Comic Book Reviews 04-06-16

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:

black panther 1 potw

Black Panther #1 – A
Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist: Brian Stelfreeze

This debut is a much slower burn than the typical Marvel #1, and that’s refreshing for a publisher that seems hell-bent on overdosing on Deadpool and gigantic fight scenes. Ta-Nehisi Coates, the National Book Award winning author of Between the World and Me, is trying his hand at comic book writing for the first time, and while he might not make the biggest splash, it shows promise of a very methodical story building up. The story picks up somewhere after Secret Wars and doesn’t shy away from the tangled web that Marvel seems to have spun with its various events: Wakanda is recovering from several major disasters, a regicide, and T’Challa is attempting to return to glory after letting his nation down. He’s a far cry from the man in Who is the Black Panther?, and we get to see him in a light we’ve never seen him in before. Coates’ version of Black Panther is very cerebral, and while it may take a bit to catch on for casual fans, I ensure you that when it does come together, it will be a big payoff. – Sherif

Second Opinion (A)Well, slap me sideways. That was the fucking best. Black Panther has long been anticipated and this comic did not disappoint. Proves to you that you can pack a lot of story and action into a small space and make it punch. I can’t wait for the next issue. This series is gonna be awesome. – Jené

Other Comic Book Reviews:

Aftershock Comic Book Reviews:

Rough Riders #1 – C
Writer: Adam Glass
Artist: Patrick Olliffee
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb

Uh, strange comes to mind. It’s a Steampunck Batman short story in which the “Batman” character is Theodore Roosevelt. I mean who would turn him into a vigilante? I oddly found myself going with it though. Roosevelt assembles of team that includes: Jack Johnson the boxer, Houdini, and well… that seems it because the comic was over by then. Not much really happening and this thing that Roosevelt and his team are going after I have no idea. However, I do want to read more because to me this is the oddest idea. I think, based on the cover Annie Oakley will be involved somehow…Anyway, good read and the art/coloring is pretty good though the writing is heavy on the cheese. – Jené

BOOM! Studios Comic Book Reviews:

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #2 – B+
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Hendry Prasetya

I was hoping that this book would be a little less Green Ranger centric but I am actually enjoying the book overall. We have gotten some nice action panels in the last few books. I am still really happy with the way they updated the original Ranger’s story to a current timeline and technology. This has also got to be the first time we’ve ever seen a Rangers parents before. I always assumed these were the worst parents ever. They live in town that is constantly attacked by monsters and none of them know where their kids are when shit hits the fan. That tangent aside, pick this book up, read it, and enjoy a piece of your childhood. – Robert

DC Comic Book Reviews:

Harley Quinn & The Suicide Squad: April Fools Special – B+
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Jim Lee, Sean Galloway

After finally cutting myself off from the terrible Harley Quinn solo book, I was sold on reading this new issue for one reason – Jim Lee on the art. After reading through it, though, this is clearly not the same crappy book that Palmiotti and Connor put together. Instead, we get a lead-in to what the Rebirth version of Suicide Squad will be. Obviously, Lee’s art is ridiculously amazing, and it’s great to see him draw the Justice League again. However, it’s really Rob Williams’ in-tune writing of Harley that stole the show. It’s quirky dialogue and there’s a really intense twist. There’s no reason this shouldn’t excite you for everything Suicide Squad coming up. – Sherif

Justice League: Darkseid War Special – B
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis, Joe Prados,  Oscar Jimenez, Paul Pelletier, and Tony Kordos
Colorist: Alex Sinclair

Justice League is one of the few books that is doing its own thing amidst all the events and reboots and continuity shifts, and thus has been one of the most cohesive stories to come out of DC in the past few months – not anything to cheer about by any means, but a victory nevertheless. This special focuses on Grail, daughter of Darkseid, and really envelops the reader in her past and explains her motives. It’s a nice change of pace from the New God aspect that’s honestly come across as stale and unfitting. I still don’t really know what is going on, but at least now there are enough interesting aspects that I don’t care. – Sherif

Swamp Thing #4 – C
Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Kelley Jones

This series so far has been disappointing, especially knowing it is only 6 issues and things are just getting more interesting in issue #4. In this issue, we see Alec Holland turned back into a human and his friend Matt Cable turned into the Swamp Thing all thanks to the magic of Zatanna. Things take a turn for the worst once Alec finds out Matt decided to become Swamp Thing simply so he could control the world. Overall, this is not the best Swamp Thing story, but I need to realize nothing will beat the days of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing when he character was in his prime. But if I could get my head out of my rear for a second regarding that, this story isn’t as bad as I think and only worse to me because of what was in the past. Even still, this series is sill good to own or read because of the return of Len Wein who co-created Swamp Thing. – Jacob

