Comic Book Reviews 06-29-16

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 3 potw

Black Panther #3 – A
Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist: Brian Stelfreeze
Colorist: Laura Martin

Whenever I tell a non-comic book reader to read a comic book, I’m met with the same typical skepticism – that comic books are basically static storyboards that don’t even measure up scale-wise to the movies they’re being made into. In the past ten years or so, minus a few books that are near and dear to my heart, I can’t argue against that logic – especially in superhero books. The medium of literature that comic books offer is much more than gigantic splash pages, and author Ta-Nehisi Coates gets that. Black Panther is the most dynamic and multi-layered superhero book in recent history. Even if you don’t have any background on T’Challa, Coates brings a type of elegance and intellect that – let’s be honest – only a few other writers in the industry have. That’s on top of the fact that it’s one of the most beautifully drawn versions of Wakanda ever. Let Black Panther be the book that you can proudly tell your work friends about, because when the movie comes out and everybody is picking up the first trade, you’ll want to be able to tell people you told them so. – Sherif


Other Comic Book Reviews:

DC Comic Book Reviews:

Dark Knight III: The Master Race #5 – A
Writer: Frank Miller and Brian Azzarello
Artist: Andy Kubert
Colorist: Brad Anderson

This series was doomed to fail, right? Frank Miller’s saga ended with a shit book (The Dark Knight Strikes Back) and resurrecting it is a huge mistake, right? This latest issue has completely gotten me on board with the series. Honestly, any Batman book is at its best when Bats uses his superior tactical knowledge instead of his fists to solve a problem. And when an entire civilization of super-beings is raining down hellfire on Gotham, that’s exactly what needs to happen. From the teamwork between various superheroes and return of some others, this book is a lot of fun. I’m still not a fan of the Frank Miller-emulated artwork, or the “Lara #1” mini-story in the back (Frank Miller loves his violent romance), but I’m so excited that this universe’s Batman is getting a legitimate follow-up. – Sherif

Grayson Annual #3 – A
Writers: Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly
Artists: Roge Antonio, Natasha Alterici, Christian Duce, Flaviano, Javier Fernandez
Colorists: Jeromy Cox, Natasha Alterici, Mat Lopes, Chris Sotomayor

Opening with a great pin-up cover by series regular Mikel Janín, I was actually a bit skeptical because I didn’t realize the creative team was entirely new to Grayson; many of the names were ones that I did not recognize. The premise is that five players, guest stars from across the wide DC Universe, meet and compare notes about a “faceless” spy that they have independently encountered. Each tells their tale, and a different, capable art team handles each segment of the story. John Constantine, Harley Quinn, Green Lantern Simon Baz, and Azrael are all brought together under mysterious circumstances by Detective Jim Corrigan to try and understand who Agent 37 is. The great thing is, this is an equally fun read whether you’ve read the Grayson series or haven’t. I liked how the stories in this annual were all different, with a nice variety in tone and adversaries, considering they all revolved around an encounter with Agent 37. While we know that he is Dick Grayson, the original Robin turned Nightwing turned super spy, the largest part of the DC Universe believed Grayson to be dead. In this story, it’s great to see the character interaction, with the lead playing off the guest stars very well. There is a lot of fun interplay between the characters, snappy dialogue, and Grayson’s charisma shines throughout. Get these writers a regular ongoing DC series! All in all, it’s a roller coaster ride of fun and adventure. The big question is, why did Detective Corrigan bring them all together to discuss it? What was his motive behind this? The answer may surprise you! The story ends with a twist that really worked for me and answers those questions in a satisfactory way. – Travis

IDW Publishing Comic Book Reviews:

TMNT: Bebop and Rocksteady Destroy Everything #5 – B-
Writers: Ben Bates , Dustin Weaver
Artists: Ryan Browne, Sophie Campbell, Dustin Weaver, Ben Bates

This insane venture is finally at an end and the craziness subsides a bit this issue. Bebop and Rocksteady have created so many alternate timelines by using separate time travel wands that all of space and time is about to blow. It seems like a story straight out of Doctor Who but instead of one alien doctor, we have four Mutant Turtles and Renet, the Timestress, to fix things. While the time masters are freaking out Renet takes things into her own hands and takes care of things as best as she can. This story was a blast to read and kind of left you cross-eyed at the end, but it all worked out and was one of the better mini-series of TMNT. I still had a bit of a problem with the drastic changes in art this issue, but for a weekly series, it makes sense to include so many people working on one story. Overall, this was a fun issue and a fun series, but one that most casual TMNT fans may skip and not feel any remorse in doing so. – Jacob

