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The TALKING COMICS Review Round-Up – August 21st, 2016

The TALKING COMICS Review Round-Up

Every week, the Talking Comics collective posts a mega-list of the comics they’re most excited to pull off the shelves that week. Check back here to see if the comics on the Pull List met the team’s expectations with reviews and quippy quotables!!! Click the links to go to full reviews and reflections!!!


Also, check out our weekly Favorite Comic Book Covers of the Week column for more coverage of last week’s new books!

Also also, WRITE FOR TALKING COMICS!!! Apply now!!!

This week’s contributors:

And lovingly edited by Joey Braccino (@joeybraccino)



Insexts #7 – By Marguerite Bennett & Ariela Kristantina (end of first arc) 

Aftershock Comics
Insexts #7
  • Verdict: Buy–The opening arc of this series closes on notes both sad and mysterious, but still layered with undertones of hope for our enigmatic protagonists. The trade collecting this arc is due in stores on 31 August, so if my on-air comments have at all intrigued you, there’ll be a quick way to catch up!–Bob


Backstagers #1 – By James Tynion IV & Rian Sygh

  • BUY! Look, I may be a little biased here because the two things I nerd out about most in this universe are comics and theatre, but The Backstagers sings with heart and humor on every single page. The diversity of the cast, the quirkiness of the concept, the dynamic visual style—it all comes together to make for an absolutely astounding reading experience from cover-to-cover. I couldn’t recommend this book more. Check it! – Joey
BOOM! Studios
I love it. So. MUCH.

[Editor’s Note: Click here for a FULL REVIEW of Backstagers #1!!!]


Black Hammer #2 – By Jeff Lemire & Dean Ormston

  • BUY! Backstory and mysteries are revealed in the second issue (already!?) of Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s somber after-the-Golden-Age superhero mystery. I’m really digging the tone and tenor of Black Hammer, and it all comes down to how Jeff Lemire imbues the larger-than-life, old-school superheroes with emotional complexity, regret, and sorrow and yet, at issue’s end, there is a moment of brightness and hope that keeps things afloat. It’s a strange book, but it’s gorgeous and unique. Check it! – Joey

Brigg’s Land #1 – By Brian Wood & Mack Chater 

Dark Horse Comics
Brigg’s Land #1
  • Buy!  To preface, I thoroughly enjoy when fiction tangles with real-world problems and politics.  The premise alone should entice you to want to check this out, and I’ll vouch that the writing and artwork is good enough to want to come back for seconds.  AMC is already developing this story in television form.  That’s right – the same network that brought us the joys of Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and Preacher.  If a television network has the confidence to start working on a show before the first issue of its comic counterpart hits the stand, there’s a chance that Wood, Chater and Loughridge are introducing us to the next great comic series. – Max

[Editor’s Note: Check out Max’s full review of Brigg’s Land #1 HERE!!!]


DC Comics
Batman #5

Batman #5 by Tom King & David Finch

  • In quite a few ways this is a marked improvement on previous issues, in others not so much. Thankfully the repetitive dialogue that has been prevalent is not there and there’s finally some pay off to Gotham(man) and Gotham Girl’s story, although I’m left feeling that it all seemed a little rushed, with some holes in the plot and poorly played out. Finch’s art, especially in the action scenes, gets rather sloppy at times, lacking detail and finesse. Thankfully, the ending left me interested enough to stick with this book for the time being. – Huw
  • Check it out. This series has endured a fair amount of criticism and not entirely without merit. This issue was one of the better issues we have seen out of this arc so far and definitely had some fun parts. Alfred in the first few pages in particular was something to behold. This hasn’t been the greatest arc but it seems like it is going to end on a high note and I have faith that Tom King will deliver a much better second arc. – Nathan
DC Comics
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #1

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #1 – By Julie Benson & Claire Ro

  • This felt like more of the same from the Rebirth issue for me. I liked it to a point thanks to Batgirl and Black Canary’s dynamic, but it didn’t blow me away but there’s just enough in the way of hints towards the formation of the team to show that things might just take a turn for the better down the road. That being said, I sadly I don’t see this turning into a classic BoP run. – Huw
  • On the fence…As a HUGE fan of the classic Chuck Dixon & Gail Simone runs mentioned by my good friend Huw, I agree that this one isn’t off to a good start. For me, it read as if it were cobbled together after scanning the Wikipedia entry for BoP, making sure to hit certain key elements. Not awful, but awfully clunky (the dialogue and captions particularly), and even though for me it’s not ever going to be the true Birds of Prey without Barbara as Oracle, I’ll try to give the new team the time to find their footing, both on the page and behind it, but I’m not as patient as I used to be.–Bob
  • Wait and See. I want to like this book so much, and it has certain elements to it that are a lot of fun. For me, the art was distracting. Particularly the faces. Some panels were beautiful and others were difficult to look at. That being said, it had moments and now that team is “together” hopefully we will start to see this book hit its stride. I am on board for another issue. – Nathan

