From worst to best of what I read. Books bought by other people so that I could review them are marked with an asterisk. If you’d like me to review a book, just furnish me with a copy, whether by gifting it on Comixology, e-mailing me a download code, or PayPaling me the cost and telling me what you’d like me to buy. In all cases, snowspinner at gmail. (And it wouldn’t be a bad idea, as there appears we’ll be on hiatus next week due to a lack of any books I’m buying.)
Spider-Gwen Annual #1
A bunch of largely unremarkable short stories, of which only the Captain America one stood out worth a damn. A couple more were worth a chuckle, but on the whole this is firmly in the “annuals that aren’t actually worth your time” category.
Black Panther #3
Coates was talking up bits of the Alan Moore Swamp Thing run on Twitter a while back, and the influence is all over this issue. But maddeningly, the book continues to not quite click – three issues in there’s yet to be any sort of triumphal “fuck yeah” moment where the book feels like it pays something off or actually sells the reader on its concepts and approach. I will continue to stubbornly hold out hope with this one, but man, I hope Coates finds his gear here soon.
Darth Vader #22
The Aphra scene at the start is quite fun, but the confrontation with Tulon Voidgazer that makes up the bulk of the book is a fairly light-weight “Vader disposes of the secondary antagonist” sequence. The cliffhanger it sets up is intriguing, but this is something of a blank within the overall run.
Bendis sticks to relatively conventional Marvel-soap plotting, and does interesting stuff with it, adding nuance to the Ganke/Goldballs relationship and taking the Miles’s Grandmother plot, which had been threatening to careen into self-parody, in an interesting direction by bringing Jessica Jones into the mix through her. The Hammerhead/Black Cat stuff is awkward-feeling, too-quickly raised and disposed of over the last two issues, but without at least one bit of slightly bewilderingly incompetent pacing how would we know it’s really a Bendis comic?
Cinema Purgatorio #3
A bit of a weak issue here, with Code Pru having an off month, Cinema Purgatorio itself being more interesting than effective, and Modded… being quite clever, actually, with a technically adept installment that gives Ignacio Calero a chance to cut loose pleasantly. A More Perfect Union is still crap, but The Vast is actually pretty good this month. Still probably the weakest of the set so far.
An unapologetically political book that proclaims itself to be invested in black culture right up front. It’s not subtle about this, which I appreciate. The relationship between Nighthawk and Tilda Johnson, who’s serving as his Oracle-figure, is reliably solid, and Ramon Villalobos has a solid Frank Quitely-style grotesqueness to his style that works well with the book. It’s gotten no buzz so far as I can tell, so I assume it’s doomed for cancellation in like four issues’ time, but frankly, this is doing a better job of being Marvel’s smart and ambitious black superhero book than Black Panther. Will definitely be buying more of it.
The Unbeatable Squrirrel Girl #9
Mole Man as a figure of masculine entitlement. Next issue he’s on the cover with a fedora. I cannot imagine this book needs to be sold any more than that, but it’s also by Ryan North and utterly hilarious, so there’s that too. And with a special contribution from Wondermark‘s David Malki, which is fantastic and more comics writers need to find excuses to have him draw pages for them.
Next Week’s Books
As it stands, nothing.