Did every publisher have to release so many books in one week? Frankly it’s not fair to those who are reading more than a handful of series. On top of that Marvel has begun to seemingly double ship everything, which is a blessing and a curse. Even if you only read 5 books a week you’re now paying double just to keep up. Your option is to drop a bunch of books, or try to read the best each week and hope the comic has a summary page That’s where this column comes in. With only 10 dollars to spare, we pick the best books that’ll fit in your budget. Scroll down to check out our picks.


Wonder Woman #15 (DC Comics)


Writer Brian Azzarello continues to churn out a good Wonder Woman comic complete with a cast of characters that are both oddball and interesting enough to keep our attention. This means some weeks WW might not get much attention, especially with issues only running 20 pages, but in some ways that proves who the best writers are out there. Azzarello continues to be one of the best and this issue doesn’t disappoint.


Sometimes all a panel needs is a little boom.

The supporting cast has just enough pop to keep things light when necessary and when all goes to hell (sometimes literally!) strong personalities come out.


Aww the queen is so happy with her menu.

The book is still about gods though and that’s one of the more interesting aspects Azzarello has brought to this series. There’s some humanity in these godly characters, but they’re also tasked with a new level of responsibility.

You’re a god stop being so sad!

This is a good issue, but for anyone looking for a read that’ll be worth every dime — not the greatest. The story is light and not much happens. We get a little New Gods Orion action, but not enough of him. ‘Till next issue!

Budget: $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00


Django Unchained #1 (Vertigo)


This is a strong issue with good art and good dialogue. Unfortunately it’s a whole lot of cash for only 24 pages of story. $4.99 is too much for our budget! Check out the more in depth review posted earlier today here.

Budget: $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00


Avengers #2 (Marvel Comics)



I enjoyed the first issue largely because of the art but the story also had a lot of promise. This issue serves as your now cliched “recruit the team” Ocean’s 11 style. Surprisingly that’s not such a bad thing, as this issue sets the stage for who the heroes will be and what is at stake.


Thor finally gets some credit

Since writer Jonathan Hickman is clearly telling this story at a healthily slow pace some might be annoyed with this issue. It doesn’t deliver a full act but rather a chapter in the overall first arc. It does however contain the origin of our villains which is the meat of the story this issue. The rest is transitional pieces setting up the next issue and if not for the incredible art by Jerome Opena might fall flat. It doesn’t.


I’m a sucker for creation stories.


Cue Ocean’s 11 music.

The team was simply captured last issue with an unclear threat to Earth. This issue makes it abundantly clear the Avengers are needed and necessary.


Something fishy is going on here.

The stakes are raised and you couldn’t ask for a more dramatic and interesting issue to do just that.

Budget: $10.00 – $3.99 = $6.01

Five comics this week were either close to the mark or downright failures. Either way they can’t justifiably fit into a 10 dollar budget. Joker wants to wish them a Merry Christmas.

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

I do like the general premise writer Mark Waid has brought to the series, but Indestructible Hulk #2 seems to be filler. It’s true Bruce Banner wants to show Tony Stark up, but this issue seems to say that’s not true. It takes a whole issue and a rather pointless fight between Hulk and Iron Man to divulge that. Also it seems odd Iron Man thinks Hulk is some kind of threat when he’s been on the team for ages. Excuse for exposition I guess. There’s great art in here and a funny moment as Bruce and Tony laugh, but kind of a throwaway issue.

I don’t know why this series decided to focus on a single character, but Avengers Arena #2 is very meh. Kid Deathlock, aka Ryker, is the focus of this issue. You get one Hunger Games kid murder and it’s by accident. Lame. Kid Deathlock isn’t the most interesting, although she is easy to feel sorry for. For a series that seemed to be all about killing and kill or be killed what a boring second issue.

Happy #3 is basically all transition to the final issue which is too bad. Most of this issue involves the protagonist talking about nothing until a bud of information hits him and he realizes he must do what the blue little horse tells him. Anybody could pick up the next issue and not need to have read this one. Frankly it’s a very boring endeavor to read it which is too bad. The previous two issues were good.

Writer Dennis Hopeless is nailing Cable’s dialogue over in Cable and the X-Force #2 but I never signed up for the Hope Adventure show. A huge chunk of this issue reads like a Jubilee romp as Hope stumbles her way to victory. I’d rather read about the team than Hope, but as it is it’s very blah. Domino getting more action is a good thing though, but I can’t help but think this story is moving super slowly because it’s being double shipped. You’d think Marvel would give us more story when a comic comes out twice a month, not less and after these first two issues I’m still not sure what the identity of this book is.

Okay, I’m officially starting to get confused while reading Where Is Jake Ellis? #2 (of 5) and not in a good way. More answers less chasing please!


And to all pigs a good night!


FF #2 (Marvel Comics)


If you hate Mike Allred don’t read this book. It’s got a very unique vibe and at issues end a new character appears who resembles MadMan. So what about the story?


