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ComiX Weekly: 10/31/12 Indie Comic Bonanza

It’s Halloween and surprisingly not a lot of scary comics have hit the stands today. There are a few, but generally it’s been a short week. Just look at the release dates we posted in the preview. That still doesn’t mean we can buy everything, however. Strap in and scroll down to find the best comics of the week worth your 10 bucks!

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

Star Wars: Darth Maul—Death Sentence #4 (Dark Horse Comics)

I was hoping this series would kick it up a notch, but instead it has maintained a level of semi-entertainment all the way through. Nothing that important really happens, but what makes this issue the most annoying is the fact that they’ve been hinting at an Obi-Wan vs. Darth Maul rematch for a few issues now and you don’t get it. If you’re looking for this fight scene you’ll be sorely disappointed as I was.

Maul is so sad to see the fight go. So sad indeed.

What we have here is a little old bait and switch. Maul gets the Alliance clone soldiers to create a diversion, he sneaks in and that’s that. There is one opportunity to get a fight scene (which is above) and only lasts a single strike. I suppose if you dig Star Wars history you’ll enjoy this, as it does have a heroic ending for a Jedi, although I’ve never heard of him.

That smirk even angers me!

This entire 4 issue series could have been summed up in a single issue and that’s the main problem I take with this story. It serves as a way to get cash from folks who want to see Darth Maul. Period. Sure it extends his story and ends with the promise of more Maul giving him more cash to spend on an even bigger mission, but there were too many disappointing moments in this short 4 part series.

So like evil? Or literally dark? Huh?

I can’t say Darth Maul’s first appearance after being cut in half during Episode 1 is a good experience. You get scant lightsaber battles, a few empty promises, and a generally forgetful story. The setup for the next story arc is interesting though, but this can be easily skipped.

Budget: $10.00 – $0.00 = $10.00

Robyn Hood #2 (Zenescope Entertainment)

I should learn. I really should. The last issue was well written and contained no cheesecake. Then I see the cover above on issue #2 and I think, “Here comes the boob shots.” Not so in this issue and in fact the story continues to develop on top of the impeccable dialogue. I don’t know what writer Pat Shand is up to, but for some reason his dialogue always seems natural and always surprises with nice quirks of character.

If you saw a water spirit lady you’d say the same thing.

When you open this issue you’re going to fall in love with Larry Watt’s art. It has a sketchy yet realistic style that makes me think of storyboards for professional films. It helps keep this fantasy story grounded.

”I took an arrow to the eye? And jugular?”

Shand keeps his protagonist grounded as well. If you didn’t read the first issue then you should know this girl was teleported out of our world to a world of magic called Bree. She has a s--t dad and has lived a s--t life. She got good at stealing to help her mom with medicine. You might notice where this is going with the whole Robin Hood thing and all. Shand has the character think about past transgressions, memories of bad things and these keep her motivated, even when the s--t has hit the fan and a knight in full armor is swinging a sword at her face. It helps drive the character development but also keep things feeling realistic.

He better watch out. Just sayin.

I like where this book is going. It understands how the audience might perceive it and keeps us in check. It also helps it’s got a reasonable price. If I summed up this series so far I’d say, “You have to be realistic about these things.”

Budget: $10.00 – $2.99 = $7.01

A + X #1 (Marvel Comics)

Anyone afraid this is a continuation of other AvX storyline you can rest easy (because that’s what AvX: Consequences is for anyway) as this series is a team up book. The title is exactly what it suggests, one Avenger and one X-Man team up, done. The summary page is a little condescending in this humble reviewer’s opinion:

Yeah idiot!

But essentially this is a continuation of the AvX: Vs series that Marvel published alongside Avengers vs. X-Men. It gives two writer/artist teams the chance to tell a shortened 10 page story. In this case 11 pages for the Captain America + Cable story and 10 pages for the Hulk + Wolverine story. Both of the stories deal with time travel…so at least there’s that connecting them.

Nazi Sentinels. Now I’ve seen everything

The Cable + Cap team up is a curious one, especially considering it takes place in 1943. Are we to assume Cap forgot he ever met Cable? Because if he didn’t that’s a glaring change to his knowledge of the future.

I have to admit that’s pretty funny.

Dan Slott is writer with Ron Garney on art and for the most part this is a fun little story. It doesn’t do a whole lot and ends abruptly, but for 11 pages it’s good fun.

Most folks will say the same about this issue.

The second story is written by Jeph Loeb with art by Dale Keown. This story isn’t very good, possibly because Hulk is the brain-dead-smashy version. Wolverine and Hulk share one moment between cake which is forgettable at best.

They battle their future (and probably alternate reality) selves for some mindless action. Keown does a nice job at least. The twist at the end is an odd one. I suspect next issue will use completely different heroes, so why tease some silly future about the Red Hulk needing to die?

