Comic Book Reviews 02-26-14

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:

deadly class reagan

Deadly Class (Image Comics) #2 – A

This book is awesome, it’s a classic high school scene like Harry Potter or Freaks and Greeks, except the children are there to learn how to be assassins. I just love the story behind this book and what it is going to develop into. At first, when Sherif told me about Deadly Class, I honestly thought it was going to be stupid and not very entertaining, but I have been proven wrong. With so many cool characters, and an interesting concept, Deadly Class has tickled, no, molested my fancy and I cannot wait to continue to see what comes out of this comic. In issue #2, we get our very first look into the school it’s amazing to see where everyone comes from and how everyone there plans to become an assassin. Even though there isn’t a ton of action in this issue, the writing is enough to keep the reader engaged and interested through the entire book. I can truly appreciate a comic that doesn’t need action to make the story great. If you have not started reading Deadly Class yet, I highly recommend it. – E

Other Reviews:

DC/Vertigo:

Superman: Lois Lane #1 – B

Lois Lane hasn’t been a major part of Superman’s life like she has in the past thanks to the reboot of the New 52 and Superman knocking boots with a goddess now. This story proves that Lois Lane is still a badass reporter that doesn’t need to be rescued by the Man of Steel. The plot revolves around Lois’ sister and some sort of trouble that she got into with drugs that have crazy side-effects. Lois of course sets off to investigate and get into all sorts of hijinks related to the investigation. The story overall isn’t too bad and the art is great, which also matches the artwork from the new 52 superman book. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a one-shot like this but I can say that Lois didn’t disappoint. She is still the only woman I can see Superman ending up with.  – R

Batman Superman #8 – B-

I’ve finally woken up from the bad dream that has been the past couple months of Batman/Superman and found myself back in the real world. I’m not sure what kind of hell was happening with the last few issues, but we are back in the Greg Pak/Jae Lee universe that we signed up for in the first place. Issue #8 saw an alternate universe’s Robin and Supergirl (now Huntress and Power Girl) meeting Batman and Superman for the first time. Seeing Batman’s estranged daughter interact with him for the first time is worth a laugh, and Superman’s attempt to protect Power Girl from himself is exactly what you’d expect. The plot is just a transition to what will happen in the next issue of World’s Finest, so don’t get too attached to the story. Really, though, the art is what will save the book. It’s just beautiful, and it’s reason enough to invest in the series going forward. – S

Dark Horse Comics:

Tomb Raider #1 – B+

This issue is about what I expected it to be when I heard there was a new series coming out. This issue is an introduction to a few key characters and the buildup for the first arc. What I didn’t expect was that it is a continuation of the story from the latest Tomb Raider game that came out. I absolutely loved the game and if you haven’t played it yet, I would highly recommend it – you owe it to yourself. This continuation has me especially excited because I was left with a sense of wanting to know what happens next after the game. If the writing is as good as it was in the game, then I expect there to be great potential in this story. This is still a very young Lara and that leaves tons of room for development beyond anything we have seen before in games or film. – R

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #2 – C+

If the debut issue of Serenity: Leaves on the Wind was the honeymoon, issue #2 is like the awkward first week back. The Serenity crew is forced with a tough decision regarding Zoë’s condition, and they pick up an old pal in Jayne Cobb. With Jayne on board, things should feel back to normal, but the identity just isn’t there in this book… yet. There are many moving pieces in Leaves on the Wind: the new revolution, Zoë, River, and an unwelcome visitor by the name of Jubal Early (last episode of Firefly). So far, nothing has been established to make me feel part of the experience. Hopefully the next issue will make me feel the magic. – S

