Comic Book Reviews 12-17-14

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 37 POTW

Batman #37 – A+

(A+) It’s so good.  It’s just so good.  The Snyder/Capullo duo are back in action this month, and God does it feel soooooo good!  Yet absolutely terrifying and horrific and “oh God, did that really just happen?!”  Nobody likes clowns and nobody likes zombies.  We get Joker-faced zombies taking over Gotham, and nothing to stop them— except the possibility of patient zero. All of this is absolute horror for most. Meanwhile, Jim Gordon is researching the history of the hospital where the outbreak started, only to get the scare of his life – The Joker can be seen in pictures from the hospital for over 100 years, including in one of his own children.  Is Joker immortal?  Is this just a gag? I suppose that is part of the allure of “Endgame.” Oh, and it’s official, he knows who Batman really is, and proves it with one of the biggest gags to date.  The artwork as fan-frickin’-tastic, per usual.  Greg Capullo’s storytelling is just as significant here as Snyder’s, and in this issue even more so.  Can I grow up to be just like them? Please? – Adrian

(A+) I picked up Batman for the first time EVER this week. I build a base by reading issues 35 & 36 immediately prior to reading this week’s issue. Let me tell you something – these three issues are probably the best thing I’ve read in the last two months. Snyder and Capullo are masterminds!! Even missing the prior 34 issues didn’t put a damper on my experience. The threat facing Gotham is epic in scale and I was genuinely FREAKED at the events happening to Commissioner Gordon. I’m saddened that I’m just now jumping on this train, but more than that, I’m so glad that I’m finally on board. I suggest you hop on too! – Taylor

 

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo: 

Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures #1 – A+

I can’t locate the interview now, but I read Grant Morrison describe this book as the “pure adventure” book of this event; that, for those people who don’t like “weird meta Grant Morrison” (as he described himself), this is the book that functions as a simple superhero adventure. I can’t fathom someone who doesn’t like “weird meta Grant Morrison,” but I think this still has some quality Morrison weirdness. The art looks very much like Jeff Smith’s Shazam story from a decade ago, which I really liked. It gave the book a retro feeling without feeling outdated, and helped reinforce the notion that this was, above all else, a fun story. In short: the evil Dr. Sivana figures builds a technology and science powered equivalent of the Rock of Eternity. This creates an eighth day of the week (which he names after himself), and allows him to tap into time itself to turn his children into an evil version of the Shazam family. Like I said: there’s still some weirdness (“How can there be two eternities?”) and some light time travel. I don’t know a ton about Shazam as a character – apart from his complicated legal history and DC’s possibly shady acquisition of the character – but I have the sneaking suspicion that I would really like him. If, that is, Grant Morrison were the writer. While it’s not quite the exhilarating best-single-issue-of-a-super-hero-comic-ever-written perfection of Pax Americana, I’m still compelled, obligated, delighted, to read this book. – JH

Batman and Robin #37 – A-

He’s back! For reals! The build-up for twenty-plus issues has finally been realized. This next Father’s Day, tell your dad to step up his game, because he ain’t got nothin on Bruce Wayne. Batman has travelled to Apokolips to rescue his son’s corpse, and risked it all to bring him back. I normally wouldn’t spoil things like that, but DC announced his return months ago… bastards. Anyway, the epic showdown between Darkseid and Batman was just that, epic. It seems as though the story will continue along the lines of what Damian’s return means for the rest of the Bat-family, and I am all for that. This series is severely under-rated, and hopefully more readers will take notice with the return of the Son of Batman. – Sherif

Wonder Woman #37 – B+

Behold, mortals, at the God of War in all her glory. It’s only been two issues since the Finches took the helm for Wonder Woman, and already I question how I could ever be mad that Azzarello and Chiang would ever be replaced. David Finch, who is one of the best artists for full-page spreads in recent Batman books brings the fire here with some beautiful rendering of the Queen of the Amazons. With so much responsibility pulling Wonder Woman in different directions, the Amazons have grown distrustful of their heiress and selected an… “alternative” method of protection, and it’s one that Wonder Woman fans will geek out hardcore at! The story doesn’t have an distinct direction to go in yet, but I am fully behind this new creative team and the dark direction that they are taking this mystery character. – Sherif

