Benjamin Birdie's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comic Book Resources, Multiversity Comics Reviews: 136
7.5Avg. Review Rating

8.0
100 Bullets #91

May 22, 2008

It shouldn't be too long now. There's only nine issues left, and Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso and their dutiful compatriots have just been getting better and better in every single one.

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8.0
100 Bullets #95

Sep 15, 2008

"100 Bullets" was never about the guns. It was about who was firing them.

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9.0
100 Bullets #100

Apr 15, 2009

The only thing wrong with this final issue of "100 Bullets" is that it means there will never be another one like it.

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9.0
20th Century Boys, Volume 3 #1

Jun 26, 2009

The volume ends with a small but thematically resonant revelation. A stranger (whose identity is almost comically obvious) comes across the manga compendiums of his youth and is amused to find they still use the same symbol to signal a story's continuing on the following page. The reader instantly recognizes it as a key component of the symbol of the Friend's cult. While on the surface, it's another clever tie between Kenji's childhood and the reality being put forth by the cult, symbolically it perfectly encapsulates the main idea of the novel. These sudden developments in Kenji's life are finally, and literally, guiding him to "What's Next." This is ultimately a story about the stray hopes and dreams of adventure, in this story personified by comics themselves, that every now and then end up building the adult that our childhood selves always dreamed of being.

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9.0
Agents Of Atlas Vol. 2 #1

Feb 4, 2009

Readers drawn into this book because of the "Dark Reign" trade dress might be a bit surprised to find "Agents Of Atlas" blazing its own kind of path through the company wide "crossover". It's a remarkable accomplishment that Parker is able to introduce such a unique voice and tone in the midst of such an initiative and not have it sound off-key for even a moment.

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8.0
All-Star Superman #11

May 31, 2008

Last issue, which saw Superman rescuing a suicidal girl and then in turn being greatly and surprisingly assisted by her descendant hundreds of years in the future, cemented this run as one of comics' all time best. So it's certainly difficult to expect a follow up issue of the same weight and resonance. After all, Superman cured cancer in the final panel! While "Red Sun Day" might not reach those heights, it still stands comfortably among the other ten issues of this series as a sterling example of this medium's visual potential, and the superhero genre's ability to outstretch and surpass the limits of the imaginary.

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9.0
All-Star Superman #12

Sep 18, 2008

Quitely has said that when it came to this book, he simply drew what was in the script (one panel description of the Kandor we saw in issue 10 was purported to span five pages), and so we must give equal commendation to Grant Morrison, of course, for how successful this book has been at telling a story. The collaboration between these two creators has led to fantastic comics for a long time now, each one more impressive than the last. As groundbreaking as their work on "New X-Men" and "We3" might have been, "All Star Superman" raises the bar yet again. Existing in its own glass bubble of continuity (while making reference to any number of previous Morrison DCU comics), Morrison and Quitely told what is in many ways the ultimate Superman story. It shows us what he stands for in every moral degree. It shows us the world he fights for in every level of detail. It is an exacting, inspiring, and poignant accomplishment in the realm of Superhero comics. Almost fable-like in its dir

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6.0
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36

Jul 14, 2009

Along with the disappointing "American Son," I feel like "Amazing Spider-Man" is spinning its wheels a little bit. Everything I've seen out of 600 so far looks like a great return to form, but until then I expected more from an Annual of what used to be most anticipated book of the Every-Other-Week-Or-So.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #562

Jun 16, 2008

As someone who doesn't really care about the whole Mary Jane Watson thing, it's quite amusing watching the Braintrust keep teasing at her appearances and then pulling the rug away. There's a lightness throughout both this issue and the general approach to Spider-Man these days that's incredibly welcome. From the irreverent covers to the breezy and classic Spidey-Banter, "Brand New Day" has brought us a Spider-Man that, for the first time in a long time, actually feels Amazing.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #577

Nov 18, 2008

Overall, "The Amazing Spider-Man" has really turned into a bright, innovative, and refreshing read. It's also, just as remarkably, done a fantastic job of staying on its almost weekly schedule with no dips or sudden shifts in quality. In the midst of a 12-month long Summer Event that threatens to swallow the very foundations of Superhero Storytelling, Marvel has created an oasis in Spider-Man's secure and always surprising corner of the five boroughs.

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6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #598

Jun 30, 2009

All told, "American Son" has been disappointing so far, especially considering how great this book has become over the past year. Perhaps the end result will be worth the trip, but right now I miss the fun, engaging book that used to come out every week or so; and hope it won't be gone very long.

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6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #650

Dec 16, 2010

Overall, despite the rampant commercialism, Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos are off to a fairly strong start in their new tenure on "Amazing Spider-Man". At first blush, it lacks the feel of "Brand New Day" at its best, but that might just be down to its choice as a villain. Because let's face it. The Hobgoblin will always be lame.

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7.0
Ambush Bug: Year None #5

Dec 15, 2008

It's still, as ever, a blast to read, but some of the magic has been lost in the transition to contemporary comics. But I suppose, in true "Ambush Bug" style, that this says more about the state of things in the industry today than the success or failure of the comic itself.

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1.0
Angel: Smile Time #1

Jan 5, 2009

I just do not see the point in any of this, much less at an inflated asking price The fact that it was rendered with a professional level of competence is the only reason it got any part of a star at all.

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7.0
Astonishing Spider-Man And Wolverine #4

Dec 31, 2010

Like I said, though, I can't get too mad after that last page reveal, and now I'm really looking forward to seeing it all explained.

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6.0
Avengers (2010) #7

Nov 22, 2010

As a whole, this was a fairly disappointing start to the new storyline. But then, when you have the Avengers travel to the future to stop a world where Galactus runs around all the time from invading our reality with the help of Killraven, it's kind of hard to top.

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8.0
Avengers Vs. Atlas #1

Jan 26, 2010

But overall, Parker has made the most of "Agents Of Atlas"'s hopefully brief hiatus in these mini-series and various back up stories and drop in appearances. He's shown that in a Marvel that's becoming stranger by the month, a bunch of freewheeling 50's throwbacks can fit right in.

