Comic Book Reviews 01-28-15

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.

Pick of the Week:

Batman 38 POTW 1.28.15

Batman #38 – A+

(A+) Snyder and Capullo do it again. I could just gush and gush, the thing is, is that no review I could ever write would be with your time to read as much as actually going and picking up a copy of Batman #38 and reading it yourself. Batman must go down in history for the sheer literary genius it is. This particular issue is packed with so much history, Gotham, Batman, Greek Mythology and word origins. Here’s what I can say: any book, comic or not, that schools me on Dionysus and the meaning of the word “tragedy” is absolute perfection. – Adrian

(A+) Beating a dead horse here, but reading Batman: Endgame is one of the smartest investments of your time you can make. You don’t need much background knowledge, and you know why that is? Because your whole world will be flipped upside down with this issue! Nothing you have ever known about the Joker is true. It’s such insanity that not even Batman has a plan for what to do about this revelation. There’s a reason that nobody has ever given Joker’s origin, and that was revealed with this issue. DC must have a lot of trust in Snyder and Capullo to allow them to cement their legacy here. Some teams make great comic books, but this team makes history. – Sherif

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Multiversity Guidebook #1 – A+

Holy crap, you guys. I was excited at the notion that this book would just be some nerd-style manual circa 1995 that would explore each of the 52 worlds – a simple guidebook like you might find in the lobby of a Holiday Inn. Not only is it that, but it still has a story. In fact, it has guidebook in story, in story (…in story). It starts with adorable little mini Justice League getting super-duper murdered by robots created by the legion of evil Sivanas, and mini Batman as the only survivor fleeing to a neighboring universe where he teams up with a Batman who looks like Buzz Lightyear, except Batman colors (later we find out that because of space reasons, ALL the super heroes look like Buzz). That kind of Never-ending Story whatthefuckery is enough to total overload every nerd bone in my body. Knowing one story entirely fills out everything Multiversity is, but in addition to that story, Morrison has figured out how to weave every single incarnation of DC Comics into one whole narrative. So far the only thing disappointing about this mega meta arc is that there aren’t 52 issues of it. – Montgomery

Gotham Academy #4 – B+

Can I have a Maps? Please. The kid sidekick, who is actually the smart one, is just so cute. As usual, Gotham Academy knocks it out of the park with art and coloring. I am continuously finding myself lost in the art. This issue had a panel with a ghost that had me entranced. Olive found herself encountering many aspects of her life she has been avoiding, but in the process, she found a secret passageway in the Academy where she found a very special guest star living behind the walls. Many things were answered this week, but many doors were also answered. Get into this book before it gets too far ahead of you! – Adrian

Batman Eternal #43 – C

I love Harper Row, er… I mean Bluebird. I do wonder how an outspoken teenage can hide her secret identity when her signature purple and bright-blue Mohawk are completely visible, but I can get over that. Either way, it looks like we’ve found Batman’s next ward. That was almost the only highlight of the issue, though. We do close some gaps on a scene that’s nearly a year old, but there still aren’t any hard-pressed issues addressed. We know something big and bad is coming, but we’ve also known that for 43 issues. Big win for Harper Row, though. – Sherif

Effigy #1 – C

I had a big time love affair with 90’s Vertigo (with the exception of Constantine, regardless of how hard I try…). I love the super-weird, the super-witchy, the mystical and occult: if it has curses and multiple dimensions, count me in. At some point, though, Vertigo shifted to a focus on more violent books (LeMire’s stuff being a very noteworthy exception). Reading the press materials for Effigy, it sounds like my jam: vapid Hollywood crossed with ritual murder and maybe multi-dimensional mish-mash. This first issue, though, it focuses on a former child actress as she tries to move on with her life and move into being a detective, but struggles against her glory hound mother who wants to move her back into the limelight. Which is all stuff I don’t really care about. The really interesting stuff was the space gods we just glossed over (literally two panels. They get two panels). The art is another sore spot; maybe I’m just a big dumb dinosaur that needs to lay down in a tar pit and accept my place in the world, but I loved the gritty haphazard horrific art styles of the old Vertigo. This book has that art style that looks like maybe it’s some kind of very design heavy flash sidebar ad that’s become really popular with high-concept indie books recently. It’s not that it’s bad, but when it’s, like, the third book this week you’ve seen with that art style, it gets hard to tell them apart. – Montgomery

