Comic Book Reviews 05-07-14

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:

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Moon Knight #3 – A

Three words… Egyptian Battle Armor.  I seriously considered submitting my review with just that sentence.  Moon Knight is blowing my mind in how each issue contains simple and complex themes in such a few amount of pages.  Marc Spector is so subtly interesting and overtly bad-ass at the same time.  He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite comic book characters.  And I can’t gush enough about how gorgeous these panel are.  I want to hire Declan Shalvey (artist) and Jordie Bellaire (colorist) to paint my house (inside and out)!!  I’m so pleased with how this series has kicked off.  It’s laid a strong foundation that in whatever manner the greater story ultimately develops, I’ll be along for the ride. – Taylor

If Warren Ellis writes it, and you shut up and read it! Moon Knight is so much fun to read. The story didn’t really go anywhere this issue, but who cares? He spent his evening Poltergeisting mother flippin’ ghosts while draped in ancient Egyptian artifacts. Unless you can say your night was more exciting, then you should give this issue a read. I still can’t get over how amazing the art is. Moon Knight’s perfectly white everything contrasts with the rest of the scene so well – kudos to penciller Declan Shalvey and colorist Jordie Bellaire. If you haven’t read the first two issues, this one acts as a stand-alone, and a guaranteed sell for the series. – Sherif

Other Reviews:

BOOM! Studios:

Dead Letters #2 – C

I’m on the fence pretty intensely with Dead Letters still.  I was hoping after the second issue I’d be swayed one way or another.  No such luck.  There are a few aspects I really appreciate with this story.  The life-after-death notion is unique.  I’ve never really seen another story that takes on the afterlife like Dead Letters.  The characters are cool and the story is pretty interesting; nothing too special, but entertaining.  Then I reflect a while longer and I realize there are some very poorly hand aspects as well.  I won’t give details for sake of keeping the review spoiler-free, but just know that this reader feels that some of the more defining qualities of this series have a very sloppy feel to them.  And I don’t know about you, but I really have a hard time getting into comics with loose, water-color type artwork.  I can never tell what’s going on and details are always lost.  I think for Dead Letters, it’ll be three strikes and you’re out. – Taylor

 

DC/Vertigo:

Detective Comics #31 – A-

Finally, we are putting the “detective” back in Detective Comics. This series (although not as bad as Batman: The Dark Knight) has been a complete letdown since its New 52 launch. That is, until Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato took over starting issue #30. This new Icarus arc is Batman, through and through. The art is amazing and the story-telling is on point. If you’re a Bat-fan, it’s time to put aside your bias towards this book and pick it back up. – Sherif

The artwork is some of the most amazing that I’ve seen in a while especially with the way they colored this issue. The best part about this set of stories is that they take batman back to his roots as a detective instead of a crime fighter.  I actually came into things with the last issue but it seemed to be a good starting point if you wanted to start reading this book. This is only the second issue of a new story arc so if you have been thinking of jumping in, now would be a great time. The story is great and well worth your time if you are a Batman fan looking for something extra in addition to the other ongoing publications. – Robert

Batman: Eternal #5 – B

Things are getting heated up in Gotham but there wasn’t anything that moved the story forward too much. This issue does end with a bit of a cliffhanger that won’t make much sense for those who haven’t read Zero Year yet. I actually like that this book has incorporated all of the Batman continuity since the New 52 started. It’s nice to see loyalty like that rewarded with a story that takes advantage of all the things that have happened so far in the universe. The great thing about this being a weekly series is that even though nothing major happened this week, I don’t need to wait long to find out what happens next.  – Robert

Ah snap this story is getting real…as if it wasn’t already real in the first place. There are so many things happening from so many different angles that we didn’t even need to see Jim Gordon, Batgirl, and barley any Batman this week and it was still an elegant story. It seems like with each issue the story gets bigger and bigger and I’m loving all of it. I don’t know what these nano-bots have to do with the story, but I know we are going to soon find out; I think they will be the key to Jim Gordon’s freedom. I’m loving this story and I can’t wait to see what direction it goes next week. – Evan

Five issues in and we’re really starting to see that Eternal is going to have a ginormous scope. Scott Synder and James Tynion IV have cooked up quite the all-encompassing story, with Red Robin and Vicki Vale making their first appearance of the series. Aside from the awesome banter between Vicki and her new intern at the Gotham Gazette, Joey Day, there is a lot of superfluous dialog in this article. I know it’s all set up for the next big thing, but the story kind of loses momentum because of it. Throw in some Red Robin tech, and Harper Rowe badassery, and this issue gets a pass. – Sherif