Nightwing #3 – Tim Seeley & Javier Fernandez 

DC Comics
Nightwing #3
  • Wait and See.  Through the first three issues, Nightwing has been a joy to read.  I still enjoyed this issue, but the dialogue between Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon is becoming cliche and formulaic.  The art is also simplistic compared to several other DC Rebirth runs, and it’s not my favorite.  The overall plot is still very intriguing, and Nightwing has been a solid run so far, which means that I’m aboard until at least the end of this first story arc. -Max
  • Check It Out. I’m still enjoying what Tim Seeley is doing with Dick Grayson, and the whole Parliament of Owls plot line has only just begun, but as Max said, this issue isn’t as good as the previous ones. Batgirl’s inclusion provides a solid moral compass for Dick but she’s too much of a damsel in distress in this issue for me. On top of that, Raptor’s “is he a villain or is he a hero?” mystique is not nearly as unpredictable as it should be though I’m curious to learn more about his motives as the series goes on. -John D.
  • Check it Out. I am really enjoying this arc by Tim Seeley and had a lot of fun reading this issue. It involved puzzles though, and I am a sucker for that. I love seeing Batgirl in this book and while her role was somewhat predictable in this issue, I hope we get to see her stick around and her role evolve. I am all in on this series. – Nathan
DC Comics
Harley Quinn #2

Harley Quinn #2 – By Amanda Connor, Jimmy Palmiotti and Chad Hardin

  • Wait and see.  Since the creative team for Harley Quinn is a carryover from The New 52, I think it’s fair to compare the recent and current runs in this instance.  The adrenaline-filled glee with which Harley rushes head-first into the action is infectious.  Harley’s ability to have fun in the face of danger is a breath of fresh air in a fictional universe that is wont to take itself quite seriously.  There’s just no character or storyline-defining ‘ah-ha!’ moment to this issue.  I’ve enjoyed Connor and Palmiotti’s work on the lovable anti-hero in the past, and this issue has its merit, so I’ll stick with Harley for now. -Max
  • Wait and see. I fully expect this series to be top notch as Connor and Palmiotti have treated their run with care and enormous amounts of fun. This issue was certainly fun but it lacked that one heartfelt moral-of-the-story moment that this team usually provides in each issue that balances out the crazy. Like I said, it was still a fun read and I am definitely sticking on this title, but this wasn’t the finest issue of this series. – Nathan

Suicide Squad #1 – By Rob Williams & Jim Lee 

DC Comics
Suicide Squad #1
  • Check It Out. I’m still caught up in Suicide Squad fever, so having this title relaunch with a majority of the team from the film is a well-timed treat. However, beyond the novelty of seeing Harley, Deadshot, Katana, Boomerang, Croc, and Enchantress in these familiar roles, the issue never gets the chance to show readers a whole lot that’s new. There’s a chance this series could take the team into new territory but right now it feels like too much familiar ground. -John D.

[Editor’s Note: Check out John’s full review of Suicide Squad #1 here!!!]

  • Wait and See. What we got out of this issue was fun. The problem with it is that it barely progresses the story due to being so short. There are 13 pages of the actual story, and then another 7 with a Deadshot backup. Now, I like the idea of the backups as a way of giving us backstory of the core members of the team. It’s just hard to swallow at the expense of the story. I will say, Jim Lee’s art was beautiful. Also, there is a page with Croc in a spacesuit that is disgustingly awesome. – Nathan
DC Comics
Supergirl REBIRTH

Supergirl REBIRTH – By Steve Orlando & Emanuela Lupacchino

[Editor’s Note: For Jesse Bowden’s full review of Supergirl, click here!!!]

  • I’ve never read any Supergirl so I went into this without the expectation from anything that’s before. I really enjoyed this issue, I’m always a sucker for a book in which the hero smiles! One thing I loved about Supergirl was the art, it’s a perfect fit for what transpires and Kara looks pretty damn awesome. I’m on board for an issue or two more at least. – Huw
  • Buy.  Like Huw, I went into this issue with an open mind and zero previous exposure to Supergirl.  I love the character design, which depicts our super-heroine as attractive without crossing the thick, red line of objectifying her.  The art throughout is well above par, and the writing gives just enough backstory and strong character moments to make me want to come back for the next issue. -Max
  • Buy. This was a fun read. While the origin story isn’t quite the same as the TV show, it fits with what is currently happening in Rebirth. Without prior exposure to any Supergirl comics, though, this exceeded my expectations. The art is fantastic and her character is well-written. I’m looking forward to what comes next, especially after that ending. – Deanna
  • Buy. After his success with Midnighter, I am excited to see what he ends up doing with this series. It is also great to have a regular Supergirl title back in our lives. I also loved the art as each panel really popped and was beautiful to look at. The writing of the character has also set this up to be strong. It suffers from the issue that many of the initial Rebirth titles do in that it was somewhat stilted by needing to set things up, and I was not a fan of the Lar-On character. Minor quibbles aside, this is a beautiful book that feels like is going to treat this character with the love and care she deserves. – Nathan

