Comic Book Reviews 02-03-16

Review Scale:

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:

mirror 1 potw

Mirror #1 – A
Writer: Emma Rios
Artist: Hwei Lim

Let me be clear in that I didn’t personally feel this comic book is the best thing ever, but I can recognize that it absolutely wasn’t written for me. There are bad comics that deserve bad grades, and then there are comics to which you’d want to give a bad grade but cannot because you recognize they are not for you. Theoretically, it’s got all the elements of a book I would like: magic, an epic war, weird stuff that’s hard to figure out. But something with in it, its whimsy perhaps, makes it inaccessible to me. I think people who like Saga will probably really get into this book (not that I don’t like Saga, but I don’t have the OMGBESTBOOKEVER response that a lot of people do). It has beautiful delicate watercolor art and intriguing designs. And the… first dog that I thought was kind of hot? I need to do some serious thinking now. – Montgomery

Other Comic Book Reviews:

Action Lab Comic Book Reviews:

I, Mage #1 – B-
Writer: Gary Turner
Artist: Carlos E. Gomez

It feels clear that the folks who made this comic are heavily influenced by that ancient relic of 2001, Joe Maduereira’s Battlechasers. The cast is almost the same: a young child with a magic glove accompanied some form of mechanical slave, an old wise magic man accompanied by a younger apprentice type. It’s not an exact fit, but even the art looks like it could have been produced by Joe Mad at some point. Anyways, seeing the art, and seeing the characters, I was excited for some Battlechasers. And while I wasn’t disappointed, I often felt like I did when I tried to watch John Carter: confounded by all this specialty dialogue for which there’s no good reason to care about yet. We Kai found by Q’Sai and his Masai, who are chasing a corrupted phylectary, and have to utilize the protection of wards here on the planet of Urth. And Kai, of Terra, waits for his parents’ spaceship to… something something. I liked the obviously anime-inspired art that Joe Mad seemed to spearhead, but everything was so busy with so many jargon-sounding words, that it was hard for me to want to care about any characters. I’ll keep reading, because I like the magic/technology fusion, but the first issue didn’t really feel like much was going on. – Montgomery

BOOM! Studios Comic Book Reviews:

Klaus #3 – B
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora

It’s still so hard or me to figure out if this is a good book or not. It has so many things going for it: a near-feral proto-Santa that lives with a wolf; psychedelic toys that make the world look like a 60s album cover; Santa as a spirit of rebellion (extra satisfying given Santa’s crass over commercialization for the last 80 years). And in this issue, it’s revealed that the very-Palpatine-like ruler of the city is working his city to death and forcing them to dwell in misery because he worships some mysterious thing enslaved in walls of coal. It sounds so cool, and I want to dive in so hard, but I can’t tell if this idea is as bad as something like Elf (you just gotta believe by getting sweet shit u gais), or if it’s amazing. I can’t help but think it’s a problem inherent to the format of single issues: being unable to tell if something is worth reading or not until all the issues are out, the absolutely spectacular and absolutely wretched notwithstanding. – Montgomery

Dark Horse Comic Book Reviews:

DC/Vertigo Comic Book Reviews:

Batman Beyond #9 – C+
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Bernard Chang

We finally got to see what Metropolis is all about. Matt, per usual, was a brat. Tim tries to navigate his way through the chaos and solve the mystery of “The Doctor.” I wasn’t overwhelmed with this issue, but I wasn’t underwhelmed either. Seeing how other cities coped after the Brother Eye incident was interesting to see, but other than the end panel, I’m not sure how much this issue is driving things forward. – Adrian

Swamp Thing #2 – C
Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Kelley Jones

I think I just need to accept that no other Swamp Thing will ever possibly be Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing. I really like Kelley Jone’s weird off-model art that has the characters’ bodies in constant fluctuation. It fits the character in a way that the prior New 52 incarnation’s more classical superhero art didn’t. I also like how it seems like this series is trying to return Swampy to his horror anthology roots. I like the way in which it feels pulpy (arcane college, magical parents, zombies and whatnot), but Swam-p-bop’s dialogue is… weird. When Morrison writes him, I can’t help but imagine hearing a person carrying a large weight around for whom speaking is difficult. This new S-womple’s voice sounded almost indistinct from someone off Entourage, or something. And on the way in which On Golden Swamp seemed shocked by everything. I mean, a single zombie is the scariest thing ever? That reaction would lead me to believe that the events of the New 52 and the Moore/Veitch years don’t count… except he talks about the Parliament of Trees and knows the Phantom Stranger… so it’s silly that he’s scared by a single zombie. Whatever. I’m sure holo-toddlers think it’s cool. – Montgomery

