Image comics has got to be proud of the lineup they’re serving at comic shops this week, as there are some giant issues like The Walking Dead #100, Planetoid #2 and more. Let’s see if any other publishers can knock them off their roost. You know the name of the game. Ten dollars worth of comics to be purchased, no more, no less.

Enormous (Image)

Why on Earth would I review a comic that’s ten bucks for a column that can only spend 10 bucks a week? I’ll tell you why, awesome pictures, a recommendation to purchase with the caveat that you’ll need 10 more bucks.

Grandma no!

Monsters have invaded the earth and roam the streets. We get some nice flashbacks and a decent story, but really this is a feast for the eyes. The monsters are beautifully drawn and some are even reminiscent of the monsters seen in Godzilla. Meddhi Cheggour does some great work here and it appears he’s touched his pencils up with computer graphics. There’s always a cool lighting effect or motion blur to spruce up the imagery.

Home free!

Much of this work has a Jurrassic Park feel, with monsters on the prairie and even a scene taking place on a muddy, rain-soaked road inside a Jeep.

Queue Jurrassic Park music.

I’ve been looking forward to this book for quite a while and it does not disappoint. I was a little wary it would be all imagery and no story, especially considering they are selling giant-sized versions, but there are some compelling science fiction twists in the third act that really entertain.

For ten dollars, readers get 64 pages of sweet action, amazing art and a very good story of a world torn apart by monsters. A recommended purchase on a larger budget. Check this book out!

Budget: $10.00-$0.00 = $10.00

Scarlet Spider #7 (Marvel Comics)

I’ve been desperately hoping this series would get less convoluted and bring back the entertaining elements I’ve been missing for a few issues now. Finally, it’s here. This issue delivers humor, action and introduces a new enemy who makes sense in the Houston area.

If you’re not familiar with this series it’s simple enough to jump into, especially with this issue. The main character is Scarlet Spider, aka Kaine, aka Spider-Man’s clone. He doesn’t have a Spider-sense, but he does have an invisibility suit, can speak to spiders and possesses the rest of Spidey’s powers. The only real difference then is his conscience, willing to do bad things and break arms to be the hero.

You don’t see Spider-Man do THAT everyday.

The issue delivers an interesting new villain who works for Roxxon, an oil company that drills all over the world…even on Mars. It balances this out perfectly with action and some surprises. On top of that there’s a twist at the end of this issue introduces some interesting Houston-based heroes which should be fun to read next issue.

Do the punchy punchy!

Who doesn’t want to read about an alternate take on Spider-Man in a whole new environment with an interesting cast of characters? A fun and enjoyable read.

Budget: $10.00 – $2.99 = $7.01

The Walking Dead #100 (Image)

It’s a rare thing when The Walking Dead delivers a successful single issue. For the most part a single issue develops on an idea that was introduced two issues back and then ends on a cliffhanger. This issue sort of does that, but it’s so well paced and brings on the disturbing imagery so well you’ll be praising it for those alone. With that said, it’s good for the emotion it elicits, but still there isn’t a ton of story here. Check out a longer review here.

Budget: $7.01-$0.00 = $7.01

Seventeen comics this week were either close to the mark or downright failures. Either way they can’t justifiably fit into a ten dollar budget. Ghost Rider will seek and consume their souls!

Finally, a decent event tie-in book with an actual story. Wolverine and the X-Men #13 is focused on Warbird and her upbringing as a Shi’Ar alien. Jason Aaron goes into the nitty gritty of having no parents and growing up to be a trained killer. Sure, we’ve seen this story before but it’s enjoyable nonetheless. It doesn’t make the cut for a variety of reasons, but worth checking out on the stand.

Adventure Time: Marceline Scream Queens #1 is a fun ride delving into Marceline’s band going on tour. If you’re a fan of Scott Pilgrim you’ll love this issue. Meredith Gran does a spectacular job drawing the music. There’s also some choice humor here and there, but overall it’s a decent setup with not a lot to dig on a budget.

