Jesse Schedeen's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: IGN Reviews: 4599
7.5Avg. Review Rating

9.2
100 Bullets #100

Apr 15, 2009

Now will someone clean up all this blood on the floor?

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8.6
100th Anniversary Special: Guardians of the Galaxy #1

Jul 30, 2014

Regardless of whether or not they've been following the rest of Marvel's 100th Anniversary Specials, Guardians of the Galaxy lovers will want to give this comic a look. It's entertaining and oddly engrossing for what is really just an alternate universe story at the end of the day. If we can't have more Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning Guardians comics, the Lanning/Marz team is a good substitute.

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8.5
100th Anniversary Special: The Avengers #1

Jul 23, 2014

I also appreciated the fact that, for all this comic's weirdness, Stokoe doesn't remain fixated on the humorous elements. This is not a self-deprecating or cynical comic. Quite the opposite. This clash between good and evil leads to a surprisingly heartfelt conclusion. In some ways, it's more like an Avengers comic of a bygone era than it is a product of some crazy future.

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7.9
1872 #3

Sep 24, 2015

Most of the plot twists can be seen coming a mile away as the downtrodden heroes of Timely begin rising up against Mayor Fisk and his bloodthirsty agents. Even so, there's a lot of enjoyment to be had in seeing Gerry Duggan's Wild West re-imagining of iconic Marvel characters, especially as characters like Carol Danvers join the fray.

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5.0
5 Days to Die #1

Sep 1, 2010

Chee's art is as pleasant a surprise as the writing in this issue. Chee reminds me very much of the gritty, crime noir stylings of Michael Lark or Matthew Southworth. Strong, competent line-work, heavy blacks, and emotional energy are the name of the game here. Chee's work isn't quite monotone, but features different color washes depending on the scene at hand. This issue is a strong debut both visually and in terms of the story. I'm pleasantly surprised with 5 Days to Die, and I hope that readers interested in 1 Month 2 Live will also give IDW's weekly series a fair chance.

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6.0
A Game of Thrones #1

Sep 21, 2011

Again, this is a competent adaptation, but a project like this needs to offer something more than competence. Either offer a deeper exploration of the series' mythology, as in the Dark Tower comics, or deliver a comic so beautifully rendered that the actual text doesn't even matter, like in Marvel's Oz books. Right now, there isn't much incentive to read this interpretation of A Game of Thrones over the original novel or the HBO series.

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6.9
A+X #1

Oct 31, 2012

A+X isn't a bad read as long as you don't allow the cover to fool you into thinking it has anything at all to do with Avengers vs. X-Men. Hopefully future issues will be more consistent on the promise to skip continuity and tell simple, fun done-in-one tales.

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7.3
A+X #2

Nov 28, 2012

Though A+X has its quirks and weak moments, the series can't be accused of not delivering on its simple premise. Even Marvel readers tired of the event machine might want to look beneath the AvX-style cover page and enjoy the simple, lighthearted tales within.

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7.0
A+X #3

Dec 19, 2012

Fans of Black Panther and Storm and/or Ferry's art will want to check out this issue, but the $3.99 cover price may be asking too much of everyone else.

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9.2
A+X #4

Jan 23, 2013

A+X #4 is a win-win. Can the the remaining two issues keep the streak going?

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8.8
A+X #5

Mar 6, 2013

If the first few issues of A+X were a bit rocky and uneven, these most recent two chapters have been milking the team-up concept for all its worth.

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8.5
A+X #6

Mar 27, 2013

After an early string of issues wherein only one of the two tales managed to live up to the premise, this is the third issue in a row where both segments are worth the price of admission. Judging from the newest solicits, Marvel doesn't appear to have any intention of wrapping up this book. And why should they at this rate?

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8.0
A+X #7

Apr 24, 2013

The CG art style is interesting, showcasing what a Pixar or Dreamworks-animated Marvel movie might look like. The downside to this is that there's little storytelling flow from panel to panel since the story consists of so many splash pages and large shots. But on the other hand, the artists do an admirable job of giving the figures a sense of fluidity, something that is all too rare with CG artwork.

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8.4
A-Force #1

May 20, 2015

While certain details regarding the nature of this team and their connection to the old marvel Universe remain unclear, A-Force #1 marks a worthy debut for Marvel's newest team book. It's fun and fast-paced, but also features great characterization and clear ties to the larger framework of Secret Wars. Marvel picked a solid creative team for this series, and it's already paying off.

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8.8
A.D.: After Death #1

Nov 23, 2016

A.D. is every bit as compelling a comic as one would expect from a Scott Snyder/Jeff Lemire team-up. It's intensely emotional, beautifully rendered and very diverse in its presentation. It does seem like the story would have been better served as a single graphic novel, but at least readers don't have to wait long for the next chapter.

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8.0
Abe Sapien: The Abyssal Plain #1

Jun 30, 2010

One of the benefits of following Mike Mignola's Hellboy universe is that even the spinoffs are generally worth reading. Abe Sapien: The Abyssal Plain doesn't break that trend. Mike Mignola and John Arcudi offer a tale less overtly steeped in horror and more plain creepy as Abe dives deep below the surface to seek out a lost artifact inside a sunken Russian sub. Peter Snejbjerg doesn't always capture the foreboding tone of his surroundings as well as he could, but there are some shots worth admiring. Those hoping that Mignola and Arcudi will shed new light on Abe's past might be disappointed, but the hero stands tall on his own once again. And those who just want more of those traditional clashes with monsters and demons should have their thirst quenched in issue #2. Though not an essential read, Abyssal Plain is just one more worthwhile and accessible entry in the increasingly vast Hellboy-verse.

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9.4
Action Comics #868

Aug 13, 2008

Naturally, Johns's story achieves a similar level of success. I really enjoy the looming sense of peril Johns is slowly building up. It's comparable to what Morrison is doing with Final Crisis, except simpler and.. you know... better. It's hard to ignore the feeling that something truly terrible is going to happen to Superman's loved ones, something that will likely kick off New Krypton at the end of the year. If this issue's story has any weak point, it's simply that fact that it doesn't move as quickly as I'd like. Johns spends the first half in the shadows, allowing Gary Frank's art to do all the talking. I really can't blame him for that, and yet I can't help but want more. This is, without a doubt, the best in-continuity Superman tale in a very long time. I'm always going to want more.

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7.8
Action Comics #872

Dec 10, 2008

The simple fact that an issue like this is taking place so late into "New Krypton" leaves me seriously worried about the overall impact of the crossover. At this point Johns and his collaborators have precious little time to accomplish what they set out to do. Forget matching the impact of "The Sinestro Corps War," at this point I'm just hoping for a crossover that doesn't fizzle out.

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8.0
Action Comics #878

Jun 10, 2009

Diego Olmos handles the pencils in this issue. It's nice to have one single artist handling the interior, at least. Olmos is no substitute for Barrows, but he's pretty competent in his own way. His pencils are a little more grounded and in keeping with Rucka's espionage flavor. In the quieter story segments and those focusing on human characters, Olmos is a solid fit. His page layouts and overall storytelling are fluid and easy on the eyes. On the other hand, his figure work is a little underwhelming, and this really starts to drag the book down in the more action-oriented sections. Olmos is a good match for Rucka, but not necessarily a good match for Action Comics.

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8.7
Action Comics #880

Aug 12, 2009

Crossover is increasingly becoming a dirty word in the industry, but it doesn't have to be. So far "Codename: Patriot" is a strong example of how to do these stories properly.

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7.5
Action Comics #889

Apr 28, 2010

This wasn't a bad finale by any stretch. All the same, I look forward to seeing Nightwing and Flamebird become more actively involved in the greater franchise over the next month. Anything after that remains to be seen.

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8.0
Action Comics (2011) #0

Sep 5, 2012

Sholly Fisch delivers another backup feature to complement the main tale. Interestingly, this story delves into Morrison's ongoing mythology much more than these backups have tended to in the past. Fisch doesn't focus on Superman here, but rather the origins of the Captain Comet/Neo-sapiens subplot from recent issues. Again, this material isn't necessarily that vital, but it adds a bit of color to previous stories. It's nice to have one issue that slows down the breakneck pace of the series and focus on the characters before Morrison begins his final push.

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7.0
Action Comics (2011) #8

Apr 4, 2012

In short, the larger plan for this book is beginning to come together, and it all seems promising. Is there any chance Action Comics can find a more timely and consistent art crew now?

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9.5
Action Comics (2011) #9

May 3, 2012

Finally, the backup story is an enjoyable read. It too focuses on Earth-23 Superman on a slightly smaller scale adventure. Writer Sholly Fisch explores the sometimes conflicting responsibilities a president/superhero faces and suggests the character is headed for a reckoning at some point in the future. If that means more of the character in Morrison's run, I'm all for it.

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6.5
Action Comics (2011) #10

Jun 6, 2012

Though Nimrod himself turns out to be a dud, he does facilitate an interesting twist that could have a profound impact on the Superman franchise depending how far Morrison chooses to push it. Even when this series stumbles, it remains an ambitious and exciting reinvention of the Man of Steel.

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7.0
Action Comics (2011) #11

Jul 5, 2012

Finally, Sholly Fisch delivers a backup story about the man who supposedly crafted Superman's T-shirt. The story doesn't complement the main feature in the way these backups have tended to, but it's an enjoyable read nonetheless. CAFU's artwork is as slick and expressive as ever, and it's a shame the rest of the book doesn't look this presentable.

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7.0
Action Comics (2011) #12

Aug 1, 2012

The problem with this finale chapter is that certain threads are wrapped up too quickly and neatly. There's the aforementioned Captain Comet sendoff, but more annoying is how little the Johnny Clark persona amounts to in the end. Superman's identity crisis had far more potential to explore, but it seems there just isn't space to continue along that path. Meanwhile, a last-minute character reveal could have used a bit more room in the script. Overall, this series just doesn't seem to have the room to expand to its full potential, nor the visual consistency it really deserves.

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7.7
Action Comics (2011) #17

Feb 20, 2013

The backup feature this month ranks among the better efforts from Sholly Fisch. Part of this is thanks to artist Chris Sprouse, who takes to Superman like a fish to water. But the script is heartfelt in its own right as it explores the last meeting between Clark and his father. The time travel aspect makes it a bit redundant in light of Morrison's All-Star Superman #6, but it works well nonetheless. The only problem? An editor's caption explains that the backup is meant to take place after Action Comics #18. Clearly the last-minute addition of that final chapter messed up the flow of the series, but couldn't this strip have been saved until then?

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8.4
Action Comics (2011) #18

Mar 20, 2013

Sholly Fisch and Chris Sprouse also return for one final back-up story. As mentioned, it isn't closely tied to Morrison's story, but it does tackle the idea of Superman from a different angle as it explores how a boy in the far future is inspired to stand up to a bully thanks to the Superman Museum. It's a little formulaic, though Fisch spices up the tale by cutting out all dialogue and using sound effects from the Museum to convey information instead. And there's no reason to complain about Chris Sprouse drawing a Superman comic, even if Superman himself is present only in spirit.

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5.4
Action Comics (2011) #21

Jun 5, 2013

But if nothing else, the "World of Krypton" backup feature holds some entertainment value. Though also burdened by excess dialogue at times, this segment features much sharper plotting and pacing, as well as some unusually detailed and energetic art from Philip Tan. It's enough to make you wish the backup feature could replace the main feature.

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8.8
Action Comics (2011) #28

Feb 6, 2014

Aaron Kuder's artwork perfectly matches the charming tone. His style is a little less focused on superheroic action and spectacle and more on unique character designs and overall energy. His facial work suffers a bit whenever the figures are framed from an angle, but otherwise Kuder brings a vibrant, slightly more cartoony look to Superman's world.

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9.5
Action Comics (2011) #29

Mar 5, 2014

And more and more, Aaron Kuder emerges as just the right artist to bring that eclectic blending to life. His work is expressive and dynamic, focusing less on big muscles and pretty faces and more on unique creature designs, quirky facial expressions, and awesome displays of Superman's might. I can't wait to see what these creators have in store for Superman as this run continues to unfold.

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8.2
Action Comics (2011) #30

Apr 2, 2014

The art in this issue is also easy on the eyes, despite the fact that Aaron Kuder doesn't illustrate every page. Kuder's work is as expressive and dynamic as ever, but guest artist Karl Kerschl also manages to impress with some intricate, jaw-droppingly gorgeous underwater scenes. Where can we sign up for more of that?

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7.9
Action Comics (2011) #31

May 15, 2014

Pak offers a satisfying blend of introspection, JLA dynamics, and good old superhero action in this chapter.

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8.2
Action Comics (2011) #32

Jun 5, 2014

Unfortunately, Aaron Kuder doesn't pencil this issue, instead making way for Scott Kolins. Kolins proves to be a perfectly decent replacement, however. His slightly cartoony style offers a similar vibe. Kolins renders the big action scenes well, though his facial work isn't quite as expressive and varied as Kuder's tends to be. Still, it's a vast improvement over Superman #31's rapid-fire switching between artists.

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8.5
Action Comics (2011) #33

Jul 3, 2014

"Doomed" is always at its best whenever it passes through Action Comics. It's almost a shame it's not confined solely to this title.

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6.8
Action Comics (2011) #36

Nov 6, 2014

The main appeal with this issue is seeing Aaron Kuder back on board as artist. Kuder's expressive style has been as integral to this series' newfound success as Pak's writing. And despite the generally cartoonish quality of Kuder's art style, he's able to perfectly match the darker tone of this story. This arc could be a showcase for Kuder's superhero versatility.

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8.7
Action Comics (2011) #37

Dec 4, 2014

It's also nice to have artist Aaron Kuder back in the saddle. This may just be Kuder's best issue of Action Comics to date. The sheer amount of visual variety alone makes this a blast to read. Kuder's typically expressive characters are in full effect, but he also has the chance to cut loose and design some really horrific and hyper-detailed monsters. On top of that, a brief flashback to Clark and Lana's childhood allows Kuder to tap into a different art style. It's like a blend between Kuder's cartoony approach and the sentimental paintings of Norman Rockwell.

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8.8
Action Comics (2011) #39

Feb 5, 2015

Action Comics #39 caps off Pak's post-Doomed story arc in very satisfying fashion. It has less to do with the horror elements or Pak's new take on Ultra-Humanite at this point. The emotional core of this issue is what makes it thrive.

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7.4
Action Comics (2011) #43

Aug 13, 2015

This issue offers a rousing conclusion to the current conflict, one that plays well on Clark's more vulnerable state and the way he continues to inspire those around him. Aaron Kuder's expressive yet down-to-earth style seems to suit the book more than ever given all these changes. Unfortunately, the story loses some of its punch as this issue wears on.

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7.1
Action Comics (2011) #44

Sep 10, 2015

Pak is great about exploring Clark's new status quo and his unflappable optimism in the face of one defeat after another. But as far as molding Wrath into a compelling villain? Not so much.

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8.1
Action Comics (2011) #46

Nov 19, 2015

Pak strikes a balance between letting Clark's darker side come out while still respecting the fundamentally good man beneath. If anything, this reads less like "Evil Superman" and more like a weary hero finally getting the chance to cut loose and enjoy himself again.

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8.2
Action Comics (2011) #50

Mar 9, 2016

It's unfortunate that such a talented creative team is forced to wrap up their Superman saga as cogs in a bigger machine, but Pak and Kuder make the most of their final issue of Action Comics. This issue is a rousing celebration of Superman and his supporting cast. The mish-mash of artists leads to a visually inconsistent issue, but Kuder's pages are worth the price of admission all on their own.

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6.8
Action Comics (2011) #51

Apr 21, 2016

Pete Tomasi's "Final Days of Superman" storyline continues to be a breath of fresh air in terms of Superman's characterization. As the Man of Steel confronts his own mortality, he suddenly feels more like classic Superman than he has in a long time. Unfortunately, that characterization isn't enough to save this issue from its various storytelling missteps.

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6.4
Action Comics (2011) #52

May 11, 2016

At this point "The Final Days of Superman" will go down in history as a flawed crossover at best. In some ways, it's just the shot in the arm this franchise needed. In other ways, it suffers from the same problem so many Superman crossover have in the past - poor pacing and too much exposition among them. Still, there's enough that works in this issue to suggest that Tomasi is the right creator to take over the relaunched Superman comic this summer.

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7.8
Action Comics (2016) #957

Jun 8, 2016

It's good to have a classic-numbered Action Comics back on the stands. This first issue doesn't completely live up to its potential in terms of Lex Luthor's role in the series, but it does offer a fun blend of old and new Superman elements as Superman and Luthor butt heads in front of Metropolis' residents. This issue looks great, and the series shows potential to keep building on the crazy twists and turns already brought about by DC Rebirth.

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7.0
Action Comics (2016) #959

Jul 14, 2016

It's unfortunate that we're barely a month into DC Rebirth and fill-in art is already becoming more common. But in this case, Tyler Kirkham's work stands out because it's so different from Patrick Zircher's rather than because it's poorly suited for the story Dan Jurgens is telling.

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7.3
Action Comics: Futures End #1

Sep 3, 2014

On the whole, this uplifting story is a nice change of pace from the generally darker world of Futures End.

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8.0
Action Man #1

Jun 23, 2016

Writer Nick Barber is able to strike a balance between innocent, old-school spycraft and a more grounded, real-world-influenced take on the franchise.

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9.2
Adventures Of Superman (2013) #1

May 29, 2013

The only real complaint worth registering about this issue is that it costs a dollar more than it would to download the three chapters digitally. But to be fair, it does offer at least as much content as any normal $3.99 comic would. Whichever viewing method you choose, this is a series that all Superman lovers need to be reading.

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7.5
Age of Apocalypse Vol.2 #1

Mar 7, 2012

Age of Apocalypse is a solid book all around in its debut issue, but it has plenty to prove in the coming months. Does this particular alternate universe have enough legs left to carry an ongoing series? Will the X-Terminated continue to hold their own alongside the other cast members? Again, time will tell.

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8.9
Age of Apocalypse Vol.2 #12

Feb 14, 2013

Renato Arlem adeptly handles the visual side of things. He creates a look of a world wracked by years of war and suffering that equals the tone established by Roberto de la Torre. And if anything, Arlem's facial work is more defined and nuanced, which is key in an issue like this where the dialogue-driven scenes take center stage. I'll be sorry to see this series end, but crossover or not, I have little doubt Lapham and his artists will manage to deliver the finale saga Age of Apocalypse deserves.

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8.2
Age of Apocalypse Vol.2 #13

Mar 6, 2013

The artwork is sold this month, with Renato Arlem tackling the bulk of the issue and Valentine De Landro handling the bookend pages. Both capably channel Roberto de la Torre's gritty, noir-esque style. It's a style that somehow works even though the tone and locations are comparatively cheery in this issue. One complaint, though, is that some characters are a bit harder to recognize now that most of them have ditched their costumes for civilian attire.

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7.5
Age of Apocalypse Vol.2 #14

Apr 3, 2013

This issue has two pencillers. Andre Araujo handles the scenes set in the 616 universe, while Renato Arlem lends his usual touch to the AoA universe. It's good that the story allows for such a logical separation of content, but the two artists are so completely stylistically different that the constant shifts are still jarring. Araujo's style is attractive in its own kooky way, but not necessarily dark enough to suit the tone of this story.

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6.7
Age of Heroes #1

May 19, 2010

And therein lies the core problem. Age of Heroes doesn't offer enough bang for the buck. $3.99 is too much to ask for four short stories, only two of which are of significant length. If both of the longer stories were of equally high quality that might help to justify the price, but they aren't. And in a week with so many promising new releases, it seems particularly hard to recommend an anthology book that can't offer full value and consistent quality.

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7.8
Age of Ultron #2

Mar 13, 2013

As nice as it is to see Bryan Hitch working in the Marvel Universe again, his work isn't as consistent as I would like. The landscapes and environments tend to be more impressive than the actual figures. Hitch creates a powerful sense of mood as he renders cities where buildings have crumbled and corpse-ridden vehicles litter the streets. But the figures suffer from many of the same problems Hitch's work so often displays lately. Characters seem to have chronically dislocated shoulders with the unnatural way their arms bend. Facial work is riddled with stray, haphazard lines. The latter quality is something that the inking should be able to fix, but instead Paul Neary's inks only highlight the unnecessary lines.

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8.0
Age of Ultron #3

Mar 27, 2013

The inking becomes a major problem at times, as it routinely fails to accomplish its basic purpose -- to lend weight and definition to the pencil lines. The inks are so scratchy and haphazard in some pages that I'd rather Marvel had just skipped that step entirely and released this series with plain penciled art.

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6.8
Age of Ultron #4

Apr 3, 2013

This is Bryan Hitch's penultimate issue of the series, and at this point there's little left to be said about his artwork. His various landscape shots look great. He crams ample amounts of detail into his ruined cityscapes and other environments. He paints an equally bleak picture of a Savage Land gutted by apocalyptic warfare. The many wide shots lend the book a generally cinematic, event-worthy feel. But his figures never benefit from the same sense of consistency and vitality. Background figures and panels that feature a large assortment of characters are much more loose haphazard. One odd quirk with this issue is that the interior art and cover alike make it obvious that Luke Cage wasn't originally drawn with hair. His hairdo looks scribbled on at the last minute.

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8.1
Age of Ultron #5

Apr 10, 2013

As mentioned, this is Hitch's final issue, and his work continues to show the same strengths and flaws as before. At the very least, issue #5 offers more diversity and allows Hitch to zoom in on a few key characters rather than tackle group shots of the Avengers. The detail in his figure work bumps up considerably in the flashback pages and any other page where the camera is zoomed in. But in general, this is still a familiar example of how Hitch's landscapes and environments outstrip his character designs. And as has often been the case with Hitch's Marvel work, there are certain objects and shapes he seems to struggle in rendering properly, most notably Iron Man's helmet. At this point, a visual refresh might not be such a bad thing.

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8.6
Age of Ultron #6

Apr 17, 2013

Honestly, my one real complaint with the story at this stage is that the future timeline feels almost incidental when held next to the past. Most of the dramatic impetus falls on Wolverine now. There's fighting and even death in the future, but the death only highlights the fact that much of this story will be wiped away by the finale issue. There's no longer any doubt as to whether Age of Ultron will have lasting ramifications for the Marvel Universe, but we need to see more of this future realm and Ultron himself before it becomes clear whether those ramifications extend to all angles of the story.

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6.0
Age of Ultron #7

May 1, 2013

Perhaps we'll find that this new alternate setting really is crucial to the development of Age of Ultron. But with the finale fast approaching and still no sign of the titular villain, it's difficult not to feel that the series is back to dragging its heels.

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6.1
Age of Ultron #8

May 15, 2013

The artwork is equally haphazard in this issue. Brandon Peterson handles the entire comic, having temporarily transitioned from Ultron's digitized future to this dystopian present. The story is the same as it has been. Some of Peterson's pages look spectacular, especially with the big action sequence as le Fay's armies attack and Stark's Helicarriers begin crashing out of the sky. But Peterson's facial work is too often stiff and jagged. Not that a harsh look is ill-suited to this new landscape, but the emotion of the script is too frequently lost in a mishmash of lines and shadows.

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7.3
Age of Ultron #9

Jun 5, 2013

As for Pacheco, his work is a little flat and lifeless compared to previous chapters. The muted color palette of the past-era scenes, while a clever way of calling back to marvel's Bronze Age past, doesn't do enough to bring life and depth to the pencils. Pacheco's storytelling also comes up short in certain scenes. One page shows a panel of Wolverine sneaking up behind Invisible Woman, followed by another where she's lying on the ground unconscious and he's off on his merry way. This entirely physical exchange falters because it lacks sequential flow.

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5.0
Age of Ultron #10

Jun 19, 2013

Each sequence is less story and more teaser ad, culminating in a single page spread extolling readers to buy the book in question. Between these sequences and the multiple pages reprinted from Avengers #12.1, it's fair to question why Marvel still charged $3.99 for this comic. The actual Ultron conflict is more or less forgotten by this point. None of the immediate fallout is explored, because as far as this issue shows, there isn't any. The focus is all about the next wave of events and tie-ins. As much as I resented Fear Itself #7 for losing sight of its own story in favor of setting up future books, Age of Ultron #10 is worse.

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8.5
Age of Ultron #10AI

Jun 26, 2013

There are a few odd quirks in this story, such as when Pym looks to the battle with Loki in Avengers #1 as his life's crowning achievement. But regardless, this is a fun read and, like with Avengers Academy before it, a welcome change of pace for such a normally glum character. The larger problem is that this issue gives too little indication of what to expect from Sam Humphries on Avengers A.I. next month. Will he retain this fun and lighthearted approach or strive for something different? That remains to be seen.

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7.2
Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #1

Jun 24, 2015

This series succeeds in shining a light on one of the more compelling regions of Battleworld and those unlucky few who call the Deadlands their home. However, this first issue is unfocused and doesn't offer a clear sense of what the book's core struggle will be.

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7.5
Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #2

Jul 30, 2015

This issue certainly establishes the stakes, though it spends a little too much time exploring the history of Salvation's defenders and poking fun at Hank Pym's "Aw, shucks!" shtick than fleshing out either Ultron's faction or the Marvel Zombies.

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7.6
Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #4

Sep 3, 2015

Unfortunately, after all this build-up the climax is too abrupt for its own good. This issue really could have used a couple extra pages to help give the conflict the finish it deserved.

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5.8
Agent Carter: SHIELD 50th Anniversary #1

Sep 17, 2015

It's always nice to see Peggy Carter given the spotlight in Marvel's comics, but this issue didn't do much to further her story or take advantage of the team-up with Lady Sif. The underwhelming conflict, and especially its poor resolution, take the wind out of this book's sails.

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7.8
Agents Of Atlas Vol. 2 #1

Feb 4, 2009

The backup story, set in the original era of the team and guest-starring Wolverine, is more along the lines of what I want from this book. It's humorous and filled with plenty of sci-fi B-movie cheesiness. It even manages to use its Wolverine appearance to great effect, which is not a particularly common occurrence in these types of stories/ Even the retro-flavored art style seems more suited to the tone of the series. To be fair, I think Carlo Pagulayan turned in some great work with this issue. Particularly thanks to the coloring of Jana Schirmer, his pencils pop in a vibrant way they haven't in some of his recent work. I just find Benton Jew's style to be more along the lines of what this book can and should be. Agents of Atlas shows great promise in its first issue. I'm really just hoping that the book can move from underneath Dark Reign's shadow as Captain Britain did and establish itself as something truly unique in Marvel's catalog.

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8.3
Agents Of Atlas Vol. 2 #9

Aug 5, 2009

Once again - gun-toting apes. Flying saucers. Talking dragons. Buy this book. You're only robbing yourself of great amounts of fun.

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4.3
Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1

Jan 13, 2016

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. the comic doesn't do much to live up to the legacy of the TV series. The cast may be similar, but the comic has no clear sense of purpose of a compelling conflict to propel these characters forward. Hopefully that will come with time and we'll see the comic make strides as great as the show once did in its troubled early months.

