Take It Or Leave It – February 13, 2013


Welcome to Take It Or Leave It, where each week we pick out some of that week’s newest comics and give you our opinion on whether it was worth the price and you should take it, or if it was better left sitting on the shelf.

Big week for comics, and a surprising one too. Death of the Family came to a spectacular end, Uncanny X-Men rebooted, and Cyber Force is still free. There were some big surprises in the books, and some of the books were just surprisingly good. If every week of comics could be this good I would be very happy.

Alphabetical by Publisher

Chris

Wow. . .

Seriously wow. . .

What a week it has been for comics, not every book was stellar, but that good ones were so good that any bad just didn’t seem to matter anymore. On multiple occasions I found myself holding my breath in shock and fear, laughing a subtle or not so subtle jokes, and even picking up my jaw from the floor after some big reveals.


Batgirl #17
Creators: Fawkes – Sampere – Cifuentes
DC Comics
***SPOILER ALERT DON’T READ THIS OR THE COMIC UNTIL AFTER BATMAN #17
Batgirl 17 is a transition in more than one way. It’s the first issue outside of Death of the Family (which finished up in Batman 17 this week), but it’s also the first issue after what was suppose to be Gail Simone’s last. So we’ve got a ‘guest’ writer in the form of Fawkes for a couple issues than Simone will be back on regular duty. It’s always interesting to see another writers take on a character, and how they see them. As far as Batgirl goes, this wasn’t the best issue of the series so far, but Fawkes did a great job nonetheless. As you can tell by the cover, the book is about James Jr. and Barbara who are both coming out of their respective interactions with The Joker. While a normal issues has the internal conversations coming from Barbara this issue is actually James talking. He’s filling us in on just how crazy obsessed he is with ruining his dear sisters life. If you have a general idea of the Gordon family’s history this is a great jumping on point. If you didn’t realize our favorite Gotham City Police Commissioner had a son, then it’s going to get confusing.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 7/10


Batman #17
Creators: Snyder – Capullo – Glapion
DC Comics
This is going to be really hard to write without spoilers, in fact I fully intend to fully spoil the hell out of this book later on. For now though lets talk about the issue in as generalized a way as I possibly can. . . It was f’ing awesome! I, like many other comic fans tend to be bitter when it comes to crossovers and such that force you to buy 10 extra books you don’t care about to get the full story. And yes while I have been reading other Death of the Family titles, I by no means read them all. And you know what, I don’t feel like I missed a thing. The main story running through Batman hit every point you really needed, all those other books just showed you how issue 17 really came together. It’s like watching the deleted scenes on a dvd, sure they’re cool and can add to the movie, but if you don’t watch them you still know what happened in the movie.

This book was as much a psychological attack on the family as a physical one with so many twists and turns I thought I was going to pass out from holding my breath between page turns. Snyder writes the Joker perfectly, every line he speaks I can hear Mark Hamill’s voice in my head and it brings back childhood. There are a few fun nods to past stories and encounters throughout the issue and the final pages really drove home that the Bat-Family is a very different dynamic than it was before. If you’ve been following this story, don’t hesitate to finish it. Death of the Family is easily going to become one of the quintessential books for Batman and Joker fans.

For every amazing bit of story Scott Snyder has written, Greg Capullo has brought it to life. There are a ton of amazing artists out there, I’m not even going to start to name my favorite. But seriously the life and emotion that Capullo pours into this book month after month is incredible. I mentioned it before in a Batgirl issue, but the Joker alone is something that only he pulls off. This deranged, twisted, mutilated version of an already deranged, twisted, mutilated character takes someone who truly invested in his work. I could probably go on about this for a while so lets just cut it here and make things really simple. Go buy this book, if you have to skip something else you’d normal get to buy it do it and then buy a second copy and give it to a friend, a family member, or hell a complete stranger.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 10/10