Green Arrow #31 – C

The conclusion to the Outsiders War is here and it wasn’t much of a conclusion at all. Robert Queen is dead……again, which is pretty lame. This whole conclusion felt like it was put together a bit rushed even though it wrapped up everything from the last arc. It does however end with a setup that seems like it has the potential to be pretty cool. I do hope that they change the artist with the next story arc because it just looks awful. I have not been able to stand the art from this book since they changed things back somewhere in the teen issues. I am ready to move on to the next story because this whole arc felt like one step forward, two steps back for me. Just when we learn new things about oliver and co., it all pretty much gets taken away in the next few issues. Lame, but on to the next one, hopefully it will be better than what we’ve been getting.  – Robert

The New 52: Future’s End #1 – D+

In this new major DC comics event, we see Batman Beyond arrive in his past, but our future before a giant war destroys the world, We get to see Stormwatch, Firestorm, Grifter and Batman Beyond in the same book. Now, although this seems it will be a great event if for nothing else to see some more Batman Beyond action, it does seem like an overdone type of storyline (X-Men: Days of Future Past anyone?!) that could very well become very stagnant and boring. In the Free Comic Book Day issue #0 and this 1st Issue, it seems like it will become at least an enjoyable series, we will have to wait until the next issue for the story to really pick up and shows us what this event has in store for us. – Jacob

When DC Comics came out with 52 in 2006, it was a way for the company to spotlight the C squad characters without relying on them to carry their own books. Futures End seems kind of on-board with the same thing, but with Marvel handing out series left and right – successful series, mind you – to lesser-known characters, it will be hard for DC to match that level of “give a damn” when it sloppily throws together characters that casual fans can’t identify, let alone identify with. And I’m still pissed that DC thinks its a good idea to release the aftermath of Forever Evil without releasing the actual final issue of Forever Evil. Get your shit together, DC! – Sherif

 

IDW Comics:

Rocky & Bullwinkle #3 – B

Another great issue of Rocky & Bullwinkle! In this issue we get so see more of the Fearless Leader, and our favorite moon inhabitants Gidney and Cloyd. It starts with Fearless Leader claiming he has landed a Pottsylvanian on the moon and since no one has claimed it as their own he claims ownership. Rocky & Bullwinkle find it fishy and decide to take their own trip to the moon to investigate. Fearless Leader finds out and we realize their moon landing was fake and so he decides to send Boris and Natasha there to combat Rocky & Bullwinkle. This of course is the break where we get my personal favorite part of each issue the short of Dudley Do-Right where we see the evil Snidley Whiplash starting a store that sells junk on the promise that if you return your item you get double your money back knowing that no one ever takes the time to return items. Snidey did not think about Dudley Do-right though and as Dudley is heading to the bank with the Mounties donation money and ends up buying a yogurt straightener which the Inspector makes him return. So as Dudley returns it he gets double his money and then purchases two yogurt straighteners, returns them and continues to do so until he bankrupts the store and gets twenty thousand dollars for the charity. We then continue back to Rocky & Bullwinkle where they land on the moon and meet up with Gidney and Cloyd and then Boris and Natasha land and Boris ends up betraying Pottsylvania by claiming the moon for himself only to have Rocky & Bullwinkle foil them as always leaving the moon unclaimed for now… This series has been very enjoyable and although it is not for everyone, especially those whom only read comics for heroes, but anyone who has grew up watching the show will definitely enjoy this issue and the entire series as a whole. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Nailbiter #1 – A-

Another new Image title, another one knocked out of the park. Nailbiter is a horror story (so far; I have a hunch there will be a sci-fi twist in here somewhere) set in the town of Buckaroo, Oregon, home to “sixteen of the world’s worst serial killers.” Our story follows Nicholas Finch, an army intelligence agent who is down on life – as inferred by the gun he holds to his temple in the opening pages. The most recent killer, named the Nailbiter, is on the loose and Finch’s buddy Carroll has brought him to Buckaroo to help him crack the case. This is like Silence of the Lambs meets Heavy Rain, but there seems to be a much deeper story going on here. – Sherif