If you’re a fan of the Zakim Bridge in Boston, you might want to pick up Avenging Spider-Man #9. Teaming up with Ms. Marvel for a nice plane ride, Spidey quickly learns Boston is just as dangerous as New York. The story is pretty simple, almost too simple, but there’s a semi-funny would-be super heroine who’s bonkers throughout. The Zoltan Bridge gets lots of attention too and since this is to be continued more is on the way. A middle of the road read, with great art.

If you’re a fan of the Guardians of the Galaxy you’re going to want to read Avengers Assemble #5. They get a whopping eight pages out of this 20 page comic. Methinks Bendis is setting them up for something bigger. Aside from these fun eight pages (where the Guardians blast people right in the face who are unarmed!) the rest of the book contains the Avengers chit-chatting and formulating plans on how to beat Thanos. A bit of a snore if I ever saw one. I do like me some subtitled alien speak however; adds a layer that’s enjoyable. Next issue should be great now that things are set up.

Don’t let this gorgeous art fool you, Spider-Men #3 is a bit of a dud. You get a couple sweet looking pages of 616 Spidey fighting some Mysterio illusions with Miles, then 616 Spidey goes on a hunt to figure out what’s up in this world. Essentially Peter gets to chill with some people that have died in the 616. They just did this story in a Spider-Man Annual last month, when Peter got to chill with Uncle Ben. Is this really necessary?

I was never a big fan of The Crow #1 and this new series doesn’t wet my whistle either. The Crow #1 takes place in Japan and follows the usual Crow formula of love lost and death. The art suits the dark story, but even with some out of body spiriting going on this concept isn’t very interesting.

Is it possible to have too much action in a Conan comic book? I suppose it is judging by Conan the Barbarian #6. The entire book is nearly all action with heads and limbs being cut off on nearly every page. Brian Wood writes some nice romantic lines about battle here and there, but this is a good example of a book that needs a better balance of action and story. This series has been great so far, but this issue can’t make our budget.

New Avengers #28 is a delectably fun one-and-done type of issue that fits rather well into the Avengers vs. X-Men event. Spider Woman, Hawkeye and Cage are imprisoned and find ways to break out. A nice flip through read if I do say so myself.

You wouldn’t expect it to be halfway decent, but Battle Beasts #1 ain’t half bad. It effectively brings the animals/aliens to Earth, sets up an interesting with a Zooey Deschanel lookalike as the protagonist and the art is paced well with some great action. Aside from nostalgia the book doesn’t offer much beyond the intro though so we shall see if the story kicks up a notch next month.

Probably the best line in the book: “Dark Avengers…Dark Assemble” as the zany time travel story continues. Dark Avengers #177 is entertaining enough, but I’m starting to wonder if any of it is worth it. A new country is invented that is a shoe in for Wakanda or Latvaria…so either way it won’t matter by story’s end what happens. I’m dying to see Cage lead a team of villains along with Skaar by his side…and I’m still waiting.

It’s not looking good for Fantomex in Uncanny X-Force #27 but hey, his demise is our gain as we learn he was the spine to the team. A lot of stuff happens, but it’s not the most enjoyable book. The events have meaning, but there isn’t any drama to it. This issue serves as a game changer for game changing’s sake.

Sometimes the ending of a thing can ruin a story. Batman #11 sure does put a damper on the Court of Owls storyline. Before Bruce talks Dick Grayson’s head off for pages upon pages we get to see Batman flung through buildings being dragged through the air Green Goblin style as his bad guy “brother” flies around the city. The most frustrating thing is this “brother” is deemed a crazy person…but who can tell? It also ends on a sappy note with Bruce saying Gotham isn’t Batman…it’s “all of us.” Groan.

