Batman Incorporated #3 has been delayed, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few comics to tickle our fancy. This is the column where, with only ten bucks to spare, we delve into each book of the week and pick out the best damn single issues that money can buy.


Star Wars: Darth Maul – Death Sentence #1 (Dark Horse)


I think it’s safe to say, no matter how you feel about The Phantom Menace, that Darth Maul battle was pretty badass. Forget the fighting, the mere presence of Maul was so great that there have been countless books written just because he looks so badass. Typically they are prequels to Episode I. Not so here. The events of this book take place after he was cut in half. Once your gasping and utter horror taper off…look at this:


Why.

Are we to seriously believe somebody went down that tube…and resuscitated Darth Maul? If so…why not join the Dark Side again? Okay sure, maybe Palpatine is pissed that he failed. Wouldn’t Emperor Palpatine have felt his “presence” or some shit?


The answer: hate. It’s hate that kept him alive. Ohhh, now I see.

But this is Comic Book Land, the land where nobody can die and anyone can come back to life even if they were vaporized. Considering Samuel L. Jackson shows up though, this may actually be canon. Either way, it’s silly. So moving on, this issue has a bunch of characters squawking around and Darth Maul’s brother.


Still rocking the Dark Side look.

Silly bionic legs aside, this issue has some fun action and great art when it comes to lightsaber duels. It’s clear the hook and twist that Maul is still alive is the driving force in the story department though. Really this is an excuse to see Darth Maul hit people with his lightsaber.

Budget: $10.00-$0.00 = $10.00


Manhattan Projects #5 (Image)


This series has been up and down for me, largely because some issues clearly fit better in a trade paperback than others. How do you recommend a book that can’t be enjoyed because it’s a piece of something that should be read with the next issue? This issue expands on the series tremendously, although it does leave one wondering where all the action has gone.


Okay, so there is some action.

Ultimately what puts a bad taste in my mouth are the alternate personalities one of the scientists has as his driving force to make decisions. It doesn’t seem very believable…in a book about unbelievable things. A lot is being made of these bad consciences, as if to say a total nutter goes through something similar and “oh no he has his finger on the button!”


Ewwwww.

Obviously writer Jonathan Hickman is playing around with the concept of the man with his hand on the button. What if that man is bonkers? This is the driving force of the series, but the dual personalities this man has complicate things to no end. Something about it, possibly the fact that he sees them in red, makes it very unbelievable. Give me voices, but mutliple figures that speak to him? Meh. The frustrating aspect to this is he doesn’t seem human.


Rut row.

There are interesting turns as far as motivations and actions in this issue though. Give it that the plot is moving and the tides are turning. The art, once again, is spot on. The sketchy style adds a nervousness to the panels that helps convey the horror of these characters in control of the Earth’s destiny.

Budget: $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00


The Goon #40 (Dark Horse)


This issue is a delight to read. It’s funny, self contained and the art, as always, is a sight to see. This story follows Goon’s exploits of prohibition, complete with scenes of making hooch, hot rodding and even the devil. Because you know how liquor makes the demon come out.


Yeah!

Goon, using kerosene it seems, is making his own liquor because when was Goon a follower of laws. Eventually he decides to build himself a fast car to get away from cops. Eventually competition appears and it’s made up of a family nobody would want to trifle with.


Dastardly crew.

This of course leads to monsters, mayhem and a drag race. Eric Powell is a genius when it comes to humor. There isn’t anyone making comics like him these days.

Oh my

The book ends with this line, which also can fit as a review, “sexy times are here again.”

Budget: $10.00-$2.99 = $7.01

Fifteen comics this week were either close to the mark or downright failures. Either way they can’t justifiably fit into a 10 dollar budget. Movie Bane will show these comics who’s boss.

The Incredible Hulk #11 goes way too far in the weird department. A city of Sasquatches? Kraven wanting to “die honorably” by getting Hulk to help Spider-Man kill him? How is that honorable? It’s all silly fun, until Hulk is brought down by the “breath of the skunk ape.” Really? Now that’s just stupid.

This new Deadpool is at least adding something new to the series since losing his healing factor. Deadpool #58 brings the silly. Apparently he’s dumb enough to think fingers grow back. Please. It is fun though, to see Deadpool beat a villain without using his healing factor. The creative demise of his attacker is also hilarious, considering how Deadpool spends his time watching the Home Shopping Network on late nights.