This series start off with a pretty intense beginning on top of the already intense cover we get on this issue. We are introduced to a killer by the name of Nailbiter who kills people who chew their nails and then proceeds to eat their fingers off. The whole series is about connecting a whole bunch of murderers from one small town together and one man may have found out how.  This series definitely seems promising as far as plot goes, as it is an original horror/crime idea and the artwork for it is superb as the characters, especially those who are not the protagonists, make you feel creeped out, even though some of the cops do as well in the way they are depicted and introduced. It is a very trust no one type of story happening and hopefully the intrigue does not die down or get too weird which Image comics sometimes does with their properties – Jacob

I’ll be honest, horror isn’t my thing.  But dark comedy is, and Nailbiter was chock full of it.  Nailbiter chronicles famed serial killer Nailbiter and the 15 serial killers from the same town of Buckaroo, Oregon who came before him.  While very dark, this new series was able to add a lot of humor and social commentary to such a macabre topic.  Suicidal Officer Nicholas Finch comes to the small town to look for his friend Carroll who is obsessed with the 16 serial killers and what they all have in common.  Along the way, he meets a few of the townsfolk and has very interesting encounters with a few, including a man who runs “The Murder Store” and wants to start a “Murder Con.”  Creeeppyyy.  This book was very enjoyable.  It will be really interesting to see what angle the writer takes this grim tale.  – Adrian

Burn the Orphanage: Reign of Terror #1 – C+

The second story from the guys that did Born to Lose are back. This second arc already feels different, especially when it comes to Sina Grace’s art. It has a definitive 80’s feel to it, and it reminiscent of the old Heavy Metal comic books. Even down to the high hue television effects in the first few panels, it’s clear that colorist Renee Keyes is an improvement over John Rauch. The story didn’t really move along like I thought it would in a five-issue run, and there weren’t any memorable jokes or pop references like the book is known for. However, this does give it a more polished feel; either way, this series will be a fun read. – Sherif

Revenge #3 – C

Blood and Boobs. I’ve said those two words in every review I’ve done for Revenge, and this one is no different. The only difference is this time around the blood and boobs were not in the same scenes. I actually believe that this comic has been my favorite out of the Revenge comics. With Griffin back in Hollywood with his two companions, all seven levels of hell are about to be raised. I think Griffin, his sidekick, and his dog/wolf actually make one super badass team. And now that he is in a position for true revenge, I cannot wait to see what happens next. – Evan

Seriously? Are we that cliché that we need to use the word “capeesh” in comic books to let people know how cool and dangerous the main character is? This book is only three issues in and I’m already tired of the concept and ready to move on. This would probably make a cool video-game, but it’s just getting really old looking at the over-the-top violence. That’s usually enough to keep me reading, but with so many other ridiculously good new Image titles out (Black ScienceDeadly ClassPretty Deadly, Sex CriminalsShutter, etc), Revenge falls directly to the bottom of the pile. – Sherif

 

Marvel:

Magneto #1 – B+

Magneto is on a rampage. By his lonesome, he has tasked himself with taking down the entire sentinel operation, and has just stumbled upon a bigger conspiracy. The reason I love this character, and book, so much is the great societal debate over whether or not those in power can justify building arms under the pretense of defense. Only three issues in, and this is one of my favorite books; the inevitable war with whoever is making these mutants is going to be more brutal than anything we’ve seen in the main X-Men titles so far. – Sherif

Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #2 – B

If you are looking for a comic that makes you feel like sunshine and rainbows in the most basic way, then keep on looking. In a sense this comic does make me feel good because it is awesome. With Danny knowing that he has to return to K’un Lun, in order to save the city, you know all hell is about to break loose. I don’t know Iron Fist very well, so I’m not sure who this intruder is, but whoever he is he must be one bad MF to do to K’un Lun what he did. Especially if he did it through the Yu-Ti. This story is dark and exciting and everybody was kung fu fighting, HIYAH!! I look forward to see what comes next. – Evan

We welcome Iron Fist on that anime-style kung-fu stuff. I’m really liking the way they present the story; it’s a bit cliché for anime fans, but it’s something new to the mainstream comic book world. Aside from a pretty deep look into the way Danny lost his parents, the story doesn’t offer much in terms of story or action until the final panel reveal. I’m thoroughly impressed with Kaare Kyle Andrew’s abilities here – he both writes the story and does the pencils here. Andrew is setting up an awesome story that I can’t wait to start expanding. – Sherif

