We are one week away from a Halloween Wednesday which is always fun. This week has some nice surprises in store, like DC Comics’ Talon #1, more X-Baby madness and a couple of new books from Dark Horse and IDW. Many Marvel comics are saying goodbye too, or at least the creative teams that have been working on them for years, due to Marvel NOW! changing things up.
This is a buyer’s guide for those who only have 10 dollars, (X in Roman numerals, get it?!), and want the best comics that cash can buy. Be sure to check for links in the small-review section as I sample key imagery here and there.
A-Babies vs. X-Babies #1 (Marvel Comics)
If you’re a fan of these baby comics then you’ll be hard pressed not to buy this. They are cute, they are lovable and there’s a cutesy sense of humor throughout. If however, you hate the very sight of these abominations…I don’t need to tell you to steer clear. If you are on the fence though, let me enlighten you.
Pretty funny stuff.
Aside from this being rather pointless, this is an enjoyable read. There are enough sight gags to keep you smirking (because honestly I’m not sure anyone would laugh out loud at this stuff) and the art is exceptional. The plot is simple enough. Cyclops stole Captain America’s Bucky doll and he wants it back. Giant fight scenes ensue!
Love the curvy design.
Since this is a one-shot Skottie Young gets to throw in the kitchen sink as far as gags go. That means lots of funny little surprises.
The moon as a bottle. Clever.
Marvel even has the decency to not charge us four dollars, but to keep this puppy at $2.99. Because the draw of a book like this resides on being satiated with the art I can’t really recommend this. You’ll flip through it, smirk then put it back on the shelf.
Budget: $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00
Punisher: War Zone #1 (of 5) (Marvel Comics)
Good start to a potentially interesting story that bids farewell to Greg Rucka on Punisher. The story is short but sweet. Or should I say bittersweet? A good purchase on a bigger budget. This issue was the subject of our Is It Good review earlier this afternoon, which you can check out here.
Budget: $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00
Let’s Play God #1 (of 4) (IDW)
I’m loving the new series revolution that’s going on in comics these days. Image Comics and IDW tend to put out some interesting stories that Marvel and DC simply can’t. That’s fine by me as long as somebody is writing stories that couldn’t otherwise be told because Hollywood thinks it’s too risky. This story sets up an interesting premise about an all-girl rock band and how one of its members becomes witness to a murder.
The characters are introduced.
The characters are twentysomething girls who probably should get on with their lives and stop playing music. They’ve got tattoos and drink Four Lokos. There isn’t too much introduction before the murdering begins, so don’t expect any character study or character development.
The art by a guy named EricJ is quite good and reminds me of Gary Frank’s work on Midnight Nation. It’s dark and detailed and when the violence happens there’s a strong sense of eeriness. And it’s gruesome:
I want to recommend this book. I really do. Two problems surface though when writing a budget comic review column. One is that it’s 22 pages, but reads like the first five minutes of a TV show before it hits the commercial. The characters are touched on briefly and the hook is delivered. Then it just ends. The pacing is top notch however and you’ll enjoy yourself immensely, it just needs a little more story to get it over the budget reader hump.
Budget: $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00
Eleven comics this week were either close to the mark or downright failures. Either way they can’t justifiably fit into a 10 dollar budget. Liquid metal-eating Superman has something to say to these chumps.
(Don’t forget to click any links as they direct you to more pictures!)
Daniel Way says goodbye to Deadpool in Deadpool Vol. 3 #63 and boy has it been a long run (63 issues actually). Sadly he doesn’t use this book to do too much. The Deadpool clone shows up for no apparent reason, the bad guy, after all the hubbub the last two issues about getting revenge, gets talked out of killing Deadpool, and we learn maybe his healing factor isn’t permanently gone. It’s all very disappointing stuff and a crummy way of ending the story threads leftover. The art however is quite interesting. It reminds me of Aeon Flux actually. Nice stuff in that regard. Can’t wait for the new writing team!
