This Comic Reviewer Read 18 Comics from 10/8 and You Won’t Believe What He Has to Say

Look, I’m a Buzzfeed.

I have a hard time reviewing single issues of comics. Unless they’re a done-in-one, they’re just a chunk of a story. Outside of first issues and Morrison comics, I really don’t like to write full reviews for single comics. A couple years back on Twitter, I used to post single-tweet reviews every week of every comic I read. What I did for this piece is the middle ground between that and a full review. For every comic I read this week, I wrote a short review that gets across all the points I would make in a full review without some of the padding. Plus I get the chance to talk about some books that wouldn’t warrant a piece on their own. So, here we go. If this gets a good reaction maybe I’ll make this a regular feature. Spoilers will follow, so don’t get upset with me. You’ve been warned.

Avengers36Avengers #36 by Jonathan Hickman (w) and Stefano Caselli (a): This issue is fine. Caselli’s art is probably the best thing about this book. Every page looks great. By now, you’ve decided if you like Hickman’s Avengers or not. I’m iffy on it. If it doesn’t end strong, I’ll really feel like I’ve wasted my time reading all these books. In the current story going through Hickman’s Avengers we jumped eight months into the future and I still feel like we’re doing the same thing. AIM stuff is happening and the multiverse is breaking down. One thing I liked about this issue is that a group of characters go on a suicide mission and I actually believe that they could all die. The only A-Lister on the team is Thor and seeing as we have a new Thor, old Thor is on the killable characters list. Plus he’s got a robot arm now and that needs to be done away with. This leads me into my problem with Time Runs Out. Jumping eight months into the future is fine if you’re the only book doing that. The problem here is that the rest of the Marvel line has to play catch up to get to this future. This isn’t like DC’s Futures End where we know that future will never happen, this is actually the future of the Marvel Universe. That means that all of the books that tie into Avengers have to move in real time as opposed to comic time. That doesn’t work so well. Fitting all of DC’s history into five years is a prime example of why you shouldn’t set time amounts on things happening in comics. It just doesn’t work.

Green Lantern Corps #35 by Van Jensen (w) and Bernard Chang (a): This is the first issue of this series that I’ve read since the New 52 started. I only picked it up because it ties into the current GL event; Godhead. I was pleasantly surprised with this book. After a lackluster first two parts of the event, this was a pretty solid issue. I found the coloring by Marcelo Maiolo to be very interesting. Generally the Lantern books have a very bright palate, but Maiolo brings a darker touch to the colors, which I liked. Maiolo also liked switching certain panels to a red and white only palate, much like what Andrea Sorrentino did in his Green Arrow run. The only complaint that I have about this book is how hard they’re beating us over the head with the New Gods being gods and not really understanding the point of view of mortals. This gave me hope that Godhead is going to turn out to be good after all.

Batman Eternal #27 by Tim Seeley (w) and Javier Garron (a): This is my first time seeing Garron’s art and I really like it for the most part. I hope he gets more work at DC, but how he dressed Commissioner Bard is kind of weird. Is he wearing the world’s longest sweatshirt?

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I don’t know, it just bothered me. He also kind of has ladylike curves in that panel. Outside of that, it’s a solid issue of Eternal.

Rocket Raccoon #4 by Scottie Young (w/a): I want to like this series a lot, but something about this issue didn’t click. Maybe it’s because Rocket is such an unlikable main character. The main plot of the issue is that a bunch of women that Rocket has wronged over the years come after him for revenge. They get into a huge brawl and Rocket comes out on top. I just don’t feel very good about Rocket punching out the princess whose life he ruined.

