Comic books. The final frontier…of nerdom. Join me as I review all the hottest books that hit the shelves each week and pick out a few that can fit into a 10 dollar budget. These days that’s not too many comics. Wish me luck!


AVX: VS. #5 (of 6) (Marvel Comics)


I’ve purposely avoided this series like the plague, largely because the fights have never really meant much beyond some nice art. Typically they end with a pseudo-win or a stalemate. This issue is unsurprisingly no different, although there is some good emotional buildup between Storm and Black Panther some folks might want to check out.


Chuckle hut quality.

The book opens with a duel between Hawkeye and Angel with art by Leinil Yu and writing by Matt Fraction. It’s clear Fraction’s work on The Defenders helped him here, as the fun facts are in full force and quite fun.


Yu sure loves shadows.

It seems like a silly matchup, especially since Angel can spray Hawkeye with blades and be done with it. I did find it slightly comical that a guy who shoots arrows is fighting a bird man, but generally it’s a wash on this fight.


Bikini mountainware.

In fact, the fight ends in a rather strange way. I won’t ruin it, but you’ll swear it was straight out of a Hanna-Barbera cartoon, complete with a snickering sneaky exit.


Some have said their relationship had “sparks”! GET IT?!

The Storm vs. Black Panther battle however, is actually surprisingly good, largely because there’s something to actually say about them. Recently Black Panther told Storm he anulled their marriage…not sure how he can get away with that, but there’s still some baggage there to explore.


I’m sure Chris Brown said the same thing whilst beating Rihanna.

Instead of just punching though, there’s a moment where the characters think about the “what ifs” of their relationship. It allows Jason Aaron to explore their inner thoughts and show that, yes, they actually did care for one another and probably shouldn’t have separated.


Couldah, wouldah, shouldah.

It’s also quite surprising just how brutal this fight is. A knee to the face is practically a death blow, but they go on like that for a few pages. Of course, it is a comic book. At the end of the day you’re paying four bucks for two fights and in this case one of them is actually worth checking out for the story. I can’t recommend this on a budget, but it’s worth a flip through at the shop.

Budget: $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00


The Goon #41 (Dark Horse)


Goon is back and I couldn’t be happier. It’s fitting since this is a very Halloween type book with monsters, muck and swamp things at every turn. This issue deals with monsters who seek revenge on Goon. For an issue that’s simply setting up why they want revenge, it does a great job keeping your interest.


Poor guy was only a babe.

The main story, by Eric Powell, deals with a witch doctor who gives out wishes for money. Unfortunately, folks don’t ask specifically how they want their dreams to come true and he generally ruins their lives by giving them their wish in the most awful way imaginable. It just so happens Goon typically comes in to clean up his messes. Powell does a good job setting up this character and it really adds to the mythos of this world. You can imagine a crotchety old witch doctor sitting in an alley and it’s great stuff.


When you become a monster you gots lots of revenge in you.

The backup takes up the last four or so pages and moves a bit quicker than the main tale. In fact, now that we’re talking about pace, I have to admit the main story is a tad slow, but it still works. The backup does a nice job setting up the creation of a monster in an interesting way and the little issue of hating Goon for all the wrong reasons. It should culminate into something pretty entertaining next issue.


Funny AND exciting!

What does it for me though, is the price. We get 24 pages, 24! Not 20, for the price of $2.99. The art is spectacular as always and the storytelling is top notch.

Budget: $10.00 – $2.99 = $7.01


Debris #2 (Image)


I’m still not certain about this new series by Green Wake writer Kurtis Wiebe. The jury is still out on this new world and how interesting it can be. So far it’s centered mostly on the female protagonist and nothing more. Clues are dropped, but not a lot. That might be because it’s spending a lot of time showing quiet moments between scenes, although I’m not sure how effective these scenes are.


Come at me bro!

The art is sketchy, but the panels are so simple that sketchiness seems a bit off. The color is also surprising, in that not a lot is used. Bright blues, reds and oranges are used so often it seems to clash with the realistic looking backgrounds.


Where is his penis?

After reading the first two issues I’m not sold on this book’s identity. Or the protagonist’s identity, for that matter. It reads as if it’s for adults, but the content and look is more for children. I say this because the cliffhanger hinges more on a cool looking monster attacking our protagonist rather than linking the cliffhanger with anything emotional. Without that there’s really no risk and no reason to be excited since we know she’ll be fine next issue. On top of that I’m still waiting for her to get interesting.

Budget: $7.01 – $0.00 = $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. Prism has one word for these comics.