Cyclops #1 – B+

The new series Cyclops is probably the perfect way to get into comics, particularly for teenage boys, and therefore, grown men, too.  I, however, am neither a teenage boy or a grown man, yet still thoroughly enjoyed this opener in what looks to be a very promising series.  The story follows a 16 year old Scott Summers, mutant and future X-Men member.  This issue does a wonderful job of showing us the modern and down-to-earth side of Scott.  There were moments that rang true for every person who has gone through the angsty and confusing teenage years and moments of laughter throughout.  It was fresh to see that even teenage mutants with cool super powers have problems that are normal.  I do wish that there would have been a bit more explanation about who the X-Men are and why Scott has already seen his future, but I do realize it may have had to be cut due to how much story Scott had away from his mutant story.  Also, the first panel with the reflection of his story in his glasses is ah.may.zing. – Adrian

I won’t lie, I thought Cyclops hanging out with his dad as a space pirate was gonna be so lame; I couldn’t have been further off. Cyclops starts his own series by just trying to be a good kid, finally getting the chance to escape from reality and go on that father-son adventure that every boy dreams of. There’s some quirky humor and good action scenes, but this is really about a kid trying to bond with his father, and the dad reluctantly agreeing to give parenting a try. – Sherif

Going into this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect and even after this issue I’m still not sure what the hell is going on. Apparently something happened that I missed and we now have a sixteen year old Scott Summers who has seen the future man he becomes and somehow leaves the X-Men and travels space with his father as a space pirate. The picture that Cyclops has on his desk is one with the original X-Men costumes. I may be confused but does this whole thing take place before the Phoenix Saga? Because if it does, it would seem that even wishing it away isn’t going to stop it from coming back. They have said they were never going to bring back Jean Gray back after the things she did as Dark Phoenix but this would be an interesting workaround as she hasn’t technically destroyed an entire galaxy yet. This book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting but I think it has potential to be decent if they don’t go too overboard with the whole space pirate thing. – Robert

Cyclops! In Space! With his dad! This on-going solo series for Cyclops is definitely different from your average X-Men story. I mean, I’ve never seen an X-Men story where young Cyclops is a space pirate, but it is awesome. I’m excited to see a young Cyclops in action doing things we haven’t seen from him before. With so many feelings going on in young Scott’s head about Jean Grey and his father, I’m very excited to see the character development that happens. – Evan

Original Sin #1 – B

Well the Watcher is dead… At first I was really wary of this event because how could anyone kill the watcher without him seeing it coming a mile away? After reading this issue and the #0, it is rather intriguing trying to think how someone could have done it without the Watcher knowing; is it going to be a villain or a super hero? Here, we explore multiple odd pairs of heroes finding out about the event and it all starts with Captain America, Wolverine, Black Widow and Nick Fury having steaks together getting the call about the Watcher from Thor. Multiple heroes are brought together in teams by “the boss” while Thing and Spider-Man are brought on after battling with a strange alien with some connection to the death of the Watcher and he is carrying the Ultimate Nullifier! Once all these teams are together they all go their own way to figure out who killed the Watcher. The last couple panels show multiple other aliens like the ones who battled the Thing and Spider-Man all suffering from something the Watcher had shown them and amongst these figures are a woman and one man who is holding one of the Watchers eyes in his hands. Does this mean he is the killer or just one person among many who profited, after all both his eyes were missing so who has the other? This event is bound to bring together a bunch of our favorite character and may just change our views on some. I look forward to this story picking up past the initial issue and hopefully it will give a good explanation on how exactly one could fool the Watcher. – Jacob

Marvel’s next huge event is here, and it looks like everybody got invited to the party. There are a multitude of character involved in trying to solve the murder mystery that has become Original Sin. The Watcher is dead, both eyes ripped from his corpse; it’s some pretty foul stuff, but it doesn’t really have any effect on me yet. I love when Marvel does gigantic crossovers, and writer Jason Aaron (Amazing X-MenScalped) is well-equipped to handle the ensemble. This eight-issue series will span the entire Marvel U looking for who stole the eye, and how screwed that makes everybody. I love the mystery style writing, but I’m going to need the story to hit a lot closer to home if I’m going to enjoy the series. – Sherif

The Amazing Spider-Man #1.1 – C+

Last week’s ginormous Amazing #1 contained several mini-stories in the back. One of them was Learning to Crawl, by legendary Spidey writer, Dan Slott. In this story, we are brought back to Peter Parker’s earlier days as the Spider-Man, where he performs for crowds to make ends meet at home when Uncle Ben dies. In the crowd is a friendless rich kid who is so impressed with Spidey that he decides to make his own hero (or villain?) named Clash. The story looks exciting, but got off to a really slow start here for me. Don’t let the grade discourage you, there’s more to come, and with Slott at the helm (not to mention a rad Alex Ross cover), Amazing Spider-Man is worthy of your time. – Sherif