Batman & Robin #17
Creators: Tomasi – Gleason – Gray
DC Comics
***SPOILER ALERT DON’T READ THIS OR THE COMIC UNTIL AFTER BATMAN #17
Like Batgirl, Batman and Robin is finished with Death of the Family and starting a new tale away from the terrors of The Joker. This is a really interesting issue as nothing really happens. I kid you not, the whole issue is Bruce, Damien, and Alfred sleeping. Granted while they sleep they dream, but this isn’t like a big Dallas-esq dream sequence or something. These are very obviously dreams and show the inner demons that these characters struggle with. Whether it’s Damien’s desire to be a Wayne before an Al Gul and to prove to his father that he’s truly worthy. Or Bruce’s fears of letting his loved ones down. The best though was Alfred’s, man that guy is awesome! This wasn’t quite as good as the annual that just came out it was still a great issue of Batman and Robin considering there was no real villainous threat. The fact that Tomasi is weaving a lot more emotion into the characters is really helping to define the bond that Bruce and Damien do have.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 8/10


America’s Got Powers #5
Creators: Ross – Hitch
Image Comics
I love Bryan Hitch’s artwork, but who doesn’t? But man is there a price to way for such high quality work. Issue one of this series came out last spring. At this point I barely remember what’s happened in the last issue let alone almost a year ago. It’s a real shame too because I feel like this should be a great series, maybe after issue 6 comes out and they release a trade it’ll be more worth buying for now though chapters are to far apart to make a cohesive story for people to follow. If you have been picking it up each. . . time it comes out, then it’s a good issue and you’ll probably enjoy it as much as the previous. You should also probably re-read the last issue so you’re not lost. This is probably one of those rare times where a good book gets a bad verdict. . .

As a comic goes the story has shifted pretty dramatically, the first issues made it seem like this was going to focus on the reality TV aspect of it all with these evil people pulling the strings from being the curtain. Now though the book has taken a much more political twist and whether that’s a good or bad thing isn’t quite clear yet. I read somewhere else that it feel like this story could either end easily next issue or just open up a whole new can of worms and that really said it perfectly, wish I would have thought of it. The outcome of this issue was kind of predictable after the first few pages, but still had a pretty hard emotional impact which I guess speaks pretty well for the story itself.

Verdict: Leave It. . . Get the trade

Score: 7/10


Bedlam #4
Creators: Spencer – Rossmo – Irving
Image Comics
The first in a trilogy of Nick Spencer books this week is Bedlam #4. I’ve had some pretty good things to say about this series so far and issue 4 keeps delivering. This book hits on a lot of ‘controversial’ topics. Things like religion, death, chronic illness, insanity, pedophilia. This is in no way a book for someone looking to have a good time, if you want that go read Archie. Bedlam makes you think and wonder and cring and think some more. If you’ve ever read something from Spencer before you’ll know it’s something he does well setting up the long game with little pay offs over time. I can’t wait to see what the next issue brings and how/when/if the biggest reveal of all will ever come. And lets not forget the artwork, it’s detailed but chaotic at the same time and makes you feel like you’re actually in a crazy mans head which is the perfect setting for this book!.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 8/10


Cyber Force #3
Creators: Silvestri – Pham – Troy – Reglas – Sejic
Image Comics
Reading this really makes me wish I would have read the original Cyber Force stuff back in the day. This time around it’s a clean slate and a reboot as part of Top Cows Rebirth. So basically if you’re like me and don’t know much, or anything about Cyber Force you can still read and follow along. The futuristic semi-apocalyptic setting is really interesting and the story behind what’s happening is slowly be revealed, and as it is becomes that much more interesting. On top of that, thanks to a sucessful Kickstater the first 5 issues are free, you can get 1-3 on Comixology right now even.

I actually read the first 3 issue this time, all to be able to talk about issue 3 today. So since the series is free lets talk about it as a whole. So far each issue has shed a little more light on what the hell is going on and who these characters are. I’m sure old fans will follow along better than new ones, but that doesn’t really matter. If you like alternate timeline X-Men stories this is a great alternative. It’s a weird kind of future setting with weird technological upgrades being done to people and dogs that are also telepathic. But on top of that there’s some fun banter and dialogue plus a number off pop culture references to things like The Walking Dead. Right now there really isn’t any reason not to buy this book it’s free. There’s going to need to be a lot more development and explanation though before this book hits issue 6 (assuming it keeps going) and starts costing money.