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6.7
Air #1

Aug 20, 2008

M.K. Perker is another source of mixed emotions for me. I love his page layouts. Though he relies on a very traditional six panel structure, Perker's work is compelling and easy on the eyes. I only wish his figures were able to measure up. Thanks mostly to his flat, uniform inking style, the characters stand out in odd ways, almost like they were carved out of wood. This was a problem in Cairo as well, but it only becomes worse through the addition of color. I don't know if a separate inker would be able to turn things around, but I'd like to see vertigo give it a try. Air certainly has potential, but it really needs to be held on the runway for maintenance right now.

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7.5
Air #2

Sep 17, 2008

Still, this book has improved significantly in just one month. I'm hopeful that it'll continue to do so as the main conflict becomes more clear. We still have a long flight ahead of us, after all.

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7.7
Air #3

Oct 15, 2008

Air has the potential to be something really great. For the time being, though I feel that the series is still struggling to find its rhythm. Call it some early flight turbulence if you like.

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6.1
Aliens #1

May 27, 2009

I can see potential in this series. Arcudi and Howard are both talented. The problem is that neither creator really put their talents to good use in this issue. Hopefully that will change soon.

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7.3
Aliens #3

Sep 30, 2009

This newest Aliens comic got off to a very rocky start, but it seems to be doing pretty well for itself now. I'm disappointed we don't have an Aliens book that looks more like an Aliens book should, but at least it satisfies all those baser desires for blood and gore. Perhaps it satisfies them a little too much...

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7.6
Aliens vs Predator: Three World War #3

Apr 7, 2010

Though his review of issue #1 was generally positive, Tim ultimately lamented the fact that his inner 10-year-old wasn't tickled by the plot of this book. I didn't find myself disagreeing with him at that stage in the game, but now Jesse Jr. is feeling quite happy and stimulated. And I'm only expecting this story to get more bloody and exciting from here.

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6.5
Aliens vs Predator: Three World War #6

Sep 15, 2010

The only real weakness in Stradley's final issue is spotty pacing. Certain scenes deserve more room to breathe than they are given. The ending in particular could have sorely used an extra page or two. Unfortunately, Three World War is too flawed to achieve true greatness, but it still provides ample entertainment and leaves the door wide open for future stories. With any luck, Dark Horse will pursue more sequels to this saga. If I can't count on the movies to do this concept any justice, I'll gladly settle for more comics.

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5.8
Aliens/Vampirella #1

Sep 2, 2015

The idea of Vampirella battling Xenomorphs is definitely enticing, but this first issue does little to capitalize on the potential of this crossover. The best we can hope for is that the series will veer away from formulaic Alien tropes and make better use of its heroine in future installments.

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6.5
Aliens: Fire and Stone #2

Oct 30, 2014

Oddly enough, this comic is at its least successful when it comes to channeling the tone and horror of the Alien franchise. Between the outdoor jungle setting and the sudden segueways from character interaction to Xenomorph attacks, there isn't room for the sort of creeping, claustrophobic tension you find in the movies.

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7.3
Aliens: Life and Death #1

Sep 22, 2016

The plot is basic and the characters pretty standard Aliens fare, but that doesn't mean the story isn't engaging. Dan Abnett taps into the survival horror aspect while also wrapping this first issue on an intriguing note.

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8.5
All New X-Men Special #1

Oct 2, 2013

Much of the appeal with this issue rests on the fact that it's Anka's first full-length sequential work at Marvel. He doesn't disappoint, bringing the same sense of energy and strong design work that have characterized his covers. The characters are simple but expressive, and the overall style manages to pay homage to the X-Men's Silver Age roots while still offering the sort of ferocious action you expect from modern superhero fare. We'll just have to see how well the crossover holds up as other artists tackle the remaining two issues.

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8.5
All-New All-Different Avengers Annual #1

Aug 11, 2016

Because these stories needn't be constrained by logic anything can and does happen within these pages. I only wish the various creative teams had room to get a bit more in-depth with their epic fantasy tales.

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6.0
All-New All-Different Avengers #3

Jan 14, 2016

Initially this series seemed like one of the safest bets of the All-New, All-Different Marvel lineup, but even after three issues it feels like there's something important missing.

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6.1
All-New All-Different Avengers #4

Jan 27, 2016

All-New, All-Different Avengers is still struggling to find its footing as it transitions from its first story arc to the second. The art quality improve in this issue, and Waid's characterization of Thor is a highlight. Unfortunately, the general team dynamic hasn't come together, and little about the conflict in this series is very remarkable.

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8.1
All-New All-Different Avengers #5

Feb 10, 2016

All-New, All-Different Avengers lacks a compelling villain right now, so it's good to see that the core team dynamic is becoming strong enough to offset that flaw. Waid's characterization of Vision alone makes this book worth reading, but the improving visual quality, the general team banter and the Ms. Marvel-centric material don't hurt either.

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6.8
All-New All-Different Avengers #6

Feb 25, 2016

All-New, All-Different Avengers has made some clear improvements over the course of this first story arc. The general team dynamic is stronger, and the series is in a better visual place as well. Unfortunately, this issue still caps off the arc on a fairly underwhelming note. There are still flaws that need addressing, but with the Avengers Standoff crossover coming up it's not clear how soon that will happen.

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6.7
All-New All-Different Avengers #7

Mar 24, 2016

Basically, it's the character drama rather than the action that distinguishes this series at the moment. That's partly because Adam Kubert's art in this issue isn't up to the book's recent standard.

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7.6
All-New All-Different Avengers #9

May 12, 2016

Waid plays around with time travel in small, fun ways here, but the script doesn't make enough of an effort to explain what exactly is happening with Vision or why. The script is a bit choppy as a result, but it ultimately sets the team on two divergent but equally intriguing paths.

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8.3
All-New All-Different Avengers #10

Jun 2, 2016

This issue has a very classic Avengers feel to it, while at the same time the "young vs. old" group dynamic and the low budget approach to superhero-ing give it a flavor all its own.

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8.5
All-New All-Different Avengers #11

Jun 30, 2016

This current story arc is the first to really tap into what I was hoping for from All-New, All-Different Avengers in the first place, which is a combination of fun, old-school-style Avengers threats mixed with an unpredictable "rookie vs. veteran" team dynamic.

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7.9
All-New All-Different Avengers #14

Sep 8, 2016

While ostensibly a Civil War II tie-in, this issue is more a launching pad for Jeremy Whitley and Elsa Charretier's upcoming series The Unstoppable Wasp. Which is just as well, as the script tend to be at its weakest when it attempts to draw in the events of Civil War II.

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8.3
All-New Captain America #1

Nov 12, 2014

Marvel's latest Captain America relaunch is off to a successful start. Remender and Immonen waste no time before diving in the action and showcasing Sam Wilson in action. This issue looks great, and the dynamic between Sam and his new partner help give the series some extra flavor. The Hydra conflict may be pretty basic for now, but there's every reason to expect this new series to develop into something special.

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8.9
All-New Captain America #4

Feb 19, 2015

Rick Remender was wise to throw Sam into the deep end with this united Hydra enemy. It's allowed the hero to shine and stand well apart from the other characters to wield the shield.

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8.2
All-New Captain America #5

Mar 19, 2015

If you need proof that Rick Remender is aware of the criticisms lobbied against Sam Wilson becoming Captain America, the first page of this issue will do the trick. Remender continues to demonstrate Sam's worthiness both in word and deed.

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7.2
All-New Captain America: Fear Him #1

Feb 5, 2015

The strong writing keeps the story moving, even as the art and wonky perspective threaten to slow it down again. Visually, this comic can't really measure up to the core All-New Captain America book.

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8.4
All-New Doop #1

Apr 9, 2014

As I was reading this issue, I did worry the premise would leave Doop marginalized within his own story too much. Do we really need five issues of him toying around behind the scenes of a completely different X-Men storyline? Luckily, the final pages deliver a major shake-up and promise that the mini-series will be shifting in a different direction. This is shaping up to be a very enjoyable and stylish addition to the X-Men franchise.

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8.1
All-New Doop #3

Jun 26, 2014

t's unfortunate to see David LaFuente joined by a fill-in artist in this issue, but the good news is that Jacopo Camagni is able to adhere to LaFuente's distinctive aesthetic and slip in and out of the issue with a minimum of fuss.

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7.4
All-New Doop #4

Jul 24, 2014

Needless to say, the book remains as entertaining as ever. And it's great to see Milligan making use of his old X-Statix cast as well. There's even a tease at a possible X-Statix revival. But it does feel like this book has lost sight of its original conceit - exploring how Doop appeared 'in the margins' of Battle of the Atom. Not that this change in direction is even a bad one, but the book does feel unfocused.

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8.3
All-New Ghost Rider #1

Mar 26, 2014

Time will tell if All-New Ghost Rider can find more sales traction than the previous book. But at least the new creative team are off on the right foot. All-New Ghost Rider offers an engaging, accessible entry point into the franchise that doesn't trip over itself trying to introduce the new hero. And in the tradition of new series like She-Hulk and Moon Knight, the unique visual style immediately sets this Ghost Rider apart from the ones that have come before. Hopefully this series can only get better as the creators work through the origin story and further establish Robbie's world.

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8.3
All-New Ghost Rider #4

Jun 26, 2014

It's easy to ridicule this new take on Ghost Rider based on the hyper-stylized art and the fact that he doesn't drive a motorcycle, but the series is coming along nicely. Tradd Moore's art is easily the biggest draw still, packing enough energy and expressive character design to fill three or four normal comics.

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8.0
All-New Ghost Rider #5

Jul 31, 2014

All-New Ghost Rider's first story arc wraps up with a finale that focuses more on action and spectacle than providing firm answers or explaining the new hero's true connection to the Ghost Rider mantle. But with an artist like Tradd Moore rendering the book, would you want something different?

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7.5
All-New Ghost Rider #6

Aug 20, 2014

Felipe Smith's second story arc sees Robbie settling into his role as a supernatural avenger. And everything is coming up Robbie lately. He's making good money by using his Ghost Rider powers to win races. He's able to spend more time with his brother. The only one not happy in this equation is his spectral partner Eli. Above all, this issue is great at building a sense of dread. Everything in Robbie's life is so positive that it's obviously going to collapse on him sooner rather than later. The question is how badly. Robbie is still very early in his hero's journey, and he has yet to learn the important lesson about power and responsibility (something Smith acknowledges in a very direct way here). The conflict Smith begins building isn't all that memorable aside from a purely visual standpoint, but clearly bigger things are brewing underneath.

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8.4
All-New Ghost Rider #11

Feb 12, 2015

The dynamic between Robbie Reyes and his younger brother has become far more compelling thanks to the latter's recent personality shift. Couple that with dark new revelations about Robbie's ghostly partner and its plans for the two brothers, and the drama is really mounting.

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8.3
All-New Ghost Rider #12

Mar 26, 2015

All-New Ghost Rider is another All-New Marvel NOW title reaching a premature end. To his credit, writer/co-artist Felipe Smith doesn't try to close the book on Robbie Reyes or wrap up every single loose end in these 20 pages. This issue reads more like the end of an arc than a series finale.

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7.3
All-New Invaders #1

Jan 22, 2014

No, this isn't a flawless debut for the latest Invaders revival. But I can forgive this issue's storytelling missteps in light of the sheer ambition and fun already apparent in the story. Robinson and Pugh aren't simply dusting off an old team and coasting on a wave of nostalgia. They're trying to do something distinctly different with the Invaders, and that alone is enough to capture my interest.

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6.2
All-New Invaders #7

Jul 10, 2014

For this series' Original Sin tie-in, James Robinson has revealed that the Invaders failed to stop the dropping of the atomic bombs that ended WWII. That premise is a lot more interesting than what is actually delivered in issue #7.

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9.0
All-New Marvel NOW Point One #1

Jan 8, 2014

It's a little weird that this issue has no connective threads or build-up to Orginal Sin, especially considering that the first Point One issue teased Original Sin over two years ago. But that aside, this issue is well worth the price of admission, and serves as a strong showcase for Marvel's 2014 lineup.

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6.2
All-New Ultimates #1

Apr 10, 2014

Depending what you're looking for in All-New Ultimates #1, you may walk away disappointed. This is less a replacement for the classic Ultimates team and more an extension of Ultimate Spider-Man. But while this first issue is held back by some strange storytelling choices and a generally choppy script, at least it tries new things and doesn't come across as just another in a long line of teen superhero comics. It adheres to the promise of the Ultimate Universe being a home for new and unexpected kinds of stories.

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4.6
All-New Ultimates #6

Aug 21, 2014

I really wish I could enjoy this series, based both on Michael Fiffe's pedigree and the great work that was done setting up this team on the previous volume of Ultimate Spider-Man. But All-New Ultimates continues to disappoint after six issues.

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6.3
All-New Ultimates #12

Jan 14, 2015

But to his credit, Fiffe caps off a solid character arc for Bombshell. Lana has emerged a stronger and more fully realized character thanks to this series. The decision to frame this arc from her viewpoint was an inspired one. The final few pages focus on Lana and the rest of the team bonding as a family unit, and they reinforce the great dynamic uniting these heroes. It's a shame the book never built a more engaging conflict around that dynamic, and that this may be the last we see of this particular incarnation of the Ultimates.

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8.5
All-New Wolverine #1

Nov 11, 2015

The Wolverine franchise has finally found its bearing, and all it took was a completely new character underneath that distinctive mask. This first issue is lean and fast-paced, tossing readers right into the heat of battle and proving the former X-23 worthy of inheriting the mantle of Wolverine.

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8.8
All-New Wolverine #2

Nov 25, 2015

There's a real momentum to this series even so early into its lifespan. Taylor's pacing is quick, but not to the point where he does the characters or conflict a disservice.

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8.4
All-New Wolverine #3

Dec 31, 2015

All-New Wolverine has the distinction of being the best of Marvel's new X-books so far. This issue continues that trend, as Tom Taylor digs deeper into the relationship between Laura and her clones and pits them against Taskmaster.

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9.0
All-New Wolverine #4

Jan 14, 2016

In the end, Strange's role in this book might be fleeting, but he offers a fun change of pace for the series while also helping to reinforce the bond between these "sisters."

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9.0
All-New Wolverine #5

Feb 11, 2016

The Janet/Laura team-up in this issue is fun to read (who would have ever expected Laura to don an Ant-Man suit and go cruising through a human body?), but the heartfelt bond between the new Wolverine and her sisters is where the real heart of this issues rests.

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9.0
All-New Wolverine #6

Mar 10, 2016

In the end, this issue accomplished exactly what the finale of an opening story arc should - it closes the door on one conflict while laying the groundwork for darker and more dramatic battles to come.

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9.0
All-New Wolverine #7

Apr 28, 2016

This issue manages to be silly, poignant, sweet and downright hilarious in equal measure.

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9.2
All-New Wolverine #8

May 19, 2016

Somehow this series manages to be the silliest and most entertaining of the X-Men line while simultaneously offering some of the deepest characterization.

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8.5
All-New Wolverine #9

Jun 2, 2016

You might as well ignore the "Road to Civil War II" banner, because this comic has no tangible connection to the events of that big crossover. What it does have is plenty of wacky fun and adventure as Laura literally climbs into the belly of the beast in order to rescue Old Man Logan from being digested by Fin Fang Foom.

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8.1
All-New Wolverine #11

Aug 18, 2016

All-New Wolverine's Civil War II tie-in arc is unfolding in the same way it is in so many other books. Ulysses has a vision about a specific hero, and then everybody panics. As has been the case from the start, however, it's the top-notch characterization that makes this book shine.

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6.9
All-New Wolverine #12

Sep 22, 2016

This issue closes out the brief arc well enough, but it does feel fairly underwhelming in the end.

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7.7
All-New Wolverine #13

Oct 6, 2016

The original "Enemy of the State" was a watershed storyline for Wolverine, influencing many stories that followed in the years to come. The hope is that "Enemy of the State II" will do the same for the new Wolverine. So far, this arc seems to be on the right track.

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6.2
All-New Wolverine #15

Dec 8, 2016

"Enemy of the State II" has yet to really live up to its predecessor. Conceptually, it's a fitting sequel, but the scope isn't really there yet.

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7.1
All-New Wolverine #16

Jan 12, 2017

This may not be the epic murder-fest the original "Enemy of the State" was, but maybe it doesn't need to be.

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7.1
All-New Wolverine #17

Feb 9, 2017

Much like the issue in the original "Enemy of the State" that focused on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s efforts to de-program Wolverine, this issue hinges on the attempt to break Laura's weakness to her control scent. The difference being that Taylor frames the ordeal as an introspective, even intimate battle that hinges on the sisterly bond between Laura and Gabby. It's a firm reminder that, for all the mistakes this series can make at times, Tom Taylor really knows how to write Laura Kinney.

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6.8
All-New Wolverine Annual #1

Aug 31, 2016

If all you want from this issue is a fun, goofy team-up between two of Marvel's most prominent heroines, you won't leave disappointed. This comic looks great and delivers a steady stream of body-swap comedy. But given how well the main series has managed to blend humor and emotional drama, it's disappointing that the annual feels so light and inconsequential by comparison. There's too much missed potential with this crossover.

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8.5
All-New Wolverine #1

Nov 11, 2015

The Wolverine franchise has finally found its bearing, and all it took was a completely new character underneath that distinctive mask. This first issue is lean and fast-paced, tossing readers right into the heat of battle and proving the former X-23 worthy of inheriting the mantle of Wolverine.

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8.8
All-New Wolverine #2

Nov 25, 2015

There's a real momentum to this series even so early into its lifespan. Taylor's pacing is quick, but not to the point where he does the characters or conflict a disservice.

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8.4
All-New Wolverine #3

Dec 31, 2015

All-New Wolverine has the distinction of being the best of Marvel's new X-books so far. This issue continues that trend, as Tom Taylor digs deeper into the relationship between Laura and her clones and pits them against Taskmaster.

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9.0
All-New Wolverine #4

Jan 14, 2016

In the end, Strange's role in this book might be fleeting, but he offers a fun change of pace for the series while also helping to reinforce the bond between these "sisters."

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9.0
All-New Wolverine #5

Feb 11, 2016

The Janet/Laura team-up in this issue is fun to read (who would have ever expected Laura to don an Ant-Man suit and go cruising through a human body?), but the heartfelt bond between the new Wolverine and her sisters is where the real heart of this issues rests.

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9.0
All-New Wolverine #6

Mar 10, 2016

In the end, this issue accomplished exactly what the finale of an opening story arc should - it closes the door on one conflict while laying the groundwork for darker and more dramatic battles to come.

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9.0
All-New Wolverine #7

Apr 28, 2016

This issue manages to be silly, poignant, sweet and downright hilarious in equal measure.

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9.2
All-New Wolverine #8

May 19, 2016

Somehow this series manages to be the silliest and most entertaining of the X-Men line while simultaneously offering some of the deepest characterization.

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8.5
All-New Wolverine #9

Jun 2, 2016

You might as well ignore the "Road to Civil War II" banner, because this comic has no tangible connection to the events of that big crossover. What it does have is plenty of wacky fun and adventure as Laura literally climbs into the belly of the beast in order to rescue Old Man Logan from being digested by Fin Fang Foom.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.1
All-New Wolverine #11

Aug 18, 2016

All-New Wolverine's Civil War II tie-in arc is unfolding in the same way it is in so many other books. Ulysses has a vision about a specific hero, and then everybody panics. As has been the case from the start, however, it's the top-notch characterization that makes this book shine.

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6.9
All-New Wolverine #12

Sep 22, 2016

This issue closes out the brief arc well enough, but it does feel fairly underwhelming in the end.

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7.7
All-New Wolverine #13

Oct 6, 2016

The original "Enemy of the State" was a watershed storyline for Wolverine, influencing many stories that followed in the years to come. The hope is that "Enemy of the State II" will do the same for the new Wolverine. So far, this arc seems to be on the right track.

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6.2
All-New Wolverine #15

Dec 8, 2016

"Enemy of the State II" has yet to really live up to its predecessor. Conceptually, it's a fitting sequel, but the scope isn't really there yet.

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7.1
All-New Wolverine #16

Jan 12, 2017

This may not be the epic murder-fest the original "Enemy of the State" was, but maybe it doesn't need to be.

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7.1
All-New Wolverine #17

Feb 9, 2017

Much like the issue in the original "Enemy of the State" that focused on S.H.I.E.L.D.'s efforts to de-program Wolverine, this issue hinges on the attempt to break Laura's weakness to her control scent. The difference being that Taylor frames the ordeal as an introspective, even intimate battle that hinges on the sisterly bond between Laura and Gabby. It's a firm reminder that, for all the mistakes this series can make at times, Tom Taylor really knows how to write Laura Kinney.

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7.4
All-New X-Factor #1

Jan 8, 2014

Carmine Di Giandomenico provides a new look and feel to go with the new direction and status quo. Everything is light and angular, befitting a corporate-led mutant team. Di Giandomenico's storytelling shines best early on, during Gambit's botched robbery attempt. The coloring is the one visual flaw right now. Between the wardrobes and odd lighting choices, characters often appear almost monochrome in many panels.

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8.2
All-New X-Factor #9

Jun 5, 2014

While the story quickly heats up this month, the pacing does seem almost too fast for its own good (especially considering the pointless opening sequence). But between David's characterization and Carmine Di Giandomenico's expressive art, there's plenty to like here.

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8.0
All-New X-Factor #10

Jul 3, 2014

The current X-Factor storyline has definitely picked up the pace, though not quite to the point where it proves detrimental to the plot like it did last month.

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8.5
All-New X-Factor #12

Aug 21, 2014

As much as All-New X-Factor has read like a clean break for the team from David's past work, this material really bridges the gap between the old and the new and furthers Pietro along the path to redemption. It's a rewarding read after a decade of seeing Pietro stumble and fall.

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7.9
All-New X-Factor #16

Nov 6, 2014

With this series due for cancellation in a couple months, it's good to see that Peter David isn't letting this AXIS tie-in derail the book's momentum or the focus on character relationships.

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8.5
All-New X-Men Annual #1

Dec 24, 2014

Basically, if you enjoyed Uncanny X-Men Annual #1 earlier this month, you'll get a kick out of this one, too. It remains a treat to see Andrea Sorrentino working his magic on the Marvel Universe.

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9.1
All-New X-Men #6

Jan 16, 2013

Even the temporary (I hope) loss of Immonen can't prevent this new series from firing on all cylinders. Bendis is weaving a very engaging tale that celebrates the long history of the X-Men while also managing to appeal to people who have no prior attachment to the characters.

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7.7
All-New X-Men #18

Nov 13, 2013

Stuart Immonen remains on board in the aftermath of Battle of the Atom. Naturally, his work is clean, engaging, and visually dynamic even though the script involves little more than talking heads. His art is as much responsible for differentiating this series as any other element. It's good to have a less stylized and more traditionally superheroic look at Cyclops' faction of mutants to offset the art in Uncanny X-Men.

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6.3
All-New X-Men #19

Nov 27, 2013

All-New X-Men #19 isn't a bad comic, though the art frequently leaves a lot to be desired. It's more that this series is lacking in the excitement and ambition that defined it prior to Battle of the Atom. Hopefully that will change quickly enough when the crossover begins.

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6.4
All-New X-Men #21

Jan 15, 2014

Perhaps this new Stryker will eventually emerge as a worthwhile X-villain. There's little doubt after this issue that Bendis has plenty more planned for him. But for now, I'm just as happy to move onto the big Guardains of the Galaxy crossover storyline.

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8.5
All-New X-Men #22.NOW

Jan 22, 2014

But the good news is that Stuart Immonen is back on board as artist. Given how rushed Battle of the Atom was towards the end, it's been a while since we've seen Immonen in top form with this series. His talent for rendering epic action and expressive, emotional figures is as impressive now as it was at the beginning of All-New X-Men. Immonen is in good company as he works alongside Sara Pichelli with this crossover, and I'm eager to see the final product collected in one package.

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9.0
All-New X-Men #23

Feb 12, 2014

Not to mention that Stuart Immonen is delivering some amazing visuals. Bendis' script gives Immonen a wide variety of material to work with. There are intimate emotional scenes that hinge on facial work. There's slapstick, comedic banter. There's epic space warfare and explosions abound. If we've learned anything from this crossover so far, it's that there's nothing Immonen can't draw impeccably well.

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8.0
All-New X-Men #24

Mar 12, 2014

The issue manages to function on a deeper level thanks to Stuart Immonen's art. Immonen has been on his A-game all throughout this crossover. He's able to convey a great deal about Jean's emotional turmoil through his bold page layouts and nuanced facial work. Similarly, Immonen is able to convey a great deal about Oracle and her conflicted role in the story simply through facial work.

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8.8
All-New X-Men #25

Apr 9, 2014

And the varied artwork helps a great deal. I don't know that this is "the greatest artist roster ever assembled" as the cover proclaims, but it's a mighty fine assortment either way. The issue features a nice mix of classic X-Men pencillers (Art Adams, Paul Smith) and artists you wouldn't normally expect to see on a Marvel book (Bruce Timm, Jill Thompson). These artists contribute a variety of splash pages and more traditional sequential work scattered in among David Marquez's framing sequence, with the overall flow and effect working better than the similarly focused Ultimate Spider-Man #200 from last week.

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8.8
All-New X-Men #27

May 14, 2014

All-New X-Men is always at its best with Stuart Immonen providing the art. This issue allows Immonen to tackle a wide range of material, from a dramatic birthing scene to dimly lit, underground battles to neon-drenched scenes of the future Marvel U. Maybe none of the material is quite as epic as what we saw in the "Trial of Jean Grey" crossover, but who knows where this arc will venture before the end?

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8.7
All-New X-Men #28

Jun 11, 2014

And once again, Stuart Immonen is at the top of his game. His work takes on a slightly darker tone than usual with this arc, especially in the shadowy future scenes as the Brotherhood plot and scheme. The constant back-and-forth in the script helps keep the story humming along, and Immonen's shadowy scenes frequently open up into widescreen displays of psychic fury. That Immonen can keep up this level f detail and craft coming right on the heels of the "Trial of Jean Grey" crossover is very impressive.

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8.4
All-New X-Men #29

Jul 9, 2014

Issue #29 also serves as Stuart Immonen's swan song on the book, unfortunately. His vibrant, dynamic art will be sorely missed. This issue does show a few rough edges in terms of loose facial details and such, but that's to be expected considering how many pages Immonen has tackled in recent months. He still brings an awesome sense of scale and drama to every page, and the interplay between the real world and the psychic plane helps distinguish this issue even further.

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8.4
All-New X-Men #30

Aug 13, 2014

It's unfortunate that the ending sequence has to come along and kill the groove the issue had achieved. Bendis finishes the story with a rehash of a scene from Uncanny X-Men #23. It feels out of place and not terribly relevant to the other story segments.

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7.6
All-New X-Men #31

Aug 27, 2014

Mahmud Asrar makes the jump from Wolverine and the X-Men to illustrate this arc. It's a bit of a thankless job considering the impossibly high standard artists like Stuart Immonen and Sara Pichelli have set. Asrar's art isn't on that level in terms of energy or refinement, but he does a respectable job of maintaining the series' aesthetic. Some pages look great and feature bold action, while others suffer from loose details or reused panels.

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7.7
All-New X-Men #34

Dec 17, 2014

Mahmud Asrar has some stiff competition with this book, coming on the heels of greats like Stuart Immonen and David Marquez. But he's also coming into his own as a Marvel artist. Some of Asrar's pages are dynamic and detailed enough that it's almost tough to tell Immonen ever left. The Iceman scenes in particular showcase Asrar's storytelling abilities. Other pages never hit that level, though, and at times his facial work is too muddy and simplistic to keep up with Bendis' dialogue-heavy approach.

