Comic Book Reviews 03-16-16

Review Scale:

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:

infinity entity 2 potw

Infinity Entity #2 – A
Writer: Jim Starlin
Artist: Alan Davis

Having 80s and 90s Marvel alumni return to writing is mixed: on one hand (and I think this is the more important hand), it takes longer than three minutes to read a comic, because contrary to Marvel’s current strategy, it’s not written with toddlers in mind as its primary demographic; on the other hand, there is some very tortured prose going on here. “I care NOT to know your perverted reasons for being. Such an unnatural state of existence cannot be allowed!” So many negations… had to read speech bubbles multiple times tracking the negations. Why can’t cosmic beings just say, “I don’t care why you exist, it cannot be allowed”? And I know I said it last time, but one of my favorite things about 90s Marvel is the way in which they clearly admired Vertigo. This comic closes with the pantheon of, quoting this comic, “personifications of the abstract and divine,” which is how Dream describes himself and his siblings. And you can clearly see some stylistic ripoffs of Gaiman, Morrison, Moore, and entrenched designs from god himself: Jack Kirby. It’s nice reading a Marvel book that doesn’t feel like it’s going out of your way to waste your time and money. – Montgomery

Other Comic Book Reviews:

Dark Horse Comic Book Reviews:

Mystery Girl #4 – B-
Writer: Paul Tobin
Art: Alberto J. Alburquerque

The more I read this comic, the more Trine reminds me of Sam Spade if Spade wasn’t: a) a misogynist asshole, and b) a white man. This comic has Dashiell Hammett written all over it, but in the most delicious, intersectional feministic way. It’s a great take on noir and with feminist noir becoming more popular with shows, a la Jessica Jones, Mystery Girl couldn’t be more relevant. This issue’s pacing and reveals especially reminded me of Hammett. The writer did a great job creating such a strong tone. The ending could have used a little more attention (it falls a little flat and feels a little lazy), but overall, I really liked this issue. – Charlotte

DC/Vertigo Comic Book Reviews:

Lucifer #4 – A
Writer: Holly Black
Artist: Lee Garbett

Man, this book is great. My favorite part is when a jar full of demons trying to convince a scared girl not, “trust that guy. He’s literally the devil,” and convincing her if she lets them out, they’ll do what she says. I mean, if you’re not reading Lucifer, you’re probably a bad person. – Montgomery


Superman: American Alien #5 – A-
Writer: Max Landis
Artist: Francis Manapul

This is an interesting take on the first time Lex Luthor and the not quite yet Superman interact with each other. The dialog throughout the entire story was great and it really took an interesting approach to the dilemma Clark was facing on his journey to become Supes. I especially like the question he asks about whether or not he is creating these villains by trying to be the hero. This is a question you hear a lot in regards to Batman, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard it asked by Clark of himself. Also the costume, a mix between The Punisher and Batman, was pretty awesome. – Robert


Green Arrow #50 – B-
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Szymon Kudranski
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb

I went on a hiatus on reading Green Arrow around issue 40 and having come back I couldn’t help but wonder what the heck they’ve done with this book. What is going on with this terrible onesie they have him wearing? And I have always hated that blond goatee coupled with what looks to be the start of a mullet. It bothered me the entire issue. – Robert


Legends of Tomorrow #1 – C-
Writer: Gerry Conway, Aaron Lopresti, Keith Giffen, Len Wein
Artist: Eduardo Pansica, Bilquis Evely, Yildiray Cinar

The only part of this book that I was interested in was the Firestorm Matrix, but that entire portion was one big high school drama. The other two parts had nothing of interest and were equally boring. I was expecting something closer to the show given the title, but I just hope they don’t use this format for all the books. None of the stories were long enough to offer anything compelling, so perhaps this is just a way to bring the larger story together. – Robert


Superman: The Coming of the Supermen #2 – D
Writer and Artist: Neal Adams
Colorist: Alex Sinclair

