Thursday, December 1, 2011

Back of the Bin Reviews

Today I bring you the “What the Frak” edition of the Back of the Bin reviews. Featuring reviews of six “What If?” issues, two Beyonder stories and a few other books that’ll have you shaking your head or laughing your ass off at me. A rare event this time, every issue reviewed is a highly recommended Dig. Nothing to Bury, or Sift through. Go out and get these books..!
This stack: 
What If? #22: The Silver Surfer Had Not Escaped Earth? (1991)

What If? #8: Iron Man Lost the Armor Wars? (1989)
What If? #21: The Amazing Spider-Man Had Married the Black Cat? (1991)
What If? #84: Shard Had Lived Instead of Bishop? (1996)
What If? #37: Wolverine Had Been Lord of the Vampires During Inferno? (1992)
What If? #10: The Punisher’s Family Hadn’t Been Killed? (1990)
The Secret Wars II #’s 1 and 2 (1985)
Quasar #2 (1991)
Beauty and the Beast #1 (1993)

What If? #22: The Silver Surfer Had Not Escaped Earth?
One of the things I picked up while reading these books is how depressing, realistic, or negatively toned the “What If?" stories were. They never seem to truly have the happy endings the main continuity seems to have had. It reminded me a lot of the Marvel’s Ultimate Universe which, of course, I hate. But since these are one shot stories I could deal I could deal with and actually enjoy them. This particular issue seemed to go a bit... beyond the cosmic aspect of Silver Surfer to a more secular, good vs. evil. Mephisto is the big baddie and is in great form here. Despite also heavily featuring the Fantastic Four, who I rarely enjoy this was a good read with a nice social commentary on the evil of man... and a kick ass splash page of Surfer vs. Mephisto. The “What If?” books are automatic Digs...
What If? #8: Iron Man Lost the Armor Wars?
An issue about how much of a screw-up Tony is...? DIG, lol! I’m obviously not a fan of Iron Man and it was fun seeing and getting introduced to Iron Man’s old rogue’s gallery. Not a lot of the major ones were present but I actually wanted to see the ragtag team of villains work together in further stories (Thunderbolts, anyone..?). No spectacular art but a well told Iron Man story...Dig...
What If? #21: The Amazing Spider-Man Had Married the Black Cat?
Let me ask you guys: Was/Is Felicia Hardy always this crazy? because being in love did not suit her well, lol. I’m not one for Spidey and his angsty love stories but, again, I was surprised by how entertained I was. Of course, batshit crazy Black Cat and cameos from Silver Sable,
Paladin and Sandman (as a team, no less) certainly didn’t hurt. MJ fans should brace themselves before reading but definitely a Dig for me...
What If #84: Shard Had Lived Instead of Bishop?
First, save all your anti-Bishop jokes you ruddy bastards! Love Bishop but Shard definitely puts on a good show in this issue. In true “What If?” fashion it takes quite a turn but I would’ve loved to see more of Shard in the 616 (main continuity, for those not in the know). The cover art is almost X-Men: TAS style, so I almost didn’t pick this issue up but the interior is dynamic with tons of colorful action shots. An X-"What If” just makes me sad to look at current X-stories...Dig...
What If? #37: Wolverine Had Been Lord of the Vampires during Inferno?
Me? Read a Wolvie book? Willingly? What can I say? Bargain comics make me do crazy things. The cover has a ridiculous hulking Wolverine and I love silly pics of old Wolvie. The issue itself has more to do with those around him, and he’s used like he’s supposed to be used... spaaringly. The plot is a bit much for a one-shot but for some reason it seems like a must have issue. Also, Mister Sinister = my hero. DIG..!
What If? #10: The Punisher’s Family Hadn’t Been Killed
Ok, if anything was going to get a recommendation to be Buried, it was this comic. The only thing that saved it was the fact that I’m calling it that I think this is how the new Punisher television series will play out. Frank castle joins the police force after returning home from military
service, encounters corrupt cops and mild violence with some mafia types, tries to do the right thing and gets his family killed anyway (1st season finale, if it makes it that far). I know I just spoiled the issue for you but it wasn’t that inventive or fun to read. Not a terrible read though and Frank’s shirtless for a couple of panels, so there’s that. Dig for this and get a glimpse into Marvel’s television future...
The Secret Wars II #’s 1, 2
After reading these I’m getting the feeling that all of Beyonder’s appearances are must reads. In a previous review, I raved about his appearance in Cloak and Dagger and he does not disappoint in these issues either. Very much a “fish out of water” story, after his returning to Earth his subsequent interactions with the heroes are priceless. Even if you don’t like the Beyonder the characterizations of our favorite
Marvels amongst themselves is worth a read, i.e. Magneto leading the X-Men. Dig for the trade, if you’re feeling lucky, or single issues to get your fix quickly...
Quasar #2
The cover art is of a nine months pregnant Quasar. I couldn’t have *not* bought this if I had tried. This was an oddball plot and cast, featuring Moondragon, Her, Jack of Hearts and Hercules. If you’re looking for a good time Dig for Quasar but use protection...
Beauty and the Beast #1
No. Back of the Bin has not been Disney-fied. This is based on the eighties television show (which you probably didn’t know existed, but I did and couldn’t resist picking this up. I also weirdly happened to run across a VHS copy of the first episode today). While the cover art screams eighties cheese, the interior is actually beautifully painted panels by Mike Deodato, Jr. I normally wouldn’t be able to suffer through a romance comic but this is something you could “buy for a friend” and then read it before giving it to them. Everything about this book works for some reason. The art, dialogue and story set just the right tone to make this creepy love story work (Let’s not forget this dude is basically an upright lion, lol). Dig for this if you love comic art or just have a friend you want to ease into comics...

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