It’s a quiet week for comic books. By my count, there are 40 some-odd less books on the shelves than normal. Regardless, as always, I’m going to break down the best books of the week that can fit into a ten dollar budget. Let’s dive in.


Godzilla Half Century War #1 (of 5) (IDW)


If you haven’t peeked inside the comic Orc Stain by James Stokoe, do yourself a favor and at least Google the name. This guy can draw and he does so in a very unique way. His pencil work is always extremely detailed and the color typically employs dark reds that bleed into purples. This marks his first foray into a mainstream, non-creator owned work and quite frankly I love it.


Something about his pencils gives the image a sense of cartoon reality.

The story won’t necessarily bowl you over, but it gets the job done. Essentially our protagonist is new to war. His first experience just so happens to be a one-on-one battle with an 800 foot green monster named Godzilla. This issue follows his battle and subsequent mission to stop the monster the best he can.


If there’s one thing Godzilla looks good in, it’s detail.

Essentially we’re given 22 pages of sweet Godzilla action. With Stokoe at the helm, every single panel is worth ogling for an extended period of time.


Run!

This is a highly enjoyable read that I can’t help but recommend.

Budget: $10.00-$3.99 = $6.01


Spider-Men #4 (Marvel Comics)


Spider-Man of the 616 universe is in the Ultimate universe and after a scrap with Mysterio, he decides to hang out with Aunt May. There he finds May and Gwen Stacy. Mind trips ignite!


Derp!

First off, the cover to this issue is a lie. Nobody even throws a punch in this issue. It’s all yadda, yadda, yadda. Anyone following both series will get a hoot out of it, though, and the implications of what Peter tells the Ultimate folks may be resounding for story arcs. Simply telling Gwen that Mary Jane is a model in the 616 could mess things up. When Mary Jane does show up and sees Peter, she runs away. Clearly she was affected.


So amazing! That Bendis is a genius.

In a lot of ways this issue is a self-congratulatory circlejerk. Bendis is pointing out the diffecences between characters and has Peter awestricken. Aside from any changes in the Ultimate universe I don’t see how this will affect the 616. If anything this whole issue is a “look at me, I’m Bendis and I actually made another universe work!” Give the man praise because he did a good job; I just don’t want to spend four bucks reading about it.


Miles’ logo looks more like a tick.

And then Agent Fury shows up to tell Peter it’s time to go. This is a nice warm little issue about characters and their feelings. A boring issue, probably not even necessary, but a nice one. Ultimately (no pun intended), I can’t recommend it as it doesn’t feel worth the dime. There re two panels that do make it slightly worth a look.


Just wait until you find out about the white Nick Fury’s black son. Who wears an eye patch.

Budget: $6.01 – $0.00 = $6.01


Gambit #1 (Marvel Comics)


Gambit is a weird character that I don’t think has been properly cracked by any one writer. He had a 25 issue solo series that started in 1999 which was eventually scrapped and another in 2004 that lasted 12 issues. Since then he’s rarely had an important role in the X-Men books and usually jumps in for a quip and sits in the background. Aside from his romance with Rogue he’s been relatively pointless.


The danger of toothpicks.

Essentially he’s been used as a moral barometer who the other heroes can ping off of to understand why they are good. Thinking about it, if I rack my brain I can only think of thieves working in video games. There’s typically a thief class in all fantasy RPGs, but as successful fictional characters, I can’t name one thief that works (a male version anyway). You could argue Catwoman is similar as they both use their sex appeal, they’re both thieves and they both go from bad to good from time to time.


Thems a lot of goodies

So what does this book add to the character to make him work? Not much. It doesn’t even adequately introduce him. He has a few words and then goes on a mission. A mission that isn’t tied to his character beyond his love of thieving.

Stealing is wrong Gambit!

The art is good, but the pacing and plotting of this issue is a bit clunky. You’ll reach the end and when the twist hits you’ll wish it hit earlier. That’s the most interesting bit. I think most folks’ problems with Gambit are thus: he’s that greasy douchebag that hits on your girlfriend. You’ll put up with him, but only for so long.

Budget: $6.01-$0.00 = $6.01

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. Juggernaut will show these comics when to back down.

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe #2 (of 4) is not good at all. Deadpool kills heroes with such ease you’d wonder, “why didn’t a villain do it sooner?” Spider-Man dies like a joke, Hulk dies more as a bitch move than anything. It’s all just boring stuff. On top of that Deadpool isn’t funny in the slightest. Take away the costume and it’s just any thug with a healing factor. Terrible.

I like this new story arc so far and Incredible Hulk Vol. 3 #12 continues the fun. The plot of Bruce Banner becomes clear this issue, but not without a long fight that pits Hulk against Thing and Wolverine. The art is good, keeping the action interesting. Essentially though, this issue is one big fight with none of the weirdness the previous issues offered. A secret prison for aliens is neat, but not used at all and it’s all punchy-punchy. There’s a nice joke using the aliens, but it falls a little flat considering we don’t even see them much earlier in the book.

If you want to read a good comic with action and story check out Daredevil Annual #1. As far as self-contained stories go this will require some knowledge of Dr. Strange and and the super team ClanDestine. There’s a message here too: when dealing with magic, brute force is pointless. I suppose Daredevil got that memo too late. What makes this fun though is how characters in the story can affect and be affected by Daredevil’s powers.

Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens #2 is okay. It doesn’t capture the joy of music like the last issue did and many of the jokes aren’t very funny. It’s sort of like a less nonsensical Adventure Time which sort of defeats the entire purpose of these comics.

Over in Scarlet Spider #8 a Houston based superteam is after our hero. Unfortunately they work for a company called Roxxon…think Exxon, who has been doing some shady stuff. Everything that happens in this book you can see coming from a mile away. There’re some interesting ideas as far as the super-team, but not a lot to chew on.

