Comic Book Reviews 04-16-14

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:

Batman #30 – A-

The start of the Savage City arc picks up where issue #28 left off, but much later. Apparently, Batman got himself into another coma – that can’t be good for him – and woke up with the city in ruins and under the totalitarian rule of Edward Nygma (or whatever you want to call him; I’m sure the term “Riddler” will stick eventually). For those that loved No Man’s Land, it looks like Scott Synder is taking it back to those days while putting a whole new spin on it. This is one of my favorite series because I don’t ever fear for where the story goes. It does the character justice, but still takes it far enough away that I’m genuinely thrilled to read each issue. – S

This issue just stands to prove that Batman is one of the most badass characters of all time. The ending panel was absolutely amazing and I can’t think of a better way to end the issue. There is an interesting plot twist of sorts when Batman has recovered but I liked the way they handled it. It was very original and really felt as though it was treading new ground for Batman. The only thing I wasn’t too keen on was the way in which it felt like Bruce was defeated. I know these are the early years but I always liked the idea that the only person to really best the batman was a badass like Deathstroke, not the Riddler and his blatant social commentary. Overall, this was one of the best books of the week. – R

Other Reviews:

BOOM! Studios:

Translucid #1 – C+

I don’t really understand what was happening through some of it, but I’m not so sure it matters yet. In Translucid, there arethe stereotypical criminal organizations with tricks and schemes up their sleeves, and a superhero out to stop the evil happening. Yawn. However, there is a little twist that may or may not involve a child. I think time will tell the relationship between all the characters. I just find it strange that the main villain “The Horse” is literally a man wearing a horse mask. It reminds me of those horse head memes you see on the internet. The other villains also have their own flavor: a George Washington look-alike with a huge gun, a powder-faced queen, and one bad ass looking female with a dope mask and axe, the confusion only gets deeper. However, the main hero, “The Navigator” is proving to be pretty cool costume to gadgets. I believe there is more to this comic and story that meets the eye. In the future this comic could prove to be something really cool. And I still think it has that potential. However as of right now, I’m not sold yet. This is a comic I would recommend going a few issues with, and if it doesn’t improve, then move on.  – E

Dark Horse Comics:

Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #5 – C-

The conclusion to the latest Darth Vader miniseries arrives with Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #5 this week.  Epic conclusion?… Mehh.  As mentioned in review’s past, SW fans hold the Vader legacy in high esteem and hold higher and higher expectations with every new story.  Simply, Cry of Shadows just didn’t deliver.  It’s a been-there-done-that type of story that provides no development for this fan favorite villain.  The story angle was unique, but the execution just fell so flat.  Maybe it’s the miniseries curse – I can imagine the challenge with having to pique reader’s ever advancing interest in just five issues.  All in all – the whole series was enjoyable and interesting.  But if you happened to miss this series, take it from me… you didn’t miss much. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Wonder Woman #30 – B

Things are looking pretty grim for the rest of the world. While Wonder Woman is training her army to prepare for battle with the First Born, he is running amuck, going full-blown Kratos on the Greek gods. This is a story that has been building up for thirty issues now, and I honestly don’t want it to end. If you’re just picking up the book now, yes, the gods in this book look ridiculous – Hades is a little child with candles dripping off of his head and Poseidon is a giant frog with pre-teen whiskers. Don’t let that fool you into thinking these Gods are not badasses, though. First Born might be my favorite Wonder Woman villain of all time; artist Chiang paints a horrifying picture of what Olympus looks like under his reign. – S

Batman: Eternal #2 – B

After a debut of jaw-dropping action, this issue is a lot of build-up. There’s a whole lot of anticipation as to who is back in town, who caused the catastrophe in the first issue, and what that means for the rest of the Bat-family. There are honestly more questions asked than answered this issue, which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily. The reveal at the end perked me up, as the person responsible for Jim Gordon’s predicament is somebody powerful that has been missing from the Batverse for years. I’m really excited to see where this book goes. – S

