Comic Book Reviews 03-23-16

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:

batman 50 potw

Batman #50 – A
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists: Greg Capullo and Yanick Paquette
Colorists: FCO Plascencia and Nathan Fairbairn

Give me a moment here… I’m getting emotional. Scott and Greg’s historic – that’s right, fucking HISTORIC – run on Batman is drawing to a close here with the penultimate issue wrapping up the New 52. The issue with Mr. Bloom is resolved, Bruce Wayne finally resumes the mantle of the Bat (with a new costume!), and Duke will presumably find a place close to Bruce. The hardest part to stomach when it comes to these epic wrap-ups for large runs is continuity. Since comic books do not expressly “end,” does the shift in continuity mean that these events do not matter? Or worse, that they did not happen at all? Well, no matter how you looks at DC’s future with Rebirth, this run matters, and the message Batman brings is fully reflective of what he means as a character, a symbol, and as a mythological American God. – Sherif

Other Comic Book Reviews:

BOOM! Studios Comic Book Reviews:

Klaus #4 – C
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora

OK. I concede. It’s becoming more and more likely that Klaus is a bad comic. Every issue verges on something interesting, but never quite crosses over. This one is Klaus’ origin which, again, is almost interesting… but not quite. Everything just feels so cliché, like it could be a shitty Disney movie (like Brave or Frozen). The one cool moment is when Klaus hands the evil little shit-biscuit of a prince a weird futuristic toy. Again: not quite awesome… but almost. Maybe it’ll be the book’s saving grace. – Montgomery

Dark Horse Comic Book Reviews:

Tomb Raider #2 – B+
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Phillip Sevy
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh

After a slow buildup in the first issue, we finally get a healthy dose of what makes Lara Croft so popular. Watching the way she handles the mysterious baddies from issue 1 was a treat. It really had the feel of the current video games written and drawn into the story. I hope they manage to keep this pace up. Judging by where the story is heading, it shouldn’t be a problem. – Robert

DC/Vertigo Comic Book Reviews:

Justice League 3001 #10 – B-
Writer: Keith Geffen
Artists: J.M. DeMatteis, Scott Kolins

I think I missed an issue two. Apparently Superman’s dead? No idea (or mention) of where Batman is. Or Green Lantern. And there’s a Robin now calling herself Batman. But all that’s my fault. The reason this gets a B- is because while it’s still the best DC book I’ve read that isn’t Bizarro, the Ultimate Bad Guy’s motivation is silly. I mean, “she’s so powerful, but you guys offer a challenge… but not much.” My eyes rolled so hard that came back with 20s on them. But it’s still a good book. And you should still read it. – Montgomery

IDW Publishing Comic Book Reviews:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #56 – A
Writers: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz
Artist: Mateus Santolouco

I can not speak highly enough of this issue and the return of Mateus Santolouco as the artist. But before I even get to speaking about this issue, I just need to get something out of my system… LEATHERHEAD!!! Okay, now moving on, this issue obviously revolves around Leatherhead and his introduction to this new series. Not only to we get Leatherhead, we get all four turtles together again, and Santolouco back doing the art. Basically this issue is a TMNT fan’s dream! The story is quite interesting seeing a couple mystery people plotting on Burnow Island, Fugitoid, the Turtles, and Leatherhead try to revive some Utroms in stasis, and Rat King and Kitsune meet again. I can hardly even write this review as my hands keep grabbing this issue to read it again. This creative team seems to perfected the TMNT formula and even a bad issue or two is nothing when we get issues like this.  – Jacob

Image Comic Book Reviews:

Pencil Head #3 – A
Writer and Artist: Ted McKeever

The art in this book must really be acknowledged. It’s so incredibly easy in black and white comics to lose track of who’s who (something that makes manga a difficult read for me), but each character is so fundamentally different that it’s impossible to confuse them for each other. The allegorical insider’s view of the comic’s industry is so fascinating as-is, that it’s easy to not care what that weird stuff is lurking at the edges. It also creates a sort of dissonance: I really want to find out what those monsters hiding out in the dumpsters are, but at the same time, I love the story that’s present so much that I don’t want it to change. – Montgomery

Marvel Comic Book Reviews:

Infinity Entity #3 – A
Writer: Jim Starlin
Artist: Alan Davis

This continues to be the best Marvel book I’ve read since… probably J. Michael Straczynski’s run on Thor in ye old days of 2008. But I am worried: Marvel and DC each have this throbbing turgid love of continuity and force it, much like an angry toddler with a square block and a round hole (that’s what she said). Everything about this book makes the last year of Marvel seem utterly absurd. I mean, Doom is god when there’s a pantheon of infinite beings who were, what, apparently just too goshdarn busy what with sweeps week and all to help fix the universe? How are Doom and Strange and Whatever His Name Is With The Cheeseburger Under the Earth, Come On, You Know Who I’m Talking About able to make a shitty version of the universe when Adam “Infinite Entity” Warlock is out there destroying universes and annihilating pantheons? This has always been kind of a problem with Marvel: how can whatever the lazy f that’s happening on Earth possibly matter when regularly the universe’s salad is getting tossed by beings thousands of miles tall? And why is the Watcher in this pantheon? He’s not that spectacular all things considered. Was, like, his uncle on the board of directors at one point? – Montgomery