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Unrelated to the comic, the Rocket Halloween costume is terrifying.

batman35Batman #35 by Scott Snyder (w) and Greg Capullo (a) with a backup story by James Tynion IV (w) and Kelley Jones (a): I’ve accepted that I’m never going to be a huge fan Snyder’s Batman run. It’s a good comic surrounded by the trainwreck that is very often DC’s output, which makes Batman look all the more better simply because it’s above average in quality. It’s not very hard to be the best book of the New 52. In this issue Batman fights the Justice League because the Joker is back and he’s controlling them somehow. This isn’t anything that we haven’t seen before. Batman’s got a contingency plan for all of the League members, but this time he keeps them all in a mechsuit that’s actually pretty cool. The big news of this issue is the return of the Joker, who we never actually see. This gives me hope for this arc because Snyder does write a really creepy Joker. Aside from the lackluster ending, Death of the Family has been the high point of the Snyder/Capullo run. Hopefully this will top it. In all honestly, I enjoyed the backup story more than the main story. One of the doctors from Arkham is trapped in her home by five escapees from the asylum. Over the course of the backups they’ll each tell her a version of how the Joker returns. This tells me that we’ll never actually know how the Joker came back. Any of the escapees could be right or they could all be wrong. It also gives them an out to never explain how the Joker got his face reattached. It’s better for the Joker to have that mystery to him. Talking about this issue’s backup specifically, there’s a bit that feels directly inspired by a bit of local crime. Tynion’s from the same neck of the woods as me, so I’m guessing he paid attention to the news when two girls in Waukesha tried to kill another little girl to please Slenderman and brought it into this escapee’s Joker story. I’m normally not a Kelley Jones fan, but his art is perfect for this story. His work has such a creepy and grotesque look that it’s perfect for these horror stories. Overall, this was a good issue of Batman.

Wytches #1 by Scott Snyder (w) and Jock (a): I really don’t have much to say about this book other than it’s a really good first issue. I’ll be coming back for issue two for sure. I like Snyder as a writer, but I always approach his books cautiously because I’m not a fan of his endings for the most part. In fact, the ending of his last Image book, Severed, is one of the worst endings to a series that I’ve seen in quite some time. It was so bad that I almost didn’t pick up Wytches at all. But I did and I liked it. It’s not the best witch book of the week though.

Punks #1 by Joshua Hale Fialkov (w) and Kody Chamberlain (a): This is a weird book. I don’t know if it’s good or bad. It wasn’t particularly funny, but I was entertained well enough. I don’t know if I can recommend it or not. A lot of gnomes get murdered in this book and that’s actually pretty funny. Aside from that, it never really rises above the initial concept.

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Axis #1 by Rick Remender (w) and Adam Kubert (a): Axis is going to be insane. We all knew this. The Red Skull is Onslaught on the cover of this book. I don’t think we knew how crazy this event was going to be though. The first time you see Red Onslaught, he looks even crazier than he does on the cover because he’s got giant devil horns and weird tentacles. The book kicks off with the Avengers fighting Plantman, because why the hell not. By the end of the issue, Red Onslaught reveals that he found some secret adamantium Stark Sentinels that he’s going to use to try to kill everybody. It’s just as bonkers as Uncanny Avengers so if you like that book, you’ll like this event. On the downside, what was with the weird Axis logo letterbox thing that they did on a bunch of pages? That looked like garbage and they should never do it again. The only reason I can think of doing that is maybe Kubert messed up and made the art in a weird size that was hard for the Marvel designer people to scale down and fit on a normal size comic page so they had to make it smaller and put the Axis bars in there to fill up empty space. It’s like when IDW reprints stuff originally printed in 2000AD and it looks a bit odd because they’re putting it on comic size pages instead of magazine sized pages. The only reason I say that is because this art looks really rushed. I like Kubert, but for some reason in this issue, his art lacks any depth. It’s really odd and abnormally bad work from Kubert. I enjoyed the kick off to this event, but it’s got room to improve.

