Comic Book Reviews 10-07-15

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:

TMNT #50 3

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50 – A+
Writers: Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman
Artists: Mateus Santolouco, Cory Smith

As a long-time TMNT fan, this issue was everything I have loved about TMNT, as well as everything I have wanted to see from a TMNT comic… [Read the whole review here] – Jacob

Second Opinion (A+): Let’s forget that this book carries the TMNT franchise tag. Can you tell me any book that has gone 50 issues with a solid conclusion to it? It was an epic homage to the original run, and the premise of the next chapter is as insane as it is brilliant (Gundam Krang!). – Sherif

Other Reviews: 

Archie Comics:

Jughead #1 – B
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Erica Henderson

With the success of Archie‘s reboot, it made sense that it would be immediately followed up with a spin-off starring its most apathetic character, Juggie! Jughead cares about nothing – well, that’s not true. Jughead cares about only one thing… FOOD. And when the new corporate face of Riverdale starts messing with his glorious school lunches, it’s time for action! It’s a very cute book. I mean, how could a book written by the guy who does Howard the Duck and drawn by the girl who draws Unbeatable Squirrel Girl not be the cutest thing ever? – Sherif

Second Opinion (B+)I do have to admit I have not been much of an Archie Comics reader in my life other than the TMNT series they published years ago, but getting the creators they have now has got me addicted *Cough* Chip Zdarksy *Cough*. Jughead is the perfect character to get me started delving more into good old Riverdale, and man does this issue make me want a hamburger! – Jacob

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Batman and Robin Eternal #1 – B
Writers: James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder
Artist: Tony Daniel

Any time DC puts out a new weekly book, you have to be wary. Batman Eternal started off with a huge bang, just as this one did, but after 52 grueling weeks, I was begging for the book to be over. In this new series, Dick Grayson is uncovering some really weird information about “Mother,” who heads an organization who, predictably, runs “really really deep.” We’re introduced to Cassandra Cain (she speaks!), and Bluebird lays the smack down on RoboBatman. It’s full of clever dialog, lots of characters, and never feels as corny as it could have if DC took the usual approach. There is a giant reveal at the end of the issue which was more eye-rolling than eye-catching, but I’ll roll with it. – Sherif

Survivor’s Club #1 – D+
Writers: Lauren Beukes and Dale Halvorsen
Artist: Ryan Kelly

I am not the biggest horror fan, but I can appreciate it. For some reason, this was not one of those times. I was intrigued with the idea of some horrible event happening in 1987, mostly because that was the year I was born (OH MY GOD, WHAT IF MY BIRTH IS THE HORRIBLE EVENT?!), but then we didn’t even find out for the majority of the club what the event was. I wasn’t drawn to any character and the story felt like a cheap version of Mr. Robot. – Adrian


Batman Beyond #5 – C+
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Aritst: Bernard Chang

This issue was the best of the first five of “Brave New Worlds.” Drake finally proved he was Batman. The most important part of the book is how iconic the robot Batsuit is. Everyone freaks out when they see “the old-school Batman” in action. There is mention of how Bruce spruced it up one he acquired it. As far as story goes, it was a little lackluster, but I am looking forward to a new storyline. – Adrian

IDW Publishing: 

X-Files Season 11 #3 – B
Writer: Joe Harris
Artist: Matthew Dow Smith

The second part to the Home story, revolving around the Peacock family we once saw in the series, we see a little bit of what it really going on while it also raises more questions. We also get to see a little of what is going on with Gibson Praise through both Mulder and Scully and right when Mulder is about to find something out, in classic X-Files fashion the story ends and leaves you hanging until next month… This comic series is very well done and Joe Harris seems to know more about X-Files past then even Mulder and Scully would and brings so much nostalgia and yet has such a fresh tone to it that this series has been tough to put down, tough not to push on people who love the series and tough to not force those who have not seen the series to try out. Matthew Dow Smith’s art works well with X-Files with his great use of lighting and shadows, but also has a edge to it that bothers me a bit; maybe that is what he is going for since it is X-Files, but ultimately it all comes together very well. – Jacob 

