The Buy Pile: A Finer Superman



Every week Hannibal Tabu (winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt/blogger/novelist/poet/jackass on Twitter/head honcho of Komplicated) grabs a whole lotta comics. These periodicals are quickly sorted (how) into two piles — the “buy” pile (a small pile most weeks, comprised of planned purchases) and the “read” pile (often huge, often including comics that are really crappy but have some value to stay abreast of). Thursday afternoons you’ll be able to get his thoughts (and they’re just the opinions of one guy, so calm down, and here’s some common definitions used in the column) about all of that … which goes something like this …


Astro City #15
(Vertigo/DC Comics)
It would be enough to talk about the elegance and simple brilliance of this plot, a riff on the Reed and Victor rivalry so heavily and deftly remixed that it barely resembles the original (which is a good thing). It would be enough, even, to discuss the crafty visual storytelling Brent Anderson does here, every angle perfect, no lines wasted. However, there is a moment of such emotional maturity from the lead character, a gem of an emotional center to this amazing story that it’s really something to behold. Kurt Busiek is at his height here, a master of craft wielding emotions like a conductor controls a symphony. Deftly. Beautifully. So, so very good.

Avengers #34.1
(Marvel Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile.
Hyperion had a hard time. A deliberately derivative Captain Ersatz Superman, he’s been too indistinct behind Marvel’s more charismatic, better developed heroes. Thor cornered the market on aerial superiority, Captain America has the whole inspirational thing locked down, and quips are so well covered that it’s crazy, so much so that even Hyperion himself struggles with a raison d’etre. Here, writer Al Ewing crafts an almost perfect post-modern superhero story, a tale of power and redemption that’s mature and intelligent and compassionate and wonderful. Hyperion deadpans voiceover lines that connect like the Capaldi Doctor (“I’ve misjudged my entrance,” “I have to be careful with metaphors like that,” “This may get violent”) alongside a wonderfully catchy musical framing device that encapsulates this new responsibility that both accounts for Hyperion’s ridiculous power levels and makes it easy to explain if he’s not around when something else huge happens in another book, all while sneaking in socially conscious ideas about responsibility that could be taken as gospel in many political spectrums. Smart uses of power, smart action scenes, smart dialogue … this is a real accomplishment, especially with the skillful and deft visuals from Dale Keown, Norman Lee and Jason Keith. “Truth without compromise. Thought without error. All things for the betterment of the whole.” Simply wonderful.

Archer And Armstrong #24
(Valiant Publishing)
Jump from the Read Pile.
In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy, that escalated quickly. The issue is framed as a letter from the very complex character Mary Maria, who seeks vengeance on the man who ripped her family apart. The story, told in parallel time periods, moves with a frenetic pace and seemingly effortless skill. Eisner nominated writer Karl Bollers crafts a vicious, surprisingly effective done-in-one with crisp, effective artwork from Clayton Henry and David Baron. That last page, whew, that’ll stay with you.


Such re-readable books this week, fantastic stuff.


Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it’s not good enough to buy

“Wild’s End” #1 was a crafty bit of storytelling, juxtaposing a quaint British town with a likely alien invasion, all told with people that have the faces and fur of animals. It could have been ridiculous, but it’s played straight and could be something. As of this point, it didn’t have time to get going anywhere, despite some enticing hints, but it’s surely worth watching.

“The Bunker” #6 stepped back before the dramatic event that started its storyline and gave more framing to how the tragic events began to occur. It requires a very solid grounding in the story, so given the complexity of the material this likely would be better as a part of a collected whole. Still, this has gravitas and intensity, and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title

“Inhuman” #5, “Dawn Vampirella” #1, “Magneto” #9, “Armor Hunters Harbinger” #3, “Ms. Marvel” #8, “All New Soulfire” #7, “Nightcrawler” #6, “Batgirl Futures End” #1, “Powers Bureau” #11, “Shadow Year One” #10, “X-Force” #9, “Batman Eternal” #23, “Prometheus Fire And Stone” #1, “Batman Futures End” #1, “Six Million Dollar Man Season 6” #6, “Birds Of Prey Futures End” #1, “Lola XOXO” #4, “Constantine Futures End” #1, “Terminal Hero” #2, “Green Lantern Corps Futures End” #1, “Terminator Salvation The Final Battle” #9, “Infinity Man And The Forever People Futures End” #1, “G.I. JOE A Real American Hero” #206, “Justice League United Futures End” #1, “Walking Dead” #131, “New 52 Futures End” #19, “Black Market” #3, “New Suicide Squad Futures End” #1, “Velvet” #7, “Superboy Futures End” #1, “X” #17, “Superman Unchained” #8, “MPH” #3, “Worlds’ Finest Futures End” #1, “Judge Dredd Anderson Psi-Division” #2, “All-New Ultimates” #8, “Morning Glories” #40, “Amazing Spider-Man” #6, “Suicide Risk” #17, “Avengers Undercover” #10, “Lazarus” #11, “Deadpool” #34, “Transformers Primacy” #2, “Death Of Wolverine: #2, “Invincible” #114, “Edge Of Spider-Verse” #1, “Captain Victory And The Galactic Rangers” #2, “Fantastic Four” #10, “East Of West” #15, “Hawkeye” #20.

No, just … no … These comics? Not so much …

Re: “Teen Dog” #1. Why does Poochie from “The Simpsons” now have a comic book? Tedious, riddled with cliches, sad.


Only one truly terrible book — that’s not so bad.


Two jumps beat the return of Poochie.


As of right now, you can spend ten bucks and get about 175,000 words worth of fiction from the writer of this column. The links that follow tell you where you can get “The Crown: Ascension” and “Faraway,” five bucks a piece, or spend a few more dollars and get “New Money” #1 from Canon Comics, the rambunctious tale of four multimillionaires running wild in Los Angeles. Too rich for your blood? Download the free PDF of “Cruel Summer: The Visual Mixtape.” Love these reviews? It’d be great if you picked up a copy. Hate these reviews? Find out what this guy thinks is so freakin’ great. There’s free sample chapters too, and all proceeds to towards the care and maintenance of his kids … oh, and to buy comic books, of course. There’s also a bunch of great stuff — fantasy, superhero stuff, magical realism and more — available from this writer on Amazon. What are you waiting for? Go buy a freakin’ book already!

Got a comic you think should be reviewed in The Buy Pile? If we get a PDF of a fairly normal length comic (i.e. “less than 64 pages”) by no later than 24 hours before the actual issue arrives in stores (and sorry, we can only review comics people can go to stores and buy), we guarantee the work will get reviewed, if remembered. Physical comics? Geddouttahere. Too much drama to store with diminishing resources. If you send it in more than two days before comics come out, the possibility of it being forgotten increases exponentially. Oh, you should use the contact form as the CBR email address hasn’t been regularly checked since George W. Bush was in office. Sorry!

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