartest kid in class, and his struggle gives the character some depth. Other players get "face" time and development, through natural sounding exposition and the chessmanship seems like an uphill climb instead of one piece effortlessly slicing through opposition. Can Jimmie Robinson have made the storytelling richer, aside from writing, drawing and lettering the whole shebang (with colors by Paul Little)? Seems so. Wow.

Artifacts #35
(Image Comics)
There's no review of this book because it was written by the writer of this column, and that's a conflict of interest. Next week there will be tons of awesome pictures from the signing. Still, it got bought, so there you have it.

WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?

Inexpensive and solid start ...

THIS WEEK'S READ PILE

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

"Hacktivist" #2 is proof that this, one day, is gonna be one hell of a movie. The core relationship of two friends struggling with pressures at work and in their shared values is compelling, even though the core of how their digital manipulations work isn't clear in the narrative. Not bad, but the art doesn't "pop" enough to reinforce the character play, something that won't be an issue in live action.

It feels good and it looks good, but "Hawkeye" #15 is ultimately about Clint Barton making some very bad decisions that endanger the lives of normal people when he could have fixed the whole damned thing with a phone call. Literally anybody in his call log -- Cap, Stark, Jessica Drew, Thor -- could have done something virtually effortless and fixed it all. Instead we get Hawkeye with his pants around his ankles and his super villain brother playing (for now) on the side of the arguable angels. Frustrating because it's almost good but falls down when you look at it too hard.

"Star Trek" #30 is a treasure trove of inside jokes and eye winks for long time Trekkers as infinite possibilities and incarnations of Enterprise are up for grabs. No T'pol or Trip, but lots of other familiar faces. As a story, sure, this thing is razor thin with characterization that'd fit on a matchbook cover, but as preaching to the choir, fans will find this one a hoot.

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

"Batman Superman" #8, "Superior Spider-Man" #28, "Bloodshot And H.A.R.D. Corps H.A.R.D. Corps" #0, "Batman The Dark Knight" #28, "Deadly Class" #2, "Catwoman" #28, "X-Files Conspiracy: Transformers" #1, "Flash" #28, "Wolverine" #2, "Walking Dead" #122, "B.A.R. Maid" #3, "Forever Evil A.R.G.U.S." #5, "Uncanny Avengers" #17, "Vandroid" #1, "Justice League Dark" #28, "One Hit Wonder" #1, "Larfleeze" #8, "Doc Savage" #3, "Superman" #28, "Super Dinosaur" #22, "Superman: Lois Lane" #1, "Serenity Leaves On The Wind" #2, "Talon" #16, "Sheltered" #7, "Teen Titans" #28, "Dejah Thoris And The Green Men Of Mars" #11, "Revenge" #1, "Fracture Volume 2" #3, "Guardians Of The Galaxy" #12, "Worlds' Finest" #20, "Manhattan Projects" #18, "Cataclysm The Ultimates' Last Stand" #5, "Sex" #11, "Deadpool" #24, "Star Wars Legacy 2" #12, "Fantastic Four" #1, "Black Science" #4, "Robotech Voltron" #2, "Furious" #2, "Deceivers" #3, "Chew" #40, "Wolverine And The X-Men" #42, "Captain Midnight" #8, "Rat Queens" #5, "Pariah" #1, "Damsels" #13, "Bounce" #10, "Tomb Raider" #1, "Revolutionary War Supersoldiers" #1, "Legends Of Red Sonja" #4, "Thunderbolts" #22, "Transformers Regeneration One" #99, "Dead Body Road" #3, "Mighty Avengers" #7, "X-O Manowar" #22, "Indestructible Hulk" #19.

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

"Star Trek" Khan" #5 fixes a few huge continuity gaffes while creating a whole host of others and dumping it all on one Robocop-shaped doorstep. When being smart looks this stupid, there's not much heroic to be considered about the Federation (either megalomaniacs or dupes) and Khan's "family" are a set of literal props. Shallow, facile and tedious.

If the idea of Aquaman's high school reunion sounds dazzlingly lame, "Aquaman" #28 will fill your eyes with visions of tedium and mundanity. Find out how he treated his would-be teenaged girlfriend! What did the cool kids call him? How will he ignore an entire undersea city revealed in the first act? It's as if he was trying to live up to every joke Seanbaby ever told about him. Let's move on.

"Secret Avengers" #16 was weirdly inconclusive, with something very strange happening to Mentallo and all kinds of weirdness happening on AIM Island. The Mockingbird plot didn't so much get resolved as ignored, the AIM issue wasn't really examined in any detail ... strange, unsatisfying end to a storyline that started so strongly.

SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?

Three okay, three bad ... the whole week just washes out in "meh" at that rate.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

Any week where you get published is hard to write off, plus it wasn't very expensive, so let's say this week counts as a winner.

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 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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