Comic Book Reviews 04-08-15

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:

Savior #1

Savior #1 – A+
Ladies and gentlemen, Todd McFarlane has done it again. He made his triumphant return to comics with Savior and I think he hit this one out of the park. This book is very smart and extremely well-written. The main character, Jill Bennett, is eloquent and intelligent and raises excellent questions for the reader during her lecture on confirmation bias at her former high school. I even made a note to myself why I was reading those panels about how well-worded her arguments were, and that I hope young comic fans give this book a shot so they can read her words. The whole thing is based on the idea of how the society would actually respond if a “messiah” appeared, working his miracles and either confirming or destroying certain religious beliefs. That in itself has me hooked, but this book made and extremely strong entrance for a first issue. The artwork resembles a painting more than a drawing which adds a really nice touch to the storytelling. At one point during my read I even got chills on this one. I cannot wait to keep reading it and see where it goes. – Keriann

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Rebels #1 – B+

Rebels reads like a war diary, which completely makes sense and works perfectly for the story. Rebels comes to us from Brian Wood, creator of amazing series like DMZ and Northlander – that’s big points right there. The story follows a young man in New Hampshire in the early years before the revolution. New Hampshire is being overrun with redcoats from Albany (New York (GEOGRAPHY!)), the British occupiers are taking land from the locals and a group of them are not going to stand for it any more. With a little bit of a love story that doesn’t feel ridiculously shoehorned in, it looks like Rebels will be a good run. – Scott

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Convergence #1 – B
The event book Convergence should just be retitled Grant Morrison’s DCU, because the opening pages are the same as the ending pages of Multiversity #1, which is cool (if you’re into continuity), because, yes Virginia, it means that Multiversity means something for the overall DCU. Personally, continuity is something I don’t care about even a little bit, but event comics can be fun (like Final Crisis. So like I said for #0, I haven’t been keeping not even a little bit of attention to what’s happening in the DCU that leads up to this, but the great thing about something like Final Crisis is that you didn’t have to really know what was coming for the whole thing to be interesting and coherent. I get the sense that is not true for Convergence as the villainous consuming ennui that formed the major villain for Multiversityseems to be replaced by Brainiac, who’s collecting cities from across all incarnations of the DCU to have pit them against each other for… reasons. Disregarding my confusion about the story, it’s just not very compelling thus far. Remember four years ago when we were introduced to the New 52, and it was supposed to totally do away with the old continuity? Just kidding. So the “story over continuity” endgame of Convergence doesn’t feel convincing. Come 2019, DC, like a crack fiend, will be returning to the well trying to fix their brokeass continuity that was never intended to be a continuity in the first place. – Montgomery

Convergence: Nightwing – Oracle #1 – B
I read this issue after I read Convergence: Batgirl. This is all for context as to how I felt about the Nightwing – Oracle issue. The difference in writing from Gail Simone is really superior. Even if I hadn’t read Convergence, I feel as though this issue carried enough personality, bad-assery, and though provoking lines, that the plot didn’t really matter. Of course, the plot does matter, but the fact that Nightwing and Oracle must fight for their right to.. have their city, wasn’t the overarching theme here. I like that it was still just about them. Considering their names are in the title, that worked out pretty well. – Adrian

Convergence: Batgirl #1 – B-
When I first read Convergence: Batgirl, I had not yet read Convergence. Big mistake! But upon reading Convergence, it all (sorta) makes sense. Plots and characters from all time and space are, well, converging. Stephanie Brown was picked as the Batgirl to fight for Gotham City. And not on Earth. There isn’t a whole lot that makes sense about it, but I thought the justice done to Stephanie Brown here was pretty decent. I feel like it is a pretty good re-introduction for fans of the character. I don’t know where it will go from here as far as her character goes, but this was an enjoyable read. Ya’know, after I figured out what the hell was going on. – Adrian

Convergence: Batman and Robin #1 – D-
This was stupid. What is happening in Convergence I really do not know, but I know that I did not enjoy this book at all. It vaguely reminded me of the continuity I used to know before the New52 changed everything, but the art was just god-awful. I’m leery of DC “events” already, and my first venture into Convergence was a crappy rendition of one of my favorite time periods in comic books. I may just have to bury my head in the sand until this is all over and read the results on Wikipedia. – Sherif