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8.0
B.P.R.D.: 1947 #1

Jul 14, 2009

There were some bits of the story that a lapsed Hellboy reader like myself (don't worry, I'm working on it) were a tad confused about. I wasn't sure who that creepy blonde moppet was speaking to the Professor, but that's probably my own fault. Overall, this was a fantastic addition to the steadily growing Hellboy mythos, one that is surprising and appreciated in its consistency.

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8.0
Batman #679

Aug 15, 2008

It's certainly exciting to see all the seemingly bizarre pieces fall into place, as the final showdown is prepared. Old friends both high profile and delightfully B-List are all waiting in the wings for what will, no matter who lives or who dies, certainly be worth reading.

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6.0
Batman #680

Oct 1, 2008

But there's always next issue, of course. And whoever lives to see it.

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8.0
Batman #682

Dec 4, 2008

One never knows how all this will shake out once both "R.I.P." and "Final Crisis" are finished (sometime during the tail end of the Obama administration, one surmises), but right now, it's hard to find disappointment in such a fascinating take on the most psychological of superheroes.

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9.0
Batman and Robin #1

Jun 3, 2009

While fans are already jittery about the necessary concessions being made to keep "Batman and Robin" an ostensibly monthly and firmly in continuity book (Quitely will only be drawing the first three issues), Morrison and Quitely have laid some thrilling and invigorating groundwork that anyone should be able to follow easily. There is a sense of dark wonder throughout the book, a mood that is a perfect summation of the character, and a tone that is perfectly suited to a new Batman. Dick Grayson is committed but unconvinced; with a wild and unstable ward; both of them plunging head first into a Gotham City that has never looked this good, felt this strange, or been this deadly.

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8.0
Batman and Robin #7

Feb 1, 2010

Morrison has created an interesting structure in "Batman and Robin:" Cleanly segmented storylines of three issues each, yet each one joined together by an overarching plot. It's hard to imagine that Bruce Wayne really will be crawling out of that Lazarus Pit considering DC has already solicited the mini-series in which he makes his actual return, but this is still a great story to watch unfold.

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8.0
Batman and Robin #15

Oct 25, 2010

Morrison has done a fantastic job building a completely unique world for Batman, and in this issue he seems to be tying together years of disparate threads in preparation for Bruce Wayne's return and the revitalization of the Batman line. As someone in a Batman costume says at the close of the issue (it's kind of unclear precisely who) "It's all over." It's certainly going out with its finest foot forward.

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6.0
Batman and Robin #20

Feb 10, 2011

Overall, this issue is a bit of a shaky start. Dick and Damian are certainly well delineated from previous Batmans and Robins, even though the tone isn't necessarily consistent from this run to Grant Morrison's previous one. Following up one of the best Batman comics ever though is no enviable task, so I think I'll give this team, which proved itself admirably on previous ventures, a few issues to -- in the parlance of the acrobat -- get their footing.

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9.0
Batman, Inc. #1

Nov 18, 2010

Overall, the first issue of "Batman Incorporated" is a blast. As is typical with a Grant Morrison comic, it's filled with all manner of new conceit. It also perfectly sells the idea introduced in "The Return" of a "Planet Gotham." Bruce Wayne's War On Crime is now being fought on unfamiliar territory, but that's what makes it so interesting and fresh. A Grant Morrison Superhero Comic hasn't felt this new and exciting since Cassandra Nova strolled through the rain forests with a kidnapped dentist. Here's hoping the end results turn out just as exceptional.

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6.0
Batwoman One Shot #0

Nov 25, 2010

Overall, "Batman" #0 is a pretty slight book, almost half of it is previews for upcoming issues of the title and other Batman books. But new J.H. Williams III art is worth pretty much any price. It's hard to tell if his take on the book and the character will be as compelling as Rucka's was, but its clear that the most urgent problem the book needs to solve is finding the perfect inker for Amy Reeder so that every other storyline of the book is up to the other one's high standards, art-wise.

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8.9
Black Cloud #1

Mar 15, 2017

Black Cloud takes the long told story of fantasy worlds encroaching on our own and puts a very contemporary and American spin on the idea. Its happy to slowplay its audience and when every moment is as compelling and well realized as the ones in this book, its hard to be disappointed.

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9.0
Blackest Night #2

Aug 13, 2009

As I said, the first issue of the series was quite a disappointment. There had been so much lead up in such widescale fashion, that the sudden shift in tone was not at all what I was expecting. Luckily, this issue feels much more like the dozens of issues of "Green Lantern" that came before it. It's exciting, surprising, and has its fair share of action. It might take a bit longer to get as good as "The Sinestro Corps War" was, right from the start. But at this point it certainly has a chance.

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8.0
Blackest Night: The Flash #2

Jan 26, 2010

Now that "Blackest Night" is closer to its end than it is to its beginning, its crossovers are finally starting to branch into more interesting territory. We're all pretty familiar with what happens when a Black Lantern shows up. Regrets, chestplates coveted, people get seen in different colors, people try and kill Black Lanterns but they just end up doing that weird ropey thing and come back together, etc. But outside of all that, Johns is really expanding the mythology through more interesting detail, broadening the spectrum. So to speak.

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5.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #20

Dec 27, 2008

I would have loved to see this concept expanded, to see this long awaited slice of Buffynalia given the same attention that other mystifyingly fan favorite episodes have been given for years now. Instead, we see what could have been something great stuffed into a message that decidedly is not.

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5.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #32

Feb 1, 2010

Overall, this isn't a terrible issue, just a fairly slow one that's pretty hampered by not-that-great art. A pretty massive shift in the mythology has been introduced now, and this is the issue where we get to see the jokey, Xandery reaction to it. Not everyone thinks it's such a great thing, so here's hoping future installments get a little bit more in depth, emotionally. That was always the series' greatest strength, in either medium.

