Quantifying the value of a comic book is a tricky subject, particularly because someone might like their comics filled with cleavage and nothing more. Now that comics have risen in price and the page counts have dropped it has become a lot tougher to find a single issue that’s worth your hard earned money. On the other hand, there are so many options these days that a merely ‘good’ comic just doesn’t cut it. This week has a few guaranteed page turners, including Spider-Men #1, Batman #10 and some new series from Image and Dark Horse. Unfortunately, page turning and issue purchasing are two different things. Limiting ourselves to a 10 dollar budget, lets see what boils up to the top and is worth snatching up.


Conan the Barbarian #5 (Dark Horse)


If you’ve read this column over the past few months you’ll know I like Conan, sometimes too much, but it takes a special combo of writing and art to allow me to recommend an issue. Brian Wood has introduced an interesting take on Conan, making him younger, much more inclined to fall for a pretty woman, and overall green behind the ears.


Getting his own cell, Conan doesn’t have to worry about losing his bum virginity.

Lo and behold, Conan is in prison, which is a place we don’t normally see him. Typically he fights off the guards and gets away. This is a different case though, because he wanted to get captured and it was all for a woman. Here’s hoping two wrongs make a right.


Anime Conan!

Luckily the woman in question helps him out, getting him out of a hanging and into a gladiator battle. No matter what age, it seems Conan is the greatest fighter there is. I can only imagine his sitting in a cell for a night, not to mention his being beaten by the guards, has reduced his fighting prowess. Because of that it’s an understatement to say the fight in this issue is brutal.


Conan must have leveled-up his dagger throwing ability.

Unfortunately, this issue isn’t very well balanced. Wood is usually good at weaving in the poetic narration with the action to give a good understanding of Conan’s state of mind. Here the comic opens with too much blah blah and not enough action. Not much of a balance.


Action lines make everything action packed!

On top of that, was there ever any question Conan would be victorious? For a series that has brought in a lot of mysticism this is a very bland issue.

Budget: $10.00-$0.00 = $10.00


Spider-Men #1 (Marvel)


Brian Michael Bendis is a writer I think most comic book readers are a tad sick of based on the verbiage used on message boards. That said, his work with Miles Morales in Ultimate Spider-Man is genuinely good, and brings back the old days of Bendis killing it. That must mean great news for the Ultimate Spider-Man meets 616 Spider-Man team up in this issue. Right? Check out my thoughts in a lengthier review here.

Budget: $10.00-$0.00 = $10.00


Last Days of an Immortal #2 (Archaia Entertainment)


Now for something completely different. This is issue #2 and it’s imperative you read issue #1 to understand what is going on. Know that it’s very much worth your money and time. Issue #1 came out while I was on vacation a few weeks ago, but know that it would have made the budget no matter what if ComiX Weekly wasn’t on hiatus that week.

Do you like science fiction? Do you like science fiction that’s mind-bending, philosophical and adds layers to faith and identity? This original graphic novel is for you.


Cute.

Originally published in French, this series is being published in single issue format until it’s eventual release in collected form in August. The premise is simple enough to understand: it’s the future, our protagonist has lived a very long time and has other selves called “echos” he can split away from to get more work done. People can change their forms to whatever they like, but our protagonist chooses to remain the same form. He’s also a teacher and detective of sorts working international cases. This sets up interesting situations that set up interesting conversations.


I love her…to death!

In some instances it appears aliens are less inclined to function in reality than humans. This creates interesting moments which give the book moments of clarity as far as tone goes.


Dude needs a Xanax.

New ideas are introduced in this issue, like a race of alien that communicates and lives in a state of sound, the ability to communicate to the long dead by making their cells sing and the philosophical underpinnings of sexual intercourse.


Talk, talk, talk. It always ruins the mood.

For most, waiting for the collected edition is the most logical and cheapest thing to do. For me, I can’t get enough of this science fiction opus.

Budget: $10.00 – $2.99 = $7.01

Thirteen comics this week were either close to the mark or downright failures. Either way they can’t justifiably fit into a 10 dollar budget. Superheated Ultron will fire up the old hand blaster.

I love me some original comics, but The Massive #1 just doesn’t cut it. The premise is good, although maybe not completely original, and there’s too much politics for my taste. The characters fight off some pirates while we’re slowly brought up to speed about the world falling apart due to cataclysmic events. There’s not enough here to care about any of the characters, so why bother?

