Comic Book Reviews 02-24-16

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:

transformers 50 POTWTransformers #50 – A
Writer: John Barber
Artist: Andrew Griffith

So, the only thing I don’t like about this book is that it takes place on Earth. I live on Earth – place fuggin’ sucks. Very few good stories take place there. But nevertheless, in the 50th issue of Transformers, things are forming a very satisfying story loop; Prime invades Earth under the misguided notion that he’s going to save it – both from Decepticons and itself – and isn’t hailed for it like he might hope. It’s very cool drumming up imagery from All Hail Megatron, possibly the best Transformers story to date, and from all the prequel stories, whether they be IDW or Dreamwave in that the whole reason the Decepticon brand started up was to “reveal the Deception in others” (Soundwave) as a reaction to the elitist and supremacy obsessed ruling class. Prime, in the beginning of that struggle, fought with Megatron against that ruling class, and now like a Greek tragedy, he’s falling into that role. Soundwave emerges as the only voice of reason, as the one whose corner you want to be in; he wants a class neutral paradise, and nothing more, and feels crushed by his multiple stabs in the back. – Montgomery

 

Other Comic Book Reviews:

Bongo Comic Book Reviews:

Futurama #78 – C
Writer: Ian Boothby
Artist: James Lloyd

First and foremost, this issue of Futurama is based heavily on Little Orphan Annie. I bring this up because I generally always enjoy when a pop culture parody comes up in these Futurama books, but this one I could not go along with. I still think there were some great jokes, and the art of this issue was near perfect, but at the end of the day, when I finish reading an issue of Futurama, I generally have the feeling the whole issue could work as an actual episode; however, this one felt like it was nowhere close, or a least would be known as one of the weaker ones. It took a twist from the typical Annie, with Bender being hunted, and both Fry and Leela bald. It made no sense, but still a better ending than Annie’s. Well, who in robot heck am I kidding? It is Futurama, so I still loved it! – Jacob

DC/Vertigo Comic Book Reviews:

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3 – B
Writer: Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello
Artist: Andy Kubert

Things are gonna get so much worse before they get better. Batman has finally awoken from retirement and has enlisted Superman for help – and they’re gonna need even more. This new villain is terrifying: a religious cult of super-powered Kryptonians that are helping purge the Earth. Azzarello plays with the concept of New Gods, but these gods are genuinely entertained with the notion of what it will be like to rule over this world, which in a way makes them surprisingly relatable. I’m looking forward to this extended run. – Sherif

Second Opinion (A-) Ok, now this issue kicked this story into high gear for me as it showcased exactly where we are going, and getting the splash page of Batman saying, “Go to Hell.” That is the way I love my Batman! – Jacob


Justice League #48 – B-
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jason Fabok

It’s like the rabbit hole just keeps getting deeper. How much more screwed can everybody be? Kudos for Johns for being able to come up with an adversary insurmountable enough to he able to screw both the Justice League and the Crime Syndicate. I really enjoy the angle of the Justice League being New Gods themselves, even though it seems to be debilitating the group more than helping them, but there are just too many moving variables to fully understand what is going on here. I wouldn’t mind an extra issue or two if it meant that we got the full picture and not just full page spread after spread of fight scenes. – Sherif


Superman – The Coming of Supermen #1 – B-
Writer and Artist: Neal Adams
Colorist: Alex Sinclair

I don’t really know what to say about this book since I haven’t kept up with the Super family line of comic books for a couple months now. I feel like there is something that I should know about what’s happening but the first issue was quite confusing. It looks like we have people who were able to acquire Superman’s powers somehow but aren’t accustomed to having them yet. It could also be that they come from universes that don’t have a yellow sun, like Kandor. I am getting the vibe from this book that the real Superman is going to have to train an army to fight whatever threat Darkseid is posing. Seems like it has potential to be awesome, not to mention if one of these other Supermen becomes popular, we could get a spinoff that takes the character in a completely different direction. – Robert

 

IDW Publishing Comic Book Reviews:

Street Fighter x G.I Joe #1 – B
Writer: Aubrey Sitterson
Artist: Emilio Laiso

It would seem like this was something that was planned a while back due to the fact that it is mostly Street Fighter 4 characters they chose to spotlight. With the hard push from Capcom and Sony to promote the recent release of Street Fighter V, I’m surprised we didn’t at least see some of the new characters from the new game. So far, this comic is a giant royal rumble and now that they have cleared the B-listers out of the way, we can get on with the characters everybody wants to see. I don’t remember much about G.I. Joe but we do get to see Snake Eyes. Being a fan of the Street Fighter franchise will push me to keep reading this pretty much wherever it goes, but if you aren’t a fan of either, you could give this a pass. – Robert