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8.0
Captain America (2004) #600

Jun 15, 2009

So while people may have been lured to their local comic book stores on such an odd day by the promise of a big splash page return of Steve Rogers, they will instead find an impressive examination of just what Steve Rogers and Captain America meant to Americans. The big reveals will have to wait, and there are plenty of things that need explaining, but the dozens of people involved in this issue have done a remarkable job in honoring the memory of Steve Rogers while they still have the chance.

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5.0
Catwoman (2002) #83

Jan 19, 2010

So this issue, in the tapestry of all the "Blackest Night" tie-ins, is a fairly interesting look at the state of several characters whose threads were cut when the book was cancelled. It suffers from both a constrained narrative space and what looks like a very constrained art schedule, but isn't a total wash. It's simply a book that's a bit too tied down by circumstance, much like any cancelled book, when you stop to think about it.

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5.0
Chaos War: Ares #1

Dec 13, 2010

While "Chaos War" is not entirely uninteresting in its main books, once you start venturing into tie-ins, like any crossover, quality starts to get dicey. "Chaos War: Ares" is not only a victim of what are undoubtedly deadline-based art inconsistencies, but also of relative insignificance. Ares is a good character when done well, but nothing in this issue signals any kind of major event in the life of the character, nor is it really essential reading for fans of the crossover. Thus, it's hard to justify the four dollar asking price, or even, really, why it was necessary that this story be told in the first place.

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9.0
Criminal #3

Jun 6, 2008

"Criminal" is the best crime comic ever published, and we should just count ourselves lucky that Brubaker and Phillips keep finding new ways to prove it.

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8.0
Daredevil (1998) #113

Dec 3, 2008

While Brubaker's run on "Daredevil" is darker than the one that preceded it, it is no less ambitious and no less engaging.

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7.0
Dark Avengers #1

Jan 22, 2009

One does get a strong sense that the main reason for the "Dark Avengers" to exist is for the inevitable huge fight with their counterparts. But it doesn't feel tacky just yet. There's enough character to the proceedings to ensure that you're in no hurry to get there. And, eventually, when that last page cliffhanger does arrive and the "real" Avengers are looking down at these copycats, you'll be that much more engaged.

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6.0
Duostar Racers #1

Jun 6, 2008

But, alas, I am such a tremendous fan of Wood's overall style and I do so enjoy stuff that goes really fast, that I'll probably end up getting every issue of this. Lets just hope it all makes a bit more sense in the end.

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6.0
Elephantmen #14

Dec 15, 2008

What "Elephantmen" is exceptional at is capturing not only the captivatingly strange world Starkings has created, but the level of design quality he has always maintained in the industry.

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8.5
Ether #3

Jan 27, 2017

Kindt and Rubn continue to build a gorgeous world around the increasingly tragic story of Boone Dias. I only wish we had more than a mini-series to explore all the corners of Ether that these issues have only hinted at.

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7.0
Ex Machina #39

Nov 25, 2008

An issue of "Ex Machina" is rarely the kind of book that you throw down at the finish, completely taken aback by the shocking denouement, but that doesn't make it any less of a strong book every month, and one can only imagine how well it will read as an ultimately finished product.

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10
Ex Machina #40

Dec 17, 2008

Like I said, it's hard to put into words. Luckily, we all share in the appreciation of a medium that can use more than just those.

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8.0
Ex Machina #50

Aug 18, 2010

Overall, though, it's hard not to come away from the issue feeling the weight of the story that preceded it. It never stopped being as funny as it was smart, but as Hundred himself warns us at the beginning of the issue, it was going to be plenty sad too. "Ex Machina" was a story, literally, about powers and their cost. And, like pretty much every politician does eventually, its protagonist ends up a punch line.

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7.0
Fantastic Four #562

Jan 7, 2009

The second one involves a mysterious and universe-scale threat that will undoubtedly tear everything down around its ears. It's a shame, but I sense that it's supposed to be. We're supposed to be a bit comfortable in all this normalcy, so that when something wipes it all away, we miss it.

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8.0
Fantastic Four #586

Dec 27, 2010

Overall, this is a fantastically tense issue, a prologue if you will, for the inevitably bad stuff that's scheduled to happen next issue. It's an artfully rendered example of how to extend and execute a set up to something that everyone knows is coming, and continue to add remarkable sense of mystery to who exactly will end up dead. "Three" has been touted as the end of the first large block of the story Hickman's been telling on this book. If this issue is any indication, it's going to finish as strongly as it began.

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9.0
Fantastic Four #587

Jan 25, 2011

It's a story worthy of the attention it's getting, but for all the right reasons.

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9.0
Final Crisis #2

Jun 25, 2008

So congratulations, Mr. Morrison. Congratulations, Mr. Jones. You have discovered The Anti-Disappointment Equation and unleashed it onto an unsuspecting world.

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9.0
Final Crisis #3

Aug 6, 2008

They're not superheroes anymore, not in any way that can really make a difference. They're powerless. If a more dire and impossible threat has even been laid at a superhero universe's feet with such implacable verve and detail, I have to admit, I've never seen it.

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9.0
Final Crisis #4

Oct 22, 2008

The cultural touchstone that "Final Crisis" keeps reminding me of is Paul Thomas Anderson's "Magnolia". Almost operatic in its accumulation of tragedies and yet completely mundane and ground level in its detail, Morrison has created the same kind of panoramic vision of sadness and loss. Heavy stuff indeed for a superhero comic. Some might wonder if this genre is the right place for something so baroque and depressing but, let's face it: Heroes have been "fighting" evil for decades now. Isn't it about time someone took a step back and showed us what that evil really looked like? While I doubt this will really be the "Final" Crisis that ends up thrust upon the DC Universe, with a setup like this, if good can really triumph over this kind of obstacle, the story could certainly end up being the best of its kind.

