There’s so many good comics released today one could spend well over 70 bucks at the comic shop. Scott Snyder introduces his new series Talon, Grant Morrison has two new books — one of which is a new series called Happy and Greg Rucka’s Punisher comes to an end before he finishes his Marvel work with Punisher War Zone. Unfortunately ComiX Weekly only allows 10 dollars worth of comics. Let’s see how it narrows down.


Star Wars: Darth Maul–Death Sentence #3 (Dark Horse Comics)


And to think my review of the previous issue assumed Darth Maul would be cast as a hero who learns compunction and that protecting a dying race earns your brownie points. Thankfully, not so. In this issue, we learn Maul wants to use cat-people to save his brother from a corporate mine owner. It’s clear the relationship between Maul and his brother is the driving force of this series as this issue limps along until they meet again.


I’m pretty sure it’s those legs that are stupid.

Any Star Wars fan is going to pick this up simply to see Maul in a new story and for what its worth it delivers that in large part because of the pencils by Bruno Redondo. He keeps things interesting even when characters sit around moping. The unraveling mystery of the planet and the mine owner aren’t too interesting though so you’ll most likely page through this wondering when the action will start already.


What every fan wants!

When Ben Kenobi shows up the Star Wars fans will be giddy. He doesn’t get much play this issue, but expect the next issue to unleash a rematch between these two.


Arrow to the knee meet spear to the helmet.

This issue serves its purpose in the welcomed surprise and composition department, but the story leaves a lot to be desired. This issue will easily be summed up next issue so why bother on a budget? Especially when the following issue is going to bring the Kenobi vs. Maul rematch we all want to see.

Budget: $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00


Wolverine Vol. 4 #313 (Marvel Comics)


Jeph Loeb needs to stop. Retconning Sabertooth is one thing, but the big reveal of the last issue (we learn the Weapon X adamantium lacing of his bones was Logan’s idea) is going to enrage fans. Personally I just think it’s dumb since it retcons the House of M “I remember everything” development. This issue reveals, no, sorry Wolverine, you don’t know everything and you still have fake memories and stuff you still don’t know about.


You just know it’s not the whole truth.

For such a short story arc there sure are a lot of reveals. We learn Romulus has a sister named… you guessed it: Remus. We learn Sabertooth is alive and a pawn of Romulus’. We learn Wolverine was a soldier of Romulus and wanted to be made into a super Weapon X soldier. Oh and Logan is in love with Remus. Begin eye rolling now.


Wolverine’s problem is he’s a hopeless romantic.

It’s all just a big mess and it’s too bad too since Simone Bianchi’s pencils really do look great, but get bogged down with the terrible story. Simone does botch some minor details — such as the fact that Sabertooth shoves his arm though Wolverine’s chest and then a few panels later his costume isn’t torn at all — but overall it’s exciting and pretty work. Considering we were introduced to Remus two issues ago and are to believe she and Wolverine are some kind of long lost lovers with one flashback to back it up… the final image is hard to swallow:


Guess some of us won’t have to sully up our Sears Catalog this week.

Let’s put our hands together and be happy this train wreck is finally over. At least until some other writer wants to write a story that shows this story itself was an implanted memory.

Budget: $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00


Wolverine and the X-Men #17 (Marvel Comics)


If you’ve never read Michael Allred’s X-Statix or his run on X-Force do yourself the favor and Google them and/or pick them up from Amazon. Not only did his style look gorgeous in a mainstream team book but the stories were clever and sometimes hilarious. He created a bunch of characters that were largely the weirdest mutants you’ll ever come across. One of which is Doop, who takes center stage in this issue as it’s revealed what he actually does at the Jean Grey School.


Now that is twisted.

This issue breaks down pretty much evenly down the middle and essentially sets up two montages in each half. The first shows what Wolverine had to do to get Doop to agree to help the school. The second shows us what Doop actually does. It shouldn’t be a surprise what he does is anything and everything, but essentially he’s a punching bag to keep the school running smoothly.


What sex is he anyway?

I’m not sure Jason Aaron’s script would work with another artist. Allred’s pencils, which are simple in their own right, give the minimalist story the punchiness to keep the story rolling smoothly. Whether it’s dueling the devil on guitar:


or punching out Fin Fang Foom:


Doop does it without complaint. The humor works for the most part, even without much dialogue or narration carrying the reader through. It’s obvious Aaron basically wrote up a bunch of wacky things in his script to keep Allred busy and it shows.


Somebody let Allred do Deadpool. Please!

If you’ve been reading this column you’ll know I’m a sucker for Mike Allred. This issue delivers his style perfectly, might make you chuckle and adds some much needed levity to the Marvel Universe when all we’ve been reading is Phoenix Force melodrama.

