The Reading Pile #22

Welcome to issue 22 (Whatcha' Gonna' Do?) of The Reading Pile. Some weeks I'm just not that blown away by the books I've read. I couldn't even find a panel or cover for my feature image above. So for the backdrop, I used a floor I photographed at a comic book store this week. I also included some other fun stuff I found to keeps things interesting. Let's get to it.

Monstress 19, Image Comics, 1/23/2019
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Sana Takeda

Monstress is back and we get a fairly action packed issue with Maika and Sir Corvin D'oro (I think a romance is brewing) battling and Kirupa, one of Maika's companions, captured and trying to escape. This issue got a little cute and felt a little like a romance novel at times, but there were enough fbombs and violence to keep it grounded to where we need to be. I am starting to feel weighed down by the history of the book, like I have in the past, but that’s my issue. 3.5/5

Ice Cream Man 9, Image Comics, 1/30/2019
Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artist: Martin Morazzo

This book is no stranger to The Reading Pile, I reviewed issue 6 here, and I do think it is delicious, ha. I open it up and see we are getting a Western story and I’m stoked.

Hopscotch Melange (melange means “a mixture” if you’re curious) starts the way many westerns do, in a desert canyon. We see a creepy, giant arachnid being hunted by a cowboy and his wolfbeast. The panels are slightly humorous, the cowboy has pointed ears and coal black eyes. Like he’s a vampire or alien. Oh, we are mixing genres, I get it.

We cut to the “end of the road” where our protagonist meets with his uncle and off kilter (well, everyone in this story is off kilter, but this character even moreso) cousin. Seems like some major life changes are being planned as the family is looking to get out of town, or off of this world, I’m thinking.

The crazy cousin does some crazy stuff, there’s a poignant death and a final epic battle with philosophical meanderings throughout. I thought this issue was solid and stylistically very cool, but if I’m being honest this wasn’t one of my favorite issues of this title. And, hey, I did love the A cover, which is pictured above. 3.5/5

Thor 7, Marvel Comics, 11/14/2019
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Toney Moore

Geez, guys, this issue is from back in November, but it was one of my favorite things I read in the last 2 weeks, so it must be included.

Tony Moore’s art really suits the title. I have never liked regular artist Mike Del Mundo’s, who did the cover art, impressionistic style for Thor; it has a dream like quality to it and feels all wrong for Thor to me. Anyways, this is a very classic stand alone Thor story.
Odin is upset Thor is spending so much time on Midgard and Loki, trying to impress, has the brilliant idea/plan of Thor falling in love, but wanting to leave that realm to mend his broken heart. So Loki sets the tables for Thor to fall for the warrior mortal, Erica the Red. It all backfires for everyone and, of course, Thor is heartbroken. This was a great, skillfully crafted story that wasn't weighed down by any long standing continuity or anything like that. 4/5

Heroes in Crisis, DC Comics, 1/30/2019
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Clay Mann

I think I've reviewed every issue of this. It's left that much of an impression on me, for better or worse. I think this starts out horribly; I guess I am starting to dislike the concept and execution of Sanctuary at this point, but have enjoyed the fisticuffs, art and mystery.

Some of the dialog in this, yeesh.
This is awful. I guess people talk like this, but I think I want more sophistication from my superheroes or something. Wink, wink.

Guess I’m a sucker, ‘cause Superman’s speech and Harley Quinn’s presence, she has been the real star of this title, have won me over by book’s end and I'm in for the duration, I guess. The second half of this was really good, to be quite honest. 3/5

Murder Falcon 4, Image Comics, 1/9/2019
Writer: Daniel Warren Johnson
Artist: Daniel Warren Johnson

This book is so damn goofy, but it is fun as hell. Daniel Warren Johnson has actually built a pretty accessible story around this silly premise of an extraterrestrial falcon merging with a down on his luck guitar player, named Jake, to fight for humanity. There’s a whole band behind Jake now as issue 2 introduces a bass player and issue 3, of course, introduces a drummer. The Murder Falcon has a whole band backing him now! This issue also has one of the best B covers of the series by Ryan Ottley. 4/5

Quick Hits

Wonder Woman 63 – I think the B cover might have a chance at becoming a $20 book at some point, but there are about 100 listings out there now with everyone undercutting.

As for the story, it was fairly pedestrian stuff. I wasn’t too keen on minotaurs, a pegasus and a Pan like creature displaced from Themyscira. At least the art was awesome.

Justice League 16 – please no more adventures in Hawk World. I have tried to follow it but I have no interest in this. Someone please tell me if I am wrong. B covers have not been good last few issues either. Could be a drop soon.

Immortal Hulk 12 – EVERYONE is singing praises to this book and it doesn’t take a genius to see that folks missed Bruce Banner and that the book might be a hit with the right story. I called this a quality book way back in issue two.

Anyways, this is a fun and trippy read. Banner being abused by his dad, the Hulk crying in Hell (a very weird visual), and dissociative identity disorder. We do get into too much mumbo jumbo psychology crap with Banner’s dad, but it does serve the story well. Really fun reveal of The One Below All at the end that is sort of spoiled on the cover. 4/5

Other Stuff

So yeah, about those Artgerm Detective Comics 1000 exclusives…quite the rip off. $130?!?! I think it's greedy, but it's hard not to see this as a reaction to how some of these books do in the secondary market.

Dudes, check out my Wonder Woman solid decorated milk chocolate!

Put this in the “had to get it” category.

Do you folks want longer articles from me? I try to contain these to about 1000 words, but I found myself with a little more to say this issue. I left some books off that will probably be in Quick Hits in the future and I do have some opinions on some books dropping this week. Let me know in the comments.

So that's it for this issue, be good to each other and read some comics. Peace.

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