Image Comics:

Starve #5 – A
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Danijel Zezlj
Colorist: Dave Stewart

Starve is just one of the best written series I’ve read in a long time. Brian Wood always has a way with a story line that puts him in a class of his own. Major changes happened in this issue. The family turmoil between Gavin, his ex-wife, and his daughter came to a major head what with the stabbing and all. Now Roman will be joining the competition instead of being a sadistic host. He’rs just hoping that we aren’t going to a have to wait until February for another issue. That’s just too long. – Scott


Paper Girls #1 – B+
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Cliff Chiang
Colors: Matt Wilson

Rick Remender has another gem on his hands. What we have on hand are a group of the most jaded newspaper delivery people ever. I was amazed at how Remender was able to make these girls sound so strong and badass, yet still capture the fact that they were tweens. Of course, because this is a Remender book, there is a higher conspiracy at hand, and it has everything to do with aliens and a certain conglomeration. It’s goofy, yet awesome. The main characters are all likable. And the art is amazing! It’s the first big Cliff Chiang project I’ve read since Wonder Woman, and it fits perfectly thanks to Matt Wilson’s excellent color work. It screams girl power, but in a way that guys can enjoy reading it, too. – Sherif

Second Opinion (A-): In ways, I don’t know exactly what is going on, but I can tell you this: I am very nostalgic for the 80’s and this book captured that nostalgia perfectly. Plus, one of the girls is named Tiffany – there is nothing more 80’s than girls named Tiffany. – Adrian


Nailbiter #16 – B+
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Aritst: Mike Henderson

You know who is pretty cool? Nailbiter. He let some young kids give themselves a scare on Halloween and then was also pretty nice to them. He is a serial killer with principles, after all. I thought this issue was a very cute Halloween special. There weren’t as many questions to come up this time. Carroll is awake and gone, Finch is going to the slammer, and we know for sure that Alice is the love child of Warren and Crane. The last panel was creepy as fuck, but that is to be expected from this series. I am back on board with Nailbiter. – Adrian


We Stand on Guard #4 – B+
Writer: Brian K Vaughan
Artist: Steve Skroce
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth

This issue proves that the Canadians have all the cajones they need to go toe to toe with G.I. Joe. It seemed like the Canucks were all but screwed in their present situation, but once that massive tanker got rolling, it felt like a legitimate battle was about to begin. This book has all the drama of Les Miserables, but the depth of scope of to match it. We’re getting tidbits of a bigger picture, and are slowly hating America more and more as the series goes on. – Sherif


Axcend #1 – B+
Writer: Shane Davis
Artist: Shane Davis, Michelle Delecki
Colorist: Mory Hollowell

This is a book for the video game nerd in all of us. Axcend is a little bit of Tron mixed with Spider-Man. Eric Morn is a high school student that’s not the biggest or toughest guy in the building, but he’s not the school nerd either. He also lost his twin brother a year ago so there is this underlying story of grieving through the first issue, which I’m sure is to continue. After an inauspicious day of school on the one year anniversary of his brother’s death Eric is very unexpectedly sucked into a video game called Axcend, where he finds it’s a lot easier to play a game than to be in one. Luckily dying in the game is not permanent, at least not yet. We’ll see when the game leaves gets out of beta. Eric really sets a whole new set of rules in motion in the end though. – Scott


Codename Baboushka: Conclave of Death #1 – C
Writer: Antony Johnston
Artist: Shari Chankhamma

The absolute best part of Codename Baboushka is the art. The use of mixed mediums was very impressive. It created a look that resembled some anime – from the use of oils to the bright and bold colors with crisp lines, it was clear there was a purpose for each panel, and that Chankhamma enjoyed working on this book thoroughly. The story line was a little drab, however. It was a little Black Widow and a little La Femme Nikita without any of the draw that either woman has. I have yet to be convinced of why Baboushka is so badass. At this point, she seems like a machine rather than real woman who just also so happens to be able to shoot guns and kick ass. I’m ready for some background. – Adrian