If you like mindless fisticuffs, you’ll enjoy AVX: VS. #3 (of 6). The fights end predictably and are yet again fluffy pointlessness; a flip-through at best. When Colossus vs. Thing ends with a one/two punch you can’t help but think, “these last few pages were pointless.”

The Sinister Six storyline over in Amazing Spider-Man #687 appears to be concluding and it’s what you might expect from a punch first, ask questions later battle. Spidey finally goes toe to toe with Doctor Octopus, Rhino gives a beatdown to Silver Sable and Mysterio helps free the minds of the Avengers. Aside from three good quips from Spidey and Mysterio, this issue is by the numbers.

Avengers #27 breaks two rules of being a hero. One, you always let the betraying hero join the fold after he makes amends. Two, always check underneath a balcony after a dude jumps off. Last issue, Noh-Varr betrayed the Avengers. Now he realizes the Kree never wanted him to protect Earth but to be there when the Phoenix showed up. After changing his mind and not giving up the Phoenix to the Kree…the Avengers get all angry and say he’s a dumb-dumb head. This from a team that has had so many betrayals from the main cast it’s not even funny.

I enjoyed the first two issues, but Alpha Girl #3 makes it clear any semblance of a story won’t be showing up anytime soon. The protagonist lives in a world of female zombies due to a new perfume. That is interesting and has been touched upon, but the real meat of this story appears to be naked zombie boobs. What was once edgy has become silly and boring.

Shawn Crystal does a bang-up job in the art department over in Deadpool #56 but the story doesn’t have enough laughs to sell it. Deadpool asks for help from Taskmaster, who proceeds to use him to steal some stuff from Shield. Typically this series does best when Deadpool is cocksure and out of his mind. Without his healing factor, so far anyway, he’s been sad and boring.

Because no one asked for it, Frenzy’s backstory is revealed in X-Men Legacy #268. The one saving grace in this issue is the first page, where we learn Cyclops and the other Phoenix-wielding heroes are ridding the world of war. I suppose that’s a good thing? Frenzy points out they aren’t destroying every single gun in Sudan, so no chance this is lasting very long. We as of yet still have no clue what the deal is with the Phoenix Five, further rendering this issue pointless.

It pains me to not recommend Night of 1,000 Wolves #2 because there’s enough werewolf action in its pages to make up for the Twilight tomfoolery of the past few years. Two things hold it back: One, there isn’t as much mystical fantasy as there was in the first issue. Two, there are too many great books that eek this one out.

Interested in the Utopia science team and don’t care about Avengers vs. X-Men? Well, X-Men #30 might be your cup of tea. Brian Wood writes, and while this issue isn’t terrible, it makes me wonder why a comic outside continuity is happening. I guess Wood (or Marvel) wanted to play around with this set of heroes. Maybe I’m monstered out, but I think we’ve had enough with the “team who fight monsters” book.

Welcome to the weird in Uncanny X-Force #26. I didn’t realize last issue’s fat Deadpool was foreshadowing fat Wolverine, but either way it’s pretty silly. Double crosses are afoot, not to mention some dude with all his skin cut off. From such a strong setup last issue to this? Surprising.

There’s a good jumping on point over in Scarlet Spider #6 but nothing to really write home about. You like your Spidey badder, angrier and cooler? This is the place.

This whole Watchmen thing is a bit much, isn’t it? Once again I’m asking myself why I care about Before Watchmen Silk Spectre #1 and once again there are no answers. I suppose the dynamic between mother and daughter is interesting. I wasn’t interested in the Silk Spectre much, or most of the heroes from Watchmen for that matter, as the philosophical undertones in the original were more my speed.

I’m sorry but I must do this. SPOILERS: In Batman #10 we find out yet another new detail of the rewriting of Batman. SPOILERS! You hear that? SPOILERS!!! Batman…has a brother. And he’s in the Court of Owls. His name is Thomas Wayne Jr, which I’m sure will be exploited as a plot point when we learn Bruce Wayne’s dad loved him more. This issue is like a Shakespearian play with lots of yammering and the only real moment of substance being the big reveal. It’s always frustrating when a big reveal is something the reader would never have guessed. Damn the New 52! Gah!


