Welcome to Adventures in Poor Taste’s weekly comic review. A typical week might see over 50 book releases and that’s just the big two over at DC and Marvel. This column serves as a buyers guide to those of us holding a single Hamilton and can’t afford to read every single issue.
Each week I’ll read a glut of the good and the bad and post enough reviews to reach the budget of $X, yes that’s $10.00 to those of you not Roman. I’ll also post one comic to steer clear from. Sadly a quality comic is few and far between these days, so with ten dollars a diligent reader can still get their comic on.
The week following Christmas is typically a slow one for comics. Nobody wants to release their flagship books following the wallet emptying holiday. With slim pickings lets see if we can reach our 10 dollar budget.
This cover seems to imply Doom is an evil Nazi. I guess? This cover also has nothing to do with the story.
FF #13 (Marvel)
When current Fantastic Four writer Jonathan Hickman started writing this book he filled the pages with wonder and scientific intrigue. Turning the page was a joy because you never knew what could happen. Everything he did was dynamic and interesting. Then he wrote a story involving hundreds of Reed Richards from many universes. Things started to get heavy in the plot and weak on the science and wonder. And that’s the problem with this comic, things are so weighted down by time travel, multiple Doctor Dooms and Celestial madness it’s too confusing for its own good.
Funny I was thinking the same about the writing in this comic.
When an entire issue covers getting characters from point A to B it’s a frustrating experience. The one interesting moment serves as an introduction to Franklin’s omega level powers, but it lasts a page and probably won’t have a payoff until the next issue. The art is very colorful and adds to the space/universe scenes and the Stargate-like machine in the issue looks great. Unfortunately the pacing feels like filler.
This is yet another book that might read better in the trade paperback. For a 10 dollar budget that just doesn’t cut it.
Budget $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00
Captain America and Bucky #625 (Marvel)
Ed Brubaker and James Asmus craft a fun story here that could add to the Captain America canon as some larger ramifications seem to be building. Mixing in some flashbacks from the Golden Age Invaders, this issue introduces the Captain America and Bucky fill ins when the original Cap and Bucky disappeared. Though regular guys without powers, they tried their best to let the enemy know nothing can beat the all American heroes. Old man Bucky has been attacked though, and Cap decides to team up with him to uncover why anyone would do such a thing.
This is a great jumping on point for anyone as Captain America is basically introduced and the mystery is developed. As we learn what happened to Captain America’s fill in, things are uncovered and the characters are developed really well. The art is simple but effective and gives weight to the flashbacks that make up most of the issue.
Heck we even learn Captain America’s fill in stopped a robot from taking over JFK’s body!
And people thought JFK was dashing. Just imagine him with bionic good looks!
There isn’t a ton of action in this book, but there is a lot of good writing. I for one love it when comics play with history and with the good dialogue and interesting relationship that’s being introduced between fill-in Captain America and Bucky this is a good buy.
Budget $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00-$2.99= $7.01
Yet another cover that has nothing to do with the story. Sigh.
The Dark Knight #4 (DC Comics)
The first few issues of this “New 52” comic were pretty terrible. Writer/artist David Finch was basically writing an action movie with Batman. There wasn’t much substance, and really could be read while standing in the comic shop. The first few issues saw Two-Face being injected with Venom becoming super strong and a new villain known as the White Rabbit who is an insult to women everywhere making for some terrible reading.
The White Rabbit makes an appearance and is the only stupid thing in this book.
I picked this up hoping he steered the ship into clearer waters and I think he has. This issue see’s Batman trying to find a cure for the Flash, who can’t stop running or a toxin will kill him. He’s investigating Poison Ivy but a few nice twists occur that keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Batman also ends up by books end in an interesting place that will definitely bring me back for more next month.
Also Batman and Alfred share an ice cream. That’s a twist all right.
Seriously…is that ice-cream on Batman’s fucking lips?
The story has some slightly pretentious ruminating on fear that runs throughout the book, but at times it’s written pretty well. It also gives the book a nice thread that leads to the concluding splash page. This story also touches on how many people count on Batman and the stress it must bring. David Fincher does his usual great job keeping things interesting and clear on the art front as well. As single issues go this book has everything you’d want.
Budget $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00-$2.99= $7.01-$2.99 = $4.02
Spoiler alert. He uses that chainsaw to crash a plane.
The Cape #3 of 4 (IDW)
Joe Hill is the acclaimed writer of Locke and Key, also the son of Stephen King and writer of a few horror novels, and he takes on straight up superheroes here. Okay, that’s not true, it’s not very straight up mind you, as this “hero” is morally ambiguous and seems to be offing his family for no apparent reason. Only a four issue series, this is clearly meant for trade purposes and should probably be read 1 through 4 rather than picking up issue 3.
Full disclosure I cracked this issue open with no knowledge of what was going on. The art here is very vivid and interesting and the way Hill brings in flashbacks I can’t help but like what he’s doing.
Joe Hill, a New Englander, decides to blow up the Zakum bridge in Boston. Nice.
If you haven’t started reading this book I’d advise to stay away from snapping this up. It’s just too ambiguous of a story to pick up and enjoy 100%. The writing is minimal to say the least, and seems to be focused on characters reactions to the insanity rather than the meaning. That appears to be coming next issue. Overall it’s an interesting look at a super “man” who, when given powers, doesn’t give a shit about responsibility. A pretty scary thing.
Budget $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00-$2.99= $7.01-$2.99 = $4.02-$0.0 = $4.02
The Mighty Thor #9
Matt Fraction wrote the big Summer event Fear Itself this past year and he’s following that up in The Mighty Thor. Thor it seems is dead, wandering on ships slowly being eaten by a giant beast. While he sits and waits, his brother Loki, now in child form, is trying to figure out why nobody can remember who Thor is. An imposter named Tanarus has taken his place, and even the Avengers are duped. In fact they seem to think they’ve always fought alongside Tanarus. The book doesn’t require much back story to enjoy, as it’s laden with funny bits, nice action and some interesting developments.
This is how an Asgardian God officially dies. Yikes.
This book is a nice helping of fantasy in the typically reality based Marvel universe. Marvel isn’t known for delivering fantasy in their books, and even with Thor, the book is typically closer to a Greek play than goblins and magic. Things seem to be switching a bit now though, as fantasy elements are laden throughout the pages. The art also does a nice job keeping things entertaining and fresh. Really the entire book feels fresh, and the art only contributes to that with it’s simple yet interesting look.
Asgardian eye exam.
This book feels like a comic should. It has just the right amounts of action, humor and plot development to keep the reader coming back for more. Matt Fraction has been one of my favorite writers over the years, from Invincible Iron Man to Casanova, and this book is more of the same. A good purchase.
Budget $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00-$2.99= $7.01-$2.99 = $4.02-$0.0 = $4.02-$3.99 = $0.03
Wow, our first week spending nearly 10 dollars even. Two other comics nearly made this list, those being Aquaman #4 and Flash #4, but both didn’t do enough to earn their stay on my budget. A good week, especially after Christmas.