I love the format of Creator Owned Heroes #3, from the shorter issues to the interviews. Unfortunately a satisfying story in such small increments is hard to come by. It makes it far worse when one of these increments disappoints. Trigger Girl is doing a great job and I want more of that. American Muscle on the other hand, has gone from interesting post-apocalyptic drama to comedy. The story seems to be on fast forward this issue, especially considering how slow it was moving previously.

Instead of following the story with Ms. Marvel, in prison Marvel decides to go completely left field and send Rogue into an alien planet in X-Men: Legacy #271. Alright, but can it have some sort of meaning? Rogue proves some worth, although she has Ms. Marvel’s powers doing the heavy lifting this issue. There’s plenty of backstory on these aliens, but really, why should we care? There’s no explanation if this is Earth or some other dimension or what. The twist seems to suggest Rogue is going to have to figure out how to fight without the help of Ms. Marvel’s powers. Not very interesting.

I’m calling bullshit on New Avengers #29. First of all, this takes place before Avengers vs. X-Men #9. Second of all, this issue is trying to show the pulse of the Illuminati, as if they still matter. No, they really don’t, and the idea should be buried. Especially during this event. Characters express emotions and basically whine when they should be doing something. Xavier is sad he’ll have to put down Cyclops, Mr. Fantastic is sadistically researching if the Phoenix Five are right. And Captain America is deluded enough to think he can make Namor stop because they fought in World War 2. It’s all silly, honestly.

It’s obvious by now that Jonathan Hickman is wrapping up all his story elements and Fantastic Four #609 is a good example of it. He’s putting to rest some alternate dimension heroes and sending them home essentially. The art is crisp and nice…although I’m not sure why Spider-Man is hanging around. A spaceship made from the dead Galactus body solves a couple problems. One, it gets rid of the body and two, it gets rid of the alternate dimension folk. Although, not one hero brought up the fact that using a dead cosmic god’s body as a space ship is a tinsy bit immoral? They’re essentially flying around in a giant corpse. Gross, but cool idea nonetheless.

I simply love this miniseries and Last Days of an Immortal #4 of 4 is a good conclusion. It’s not great however, in that there aren’t too many interesting additions that bend your mind, plus it’ll require you to read the first three to even grasp what the hell is going on. A great series being collected in October. Check it out.

I’m glad I never read this series before because Archer and Armstrong #1 is more interesting if you go in blind. There’s a lot of crazy religious hijinx and big talk about the communist America and the 1%. One of our heroes even grew up in a religious amusement park. Neat ideas, but a little funky in the pace department.

Avengers Assemble #6 has a lot of boom boom going on with lasers flying and all the Avengers kicking some butt. What takes me out of the issue is when one of Thanos’ minions says, “you have cube, why can’t you stop them” and he replies, “I need to prepare.” It’s an excuse to have our heroes fighting; the real crux of it.

I very much wanted to recommend buying Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #2 but the story didn’t quite hit the right marks as it did last issue. Instead it follows Ozy as he tries to solve where his girlfriend got the drugs that gave her an overdose. Once again Jae Lee is amazing. The guy can’t not make a page look beauitful. There’s one two page panel that is literally jaw dropping (at least mine did). Still, the story needs to come first and here it’s a tad boring. Either spruce up the investigative work or spruce up the purpose.


You mess with Jugs, you get the meat of a fist.


Batman #12 (DC Comics)



I liked this issue. The art by Becky Cloonan is spot on and perfect for the material. Not a ton happens but it’s world building at its finest. It makes you want to read the next issue and there isn’t even lot of action going on. To read a full review with images from its pages click here.

Budget: $6.01- $3.99 = $2.02


Space: Punisher #2 (Marvel Comics)



Welp, after a decent first issue that I recommended this series has gone bad fast. It’s fun to see elseworld stuff, but there’s really no point in any of this.


Hulk is basically a green Goro with no penis.

Deadpool makes an appearance and appears to be no different from his 616 counterpart. Oh, except he’s not funny.


Smart move there, Deadpool.

Hulk is quickly introduced, the real “villain” behind everything is a faceless government general and when the twist at the end appears you’re going to laugh.


Nice ponytail.

It’s unfortunate, but this is a rather troubling waste of time. The first issue at least introduced elements in an interesting way with real character motivation.

Budget: $2.02-$0.00 = $2.02


Venom #22 (Marvel Comics)



The first thought you’ll have once opening this book is, “who the hell is Declan Shalvey?” There are tinges of John Romita Jr. mixed with his own style, which I love. The coloring is also spot on, giving Venom a neon feel. It makes the sometimes dead looking symbiote very alive. Lee Loughridge should be commended.


Butterfly in the sky!

Venom reviews his relationship with his father whilst swinging to find Jack-O-Lantern. This is done in an artful way with flashbacks to his childhood. As far as a meaningful story, this issue is more of a recap or maybe even a send off as writer Rick Remender is leaving the book.


Ouchy.

Jack does the unspeakable and awakens his father. One might argue that there are a lot of emotional things in this issue that have been touched upon in issues past. If anything this issue proves you can do a lot with story in a single issue. Maybe we don’t need to drag the whole “I hate my dad” stuff through 12 issues though?


Bad parenting 101.

Essentially this is a perfect issue as far as understanding who the new Venom is and why he’s a hero. It even ends with a nice quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Quoting famous authors is one of Remender’s specialties we haven’t seen in quite some time.

Budget: $2.01 – $2.99 = -$.97

This was a rather short week and yet we find ourselves going over 97 cents. Let’s hope we can do better next week!