The Buy Pile: Imperial Entanglements from Bemis & BOOM!

Thu, March 6th, 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 MARCH 5, 2014

Evil Empire #1
(Boom! Studios)
Jump from the Read Pile.
Wow. Writer Max Bemis introduces some all-new kinds of crazy with the backdrop of a presidential campaign and stratospheric fame. The Vertigo-era artwork of Ransom Getty and Chris Blythe fits the thematic issues perfectly for a political, topical comic book that has a twist at the end you could not see coming. Too many spoilers to discuss in too much detail, as the twists are part of the appeal, but Boom! has a big one on their hands with this.

WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?

An inexpensive and solid start.

THIS WEEK'S READ PILE

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

"Moon Knight" #1 is packed with wild Warren Ellis ideas (the style and the car are just swell), self contained, brutal and furious. It is, however also strangely procedural (like his "Fell" experiment), oddly quirky (like Spider Jerusalem's investigative method) and weirdly atmospheric (all unusual comments and scientific oddities like "Global Frequency"). Not bad, like a cover band doing greatest hits, but not quite remarkable enough just yet. Maybe it'll find its voice in a few issues.

"Starlight" #1 was an interesting take on the Flash Gordon myth, positing an American adventurer who took on an evil empire in space ... but came home to have no one believe him, and have a normal life carry on. If Ron Howard had directed this as the first twenty minutes of a movie, it would blow out box office records. In print, it lacks charm in its stereotypical characters, even though Goran Parlov and Ive Svorcina make Mark Millar's script a thoughtful, deliberate depiction. Not bad, but not ready for prime time just yet.

"Archer And Armstrong" #18 had fantastic kinetic scenes as Bloodshot came to play with all the Chow Yun Fat-ness of a finely tuned gun-fu action movie. The "shoot first, think later" guest appearance strategy for Bloodshot & his temporarily super powered colleagues makes the plot pretty similar to previously seen issues, but it's hasn't been done in such a thrilling fashion.

"Day Men" #3 had an interesting turn of events for the protagonist as his patrons find themselves in a bad space without a clue of why. The thrill of a chase was solid but the characters are all still pretty flat. This is a marginal improvement, but it's still something that would be better served from a live action treatment than being sequential art.

"Darkness: Vicious Traditions" #1 was a bloody bit of historical fiction where one of Jackie Estacado's ancestors went sword to sword against the Roman legion in the latter days of the empire. The narration was a bit heavy handed and the plot didn't strive for greatness, but in its simplicity there was some charm and a solid bit of visual storytelling. Fans of the property should find this intriguing.

"Wild Blue Yonder" #4 had some nice character work for both the main antagonist and a pivotal supporting character. However, the plot still dragged along with lots of Moore "BSG" style internal pressures, which didn't work as well, and the muted color palette still seems to drab for its own good.

"Jupiter's Legacy" #4 answers the question posed by George Michael in the late 80's: "the fallen dreams of heaven, but what the hell are you supposed to do when they come true?" The superheroes took over America and it wasn't what anybody wanted. The idea of super powered people in hiding from their own friends and family was intriguing, but the needs of the larger story to fit in coverage on all fronts sacrificed the needs of the issue. Fine for the collection but not so good for the single installment.

Re: Quantum And Woody The Goat #0: that was weird. Not "bad weird," but ... weird.

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

"Loki Agent Of Asgard" #2, "Forever Evil Arkham War" #6, "Clone" #15, "Wolverine And The X-Men" #1, "Batman Superman Annual" #1, "Avengers A.I." #10, "Trinity Of Sin The Phantom Stranger" #17, "Iron Man" #2, "Apocalypse Al" #2, "Batwing" #29, "Uncanny X-Men" #18, "Tales Of Honor" #1, "Detective Comics" #29, "Catalyst Comix" #9, "Earth 2" #21, "Magneto" #1, "Velvet" #4, "Fairest" #24, "She-Hulk" #2, "Twilight Zone" #3, "Forever Evil" #6, "Juice Squeezers" #3, "Movement "#10, "Green Arrow" #29, "Punisher" #3, "Gate-Way" #3, "Green Lantern" #29, "Burn The Orphanage Born To Lose" #3, "Captain America" #18, "God Is Dead" #8, "Nova" #14, "Action Comics" #29, "New Warriors" #2,

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

No stinkers? Cool!

SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?

The fact that nothing was terrible is a great advantage.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

That new book from Boom! shows some extreme promise, nothing went badly -- let's say this week wins!

THE BUSINESS

Last week's release of "Artifacts" #35 went pretty well, with publishers and celebrities alike coming out to celebrate the debut as well as look forward to the release of the first, free installment of the prose fantasy novella "Waso: Will To Power" on March 19th.

As well, the writer of this column appeared on KFI AM 640's Mr. Mo'Kelly Show to promote the event and Friday will be heard on the Sideshow Network's Comics On Comics podcast. Please feel free to check all of that out.

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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