Marvel really needs to drop the price on this book to $2.99. There’s no possible way a reader is going to get their money’s worth in the story department because it’s much too short to get anywhere storywise. Unless of course they give us 11 pages back and knock this up to 32 pages.

Budget: $7.01 – $0.00 = $7.01

Twelve 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 go trick or treating so let’s allow him to hang these out to dry.

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

The premise is a good one in Charismagic Death Princess #1 which is about a girl who was born with the ability to control minds. She lives in a barbarian tribe, but that doesn’t stop her from using her powers to take over the minds of every human, dinosaur or whatever to get complete control. A mage attempts to stop her, but he learns he can’t do it alone. This book follows his journey to build a team of druids, a centaur and a couple others to eventually take down the mind controlling witch. The art is cartoony, the story is halfway interesting and the potential is great. It’s not a purchase due to some poor pacing (it’s nearly all introduction and setup).

The solicit for X-Men: Legacy #275 is confusing and doesn’t seem to be a good explanation for this issue. Basically Rogue teams up with Mimic to take back control of a prison. Mimic talks about leaving the team because their personalities are rubbing off on him and not in a good way. Rogue gets the help from some villains to quelch the uprising in the prison, and gets a power up from multiple dudes too, and really it all serves as a way to let Rogue yammer on about what she’s learned. Essentially this issue is stating in big blaring words, “Rogue is okay now! She’s not nuts! She has control of her powers. That story is over! Okay?!” This series has been Rogue’s book for awhile, but I’m pretty sure they’ve been hammering home this point so much it’s become redundant at this point.

Jason Aaron is doing great things with Wolverine and the X-Men #19. This is the perfect example of a comic that’s doing a lot more with the reduced page count than most. He crams nearly every panel with enough dialogue and exposition to make a single page feel like 3 pages in most books these days. This issue continues the story before it, builds the new kid Hellfire-Club in a devious way, and gives us multiple pages of teacher interviews. Fat Cobra is flat out hilarious with his question and Hellstrom isn’t far behind. It’s an enjoyable read, but again, it feels like a soap opera more than most comics. On a budget that requires following along each week and judging by how we’re looking for bang for our buck to ANY reader I can’t recommend it. Very tight and well written series you shouldn’t miss (eat it Disney!).

Whispers #4 is a creepy issue in a creepy series. It’s just starting to tap into the demon side of things and there are some truly horrific moments in this issue. Something about two women beating each other bloody is a scary thing. Plus this two panel stabbing sequence is hilarious. If you’ve read anything by Joshua Luna you’ll know his series are slow in nature, but not in a bad way. Considering that though they read a lot better in the collected format. That said this is still a very strong issue.

They should have retitlted Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol. 2 #16.1 Ultimate Betty Brant as the story follows her as she uncovers who Spider-Man’s identity is. Artist David Marquez is a master of faces which is a big reason this issue reads so well. This issue isn’t bad, it’s actually qutie good in pacing and story, and we even get an interesting moment that shines a light on just how different J.J. Jameson has become, but it’s not a Spider-Man issue. It’s not very exciting and only thickens the plot rather than entertains the single issue reader. I’m sure everyone will be jumping for joy though, when they see this.

This one shot story, Vampirella vs. Fluffy the Vampire Killer has potential, and if you’re a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan you might dig it. I never watched the show so maybe some jokes flew over my head, but generally this is a forgettable experience. There’s some fun little jabs at stupid slang (like totes) but when the issue resorts to a forced team up you’re going to groan with annoyance. The art is good, but it’s a bit cluttered at times.

The Mighty Thor #22 is essentially a recap issue of Thor’s life. It’s well done, but sadly reads like a filler issue. Thor is on trial by Odin himself and characters pop up to recount the good and bad he’s done. All in all it ends with everyone agreeing Thor has to be unhinged a bit to be the best warrior of them all. Balder the Brave does some sick work though which you can see here.

I really Wanted to like Bedlam #1 but too much of it reads like elseworld The Dark Knight. I’ll explain. The villain is Joker esque, with a joker like face and he’s a madman who makes up plans. A hero pops up and screams this in his face. Then there’s a reference to putting bombs inside children here. Remind you of the guy in the cell with the cell phone bombs inside him? On top of all this, all the characters that get a chance to speak for more than a blurb are madmen. And there is a lot of ranting in this book. A lot of dialogue from mad men. There’s a lot of comic book too, but I’m not sure where it’s going or what it’s trying to accomplish. Riley Rossmo does the art and he’s fantastic, but aside from that a passable issue.

It’s clear anything that happens with the X-Men is going to be directly affected by this series, even though it has an A in there AVX: Consequences #4 (of 5) doesn’t seem to be about the Avengers at all. This issue gets a little sappy with Wolverine telling Cyke he’s always wanted to be like him. Ugh. Colossus gets some play though and it’s becoming clear Cyclops is going to become some kind of rebel leader of the bad guys.

