Thanksgiving, and more likely family, is going to be eating into your comic book reading time this long weekend. If you’re going to be limited, why not read the best three books 10 dollars can buy? That’s what this column is for after all!

Be sure to check for links in the small-review section as I sample key imagery here and there.


Justice League #14 (DC Comics)


Let’s recap this incredibly odd issue of Justice League. Things we learned:


Flash sucks.


Beating bad guys is this easy.


Seriously that’s wicked creepy.


Did that just happen?

The best part of this issue was the backup Shazam story. I’m confused why this isn’t getting its own book. After a hiatus, too long considering how enjoyable this installment is, since the #0 issue of Justice League we finally get more from this interesting story.


Black Adam’s tactics alone are worth reading this issue.

But a booster story a comic does not make even if it’s 13 pages long. This Cheetah story was a long-winded way of introducing a new villain that’ll most likely join a villain team in the near future.

Budget: $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00


Amazing Spider-Man #698 (Marvel Comics)


Sure, Bendis did a similar story in his Ultimate Spider-Man run, but writer Dan Slott does an impeccable job writing this story. Many people are already hating on this issue, but if you give it a chance it’s written well enough to be enjoyable by everyone. This issue was the subject of our Is It Good review earlier this afternoon, which you can check out here.

Budget: $10.00 – $3.99 = $6.01


Judge Dredd #1 (IDW)


Some might argue Dredd was the best superhero movie of the summer and most will call them crazy. The fact is they might be right, as Dredd offers quality science fiction most superhero movies don’t even attempt to touch. If that’s not what draws them to the property, the ultra violence and despotic setting is what they like, or so they tell me.


Banana revenge!

There are two stories, the first being one called “Ripe,” about a robotic fruit tree run amuck. There’s a sense of humor in this story, in both stories actually, that allows Dredd to be a little less serious. What makes this story sing however, isn’t the humor but the science fiction elements. A tree that always has ripened fruit to be plucked that only the rich can enjoy? Sounds plausible.


Bad. Ass.

Nelson Daniel’s art is great stuff and the classic dotted coloring gives the issue a pulpy feel. He draws Dredd in a hulking, weighty way similar to how Frank Miller drew Batman in The Dark Knight Returns.


Ouch.

Writer Duane Swierczynski is in charge of each story and clearly he’s got a robot theme going on. The backup story, while not quite as enjoyable, touches on the same sort of “robots have rights too” theme. Together both stories give the reader a sense of just how out of touch with reality humans have gotten in Mega-City One.


And yet she’s not too upset about it.

Whenever science fiction introduces new ideas you’ve gained permission to take my money. This is a great first issue that spells good things for Judge Dredd.

Budget: $6.01 – $3.99 = $2.02

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. Skeletor will flee into his happy place!

(Don’t forget to click any links as they direct you to more pictures!)

J.H. Williams can do no wrong visually in Batwoman #14 as his now customary art is astounding on nearly every page. My only gripe is his storytelling technique is difficult to wrap your head around. He’s doing something very unconventional and it doesn’t always work by utilizing lots of text, building the page in intricate ways or simply in some cases letting the imagery take over the page. If you dig unconventional composition this book is for you, but it forces the book to read in an unbalanced way.

If you’re looking for a science fiction read with some ultra violence Number 13 #0 might need to pop up on your radar. There’s plenty of comic to be had here, 43 or so pages of it, but it’s a little slow, confusing and odd. A robot boy named 13 is looking for his father in a mutant wasteland (that also contains ogres…huh?). It turns out his father dresses as if he’s from the 70’s, so maybe the world was plague ridden then? The problem with this issue is there isn’t a lot of character development and there certainly aren’t any answers beyond some cursory setup.

There are two nice back stories concerning newly introduced gods in Wonder Woman #14 but this issue is largely meh. The gods lounging around a pool on Olympus is more boring than anything, but that might be due to the slow pace of the story. You know a comic isn’t worth reading if you can reread it by skipping huge chunks and still retain the main story beats.

Art is split up between three atists in The Goon #43 and it’s slightly upsetting. Only because Eric Powell is so very good at what he does. Mark Buckingham’s backup story concludes this issue and Kyle Hotz does a decent job, but Powell is once again blowing you away every time he puts pen to paper. The story is a decent, run-of-the-mill Goon story if I ever saw one, although there is far less humor this issue. Less humor, less Powell art equals a skippable issue.

The plot thickens over in X-O Manowar (2012-) #7 with a seemingly pointless battle between Ninjak and our protagonist. No, the real enjoyment to be had from this issue is the development of plot. Clearly the characters needed to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, as the dialogue isn’t very poignant and the storytelling is heavy-handed. It’s not bad, but it reads more like a handbook on how to get to issue #8 more than anything.

I love the idea writer Mark Waid has come up with in Indestructible Hulk #1 as we see Bruce Banner essentially threaten SHIELD with either giving him what he wants…or letting the power of the Hulk become a weapon of another agency. And when I say weapon, that’s exactly what I mean, as Banner wants SHIELD to point Hulk in the right direction when a fight is necessary. It’s a clever take on the Hulk, especially now that Bruce and Hulk are on agreeable terms. It’s also nice to see Bruce is starting to get annoyed about not being considered one of the smartest men in the world. This issue does a good job setting things up, utilizing a tense diner sequence and Yu’s art is pretty spectacular, but it’s a little thin beyond the setup. Looking forward to the next installment.