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9.0
Final Crisis #5

Dec 10, 2008

Considering how sweet a Fifth World Monitor looks, how cleverly and surprisingly the newer and weirder good guys fight evil (trust me, you'll never see a Rubik's Cube in quite the same light), and how snappy Super Young Team looks in a group shot, the new age Morrison is ushering in through blood and tragedy and despair is looking to be an exceptional one. There will always be Nightwing, and a Superman, and an El Diablo; but the foundations beneath them all have never been this cool. Lord only knows how he convinced DC to let him pull this off.

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8.0
Final Crisis #6

Jan 14, 2009

So the sandbox Morrison is playing in is nothing new to his long time readers. He has always played with the comic book form, both figuratively and literally, and now he's able to do that with the entire DC Universe at his disposal. What's remarkable is that he's been able to personalize it in so many ways in this series, all while constantly drawing attention to its artificiality. He's paying tribute to imagination, the literal power of words and ideas, by making it the one thing that can save everyone when nothing else is left.

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8.0
Final Crisis #7

Jan 28, 2009

It's remarkable that DC set aside all this room, pushed so much stuff out of the way, just to let Grant Morrison tell a story about how awesome human beings are. But god bless them. I'm sure they've caught quite a bit of flack for it, and perhaps it was disingenuous to claim that a fundamentally simple, sad and sweet story about hope in the face of complete despair would somehow end up in the same vein as "Invasion!" or "Zero Hour." Really, "Final Crisis", in the space of its own text, corporate hyperbole aside, never claimed to be anything more than what it ended up as: a story with a happy ending about what it takes to get one.

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8.0
Final Crisis: Legion Of Three Worlds #1

Aug 24, 2008

On the other hand. the story Johns is crafting here looks to be rather grounded. As much as there's tons of cosmic time bending going on, the core theme of the book looks like it's focusing on the idea of maturity. The Legion has always been a team about youthful exuberance and ideology. Johns isn't the first person to turn that on its head and look at what happens when those kids become adults, but he's also framing it in the context of the ongoing story of Superboy-Prime's inability to grow up and face reality. When Superman reveals his grand plan to diffuse the catastrophic consequences of Prime's arrival in the future, Johns makes it clear that there's going to be more to this story than three hundred superheroes punching three hundred villains (although I'm pretty sure there'll be plenty of that, too).

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7.0
Final Crisis: Resist #1

Nov 10, 2008

Could've used just a bit more Ryan Sook, though.

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4.0
Flash (2010) #7

Dec 13, 2010

In general, I can't really figure out why this particular issue of "The Flash" exists. Clearly, Johns wants to establish Captain Boomerang as an important figure in the DC Universe. We've known that for years. And at the close of the issue, he makes a mistake that will certainly impact "The Flash" in the very near future. But, as a whole, who really asked for this? Captain Boomerang was famously resurrected at the end of "Blackest Night". Maybe next time we'll get lucky and they'll pick The Heckler instead.

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7.0
Flash: Rebirth #1

Apr 1, 2009

I guess you could say "The Flash: Rebirth" got off to a bit of a...slow start!

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10
Franken-Castle #19

Aug 2, 2010

Yes, there will be more comics after this one. There are probably other ones already read that are in many ways better. But when Rick Remender and Tony Moore work together to make comics about a reanimated Frank Castle doing pretty much anything, when you're finished and you put it down, there's really only one thing running through your head like a suspended Buick chassis rigged to slam you into a brick wall: "This is the best damn comic I have ever read."

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7.0
Gears Of War #2

Nov 15, 2008

One of "Gears"' constant goals, rarely achieved, is to evoke sympathy for these armored hulks, running short on hope and ammunition against enemies with seemingly limitless amounts of both. What "Gears", and Ortega in this comic, does best is creating gripping set pieces of conflict and violence. Watching our heroes jump from one Last Best Hope to the next, their chances at survival and/or victory slimming after every one. No one really cares about Marcus Fenix or Dom Santiago, any more than the fate of John McClane's family keeps anyone up at night. We're in it to watch them drive a taxi through Central Park or, in this instance, cut an obscene amount of giant lizard creatures in half or stuff grenades in their backs.

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8.0
Ghost Rider (2006) #24

Jun 25, 2008

Even in those days as a kid when I really loved "Ghost Rider," it was a fundamentally silly approach to a Spirit Of Vengeance. Riding up the sides of buildings, whipping pumpkin bombs back at the Hobgoblins that threw them. It was a superhero book with a Horror Comic's rogues gallery. Aaron has turned "Ghost Rider" into the pulp horror comic it always should have been. When you've got a demon riding a motorcycle, the last thing you need are goofy antagonists in green fishnet. You want dark highways, and all the haunted American roadstops where they end up.

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10
Ghost Rider (2006) #33

Mar 9, 2009

Jason Aaron's "Ghost Rider" has always been an entertaining read. But as he and Tony Moore expand its mythology even further while simultaneously bringing it back down to the "real" world (well, realer than monasteries and the gates of heaven at least), this book has transformed itself into not just one of the Marvel Universe's better titles, but quite possibly its best.

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8.0
Ghost Riders: Heavens On Fire #6

Feb 9, 2010

While there might have been a bit of a lull as the series transitioned into its conclusion, "Ghost Riders" #6 is a fitting conclusion to Jason Aaron's historic run on the character. It's as weird and imaginative a story as there's ever been for Johnny Blaze.

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8.8
Giant Days #23

Feb 3, 2017

As always, spending 23 pages with Susan, Esther, and Daisy is a true delight. Their travails are identifiable, but somehow manage to feel like no one elses. Allison, Sarin, Fleming, Cogar, and Campbell all contribute to an issue of dynamic and hilarious storytelling.

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8.0
Green Lantern (2005) #31

Jun 1, 2008

It's a great story, well told, and it really helps make Johns' run on the title a fantastic, epic, and (most importantly) cohesive whole.