Second Opinion (C): There was a hard sell about this being very Bond-esque, and the expectation of such let me down. The art was great, though! And there’s always room in my reading queue for a spy book, but it doesn’t need to ride on the coattails of Bond to be enjoyable. – Sherif


Saints #1 – D
Writer: Sean Lewis
Artist: Benjamin Mackey

Hmmm. I’m not really sure what to say about this issue. I feel like I was supposed to like the book more than I did. Instead, I was left feeling rather underwhelmed. It was compared to Dogma “on steroids”, but it wasn’t that funny to me. There was some haha’s at the beginning of it. Other than that, it read more serious than what I think Lewis was aiming for? Or, maybe my humor bone is broken. I left feeling like that kid at a party who just isn’t laughing with everyone else and wondering why. It did have an element of the Dexter humor with the seriousness of a Dan Brown novel. I’ll read a few more to see if I can pick up what’s being doled out. – Jené

Second Opinion (F): This is the dumbest shit I’ve ever read. It gives me the exact opposite feeling I get when reading NailbiterSaints lost me at rockstars pissing in cups – SPOILER, that was two pages in. – Sherif

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Miracleman by Gaiman and Buckingham #3 – A+
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: Mark Buckingham

Miracleman is such an oddity of an experience, especially when compared to the rest of the Marvel stable. It’s such a contemplative and melancholy experience, but so worth experiencing. In this issue, Mors, the Qys alien that lives in the basement of the tower resurrecting dead artists and thinkers, resurrects Emil Gargunza, the person responsible for converting the Qys technology and creating the Miracle family. Emil wanders with one of the Any Warhols talking about life and the changes in the world. Then, six months in, Mors has to collect Emil before he escapes and deactivate him. He desperately wants Gargunza to live, but he’s so risky to have around. The story that has you brain thinking in subtler and subtler warped ways is complimented by artwork that shifts from collage, to chalk, to pen and ink. Such a good story with so many subtle cues I can’t hope to convey. – Montgomery


Star Wars Shattered Empire #2 – A
Writers: Greg Rucka, Marco Checchetto, Angel Unzueta,
Artist: Emilio Laiso

I have to say as of right now, this is my personal favorite Star Wars book! This issue focuses on a villainious man in red who can seemingly project the Emperor’s face onto his helmet, but it more so focuses on a pilot from the rebel alliance, Shara Bey. So far in the story we know she is married to a Kes Dameron and had a son, Poe Dameron, who is one of the characters we know o be in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Shara is sent on a mission to accompany Princess Leia to Naboo while the federation may not be far behind! I feel Greg Rucka nailed this issue and it felt like a grea Star Wars story and really combining the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy and the new films. The three artists for this issue, Marco Checchetto, Angel Unzueta and Emilio Laiso were all great and all of their art flowed well together and really got amazing at times with some panels blowing your mind with the detail. – Jacob


Doctor Strange #1 – A
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: Chris Bachalo and Kevin Knowlan

Doctor Strange is one of those characters I should love. Every element of his DNA should speak to my DNA, but his comics are just the worst. They’re all boring and meandering, and one time it was about baseball. I feel like I’m owed an apology. But this was a good #1. I was stoked to see Bachalo’s name on the cover, someone whose art I’ve been bonkers for since ye olde days of Generation X, the best Marvel comic only I, apparently, ever read. Strange makes strange housecalls, and he comes across an emerging pattern of a race of supernatural creatures called Soul Eaters who are fleeing the lower dimensions and making their exit via the heads and souls of people in the 616. I think it’s still 616. Is it? The story ends with a coda: magister Szandor Zoso tries to send a message through the dimensions that a threat called the Emipikul are murdering everything supernatural. Then he gets murdered. It’s a very Grant Morrison friendly setup, and I think I may have found a Doctor Strange comic to convert me. – Montgomery

