WHAT IS THE BUY PILE?
Every week Hannibal Tabu (winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt/blogger/novelist/poet/jackass on Twitter/head honcho of Komplicated) grabs a whole lotta comics. These periodicals are quickly sorted (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 MAY 7, 2014
Loki Agent Of Asgard #4
This is really, really good. The tale of two tricksters starts to weave together as Sigurd, the greatest hero in Asgard's long history, has turned into a scoundrel from the Lothario school and he wants his sword back. What he doesn't know could pack several volumes of encyclopedia (which people read once upon a time) and that lack of knowledge makes a story that's simply delightful. As well, Verity Wells -- the "human lie detector" -- is a character with sass and humor cut from the same cloth as Layla Miller or Dawn Greenwood and the timing she shows is fantastic. Al Ewing's script is so clever, so well-crafted, that it's simply a wonder. For example? The greatest hero in all of Norse myth is a Black guy with dreadlocks and nobody even mentions it, as if it's wholly normal. The fantastic elements are overlaid with whimsy and slyness, all wonderfully depicted by Lee Garbett and Nolan Woodard. This is one hell of a comic book that drives you forward but leaves you satisfied.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
"Astro City" was sold out, which is a pain, but otherwise a solid week.
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
"Cyclops" #1 is surprisingly sweet as it takes the sixteen-year-old Scott Summers and gives him something he never had: a chance to have some formative time with his father, Christopher Summers. In space. With the Starjammers. The elder Summers' romance with "an alien cat-skunk-person-thing" makes him uncomfortable both because of its oddity and the fact no teenager likes to see their parent making out with somebody. Greg Rucka's script balances awkwardness with adventure in an issue that, for fans of Cyclops, will be manna from heaven. A great gift for the deeply involved.
Much like this week's "Cyclops" book, "Red Sonja" #9 tugs at the heart strings with themes of "what could have been." The titular Hyrkanian hellcat finds a lot more in common with "the princess of pillowing" than she expected as both struggle against oppression in their own ways, using the weapons at their disposal. This was extraordinarily close to the mark and had the first half not sagged so much, this would have been a winner.
"Aphrodite IX" #10 had some very interesting plot elements which explained why Aphrodite exists at all and looks at some of the other things made at the same time. However, with brushing past the really interesting bits (Ares, Mother) and coming back to the far less interesting Burch, the focus and momentum stumbled. Not bad at all, bit perhaps a little too slow for its own good.
"Black Widow" #6 was a perfectly solid action adventure story where the titular character was in deep and found her way out of it. The conclusion was disturbingly frustrating and the antagonists were cardboard and uninspired, but the bones of a good story were there, done by skillful craftsmen who simply didn't fire on all cylinders in this singular instance.
"Illegitimates #5" had a couple of good plot twists as it moved some action sequences along. However, the characters kind of just moved from one mark to the next and the first two thirds of the book just kind of plodded along. It might play better in another medium, where individual performances can win the audience over.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
"Turok Dinosaur Hunter" #4, "Deadpool Vs Carnage" #3, "Apocalypse Al" #4, "Iron Fist The Living Weapon" #2, "Terminator Salvation The Final Battle" #6, "Burn The Orphanage Reign Of Terror" #1, "Magneto" #3, "Black Dynamite" #2, "Clone" #16, "Revelations" #5, "Amazing Spider-Man" #1.1, "Cyber Force" #9, "All-New X-Factor" #7, "Bad Blood" #5, "Punisher" #5, "Trinity Of Sin The Phantom Stranger" #19, "Madame Frankenstein" #1, "Teen Titans Annual" #3, "Suicide Risk" #13, "Swamp Thing" #31, "Nailbiter" #1, "Original Sin" #1, "New 52 Future's End" #1, "Lone Ranger" #24, "Movement" #12, "Alex + Ada" #6, "New Warriors" #4, "Justice League 3000" #6, "She-Hulk" #4, "Angel And Faith Season 10" #2, "Green Lantern" #31, "Satellite Sam" #8, "Green Arrow" #31, "Chaos" #1, "Fairest" #26, "God Is Dead" #12, "Earth 2" #23, "Woods" #1, "Detective Comics" #31, "Sinister Dexter" #6, "Batwing" #31, "Black Bat" #10, "Batman Superman" #10, "Jinnrise" #10, "Batman Eternal" #5, "Moon Knight" #3.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
After being long winded and plodding, "Miles Morales The Ultimate Spider-Man" #1 pulled a very cheap, very manipulative last page reveal that's highly unlikely to be anything other than a red herring. The art work is top notch (thanks to David Marquez and Justin Ponsor) but the script is way too saccharine and far too slow for its own good.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Only one bad comic? That's not such a bad result ...
WINNERS AND LOSERS
One good, one bad, lots of forgettable stuff in between ... that sounds like the whole week's pretty much a wash.
The writer of this column will be moderating three panels at Eagle-Con 2014 -- a discussion of Afro-futurism in comics and literature with Dr. DeWitt Kilgore and two "who'd win" style battles called Versus, all at Cal State Los Angeles.
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 guarantee 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!