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 JUNE 4, 2014
Five Weapons #9
This comic is so good, everybody. The often clever Enrique Garcia is up against the wall as even his best friends doubt him. The struggle with the disgraced Tyler Shainline, the poisoning of the school nurse, all of it comes to a head with an ending that even the characters here can barely believe. To say too much about any one element would spoil the wonderful surprises but this comic is fantastically plotted, well characterized, beautifully drawn, all by one man -- Jimmie Robinson. Outstanding work.
Loki Agent Of Asgard #5
Another spectacular issue as this tale of two tricksters comes to a riveting, fascinating conclusion. Distracting Asgard's all-seeing sentinel, enacting ruse upon ruse within ruse, this is another wickedly crafty issue that cannot be too closely analyzed without revealing the delicious surprises within. However, Thor has a powerful impact on the story, the dangerous Lorelei delivers with magic and a kind of Catherine Zeta-Jones panache. Wonderful, sneaky, sly writing by Al Ewing while Lee Garbett and Nolan Woodard threw down on the artwork.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes.
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
"Darkness: Close Your Eyes" was a creepy, self contained handbook entry about a Darkness bearer at the turn of the century, where people lived hard and died the same way. Alcoholism, domestic abuse, environmental abuse, mayhem ... all drawn in moody, dark hued detail. If you like horror or the property, you'll be on board for this. Otherwise, it's a passing diversion.
"Princess Ugg" #1 is a solid if slow moving debut for an interesting new character, a warrior princess from a remote mountain kingdom that comes to the civilized world to learn how the "lowlanders" do things. There's a charm in Ted Naifeh's artwork, but the heavy handed accent of the mountain kingdom's inhabitants is off putting and every supporting character is a little on the unidimensional side. An interesting start, let's see where it's going.
"Dream Police" #2 was very close to making the mark, explaining its world while developing a murder case. A supernatural procedural with deadpan delivery and rock solid pacing, only its wooden, cliched characterization held this back from making the jump.
With great humor reminiscent of "Hero Squared," "Quantum and Woody" #11 had fantastic character interaction but wasn't much of a story. The emotional center was very good with Woody making a terrible mistake, but aside from goofy gags, the issue kind of just tread water. Engaging, but not moving forward.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
"Avengers World" #7, "Witchblade" #175, "Amazing X-Men Annual" #1, "Angel And Faith Season 10" #3, "Magneto" #5, "Clone" #17, "Amazing X-Men" #8, "Ghost" #4, "Superannuated Man" #1, "All-New X-Factor" #9, "Battlestar Galactica" #12, "Trinity Of Sin The Phantom Stranger" #20, "Original Sin #3, "Rai" #2, "Iron Fist The Living Weapon" #3, "Judge Dredd: Mega-City Two" #5, "New 52 Futures End" #5, "Rise Of The Magi" #1, "Superior Foes Of Spider-Man" #12, "Big Trouble In Little China" #1, "Justice League 3000" #7, "Cyclops" #2, "One-Hit Wonder" #3, "New Warriors" #5, "Maxx Maxximized" #8, "Green Lantern" #32, "Punisher" #6, "Nailbiter" #2, "Battlestar Galactica" #12, "Green Arrow" #32, "Madame Frankenstein" #2, "Earth 2" #24, "Captain America" #21, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" #34, "Great Pacific" #15, "Batwing" #32, "Revelations" #6, "Five Ghosts" #12, "Batman Eternal" #9, "G.I. JOE A Real American Hero" #203, "Aquaman And The Others" #3, "Burn The Orphanage Reign Of Terror" #2, "Painkiller Jane The 22 Brides" #1, "Action Comics" #32, "Black Widow" #7.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
"Iron Man" #27 was a perfectly "meh" comic until it tossed in a "women in fridge" trope that was needless and beneath it. Some cute sci-fi ideas but fairly plain jane execution.
"Moon Knight #4" is a tease, with a conclusion that ends with its climactic moment, a dramatic let down that does nothing to resolve its conflict nor fulfill its sparse and ambitious narrative. This would have been an eight-page story back in the Julius Schwartz days and expanded this way is enjoyable, like the first part of a good date, but a let down like the moment their door closes on you while you're still standing on their stoop.
Re: "Miles Morales The Ultimate Spider-Man #2" -- exactly one thing happens in this issue, and the rest of the issue talks about it at great length. That thing? Makes zero sense, has no context and is in no way explained. So this issue, despite being amazingly draw by David Marquez and Justin Ponsor, is not even one act of a three act narrative. Wildly disappointing if we're calling this "storytelling.”
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
... what the hell, Marvel?
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Three stinkers sandbagged even two solid purchases to make this week a loser.
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. There’s also a bunch of great stuff available from this writer on Amazon. 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!