There isn’t much to say about Mind MGMT #3 largely because it simply tracks the protagonist across the country. Most of this book could be summed up in a page, but instead stretches things out as if it’s attempting to pad the story. Once we’re promised answers, the story ends.

This should be called, “Big Day at the Museum for Karma” but instead it’s called Astonishing X-Men #52. Last issue saw Wolverine get his entire torso exploded, but instead of an immediate answer you have to slog through boring dialogue of Karma being sad about her lot in life. When we discover she’s being controlled by nanites, because who isn’t these days, you’ll groan. Pretty bad issue.

The plot does not move in this series, and while Dark Avengers #178 has its moments, there’re just too many characters in this series to make it matter. The balance between the Thunderbolts and Luke Cage’s Avengers isn’t very good. Maybe it’s due to the 20 pages, but I finish an issue and feel ripped off.

X-Men Legacy #270 has some freaky deaky shit going on. Magik is clearly a villain, so there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Ms. Marvel is close to getting tentacle raped and Rogue fights a literal demon. When Rogue asks Ms. Marvel to team up it’s not very believable. She put you in this prison, Ms. Marvel, why believe her? One could argue this issue toys with the concept of what is cruel and unusual punishment during wartime, but really it’s simply a tour of Magik’s version of hell. Or as she terms it, “smart prison.”

The balancing act between the building war that’s coming and the interaction between old and young Franklin and Valeria doesn’t quite work in FF #20. There’s a whole lot of exposition and not a lot of humor and character interaction that has made this series so good. Nick Dragotta’s pencils feel a bit cramped here as well. There’s so much dialogue his usually breathless pencils seem stunted.

Let me get this straight. X-Treme X-Men #1 has Xavier in a floating jar ala Futurama and a kid Nightcrawler, Emma Summers and Captain Howlett jumping dimensions ala Sliders and only appear to reach other dimensions where there are creative versions of the X-Men. The plot is really pointless as they messed up the inter-dimensional landscape and need to fix it. Oh and Dazzler from the 616 is a main character. If it wasn’t so convoluted, this just might work. Instead, it’s a big mess.

Tony Stark’s suit is like the Venom symbiote in that it can live in his blood stream. Now imagine that in the wrong hands capable of replicating it. Captain America and Iron Man Vol. 1 #634 is rather silly, but is supposed to be taken seriously. The fight scenes are uninspired and the plot is yet another scheme that you know will play out the same as it always does.

I have a couple problems with Secret Avengers #29, not least of which is that Black Widow is in literally three panels despite being prominently featured on the cover. Beast is a complete no-show and I have no idea why this book went from outer space exploits to the team fighting sorcerers. Also, when does this even take place, post Avengers vs. X-Men? I dig the idea of Venom running the show and pushing the others around, but there is just way too much Venom in this book. It’s a team book, yet you could throw the Venom title on the cover and nobody would notice it being weird.

Doctor Connors discovers a love for video games in Amazing Spider-Man #690 and seems to be growing a conscience. This is actually an enjoyable read, but doesn’t quite win the reader over aside from the morality play going on.

Debris #1 is a hell of a lot like Planetoid with a less developed plot and art that’s a smidge less complicated and interesting to look at. For a first issue I’m surprised there isn’t more development of the world and the hero. We get a female protagonist who, I assume, is the first person to kill a giant robot dragon. Where does this dragon come from? Why do they attack them? The setting appears to be exactly the same as Planetoid as the Earth is covered in rubble. Not lot to chew on so it can’t make the cut.

Aside from three pages of Winter Soldier being a total badass in Winter Soldier #8 I can’t recommend this issue. The villain shows up to tell us he’s doing some brainwashing on Black Widow. How many times can you brainwash somebody before there’s nothing left to brainwash? I’m not at all excited for next issue considering we’ve seen this before over in Captain America. The villain’s rise was interesting, but everything else is rather boring.