Second Opinion (C): So far the series is a bit over the top and seem to be trying a bit too hard at times. Overall it is enjoyable but not one of the best Swamp Thing stories to come from Len Wein. – Jacob

IDW Publishing Comic Book Reviews:

The Eighth Seal #3 – A
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Jeremy Rock

I must say, The Eighth Seal is easily one of my favorite new series out right now. It’s thoughtful, well written, and so far each issue has been very creepy. One of my favorite aspects of it, which I’m so glad has stuck around past the first issue, is the paneling. The art is beautiful and the use of blank/black panels in between character interactions or when something unnerving happens really adds a lot to the overall feeling of the book. James Tynion IV is taking his time revealing what is actually going on with Amelia and how many people are in on it and I feel like the pace works perfectly for this series. The third issue didn’t drop any bombshells, so far everything is staying on track with a slow build up so this series may not be for everyone. Lovers of action might not find this one satisfying, but if you are a fan of series like Neonomicon and Providence, I’d recommend giving The Eighth Seal a shot.   

Image Comic Book Reviews:

Nailbiter #20 – B
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Mike Henderson

Nailbiter just finished up it’s third story arc in with that, we will not see another new issue until May 4, 2016. I don’t quite feel like I got enough from this issue to tide me over, or to keep me super excited for the next issue but overall it was still good enough. The story line with The Devil Killer has come to a bloody end so thankfully we can now bid farewell to Atlanta and return to Buckaroo – yay! Alice found out her parental origins and that will likely become an interesting piece of story telling in the next arc, and most importantly Barker seems to have finally snapped and she may or may not have just murdered -SPOILER-!! Honestly, the third arc has not been my favorite and my favorite aspect of this issue may be that it lead into new elements that I am far more excited to read about. As a conclusion this issue felt rushed and like it was easiest to just make The Devil Killer go away with seemingly very little impact on the overall story. This was not a bad issue, the last few pages were an exciting transition into the future and for that I’d recommend it, even though I’ve seen this series be way better. – Keriann

Paper Girls #5 – C+
Writer: Brian K. Vaughn
Artist: Cliff Chiang

There was a lot of confusing time travel and death in this issue. It was a little hard to keep up with. I am still interested in this story of apocalypse and the future, but I am finding it difficult to care deeply about any of the characters. What is most interesting at this point in the series is the finale scene of the book – the girls being catapulted (maybe?) in to 1999. Things will change greatly, at least I think they will. – Adrian

The Walking Dead #151 – C
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard

Another relatively eventless issue that could be summed up in a few sentences. So here, I will save you the $4 and just tell you. Michonne is being sent to the Kingdom to take over for Ezekiel since his passing. Rick has regained the people’s confidence and is training them to fight; Rick also sucks at fighting now and is handing the keys over to a reluctant Dwight. Eugene has established radio contact with somebody, which I’m certain will mean doom for everybody at Alexandria. Put together in a trade format where the build-up actually amounts to some action, it’s not a bad issue. Spaced apart with practically nothing happening gets pretty frustrated – especially after such a lackluster #150. – Sherif

Marvel Comic Book Reviews:


Howard the Duck #4 – A
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Joe Quinones

This series has repeatedly shown that it is not joking around, despite it being a funny comic about an anthropomorphic duck. In this issue, we see Howard interact with Galactus, acquire Silver Surfer’s power and board, and for the first time, we have the mentioning of Bev! Beverly was Howard’s old human girlfriend from the original series and a character many fans of the original Steve Gerber run have been begging for. But from the sound of the one line in this, things did not end well with Beverly. Other than the minor Easter Eggs for old fans, the story was really well done. It is building up to something really big in the coming issues, including a crossover with Squirrel Girl! – Jacob