Verdict: Take It (It’s free!)

Score: 6/10


Hoax Hunters #7
Creators: Moreci – Seeley – Medellin
Image Comics
Hoax Hunters 6 was my first issue of the series and it intrigued me enough to want to read another issue. So here I am reading another issue, and I must say I’m still intrigued. The story of the Gnomes continue after issue 6 with the guy getting ripped in half and all. And being that I haven’t read anything pre-issue 6 some of the things may be old news, but the characters. . . ability to deal with these situations made this series that much more interesting. I thought it was just some ordinary folks disproving myths, more like Ghost Hunters less like MythBusters. It turns out there is a whole other level of stuff going on and I like that. Some of the reveals in the issue were just the right amount of shock and confusion, and I don’t know what’s with the weird astronaut crow deal but it reminds me of Doctor Who which makes the issue that much better. I can’t say for sure if this is something worth reading from the beginning, or if it’ll even be worth reading in a few more issues but for now I’m looking forward to seeing what came before and what’s coming next.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 7/10


Morning Glories #24
Creators: Spencer – Eisma – Esquejo
Image Comics
And here we are at part two of the Spencer trilogy. Oh Morning Glories how you keep me confused, angry, and wanting more all at the same time. I think I understand this book, but much like Lost or Doctor Who, trying to explain it would hurt both you and me. So lets do this, lets assume you’ve read the first 23 issues of the series. Obviously Morning Glories Academy is a pretty crappy place to go to school. Everything you could not want to happen in a school seems to happen. And after those last few issues plenty of bad stuff has happened. So now it’s Ike and Jade being interrogated basically. Every ‘present’ scene provides great segues into the flashbacks which focus on Ike and Abraham. We get to actually see what kind of relationship they had and more or less why Ike is such a douche all the time. Jade didn’t have much to do, but she did at least show she’s not totally useless when she quickly thought up her lie to clear her and Ike of doing anything wrong. Well wrong by this schools standards since what they claimed to be doing wouldn’t have flown in my high school.

The suspense and cliffhangers this series delivers on a regular basis is amazing. Like I mentioned earlier Spencer is really great with long form stories and small pay offs. Usually that kind of thing would drive someone crazy, but his stuff it usually just works and Morning Glories is no exception. Between the crazy story, with no answers and 1,001 questions and the compelling art of Joe Eisma this book just doesn’t do anything wrong. If you’re looking for a different kind of comic that’s not all super heroes or spaceships, but still has that supernatural twist Morning Glories is your new drug of choice.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 8/10


Fantastic Four #4
Creators: Fraction – Bagley – Farmer – Mounts
Marvel Comics
Fantastic Four certainly isn’t my favorite book, it never has been. I keep coming back month after month and consistently get pleasantly surprised. Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley are redefining Marvel’s first family even after the acclaimed run by Hickman. While the first 2 issues weren’t awesome they were great at setting up the series. Now 4 issues in the FF are off in space meeting aliens and trying to be a family, all while Reed lies to them while searching for a cure to whatever is probably killing them all. Issue 4 was a slow issue with no action, but it was actually a pretty touching story especially since it released on Valentines Day week. The overarching narration is Reed writing what I’m assuming is a letter to Sue explaining his love from the day they met to the present and then way back to prehistoric lands on alien planets and back again. . . Ok that got confusing but while the actual plot to the issue involving a civilization of aliens with a similar world to Earths interacting on a friendly basis with our heroes was kind of boring. Reeds history and such was actually what really mattered and the final pages and his big decision feel like the jump start for this series to really get into full stride. It’s funny to think that this issue is really worth reading, but the plot is kind of lame it’s completely contradictory to itself.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 6/10