From my understanding The Watchmen wasn’t about what they did but why and the moral implications of choices. Before Watchmen: Comedian #2 (of 6) appears to be preoccupied with what Comedian did as if his back story even matters. I take issue with all of these prequel books, especially considering I don’t care that he was in Vietnam and did bad things. Why do I need to see it? It’s not adding anything besides creating an unnecessary timeline.

You’d think a new writer would fix this book, but Batman: The Dark Knight (2011-) #11 proves a major overhaul is in order. Scarecrow is some sort of pedophile, capturing kids and pressing his gases up their noses. Batman not only gets shot point blank due to his inability not to take the front door, but he also magically falls down a hole from said shot. Talk about lucky. Really, this is what is bad about comics from top to bottom.


Bane is green, which means he’s either going to throw up or he’s in a terrible movie.


Wolverine and the X-Men #14 (Marvel Comics)



This is quite a good issue made even better by some exceptional art by Jorge Molina. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t make the cut. For a full review click here.

Budget: $7.01- $0.00 = $7.01


Uncanny X-Force #28 (Marvel)



I’m about as sick of time travel as the next guy, especially when it comes to Remender. The writer has used time travel and inter-dimensional travel so much I’m not sure any of his work will end up in canon, at least when it comes to X-Force. One reason why his work is great though, even with the convoluted plotlines, is the genuine dialogue. Deadpool is always funny, Wolverine is always cranky and Psylocke is always a pleasure.


Doh!

There are some major issues I have with this new direction though. For instance, if Deathlock’s plan was his intention from the beginning…wouldn’t have have just done it at the start? Why wait? Also it’s a bit of a slippery slope when we jump 30 years into the future. Of course none of this will stick, so why even bother to care when a sacrifice is made to stop it from happening? With Fantomex gone it’s surprising the story jumped as it did considering the bad guys are still at large in the normal timeline.


Always funny.

Remender uses Deadpool amazingly in this issue. One could argue Remender’s use of Deadpool proves he shouldn’t have his own book but be more of a sidekick wisecracker. It’s easy to forget before Remender’s use of Deadpool, Deadpool was either silly or a mercenary. Never both in an effective way as he is here.


Don’t look down.

The art by Julian Totino Tedesco is out of this world good. There’s a few panels in this book where I could have sworn I was looking at a Blade Runner sequel.


Put this in a movie!

There are also some choice one-liners that will make you cheer and smirk all at the same time. There has been way too much time travel going on at Marvel for awhile now, but I’m going to recommend this book on the art, dialogue and potentially interesting story that most likely will bud if we let this story pan out.

Budget: $7.01-$3.99 = $3.02


Aquaman #11 (DC Comics)



Geoff Johns is doing a marvelous thing with Aquaman and his backstory. I love the idea of a hero being on not one but two superhero teams. On top of that, each member seems to be broken in some way, creating a dysfunctional atmosphere that’s highly enjoyable.


Come at me bro!

The last few issues have been incredibly skimpy on story taking on a more cinematic style with a slow pace but a lot of tense imagery. Here though, we finally get a bucket of story to wash ourselves clean. Mantis’ plot is finally becoming clear and the backstory of the team is coming to light.


Sign this guy up with the United Nations!

It’s still unclear why Aquaman has left this team to rot, but one thing is clear: they’re not too happy about it. Most have just let him do what he wants, probably because he’s a spoiled child.


Prisoner is so sad. Aww.

In a way Johns has created a super team with so many issues you can start to understand what it’s like in comparison to the Justice League. The Justice League is made up of young heroes who are new to this superhero thing. Here the team is made up of people who have been twisted, seen things and could be a foreboding future for the Justice League.


Where on the teddy bear did they touch you?

I’m sure the pitch for this series used the words “Indiana” and “Jones” because the adventure meter is blowing up on this book. Sure, it’s not concerned with anything outside character and plot, but it’s unadulterated entertainment for entertainment’s sake. That’s probably why it was so odd to have the Aquaman killed Mantis’ father elements.


What is this, Tomb Raider?

This series has been hit or miss on the single issue front, but as a collection it’s going to go down as some of the strongest Aquaman comics to date.

Budget: $3.02 – $2.99 = $.03

We made it out alive with 3 cents to spare! Next week appears to be rather light as we see the next chapter in Avengers vs. X-Men, some new #1’s from Marvel and a handful of possible must buys from Image.