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 buyer’s 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 for those of you who aren’t Roman. I’ll also post comics to steer clear from. Sadly a quality comic is few and far between these days, but using this column a diligent reader can still get their comic on.

Amazing Spider-Man #683 (Marvel)

Part 2 in the Ends of the Earth storyline, Spider-Man is suited up in a “Sinister Six Buster” suit, teamed up with the Avengers to stop the Sinister Six from taking over the world with their Greenhouse effect manipulation machine. You read that correctly. The Sinister Six are controlling the temperature, and offer a solution to the Greenhouse effect. If the world doesn’t comply they will crank the heat up to what temperatures will end up being in the future. Of course, with such a politically charged story to begin with, why not start this issue off at the G8 summit?

Lets play name that politician! Obama, Angela Merkel and Al Gore getting punched!

I’ll tell you, it’s an odd thing seeing real world figures being drawn into these comics. It creates a bit of a conundrum considering a year of comics actually breaks down into about three months in real world time. Writer Dan Slott does it with enough panache to sell it in this issue though.

Nice reference, Spidey!

It’s amazing Marvel has the balls to let loose two big team vs. team storylines at once (the other being Avengers vs. X-Men). This is of course a bit smaller in scale—the Sinister Six were never that much of a big league team—but it’s still interesting. How do the Avengers manage to fit all these fights into their schedules?

How many times must these guys claim the Sinister Six is a big deal?

When the political intrigue dies down the real fight begins and it’s surprisingly entertaining. This is a reminder that a big battle can take place over the course of a few pages and most likely work better than a 12 issue event.

Is it sad this reminded me of Iron Chef? Google “reigns supreme.”

Over the last year or two Doctor Octopus has received a bit of a re-write in his backstory, making him one of the most intelligent humans on the planet. His intelligence shines here, as it turns out he’s planned a way to take out each of the Avengers with stolen technology from the future, and a strategy for each fighter. Dan Slott makes it fun when you discover just how each challenger is taken out.

Thor’s hammer is a Hoover for lightning!

At the end of the day this is some good fun with some nice wit. You won’t learn a thing from it, but it’s a nice ride.

Budget: $10.00-$3.99 = $6.01

Skullkickers #13 (Image)

If you haven’t had the chance to enjoy Skullkickers by writer Jim Zubkavich and artist Edward Huang, you’re in for a real treat. This issue begins the next story arc and is a great jumping on point as the first two pages sum up the entire story so far.

A lot of humor in this book.

In a way, these creators are lucky as there really is no other competition in this field, especially since this is comedic fantasy. The title speaks for itself though and there is a ton of action to be had. This issue holds back a bit on the action and focuses more on the new dynamic of the heroes and their supplicant role on an all woman pirate ship.

A food fight with all the food related moves!

An element introduced in this series, which I haven’t seen anywhere else, is the use of sounds as direction. For instance, in this shot:

Instead of a simple shove it says “bully shove.” There are examples of this throughout the series and it gives each page a lightheartedness and humor that’s incredibly enjoyable. You can’t help but smile when a sound is replaced with a extremely specific noise that actually doesn’t exist.

Since this issue is a little light on action and more about exposition I can’t recommend it this week, but keep an eye out as this is typically a great comic every month.

Budget: $6.01-$0.00 = $6.01

Five different comics this week had a lot of potential, and might fit in a bigger budget, but ended up not making the cut. Ra’s al Ghul will most definitely not send them into the Lazarus Pit in quick succession

Daredevil #10.1 is supposedly a jumping on point for new Daredevil readers, hence the “.1”. This is a dumb gimmick. Daredevil isn’t that hard to pick up and the last story just ended. Simply introduce him in a couple panels and get the next story arc going. This issue is just okay, but it’s definitely a book to watch.

Once again I found Fatale #4 good but not great. This story is just so damn dense. It’s hard to get into in the single issue format. I wish they just released this in a trade rather than single issues. It’s hard to get into the flow when the story is this complicated and you haven’t read the first issue in months.

Whispers #2 is very long in the tooth. I enjoyed the first issue back on January 11 and…wait. We’ve had to wait nearly 2 months for this issue?! Oh well. There is so damn much talking and not any action. In movies it’s about showing and not telling. Comics are a medium between books and movies I feel, and this issue fails. Next issue looks quite interesting though with the big reveal on the last page.

Age of Apocalypse #2 has a neat underworld vibe to it that is making it a little bit more fulfilling than just another Elseworlds tale. Roberto De la Torre’s art is already gritty, but add to it slick rain and it’s down right noir. So far the story isn’t doing it for me, but once things start to open up it could be a good ride.

Hell Yeah #2 continues the weird-yet-cool science fiction tale of a teenage boy soon to become a superhero from another now. Or something. Things kind of chug along and nothing much happens. I might try the next issue to see if things change, but two bad issues in a row doesn’t typically last on my list.

Not amused.

Animal Man #8 (DC Comics)

I really wanted to like this issue, particularly because it’s so damn weird. The only thing is, mixed in with the weird is a lot of animal smashing. Evil animals, sure, but there isn’t a real villain yet. It’s just a horde of animals being kicked and smashed.

Pig pile! Literally!

The real freaky turn of events is learning Animal Man’s daughter can somehow move her soul into an animal. Then she can somehow shape shift her form back into her original form. Yuck and whoa. Makes me think she’s god some kind of evil brewing, but who knows.

Oh the beauty of youth.

For $2.99 this is a great deal and a decent read. For my tastes it could have been better. Although I got a kick out of this panel:

Coincidence that Easter is this weekend?

Budget: $6.01-$0.00 = $6.01

Swamp Thing #8 (DC Comics)

I positively loved last issue, particularly because it was so damn poetic. It’s taken awhile, but this is our first taste of Swamp Thing as an honest-to-god superhero. The look is just awesome and I can’t wait for more.

And once again, the rot is just awesome in its disgustingness. Scott Snyder is doing some great work here and I’d wager in a year or so we’ll say this is his best work. Even better than his run on Detective Comics.

Take the shot!

I’m also digging the biblical nature of the story. This book definitely sets up a doomsday you’d read about in biblical stories. It all adds an epic nature that makes you want to hold your breath as you turn the pages.

Epic is epic with super epic!

Yanick Paquette is once again just owning the pages. He doesn’t give us the symmetry across two pages that this book is known for, but that might be because there’s a full battle going on. There is no more poetry. Just war.

I know what you’re thinking. “Wait, he disliked Animal Man because it was weird but likes Swamp Thing?” You’re right, it is about as weird, but the story is bigger and it appears we’re getting the real Rot storyline here. In Animal Man it’s as if that entire book is a side story; a smaller version of this bigger story. The Rot monsters are a lot more distorted here as well. In Animal Man the beasts look like normal animals but they’re all black with scary eyes. Here the animals are distorted freaks.

The thing of nightmares.

This book is awesome and I can’t wait to rebuy it when it comes out in hardcover.

Budget: $6.01-$2.99 = $3.02

Avengers vs. X-Men #1 (Marvel)

Alternate covers!

Reviewed earlier today, I can’t help but say purchase this puppy! There’s a ton of content in these pages and it’s an enjoyable read. Not to mention the additional Infinite Comic if you pick up the digital version.

Sadly this comic is $3.99. I have only broken the $10 rule once, so cut me some slack, but I just can’t say no to my selections. At least we’re close.

Budget: $3.02-$3.99 = $-.97

Okay, so I cheated, but still a great week for comics! May I suggest laying off the brews and saving up for that 97 cents!