It looks like a slimmer week for comics, but looks can always be deceiving. One might assume the fewer comic books available the easier it would be to pick out 10 dollars worth. Lets see just how easy it is shall we?


FF #18 (Marvel)


New rule. If Nick Dragotta is drawing a comic book you must buy it. Don’t think just buy it. The guy must have been born to draw the Fantastic Four because he can do two things incredibly well. One, he can draw faces like no other. There’s enough attitude in a Johnny Storm smirk to give the entire X-Men line up a run for their money.


Case in point

Two, this is a science fiction book and Dragotta can draw some pretty amazing splash pages, but it’s in the tiny panels you see what he can really bring. A tiny 1 inch by 1 inch panel might have enough pop and wonder inducing magic to make a child grin from ear to ear.


I see the wonder. I see it well.

This issue opens with a hilarious set up; Johnny Storm is in charge of teaching the kids for the day. Easy, unless of course they bring up sex. Now Johnny is in a whole new world of trouble. Instead of explaining though, he comes up with the great idea of a field trip to the Negative Zone. Oh yeah, that’s safe.


The complexities of reproduction in a classroom of non-humans.

Jonathan Hickman can really do no wrong with this series. I’ve had reservations with his work in Fantastic Four, but FF is bar none amazing every time. Last month’s issue blew me away, and while this issue isn’t quite as good, it still serves up a nice story with a great ending. This issue even adds to Franklin Richards’ storyline. The most amazing thing about this issue and the last is a non Fantastic Four reader could pick it up and get enjoyment out of it. All for the reasonable price of $2.99.

Budget: $10.00-$2.99 = $7.01


Batman Annual #1 (DC)


Two important things to note: Scott Snyder co-writes this annual story and Mr. Freeze makes his first appearance in the New 52. Those are things to be excited about, and sure you get 38 pages of comic, but this sucker is $4.99! That’s a tad steep wouldn’t you say? A book of that price better offer up enough story, art and excitement to warrant a purchase. Does it?


Apple as symbol of innocence, child alone looking for his mother, my god Nietzsche would be proud.

Save all your pretenses about Freeze, as it’s clear Snyder is rewriting Mr. Freeze, and you know it from the first page as it shows us a tender moment between child Freeze and his mommy. Also, Freeze is a perfect conduit for Snyder to release more info about the Court of Owls considering each Owl is basically a walking brainless Mr. Freeze.




Fire breathers of the circus, meet Ice breather!

Jason Fabok does a bang up job with this book. For what this it’s worth this issue is pretty and always fun to look at.


Notice the snow globe effect. Nice touch.

The real reason you’ll want to check this book out is the new take on Mr. Freeze. I’m a bit indifferent on this twist, mostly because it makes him more of a madman than he ever was, but it still utilizes the obsession aspect we’ve grown to love.


Dig the heat-knuckles.

Overall the book is a good one. There are small character moments that make it feel like a movie and that enhances the experience. The likelihood of seeing Mr. Freeze in a Batman movie is slim, so this might be your only chance. My only reservation is the price. It’s a tad steep, and this book is a breeze to read through. The story, and backstory are so simple you’ll wonder where the time went.

Budget: $7.01-0.00 = $7.01

Nine comics this week were either close to the mark or downright failures. Either way they can’t justifiably fit into a 10 dollar budget. Madman Superman will give them what they deserve.

Iron Or the War After #1 is a very pretty painted comic book. It’s reminiscent of Maus as its story involves animals living in some sort of utalitarian world where it’s always winter. Unlike Maus, the gravity of the story is never very clear which weakens the book.

Elseworld tales are great, but when you can explain it taking place in the regular universe that’s a win win. Unfortunately Amazing Spider-Man #39: Annual is a lot of blah. Peter gets to hang out with Uncle Ben because he’s in some sort of alternate reality where he never existed. Oh yah and J. Jameson is President. Oy.

I wanted to like New Mutants #43, hell I wanted to like Exiled, but I could never get into this story. There’s some neat character work but it’s all melodramatic drivel at the end of the day. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to Hera after all of this though. I had high hopes after issue #1, read all of them, and can’t say it was the best miniseries.

Wolverine Vol. 4 #307 is neat monster madness, and I narrowly chose it last month, but do we really need another Wolverine being controlled story? This guy must have been mind controlled more often than I Dream of Jeannie’s hubby.

I was told Ultimate Comics Ultimates #11 is a great jumping on point. Sure, it’s a great issue to jump onto because things are transitioning, but how the heck did Mr. Fantastic become so evil? Back issues for me…except the story seems too convoluted. Jonathan Hickman is the only reason I might pick up issue #12.

Rocketeer Adventures 2 #3 (of 4) is exciting stuff for anyone in love with LA of the early 1900’s, oh yeah, and the Rocketeer. It’s compiled of 3 short stories and an additional gorgeous pinup by Eric Powell. Meh.

America’s Got Powers #2 (of 6) is not my thing. I can’t imagine this being interesting to anyone over the age of 15. The story is slogs and it has Clichés up the wazoo. Bryan Hitch has done cleaner work than this as well. This book feels cramped.

I wanted to suggest purchasing Animal Man (2011-): Annual #1 but at $4.99 and really just an elseworlds story it can’t fit in this budget. You want a story about avatars of the green and rot fighting in the old West? Sign up for this one.