Orphan Black: Helsinki #4 – B-
Writers: John Fawcett, Graeme Manson, and Heli Kennedy
Artists: Wayne Nichols and Fico Ossio

This issue was okay. It wasn’t incredible. It didn’t do anything that we haven’t seen before in Orphan Black, besides going to the press, which seems more like a detour from the plot than anything that advanced it. So far this series seems to be more of a filler for the show than a tie in. With season four of Orphan Black coming up in April, this comic series fits into their whole “going back to the start” motif, but it doesn’t add a lot to that narrative. Most of it feels like season one of Orphan Black done in Europe. I have a feeling that things will all make sense in the next issue as Project Helsinki goes into effect and I’m excited to see if they decide to link that to the upcoming season four. I’d love to see Veera in season four, which this comic could definitely set up if it wanted to. – Charlotte


Wynonna Earp #1 – C-
Writer: Beau Smith
Artist: Lora Innes

Eh. This was kind of boring. This book is nothing we haven’t seen before. It seems to borrow from a lot of different stories without doing a whole lot of original leg work. Midwest vampires? True Blood has you covered. Badass female slayer protagonist? Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer and you’ll be golden. Human organs being sold to supernatural beings? iZombie did that last season and is still doing it. While it’s complete fine to draw from other works, you have to do something original with it and this just feels kind of lazy. Hopefully it finds it’s own voice next issue. – Charlotte


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #55- C-
Writers: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Artist: Michael Dialynas

With this issue we see the end of Michael Dialynas’s run on art, which to me is pretty sad as I generally liked his style, and I sure do hope to see him return on the series or a future mini-series. This also means the arc focusing on Mikey’s journey is closing, or a least taking a break. We see a hint of this in this issue although Mikey is not the focus of this issue and it is rather big in scope and covers just about everyone. We get a bit of April and Casey, and how Casey is being a bit of a jerk, jumping to Angel and Alopex on a mission, then some major struggles of Alopex which gives us a splash page of Michael Dialynas’s art that proves, he NEEDS to com back for more issues. Overall this issue is a mess story wise as it tries to cover way too much and has fans of the series really wondering why Casey is so out of character. I am super excited for next months issue as we see all the turtles together again, Santolouco is back on art, and we finally get Leatherhead! – Jacob

Second Opinion (D): This issue is split into three different mini-stories, with only the Alopex/Angel offering anything of substance. Casey is turning into a paranoid jerk… a poorly-drawn paranoid jerk. It’s nice to see the Turtles reunite, but the whole thing just felt amateurish and campier than the tone has been calling for. – Sherif

Image Comic Book Reviews:

Saga #34 – A
Writer: Brian K Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples

The worst part about each issue of Saga is that they end. Every time an issue comes out, I stop whatever I’m doing, turn that sum’bitch sideways, and read it panel to panel. And while the creators know at this point that they have their fans hooked, there’s a succinct choice not to half-ass the story. There’s also a natural sense of story progression that doesn’t feel forced, yet infinitely frustrated it’s not all revealed when I want it to be. It seems another adventure is in store, so stay tuned! – Sherif


Invisible Republic #9 – A
Writer/Artist: Gabriel Harman
Colorist: Jordan Boyd

Loving this story as always. It’s been way too long since the last issue. I’ve been keeping my eye on it for weeks. The story really is becoming something. It’s intricate maze of intricacy… (I’ll go with that even if it’s not all that flashy of a sentiment). It looks like this story involves more than the politics of this little planet. We get more information, but the more information we get the more it raises more questions. How does Earth and Aslan play into the story? What is so important about Maia’s story? What is Nica’s role in all of this, and why was she exiled? Ug, I want/need more information. Till then, I guess I just gotta enjoy the story as it unfolds. – Jené


Pencil Head #2 – A
Writer and Artist: Ted McKeever

This is a pretty great book that’s so hard to describe. It’s like equal parts confessional, seemingly-autobiographical, and then just pure bonkers insanity… like that time a person-sized penis crawled out of a dead stripper’s mouth in order to write on the wall. It feels like reading Sam Keith, back when Sam Keith was straight-up the biz. Oh, and this panel? it’s the head of Happytime Comics (DEFINITELY not Marvel) telling the hero, Poodwaddle, how you sucker the public into buying their books. It’s a quality description of why Marvel and DC, as far as I’m concerned, can suck it. – Montgomery