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7.4
All-New X-Men #36

Feb 11, 2015

There's a sense that Bendis is offering the Ultimate X-Men one final moment of triumph before Secret Wars swoops in and upends their world for good. Speaking of which, a number of teases in this issue call to question just how directly this arc is setting up the events of Secret Wars. But more intriguing is a development at the very end that looks to dictate the course of this series in its final months.

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8.2
All-New X-Men #37

Mar 12, 2015

Brian Bendis uses this issue to explore one of the more oft-ignored character dynamics in his X-men run - Emma Frost and young Jean Grey. And even if this chapter does little to advance the larger plot, it's worth a read for that element alone.

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6.5
All-New X-Men #38

Feb 25, 2015

But again, at least the art impresses. This issue does stand out in the sense that previous Black Vortex chapters did a solid job of adhering to the aesthetic laid out by Ed McGuinness in the Alpha issue. Andrea Sorrentino's style is a far cry from McGuinness'. That's a flaw in the greater context of the crossover, but on its own merits this issue really shines in the visual department. Sorrentino does cosmic spectacle every bit as well as gritty superhero drama. The transformed heroes especially stand out thanks to Sorrentino's striking figure work and the general surreal tone he generates. Brian Bendis may well have found his next great collaborator in Sorrentino.

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7.8
All-New X-Men #39

Mar 18, 2015

Andrea Sorrentino's distinctive style may put him at odds with the rest of the artists working on this crossover, but on his own merits he's a great fit for this sort of cosmic drama. His dynamic layouts shine best during the scenes of carnage and destruction. During the more emotionally charged scenes, he brings a subtler touch that emphasizes body language and emotion. A lot is conveyed in simple looks between Kitty and Star-Lord or Cyclops and Jean.

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7.5
All-New X-Men #40

Apr 23, 2015

All-New X-Men #40 offers an intriguing epilogue to Black Vortex, but the series needs more momentum now.

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7.1
All-New X-Men (2015) #1

Dec 2, 2015

All-New X-Men #1 doesn't race right out of the gate like the previous series did in its first issue, but this is an enjoyable debut all the same. Hopeless shows a strong handle on his cast of mutant heroes, while Bagley is right at home in this corner of the Marvel U. However, the needlessly slow pace and emphasis on team-building over plot do hold this issue back.

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6.7
All-New X-Men (2015) #6

Mar 17, 2016

This issue continues Dennis Hopeless efforts to use the Blob conflict as a means of exploring each character's state of mind. That means there's a lot of clunky, ponderous introspection and not a great deal of plot progression.

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8.6
All-New X-Men (2015) #7

Mar 31, 2016

Not only is this issue emotionally gut-wrenching, it's also very claustrophobic and unsettling thanks to to catacomb setting and the physical suffering Cyclops endures.

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4.8
All-New X-Men (2015) #8

Apr 14, 2016

This issue serves as a transitional chapter as the books shifts from the opening conflict with The Blob and Toad to the events of "The Apocalypse Wars." Frankly, it reads more like a filler issue than an integral addition to the series.

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7.8
All-New X-Men (2015) #9

May 12, 2016

All-New X-Men might just be the most vital addition to the growing Apocalypse wars crossover, given the fact that one of the core team members is a teenage clone of the world's oldest and most evil mutant. At the same time, it's unfortunate that this series is covering the same ground as its sister X-books.

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6.8
All-New X-Men (2015) #10

Jun 9, 2016

This issue explores what happens when Evan buddies up with the teenage En Sabah Nur and realizes that even Apocalypse himself was once an ordinary, even loving boy. It makes for an interesting reality check, but this issue doesn't do much more than reiterate Evan's shock and confusion and chronicle the ancient Egyptian equivalent of a beach trip.

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6.4
All-New X-Men (2015) #12

Aug 11, 2016

Though the Laura/Warren romance is a major focus here, it's actually the Laura/Scott dynamic that stands out the most. The two have developed an entertaining friendship under Hopeless' hand.

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9.1
All-New X-Men (2015) #13

Sep 15, 2016

This series has had plenty of ups and downs, but at its best it showcases what's possible with such an eclectic team of teenage X-Men. This issue serves as a high point for Dennis Hopeless and Mark Bagley's run so far.

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8.3
All-New X-Men (2015) #15

Nov 10, 2016

It's nice to know that some X-Men comics can still inspire excitement and anticipation.

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7.5
All-New X-Men (2015) Annual #1

Nov 24, 2016

This series is often at its best when it focuses on smaller, character-driven stories rather than trying to contribute to the mess that is current X-Men continuity. Even without regular writer Dennis Hopeless on board, this issue taps into that appeal.

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7.1
All-New X-Men (2015) #1

Dec 2, 2015

All-New X-Men #1 doesn't race right out of the gate like the previous series did in its first issue, but this is an enjoyable debut all the same. Hopeless shows a strong handle on his cast of mutant heroes, while Bagley is right at home in this corner of the Marvel U. However, the needlessly slow pace and emphasis on team-building over plot do hold this issue back.

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6.7
All-New X-Men (2015) #6

Mar 17, 2016

This issue continues Dennis Hopeless efforts to use the Blob conflict as a means of exploring each character's state of mind. That means there's a lot of clunky, ponderous introspection and not a great deal of plot progression.

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8.6
All-New X-Men (2015) #7

Mar 31, 2016

Not only is this issue emotionally gut-wrenching, it's also very claustrophobic and unsettling thanks to to catacomb setting and the physical suffering Cyclops endures.

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4.8
All-New X-Men (2015) #8

Apr 14, 2016

This issue serves as a transitional chapter as the books shifts from the opening conflict with The Blob and Toad to the events of "The Apocalypse Wars." Frankly, it reads more like a filler issue than an integral addition to the series.

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7.8
All-New X-Men (2015) #9

May 12, 2016

All-New X-Men might just be the most vital addition to the growing Apocalypse wars crossover, given the fact that one of the core team members is a teenage clone of the world's oldest and most evil mutant. At the same time, it's unfortunate that this series is covering the same ground as its sister X-books.

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6.8
All-New X-Men (2015) #10

Jun 9, 2016

This issue explores what happens when Evan buddies up with the teenage En Sabah Nur and realizes that even Apocalypse himself was once an ordinary, even loving boy. It makes for an interesting reality check, but this issue doesn't do much more than reiterate Evan's shock and confusion and chronicle the ancient Egyptian equivalent of a beach trip.

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6.4
All-New X-Men (2015) #12

Aug 11, 2016

Though the Laura/Warren romance is a major focus here, it's actually the Laura/Scott dynamic that stands out the most. The two have developed an entertaining friendship under Hopeless' hand.

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9.1
All-New X-Men (2015) #13

Sep 15, 2016

This series has had plenty of ups and downs, but at its best it showcases what's possible with such an eclectic team of teenage X-Men. This issue serves as a high point for Dennis Hopeless and Mark Bagley's run so far.

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8.3
All-New X-Men (2015) #15

Nov 10, 2016

It's nice to know that some X-Men comics can still inspire excitement and anticipation.

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8.5
All-Star Batman #1

Aug 10, 2016

It just doesn't feel right not having Scott Snyder writing Batman. This series fills the void that's existed since the end of Batman Vol. 2, but more importantly, it shows that Snyder still has plenty of tricks up his sleeve when it comes to the character. Plus, this issue is worth reading solely for the gorgeous visuals provided by John Romita, Jr., Declan Shalvey and the rest of the art team. It's just a shame this is the one Batman comic that isn't twice-monthly.

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9.0
All-Star Batman #2

Sep 14, 2016

No matter how many great Batman comics DC publishes, Scott Snyder's work will always stand out. This issue offers a rousing road trip adventure, plenty of impeccably rendered action, dramatic foreshadowing of things to come and a dash of real world allegory to boot. All these ingredients combine to from an eclectic and very enjoyable Batman comic.

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9.4
All-Star Batman #3

Oct 13, 2016

Throw in the return of a fan-favorite Batman character and an increased role for Duke, and this issue serves as a new benchmark for the still-young series.

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8.7
All-Star Batman #4

Nov 10, 2016

Needless to say, a story that already felt plenty timely is only growing more so in light of recent political developments. But this issue also has plenty of brutal, hard-hitting action to offer as Batman's physical gauntlet grows more harrowing and The Beast re-enters the fray.

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9.2
All-Star Batman #6

Jan 11, 2017

The Batman franchise really offers an embarrassment of riches these days. This issue succeeds in revitalizing a villain whose stock had plummeted in recent years, while also serving as a terrific reunion for Scott Snyder and his Detective Comics collaborators. It's just a shame Jock won't be sticking around longer.

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9.0
All-Star Batman #7

Feb 8, 2017

If All-Star Batman were nothing more than an excuse for Scott Snyder to work with a who's who lineup of talented artists, the series would be well worth following, This issue offers a gorgeous take on the Batman/Poison Ivy dynamic courtesy of Tula Lotay. But there's plenty of depth to this story, to boot, as All-Star Batman continues to be a showcase for the enduring appeal of Batman's villains.

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4.8
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #10

Sep 24, 2008

I'm sure some readers will disagree with a lot of what I've said here. All I ask is that you consider what you really enjoy about this book. To me, All-Star Batman & Robin is a joke. Just because it lets you in on the joke doesn't mean you should be laughing along with it.

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7.5
All-Star Section 8 #1

Jun 10, 2015

Artist John McCrea doesn't miss a beat with these characters. His vision of the Cauldron is both outlandishly cartoony and slathered in grime and grit. It's a very unique visual sensibility relative to the rest of DC's comics. McCrea crams in various visual gags as well, with the standout example being several homages to classic Batman artists like Neal Adams and Kelley Jones. It appears these homages were directly lifted from the old comics in question rather than recreated, but they're integrated in an effective and hilarious way.

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6.8
All-Star Section 8 #2

Jul 9, 2015

John McCrea's art is great at channeling and enhancing the humor of Ennis' script. His pages are full of gritty, grimy charm and dynamic, almost Tex Avery-esque storytelling. But beneath all of the goofiness, there's not much of a story to be had with this book.

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7.7
All-Star Section 8 #3

Aug 13, 2015

John McCrea's art shines once again, contrasting the high-minded heroism of Martian Manhunter with the gritty, grimy, downright filthy world that this team occupies. But now that we're halfway through this comic, maybe it's time to get the plot in gear?

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7.5
All-Star Western #5

Jan 25, 2012

Hopefully the writers will pick up the pace of the main story in issue #6, as reading about Hex and Arkham bickering and battling Bat people can only sustain the book for so long.

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7.0
All-Star Western #6

Feb 22, 2012

The Barbary Ghost backup tale proves entertaining in its final chapter, if also a bit rushed in its own way. Luckily, the story leaves room for more adventures with this unique Western heroine. And both the lead and backup features boast impressive visuals. Moritat delivers some of his moodiest and most consistent work of the series to date. And Phil Winslade's bold figures and striking imagery go a long way towards elevating the Barbary Ghost pages. Hopefully he can continue to play a role in this series as it moves forward.

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7.5
All-Star Western #7

Mar 28, 2012

Unfortunately, Moritat's artwork isn't really up to snuff this month. His style seems to vary quite a bit from month to month, and in this case it becomes far more loose scratchy, with flat characters that don't do enough to convey action and motion. The art in the backup feature is far stronger and more refined in comparison. Still, this issue goes a long way towards proving that All-Star Western has strong legs beyond the Batman connections.

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8.0
All-Star Western #8

Apr 25, 2012

All-Star Western is doing well for itself at the moment. The only question is whether the imminent Night of the Owls crossover will derail the plot or enhance it further.

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7.0
All-Star Western #11

Jul 25, 2012

On the plus side, the new backup feature this month is particularly memorable. The writers continue their Wild West-ification of modern DC heroes by offering up a new version of Doctor Thirteen. This take is basically an amalgamation of Sherlock Holmes and Teddy Roosevelt, which is every bit as awesome as that sounds. This segment has a fun horror vibe as Thirteen clashes with a Headless Horseman-esque villain named the Haunted Highwayman. Scott Kolins once again proves that his style is well-suited to the horror realm. Hopefully Doctor Thirteen can enjoy more of a lasting presence in the series beyond this short feature.

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6.5
All-Star Western #12

Aug 22, 2012

Fianlly, the writers wrap up their short revamp of Doctor Thirteen in the backup feature. The backup loses some of the fun factor it had in the previous chapter, as the story takes a decidedly grim turn. Even so, there's a lot to love about the idea of a Teddy Roosevelt-esque hero who battles evil with brains and common sense. Scott Kolins provides a bold, simple, but shadowy look for the story that suits the script well. More than any backup so far, I hope to see this Doctor Thirteen material return in a larger capacity down the road.

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6.8
All-Star Western #15

Jan 2, 2013

The current Tomahawk backup is notable not for the script, which is fairly by-the-numbers and a little overwrought at ties, but for the visuals. Phil Winslade delivers panel after panel of bold, energetic action. The strip looks like a lost relic of DC's classic Western era in many ways, but this is hardly a bad thing.

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6.8
All-Star Western #16

Jan 30, 2013

The Tomahawk backup makes up for the sporadic art quality, though. Phil Winslade's dramatic depiction of American Indian warfare is as gorgeous as anything you'll see in a DC book this week. The story here is nothing terribly special. But for a book where the visuals are too rarely a draw in either the main feature or the backups, this sudden boost in quality is welcome indeed. I'd love nothing more than to see Winslade take over the main feature for a while and give Moritat some time to focus on the finer details that his pages can often lack.

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7.3
All-Star Western #17

Feb 27, 2013

The backup feature is a bit more well-rounded. Here, Palmiotti and Gray introduce readers to the 19th Century incarnation of Stormwatch. The star of this opening chapter is that era's Century Baby, Jenny Future. As much as this backup could be viewed as a rehash of Demon Knights in a different time period, all that really matters is that it offers a fun blend of Wild West adventure and steampunk aesthetic. I'm very much looking forward to seeing this version of Stormwatch take shape in subsequent chapters.

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7.8
All-Star Western #18

Mar 27, 2013

The backup feature is particularly strong this month, as it always is when Palmiotti and Gray focus on Doctor Thirteen. If Teddy Roosevelt were a DC superhero, Doctor Thirteen is pretty much what you'd get. Entertaining in its own right, this segment also acts as a piece in a larger puzzle as the writers continue assembling the 19th Century incarnation of Stormwatch. The visuals in this segment aren't terribly memorable, but Thirteen's antics alone are well worth the price of admission.

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8.3
All-Star Western #19

Apr 24, 2013

Staz Johnson's pencils show a flair that is sometimes lacking in Moritat's work in the main story. Johnson offers up some dynamic page construction and framing that, coupled with the moody inking and coloring, effectively blend Wild West action with a more foreboding sense of horror. I'm eager to see where these backup features are headed once the full roster is finally assembled.

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8.5
All-Star Western #22

Jul 25, 2013

The shift to the present allows Moritat a chance to branch out a great deal from the usual dusty landscapes and seedy bar rooms of past storylines. Luckily, Gotham is seedy enough that his textured style is still a strong fit. As usual, there's a fair amount of discrepancy in the detail from panel to panel. Some panels see Moritat devote painstaking attention ti every scar and crag on Hex's face, while others feature characters that are little more than loose outlines. But when Moritat is on top of his game, he paints a picture of Gotham that's tough to beat.

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9.2
All-Star Western #34

Aug 27, 2014

Needless to say, the resolution satisfies. And Hex's adventures have never looked better thanks to the Cooke/Stewart team-up. Cooke is a master storyteller, and his clean, elegant line-work is every bit as home in the Wild West as it is rendering DC's heroic age or the seedy crime drama of the Parker graphic novels. If this series had to go, at least it was able to go out on a tremendous high note.

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7.0
Alpha Flight Vol. 4 #1

Jun 15, 2011

Fear Itself has done this new series no real favors. Luckily, it doesn't appear as though the book will be dealing so directly with that event after this issue, instead focusing on its own characters and conflicts. As long as that proves to be the case, Alpha Flight should have no problem living up to its full potential.

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7.6
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #37

May 26, 2010

But quirks aside, this annual manages to be quite a bit of fun. Were it priced at the expected $4.99 level, I might have a hard time recommending it. Luckily, Marvel is only charging $3.99. With many current books asking that much for far less content, I see no reason not to give this annual a shot. The Gauntlet may be a particularly strong example of how engrossing Peter Parker's life becomes in its darkest moments, but even Spider-Man needs a break now and again.

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6.5
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #39

May 30, 2012

All told, this actually isn't a bad issue to hand a new reader curious about the current status quo of Spider-Man and his world. At $4 for 40+ pages, it's certainly a better value than most books the Big Two put out. Still, the script never reaches its true dramatic potential, and that's a shame.

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3.5
Amazing Spider-Man #545

Dec 26, 2007

Bryan's Score: 2.0

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7.1
Amazing Spider-Man #547

Jan 16, 2008

More than anything, I'd like a few more answers regarding Spidey's new status quo. I've been compiling a growing list of questions regarding the many changes to his history which, at this point, could probably fill a novel. I need to know that Marvel isn't simply building towards a big "Spider-Man is really a Skrull" revelation later this year before I can allow myself to become fully invested in a promising but flawed new direction for the character.

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6.2
Amazing Spider-Man #551

Feb 20, 2008

The worst part is that, instead of taking more time to explore the Menace mystery in the next arc, we'll be subjected to yet another new villain. It's nice to have a fun, relatively happy-go-lucky Spider-Man again, but the Brand New Day approach clearly values style over substance. If I don't see more improvement in the coming quarter, I fear a pink slip may be in order.

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5.2
Amazing Spider-Man #553

Mar 12, 2008

I'm doing my best to keep my spirits up as far as Brand New Day is concerned. The next arc definitely sounds intriguing, even without its contents being alluded to on every other page of this issue. However, I can't keep wading through arcs like this in hopes of finding something better at the other end of the tunnel.

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9.0
Amazing Spider-Man #555

Apr 2, 2008

Sure, the villains (what little we see of them) come across as goofy, and the Wolverine guest appearance is a bit pointless, but this is by far the most fun I've had with BND so far. It seems a lot of seasoned Spidey writers could learn a thing or two from the relative rookie Wells.

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8.8
Amazing Spider-Man #557

Apr 16, 2008

As for Wells, his dialogue is as amusing and well-crafted as ever. However I was just struck by a few odd lapses of story logic (something that seems to be all-too common in Brand New Day) and an ending that lacks the necessary oomph. Other than advancing a few mundane details of Peter's life (he has a roommate now! Yippee!) it can be argued that nothing of consequence happened in this brief arc. Consequences be damned, though. I'm just glad that, for three weeks, Spidey once again became the headline character he deserves to be.

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6.7
Amazing Spider-Man #561

Jun 4, 2008

Those pluses aside, this issue would have fared a whole lot worse if it wasn't for Marcos Martin. Martin is, put simply, one of the best artists to handle Spidey in many years. His art is fluid, dynamic, ad everything you could hope for in a Spidey comic. It manages to hearken back to the classic days while still retaining modern storytelling sensibilities. If only I could say the same for the writing.

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7.7
Amazing Spider-Man #566

Jul 16, 2008

The story isn't entirely watertight, unfortunately. For one thing, Guggenheim inserts an unnecessary tie-in to the original Kraven's Last Hunt in the form of Vermin. The character does absolutely nothing other than keep several characters busy and pad out the pages for a while. The connection to KLH is also problematic because of the many unanswered BND continuity questions. I know answers are supposedly forthcoming, but it's mid July now. I think we've all waited long enough.

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6.2
Amazing Spider-Man #581

Dec 17, 2008

After a full year and 36 issues, Marvel has shown us what to expect from Amazing. When the scripts ignore the jangled mess of continuity and retcons that make up Brand New Day and just tell fun stories, the series works marvelously. When they get too caught up on exploring the new status quo, we get issues like this. I hope Marvel takes these examples to heart in 2009. There's no reason these past two months can't be the norm rather than the exception.

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7.4
Amazing Spider-Man #588

Mar 18, 2009

Still, Guggenheim has tossed out enough juicy nuggets that I'm keen to keep reading. More than anything, I'm just anxious to get back to the clean, simple, and, most importantly, devilish good fun of the stories we saw in November and December. "Character Assassination" didn't raise the bar, but it did ultimately come close to brushing it.

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7.2
Amazing Spider-Man #589

Mar 25, 2009

Van Lente could really bring something to this series, but he needs more to work with than one D-List villain and a band of generic thugs. Though this issue leaves the doors open for further developments, I can't say I have a huge interest in a sequel. Let's keep the biting humor and move onto something more interesting.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #590

Apr 1, 2009

The best issues of ASM lately have been the ones with the highest fun factor. Issue #590 has fun in droves, but it unfortunately carries some of the more annoying qualities of the Brand New Day approach along with that fun. I really hope this is the arc that finally answers some of those burning questions. Not so much because I crave the answers, but because I'm sick and tired of being teased with them. The series has too much to offer at this point to dwell in the past any longer.

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8.4
Amazing Spider-Man #591

Apr 15, 2009

Thanks to Slott's last minute twist, Mark Waid has a treasure trove of material to work with as he embarks on the next arc, "Spider-Man 24/7". I'm looking forward to it quite a bit. Now that the series seems to be striking a better balance of fun and revelation, I'm optimistic the future will stay bright for Spidey's readers, if not Spidey himself.

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7.1
Amazing Spider-Man #592

Apr 22, 2009

Spider-Man 24/7 certainly has its merits so far, not least of which being more slick pencils from Mike McKone. However, issue #592 offers up a far more mundane beginning than I would have expected. I'm hopefully the next issue can do better. Until then, I'm going to busy myself trying to scrub all memory of the final page out of my brain.

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7.1
Amazing Spider-Man #593

May 6, 2009

Once again, this arc is saved by some solid Mike McKone art and a few bright spots amid the underwhelming portions. I like what is being done with the new love birds, and the new Vulture has the potential to be another quality addition to Spidey's rogues gallery. But the core premise of this arc continues to fall flat, and nothing can really make up for that.

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7.1
Amazing Spider-Man #594

May 20, 2009

"Spider-Man 24/7" proved to be far more underwhelming than I would have expected. But my enthusiasm for "American Son" and issues beyond hasn't diminished, so I'd say the series as a whole is still riding a pretty nice wave at the moment.

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6.8
Amazing Spider-Man #609

Oct 21, 2009

What this arc needed more than anything was some helpful trimming. By toning down the flashbacks and eliminating Screwball's presence altogether, this story could probably have been comfortably told in two chapters. Still, I suppose there's always hope that Guggenheim will have some surprises in store for the third and final chapter. We'll see.

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6.7
Amazing Spider-Man #629

Apr 28, 2010

Rounding out the issue is a short story by Zeb Wells and Chris Bachalo that serves as a prologue for next month's "Shed". It's not much, but Wells turns in a haunting portrayal of Curt Connors. Maybe it's just Bachalo's pencils at work, but the Lizard is shaping up to be creepier and more interesting than ever when he returns. After an overly long jaunt outside the confines of The Gauntlet, I think "Shed" will be just what the doctor ordered.

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7.4
Amazing Spider-Man #631

May 12, 2010

Unfortunately, there is an artistic problem in this issue. Emma Rios steps in for Bachalo and handles the first third of the issue. It's disappointing to see any fill-in artist on this arc. Sadly, it's rare for any multi-issue story on this series to pass by without some fill-in work. I'm getting to the point where I'd welcome a hiatus for the series so that the Spidey Brain Trust can build a longer lead time. But worse is the fact that Emma Rios could not possibly be more different in style and tone from Bachalo. Luckily, she doesn't reuse the same manga-esque style seen on Mark Waid's Strange mini-series. There is a bit more depth and grit on display here, but not nearly enough. Rios isn't inherently wrong for the series, but to pair her with an artist Like Bachalo on such a violent, bleak story seems a very strange choice. The letters page admits that Rios was brought in so Bachalo could focus on issue #632. Hopefully that means the arc will finish on a strong note. Wells and Bachal

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7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #637

Jul 14, 2010

Ultimately, "Grim Hunt" wasn't quite the epic finish to "The Gauntlet" I might have expected given the creators involved. When it comes to Peter's struggle, the emotional core rings a bit hollow. But there are still plenty of admirable qualities to be found in this last issue, and I doubt many readers will feel their $3.99 was wasted.

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6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #639

Aug 4, 2010

In terms of visuals, this issue is also an improvement on Paolo Rivera's end. Rivera's work is allowed more freedom and room to breathe now that it doesn't have to share page space with Paul Ryan's panels. Rivera is given some very emotional scenes to work with, and he captures that emotion well. Quesada's framing art, on the other hand, still suffers from overly soft and extremely inconsistent character renderings. Ultimately, this arc succeeds as OMD damage control, but not quite so much as a simple, engaging story.

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6.5
Amazing Spider-Man #641

Sep 9, 2010

As a bookend to one emotional era of Peter Parker's life, OMIT is fairly successful in what it sets out to do. And yet, the arc failed to answer all the lingering questions surrounding current Spidey continuity. I'm fully content to put all this business behind me and get back to what Spidey does best. Hopefully the series will oblige as "Origin of the Species" debuts.

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6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #644

Sep 29, 2010

Mark Waid's scripting is somewhat haphazard. Humor has never been his strong suit with the series, so the straightforwardly dramatic tone of this issue is a boon. Waid still shows a tendency to overwrite his hero, though. Having Spidey voice his sense of personal torment isn't nearly as effective as having the issue show it organically. Waid had the opportunity for a truly memorable scene in this issue as Spidey and Rhino encounter each other for the first time since the latter's tragic meltdown in issue #625. While Waid mines the scene for some of its depth, it's difficult not to imagine how much more could have been done in a story that allowed the proper space. Paul Azaceta's art is also frustratingly haphazard. The action scenes have a dynamic quality, but Azaceta's unattractive figures and facial work tend to drag down the more dialogue-centered panels. Hopefully "Origin of the Species" can find its legs in these last two issues.

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7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #645

Oct 13, 2010

Not unexpectedly, the Spidey crew are forced to bring in a filler artist for a good portion of this issue. Matthew Southworth's dark, noir-infused pencils make this story seem even more in line with The Grim Hunt, but in that sense it's hardly a bad move. Southworth's work is unfortunately rushed, but still attractive and well-suited to the tone of the story. His assistance also allows Paul Azaceta to deliver his best work of the arc in the final pages. Based on the cliffhanger, the last chapter of "Origin of the Species" should be a doozy. The arc has generally improved over time, and Waid has the chance to end the Brand New Day saga with a bang if he can bring his loose threads together.

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7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #646

Oct 27, 2010

As for the art, Paul Azaceta is once again joined by Matthew Southworth. As with the previous issue, Southworth's presence allows Azaceta to deliver more consistent, detailed pencils, and the shift between the two is rarely jarring. Issue #646 is a decent conclusion to the arc, and if nothing else, Harry Osborn is in store for big things in the future. As for Spidey, let's hope issue #647 can offer a truly satisfying sendoff for Brand New Day.

