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ComiX Weekly: 10/17/12 – Attack of The Human Hero

Welcome to Adventures in Poor Taste’s weekly comic review. A typical week might see over 50 book releases and that’s just the big two over at DC and Marvel. This column serves as a buyers guide to those of us holding a single Hamilton and can’t afford to read every single issue.

This was a tough week to sift through, largely because there were so many good books to read. Be sure to check for links in the small-review section as I sample key imagery here and there.

Daredevil Vol. 3 #19 (Marvel Comics)

If you’ve been reading this column and agree with my assessment of the amazing run Mark Waid has had on this series, well then you’ve already purchased this. If not, let me count the ways this issue is amazing.

Frame this on a wall. I dare you!

Art is top notch. It has a cell shaded sort of feel, but it’s all about the composition here. There’s movement, as seen in the image above, and the drama is on nearly every page. The falling backwards Daredevil above for instance, is gasp inducing.

Things aren’t as they seem

The current story befuddles DD and it befuddles the reader, but in a good way. Fact is, Daredevil has been trying to convince his right hand man Foggy that he’s not crazy. Sadly he’s starting to think maybe it’s true. It’s fun to follow him along in the story and hope he’ll figure out why he’s being toyed with. You do in this issue and it’s tantalizing.

Prettiest blam ever.

This series has accentuated the street crime fighter aspect of Daredevil from the get go. It’s clear Mark Waid appreciates this as it’s on display in nearly every issue. You see the panel below and think, “I could see that in a movie!” Then you realize this is as close as we’re going to get to a badass Daredevil movie. For now, anyways. (Someone help Mark Waid write a screenplay.)

So pretty.

The last reason I’ve been raving about this series is its ability to entertain even when you haven’t read an issue prior. Something about the mix between storytelling, art and pacing has kept this beast of a tale entertaining panel to panel. It may be 20 pages, but it feels like a steal at $2.99.

Budget: $10.00 – $2.99 = $7.01

Marvel Now! Point One #1 (Marvel Comics)

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this comic, largely because it has a good centerpiece to revolve the 4 stories around. Unfortunately for ComiX Weekly, the 10 dollar budget can’t sustain a 6 dollar comic. This issue was the subject of our Is It Good review earlier this afternoon, which you can check out here.

Budget: $7.01 – $0.00 = $7.01

Cyberforce (2012) #1 (Top Cow)

This comic book is free due to the first 5 issues being fully funded on Kickstarter. Anyone with a Comixology account can pick it up RIGHT NOW, or if you’re lucky enough to find an issue at the comic stand go get it. In a comic book review column all about budget do I even need to say this is a recommended “purchase”?

Bringing the sweet science fiction future tech!

I never read the original Cyberforce and only vaguely remember Ripclaw as a sort of robo-Wolverine. What really sticks with me was the sweet, sweet art. This issue dispels any fear that this is only about the art. A good story is being set up, one that has an intriguing premise and interesting characters.

Pi brought doomsday to us all!

This picture basically sums it up:

Did I mention it’s free? Pick this up, try it out, it’s got lots of pretty art and an interesting hook of a story.

Budget: $6.01 – $FREE = $6.01

Sixteen comics this week were either close to the mark or downright failures. Either way they can’t justifiably fit into a 10 dollar budget. Poison Ivy will have them stripping. (Don’t forget to click any links as they direct you to more pictures!)

Michael Avon Oeming’s The Victories #3 is a lesson in composition and it’s only four bucks! The man can draw a sick two page spread, I mean look at this one, but the story wanders rather than strikes. When a beat happens that should draw you in, a malaise unfortunately has already set in which kills the drama. The book looks great, and might even read better collected, but as a single issue it’s hard to get into it.

This issue covers two scenes, on between Wolverine and Cyclops and another about a fellow mutant who gained back his powers. AVX: Consequences #2 (of 5) is good in that it confirms Cyclops’ mental state, the man thinks he’s a martyr like Che Guevara, and wants to die. Wolverine wants Cyclops to bring in the Phoenix Five that are unaccounted for (and Wolverine flips when Cyclops asks where Hope and Emma are…wha?) and they of course bring up Jean Grey once again. While entertaining and not as annoying as something Bendis would throw together, it all feels a little pointless, especially with how Wolverine acts. Also, can you really bring in beer to a prison? Where did he hide that? Do I want to know?

If you’re into political drama in a assassin mold check out Star Wars: Agent of the Empire—Hard Targets #1. The only real draw to purchase this book is the appearance of a young Princess Leia pre Alderaan annihilation and a Boba Fett sighting. The issue has way too much chatter concerning politics and a ridiculous convo between the protagonist assassin and his employer. When will assassins learn you never ask why you had to kill someone? I suppose it’s to show they have a heart, but it’s rather boring stuff.

