Marvel has two new #1 issues, Image has two new series and Darth Vader is back baby! This was an impressive week for comics and surely it’s going to be tough for anyone on a budget. Let me be your guide. On a ten dollar budget I pick the top books worth your money. Plus there’s a free comic this week. Oh it’s going to be a good week indeed…

Quote of the Week:

“These ‘men’ are clever animals who learned to make tools. Now they threaten everything because they have taught themselves to be dangerous.” – Avengers Vol 5. #1


Action Comics #15 (DC Comics)


Love or hate writer Grant Morrison’s new take on Superman, you have to admit there are traces of his impressive All Star Superman prevalent throughout. Case in point, Morrison introduces the New 52 Mr. Mxyzptlk this issue, one which comes complete with a time bending plot and a thorough back story for the always colorful villain.


Nice metaphor.

Things are starting to make sense after last issue’s seemingly random Mars appearance, although the sense isn’t so clear considering how confusing the Mxyzptlk world can be.


The fantastical version of cosmic.

Love or hate the concept of an alien race that look cartoonish but are powerful enough to bend time and space, this issue is clear and concise. Personally I find the concepts a bit silly and while there’s an opportunity to make it twisted and scary it remains fluffy and fun.


Radioactive element powered villains! Oh my.

The parallel story that seems to be taking place in the future, where Supes is being chased by elemental powered villains, is a bit confused. Clearly it’s going to be explained better later, but reading the issue today it’s frustrating to not know why or what is going on. On top of this Morrison appears to be doing the unthinkable. Namely, changing John Kent’s death to be connected to Mxyzptlk in some way. As we all know, rebooting and rewriting characters back stories is a comic fan’s favorite thing. <--sarcasm.

Budget: $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00


Blackacre #1 (Image Comics)


Another #1 issue by Image Comics, another interesting read, this time by newcomers Duffy Boudreau who writes and Wendel Cavalcanti who is on pencils. The book opens with a speech that reads like an essay or hypothesis. The argument? Zombies and pirates have shaped the future. The speech is conducted in the year 2202 so there’s been some time to digest the history and determine its cause. The main story takes place in 2114.


You don’t say?

Essentially we have a clever way of introducing a future world where corporate aristocrats have built themselves the last remnant of society. Anyone outside this society lives like barbarians.


Corporate whores!

If you like science fiction you’ll probably enjoy this issue. Ultimately the science fiction serves as a backdrop, which is a good thing. The main story is about the characters and the societal gears that chew people up. I was surprised by how enjoyable the issue reads, largely because I’m annoyed with books that get preachy, but this issue instead does a nice job balancing character and plot as it reveals the horrible future.


The future sure does involve big walls in most cases.

This is a good introduction and while I was reading I kept thinking, “Whoever this Boudreau guy is… he’s going to be somebody to watch.” Instead of using cheap action sequences or splash pages it’s the way he tells the story that’s exciting. For instance, at one point you may think the monologue is told willy nilly, but it’s then revealed it’s all told from a lonely guy to a prostitute, who wasn’t even listening. That magnifies his loneliness and it’s a nice touch.


So sad.

Part of the joy that comes with these new series Image keeps popping out is the surprise that inevitably comes when you enjoy it so much. This issue is no different. Great writing, good art and a promising premise. Now that’s a comic I want to read every month.

Budget: $10.00 – $2.99 = $7.01


Avengers Vol. 5 #1 (Marvel Comics)


Jerome Opeña brings an epic artistic style that compliments the epic story. This may not be the best Marvel NOW! #1, but it’s close. This issue was the subject of our Is It Good review earlier this afternoon,which you can check out here.

Budget: $7.01 – $3.99 = $3.02

Four comics this week were either close to the mark or downright failures. Either way they can’t justifiably fit into a 10 dollar budget. Doom will ride them out.

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

And the worst comic of othe week goes to…Thunderbolts Vol. 2 #1. I’m not a fan of Daniel Way or artist Steve Dillon so I probably shouldn’t have even looked at this…but I had to. It’s a #1 after all! Well, the problem with this is it’s just boring. The pacing is slow as molasses and the entire issue is Punisher tied to a pole as we learn how General Ross is putting together a team of killers. So basically it’s an Avengers X-Force then? Deadpool killing mimes is about as good as it gets. And I think he’s done this a hundred times before too. Yuck.

After an incredibly well written issue last month, the story turns into a cliched action fest in X-Men Vol. 3 #39. The art still reminds me of Mike Allred only with more grit to it and this doom shot is good, but it’s basically lots of punching and kicking. Predictable superhero comic with no teeth. The only saving grace were these panels.

I was a big fan of the first issue, but Deadpool #3 isn’t very good. The first issue seemed to promise lots of twists and turns, but issue #2 and #3 are chock full with one liners with no bearing on anything. It’s like the writers sat in a room and decided each page had a quota for one liners. With no point to any of them they are usually annoying and at the very best will deliver a smirk and nothing more. I’m officially dropping this book until further notice.

