“Cardinal” Roberto de Bexar

So the Marvel Universe is kinda-sorta-not-really-but-is restarting again, and one can only assume that it will be kicked off (or re-re-re-rebooted) with Infinity Countdown Prime, done up by writer Gerry Duggan and, one of the very best artists out there today, Mike Deodato Jr. His crisp drawings make this story better than what it is. The problem with this issue, then — and it really isn’t Duggan’s fault — is the amount of set-up in so few pages. By the end of the issue, all I heard was Van Halen’s “Everybody Wants Some!!” (an amazing song but the point is…). I read this kind of comic before. While it starts off really strong with an “eye-popping” Logan/Loki reunion and finishes on a huge Hank Pym question mark, this Prime could have (and probably should have) been stretched out over 2 issues. 3/5 Infinity Bibles.

-Robert Bexar

HIT-GIRL #1 – Image Comics
Jason “Bad Preacher” Bud

If you have no conscientious objection to reading a comic book that fetishizes imperialistic horror porn (that we in this country happen to be the greatest purveyors of in the history of the real whirled), as personified through the actions of a twelve-year-old American girl (Hit-Girl, how equal-opportunity and feminist), who was trained to be a murderous vigilante by her now-deceased father (Big Daddy, basically a felon and a killer), who himself initially claimed to be a former NYPD cop (but wasn’t), who in actuality kidnapped his own daughter from her mother so that he could instill in her those vigilante killing ways, in hopes of simply making her life “more interesting,” as they worked side-by-side to supposedly take down the “bad guys” while circumventing everyone’s legally established Miranda Rights–regardless of what manner of crime their so-called victims are accused of– then Hit-Girl #1 is probably the comic book for you.

Isn’t life just better when you go around ruthlessly bludgeoning, maiming, torturing, and killing everyone??? Ain’t that the American way, after all??? I mean, that’s what we’re inherently about as a species, right??? Take what you want by any means necessary, and you know that I know that you know that I know ya need ta take it, and ya need ta take it, and ya NEED TO TAKE IT ALL!!! Stupor Heroes don’t really need to care about who suffers, or how, right??? This one’s gunna be Manifist Density on a Globalized Scale of Terrorsaurus… 5/5 Bibles.

-Jason “Preacher Creature” Bud

Anton “Aristotle” Tilgren

I’ll start this by admitting I generally don’t read Marvel much these days, but the artwork from Rod Reis quickly caught my eye. His imagery allows you to fully grasp the huge scale action we’ve come to know, especially from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There were some parts I went through a few times for the detailed visuals alone, but that’s where my positivity starts to fade. The story is lame, plain and simple. First off, Las Vegas probably isn’t the best place right now (#TooSoon, man) to have a ficitional threat or attack. In a nutshell, Doctor Strange casts a spell which brings the entire city back from the dead, which in turn allows a gigantic tower (which looks like something from the LotR trilogy) to shoot up from the ground called “Hotel Inferno”.

After some quick inquiries Strange learns Mephisto is using the casino as a means to take people’s souls–and that’s just a ludicrous premise. Mephisto comes off as a worse, gameshow host version of the Joker. Being fair, the target audience is probably meant for a younger crowd; end old punk rock nerd rant, the writing of Nick Spencer and Donny Cates just doesn’t do it for me. Although I get what they’re attempting with themes of greed and sin associated with Vegas, it’s flat-out corny. The humor and jokes were even worse, as if watered down for children. Back to the Manga’s for me. 2.5/5 Bibles.

-Anton Tilgren

“Great Rao” Bass @kidtimebomb

If you’re going to show up with a new volume of a title with as distinguished a legacy as, say, World’s Finest or what we’ve got right here, you had better bring the thunder. Liam Sharp absolutely makes that happen. Fresh off the present-day half of Greg Rucka’s excellent recent Wonder Woman Rebirth run, Sharp found himself unable to move on from Princess Diana of Themyscira. He got the idea to fold in classic Irish mythology to the DC Universe and also bring in Batman to help Wonder Woman solve a diplomatic-mission-turned-murder-mystery in a hidden faerie kingdom. Why not? Comics are the best. Sharp takes on scripting duties and makes a strong debut. His first words out of Diana’s mouth actually pay homage to one of Han Solo’s finest moments with an execution that serves to elevate her character and enhance her cool, setting the tone admirably for all that follows. Really, that opening five-page scene of Diana and Steve Trevor in bed is a strong contender for being as beautiful and fully realized as I’ve maybe ever seen the characters on-panel, channeling the lightning chemistry that Gadot and Pine harnessed to such memorable and profound effect last summer and even sneaking in a little bit of Lou Reed for good measure.

This first issue is all set-up. Our heroes don’t even cross paths yet. You could argue that Batman is a bit underdeveloped this time out, but he pretty much cedes his panel-time to bring in the Irish mythology, with which readers are admittedly quite a bit less familiar. I was initially bummed not to see Sharp’s former collaborator Laura Martin not make the jump with him onto this new title on colors, but Romulo Fajardo Jr. lends lush tones perfectly complementing and enhancing Sharp’s art, making these pages look more like illustrations than panel-layouts and bringing Charles Vess to mind. The biggest misfire of this issue is that DC didn’t add a dollar or two to the cover price and present it ad-free to give these beautiful pages enough room for the reader to drown in without getting distracted by in-house advertising. 4/5 Romantic Antarctic Getaways.

-Rob Bass

TALES of SUSPENSE #102 – Marvel
“Reverend” Lauro Rojas

Okay, so you guys know how Captain America: Winter Soldier was a thriller that was a callback to conspiracy fiction from the 70s the likes of Three Days of the Condor? Did you like that chuckle worthy back-and-forth between Winter Soldier and Falcon in Civil War? Well, this book is definitely for you! Equal parts hard-boiled conspiracy story and unlikely buddy/duo banter, Hawkeye and Winter Soldier make an unlikely-bumbling pair as they stumble from one revelation to another. Read it if you want, but nothing is going to matter in a matter of months when Marvel renumbers and reboots their universe…yet again. Hang on true-believers for the ALL-NEW, DEFINITELY DIFFERENT, NOT-NOW, POINT-NOTHING, RENUMBERING REBOOT! 1/5 Bibles.

-Lauro Rojas

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