Spider-Man #1 – A-
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli

Deeeep breath… AHHH! This is a for real Miles Morales comic book, guys. No more kickin rocks in the Ultimate Universe. Miles has a for real series and his own place in the Marvel U. Fanboy gush over. This book was fun. It’s the typical rookie story of a goofy kid trying to get the hang of this superhero thing while balancing it with his school and social life. His best friend Ganke knows his secret identity and serves as comic relief and support, while his mom and dad seem normal and supportive. This is how Black History Month needs to start every year. Villain-wise, Blackheart is absolutely terrifying and mysterious, and the predicament Spider-Man is in at the end has me throwing popcorn at the screen in anticipation of issue #2. – Sherif

Second Opinion (B)This issue started off cute and got real… really quickly. It was pretty cool to see Miles and Sam in the same panels together. It’s a new era in comics. – Adrian

A-Force #2 – B+
Writers: Kelly Thompson & G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Jorge Molina

Although the team has still yet to be a “team” in this series, it is becoming exactly what I wanted out of the book and making this team not only as strong as they were in Secret Wars, but with even more of a dynamic and overall care for Singularity. It already was a team made up of some of the greatest female heroes in the Marvel Universe with much more room to build on, as well, which could make for a really good launching pad for new female heroes for Marvel. Call me a sucker for most She-Hulk stuff, but this series seems to be building up to become on of my favorite series from Marvel of all time. – Jacob

Captain America: Sam Wilson #6 – B
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Joe Bennett

The Serpent Society arc is over. I was underwhelmed with the outcome, honestly. This arc had been so strong, that I thought the blowout would be… more of a blowout. However, I still love this series. I think it is one of the best Marvel has going for it. Nick Spencer’s writing is great commentary on America today without being heavy-handed. Plus, we have our new Falcon, so things should get interesting. – Adrian

Deadpool and the Mercs for Money #1 – B
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Salva Espin

This issue makes the first time for me that this team has made sense or even worked well story wise. Although I enjoyed the storyline of this team in the pages of Deadpool, this issue really shines a light on all the members: what they are capable of, and why they are working for Deadpool. Even with the enjoyable character writing, I would rather this comic be about just the Mercs for Money and have Deadpool dealing with his own stuff and only make minor appearances. Nothing against Deadpool, of course, but this is such a great ensemble of mercs that it would be great to get even more focus on them. After all, there have been many Deadpool series that were much worse with almost no trace of Deadpool before this one. – Jacob

Uncanny Avengers #5 – B
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Carlos Pacheco

Well, first and foremost, the ending to this was crap, complete and utter crap. I know it is setting up the next story arc, but it was such a fast moving story hat we though one thing and then something that hardly makes sense comes in at the last second. I still feel this series is one of the best Marvel has at the moment. There are such a great dynamic of characters – notably by Gambit in this issue. I am hoping this issue leads into a couple other things, but if not, it may be one that the cover alone will make me angry when flipping though back-issues.  – Jacob

Invincible Iron Man #6 – B-
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Michael Deodato
Colorist: Frank Martin

I wouldn’t ever say that this is the “best” book Marvel has on its roster, but it’s easily one of my favorites. Bendis’ writing always has me either intrigued or laughing, but always captivated. Iron Man has never been a character I’ve ben terribly interested in, and a Good Guy Doom has little appeal to me, but because it’s so well-written, I want to keep reading it. The new direction on art has a mixed response from me, as well. I had really enjoyed David Marquez’s art, and while Deodato’s pencilwork is nice, it’s a very different look from Marquez’s. Art aside, tech ninjas are an easy win for any storyline. – Sherif

Second Opinion (B+): Invincible Iron Man never ceases to be absolutely hilarious. Also, even though this is new art, I am really loving how this new art direction looks. – Adrian

Rocket Raccoon and Groot #2 – B-
Writer: Skottie Young
Artist: Filip Andrade

I have been a huge fan of Skottie Young’s and nearly all of his comics, but this one has me a little impatient. I still absolutely love this story, but I am finding myslf wishing it was moving faster because I want the actual story to be about Rocket and Groot and not be a rather confusing mess, including a story of Groot basically torturing himself repeatedly. I am getting the idea that this is a bit darker and both characters are coming from much different places. I am just wanting this story to get to the point they are a team and I am sure once it is there my anxiety will slow down and I will enjoy the series. – Jacob

Panel Surfing:

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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 credited to their respective publishers and creators; thanks to all the for putting out great books!

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