Justice League #37 – B

Though the Amazo Virus sounds silly in name, it is anything but in life threatening potency. The Justice League is still in bad shape with pretty much Batman, Superman and Wonder-Woman being the only heroes in commission. The crafty Lex Luthor is still held up safely with his sister, waiting for the still standing members of the Justice League to deliver patient zero so he can whip up a cure. He’s obviously still hiding something. My anxiety continues to rise as Batman and Lex both take significant blows. Things are going to Hell and it’s making for very entertaining read. Even in light of this very bleak situation the ultimate resolution is fairly predictable. This Amazo Virus arc will probably serve to set up larger events yet to unfold as a result as the Wayne-LexCorp merger. I’m just glad that this super-Ebola storyline is more entertaining that it is distracting. – Taylor

The Kitchen #2 – B-

(B) The Kitchen has a lot of things going for it.  Mobsters, women leads, and it’s set in the past.  These are all things I enjoy.  This week, the girls find themselves getting blackmailed for putting Franky, the brother of a famous mobster, in a coma.  They all make decisions that will surely set them up for the rest of the series.  But one thing is for sure, they are not just playing while their husbands are in the pen; they are playing for good.  While the art isn’t always clean, I appreciate the details from the 70’s very much. It’s not a superhero comic, and very niche-y, but I think it is worth the read. – Adrian

(B-) Ok, The Kitchen picked up somewhat in the second issue. The ladies are entrenched now; it’s hard to get out of it when you’re beating and murdering people to make sure you yourself are not murdered. And now they have to explain themselves to one of their husbands unhinged friends recently let out of prison. The story has improved from the first issue but the art still doesn’t tickle my fancy. If the book remains interesting enough the art can be easily looked around. I’ll be keeping up at least for another issue. – Scott

 

Dynamite Entertainment:

Django/Zorro #2 – A

Tarantino does many things very well in story-telling. This second issue of Django – Zorro gave audiences a fantastic example of “building a bad guy.” I loved this issue! I featured very little of Django or Zorro, but that’s okay. Gurko Langdon is man of the hour – the nemesis! His backstory is compelling and epically grandiose. This is exactly what I would expect from a story of this caliber. My hope is that the eventual clash of these gargantuan forces is as mesmerizing as Langdon’s rise to power. I was a bit nervous at the end of issue #1, but my faith has been restored. I can feel the Tarantino! And it feels good! – Taylor

 

IDW Comics:

Star Trek #39 – B-

The Cardassians have control of just about everything and despite all of our heroes gaining their freedom in some way in this issue, things are not looking good for Q’s No Win situation he has put the original Star Trek crew in. This series has given us great references to all series of the franchise, with the new films and Deep Space Nine being the main concentrations. The artwork leaves something to be desired, as it looks like the motion capture animation used on films like A Scanner Darkly where it looks detailed while also looking very simple. It gets a little distracting because it makes for some weird images here and there, but ultimately the story has been good and it will be sad to see Q Leave the series after the next issue… but then we get a Star Trek/Planet of the Apes crossover! – Jacob

Image Comics:

Wytches #3 – A

(A+) Wytches #3 made a strong showing once again this month, only further confirming my suspicions that it will most likely skyrocket to becoming my favorite series. It seems to gain more and more momentum as each issue comes out and the further the story unfolds the more entranced with it I become. This issue, we find out that our beloved Sailor has been pledged, although there’s no reveal of who did it or why or what being pledged will really mean for her, but it’s exciting and terrifying all the same. Meanwhile, in Sailor’s disappearance her absolutely amazing father continues his quest to always protect her, and he has an attack-meeting with the only person-creature who may be able to help him save her. And then there’s poor Reggie… Poor, poor Reggie. Overall, Wytches this month was a great read and it really made me wish this was a weekly book, not a monthly one (grumble). If you haven’t started this series yet, I highly recommend you catch up while you can because I really think this book is going places. Scott Snyder is doing amazing things here. Also, I have a quick side note. I don’t normally like to play the “mom card” because I know that it’s not universal. But I have to say, this series really grabs me as a parent. I have two itty-bitty boys and the way Scott Snyder writes Charlie Rooks , with the fear and overpowering all consuming love and need to protect his daughter is so true to my heart. Like he said in the first issue, having kids is like having a vital organ leave your body and walk around the world saying hi to people. And it takes you over. So much of the fear in Wytches comes from that feeling alone. Basically, this is some of the most powerful writing I’ve come across in all my years. Okay, mom rant over. – Keriann