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7.5
Amazing Spider-Man #647

Nov 3, 2010

BND fans should find enjoyment in this issue, even if the bulk of the backup material doesn't compare to the main story. On the whole, the Spidey Brain Trust were able to see the hero out in style. This issue sets the stage in some small way for the next era of Spider-Man. Luckily, unlike last time, the character begins his new life in good, solid shape.

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6.5
Amazing Spider-Man #648

Nov 10, 2010

I knew from the start that this issue would leave me slightly disappointed because of Ramos' art. Unfortunately, I wasn't expecting such a chaotic and crowded first script from Slott. This first issue leaves me very excited for the future of the series, but in and of itself it certainly could have benefited from a tighter, leaner script.

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7.5
Amazing Spider-Man #649

Nov 24, 2010

"Big Time" has already met with significant improvement in its second issue. That bodes well for Slott's run on the series. It's clear the writer isn't pulling punches in this new era, and readers can rest easy knowing only that the won't know what to expect moving forward.

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7.5
Amazing Spider-Man #664

Jun 29, 2011

The art in the main story segment is fine, if a little flat at times. Giuseppe Camuncoli's pencils could benefit from stronger, more vibrant colors. Luckily, the art is the star of the show in the Spidey/Shang-Chi backup. Max Fiumara's work is always welcome on this series.

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7.5
Amazing Spider-Man #668

Aug 31, 2011

Spider-Island is good fun so far. The stakes aren't really there, but Slott still has plenty of time left to ramp up the danger and deliver on the promise that Spider-Man's world will be dangerously overturned by this event.

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7.5
Amazing Spider-Man #673

Nov 2, 2011

As ever, it's clear that the chaos and drama of Peter Parker's world won't be letting up. Issue #673 shows plenty of promise for the future, but also some worrying signs. Hopefully the former will define the series going forward.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #675

Dec 7, 2011

Giuseppe Camuncoli's art style is a bit unusual for a Spider-Man comic, but certainly effective for this story. Klaus Janson's inks bring an even more harsh and jagged edge to Camuncoli's lines. The darker edge suits the new take on Vulture and his crew. Camuncoli clearly isn't suited for all types of ASM stories, but the same could be said for most artists on this book. The visual variety is part of the fun of this format.

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7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #676

Dec 21, 2011

Again, this issue is a little goofier than you might expect given the subject matter, but it still serves as an effective teaser for 2012 and a nice way to wrap up 2011.

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8.5
Amazing Spider-Man #681

Mar 7, 2012

It's nice to see Giuseppe Camuncoli being employed effectively on the book. Camuncoli's harsh, jagged figure work isn't always the best fit for Spidey's world, but in a darker setting like this it works very well. Hopefully Slott can continue to tailor his arcs to best fit Camuncoli's artistic sensibilities.

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7.5
Amazing Spider-Man #689

Jul 5, 2012

If not without its flaws, No Turning Back is a refreshing change of pace for the series, and not a bad gateway for prospective new readers looking for more Spider-Man vs. Lizard shenanigans.

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5.5
Amazing Spider-Man #693

Sep 5, 2012

There's some decent character work to enjoy in this issue as Peter interacts with Max Modell, his family, and various superhuman allies. Sadly, none of it involves Alpha himself. As poorly executed as these two issues have been, my enthusiasm for the series and the build-up to Amazing Spider-Man #700 is beginning to wane.

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7.5
Amazing Spider-Man #700

Dec 26, 2012

Long story short, yes, ASM #700 is worth venturing to the shop. The execution falls short in a couple of key areas, but it nonetheless gives the long-running series proper closure and paves the way for a very interesting and unpredictable 2013.

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7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #700.1

Dec 4, 2013

There's also the problem that the concept as a whole feels a bit thin for a five-issue mini-series. Morrell only lightly hints that there's something bigger at play with Peters condition and the encroaching blizzard. He'll need to start showing his hand quickly in order to justify another four issues of this material.

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6.8
Amazing Spider-Man & Silk: The Spider(Fly) Effect #1

Mar 3, 2016

The main disappointment with this first issue is that the series doesn't exploit the Peter/Cindy dynamic to very good effect. There's little to their interaction beyond Peter's excessive wisecracking and Cindy's exasperated responses. There's a lot of untapped potential there that hopefully Thompson will address in future installments.

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7.8
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1

May 1, 2014

Amazing Spider-Man #1 offers a solid, enjoyable look at Peter Parker's return to the Marvel Universe. Not every element in this first issue is a home run, but Slott and Ramos succeed at bringing back the fun and excitement of classic Spider-Man while still building on the events of Superior Spider-Man. This issue might have been better off forfeiting some of the less compelling backup material and lowering the cover price accordingly. But regardless, there's plenty of reason to be excited for Spider-Man's future with Peter back in the saddle.

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8.5
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1.1

May 7, 2014

A retread this is not. Learning to Crawl avoids rehashing a story readers have seen countless times, instead opting to explore Peter's slow, painful evolution into the hero he is today. It's definitely a worthy companion to Slott's core Spider-Man series.

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7.9
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1.2

Jun 12, 2014

This 'Learning to Crawl' mini-series would be worth reading if for no other reason than because Ramon Perez perfectly marries the Steve Ditjo era of ASM with more modern storytelling sensibilities.

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8.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1.3

Jul 10, 2014

Slott and Ramon Perez's collaboration serves as a true love letter to Silver Age Spidey without being too old-fashioned.

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8.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1.4

Aug 27, 2014

Slott is able to build up the drama in this penultimate issue so that the odds are stacked against Peter in a typically Spider-Man-ish way. If anything, he actually oversells the drama in the final pages as literally every part of Peter's world goes to hell in front of him. The book doesn't need quite that much darkness as Peter continues to wrestle with the notion of power and responsibility. But regardless, the creators have set the stage for a fitting conclusion to this previously untold tale of a young, inexperienced Spider-Man.

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8.1
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1.5

Sep 24, 2014

But if this issue is guilty of focusing too much on Peter himself, that's an understandable sin. Slott's script delivers where it matters most in terms of tracing Peter's final steps towards true heroism. The final splash page alone is a terrific cap to the series and an homage to decades of Spider-Man history. Never has Ramon Perez's Ditko-esque art style stood out so much. There's also a more subdued but no less memorable scene between Peter and Aunt May. Just as it seems Slott's writing is veering into sappy territory, he throws a majorly unexpected curve ball. It's nice to see that a flashback story like this can offer its share of surprises.

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8.1
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #2

May 22, 2014

As with issue #1, the main weak point with this new story arc is Electro. Max Dillon feels very much like a shoehorned villain, and this issue shows that his role could have been filled by several other Spidey rogues easily enough. Whereas Slott delivered a great Lizard-centric storyline to coincide with the first Amazing Spider-Man movie, this Electro appearance seems to do little else but tick off those boxes on the movie tie-in checklist.

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7.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #3

Jun 25, 2014

As usual, Humberto Ramos' art works better during the action scenes than it does the quieter, character-driven moments. Some of his facial work is wonky in this issue (wonkier than usual, anyway), but there's also plenty of energy to the clash between Spidey and Black Cat or JJJ's latest vitriolic rampage.

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7.2
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #4

Jul 23, 2014

By the end, I found myself very eager to see more of the Peter/Cindy connection and how it'll play into Black Cat's ongoing vendetta. As for why Electro is relevant to this storyline? Who knows?

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7.8
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #5

Aug 13, 2014

Despite never having been the biggest fan of Humberto Ramos' style, I've been impressed with his work on this new series so far. Ramos' tendency to exaggerate facial features and body proportions seems toned down slightly. Meanwhile, his Silk design and his Black Cat redesign both look great. The book has a vibrant sense of energy that really begins to heat up as the two heroes and two villains begin to clash.

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6.8
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #6

Sep 10, 2014

In general, this issue suffers from a common problem in that it feels disjointed and rushed in many spots. Slott is constantly juggling plot points and characters and setting things up for the future. Often all that prep work can have a detrimental effect on the story being told in the present. Hopefully Spider-Verse itself will be more streamlined and focused.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #7

Oct 8, 2014

All in all, this is an eventful and entertaining issue, but the Spider-Man/Ms. Marvel team-up might have benefited from being published on its own in a completed form.

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7.2
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #8

Oct 22, 2014

The backup feature, as with last month's story, manages to intrigue and upset in how it takes a fairly lighthearted character (in this case, Mayday Parker), and engulfs her world in darkness and bloodshed. At least this Spider-Girl now has genuine stakes in the Spider-Verse conflict, but is it necessary to keep putting these characters through the wringer in each and every backup? We already have a good grasp on how terrible Morlun's family is and how dire the situation has become.

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8.7
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #9

Nov 6, 2014

After weeks of memorable build-up, Spider-Verse hits the ground running. This event loses none of the appeal of Slott's ongoing Spider-Man work, managing to balance humor and drama and make the most of a concept that brings all the Spider-Men together for one grand adventure. And with Coipel making Peter Parker and his world look better than ever, there's a lot to love in Marvel's latest event storyline.

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7.9
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #10

Nov 20, 2014

This issue serves as the major launching point for the various tie-ins and spinoffs Marvel has in the wings. On one hand, it's nice to see Slott find time for so many alternate Spider-Men and Women to shine as numerous characters are shifted along the board. Many old favorites are given their due, while a handful of new players leave an impression as well (particularly Spider-Punk). Even with the scope as big and dire as it is, Slott finds room for humor and banter. The interaction between Spider-Monkey and Spider-Ham is priceless. On the other hand, the final pages are a nonstop barrage of exit scenes and editor's captions directing readers to this tie-in or that tie-in. Hopefully this issue has taken care of all that editorial business and the core Spider-Verse conflict can resume its normal course in the next chapter.

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8.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #11

Dec 10, 2014

Spider-Verse is rapidly shaping up to be Marvel's best event comic of 2014. Even though it occasionally gets bogged down in setting up tie-in books, ASM #10 is a tremendously fun read that delivers the Peter Parker/Otto Octavius showdown we've been waiting for. It also looks great and further builds up the threat of the Inheritors. It's nice to have an event that actually lives up to the hype.

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6.9
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #12

Jan 7, 2015

The latest chapter of Spider-Verse is somewhat disappointing compared to the previous three, but that hardly means there's no entertainment to be had. Dan Slott manages to ramp up the drama without losing sight of the inherent fun of this concept. Giuseppe Camuncoli, meanwhile, fills in for Olivier Coipel as well as anyone could hope. It's mainly the lack of forward momentum in this issue that disappoints. With only two chapters remaining, this storyline needs to kick into high gear.

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8.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #13

Jan 21, 2015

Spider-Verse is building steam as it nears its big finale. This issue doesn't suffer as much as previous chapters when it comes to setting up or interacting with the various tie-in comics, although there are still some problems on that front. But for the most part, Slott and Camuncoli deliver a clean, attractive comic that allows many characters their moment in the spotlight and sets the stage for a very memorable final battle.

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6.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #14

Feb 11, 2015

Unfortunately, the Spider-Verse saga ends on a relative low note. Amazing Spider-Man #14 packs in a lot of cool moments, but too often the fast pace and action-heavy approach steamrolls right past the big developments. Meanwhile, Coipel's normally stellar art is prone to weak spots, despite only drawing about half the issue. Hopefully issue #15 will be able to better wrap up this saga with a bow and address the problems of this finale.

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6.8
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #15

Feb 25, 2015

Spider-Verse has been a great event comic over all, but some of the structural choices have really come back to bite Amazing Spider-Man in the butt. Issue #14 was the official conclusion to Spider-Verse. Unfortunately, its heavy emphasis on action prevented any real resolution to the story. Thus, it falls on Amazing Spider-Man #15's epilogue story to wrap up all loose threads and give this event the proper conclusion it needed. If only it were a little more successful in that regard.

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6.1
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #16

Mar 11, 2015

Spider-Verse was always going to be a tough act to follow. Even so, there's definite potential in this new conflict, as the writers emphasize Peter's personal and professional woes over his costumed antics. Unfortunately, there's precious little time for the series to build momentum before the main story is interrupted by a pointless backup tale.

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7.5
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #17

Apr 2, 2015

Humberto Ramos illustrates both story segments. My usual problems with his exaggerated style and use of perspective remain, especially during the early scenes that focus more on dialogue and character interaction than superheroics. Things do pick up once the focus shifts to Parker Industries. Ramos draws a great Ghost, rendering him as lithe, deadly, and more than a little creepy.

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6.4
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #18

May 6, 2015

Amazing Spider-Man hasn't been firing on all cylinders in recent months, and this finale issue does nothing to reverse that trend. While Ghost makes for a good villain, the rushed pacing and divided focus are a drag on both stories.

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7.4
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #18.1

Jun 4, 2015

Conway has been delivering a perfectly enjoyable tale with "Spiral," a storyline that feels right at home alongside Dan Slott and Christos Gage's recent ASM work. Conway does the writers one better in this issue, offering a more nuanced and less annoying Black Cat than we've seen since the post-Superior Spider-Man relaunch

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7.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #19.1

Jul 2, 2015

I do wish this storyline had a more consistent roster of villains rather than a rotating lineup (especially as Conway was doing a great job of salvaging Black Cat last month), but the focus on the two lead heroes is enough to offset that problem.

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4.7
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #20.1

Aug 13, 2015

Spiral was a solid read over the past few months, but in its final issue it comes across as less a compelling Spider-man conflict and more a means of bridging the gap between volumes of the main series.

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5.1
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) Annual #1

Dec 11, 2014

Spidey fans are better off devoting their money to the various Spider-Verse-related comics this week.

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7.8
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1

May 1, 2014

Amazing Spider-Man #1 offers a solid, enjoyable look at Peter Parker's return to the Marvel Universe. Not every element in this first issue is a home run, but Slott and Ramos succeed at bringing back the fun and excitement of classic Spider-Man while still building on the events of Superior Spider-Man. This issue might have been better off forfeiting some of the less compelling backup material and lowering the cover price accordingly. But regardless, there's plenty of reason to be excited for Spider-Man's future with Peter back in the saddle.

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8.5
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1.1

May 7, 2014

A retread this is not. Learning to Crawl avoids rehashing a story readers have seen countless times, instead opting to explore Peter's slow, painful evolution into the hero he is today. It's definitely a worthy companion to Slott's core Spider-Man series.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.9
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1.2

Jun 12, 2014

This 'Learning to Crawl' mini-series would be worth reading if for no other reason than because Ramon Perez perfectly marries the Steve Ditjo era of ASM with more modern storytelling sensibilities.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1.3

Jul 10, 2014

Slott and Ramon Perez's collaboration serves as a true love letter to Silver Age Spidey without being too old-fashioned.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1.4

Aug 27, 2014

Slott is able to build up the drama in this penultimate issue so that the odds are stacked against Peter in a typically Spider-Man-ish way. If anything, he actually oversells the drama in the final pages as literally every part of Peter's world goes to hell in front of him. The book doesn't need quite that much darkness as Peter continues to wrestle with the notion of power and responsibility. But regardless, the creators have set the stage for a fitting conclusion to this previously untold tale of a young, inexperienced Spider-Man.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.1
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1.5

Sep 24, 2014

But if this issue is guilty of focusing too much on Peter himself, that's an understandable sin. Slott's script delivers where it matters most in terms of tracing Peter's final steps towards true heroism. The final splash page alone is a terrific cap to the series and an homage to decades of Spider-Man history. Never has Ramon Perez's Ditko-esque art style stood out so much. There's also a more subdued but no less memorable scene between Peter and Aunt May. Just as it seems Slott's writing is veering into sappy territory, he throws a majorly unexpected curve ball. It's nice to see that a flashback story like this can offer its share of surprises.

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8.1
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #2

May 22, 2014

As with issue #1, the main weak point with this new story arc is Electro. Max Dillon feels very much like a shoehorned villain, and this issue shows that his role could have been filled by several other Spidey rogues easily enough. Whereas Slott delivered a great Lizard-centric storyline to coincide with the first Amazing Spider-Man movie, this Electro appearance seems to do little else but tick off those boxes on the movie tie-in checklist.

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7.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #3

Jun 25, 2014

As usual, Humberto Ramos' art works better during the action scenes than it does the quieter, character-driven moments. Some of his facial work is wonky in this issue (wonkier than usual, anyway), but there's also plenty of energy to the clash between Spidey and Black Cat or JJJ's latest vitriolic rampage.

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7.2
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #4

Jul 23, 2014

By the end, I found myself very eager to see more of the Peter/Cindy connection and how it'll play into Black Cat's ongoing vendetta. As for why Electro is relevant to this storyline? Who knows?

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7.8
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #5

Aug 13, 2014

Despite never having been the biggest fan of Humberto Ramos' style, I've been impressed with his work on this new series so far. Ramos' tendency to exaggerate facial features and body proportions seems toned down slightly. Meanwhile, his Silk design and his Black Cat redesign both look great. The book has a vibrant sense of energy that really begins to heat up as the two heroes and two villains begin to clash.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.8
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #6

Sep 10, 2014

In general, this issue suffers from a common problem in that it feels disjointed and rushed in many spots. Slott is constantly juggling plot points and characters and setting things up for the future. Often all that prep work can have a detrimental effect on the story being told in the present. Hopefully Spider-Verse itself will be more streamlined and focused.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #7

Oct 8, 2014

All in all, this is an eventful and entertaining issue, but the Spider-Man/Ms. Marvel team-up might have benefited from being published on its own in a completed form.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.2
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #8

Oct 22, 2014

The backup feature, as with last month's story, manages to intrigue and upset in how it takes a fairly lighthearted character (in this case, Mayday Parker), and engulfs her world in darkness and bloodshed. At least this Spider-Girl now has genuine stakes in the Spider-Verse conflict, but is it necessary to keep putting these characters through the wringer in each and every backup? We already have a good grasp on how terrible Morlun's family is and how dire the situation has become.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.7
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #9

Nov 6, 2014

After weeks of memorable build-up, Spider-Verse hits the ground running. This event loses none of the appeal of Slott's ongoing Spider-Man work, managing to balance humor and drama and make the most of a concept that brings all the Spider-Men together for one grand adventure. And with Coipel making Peter Parker and his world look better than ever, there's a lot to love in Marvel's latest event storyline.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.9
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #10

Nov 20, 2014

This issue serves as the major launching point for the various tie-ins and spinoffs Marvel has in the wings. On one hand, it's nice to see Slott find time for so many alternate Spider-Men and Women to shine as numerous characters are shifted along the board. Many old favorites are given their due, while a handful of new players leave an impression as well (particularly Spider-Punk). Even with the scope as big and dire as it is, Slott finds room for humor and banter. The interaction between Spider-Monkey and Spider-Ham is priceless. On the other hand, the final pages are a nonstop barrage of exit scenes and editor's captions directing readers to this tie-in or that tie-in. Hopefully this issue has taken care of all that editorial business and the core Spider-Verse conflict can resume its normal course in the next chapter.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #11

Dec 10, 2014

Spider-Verse is rapidly shaping up to be Marvel's best event comic of 2014. Even though it occasionally gets bogged down in setting up tie-in books, ASM #10 is a tremendously fun read that delivers the Peter Parker/Otto Octavius showdown we've been waiting for. It also looks great and further builds up the threat of the Inheritors. It's nice to have an event that actually lives up to the hype.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.9
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #12

Jan 7, 2015

The latest chapter of Spider-Verse is somewhat disappointing compared to the previous three, but that hardly means there's no entertainment to be had. Dan Slott manages to ramp up the drama without losing sight of the inherent fun of this concept. Giuseppe Camuncoli, meanwhile, fills in for Olivier Coipel as well as anyone could hope. It's mainly the lack of forward momentum in this issue that disappoints. With only two chapters remaining, this storyline needs to kick into high gear.

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8.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #13

Jan 21, 2015

Spider-Verse is building steam as it nears its big finale. This issue doesn't suffer as much as previous chapters when it comes to setting up or interacting with the various tie-in comics, although there are still some problems on that front. But for the most part, Slott and Camuncoli deliver a clean, attractive comic that allows many characters their moment in the spotlight and sets the stage for a very memorable final battle.

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6.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #14

Feb 11, 2015

Unfortunately, the Spider-Verse saga ends on a relative low note. Amazing Spider-Man #14 packs in a lot of cool moments, but too often the fast pace and action-heavy approach steamrolls right past the big developments. Meanwhile, Coipel's normally stellar art is prone to weak spots, despite only drawing about half the issue. Hopefully issue #15 will be able to better wrap up this saga with a bow and address the problems of this finale.

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6.8
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #15

Feb 25, 2015

Spider-Verse has been a great event comic over all, but some of the structural choices have really come back to bite Amazing Spider-Man in the butt. Issue #14 was the official conclusion to Spider-Verse. Unfortunately, its heavy emphasis on action prevented any real resolution to the story. Thus, it falls on Amazing Spider-Man #15's epilogue story to wrap up all loose threads and give this event the proper conclusion it needed. If only it were a little more successful in that regard.

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6.1
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #16

Mar 11, 2015

Spider-Verse was always going to be a tough act to follow. Even so, there's definite potential in this new conflict, as the writers emphasize Peter's personal and professional woes over his costumed antics. Unfortunately, there's precious little time for the series to build momentum before the main story is interrupted by a pointless backup tale.

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7.5
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #17

Apr 2, 2015

Humberto Ramos illustrates both story segments. My usual problems with his exaggerated style and use of perspective remain, especially during the early scenes that focus more on dialogue and character interaction than superheroics. Things do pick up once the focus shifts to Parker Industries. Ramos draws a great Ghost, rendering him as lithe, deadly, and more than a little creepy.

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6.4
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #18

May 6, 2015

Amazing Spider-Man hasn't been firing on all cylinders in recent months, and this finale issue does nothing to reverse that trend. While Ghost makes for a good villain, the rushed pacing and divided focus are a drag on both stories.

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7.4
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #18.1

Jun 4, 2015

Conway has been delivering a perfectly enjoyable tale with "Spiral," a storyline that feels right at home alongside Dan Slott and Christos Gage's recent ASM work. Conway does the writers one better in this issue, offering a more nuanced and less annoying Black Cat than we've seen since the post-Superior Spider-Man relaunch

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7.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #19.1

Jul 2, 2015

I do wish this storyline had a more consistent roster of villains rather than a rotating lineup (especially as Conway was doing a great job of salvaging Black Cat last month), but the focus on the two lead heroes is enough to offset that problem.

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4.7
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #20.1

Aug 13, 2015

Spiral was a solid read over the past few months, but in its final issue it comes across as less a compelling Spider-man conflict and more a means of bridging the gap between volumes of the main series.

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8.5
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #1

Oct 8, 2015

The new Amazing Spider-Man has the distinction of feeling both fresh and comfortably familiar at the same time. This series boasts an exciting new status quo for Peter Parker, but one that still feels like a natural extension of Slott's previous work. This is shaping up to be the book the previous volume of ASM should have been.

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5.4
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #1.4

Mar 31, 2016

This mini-series may scratch an itch for certain Spider-Man fans who want to see Peter Parker getting back to basics and swinging around New York. But even four chapters in, it's hard to shake the notion that Spidey feels poorly matched for the conflict at hand.

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9.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #3

Nov 5, 2015

This issue manages to both take advantage of Peter's new status quo while honoring his more humble roots, and that's exactly the sort of balance this series needs to achieve.

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8.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #4

Dec 9, 2015

The new volume of Amazing Spider-Man is exciting in a way the previous series sometimes struggled to achieve. The new status quo is great, lending a much bigger scope to Peter's world while retaining his basic appeal as a well-meaning but unlucky hero. But as often as Slott's previous books became bogged down by too many simultaneous plot threads, it's worrying that this series might be moving in that direction as well.

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8.6
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #5

Dec 23, 2015

The real success with this issue, though, is how much Dan Slott focuses on Peter's new status quo as a delicate house of cards. He may be living the dream, but Peter is also dangerously overextended and starting to make bad decisions as a result. The Parker Luck seems to remain in full effect.

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8.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #6

Jan 5, 2016

The new volume of Amazing Spider-man is quickly eclipsing the previous one. Rarely has Dan Slott's Spider-Man saga felt this focused, both in terms of is visual style and the emphasis on Peter Parker's personal struggles. Having Mister Negative, Cloak and Dagger back in the picture just adds to the appeal.

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8.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #7

Feb 4, 2016

Matteo Buffagni's style doesn't impress quite on the level of Giuseppe Camuncoli's, but there's a clear energy to his storytelling as he renders the violent clashes between Spidey and the brainwashed Cloak and Dagger.

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6.2
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #8

Feb 17, 2016

Amazing Spider-Man #8 is the first real disappointment of the new volume. This issue looks great thanks to Matteo Buffagni's dynamic action scenes, but the conflict fizzles out and fails to provide much closure for Mister Negative's story. At this point it's just as well Peter is moving on to bigger and more challenging problems again.

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8.5
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #9

Mar 9, 2016

Whatever momentum this series might have lost in the previous issue is instantly reclaimed as Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli reunite and continue Spider-Man's conflict with Zodiac. This issue is crammed with epic superhero spectacle, but it also established the new Scorpio as a credible and unpredictable threat to Peter Parker's growing global empire.

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8.5
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #10

Apr 14, 2016

It's a dark issue in some ways, but one that also emphasizes Peter's resiliency. Plus, the banter between Anna Maria and The Living Brain make for a fun contrast to all the doom and gloom.

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8.8
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #11

Apr 28, 2016

This issue continues the book's trend of offering bigger, more challenging problems worthy of an internationally focused Spider-Man. At the same time, there's plenty of humor and silliness to offset all the sweeping drama

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9.9
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #12

May 4, 2016

This issue serves as an enjoyable palate cleanser after the recent drama in Peter Parker's life. It makes the most of the Peter Parker/Tony Stark rivalry, even if it's annoying that the two characters are practically starting from square one. With top-notch art, a steady stream of humor and an emphasis on some long-dormant supporting characters, this issue starts off the new story arc on the right foot.

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6.8
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #13

Jun 2, 2016

Camuncoli's storytelling is as solid as ever, so at least the constant battling is allows him to strut his stuff, but it fails to satisfy on a narrative level.

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6.8
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #15

Jul 6, 2016

After spending so much time on the sidelines, it's great to see Mary Jane front-and-center and saving the day when Peter Parker falters. Still, this story arc never managed to build regent into a compelling villain, and this finale issue suffers as a result. Hopefully better things lie ahead as Slott shifts focus towards building to the events of The Clone Conspiracy.

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8.3
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #17

Aug 31, 2016

This issue goes a long way towards building a strong foundation for Dan Slott's next Spider-Man epic. It gives Hobie Brown some much-needed attention, while at the same time offering readers a closer glimpse of the Jackal and his plans for the Marvel Universe. The art isn't quite as strong without Giuseppe Camuncoli at the helm, but this issue has plenty of strong storytelling moments regardless.

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7.9
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #18

Sep 21, 2016

Clone Conspiracy has a tall order to fill if it's going to surpass Dan Slott's previous Spider-Man crossovers. But at least Slott is giving himself plenty of compelling material to work with as he sets the stage for that event. As much as Amazing Spider-Man #18 is weighed down by exposition at times, it also offers a compelling look at the return of an iconic Spider-Man villain.