Second Opinion (C+)So much exposition. But a good start to a series that will hopefully be a little more show vs. tell from here on out. – Adrian


Groot #5 – A-
Writer: Jeff Loveness
Artist: Brian Kesinger

Words can’t describe just how adorable this series is. It tugs on the heartstrings like no other book can quite do. Groot teaches readers about the value of friendship and love, all while making us laugh in the process. This issue marks the end of the arc, and the series. Groot and Rocket will pick up again soon in their own self-titled series, which is nice. Both Groot and Rocket Raccoon ended much earlier than they should have. If you’ve read this book, then go hug a tree. – Sherif

Second Opinion (A)Were Groot and Rocket just out in space while Earth mutated into Battle World? Oh, it’s also a good story. – Montgomery

Third Opinion (B+)You know that feeling you get in Wall-E when he may not wake up and Eve starts to freak out? That is basically the feeling you have in the last half of this issue. Also, the art for tiny Groot is the best. – Adrian


Invincible Iron Man #1 – A-
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Seeing Tony Stark faced with the sad realization that he isn’t the smartest person on Earth is kinda nice. Believing that this is the same Tony Stark that was just in Superior, not so much. I’m sure it can be attributed to some gaps caused by the stupid Secret Wars disruption in timing; I really like that Tony’s turned his attitude around. This debut is just as funny as Superior, but you end up loving Iron Man by the end of it instead of hating him. Plus, the art in here is some of the best I’ve seen Marvel put out in a long time. There’s a specific panel with Madame Masque that had me floored. I can tell Marvel is betting a lot on this horse, so I’m confident that it will only get better. – Sherif


Old Man Logan #5 – B+
Writer:
Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino

The last of another Secret Wars title and sadly I feel this series as a whole was quite dull, especially compared to the original Old Man Logan. Seeing as it is Secret Wars though, a lot of the story relied on the support of other stories to give you an idea of how these other worlds in Battleworld function. Ultimately, it gives us a very enjoyable and mind-bending ending and makes me think this series may have worked better as a one shot combining issue #1 and issue #5, or having it be much shorter as issue #2-4 seemed to not add much to the story at all (other than catapulting Logan to different spots). I do feel this issue though was the best of the 5 and Bendis does deserve a lot of credit for making one of these Secret Wars off-shoot titles work within the main Secret Wars storyline without sacrificing the character at hand. I do find Andrea Sorrentino’s art a bit distracting still, despite it being beautiful, as the lack of colors in some panels makes what you are looking at quite confusing, but again, beautiful none the less. – Jacob

Second Opinion (B): I give it a question mark because I’m not sure what happened. But I do know I’m all about a Wolverine comic written by Lemire. Lemire is my shit! – Montgomery


Secret Wars #6 – B+
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist:Esad Ribic

Finally we get issue #6! Seems like it has been forever since I read issue #5 but even with the wait, this issue pack in a lot in the few pages it has to do so. We really get into why Battleworld exists and God Doom’s ultimate plan, making this the most plot driven issue in the main Secret Wars storyline. Jonathan Hickman does a great job with this issue making sure it doesn’t feel overwhelming while also packing as much as possible into it and also bringing more characters into the fray in ways that really make you see God Doom is not as godly as you may think in previous issues, plus THE THING!!!! Esad Ribic’s art is absolutely spectacular this issue and he really brings out that character emotions perfectly this issue and some of those panels I want to just hang on my wall. Ultimately this issue was delayed a bit but after reading other Secret Wars titles I can say it was probably a good idea since a lot of what has happened outside this title holds precedence in this issue and yet it also works without reading every title for the event.