Controversy!

The issue boils down to a few things. The press isn’t happy with this lineup, Human Torch’s girlfriend gets an explanation for the odd Thing costume she wears and we get to see Ant-Man deal with being a leader. Read: he’s not so great at it unless they are fighting.


Homage!


Herumph.

So far I haven’t found the side characters, like those above, delivering the quirky fun they seem to be intended for. I’ll keep waiting, but so far things aren’t rolling just yet.

Budget: $6.01- $0.00 = $6.01


All-New X-Men #4 (Marvel Comics)


The slow burning story over in All-New X-Men #4 continues the time travel first class x-men fun. I’m surprised Cyclops faces himself so soon, and the emotional and moral conflicts hit him hard.


So…gorgeous. Creepy.

A lot of folks on the board said this would never happen, but I guess it did. Cyclops is starting to remember who he used to be. It’s also evident Magneto and the rest of this motley crew isn’t so good at teamwork.


Somebody is gonna slap a bitch.

Yet. This series moves much too slowly for a budget single issue purchase, but I think it’ll be highly entertaining once it’s collected.

Budget: $6.01- $0.00 = $6.01


A + X #3 (Marvel Comics)


This is the weakest A + X of the first three issues, largely because each story is incredibly pointless. At least in the previous issues characters had a chance to say or do interesting things. The first story is a team up between Black Panther and Storm with some good art by Pasqual Ferry.


Pretty badass looking.


They are chasing each other and just so happen to work together by accident to stop a poacher. WOW.

It sums up as follows: Summary of their relationship, Panther chases Storm, they talk about how they are not getting back together, and then race for old times sake. Ugh.


Oh their macho attitudes!

The second story sees Hawkeye and Gambit as they join together seemingly by accident to fight a random monster. It’s like they aren’t even trying!


Terrible.

A very poor use of money if you purchase this issue.

Budget: $6.01- $0.00 = $6.01


Uncanny X-Force #35 (Marvel Comics)



Just shut up Batman is always right!

Rick Remender has been spinning gold ever since he started on Uncanny X-Force, but sadly it seems to have ended much too abruptly. There’s a plot element that shows up at the end of this issue bringing back a dead character that is explained away in a single panel. Judging by the way they’ve come back I’m going to take a guess that would have been the next storyline, but he was forced to resolve it in a panel so as to have the character come back to life.


Deadpool hugs kid Apocalypse. Groan.


Reacting to the now living character.

It’s too bad this book reads like Steel Magnolias. Everyone mopes around, characters seem sad the team is disbanded (I guess they loved all that killing) and the only real meat on the issue is the character magically coming back to life. Very lame way to end things, but I guess it’s a fitting goodbye by Remender.

Budget: $6.01- $0.00 = $6.01


Saga #8 (Image Comics)


If you haven’t been reading this series you might be lost this issue, but it’s so flipping well written I don’t see why a newb couldn’t enjoy it. Dialogue and character are on display this issue and frankly I can’t believe how real these characters are.


Aw love. The magical punch to your face.


More of this yummy stuff.


Awwww bonding.

My only gripe is the twist ending, which is a little cliched. It certainly adds a whole new level of drama, but we’re only 8 issues in and I’m starting to feel cramped with all the characters.

Budget: Budget: $6.01- $2.99 = $3.02


Daredevil Vol. 3 #21 (Marvel Comics)


Unfortunately for this issue the most interesting thing has nothing to do with Daredevil, but the reveal of who is showing up next issue.


That doesn’t sound like Peter Parker.

Amazing Spider-Man was delayed until next week, but if that guy there is Peter Parker somebody strike me dead. Rumor has it Doc Ock will be taking over Peter Parker’s body…and this just might be confirmation. Anyhoo, this issue is a decent conclusion, but feels rushed. Damn Marvel and their Marvel NOW! event! Clearly it forced writers to unstick themselves from otherwise slow building stories.


Ewwwwww.

We learn who the Coyote fellow is and generally what is going on with The Spot. Both elements don’t give much of an explanation and there’s a swept under the rug feel to this.


With his foot in the spot hole he’s got multiple heartbeats. Rad!


So The Spot is reduced to mush? Huh?

This issue doesn’t sit right with me. The DD action is rife with poor explanations, then it ends with Matt Murdoch essentially screaming his way through a convo with Foggy. Bah!

Budget: $3.02- $0.00 = $3.02


Judge Dredd #2 (IDW)


The first issue knocked my socks off, but something isn’t clicking as well this go around. There’s an overarching story building, but maybe due to disliking the backup story or generally seeing the twist coming a mile away hindered my enjoyment. Either way this was a good but not great chapter in the series.


Really digging this art. Nelson Daniel knows what he’s doing!

There’s a twist ending that seemed to be dialed in, but the resolution is satisfying enough.


Fifth Element apartment much?

This is a series to watch. Writer Duane Swierczynski gets the ultra violence and the humor was cut back this issue to at the very least give us hope it won’t be completely off its rocker.


