Every week I go down to Texas Comic Shop with a goal: Get my reading material for less than $30. I have my pull list, and if it’s a light week, I grab something else that catches my interest using the formula: Interesting Story>Interesting Character>Fun to Read>Good Writer>Good Artist and if nothing catches my eye, I go with a recommendation from Tom (the owner).
My picks break down into the following categories:
Perma-Pull: Comics that are almost bulletproof. They constantly exceed expectations and even their worst issues are superior to most of what is on the shelves. Captain America, Secret Six, Secret Warriors, and Zatanna are the only things in this level right now.
Solid: comics that aren’t top tier, but still a great read and have earned some leeway with me due to their standard of excellence. Powergirl (once a perma-pull), Fables (another slipped perma-pull), Avengers Academy, GI Joe, and Teen Titans occupy this tier.
Chopping Block: Comics on the brink. In a heavy weak, if I have to drop a title to make budget, it’s coming from this group. If something pops up that really interests me, something from this level is getting the axe. Uncanny X-Men and GI Joe: Real American Hero currently sit on the block.
Death Row: They’ve been axed, but a reprieve might be coming. JLA and Gotham City Sirens both got their sentence commuted, but Sirens recently hit death row again. I’m not picking these up anymore unless something happens to stun me. Cassanova bought this with Gula.
Dead to Me: Gone. You better get a high priced necromancer in to bring this back to life. I’m talking Ed Brubacker, Matt Fraction or Gail Simone level character resurrectionist skills.
The pick of the week gets the lead in picture. On to this week’s list.
Perma-Pull: Nothing on the list and nothing promoted this week.
Powergirl #25:This Week's Top Pick Still a well above average comic, but I still miss Amanda Conner’s art. Continues the story from last issue of a man wrongly judged based on prejudices. Heavy handed and a bit hammy, but sometimes, that works. A quick, engaging read that also manages to expand the JSA at the same time that it only has 2 months to live. It is a disservice to any comic and JSA fan that this comic and the JSA are dead come September.
Avengers Academy #15: The best part of this comic, this series, is not the action, but the soap opera writing of two weary heroes looking for love and redemption, plus a group of teens struggling for identity and acceptance. It’s Marv Wolfman Teen Titans good, and if that doesn’t get you excited, you are either under 30 or have no soul.
Cinderella: Fables are Forever #5: Fable’s #1 secret agent continues her work against Dorothy Gale. An engaging spy story in the early James Bond vein, with a cliffhanger ending that puts us halfway through the third act.
Hellblazer #280: Follows the thread that began with John’s Wedding to Epiphany. Gemma (John’s niece) seeks revenge for something that John didn’t do, but like all the bad things in John’s life, he’s responsible for. This is really a step down from recent issues, mainly due to the art quality and an odd choice for a display of Constantine’s power, which makes him look more like Dr. Fate than the wry trickster he normally is.
Teen Titans #96: Continuing the story of Solstice that began in the Wonder Girl one shot from a few months back. Beast Boy gets a moment to shine and the tragedy of another new, interesting character (Solstice is the Anti-Raven) who looks to be abandoned (along with BB, Raven, and Ravager) with the coming relaunch. Teen Titans has been hit or miss since the Dakota arc ended, but the last two issues are definitely hit.
Uncanny X-Men #538: Finishes off the Breakworld revenge story. Feels rushed and probably is, as story lines are being tied up for this series’ cancellation and the Schism event. If it wasn’t being cancelled, another lackluster story would have put this on Death Row.
DC Comics Presents: JLA Black Baptism: 100 Page Spectacular #1: of 1. A JLA one shot. The past few JLA one shots have gravitated between god awful and barely serviceable. This one is on the serviceable side, but not without it's issues. I was going to do a longer post on this, but decided against it. It's a reprint of a 2001 miniseries with an extra long name, in a heavier week, this would get a pass.
Captain America Corps #1: Despite my love for Captain America (for the ones of fans who don't know me personally, huge fan, including at one point owning every issue from 1971 (5 years before I was born until 1995)), this barely makes the cut. Captain Americas from various points in time are brought in to solve the mystery of who is removing Steve Rogers from the time stream and creating dystopian alternate realities where all cops are Americops and the ultimate weapon is a giant, fascist Captain America Robot. Needs to pick it up if it wants to survive issue #2.
The One #1: Actually from May 2010. This was a light week, and I enjoyed another comic this publisher put out, Tom recommended it, and the cover made me nostalgic for Heavy Metal circa 1986-1990. So I picked up issue #1. This wasn't worth the $2.99. The art is dark, muddled, and of inconsistent quality. The panel foci are off (it is not necessary that boobs be at the center of each panel, especially when this forces you to cut off the point of impact when a character kicks another in the head). There are too many plot threads to develop interest in, forcing some of them to get 1 page of development.
Dead to Me: Still just Green Arrow and the (no prefix) Avengers.
Total Price: $28.50 ($1.50 under budget thanks to Tom's frequent buyers discount card)
Image from: dc.wikia.com