(B+) The thing is this: Scott Snyder is a genius.  And Wytches is truly terrifying.  This week, we begin to see that the Wytches hauntings are going beyond Sailor, the protagonist up to this point.  I am finally starting to realize that Sailor isn’t as much the protagonist as her father is.  And it is so refreshing to see a story where the father/daughter bond is very tight.. a rarity in any type of literature.  While the story is progressing well, and there are some very scary things going on, what made Wytches an amazing read this week was the letter in the back of the book.  Snyder has a knack for giving his readers the chills, and he succeeded with his explanation of Wytches and being a parent in today’s society. It is a must read. – Adrian

Rumble #1 – B+

(A) My first impression of Rumble was “ooooh pretty.” James Harren’s art combined with Dave Stewart’s colors are an outstanding combination and are a delight for the eyes. Rumble has a Devil May Cry feeling to it, but with a very reluctant Dante. A super creepy scarecrow wreaks havoc in a bar, removing some patron’s limbs in the process. The bartender defends his customer and is unwittingly put in a situation he surely doesn’t want to be in. Pestered by demons and a scarecrow that’s harder to kill than expected the bar tender is going to have to swing a big sword to deal with his problems. Pick this up, now. – Scott

(B) I’m not sure what to say other than this book has a lot of potential.  Rumble seems to be about an untold war between humans and monsters, but honestly, I don’t know.  What I do know is that it was humorous enough to remind me of Ugly Americans with a little Scott Pilgrim mixed in there.  But just because I don’t know what’s going doesn’t mean I don’t want to read more; I most definitely am interested in why a hooded man is cutting people’s arms off and what the heck is so important about the sword he did it with. – Adrian

 

Marvel:

Avengers & X-Men Axis #8 – A-

Only one more issue left of my personal favorite comic event of the year! Up until now, we have seen both the Avengers and X-Men turn evil, a fair amount of villains have been turned good, while Deadpool is just at peace while being in pieces. Will things finally be resolved? Will Spider-Man, The old Steve Rogers, and the new Villain Avengers be able to stop the madness in time? Although this is a great issue we’ll (eye-roll) have to wait until net week for the conclusion to this massive event. The story so far has been great, making you love characters you hate and hate characters you love. The art is some of my favorite of the year as well and really adds to the already great story. – Jacob

Miles Morales: the Ultimate Spider-Man #8 – A-

What’s the opposite of “meh?” I am…. pleasantly surprised…. I think. After last month’s exciting, and twist-filled issue, we immediately start to get some answers. I’m loving the gritty and shadowy feel of the artwork this time around; it definitely fits with the flashback tale from Jefferson Davis’ perspective. Again, the issue starts to give us some answers, but I’m not sure it’s to the questions I’m really curious about any way. Here’s to seeing where the next issue takes us. – Moke

Deathlok #3 – A-

Great, purposeful characters in this issue. The writers have brought in both Tony Stark and Micheal Collins (Original Deathlok), which promises great things for this story arc. What I really like about Deathlok so far is that the story is being carefully laid out one piece at a time, which is something that lets the reader really immerse themselves in the story, where nothing feels rushed; this issue is no different. I liked that we got a bit of sneak peek into what Biotek’s priorities are and that they gave us a different view of some of the assignments Deathlok carries out. It was an act of good (or relative good. Nothing is black or white) this time, and that was interesting to watch. I also like how Andrea asking to speak with Micheal Collins paralleled and foreshadowed Domino breaking into Micheal’s house for information. Andrea finds a way around getting the information she wants by going to Tony Stark. Domino just takes it. Seeing the comparison there was interesting. Andrea’s wish for information also paralleled JJ asking about Biotek’s motives and being shot down. Considering she is on the side of the antagonists, this was also an interesting comparison, albeit subtle. I can’t wait to see what’s next in this comic. Definitely starting out on a good, metallic, foot. – Charlotte

Spider-Woman #2 – B+

My vote for quote of the week: “This is why spider-man and spider-woman don’t hang out.” So far Spider-verse excels when it focuses on just one spider at a time, and this issue doesn’t disappoint. Jessica Drew’s secret mission to loom world is pretty f’ing entertaining at this point. There’s not much action this time around but the plot points that the issue hits are absolutely superb. I can’t wait for the next issue of Spider-Woman to see where this goes. – Moke