Dead-Letters-5Dead Letters #5 by Christopher Sebela (w) and Chris Visions (a): There’s something about the writing on this series that hasn’t clicked for me yet. I like Sebela (read his digital book High Crimes) and I like the premise (gang war in the afterlife is the easiest way to explain it), but sometimes the writing just loses me. I’m sticking with the series right now because I want it to get better and because the art is fantastic. Chris Visions has one of the most interesting styles in comics right now. It reminds me a lot of Bill Sienkiewicz’s work. Visions’ art is only made better by fantastic colors by Matt Battaglia. If you aren’t reading it, Dead Letters is a comic that’s worth checking out if you’re looking for something different from everything else on the stands.

Spawn #247 by Todd McFarlane (w) and Szymon Kudranski (a): Yeah, I read Spawn. I’ll be dropping this book when Brian Wood takes over as writer. I’m done reading stuff by that guy, but I’m gonna ride the series out until then. In this issue of Spawn we find out that when Jim touches people, the Spawn suit tries to leach itself into them. So guess what happens when he has sex with a lady… His sperm put on tiny Spawn costumes and put the lady in a coma. Once Sara is taken to a hospital, a vampire doctor tells Spawn that he can give Sara special medicine to make sure she doesn’t get cancer that wears a Spawn costume if Spawn gives the vampire doctor a blood sample, which I’m assuming also wears a Spawn costume. So yeah, sex coma. I’ll have you know that most of my synopsis of this issue is actually what happens. And the letters column is a bunch of nonsense. This could be the strangest issue of Spawn since I started reading at issue 184.

Captain Marvel #8 by Kelly Sue DeConnick (w) and Marcio Takara (a): Captain Marvel got really good with this new volume. I enjoyed the last volume, but it wasn’t super consistent. Since it came back from hiatus, Captain Marvel has been solid. Most of all, it’s been fun. It’s been a cool space adventure book that is something I look forward to reading when it’s in my stack of books for the week. All the stuff with Carol’s cat (really an alien called a Flerken) and Rocket Raccoon is great. This is the better of the two books with Rocket Raccoon in them this week. I don’t have much to say about this book outside of, “I like it a lot.”

Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #3 by Tom Scioli (w/a) and John Barber (w): There’s no middle ground about this series, you either love it or you hate it. I LOVE it. I said from the beginning that this is a book that I would be loving while all the Transformers and G.I. Joe fans would hate, while still buying every issue. This is absolutely a throwback to 80’s comics. It feels like somebody gave the two franchises to Jack Kirby and just said “Go!” It’s absolutely insane and if you’ve ever seen any of Scioli’s past work, it’s pretty much what you would expect. Just flip through an issue and you’ll immediately know if this series is for you. I know it’s for me.

Amazing Spider-Man #7 by Dan Slott (w), Christos Gage (w), and Giuseppe Camuncoli (a): And the award for the comic with the most brutal panel of the week goes to Amazing Spider-Man issue 7. Here it is presented below:

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MORLUN KILLED SPIDER-MAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS!!!!!! I don’t really know what I can say about it. Spider-Verse is something that I’m getting more and more excited about. The main story in this issue isn’t much to write home about, but this has more lead up to Spider-Verse which I’m happy about. The main story is my first encounter with the current Ms. Marvel. It’s funny to me that they’ve turned the rabid Captain Marvel fanbase (the Carol Corps) into a thing in the Marvel U.