Budget: $10.00 – $3.99 = $6.01

Twenty comics this week were either close to the mark or downright failures. Either way they can’t justifiably fit into a 10 dollar budget. Magneto will cry them away.

Eric Powell once again does an exceptional job on art in The Goon #42 but the story is much too slow for a slim budget. There isn’t enough to chew on in this issue and it all feels like filler. The humor isn’t quite as sharp either, but for $2.99 it’s hard not get much better these days. Just not up to snuff in the Goon department.

Astonishing X-Men #54 reveals where the antagonist comes from (which is slightly surprising but really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things) and we learn they want to use our heroes to take over Madripoor. Odd choice considering they could probably take any city. Hey, at least we get a cool shot of Wolverine in classic garb. It all ends with a very silly fight between Iceman and Northstar that delivers a cliffhanger we all know won’t amount to much.

I really loved Green Wake but this new series by the same creator isn’t cutting it. Debris #3 finally reveals some important information on the world and the protagonist, but it’s done in a very uneven way. A flashback, tons of dialogue followed by a reveal and a twist. The heavy handed dialogue would work better if sprinkled over the last two issues rather than huge chunks of action followed by this issue. The art is good, but seems limiting in some ways. As if the panels are missing something.

I really can’t wait for Daniel Way to be off this series and Deadpool Vol. 3 #61 is a good example of why. Basically this entire issue is spent showing us a flashback for a new character that will be after Deadpool next issue. A spy/FBI agent who’s lost her ability to move her limbs wants revenge…oh and Deadpool seems to be teaming up with Hit-Monkey. Basically one ore two panels of humor and the rest exposition. Since when do comics devote entire issues to setup a premise that could be explained in a single page?

Space: Punisher #3 (of 4) continues to look amazing, but it’s turning into something more akin to Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. Punisher beats all the villains and seems to have an ulterior motive yet to be mentioned. Oh and Hitler clones. Thousands of Hitler clones. Kill me now.

Ever met a girl that sent you overtly sexual signals but always pulled away with a haughty laugh when it came time to attempt a move? X-Men: Legacy #274 is just that for readers who have wanted to see Magneto and Rogue get together outside of Age of Apocalypse. A big pointless tease. I suppose it does a good job tapping into Rogue’s mindset and it shines a light on how much she’s grown, but the main plot of the book is tiresome at best. Rogue wants to save some folks trapped underground from the Phoenix debacle, she realizes humans hate mutants more than ever, and Magneto shows up to talk. They try to save a man who goes on and on about a man he loves and Rogue sees love lost is a terrible thing. Commence sad violins.

Good god can Marco Checchetto draw rain scenes. Plus the man knows how to deliver a page that’s at once cinematic and interesting. Punisher #16 concludes Frank’s team up with Alves and she wants to off herself after killing a cop last issue. It’s really too bad this story has to end as writer Greg Rucka has done an exceptional job with Alves and her relationship with Punisher. The only reason this isn’t a purchased book this week is that it doesn’t stand alone for for current readers, but if you picked up the last issue this is a great read. This is going to be a fantastic collected story.

I’m getting sick of Grant Morrison being allowed to do whatever he wants and Happy #1 (of 4) is no different. Aside from some extremely weird shit that isn’t explained, the premise is baffling and the explanation for it is the cliffhanger at the end of the issue. More than likely this shouldn’t be read in the single issue format. There’s just not enough to hold the readers interest and most readers will want to power through all 4 issues rather than be confused and wait a full month.

Adventure Time #8. This series is usually good unless the jokes/plot/characterization is uneven. This issue is good, but not great, largely because the humor is dulled by the fact that a single joke is used over and over. Just how big and boisterous can things get? It works at first, but after they keep doing it you grow tired and realize it’s all a setup that’ll never end. I’m aware the characters’ lack of limitations is a huge part of the series, but if there aren’t any rules it’s just annoying.

It’s obvious writer Jonathan Hickman is limping along at this point as FF #22 is a gross misuse of pages and the readers’ time. Essentially over half of the issue recaps the last Fantastic Four issue, filling in holes as to where Bentley and Val were when the FF stormed AIM island. It then ends predictably. I can imagine Hickman was asked to end his run but without doing anything too big and whipped this up in a 5 minute brainstorm. Ugh.