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles #31 – A-

As the turtles regroup in Northampton from the events of City Fall, we’re finally getting to see our heroes in their familiar light: joking, training and feeling like family again. There are some really awesome moments with Casey and Donatello (very nostalgic of the first TMNT film) and Raphael and Alopex. Even Leonardo and Splinter iron out some issues. This issue isn’t all feels though, as a new mutant assassin of the foot emerges. What really sets TMNT apart from other books is that even in the lulls, there is always something to push the story along. The dialog may seem lengthy at times, but it’s heavily tied to the story and character development. The art of Ross Campbell is beautiful, and is greatly complemented by it’s bright colors. Enjoy it while it lasts, as after issue 32, Mateus Santolouco takes over. Regardless of who is drawing, with Tom Waltz at the held, TMNT can do no wrong.  – S

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Utrom Empire #2 – B

In this Krang-centric book, we get a look at the bigger picture. Krang, although ruthless and power-hungry, cares deeply for the fate of his people. It’s almost admirable, in a creepy kind of way. As he battles extinction from all angles, Krang proves he is willing to do whatever is necessary to save the Utrom people, even at the cost of his own life. The 80’s action flick vibe is still in full effect, here. Vog, the triceratops mutant, is quickly becoming one of my favorite villains in the book, and I just hope that the turtles never have to face such a foe. I’m not nearly as interested in this side-story as I have been in the past TMNT mini-series (the best among them being Secret of the Foot Clan), but Utrom Empire has managed to take the turtles most dangerous foe and make him the protagonist… sort of. – S

Samurai Jack #5 – B

BOSS FIGHT! We were just saying in our review of issue #4 that it’s time for the story to pick up steam and progress the story. Like the top of a roller-coaster ride, all this issue needed was a light push and the story went from 0-epic in one page. In fact, it might move too quick, as the art and dialog is all over the place, and a bit jumbled. That being said, Jack confronts Aku, and it’s every bit the showdown we were waiting for. The Threads of Time play a big part in his strategy, but the turn-around from start to end is so fast, it seemed a bit rushed. Pace aside, Jack is still a great pick-up for those raised on the series and genre. – S

X-Files Conspiracy: Transformers #1 – B-

Above most other aspects in creative media and storytelling, I appreciate creativity and new ideas.  IDW supplies in X-Files Conspiracy.  The fourth installment of this series merges the adventures of Scully, Mulder and their cohorts with the infamous robots in disguise – Transformers!  Being one of my favorite childhood interests it was great to see Optimus and others in still panel form.  The premise is simple; the X-Files team is out to unravel a conspiracy and in the process, save the world.  Continuing on from the previous issues featuring the Ghostbuster’s crew as well as our favorite heroes in half-shells (TMNT!!), the Autobots assemble in support of the cause.  There were a lot of humorous moments in the pages of this issue that really add to the enjoyment factor.  It wasn’t the most action packed comic, but all in all this was a fun read.  I recommend it if you’re looking to add a little bit of light-hearted variety to your comic stack.  – T

Image Comics:

Black Science #4 – A

Of the numerous volumes of comic books I’m reading right now, very few come close to Image’s Black Science.  This series tops even the Star War issues in my current stack (and that’s saying something).  Don’t sleep on this one, people.  Rick Remender’s (writer) creative genius has brought us a story with depth, intrigue, adventure, conflict/plot variety and everything that makes the Hush Comics family giddy!  An issue hasn’t passed where I wasn’t left anxious after at the very last page and panel!  Issue #4 plays out is similar fashion as the debut issue – a race against time before our dimensionaughts are forced to jump again to another dimension.  The intensity is juxtaposed with powerful character monologue and gorgeous art work.  I give, yet again, another big round of applause to Matteo Scalera (artist) and Dean White (painter).  What they put on the page…it’s like love-making for eyeballs.  By the conclusion of the issue, the plot has taken on a completely different pace and tone.  This beautiful evolution opens up vast possibilities for the continuation of Black Science.  I hope Remender and team keep this unique adventure engaging and exciting. – T

The Revenge #1 – B

Uhhhh, I’m not entirely sure what I just read, but it was good! This is definitely unlike other comic books that I have read in a long time. With lots of blood and boobs, The Revenge is a comic for a mature audience. This story is pretty clear and laid out, but I still have no idea where it is going to go. Some points in this comic and just demented and gruesome, yet I can’t find fault in it because that is the identity that the book has found for itself. Honestly, I found the book strange but a good strange, not like a “this is so weird and stupid I don’t even know what is going on strange.” So if you are in the search for a comic book unlike the rest, and are up for some boobs and blood, then I would recommend The Revenge. – E

