Take It Or Leave It – March 20, 2013


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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.

It’s Take It Or Leave It time everybody! I’m not going to bore you with a bunch useless babbling this week. I will let you know we added something a little different at the bottom. All the books that we just didn’t have time to talk about have a what we’re calling a Quick Shot. It’s just a real simple Take It Or Leave It so make sure you check that out at the end of the page!

Alphabetical by Publisher

Boom! Studios | DC Comics | IDW Publishing
Image Comics | Marvel Comics | Valiant Entertainment | Zenescope Entertainment | Quick Shots


Fanboys Vs. Zombies #12

Creators: Humphries | Houghton | Gaylord
I don’t see Fanboys Vs. Zombies winning any awards, or ever being one of the seminal pieces in comic book history. What it is though, is a really fun ride through the zombie plagued world where your comrades are all geeks making (usually) great pop culture references. Generally speaking, if you read comic books on a regular basis than you are exactly the right person to read Fanboys Vs. Zombies. In today’s world where we’re quickly being overrun by zombies, in media anyway, it’s easy to miss such a silly fun ride like this and just write it off as another zombie story. Even with the sometimes cheesy dialogue the book still contains all the traditional points of a great horror story. Conflict, both external and internal to our group of ‘heroes’, romance, and obviously action, lots of zombie killing awesomeness! If you’re getting sick and tired of all the grim and gritty zombie crap going on right now and want something more lighthearted and fun Fanboys Vs. Zombies is exactly what you need to read.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 8/10

Reviewed By: Chris


Birds of Prey #18

Creators: Marx | Molenaar | Cifuentes
I’d heard good things about Duane Swierczynski run on Birds of Prey which ended last issue. Unfortunately I didn’t want to jump into the middle of it, but with the transition to Christy Marx this issue I figured why not give it a shot. It’s got Mr. Freeze I really enjoyed the revamped backstory for in the Batman Annual last summer. The book and plot this time around though doesn’t really do much to grab you. Maybe it’s got to do with not knowing what was going on prior to issue 18, but if that’s the case it’s still flawed. A new writer should really mean a good place for a new reader to jump on board. Totally not the case here though, and it’s a shame too, the characters could definitely be something likable. Well most of them anyway, as much as I enjoyed the Court of Owls story line from Batman, I can’t help but feel having Talon’s being ‘good’ all over the place is a little to much too soon. It’s like Deadpool he’s a fun character but not when he’s in 30 books a month. Lets hope DC doesn’t go to overboard and sticks to just this female Talon in Birds of Prey, which I admit makes sense, and Calvin over in Talon.

Verdict: Leave It

Score: 6/10

Reviewed By: Chris


Constantine #1

Creators: Lemire | Fawkes | Guedes
Admittedly my only experience with the character John Constantine was that Keanu Reeves film back in 2005, which I hated. I found out after the fact that the character was the central ‘hero’ of the comic series Hellblazer, and that it was apparently a really good book, but I didn’t read it. I just like depriving myself of good things sometimes I guess. Then I heard they were starting a new book and thought why not give it a chance, I like magic and things of that nature after all. I’m pretty glad I gave it a shot too, I don’t want to call the book fun, because it’s pretty dark, but that’s how I’d describe it. Sure it doesn’t have what you’d call a happy ending, and there isn’t much joking going on but something about the way the story was told was just intriguing and fun. I’m actually really looking forward to seeing more of the character and hopefully some of his origins so I know exactly what’s going on. Plus being a number 1, if you wanted a new book to read you can’t do much better.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 8/10