The Punisher #5 – C+

If you live in the city, you basically are living in a complete war zone right now. And if you are a cop, then it seems to be open season on yo ass. With all the death and destruction being caused by A.I.M. electro and the local gangs, the only thing that could even possibly balance it out is more death and destruction fighting for the other side; the Punisher. This comic had action right off the bat, and it was exciting, however I felt that the read was over way too quick. With so many action panels and little dialog it feels only natural for a comic to fly by. However, this one felt like it took no time at all. Oh well, if you are going to fill a panel with something, it might as well be huge explosions. – Evan

Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #1 – C

I have this “thing” about starting stories in middle.  And while the Ultimate Spider-Man that released this week was titled #1, it sure didn’t feel like it.  Trailing after the events that took place in the Galactus story arch there was a little too much focus on the past than on the future for this issue.  I was unfamiliar with most of the characters and I know that’s nobody’s fault buy my own, but still… One of the biggest hurdles I had to overcome when I started reading comics was learning how to be okay with not starting at the true beginning.  I’ve been successful in this regard for almost every comic I’ve picked up.  For the first time, I feel like little to no regard was paid for new readers.  Interestingly enough, I didn’t feel this way at all reading The Amazing Spider-Man #1 last week – another continuation of an in-depth story line that I had no prior knowledge on.  It’s a major let-down because I love seeing a character of color portraying one of the coolest superheroes of all time!  Not one of my best reads. – Taylor

Before you throw your book in the trash based on Taylor’s rant on the issue, I’d like to say how pleased I am with this totally relatable issue. The first thing to keep in mind is that this is the Ultimate universe, so the normal perception of canon is out the window. What we get with this issue is an honest look at Miles Morales, a kid who has lost his mom and his dad, and has the huge weight of his secret identity on his shoulders, while debating whether or not to tell his girlfriend, Kate Bishop (who is Hawkeye’s sidekick in the normal Marvel U, so we may see that double-secret come to light in the Ultimate U) that he’s Spider-Man. After having a whole year with nothing but obnoxious Otto Octavius in Superior, Marvel is bursting at the seams with Spidey ideas, so I welcome the intriguing twist at the end. – Sherif

Deadpool Vs. Carnage #3 – C-

This book has gone from weird to just plain ridiculous. Good; that means it’s almost over. This series needed something to set itself up for an over-the-top showdown between Deadpool and Carnage, and it definitely got it. Most of the issue was a cat-and-mouse chase that really took away the comedic banter between the two characters. The series has really succeeded by letting the two feed off each other; instead, we get panels and panels full of the characters wondering about “the signs” and it got really tired really quick. Luckily, there’s only one more issue left, and a lot of potential for that one to be a hilarious gorefest. – Sherif

I don’t know what just happened to Deadpool, but is there any way it can happen to me, too? This week’s comic was just okay. In my opinion it didn’t really hold up to the standards of the issues of the past for several reasons. It wasn’t nearly as slapstick as I was hoping for, the actual fighting between the two psychopaths didn’t actually last very long, and overall it just seemed like a whole lot of nothing happened. However, I still found it enjoyable and want to know what just happened to Deadpool. So I’m going to keep a lookout for the next issue and see where it progresses. – Evan

This series is very hit and miss, as far as I am concerned. I love both of these characters but the conflict is basically “I am insane, so I will fight someone else insane,” which is not a good plot point. Deadpool has gone against others and there has been a better meaning behind it. In this issue, we get another giant battle and major violence, of course Deadpool is disemboweled and both Deadpool’s and Carnage’s insanity leads them to the same ghost town where there is a hidden base for a operation made to kill Carnage. Carnage gets there first kills all the men and sets a trap for Deadpool and leaves him in pieces while the self destruct is counting down only to have four different symbiotes assemble him back together so now we have a symbiote Deadpool which is about as terrifying as when Wolverine was possessed by Venom.  I am not real sure where this story is leading as it seems to just be battle after battle after battle with no real progress on either characters account so although both of these character may be popular and have their own great individual stories this series is one that leaves you wanting more or at the very least, wanting to figure out why it is being done. – Jacob

 

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.

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