Avenging Spider-Man Annual #1 is a fun issue that’s message is, “let’s try to be nice to each other.” I can dig that, but it is a little pricey at $4.99 for a silly story about some dudes who dig up a machine that makes everyone angry or happy. This of course leads to Thing beating up Spider-Man. I like the message it’s sending kids and the like, but overall it’s passable. The art is phenomenal, but really it’s wasted on a cliched story.

DC Comics sure loves the Annual format. Swamp Thing (2011-): Annual #1 is good, but if you read the last page and the first page you’d be fine. Okay okay, it’s all about entertainment, and there sure is some freaky s--t that goes down like this shot. The art is good too. Look at this castle. Pretty stuff. There’s simply stronger books to buy this week!

I’m going to be honest with you all. I didn’t have time to finish Joe Kubert Presents #1 (of 6). That’s because the thing is massive, 48 pages of a lot of art and a lot of reading. Joe Kubert lends his talent to a new Hawkman story (and even makes an appearance himself) with additional stories as well. It also costs $4.99 so there’s really almost no way this comic could make it into ComiX Weekly anyway. I also suspect most folks won’t be interested in the U.S.S. Stevens story.

Happy Halloween!

Aquaman (2011-) #13 (DC Comics)

I’ve enjoyed this series nearly every issue and in most cases haven’t recommended it only because it doesn’t contain enough story. This issue has a lot in there, particularly because it seems writer Geoff Johns needs to finish this puppy off. that said… is it worth your 3 dollars?

Superheroes and their costumes. Sheesh.

This issue boils down to being a big action extravaganza…even if it only contains Aquaman’s escape from a flooding cavern and some hand to hand fighting with Black Manta.

Ouch. Right in the kisser!

One theme I love in this series is the notion that Aquaman isn’t so squeaky clean as the other Justice Leaguers. Instead he kills, breaks bones and doesn’t give a bleep what you think.

It’s not supposed to bend like that!

The issue contains a lot of said violence and allows the fan to get the showdown we’ve been waiting for. It sadly comes at a price though.

Ah, the classic “farewell Mr. Bond” wave.

This issue feels rushed. It feels like it’s trying to satisfy the crowd so they can get to another story. It feels like Johns lost his love for the story and just wanted it to end already. It’s a big action flick with only one real action scene. Characters have their moments, but really it’s not that great in the end. Maybe if they didn’t make us wait an extra month it’d been more poignant.

Budget: $7.01 – $0.00 = $7.01

Lot 13 #1 (of 5) (DC Comics)

Writer Steve Niles knows his way around horror. The man is best known for his work on 30 Days of Night, which I’m sure you’ve heard of. This issue appears to be a ghost tale with a connection to pre American independence. I’m sure I had you all at ghost.

Bunch of bastards that lot.

A family is moving and some weird s--t is starting to happen. A phone appears to show a picture of the family bloody,

Hey guys that’s not normal. Kay?!

Little freak boys are popping out to get their heads thrown off,


And gloom and doom is very much apparent. Glen Fabry really nails the expressions and tone in every image. His pencils are only made more alive by the color done by Adam Brown. It’s the subtle nuances in the story that kick this into another gear though. If you want to get creeped out by a comic book I doubt you could do better than this.

Budget: $7.01 – $2.99 = $4.02

Happy #2 (of 4) (Image Comics)

I sort of s--t on writer Grant Morrison’s first issue of this miniseries last month, largely because I didn’t know what was going on and there was no call to action for the hero. He was a hitman who was a dick and very unlikable. Then a flipping cartoon horse pops up and I didn’t get that either. Thankfully the second issue not only sheds light on the journey this character needs to be taking, but also what is going on with the horse. Oh and it’s chock full of some incredibly exciting scenes.

That’s a scalpel folks. If that doesn’t hurt to look at you’re a zombie.

It seems the horsey is some kind of imaginary friend to a little girl who’s in trouble. Our protagonist is the only guy who he can make contact with. Sort of like Sixth Sense only more demented.

Freaky little s--t.

This issue plays around with what any of us would do if we had an invisible friend nobody else can see, namely we’d go cheat at poker! The scene is well done and there’s a definite sense of tension throughout.


Now that the call to action has been made and the risks are laid out I’m digging this series. The art is incredibly realistic, the story is kicking into gear and the character is becoming likable in his own sort of a-----e way. I blame my hatred of the first issue on this most likely being written for the collected format.

Budget: $4.02 – $2.99 = $1.03

By Jove, a ComiX Weekly one dollar over budget! If we took a time machine back to 1999 I’m sure this would happen a hell of a ton more. I can’t curse the $3.99 comic enough. Next week has a lot of great surprises in store, like Deadpool #1 by Gerry Duggan and Tony Moore, Iron Man #1, Daredevil End of Days, some political Spawn action and well…you get the idea. Lots and lots!

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