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8.0
Green Lantern (2005) #39

Apr 10, 2009

Along with the introduction of the Orange Lantern(s), the connection between Hal Jordan and the Blue Lanterns continues to be explored, and pieces continue to fall into place to facilitate the upcoming inevitable conflict. The storyline is finally starting pick up that sense of scope and scale that "The Sinestro Corps War" seemed to retain almost instantly when it began. Perhaps because it is a bit more difficult to give all these new Lantern Corps the proper amount of attention, it's easier for things to get a bit more muddled. But with the introduction of such a compelling and weird threat, the ramp up to Blackest Night has regained its intensity.

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9.0
Green Lantern (2005) #50

Jan 28, 2010

So, yes, "Green Lantern" #50 is a fitting touchstone for a character and a book that surprised everyone by becoming the literal cornerstone of the DC Universe, relegating most Batman and Superman stories to quaint little "mini-events." Most of that is due to Johns' relentless expertise at building 22 pages of momentum towards 50 consecutive knock-out final pages, but I also like to think that it's the presence of Mahnke, another underdog, that makes this issue a great milestone.

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7.0
Green Lantern (2005) #60

Dec 19, 2010

In closing "Green Lantern" is still a fun comic to read, but the heart that used to reside in the circumstances revolving around its main character has been transplanted into the sheer virtuosity of its main artist. It would probably be nice to have both, though.

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5.0
Green Lantern Corps #28

Sep 15, 2008

Artwise, Luke Ross and Fabio Laguna do a perfectly serviceable job filling in for the regular art team. It's solid work, if not as creepily dynamic as Patrick Gleason's. But really, my biggest fault with the issue was that it was really the end of this story. Which means that no one involved is lacking talent, it's just that too much of it was squandered by confining it to such slim quarters.

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6.0
Green Lantern: Larfleeze Christmas Special #1

Dec 23, 2010

Overall, though, this special is a harmless, charming episode with a much beloved character. Like David Bowie and Bing Crosby caroling, it fits the season fine, even if it does, at times, feel a little weird.

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8.0
Halo: Uprising #3

Aug 14, 2008

I'm sure the two stories will dovetail nicely in the finale of the series and, as a whole, "Halo: Uprising" will stand as a really stellar work of fiction in the Halo Universe. But please, guys. Bungie and Marvel alike. Don't make me wait so long next time, okay?

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9.0
Hellboy: Buster Oakley Gets His Wish #1

Apr 18, 2011

It might be over too quickly, but that just gives you more time to start over and really focus on every line of Kevin Nowlan's fantastic work. Hellboy comics are one of a kind, and this particular one, well, is there a something lower, rarer than one of a kind?

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9.0
Hellboy: Darkness Calls #1

Jun 26, 2008

So, while many things about Hellboy have changed since its inception, Mignola still takes great pains to ensure that the most important things never do. This is still a great and wild adventure, with lots of gigantic things for Hellboy to wallop, and lots of striking vistas in which to do it; with plenty of insets of haunting architecture, sculpture, and landscape that are inevitably about to be destroyed or, at the very least, engulfed in hellfire.

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7.0
Hulk (2008) #9

Jan 2, 2009

Anyway, most of it is. "Hulk" is always a fast, light reading book. But there's nothing wrong with that when it looks this phenomenal. But it is what it is. You can't try and shoehorn in drama when you've taken away all the motivation that drove the Hulk through Greg Pak's epic run on the book. You've brought it back to basics. We shouldn't have to wade through anything else that doesn't belong there anymore.

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7.0
Immortal Iron Fist #15

May 30, 2008

That being said, the issue is still a welcome addition to the small but incredibly vibrant universe Brubaker and Fraction have created in this title, an impressive feat considering they did it over the span of less than twenty books, all told.

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7.0
Incredible Hercules #119

Jun 24, 2008

But I do wish Art Adams was still drawing these covers.

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6.0
Incredible Hulk (2009) #618

Dec 13, 2010

Overall, this issue of "The Incredible Hulks" is inoffensive, and well-tied into the main "Chaos War" storyline. Marlo may end up being a red herring, unimportant to "Chaos War" as a whole, but you can do a lot worse in a Hulk comic than have a bunch of angry gamma irradiated monsters beat the crud out of each other in order to protect their friend's wife.

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7.0
Invincible #63

Jun 17, 2009

(Check out the five page preview for this issue to see how it all starts. . .)

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8.0
Invincible Iron Man #9

Jan 9, 2009

It's clear that things are only going to get worse for Tony and his friends, as they're alone against increasingly insurmountable odds. At the start of their run, Fraction and Larocca did a great job at showing just how "Invincible" their Iron Man could be. Now, post "Secret Invasion", it looks like things are going to get a heck of a lot more vincible.

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7.0
Invincible Iron Man #22

Jan 19, 2010

So, while it may not be as arresting a work as "World's Most Wanted," and a lot of its tension might be actively defused every month or so with "Siege" solicits, "Stark Disassembled" is turning out to be an intimate, slightly flawed, but still engaging read.

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8.0
Iron Man/Thor #1

May 2, 2010

The point of Free Comic Book Day is, naturally, to attract (and keep) new readers. Marvel has taken the probably smarter approach and instead of introducing a new crossover that still requires a whole lot of understanding of current continuity (like some publishers I know) they've simply put together an engaging story that plays to the strengths of their line. Writers like Fraction are creating a landscape of vividly weird circumstance, rooted in a modern authenticity. And it's a fantastic platform on which to welcome new readers.

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8.0
Justice Society of America #16

Jun 5, 2008

So, like with any great "Lost" or "Venture Brothers" episode, the person reading over your shoulder might not quite get why you're so enthusiastically pumping your fist or why you just put the book down for a second, kind of just taken aback. But it's cool. There's a reason you've been keeping up with this book for so long anyway.

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8.0
King City #12

Dec 6, 2010

This is the final issue of the storyline that graham started long ago in Tokyopop's first volume of "King City." It's unclear when he will return to it -- it's certainly an open ended finish -- but his new Oni Press series, "Multiple Warheads," will be starting up soon. Regardless, it is an incredibly fitting end to the series. Joe the Catmaster once again turns his back on any structured responsibility in favor of a life with his friends. For a fantastical comic about dealing with superpowers (or, more specifically, dealing with cats who are dealing with superpowers), "King City" will always stand as a refreshing change of pace.