This book is exciting and I believe stays true to what a batman story should be. With further developments from the last issue, I can see this book turning into something good. Maybe not great, but very entertaining and classic batman to say the least. I think some background knowledge would help understand some of the characters a bit, however it is not essential. I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next issue. – E

The great thing about this book is that with the regular Batman comic being squarely rooted in the Zero Year for right now, this book has the opportunity to continue on with the future of Batman. I actually like this idea quite a bit because they can continue exploring the Bruce’s roots with Zero Year for a while if they really wanted to while still being able to continue forward with Eternal. I like that it is also connected to the other books as well, meaning we are going to be seeing some cameos from other characters. I just hope that plots don’t mingle in the way they did with Supergirl. This book ends with revealing a little more of the underlying plot that will lead to the destruction of Gotham that we saw in the first issue. It’s a good time to be a Batman fan because he is getting some of the most consistently good writing for all of his publications as well as tons of character development across multiple time periods. I’m pretty excited to see where they take things. Anyone that can make the Batman nervous is cause for a great storyline. – R

Batman & Wonder Woman #30 – B

Let’s get one thing straight: Batman smells like man, and the entire Amazonian legion knows it. Or at least, I hope it’s the musk of manliness, because there are several instances in the book that claim Batman smells. Aside from that, this issue merges the practical and mythological very well. Batman is still on the hunt for Ra’s al Ghul, partly for revenge, partly to retrieve the stolen body of Damian Wayne and keep Ra’S from defiling it. Diana and Bruce make a good pair, and seeing as they never really interact with each other alone, it was a good perspective of how strong these two are as a team. – S

Justice League #29 – B-

If you’re looking for an issue with a great spotlight on Cyborg, look no further. Vic teams up with the Metal Men to take Grid offline. There’s some really good dialog between Cyborg and Grid, who at this point is what would happen if the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz was played by one of the deadly soldier cyborgs in Terminator. The way it plays out is pretty cool, but it could easily be labeled as cheesy and cliché at points. Also, there is tons of backstory in this issue, so you can pick it up without really knowing what else is going on, for the focus on Cyborg alone. – S

Sinestro #1 – B-

To give a little background, Sinestro was the biggest baddest Green Lantern in the galaxy. That is, until he went all crazy and formed the Yellow Lanterns and pretty much had holy war with the GL Corps. Then, somehow, he became a GL again, saved the universe from certain doom, fused himself with the Yellow Lantern entity Parallax and exiled himself. Crazy, right? Well, you can take Sinestro out of the Yellow Lantern Corps, but you can’t take the Yellow Lantern out of Sinestro (literally, because he fused himself with it). Sinestro is attempting to take back control of the Corps, but they all hate him for abandoning them. It’s a tired premise, but there is a lot of potential for this book to be great. Fans of the GL books will no doubt stay with it, but there might just be too much history for new readers to really appreciate Sinestro. – S

I thought that this comic started off in really good fashion. Immediately, I could tell that this comic was going to be good. Despite having little action, the dialog itself was great and enough to keep me wanting more. I look forward to this series and understanding Sinestro more. Whether you are a fan or not, I would recommend giving this book a read. – E

Bad guys bring it best.  Think about it.  Everyone knows how a hero’s story will end (usually…).  When center stage belongs to the villain the upcoming journey could take you anywhere.  That’s what I really liked about Sinestro #1.  In the very first issue the plot has woven in essentially multiple main conflicts.  From the get go this series is dynamic and engaging.  On top of that there is depth.  All in the issue #1!  Pile on the fact that Sinestro is a true born bad-ass and this comic has got all the elements of greatness.  Starting a such a high place has me nervous for the series – it’s way easier to fall downhill than to keep climbing.  I wonder if I turn my nervousness into fear if I can guarantee an A+ story… – T

Supergirl #30 – D

I don’t know why they chose to make Kara a Red Lantern but when she gets really angry I can’t help but imagine that this is what it is like when a Kryptonian teenager gets her period. It’s gotten to the point where she has been turned into a crybaby of sorts and it is borderline hard to read. We get it, Krypton was destroyed and you are all alone in the universe. Superman handles it with much more grace than she does but I guess that’s the difference between them. I also really despise how, in order to get the full story, you need to be reading another book. I don’t really have any desire to read Red Lanterns, and this isn’t the first time they’ve done this with this book. I had to start reading Superboy just to get the conclusion to one of her main story arcs. One last thought, why is it she doesn’t normally wear a mask but now that she is a Red Lantern she suddenly has one even though the other members don’t seem to be wearing one? – R