Sadly the headless horseman doesn’t rear his, ahem, head in Grimm Fairy Tales: Sleepy Hollow #1 but that doesn’t meant his issue should be avoided. I like that Zenescope Entertainment is allowing their writers to build the story and its characters. That said, there’s a goofy plot device here (a kid threatens to kill his tutor unless he gives him the answers) that is unbelievable. The characters make reference to said unbelievability, but that can’t safe how silly that is. I do like the setup here, a college aged boy who loves history has an old sword given to him by his father, which most likely is spiked with the spirit of the headless horsemen. This book is one to watch as it might get good based on the quality writing.

I had high hopes for this series, but Joe Hill’s The Cape: 1969 #4 (of 4) confirms it was too small an idea for anything beyond 1 issue. To sum up this 4 issue series in a nutshell: the cape from The Cape gets an origin story and it goes back to Vietnam. This issue shows just how sparse the series oas on story, with whole pages containing 3 panels with little to no point beyond setting the mood. The art was fabulous, but the pacing of this series, and the entire point of it, was severely lacking. At least we get some gore for Halloween which you can peep here.

Marvel Zombies Halloween #1 is actually a nice done in one story that reveals an X-Men fan favorite and what she’s up to. I won’t spoil who she is as the surprise is sort of the entire point. It’s a cute “let’s celebrate Halloween” that only the usually tongue in cheek yet gore friendly Marvel Zombies can deliver. You’ll positively love a guest appearance by a metaphysical character. It’s a nice little story, just not good enough to make it into our budget.

The Walking Dead #103 is an entertaining read for you sadists out there. Once again there isn’t a whole lot to chew on for single issue readers, but it’s a beautiful set up to the eventual Rick plan that’ll leave us cheering. Nice dialogue, nice chapter in the series, not too great on deliverable entertainment.

After reading and reviewing 3 issues written by Pat Shand I’m impressed. The man can plot, pace and write great dialogue. Godstorm #1 (of 5) is a good issue wrapped up in what appears to be a potentially excellent story. It’s brave of Zenescope to allow a comic titled Godstorm to have only 2 or so pages of gods in it. The rest is a mafia story about two young high schoolers who join forces, one muscle the other smart, who rise up. The art is also enjoyable (save for a hiccup or two) as it has its own style and grace. It even keeps the T&A to a minimum.

Avengers Assemble #8 is for the comic book reader who likes the cosmic stuff. Mark Bagley does an excellent job with splash pages in this issue, I mean just look at this spread, but overall the twist ending is ludicrous. It also leaves nothing for Thanos to do but whimper, cry and disappear. For such a big villain he sure does go out like a chump, especially considering his master plan involved being duped too. FOr a mini series I thought would bring Thanos to new heights it very much fails. Also the cover is once again very misleading. Thanos doesn’t kick anybody’s ass, just teleports them, the lazy butt.

It’s very hard to read this and not think, “This is Bendis’ farewell to the baby he created.” New Avengers Vol. 2 #31 does the usual Bendis stuff, i.e. capture quirky moments of the characters, have them become a bit human and basically do non-superhero stuff. If you like Dr. Strange and Iron Fist you’ll probably enjoy this, but the murky art and tepid story can be passed by most.

Ultimate Comics Iron Man #1… more like ultimate comic version of the movie Iron Man. He even looks alittle like Downey Jr. Aside from the quirky costume this has the feel it was written for folks who love the movies. A win for Marvel, but not necessarily a win for comic enthusiasts.

Just when you thought your expectations might not come true…Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol. 2 #16 does everything you’d expect and then some. What pray tell could happen when Captain America tells Spider-Man he’s not ready to be a hero…well maybe he proves it in the line of duty? Cap gets impressed, lots of exciting action ensues and fun is had by all. Frankly it’s enjoyable for action buffs, but I was left wanting a bit more in the story, but this is a rousing and exciting concluding chapter in a series that was slow drip with story and no action for ages. It’s not quite as amazing as the rest of the books so it’s not picked this week.

If you have been following the X-Men and don’t find Uncanny X-Men Vol. 2 #20 you probably hated the last year or two of comics. Basically this issue sets up the new Marvel Now! by retconning two major events. Three if you count the reveal of someone we thought was dead. This issue does serve as a means to make Colossus a good guy again and Cyclops have a reason to escape prison. Essentially this is a plot creating issue and nothing more.

So Carnage decides he doesn’t like the dudes that broke him out of prison. What ever will he do? Why, murder them all of course! Venom Vol. 2 #26 is an okay read, but a little far out for my tastes. Also this happens. Not sure this is the most balanced read, especially when Scarlet Spider and Venom are getting double shipped, requiring the reader to read 4 issues a month to understand what is going on. A good example of a book that needs to be read in the collected format.

X-O Manowar #6 is exciting with a bunch of action, a reveal that everyone saw coming and an all around well written comic. Everyone was waiting for the Ninjak fight and it delivers. Stronger comics prevail however, and this puppy can’t get a recommendation.