This is one of those series that promises so much in the first two issues, but makes you feel dirty for the rest. Grimm Fairy Tales: Alice in Wonderland #6 is a let down. Alice battles the Jabberwocky and an interesting take on Alice and her ancestors is brought in, but it’s yawn inducing. A finale that doesn’t meet the quality of the first issue.


Superheroes seemed to go crazy once a month back in the Golden Age.


Grim Leaper #1 (Image)



Image comics sure does want to introduce you to some new friends. Nearly every week there’s a new #1 of an original series to take a peek into. I for one love something entirely different, so count me in as a sucker for this model of producing new comics. That doesn’t mean every book is good though. Luckily Wiebe crafts a fun tale. To read a lengthy review click here.

Budget: $7.01-$2.99 = $4.02


Incredible Hulk #8 (Marvel)



Hulk hasn’t been very good since Peter David wrote him back in the 90’s. Sure Greg Pak did some neat things with Hulk, but he’s been a pretty stale character overall for quite awhile. Enter Jason Aaron, the man who’s really made a name for himself with Scalped, with an astounding real world narrative.


Two narrators for the man with the split personality!

There’s only one problem. Steve Dillon. Love him or hate him, everyone must admit his style is simple. I didn’t like him on Wolverine, and I was hesitant to like him here. But, it works. When was the last time you saw Hulk with a normal shape with the normal amount of muscles? He actually looks more natural in this size, which helps the smaller detective story feel more realistic. You can’t have Hulk teaming up with Punisher and doing detective work if he’s as big as a house.


If he’s asking to get shot why would he be mad about it?

Something I’ve always enjoyed is the fact that Hulk is allowed to fight wacky but always weird monster men. Here he fights some sort of dog man. Hey, it’s a comic, get over it.


All heroin guns come witih a free hallucination of babies crawling on ceilings!

Punisher is barely in this issue and is mostly standing around and direcing Hulk. At one point the Hulk tells Punisher he can be his tank. Just direct him. That’s cool, but that reduces the story to heroes running around aimlessly. The groundwork here is exceptional though and I’m very interested in the next issue.

Budget: $4.02- $0.00 = $4.02


Wolverine and the X-Men #11 (Marvel)



If you’ve been following Avengers vs. X-Men you’ll want to know this issue takes place somewhere in the middle of issue #4. That means you’ll already know where everyone ends up, but you may not necessarily know their allegiances.


How many Blackbirds do you suppose the X-Men have?

If you want to know why Wolverine changed his mind about killing Hope this is the issue for you. The students at the Jean Gray Academy are also nicely outlined and their reasons to battle are within as well.


Since when can you steal Wolverine’s claws?

The issue is just okay, and has more of an affect on kid-Gladiator than any single Avenger or X-Man. A pretty easy issue to skip.

Budget: $4.02- $0.00 = $4.02


X-Men Legacy 267 (Marvel)



Rogue versus the Avengers. Part 2. It’s part 2 because Rogue reminds us at least 3 times she beat them before. It must be an important plot point and she’ll more than likely be a game changer in the coming issues.


Hey Gambit. Why you gotta be so flippity floppity?

This is a great time to be a Marvel fan if you love fights. This issue particularly has some great panels and it’s all done very well by Rafa Sandoval.


Robot Iron Men are no different than Sentinals!

It’s pretty clear Rogue is formidable, mostly because she can hold so many damn powers down now. I take it she’s on a much higher level than she ever was. Reminds me of the days of Mike Carey making her hold a million minds at once.


This is what happens after Rogue touches Moon Knight.

This is a good issue, but it can’t compete against the final pick.

Budget: $4.02- $0.00 = $4.02


X-Men Vol 3 #29 (Marvel)



The story so far is a simple one. Pixie led some Skrulls who were hiding out from the invasion into the FF headquarters and now they’ve got hold of a ship. They want to lay waste to NYC to make their homeworld proud. Oh yeah, and there’s some robots too.


Warpath versus robots. Hm.

The book is balanced really well, with Spidey and Pixie teaming up with some nice banter, the FF and a few X-Men fighting off robots galore and some good Skrull bastards to boot.


Oh. I see.

This issue is a joy to read because it perfectly exemplifies the newbie hero coming to grips with leading and succeeding. Pixie has some great internal monologues here breaking down how awesome it is to fight with Spider-Man, some things she learned from Cyclops and the rules of teleporting.


Stupid dumb dumb chins!

Pixie might not be doing a lot of fighting, but she’s leading and that’s the point. The villains are clear, the pace is spot on and the art is dramatic as all hell.


What is this the Avengers movie?!

A lot of folks will have a problem with this issue because it isn’t happening in the same timeline as Avengers vs. X-Men but it’s a nice adventure and a good heroes journey.

Budget: $4.02- $3.99 = $0.03

A pretty slim week for comics if I do say so myself. I’d recommend picking up Batman Death By Design as well, but that’s another 14 bucks. Next week sees Avengers vs. X-Men #5 hit the shelves, as well as Dial H #2, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, and…oh yeah, a little book called Before Watchmen Minutemen #1. Watchmen…hm, is that a big deal?