Arkham Manor #4 – C

Alright, so I may have over-reacted when I got to the conclusion of the last issue of Arkham Manor, when it seemed like the Joker was the big bad in this mini-series. Arkham Manor holds its own just fine, and so very little of that has to do with Batman. Victor Fries takes center stage here, and wouldn’t ya know, he is the funniest person in a Bat-book not named Dick Grayson. This book won’t revolutionize anything, but it’s an interesting departure from the status quo for books focusing on the Dark Knight. – Sherif

IDW Comics:

X-Files: Season 10 #20 – B+

We continue the story of the experimental government manufactured marijuana called G-23. Now, Langly and Mulder are tripping out on the drug in the desert and neither is sure what is real and what is just a massive hallucination. In the issue, we find out the secret behind the drug, who is behind it, and become paranoid of government-regulated marijuana, but then again that is just the Mulder coming out in me. As far as art goes, I really enjoy having a different perspective, and Tom Mandrake’s style blows my mind when it comes Mulder’s hallucinations, really making you feel the effects and making me never want to take hallucinogenic drugs. I would say pick up this issue if you generally enjoy X-Files, or if you maybe want to see what X-Files could have been like if Vince Gilligan added more if his Breaking Bad ideas to the show, which I totally felt that vibe with the panic and struggle of using the drug at hand. – Jacob

TMNT/Ghostbusters #4 – B

This mini-series comes to a close this month leaving our 80’s hearts empty yet again to deal with the modern tells of both franchises. With TMNT already getting a sequel, and the all-female Ghostbusters on the horizon, it was nice to see this team-up while it was still relevant. This story in this series is much better than anything I came up with when I was five. Ultimately, the story is not integral to the main story line of each property, so despite this issue and the series as a whole being very enjoyable, it is not needed to understand anything but a small reference in the mains series. – Jacob

Powerpuff Girls Super Smash-Up #1 – B

Taking place after the events of the Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War, this new series focuses on Dexter and the Powerpuff Girls combining forces to traverse all the different worlds within the Cartoon Network brand to track down a mutated Dee Dee. We start with the intro and a short story of Courage the Cowardly Dog – setting up next month’s issue. We may get every issues like the one-shots having a prequel of sorts to the main CNSSCW story. The story so far definitely has some plot holes and things left unexplained, but then again, it is a cartoon book and anything is possible. I would say pick this book up if you are young as it is a blast and also for nostalgia reasons as one of your favorite cartoons is likely to show up at anytime and give you all sort of warm feelings as if you just ate some Oops All Berries and washed it down with some Ecto-Cooler. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Sex Criminals #10 – A

It almost feels dirty putting this book in the reviews, but I absolutely love this book. I decided to sit down in the hotel lobby I’m at, and read this book (of all books, right?) on my tablet. Of course, this had to be the issue with the most dicks and vaginas out of all of them. That experience would be equivalent to watching the salad-tossing scene in Girls, when all of a sudden your grandmother and five-year-old nephew walk in the room. To you, shirt-cocking. It’s that awkward, but I love it anyway. Sex Criminals takes the taboos of weird sex things and explains that it could get a whole lot weirder. – Sherif