I’m not a big fan of Steve Dillon, but you typically know you’re going to get less action and more dialogue with his books as you do in Avenging Spider-Man #11. This issue effectively shows intimate moments between Aunt May and Peter Parker, although the mechanism that shows flashbacks is a tad confusing. Once you realize the blue hue flashback mechanic, you try to settle into the story. Unfortunately, it’s more whining from Peter about Uncle Ben’s death being his fault. It does an okay job rehashing some of the bigger Spidey moments too, but it’s a very easy skip on a tight budget.

Jonathan Hickman does a great job tying previous threads together in FF #21, but at the end of the day this issue is much too quick a read to be purchasable. It’s also a lot of talking about political Inhuman shenanigans. Two moments were genuine and great though: One involving Mr. Fantastic asking Sue to get a little sexy time in and another where Spider-Man gets upset about the size of his butt. Either way, a fun read but not a must read.

X-Treme X-Men #2 is extremely complicated. You see what I did there. A floating Xavier head will not EVER be cool or interesting. Sorry. That said I do like the god elements in here, plus Dazzler actually works. When she sings in this issue though. Not so much.

I really can’t see how Darth Maul can become a hero, but clearly that’s the direction Star Wars: Darth Maul Death Sentence #2 is going. The story is predictable, the art has gone down a notch and I can’t help but be bored by this. There is a unique way the writer used carbonite, but beyond that blah.

Gamibt #2 is a lot more balanced in the action and story department this go around and is in fact a far better comic than issue #1. The art is also a lot sharper somehow. Maybe it’s the holographic displays. I always love those. That being said, this story couldn’t be more of a cliche. We’ve got Gambit jumping through laser nets, a mysterious woman who attempts to steal from him and a plot that makes little sense. He can’t ask the X-Men for help because he stole an artifact…from an evil guy? Said artifact is inside Gambit, so you’d think it’d be a bit of a serious issue getting it out. Not to him I guess. This series feels more like a fun backup story rather than a story worth its own book.

I tried to give Higher Earth #4 another shot but it’s just not doing it for me. The art is very meh and would actually work if the ideas were quirky enough. Instead it’s all talking heads. There is so much dialogue here with no real gain in understand I can’t see how a reader would care. The use of some computer graphics to explain the inter-dimensional landscape is neat, but it’s once again portrayed in such a convoluted way it’s boring.

Locke & Key: Grindhouse is enjoyable, although if you haven’t read a single issue of the series you might be lost. Imagine a house with keys that open doors with different magical properties. Now imagine a family using the house as a weapon. Cool idea and it works for the most part, although the dialogue seems to be the main attraction as far as the writers are concerned. There’s a lot of it, probably because it’s fun to write dialogue for characters from the 1920’s. At least I think it’s the 20’s. I actually found myself more interested in the house schematics that fill out the final few pages with notes from the artist. Fun stuff.

Skullkickers #17 continues the octopus/pirate storyline, although it doesn’t add anything new to warrant a peek. More of the same in regards to humor and art, but that’s a good thing. Most of what happens probably could have fit into a page or two, but for what it’s worth it’s a good time. A surefire buy on a bigger budget.

If you’ve been following this series you’re not going to want to miss Wolverine and the X-Men #15. Jason Aaron practically stuffs this thing to the brim with the story elements he’s been playing with from the beginning. Hell, even Toad gets a happy ending. Judging by the cover for the next issue it appears all this Phoenix stuff is over with and Aaron can get back to his main story with the Hellfire Club preparing to take down the school. The characterization is impeccable here, all the voices unique and interesting. Aaron should be given props for the juggling act of this issue it’s just that good. That said, it’s all character development snippets. Everyone gets a say, but that thins out the purpose of the entire issue. Certainly not a purchase on a slim budget, but if you want to see a team book written well this is a perfect example.

I can’t get enough of the art in Captain Marvel #3, but the story is a bit of an issue. It’s good, but not great, mainly because it’s a bit uneven. With splash pages like this here, you know it’ll turn itself around. The female version of the Howling Commandos is a good idea, the women just need more character development to sing. So far the shortness of these issues is seemingly killing the pacing. A good read on a rainy day.

True Blood fans rejoice! DC Comics has another vampire story for you with National Comics: Looker #1. Aside from the impeccably sexy art the story is a ho-hum affair concerning a vampire who is also a fashion model. Oh the irony! The villain, revealed way too late, is some kind of blood sucking tube faced monster. Pretty gross. A positive in this very dull comic.