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9.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #19

Oct 6, 2016

Those who feel the current status quo doesn't tap into Peter's "unlucky loser" vibe may be singing a different tune by the end. This is an emotionally hard-hitting issue that adds a great deal of weight to what's to come.

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9.9
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #21

Nov 16, 2016

Budget-minded Clone Conspiracy readers can probably skip this issue without missing too much of importance. However, it does offer a more cohesive and satisfying read than the main event is providing at the moment. It also makes a strong case for the idea that Kaine deserves his own comic again.

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8.6
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #22

Dec 21, 2016

As far as event tie-ins go, they don't get much more important than Amazing Spider-Man #22. This issue adds crucial depth to the Jackal and his motivations for creating this latest batch of clone-related melodrama. Anyone who's been following the main event would do well to check out this companion tale.

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5.2
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #23

Jan 19, 2017

The decision to focus so little attention on the big reunion between Peter Parker and the Stacys in The Clone Conspiracy itself is a bit odd, to say the least. And while this issue is eager to make up for that omission, it doesn't prove entirely satisfying.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man Extra #2

Jan 28, 2009

I don't get the impression that this issue will factor as heavily into later ASM stories like the first one did, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth checking out. Wells and Rivera turn in exactly the kind of entertaining Spidey adventure I crave more of. If the other half doesn't measure up, at least it doesn't fall flat either.

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7.2
Amazing Spider-Man: Family Business #1

Apr 7, 2014

Amazing Spider-Man: Family Business should have a pretty broad appeal. It caters to casual readers who want a self-contained, accessible Spidey adventure. It appeals to those who crave a tale with Peter back in the saddle. And even those who crave a different sort of Spider-man adventure will find plenty to love here. It's a solid effort from all the creators. Unfortunately, it's not as long or well-paced a story as it could have been, and the lack of more permanent, obvious repercussions on Peter's life is disappointing. This OGN is definitely worth a look, but maybe not at the current $25 price tag.

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8.1
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1

Jun 2, 2015

If you've been craving a comic featuring a married Peter Parker, Renew Your Vows won't disappoint. Maybe it doesn't take place in the traditional Marvel Universe, but this issue effectively established the Parker family dynamic and then quickly builds a sense of danger and dread. Couple that with great visuals from Adam Kubert and the series has most of the right ingredients in place. Only a bland, unremarkable villain hold Renew Your Vows back a little.

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8.3
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2

Jul 9, 2015

This book stands out because of the ways it examines the familiar "power and responsibility" struggle from new angles.

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8.4
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #3

Aug 6, 2015

It's a shame Regent isn't a strong or better realized villain, because that's the only element preventing this mini-series from rivaling the best of Dan Slott's Spider-man work. The art is terrific

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6.9
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #4

Aug 19, 2015

This new issue is fairly disappointing given the quality of the previous chapters of Renew Your Vows. It fails to keep the book's momentum going, and the visual quality is a noticeable step down. On the other hand, the renewed focus on young May is welcome, and there's little reason to expect the quality won't pick up when the finale hits.

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6.8
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #5

Sep 10, 2015

Renew Your Vows doesn't quite live up to the promise it showed in earlier issues. It's fun seeing the entire Parker family united in battling evil, but said evil is still a bland, unremarkable villain. This finale issue doesn't pack enough of a punch, and it offers no indication of what elements might cross over into the relaunched Amazing Spider-Man.

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8.7
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2016) #1

Nov 9, 2016

If the current incarnation of Amazing Spider-Man isn't floating your boat, maybe Renew Your Vows can do the trick. This new series boasts a terrific creative team exploring a more classically oriented Spider-Man status quo. Luckily, the series doesn't just coast by on nostalgia, as the fact that Peter is now a loving husband and father adds crucial new layers to his story.

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8.5
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2016) #2

Dec 15, 2016

Renew Your Vows is so close to a flawlessly executed Spider-Man comic that it's almost frustrating to read because of that.

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8.8
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2016) #3

Jan 12, 2017

Naturally, Stegman excels at rendering flexible spider-heroes and massive mole monsters, but the school segments show just how much he can bring to the table even with more relatively mundane material.

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8.8
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2016) #4

Feb 9, 2017

This new series does so much right, but it does face a continual uphill battle when it comes to proving that every member of the Parker household really needed super-powers.

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8.8
Amazing X-Men #1

Nov 6, 2013

Amazing X-Men #1 isn't a fundamentally different book from Wolverine and the X-Men. This story could just as easily be an arc of that book. But there's a sense of fun and whimsy at work that the X-books don't always tap into. Between that and the terrific artwork, Amazing X-Men #1 is definitely worth a purchase.

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8.9
Amazing X-Men #4

Feb 19, 2014

At this point, the weakest element of this story is its villain. Aaron has improved Azazel as a character, but not necessarily elevated him to the point where he makes for a particularly memorable or imposing threat. And the fact that he doesn't even appear in this issue doesn't help. Hopefully issue #5 can turn things around in that regard.

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7.5
Amazing X-Men #5

Mar 26, 2014

Still, there's plenty of pirate-y action to round out the story. Ed McGuinness remains in top form as he renders cutesy Bamf battles and X-Men all geared up and ready to wage pirate war. His visuals alone are enough to distinguish the series, with its clean, sleek lines and classical superhero imagery. So at least if Aaron is nearly out the door, we can count on more from McGuinness in the near future.

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7.2
Amazing X-Men #6

Apr 16, 2014

Amazing X-Men #6 serves as a generally effective way of welcoming Nightcrawler back into the fold and celebrating his many relationships. It's not a wholly satisfying as a cap to Aaron's X-Men saga, but it's not exactly fair to judge it as such. And that last page is pretty great.

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6.8
Amazing X-Men #15

Jan 14, 2015

Unfortunately, the art is a significant problem at times. Jorges Fornes delivers a very rough, harsh style that would be better suited to an old-school X-Force comic than a contemporary X-Men series. Fornes also doesn't do enough to distinguish among his characters physically. Colossus hardly has more muscle mass than iceman in most panels. The storytelling suffers from a lack of dynamic perspective. Characters are generally rendered either head-on or form the side and show little energy during the minimal action sequences.

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4.4
Amazing X-Men #16

Jan 29, 2015

This issue suffers from flat, lifeless characters and facial expressions that do little to convey emotions or drama. Hopefully the latter two issues of this arc can pick up the pace and do justice to the mighty Juggernaut.

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7.0
Amazing X-Men #18

Mar 25, 2015

Above all, I wanted this arc to do something different with the Juggernaut mythos rather than resorting to the same old tropes. Yost has largely succeeded in that regard. Even if the final pages seem to indicate a return to more familiar territory, I'm confident the writer still has some tricks up his sleeve for the finale.

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5.6
Amazing X-Men #19

Apr 23, 2015

It's been nice to see writer Chris Yost play with the usual conventions of an X-Men vs. Juggernaut story over the course of this story arc. Unfortunately, this final issue retreads more familiar territory as Colossus makes his desperate stand against an even more powerful Cain Marko.

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7.0
Ambush Bug: Year None #1

Jul 23, 2008

Bad jokes aside, the look and feel of this comic is very similar to past efforts from Giffen and Fleming. Giffen provides pencils, which are a bit scratchy but plenty good enough to show you why DC's weekly books relied so heavily on him for art direction. The man still knows how to lay out a page like no one's business. As much as I know he loves Bug, I can't help wishing he was devoting his time to something a little more important. Or, at the very least, something funnier. Year None is not comedy gold, but for hardcore Ambush Bug fans, it's probably good enough.

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4.7
Ame-Comi Girls (2013) #1

Mar 6, 2013

With formulaic superhero storytelling and art that imitates manga only in the most superficial ways, there's really no reason to recommend this series in either digital or print form.

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7.7
American Monster #1

Jan 21, 2016

American Monster #1 is an intriguing debut for this gritty crime drama, if not an entirely cohesive one.

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8.0
Angel & Faith Season 9 #1

Aug 31, 2011

All of these qualities, coupled with a nice little twist at the end, ensure that this series should have little problem holding the attention of Buffy fans. With luck, the actual Season 9 book can manage as strong a start.

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8.5
Angel & Faith Season 9 #4

Nov 30, 2011

Both Buffy books are a welcome change of pace for the franchise. However, Angel & Faith is emerging as the clear winner of the bunch in these early months. Let's hope Gage and Isaccs have a long and successful run ahead of them.

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6.7
Angela: Asgard's Assassin #1

Dec 3, 2014

Phil Jimenez handles art duties on the main story, while Stephanie Hans tackles the interlude segment. Of the two, Hans stands out more thanks to the ethereal watercolor approach that goes hand in hand with the storybook quality. Jimenez renders some solid action, but otherwise his work doesn't quite capture the otherworldly vibe of the characters and setting.

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8.2
Angela: Queen Of Hel #1

Oct 29, 2015

This first issue serves as a fairly easy gateway into the saga of Angela and her partner/friend/lover Sera. It deftly summarizes what's transpired now without losing focus on Angela's new status quo. The relationship between Angela and Sera is very much the heart of the book.

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8.6
Animal Man #19

Apr 3, 2013

Steve Pugh handles the entirety of this issue; he really steps up the plate with a stark, gripping style that could be mistaken for a cleaner version of Foreman's work. If this is the level of storytelling fidelity and clarity we can expect from the book going forward, Animal Man will be in good hands.

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7.4
Annihilation: Conquest #1

Nov 7, 2007

Essentially, Annihilation: Conquest #1 is a decent first issue that requires you to take a leap of faith. Based solely on the pedigree of Annihilation and everything that's come before, I'm still confident this series will prove ultimately satisfying. The next couple issues will be the real judge.

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8.4
Annihilation: Conquest #2

Dec 5, 2007

So really, I have very few bad things to say about about Conquest. I am a tad bit disappointed in the art. Tom Raney isn't one of those artists whose style has a significant amount of overt flaws to pick out. As long as you don't mind certain characters having different jaw structures every panel, there's little to complain about. At the same time, there's nothing especially praise-worthy about this issue. When compared to Andrea do Vito's masterful work in the original Annihilation, the art is one aspect of this sequel that just doesn't measure up. The story fares better, though. Superior in some ways, slower and more restrained in others, Annihilation Conquest manages to stand out as one of the best event books of the year. Whether it will retain that title when Secret Invasion hits next year is another story entirely.

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7.7
Annihilation: Conquest #3

Jan 2, 2008

If Marvel had simply allowed this sequel to ferment for a few months longer I think we all would have been much happier. Conquest originally began as a story arc in Nova, and I think its defining flaw is that it never quite grew out of those smaller limitations.

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6.9
Annihilation: Conquest #4

Feb 6, 2008

At this point Conquest stands little chance of living up to the original in any sense except the butt-kickingly cool covers. The most I'm hoping for is that Conquest will spawn at least one new series that impresses on the same level as Nova. The potential is certainly there.

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6.8
Annihilation: Conquest #6

Apr 16, 2008

Frankly, the best thing this issue does is set up the new Guardians of the Galaxy ongoing series. Individually, many cosmic characters have benefited greatly from some Conquest exposure. The fact that we're now getting a book starring Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Drax, and Cosmo makes this all worth it. Collectively, though, Conquest has been one bungled opportunity after another. It's one thing to have tie-in books that follow along with an event comic. It's another entirely to literally force readers to follow everything to fully comprehend what's going on. And trust me, unless you've been reading Nova you're going to spend more time scratching your head about the presence of Warlock and his buddy Tyro than you will actually reading the issue. The most I can hope is that all creators involved have learned some valuable lessons from this project. The next Annihilation event - and we all know there will be one - needs to kick things into high gear if the cosmic Marvel renaissance is goin

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7.2
Annihilation: Conquest - Quasar #4

Oct 31, 2007

Having now read the first chapter of Conquest itself, I know for a fact these characters can be written better than they are. I don't even blame Gage entirely. The writer is one of Marvel's most eclectic, penning issues of everything from Union Jack to Iron Man to World War Hulk: X-Men. Every writer has their own strengths, and operatic space epics simply aren't Gage's. Rest assured that Phyla-Vell will be moving on to grander and more exciting adventures from this point, and let's just hope that the upcoming House of M: Avengers plays more to Gage's talents.

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8.3
Annihilation: Conquest - Starlord #3

Sep 26, 2007

The situation becomes less absurd and more desperate this month, as the team struggles to find the mysterious secret weapon of the Phalanx and avoid capture. The latter proves to be especially difficult. I'm also loving Timothy Green's art, even though I still find myself wishing he were a little more diverse in drawing facial expressions. The Kevin Maguire comparisons are never far behind when it comes to Green, but without strong facial work the comparison just doesn't stick. That aside, this continue to be my favorite Conquest book, and I'll be an unhappy camper indeed if I can't have my Rocket Raccoon on a monthly basis from now on.

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9.0
Annihilation: Conquest - Starlord #4

Nov 7, 2007

Here at the end, I'm happy to say Starlord was the best of the four Conquest books. It started out strong, unlike Wraith. It continued strong, unlike Quasar. Most importantly, it finished strong, unlike Nova. I don't know if we'll ever get the chance to read the continued adventures of Peter Quill and friends, but if we do I'll fight tooth and nail to be first in line.

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7.6
Annihilation: Conquest - Wraith #4

Oct 24, 2007

Up till now, Wraith has been little more than a composite of every mysterious gunman you've ever seen in movies, television, and anime. Equal parts Clint Eastwood and Vampire Hunter D, in other words. In this issue Wraith finally meets someone who convinces him to ditch the cowboy hat and do something more. The only question is if the rejuvenated Wraith can put a stop to the Phalanx's secret weapon before it instantly assimilates everyone in the galaxy. Granted, a bad outcome isn't exactly likely with a larger mini-series looming, but that's the same storytelling limitation all four Conquest books have had to deal with. The important thing is that Javier Grillo-Marxuach has managed to turn around what was unequivocally the least enjoyable Conquest book and give it a surprisingly rousing conclusion. He's helped somewhat by artist Kyle Hotz. Hotz's work has been a real mixed bag so far. His figures tend to look both jagged and washed out, if such a thing is possible. However, Hotz is cap

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7.8
Annihilator #2

Oct 8, 2014

The idea of real and fictional worlds colliding has bee explored before in Morrison's stories, and with more subtlety and nuance to boot. It's still great to see these two creators working together again, but Morrison's past work casts a long shadow over this new story.

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7.9
Annihilator #3

Nov 20, 2014

This remains the rare Grant Morrison comic where the art outshines the writing. Mind you, Morrison is delivering a perfectly enjoyable tale of reality and fictional worlds bleeding together and influencing one another. The interplay between writer Ray Spass and his creation Max Nomax is a lot of fun. But compared to a lot of Morrison's work, it all seems surprisingly straightforward.

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9.2
Annihilator #6

Jun 25, 2015

What initially seemed like a fairly by-the-numbers (for Grant Morrison, anyway) tale of meta-science fiction has grown steadily more ambitious and mind-bending over time. This finale is wonderfully weird and emotionally satisfying, while managing to veer away from becoming overly sappy or sentimental in the final pages.

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7.5
Annihilators: Earthfall #1

Sep 28, 2011

But forget all that noise. The real question worth asking is how the Rocket Raccoon and Groot feature shapes up. Sadly, the duo are no longer granted a full-length co-feature, but are merely relegated to back-up status. The story is definitely a lot of fun, and Timothy Green's art is stellar, but it's far too short and sweet. The one benefit to the reduced content is that the cover price has been adjusted accordingly. Hopefully that and the presence of the Avengers will be enough to bolster the readership for a series that sorely deserves it.

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7.0
Annihilators: Earthfall #2

Oct 26, 2011

One area this series continues to excel in is the Rocket Raccoon/Groot backup. Though criminally shortened compared to the previous series, this adventure packs in all the comedy, frantic action, and cosmic hijinks readers could hope for. And Timothy Green's art ties it all together in a very attractive package.

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8.6
Ant-Man #1

Jan 7, 2015

It's been a long time since any hero calling themselves Ant-Man has had a solo comic to call their own. Luckily, this new series shows plenty of staying power. It's funny, emotionally engaging, and easily accessible regardless of your familiarity with the character. This debut issue presents a cohesive, standalone adventure that sets up the hero's new status quo and provides a foundation for the creative team to tell bigger and more unusual stories. Chalk this up as another successful addition to Marvel's growing lineup of quirky, character-driven comics.

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9.0
Ant-Man #3

Mar 12, 2015

In addition to being a fun, accessible gateway into the world of Ant-Man, this series continues to fill the void left by The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. It taps into a similarly fun, blue collar superhero vibe as Scott Lang struggles to make a name for himself in a new city and maintain a relationship with his daughter.

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8.5
Ant-Man #4

Apr 9, 2015

Nick Spencer really seems to have found his niche writing oddball heroes and villains who struggle for success and acceptance. This particular issue takes a slightly more ensemble focus as Scott Lang adds to his growing crew of reformed, D-List villains in a desperate bid to rescue his daughter. Even as the book becomes more urgent and dramatic, it also taps into the same lovable loser vibe that made Superior Foes of Spider-Man such a blast to read.

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5.0
Ant-Man: Larger Than Life #1

Jun 25, 2015

All told, there's a fair amount of content here for the $3.99 cover price, but those interested in learning more about the character are better served looking elsewhere.

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7.5
Aquaman (2011) #0

Sep 26, 2012

Aquaman #0 is a visual marvel, but it's not a wholly effective flashback tale. The methodical pace is destroyed in the final pages when Arthur encounters a helpful new friend who proceeds to explain, at great length, the history of Atlantis, Arthur's birth, and the fate of his mother. It's a lot of exposition to hit the reader all at once. Nor does the issue offer a very satisfying or conclusive ending. Instead, the final pages read more like a giant tease for what's coming up in the near future. Perhaps the main flaw with Aquaman #0 is that this story deserved more space than one, lone issue.

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8.5
Aquaman (2011) #8

Apr 25, 2012

Penciller Ivan Reis and inker Joe Prado continue their excellent collaboration. This arc is far more visually diverse than the first and allows the duo to tackle a number of interesting and unique situations not normally glimpsed in an Aquaman book. Together, the entire creative team show a willingness to push Aquaman in new directions without ignoring what made him work in the first place. That's exactly what the New 52 is supposed to be about.

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9.0
Aquaman (2011) #9

May 23, 2012

Ivan Reis nails the various action scenes and character interactions. While there's a slight inconsistency in style and quality due to Reis being inked by three separate artists, it's a slick and visually dynamic issue by any standard. Aquaman is really benefiting from having one of DC's best writers and one of its best artists in control. The series seems destined to only get better from here.

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8.5
Aquaman (2011) #10

Jun 27, 2012

Already a strong book among the New 52 lineup, Aquaman became something truly special with this second arc. Who would have thought more Black Manta was all Aquaman needed to shine brighter?

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9.0
Aquaman (2011) #11

Jul 25, 2012

See? Aquaman is as cool as Superman. In the right hands, at least.

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8.5
Aquaman (2011) #12

Aug 29, 2012

But again, in terms of plot, there's not much forward momentum in this chapter. Johns doesn't shed any new light on these mysterious artifacts or their connection to Arthur's legacy. There's a battle between Aquaman and Black Manta, but it's really more of a prelude to a later showdown. Oddly, Manta is brutally impaled by Arthur in one panel and appears completely unscathed in the next. There is one major development late in the issue that lends an extra bit of emotional weight to the proceedings. It's going to be a long, difficult wait for the finale in October's issue #13. Still, it's usually a good sign when a comic can induce that sort of frustration in readers. Let's hope issue #0 can manage to tide us over until then.

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8.9
Aquaman (2011) #15

Dec 27, 2012

THE VERDICTIt's a little early to be drawing comparisons between Throne of Atlantis and The Sinestro Cops War. Even so, this crossover is showing many of the same qualities that make Sinestro Corps such a standout comic book event. It's dramatic, engaging, and expertly rendered. Its's also a very straightforward crossover with no pointless tie-ins or filler. No muss, no fuss.

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8.2
Aquaman (2011) #20

May 22, 2013

I'd like to think that there's a more permanent place for The Others in the New 52 lineup, and perhaps this issue is being used as a testing ground. Maybe this team isn't bankable, but whether Johns or Ostrander is writing them, they're certainly entertaining.

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8.9
Aquaman (2011) #21

Jun 26, 2013

My only real complaint with the direction of this arc is the depiction of the First Kin. We still know so little about the character even two months after the original reveal, and he doesn't feel like a clear and present danger in the same way the Orm loyalists or the Scavenger do. Not to mention the fact that the idea of a villain being the "first" something seems a bit redundant in light of "Wrath of the First Lantern."

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9.5
Aquaman (2011) #25

Nov 27, 2013

I was nearly prepared to be disappointed with this issue's depressing ending until Johns pulls a 180 and gives Aquaman the more uplifting sendoff he deserves. Meanwhile, the epilogue strongly suggests that Johns isn't quite done with this corner of the DCU, even as he passes the torch to Jeff Parker. The ride isn't over yet.

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8.3
Aquaman (2011) #26

Dec 31, 2013

Paul Pelletier's artwork certainly helps smooth the transition as well. Whether the issue focuses on undersea intrigue or epic brawls with giant crabs, Pelletier is able to expertly capture the action and emotion of the story. Unfortunately, there are several fill-in pages from artist Netho Diaz in this issue. Diaz's storytelling is sound, and even on par with Pelletier's at times. But his facial work is a little stiff, making it all too obvious when the issue bounces between the two pencillers.

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8.4
Aquaman (2011) #27

Jan 29, 2014

With a winning balance of intrigue, action, and sentimental reflection, this issue further establishes Parker as a worthy heir to the Aquaman throne. The series hasn't radically changed from where it was a couple months ago, but Parker drops just enough hints about the future of the series to suggest we won't have too long to wait before he makes the series entirely his own.

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9.2
Aquaman (2011) #28

Feb 26, 2014

This is the first issue of Parker's run entirely penciled by Paul Pelletier, and the visuals are markedly improved as a result. Pelletier has no trouble switching from epic undersea action to surface world character banter and back again. More than ever, it's clear this series remains in very capable hands.

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8.5
Aquaman (2011) #30

Apr 24, 2014

Hercules makes for a fine antagonist in another winning chapter of Jeff Parker's Aquaman run.

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8.3
Aquaman (2011) #31

May 29, 2014

Parker doesn't neglect his other brewing plot threads despite the brief crossover. There's continued momentum on the Mera front s she investigates her own attempted assassination. Parker provides a compelling new glimpse of Atlantean society and its social stratas here.And there's more mystery and horror aboard Triton Base to balance out the book. The issue does feel a bit choppy in that the three segments don't really have any interplay and read more like three separate stories. But Aquaman is never guilty of failing to entertain.

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8.6
Aquaman (2011) #32

Jun 26, 2014

The book becomes more cohesive in the aftermath of the Swamp Thing crossover. And the fact that Paul Pelletier is able to pencil the entire issue for a change doesn't hurt this story either.

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8.6
Aquaman (2011) #39

Feb 26, 2015

Parker continues to strike a balance between delivering fun, rollicking adventure, emotional family drama and expanding and enriching the mythology of Atlantis. Paul Pelletier's art also remains in top form despite being five months into this storyline now.

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8.4
Aquaman (2011) #40

Mar 26, 2015

Jeff Parker has proven a more capable replacement for Geoff Johns on this book than anyone could have hoped for, so it's disappointing to have to bid him farewell with this issue.

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6.8
Aquaman (2011) #41

Jun 25, 2015

Bunn's new status quo is intriguing, as is the frequent intercutting between past and present. But as much as this series has dealt with Aquaman's struggles for acceptance in Atlantis, in some ways it feels as though the book is retreading old ground.

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7.6
Aquaman (2011) #43

Aug 27, 2015

Aquaman didn't really need a status quo shake-up, but the series got one anyway thanks to DC You. The book's new direction is unfolding well enough under Cullen Bunn's hand, with a renewed emphasis on Arthur as a loner and the divide between he and Mera.

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4.1
Aquaman (2011) #44

Oct 1, 2015

The result is an issue that somehow feels dull and upsetting at the same time.

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5.2
Aquaman (2011) #45

Oct 29, 2015

This series could use a change in pace or focus, but this issue didn't deliver in that regard.

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7.5
Aquaman (2011) #50

Mar 31, 2016

Aquaman reaching its 50th issue doesn't carry the same significance as many other DC books given how much creative turnover there's been on this book of late. But if this issue doesn't feel especially momentous, writer Dan Abnett does make use of the boosted page count to deliver and fun and occasionally dramatic look at Aquaman trying to foster relations between Atlantis and the surface world and confronting a mysterious oceanic killer.

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4.7
Aquaman (2011) #52

May 19, 2016

Apart from a final sequence that hearkens back to the very beginning of the series, this issue doesn't do much to send Aquaman off in style.

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7.3
Aquaman (2016) #6

Sep 8, 2016

Ultimately, though, the Aquaman/Superman battle comes across as a bit forced and unnecessary. And in the end, a little pointless given Superman's peacekeeping mission. But despite that, this issue manages to bring the current conflict to a close while offering a sobering reminder of the cost if Aquaman can't balance his dual responsibilities to his kingdom and his friends on the surface.

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7.5
Aquaman (2016) #9

Oct 20, 2016

While this current arc got a fairly slow start in the previous issue, it builds steam here as Aquaman battles to save his hometown from a rampaging Shaggy Man.

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7.2
Aquaman (2016) #14

Jan 5, 2017

Aquaman's woes continue in this issue as Atlantis is attacked by a group of genetically modified super-soldiers calling themselves the Aquamarines. It's a memorably wacky concept that unfortunately isn't exploited to its fullest here.

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6.8
Aquaman And The Others #1

Apr 3, 2014

Aquaman and the Others #1 isn't an entirely successful first issue. It's certainly accommodating for newcomers and Aquaman neophytes, but at the expense of building momentum and really establishing the series among the New 52. But the building blocks are definitely there, and this issue has no trouble capturing the most important elements of Geoff Johns and John Ostrander's Aquaman work. Assuming Aquaman and the Others can build and maintain an audience, we could be in store for something special here.

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6.7
Aquaman And The Others #2

May 8, 2014

Aquaman and the Others #1 was a decent, if cluttered offshoot of the main series. Issue #2 makes some further missteps and proves a little less satisfying than the first.

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6.6
Aquaman And The Others #3

Jun 5, 2014

Aquaman and the Others may not be at the level of its sister series, but it's slowly getting there.

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4.7
Aquaman And The Others #7

Nov 6, 2014

Geoff Johns' introduction of the Others showed what potential there was for this team to thrive on its own apart from Aquaman himself. Unfortunately, this series can't seem to move beyond the obligatory Aquaman guest appearances or focus the attention that needs to be devoted towards fleshing out the regular cast members.

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6.6
Aquaman and the Others: Futures End #1

Sep 25, 2014

The dialogue can be clunky at times, but there's still a strng team dynamic anchoring the story and a moving scene as one of the Otehrs passes their mantle to another character. All of this dovetails with Aquaman's struggle as he again confornts King Atlan and tries to unite his people.

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6.5
Aquaman: Futures End #1

Sep 3, 2014

It's definitely intriguing to see so many running conflicts come to a head five years in the future. But Jurgens' handling of the characters isn't quite on par with Jeff Parker's work on the main series. There's an overabundance of dialogue in places where less would be more.

