Comic Book Reviews 09-23-15

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:

We Are Robin #4

We Are Robin #4 – A
Writer: Lee Bermejo
Artist: James Harvey
Colorists: James Harvey and Alex Jaffe

The art in this issue absolutely blew me away. There was a nice Dark Knight Returns vibe going on – almost a little like 60’s pop art using collaging as a style. And the story met my expectations, too. This month, we got to focus on Riko, one of the many Robins introduced so far. In the aftermath of Troy’s death in issue #3, Riko tries to cope not only with mortality, but with her place within the “We Are Robin” group. There was some great tie-in to Lord of the Flies and the feeling of belonging for Riko. Riko’s character is portrayed incredibly well; her timidness and intelligence in real life vs. her bravery as a vigilante is very intriguing. I also really enjoyed the commentary about all the tweeting and texting. There is a moment where Riko has to make a hard decision with a bunch of punks. The tweeters and texters have to have their two cents, and it is amazing how quickly they flip on her. Batgirl’s appearance sweetens the pot of this issue. I can’t wait for all the other Robins to get their time in the spotlight, too. – Adrian

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse:

Power Cubed #1 – B-
Writer and Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Colorist: Hi-Fi Design

This is the first of a new series from Dark Horse, and it’s falling into a world of adolescent adventure. With the popularity of the “teen adventure” genre running rampant through Hollywood, it comes as no surprise that similar comics are starting to make their way through. That being said, I did enjoy the book; it has the best use of stairs I’ve ever seen. I’m just barely interested enough in this boy’s blight to at the least read a little further. – Scott

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Grayson #12 – B+
Writers: Tim Seeley, Tom King
Pencils: Mikel Janín
Colors: Jeromy Cox

Ladies and gentlemen, nap time is over! This series, which has been a complete and utter let-down, is finally getting ready to execute the interesting part of the plot. Months (years?) ago, when the fallout of Forever Evil happened, Batman and Nightwing made plans to infiltrate Spyral and…spy on them. It’s taken what seems like forever, but Dick has finally made his survival known to the rest of the Bat-fam, and they have hacked into the spy agency. Not only was the issue full of callbacks and corny exchanges, but the promise of what is to come is legitimately exciting – something I can confidently say about like two other DC books. Don’t screw this up, Grayson! – Sherif

Batgirl #44 – B-
Writer: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher
Pencils: Bengal
Colors: Serge Lapointe

Batgirl, fighting tigers and saving lesbians – it’s all so refreshing. Thanks to some solid artwork in Babs Tarr’s absence, this entire issue played out like a cartoon. It’s a very serialized, feel-good story that isn’t too deep, but has enough substance to keep me entertained enough to look forward to the next issue. Batgirl is one of the better books out right now, but I don’t look to it for any deeper meaning. And why is DC sneak dissin’ with the Jungle Fever theme going on here on the cover? Luke isn’t in the book but two pages. Wesley Snipes should be pissed right now. – Sherif

Deathstroke #10 – C
Writers: Tony Daniel, James Bonny
Pencils: Tyler Kirkham
Colors: Arif Prianto

Um, I’m not sure what kinda reaction I was supposed to have to the end of this issue, but it ended up being one of pure MEH. What in the name of Fish Mooney were they trying to pull here? It took a lot to bring Slade back from the Expendables mangasming action hero to a well-rounded character, but all I could do is roll my eyes at how he returns to his brutish ways. I would be a liar if I told you that his showdown with a titan (ha, he finally beats a Titan…) wasn’t Kratos-worthy, but the ridiculous ending shattered all the momentum it had going into it. – Sherif

Justice League 3001 #4 – C
Writers: Keith Giffen and J.M. De Matteis
Artist: Scott Kolins
It’s fascinating that two of my books (two of my favorites even) were flashbacks this month. One did absolutely everything right (Nameless), and one did everything I hate. Usually flashbacks feel like they’re pulling you away from something really interesting to show you something boring, even when it’s important, and that’s what JL3K did. I mean, last issue, Supergirl shows up out of nowhere to help punch a hivemind into submission. Yes, yes, and more yes. This time, we flashback to between the events of 3000 and 3001 to Flash telling Wonder Woman a drunk story about meeting a cagey Mirror Master. I know this is J.M. DeMatteis laying the ground for the next arc, but nothing happens. We get one tiny nugget of fact, and it distracts from the awesome stuff that’s been going on. Plus, the regular artist was off this month. Kind of a bummer. -Montgomery

IDW Publishing:

TMNT: Casey and April #4-B
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Irene Koh

The end of this mini-series brings some revelations and makes some characters thought to be villains out to be more of spiritual guides to Casey and April. As the two have been tormented by the Rat King for the first three issues, almost tearing the two apart, they finally reach Aka. She helps April realize her role in everything. It seems she may have quite a large role in TMNT #50 coming out soon and the huge change promised in said issue. This series definitely screams of Anime/Asian influence more than any others, especially in Irene Koh’s art and the story revolving around the Rat King and Aka being gods and spiritual guides to Casey and April. Mariko Tamaki did a great job setting up a small little road trip story where we hardly saw The Turtles and yet still making sure we knew it was in the TMNT universe. Overall, it was a very enjoyable series and stayed quite consistent in quality from issues #1-#4. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Nameless #5 – A
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham

I have been going slowly insane waiting for the two month hiatus to end and Nameless to pick back up. It was so good and surreal, it gave me an anxiety attack. It opens up with a flashback to the nameless protagonist’s prior mission in which he and twelve others first tried to contact the alien force behind the mystery comet. And without ruining things (because holy bonkers Bat-Mite), it goes poorly, but not before they learn that this malevolent force is the last living vestige of an anti-universe. In fact, these 13 minds (apparently these anti-universe beings are so great, it takes 13 minds working in unison to contain one of their minds) learn a pretty shocking fact about who exactly is trapped in that meteor. And if the panel below (in the Panels with the Most Awesomeness section) doesn’t make you want to run out and have an anxiety attack, you have no heart (or too much anxiety). – Montgomery