Superman: The Coming of the Supermen #3 – D
Writer: Neal Adams
Artist: Neal Adams

At the very least, we are finally told something about what is going on in this universe. I don’t think that there has been anything redeemable about this book so far. The interactions are corny and Neal Adams’ artwork and coloring is a throwback to a style that I am not particularly fond of. All that being said, if you are a fan of the 90’s superman stories, then you may actually be enjoying this series. Shame on you though. This is awful. – Robert

IDW Publishing Comic Book Reviews:

X-Files Season 11 #8 – B
Writer: Joe Harris
Artist: Matthew Dow Smith

Another issue and another and to an X-Files comic series with this issue… Only 8 issues in and it ends already, but mostly because the new show negated both comic series from IDW from being canon. The good news is the demise of this series means the start a new series next month following the mini-series event. Although I am wary of that too, because if a new mini series happens that story will likely be negated as well. As far as this issue goes it ends the series well and almost at a point where the story could be canon but our characters just don’t remember it. The conclusion ends the assault of Gibson Praise and leaves us wondering what coms next for Mulder and Scully. We obviously know nothing happens because this universe may as well be another one of IDW’s Deviations series because as far as he show I concerned, The Lone Gunmen are dead, Gibson Praise is still unknown, and a whole slew of differences. I do want to thank Joe Harris though and Mathew Dow Smith for bringing back X-Files than Fox and Chris Carter could. – Jacob

Image Comic Book Reviews:

GrizzlyShark #1 – A
Writer/Artist: Ryan Ottley
Colorist: Ivan Plascencia

Ah poop, I got a papercut on these darn sharp rocks…. Munch. This book is freaking hilarious. Claiming that you get a papercut from rocks isn’t the only thing you’ll be asked to suspend your disbelief for but it is one of the funnier panels in the book. I don’t want to spoil anything else because each joke sort of a one off thing. If you liked Sharknado then you owe it to yourself to read this book. I don’t know what they were thinking when they thought this up but not only do they have a GrizzlyShark, but apparently this book started with the GrizzlyShark being paired with a SeaBear. The only thing I was disappointed about was that the Shark is just a LandShark, not a grizzly bear/shark mix like I felt the title implied. Read this book, you won’t regret it. – Robert

The Walking Dead #153 – B+
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard

All it took to make this book interesting again was to let Negan out of pocket? You don’t say… The Walking Dead was sputtering about for quite some time, and with a war with Alpha and The Whisperers somewhat inevitable, Negan’s escape is a HUGE wild card in the series – one that TWD has sorely needed. Meanwhile, panic has overtaken the Alexandrians and Hilltop citizens, and there’s some eery foreshadowing going on with Dwight on Lucille to look forward to. I do back and forth when it comes to giving a damn about this book, but the return of Negan to his real element has stirred up genuine interest again. – Sherif

Prophet: Earth War #3 – B+
Writers: Brandon Graham and Simon Roy
Artist: Grim Wilkins

I know I keep talking about how individual issues, at this point, seem passe, and it’s really the graphic novel format that should become the standard. Well, to keep that record broken: Prophet. In any single issue, I don’t know what’s going on. But I have three of the TPBs on my shelf, and when you can take the series as more cohesive, you truly can start to piece the story together. So, with that in mind, I have no idea what the brother, the robot, and the lizard person are doing on this planet. A lot of this are foggy memories for me, and reading the monthlies does not help even a little bit. But that being said, what I think is cool about this group (from what I remember of their history) is their truly true outsider status. Prophet as a whole is a crazy French/Jodorowsky-inspired-bonkers-sci-fi comic about the last race of humans divided into the clone army of the brothers, all named John, and the mothers with their sister and daughter servants. So of course the book becomes a pretty obvious parable about gender relations (I mean, once you’ve read enough to know what the eff is even going on). Even though I don’t exactly know what’s happening in this issue (I mean, there’s an assassination, but I have no idea why it’s happening…), I think it’s fantastic that I can instantly see within it a story of outsiders trapped in a complex gender war. – Montgomery

Marvel Comic Book Reviews:

Invincible Iron Man #8 – A-
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colorist: Frank Martin

I love this series. It’s so much fun, and each issue feels like how you wish a TV series of Tony Stark should go. After reading an issue of Bendis’ Invincible, I never feel like there wasn’t enough explained, or that there was too much exposition in the panels. Instead, the jokes are well-placed, yet the story never feels inconsequential. Even better, this is the first Road to Civil War title I’ve picked up, and nowhere in the issue is there a hint of whoring itself out the way every other Marvel title has seemed to do for big events. This is one of the best titles on the shelf for Marvel, and it’s palatable enough that if all you want to do is snicker and look at col pictures, there’s that, too. – Sherif