Bitch Planet #2 – B+

(A) If you’re not reading Bitch Planet you are doing yourself a disservice. Kam is as badass and noncompliant as they come. She’s true to her beliefs and stands strong by them. It is only when she sees an opportunity for escape that she decides to accept the offer given to her by “the fathers.” There are still a lot of parts of this world falling into place, and we’re not 100% sure how everything operates in the Bitch Planet universe, but I am so excited that a comic like this exists. We need more of these stories and I can’t wait to see what comes next month in this story arc. Bonus: Don’t forget to read the essays at the end of these issues. This month’s was on how feminism is often misconstrued and I reread it aloud to my friend, it was so good. – Charlotte

(B) Orange is the New Black meets Hunger Games meets messed up dystopian future…and I love it! It’s raw, intense, and gritty and at time hard to read. Sure is a soccer punch to the gut. The covers art of the comic as a retro feel to it a comingling of time periods. The future is the past is definitely a theme to this book. Sexism is in its hyperbolic form and I think this does a lot to highlight how insidious, subtle, dangerous it’s become in our culture. In this book we get more info about the “male” Earth and its society and the politics of Bitch Planet. The inmates are thinking of using the brutal games to 1) let Earth think they are generating entertainment but 2) really they are going to use it to change the indoctrination of gender roles. Brilliant! Honestly, there is so much packed in visually and linguistically and I could write a paper on it. It’s a comic many will be talking about for year. Go read it! – Jené

Casanova Acedia #1 – B

So there’s a badass body guard with no memory of his past and he protects this other, old guy who also doesn’t have a memory of his past. There’s a fight scene that takes on a diving board with a hot naked girl. Uhh… there’s also bad guys that don’t have heads or faces. Oh! And the world is going to end in nine days for some reason. In much fewer words, issue #1 of Casanova Acedia is one healthy serving of “HUH?!?!” That being said – I didn’t hate it. In fact, I recommend you read it! It’s a simple and classic storyline with some really, really weird twists added in for what I assume is alluring intent. Whatever this is, I’m into it (I think…) and I plan to stick with it until the weirdness overwhelms. – Taylor

Rasputin #4 – B-

This series is hauntingly beautiful. I wish the books weren’t so short, but it seems like the art style probably takes a long time to finesse. Rasputin has finally made it to the winter palace and has healed Alexi of the bleeding disease.  What this book offers is insight into his powers and how they work. Being able to heal isn’t all fun and games. As always looking forward to the next one. – Jené

Graveyard Shift #2 – C+
 
This week, Hope, Liam’s girlfriend and now vampire, tried to kill him for 6 pages. Then it turned out she’s a good vampire and quit trying to kill him. Then for the rest of the comic, we found out she is just a classic vampire. Can’t touch crosses, or hit the sunlight. Also, she’s hungry … for blood. This book was forgettable, but the saving grace is when I flipped to the back and saw it was rated “T” for Teen. Now I realize that if this is a teen’s vampire book, they could be reading Twilight, and this is waaaaayy better than Twilight. – Adrian
They’re Not Like Us #2 – F
 
Last issue, it seemed like this book would be a little bit like an X-Men rip-off, which I was more ok with than the garbage that was this week’s issue. The specials, or whatever they are called, beat up a guy and steal all his stuff, all because he was going to graffiti, and they make it seem justified because tagging would bring the cops to the neighborhood. What the hell? Does tagging really deserve not only a whole story line that attempts to explain why they deserve what comes to them and an entire panel that says “F*ck Taggers?” I think its an abuse of power that comic writers have to convey a belief that is very closed-minded. And the main character questions the actions of the others, but then accepts it because she is “free?” This is not modern day The Awakening, this is badly written tripe. – Adrian

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Thor #4 – A

“Lady Hammer Pants.” Spider-Man FTW on picking out the Goddess of Thunder’s new name. That and an epic duel between “both” Thors made this a pretty great issue. My annoyance at not knowing the identity of lady-Thor has plateaued to the point of (nearly) no longer caring. I’m almost convinced that writer Jason Aaron doesn’t know the identity either. It’s been building up for so long now that when the reveal finally happens it will probably fizzle, like month-old Coke-a-Cola. I’ve come to accept (and expect) this reality and instead focus on the plot for primary value. The outlook is optimistic at the end of the issue. I’m very intrigued at how things were left off and I’m excited to see where it goes. That being said, Thor will have to significantly impress this critic if it want another “A” rating anytime soon. – Taylor

