Reviewed: This Week’s Comics – 9/01/10

This week is our 250th POW podcast, and in it, we answer a lot of email questions. But we don't talk about many comics, so why not go through my stack here.  Get ready for capsule reviews in the style we used to email to one another before the days of iFanboy.

Before you ask, no, I'm not going to do this every week. That's what the the POW show is (usually) for. 

My Pick of the Week: Astro City Silver Agent #2 – 5/5 stars

This was a classic Astro City tale, and it's one that's been needing telling for a very long time.  It was really well structured, and even though it cleared up some of the mystery of the Silver Agent, there's lots more mystery left.  It was just like the classic Astro City stories I fell in love with, and it was such a welcome issue.  I love the design on Silver Agent, and his backstory is magnificent.

5 Days to Die #1 – 4/5 stars

Really well done crime story, with gorgeous and unique art from Chee.  This marks the debut of Andy Schmidt's creator owned series, and it's a heck of a set up.  It's very cinematic in that respct as well.  If you like angry cop revenge stories, don't miss this one.

Baltimore Plague Ships #2 – 5/5 stars

I feel like I was dropped in the middle of this story, and maybe I was, but it doesn't bother me either way.  This world is fascinating, and I want to know more about Baltimore's adventures, both past and future.  It's right up Mignola's alley, and is a heck of a good time.  I think things are going to get ugly, and that is going to be fun to watch.

Freedom Fighters #1 – 3/5 stars

I'm a little torn on this one.  It was pretty well done, and a great introduction to some new characters, on the other, I'm just not terribly drawn to continue.  The positives included a heck of a lot of story, and high superhero adventure, with lots of sci-fi crazines, and Uncle Sam, who I don't know about, but is a sort of fascinating character.  On the other side, it just kind of was there.  This really isn't my favorite kind of story, and it wasn't so mind blowing as to get me past that.  After I read this, I read Jonah Hex, by the same writers, and that just wowed me again, in a way Freedom Fighters didn't.  No harm, no foul.

G.I. Joe Hearts and Minds #4 – 5/5 stars

I really do like the format of this book, and this was a good one. Max Brooks takes 2 random characters, one Joe, and one Cobra, and makes up their origin story. They're each a half a comic book, and then we move on.  It's just so much fun to watch someone try to take the silly, silly toys of the 80's, and try to put them into a real life context, and I'm a sucker for it. In the vein of GI Joe Cobra, but with much less narrative, I'm having fun with this one.

Hawkeye & Mockingbird #4 – 5/5 stars

Crazy, insane person Jim McCann is hitting his stride on this series.  There was a whole lot of bang for your buck in this issue.  Like the previous issue, it really does lean heavily on the histories of Bobbie and Clint.  It's not that you need to know those histories to enjoy it, but the emotional impact is greater if you do.  There's the very fast patter of dialog we've come to expect and lots of action scenes to keep you excited and the feeling that these characters never get a breather.  David Lopez continues his upward climb, and gets better with every issue. This is probably the best issue so far, since we're really getting to know the characters.

Hellboy The Storm #3 – 5/5 stars

"Are you gonna take the sword?" "No." "Why?" "Just a feeling." Hellboy is up against it, and he's gonna follow his gut. Plus, he's going without Excalibur, which seems like a bad move.  Then he makes some dramatic declarations about what's going to happen if he comes out of this.  I'm very excited for the future, and what more will be revealed about our favorite demon with the big hand. Also, Duncan Fegredo is clearly THE Hellboy artist now, and I'm happy about it. Gorgeous pages all through.

Incorruptable #9 – 4/5 stars

I am riveted by Max Damage.  I love the idea that he was so very bad, and Waid keeps making sure he lets us know about that, but at the same time, there's no doubt about his reversal.  He's doing good now. There's no other motive, and the challenge in reconciling that is so interesting, especially in comparison with Irredeemable, which is the same in reverse.  The story has really come together and each issue is better than the last.  It's a great series.

Jack of Fables #47 – 4/5 stars

This series has become very odd.  I tend to forget about it, but then every issue, I really enjoy, and this one was no exception. Had I read it a bit earlier, there were some defiinte "Panel of the Week" contenders, especially in the Dino Diner.  You get the sense that month in and month out, the whole creative team is laughing themselves silly putting this book together.  47 issues later, and the jokes are still funny.  They could probably do Jack the dragon and Gary in the cave for another couple of years, and it would just work.  But at the same time, things are finally coming together for what will be a very cool confrontation between the Jacks.