Sex #11 – B-

After last issue’s tease at what a world with the Armored Saint looked like, we are back to the foreplay of the other nine issues. While the tension is certainly rising in Saturn City, I can’t honestly see the Saint making a comeback for at least another five issues if they continue at this pace. All the major characters and motives (or lack thereof) have been established and the only logical next step this story can take is to introduce the Armored Saint to save the city. They show us in the beginning that Simon clearly still has the skill but he just doesn’t have the proper motivation to break his vow yet. Simon is reminiscent of how Oliver Queen was behaving in the beginning of his New 52 run; they both desire to be something else yet neither one quite knows how to make it happen. I’m sure that wrinkly old ball sac called the Old Man will help him out with that. Speaking of ball sac, there has been a marked increase in the amount of penis that they started showing since its first introduction a few issues back – perhaps we could tone that down a bit. This isn’t Game of Thrones or Spartacus, after all.  – R

The Walking Dead #122 – C-

Uggghh!  If you’re wondering whether I’m disappointed or practicing my walker impression, know that it is the former… Chalk another one up for an uneventful TWD issue.  As various members of the Alexandria and Hilltop communities cope and adjust to the aftermath of the savage battles the plot remains in a state of limbo.  Minor developments and hints as to what will happen next pepper the page, but I’ve already lost track of the number of times an issue has lead me to believe, “oh the next issue is gonna be crazy!”… And I can count pretty high.  Kirkman’s focus on the All Out War arch is far too centralized war rhetoric and how it affects everyone.  I don’t know about you, but the impacts of war are lost on me in this post-apocalyptic time frame.  The world has already gone to shit and a series of skirmishes termed as “war” adds little to the series.  Only four issues remain until the All Out War story ends.  I hope for the sake of continued TWD support that the conclusion is epic.  It may not be long before this TWD fan is walking away from this dead series. – T

Marvel:

Hawkeye #15 – B+

It feels so good to be back in New York with Hawk-guy. I’ve had enough of Kate as Hawkeye, with her disastrous exploits living on her own. I really enjoy Clint Barton’s everyday adventures: the guns, the butt-kicking, and most especially, the Bros. The Russian (?) Bro Mafia is hilarious. They are one building away from owning the whole neighborhood – a building illegally owned by Hawkeye. Sometimes, it’s the most humane stories in the Avengers’ world that make for the most clever and entertaining books. Throw in a legitamite villain to the mix, and you have plenty of gas in the tank for Matt Fraction’s best book out. – S

Fantastic Four #1 – B

After an exciting first few pages, I was actually pretty excited to continue reading to see what was coming next. It started on such a serious and mysterious note that it grabs the reader attention right away. Yet, the rest of the book didn’t really carry that same mood and tone up until the end. Seeing that it is a first issue, I can understand the need to set up plot lines and background story, I just wish all that middle stuff was a bit more interesting. However, I am still interested to see how this story is going to play out. It seems like it is going to be more of a somber comic than a typical superhero book. And by getting a glimpse at that somber tone, it allows the reader to want to know how it got there. What went down in order to bring these people to the places they are at now? I guess only time will tell, but I would enjoy finding out. – E

Origin II #3 – B

Three issues in out of five and I’m still not sure what the purpose of this book is. I have enjoyed the art immensely but there hasn’t been any actual character development. So far Logan hasn’t actually said a single word, unless of course you count onamotapeia as language. I get the feeling that given the direction some of Wolverines other books are taking that this will perhaps be an origin for how his feud with Sabertooth ultimately began. Somehow, Sinister also fits into the picture, too. Being a major fan of Wolverine, I can’t help but continue to read this but I also can’t help but as why is there a sequel. – R

