The Reading Pile #7

This week we take a look at Black Badge, Hot Lunch Special, Wonder Woman, Fantastic Four, Long Live Pro Wrestling and Plastic Man. It's time to be who you are at The Reading Pile right now!

Wonder Woman 51, DC Comics, 7/25/2018
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Laura Braga

I'm an issue behind, arrrrgh, please forgive me, but this was the first thing I picked up to read this week and found it to be a perfect opener for our adventures today.

I am a huge mark for Wonder Woman and I have been since the TV series in the 70s with Lynda Carter. Reading this with a beer in a Wonder Woman pint glass on a lazy Sunday afternoon and it just makes me smile.

The Fifty-Second Visit is a one off story where Diana is facing off against Moon from issue 28 last year. I must admit I have no recollection of this issue and I am going back to read it today.

Anyways, she visits Moon in prison in various stages of her rehabilitation; trying to get her over her anger to better herself as a person. I’m a softy and this issue really got to me.

A great issue, great covers from both Artgerm and Jenny Frison and, as I said before, a great way to start The Reading Pile this week. 4/5

Fantastic Four 1, Marvel Comics, 8/8/2018
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Elisabetta D'Amico

I miss the Fantastic Four, y’all! Despite not having read a modern FF in years (the last one was 1 2 3 4 by Grant Morrison and Jae Lee) I was really glad when I heard Marvel was attempting to bring them back. Everyone hated the movies, but the 1st one was kind of fun, despite a lackluster Dr. Doom.

I’m about half way in and, meh. I know the FF’s character origins are campy, but the humor element is ramped up here. Marvel, I’m sure, wants this book to appeal to younger folk, but I wanted something more serious. Johnny Storm singing to power up a space scepter to guide the team back to earth? Pretty silly.

And this is a good time to talk about the art; it’s certainly competent, but it’s not knocking anyone’s socks off. I will say I liked the final splash page.

So the book is $5.99, very annoying, and there’s a separate Dr. Doom story to finish the book. The art style and tone of this story was a little more of what I’d hoped for. 

This was disappointing and I was pulling for it. 2.5/5

Long Live Pro Wrestling 0, Scout Comics, 8/8/2018
Writer: James Haick III
Artist: Branko Jovanovic

Soooooo, I’m a pro wrestling fan. I was a big Ric Flair fan in NWA back in the day and my nephew and brother-in-law got me back into WWE about 5 or so years ago. Yes, pro wrestling is fake and can be quite stupid, but when it is done right it can be quite magical. Sort of related, Image does a crime/noir type book called Ringside that features wrestlers outside the ring. It’s pretty good, so I knew I was hunting down a copy of this.

Book is starting off very strong! We’ve got a beloved, fictional, retired pro wrestler named, Evan Dandy, on a late night TV show, promoting his new program. The host is trying to make a fool of him and he gets flattened by Evan on live television. Things aren’t what they seem and that’s all I’m saying. I thought this was a lot of fun and if you’re into pro wrestling culture you will too. Have to mention that the art can be hit or miss from panel to panel. 3.5/5

Plastic Man 3, DC Comics, 8/8/2018
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Adriana Melo

Loving the 1st 3 issues of this 6 issue mini-series! Plastic Man is one of those obscure characters, like Iron Fist, that I’ve always been a huge fan of, for whatever reason. This book is hilarious; there is a great synergy between artist and writer and I'm sure they both are having a lot of fun on this title.

The 1st issue covers Plastic Man’s origins. Before he had the accident that made him Plastic Man, he was Eel O’Brian, a criminal. I didn’t know that! The 2nd and 3rd issues move things along with PM trying to figure out a murder, evading police, scrapping with Man-Bat and trying to rescue his child companion. The sight gags are hilarious. Warning: you won't be able to un-see this Plastic Man/Harley Quinn mashup!

I hope I'm not alone in thinking we need more Plastic Man in the DCU. 4/5

Hot Lunch Special, Aftershock Comics, 8/8/2018
Writer: Eliot Rehal
Artist: Jorge Fornes

First heard mention of this title from the irrefutable Adam Lebednik. “A mid western noir series,” I’m in for that. Let’s go!

First let me say the title, “Hot Lunch Special” is hilarious in the context of the story. Next, I will do a little dissociative description in bullet points:

  • Policeman eating sandwich.
  • Great Grandfather’s history.
  • Grandfather Jordan’s history.
  • Truck robbed.
  • Ben, Jordan’s grandkid, at school.
  • The Landing & Khoury Foods.
  • Shots fired.

Hmmmm, I thought this was just ok. I even read it twice just to make sure. I love the cover. 3/5

Black Badge 1, Boom! Studios, 8/8/2018
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Tyler Jenkins

Inside cover of this book says, “Black Badge was founded in 1910 as a sub-brand of the American Boy Scouts.” Say what?! Am I going to like this? Immediately liking the art; it’s very accessible: simple, yet detailed with really nice colors.

So there’s this tribe of kids who are posing as Boy Scouts, but are really junior covert agents following orders. This is different and I can't really tell if I like it or not after only one issue. I wasn’t crazy about this, but it’s not bad either. 3/5


Quick Hits:
Atlantis has risen in Suicide Squad 45 and continues in Aquaman 39, OMG! Redundancy alert: DC released the animated feature The Death of Superman recently when we already had Superman Doomsday from 2007. Just saying. So does Batman Ninja qualify for cult classic status yet?

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