Reviewed By: Chris


Nightwing #18

Creators: Higgins | Ryp | Bonet | Albarran
I read another review for this issue where they complained about how Dick dealt with the lose of Damian, and think that’s silly. Nightwing 18 is probably the second best of the books dealing with the death of Damian Wayne, the first being last weeks Batman and Robin 18. Last issue Robin confronted Dick about his recent behavior and pulling him out of a downward spiral. Now Dick is back on the course and he doesn’t have his young friend to help out. I started reading Batman and Robin with Dick and Damian as the Dynamic Duo, and that’s really where I started reading the Bat books in general. I thought their chemistry was great and honestly preferred it to the more recent Bruce and Damian run. Even their brief exchange in Batman Inc #8, just a few pages before Damian’s death referenced back to that and how in Damian’s mind, they always made the best team. All of that really weights down on Dick in this issue, and not just that but the lose of friends at the hands of the Joker before that. It’s been a rough time for Nightwing, and Kyle Higgins really nailed it. Even the way he had Dick characterize Damian while visiting his grave felt perfect. My biggest qualm is the art, I said it last month, it’s not that it’s bad but I just feel like the faces particularly are off and pull me out of the story. But that’s only a small problem with an otherwise great book, so many titles tried to display the grief over Damian’s death, but only a few actually managed to capture that emotion in a realistic way for those characters.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 9/10

Reviewed By: Chris


G.I. Joe #2

Creators: Van Lente | Kurth | Martinez | Lafuente
The second issue of the new G.I. Joe series from IDW picks up where issue one left off, with the Joes in one crappy situation. With all the setup and introduction out of the way in issue one this one has a lot of action and character drama. A lot of things are still getting fleshed out and the team is still getting use to working with each other which is what really drives the issue. The confrontation with Cobra and the other combatants is pretty fast stuff and as fun as it was, just didn’t add much plot. It was the slower moments where the characters talked and tried to formulate a plan that was what made this worth reading. That and the scene with Duke and The Baroness was pretty cool too. Something I forgot to mention last month is ‘The REAL history of G.I. Joe’. These short segments at the beginning of the issue show us where the toy line started and where it ended up. Issue two’s segment brings us through the ’60s and ’70s leaving next issue to break into the parts I grew up with, the ’80s Joe. It may not sound like much, but if you grew up playing with these toys, especially those of us from the later half of the ’80s it’s fun to see where the toys started and how they ended up in their current form. Frankly when all is said and done, G.I. Joe is doing a great job of capturing something from so many of our childhoods and making it modern and interesting again, and it’s not a giant toy commercial like the old ’80s cartoon!

Verdict: Take It

Score: 8/10

Reviewed By: Chris


Judge Dredd Year One #1

Creators: Smith | Coleby | O’Grady
I’ve been hearing some good things about the current Judge Dredd ongoing series. And I have the newer Dredd film sitting at home waiting to be watched. Deep down though Judge Dredd will always be Sylvester Stallone, and I just don’t know if I hate it or love it. Regardless of that I decided to give this Year One #1 a shot and see how it went. Frankly there is a lot more to the Dredd universe than I realized, it’s also been over a decade since I’ve seen anything from this universe. Judge Dredd Year One isn’t as origin-y as you may think. I went into it expecting something along the lines of Batman Year One, where we see Dredd taking his first steps onto the streets as a new Judge. I was wrong, he’s already been on the beat for almost a year, and he’s already coming off as pretty bad ass. The thing that caught me off guard though was all the supernatural powers going on. I was expecting awesome action and people getting blown up with really big guns. Instead I got people getting torn to pieces psychically. If you’re into that stuff, which usually I am you might be down for this book. I just wasn’t feeling it though, it was actually a struggle to finish reading it and I’m not sure I want to go through that again for the next issue.

Verdict: Leave It

Score: 5/10

Reviewed By: Chris


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #20

Creators: Eastman | Waltz | Bates | Pattison
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles just continues to be totally radical month after month. Issue 20 picks up where we left off with the Turtles and people of Neutrino battling Krangs army. There’s a certain point in the book where you can’t help but smile and get excited by what’s happening. Especially if you grew up with the cartoons and movies in the late ’80s / early ’90s. This issue is just full of action, and that’s something the turtles are always good at. But it’s also got some great character points especially between Honeycutt and Donatello discussing the real possibilities of whether the turtles and Splinter are really reincarnations. This also wraps up the Dimension X (which I don’t think they ever called it in the book) story line and sees the Turtles return home to much excitement from April, Casey, and Splinter. There was even almost some big character moments for Casey and April but that ended before it even started. While issue 20 may not be the best jumping on point for new readers it’s still a great read, and well worth picking up if you have even a small interest in this series.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 8/10