IDW Publishing: 

Star Trek/Planet of the Apes #5 – C
The sci-fi crossover event we all wanted but never thought of is at an end, and as Kirk, the Enterprise crew and Colonel George Taylor finish up their plans to take out the Klingon Leader, Kor, the Apes themselves are on the verge of their own civil war. The events in this issue sure seemed to be rushed when a lot of this series seemed slow. Ultimately, I feel this issue got rather confusing as it moved too quickly. Despite this, Scott Tipton and David Tipton did a good job bringing these universes together in a way that despite the subtitle of this series (The Primate Directive), it wasn’t cheesy or overdone. The art for the series done by Rachel Stott was done with precision like accuracy and brought things into the series only the biggest nerds of each franchise would notice, and everyone else would just think is cool anyway. This issue is definitely worth picking up to finish off the series and it does come with a great tribute to Leonard Nimoy at the end with words from all the creators of the series, and as with every great franchise, they left it open for more if the fans demand it. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Birthright #6 – A
Birthright embarked upon a new story arc for this issue and it was a little slower moving than I’m used to. That is not to say it was bad by any means, but it went back to elemental storytelling instead of action based storytelling. Mikey and Brennen are still on the run, and Aaron is in police custody only to find out that the search for his boys is now an issue of national security. The plot didn’t advance a whole lot (except of course for the whole Terranos coming to the Earth realm thing at the end thing!), but we did get to see a lot more of what Mikey is like and how it seems Lore has taken a much stronger hold on him since he killed Ward. Mikey is becoming kind of scary, and I was horrified when I saw what he did to that poor bear. I’m wondering if this arc will go in a direction where Mikey becomes more of a villain than hero as Lore continues to force him into his bidding. Overall, I’m still pretty much in love with this book, even though there was no acknowledgment of the pregnant Gideon coming to the Earth realm from the last issue. – Keriann

Saga #27 – B+
Yay, backstory! Marko has had such a colorful background before meeting Alana, and by colorful I mean murderous. The entire episode centers around Marko’s crazy drug trip, and the one time he hit a girl as a child. Naturally, there’s the first-page traumatizing genitals panel that have been signature to the series, but the rest of the issue is full of life thanks to Fiona Staples’ amazing colors. It’s a lull in the action, and it doesn’t reveal a whole lot, but it makes me excited to see the more vicious side of Marko come out. – Sherif

Ody-C #4 – B+
This book is so beautiful. Every month there are pages that make me full stop and stare; like this month, the page with Poseidon. The way Poseidon herself is composed of interlocking orbs of water, never quite formed, never quite dissolved. The representation was something else. I know I complain about issue 3s (see: The Nameless and Tooth and Claw), but somehow Ody-C is every other series’ #4. We’re still with the (horrific) Cyclops, and while it gets dealt with, I feel it lacks the original Odyssey’s clarity and wit. But, the book does end with a pretty huge shocker that only Hitler would want to ruin. I still love this book despite the little lag in momentum. – Montgomery

Big Man Plans #2 – B
Holy freaking hell this book is goddamn brutal. This is by far one of the most violent books I’ve ever read. At times it is hard to read, what with the baseball bat beatings, drywall hammer bludgeoning, pulling out of teeth with pliers and, of course, the setting people on fire thing. Even though the main character is basically a twisted psychopath killing people in extremely barbaric fashion, I still find myself rooting for him. That is probably the most unique element of this book. In between the gory bits there is a heartfelt story. Obviously, living as a dwarf is hard, and this poor guy had everything that ever mattered to him taken away and he was left to fend for himself at a young age. The story flashbacks to him and his father are heartbreaking. He may be a cold blooded killer now but at one point he was a scared and bullied little boy – now he’s just getting the ultimate revenge on all his bullies and I am super on-board with it. Sometimes the dialogue is a little hard to get through because I refuse to believe that anyone, even in the south, actually talks by saying “that there river” or “somebody done beat the livin’ piss outta ‘im”. Overall, I think this is a really strong revenge tale told in a unique fashion, although it may not be for the faint of heart. – Keriann

