Top 10 Favorite User Submitted Reviews

At the end of every one of my podcasts I suggest going to the iFanboy site and making pull lists and writing reviews. I do that for a reason beyond just promoting iFanboy and myself. I think the user reviews are the coolest thing about iFanboy For reals.

My fellow contributors are incredible writers. Josh, Conor, and Ron are great overlords. They never leave any visible marks. The fact that Mr. & Mrs. iFanboy raised three such wonderful men is a testament to their lunar origin. That is the obvious reason the site is great, but there is a sneaky reason laying beneath. The site is great resource for comic fans but it isn’t just a one way road. No. You guys get to throw your opinions out there as well and I love reading them. So many people with such an incredible passion for comics are an inspiration. So I have gone through and picked my favorite reviews from 2010.

Please note that I haven’t read every single review. I read a TON of reviews but I can't say that I hit all of them.  I am sure there are some other great ones but these are the ones that caught my eye. They aren’t all reviews I agree with but I thought they all expressed themselves clearly. That was the one criteria I really looked at. I tried to ignore spelling errors and grammar slips. I wanted the reviews where the writers really channeled their feelings. Whether they were positive or negative. I have linked the review and included my favorite passage of each review.

Drum roll…..

10.  Scalped #38 by wayne1bc

I'm glad that Aaron doesn't share Red Crow's view because I could read a whole new title just about him.

I don't want to give away who the surprise character is, even though it is pretty easy to figure out. Guera is such a skilled artist that you can see the resemblance between this character and who he's related to.

In most of these cases great reviews have been brought on by great books . Scalped is great book with a lot of meat on the bone for the reviewer. wayne1bc hones in on my favorite aspect of Scalped. Every character seems real.

Not just real in the “comes from a bad family” way, but real in the “has a whole lifetime of bad mojo and could fill a book with stories” way. Any ancillary character that pops up in Scalped seems to have a whole comic series hidden within them. Not only does their story seem deep but Guera gives a unique visual look to every character. The man knows how to put the weight of the world through his pencil. If he uses pencil, maybe it is digital. MAYBE IT IS BLACK MAGIK!

9.  S.H.I.E.LD. #1 by Bootmobile

Hickman’s story ambitions are obviously huge and the only way to effectively tell it puts a heavy storytelling weight on the art. Not many artists in the industry could have done this book, not even some of the greats, but Weaver is fantastic here.

The much beloved new series from Marvel gets a rave and well thought out review from Bookmobile. In an era where much of the talk about the Big 2 seems to be centered on their “recycling” of classic concepts, it is refreshing to see a book tossing so much against the wall. It was a bold story with bold visuals and a bold review.

Personally, I don’t know if the book has lived up to it’s promise. I still don’t think we actually know anything about Leonid, or really have much of an idea of what the central thrust of the story is. It has the feeling of a well drawn and well conceived roll playing source book.

8.  Superman #701 by Bootmobile

I find it very interesting that again in three places Superman is depicted as being physically condescending to the people he meets and wonder if it was deliberate or is Barrows is just instinctively reacting to the tone of the dialog.

Repeat! Repeat! Bookmobile points out something I didn’t really think about when I read this book. Looking at the issue it does seem like Barrows doesn’t quite know what to do with Superman’s physicality. A lot has been made of JMS’s awkward approach to Superman speaking to the common man, but the art isn’t helping most of the time either.

Perhaps it is just a case of two creators not quite being on the same page as to what the feel of the character should be. The reader knows that Superman has almost unlimited power, especially in comparison to the average person. As soon as the art hints to some level of malevolence, no matter how slight, the audience is going to start feeling uncomfortable with Superman. He is supposed to be a cool older brother, not a weird uncle.

7. Superman #701 by TheNextChampion

This is the Superman I want all the time in comics. Not a guy who fights aliens 24/7 (not that I don't want action) but a guy who is just a bit more 'superior' then the average person.

The cool thing about reading all these user reviews is seeing how different people can react to the very same piece of work. Fandom can get a bit caught up in building consensus about books. That dream of the “perfect book” in full effect. As much as I loathed JMS’s Superman, TheNextChampion dug it. He also does pretty good job of explaining what it is about the book that draws him in. It’s art people! We aren’t going to agree all the time….unless it is about The Sentry: Fallen Sun…right?

6. Hack/Slash : My First Maniac #1 (of 4) by Psymin1

Quickie Review: Like blood and violence? BUY IT.

Psyimin1 gets in with my favorite type of review. Someone discovering a book that is a bit off the beaten path and loving it. Not only loving it but wanting other people to give it a shot. You also have to love a Quickie Review. He knows I have business to get to. I just need the Executive Overview.

Hack/Slash is totally awesome. Comic fans love genre fiction and stories that play with those conventions (Hello Marvel! Hello DC!). Instead of cowls, Hack/Slash deals with cleavers. It goes beyond just sexy chicks fighting serials killers, but not so far that it isn’t cool anymore.

5. Amazing Spider-Man #617 by odare77

The Rhino redesign is very sharp although, am I wrong in thinking they never really showed him in full?  If that's true, it kind of worked in that Jaws style of not showing too much too soon.  It gives him an element of mystery which in turn contributes to the sense of menace.