There are almost no redeeming qualities to this book. Not only have they done a terrible job explaining what is going on, but the art looks like a bad throwback from the 90’s. I don’t know what they were thinking with this book but they’ve essentially reverted back from everything good about the New 52. Unless you are looking for a nostalgia trip, don’t bother with this book. – Robert

Dynamite Entertainment Comic Book Reviews:

James Bond #5 – A
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Jason Masters

This book has been consistently good with each issue. The way that it has matched with the movies at every turn has been a real treat. It has been great to see something I’ve already enjoyed so much in book and movie form be transformed into the pages of a comic book. If you aren’t reading this, you should be. Even if you aren’t a hardcore Bond fan, there are plenty of things to enjoy about this book. – Robert

IDW Publishing Comic Book Reviews:

Transformers #51 – A
Writer: John Barber
Artist: Andrew Griffith

Issue #51 kind of embodies what I wish would happen on our own real life Earth: a benevolent alien invasion. I kind of pine for the time a bunch of hyper-intelligent and well-meaning aliens invade our world and turn us into well-behaved children. I mean, Optimus wants to convene in peace talks with the leaders of Earth… and they shoot his arm off. I just really don’t feel like humans know what the hell we’re doing here, and we don’t really deserve the chance to try to figure it out any longer. So… all hail Optimus. – Montgomery


Transformers Deviations #1 B+
Writer: Brandon Easton
Artist: Priscilla Tramantano

It’s kind of cool that IDW is doing what Marvel used to do in the form of its What If series. This is simply asking the question, “What if Optimus didn’t die in the 1986 animated movie?” As someone who can, legit-no-joke-no-hyperbole, recite entire passages of the movie 20 minutes at a time like it’s the sacred Quran, it’s a cool idea that’s a lot of fun, but makes some weird decisions. First, if you aren’t familiar with how Prime dies, you should feel a deep sense of regret. You feelin’ that regret yet? You should. Second, some of those weird decisions: I’m not arguing the 1986 movie is a masterpiece (though it’s fucking Shakespearean compared to Michael Bay’s public shit house), but this book’s timeline is a little jumbled. Unicron was way out in deep space when he finds Megatron’s body, and Starscream is on one of the Moonbases when he’s corronated… so why does Unicron show up in person to transmogrify Starscream in the comic? And then why’s there any lag between that and devouring Cybertron? Why is the upgraded Starscream called Megascream? The upgraded Megatron was called Galvatron… not Megamegatron. I guess they’re going with the idea that the prevfix was altered – mega to galva; star to mega – but it feels like Starscream’s just avoiding a copyright lawsuit by not just calling himself Megatron. And Galvascream sounds like ice cream… but a flavor you don’t want to eat. And why are there no Junkions? They appeared instantaneously in the movie, and their absence feels conspicuous. Just have the ship land on not-The-Planet-of-Junk if you don’t want to introduce them, but why wouldn’t you want Wreck-Gar and friends in the universe? And why does Optimus mention the world of the Quintesson’s looking familiar, and it leads nowhere? Is that an allusion to the later Transformer’s cartoon “Five Faces of Darkness” when its revealed that the Quintesson’s are the Transformer’s creators? And then, at the end, after we see that Megascream and co. are actually a combiner now… why does the Matrix kill Rodimus, Megascream, AND Unicron? In the movie, Unicron is the only one in that equation that died, and unlike in this comic, Rodimus and Galvatron was inside Unicron when he blew up. But it gets a high mark for willing to go where few have dare tread despite rushed pacing (which is pretty understandable when you comprise a movie to the length of a comic). – Montgomery

Image Comic Book Reviews:

Symmetry #4 – A
Writer: Matt Hawkins
Artist: Raffaele Ienco

Did you hear that? An intense groaning and straining of polyester fabrics echoing across the surface of the globe? That’s Trump’s boner at the insidious plot in this book (keep all the races separate!) ripping through his $7,000 pants. One comic’s dystopia is another unqualified presidential front runner’s utopia. I feel bad that I didn’t review numbers 3 and 4. Somehow they slipped off my radar, and that’s an intense shame. This book covered so much in four issues — not only in terms of plot, but in terms of ideas relevant to today — and created a satisfying story circle explaining a lot while also explaining almost nothing, or rather, leaving lots of ground for the second arc to explore. I feel like I have too much to talk about in a short paragraph or two, but I like all the things this book does: the way the robots look more comforting and human-like than the supremely unnatural human characters (if I’m not mistaken, the humans are traced CG, which looks… awkward, and intentionally so, I think); the way the book has multiple timelines running at once, and thanks to a single reminder on page 2 of each issue, it never gets confusing; the informed-and-informing essays at the back of each book that help widen and enrich this world; the way the humans look human when their calm, but then something about their faces is just… off when they become excited. It’s a fantastic book. I can’t wait for volume 2, and I look forward to the collected volume 1. – Montgomery


Injection #8 – A
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Declan Shalvey
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
 

Holy fracking Hera. I love this comic to pieces. Ellis really found his stride in his writing. I haven’t laughed so much in a long time and it’s all very subtle. The way he mixes in the very witty commentary about race, gender, and sexualities in a way that doesn’t bludgeon you is perfection. The character Vivek Headland is the perfect inversion of a Sherlock Holms character. Also…there’s a total eyebrow raising hummm moments, or rather hehe winky face. This really is a wonderful blend of humor, in-depth character development, and one killer story. Alien machine intelligence making magic happen in the world still does a number in the brain. And the cliffhanger, eek. I’m on the edge of my seat wondering what will happen next. – Jené 


Huck #5 – B-
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Rafael Abluquerque

Huck has been a little engine that could. The way the story has been constructed, and with what has been revealed recently, this book has a lot of potential to be something fun and exciting – much the same way that Starlight was. Millar has a knack for these underdog hero tales. The biggest drawback of the series has been the state of limbo that it seems to be in after the evil Russian scientists capture Huck. It wasn’t a bad issue, but it didn’t really push the story along, either. A slight misstep, but I think this issue would read more fluidly in trade form. – Sherif


Roche Limit: Monadic #1 – C
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Kyle Charles
Colorist: Matt Battaglia
 

Roche Limit is a very odd comic where each new volume feels more like short stories in the same universe rather than a continuous story. Even though the series keeps the same artist, it feels new. I miss the artist from the first arc. In this new arc, the Black Sun has disseminated the planet and those on Earth are clinging on to survive. Much like Clandestiny, reality seems to bleed in on themselves. I think I will take Monadic to the end, but I have to say overall I am rather disappointed by the way it’s all played out. I had such amazing hope with the first issue and it’s really changed into something completely different. I’m going to need to go bad and read it in all one cuck maybe will be better. Cool ninja-like skills, though. – Jené

ODY-C #13 – LETTERS HAVE NO MEANING
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Christian Ward

What do you want from me? A letter grade? How? It’s not bad, it’s just… incomprehensible. I want to keep reading each issue to see if I can piece it together, but unless I started from #1 every time a new issue came out, I don’t know how I could possibly make sense of what’s going on. In this issue a nameless scribe (who sailed with Odyssia? Or not?) writes about Ene meeting Prometheus, who tells the god a story about the nameless-faceless Scheherazade equivalent telling a story about a scribe telling a story? I don’t know what’s happening. I think I need to dedicate a wall to my house and make myself look like a serial killer by keeping detailed notes about this story and its characters’ connections. Or not? Listen, guys, I love this book, and you need to read it, but I don’t ever know what’s going on. – Montgomery

Marvel Comic Book Reviews:

Deadpool & The Mercs for Money #2 – A
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Salva Espin