Scarlet Spider #14
Creators: Yost – Pham – Palmer
Marvel Comics
So Kaine is dead again. We knew that already he died last issue so no big surprise there. Now Aracely is running from werewolves on the streets of Houston. Boy was this a weird issue, and not always in a good way. You know how I said Kaine was dead? Yea that was kind of a lie, but you knew that already. He’s definitely dying, and for his part this issue is all in his head and it hints at a fairly well known storyline from a few years ago I’ll let you figure out which one. Anyway his part is the not so good part of this issue. I love Scarlet Spider and Kaine is a great hero, but what they do to him in this issue really kind of aggravates me, I just hope these changes aren’t long lasting. The other part of this issue featuring the wolves and Aracely was a lot better even though it was really just a chase. We got some hints at what her origin or powers may really be. And the fight between the Werewolves and Sharks was pretty cool. This is a hard one to call, while I wasn’t a big fan of the issue I still feel like it’s necessary to read if you’re a fan of the series. Plus if you skip this issue you can’t really read the following one without being confused. This is by far the lowest rated issue in the series which I guess is a pretty good track record, and I have a lot of faith that it’ll be back on track in no time. Hopefully that will lead us right into the return of Kraven!

Verdict: Take It if you read #13 Leave It if you’re just starting wait a few issues

Score: 5/10


Secret Avengers #1
Creators: Spencer – Ross – Wilson
Marvel Comics
And with Secret Avengers our trilogy comes to a close. The final book Nick Spencer had published this week is the second volume of Secret Avengers. If you’ve been reading this site for a while you know that I felt like the last volume of Secret Avengers really had it’s ups and downs. It started out great but quickly lost it’s way. Now with this second volume we’re getting a totally different mission statement. This is more inline with the movie Avengers as our teams is S.H.I.E.L.D. based and has Nick Fury (Jr.), Agent Coulson, Black Widow, Hawkguy(eye), and Maria Hill. It’s exactly what you expect when you’re told this is an underground Avengers operation, in fact it’s not even Avengers sanctioned. Widow and Hawkguy are recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. outside of their Avengers duties.

The book has a very secret agent feel to it which helps with this being undercover ops and all and a lot of the dialogue was fun with a lot of comparisons and such. Not to mention a great twist at the end. This is exactly the kind of Avengers book I want to read and I hope as time goes on other heroes are brought in, but not the big guys like Cap or Thor. Your less in the spotlight heroes like Bucky or even Flash(Venom) could potentially make a good addition if handled right. If you’re like me and have been pretty disappointed with Avengers and New Avengers then this is just the book to help you out of the Avengers funk.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 9/10


Ultimate Comics X-Men #22
Creators: Wood – Edmondson – Barberi – Vlasco – Aburtov
Marvel Comics
Wood’s Ultimate X-Men is such a crazy departure from what I expect and was use to. The formation of Utopia seems to be complete, well the story of the formation anyway. All kinds of things happen in this issue, a familiar face shows up looking for help, america(?) attempts an attack, things blow up, and Bobby Drake shocks the hell out of me. Ever since the remaining Mutants have made their home Utopia there’s been a rift, half the group trusting Kitty and half the group following Nomi. Some of these issues have been a struggle, but this one really feels like we’re getting somewhere. It looks like the X-Men are finally going to have to put their abilities to use, not just to start a home but to protect it too. Hopefully we even get some real X-Villains soon! Either way this was a good issue with quite a few twists, even if not all of them were surprising.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 7/10


Uncanny X-Men #1
Creators: Bendis – Bachalo – Townsend
Marvel Comics
This was by far the most unexpected of the books I read this week. I only bought it because it was a number 1 and my local shop Fat Jacks Comic Crypt (in Jersey not Philly) transferred my old Uncanny subscription to this new one. I’ve never been shy to admit that I don’t like Cyclops, a lot of people don’t. He’s kind of a douche regardless of how ‘great’ of a leader he may have been once. So when I found out this book was about his team of X-Men I figured it would suck. Boy was I wrong, if this series continues like the first issue it’s going to be a must have for any X-Men fan. If you’ve been following Bendis’ other book All-New X-Men then you already know what’s going on for the most part. Cyclops has gone rogue and is setting up his own team/school with Magneto, Magik, and Emma. They’ve already recruited a few new mutants and are going pretty strong. Oh they also don’t really have control of their powers. Well Magik does but she’s kind of freaky anyway. If you missed it in All-New, for some reason the prolonged exposure they got to the Phoenix Force screwed up there powers, and it effected Magneto too because he was around them the whole time. It’s a bit silly, but it works for the story and helps to limit how powerful this team is. I mean full power Emma and Magneto could wreck house without moving a finger.