From the artist behind Joe the Barbarian comes Punk Rock Jesus. Quite frankly this book delivers something incredibly original and interesting and the cover is misleading as well. Drawn in detailed black and white, the story follows a boy whose parents were killed for what appears to be religious reasons. The boy grows up and word on the street is the first ever cloned human is Jesus…who will be getting his own TV show. The concepts are interesting but so far the story hasn’t kicked into a gear I can recommend.

The Only Living Boy #1 has a decent premise with some nice art reminiscent of Sean Murphy’s work on Joe the Barbarian. The premise is similar as well, although this go around I don’t think it’s all in his head. As far as adventure goes, the book has it in droves. It simply can’t make the budget, even at one dollar.

Fantastic Four Annual #33 is a trip…back in time! It’s a rather throwaway issue, although Alan Davis does a great job on art. I’m a tad surprised I didn’t love this however, since his work on Fantastic Four: The End was phenomenal.

Venom is a bad baaaad man in Venom Vol.2 #20; breaking necks, tearing out wings…you know, usual hero stuff. Cullen Bunn is on point with the writing duties this issue and while I can’t say it’s bad, this issue is a smidge boring.

Man oh man the art in Planetoid #2 is a science fiction fan’s dream come true. The mechanized world gets fleshed out more here and the story is starting to bud too. For the most part a worthy purchase, with an interesting backstory of a new supporting character as well. Keep an eye on this one it’s well worth the time.

No, and we’re sorry these comics weren’t able to fit the budget!

Space: Punisher #1 (Marvel Comics)

And now for something completely different. This is an alternate version of Marvel where The Punisher appears to be some kind of loner policeman out to rid the galaxy of messed up alien bitches.

Hive mind symbiots. My word!

Think of this as a Flash Gordon comic and you’ll get the vibe this book is giving off. Mark Texeira’s painting does one of two things which really increase the quality of the pages: First off, it makes everything realistic which actually helps make the aliens and far out stuff plausible. And secondly, the imagery has an older comic feel that weathers the image and makes it feel timeless.

Villains, reimagined.

I’m a bit of a sucker for science fiction and when done this well in an elseworlds tale, it’s a site to see.

Symbiot Brood. A messy combo.

The price is a tad cheap and will probably be a better deal in the trade format, but I can’t help myself.

Budget: $7.01- $3.99 = $3.02

Batman and Robin #11 (DC Comics)

This issue continues Damien’s pledge to kick every single ex-Robin’s ass. Unfortunately there is so much whoring to connect this to the movie it’s rather sad.

Just like in the movie poster!

My main gripe with this issue is the pacing. There’s a bunch of fighting, then a bunch of dialogue, then a random splash page. It’s not the easiest thing to read and feel consistently happy over the 20 pages.

What a baby.

The art is moody…

…but also slightly confusing. Panels don’t seem to be connected and it’s hard to track the action. With the plethora of Bat books available these days, this is a stinker.

Budget: $3.02-$0.00 = $3.02

Chew Secret Agent Poyo #1 (Image)

I was a big fan of John Layman’s Chew when it first hit the shelves. It had at once great energy and great storytelling. It lost some of the humor and energy I loved though and I ended up dropping the book. This one shot caught my eye though and I took a peek and was pleasantly surprised.

In hell there are roosters, butt torture and a Hall of Fame.

The book quickly reviews Poyo’s resurrection from hell and dives right into a evil scientist’s plan to replicate the raining frog weather effect, but in this case raining sheep. First England…then the world!

Love the commentary.

It appears Poyo has a long history in the Image universe as he’s helped fight the Viltrumites, teamed up with Savage Dragon and Spawn and even fought Ghengis Condor.

Our villain.

It even contains a classic introduction of our villain Layman style seen above. It’s a fun ride that’s highly enjoyable.

Budget: $3.02 – $2.99 = $0.02

Considering we’ve got Dark Knight Rises in just over a week I’m extremely surprised how disappointing the Bat books were. For Bat books next week sees only Batwoman and a Batman Beyond book on the schedule. Odd. More Avengers vs. X-Men though! Be there.

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