Seriously bask in the glory of this art!

Budget: $3.02- $0.00 = $3.02


Transfusion #2 (of 3) (IDW)


I loved the art in the first issue and it’s just as good this go around. The story is a very slow boil introduction to a future where humans are being hunted by alien robots and the vampires are just as screwed. No humans, no food.


You are so flipping frightening!

The artist is named menton3 and he’s got some real talent let me tell you. Based on how moody his art is, but how slow and unchanging the story is I get the impression maybe the art came first. Any art nuts out there should definitely give this book a look, but as far as a person on a budget this doesn’t quite cut it. This is most likely going to have a nifty collectors edition in a few months with lots and lots of sketches. Can’t wait.

Budget: $3.02- $0.00 = $3.02


Hawkeye #6 (Marvel Comics)


David Aja is back!


Video game much?!

David Aja is back!


Uh oh.

David Aja is back!


Sigh. Time…

David Aja is back! But seriously, there’s only about half of a page that was entertaining in the form of clever dialogue. The rest of this issue pounds over the readers head over and over, “Hawkeye owns a building of people. They are in danger. He must protect them.” I kept oggling the pages and their symmetrical and glorious composition wondering why I should care about what any of the characters are saying. You probably shouldn’t. You know why?


Who doesn’t?!

David Aja is back! But it doesn’t deliver enough to purchase.

Budget: $3.02- $0.00 = $3.02


Witch Doctor Malpractice #2 (of 6) (Image Comics)


This is yet another series I loved the first issue of, but the second issue doesn’t quite get us there. There’s a lot in this issue, as we delve deeper into the magical world of…magic. Magic that is a little less clean and good and a little more infested with insects and voodoo.


Really cool character.

One reason this book is so good is that it offers up new ideas, for instance The Surgeons above. They are some kind of alternate dimension creature that feeds off pain. True that’s a concept we saw in Vampirella a few months ago, but the baddies are just creepy enough to pull it off. The tongue in cheek humor doesn’t hurt either.


Edward…is that you?

This issue meanders a bit too much, and by that I mean it’s paced in an uninteresting way. There’s a lot of dialogue and exposition to sift through before you get back to the cooky and creepy world. Still it’s a very interesting series to keep an eye on, at the very least when it’s collected.

Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02


X-O Manowar (2012-) #8 (Valiant Entertainment)


Let me see, how can I explain why this issue is good but not great, especially on a budget.

Violence. Check.

Action. Check.

Explosions. Check.

There’s a whole lot of action. Not a whole lot of anything else.

Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02


Captain America Vol. 7 #2 (Marvel Comics)


I’m unclear what the identity of this book is going for. Rick Remender is only two issues in but the tonal change between issue #1 and #2 is so great I’m unclear if I’m even reading the same book. The first issue struck a tone of James Bond adventure. Captain America is always on his toes and striking at always the right moment. This issue completely flips that and now Cap is a lowly space traveller, lost and holding onto his sanity.


Day 435. It’s tough out there. I saw that on a kitty poster.


John Romita Jr. is clearly having a lot of fun with this.

I’m not sure if Remender is just plotting stuff to give Romita Jr. the best time of his life or if there’s a story in there. THe issue is certainly enjoyable and reminds me of Flash Gordon in a lot of ways.


Sound effects for the win!


Cap do what Cap do.

So far this series has been enjoyable, but not much meat has entered this story. We know where Cap is and he needs to get away but the why’s aren’t there. It’s interesting that Remender is bringing up Cap’s father and how that has shaped his personality, but so far I’m still waiting for that to build to a point where it’s not just shadow dreams.

Budget: $3.02 – $0.00 = $3.02


Thor: God of Thunder #3 (Marvel Comics)


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Thor goes full detective this issue and while the exposition is heavy throughout I don’t mind it. As Thor uncovers the bodies of dead gods who were murdered we the reader are being introduced to a lush and enormous universe of gods we didn’t know about. The amount of myth and lore that Jason Aaron delved in to build up this story is debatable, but everyone must agree it’s quite epic in tone.


Thor getting his book on.


Now that…is awesome.


Bad. Ass.


Avatar?

This issue is still accessible to new readers mostly because Thor is still learning about his enemy. The only thing that might be lost is the fact that this story is effecting Thor in three different timelines. The concept driving this story, that is, where do gods go when people stop believing, is something Neil Gaiman and others have touched on, but not in an action orientated epic sort of way. Anyone who enjoyed the Lord of the Rings movies will eat this series up. Everything is happening on a giant scale with incredibly well rendered art by Esad Ribic.

Budget: $3.02 – $3.99 = $-.97

We’re over budget, but with the lack of comics next week we’ll probably be in the black to make up for it! Next week is going to be a short one, with only 8 issues coming out from all publishers combined. Amazing Spider-Man #700 is one of them, so expect some noise and clatter. Until then!