Nameless #3 – B
Issue 3 is, I think, always the worst issue of any series. The novelty and momentum of the story starts to wear off as we settle into the routine of the drama and before it winds up for the climax. It’s not that they’re bad, it’s just that the world starts to become familiar. Even Grant Morrison doesn’t seem to be immune… which isn’t to say shit doesn’t keep getting weirder, just that the weirder is becoming more understandable. There’s definitely some cool stuff here: zombie quadrocopters, ancient alien tombs on an asteroid, and vaults locked with tarot cards. In terms of story, though, it just feels like a retread of the story before it: astronauts in space, mission control has become murderous, and they’re still just outside the asteroid. Cool images, just not a lot of forward momentum. But the art is horrific and doesn’t fail to deliver. – Montgomery

The Walking Dead #140 – C
At the end of this issue my thoughts were, “…Really?… REALLY?!…” I’m not going to spoil anything for you, but let me tell you – complacency sure has made the folks of Alexandria stupid. Or at the very least, a few people with pretty major responsibilities. <<Mad voice>> – Let’s talk about something else! The majority of the issue continues to focus on Michonne and Carl and their current situations. Michonne’s been back for two issues now and I’m about ready for her to pick that katana back up and start doing some damage. I’m immensely intrigued by Carl’s predicament. He’s become a very interesting character and his dealings with the Whisper’s is sure to make for some solid issues. Ugh… I just can’t get over those last couple pages… REALLY?!?! – Taylor

Descender #2 – C
This one will tug at your heart strings. Robots that deal with mortality are always sad. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot going on in this issue. This issue bounces back and forth between TIM-21 running for his life and a flashback to when he was first created and arrived on the planet. You meet Tim’s family (warm fuzzies) and he sees what’s become of them (cold sadness). It turns out that Tim has sweet Iron Man like hand cannons though. This issue was all backstory and filler, so not overly exciting, but I believe things will pick up again in issue #3. – Scott

Jupiter’s Circle #1 – C
(B) You know that moment where it seems like it’ll be one thing (the typical thing) and you have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to be another? Well, that’s Jupiter’s Circle for you, and it’s awesome. I’m not going to even hint at the awesome that it is. Just know, that if you’re reading something from the writer of a superheroes are going to be turned on their head a bit and a lot. I am thoroughly excited and too much of a sly grin refusing to leave my face. Only complaint: 6 superheroes one woman… lame. – Jené

(D) Umm… Okay. First I’ll say that I have not read Jupiter’s Legacy. Even if I had, I’m not sure it would have significantly altered my opinion of the follow up series’ premiere. I just didn’t vibe with this comic – in fact, the only reason I picked it up in the first place was because it had the word “Jupiter” in the title. Don’t be fooled, folks. This story has nothing to do with the biggest planet in our solar system. In what I interpreted as an attempt to provide commentary on the ever-growing hot topic of same-sex relationships (against the much less accepting backdrop of the late 50’s) I found myself incredibly bored and unenthused. I can see what Millar’s going for, but it just doesn’t work for me in this medium. Now, excuse me – I’m going to go read Jupiter’s Wikipedia page. I refuse to be disappointed today! – Taylor

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Howard the Duck #2 – A

Imagine the excitement I have as an old school Howard fan being able to not only have a new series going, but have it be good, one of Marvel’s best even. Well all I have to say is as a fan-boy I am living on cloud 9 right now as far as Howard goes. This months issue we see the continuation from last month with Howard locked up I prison with Rocket Raccoon by The Collector, or at least one of his goons. This issue provides a absolutely wonderful banter between Howard and Rocket border Looney Tunes-esque at times with Howard calling Rocket a Werewolf and little misunderstood jokes only the anthropomorphic animals of Marvel tend to make and understand. We do get to see the other Guardians of the Galaxy in this issue as they help in the Prison Break Howard and Rocket obviously try and make during this issue (no robotic limbs were used or harmed in this prison break). As far as writing goes, Chip Zdarsky blows it out of the park here showing us this man could easily be writing and doing art, as he does for the comic Sex Criminals, for a series all by himself and have it be just as well done as any other. Lest we forget Joe Quinones who offers up wonderful art for this series, and give us not only a great Howard representation as well as the Guardians but his backdrops and seeing all the other aliens in the prison offer up some of the best art in the issue and give us a sense that there are a lot of floating crazy alien prisons in the future. I would definitely recommend this issue to anyone wanting to keep a little piece of 616 going while Secret Wars is destroying everything, but this series offers us not only a comedic look at Marvel, and offers us a look into Marvel through the eyes of the only character who feels as out of place as any of us would in the Marvel Universe. – Jacob