Elephantmen #66- A-
Writer: Richard Starkings
Artist: Axel Medellin

Things are getting rather crazy for our favorite Elephantmen as we learn of a plot devised by those in Charge of Mappo to try and eradicate the current living Elephantmen and create a new army of Hyenas to bring about what Mappo had tried to do initially with his army of people such as Hip Flask, Ebony Hide, and Obadiah Horn. It seems as the initial attack of the Mops, the cleaning (Killing) crew of hyenas, shows up the Elephantmen on the side of good we know are dropping rather quickly and we are left wondering if some even got out alive. The story by Richard Starkings is great as always with this series, and it brings the action as well as story together beautifully. I also have to say Axel Medellin’s art is my favorite of the series so far, and the colors used are just spectacular making for one of the most well executed comics on the shelves today. – Jacob

Wolf #3—B
Writer: Alex Kot
Artist: Matt Taylor
Colorist: Clayton Cowles

This book is just odd and I love it. I still don’t have the language to really describe why I enjoy it so much week after week. I think it may have something to do with the fact that I’m actually picking up on the sarcasm. Granted, I’m a few beats behind, but it creates an interesting dissonance in the way I read it. Vamps in Afghanistan, and more genies information as to how Wolf became what he is. A vampire ex. Seems like Wolf dabbled in the darker things in life before turning private eye. He makes for one intriguing anti-hero. To say anymore would give too much away. -Jené

Invisible Republic #6 –C
Writers: Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko
Artist: Gabriel Hardman
Colorist: Jordan Boyd

Not as dunt, dunt duh as last issue, but still a solid issue.  The issue slowed down in order do some much needed character development. It also introduced a few more key players to the narrative. We’re finally getting to see behind the mask of the Malory Regime. My previous thoughts has been confirmed—Malory “is more mascot than leader.” It’s still unclear to what extent Maia plays in this “Invisible Republic” but its clear her cousin is meaningless, or is he…? It was a solid and enjoyable read with a last page that delivers a punch. – Jené

Second Opinion (B+) Invisible Republic is keeping a strong story strong. The universe is as dark and gritty as ever, the thought put into building this world is enough by itself to make me a fan of this book. – Scott

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Deadpool vs Thanos #2-A
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Elmo Bondoc

This issue is full of action, cameos from famous and not so famous Marvel characters and plenty of Deadpool humor, to the chagrin of Thanos. The story sees Deadpool and Thanos landing on a planet rumored to be where Death told Deadpool to go, but all that is there is a race of people wishing death upon themselves. After some rather violent introductions the Guardians of the Galaxy show up to cause yet another disturbance for this team of Death’s ex’s. Tim Seeley is doing a great job so far in bringing these two characters together and despite neither of them really liking the other they seem to work well together, well despite Thanos needing to beat the crap out of Deadpool every once and awhile to have him see Death or get clues to her disapearence. The best thing to me is Elmo Bondoc’s art which has a very classic Marvel feel to it while also keeping it in the modern era making for a great flashback story while also not straying too far from the current places of each character. – Jacob

Inhumans: Atillan Rising #5 – B
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: John Timms
So, is this the last issue? Does anyone know? It feels like a last issue. Anyways, finally Not Black Bolt’s revolt crescendo’s in Medusa’s Atillan where, last issue, he showed her the truth of the world. They team up and (SPOILER ALERT, I MEAN, IF ANYONE’S ACTUALLY READING THIS COMIC, SPOILER ALERT RIGHT HERE) and Doom resets Atillan, except with Blackagar Boltagon (worst name ever? Probably) as the king and Medusa as a bar tender. Which is kind of cool. It imbues Battleworld with a sense of history is seems to lack, and demonstrates his own godhood. One question? Um, Matt? Murdock? He makes a reference to being Irish? Well, I’d like him to point out where on the map Ireland is, and what that even means on Battleworld. Because, as far as I’m aware, there’s New York, 15 different X-Men cities, and then zombies. No Ireland. Anyways, the series ended on probably its strongest note. -Montgomery

X-Men: Years of Future Past #5 – B-
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Pencils: Mike Norton
Colors: FCO Plascencia

This book tries a little too hard to be deep. For being one of the throwaway Secret Wars titles, I’m really impressed with how much I seem to care about what is going on. After the world fell apart in the last issue, Christina Pryde must scramble to save Robert Kelly from her surprise dickhead brother. It’s one of those “the more things change, the more they stay the same” scenarios, and I really enjoyed the way this one was carried out. Now, them all getting eaten by tigers seems like a stupid ending, but who am I to judge? It’s a lot harder carrying an idea across the finish line than I can give credit for. – Sherif

1872 #3 – C+
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Pencils: Nik Virella
Colors: Lou Loughridge

I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed in this book, but rather disappointed in the lack of give-a-shit that Marvel had in making this a book. It’s a phenomenal concept – just as interesting as 1602, in my opinion – but it’s not really fleshed out like it could be. Fisk, the corrupt big bad, comes across so much more like a big, fat Yosemite Sam than the thuggish tycoon he is. All is forgiven, though, when Tony Stark busts out the Iron Man suit for the first time. It has it’s corny moments, but I wish it took it’s time. Instead, it’s stuffed into a four-issue mini-series and will likely have no consequence on the Marvel U at all. – Sherif


Funniest Panels:

Panels with the Most Awesomeness:

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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