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9.0
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen III: Century: 1910 #1

May 21, 2009

"Century" may not be a return to the heights of adventure of the first two volumes of this series, but as it shows us; those days, and those stories; are long gone anyway.

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8.8
Low #16

Mar 13, 2017

Although we still don't know what happened with Stel's terrifying dead end last issue, this one brings us what "Low" always finds in the most unlikely places: hope.

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7.8
Nightwing (2016) #16

Mar 6, 2017

"Nightwing" continues to be a great book and now that it's core creative team is back, this latest storyline is working on all the right levels.

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10
Punisher (2009) #13

Feb 1, 2010

So, sure, when Samuel L. Jackson is calling David Mazzuchelli up to the stage at next year's Eisner Awards and all the 501st Stormtroopers clap, you may think that the right book is being honored. "Asterios Polyp" is a fine book to be sure, but let's be real here. "The Punisher" #13 has Frank Castle throwing the Man-Thing at a helicopter.

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8.0
Punisher: In The Blood #1

Nov 8, 2010

Remender has set up, with the prison explosion and the return of one of The Punisher's oldest foes, a potentially very interesting five issue series here. Franken-Castle is gone. And while I'll miss him, it seems like Remender is certainly capable of telling all kinds of different Punisher stories. I'm looking forward to seeing how this one turns out.

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7.0
Punisher: War Zone Vol. 2 #4

Jan 12, 2009

"Punisher: War Zone" is, after years of dark and resonant Max stories by Ennis, a relatively light affair. But it doesn't try to be anything else. There's no moral quandaries to deal with, no extended internal monologues. Just a seemingly endless series of bad situations for Frank Castle. It's simple stuff, but it's easy to see why you missed it so much.

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8.0
Runaways (2008) #11

Jun 30, 2009

With very little fanfare, no new #1 (or even a proper catch-up recap page), Kathryn Immonen and Sara Pichelli have completely reinvigorated and recaptured "Runaways," bringing it closer to its core simplicity and charm than it's been in a very long time. It's also refreshing to note that what started years ago as a book driven by the decidedly male angst of characters like Alex and under the creative guidance of two (albeit exceedingly talented and insightful) men, is now being created completely by women. Their take on the team (which is currently a bit lopsidedly female anyway) and driven primarily by the female perspective of adolescence, is on every level a welcome change, and a marvelous breath of fresh air.

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7.0
Scalped #27

Apr 10, 2009

While a stand alone story, it is also part three of "High Lonesome." The storyline started with a whopper of a set-up, but as is typical (and ultimately very enjoyable) with this series, that story has been bascially abandoned for further vignettes focusing on characters that have yet to be really lingered on. Nitz's story is an enjoyable one to be sure, I only wish it was told with an artist that worked just a bit better with the book's established tone.

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8.0
Secret Invasion #4

Jul 10, 2008

And now the really cool stuff can start.

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7.0
Secret Invasion #5

Aug 14, 2008

Hm, yeah. But where's the fun in that?

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6.0
Secret Invasion #8

Dec 7, 2008

But I have to say, I'm pretty excited for breakfast tomorrow.

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7.0
Secret Six Vol. 2 #8

Apr 15, 2009

One of the great strengths of this series has always been that inside all the chaos and betrayal and moral ambiguity are a solid core of believable characters. In a book about about a guy in a cat costume and a dude who fitted the top half of a pistol to his wrist and somehow found it more effective to fashion a ring of bullets to feed ammunition into it as opposed to just holding a gun in his hand like a normal person, that's no easy task. Simone, however, continues to prove that she is perfectly suited to the task.

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8.0
Siege #1

Jan 4, 2010

So, while it may not be the biggest or most eventful Event Book around, "Siege" #1 is certainly one of the best looking, and thanks to Marvel's commitment to crafting a coherent universe for its characters, signals the start of a major shift in its status quo. It's an interesting, almost television-like approach to take. Seeing the current status of Iron Man or Thor or Captain America in the book doesn't rely on arcane continuity from decades past, but rather simply rewards Marvel's current readers, the way a reveal in the seventeenth episode of a season of, say, "LOST" will call back to the season's second or third. It really allows Marvel to strengthen its line without alienating people who haven't read through every volume of "Essential Spider-Woman" and it allows what otherwise might be viewed as a bit of a slim read to have some implied weight beyond its pages.

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7.0
Siege: Embedded #2

Feb 9, 2010

While it might be a bit more direct with its politics than some might like, "Siege: Embedded" is a gorgeous looking book, and one that supplements the Event Book it corresponds to instead of just riding its coattails with the appropriate trade dress.

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7.0
Skaar: Son Of Hulk #1

Jun 12, 2008

Still, "Skarr" stays true to its roots as a spaceward barbarian story. It's got villagers in peril, it's got dragons, and it's got plenty of burl to go around. I'm just hoping that the stakes are raised as high, eventually, as they were in "Planet Hulk".

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5.0
Skaar: Son Of Hulk #12

Jun 30, 2009

Overall, "Skaar" #12 is an unexceptional book. When you're trying to have a new character make the kind of impact he needs to be a lasting presence in the Marvel Universe, you need to make every new turn in his story just the opposite.

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8.4
Southern Bastards #16

Jan 13, 2017

Another beautifully rendered issue that tells a contained story that also drives the plot forward with a stark tone of tragic inevitability.

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4.0
Spider-Man: Noir #1

Dec 23, 2008

All and all, "Spider-Man: Noir" is a fairly pedestrian addition to the "Noir" line. There's a bit more to the genre than hoboes and seersuckers, and there's a bit more to Spider-Man than moping and vengeance. In short, a failure at both ends.