Second Opinion (C)I found the issue to be a lot of fun. I was able to gather what had happened and what was currently going on. It’s by no mean earth shattering amazement, but entertaining just the same. – Jené


Spider-Island #5 – B+
Writer: Christos Cage
Artist: Paco Diaz

The final issue of Spider-Island was a pretty satisfying resolution. The lair of the Spider Queen is stormed, and Flash Thompson’s symbiote sacrifices itself to save everyone. Dino-Thor (get it? He’s a Thor, and it sounds like dinosaur? But with a lisp?) shows up to say “what the f, guys?” and Peter Parker becomes the new baron. Que “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds. Mid-air freeze frame high-five. On an unrelated note: I’ve notice a lot of Hispanic and Latino names popping up in the creator credits for this Marvel event. Kind of cool that Marvel is getting ahead of that cultural trend. I’m sure DC will respond by raping and then murdering the rest of its female characters. Because they’re edgy. – Montgomery


Star Wars #10 – B
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Star Wars is still running strong. But I still don’t care about this extra Solo person. Han being previously married just isn’t a very interesting storyline to me. Also, a hut with legs is actually quite unnerving. I like the build up the issue has. I can’t wait for some good Jedi-on-rancor action. The odd pairing of C-3PO and Chewbacca is entertaining enough. This wasn’t an overly deep issue but it was entertaining. Although, if I see any more Gungans I’m going to lose my mind. I can’t believe I had to read how they sound. Oh and Dengar, yeah Dengar. – Scott

Second Opinion (B+)This issue has everything, even a Gungan talking to Dengar! But it really delves into a deeper story and one that will likely help us understand a little more of how Luke became a Jedi. – Jacob


Amazing Spider-Man #1 – B-
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli

Amazing Reboot #1 was just short of amazing. The action was great, the jokes (subtle and corny) were on point, and the art was wonderful. However, there’s a HUGE gap with the book not explaining just how this new and improved Spidey became so good at… everything. He’s lauded as the “poor man’s Tony Stark,” but really, he’s basically Batman now. He knows new languages, builds incredible tech for himself, and breaks hearts along the way. At the end of the day, this is the new Amazing Spider-Man, and you’ll either love it or continue hating it. – Sherif

Second Opinion (C)I wasn’t overly impressed with this issue. There was no explanation for… well anything. The first half was great. Spider-Man and Mockingbirds banter was well worth the price, but one Peter Parker became the poor-man’s Iron Man, I was pretty lost. Congrats on the heart-shaped Spidey undies though, Parker. – Adrian


Darth Vader #10 – C+
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado

That Triple Zero is a cold-oiled droid. I felt like a big chuck of this issue was lacking in substance, coming in on Vader killing some strange look aliens is fun and all, but he was almost left out of his own comic. Doctor Aphra did all of the work this time around. Going back to Naboo was a little weird. I know we’re ten issues in but the crossing of the old world and the new still just doesn’t feel right. I’m also starting to wane on the murder twins. It’s a funny bit because it’s really unexpected but I feel like every chance there is we’re being reminded that they are evil. It might be time for a new gag. – Scott

Second Opinion (B+): Darth Vader and Aphra make a dangerous team, especially with the droids BT-1 and 000 with them along for the ride. This series keeps getting better and am excited for what is to come next. Kieron Gillen is absolutely killing it with this series; the man knows how to write space epics! – Jacob


Contest of Champions #1 – C+
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Paco Medina

I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. It’s basically Murder World for A-list heroes and villains, but it feels much more natural than the slopfest that was in Avengers Arena. We’re thrown in the middle of a few different fights, and they’re all entertaining for the most part. Al Ewing’s (Loki: Agent of Asgard) is excellent at writing clever banter, so even the lulls kept me engaged. My favorite part of the book is when we’re introduced to White Fox, a badass Korean superheroine new to the Marvel U; hopefully, she is more than a token. Overall, not the strongest premiere issue, but it has potential to be awesome once some of the story is fleshed out. – Sherif

Second Opinion (C+): While the idea of different champions fighting each other to the death is cool, wasn’t that what Battleworld was? British Punisher was really cool, but I got confused on his timeline. T-Rexes are Hydra? And the Guillotine story seemed tacked on. – Adrian


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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