Burn them Ultron! Burn the bad ideas away!


Skullkickers #15 (Image)



Must… recommend… monster… killing… duo! Very enjoyable issue, with great montages of monster killing, and the the trans-interdimensional backstory of Baldy.


Vampire Turkey!

A lot is revealed here, but for people new to the series there’s still fun to be had. For instance, the sound effects are once again hilarious and fun.


Imagine a sex scene in this book. Yeesh.

The fantasy fun is kicked up a notch here and the last third of the book goes back to the pirate scenario. I haven’t even mentioned the witty and hilarious narration that pokes fun at the very idea of narration. A lot of fun.

Budget: $7.01- $2.99 = $4.02


Avengers Assemble #4(Marvel)



I’ve loved this new series very much. If you’re a regular ComiX Weekly reader, you’ll notice it’s made the cut a few times. This issue however is just okay. The villain’s connection to Thanos is revealed, some fighting between Avengers ensues and a big explosion occurs.


Punching Thor in the head with his own hammer—while he’s holding it!—very not cool.

Avengers being mind controlled is getting very old. It ends up becoming a gimick to extend a fight scene and nothing more. At least have it mean something!


“I didn’t eat the peanut butter, I was mind controlled!” Iron Man lied.

Really, the only reason to check out this book is due to the image below:


It was recently revealed an animated show with the same title of this book is in the works and it’s going to be within the film’s continuity. On top of that, it’s been long rumored a Guardians of the Galaxy film is in the works. Could this be even more confirmation?

Budget: $4.02- $0.00 = $4.02


Incredible Hulk #9 (Marvel)



I was getting a weird magic vibe from the last issue, and lo and behold, the magic has reared its head. Talk about a complete shift in tone though. Last issue had Hulk teaming up with Punisher to fight a dog man. This issue? He’s stuck underwater in a place built on top of the real Atlantis.


Sparkly.

Hulk’s being chased by a dude named Sharky, he faces a giant crab boat, Sirens and cave whale. That’s right, this issue is bonkers, but I loved it.


Reminds me of that movie by Disney. You know, with the pirates. Shrek 3.

You got yourself some classic comic book fun here. Writer Jason Aaron even makes it all make sense. This issue could have easily been a silly side quest, but it’s weaved into the main storyline nicely.


Atlanteans sure are resourceful.

I also can’t wait for the next issue, largely because the setting has switched so abruptly once again. Sadly though, this issue can’t make the budget, because there’s another issue with a lot more bang for your buck…

Budget: $4.02- $0.00 = $4.02


Planetoid #1 (Image)



Survivalist science fiction is a hit or miss genre, typically because the protagonist ends up facing the same old thing, whether it’s zombies or monsters. Here though, is a new breed to some extent, largely because the protagonist lands in a whole new premise: a planet of junk. Which might be alive! Underneath that junk lies mysteries, mech-monsters and a culture of humans trapped.


Now that’s a hike.

Ken Garing writes and draws this book, which was actually released a few months ago online only. Image took it upon themselves to publish the book, along with 5 more issues. Garing does a great job creating an atmosphere of gloom in a world that has certainly had better days.


With cool gadgets too!

Our hero is an ex-soldier with a jagged past which sets up the next issue nicely as it appears he’s going to meet a society that has made the planet their home. He’s going to be the anti-hero who rejects being a hero. I’m okay with that. Unfortunately his ship was sucked down to a planet that was run by tyrannical robots so he may not have any choice.


What did the snake robot ever do to you!?

The premise and planet are reminiscent of the trash compactor scene in Star Wars, only instead of a tiny room, it’s an entire planet. It works well, largely because Garing can draw the trash and robots so convincingly.


Note to self: never create insanely smart and evil A.I.

On top of that we get 32 pages of comic book for the sexy price of $2.99. More of that please, evil corporations who run comic book companies.

Budget: $4.02 – $2.99 = $1.03

Another week with 1 dollar to spare is a good week indeed. Aside from one really good comic I couldn’t recommend due to budgetary reasons there wasn’t much else out there worthy of your ten dollars. This week was filled with indie comics and new #1. Next week offers the exact opposite with some bigger releases like Justice League, Saga and Avengers vs. X-Men #6