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7.0
Aquaman: Rebirth #1

Jun 9, 2016

This issue serves as a good starting point, but the goal going forward should be to showcase what makes Aquaman new and different in DC Rebirth.

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7.5
Archie #666

Jun 4, 2015

This issue is no more or less than a lighthearted celebration of the franchise. Pretty much every Riverdale favorite turns out to help Archie through his latest crisis, with the comic reaching a predictably happy ending.

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9.0
Archie (2015) #4

Nov 25, 2015

This issue finally delves into the infamous "Lipstick Incident" and just what drove former power couple Archie Andrews and Betty Cooper apart. Waid deftly blends humor and bittersweet tragedy as he sheds light on the incident.

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7.4
Archie Meets Ramones (One Shot) #1

Oct 6, 2016

Writers Alex Segura and Matthew Rosenberg craft a fun, charming little tale as Archie and his bandmates are whisked back to 1976 to learn about the magic of punk rock from the "in their prime" Ramones.

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8.0
Army of Darkness Vol. 4 #1

Dec 4, 2014

Larry Watts brings a dynamic energy to the book with his art. His Ash is instantly recognizable as Bruce Campbell, and he handles the nonstop barrage of zombie gore and free-floating combat very well. The coloring also helps the storytelling a great deal. It's brighter and more flamboyant than you might expect from an Evil Dead comic, but that's appropriate given the unusual setting.

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4.3
Army of Two #1

Jan 13, 2010

Like the games themselves, perhaps Army of War the comic is best enjoyed with a friend. At least then you can share a laugh over the silly, generic script and awkwardly framed visuals. Sadly, it seems videogame tie-ins like this are still the rule rather than the exception.

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6.1
Arrow #1

Nov 28, 2012

None of the three stories here do much to flesh out the characters and conflicts of Arrow. Even at its most competent, this book is an easy pass for all but the most hardcore fans of the show.

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7.1
Arrow #2

Jan 2, 2013

Rounding out the issue is a segment from Cho and Ben Sokolowski. This portion reads like Arrow in microcosm, as it manages to breeze through the general structure of an episode in a mere handful of pages. It works surprisingly well in these limited confines, showcasing Ollie and Diggle carrying out an international mission. Mike Grell's art serves the story well. It's grim and finely textured, though certain panels feel a bit cramped. This is one instance where the smaller digital format might have been a hindrance. This segment also suffers from the same horrible Ollie monologue that plagues so many episodes of the show. I've often wondered if those monologues might play out better on the printed page than spoken aloud. The answer is no, no they don't.

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8.1
Arrow #3

Jan 30, 2013

Capping off this issue is a story from Schwartz and Katherine Walczak and artist Mico Suayan that focuses on Helena Bertinelli's past and the events that led to her becoming Huntress. This segment basically just rehashes what we learned from her conversations with Ollie, but it's nice to see it play out visually and to see her relationship with her late fiance play out. Suayan's pencils are easily the strongest of the issue. He delivers a gritty, noir-tinged feel that compliments the writing, and he also manages to nail the actor likenesses without sacrificing the quality of the storytelling.

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7.4
Arrow: Season 2.5 #1

Oct 8, 2014

It remains to be seen how well the overall conflict will develop, though. These chapters smoothly pick up where the show left off in terms of Detective Lance's illness, the crumbling Queen Consolidated empire, and so forth. But Guggenheim's decision to revisit Brother Blood in a new form is a little worrisome. As adept as this comic is at respecting the source material, I'd hate to see it retread familiar ground when the possibilities are practically endless.

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7.4
Arrow: Season 2.5 #2

Nov 13, 2014

The second chapter in this issue spends a bit too much time on flashback material and revisiting familiar scenes from Season 2, though it is fun to see more connections form.

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7.6
Arrow: Season 2.5 #4

Jan 15, 2015

The plot in this series has progressed to the point where I find myself wishing it would actually be turned into an episode of the show.

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7.8
Arrow: Season 2.5 #5

Feb 12, 2015

I continue to be impressed with just how much the dialogue, the plotting, and the general tone of this comic recreate the feel of the TV series. That's the benefit of keeping Marc Guggenheim and Keto Shimizu so closely invovled.

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7.5
Arrow: Season 2.5 #7

Apr 9, 2015

This series continues to succeed in its mission of telling stories that flesh out and enhance the world of the TV show. In certain ways (particularly when it comes to spotlighting Roy), it does the show one better.

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7.7
Arrow: Season 2.5 #8

May 14, 2015

Having Marc Guggenheim at the reins of this book has been a major boon. Guggenheim's role on the show and his prior comics experience means that this series is a very faithful extension of the source material. And in many ways, Huntress is a more enjoyable character in this issue than she's ever been on the show.

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6.8
Art Ops #1

Oct 29, 2015

The newest Vertigo series is certainly a visual showcase. It also boasts a clever concept. But with too much focus on exposition and setup (despite the lingering questions about this universe) and a lack of any truly compelling characters, this first issue isn't the strong debut Arts Ops needed.

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7.7
Assassin's Creed #1

Oct 15, 2015

Assassin's Creed has a surprisingly strong track record when it comes to comic book tie-ins. So far, it doesn't appear that this new series is going to break that trend.

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4.2
Assassin's Creed: Awakening #1

Nov 10, 2016

Titan's latest Assassin's Creed comic is unique both in that it's a direct adaptation of one of the games (Black Flag, to be specific) and a translated Japanese manga story. Unfortunately, there's little to recommend this version of the story over simply playing the game.

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8.2
Assassin's Creed: Templars #1

Mar 23, 2016

The newest Assassin's Creed comic is already shaping up to be a worthwhile addition to the ever-growing franchise. Templars #1 stands out for several reasons, but above all because it works to humanize the Templar faction and makes great use of a very distinctive historical setting. This first issue is a solid start, and it leaves plenty of room for the book to get even better in the next four chapters.

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8.0
Assassin's Creed: The Fall #1

Nov 9, 2010

Assassin's Creed: The Fall is a welcome breath of fresh air in the normally depressing video game comic market. Though it carries some minor flaws, issue #1 is an engaging and enjoyable read regardless of your exposure to the Assassin's Creed franchise. Let's just hope two issues are enough for the creators to deliver a satisfying character arc for Nikolai and Daniel.

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8.0
Assassin's Creed: The Fall #2

Dec 15, 2010

And even if the script were forgettable, The Fall would still thrive on the strength of its art. Kerschl and Stewart make an impressive team. Though the two each handle their own assigned timelines, Kerschl and Stewart have similarly bright, animated styles that allow for a very cohesive look. It's arguable whether a slightly darker visual style might have suited the tone of the games better. On the other hand, part of the appeal of this series is seeing the result of a creative team who are fully involved in both sides of its production. There's an undeniable energy and storytelling flow that comes when a creator writes and draws a page themselves, and that energy is readily apparent in The Fall. It's unfortunate this book is so unusually brief. Still, it's refreshing to have a video game comic leave the reader so desperately wanting for more.

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6.7
Assassin's Creed: Uprising #1

Feb 2, 2017

Unfortunately, while the script mostly avoids becoming too cluttered, the same can't be said for the art. Jose Holder makes many odd framing choices that make it difficult to follow the flow of battle and leave key characters relegated to the background or obscured by shadow at awkward times.

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5.5
Astonishing Thor #5

Jul 6, 2011

Astonishing Thor is not without merit, but it doesn't exactly warrant the "Astonishing" moniker, either. How long until books like this and the post-Whedon Astonishing X-Men cause the Astonishing line to lose its credibility?

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7.0
Astonishing X-Men Annual #1

Nov 28, 2012

Unfortunately, Marvel had to go and spoil things to an extent by pricing this issue at $4.99. The main story is no longer than an average issue of Astonishing. Padding out the remnant is a reprint of the Alpha Flight issue where Northstar originally came out of the closet. Historical significance notwithstanding, that alone doesn't justify an extra dollar, and I wish Marvel would stop acting as if annuals automatically need to cost more. The reprint isn't even worth the hassle of reading. The hardcore 90s artwork, with its muscles piled on top of more muscles and criminal overuse of crosshatching, is enough to make your eyeballs leak out of your skull. Trust me. I'm writing this review blind thanks to this book.

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9.4
Astonishing X-Men #23

Nov 7, 2007

As always, the main flaw with this issue of Astonishing X-Men is that we won't see another one for so long. I hate to think that I won't get to read another Whedonesque adventure until 2008. I think I'll use the new issue of Messiah Complex to wipe my tears away.

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8.1
Astonishing X-Men #25

Jul 2, 2008

Here's the real problem with Astonishing at the moment - I don't know why I should care. The series no longer fills a niche. This same group of A-list X-Men will also occupy Uncanny on a monthly basis. The only real difference there is that Uncanny will substitute Pixie for Armor as the current "peppy female student with everything to prove." With no real story to speak of yet and art that's firmly in the good-but-not-great category, Ellis has his work cut out for him in the months ahead. I don't blame anyone who chooses to trade-wait this book.

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6.8
Astonishing X-Men #31

Oct 7, 2009

"Exogenetic" is a step in the right direction, but on the whole Astonishing just isn't succeeding on the level it should considering the talent involved. As an X-fan who is frequently invested in the direction of the franchise, I recognize the necessity of an accessible book like this. I only wish the finished product was as attractive as the concept.

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5.5
Astonishing X-Men #34

Jun 30, 2010

It seems the only consistent thing about Astonishing X-Men is its inconsistent shipping schedule. Even as Warren Ellis' saga has moved forward with the Xenogenesis mini-series, Exogenetic still needs wrapping up. Sadly, Xenogenesis' successes only highlight how dull and forgettable the previous storyline is. Ellis' X-Men lack the playful quality seen in Xenogenesis, instead spouting endless bits of snark and sarcasm. Painfully unnatural interactions between Cyclops and Beast only highlight how far behind the curve this story is working. As for the art, Phil Jimenez once again provides breakdowns upon which Andy Lanning finishes. Given how heavy and thick Lanning's inks have been over Jimenez's pencils in the past, the difference is scarcely noticeable. Between those heavy blacks and the unnatural colors of Frank D'Armata, the series is just too grungy and dreary for its own good. I've certainly read worse X-storylines, but Ellis has proven he can handle the team in a much more interest

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6.5
Astonishing X-Men #37

May 11, 2011

This series is something less than astonishing right now, but at least it offers clean, uncluttered fun for X-Men readers. The real question is how the series will be impacted by the sudden switch in focus with issue #38.

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5.5
Astonishing X-Men #38

May 18, 2011

Hardcore Astonishing fans may be happy to simply have another issue of the series in hand so soon, but so far this arc is doing nothing to establish itself as more than filler.

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6.0
Astonishing X-Men #39

Jun 1, 2011

Daniel Way's script is a mixed bag in quality. The highlight of his arc is seeing Armor rise to the forefront, as she doesn't seem to factor into the rest of the X-books very often. However, Way doesn't prove as adept with the remaining three X-Men. His Emma is neither as humorous nor as bitchy as she should be. Meanwhile, a handful of potentially strong scenes between Cyclops and Wolverine aren't used to their full potential. In general, once the fun of monster battling wears off, this arc doesn't have much else to offer. It's just as well Way's next issue will cap off this particular story. There doesn't seem to be much life left in this particular Astonishing tale.

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6.6
Astonishing X-Men #55

Oct 24, 2012

While Astonishing has its moments, I'm quickly growing eager for this arc to wrap up so Liu can move on to new material that once again emphasizes characterization over action.

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8.2
Astonishing X-Men #58

Jan 23, 2013

Though hardly bloated at only two issues, I do feel that Liu could have trimmed the story even further by reducing the role of the other X-Men. Other than the Christmas celebration with Karma in issue #57, the various other characters didn't really add anything to the conflict or Warbird's journey. As a single one-shot issue, this storyline might have been that much stronger and more tightly paced.

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6.1
Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes #1

Oct 29, 2008

Most glaring of all is the fact that neither story carries much of an X-Men flair. Switch out a few familiar faces and the stories could easily be taking place in another Ellis book like Planetary. Is that all Ellis' Astonishing run is going to amount to - a series that seems culled from unused plot points in other books? His work carries an inherent charm regardless, but I expect a lot more given the pedigree of Astonishing X-Men in the past.

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7.4
Astounding Wolf-Man #4

Dec 12, 2007

It's going to be a while before Astounding Wolf-Man ascends to the level of quality seen in Kirkman's best books, and I'm not entirely sure it ever will. However, even if it doesn't, the likable cast and constant stream of surprise twists should be enough to tide Kirkman-junkies over between issues of Invincible.

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8.8
Astro City (2013) #1

Jun 6, 2013

Even the meta commentary, which can so often be annoying in superhero comics, works under Busiek's hand. Broken Man's frequent references to the all-seeing Oubor and the need to find heroes who are invisible to its influence could be interpreted as a jab at the New 52. I doubt that was Busiek's intention given how long this series has been in the works, but it's fitting considering how this is exactly the type of fun, charming superhero comic that the New 52 seems to have wiped out of existence.

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9.0
Astro City (2013) #2

Jul 10, 2013

Brent Anderson expertly captures this blend of the mundane and the superheroic. He shows a strong sense of design as he renders the sci-fi-flavored workplace of the ECL, but the focus is generally on more basic elements like facial work and emotion as Marella explores her new world. At times the script is a slice-of-life drama, and others a superhero slug-fest, and Anderson is equally adept with either.

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9.0
Astro City (2013) #3

Aug 14, 2013

Brent Anderson more than holds up his end of the issue, as his art is perfectly suited towards capturing that human element of Busiek's writing. His characters are brimming with emotion and varied facial work. Anderson is able to convey the scope of the superhero characters and their battles, but all of that is ultimately just window dressing in service of the more down to earth elements.

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6.2
Astronauts in Trouble #1

Jun 18, 2015

Though somewhat looser than his current style, Adlard's work in these pages is still plenty imrpessive. The retro '50s setting suits his style especially well. All the book really needs is an ink wash to give the stark black and white lines some added depth. Unfortunately, while Adlard's art is impressive, the story is too jumbled to leave a good impression.

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8.4
Atomic Robo #1

Oct 16, 2007

So far I haven't had anything bad to say about Atomic Robo #1. Granted, it did make for a unexpectedly satisfying read, but it does have one fairly major problem at this early stage. I mentioned a comparison to Forrest Gump, but in truth I'm forced to take writer Brian Clevinger's word on that. The intro page paints a pretty picture of Atomic Robo acting as a major catalyst for various 20th Century events, not unlike Mr. Gump. Unfortunately, Himalayan Nazis don't quite fit that bill. And where's my Tesla? I really hope that Clevinger and Wegener can increase the scope and live up to what is admittedly a terrific concept. Even in its present form, Atomic Robo is a breath of fresh air in a crowded indie market.

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7.2
Atomic Robo and The Ring of Fire #1

Sep 10, 2015

The cover to this issue offers a pretty good clue as to the state of both Robo and the members of Tesladyne at the moment. But fear not, Atomic Robo hasn't veered so far into darkness that it loses sight of the fun, adventurous charm that made the series stand out in the first place

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8.5
Atomic Robo and the Temple of Od #1

Aug 25, 2016

The latest chapter in the Atomic Robo saga sends our metallic hero to Japanese-occupied China to team up with the local resistance and stop the creation of a doomsday weapon. It's a solid premise that allows for plenty of the humor and Indiana Jones-style adventure the series is known for.

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5.0
Avengers (2010) Annual #1

Jan 4, 2012

This annual does finally pick up a bit of steam at the end. In the aftermath, Simon is written in a more evenhanded fashion, finally explaining hi position and motivations in a more convincing fashion. The interaction between him and Beast is also a nice touch. Ultimately, with as much as this short crossover did wrong, it does do its part to establish the general sense of unrest and anti-Avengers paranoia running rampant in the ongoing books. Ideally, this story should have unfolded several months ago and in a more intimate form without all the useless flash and noise.

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8.0
Avengers (2010) #5

Sep 22, 2010

As far as the visuals go, certain points need reiterating regarding John Romita Jr.'s artwork. This is some terrifically dynamic stuff. Once again, the panels featuring Thor are the standouts, but Romita's general sense for action and choreography is nearly unmatched in the industry. Yes, his figures are somewhat blocky and unattractive. To some extent this is just the nature of his style. But the inking and coloring in this series are also to blame for lending an unnecessarily harsh edge to his figures. Romita's work in J. Michael Straczynski's Amazing Spider-Man was more effective because of the thinner inks of Scott Hanna and the brighter hues of colorists like Dan Kemp. It's unfortunate the visuals in this series can't fall a little more in line with those in Amazing, but the core appeal of Romita's pencils remains.

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7.5
Avengers (2010) #7

Nov 17, 2010

John Romita Jr's art is a bit erratic this month, as it's inked by both Klaus Janson and Tom Palmer. Palmer's lighter, feathery touch is what Romita's pencils need to shine, not the overly thick and heavy inks of Janson. But while this arc displays a few odd qualities in its first issue, it also shows the potential to outclass the first and pay off on some threads still dangling form Bendis' earlier Avengers projects.

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8.5
Avengers (2010) #13

May 18, 2011

The only real point of concern to be found right now is a romantic subplot introduced in this issue. Bendis seems intent on playing up a mutual attraction between two characters who really have no prior history together. So far it seems forced, unnecessary, and even a little awkward as the two interact. Hopefully that will change over the course of the arc and this new relationship can be properly fleshed out.

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7.0
Avengers (2010) #14

Jun 15, 2011

This Fear itself tie-in started off with a bang, and it's unfortunate that the follow-up isn't as strong. If the current formula is to continue, Bendis will need to ensure that the talking head scenes expand and flesh out the events of Fear Itself rather than simply rehash them.

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7.0
Avengers (2010) #16

Aug 17, 2011

The art proves once again that John Romita Jr.'s art can thrive or falter depending on the inker and colorist involved. Paul Mounts' colors bring new life to the series. Unfortunately, Klaus Janson's inks are still too heavy and flat to do the art full justice.

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7.5
Avengers (2010) #20

Dec 21, 2011

Daniel Acuna's art is doing its part to keep the story humming. My common complaint with his style is that it lacks depth and definition thanks to its over-reliance on color and lack of shading and shadow. Acuna seems to have struck the right balance between the two on this series, and the results are pleasing.

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7.5
Avengers (2010) #28

Jul 25, 2012

Ultimately, a story like this is always limited by the need to fit within the confines of the main event. And so there's little in the way of consequential plot progression or character growth. But if nothing else, Avengers #28 proves that Red Hulk still has a place among Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

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8.2
Avengers (2012) #1

Dec 3, 2012

Little about Opena's approach has changed from his Uncanny X-Force arcs, other than the fact that he alters his style with a smoother, more organic approach for the brief flashback sequences. The question is how well the series will transition visually from arc to arc. Opena, Adam Kubert, Dustin Weaver, and Mike Deodato all have distinctly different styles. Will this even feel like the same book five issues down the road?

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8.8
Avengers (2012) #2

Dec 19, 2012

Unfortunately, my other complaint regarding issue #1 remains true here. Ex Nihilo, Abyss, and the rest of the new villains really aren't that memorable beyond their interesting visual designs. Their motivations and actions feel too reminiscent of other recent storylines like The Dark Angel Saga in Uncanny X-Force or Hickman's own Ultimates work. If anything, the similarities grow more apparent as Ex Nihilo rants about ancient beings who manipulate genetics and seeds that can remake worlds. Hopefully this problem is merely a temporary one. Hickman has made it abundantly clear, both within this book and in various outside interviews, that these early issues barely scratch the surface of what he has planned.

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8.3
Avengers (2012) #6

Feb 20, 2013

The real difference to the formula of these past few issues is that there's less question of how this new Avengers recruit fits into the larger picture. Hickman caps off this pseudo-arc by circling back to the larger events covered in issue #3 and a major new development that provides the spark for the next story. These character-focused issues have been enjoyable, but it'll be good to see what path the series takes from here.

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7.8
Avengers (2012) #12

May 22, 2013

Unfortunately, the eclectic nature of the issue isn't the best fit for Mike Deodato's pencils. Deodato's style is all about moody lighting and hulking figures, neither of which are really called for in the script. Deodato also shows a tendency to reuse character poses again and again. He gets an incredible amount of mileage out of one recycled Iron Man frame. This is a case where the lighter touch of Dustin Weaver probably would have worked better.

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6.2
Avengers (2012) #24.NOW

Jan 1, 2014

This isn't a bad comic, necessarily, but it's visually jumbled and doesn't do enough to build excitement for what's coming next.

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8.2
Avengers (2012) #25

Jan 22, 2014

Having illustrated several pages of issue #24, Salvador Larroca steps in for a full issue this month. Larroca delivers strong storytelling but weak figure work, leaving the colorist to fill in too much of the depth and detail on his characters. My main concern with this series and its sister books going forward is that any sense of visual cohesiveness will be lost thanks to the steady stream of rotating artists. It seems anyone who's anyone at Marvel will be drawing one of Hickman's Avengers books in the coming months.

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5.7
Avengers (2012) #26

Feb 12, 2014

Nor does Salvador Larroca's art bring much to the table. Larroca's figures are as spartan as ever, but normally his framing and storytelling can make up for deficiencies in that area. Not so here. The action scenes between the Adaptoids and Avengers are dully framed. There's not enough scope to match the tenor of Hickman's writing.

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5.8
Avengers (2012) #27

Mar 26, 2014

With this arc over and with Original Sin fast approaching, hopefully Avengers can regain the momentum it had just a few months ago.

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8.4
Avengers (2012) #28

May 1, 2014

It all makes for a fun read that has ramifications for more than one of Hickman's Avengers titles. And hopefully it's a sign that the series' recent doldrums are receding.

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8.3
Avengers (2012) #29

May 14, 2014

This issue also sees Leinil Yu return to the series for the first time since the Infinity tie-in storyline. He's a perfect fit for the grim, foreboding tone of the tale, which culminates in a big battle between Avengers and iron Man drones worthy of a an action-oriented storyteller like Yu. The inking sometimes obscures the figures and the facial work unnecessarily, but not to the point that it derails the story.

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7.8
Avengers (2012) #31

Jun 18, 2014

Little has changed in terms of the art in this issue. Leinil Yu does a great jb of bringing this futuristic Earth to life, but the lack of clarity to his pencils and Gerry Alanguilan's inks is frustrating at times. Especially since there are a handful of pages here that do show the artists at their best and brim with cinematic detail.

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8.5
Avengers (2012) #32

Jul 9, 2014

The art, unfortunately, is weirdly inconsistent in this issue. At times Leinil Yu's pencils and Gerry Alanguilan's inks merge in a scratchy, haphazard assortment of lines. But at other times, Alanguilan's inks smooth out and Sunny Gho's colors become more vibrant. Here the issue is at its best, and there are some definite shots of beauty as Franklin's garden blooms and he gives the Avengers a tour of the universe as it exists thousands of years from now.

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7.0
Avengers (2012) #35

Sep 17, 2014

In some ways, "Time Runs Out" is exactly what this series needed. It kicks the book into drive as the focus shifts ahead to a darker and more unpredictable Marvel Universe. But the time shift creates its own problems, and this issue is never entirely consistent in tone or visual style. But hopefully things can only improve as Hickman delves deeper into this new status quo.

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8.3
Avengers (2012) #36

Oct 8, 2014

This issue also proves more visually cohesive now that Stefano Caselli illustrates the entire story. Caselli and Hickman have formed a great team dating all the way back to Secret Warriors. Caselli's expressive art captures both the massive scale of the story and the very real, emotional drama.

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8.3
Avengers (2012) #37

Oct 22, 2014

Unfortunately, visual consistency just isn't this book's forte. Mike Deodato steps in as artist this month, giving the series a much darker and more foreboding vibe than it had in the previous two chapters. In general, that suits the setting and the tone of Hickman's writing. On the other hand, one flaw from Original Sin rears its head again in terms of figures standing out in stark contrast from the backgrounds. Some scenes also suffer from the lack of distinction between female characters or Deodato's tendency to draw frail, elderly Steve Rogers as a fairly robust character.

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8.0
Avengers (2012) #38

Nov 20, 2014

And visually, this series is the clear winner. Stefano Caselli gives the comic an impressively bold and dynamic quality. His figures are sharply defined and vibrant, and the book takes on a larger-than -life tone that meshes well with the increasingly epic climax Hickman is building towards.

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7.9
Avengers (2012) #39

Dec 11, 2014

Withthe focus more on action than plot progression, this issue isn't necessarily the most compelling to come out of this "Time Runs Out" storyline. Still, Hickman defintiely gives Mike Deodato plenty of great material to work with, especially the shots of Jim Rhodes' War Machine army or Captain Marvel battling Hulk.

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8.8
Avengers (2012) #40

Jan 14, 2015

Frequent Hickman collaborator Stefano Caselli steps in to tackle the art this month. While the shift from Mike Deodato to Caselli does nothing to help this book's wildly inconsistent visual style, it's tough to complain about the final product. Caselli has a real talent for combining sleek superhero physiques with dynamic body language and expressive facial work. All of those qualities are integral to this issue's storytelling success. If only we could see him settle down on one series for a while.

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8.6
Avengers (2012) #41

Feb 4, 2015

If I have any complaint about this chapter, it's that Mike Deodato does nothing to vary his style and strive to distinguish the Earth-616 and Earth-1610 settings. His bold, powerful figures serve the issue well despite the focus on dialogue, but the Ultimate and regular Marvel scenes might as well be taking place on the same world.

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8.7
Avengers (2012) #42

Mar 4, 2015

This issue does make me wish Hickman had focused more on Cyclops and his mutant nation in recent months. Many key plot developments occurred off panel in the eight month gap that set up "Time Runs Out." Unfortunately, this is the oe that most needed fleshing out considering how little the X-Men have factored into Hickman's work before now. The Cyclops-centric scenes lack some of the impact they might have had because here's been so little build-up.

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7.3
Avengers (2012) #43

Apr 2, 2015

Unfortunately, the art isn't always up to par in this chapter. Mike Mayhew's work is at its best when it focuses on the space battle and general spectacle rather than the human figures. Outside of those scenes, many characters suffer from wonky facial work and stiff poses. It's a shame these two Avengers titles can't offer a greater level of visual consistency during "Time Runs Out."

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7.3
Avengers (2012) #44

Apr 29, 2015

The Avengers #44 caps off Hickman's saga in grand fashion while also setting the stage for Secret Wars. This issue is full of epic drama, but often it's the character moments that shine the most. It's a shame that two artists with such clashing styles were called upon to finish out the series, but Caselli's pages never fail to impress.

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7.3
Avengers (2016) #1

Nov 2, 2016

Mark Waid's Avengers saga begins its new stage on slightly rockier ground. The team dynamic definitely suffers from the fact that the younger characters have departed to form their own team, and new recruits like Spider-Man and Hercules don't do enough to make up for that loss. But at least the Kang conflict is heating up. Plus, Del Mundo's art is incredibly striking, even if it occasionally gives the issue a more surreal tone than necessary.

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7.2
Avengers (2016) #2

Dec 8, 2016

The Avengers themselves are the weak link in this latest incarnation of the series. Not only is the cast small, their personalities don't make for a particularly compelling mix.

