Avengers vs. X-Men is kicking into high gear this week with issue number 2, but thankfully non Marvel fans have a bunch of books to be happy about. Scott Snyder’s Batman #8 is dishing a full confrontation with the Court of Owls, Wonder Woman has Cliff Chiang back, Jonathan Hickman’s Manhattan Projects #2 continues the alternate history insanity and the Omega Effect storyline continues in Punisher #10. Lets see if we can find the best books to fit in a 10 dollar budget.


3 Story: Secret Files of the Giant Man One-Shot (Dark Horse)


If you’re a fan of indie comics you might like 3 Story: be it the dream like quality of the writing and water colors, or the topic of a 3 story tall man and his adventures. This comic contains three short stories about the 3 story man, and also a preview of Matt Kindt’s ongoing series starting up in the coming weeks.


If you learn anything from this story it’s that being a giant person requires expensive food and medical bills.

The stories contained within are very wistful and soft spoken. Not a lot is sad, letting the watercolor artwork speak for itself. Because of that there isn’t much to these stories. He’s big, and that imposes a problem on the people that take care of him. I’m not familiar with this character or the creator, but you can read more about him here.


Love the look of the water

The reader never gets a grip on the emotions of the man. Maybe he’s supposed to be a lumbering entity to be marveled at, but I for one felt a tad slighted not knowing what was going on in his head. The sloth like nature of the man adds to the dream like quality which is a good and bad thing.


Why? Nobody knows.

This book serves as more of a preview for Matt Kindt’s next work, which is why I was surprised it cost $3.99. You do get a ton of content here with 35 pages of beautiful watercolors, but I can’t recommend buying it on a budget.

Budget: $10.00-$0.00 = $10.00


Justice League #8 (DC)


Geoff Johns continues where he left off last issue, with Colonel Trevor in front of some politician types, as he speaks for the Justice League. They want to know if they can get a member on the team they can trust. Enter Green Arrow.


Even he knows he shouldn’t be fighting along side Gods.

Instead of setting up a new story this issue gives us a montage of Green Arrow’s attempts at joining the team while they do battle. Green Arrow is cocky enough to be comedic plus the Justice League make countless ribs on his weak abilities.


Batman is going to take that?

Johns effortlessly weaves all the major stories going on in the DCU into this single issue. Maybe if you didn’t spend 7 issues explaining the origin story we could have seen the heroes fight bad guys in real time Geoff! Case in point the Court of Owls:


Thems a lot of owls.

Ultimately this book lives and dies by how likable and interesting Green Arrow comes across. The verdict? Meh. He’s pretty sad for the most part. This issue is most likely setting the reader up to beleive he’s useless… until next issue. Cue dramatic music.


You’re useless Arrow! Go home!

We do find out the Justice League’s track history with new teammates, but when that’s the most interesting thing in the book, which only takes up a 2 page spread, you have problems.


Pretty pictures.

This issue is a 31 pages long, which is a bonus, but 11 of those pages are a Shazam booster story. Is that story “free” when the book is $3.99? I’m paying for Justice League, and 20 pages at $3.99 is robbery! I’m sure you’re getting sick of me saying that, but at 20 pages this book didn’t feel like it earned your 4 bucks.

Budget: $10.00-$0.00 = $10.00


Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi #3 (Dark Horse)


I’m officially writing this review to inform you, gentle readers, that I will not be purchasing this comic again. The first issue, which I reviewed here, was actually not bad. It held within many historic details of the Jedi. The basics are this: the story takes place 30,000 years before the battle of Yavin, it seems Dark Jedis have light sabers and good ones can control animals. That’s the only real difference. Oh and the Darth Maul wannabe bad guy speaks like a person who’s mentally retarded.


What’s wrong with your face?

The second issue had very little fighting and a lot of boring new characters. You introduce new characters in issue 2? Infuriating.


And to think I thought you were a vegetarian.

This issue tries to pass off the images within as great action scenes, but conversely, the way the artist draws the figures presents them as very stiff and motionless.


Typical villain explaining their actions.

I grew to hate this comic book as each issue passed. I have a feeling the first issue was meant to sway readers and make them think they were getting bonafide insider Star Wars history. Nope. It’s just gobbledygook.

Budget: $10.00-$0.00 = $10.00

Six comics this week had a lot of potential, and might fit in a bigger budget, but ended up not making the cut. Hybrid will make mincemeat of these comics in quick succession.

Wolverine and the X-Men #9 is a good expansion on the meeting between Captain America and Wolverine that got a couple of panels of attention in Avengers vs. X-men #1. The art is fun and the stakes are raised just enough to make it a decent read. It just can’t fit into our budget.

I liked the first issue of the Manhattan Projects but Manhattan Projects #2 is very wonky in pacing. Also, do we really need another book about Nazi’s? Nothing that inspiring came out of this book, and after the last issue that’s an expectation lost.

Punisher #10 is a nice slice of apple pie. It looks pretty, it tastes sweet, but at the end of the day are you going to eat only Apple pie? It’s a nice treat, but a lot of the book is exposition on the plot…which I thought we already did in Avenging Spider-Man last week. Marco Chechetto really sings in this issue.

Venom #16 is just okay. There’s a lot of fighting. Meh.

;”>

Wonder Woman #8 introduces some kind of mysitcal golden gun that can pass through even Wonder Woman’s armor. How do I know this? Read the comic. It’s a good read and the art is as good as always. It would make the budget on a weaker week.