Scarlett Spiders #2 – B

It’s Spider-Verse Episode 2: Attack of the Clones! The infiltration team of cloned Spider-Men and Women work their way deeper into the Jennix complex searching for the Achilles heel of the Inheritor’s cloning complex. This issue is a fun and anxious ride! I love reading special-ops and behind enemy lines type stories – Scarlett Spiders is based in this theme so I’m soaking it up. The creative Marvel team has done a good job of working this side story into the bigger Spider-Verse event. The Spidey’s and their opposition are well selected. This yin and yang does this title a lot of good. It’s hard to see how (…if…) our heroes will make it out of their situation intact. In practically every dimension of the Spider-Verse the Spiders are getting served. I hope this band of three can pull a “W” for the web slingers. – Taylor

All-New X-Men #34 – B

Admittedly, I was a bit disappointed with the way this story began, totally randomly with no sense of direction. The original mutants have all been scattered throughout time and space, and they must figure out how to get back. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is. A bulk of them landed in the Ultimate universe, and the awkwardness makes for some great banter between Miles Morales and the X-Men. All this book really needs is more Bobby, all the time, because he has something hilarious to say each panel. Here, he learns a valuable lesson about intolerance – easily the best piece of the issue for me. There are still some moments that come off too strong, like when Jean Grey has the urge to give herself a big old hug, but overall, this issue was a step back towards normalcy – or whatever the hell that is for them. – Sherif

Black Widow #13 – B

First and foremost, this art in this book is to die for.  Phil Noto, you rock my socks.  The colors, and contrast between gray and autumnal colors was mesmerizing to look at.  And the way he makes certain panels look like a photograph that is only focused on a certain part of the picture, while the rest is faded is incredible.  This man has talent, people.  The art is by far my favorite part of the book, but the story is getting pretty good, too.  Unlike the other female-led books in Marvel, Black Widow has a story going on.  She is being hunted. Granted, it seems like an easy story for the former KGB spy and current Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., but there are a lot of little factors going into it.  I like complicated.  – Adrian

Captain Marvel #10 – B-

Lately, Captain Marvel has felt very silly to me, and not in a good way.  This is a good time of year to step back from the silliness and take a break from it all.  Carol receives letters from home and is able to catch up with Kit, Spider-Woman, and Iron Patriot.  It was a nice reminder for Carol and for her readers, that she does have a home, and there are people there who care about her. Unfortunately, Grace Valentine, expert hacker who is totally jealous of Carol, is also still thinking about Carol. The next issue, Carol is going back home, which will hopefully rejuvenate the story to be a little more serious, while still having a good sense of humor, rather than just a silly way for other Marvel characters to be added in for no reason. – Adrian

Storm #6 – C+

Storm, thus far, has had no direction.  There is no real plot line, and we find our weather controlling heroine in a different, odd situation each month.  While this week’s issue was better than most (she is on a plane that is attacked by Eaglestar International, and Storm saves the plane), it still is lacking.  There is no character development, no story, no overarching themes.  Frankly, if this were my first introduction to Storm, I would be bored.  Spice it up Marvel!  Storm is deserving of a good title.  – Adrian

Guardians of the Galaxy #22- D+

The coolest part about any book where an unstable Venom teams up with a group of characters is that when Venom goes crazy – and he always goes crazy – is that we get to see each character as a wacked-out symbiote. This time, it’s the Guardians of the Galaxy. Most of this issue is a slugfest between Venom (sans-Flash) and the Guardians, and thanks to a lack of funny or exciting, left me feeling pretty let down. Spoiler: Rocket + Venom = Rocket (in algebra, that means that Venom adds no value to the equation). There is some more development to the Captain Marvel part of the story, but they really aren’t meshing together like they should. Consider this issue a waste of space if you’re not a fan of GOTG. – Sherif

Death Of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #4 – D

I don’t really know why I have continued to read this series because every time it seems to pique my interest, something comes out of right field and reminds me that this is a terribly stupid, uninteresting and unnecessary story. I do think the art for this series has been great, despite the character design of the main character; the covers to this series are the highlight to me, but as any book reader knows, “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” I ultimately think that having a great cover is the strategy for this series but that is not saying that it doesn’t have good characters, or situations. I would have almost rather have seen this “team” as a separate new series that only had slight connections to Wolverine. I could see these characters being good but the fact is that the characters seem to know as little about themselves as we do makes it a bit confusing and a difficult to relate to. – Jacob

 

Funniest Panel:

 

Justice League #37

Justice League #37

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Wonder Woman #37

Wonder Woman #37

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, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

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