Harley Quinn #5 – F

I’m tired of pretending that this book is acceptable. I was expecting somewhat of a tribute to Harley, or how she moved on from the abusive Joker, or even about a borderline lesbian relationship with Poison Ivy. Instead, Harley Quinn has given us four (Issue #1 was awesome) issues of utter crap – I mean, jokes that wouldn’t even show up in MAD Magazine they’re so dumb and immature. They’re treating this book like a Deadpool mini-series, but Harley simply doesn’t have enough clout to pull off a throw-away run like that. She’s so much better than this. I thought I’d get more from Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, but what we get instead is a mockery of one of our favorite female characters of all time. I’ll leave the rest of the series reading up to the teenage boys and old Jewish men of New York. – S

Well, that’s all folks!  No, not for the series, but for me reading the series.  Harley Quinn teased fans into being optimistic for some real character development from the onset of the series.  Even giving her a series gave fans hope that the cute-sy villain would be able to shed her baggage of Joker and be her own woman.  But this issue set her back, and made my relationship with this series nearly irreparable. The only sweet moment in the book was her success with the woman who was so sad about her family in the previous issue. In issue #4, Harley met a man who lives at the nursing home she works at named Sy.  In this issue, he takes her with him on his mission to kill random people, .  Harley was reduced not only to a sidekick, again, but was made out to be stupid by all she encountered. Between having tomatoes thrown at her, being forced to ride bitch on a motorized scooter and the incessant and overuse of yiddish by the old man, this week’s Harley Quinn was beyond disappointing for this Harley fan. – A

Dynamite Entertainment:

Solar: Man of the Atom #1 – A

I loved this book from the moment I flipped the cover. Even though it is very similar to other superhero type comics, Solar continues Dynamite’s trend of bringing old pulp icons to the modern time, offering something familiar, yet new. I love the story, I love the character, and I can’t wait to see where it all goes. A man who has basically power over any and all things simply based on science and math he can make into reality with his mind, is so badass. However, when something goes wrong, who knows what will happen next? I could see a comic like this quickly becoming I would want to read every month. – E

IDW Comics:

The Crow: Pestilence #2- B

The second issue in this series starts off right were the first one ended with the group that killed Salvador’s wife a kid seeking him out not knowing who he is and thinking he is a hired assassin. Salvador is on a train until he figures out his next target and finds some of his men at a restaurant killing one and following the other to Mange Hound’s, the man he is seeking, house and confronts him leaving what we can only expect The Crow to leave. This series is a refreshing and nice take on the Crow story and quite possibly the best take since the classic Brandon Lee film. The art in this issue is also very well done which we can always expect from IDW. – JR

The X-Files Annual B-

The X-Files Annual features two stories, one a bit longer than the other but both definitely have the energy and feeling of the series as much as the rest of IDW’s great Season 10 series.  The first story has to do with a man who was killed in a hit and run contacting his wife through his destroyed cell phone after his death. The woman is haunted by a Priest and being warned by her dead husband to leave her house. Mulder and Scully investigate and figure out the man has unfinished business on earth as he borrowed money from the wrong people and they are now after his wife.  The second story is an odd one, which can be attributed to it being a dream sequence almost the whole time and it making sure you know it is from the get go. It has a weird floating hand with multiple eyes and bumps all over haunting Scully’s dreams and it ends up being one of her ex boyfriends trying to haunt her to come back to him or to stay a FBI agent. OF course we all should know Scully well enough that we know the outcome but the art of this second story is a lot more of a style that fits the series where the first one almost seems like a 30 Days of Night feel to it. These are definitely original stories but also not the best, which makes it less than an A but definitely worth a read for any X-Files fan. – JR

Marvel:

Ms. Marvel #3 – B+

I can already envision the “What if” issue where Zoe Zimmer drowns. Tell me you saw the somewhere on the west side ave JC electronics sign, or you noticed the sarcastic look on the New Jersey pigeons? This book screams of nuance. More than the cultural tension of growing up Muslim so close to Manhattan, I find the awkwardness of being a teenager compelling. Kamala frantically searches the web for answers…”Super-powers, Shape-shifting powers, Woke up as a polymorph, Embiggening. Come on interwebs, don’t fail me now–I can’t be the first person this has happened to–” The book feels real because we would ALL do the same thing. Still subservient in a world where woman are not allowed to worship with their male counter parts, Kamala struggles to find her purpose. It’s been a while since we have seen a hero’s genesis story. Watching Kamala awkwardly try to control her powers is like watching an eager tadpole. After responding to his text, she heads to the Circle Q to meet Bruno. When she looks in the window she notices a masked man flashing a gun. Assuming that he’s being held up, she springs into action and makes a magnificent declaration. “I am 911!” … “Strange things are afoot at the Circle Q.” Shout out to the Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure quote from Bruno. Kamala learns a valuable lesson about being a hero this issue, if she makes it out alive she won’t make the same mistake again. – JS

We’re three issues into the new Ms. Marvel series, following a young woman named Kamala Khan as she struggles to get ahold of her newly acquired powers. Readers know that it’s about more than that, though. It’s not only a great analogy for following your own culture while living in another one, but finding your own identity and maybe hints of adjusting to your body as it changes (this could be me being creepy, but that’s the vibe I got). It seems like no matter how hard Kamala tries to appease everybody while doing the right thing, circumstances put her in a bad place. – S

So far I really like this series, I haven’t seen that one big push to send it over the edge to greatness, but it is proving to be solid every issue. With new information about the main characters powers, things are starting to get really exciting, and I’m glad I’m along for the ride. – E

Superior Spider-Man #31 (Series Finale) – B+

I don’t believe Superior could have been wrapped up any more neatly than it was in this finale. It’s only when Peter Parker finally gets back in his body that I realized just how much I missed his character. That’s not to say that the gadget-oriented, obnoxious Otto Octavius Spider-Man wasn’t entertaining, but seeing Spidey return to his true form was priceless. While Goblin Nation is kaputt for now, there are tons of loose ends and consequences from the fallout of Otto’s tenure (Jameson, MJ, Carlie, Aunt May, Spider-bots, Anna Maria, Parker Industries, Avengers, oy oy oy). All these questions and more will hopefully be answered in Amazing Spider-Man #1, out in two weeks! – S

Peter Parker is back! And not a moment too soon. Goblin Nation has risen and Pete has work to do. New York is under attack, The Green Goblin is about to murder Otto’s girlfriend Anna and Mary Jane has a new chocolate boy-toy.  With great power comes great responsibility, and clearly Otto was not ready to live those words. He allowed the Goblin to takeover the city on his watch, and now Pete is on clean-up duty. If there’s an attack on New York you can bet on an Avengers cameo. Finally, Peter’s back in action, but boy, does he have some explaining to do! – JS

The conclusion to Superior Spider-Man is here and I have to say I am a bit sad to see it end. I may have been one of the only people rooting for douchebag Peter Parker but I actually really liked the changes they made to his personality in some respects. I have not liked how Peter Parker has seemed so recycled through the years and this felt like a genuine change of pace for his character. With the conclusion of this series, Peter will have a lot of explaining to do, sure it will cause him some grief but overall I think it will go back to business as usual. Im not sure if I like that but I kinda think that was the writers idea all along. I am hoping that there are things Peter keeps from this experience but I guess we will find out in two weeks with Amazing Spider-Man #1! – R

Uncanny X-Men #20 – B+

Scott Summers is the most dangerous man on the planet. He and his band of new mutants are being hunted by Sentinels and S.H.I.E.L.D. What would you do? If you said teleport onto a secure S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier and dive into Director Maria Hill’s mind to get answers, and then declare war, you’re right! Meanwhile, Mystique has a duplicitous plan to take them all down. After a moment of clarity Scott decides to pay Hank McCoy a visit at The Jean Grey School for Higher Learning. And…boom! Great read, even for the casual fan. – JS