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7.0
Spider-Man: The Short Halloween #1

May 28, 2009

"The Short Halloween" is a brief glimpse at what could be an enjoyable sensibility if given just a bit more room to play around in. So, while this time the final product might be ultimately underwhelming, I'm holding out hope for Kristen Wiig's "Dr. Stacey Strange, Sorceress Supreme." Maybe a whole "SNL Secret Wars," with Justin Timberlake as The Beyonder. That could totally work.

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7.0
Star Wars: Invasion #1

Jul 7, 2009

Like a lot of Dark Horse's Star Wars comics, this book does do a great job of establishing a galactically tense situation where our protagonists have been strewn across the galaxy. There's a strange excitement to that sort of singularly Star Wars kind of setup and "Invasion's" is a fine interpretation of the trope.

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8.7
Star-Lord (2016) #2

Jan 20, 2017

Kris Anka reaches new heights and Chip Zdarsky continues to prove himself one of the most versatile writers in comics, as Peter Quill adjusts to life on the ground.

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8.7
Street Angel After School Kung Fu Special #1

Apr 24, 2017

A complete package of a comic, Street Angel After School Kung Fu Special tells a simple story with style, wit, and ingenuity.

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5.0
Supergirl (2005) #35

Nov 25, 2008

Hopefully, now that this rather ill-placed interlude is over, the developments introduced at the close of the book will return the focus back to what I enjoyed so much about the first issue of this run.

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7.6
Superman (2016) #15

Jan 23, 2017

Not the most complex story, but it's nice to see someone actually pick up where Grant Morrison leaves off.

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9.0
The Apocalipstix Volume 1 #1

Jul 24, 2008

(CBR is hosting a 50 page preview of the book, if you'd like to read more.)

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7.0
The Goon #32

Mar 11, 2009

"The Goon" as a comic made of stand alone issues, tends to be a fairly slim experience. But it's a comic meant to be lingered on. Powell has strived to give himself the opportunity and space to draw what he wants to draw most. And one thing that can never be said is that he doesn't take great advantage of the opportunity.

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7.8
The Mighty Thor (2015) #15

Jan 16, 2017

A gorgeous and action packed issue but, like, what??

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9.0
The Muppet Show #1

Mar 23, 2009

It's unfortunate that there's nothing on television now that can capture the unique experience that was a "Muppet Show" episode, and there probably never will be. But for just over twenty pages, Boom! has given Roger Langridge free reign to give us what is truly the next best thing. A singular and immensely talented creative mind whose goal is solely to entertain. In that respect, what's most remarkable about this book is that instead of being quick cash-in, it has turned out to be one of the most appropriate and fitting comic adaptations ever published.

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9.0
The Sixth Gun #6

Nov 23, 2010

"The Sixth Gun" is fantastic comics. It's a great example of how well monthly comics can work within Oni Press' creative sensibilities, and how comics in general can flourish when its only limitations are an adherence to an established tone. As breathtakingly outlandish as things have gotten in Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt's incredible story, there is never a moment that feels unearned, or that doesn't hew to the rest of the story. And when you're dealing with the reanimated corpse of a Civil War general dragging his own hovering coffin behind him with practically self-animated chains, that is certainly saying something.

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6.0
The Stand: Captain Trips #1

Sep 14, 2008

Of course, most people know what's really happening, and it's much worse than that. It's hard to believe that someone buying a comic book has never read "The Stand", so perhaps this argument doesn't hold water but, hey, anything's possible.

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7.0
The Stand: Captain Trips #3

Nov 15, 2008

"The Stand: Captain Trips" is a pretty bold comic to be publishing. It's making no excuses for its pacing and, for those with the patience to stick with it, it's all the better read for it. There's barely any action, some flashes of violence putting at risk no one of any import, just over sixty pages now of the most basic of stage setting. But like Stephen King's best work, it's features an illuminating and authentic study of characters, living lives in the shadow of a coming storm.

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8.0
The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #2

Jan 2, 2009

What you have here is a bizarre, charming, and emotionally believable world and cast, rendered by a collection of ridiculously talented craftsmen, each one at the top of their respective games. "The Umbrella Academy" is a special book, realized masterfully.

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8.0
The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #4

Mar 12, 2009

"The Umbrella Academy: Dallas" strikes a much quieter tone than its predecessor. It's somber, meditative, and gritty. That is, until the last page, and all that is overturned in an instant. This issue has a hell of an ending, and there's still two more to go.

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7.0
The Walking Dead #61

May 19, 2009

"The Walking Dead" is a hard book to both read and recommend. It is uncompromising, and in some ways almost ludicrously uncompromising. (Like, I don't think there was ever a Brother Disembowling His Brother Barrier in comics that needed to be broken.) And yet, issue after issue, it remains compulsively intriguing. These collaborators have built a relentlessly grey America that, in its own way, is beautiful enough to keep coming back to.

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7.0
The Walking Dead #75

Jul 27, 2010

So, while "The Walking Dead" still has the same problems that it's always had, it's also still buoyed by the strengths it's always had. Perhaps the cast will never truly learn the benefits of terseness at the end of the world, but I'll still probably be interested in how they got there and where they're headed next.

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8.0
Thor (2007) #9

Jun 2, 2008

So, I suppose maybe I should give those Walt Simonson trades a shot now that I like Thor so much, shouldn't I.

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10
Thor: The Mighty Avenger #6

Nov 29, 2010

Heck, buy two.

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8.0
Tiny Titans #5

Jun 18, 2008

I think anyone who's honest with themselves knows that there are some things so endearing, adorability so perfectly captured, that only the most sour and soul-dead among us can resist them. "Tiny Titans" is filled with pages of them. It's strange, but for a read that took very little time at all, I found myself opening the book several times, just to look at Speedy's exasperation with Enigma, or a lovestruck Nightwing (I mean, Robin). It's a fun, breezy read, and something the comics industry needs a whole lot more of.

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5.0
Trinity #1

Jun 4, 2008

But as a stand-alone issue and an introduction to the overall narrative approach, it really has left a lot to be desired.

