The Buy Pile: March 2017

For the more observant amongst you might  have noticed Spider-man is missing from the feature image. Fear not, I have not abandoned Mr Parker, #25 is simply to big to review here so I shall be dedicating an entirely seperate post to it (To be released soon, I promise). I’m mixing up how I run these posts, shortening the summaries and focusing more on my thoughts. I hope that is agreeable. if not, you had best skedaddle (On second thoughts, stay anyway. I value your readership). Let’s get to it.

 

Champions #6

  • The Champions message has spread worldwide, inspiring many to help those around them in anyway they can.
  • Meanwhile, the Champions are taking some R&R to bond over paintball (Not going to lie, I would love to play paintball with them (Anyone, really…)).
  • However, the Champions good name isn’t being used positively by all. A group, the Freelancers, are abusing their powers and acting borderline villainously.
  • After abusing some homeless people, they stir stuff up and get the Champions in trouble by making the homeless people believe they were responsible for the abuse

(Whether or not that counts as a summary I don’t know (It’s a bit easier to follow, I find)). I need to come to straight out and say a great deal rested on this issue personally. I had been considering dropping this series for good, what with Secret Empire on the horizon and costs looking to go up, but after hefty contemplation and the stuff in this issue, I just can’t bring myself to let this book go.

Mark Waid delivers the sort of story I was expecting from the start, heroes plagued with the nuisance that is a villainous counterpart. However, don’t confuse my appreciation as relief at the break from the social movement the Champions have encouraged. I’ve grown to love that idea a great deal. Having this sort of story later on  in the title is fab as it reminds you of the stuff you’d expect heroes to do but only after showing them to be something different, something more. It is also fantastic to see who I believe to be new characters as well. I do like new characters.

Humberto Ramos style isn’t my favourite but I can’t deny that, much like the direction of the book as a whole, it has grown on me since #1. When comparing it to Extraoridinary X-men (Which I sort of collect, that arrangement is a little weird to explain (Can I add, I am loving the X-men stuff I’m reading, even though I’m about a year behind)) I feel like it is better suited over on the X-men pages but I do believe it works here as well. The vibrancy reminds me of the refreshing message the Champions are pushing which I enjoy profusely

  • Story: 9.0
  • Art: 8.5
  • Accessibility: Friendly – it is a sort of filler issue/ set-up for the next arc that makes for an okay jumping on point, in my opinion.
  • Overall rating: 8.75

 

Doctor Strange #18

  • The Doctor has called him some serious back-up, none other than THE MIGHTY THOR.
  • However, he doesn’t just need Mjolnir’s thunderous blows but the skill of Jane Foster to help perform surgery, the Doctor himself unable to do so with his hands.
  • Thor’s newly-discovered ability to travel very fast allows the pair to save all the patients, after which Mr Misery-Wong is taken down.
  • Wong is need of something a little… Stronger… Full-blown Exorcism!

Wowzer. I’m going to miss Jason Aaron writing this utter gem of a title. He provides such a fantastic story every issue, I just don’t know how he is managed to sustain it for quite so long. The inclusion of Thor here was much appreciated, especially referencing the importance her alter-ego, Jane Foster, has to other people. The people behind the masks are just as great as the persona’s they ascend to. Her lightning fast ability is also super-awesome.

Chris Bachalo’s sytle of art suits this book perfectly. The sort-of rawness to it reminds me of the sort of thing magic is: a complex, sort-of-living form of energy that is raw to its core. From the offset, it has just suited the title excellently (Though, last issue we saw Frazer Irving illustrate and I must admit that it was simply superb, a sort of water-colour style that was, for the lack of a better word, enchanting).

  • Story: 8.5
  • Art: 9.5
  • Accessibility: Unfriendly – Quite a bit has happened to build up to this point and a lack of prior knowledge might make it seem a little, well, strange. That being said, it is a pretty good issue on its own, hence the lack of a “very”.
  • Overall rating: 9.0

 

Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #6

  • We have a classic quest-story-esqe tale on our hands, lady and gentlemen, and boy does it make me feel nostaligic!
  • The Sorcerers Supreme are caught in a trap and its up to us, the readers, to ensure they all make it to the other side.
  • I’m going to leave it here. I don’t want to rob the fun of this issue from you, should you choose to pick up a copy.

Hats off to Robbie Thompson here on pushing the boundaries of comicbookdom with this sort of structure of story telling. For one, it gets people to spend more than ten minutes (Unless you’re good at this sort of thing, it might take you 5) reading it which I find annoying sometimes, waiting a month for a comic then reading it too fast (That might actually be a personal problem. How long does it take you to read an average comic book?). I won’t give away any plot details but the stories (because there are technically several) are definitely worth a read.

Javier Rodriguez, as always, delivers weird, wacky and wonderful works of wizardry. In this issue particularly, he exercises the weird and wacky with some simply sublime illustrations of awful traps and do-dads thwarting our heroes at every turn. Great art to accompany great story.