After a stellar first issue I’m saddened to say Punisher: War Zone #2 (of 5) is pointless and annoying. Pointless because Punisher doesn’t face the Avengers for more than 2 pages and in those pages he’s basically just running away from Black Widow. Annoying because this issue’s entire point is to show how great Punisher is. So great he even kills people who hunt elephants! I thought he only killed criminals who take lives…not poachers. What the hell?! I suppose it’s all a clever setup to “defeat” Black Widow, but it’s a weak way fo ra superhero to win.


Ride Doom. RIDE!


Detective Comics #15 (DC Comics)


After an incredible issue #14 this issue doesn’t live up to the great storytelling, largely because it’s mostly action. Most of the story rides on 2 or 3 nuggets of story. The art aint bad though.


Their consummation is going to give new meaning to the word rut.

The first fight sequence between Clayface and Batman is pretty weak. You’ve got your standard, “how will Bats get out of this one” that comes complete with him getting some extra willpower and punching his way to victory.


Batplane…that’s the name of it? You can’t give it a cooler sounding name?

But some of the reveals, like why Penguin is acting all fishy, are interesting.


This can’t be good.

And we get an excuse for a killer new costume.


I would like this in 4 different colored action figures please.

Not the best execution, but considering it’s an action first issue it’s not bad at all. Just not quite good enough for a purchase on a week with so many good books.

Budget: $3.02- $0.00 = $3.02


Cyberforce (2012) #2 (Top Cow)


What are you stupid? This comic is free! I don’t need to tell you or show you anything. Go get it!

Budget: $3.02- FREE = $3.02


Star Wars: Purge—The Tyrant’s Fist #1 (Dark Horse)


Dark Horse’s latest Star Wars comic brings along with it some of the usual vagaries (like a brand new character who’s human, but helpful to Vader) and some good art. These books sometimes ride the property rather than deliver good story though, so the question arises if it’s got enough bite to be worth a purchase.


The comics always seem to introduce new super Jedi. Could Luke mess with this dude?

This series takes place during Vader’s purge of the Jedi. Palpatine wants them dead yesterday and Vader is doing it all by himself. The issue uses an interesting soldier report monologue to inform us what is going on.


Star date….I mean…whoops.

If you’ve ever been dying to see a Darth Vader interrogation scene this might be the book for you.


The only thing cooler than a Force Choke might be the Force Heart Crunch.

The best thing about this book is the ground level development, where we see the people. Vader doesn’t get much characterization, but the world develops nicely. If you ever thought you’d see an Empire commander talking about sweet pastries this is it!


The best part.

Ultimately it’s not worth your time on a budget, but definitely worth a flip through if you’re on the fence.

Budget: $3.02- $0.00 = $3.02


Amazing Spider-Man #699 (Marvel Comics)


We’ve nearly reached issue number 700 and after last issue I’m sure everyone is completely lost as to what may or may not happen. This issue delivers some specific details as to how Dr. Octopus actually completed his plan including when and how. If you don’t know yet what the plan was skip over this review as it delivers some SPOILERS.


Yeah it’s pretty bad.


OH YAH. Real bad!

As many folks guessed on the message boards, if Doc Ock has Peter’s memories it probably works the other way too. This issue spends a lot of time either recalling memories or thinking about the worst possible scenarios. Clearly writer Dan Slott is having fun with the premise and plays around with the mind altering elements.


The Sinister Six sure have great practice.


Confirmation Lizard isn’t Connors but both still?

Ultimately this issue feels like a transition to the real conclusion to the story rather than any major events taking place. Peter gets himself one step closer by making a call, which is a bit weak and doesn’t allow him much of a victory in this issue. That said #700 is going to probably be amazing.

Budget: $3.02- $0.00 = $3.02


I Love Trouble #1 (Image Comics)


This issue is going to be remembered for the art first. Artist Mark A. Robinson has a fluid style that reminds me of a tattoo artist.


Sure is pretty.


Nightcrawler is that you?

A girl finds out she can teleport and calls it blinking. She owes some money to a despicable mobster, but now that she can teleport it’s easy to get the cash.


Ouch.


Motion!

This issue is very offbeat and fun, but doesn’t deliver much beyond the premise. The characters also feel a bit distant still and there’s no telling where her powers come from. Me thinks the monkey on the variant cover has something to do with it though.

Budget: $3.02- $0.00 = $3.02


All-New X-Men #3 (Marvel Comics)


Whoa whoa, didn’t we just get issue #2 last week? Marvel isn’t even double shipping this book they’re quadruple shipping! This issue delves deeper into the gameplan of current Cyclops, which is helpful since he didn’t get any play last week.


Let the comic fans shout at this!


That’s a lot more creative looking at least.