Deadpool #9 – B+
Writer: Gerry Dugan
Artist: Matteo Lolli

The battle between Deadpool and Sabretooth gets really violent this issue, and all while a school bus of kids drives by. So basically his issue has the brutality you expect as well as plenty of the humor you also expect from Deadpool. But the real highlight of this issue is seeing Sabretooth accept that Deadpool thinks he killed his parents and goes with it to ease Deadpool out of the pain knowing that he killed his own parents. Something about seeing Sabretooth be a good guy is as healing to the soul as his own healing factor. I would say this storyline is the best storytelling for this series so far and I really do love Mateo Lolli’s art, which is drastically different than the cover art by Mike and Laura Allred. The only other thing to say is, what in the name of the allfather Zeus is Adsit up to? – Jacob

Old Man Logan #4 – B+
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino

This series definitely took a turn this issue in which I am sure we will see how Logan became part of the Extraordinary X-Men team and how his mindset from he previous world is changed to fit the new world he has found himself in. The story begins with Steve Rogers and Kate Bishop (Hawkeye) showing Logan the body of himself in the 616 universe which is encased in adamantium. This definitely switches something on inside Logan’s mind hat this is not the past he remembers and that he has been given a second chance. This on top of the entrance of Storm, Iceman and Cerebra at the end has this series finally finding its footing and making me happy as far as seeing Old Man Logan again. I still doubt any story will come close to he perfection that was Mark Millar’s Old Man Logan, but Jeff Lemire is doing the best I think anyone can short of Millar returning to the character. – Jacob

The Uncanny Avengers #8 – B+
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artists: Ryan Stegman, Mark Morales & Dave Meikis

This issue gives us part 9 of the Standoff crossover series and it sure delivers a lot of substance for the overall story. The issue mainly focuses on Rogue and, how with help from an old fiend, she escapes the mind control of the town of Pleasant Hill and starts doing the same for everyone else she can figure out is a hero. She basically assembles the bulk of each Avenger team and get their memories back but even that may not be enough to stop everything going on in Pleasant Hill. Everything comes to a close in another crazy cliffhanger in which will likely be continued in another one of the 7 other issues left of this series this month. Overall, though, this issue was great and seeing Rogue be so powerful and overcoming certain things is very pleasing and seeing her grab a playing card this issue was rather heart-wrenching for any fan of her romance with Gambit. Here’s hoping in the near future we get the actual Gambit back to see them kick a** together. – Jacob

Star Wars: Poe Dameron #1 – B-
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Phil Noto

So we are going back to before Episode VII to show how Poe Dizzle made his way to Jakku, and who the guy we got to meet for five seconds before being killed was. There was nothing crazy here for a starter issue but that’s just like a Star Wars story to start with a slow burn. I am interested to see where this goes but I do find it annoying that we are being given a story that we all know the end to. I was hoping for some side stories that expand the character in ways the movie didn’t. – Robert

Spider-Man #3 – C+
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli

Surprisingly enough, this issue was 100% about Miles Morales; there was no Spider-Man to be found. Instead, we get a look at the Morales family dynamic, and they’re every bit as dysfunctional as your average family. While it is nice for a book to focus on the family situation of kid superheroes, the grandma came off as cliché and unlikable. It just wasn’t as funny as I’m thinking Bendis intended it to be. Still not a bad issue; there’s plenty of build-up to Hammerhead and Black Cat plotting revenge, and the introduction of one of my personal favorite X-Men, Goldballs, should liven things up soon enough. I love me some Goldballs. – Sherif

Infinity Entity #4 – C
Writer: Jim Starlin
Artist: Alan Davis

Man, what a bummer. The first three issues were so cool and mysterious, and then the last issue was Mephisto monologuing at Adam for, no exaggeration, half the book. His plan was stupid, made no sense, and it was boring. And Jeezy Creezey was the dialogue over wrought. By the time Adam was all like, “Oh no, guy, this isn’t a dream! You’ve murdered the universe, or some junk,” I could not care. And next there’s some Thanos bullshit on the way. Dammit. – Montgomery

ONI Press Comic Book Reviews:

The Mighty Zodiac #1 – C
Writer: J. Torres
Artist: Corin Howell
Colorist: Maarta Laiho
 

I had no idea what I was expecting when I read this. It had the word Zodiac and so I picked it up. I am usually not a fan of anthropomorphized animals in comic books, but I really enjoyed this comic book. It seems like the animals of the Chinese Zodiac are all creatures who are part of a collective who protect some sort of balance. The Dragon has failed and now there are moon army rabbits. I guess bunnies really are evil and it was them. Was a really fun read, very quick, and a nice change of pace from all the Image comics I’ve been reading. – Jené

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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