  • Story: 9.5
  • Art: 9.5
  • Accessibility: Friendly – There are definitely friendlier issues across the board to jump onto but I think this issue is just such great fun that it is a friendly read, even if you don’t really know what in blazes name is going on.
  • Overall rating: 9.5

 

Justice League #16

  • The League are still displaced in their respective eras, unsure of what exactly is going on.
  • Batman and Superman are working with the group of scientists in the present day to try and help their fellow members as best they can.
  • The Keeper suddenly appears to all the members, informing them they are going to have to do some serious superheroics to defend the eras from an oncoming threat.
  • The Threat: Multiple, rather menacing spacecraft that don’t appear to be delivering ice cream… But something far worse… Which is yet to be determined…

This arc has been interesting, to some extent. Bryan Hitch has chosen some really interesting eras for the League to go to which makes for some fun storytelling. However, I’m not entirely sure I’m enjoying the whole time travel vibe. I do believe part of my grievances are, in part, down to my proposed dropping of this title at the end of the arc but I’m just struggling to enjoy this arc as much as the previous one.

Whilst the story isn’t really floating my boat, Fernando Pasarin continues to deliver some stellar art work, the detail and colouring of said work contributing a great deal to the overall experience. I’m particularly fond of the Green Lanterns era, the costume designs of Earth’s Lantern defenders are pretty awesome.

  • Story: 6.5
  • Art: 8.0
  • Accessibility: Very Unfriendly – This is the second installment in this arc so, if you want to read it, you might as well get #15 first and then go from there. I must applaud DC on making each arc good jump-on points, they have been rather accessible from what I can tell.
  • Overall rating: 7.25

 

Justice League #17

  • Superman is looking for answers and has gone directly to the hub of the Timeless. Meanwhile, the ominous spacecraft have began their work, sapping whatever power sources they can, be it Speed Force, Magic etc.
  •  Whilst Superman discovers that the Timeless appear to want to help Earth from its ultimate destruction, the rest of the League are taking the fight to spacecrafts.
  • The Timeless wish to shield the Earth from Space-Time to prevent it from causing harm to the rest of the universe, Earth being a key pivot for major events. Not as nice as I thought…
  • However, Superman isn’t prepared to let that happen, nor is the rest of the League. Batman is given a fresh bit of tech to help save the day: Lex Luthor’s Superman Suit!

I’m beginning to think my issues with this story are stemming from the sheer scope of the content. You have Time Travel, Aliens and a dispersed League all at once and it is all getting a touch confusing. Hitch’s story is definitely big but I fear it is almost too much to get to grips with. Heres hoping future issues flesh it out and make it a little more understandable.

Pasarin continues to deliver exceptional art, the interiors of the space craft in particular blowing me away. The settings also contain a great level of detail that are great to view and just take in (I’ve come to realise I don’t actually give the art in comic books as much care as I do the story, possibly why I finish comics quite so quickly…).

  • Story: 7.0
  • Art: 8.0
  • Accessibility: Very Unfriendly – Again, if you are looking to read this arc you might as well go from the beginning at #15 to try and grasp what is going on.
  • Overall rating: 7.5

 

Ms Marvel #16

  • The Origin of Doc.X is revealed! A programmer at the game’s company created it to spice things up a bit, make his own life a little more interesting. He could have just taken up skydiving or something but no, he felt compelled to programme a super-evil virus. I don’t even know.
  • Doc.X continues to terrorise Kamala, threatening to reveal her friend Zoe’s secret about her feelings towards Nadia.
  • Kamala seeks out help from an old friend, Phil Coulson who inadvertently reveals the only viable solution: Honesty. She goes to Zoe to inform her of what is about to happen. Zoe decides to face it head on and be up front with Nadia.
  • Whilst Zoe musters up the bravery to confess her love to Nadia, Kamala turns to an old friend who, last we heard of, had moved to Wakanda. Bruno’s back everyone (At least, via telephone)! Yay!

G. Willow Wilson, as always, delivers a great story infused with themes including sexuality, honesty and bravery. It’s always great to see Kamala push back against a threat with her boundless optimism and determination. The stuff involving sexuality is again handled very well and in a way that, again, treats it as something normal (As it really should be). I always enjoy stuff that includes people, and Ms Marvel is definitely pushing a strong, continious and inclusive message.

I know I always praise Wilson on her great story-telling but a fair amount of that praise comes down to the great supporting art work of Takeshi Miyazawa. As far as I know, this dynamic duo have been at the forefront of Kamala Khan’s introduction to the Marvel Universe and they go together like tea and biscuits (Or Ice-cream and Jelly, if you enjoy what I deem a rather strange culinary dish). His art has a great look to it that just really works with the story.

  • Story: 9.0
  • Art: 8.5
  • Accessibility: Very Unfriendly – This issue would require a bit of back knowledge because Doc.X might come across a bit strange from the offset if you don’t really know what it is. The Bruno stuff would also require prior knowledge
  • Overall rating: 8.75

Despite the fact its longer than what I normally right for this feature, the new layout felt like less of a chore and something I found more enjoyable to put together. I would love to know what you think about my new approach and whether or not you would like me to continue with this style in future. Next Month: Secret Empire!

(Please leave any thoughts or questions in the comments below, thank you)

 

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