I have to say, this is by far my favorite Deadpool book on the stands right now. It seems like a combination of past and present Deadpool stories, but also seems a bit disconnected from the main stories of Deadpool and Uncanny Avengers. But with the inclusion of Taskmaster in the story, we are guaranteed a good fight; every time these two meet it ends up being fantastic. I also absolutely love Slapstick, so seeing him so much these first two issues has been wonderful and made this series better to me. The only fault I found, which is also funny and something I imagine would happen is the evil Deadpool we see. It really is a brilliant concept, but one that also makes you facepalm. Cullen Bunn has written many Deadpool stories over the years, but this is definitely the best he has done so far. Salva Espin’s art is also fantastic and some of his best work with Deadpool as he has also worked on many Deadpool stories in the past. If you are a Deadpool fan, old or new, you owe it to yourself to read this series. – Jacob


International Iron Man #1 – A-
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev
Colorist: Paul Mounts

Make no mistake, this is not a new book. It’s a continuation of the normal Invincible Iron Man book that explains a bit of Tony’s past that has never really gotten a lot of attention – the college years. Most of the issue is dedicated to Tony meeting a young woman, the daughter of Stark Industries’ competition. He’s still kind of arrogant, and the whole “meet the parents” dinner is as awkward as can be imagined, but what happens next is totally insane. It’s almost a Batman-esque origin story of this other family, and perfectly leads in to this new villain in the upcoming issue of Invincible. Probably can skip it altogether, but it’s decidedly not filler material and helps explain who the bad guys to be are in the current arc. – Sherif


Extraordinary X-Men #8 – B+
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Humberto Ramos

With the start of the Apocalypse Wars crossover, in this issue we see a group of young X-Men get transported to a future where Apocalypse is present, despite never seeing him. I am super excited to see where this event goes even though we are almost always assured that when the X-Men time travel, Apocalypse will come into play, and the plot seemed like a rehash of so many other Apocalypse stories. But the real interesting part was the reveal of who the four horsemen will be in this story and how seemingly none of them would be expected. We see Colossus, Deadpool, Moon Knight and a version of Venom, which all seem to be characters that are not easily controlled, as well as being one of he most deadly combinations of Horsemen yet. I have been very pleased with this series as a whole and am falling in love with Storm as the leader more than ever especially the lines, “Who died and made you queen of the mutants?”… “Scott Summers did. Now let’s go!” Harsh Storm, very harsh, but I love it.  – Jacob


Power Man and Iron Fist #2 – B-
Writer: David Walker
Artist: Sanford Greene
Colorist: Lee Loughridge

The long-running joke of the series so far has been “we’re not getting back together,” or “we’re not teaming up again,” and it’s gotten a little grating as a reader – mostly because it’s obvious that they’re getting back together. At least on Rocket Raccoon & Groot, there was some mystery surrounding their initial plot twist. Aside from that, it’s just cool to see a more grown up version of Luke Cage, one with the responsibilities of fatherhood and married life, try to handle an old, annoying friend who just wants to beat up bad guys. Greene’s art is complemented perfectly by Loughridge’s old-school color work, and Walker does a fantastic job of keeping things light and PG, while still making it high brow enough to appeal to adults. – Sherif

Valiant Entertainment Comic Book Reviews:

A&A: The Adventures of Archer and Armstrong #1- A
Writer: Rafer Roberts
Artist: David Lafuente

This series has taken a turn that the past series haven’t touched on and does it in typical awesome Valiant comics fashion! We start in the past, which happens a lot in these characters history, with Armstrong helping a friend get back a necklace from the mafia, but all Armstrong is caring about is the mass amounts of booze the mafia has. Armstrong shoves a couple shelves of alcohol into his bottomless satchel including one he admires most, and they head out. We head to modern times and see Armstrong’s friend is dead and in mourning he tries to find the bottle of alcohol he admired so much in his satchel, but it is missing. So Armstrong climbs into his own bag filled with god knows what, leaving Archer to battle escaped demons meet a talking mackerel and then follow him thinking he was kidnapped. If I went into any more detail, this review would be longer than the Great Wall of China.  The writing is top notch from Rafer Roberts, fitting very well with the characters and new settings, and the art from David Lafuente is different than past incarnations, but also fits the tone and setting of the story perfectly. Long Story short, READ THIS BOOK! – Jacob

Panel Surfing:

 

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 credited to their respective publishers and creators; thanks to all the for putting out great books!

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