Funny, this is the exact same place I put the AVX: Consequences #1 review and sadly this series most likely won’t be making a move in the future. AVX: Consequences #3 (of 5) establishes some tidbits, for instance Emma Frost is in prison and Wolverine ISN’T the mole. You do get some kick ass fighting from Cyclops, although we already knew he could fight without powers so it’s more interesting due to the nice art rather than as a story element. This series has felt like a long winded way of divulging a couple of different morsels of story. It’s all about making money after all, it’s just disappointing when it feels like you’re being cheated. Also, why the hell is Iron Man so sad on the cover? That flower should make him happy, right?
I’m all for crazy fun, but Secret Avengers #33 is way too out there. We’ve got the Avengers of the Undead, the Undead Celestial, a vampire Wolverine and a cyborg Wasp? Rick Remender, you are throwing way too much into this story! There’s so much insanity I wasn’t sure if it was trying to be funny or not. This series has been on the weirder side since he took over, but frankly this issue more than any other in his Secret Avenger run makes me nervous for Uncanny Avengers.
There’s a point where there can be too much action. But when there’s too much writing at the same time? Wolverine Vol. 4 #315 is kind of a mess in the pacing department. It’s a slog to get through, largely because it’s hard to care about the mission. He does fight a giant eyeball, which is neat on some level, but really, why should we care? I kept asking myself that as I read this one.
I’ve been a big fan of Jason Aaron’s run on this series (seriously check the older ComiX Weeklies; it has been in there for months) and Incredible Hulk Vol. 3 #15 is a fitting conclusion to his story. It has a somewhat satisfying explanation for why Hulk and Bruce Banner decide to join forces and it keeps things kooky enough to be fun. Since it’s more of a conclusion to his entire run it doesn’t read too well for anyone just popping in. It will however close out his story arc nicely, as we recap the entire run in two pages and put to a close Hulk trying to kill Bruce Banner. And hell, this panel is worth a look by anyone. Bruce using Hulk hands and a reference to all the different hulks? Nice job Aaron. Nice job indeed.
There is a ton of action in this comic, especially for Grant Morrison, and Batman Incorporated (2012-) #4 is for those who love action. This here, and here, explains the plot in a nutshell. Lots and lots of action and a big twist that nobody will expect. I don’t know how I feel about Jason Todd being used…part of me thinks it’s dumb…but things must change as they say. This isn’t an awful issue, but it leaves the reader wanting a hell of a lot more. The art is superb but the story has been left to the next issue it seems.
Batman: The Dark Knight (2011-) #13 continues to bore. This Scarecrow story will never end, will it? Scarecrow reveals Batman’s “real” fear: Essentially, the fear of the light and crowds. …What? That’s not too big a reveal people. Batman is tied to a slab for most of the issue as Scarecrow feeds us, I mean Batman, a bunch of lies. David Finch does give us some sweet Halloweeney images like so. Not enough to even warrant a flip through.
This issue is the result of what happens when a publisher reboots things. Invincible Iron Man #527 is basically Matt Fraction saying goodbye to the character and wrapping up any loose threads leftover from the last few issues. This is actually a good comic book for the most part. It’s nice to read something that basically checks in on everyone and to see where it’s going. That said…not a lot happens in here. When there is action it’s as if it doesn’t even matter. Fraction wants us to know it’s about the characters and where they’ve come I suppose. This issue is similar to FF in that we can see just how far the character has come under one writer. It’s a good final chapter, but not a great single issue book to pick up on a budget.
Gambit fights those monsters from Willow in Gambit Vol. 5 #4. Or at least they look like those monsters. I don’t know what happened to this comic. Last issue there was adventure, flying around the world, some chick that looks like Tomb Raider being all hot. This issue…it’s some magical inter-dimensional stuff with pointless jumping and lots of bad plotting. I suppose it’s impossible to really have a good story when it’s Gambit versus some flying dragons, but I was holding out hope.
Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting say goodbye to Cap in Captain America Vol. 6 #19 and considering they were probably forced to call it quits quickly it’s not a bad yarn. Cap has a talk with his replacement during the war who went off the deep end. We get to see a meta flashback where Bucky holds up the original Captain America comic book, which is neat, but it’s all blah blah blah. I’m not sure Brubaker did this by choice or if Marvel said, “hey this is it, say goodbye” because it reads like a summary of events rather than a love letter. Maybe I’m spoiled for how good writer Jonathan Hickman has said farewell to the Fantastic Four books.
I’ve reviewed every single one of these and Adventure Time #9 poignantly goes back in time to issue #1 and issue #5. Oh, and it goes back to the first iteration of the series ever. It’s a fun issue, but the balance of jokes and dialogue is a bit much. It feels like molasses at times, but overall a fun story. You always do get double with these too and the booster story at the end is a good time too. Fin and Jake even get eaten by 5 fishes at once!
Now that’s just weird.
The Untold Tales of Dog Mendonca and Pizzaboy (Dark Horse Comics)
This comic is about a couple of characters that have appeared in Dark Horse Presents but that’s okay, you don’t need to read that to enjoy this book. Storytelling is a funny thing. You can lay it on thick, make it complex, or do something different. Here it’s definitely different, with the characters breaking the fourth wall and even referencing Dark Horse Comics. Oh, and you’ll love it.
Gotta love the 300 dollar “big fat” giant check.
From what I gather this is about a character who recounts his origin. He’s currently part of a secret monster society, but back in the day he was sent to a Nazi camp due to his being a monster. Housed with other monsters we learn any that didn’t make it out of the camp never end up in the fairy tales we know of today. It’s a clever take on monsters and, even though it’s dealing with Nazis, feels fresh all around. This is largely because the story is funny and interesting.
Nazi vs. werewolf. How does this end?
Since the character is breaking the fourth wall to tell us his backstory it allows some some pretty ingenious and well-timed beats to allow the reader to soak in the story. He does this by saying, “I’ll tell you later” then the story cuts away, then cuts back with the characters and we need to catch up the story. As if time actually passed.
I hate when my friends get all Moby-Dicky on me.
An original storytelling voice is on display here. The art is pretty and typically cliched elements are made to feel fresh and new. Must buy!
Budget: $10.00 – $3.99 = $6.01
FF #23 (Marvel Comics)
Jonathan Hickman, you are officially the writer of the best comic book of the year…so far! I enjoyed his last issue of Fantastic Four as it was a great sendoff on his terrific run. Then he goes and captures a sense of wonder and adventure in FF #23 that reminds us as readers why comic books are so good. And this is good stuff indeed.
This sums up the entire issue.
This issue is basically a goodbye from Hickman through adult Franklin. It’s broken up into goodbyes with all the main characters, from old Val to young Val, Thing and Johnny, young Franklin, and by books end, Mr. Fantastic & Sue Storm.
Adult Franklin has been testing young Franklin through one of his portal doors. We learn young Franklin has been writing ideas on paper and then they go on a single adventure using his powers inside the portal. This time though, adult Franklin must say goodbye and they go through all the adventures on in one go.
It says a lot about Hickman’s run that this issue is so entertaining. Most of the best moments are simple moments between characters that we’ve grown to love. Nick Dragotta once again hits another issue out of the park with his incredibly poignant style. The smallest panel holds the most power because of his perfect rendition of expression.
Super smart doesn’t mean you’re not an asshole.
Hickman even tucks a cool concept about the universe into this book. And I mean, that’s what FF is all about, right?
Neat idea to say the very least. One wonders if Hickman had a story planned using this element.
I hope Dragotta keeps drawing Marvel books and I hope Hickman can make magic elsewhere at Marvel as he’s done in this series over the last few years. Incredibly powerful issue that is only 22 pages but feels like 40. And it’s only $2.99!