Indestructible Hulk #19 – B-

As of right now, there is a lot going on in the Indestructible Hulk series; yet with this particular comic, I felt like not much was happening. We got to see the effects of another one of Banner’s solutions to a problem and the consequences that happened because of it, but a majority of the comic was just uneventful. We did get to see some pretty cool action toward the beginning of the comic; however, it wasn’t able to carry the book by itself. I’m hoping the next issue can bring more excitement following the events that have transpired over the last couple issues. – E

Deadpool #24 – C+

Issue #24 ends the long saga of Agent Preston being stuck in Deadpool’s body. It’s drawn out, and uncharacteristically emotional, but it’s still the same Deadpool you know and love. There are a couple moments in the mush-fest that stick, though, as Deadpool is truly alone now – excluding the cacophony of voices in his head. It’s a decent transition issue, but it’s not much more than that. With all the hoopla at Marvel over a Deadpool wedding, I can see the need to explore those feelings, but #24 really forces the issue. Overall, I’m happy with the direction the book is taking, but turning Deadpool into a soft-hearted murderer won’t sit well with me. – S

Wolverine #2 – C

Heroes and villains have a way of dying or having a major crisis that somehow majorly affects them all the time. It’s the comic book industries way of reminding us that we should appreciate what we have because at any minute it could be taken away. Just look at Peter Parker; not only did they kill the Amazing Peter but they also killed the Ultimate universe’s version of Peter, too. Logan has a run-in with Superior Spider-Man‘s “Peter Parker” that shows a side of Logan that I don’t really think we have experienced before. This is a Wolverine that is de-powered, broken and, for the first time ever, afraid. I can’t help but think that this is just some plot to bring him back better than ever, or maybe change him in some major way kind of like what they did to Jubilee. That being said, this depiction of Logan pretty much shits on the whole idea of the character. I hope that Paul Cornell knows what he is doing. Too much of this Wolverine is definitely a bad thing.  – R

Superior Spider-Man #28 – C-

After such a stellar display in issue #27, Superior Spider-Man feels like an awkwardly-long continuation instead of an expansion upon the Goblin Nation story. Some secrets were revealed, and it still feels like this is going somewhere, but I had gotten my hopes up after the last issue that things were finally turning around. While Otto is dumb-founded that the Green Goblin has out-smarted him, the subconscious of Peter Parker is getting sucked further and further into Otto Octavius’ psyche. Maybe Superior is trying to avoid taking the easy way out (segueing into April’s re-emergence of Amazing Spider-Man), but it just seems now that it is stalling for time until Parker returns. I’ll still keep reading, but I wouldn’t recommend this to new readers. – S

George Romero’s Empire of the Dead #2 – D

This issue is pretty much nothing but buildup for the inevitable plot arc involving some ridiculous rise of the zombies with consciences, or perhaps some type of battle between zombie and vampires with humans caught in the middle. The story remains vigilant that there is a way to domesticate zombies and that they have some feeling or memory of their former selves. I know that George Romero is considered one of the greats but I think he has crossed over that fine line of innovative into ridiculousness. This doesn’t even feel like fresh material after watching his last few subpar films. He has already explored many of these ideas in his earlier work and it didn’t pan out very well there either. I am left wondering how he thought it could pan out better in short spurts that don’t really have any coherent ideas so far. And as a bit of a personal gripe, the art is a bit all over the place. It is hard to determine who is who sometimes when the art doesn’t even match from one panel to the next. – R

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 2 B’s, averaging out to a 3.00

Marvel Comics: and 4 B’s, 3 C’s and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.38

Independents: 3 A’s, 6 B’s and 2 C’s, averaging out to a 3.09

Funniest Panel of the Week:

alopex tai chi

Epic Panel of the Week:

clobberin time

Cover Art of the Week:

Fantastic Four #1 Alex Ross variant

Fantastic Four #1 Alex Ross variant

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, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Written by Sherif ElkhatibAdrian PuryearEvan LoweTaylor Lowe and Robert Michael

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