Marvel Comic Book Reviews:

Darth Vader #22 – A-
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado

The Star Wars mania has tapered off a bit, and so had the quality of the Star Wars comic books. Vader has always been the best one of the lot, and things have REALLY gotten crazy again after the set-up of the battle between Vader and Tulon. It’s full of all the fun stuff we’ve come to adore the series for – witty banter from Triple Zero, Darth Vader overcoming ridiculous odds to perform some pretty badass obstacles, and a scheme left to be unfolded. While Darth Vader has been an extraordinarily cool journey, it’s not a book that I look forward to insatiably every month. It’s very good, and Star Wars fans will like it, but it’s not at the top of my pull list anymore. – Sherif

Extraordinary X-Men #11 – B
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Humberto Ramos 

Quite a bit of twists to some points, and then not much happens in others. But we did get to see Deadpool with his mouth sewn together and then cut it open to have bugs spray out. Oh, the crazy things Apocalypse can do to people when they are his Horsemen… However, in the overall scheme of things, there was quite a twist at the end that was both monumentally good and bad. No spoilers for it all here, but I will say this whole Apocalypse wars story has been quite enjoyable and has me reading all of the X-Men books on the shelves now, which hasn’t happened since the 90’s. It all concludes next month in each series in order for most series to fully focus on Civil War II, but in the meantime, definitely try and pick this issue up and the back-issues for Apocalypse Wars; it’s stories like this that have made me love the X-Men so much for so long. – Jacob

Spider-Man/Deadpool #6 – ­B-
Writer: Scott Aukerman
Artist: Reilly Brown 

Here is an issue with a lot of humor, heart, and lots of the typical Deadpool storytelling, but if you are looking for a continuation to the ongoing story of the Spider-Man/Deadpool, this is not the issue for you. This issue takes place before the ongoing story of the series, but after Amazing Spider-Man #1, so it is a complete off-shot. With the comedian and host of Comedy Bang! Bang!, Scott Aukerman, at the helm, it was bound to be entertaining – not only that, but the whole issue was about the entertainment industry. It focused on Deadpool getting his own movie and how he tries to make sure it doesn’t suck (glad to know the story behind why the movie was so good!). With plenty of Hollywood jabs, including Spider-Man reboots, Ryan Reynolds, and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice jokes, this issue were incredibly entertaining for fans of film. The major flaw was that it likely should have been a one-shot series and left the story of the series as a whole continue. – Jacob  

Mockingbird #4 – B-
Writer: Chelsea Cain
Artist: Kate Niemczyk
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg

Mockingbird has been one of the best books in Marvel’s catalog. Bobbi Morse is extremely charismatic and the book has been incredibly well-drawn. It’s fun, yet conscious, sexy yet not too revealing; it’s the perfect book for the demographic it’s trying to reach. Even though that demographic isn’t me, I can appreciate it. The only thing that really worries me about tremendous starts with one-off issues is that eventually the anxiety of needing a story eats at me. When people tell me what I’m reading, I say “I LOVE Mockingbird!,” but when asked what it’s about, I don’t know how to answer it. There needs to be some clear direction the story is going in, and it needs to come sooner than later. – Sherif

Spider-Man #5 – C+
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

More of the same mediocrity that slowed down issue #4 can be found in this issue. While I absolutely love the art team on Spider-Man, it seems to be Bendis’ discombobulated writing that is leaving the series with no direction to go in – which is ultimately sad (ha, ultimately) because it started off with SO much to say. Spider-Man opened a very aggressive dialog on how this All-New All-Different Marvel isn’t turning out second class heroes, but creating equally important diverse characters. It’s a value that’s subtly reinforced with a mostly minority cast here… although, not as subtle as Bendis’ sneak diss on DC’s Rebirth. Very classy. Anyway, it’d be nice to see more socio-political issues explored, or at least a more guided vision of where the Black Cat story is headed. – Sherif

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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