The Sliders concept behind this series is growing on me. X-Treme X-Men Vol. 2 #4 sees our heroes zapped to a world of the wild wild west. Cyclops is the sherif, Xavier some kind of mind criminal and Sabretooth a bar brawler. So far the only constant in this series has been the cast and Dazzler’s need to sing every issue. I’m hoping by series end they give Dazzler a reason to even exist. This issue doesn’t do much in that regard, but it is a fun elseworlds story. Just a tad too predictable.

Steed and Mrs. Peel: Ongoing #1 reads like a bad 70’s TV show. The characters speak aloud the plot and their feelings and most of the issue is spent in a bunker. It’s incredibly boring and doesn’t do much to introduce the characters. When things do finally pick up in the final 3 pages (check out the monsters), there’s a cliffhanger that made me check to see what company produced this. The answer is BOOM!, but I could have sworn the bad guys were from Marvel. I love the writer, Mark Waid, but this wasn’t a very good introduction…unless hammy dialogue is your thing.

And just like that the Alpha story comes to a close in Amazing Spider-Man #694. Talk about a fast forward on a story. On top of that there’s a bit of deus ex machina going on in here as Spidey figures out a way to depower Alpha (although not completely) due to Terminus showing up with some alien tech. Humberto Ramos pencils yet another great looking issue, but I can’t help but think this issue was stuffed too much. It doesn’t get a chance to breath or ruminate on the characters and their place. On top of that Alpha disappears and shows up at the last minute to be depowered. Seems like Slott may have run out of ideas and wanted it to end quickly. I had hopes it’d be developed further than it was.

I’m not really sure what we learn that’s new in Aquaman #0 although I suppose the family infighting is interesting. No doubt some info revealed in this issue is going to lead us to the Justice League preview of Arthur attacking the mainland. The issue does a nice job showing Aquaman just after his father died and he’s lost and all alone. Pretty much a meh comic if I ever saw one.

If you like Tomb Raider you’re probably going to love Gambit #3. Gambit and his new girl friend (who dresses just like Tomb Raider) head to Guatemala to figure out his new starfish alien friend that’s been inserted in his body. They quickly find themselves in a tomb which, like in Indiana Jones 4 turns out to be some kind of spaceship that turns into some kind of God creation thingy, and all hell breaks loose. It’s a fun action packed ride that’s rather well paced.

Once again this series doesn’t cut it (largely because it’s going to be much better collected) but Invincible Iron Man #525 isn’t that bad. Tony’s plan is finally coming to fruition, yet this issue only contains a small part of it. War Machine’s story is moving far, far too slowly and I’m starting to get much too impatient for this story. Thankfully it ends next issue before Marvel NOW! kicks into gear. If not for the event maybe writer Matt Fraction would have had this going forever.

Do we really need to see how Bruce Wayne grew up infatuated with his parents’ killer? Batman: The Dark Knight #0 outlines how Bruce never forgot, nor ever stopped searching for the killer. You see him in college in the middle of class writing notes (the crazy), you see him investigating as a child and so on and so forth. Finally when he does figure it out it’s practically a joke how easy it is. And what does he do? I won’t ruin it but let’s just say he doesn’t do much of anything. Another pointless #0 issue.

I haven’t been reading Flash regularly so I thought maybe Flash #0 would be a great issue to jump on and get excited. Sadly this doesn’t happen. Francis Manapul’s pencils are gorgeous, they always are, but the story doesn’t have any weight to it. Flashbacks adorn the story as Flash thinks back to the moments before his mother was killed. The issue does a good job explaining why Flash became a cop and his internal motivations, but not a lot to do with him becoming the Flash. Very skippable, but maybe it has implications for stories later.

After the exciting chapter previous to this issue things slow down a whole hell of a lot in Journey Into Mystery #644. The pacing makes this issue a super fast read. Me thinks this will read better when collected, but overall a ho-hum issue that could be skipped on a tight budget.

Talon #0 will get you excited for the new series, and really this is how the #0 issues should have been done i.e. new characters, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark in regards to the purchased books this week. I love the idea of an escape artist superhero and this series is going to be incredibly interesting as it pries open the Court of Owls’ organization. The back story certainly brings the intrigue here and is at worst a worthy read.


Sad Magneto is so sad.


Skullkickers #18 (Image Comics)



Another Tavern Tales issue as the last story arc wrapped up and I couldn’t be more happy. The fantasy genre doesn’t get enough play in the comic world (if you ask me) and when it does rear its head it doesn’t get to shoot off the quality humor this series delivers. This issue contains 6 short stories at a whopping 32 pages long. What is this the 90’s?! When nearly every comic book runs 20 pages it’s comics like this that pull out the bang for your buck card even if it’s $3.99.


Magical items always = awesome.