Goddamned #3 – A
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: r.m. Guera

This book’s only sin is that it took two months to come out. I can’t get enough of this book. – Montgomery


Postal #10 – B
Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Isaac Goodhart

Each month when the new issue of Postal comes around I always find myself in anticipation for something really awesome to happen, but I never get that “OMG so blown away” moment. Postal is a slow and thoughtful series, and to be brutally honest probably boring for some readers. But I don’t know, I’m still really into it. I’ll be the first to admit that the story progression moves at a snail’s pace with a few exciting moments peppered into the overall super slow building momentum. This month’s issue was no real exception. Agent Bremble’s quest to take down Eden moved forward a tiny bit, but that’s not really the most interesting aspect at this stage anyhow. All of the excitement Postal has going for it is currently completely revolving around the newest town member, Molly the freaking sociopath. She’s compelling and loathsome, but honestly too crazy to live so I’m sure she’ll be gone soon enough. Either that or she will single handedly turn Eden on it’s head, which seems unlikely for the story telling style used here. Overall, this was a good issue if you, like myself, are really sold on Postal but it did further my belief that this series may not provide enough momentum to satisfy most readers. – Keriann


Black Magick #5 – B
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Nicola Scott  

The art gets me every time. It’s bananas amazing! Also, the story is awesome, too. It’s a nice spin on the witches, witch hunters/secret society schtick. I am always dragged into the story, and this issue is no different. I only wish I had more to read in one sitting. It’s clear that those spying on Rowen are probably a type of misguided good guys blaming the evil misdeeds of some other group on witches. Just a theory, but I am pretty sure I am right. Also, totally think her partner is going to die. Too much foreshadowing. Something is up. Love this comic. – Jené

Marvel Comic Book Reviews:

Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #5 – B-
Writer: Frank J. Barbiere
Artist: Brent Schoonover

I still am on the fence with this series; I see it becoming a lot better than these first 5 issues, especially now that they are more of a team and less like prisoners. With this issue we see the end of the first story arc and have everyone, but Orrgo taking on the Sphinx in the final battle where a crucial artifact is about to land into the hands of The Sphinx and cause a ton of damage! As the crew plans out their attack we see more than ever how well this whole team of monsters works together as a team. After this issue, likely the best issue of this arc,  I have a feeling quality will definitely improve from here and the inclusion of this team in the big Avengers Standoff event starting soon, will be great for this team and make me glad I have stuck with this series. – Jacob


Drax #4 – C
Writer: CM Punk &  Cullen Bunn
Artist: Scott Hepburn

This series so far has had some quality moments, but to me seems plagued with bad pacing for the story where times it feels it is moving way too slow and sometimes way too fast, but never finding its right footing. The story as a whole is enjoyable and the big battle coming next month will hopefully be quite fun. Drax himself is a fabulous character along the same lines as Deadpool in fact as he can be super violent, but often comes off as comedic. A very different comedy from Deadpool, of course, as Drax is a lot drier and he doesn’t try to be funny, whereas Deadpool kind of forces it. This issue tackled Drax being caught by Fin Fang Foom along with other aliens including Terrax. Most of the aliens want to fight back but have collars on that will inhibit their emotions and basically mind control them. Drax fights, but all it leads to is us knowing the real fight comes next month. This series continues to be fun and on most Guardians fans will enjoy, but overall it is one that doesn’t reach outside of a fanbase that isn’t already reading it. – Jacob


Karnak #2 – C+
Writer: Warren Ellis
Arists: Gerardo Zafino & Antonio Fuso

This issue personifies kind of everything I hate about your average Marvel book: the first third of the book is just wordless fight scenes. Even at their best, fight scenes don’t deserve more than a couple of pages unless something significant is happening in addition to the fight. But six consecutive pages? That just reeks of “I ‘unno… just fill it in somehow.” And then the story part… every element is baffling. And that was probably Ellis’ point, but it felt confusing in a way that doesn’t feel purposeful. Maybe 3 years from now (based on how long it took #2 to get here) I can look at the collected edition and realize it was all there the whole time. Also, why’d it take nearly six months for this issue? It’s bad enough that it takes longer to read a board book written for six month old babies than it does a Marvel book, but the microscopic amount of stories they drip-feed into their books utterly evaporates after six months. – Montgomery

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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