This is my favorite single issue of the year and odare77 seems to hit all the spots. Kelly wrote a hell of a story taking a punching bag of a villain and giving him a depth that I didn’t think was possible. Fiumara gives the book intense moments of violence mixed with heartbreaking pathos. It shows that the well for superhero stories isn’t completely dry. It made me tear up, but I am a softie.

4.  Punisher #14 by odare77

And then there's Frank himself, bizarrely more humane than he's seemed to me in a long time.

Repeat! Repeat! I agree! Encore!

Frankencastle was a great re-contextualization of the character for those of us who never clicked with the traditional Frank Castle. All the same ghosts haunted him but now he looked like Frankenstein, which seems to be a huge draw for some of us. The death’s of his family still hung over him. The guilt and the responsibility still lurked. It was still Frank, just in new duds.

Remender, Brereton, and Moore got a chance to do a story that is stripped away all the trappings of The Punisher. The cliches were gone and we got to see another side of the character. A rarity with such a large property.

3. Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #6 (of 6) by Desaad

It’s “All over” for EVIL, baby. But we’ll get to that.

This review makes more sense then the story. Seriously, I couldn’t tell what was going on half the time in the book but props to Desaad for taking the time to write this missive. Now that I have read that I am going to dig up my issues.

That is passion. To sit and write out such an exciting and detailed review/overview of an issue is really a labor of love. Just don’t do it all the time or your head is going to break.

2. Weird World of Jack Staff #4 by markish

The weeks when Jack Staff comes out are like amazing miniature birthdays thrown for you by Image! Much celebrations are had, much reading is done! Then re-reading. Then re-reading previous issues. Then letting it melt into your brain…

markish is right. Weird World of Jack Staff will melt into your brain. I get a little excited every time I see an issue is coming out, which isn’t often, which is a problem. The review really goes into depth about the unique qualities of the series. Uniqueness can often mean low sales. If you are curios about Jack Staff, read the review and find out what you are missing.

1. Orc Stain #3 by NOK

"My yurt is adorned with the gronch skins of a thousand Orc tribe warlords! i am the death digger the head raker, the bone cruncher! I AM ORC INCARNATE!"

The review is not long but it is totally metal. That gets it the #1 spot. Next year if you want to grab this spot make sure to mention the genital mutilation of orcs. This review has the unique quality of being an actual extension of the book. Now just read the whole thing and go buy Orc Stain. Nice job NOK!

Having read A LOT of your reviews I do have the following tips –

1) Stop saying “First of all, I have to say…” at the beginning of the review. I know it is the first thing. It is first.

2) Stop “confessing”. As in “I have to confess…” The only one you have to worry about pissing off is Alan Moore (English Inquisition), and I don’t think he reads the site. If he does, Jason Aaron will get your back.


Tom Katers has gotten inside your heads. Now to lay the eggs.


  1. I was really hoping that high scored Senty Fallen Sun user review was going to be included haha.

    This was great though. Totally agree with that Punisher 14 review.

  2. Nice reviews and tips Tom.  Maybe I should get to reviewing more often.

  3. Sweet. Now my button for:

    “7th Best User Review in 2010” Can have some use!

    Thanks for the mention, but really there are some great reviews in this feature. Especially Desaad’s review of ROBW, which is so massive that it’s like reading a short story.

  4. Haha, Gene Shalit.

  5. First of all, there’s a confession I have to make… 

    Thanks, Tom, now we’re never going to hear the end of this from the Champ. 😉 Great article spotlighting the user reviews, this must have been one time consuming list to put together! 

  6. @Prax: Wait, what was the confession? Also…..look at my new button!

  7. I’l make it next year.

  8. Thanks Tom! It was thanks to I-fanboy that I discovered Orc Stain. The weekly list is never lacking…
    Can we have more Comics that make Tom Cry?

    You guys got beat by a girl! 😛

  9. I made the cut!  What a pleasant surprise.  Thanks Tom.  I’m motivated to write more reviews.  I can’t wait to get home and read the rest of the top 10.  

  10. Orc Stain, that was a comic? I thought it was a hallucination…  

  11. Ummm. Akaamu, although he isn’t writing anymore reviews, wrote some pretty solid-ass critiques.  Surprised to not see him on here.

  12. Cool article.

    Props to all user reviewers who put their time into really engaging these books for our enjoyment (or ire).

  13. @vadamowens  Ditto.

  14. Wow, very flattered. Heck it is always nice to know that someone is reading. Thanks man.

  15. Wow, that’s really kind of cool.  Great tips too Tom!  The review process is one of the most unique things about the site as I find it does actually encourage you to engage witht the books you read and, for someone who lives in a part of the world that doesn’t have the most thriving comics community, gives you an outlet to really shout about the stuff that gets you excited.  Just a shame that the New Reviewing  Year has been off to a bad start thanks to Diamond shipping to the UK so late.

  16. Aww, I’m kind of touched by getting a mention. I’ve been meaning to do more reviews and this might be the prod I needed.

    Seriously though, I don’t know if I made it clear, but Jack Staff is awesome.

  17. Hey, thanks to everyone for the love about the review. The work Morrison is doing on Batman right now, I think, is so good that it really demands of us that we up our own game, that we think more deeply about what is being said and how he chooses to say it.

    Lots of other great reviews, too, and lets be honest if they were all as long as mine no one would read them. 🙂

  18. @Desaad  I agree with this man. Comics that I can think about for weeeeeks afterwards are comics I want to read. Again and again.

    Mind you, I also like comics where people punch gorillas, so…