Another tie in story for the Avengers vs. X-men event. I blame Brian Michael Bendis for my unhappiness with Avengers #25. Walt Simonson does a great job here bringing back that classic look we all grew up with in the late 80’s and 90’s. If you want to learn Noh Varr’s place in the A vs. X event event take a peak at this issue as it sets up his story. Bendis sure loves Marvel Boy and it looks like he’s going to have an important role with the Phoenix.


My guess on this villain is he bleeds on your mainframe.


Batman #8 (DC)



How often do you fear for Batman’s life? Very seldom do you get the amount of tension this book conveys when the Court of Owls comes calling for Bruce Wayne’s life.


Ahhh they are coming!

It appears a lot of Owl bad guys are coming. Considering one Owl nearly killed him a few issues back, this is pretty big stakes. Given, in that instance he was slowly poisoned, but Scott Snyder has really built up the ability of one of these bastards. To face 100? With just an old man to cover your back? Yikes.


Oh, oh! Let me try. “Penny for your thoughts?”

I also dig the fact that these guys are just reanimated dead bodies. That means DC can get away with stabbing and killing these dudes without having to censor themselves.


Trapped…like a…bat.

Not a lot of exposition and a masterful pacing job by the art team to make everything exciting and nail biting. A very enjoyable read that shouldn’t be missed. Especially with…wait for it…


…the Iron-Bat! Eat it Avengers!

Budget: $10.00-$2.99 = $7.01


Vampirella #16 (Dynamite)



You might be asking yourself, why would he ever review Vampirella? I said the same thing. But when I took a peek I realized there’s an actual story inside rather than just an excuse to show impossibly perky undead breasts


Wow just look at those… abs. Yes, “abs.”

Obviously I’m coming in completely blind and I have to say it’s a tad tough to follow what’s going on. I guess she feasted on a demon person… and now they took over her body? Needless to say World War 2 is involved, because really when isn’t it involved?


The Vamp pull! Try it at your local gym today!

Let’s face it. The story is just okay, and people are really picking up the book for this:


Can’t beat those undead boobs.

Budget: $7.01-0.00 = $7.01


Danger Girl and the Army of Darkness #5 (Dynamite)



I know what you’re thinking, “there are 4 issues before this?!” That is correct, apparently the 90’s are trapped over at Dynamite as I don’t recall such a ludicrous tie in since… Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Oh wait…that was 2 months ago.


Groan…

The only thing I really got out of this comic was this splash page:


Pretty cool right?

Also, an eyeball stuck on your back? Really?


I think the Danger Girls only shower under waterfalls.

You obviously didn’t need me telling you this, but what a waste of money.

Budget: $7.01-0.00 = $7.01


Amazing Spider-Man #684 (Marvel)



More fun with Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos! I really love Ramos’ style; he really adds to the Spidey look with the fluid pencils. Slott is cooking up a nice story here too. It’s not going to win any awards, but it entertains.


This new Doctor Octopus is really…gross from behind. Similar to Shakira…not in a good way.

Spidey was down for the count, but lady friends Silver Sable and Black Widow are here to help him save the day. It appears the issues will be pitting Spidey against a singular villain from the Sinister Six over the next few issues, similar to a video game, but that’s okay. It allows the villain to shine in his own book. Doesn’t make a ton of sense considering this is a Sinister Six story, but what are you going to do? Sandman takes center stage here and Slott comes up with a clever way to beat him.


What is this Spider-Man 3?

It’s also neat how Slott has continued to make all of these villains have good intentions. They aren’t just being bad for this story arc, like they so often do in comics, but have real motivations.


Eat it Wonder Woman.

This issue doesn’t pack enough punch to make it on the budget though. At $3.99 it’s too rich for this budget.

Budget: $7.01-0.00 = $7.01


Avengers vs. X-Men #2 (Marvel)



If you caught our “Is It Good” column earlier today you’ll know I really liked Avengers vs. X-Men #2. You can catch the review here.

Budget: $7.01-3.99 = $3.02


Uncanny X-Force #24 (Marvel)



I want to thank Rick Remender for not continuing the Otherworld storyline forever, because I was really disliking it. Also the art was very gritty and weird. This issue continues on the greatness I grew to expect across the Archangel storylines over the last year. Plus, it opens with a super sick/hilarious Deadpool joke:


Wolverine, Deadpool and Nightcrawler are out to kill the evil Iceman from the Age of Apocalypse universe. While the action kicks everything up a notch, Psyclocke and Fantomex start to build on the relationship we all knew was there from the get go. It’s pretty clear this is something Remender wanted to do for awhile, he just needed to play around with this baby killer Fantomex storyline over in the Otherworld.


Ouch.

Whoever created this character gave him way too much power. He’s got the ice powers PLUS he’s like Madrox. Cheap.


Shut up shut up shut up!

Why this book sings though, is the emotional resonance. It’s clear the characters are feeling something in these pages. Remender is quite good at that which is why he’s become a sort of golden boy over at Marvel. I suspect he’ll be taking over next Summer’s Marvel event, because this book is writing is generally great in so many ways.


Brutal

With $3.02 left, and this book costing us $3.99 I’m asking you, dear reader, please suck it up and find 97 cents. This book is well worth it.

Budget: $3.02-3.99 = $-.97

Wow, that’s a lot of comics. I wanted to recommend a lot of the short reviews too! Talk about a good week for comics. I want to point out I couldn’t get ahold of Defenders #5. That comic will roo the day it ever tried to avoid my eyes!