Reviewed By: Chris


Artifacts #26

Creators: Marz | Turini | Troy
The Progeny crossover comes to a close in this issue of Artifacts as Tom Judge and his team tries to fix the universe that Jackie Estacado went and screwed up. If you’ve been following the events in this story than it’s probably safe to say your invested enough to keep going with it. For those who aren’t quite sure what’s going on and is just looking to get started with this crazy Top Cow universe don’t worry about being out of the loop. You will be, there’s no doubt about it, but the story is so crazy and intriguing that it doesn’t really matter. This whole issue is just a giant showdown, there’s some action, and a lot of character drama. The twists and turns of how these characters deal with each other is what’s really been driving it. And the best part is that by the end of this book things are set in motion for some great comics to come, in all the series connected to Progeny. I’ve only been following these series (Witchblade, The Darkness, Artifacts) for a few months now, but so much has happened and so much history has been brought up that I feel like it’s been years. That’s probably one of the best compliments I can give this book, and it’s companion titles, they keep you informed you’re not left to guess at what happened before.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 8/10

Reviewed By: Chris


Five Ghosts The Haunting Of Fabian Gray #1

Creators: Barbiere | Mooneyham
I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into with Five Ghost. It’s got an interesting plot where our ‘hero’ Fabian Gray is possessed by five spirits with various skills he utilizes to ‘treasure hunt’. That doesn’t really seem to be the focus of the book though, which is where I get thrown a bit, I liked the idea of a supernatural treasure hunters. We’ve got people like Nathan Drake, Lara Croft, and Indiana Jones who deal with supernatural stuff while hunting for lost treasures. But I’ve never really come across someone with powers searching for those treasures. He’s able to call on the spirits of a cunning detective, a world class archer, a powerful magician, a skilled samurai, and a deadly vampire. Any one of those would be cool, but the all 5 could end up as overkill. The book already seems to be handling the fact that this could makes him nearly unstoppable which makes it that much more worth while. Fabian seems to be on a mission to save, who I believe is his sister. We don’t know what happened to her yet, but that certainly seems like something that will get brought up eventually. And with only 4 more issues it’ll probably be soon. This isn’t the best book to come out recently, but it’s got enough mystery to keep me interesting at least until issue 2 which is better than a lot of books out there today.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 6/10

Reviewed By: Chris


Saga #11

Creators: Vaughan | Staples
Oh Saga, how I miss you for those 30ish days between releases, and boy do I dread the time off you’ll be taking after issue 12. But that’s not why we’re here right now, it’s to talk about how amazing this book is. Vaughan and Staples are putting us through the emotional ringer, last issue ended on such a downer, and just when you think nothing could get any worse this issue just stabs you right in the feelings. But that’s not all there is, issue 11 has some great moments between Alana, Marko, and their strange family. Hazel’s narration is at an all time high in this issue, and the opening pages are both hilarious, touching, and disturbing, which makes absolutely no sense. The way this series keeps redefining itself from issue to issue is what really drives it, you never known what kind of book your getting with each new issue of Saga, you just know it’s going to be great.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 9/10

Reviewed By: Chris


All-New X-Men #9

Creators: Bendis | Immonen | Von Grawbadger | Gracia
First off, the cover and solicitations for this issue are a little deceiving, I was expecting a little bit more confrontation then we actually go. After 9 issue, we’re still waiting for these young versions of the X-Men to take the fight to the bad guys, assuming that’s what they’re going to do. We’ve had a few bouts but nothing ground breaking. It’s kinda funny really, that a book about superheroes can be so boring, and still completely enthralling. I don’t care that the character don’t do anything exciting, the drama and interactions are so great it just doesn’t matter. Especially Jean who is really changing from what you’d expect her to be, her interactions with Kitty are especially good. While this hasn’t been a series full of action, it’s definitely heating up to something crazy made all the more evident by the final page. I’m super excited to see where issue 10 takes us, and you probably should be too!