Darth Vader #4 – A
Last issue’s awesomeness continues with the fourth installment of Vader! I cannot get enough of Triple Zero or BT!! This pair of mass murder-torture droids is stealing the show and it’s working beautifully. Dr. Aphra is also adding a lot to the series. I’m not sure what she’s going to “be” for Vader as the story continues. She’s so pragmatic, nonchalant, macabre and totally in sync with Vader. I wouldn’t consider it a surprise if she became a love interest for the Dark Lord. At the very least I am in love with her. That definitely counts for something. The plot also took a step up this issue. The urgency of Vader’s next mission has my blood boiling! More torture/murder droids! More severed body parts and force chokes! More Vader!!! – Taylor

Captain Marvel #14 – B+
The “Black Vortex” storyline really worked for Captain Marvel. Kelly Sue DeConnick did an amazing job of keeping Carol’s personality, but giving personality to characters who have never made an appearance in the book. Carol has to make sure that only Kitty Pryde gets the Black Vortex. Of course, that doesn’t end up going perfectly, and DeConnick shows us how aware she is of that trope. And it worked. Carol had the chance to gain an insane amount of power, and in the best panels of the issue, contemplates why she chose to make her journey this time around. It was to be a better her, not necessarily a more powerful her. Those are two very different things; something every human being should take time to think about. I love when a comic can get all existential, and then make me laugh hysterically not two seconds later. – Adrian

Deadpool #45 (250th issue) – B
This is a hard issue to review as a whole seeing as there are eight distinct stories done by different writers and artists spanning over 90 pages with a price tag more than double the normal $4 ringing in at $10. But Marvel for some reason decided Deadpool’s Death had to be a part of a major event and have much more importance than Wolverine’s Death just months earlier. As far as story goes, the main running story for the series has a stupendous first and second act, but the third and final act leaves us a little short and wanting more, maybe that’s why they gave us six individual stories about Deadpool’s friends including a great one about Ben Grimm (The Thing) and Benjamin Franklin in a short adventure together. The issue ends with a Infinity Gauntlet tie-in where Deadpool gets ahold of the Gauntlet himself and uses it the throw his own roast, officiated by none other than the old and yet new breakout star Howard the Duck. This roast is by far the best part of this whole issue and despite everyone being there because the Gauntlet made them, we see some very good digs at characters, and at Deadpool of course. If the main ongoing story is Deadpool saying goodbye to his friends and family, then the roast is his way of saying goodbye to the rest of the marvel universe in the best way he can, insulting everyone. Ultimately this issue is a must-have for Deadpool fans for the short stories and the roast itself, but ultimately even if you hate Deadpool, you may want to pick this up as it does give us a HUGE idea of what is to come in Secret Wars. – Jacob

Hulk #14 – D+
This is another Marvel book I can’t wait to end in time for Secret Wars. Doc Green has been going out of his way to eradicate the world of Hulks, and has been successful at eliminating all except Thunderbolt Ross, the Red Hulk. All we get this issue is a giant slugfest between the two, and it’s about everything you dreamed it would be… when you were ten. Ridiculous onomatopoeic exclamations and terrible writing are the status quo here, so don’t get your hopes up there. There is an amazing Deadpool cameo worth reading, though. – Sherif


Funniest Panel:

hulk 14 funny panel 04.08.15

Hulk #14

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

birthright 6 awesome panel 04.08.15

Birthright #6

 

 

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 all the publishers for putting out great books.

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