Winter Soldier #3 – B+

The cover to this issue reminds me of the old Mike Tysons Punch Out game when you knock out Glass Joe for final time and he flies back. The most exciting part of this issue is that we finally got a little more backstory in the form of the blurb at the front of the book explaining what’s going on. We now know the year is 1966, which explains the art choice. This book has actually been one of the most action-packed so far. The Winter Soldier looks a lot like the Terminator when he is walking down the hall with glowing red eyes. It’s a very cool look for him especially with the throwback style of art. He finally is given a little more development this time around so it will be interesting to see how he decided to proceed as a character that isn’t bound by his programming anymore. This book really has the potential to go either way but so far I’ve enjoyed how things have turned out. – R

Wolverine #4 – B+

Finally I feel like my loyalty as a reader has been rewarded. I’ve felt for the last three issues like I was very lost and had almost no idea what the hell was going on but all the initial questions are finally answered in this issue. While I haven’t been a fan of how they have handled wolverine in these last few issues I feel like the buildup was definitely worth it in the end. We are shown a layer of Wolverine psychologically that we don’t often get to see. It really seems to be a setup for something much greater. If the writing can be this good from here on out then I can’t see any reason to stop reading. – R

Deadpool vs. Carnage #2 – B+

deadpool dubstep

I enjoy this comic quite a bit. With the action, and humor I don’t see how anyone could not enjoy themselves while reading this book. What I like is that you have to know very minimal information about both characters to understand their mannerisms and dynamics. So basically if you want to see some pretty cool stuff and laugh along the way, check it out.  – E

Deadpool vs Carnage is cliche, cheesy and predictable; I love it! This Deadpool is drawn and written with enough distinction from his solo series, and I think that’s important for a character that has seen more Vs. storylines than a Street Fighter competition. Anybody who has read about Cletus Kasady aka Carnage knows that he is one vicious killer. To suit the book, his maliciousness has been heavily toned down and instead we get a lot of hilarity. There are a few lines in here that made me laugh, and I bet they would make you, too! Story-wise, lower all your expectations. This is like watching a superhero version of Real Housewives. – S

The story of this series is still rather vague other than Deadpool thinking a crazy person should hunt a crazy person, but with that mindset Deadpool should be battling almost every villain in the comic universe. This issue is almost a constant battle besides the weird non-Deadpool Deadpool fan that has tracked Carnage as well. This series definitely pumps up the violence as you should expect from a comic from two psychotic characters battling. Over all this issue is enjoyable but definitely not a must have. If you like Deadpool or/and Carnage this of course is perfect fro you but otherwise it will seem a bit confusing and unneeded. – JR

Who has two recently regenerated thumbs and loved this book? This guy. This has got to be one of the funniest comics I have read in a very long time. I don’t usually read Deadpool’s comics but if they are this funny all the time I really have to consider picking them up. The art is great and the story is pretty simple but it is the humor that really shines here. There are things I would never even think of being fit for a comic book but that is what makes this so special. This has been a pretty no-holds barred match between the two and I am loving it. You owe it to yourself to check this out, because you don’t deserve sonic torture that is paid for. – R

What if Age of Ultron #3 – B

The effects of time travel have rippled through the Marvel universe. The world has been deprived of the Avengers. The Watcher warned Beast about the repercussions of bringing the X-Men to the future, Galactus has murdered our beloved Captain America and now Thor is dead. The story arcs coming out of Marvel as of late have been pretty intriguing. This latest installment gives us humanity’s last defense from a Frost Giant invasion. Nick Fury, Black Widow, Sable, Falcon, Shang Chi, and Microchip are stocking up on weapons from Castle Doom in Latvia and en route to take out the Thor slaying lizard Jormungand. Hang on! This issue has Doombots! Plus a surprising revaluation about Natasha Romanova!!! – JS