Jonah Hex #59 – 5/5 stars

Jordi Bernet is a genius, and every turn of the page brings another smile to my face.  It's just a wonder of cartooning, set against these bleak, violent stories, and there's almost nothing else I have to say about it that I haven't said before. It's still good as it ever was, and I hope it never ends.

Scarlet #2 – 4/5 stars

This issue really brought it together for me.  I didn't connect with the main character that much before, but this time, I think we got right into her head, and we could have watched her do anything, and it would have worked.  Her decisions make sense, and the world is so topsy turvey that we can't apply the regular rules or morality and logic.  I like that sort of nebulous state of affairs.  On the other hand, I'm really finding myself leaning away from the art style Maleev is using here.  It's just too close to the photography, and is not my taste.  That said, it does the job, and lends the book a certain feeling that does work. 

Sweeth Tooth #13 – 4/5 stars

It was time for the story to get moving, and it looks like that's going to happen.  Gus has been in a form of stasis for the last handful of issues.  I want to see some triumph, or an escape, or some kind of victory soon, but this seemed like a step in the right direction. The place where they're all locked up is very bad, and that's established.  Meanwhile, Jepperd is off doing some other weird stuff, and overall, it was a good issue.  Hopefully, the momentum keeps up.

Wolverine #1 – 4/5 stars

I don't usually read X-Men books, but I'm glad I read this. I'm a great fan of Jason Aaron, and once again, I see why.  I love the size of this story. It started out relatively intimate, but eventually all things went to hell.  Well, at least Logan did.  It tied in with the first stories Aaron did, and the world he's building around Logan is paying off as well.  This is the the kind of story I normally want to read, but I'm pretty well hooked.  The Guedes art worked pretty well.  A special bonus was the Jason Latour backup at the end, which was just a thing of beauty.


There were a few other books I actually didn't get to read yet, because I don't have the books, most notably Stumptown #4 and Proof #28.  We'll discuss the Pick of the Week, Avengers: The Children's Crusade #2 on the audio show, so you'll have to wait for that.  Clearly, it was a pretty solid week, though.


  1. Thank you for this.

    I loved that Jack of Fables issue. Very fun.

    Have you read the Baltimore prose novel?  It is very solid and is probably the reason I don’t feel like I was just dropped into the middle of the story.

    I enjoyed the backup in Wolverine #1, but I’m going to hold my tongue on the rest of the issue. 

    I am really looking forward to this weeks podcast.  Keep up the good work. 

  2. Finally, someone is nice about Wolverine #1. It was a really good issue and the back up story was awesome. Scarlet is still sitting on my pile of unread books. For some reason I just don’t feel any urgency to get to that book.

    Hope you guys survive the big podcast. 


  3. can we assume a letter column this week would be redundant?

  4. I’m totally trade-waiting on Freedom Fighters. One of my favourite obscure super-teams and one of my favourite creative teams.

    Can’t wait for Episode 250. It’s gonna be off the hook!

  5. I’m bumming that my shop didn’t get 5 Days to Die.  I know my owner could probably order it for me, but by the time it got here, a majority of the series would be over (if not the whole thing).  I’m crossing my fingers for a trade on this one.  It sounds right up my alley.

  6. Feels like your voting system has some kind of THRESHOLD… nothing beneath 4 out of 5?

    So the Lady Gaga comic gets a 4 and Watchmen a 5 then, right…?   

    Sorry about the sarcasm, normally I’m not like that, but it had to be pointed out.

  7. sorry overlooked the freedom fighters, SORRY!

  8. I tend to grade on a bit of a curve, week to week. I can’t compare everything to Watchmen. If I really liked something in a given week, I’ll give it a 5. If I thought it was even better than that, 5. I’m also pretty good at picking out books I won’t like, so I don’t buy or read much I don’t like.

  9. I get the part about not really being able to compare anything to Watchmen, but in my opinion it’s still better not to hand out so many 5- or 4-star reviews. I understand the method, which is kind of like grading-on-a-curve like you said, but I think it tends to undercut the strength of the recommendations when there IS a gigantically great comic out. When you guys hand out so many 5s and 4s, it’s hard to really take any of the recommendations to heart. "IFanboy gave it a ‘5’? They give like half the comics they read 5s": This isn’t my sentiment, but it’s one I’ve overheard.