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8.2
Avengers (2016) #3

Jan 5, 2017

The resolution in this issue feels a bit cheap and easy considering the scope of the threat Kang and his other selves have posed, but at least it ties together the majority of the book's current loose ends.

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7.5
Avengers (2016) #4

Feb 2, 2017

Despite the fact that the script is basically a long series of narrative captions, the book avoids coming across like a dry summary or Wikipedia entry. Del Mundo's gorgeous, surreal artwork certainly helps with that. This issue is really a chance for del Mundo to cut loose.

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7.5
Avengers Academy #1

Jun 9, 2010

For a book that I wasn't sure would capture my interest, Avengers Academy manages an impressive debut. So far Gage in working has succeeded with his new cast. The true test comes now as he begins to flesh out the various personalities and build towards a larger conflict.

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8.0
Avengers Academy #2

Jul 14, 2010

Mike McKone impresses once more with his detailed, precise pencils. Though the setting remains largely fixed, McKone is able to stretch his muscles a fair bit with a large cast. I'm still iffy on certain costume designs, but aside from that the series is very easy on the eyes. As long as Gage and McKone keep firing at this level I'm hopeful Avengers Academy has a bright future ahead of it.

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8.5
Avengers Academy #3

Aug 18, 2010

As for the art, Mike McKone delivers another 22 pages of gorgeous art. This issue allows him to stretch a bit and render plenty of outside villains and a few new Avengers to boot. I have serious doubts about the ability of this crossover to sustain itself for very long. For now, though, part 1 has the distinction of being Gage's best issue of Avengers Academy so far.

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8.0
Avengers Academy #7

Dec 15, 2010

Tom Raney fills in for Mike McKone on pencils this month (despite what the credits page would have you believe). Raney's recent Marvel work has been pretty variable in quality. Luckily, Raney is in solid form here, and the inks of Dave Meikis and Scott Hanna help bring an echo of McKone's precise pencils into the mix. Their rendering of Giant-Man's new uniform is startlingly inconsistent, however. Details and trimmings appear and vanish at random. The coloring of Jeromy Cox and Andrew Crossley is also fairly inconsistent, with one panel of Iron Man even featuring reversed colors. Though generally attractive, the visuals in this issue suggest a rushed schedule. Luckily, McKone is back next month, and readers have every reason to be excited for the continued future of this series.

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8.0
Avengers Academy #14

May 18, 2011

My one worry with this issue was how Gage would handle the Sinister Six in general and Rhino in particular. After Joe Kelly did such great work with Rhino last year, I'm wary of other writers tackling him. Surprisingly, the newly bloodthirsty but still noble Rhino was one of the highlights of the issue. The villains proved to be organic additions to the series, and Gage leaves the reader wondering all the more what these baddies are cooking up.

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9.0
Avengers Academy #15

Jun 15, 2011

With the whole creative team firing on all cylinders, Avengers Academy may just be the strongest of the Fear Itself tie-ins alongside Journey Into Mystery. Hopefully that will convince a few more readers to check this book out.

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7.0
Avengers Academy #16

Jul 27, 2011

The issue picks up considerably when it shifts focus to Veil. Gage puts her through a physical and emotional gauntlet that takes full advantage of the Fear Itself setting. Her story results in both triumph and tragedy and satisfies all the way. Tom Raney also really delivers on all fronts in these pages. With Pym's fight out of the way for now, hopefully upcoming issues will continue to spotlight the Academy recruits and the battles they face. That's where the meat of this tie-in lies.

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8.5
Avengers Academy #17

Aug 3, 2011

This continues to be the most engrossing arc of Avengers Academy yet. Let's just hope Gage doesn't wipe too many characters off the board when the action heats up in issue #18.

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8.5
Avengers Academy #18

Aug 17, 2011

There's no doubt at this point that the entire Fear Itself arc is the strongest Avengers Academy has ever been. The blend of action and character building continues to impress with each new chapter. The only problem now is that readers are bound to get spoiled from having a new issue every two weeks.

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8.5
Avengers Academy #19

Sep 28, 2011

It's good to know this series still has a healthy future ahead of it. But if it were to end, this arc would have been a fitting place to do so. Gage has effectively brought these characters full circle, and I look forward to what he has in store as the next phase begins.

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6.5
Avengers Academy #20

Oct 26, 2011

Tom Raney's art is also a bit underwhelming. It carries a rushed quality through many pages, with a team shot on page 7 looking particularly loose and wonky. As nice as it's been to have this series ship so often this year, a more methodical schedule might not be such a bad thing right now.

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7.5
Avengers Academy #21

Oct 31, 2011

Avengers Academy doesn't ease perfectly into the post-Fear Itself landscape, but it shows plenty of promise. Seasoned readers will sympathize with the main cast, feeling mistrustful and wary of the new characters and what they'll bring to the series. It's up to Gage to bring the magic all over again.

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7.0
Avengers Academy #23

Dec 14, 2011

There's even more material to round out the issue, including a field mission and even more revelations about the future versions of the Academy recruits. Gage stumbles in some areas, such as a less than ideal portrayal of Hawkeye, but generally the material is solid. The problem is that the various pieces of the script never come together in a truly satisfying whole. Where once the book focused on too few characters at once, now it focuses on too many. The delicate balance of recent arcs needs to be restored. Also troubling is that Tom Raney's normally solid figure work is surprisingly stiff in many of the action scenes. In more ways than one, the book needs a little breathing room and a chance to catch up to all the chaos that has unfolded these last few months.

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8.0
Avengers Academy #24

Jan 4, 2012

Tom Grummett steps on board as the new penciller with this issue. His art has a distinctly old-school feel, with its clean lines and simple figure work. That doesn't exactly help solidify the tone either, but it generally suits the book and its mishmash of old and new characters. Hopefully Grummet can offer the book the visual consistency it hasn't enjoyed much in the past year.

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8.0
Avengers Academy #25

Feb 1, 2012

Yes, the series is too crowded for its own good at the moment, and hopefully that flaw will be addressed in future issues. But issue #25 gives fans plenty to chew on as the current arc wraps up and offers the sort of fun, bombastic, old-school adventure that you won't find in many Avengers books these days.

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8.0
Avengers Academy #26

Feb 22, 2012

Tom Grummett's art continues to provide the series with an old-school aesthetic that might have been out of place on the other Avengers books, but fits in fine here. Grummett's characters don't always look their proper age, but his storytelling and facial work is solid.

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8.0
Avengers Academy #27

Mar 7, 2012

"But what of the unresolved plot threads from Immonen's run?" you may ask. Gage strangely chooses to address some lingering plot points but ignores others. Maybe that was an editorial mandate, or maybe too much focus on Runaways continuity would have annoyed AA readers. So while it's satisfying to have these characters back in some form, this issue only highlights the need to have an actual, ongoing Runaways series again. Heck, Marvel could do far worse than hand the reins to Gage himself.

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7.5
Avengers Academy #28

Apr 4, 2012

If Avengers Academy #27 didn't prove Gage should be writing a Runaways book, issue #28 cements the idea. We've gone far too long without a steady dose of these characters, and it's high time Marvel gave them another shot.

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7.0
Avengers Academy #29

May 3, 2012

Avengers Academy is enjoyable as always. However, the bar has already been set pretty high when it comes to AvX tie-ins, and it's difficult not to feel like Gage could be doing more with this arc.

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7.0
Avengers Academy #30

May 16, 2012

Tom Grummett's artwork is decent, if not particularly sleek or eye-catching. He handles the dialogue-heavy scenes and Shaw vs. Avengers action well, but the larger battle scenes are comparatively flat and bland. How his work will hold up now that the various character factions have converged on the battlefield remains to be seen.

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8.5
Avengers Academy #31

Jun 6, 2012

It doesn't appear as though this series is leaving behind AvX just yet, but if Gage has proven anything on this series, it's that he knows how to make the most of tie-in arcs.

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7.5
Avengers Academy #32

Jun 20, 2012

While I was happy to see Timothy Green come on board for this arc, the actual art quality is fairly disappointing. Green generally offers a surreal, almost European approach in his Marvel work, but this issue sees him struggle with a more traditional superhero style. Characters often seem overly stiff and posed, while the facial work consists mainly of grimaces and gritted teeth. It's too bad more of the energetic, manic style seen in Green's recent Rocket Raccoon/Groot stories couldn't have appeared in this book.

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7.0
Avengers Academy #33

Jul 18, 2012

As with issue #32, Timothy Green's art is unexpectedly disappointing. His facial work is dull and lifeless, while his characters are often stiffly posed and suffering from wacky anatomy. Green has done top-notch work in several cosmic books recently, so it's strange to see him deliver such underwhelming work here.

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8.5
Avengers Academy #34

Aug 1, 2012

No doubt we'll learn in the coming weeks whether Academy will be sticking around after Final Exam wraps up. Regardless of the outcome, Gage is showing every sign of doing justice to the characters he's built up these past two years.

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8.0
Avengers Academy #35

Aug 15, 2012

Andrea Di Vito steps in for Tom Grummett this month. While it's disappointing this arc won't have one, consistent penciller, Di Vito handles the characters well and delivers a bit more detail and depth in his panels than Grummett's issues had been offering. What the issue lacks in style it makes up for in good, solid storytelling.

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8.0
Avengers Academy #36

Sep 5, 2012

Much of this character building seems to lay the groundwork for future stories, which of course raises hope that maybe Gage won't be done with these characters just because the series is ending. No doubt there's still a wealth of material to explore in the coming weeks.

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8.5
Avengers Academy #37

Sep 19, 2012

With only one short arc remaining, I've given up hope of Gage completely wrapping up the series' various loose ends. Still, rather than rush to the finish, Gage is content to deliver more of the same quality characterization and plot twists that have made this series such a worthwhile read for the past two-and-a-half years.

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8.8
Avengers Academy #39

Nov 7, 2012

It's sad to see this series go, partly because Gage makes it abundantly clear that there's still so much story left to tell with his cast, and partly because Avengers Arena does not appear to be the kind of book that will explore that potential. Regardless, we'll always have these past 40 issues to look back on fondly.

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6.8
Avengers Arena #3

Jan 9, 2013

I could tolerate the grotesque concept of this series if I felt like it served a greater purpose. Avengers Arena revels in its similarities to books like Battle Royale and The Hunger Games. But the common factor among those stories, and one that Arena lacks so far, is that the teen-on-teen violence served as a larger sort of social commentary. What purpose do any of these deaths serve besides depriving readers of future stories with the characters? Hopeless is so cavalier in killing off his protagonists that I'm beginning to suspect more and more that this really is all an elaborate illusion or simulation. The thought that Avengers Arena might be one giant red herring somehow seems even worse than it being a nonstop slaughter-fest.

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6.0
Avengers Assemble #1

Mar 14, 2012

Avengers Assemble #1 isn't a terrible entry point for new readers, as it's light on continuity and easy to dive into. Unfortunately, there could and should have been more substance to this issue.

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5.0
Avengers Assemble #2

Apr 11, 2012

If you want a simple, action-oriented Avengers book, Assemble has its merits. Mark Bagley's work is attractive in this issue and actually shows a higher level of detail and consistency than it did in issue #1. There's not much continuity to get in the way of the action, and there's something to be said for that in a time when nearly every other Avengers book is becoming tied up with Avengers vs. X-Men. And so, as with issue #1, the readers most pleased by this effort are going to be the ones who don't have much Avengers experience. For everyone else, the simplistic plotting and frustrating characterization are major hurdles to contend with.

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4.0
Avengers Assemble #3

May 9, 2012

I don't know whether to hope that incoming movie fans are able to enjoy this book as some sort of pseudo-sequel to the film, or that they'll take issue with the many glaring problems in Avengers Assemble too. In any case, there are far better Avengers comics from Bendis and numerous other writers they should be reading instead.

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5.0
Avengers Assemble #4

Jun 13, 2012

By all rights, this series should have taken on a new level of excitement once it became apparent that Brian Bendis is working to reinvigorate Marvel's cosmic heroes and villains along with telling an accessible Avengers tale. Sadly, the execution just isn't there.

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6.0
Avengers Assemble #7

Sep 12, 2012

Bendis would have a potentially much more interesting and enjoyable story on his hands if he were just writing a Guardians of the Galaxy comic. And perhaps one day he will be, and the Avengers will just have been a necessary evil in order to help provide causal readers a stepping stone into the Marvel cosmos. That still doesn't excuse this series for its storytelling shortcomings.

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8.8
Avengers Assemble #11

Jan 16, 2013

That's not to say there's no deeper, emotional appeal in this issue. DeConnick offers some great material between Spider-Woman and Hulk as the two deepen their bond. This is really the first post-AvX comic to justify Hulk's return to the Avengers fold. In general the book is a celebration of the Avengers' family dynamic. It's cheerful in a way the franchise has so rarely been of late.

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8.2
Avengers Assemble #15AU

May 8, 2013

It helps that Butch Guice is on board to provide the visuals. Guice's art rivals anything we've seen in the main series. He expertly captures the scope and detail of Ultron's destruction with his usual dark, noir-tinged style. But the premise allows him to branch out quite a bit, with some fun digital sequences that pay homage to the 8-bit era of gaming. It's enough to make one wonder how the core event would have turned out if Guice were the lead artist.

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8.0
Avengers Assemble #18

Aug 21, 2013

In some ways the story is fragmented without Avengers #18 providing a larger context. But a more pressing concern is that DeConnick doesn't fully exploit the bond between Jessica and Hulk or her lasting revulsion toward Skrulls during various key moments where it would have made sense. Hopefully the next issue will make up for those omissions.

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8.0
Avengers Assemble #22.INH

Dec 18, 2013

Again, the plot in this arc is hardly remarkable. It adds very little to the larger Inhumanity picture (not there there seems to be much to work with until Inhuman actually kicks off). But as this series has always been about characterization and fun over plot since DeConnick originally took over, that's no great crime.

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8.0
Avengers Prime #3

Sep 29, 2010

The story doesn't disappoint either, particularly now that Brian Michael Bendis seems to have found his rhythm with the scripts. This issue begins the process of reuniting the three Avengers, allowing plenty of time for Steve and Tony to play off one another. The humor is admittedly a bit overdone in spots, with Tony's dialogue in particular being overwritten. But in general Prime offers exactly the sort of unfettered fun and adventure Heroic Age promised. I just wish the series didn't seem to so frequently fly in the face of recent events in the main Thor series. A script dealing with Hela and the state of the other Norse realms is bound to run into continuity conflicts at the moment. However, that should hardly prevent fans of classic Thor and Avengers stories from digging into Prime. This mini is steadily improving and continues to justify the bimonthly wait.

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7.5
Avengers Prime #4

Nov 10, 2010

The writing is of somewhat lesser concern, but that doesn't mean Brian Michael Bendis isn't delivering a satisfying script. There's a clear attempt to transition the trio from tense allies to comfortable friends again. For the most part this attempt is successful, though Bendis' portrayal of Tony Stark continues to perplex. It's no longer a matter of Bendis' portrayal not meshing with Matt Fraction' current handling of the character. Tony is annoying in his humor and reads awkwardly by any standard. It's a flaw that holds back an otherwise solid script. Bendis makes up for it somewhat with his strong handling of Hela and the welcome surprise appearance of another recent Thor villain. The pieces are moving into place for an epic finale in two months. The wait will be long, but these past four issues have shown it will be well worth it.

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8.5
Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Alpha #1

Mar 1, 2016

Two chapters into Avengers Standoff, it's already clear that Marvel needs to turn to Nick Spencer for event comics more often. Spencer shows a knack for blending humor and darkness in this issue as he escalates the situation in Pleasant Hill and draws the Avengers into the fray. It helps that he has a very strong partner in Jesus Saiz. This crossover is off to a great start, but can it maintain that momentum in the hands of other creative teams?

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8.4
Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega #1

Apr 28, 2016

Nick Spencer really needs to be given the reins of more Marvel events. While Avengers Standoff became overly bloated as various Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D.-related comics were drawn into the fray, Spencer's issues have maintained a distinctive balance between lighthearted charm and epic drama.

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8.5
Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill #1

Feb 17, 2016

As exhausting as it is to think Marvel is already launching into a new crossover event, Avengers Standoff is showing plenty of promise at this early stage. The political nature to the conflict and the mystery behind the nature of Pleasant Hill both combine to form a compelling conflict. The real question is whether this event can sustain itself as it draws in other books and other creative teams.

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7.8
Avengers Undercover #1

Mar 12, 2014

Avengers Undercover will serve as a smooth transition for fans of Avengers Arena. It has a familiar (if reduced) cast and the same creative team. And right away, this series capitalizes on the drama that comes from surviving a hellish gauntlet and returning to the real world. However, this issue doesn't do enough to establish the new status quo. And the strong character drama might not mean as much to those who didn't follow Arena. The first problem, at least, is soemthing that will hopefully eb addressed over the coming months.

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8.3
Avengers Undercover #2

Apr 10, 2014

The series may be slow to build towards its ongoing status quo, but the benefit to this approach is a methodical, believable examination of how Niko, Chase, Cullen, and the rest could actually be tempted by villainy.

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7.0
Avengers Undercover #3

Apr 24, 2014

Only the art holds this issue back from being an early high point for the series. Cluttered panels and haphazard scene transitions don't do full justice to the tightly plotted, darkly humorous story being told.

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8.2
Avengers Undercover #4

May 15, 2014

It's a busy, eclectic issue. And as with the previous three chapters, it shines best when Dennis Hopeless focuses on the character dynamics both among the team and with their friends and family (kudos on the Runaways reunion).

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8.8
Avengers Undercover #5

Jun 11, 2014

As much as I wish Kev Walker's pencils were still paired with Frank Martin's colors, Walker brings a lot to the table in this issue. He's great at conveying the seedy, surreal, even hellish nature of Bagalia, but also at giving life and expression to the heroes and making them seem like living, breathing characters.

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7.8
Avengers Undercover #6

Jun 26, 2014

The real problem, however, is that we now know this series is ending with issue #10. There seems little chance of Undercover reaching a satisfying conclusion by then.

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8.2
Avengers Undercover #7

Jul 10, 2014

While it seems hard to imagine Avengers Undercover reaching a satisfying conclusion by issue #10, at least this chapter doesn't linger or dawdle.

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8.7
Avengers Undercover #8

Aug 14, 2014

It still smarts to know that Avengers Undercover is ending with issue #10. But the good news is that Dennis Hopeless is transitioning towards his big finale much more smoothly than might have been expected.

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7.8
Avengers Undercover #9

Aug 28, 2014

This definitely reads like a rushed issue as the series races to its finish, but an enjoyable one all the same.

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8.5
Avengers Undercover #10

Sep 10, 2014

Tigh Walker returns to finish out the series. Of the book's various artists, he's the most adept at replicating Kev Walker's distinctive style. Tigh's work is a bit more angular and stylized than before, but adept at conveying the tension and emotion and elation of the story as the battle races to its climax.

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7.0
Avengers Vs. X-Men #0

Mar 28, 2012

In the end, both halves of the issue are enjoyable (the first one a little more so). However, the issue comes up a bit lacking when it comes to ambition or a dramatic build-up to the main event. There's really nothing to link the two tales other than the vague shared element of two women clashing with the most important men in their lives. Nothing is revealed about the nature of Avengers vs. X-Men that hasn't been already. Fortunately, it's not as if we have long to wait for issue #1.

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7.0
Avengers Vs. X-Men #1

Apr 4, 2012

Unlike most Marvel events, the hope is that this one will start off modestly and grow stronger over time. Issue #1 is a perfectly decent opening chapter, but it almost feels perfunctory in a way. The conflict needs to grow and evolve in interesting ways over the next 11 issues. And Cyclops certainly needs to be handled with more care going forward, lest this series repeat Civil War's mistake of making one faction look so crazy and militant that no one can sympathize with them.

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5.0
Avengers Vs. X-Men #2

Apr 18, 2012

The best that can be said about AvX #2 is that it provides hope that the event won't always play out in such a dull and unremarkable fashion. The most memorable scenes in the issue are the ones that don't feature Avengers fighting X-Men at all, but rather characters like Thor and his deep space team preparing for certain doom. This series may be titled "Avengers vs. X-Men," but it's quickly looking as though the best thing that can happen is for the in-fighting to stop.

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5.5
Avengers Vs. X-Men #3

May 2, 2012

There's no question that Avengers vs. X-Men could be a good, solid event comic. The operative word being "could." It's continuously frustrating to see writers doing such great work in the tie-in books and delivering so little of that quality and content on the main series. Maybe somewhere in the multiverse there exists a bizarre Frankenstein's monster of an event that actually crams the nuanced character work, epic blockbuster action, and tight plotting we're seeing in these disparate books into one, cohesive whole.

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6.5
Avengers Vs. X-Men #4

May 16, 2012

If still a fractured and somewhat hollow event comic, AvX at least gained some traction in issue #4. And if nothing else, the plot continues to push forward rather than dwell on endless series of punch-fests between Avengers and X-Men. The next issue marks the end of Act 1, and perhaps the real indicator of whether the series can move past its initial storytelling mistakes.

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6.5
Avengers Vs. X-Men #5

Jun 6, 2012

Finally, there's the big, long-awaited twist that puts the cap on Act 1. This new development is bizarre, to say the least. I worry it pushes the conflict into silly a direction, but that's for future issues to confirm or deny. At the very least, the twist marks the point where AvX stops feeling predictable and begins exploring uncharted territory. A newfound sense of unpredictability and change can only be a good thing as the story moves into its second act.

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8.5
Avengers Vs. X-Men #6

Jun 20, 2012

The Phoenix Five concept might have seemed silly on the surface, but in terms of execution Hickman really delivers in this issue. Finally we have an book that doesn't sacrifice characterization in favor of mindless spectacle. My enthusiasm is suddenly renewed for AvX as a whole, and even though this is already Hickman's final issue, I sincerely hope that issue #6 is an indicator of the quality readers can expect from this point forward.

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7.5
Avengers Vs. X-Men #7

Jul 5, 2012

As with nearly every chapter of this event, Avengers vs. X-Men #7 is guilty of glossing over certain vital parts of the story in its charge forward. Even so, the series remains in better shape than it was during Act 1. I would be surprised if issue #8 were to kill that momentum given the groundwork Fraction has laid here.

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7.5
Avengers Vs. X-Men #8

Jul 18, 2012

In the end, though AvX hit its current peak at the beginning of Act 2, the event is still in a better state than it was in its early months. Issue #8 offers an exciting and action-packed battle. It simply doesn't propel the conflict forward in the way a concluding chapter should.

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8.5
Avengers Vs. X-Men #9

Aug 1, 2012

At its best, AvX manages to deliver on all the hype Marvel has placed on it. As we near the finish line, I can only hope that this renewed momentum means the event will remain at its best through the home stretch.

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5.5
Avengers Vs. X-Men #10

Aug 15, 2012

I had hoped issue #9's strong showing meant we could expect a rousing finish to Act 3 and AvX as a whole. That didn't prove to be the case. However, there is still hope that this chapter was merely one last, unnecessary pit stop in an overly drawn out conflict, and that the remaining two issues will pick that lost momentum back up again.

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7.5
Avengers Vs. X-Men #11

Sep 12, 2012

In the end, the real importance of this death is going to be determined by how Marvel's writers deal with the fallout. I'm optimistic on that front. Unfortunately I'm somewhat less optimistic about the final issue of AvX. Jason Aaron has a tremendous amount of material to work through if the major beats of the event are going to reach a proper, satisfying conclusion.

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6.9
Avengers Vs. X-Men #12

Oct 3, 2012

Issue #12 drives the cover price up another dollar because of the extended page count. Unfortunately, this is one of those issues where the extra pages are devoted less to wrapping up the story itself and more towards laying the groundwork for other books. Much as Fear Itself #7 set up everything from Defenders to Fear Itself: The Fearless, Aaron's final pages build towards books like Uncanny Avengers and All-New X-Men. There's nothing wrong with this approach in theory, as long as the series is given a proper ending, but it does feel as though the emotional fallout of the event is being glossed over in favor of the "next big thing." Yes, there will be plenty of post-AvX tie-ins to explore that fallout. But that brings up the familiar complaint. Why are so many key emotional beats being relegated to tie-ins instead of unfolding in the main series? Will we ever have an event comic that offers a wholly complete and satisfying story in itself?

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8.5
Avengers vs. X-Men: Infinite #1

Apr 4, 2012

By itself, Avengers vs. X-Men: Infinite #1 is simply an enjoyable and lavishly illustrated story featuring the latest hero to call himself Nova. But it also marks the beginning of a promising new approach to digital comics. Frankly, I'd be much more keen to embrace digital fully if more books read as cleanly and elegantly as this.

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7.0
Avengers vs. X-Men: Infinite #6

Jun 20, 2012

If the art doesn't always do justice to the script and storyboarding, AvX: Infinite #6 nonetheless succeeds in building my excitement for this new digital format.

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8.5
Avengers World #1

Jan 8, 2014

Stefano Caselli's art is a nice way to round out the strong creative team on this series. Caselli is no stranger to pairing with the writers at this point, and his work helps further cement the bonds between this series and its two sisters. As always, his figure work pops off the page, and his art crackles with a manga-esque energy. We can only hope Caselli will be a regular player on the book, rather than the drifter he's been since leaving Secret Warriors.

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8.7
Avengers World #2

Jan 22, 2014

Between that quality and Stefano Caselli's gorgeously expressive artwork, this series is quickly shaping up to be a superior book to Avengers. So any fears that Avengers World might be a pointless, redundant, or unnecessary addition to Hickman's saga can be safely put to rest.

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9.2
Avengers World #3

Feb 19, 2014

The martial arts action in this issue is sublime, thanks in no small part to Stefano Caselli's dynamic visuals. This series only further proves that Caselli is the ideal artist to work with Gorgon and the Hand. But propping up the action is a terrific glimpse into Shang-Chi's mindset. The flashes to his ancestors and mentors as he steels himself for the big fight are effective in both fleshing out his character and further building tension. By the end, you'll be craving a martial arts-themed Avengers book from this creative team.

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7.9
Avengers World #5

May 1, 2014

Artistically, Avengers World remains the most satisfyingly consistent of Jonathan Hickman's Avengers crop. Issue #5 features more gorgeously vibrant and dynamic work from Stefano Caselli. But the series does begin to frustrate at times with the way it skips between conflicts.

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5.8
Avengers/Invaders #3

Jul 2, 2008

Given Alex Ross' involvement, I was hoping this series could at least impress on a visual level. Sadly, Ross doesn't appear to contribute much beyond cover images. Steve Sadowski's work is decent enough, even if he shows a far better handle on human characters than superhuman ones. Mostly, I just can't help but hold this book up to The Twelve, which aims for a similar look and tone. Unfortunately for Avengers/Invaders, it fails to measure up in any area. I'd tell potential readers to just hold out and trade-wait this series, but it's actually going to be more expensive to go that route. Instead, I'd recommend ignoring Avengers/Invaders altogether. Several current ongoing books are telling the same basic story, and they all seem to be doing it better.

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5.8
Avengers/Invaders #4

Aug 6, 2008

More annoying than anything, this issue ends on a pseudo cliffhanger with the promise that Avengers/Invaders will return in October. I really don't find the series to be worth waiting that long. It's already drawn out and lacking in substance as it is. I suggest readers spend this two-month vacation catching up on The Twelve and learning how this type of series can be done properly.

