The Reading Pile #30


Hey gang, been a minute, apologies. Let's get right into it.


Silver Surfer Black 1, Marvel Comics, 6/12/2019
Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Tradd Moore


Let's start off with a book I absolutely loved. Some background: I am in the minority, but I don’t think Donny Cates is all that. He’s ok, I mostly like his stuff, just don’t think he’s AWESOME or anything. Well, God Country was awesome. His attitude gets on my nerves, sometimes, too. “Don’t criticize the artists they are friends of mine, wah, wah, wah,” whatever, Donny. Now let's get to talking about the book.

First off, the art did NOT look like something I would like, but it’s wonderfully surreal in the “black” parts, but perhaps a little too silly/cartoony in the others. But regardless of whether you like the style of the art, you have to admit that artist, Tradd Moore, moves the story along wonderfully within the confines of the panels.



Issue was great: we get an intro; the surfer battling some heroes (mostly Beta Ray Bill); the Surfer transported and then battling some planet guarding sentries; and a big reveal at the end.

Have to admit I was skeptical as hell about this book, I only bought it to review. But I LOVED this, totally surprised me and I adore this hobby when that happens.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Verdict: so worth your time.


The Batman Who Laughs 6, DC Comics, 6/12/2019
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Jock



Let's talk cover art, I bought the Frison cover B and I still think it's awesome. But I go back and forth over which I think is better. Jock is so outstanding and his gritty art is so appropriate for Batman.



Have to admit, this issue was DAMN suspenseful; just oooozing with madness and tension. You’ve got Gordon and James Jr. in a tussle with the Grim Knight and Batman clinging to the last grasps of his sanity as he battles TBWL. Art is on point here as Jock gives us some of the scariest and distorted versions of TBWL in the character’s brief history.

I do wish Snyder would find some new avenues of Batman storytelling, other than madness, but this was good.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Verdict: I gots to say, I think it's worth your time.


Justice League 25, DC Comics, 6/5/2019
Writer: James Tinion IV
Artist: Javier Fernandez



This started out so good. Just has an old school feel as the JL battle future versions of themselves in the Sixth Dimension. Great art, fun fight scenes and Superman digs deep to find a way to win.

The 2nd half the book is a Year of the Villain companion. It was ok, but I liked the 1st half better. I’m just not feeling Year of the Villain, to be honest. Reminds me of Forever Evil, too.

Story: 3/5
Art: 4/5
Verdict: felt a little uneven to me.

Quick Hits

Paper Girls 29 – Well, the series is winding down, series ends at issue 30, and I definitely enjoyed the book more before this last arc. Journey is better than the destination type of thing…I say that a lot. Is the ending being rushed? I dunno, but it just seems kind of blah. The cast of Paper Girls has always kind of run together and now that they are interacting with future versions of themselves it can be confusing. I did love this book before this final arc.

Criminal 4 – Still excellent, just starting to feel “samey” to me; guess I’m spoiled by Brubaker/Phillips awesomeness or something. Brubaker says he is starting one of what he thinks is one of the greatest Criminal arcs ever in issue 5. So there is that. Hope to review that next week, stay tuned.

DCeased 2 – Art is waaaaaay more consistent in this issue and the read is really fun. I expected zombie Batman to be a tougher kill. SPOILER! Killer Mattina cover. I know it’s not Bizzarro, but it certainly resembles him.

Old Man Dan

I think I have found my definitive old man look. I did have my beard trimmed down to mutton chops, a few weeks ago, and the awesome @t_la_ross put this photo up in one of the comic groups I frequent. Pretty funny.


So, another issue of The Reading Pile is in the books. I hope to be back real soon with a handful of the newish Image books I've picked up. Until then, keep it positive and read some comics.




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    Great reviews this week. I agree that Tradd Moore`s art is silly in this title. Everything is distorted and wiggly and just plain silly looking. His Luther Strode work is much better and has a Frank Miller circa Ronin era feel to it. Sadly, I passed on Silver Surfer because of the high school level of art, but your review has convinced me to give it a try for the writing. Regarding Batman, spot on review! Jock is one of the most exciting artists in the industry and Batman is the perfect title for someone with his talent. Thanks for the reviews.

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    Love the reviews. Thanks

  • Ben C

    Great job Dan, I’m really looking forward to SS Black, was on the fence about the art as well but sounds like I will enjoy. Thanks!

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    Weird/surreal pretty much sums up Marvel’s cosmic side of things. Look back at Jim Starlin’s stuff (which I love). I wasn’t super thrilled by the character reveal at the end but that’s just me. I do like Cates. So far his Thanos stuff has been my favorite work of his. Disclaimer: I have not fed God Country.

  • Batmanispunkrock

    Made the stupid idea to tradewait BWL and Silver Surfer. 🤷🏼‍♂️

    I agree with your points about Cates. I loved God Country and Redneck. If you haven’t read Paybacks or Ghost Fleet, those are worth your time.

    I am saving the last arc of Paper Girls to read in one sitting. I’ll probably reread the series before the last arc finishes. I am way too old to follow a time travel story over 3 years. 😂

  • Adam Lebednik

    i have some reading to do, thx!

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    I love justice league. It’s so far out there but it’s just great imo.
    Silver surfer was solid. Always enjoy stuff about norin.

  • Ben Steiniger

    Really appreciate your opinions on these titles Dan! Well done as usual.

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