Uncanny Avengers #1 – A

I’m really liking the Avengers and X-Men mashups that are increasingly common these days.  My favorite musician-turned comic writer, Max Bemis, even had a hand in the AVX series, much to my delight.  The Avengers and X-Men are at it again in the newest volume of Uncanny Avengers.  In this new series, we join Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Rogue, Quicksilver, Vision, Sabretooth, and Brother Voodoo as they travel to Counter Earth.  This first issue left me with a lot of questions, but has enough action and plot to make me want to figure out what in the (Counter) world is going on.  How will the Avenger Unity Division get out of the hostile situation they have gotten themselves into?  Where are Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver?  So many questions, but I guess I’ll have to wait. – Jake

Spider-Man & The X-Men #2 – B+

Does it get much better than superheroes fighting dinosaurs?  Actually, in the case of another Avengers and X-Men team up, it does!  While this entire issue was packed full of action and awesomely lame one-liners, my favorite part was seeing our new X-Pal, Glob, transform into an adorable and transparent dinosaur.  Although the new batch of mutant heroes isn’t exactly my favorite team so far, the story-line has not been relying very heavily on the mutants, but instead seems to pave the way for a what feels like a new Spider-Man solo story.  The first two issues have been entertaining thus far, but I am eager to see the character progression of the X-Men as they begin to trust their impulsive new teacher.  On a side note, don’t fret, Shark-Girl, though you may have turned down love, there’s always other fish in the sea. – Jake

Deadpool #41 – B

Well after the events of AXIS have died down and our Roxxon flashback issue is behind us, we can get back to the regular Deadpool we all know and love. There is only one problem with that – Wade Wilson as we know him is a different man and his daughter, wife, friends and all he should hold dear are changing because of it. The main story for this series is really delving into Deadpool’s psyche. You actually sympathizing and caring more for Deadpool than you thought anyone could. I would say grab this issue to get ready for the new arc and the countdown to his inevitable death in April, as well as it has the best comic cover of the year so far in my opinion, done by Mark Brooks. – Jacob

Spider-Man 2099 #8 – B

If you haven’t heard it yet, I’ll say it for you now. I LOVE Lady Spider! This issue of Spider-Man 2099 is actually more about the sexy, female steampunk version of Spidey than it is about Miguel! I hope this attention to the character is foreshadowing and that fans (especially me) will get more of this captivating character in some other Spider-Man title following the conclusion of Spider-Verse. I’m also pumped that the Japanese Spider-Man Megazord has been re-commissioned and is geared up for the final battle. The atmosphere is critically electric leading into what will be THE final comic book issue of the Spider-Verse event. Everybody hold on tight and hope that the day will be saved!! – Taylor

Wolverines #4 – D-

I have had so much hope for things since I did really enjoy the actual Death of Wolverine story, but the changes it has made and the stories it has created have me to a point where I am very much at peace with Wolverine being dead forever, if it just meant his friends would shut up about it and stop trying to bring him back. The dynamic between the two teams of this series is pretty fun, only to see Sabretooth, Mystique, X-23, Daken, and Deathstrike working together. But in this we add Fantomelle who took the focus from last weeks issue become part of the team, and she is generally the first new character who holds any interest to me. The artwork for this issue is a little rough around the edges, but generally works for a weekly title, although the cover this month was definitely the worst cover to come from anything Death of Wolverine related. If you are the completest that I am of course you should pick up this issue, otherwise, please avoid Wolverine and most things associated with him from now until Earth 616 doesn’t exist anymore… – Jacob


Funniest Panel:

Batman Eternal 43 funny 1.28.15

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Thor 4 awesome panel 1.28.15

That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

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