I’m still not sold on the new Marvel NOW! direction after reading Iron Man Vol. 5 #2. The issue delves into Iron Man suited karate fighting…and I really don’t understand why. The pretenses Tony goes through to fight a bunch of mech wearing dudes is odd to say the very least. The art by Greg Land isn’t so bad, possibly because he has some help this go around, but I finished reading this issue wondering why I should care at all. No wonder there’s a letter from Kieron Gillen explaining what he has in store for the future.

Rick Remender, how could you let this happen?! Uncanny X-Force #34 is rather terrible. This reads as if Remender needed to wrap things up quick which makes it all emotionally pointless. Wolverine kills his son, or so it appears, and Sabertooth pops out from behind some rubble to rub in his face. What is this, a play? Kid Apocalypse powers up, yet there doesn’t seem to be any repercussions even though the characters have been fearing this moment for months now. Remender wraps up his run on this series next month and I hope it’s a hell of a lot better than this.

Image continues to put out exceptional comics and Comeback #1 (of 5) appears to be another great series. A company goes back in time for folks who want to get something back—family member, time, whatever—and the protagonists work for said company. The dialogue is crisp and the story interesting, especially when a man with a tumor steps through the machine, but the last three pages threw me completely off. I wasn’t sure what was happening or why and the book doesn’t seem to care to tell us. Instead of ending with a twist that I can understand, it ends with a twist that seems to say, “something isn’t right!” Seeing as this is a miniseries I’m sure it’ll all make sense in the next issue, but once again these miniseries seem to be written for the collected format rather than us single issue readers.

You’re going to love what Adventures of Augusta Wind #1 is trying to do, but it doesn’t do it succinctly enough. Imagine Mary Poppins meets Alice in Wonderland and you’ll get an idea of what this book is going for. The art is interesting, albeit it changes from oil to ink seemingly at random which is a bit weird. There are ideas in here that are curiously interesting, but it’s not done in a clear and interesting way.

Deadpool Vol. 4 #2 takes this new series, which I loved last issue, right off the rails this issue. The jokes aren’t very funny, the plot meandering (chasing Roosevelt through a zoo?) and it’s generally boring. A lot of the one liners are groan-inducing and you’ll wonder why so much time is spent in the bloody zoo. There’s a couple sound gags that work, but overall a steep drop from the quality of the last issue.

So writer Brian Bendis gives us an entire issue of a reporter uncovering info and then dumps us in the middle of a civil war in Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol. 2 #17? Seriously, WTF? Artist Pepe Larraz is no match for this books usual artist and some pages look rushed. I can’t wrap my head around the idea of Miles Morales not even wearing the Spidey suit for over six issues and then being thrust into a full war. What is the thinking process behind this? This is possibly the most uneven issue yet of the series.


Skeletor flees these comics!


Captain America #1 (Marvel Comics)


Writer Rick Remender, with John Romita Jr. on pencils, wants to give you a new Captain America. And thank god for that. Simply put, Cap has been rather boring for a while. Even Ed Brubaker’s take was more involved with developing Bucky than Cap himself. Time for some new blood to give us a new flavor in the Captain America canon.


You don’t see that every day.

Remender wants you to know this is a different Cap, complete with strange new villains to defeat. The book opens with Cap holding onto the outside of a plane that’s hurtling towards Manhattan. The bad guys seem to be some kind of fertilizer nutsos which is a rather odd villain for Cap to be fighting. No more Nazis, so it seems. No, Remender appears to be going into science fiction territory. Luckily, he appears to be writing Captain America as if he’s James Bond. The guy is from an older time, but he still has the ability to be cool after all.


Wait for it…

Romita helps genre bend in this issue. Clearly Cap still needs to be tied to the real world, but Romita’s pencils have a way of making even the real world seem outlandish. Just look at his work on Kickass.


Ohhh, pretty.

It appears Remender does have a touch of an addiction to stabbing Cap with syringes with a whopping two syringes injected into him in this issue. In only 22 pages!


That’d kill you right? Does he have a healing factor or something?

The ending is a bit of a surprise, although it screams “Cable” through and through. Maybe Remender is going to get a new angle on the “old heroic vet protects a child” story, maybe not. Either way this was a decent first issue as it introduces some childhood stuff for Cap, an old but new villain and a new hook for Captain America in an entirely new genre for him.

Budget: $2.02 – $0.00 = $2.02


Daredevil #20 (Marvel Comics)


Mark Waid has made The Spot, loser villain of Spider-Man, pertinent. Should that not give you enough reason to pick up this book, also note that Daredevil has his head removed. Still not sold? How about drug cartels using pregnant women to move drugs…through space!?


Now that’s odd.

Most of this issue spends its time explaining how this new villain, self professed as The Coyote, has been doing evil things. When you find out Daredevil isn’t the first time he’s removed a body from a head you’re going to gasp. It’s just that disturbing.


Bacon Bits!

The truth is, people should give The Spot more credit as his power clearly can do a lot more than punch his enemies in the back of the head, as this issue shows. Once again Waid puts Daredevil in a unique position, this time actually making him blind, which is clever and at the same time fun to read.


This is new.

Waid has done so many different things with Daredevil in this exquisite run, more than most writers have in an entire career, that you can’t not enjoy it. Another great issue in the series.

Budget: $2.02 – $2.99 = $-.97

We went over, but I think it was worth it. Check out our Comic Book Preview every Monday to see what’s in store for our ComiX Weekly Column next week. Happy Thanksgiving!