Budget: $6.01 – $2.99 = $3.02
Talon (2012-) #1 (DC Comics)
After a rather sweet introduction in #0, Talon #1 reads more like issue #2. That’s not too fair to readers, so keep that in mind when looking at this title. You’re going to want to read issue #0 first. While issue #0 was an introduction of the character this issue serves as an introduction to his new mission. Kill the rest of the Court of Owls. And as we learn there are 16 of them and they aren’t all in Gotham.
Daddy Mac will make yah, jump jump! Sorry…
This was written by Scott Snyder AND James Tynion IV and it’s pretty obvious it was written by two people. The first twelve pages essentially explain to us what the protagonist knows (lots of secrets concerning Court of Owl locations) and a long fight scene with an Owl.
Even facing death, he still has time to crack wise.
And then the final six pages are a long explanation of a new character who’s had it out for the Court of Owls for decades. The old adage of “show, don’t tell” is clearly being ignored in this section as it’s blah blah blah rather than convincing storytelling outside of dialogue. When the hero agrees to join this shady old man you’ll roll your eyes and say, “oh well, sounds fun but it’s pretty unbelievable this guy would just up and join him.”
Where is Nicolas Cage from those National Treasure movies when you need him?
That said I’m still interested in where this story is going. It’s just a bit sloppy in the execution.
Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02
Journey Into Mystery #645 (Marvel Comics)
Oh the mighty have fallen. Starting where The Mighty Thor #21 ended (review here), Loki is in deep trouble. Kid Loki anyway. It seems he’s bartered away his remaining time and evil Loki wants his body back. It’s sad to see all these stories ending and it’s especially tough to watch when they’re all ending at the same time. This time Marvel appears to want Loki back in the bad guy category and this issue shows us how that happens.
Teardrops keep falling on my head…
How good is Stephanie Hans on art? This issue is painted and it’s gorgeous. Do yourself the favor and at the very least skim through this issue. I’d love to find out where her art ends up because a lot of the pages in this book could be hung on a wall.
Just when they become friends…he’s gotta go evil?
Writer Kieren Gillen does a good job recapping where everyone will be in the next month and also gives Loki a nice happy ending.
It can’t be real, can it?
Once again I read a sendoff issue this week and it isn’t quite as nice as it was in FF #23. It’s good, but not great. Maybe it’s due to it having so few scenes. Either way, beautiful issue but doesn’t tickle the fancy quite enough.
Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02
Amazing Spider-Man #696 (Marvel Comics)
Call me a sucker for Hobgoblin, because this issue was a Hobgoblin extravaganza! Two, count em two Hobgoblins!
I said this the last time I used a “haha” image but…love those laughs.
It’s perfect timing for a story like this, being Halloween time and all, and this issue delivers three full pages of Hobgoblin versus Hobgoblin action. It seems the current, younger Hobby killed the original Hobgoblin’s brother. Now he wants revenge. But not because he killed his brother, oh no, but because he stole his brand.
Kingpin is straight ballin.
Peter has been kidnapped and a special Spider-sense blocker is giving him such a bad migraine he can’t do anything but ask for some help. He gets some from his boss from the science lab and then things get really exciting.
Oh god yes!
I’ll fully admit my joy and love of Hobgoblin may have clouded my senses (much like it has for Spidey!). The book does read with a bit of a clunky nature, but the story is fun and entertaining. Once again we get a scene where Peter has to pretend he doesn’t know anything about being Spider-Man whilst saving the day with web shooters like a pro.
There are also two panels that allude to the big #700 issue that’s coming up. I won’t spoil that here, but let it be known the next issue might be another purchase as the last page teases more Hobgoblin action!
Budget: $3.02 – $3.99 = $-.97
Blame the extra 97 cents on my addiction to Hobgoblin. That said, a lot of sad farewells in this week’s ComiX Weekly. It’s an exciting time to see so many books change hands at the same time, but it’s sad a lot of great writers and artists are taking a sabbatical if you will. Here’s to hoping Marvel NOW! kicks butt. See you back here next Wednesday!