One of my favorite stories in this issue has our duo find a magical bag that can hold an infinite amount of items. Certainly something we’ve seen before, but this story adds humor and an animated Disney cartoon feel that makes it highly enjoyable.


Merrily beer is good…even if it comes from an insect.

I wasn’t familiar with the artists that contributed to this issue, but after reading it I’m much more likely to check them out. It’s not just about art or writing either, but the great pace each story has.


Zombies come in many different flavors.

It’s clear this property allows artists and writers to comment on the genre as a whole as well. One short takes pot shots at Dungeons and Dragons and zombies in the same breath. Another plays up the idea of guilds who demand dues, but what happens when guilds stomp on each others turf?


So many guilds so little time.

This issue is a bargain at the price. More pages than most $3.99 comics today, and with every single short in this book bringing the funny and excitement, it’s sure to bring you some joy.

Budget: $6.01 – $3.99 = $2.02


Batman Incorporated #0 (DC Comics)


Good art, good writing but a more is less feel permeates the book. Heck, it’s been a great week for Batman given the Dark Knight Returns movie and now this. This issue was the subject of our Is It Good review earlier this afternoon, which you can check out here.

Budget: $2.02 – $0.0 = $2.02


Superman #0 (DC Comics)


Scott Lobdell knows his way around a story which is immediately evident in this issue. Something missing in many of these #0 issues is mystery. Many of them tell their stories in a very ham handed linear way that meets all expectations and cliches. Not so here, as I want to turn the pages and learn more about Superman’s parents.


Note the cool angular shapes around the panel which are used throughout.

Something missing in the Superman books is the sense of adventure that science fiction and fantasy so often have. Something like John Carter runs mostly on childlike wonder and more often then not Superman doesn’t get that. Instead he punches things in the face. One reason why Grant Morrison’s Superman was so loved is due to the exciting world he lives in. Not to mention he was super smart. It’s clear this issue’s main prerogative is to build up old ghosts that will eventually be visiting Supes, but also to show where he came from. A super smart father and a mother who knows her way around a fight.


Wow.

Kenneth Rocafort does an impeccable job with the Krypton world. The figures are good, but really it’s the environment that is stellar here. It looks so complex and interesting you don’t want to leave.


Worse than Hitler.

The overarching reasons for why Krypton explodes are also laid bare here, although there’s about 3 different reasons shown that may or may not be connected. Either way, it’s an interesting look at the past which helps expand on Superman’s birth place. At least it’s not reduced to “oh it blew up forget about it” as is usually the case. This is a good issue, but it doesn’t quite hit all the marks, particularly because it’s so darn short. Some of the pages are a bit cluttered and it can’t compete with the final purchase of the week.

Budget: $2.02 – $0.00 = $2.02


Incredible Hulk Vol. 2 #14 (Marvel Comics)


If you ask me Jason Aaron is a force to be reckoned with. The man knows how to spin a tale and his work on this series has been at the very least fun. It’s not going to win a Pulitzer, but hot damn do I come away happy every time. Sometimes ComiX Weekly can’t recommend it, but that’s largely because a better bargain for your buck is out there. This issue is one of those bargains because there’s some cool ideas and fun writing to be had.


Nearing an assassin of minds.

This issue introduces a corporation that deals in mind control. One of their customers implies some churches use their services, but their current customer wants to kill a mind when that’s the only thing that can be attacked. It’s revealed one of Dr. Doom’s bots is said customer and with the help of a bunch of other Doom bots, they hope to stop Hulk once and for all.


It’s not so surprising when you remember there’s a raccoon on a major Marvel team.

Jason Aaron does a great job crafting the frailties of the Doom bots. You’d think they’d be simple machines, but they have personalities and fears all their own. Makes you wonder what Dr. Doom did when he created their minds. Maybe frailty is something he implanted to ensure none of them rise up. The very idea of a bunch of bots running amok though is crux of the humor.


Robots can feel!

On top of this thread we have Hulk and Bruce Banner teaming up and it’s interesting how Aaron is weaving it together. Characters ask Hulk who they’re talking to and the reader eventually learns they’re talking to both. You see, inside their mind is a joystick that controls the physical version. Inside it looks something like this:

When Hulk takes the controls over he doesn’t need many to get his Hulk on:

This is a fun issue with a great balance between humor and action worth every penny.

Budget: $2.02 – $3.99 = -$1.97

Three very different books, each of which cost us $3.99 (damn these prices) but well worth your dime. A lot of premiere books hit the shelves next week like Avengers vs. X-Men #12, Before Watchmen Rorschach #2 and, for me anyway, Harvest #3. See you next week, and be sure to pick up our recommended comic of the week on the website sidebar!