The Reading Pile #10

What?!? You thought Labor Day Weekend was going to hold this column’s tenth week back?!? Nuh-uh. This week we take a look at Harley Quinn/Gossamer, Beyonders, The Joker/Daffy Duck and Venom: First Host. Let my thoughts become your reality at The Reading Pile right now!

Venom: First Host 1, Marvel Comics, 8/29/2018
Writer: Mike Costa
Artist: Mark Bagley

I’ve never been the biggest Venom fan. I am old enough to have bought an Amazing Spider-Man 300 off a spinner rack at a 7-11 upon release. I thought it was an ok issue with a great cover, but I preferred old school villains like Doc Ock, Vulture, Shocker, etc. any day of the week. As an aside, I sold the book for like $30 a good 5 years before the price started sky rocketing. Well, I must confess, today I find all of the mania around Venom to be quite annoying. But that won’t stop me from reading this book! No way!

  • Kind of “meh” on the A cover; looks like fairly generic Marvel art.
  • The first page looks cool; shame we cut away so quickly.
  • Interactions with Skrulls and Kree and, wow, I think this is lame so far. Tel-Kar the Kree, really? How is it that people don’t find stuff like this as idiotic as me? Would this appeal to the 12 year me? I don’t think it would.
  • Now we are with Eddie Brock and some more “Venomesque” action that I was expecting is happening.

Speaking frankly, I just don’t like the majority of Marvel Comics these days. There are many elements in their comics that I think are silly: Skrulls, Kree, Hydra, ROXXON, etc. I do like some titles: Immortal Hulk and Dr. Strange have got favorable reviews here. But the more I think about THIS book, the more irritated I get.

This book isn’t for me, but I guess it has an audience out there somewhere. Maybe I should have read Ve’Nam or something? 2/5

Harley Quinn/Gossamer 1, DC Comics, 8/29/2018
Writer: Amanda Conner, Sholly Fisch, Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: David Alvarez, Pier Brito

Really dug the B cover, shown above, for this. Ugh, interior art is kind of odd. Proportions of Harley’s face keep missing the mark and there's  just a general unpolished look to the characters. This is the kind of book you would expect from Connor and Palmiotti, story wise. Can’t help but laugh out loud at these opening panels with Gossamer and Harley; they’re funny.

Minor spoilers: Gossamer has washed up on a beach after a hurricane, Harley finds him and they are soon attacked by a building sized robot that Harley assumes the Joker sent. Misadventures follow and we learn about Gossamer’s origins and how he came to Coney Island.

This story was fun and deserved much better art, especially with a $4.99 price tag. 3/5

Beyonders 1, Aftershock Comics, 8/29/2018
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Wesley St.Claire

Another new Aftershock book. I know very little about this title. Something about cryptology or something? Digging the A cover, shown above, reminds me of Dean Haspiel, while the B cover has actually caught some heat on the secondary market.

“Okay, pay attention because this is complicated.” I’ll say; treated to a 2 page history lesson right off the bat. Minor spoilers throughout this review.

    • 1924 Mount Everest expedition.
    • Mystical village in England older than Stonehenge.
    • A primitive battery invented around 250 BC in Baghdad.
    • etc.

Cut to Jacob Tate, he says he’s an authority on this stuff, he has a cute little Corgi dog, he’s from Alaska and he’s not having much luck with online dating chats with the ladies.

OMG! Jacob just finds out his aunt and uncle are robots, his life is in danger and a covert group of freedom fighters (The Beyonders) can communicate with him through a device in his dog’s collar. One of these freedom fighters he was chating with on the dating app.

This all ended a bit quickly for my liking, but I enjoyed it. There’s also a treasure hunt (that I sucked at) with symbols & clues, sprinkled throughout the book.

Crack the code and the 1st 100 correct answers, submitted via email, win a prize. 3.5/5

The Joker/Daffy Duck 1, DC Comics, 8/29/2018
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Brett Booth

Guess I’m giving another Looney Tunes crossover a try. Cover B for this, which is shown above, is straight up killer, just like The Joker!

Ooooooh, nice art. This is how Harley/Gossamer should have been drawn and it has a little bit of a Brian Bolland feel, too. Nice start as Joker is, literally, killing his audience at a comedy club and Daffy Duck is locked away in an asylum somewhere. The title to this book is: “Why Tho Theriouth?” Awesome.

OMG, Daffy has just stumbled on to one of the Joker’s violent interrogations at ACME warehouse. He’s scared to death, y’all! And how did he get out of the asylum? Haha, Daffy has talked his way into being Joker’s “lead” henchman. Guess he doesn’t know Joker usually ends up murdering his crews, whoopsie. Daffy sets out to sabotage Joker’s efforts at a banquet robbery and they both get nabbed by Batman.

This book was a ton of fun and looked great, too. I will shake my finger at DC and say, “shame on you!” No way this was a $5 book, but, whatever, I still liked it. 3.5/5

Light week as it was the dreaded 5th Wednesday of the month. I may be taking a week or two off to recharge my batteries and implement a new logo for The Reading Pile. Thanks for reading and I hope to be back real soon.

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