Superman #5 – By Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason & Doug Mahnke 

DC Comics
Superman #5
  • Buy!  As of this week, Superman and Wonder Woman are neck-and-neck for my favorite DC ongoing series.  The artwork continues to be nothing short of great.  Tomasi and Gleason really understand Clark’s character and voice.  The storyline is brimming with emotional moments to spare, and yet these moments announce themselves organically.  There are several heroic moments in this issue, one of which made me applaud and it did not belong to Clark.  If you haven’t checked out Superman yet, you’re missing one of the great ongoing super-hero stories.  -Max
  • Buy. I mostly agree with Max’s enthusiasm as this has been a very entertaining arc as a whole, and Tomasi has earned my trust. However, I actually thought that Superman #4 was a hot mess after loving the first three issues. That had me nervous heading into this issue but it redeemed itself completely in my eyes. Lois and Jon are the characters that really make this book, and in this issue they were able to take center stage which was a lot of fun to watch. -Nathan


Superf**kers FOREVER #1 – By James Kochalka 

IDW Publishing
Superf*ckers FOREVER #1




Demonic #1 – By Chris Sebela & Niko Walter

  • Wait and see. I was leaning towards buy on this, because crime and horror go so well together, but the confusion led to this decision. If you are into a comic that really wants to make you think, as crime in general tends to do, keep an eye out for the next few issues. Maybe things will start to come together. – Deanna 
Image Comics
Demonic #1

[Editor’s Note: Check out Deanna’s full thoughts on Demonic #1 by clicking here!!!]

Spawn Kills Everyone (One-Shot) – By Todd McFarlane and J.J. Kirby

  • Skip.  I really, really wanted to like Spawn Kills Everyone.  It tries to pull off a Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe vibe, and has some of the same elements in place most notably crass humor and self-deprecation.  However, McFarlane tries too hard to turn Spawn into Deadpool.  He also borrowed the premise of this one-shot from a Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Connor Harley Quinn issue.  The humor is too inconsistent to make the story feel as organic as its Marvel and DC influences.  There are some shining moments, especially early on, but ultimately this issue doesn’t escape the shadow of the books that it’s drawing from. -Max
Image Comics
Spawn Kills Everyone

[Editor’s Note: Want to know more of what Max thought of Spawn? Click here!!!]

The Wicked + The Divine #22 – By Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie & Matt Wilson (end of story arc)

  • Good. Gods. How did we get here!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?! Wic+Div #22 is the end of “Rising Action” and climax it does in the most action-packed, twisted of ways. Wild series, wild arc conclusion, wild that people aren’t reading it! PICK THIS BOOK UP, FOLKS!!! – Joey


All-New Wolverine #11 – By Tom Taylor and Ig Guara 

Marvel Comics
All-New Wolverine #11
  • Buy. I never thought I would enjoy a Wolverine book this much. Although this issue does make Captain America look like the world’s biggest you-know-what, the level-headed Laura (and delightful Gabby) keep this book consistently great. The end of this issue is painfully tragic but knowing Tom Taylor, it’s not just for shock value sake. -John D.

The Mighty Thor #10 – Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman & Matt Wilson

  • BUY!–As always, the continuing excellence of the story and art is more-than-worth mentioning, but when Thor….nope, not gonna spoil it, but you’re going to want to own this issue, let me say..–Bob


Timberwolf Entertainment
The Few and Cursed #1

The Few and Cursed #1 (Timberwolf Entertainment) – By Felipe Cagno & Fabiano Neves

  • Verdict: Check it out. Despite how many genres, The Few and Cursed is trying to be, it is a Western first. If you don’t like the idea of a classic foul-mouthed Western combined with post-apocalyptic supernatural elements, then this isn’t for you. It is beautifully rendered and never dull, and at $2.99 for a six issue miniseries it is not a huge investment, but might read better as a collected edition. Check it out on comixology here!!! – Nathan

[Editor’s Note: Click here for Nathan’s full review of The Few and Cursed #1!!!]


And that’s our Pull List for this week!!! If you happen to pick up any of these books, please join the conversation here or on twitter and let us know what you think! As we update the site with reviews and verdicts on these comics, we’d love to include your input!


Joey Braccino took his BA in English and turned it into an Ed.M. in English Education. Currently, he brings comics back in a big way all day every day to the classroom. In addition to proselytizing the good word of comics to this nation’s under-aged…

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