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4.8
Avengers/Invaders #5

Oct 8, 2008

Don't buy this book. Do yourself a favor and read The Twelve instead.

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8.5
Avengers: Children's Crusade #1

Jul 8, 2010

When it comes down to it, the shipping schedule is the only valid reason for not snatching this issue off the shelf. Children's Crusade sees the original Young Avengers crew back in very fine form. I can understand why readers might be hesitant to follow the book from chapter to chapter for the next year-and-a-half. But assuming the quality stays this high, the eventual trade should be high on their to-buy list. As a Young Avengers fan, I've grown accustomed to waiting and being rewarded for it in the end.

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8.0
Avengers: Children's Crusade #6

Jun 29, 2011

While the conflict is slightly lacking in punch at this stage in the story, Heinberg and Cheung deliver plenty of material to keep readers salivating and waiting for the next issue.

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6.5
Avengers: Children's Crusade #7

Sep 21, 2011

At least Jim Cheung's art never fails to satisfy. Even with the presence of so many separate inkers on the book, Cheung's pages are always expertly crafted, highly detailed, and engaging to the eye. I very much look forward to the day when this series is collected as an oversized hardcover. Not only will the long waits no longer be an issue, but the visuals will be at their very best.

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6.0
Avengers: Children's Crusade #9

Mar 7, 2012

Luckily, Jim Cheung's artwork is surprisingly strong considering the rush to finish the series before Avengers vs. X-Men. The presence of two inkers occasionally works to dull his precise line-work, but for the most part his cinematic appeal and knack for fine details remains. Children's Crusade will at least go own in history as a visual showpiece. It's a shame it couldn't do a better job of elevating the Young Avengers and building on past Marvel events too.

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7.6
Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1

Dec 5, 2007

Nothing about Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1 is poorly done in any way. It's just the overall execution that falls a little flat, and it leaves me to wonder if we really needed it in the first place. Assuming we see a follow-up next year, Slott would do well to focus on telling a single, fulfilling story rather than a handful of forgettable tales. After all, annuals fell out of favor for a very good reason.

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8.4
Avengers: The Initiative #9

Jan 30, 2008

Other than that, I see no reason not to give Avengers: The Initiative a big recommendation. Few series manage to blend the light and dark elements of the Marvel universe with such grace.

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6.7
Avengers: The Initiative #17

Sep 24, 2008

The Initiative had the chance to stand as one of the better Secret Invasion tie-ins. Instead, a glaring lack of focus and an unfortunate rotating casts of artists have bumped it to the other side of the spectrum. There's still room for a bit of redemption, but I'm not holding out hope this series will ever again be as entertaining as it was in its first year.

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7.2
Avengers: The Initiative Special #1

Nov 5, 2008

This issue certainly represents a step in the right direction for a book that has faltered in recent months. If nothing else, Gage proves he has the chops to continue on his own, and that's a good sign to this tired reader.

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7.3
Avengers: The Origin #1

Apr 7, 2010

Whether or not you choose to buy this issue comes down to one question: Are you willing to lay down $3.99 for a superior take on a comic that has been printed and reprinted ad nauseum? One thing I would have liked to see from this book is evidence that Casey has a larger plan in mind. Presumably he won't spend the entire mini-series adapting old Avengers comics and nothing more. I'd just like to see signs that he has the same structured plan in place he did for Earth's Mightiest Heroes. As fun a read as issue #1 is, I wont begrudge readers who pass this book over.

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6.5
Avengers: X-Sanction #1

Dec 14, 2011

Avengers: X-Sanction feels a bit bare bones at the moment despite only being a four-issue series. There aren't many surprises to be had either. Knowing the basic premise of the series and the fact that it leads into Avengers vs. X-Men, it's easy enough to connect the dots. However, the art is strong, and Loeb proves he still has a handle on Cable. The best thing that can happen now is for the book to downplay the fighting and focus more on the characters themselves.

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5.5
Avengers: X-Sanction #4

Mar 21, 2012

If it was big, dumb action you craved, X-Sanction delivers well enough. If it was teases and revelations for AvX, it offers a few morsels. But in the end, even a humble four issues seemed too long for the meager conflict. Trade-waiters may be better off skipping this book entirely and moving straight ahead to AvX #0 next week.

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7.3
AVX: Consequences #1

Oct 10, 2012

Tom Raney's pencils are a bit mixed in quality. The inks lend an unusually harsh edge to his line-work. It's an interesting shift, but one that only works in the more dramatic scenes. Raney's figures also have a tendency to appear tense and slightly distorted here. Oddly, the issue features Captain America in his Jerome Opena-designed costume, rather than the more traditional costume seen in Uncanny Avengers. I assume we'll be seeing a lot of that back-and-forth in the early weeks of Marvel NOW.

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7.8
AVX: Consequences #2

Oct 17, 2012

Hopefully this second issue is a sign of how Gillen will approach the remainder of Consequences, with each chapter narrowing its focus to one group of characters glimpsed in issue #1.

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7.2
AVX: Consequences #3

Oct 24, 2012

Scot Eaton handles the artwork this week. His style falls closely in line with issue #2 -- solidly rendered, but not particularly flashy or memorable. Like Tom Raney in issue #1, Eaton seems to struggle with Captain America's overly busy new costume. Thankfully, it's a new costume we probably won't be seeing after this book wraps.

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8.3
AVX: Consequences #4

Oct 31, 2012

Mark Brooks handles the art this week, making issue #4 the standout of the series as far as the visuals are concerned. Brooks brings an extra sense of refinement and detail to the characters. If Iron Man's role is superfluous, I could still spend hours staring at the sleek lines that make up his armor. Brook's facial work is also top notch, and he really delivers on some key panels involving Namor and Magneto. Uncanny fans definitely shouldn't be passing this book up.

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7.0
AVX: Consequences #5

Nov 7, 2012

Even so, Gillen delivers a strong finish to a surprisingly enjoyable and important mini-series. More than ever, I'm eager to see what the future holds for Cyclops and his dwindling band of allies as the Marvel NOW! status quo kicks in.

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6.0
AVX: VS #1

Apr 25, 2012

AvX: VS does exactly what it sets out to do. In some ways it's a more enjoyable read than AvX itself is so far. That said, there are far better and more ambitious books you can be spending your $3.99 on this week.

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6.5
AVX: VS #2

May 16, 2012

This series more or less delivers what it aims for. Still, it wouldn't hurt to see the writers strive to be more wacky and further embrace the brainless, bombastic nature of the book.

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7.0
AVX: VS #3

Jun 13, 2012

So once again, AvX: VS. delivers two enjoyable superhero fights that fill in some of the gaps of the main series. On the other hand, both stories are too simple and brief to fill out a $3.99 comic. Yost's segment at least strives for more dramatic depth, but it's still over and done with almost as soon as it begins. If meatier, more character-driven tales aren't in the cards with this book, then maybe what VS. needs is either more than two segments per issue or a lower cover price.

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6.0
AVX: VS #5

Aug 29, 2012

Ideally, AvX: VS should be able to offer a mix of effective character moments and big, dumb action. Unfortunately, this issue is an example of poorly handled character moments simply getting in the way of the action.

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8.8
Axe Cop: American Choppers #1

May 22, 2014

The stream-of-consciousness approach and hyper-violence are great, and the comic is genuinely funny, not just silly. The idea of a world called Captain Planet where all the captains of pop culture dwell is particularly inspired. Bring on more Axe Cop!

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7.9
Axe Cop: American Choppers #2

Jun 19, 2014

It's all typically hilarious Axe Cop fun. However, this issue does get a little wonky towards the end as the Nicolle brothers introduce and seemingly abandon a big plot twist.

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7.3
Axis: Carnage #1

Oct 29, 2014

German Peralta's art is solid, if not entirely suited to a character as visually dynamic and extreme as Carnage. Kasady is a looking a little plain here. But Peralta visualizes the new Sin Eater well, bringing a creepy vibe to his many scenes.

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8.4
Axis: Hobgoblin #1

Oct 22, 2014

Even if you're not a fan of AXIS, this issue is probably worth checking out on the strength of the visuals and its celebration of Spider-Man's goblin-themed enemies.

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8.8
Axis: Hobgoblin #2

Nov 13, 2014

The best thing that can be said about this AXIS tie-in is that it channels the same vibe as Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Kevin Shinick weaves a fun, goofy little tale about Roderick Kingsley trying to shift his franchising empire towards good and Phil Urich bristling at this perversion of Hobgoblin's bad name. The first issue's problems with exposition have been smoothed out, resulting in a more cohesive overall story.

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7.1
Axis: Revolutions #1

Oct 29, 2014

The second story reunites the X-men Legacy team of writer Simon Spurrier and artist Tan Eg Huat. This tale focuses on Doctor Strange, who unlike Spider-Man is very much afflicted by an excess of hate. This allows Spurrier to pour his trademark sense of snarky humor into Strange without it feeling out of character. The loopy premise also plays well into Huat's style, which sometimes struggles to mesh with the Marvel Universe. Strange's attempts to rectify the situation and avoid magically obliterating everyone he encounters makes for an entertaining read. It also makes you wonder if the character might not benefit from a harder, more caustic edge in general. Food for thought as Marvel begins spotlighting the character again.

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6.8
Azrael #4

Jan 20, 2010

Azrael continues to be a surprisingly satisfying read that is unfortunately held back by sub-par visuals. Despite my fears, Michael Lane is a better character following his transformation. Let's hope the gulf between Lane and his alter ego continues to narrow in future issues.

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7.0
Azrael #6

Mar 17, 2010

But if Nicieza is doing his job in building up both the book and its star, artist Ramon Bachs isn't. In theory Bachs should be suited for the series. He has a gritty style that ditches superhero tropes for something a little more grounded and believable. But his work is ultimately too flat and bland to really leave a lasting impression. Bachs' depiction of Lane as Azrael is often less impressive and imposing than it should be. Well, Lane's historical counterpart fares no better. I can't help but think the series could be more exciting and dynamic if only Bachs brought more vitality to the page. Given the heavy religious elements at play, I want the book to resemble nothing if not a bold Renaissance painting in motion. It doesn't help that Francesco Mattina's covers continue to ensure Azrael is the best-looking Batman book on the stands... until you open it. Azrael needs more visual style to go with the substance.

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7.8
Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #3

May 13, 2009

This issue makes no secret of the fact that Lane's story as Azrael is only beginning. It's unclear when or where we'll see him next, but I'm hoping the wait won't be too long. Azrael: Death's Dark Knight has proven to be a great pitch for a longer story, which is more than I could have hoped for from a mere tie-in project.

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8.4
B.P.R.D.: 1947 #1

Jul 8, 2009

And Ba and Moon certainly don't disappoint. The two are just similar enough in style that it can be difficult to distinguish between them at times. As best I can tell, Ba handled the first half of the issue, while Moon handled the second. The overall look is loose and kinetic compared to the normally dark and oppressive tone of many B.P.R.D. comics. Both artists tend to inject their comics with a unique sense of energy. All the same, there are certain B.P.R.D. trademarks to be seen in the art. Overall, Moon's later pages are the strongest. He manages to build tension both with his inventive panel structure and with the assistance of colorist Dave Stewart. The stark lighting and dense, eerie fog seen in the final pages are definite visual treats. I can't wait to see how the art fares once the crazier story elements begin to crawl out of the woodwork. Once again, this is a fairly slow start, but still a promising one for the latest B.P.R.D. tale.

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6.5
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: New World #1

Aug 11, 2010

New World lacks a hook, and it reads a bit dull because of it. Isolated scenes work well, particularly those involving Abe Sapien. There just needs to be more consistency and a larger driving conflict. Paper pushing and office politics don't really cut it. Luckily, Guy Davis is still around to keep the characters looking good. His thin, laid back line-work is complemented surprisingly well by the rich colors of Dave Stewart. Hopefully the story can kick into gear with issue #2. After last week's issue of Hellboy: The Storm, my standards are pretty high concerning this franchise.

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7.0
B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: New World #2

Sep 9, 2010

Guy Davis' art helps keep the story moving, though it is a bit looser and scratchier than I'd like. Davis has done a better job in the past of adhering to the traditional Hellboy/B.P.R.D. style while allowing his own voice to shine through as well. "New World" isn't a terrible start for B.P.R.D.'s ongoing Hell on Earth direction, but it's taking too long for this series to establish itself and its larger purpose.

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8.1
Back to the Future #1

Oct 21, 2015

This new series may not be the full-fledged sequel some Back to the Future fans were hoping for, but it certainly does the trick as far as capturing the look and feel of the original trilogy and telling fun new stories set in that universe. The first story in particular shows how much potential there is in exploring the back-story of these characters and fleshing out the key relationships in the films.

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8.0
Back to the Future #2

Nov 12, 2015

Despite the fact that this mini-series focuses on shorter vignettes over a full-length story, it adds a surprising amount of depth to the characters and events of the original BttF trilogy.

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6.1
Back to the Future #3

Dec 10, 2015

This is the first chapter of IDW's Back to the Future tie-in that fails to add much to the series' larger mythology.

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4.8
Back to the Future: Biff to the Future #1

Jan 26, 2017

Alan Robinson succeeds in capturing the lighthearted vibe of the films, but that alone isn't enough to salvage what's shaping up to be a big missed opportunity.

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8.3
Backstagers #1

Aug 18, 2016

This is not a comic afraid to get silly or weird, and that's one of its greatest strengths.

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8.3
Baltimore: Empty Graves #1

Apr 7, 2016

In general, Peter Bergting is a solid addition to the lineup of artists playing in the Mignola-verse sandbox, but his stark, eerie style really comes alive in this flashback to a harsh, demon-infested desert wasteland.

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8.9
Baltimore: The Cult Of The Red King #1

May 7, 2015

The ending is a little abrupt, but this issue marks a promising start to this new adventure.

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6.0
Baltimore: The Plague Ships #1

Aug 4, 2010

Fortunately, the same chilling atmosphere common to most of Mignola's work is still present here. Scenes of vampire hunting should entertain, even if the characters themselves don't. Ben Stenbeck's art also helps matters. As with Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels, Stenbeck provides a very old-fashioned visual style that nonetheless evokes Mignola's own familiar style. For the most part, all this series accomplishes is to make me vaguely curious about the original novel. Perhaps that can be considered a success. Still, when held against the copious output of Mignola and his collaborators at Dark Horse, Baltimore falls somewhat short of the mark.

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7.2
Bang! Tango #1

Feb 4, 2009

Bang! Tango is certainly interesting, but it also doesn't hook the reader immediately in the way Kelly's best work tends to do. I'll need at least another issue in the can before I'll feel comfortable in making a firmer judgment. For now, I'll just say that it was a fun first dance. Same time next month, eh?

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7.3
Barb Wire (2015) #1

Jul 2, 2015

The main problem with this first issue is that none of the characters really stand out apart from Barb and her brother. Most are simply one-note caricatures.

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7.2
Bat Lash #1

Dec 12, 2007

At least the art leaves me with few complaints. Granted, it's far less flashy than what we've seen in books like Lone Ranger, but John Severin packs in a pleasing amount of detail into each panel. From a visual standpoint, Bat Lash fits in quite nicely with fellow DC cowpoke Jonah Hex. The story is somewhat less successful so far, but it shouldn't do anything to kill the latest cowboy craze sweeping the industry.

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6.6
Batgirl (2009) #3

Oct 14, 2009

This opening arc has been pretty weak, all things considered, but I see no reason why the book can't make significant strides in future arcs. As long as Miller can strike and maintain a proper dynamic between his leading ladies, the rest should eventually fall into place.

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5.8
Batgirl (2009) #7

Feb 10, 2010

With so little to recommend about this book, I won't blame Batgirl fans for giving up on the series. After seven issues I'm still not sold. And with a new Birds of Prey series set to return Barbara to her rightful status in the DCU, I have even less reason to stick around. Hopefully Miller has something big planned after the Red Robin crossover ends.

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5.1
Batgirl (2009) #8

Mar 10, 2010

Upon finishing Batgirl #8, readers are invited to move right along to Red Robin #10. I would strongly recommend against that. These two books have constantly struggled to remain relevant or even readable among the current crop of Bat titles. Bringing the two together is clearly doing nothing to aid either character.

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8.2
Batgirl (2011) Annual #2

May 1, 2014

Art issues aside, this is a solid little comic that shows Simone doing what she does best in the DCU.

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7.5
Batgirl (2011) #5

Jan 11, 2012

On the plus side, issue #5 addresses a number of lingering questions about the book, such as the source of Babs' "miracle" and the current state of the Gordon family tree. Simone also continues to succeed in painting her heroine with the right mix of renewed optimism and youthful uncertainty. The book isn't perfect, but it's certainly engaging.

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6.5
Batgirl (2011) #6

Feb 8, 2012

On the down side, Ardian Syaf's line-work continues to waver in quality, with some panels boasting significantly more detail and clarity than others. The pacing is also really off in this issue. The conflict reaches an early crescendo, dies down, and then picks back up again. The pages focused on the tension between Barbara and her mother read like wasted space, and it would be nice to see this plot point ether shoved aside or dealt with quickly.

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8.3
Batgirl (2011) #39

Feb 18, 2015

The overall effect on this personal and professional drama is to ramp up the tension in her life and set the stage for the big twist. This issue becomes progressively more engrossing as Babs gets closer to the truth behind the supposed "real Batgirl" plaguing her life. This issue proves that Babs Tarr's slick and expressive art style can handle emotional drama as easily as it can flamboyant superheroics and scenes of 20-somethings partying it up. And when the big twist hits, it's impossible not to be excited for this books future. It's tough to say how far the creative team are going with the revelation, but here's hoping they have something bold and dramatic in store for next month's installment.

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9.0
Batgirl (2011) #40

Mar 18, 2015

The new Batgirl team are able to give their first story arc the big finale it deserved. This issue offers an exciting, tense finale that pits Barbara Gordon against her own troubled past. This issue's biggest accomplishment is putting that past to rest and setting the stage for Barbara and her new friends to embrace a brighter, more unpredictable future.

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8.3
Batgirl (2011) #42

Jul 29, 2015

There's ample potential when it comes to exploring the new Gordon family dynamic, and so far this series is doing a great job. This issue is fun and lighthearted, but also uses the complicated history between Jim and Barbara to great effect. Livewire's role in the story is pretty generic, but this issue is less about the villain than the Batgirl/Batman team-up.

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8.7
Batgirl (2011) #43

Aug 27, 2015

This new issue of Batgirl manages to be a lot of fun even as it explores the increasingly hectic and dangerous landscape of Barbara's life. The diverse visuals and the increased emphasis on the supporting cast don't hurt either.

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8.0
Batgirl (2011) #44

Sep 24, 2015

Though this issue of Batgirl is marred by some some overly expository dialogue and weird pacing, the fundamental appeal of the series is as strong as ever. Stewart and Fletcher continue to put the supporting cast to great use, building a storyline that offers compelling drama, lighthearted fun and charming romance in equal measure. Even the absence of Babs Tarr this month does nothing to diminish the book.

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7.3
Batgirl (2011) #45

Oct 29, 2015

What should be the big selling point of this issue is actually the weakest element. As nice as it is to see Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon reunited, this issue doesn't do much with the team-up or even justify Dick's presence in the first place. It falls on the stylish art and the emotional wedding scene to make up for that disappointing team-up, which they mostly do.

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8.4
Batgirl (2011) #46

Dec 17, 2015

Much like Harley Quinn in early 2015, Barbara Gordon is beginning to feel the pressure of juggling her personal, academic and superhero lives. The result is a fairly crowded new issue, as Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher pile on new challenges from every corner. It's certainly an entertaining one, though.

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7.0
Batgirl (2011) #47

Jan 21, 2016

This chapter of Batgirl takes a predictable dip in quality thanks to the absence of Babs Tarr. The book still has its moments of visual excitement, though. And between the three-way superheroine team-up, the father/daughter bonding scene and the return of a character who deserves more attention, this new storyline is quickly heating up.

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7.4
Batgirl (2011) #48

Feb 3, 2016

The current Batgirl conflict is building momentum as Babs teams up with an old friend and gets to the heart of her recent memory problems. This issue often struggles to find its groove as it barrels through several big scenes, but it finally settles down in time to do justice to this team-up.

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8.0
Batgirl (2011) #51

Apr 28, 2016

This short epilogue arc isn't necessarily remarkable because of its villain (a minor footnote compared to the likes of Fugue, really), but rather in how it celebrates the ensemble cast the series has built up over the past couple years.

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7.7
Batgirl (2016) #1

Jul 28, 2016

So far, this series doesn't break any new ground in terms of storytelling, but it has plenty to offer Batgirl fans.

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7.8
Batgirl (2016) #4

Oct 27, 2016

The plot in this first arc has become a bit convoluted as Batgirl continues to bounce from one Asian city to the next. What began as a simple tale of Batgirl taking a vacation and getting in touch with her inner warrior has suddenly become an international romp involving wacky villains spawned by the horrors of cram school.

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6.3
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1

Jul 21, 2016

There are various reasons why DC's New 52 Birds of Prey comic never really connected, but one of the biggest is that it never featured the core Birds of Prey trinity - Barbara Gordon, Dinah Lance and Helena Bertinelli. This new series at least rectifies that problem. Unfortunately, the decision to portray the trio as a squabbling, dysfunctional unit does nothing to recapture the old dynamic that's been missing.

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8.9
Batman #686

Feb 11, 2009

Daniel's Score 8.9

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8.6
Batman #689

Aug 12, 2009

In its first three issues, Winick's new Batman run has impressed me far more than I would have expected. It offers a nice counterpoint to the visually stunning but sometimes light-on-content Batman & Robin. As a Bat fan, it's hard to imagine being more satisfied at the moment. Let's hope Batgirl doesn't go and ruin everyone's high spirits next week.

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6.6
Batman #699

May 12, 2010

Overly brief and cluttered, this arc nonetheless proves Daniel is a natural fit for the series. I look forward to his return later this summer and whatever changes that might bring.

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8.0
Batman #700

Jun 9, 2010

Issue #700 doesn't seem to have a great deal of relevance to the greater picture. I went in expecting connections to The Return of Bruce Wayne. Though Professor Nichols' time travel device is suspiciously similar to Darkseid's Omega Effect, I was hard-pressed to find anything of real merit. Bearing that in mind, Bat fans should check out this book not as a vital piece of the puzzle, but more as a lighthearted celebration of Batman's long and storied career. Issue #700 allows Morrison to jam with some top-notch artists and cover a great deal of territory in a relatively small space. It's not his best Batman work, but still highly entertaining.

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7.5
Batman #704

Nov 17, 2010

Daniel continues to impress more and more with his artistic abilities. Whatever storytelling flaws the artist suffered from in his earlier Batman work have largely been ironed out by now. Thankfully, the slightly more exaggerated style Daniel exhibited in his recent collaboration with Morrison has been toned down again. This issue is a showcase for Daniel's character designs, some of which are more successful than others (again, Catgirl is particularly offensive). If Daniel's work has a flaw right now, it's that he tends to be a little overly aggressive in his inking. His figures don't always need as many lines as they exhibit, and in one particularly odd panel a character appears to have spontaneously donned a mask based on the amount of unnatural shading at work. But again, the art in this series is fundamentally sound with just a few quirks weighing it down. The same goes for the book as a whole. This new arc is off to a chaotic start, but an enjoyable one nonetheless.

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7.0
Batman #705

Dec 31, 1969

Daniel's art is mostly pleasing as well. His style is a bit more restrained and realistic than his recent collaborations with Morrison. I would like to see Daniel adjust his inking style a bit, with less feathery lines and more substantial blacks. Though not without its quirks, Daniel's Batman is proving it has the quality to stand up to the other high profile books in the Batman line these days.

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8.2
Batman '66 #27

Sep 24, 2015

This issue offers a new take on Bane, one that gives the fearsome villain a campy, luchador-inspired makeover. It works surprisingly well, especially with all the nods to previous Bane stories (the cameos by Bird, Trogg and Zombie are an especially neat touch).

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9.2
Batman '66 #30

Dec 17, 2015

One of DC's longest-running digital-first comics comes to a close with this issue. It's a fitting finale, especially for a franchise that's never been big on continuity or long-form storytelling.

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8.2
Batman '66 Meets Steed and Mrs. Peel #1

Jul 6, 2016

The world never got the Batman '66/Avengers TV crossover it so richly deserved, but at least DC can make up for that omission in comic book form. Even at this early stage, it's clear this new team-up series is combining the best of both franchises for a fun, retro-flavored crossover that any Bat-fan can enjoy.

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8.0
Batman '66 Meets The Man From U.N.C.L.E. #1

Dec 23, 2015

Sadly, Batman and Robin don''t actually cross paths with Agents Solo and Kuryakin in this first issue. Writer Jeff Parker focuses instead on separate but parallel adventures as each Dynamic Duo battles fiendish villains and narrowly escapes death. The mash-up works very well, and Parker achieves a happy medium between spy drama and campy superhero charm.

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8.3
Batman '66 Meets Wonder Woman '77 #1

Jan 25, 2017

Batman '66 and Wonder Woman '77 are two great tastes that go great together. While this first issue is a bit slow, it quickly proves that writers Jeff Parker and Marc Andreyko are intent on making the most of this team-up rather than simply going through the usual crossover motions. Already the series is making a strong case for the need for an ongoing Batman '66/Wonder Woman '77 comic.

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6.5
Batman '66: The Lost Episode #1

Nov 20, 2014

This story is well worth a read for Batman '66 fans as a glimpse of how Two-Face might have fared on the show had things worked out differently. Unfortunately, the $9.99 price tag is a tough pill to swallow. Less than half of the issue is even devoted to the story itself. DC padded out the issue by reprinting every one of Garcia-Lopez's pages in raw pencil form, and then reprinting Ellison's story treatment in its entirety. Both sections will be of interest to some readers, but I'm sure most would rather just pay a far more reasonable $4 or $5 for the main event alone.

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6.1
Batman (2011) Annual #2

Jul 31, 2013

Wes Craig proves to be a decent fit for this issue in terms of providing a clean, stark style that somewhat recalls Greg Capullo's distinctive work. Unfortunately, with so many inkers at play in these pages, certain sequences are far more detailed and refined than others.

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8.2
Batman (2011) Annual #3

Dec 24, 2014

Artist Roge Antonio brings the right touch to this issue - slightly understated but still very shadowy and unsettling. He depicts Gotham as it is for the average man on the ground, while still casting Joker as a larger-than-life figure who seems to be operating on a different plane than everyone else.

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7.0
Batman (2011) Annual #4

Sep 30, 2015

Batman Annual #4 has some compelling elements as it ties into the larger Superheavy conflict. It taps into the potential of Bruce Wayne's amnesic state in a way the main Batman comic couldn't. Unfortunately, this issue loses steam once the focus shifts to a battle between Bruce and his old rogues gallery.

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7.6
Batman (2011) #23.3

Sep 18, 2013

The artwork in this issue is nothing remarkable, with fairly bland page layouts and characters (apart from Penguin himself) that tend to look very similar and interchangeable. The storytelling is competent enough, but this bird might have soared a little higher if the visuals were able to exploit the full depravity of Penguin's world.

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8.0
Batman (2011) #34