The Buy Pile: Presidents, Spies, Watchers & Complex Kids

Thu, April 24th, 2014 at 11:28am PDT

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 APRIL 23, 2014

24 #1
(IDW Publishing)
Jump from the Read Pile.
If you are a fan of the long-running Fox series, this issue will give you all the old feelings you used to enjoy -- Jack getting dragged into something he can't avoid. This time, deep in the Ukraine, Jack's heart drags him back into trouble with the Russian mafia and family ties. The script from Ed Brisson is perfectly in tone with the show and a solid action piece by itself, and while Josh Burcham's coloring may be a little muddier than it should be, Michael Gaydos does a great job on the artwork. Gripping, fun and solid.

Original Sin #0
(Marvel Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile.
Under the cover of the newest Nova's naiveté, one of the best Watcher stories yet emerges as the unknowable becomes known and it's kind of perfect. Big science fiction, big concepts and what not as Sam Alexander gets a compliment from the Avengers, beats up a giant robot and generally nails the "teen hero" patter. A surprisingly effective script by the legendary Mark Waid (really, there's one sentence that completely gets it right) with art by a host of people (Jim Cheung, Paco Medina, Mark Morales, Guillermo Ortego, Dave Meikis, Joan Vlasco and Justin Ponsor) delivering some fantastic artwork. Really, really great work.

Bunker #3
(Oni Press)
Jump from the Read Pile.
This is really crafty stuff. Joshua Hale Fialkov has written a very, very subtle and introspective work as two childhood friends make a discovery about each other that's a shocker. The artwork of Joe Infurniani is dynamic and cinematic in execution, well balanced and inviting. The key secret here is a science fiction element laid on top of a very well executed friendship drama, and that combination is rather effective. Really, really great stuff here that sneaks up on you in a major way.

Evil Empire #2
(Boom! Studios)
Jump from the Read Pile.
Wow. With most the cynicism of "Transmetropolitan" and some of the musical atmosphere of "Love Monkey," this very deft issue showcases the polarization in western politics framed in terms of murder and anarchy, leaving its chanteuse protagonist walking a philosophical tightrope as her words and ideas are claimed by the left and the right as real people bleed and die on every side of the coin. Max Bemis' script is wickedly clever and the artwork of Ransom Getty, Ryan Winn and Chris Blythe is both subversive and skillful. One more issue like this and this series will be a "buy on sight" title.

WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?

Four good surprises, and picking up that "Herobear" for a four year old? How often does that happen? Plus "Thaniel" #2 came out, which can't be fully reviewed due to a conflict of interest but is still hella awesome? Awesome start!

THIS WEEK'S READ PILE

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

Optimus Prime is so far out of his depth in "Transformers Robots In Disguise" #28 that it wouldn't help if he could change into a submarine. This issue serves as a perfect means of setting the scene post "Dark Cybertron," establishing a new status quo for everybody's favorite mechanoids. The Decepticons are under new management. The Autobots are rudderless and the ones on their homeworld live under the elected rule of Starscream. Prime leads a covert team to earth on a recon mission. Thundercracker has a dog and is writing a screenplay ... badly. None of this works out for the truck-themed robot and while there are some intriguing moments, the finale plays from the latter day Simon Furman handbook and the Autobots don't seem so smart for the side that won the war. Not bad, but not the masterwork we saw before the crossover.

"Lazarus" #8 had three great character moments, two of which were flashbacks and all of which develop daddy issues, but the procedural plot dragged and the "Defiance"-styled wagon train moments were good but not great. The pacing and balance are a little off in the plotting but the art remains top notch and the ideas are crystal clear.

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

"Zero" #7, "Daredevil" #2, "Batman Eternal" #3, "Star Wars Legacy 2" #14, "Elektra" #1, "Batman Superman" #9, "Five Ghosts" #11, "Harbinger" #22, "Fantastic Four" #3, "Larfleeze" #10, "Robotech Voltron" #3, "Guardians Of The Galaxy" #14, "Thief Of Thieves" #20, "Justice League Dark" #30, "Fracture Volume 2" #4, "Fuse" #3, "Catwoman" #30, "Letter 44" #6, "Avengers Undercover" #3, "7th Sword" #1, "Aquaman" #30, "Skullkickers" #26, "Red Lanterns" #30, "Midas Flesh" #5, "Fathom Kiani Volume 3" #2, "Star Trek" #32, "Powers Bureau" #9, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10" #2, "Flash" #30, "Uncanny Avengers" #19, "G.I. JOE A Real American Hero" #201, "Thief Of Thieves" #20, "Jack Hammer" #3, "All-Star Western" #30, "Conan The Avenger" #1, "Danger Girl May Day" #1, "Superior Spider-Man Team-Up" #12, "Walking Dead" #126, "Tomb Raider" #3, "Protectors Inc" #6, "City The Mind In The Machine" #3, "Manhattan Projects" #20, "Teen Titans" #30, "All-New Invaders" #4, "Eternal Warrior" #8, "Superman" #30.

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

Do you hate comics fans? Really, deep down, think they're a band of inbred halfwits? Well, "The Eltingville Club" #1 is for you. A non-stop hate letter to the people who support the direct market, it posits a group of pasty fanboys who can't get past their own piddling arguments to actually enjoy anything. Imagine the original end of "Wanted" drawn out in a comics shop. Illustrated well, but without a single engaging element in character or plot.

SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?

Not a lot to remember, so ... uh, yay?

WINNERS AND LOSERS

Four jumps off the bat makes the week a winner, so there's no stopping it now! Great week to love comics!

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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