Ultimate FF #1– B-

I enjoyed this book. There was great action, and a good story developing. I think a little bit of history and background knowledge is required to get the full effect of this comic, however it is not completely vital. When some of the greatest minds in the universe get together such as Susan Storm, Tony Stark, and Sam Wilson (Captain America: The Winter Soldier fans may recognize him as Falcon!) the Future Foundation is trying to save and preserve the universe. The end of this book shows me the potential of this comic to be something with a great story. In the end, it’s a good read and I have hopes that this story is going to be awesome the further it goes. – E

Marvel mash-ups are so cool.  What better way to keep a genre fresh than by mixing and matching some amount of the countless characters in the universe?  The Ultimate FF (short for Future Foundation) is fresh to death homie!  It’s obvious to tell that this series is going to be highly character driven.  And because I have a basic knowledge of almost every character introduced in #1 I’m giddy at the story’s potential.  I’m concerned that my lack of knowledge involving the Galactus even will hold me back from really enjoying this series, but up to the last panel it’s still just speculation.  And like many others, I’m a sucker for gorgeous artwork.  The Ultimate FF has got it.  Good artwork, good story, good characters – what else could you ask for?

I’m not sure even Iron Man can save this book. The reappearance of Falcon in his newly upgraded gear (Thanks Tony Stark’s money!) is welcome, but too much of this feels like a re-hash. The Ultimate universe is supposed to be the crack in the sidewalk of the regular Marvel U, where the rules don’t apply – and that’s a metaphor to grow on, kids – so I’m at least intrigued to see where this story goes. We do get some obligatory action panels and a couple of one-liners that made me chuckle, but overall this feels like just another Marvel mash-up debut issue. – S

Hulk #1 – B-

What a turn of events for Hulk! The story starts with a mystery of who has shot Bruce Banner in the head. S.H.I.E.L.D. or what we think is S.H.I.E.L.D has Bruce Banner in custody and had brought in the world best brain surgeon to help recover Bruce Banner but then we learn they initiated the shooting and want to implant a device in Bruce’s head! One of the Doctors in the room disconnect his anesthesia and Bruce quickly turns into Hulk with his brains still exposed and he breaks out saving all the operating staff. The next thing we know we see Maria Hill and Agent Coulson visit Bruce only to find out he has irreversible brain damage. Bruce Banner is no longer one of the smartest men on the planet which leads this series into a whole new realm for Hulk and how Bruce will tame the beast inside. – JR

I thought this was a good book, not great but entertaining enough to keep me engaged. As far as I’ve seen I don’t know what the story is going to be like, or how it will compare to other arcs, however I’m willing to see it through. One thing this comic did right was represent the character of the Hulk properly. In all hulkish fashion, the character stayed true to what I know him to be. Probably not the best book this week, but I still recommend it. – E

Having come into this book fresh without having read the last few Hulk stories, I have to say that I wasn’t very impressed with this issue, overall. I haven’t really kept up on what’s been going on in Hulks world and thought this would have been a perfect chance to reintroduce myself. Unfortunately there wasn’t very much in the way of a recap. Hulk was shot and we aren’t really told much more than that. I have many unanswered questions which I suppose gives me a perfect opportunity to dive into his back catalog in order to obtain the answers. This is of course not an option for everyone so I would like to see a little synopsis for the new readers in the next few issues. – R

After a fantastic run on Indestructible Hulk, which added some much-deserved depth to Hulk’s character, Mark Waid returns with Hulk. Waid is a fantastic writer, so I’m going to trust his judgment on where this is going. The premise is simple – somebody shot Banner and now he has brain damage… Yeah, I know. The complexity of a gamma scientist extraordinaire is gone with two shots to the head. I was always under the impression that you couldn’t kill Banner without awakening the beast, but who cares about rules in comic books anymore? I could, and surely hope that I do, eat my words and that this could be the start of a very intriguing storyline with Waid at the helm, but this issue stinks – like Hulk poo stinks. – S

 

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 ElkhatibEvan LoweAdrian PuryearTaylor Lowe, Robert Michael, John Soweto and Jacob Robinson

There are 3 comments

Leave a Reply