Verdict: Take It

Score: 8/10

Reviewed By: Chris


Nova #2

Creators: Loeb | Mcguinness | Vines | Gracia
The first issue of Nova was kind of cool, getting to see the past missions that our new hero’s dad was on. And I liked how they were ‘just stories’ to Sam until well they came true. This second issue lost something along the way though, it started out pretty cool with Gamora and Rocket Racoon, but that’s about where it ended. The rest just didn’t feel like a Marvel book, and it wasn’t all that interesting. I know this book is happening pre-AvX and all so they have to keep the scope smaller and lead up to Nova showing up ahead of the Phoenix, but this was just dull. Lets see how next month goes. . .

Verdict: Leave It

Score: 5/10

Reviewed By: Chris


X-Termination #1

Creators: Lapham | Lopez | Lopez | Martinez | Mossa
This book started off alright, but quickly started to feel very forced. The whole situation just doesn’t feel like it warrants all these different X-Teams to handle it. Sure it’s a possible universe shattering problem, but isn’t that what X-Treme X-Men has been dealing with all along? Why not just make this about them and have a few issues include some other teams as like cameos. We don’t need a full blown crossover with special books just to get the whole story. On top of that, this is the beginning of the end for two really interesting books, Age of Apocalypse and the aforementioned X-Treme X-Men. I guess this could have been a lot worse, but like most crossovers this story isn’t as good as any of it’s single parts. A normal issue of one of the associated books would probably be a lot better.

Verdict: Leave It

Score: 6/10

Reviewed By: Chris


Harbinger #10

Creators: Dysart | Clark | Gaudiano
Harbinger gets some great reviews around the web, so it’s about time One-Quest took a look. Valiant has really been impressing me with the stuff it’s putting out, and Harbinger is no exception. It has a kind of x-men vibe to it, but without the whole super hero vs super villain thing. Sure there’s the good guys, and the bad guys but it’s not like Magneto is trying to take over the world and the X-Men have to stop it. It’s a group of people with powers running from the government that wants to use them and study them and you know, do mean things. I’m definitely going to have to read some more before I have a full blown opinion on this, but based on this issue, I’m down and willing to see how things go.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 7/10

Reviewed By: Chris


X-O Manowar #11

Creators: Venditti | Nord | Baumann
While I really enjoyed and wanted more from Harbinger, I just wasn’t feeling X-O Manowar. There’s a lot going on here, and I just don’t know enough to care. I don’t know if I’m suppose to like this dude in a spacesuit or hate him. That’s what you get for starting something on issue 11 I suppose. There is a lot of history in this book, which does help to get a new reader caught up a bit, but not quite enough to understand anything. I’m going to reserve judgment on this until I’m a few more issue in, but issue 11 definitely isn’t new reader friendly and doesn’t seem to add much to the story. It’s still interesting and I want to know more, which is a huge plus in this books favor. I guess we’ll see how things go in the coming months!

Verdict: Leave It

Score: 7/10

Reviewed By: Chris


Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Madness Of Wonderland #2

Creators: Wickline | Cichon | Embury
I really like Madness of Wonderland, it’s like a cop drama but with a mystical element. Well there isn’t much of a mystical element in the book so far, but if you’re familiar with the universe you know it’s coming. It’s actually a lot easier to follow than some of the other Wonderland books. We don’t jump around much there’s two stories the present day with detective Legrasse and the history lesson from the journal belong to Mr. Lovecraft. There’s so much mystery going on, and I don’t even have a guess as to how this stuff is going to turn out which is what really keeps the book fresh. It’s hard to have things really big original and surprising today, but so far Madness of Wonderland is pulling it off perfectly.

Verdict: Take It

Score: 8/10

Reviewed By: Chris


Quick Shots is just a quick Yes or No, or in this case Take It or Leave It for some books that we didn’t get a chance to really talk about. So enjoy!

Avengers #8

– Leave It

Captain Marvel #11

– Take It

Indestructible Hulk #5

– Take It

New Avengers #4

– Leave It

Savage Wolverine #3

– Leave It

Superior Spider-Man #6

– Take It

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #21

– Take It

Reviewed By: Chris


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

You can Email Chris or follow Chris on Twitter @Just_Cobb or Facebook

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