The Buy Pile: Death, Delinquents and the Devil's Road Trip

Thu, July 3rd, 2014 at 10:28am PDT | Updated: July 3rd, 2014 at 11:20am

Comic Books
Hannibal Tabu, Columnist

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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 11, 2014

East Of West #13
(Image Comics)
This action packed issue pulled no punches (literally) as the Horseman of Death squared off with bullets and fisticuffs over long and short distances while the drums of war began to sound around them. Nice plot developments (it helps if you've been reading for a while, neophytes will be rushing to Wikipedia) and the always riveting artwork of Nick Dragotta and Frank Martin (you will likely gasp at some of the moments here) bring Jonathan Hickman's erudite plotting and evocative dialogue to life. Solid work from a proven creative team.

Quantum And Woody #12
(Valiant Entertainment)
Jump from the Read Pile.
Fun, fun stuff as this issue closes down a number of plot elements (in a fairly satisfying way), establishes a workable status quo and has no fewer than three genuine character moments worth noting. Thomas Edison is made out to be the literal monster Nikola Tesla always noted him to be, there's the best flashback exposition sequence in recent memory aping the Archie Comics style and the goat gets some great scenes. Brilliantly plotted, hilariously scripted by James Asmus, drawn deftly by Wilfredo Torres, Erica Henderson, Joseph Cooper and Allen Passalaqua, this is solidly entertaining and deliciously funny.

Daredevil #0.1
(Marvel Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile.
This is a simply engaging Daredevil story. Using all the hubris and bravado of the character, combined with his elegance and improvisational mastery, a simple layover in Milwaukee becomes a huge kerfluffle with action scenes you have to see to believe ("Then what do you call a stunt like that?" "Tuesday") and Matt Murdock punching way above his weight class and pulling it off. The villain here is a bit of a reveal, but suffice it to say that this issue perfectly develops character, balances the action and does it all deftly, with the certain hands of Mark Waid scripting. Toss in literally pitch perfect artwork by Peter Krause and John Kalisz and you have an unmistakably entertaining comic book on your hands.

WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?

Two jumps, gotta love that as a start.

THIS WEEK'S READ PILE

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

"Southern Bastards" #3 was very, very close to making the jump as it showed a (relatively) good man taking a stand against what seem like impossible odds. However, his opposite number is a virtual cipher, indifferent and uninvolved, the henchmen aligned against the protagonist fit the milieu but don't engage the reader here and the plot holds no surprises, despite one very good phone call. Still interesting, but like part of a novel that you may not completely recall later.

"Legendary Star-Lord" #1 was, in its way, adorable -- you can almost hear Chris Pratt's voice in the lead's dialogue. The plot has a nice twist and the "disaffected orphan doofus gone good" bit plays with less schmaltz than they use in "Nova," but it's still just cute, with no more depth than "The Last Starfighter" and less of an impact.

"Big Trouble In Little China" #2 had some funny lines with Jack Burton displaying all the smarmy, sexist charm and machismo that has carried this character through the decades. The supporting cast, however, is undistinguished and the plot is predictable. A good character in search of a better project.

"100th Anniversary Special #1 Fantastic Four" was almost pretty good, with a clever plot that moved along briskly and had some pretty clever elements to it. The moments between Valeria and Sue were very nicely done, but most other characters got short shrift -- Victor and Reed working together was de rigueur in a way that gave both genii ... geniuses ... really smart guys less to work with. The budding romance between a sorcerer and ... let's say Hulk's grandson, that also was brushed past when it had some very interesting elements. Add in a cliche antagonist and you have elements that could have flown but hovered instead.

"Lazarus" #9 had some very solid moments, resolving two parallel storylines at once, but didn't connect emotionally at a crucial plot point. The lift candidates faced the arduous selection process to stop being "waste" and becoming feudal vassals of the Carlyle family while a desperate man with a plan makes his move. Solid character work, solid artwork, just missing that "oomph" that would have you talking about this issue with your friends tomorrow.

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" #12, "Deadpool Vs X-Force" #1, "Field" #3, "All-New X-Factor" #10, "Batman Eternal" #13, "Star Mage" #4, "Batwing" #33, "Morning Glories" #39, "Earth 2" #25, "Robocop" #1, "Punisher" #8, "Fairest" #27, "Protectors Inc" #7, "Guardians Of The Galaxy Galaxy's Most Wanted" #1, "Green Arrow" #33, "Thor God Of Thunder" #24, "Suicide Risk" #15, "Miles Morales The Ultimate Spider-Man" #3, "Green Lantern" #33, "Witchblade" #176, "Justice League 3000" #8, "Black Bat" #12, "New 52 Futures End" #9, "Elephantmen" #58, "Iron Fist The Living Weapon" #4, "Superman Unchained" #7, "Original Sin" #5, "Angel And Faith Season 10" #4, "Trinity Of Sin The Phantom Stranger" #21, "Black Widow" #8, "Indestructible" #7, "Hack Slash: Son of Samhain" #1, "Sidekick" #7, "Action Comics" #33, "Captain America" #22.

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

"White Suits" #4 was more an outline than a story, not bothering with details like characterization or complex motives in dancing around stylized artwork and effortless, meaningless violence. Fatuous and overblown, it was a pitch meeting disguised as a comic book.

"Rocket Raccoon" #1 was pushing along as a cutesy bit of "meh" before its simply tedious and wholly uninteresting ending, the narrative conceit which drives the whole storyline. That's terrible. Do better.

SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?

Ah, not that bad.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

A big pile of win with two jumps easily trouncing two comics that weren't all that bad. Hoo hah!

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. 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!

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