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7.0
Trinity #2

Jun 12, 2008

Basically, everything that was dire and unspecific about the first issue is, in its successor, crystalline in its sense of fun and adventure. I have nothing but the best of hopes that "Trinity" continues to be this fun for fifty more weeks.

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7.0
Trinity #3

Jun 21, 2008

So, in its third week, "Trinity" is showing that, even with its limited space, the most potentially satisfying thing about the series just might be it's increasingly wide range.

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8.0
Trinity #18

Oct 6, 2008

When everyone sits down, nine months from now, and takes "Trinity" in as a whole, it's quite possible that the first third will be better appreciated, crucial even, to the rest of the series' successes. Who can tell? For now, at least, it's great to have a book of this renewed level of quality on the stands every week.

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7.0
Ultimate Comics Captain America #1

Jan 6, 2011

Overall, though, this is a fine comic. Jason Aaron elevates it a fair stretch above your usually mindless superheroics and there's a pretty great looking comic book growing in Ron Garney's pages. I'm also quite interested to see how Aaron brings in America's rockier moments in history into play in future issues. Not too much really makes it "Ultimate," but that doesn't necessarily make it bad.

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9.0
Uncanny X-Force #2

Nov 27, 2010

While it's only two issues in, Rick Remender and Jerome Opena have already established their own unique voice on "Uncanny X-Force." They've created an engaging and beautiful book that, far from being just another mutant universe book clogging up the racks, does things that no other comic on the stands is doing. So far, at least, it looks like I was right: there's just no other mutant comic out right now that's as gleefully entertaining as this one.

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8.0
Uncanny X-Force #7

Apr 18, 2011

The thing I loved most about Grant Morrison's run on "New X-Men" was that he had written a single cohesive novel with its own themes and arcs, focusing on and growing its main characters. Rick Remender's "Uncanny X-Force" is doing the same things, with the same deft narrative touch and relentless imagination. It's only been 7.1 issues but it already feels like a classic.

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8.0
Uncanny X-Men #511

Jun 12, 2009

This issue concludes the Sisterhood storyline in the same tone Fraction's run has carried pretty much since he landed on the book next to Ed Brubaker. Fractured enough to keep tabs on rotating and well-balanced cast, kinetic when the fighting starts, and disarmingly poignant when it needs to be. Fraction writes the X-Men like human beings first and foremost. You might be forgiven for forgetting that once upon a time Scott Summers was actually married to Madelyne Pryor and that this isn't merely a shell for a malevolent enemy. At the close of this story, though, Fraction reminds us, as Cyclops takes a moment to deal with this sudden exhumation of two failed relationships. The X-Men, over its decades of varied stewardship, has always been a soap opera first, but in many ways, Fraction has taken that foundation and pushed it from early afternoon broadcasting for housewives into a more subtle, grown-up, 10:00 PM timeslot.

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8.0
Uncanny X-Men #513

Jul 7, 2009

So far, "Utopia," while carrying the torch of Big Crossover status, still feels like a personal but large scale classic X-Men adventure. We'll see how it all shakes out, but as of now it still feels like the kind of exploration of ideas that the best X-Men stories have been and not just an excuse to have two teams punch at each other. Fraction has spent over a year laying the groundwork of a very significant rift between Cyclops and the White Queen. Now that there are actual teams to personify this conflict of approaches, things could potentially get very interesting.

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9.0
Viking #1

Apr 22, 2009

Despite all these things against it, Image somehow saw fit in giving the book a shot, although its hard to imagine someone coming across this on their desk and turning it down. It is a remarkable and intensely readable first issue. It never feels slight, despite its (wonderful) artistic excesses, and it never feels overly dense despite the occasional hard to assign line of dialogue. Like the best first issues, it leaves the reader almost physically angry that they'll have to wait to read the next page. Not unlike their subjects, Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein have no intention of taking prisoners. This debut is ruthless in its confidence and in its successes. But the most surprising takeaway from such a bold debut, is the book's simplicity and heart. It is in every way a rare kind of comic book. Luckily it carries with it in inevitable guarantee of more to come.

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7.0
War of Kings #1

Mar 3, 2009

This issue might not have the scale of other Marvel events just yet, but both the writing and the art are unassuming in their appeal, but never lacking in it. It is a classically and colorfully fun book, and with the dire machinations of Dark Reign taking over one little corner of the Universe, it's lovely to see the other 99.976% having a blast.

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6.0
Wolverine (2003) #70

Jan 9, 2009

As much is there are some slight problems with the book's pacing, it's difficult to be that hard on a book whose last page depicts a Tyrannosaurus Rex possessed by Venom. As in so much of "Old Man Logan," Mark Millar is awfully good at showing us awesome things we didn't even know we wanted to see until we saw it.

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8.0
Wolverine (2003) #73

May 13, 2009

Bumping the close of Old Man Logan to make room for this low-key exploration of Wolverine's character might not have been a bombastic move on Marvel's part. These stories don't have the kind of action or relentless cadre of guest-star heroes that the movie did, but those who found themselves interested in the concept of Wolverine as seen in the movies might be pleasantly surprised at such an adept, complicated, and compelling look at the character behind it.

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8.0
Wolverine (2010) #3

Nov 8, 2010

Way better.

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7.0
Wonder Woman (2006) #26

Dec 3, 2008

Whereas previous storylines on the new run showed traces of the best of Simone's work, "Rise Of The Olympian" has her skills on full display. It's an engaging and even startling read at times. And while Aaron Lopresti might not carry the same weight as the Dodsons who started off Simone's run, he has remained a very dynamic artist since he started on the book, and has improved with each issue. "Wonder Woman" is finally starting to gel into a book every part a flagship as its two companions in DC's "trinity".

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3.2
X-Men: Gold (2017) #1

Apr 7, 2017

The current status quo for our favorite mutants is in many ways inescapable, so in some ways it was inevitable that "X-Men Gold" #1 was bound to disappoint. But things don't have to be this bad, do they? I don't think anybody asked for this, but everybody got it.

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