The Reading Pile #9

It’s issue number nine, y’all! This week we take a look at Black Hammer: Age of Doom, The Punisher, West Coast Avengers, Hillbilly and The Terrifics. It’s time to reach for the stars and accomplish your goals at The Reading Pile right now!

Hillbilly 12, Albatross Funnybooks, 7/25/2018
Writer: Eric Powell
Artist: Eric Powell

I straight up got chills when I finished this issue. This was the conclusion of the blind warrior Rondel’s epic battle with the witches and, well, it WAS epic.

Confessions of love, tragedy, secrets revealed, humor and overcoming insurmountable odds, this issue had it all. This page was laugh out loud funny:

I wasn’t going to review this, I try to not review the same books over and over, but this issue just blew me away. This is the best single issue I have read in a long time and I have been reading some great books lately.

“…and that is the whole story of how a little blind boy came to be a fairy tale, a lowly drifter, a legendary hero and a savior. But there are many tales of Rondel, and this is but one.”


The Terrifics 6, DC Comics, 7/25/2018
Writers: Joe Bennett & Jeff Lemire
Artist: Sandra Hope

Another book I talked about in week 1 of The Reading Pile, but now it’s time for a more in depth review.

The Cast:

  • Mr. Terrific – attributes: inteligence; third-smartest man in the DCU.
  • Phantom Girl – attributes: intangibility; can phase through objects
  • Metamorpho, The Element Man – attributes: can transform himself into any element on the Periodic Table.
  • Plastic Man – attributes: elasticity.

There’s no denying similarities to the Fantastic Four, but it’s all done with a wink and nudge. Also, the team is cursed in that there is a dark energy that makes it so they all have to be within a mile of each other or go boom.

In this issue, the team is battling in the Element World against an adversary, similar to Metamorpho, who looks to enslave them, whilst they only wish to return home to earth. Really fun battle royale style fighting all issue with funny Plastic Man sight gags and Phantom Girl is even able to get her dog (!) in on the action. Love this little Kirby homage on the street sign:

Quirky team and a cheeky book that pokes fun of itself and superhero cliches; Jeff Lemire is one of the writers, so that makes sense.

SPOILER: Tom Strong is being introduced on the last page. Fun book! 3.5/5

The Punisher 1, Marvel Comics, 8/22/2018
Writer: Matt Rosenberg
Artist: Szymon Kudranski

Everyone is sick of The Punisher reboots. It’s been years since I’ve read a Punisher comic, I did love the character in the seventies, so I am going to give this a try, right now. You’ll get my thoughts as I read this. Sound like fun? You bet it does! Let’s continue!

First off, liking the cover and interior art. Oh no! 2nd page in we get a “Hail Hydra.” I think Hydra is so dumb, I’ve never liked this Marvel criminal organization. Sigh.

Blech, another few more pages in and the stupid ROXXON corporation is introduced. Another Marvel staple that I’ve never liked. Having said that, I am liking Baron Zemo AND the book is easy to read and looks great.

Now there are Tony Stark and Mandarin appearances…why? There’s a speech given by Mandarin at a UN meeting that reads like, “blah, blah, blah,” but then SOMETHING THAT I CAN’T REVEAL HAPPENS.

I’m giving this 3/5, but it’s a strong 3/5. The book is a fun read and looks great despite having elements (Hydra, ROXXON) that I really don’t care for. 3/5

West Coast Avengers 1, Marvel Comics, 8/22/2018
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist: Stefano Caseli

There’s some hype around this book, so why not check it out? Not really digging the cover art. Is that Quinton whatshisface from the Grant Morrison New X-Men run? I do kind of like the graphiti style logo/titles.

Going bullet style for this review:

  • 2 Hawkeyes, 1 of them is Kate Bishop and she is fighting literal land sharks. Funny panel, anyways.
  • America Chavez teleports Clint Barton, the other Hawkeye, and they assist Kate. Johnny Watts, AKA Fuse joins the fray.
  • Kate is now interviewing folks for her new west coast team.
  • I was right Quinton Quire, Kid Omega is on the cover and on the team.
  • I am starting to realize I am not Marvel’s target audience for this book.

I cannot even finish this it is so painful to read. No rating as I can’t even finish the book. I tried, folks, sorry.

Black Hammer: Age of Doom 4, Dark Horse Comics, 8/22/2018
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dean Orston

Black Hammer, y’all! Another one of my favorite titles. This book has a ton of backstory, but it is essentially a team of heroes trapped on a farm with no idea how they got there and no way to leave. These heroes have been displaced and the narrative of how they adapt to their new rural surroundings is as entertaining as anything being published. It has all kinds of lovely nods to Golden and Silver Age comics; some subtle and some not so subtle.

The cast of characters really make this title sing and here’s a quick run down of my favorites.

    • Golden Gail is an elderly woman trapped in a nine year old girl’s body. Think Shazam in reverse. She feels particularly cursed and is impatient and petulant. She also swears like a sailor.
    • Barbalien is a shape shifting alien, an obvious homage to Martian Manhunter, who also struggles with his homosexuality.
    • Colonel Weird has seemingly been driven insane by involuntary drifts through time with visions of his younger self, things that have happened and things that are going to happen. His interactions with Golden Gail are particularly hilarious.
    • Abe Slamkowski/Abraham Slam is an elderly retired hero. He is the father figure of the group and his heroics resembled those of Captain America.

I’m only scratching the surface of what is going on in this book, but I feel safe in saying ANYONE into comics will enjoy Black Hammer. There’s a reveal at the end of this issue that is quite mysterious. 5/5

Quick Hits: anyone still reading Manifest Destiny? I still find the Sacagawea and York characters interesting, but I found issue 36 fairly laborious to read. Still find the art inspiring to look at.

Lastly, to anyone reading this far, thank you. I love CBSI and I have a lot of fun writing this. Peace out and hopefully see you next week.

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