Batwoman #13 is beautiful. J. H. Williams is a true artist and this book does not disappoint in his, now customary, two page spreads that will leave your mouth agape. This issue is practically a chapter in a book, with a lot of writing scattered in places. The composition of the pages and how the story is being told is something to check out for the sheer fact that it is making things up as it goes along. One shot of the maze as seen here and another of a baddy getting zapped here, are just amazing. Be sure to click those. They are worth it. It doesn’t make the cut only because the books selected were good in all categories, and this issue is a little harder to pick up and enjoy by a casual reader.

You know he likes it.

Hawkeye #3 (Marvel Comics)

I’ve reviewed the first two issues of this new series and both times I’ve been a little confused with the balance of the books. The uneven action, story and dialogue has rubbed me the wrong way…until now. This issue captures the humorous and energetic writing of Matt Fraction and the astounding composition of David Aja perfectly.

I always did think those “special” arrows were silly. Until this issue of course.

Fraction approaches the “special” superhero arrow with much gusto this issue. Who really thinks an arrow needs to be anything but sharp? Hawkeye, that’s who and this issue proves just how handy these arrow can be. You’ll see electro arrows, boomerang arrow heck even a putty arrow!

Putty, keeping it real since 1985.

It goes without saying Matt Fraction likes to add the quirk to most of his books. The man know how to bring the funny in interesting ways and while it’s appeared at times in the previous issues is in full force here.

Love the dong blocker there.

The not so accurate translation of others languages also makes an appearance as it did last issue.

Say what?

This is going to be an incredible collected series. I haven’t loved an issue till now, but I certainly like them. This is a must buy for anyone looking for something deeply entertaining. And amazingly it doesn’t suffer the over priced knock Marvel loves to slap on books.

Budget: $7.01 – $2.99 = $4.02

Justice League #13 (DC Comics)

Nothing against Geoff Johns, but I haven’t been much of a fan of this series. Essentially it reads like a bloated action flick, but when you’ve got a team book it’s very obvious when the character development is lacking. This issue is a perfect example of not much substance but a heck of a lot of good art.

Hubba Hubba.

Case in point, the image above is a beautiful 2 page spread. When a reader is on a budget I figure they want a little more with their imagery than an oversimplification fight scene. Also, notice the image above, is that Central Park New York City? Who roams that city and protects it? It’s certainly not Gotham is it?

Oversexualized much?.

The Cheetah is pissed and wants to kill all humans. Stupid cows! And so on. Let’s run through a bit more of the silliness in this book.

Where is your vagina and is that what happens to you when you become The Cheetah?!

Dude it’s super creepy when you float like that.

I hope that cape comes with AC.

Cheetah is faster than Flash now?

Johns does effectively show Flash and Cyborg bond for a bit, but really it’s Flash trying to get Cyborg to listen in on Wonder Woman and Superman so it’s more selfish than friendly. Once this becomes less an action movie maybe it’ll get recommended here.

Budget: $4.02 – $0.00 = $4.02

Wonder Woman (2011-) #13 (DC Comics)

It must be nice for DC that all their comics are on the same number. It’s like a reminder of how far they’ve come with the New 52. It’s also a reminder of how long it’s been that this new universe has been annoying readers. Unless of course you’re talking about Wonder Woman which for all intents and purposes has succeeded in making her fresh and entertaining.

This issue opens with an awesome introduction to a new villain who chomps heads.

Num num num num.

Builds the costars of the book nicely and keeps things interesting.

What an AWESOME sound effect.

The mythology aspects that are being built into this series work for the most part. That’s a win win. Unfortunately there’s another mythological comic that beats it out.

Budget: $4.02 – $0.00 = $4.02

The Mighty Thor #21 (Marvel Comics)

I have yet to recommend a book in this 6 part series, but they’ve come close a few times. Let it be known collected this is a must buy 6 part series and the conclusion couldn’t have been better. The balance between character development, pace, action and surprises is like no other. What a send off for Thor into the Marvel Now! I’m sure most fans will be happy.

Incredible let down!

I mulled over not recommended this since 5 issues take place prior to this and new readers won’t really get it. But then I thought, Thor is fighting a giant monster, he’s mad at Loki, and Loki is sad because it was all part of his plan. How can a new reader not figure that out?

Coolest. Weapon. Ever.

Then we have the brotherhood between Thor and Loki being developed in incredible fashion. It’s not them just talking like so many comics show relationships, but actual actions forming their bonds. Great stuff there too.

Isn’t that JUST like a Metal album? Wink wink.

The reveal at the end, and the way it’s introduced, is very cool. Thor is an exciting character again and I can’t wait to keep reading him.

Budget: $4.02 – $3.99 = $.03

We’re under budget and we got four comics! We’re usually over budget with 3 comics! Check back next week. Without you the reader this column wouldn’t be possible!


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