All New- All Different Avengers #7 – B+
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Adam Kubert

Things sure picked up in this issue for the Standoff crossover and we saw a short battle between this team and the Uncanny Avengers. I do have to say that this story line is a bit ridiculous, but also one that makes a lot more sense than Secret Wars or other recent large scale crossovers. I have to hand it to the writers of all the books involved for connecting each story so well while also focusing on the team of the books title. This issue saw the All-New All-Different Avengers show up at Pleasant Hill right where the last Uncanny Avengers left off, with the latter team being attacked by a ship flown by a second Maria Hill. The twin Hills are not explained this issue, but it sure seems they have some bad blood. I am thinking as far as Marvel goes, things have been pretty darn good post-Secret Wars and this crossover is proving that time and time again. – Jacob

Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #6 – B+
Writer: Frank J. Barbiere
Artist: Brent Schoonover

As a massive Marvel fan and an even bigger monster fan, this comic really spoke to me. This being the last issue kind of took me by surprise, leaving me rather disappointed as I thought it was just about to reach it’s prime. The good thing, though, is this issue is by far the best to date as it showed how much of a team all these misfit monsters have become, and despite knowing that it was ending, seeing them all together and unleashed had me so excited. Barbiere’s writing really shined in this issue despite it being an event issue, and it had me clamoring for more stories from him –  especially for these characters. Brent Schoonover’s art is also fantastic with him getting every majorly different character down perfect. I will be sad not seeing Hit-Monkey, Man-Thing, Orrgo, Warwolf and the rest of the team monthly but I am very glad we got the six issues we did and where they all ended up leading to. Seeing them take on Pleasant Hill to get Orrgo back was the perfect ending to me. – Jacob

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat! #4 – B
Writer: Kate Leth
Artist: Brittney Williams
Colorist: Megan Wilson

This may be weird, but nothing in comic books makes me more anxious than a superhero missing a totally non-superhero engagement because they are busy beating up bad guys. That right there is what REALLY bonds me to these heroes. The tone of Patsy Walker is very similar to that of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, but instead of appealing to young college students, Hellcat‘s target audience is mid-twenty somethings. As far as villains go, Definitely Not The Enchantress is meh, but the positive vibes and punny humor keep things interesting enough. – Sherif

Second Opinion (C): I will admit I was only here for this issue because of the Howard the Duck cameo. It seems like a fun and interesting series, but ultimately the story went way over my head. – Jacob

Star Wars #17 – B-
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Lienil Francis Yu
Colorist: Sunny Gho

The time of Star Wars playing second fiddle to the Darth Vader series may be over. There’s some serious girl power going on here when Leia and Sana Starros escape the prison after it is taken over by a psychopath, and the scenes with Han and Luke are full of nerf-smuggling hilarity, too. I’m not incredibly attached to the story, or to the characters, still, but there’s still enough Star Wars love in the tank to make me keep reading into this extended universe. Throw in some Aphra, and I’m on board! – Sherif

Second Opinion (B)We finally get to se what in the heck a Nerf is, Leia kicks butt as always, and we get a very female-centric story going forward.  All I an say is it is a great time to be a Star Wars fan! – Jacob

Hyperion #1 – C
Writer: Chuck Wendig
Artist: Nik Virella
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.

I didn’t know anything about this character or book going into it but after this first issue, I couldn’t help see a Superman ripoff with the worst villains possible. Who thought a contortionist from the circus would be scary? It sort of had a Mad Max: Fury Road feel to it with the way the presented The Family. It is also very hard not to think of Hyperion as just a Superman clone when the only powers they showed were super strength, flight and ….wait for it…… heat vision. Everything about this book was ripped off of something else, something arguably better. I would be interested to see if there is anything original that this character has to offer, but right now it appears that you can get all of this elsewhere. – Robert

Second Opinion (C-): I really had hope for this one, since all of Marvel’s lesser-used characters who are getting their own books end up high quality, but getting chased by carnies is a terrible way to come out of retirement. – Sherif

ONI Press Comic Book Reviews:

Invader Zim #8 – C+
Writer: Eric Trueheart
Artist: Dave Crosland

As always, this comic proves to be fun and extremely weird, but with it being Zim, I wouldn’t have it any other way. This issue focuses more on Dib than Zim, with Dib trying to battle alien pants that Zim invited to Earth to help him take over. Yes, you heard that right, ALIEN PANTS… It definitely feels like an episode of Zim with many hilarious and often-times infantile jokes, but is spot-on in carrying on the spirit of the show. I am pretty off-and-on in liking this series, and some of the best issues are not up to par with the show and it’s an issue that Jhonen Vasquez wrote himself, but even if the comic isn’t up to par, it makes me super happy to have new Invader Zim at all. – 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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