    But, I mean, I don’t intend this post to be harsh criticism of you guys. I understand what you do and get the logic behind it. But personally…you guys have defined 2 as "Average" and 3 as "Good". So if you just gave more things 3s, then I’d totally get that you thought it was a "good" comic. And there’s nothing wrong with "good" comics. When you skew towards 4s and 5s, I just feel like you guys are hyping SO many things up that I feel overwhelmed.

    But, to each their own. I only read a few comics this week. I handed out a 2 and a couple 3s, but I wasn’t upset, because to my mind "average" and "good" aren’t disappointments. It’s rare that I read a comic I’d give a 5 to, but when I perceive something as a 5, I appreciate it all the more.

    Congrats on 250 episodes by the way. You guys are awesome and run a fine ship.

  10. @froggulper: We haven’t defined the star ratings as anything. Those are the user review numbers. Everyone is unique in how and why they rate books. There’s no standard. Me, I use the NetFlix star rating system.

    And to be honest, for me, it’s not all that important what star I give a book. There have even been weeks that I haven’t given out any ratings. It’s more important what I say about a book on the show or what I write in a review, not the star rating.

  11. I will continue handing out fours and fives until all of the constellations in the heavens are unbound!

  12. Dude just wrote more about the star system than I’ve ever thought about it.

    If you must, ignore the stars. They’re just a reference. It’s more about the content of why anyway, and as with anything, your mileage will vary greatly.

  13. @Josh I’m with you on the “I weed out stuff I wouldn’t like side” I’m very selective about the books I buy and if a book does get 3 stars a few months in a row it’s off my list pretty quickly so most of my reviews are 4 or 5 simply because there are too many good comics to buy crap

  14. I like Conor use them like the Netflix rating system.

  15. Agreed. If I read more then one or two 3 star books in a week, I feel like I didn’t do a good job of researching my purchase before hand.

  16. @Conor I couldn’t agree more about the content of a review being far more important than a star rating. At the end of the day, a star rating doesn’t actually tell me if I will like a book. There have been books that one of you has given 5 stars to that I wouldn’t have any interest in reading, and there are books you give 5 stars to that I would love beyond belief. It’s all in your personal taste, which is what the discussions and written reviews on the site reveal. One of the best things about the iFanboy staff is the amount of thought you guys put into the comics you read and the discussions you have about them. If you make a book POTW, after the podcast, I am going to know why you liked it. Really, I rarely look at the star ratings, and usually don’t bother to rate my books at all. 

  17. iFanboy does define the star rating system cuz when someone does a review it puts a word next to the number of stars that is consistent since you have had the stars . . .

    I agree that the words are more important than the stars though.

    When iFanboy raves about a book, the book is almost without a doubt an awesome read.

  18. @scorpion yeah, I’ve taken a minimum of 50 recommends from ifanboy (comics and GN’s) and can only think of 4 that I didn’t like.  You guys have good perspective on quality.

  19. @ScorpionMasada: As I said above, those definitions are just for the user reviews. That’s why you don’t see them when you mouse over the stars to rate your books on the comics page.

  20. By the way, guys, I’d love it if you could do these every week. Just a place to talk about the stuff that you don’t on the show for weeks that there are too much to cover and for titles that the other two don’t read.

  21. @Ilash: "Before you ask, no, I’m not going to do this every week."

  22. Break out the bell for those kind of weeks.

    I like the bell.

    Yeah, would have never read Gotham Central if not for the podcast.

  23. Oooh yeah, the bell is awesome too!

  24. CONGRATS on ep 250. Have been listening for… hmm… 120 eps or so and, for the most part iFanboy’s enthusiasm is single handedly responsible for getting me back into comics following a falling out due to nearly every comic made in the 80s… 


    Top stuff, can’t wait to hear the podcast. Congrats all involved. 

  25. Is it me, or do the Hellboy/BPRD artists draw more and more like Mignola the longer they are with the characters?  That’s not a bad thing, obviously…

  26. Nice to see some love for Incorruptible, well said Josh, it really has been getting better with each issue.  Some people have complained about art inconsistencies and I can see that, but I consistently enjoy it and look forward to it everytime it comes out, maybe more than Irredeemable, maybe.

  27. I liked Wolverine 1 – but how did he die ??