On top of the story there is some awesome artwork by Chris Bachalo who has a very anime/manga style to it that is really fresh in this industry. And frankly the new costumes for the team is freaking awesome. Magneto looks like a knight and Magik looks way more badass than before. Emma’s look is weird, her costume is cool and all but she looks like a teenager and it’s actually not 100% apparent it’s her until they flat out say it. That’s really not a problem though because the art is so much fun.

So we’ve got a great story, killer art, and a great sister title in All-New X-Men. If you’re a fan of X-Men books, and you don’t mind the very ’90s like team split with the twist that they’re now on opposing sides this is a great addition to your monthly pile. And lets not overlook the shocking reveal at the end, I’m not going to spoil it but god damn I did not see that coming and it solidified this book as a must read for me

Verdict: Take It

Score: 9/10


Wolverine and the X-Men #25
Creators: Aaron – Perez – Martin
Marvel Comics
I actually don’t have a lot of put about Wolverine and the X-Men #25. The story was a fun trip to the savage land and shows that a lot of this young mutants aren’t ready to be heroes. It also demonstrates just how much Wolverine has to learn about being a teacher. The opening and closing of the book were really interesting and I’m actually looking forward to see where it’s going. There were some problems though, I didn’t like the artwork at all, the characters just looked sloppy and rushed. Wolverine and the X-Men has had unique artists on it’s entire run, Ramon Perez just isn’t my cup of tea I guess. The other thing was the treatment of Broo, last issue ended with a bit of a shock and it was just explained away in this issue leaving the lovable Brood as a savage monster/pet that only Idie can control. The weird treatment of characters and the poor art makes me hesitant to recommend this issue, but here’s hoping next time is better!

Verdict: Leave It

Score: 6/10


Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Godstorm #4
Creators: Shand – Johnson – Sawyer
Zenescope Entertainment
Godstorm was an interesting book, not just this issues, but the series as a whole. It was definitely a series where the whole was better than it’s individual parts. I had a lot of fun reading it, but at times felt confused by what exactly was going on. The opening issue featuring Zeus was pretty cool and it got me really excited, then we got into this story of Julian and I just didn’t see how it was going to fit into the cool Greek gods that were setup previously. Obviously as the issues went on it became more and more clear and I became more and more interested in the outcome. This final issues was all over the place but in a good way. We got to see Julians past, a cool battle with Zeus, and why Venus is such a jerk. Plus on the final pages not only is there a pretty major death, but the unviel of The Being, the upcoming force behind Unleashed. If you haven’t been following Godstorm it’s a terrible time to start as you won’t know what’s going on. On the bright side Zenescope is great at quick turn around on trades so it won’t be long till a collected edition is available. To be honest that’s probably the best way to read this story. Getting everything at once is way better than month by month with this kind of tale, it’s like a movie you just don’t want to wait for the next part.

Verdict: Leave It – Totally worth picking up in trade!

Score: 8/10


Grimm Universe #3
Creators: Franchini – Gregory – Amat – Balke
Zenescope Entertainment
Grimm Universe is an interesting series, every issues has highlighted a character that will have a prominent role in things to come. This time around we get to see the origins of the Goblin Queen, and it’s a pretty crazy origin. She wasn’t always a heartless murdering monster. Other than her origin there isn’t a whole lot else to say. It was one of the more interest back stories I’ve read lately, and the end sets up some interesting possibilities for the future of the green haired queen. If you’re not a big Zenescope fan there’s not a lot of reason to read this. Like I said before it tends to tie into stories that will happen later. But obviously if you’re a fan it’s well worth reading as it’s a good read and sheds light on one of the more prominent villains in the Grimm universe.

Verdict: Take It – If you’re a Grimm fan

Score: 8/10



talks a bunch on PodQuest each week. He's also been known to write about stuff from time to time.

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