This issue spends most of its time developing Magneto and Cyclops’ relationship. They aren’t simply teammates it appears, but something a bit more complicated. It’s also revealed their powers are changing due to the interaction they had with the Phoenix Force.


Way to make a brother feel good.

And that’s the most interesting development because it seems to have affected everyone differently. Some have lost powers, others have augmented ones or improved powers. That’ll be something unexpected to look forward to at least. Mix that in with Cyclops having difficult controlling powers, just as he did when he was younger and about to meet his younger self. That sounds like an interesting story.


Without mind reading abilities Emma is reduced to ipad research for mutants!

Writer Brian Bendis is delivering a slowly paced story that’ll probably not deliver each week but require readers to stay with it for months to come. This issue was good, but not great on a budget particularly due to those reasons.

Budget: $3.02- $0.00 = $3.02


Swamp Thing #15 (DC Comics)


What was once a poetic and fascinating read has become a overly complicated, overly composed Elseworlds comic. Now that might be great for some, but for me, and for this budget, it’s turned into a tough sell each week.


Vagina or composition. You be the judge!


Jesus M. Crowe!

I never thought I’d say this, but the composition of each page is ruining this book. The writing can’t breath and many times the pages seem to have been composed before any words were even put to paper. The fact that this is taking place in some alternate future also dumbs down its powerfulness. Now I know that allows the creators to do whatever they want, but this series has become not much more than a DC What If?.

Budget: $3.02- $0.00 = $3.02


Hawkeye #5 (Marvel Comics)


Even though artist David Aja has been off the book for this two part story, Javier Pulido has done a nice job seemingly mimicking his style and also adding a Jack Kirby feel to the book.


Ninjas!

Matt Fraction continues the missing tape storyline where we left off and this issue essentially breaks down to resolving last months cliffhanger and then delivering two full pages of exposition on what the tape was in the first place.


Wow that’s a long way to say I’m mad.

The cigarette speech above is a bit much and I think it’s safe to say the art is what carries this issue.


When glass breaks it sounds like glass.


Whoa that is unreal.

This is a good issue, though it has too much superfluous dialogue bogging it down.

Budget: $3.02- $0.00 = $3.02


Animal Man #15 (DC Comics)


This series has the same problem as Swamp Thing as I explained above. The only real difference is the art is a bit more scary and less overpowering with its composition.


Dream a little dream…


My thoughts exactly…about this series!

Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02


Daredevil: End of Days #3 (of 8) (Marvel Comics)


If you haven’t been reading this series give it a try with issue #1. That’s a highly recommended book (I loved it), but if you haven’t been following along picking up this issue would be a mistake. It might be the weakest issue in the series so far save for the incredible art by David Mack.


Jessica Alba?


Wow.

Mack paints, or is it composes since he’s using paper as well, a few pages in this issue. Each one is dreamlike and gorgeous.

Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02


Iron Man #3 (Marvel Comics)


Kieron Gillen is a respectable writer, but I’m just not feeling this series. Clearly he wants it to be more about a Tony Stark that has a different suit for every mission as he explains here,


Which is cool because it harkens back to a time when Tony Stark wasn’t so organic. Do I buy it though? Not really. It also makes him a little more cheesy in nature, but that’s a prefrence thing. It could still work right?


That’s hot.


Mission time!

He uses an invisible suit, but because it’s specialized he can’t use repulsors past 10%. Does that make any sense? I”m still waiting for this new Marvel NOW! series to tell me what it wants to be beyond a mutli suited Tony.

Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02


Creator Owned Heroes #7 (Image Comics)


Just when this series was getting good…it gets bad again!


The best story in the book is only 5 pages as seen here.


Get ready Scott Morse fans!

The Scott Morse story is also pretty good, but largely text. The interviews obviously require your personal interest to grab you this issue and the photo/comic is…weird.


What. The. F?

Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02


Shadowman #2 (Valiant Entertainment)


I loved the first issue due to its pretty snazzy new hero, the ties to the occult and really gorgeous art. Could issue number 2 continue to rock it?


Now that’s cool!


Even cooler!

This issue spends more time setting up the threat and villains Shadowman will be facing. I know that’s a shock, particularly because issue #1 didn’t delve into the heroes mind much, but I think in due time it’ll come.


Uhhh…ouch.


This may remind me of The Rot storyline going on in Animal Man…but at least it’s not some fake What If!

The only real weakness to this issue is the glut of exposition that concludes the issue. You get about 2 full pages of dialogue explaining things rather than showing. It hurts the pace of the book and makes the whole issue a bit unbalanced.


Blah blah blah blah!

Overall this is another great series by Valiant Entertainment. Whoever is running the show there and editing their books knows what they’re doing. THere’s no way this many books, when they only have a handful of series, can be this good without great management.

Budget: $3.02 – $3.99 = $-.97

So we went over, but hey, maybe we should turn this column into the ComiXI Weekly given so many comics are 4 dollars these days. until next week, happy reading!