The Manhattan Projects #24 by Jonathan Hickman (w) and Nick Pitarra (a): Of all the Hickman books, this one is my favorite. I think it’s because this is much more compressed than anything else he’s currently writing. It’s also got the fantastically detailed art of Nick Pitarra along with one of the best colorists in the game right now, Jordie Bellaire. In this issue we see how JFK was killed in this version of history. The best sequence of this issue was seeing the point-of-view of the bullet as it was flying toward and into JFK’s head. The shrinking panels built tension until you turn the page and get a full page view of the inside of Kennedy’s head. It was a fantastic issue as always. If you like alternate history stuff and you aren’t reading this, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (w) and Robert Hack (a): This is fantastic and might be my favorite issue of the week. I love Afterlife With Archie and I think that this might have been a stronger first issue. Aguirre-Sacasa really understands how to write teenage character well. He packs a ton of story into this first issue. We get Sabrina’s first 13 years of her life in one single issue, we’re introduced to her supporting cast, and we get our look at the first villain of the series. It’s nice to have a first issue where so much happens. Robert Hack is a name I’m not familiar with, but soon he might be one of my favorite artists. Hack’s art is absolutely beautiful and it’s got the look of a throwback to old horror comics like Creepy and Eerie. There’s a part of me that really wants to look into buying an original page from this issue, if that’s possible. Overall, this can be used as a blueprint for a great first issue. It was perfect to launch this in October. It’s the little bit of horror that I wanted for the Halloween season.

BlacksadAmarilloBlacksad: Amarillo by Juan Diaz Canales (w) and Juanjo Guarnido (a) with Neal Adams and Katie LaBarbera (English translation): This is exactly what I want out of a Blacksad story: a good hardboiled detective story and beautiful art. There’s so much good about this series, which makes it really easy to recommend to almost anyone. If you enjoy detective stories or even just Disney animation, you should check it out. Guarnido’s art is on a level that very few people working in comics can touch. The weird thing about this book, for how much I enjoyed it, I really don’t have much to say about it. It’s just a ridiculously great bit of comics. I look forward to every time a new Blacksad volume is released. Do yourself a favor and buy all three of the Blacksad books that Dark Horse has released.

Annihilator #2 by Grant Morrison (w) and Frazer Irving (a): First things first, they changed up the cover stock from the first issue and that makes me so happy because the other stock was garbage. Secondly, I’m glad we live in a comics world where there’s more than one Grant Morrison book coming out a month. Annihilator is really great so far. Morrison’s script, about a writer who is being forced to write a movie by that movie’s main character, is firing on all cylinders thus far. It’s a really exciting story that blends a grounded story about a writer with the fantasy concept of a character from across the universe beaming his life story into the writer’s brain, giving him a tumor that will kill him in a week. Frazer Irving’s art has never looked better than it does here. I’m a fan of Irving’s, but he really stepped up his game for this book. The characters look natural and he goes absolutely nuts on the sci-fi pages. His colors look particularly great here. I’m not sure if he usually colors his own work or not, but after looking at these pages, he absolutely should. Between this and Multiversity, there’s some good Morrison comics coming out now.

sexcriminals_08Sex Criminals #8 by Matt Fraction (w) and Chip Zdarsky (a): This issue proved to me that this series can and will rise above its initial concept. This is just an issue about the characters doing every day stuff. They don’t go into the quiet or rob a bank, they just exist in their world and live their lives. For as much as I’ve enjoyed this series thus far, I think this is my favorite issue yet. Fraction and Zdarsky have created characters that I like so much, I don’t care if they have powers or not, I just want to see what they’re up to. It’s just a comedy and it’s a damn good comedy. Fraction and Zdarsky used the initial concept to trick people into reading a really great romantic comedy. I haven’t read much of Love & Rockets, but knowing how much Fraction loves that book, it’s clear that it has had a huge impact on this series in showing how people grow and change. I’m happy to see that this series has connected with a very supporting audience because I’m enjoying it a lot and I want to see the story play out through the end.

And there was have it; 18 comic reviews! Have any thoughts? Leave them in the comments!

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Who ARE these people!?

Kelly Harrass is a comic shop worker and writer from Milwaukee, WI. You may know him as one of the regular hosts of the PoP!-Cast and the co-host of PCW. Find him on Twitter @comicgeekelly and email him at kharrass@panelsonpages.com

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  1. Ben Gilbert says:

    I totally agree with your review of Sex Criminals #8. Fraction and Zdarsky have trojan horsed a quite moving and relevant tale about love, sex, and human behavior into what seemed at first like a puerile curiosity.

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