There is some sweet ballerina action in Winter Soldier #9 and some great misdirection on Ed Brubaker’s part. Really it’s like a great episode of CSI where it’s all action and the only time to think on the story is at the last minute. When shit. Just. Got. Real. Good stuff, but not quite good enough this week to make our budget.

Let’s take a road trip with Sabertooth and Daken in Uncanny X-Force #30. The art is good, the story building to something that’ll probably blow our minds, but as far as this single issue goes it’s a little slow. A purchase for anyone following the series or has the extra change. This single shot of Blob almost makes the whole darn thing worth buying.

I really love the art and buildup in Journey Into Mystery #642, but it’s a whole lot of buildup for not a ton of fun. It’s sort of like one long debate with five politicians posturing on their designated subjects. If you like political wrangling this is a book for you. The scene between Thor and Loki is actually quite touching and shows how a young Loki creates a new dynamic in this universe.

Boy is Aquaman #12 good. It’s like Saga with the pacing (okay maybe a tad faster) but with a lot more cinematic gravitas. Things are really coming together now and I can’t wait for the concluding issue. That said…we have to wait two full months for the next installment?! That’s like torture, DC. Black Manta’s plan is revealed, he got what he wanted, yet I don’t feel like he’s got any chance of winning. We shall see.


A man of many words.


Justice League #12 (DC Comics)



Talk about an uneven mess of a comic. The bad guy is a joke, the characters are either quitters or aren’t using their heads and the reader could care less about any of it. Check out a lengthier review, with pictures here.

Budget: $7.01 – $0.00 = $7.01


X-O Manowar #4 (Valiant)



“This book is wicked awesome dude yah man haha love it!” – AiPT

I was a fan of the first two issues, although I did wish the story in those two was compressed into one, but really how can you complain when you’ve got such an exciting premise? Our hero is from the distant past, acquires a super armor, is sent to the future and now seems to be dealing with some Illuminati evil. Yikes.


Diss!

Things are really coming together this issue and quite frankly I can’t believe how developed this world is. Valiant is doing an impeccable job. You know world building is good when a layer is pulled back and there’s yet another to digest.


That’s what he meant by “it’s not easy being green.”

Think of this character as Thor meets alien technology meets time travel and you’ll start to get what this story is all about. Thor because he’s a fish out of water being from so far back in the past. The rest is self explanatory.



A helmet that can go into stealth? Sick!

When the villain is revealed, well the new villain anyway, it’s at once mysterious and interesting. The guy seems to have a boatload of hookers and some kind of way of meeting his buds in a blue techno world.


Were the dudes going to have sex with him too?

Now that the introduction is over with I think this comic can only get better. There are so many unknowns I can’t help but wish this came out faster. Oh, and you get 28 pages for $3.99. A steal in this current comic climate.

Budget: $7.01 – $3.99 = $3.02


Green Lantern #1: Annual


Geoff Johns, the man who wrote the exceptional Aquaman this week, the very below par Justice League also wrote this incredibly well paced and entertaining comic. Love or hate his rewriting of the Green Lantern universe, and let’s be honest he’s been rewriting it before the New 52 anyway, you can’t knock something that comes with so many surprises.


Right. Take away their willpower and then they’ll be safe. How dumb are these guys?

The Guardians continue to be nutcases hell bent on destroying everything to stop “chaos”. If anything they are the ones that are the chaos factor. Whilst they uncover the “first Lantern” Hal has to dig himself out of a grave. Pretty sure without his ring he couldn’t do that. Either way, he fights Black Hand and it’s a lot of fun.


Aww, isn’t that sweet. Black Hand wrote their names on their graves.

But I guess Hal doesn’t need his ring powered up, considering he can take on the Black Hand rather easily as you can see:


Get this man some ointment!

Really this issue excels at the big reveals. Most annuals these days show a slice of life moment in a character’s life because the main book is telling a story it can’t divert from. This is a bad idea! I want more annuals like this, where huge reveals could mean everything changing!


Complete with his own rainbow lantern.

Plus you get to see the Guardians kick midget (or is it dwarf?) ass.


Fighting dwarves. My favorite sporting event.

But…sadly…DC is forcing us to give up nearly five dollars for these annuals. The buggers. That won’t stop me! ComiX Weekly doesn’t have the X for nothing, but I can’t not recommend this incredibly well paced and drawn issue. Buy it!

Budget: $3.02 – $4.99 = -$1.97

We’re over but who cares. That’s a rarity. Next week see’s DC’s #0 issues hit the shelves. Let’s hope they don’t ruin our comic appetite.