Marisa Carpico's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: The Pop Break Reviews: 52
7.5Avg. Review Rating

6.0
Action Comics (2016) #957

Jun 8, 2016

Lex is Superman's oldest and greatest enemy, the prospect of how he carries on and even bastardizes what Clark stood for is really exciting. Unfortunately, the issue has little time for that because Emo Clark has to swoop in and start a dick measuring contest.

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3.5
Action Comics (2016) #958

Jun 24, 2016

Before Jon flies off to Metropolis to become a plot device or whatever, he asks Lois if his father will be OK as they watch Doomsday beat him up on TV. Though we don't get to hear her answer, I already know it. No, Jon, it's not going to be OK. This is the confusing nightmare world we're stuck with: a bunch of explosions punctuated by nonsense dialogue. Good luck trying to care about it.

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9.0
All-New Hawkeye #5

Sep 17, 2015

After Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky's beloved run on Hawkeye, the new team, writer Jeff Lemire and artist Ramn Prez, had a lot to live up to"and they have. The story they're telling maybe isn't quite as fun as their predecessors', but it's equally engaging.

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9.0
All-Star Batman #9

Apr 19, 2017

It is-to put it mildly-rare to see Batman portrayed as a symbol of hope, but what has always made Snyder's work with the character so remarkable is the way he can take this well-known character and story and tease new facets out of them. Sure, his work on All-Star Batman hasn't always shown that, but this issue is nothing if not proof of concept. Hell, it may even be better than his work on New 52 Batman.

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6.5
Angel Catbird #1

Sep 7, 2016

Listen, Angel Catbird is a little bizarreand that's fine. But that means it won't be everyone's cup of tea. If you can accept the intentionally outdated, occasionally preachy tone and focus on the impeccable art and coloring, there's a lot of fun to be had in this first volume. However, if you're looking for sharp social commentary or a serious tone, you're better off sticking to Atwood's novels.

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8.5
Aquaman (2016) #1

Jun 23, 2016

When the whole two issues per month thing was first announced, it seemed like a bad idea. Surely the writers and probably even the readers would be exhausted by the accelerated storytelling. It's still too early to tell if that will happen, but when it comes to Aquaman, two weeks between issues already feels too long to wait to find out where Abnett will take us next.

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7.0
Aquaman: Rebirth #1

Jun 8, 2016

Abnett does a lot of smart, nuanced work in Aquaman Rebrith #1 that shouldn't be faulted for how uninventive the ending. Speaking of nuance, by the way, it's important to point out that Aquaman doesn't actually talk to fish. As Abnett notes early on, fish are too stupid to carry on a conversation. So, what Arthur actually does is control fish through a telepathic connection to them. The distinction is, perhaps, a small one, but if the issue strives to convey anything, it's that Aquaman is a good guy even if he's misunderstood. He deserves a little more respect.

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8.0
Arrow: The Dark Archer #1

Jan 22, 2016

Arrow‘s digital tie-in series have always been a bit of a mixed bagmuch like the show. The best to hope for is decent art and a fairly engaging story. So far, Arrow: The Dark Archer fits that bill. Its cleverly written and the art isnt half bad. And at the very least Ill get to see Malcolm Merlyn tortured. Thats worth a lot more than 99 to me.

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8.5
Batgirl (2016) #1

Jul 28, 2016

As for the art, it's hard to find fault with Rafael Albuquerque. While his rougher lines are a distinct break from Tarr's well-defined edges, his figures are equally expressive. One could point out that Barbara's friend Kai looks an awful lot like a black-haired version of the titular hero of Albuquerque's ongoing collaboration with Mark Millar, Huck, but there are far worse comics to emulate. In fact, Huck and Barbara actually have a lot in common. Neither is really driven by past trauma. They're in it because they want to help people. Barbara wasn't defined by what the Joker did to her, it was an obstacle she overcame because of who she inherently is. Now, she gets to do that again, but not because some psycho shot her, but because she wants to.

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5.0
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #1

Aug 17, 2016

Regardless, even though it doesn't quite make sense for the Birds to team up yet, the Bensons do handle their interactions well. Perhaps the issue's best moment comes with a splash page that features all three characters. While Barbara and Helena argue in the foreground, Dinah stands in the back, rolling her eyes at them. Oddly enough, it's strikingly similar to a page that appeared in the first issue of the revamped Betty & Veronica from a few weeks back. That page perfectly summarized who the characters were and the relationship between them. This does something similar, but without the clever meta self-awareness. Instead, Barbara (the Betty) and Helena (the Veronica, which makes Dick Grayson the Archie of the group) basically just state their differences for the audience, as if they weren't already clear from their actions. It's a great idea but the execution isn't quite there. The same could be said for the whole issue.

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6.0
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1

Jul 20, 2016

That said, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1 isn't all bad. If you accept the world and character dynamics it sets up, there's actually a lot to like. The core concept of Barbara trying to protect her legacy as Oracle and the way Helena fits into that actually has a lot of potential. You just have to accept that it doesn't make much sense if you've been following these characters for awhile. Still, the issue is a really strong jumping on point for new readers and at the end of the day, isn't that reboots are all about?

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9.0
Batman (2011) Annual #4

Oct 1, 2015

In a very obvious way, the Riddler, Mr. Freeze and Clayface want to make Bruce remember because it gives them purpose. If their greatest adversary can't remember them, then they're just psychos and their actions have no meaning. However, on a smaller scale, Bruce's friends are guilty of a similar selfishness. The only reason he's even at Wayne Manor is that Julie, Alfred and Geri Powers (who took control of Bruce's assets post-bankruptcy) want him to be the man they knew. Geri wants him back as a powerful CEO and friend, Julie wants the boy she knew as a child and Alfred wants the man for whom he was a pseudo-parent. Bruce is vehemently against reclaiming any part of his past and yet they push him toward it anyway. So, what the issue is ultimately doing is forcing readers to ask ourselves, why do we need to see Bruce Wayne go back to an awful existence when he could be happy instead? Is it because it's the right move for the story or because it would make us feel better?

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10
Batman (2011) #50

Mar 24, 2016

It's unclear what he's going to do now after his latest figurative/kind of literal suicide and, unfortunately, Snyder won't be writing his next chapter. When the new arc starts in May's 52nd issue, James Tynion IV will take over as Snyder moves onto one of the other Batman titles. While Tynion has co-written sections of Snyder's run (including Zero Year and Endgame), it can't help but feel like this may be the end of one of the book's greatest eras. But maybe not. After all, if there's anything Batman is as good at as death, it's rebirth.

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5.5
Batman (2011) #52

May 11, 2016

The previous issue found Brucebody and mind fully restoredpatrolling an uncharacteristically quiet Gotham. It was a beautiful summation of who the character was and what Snyder had achieved in his time writing him. It should have been the end to the run. And while it's understandable that DC wanted to let Tynion IV have a last crack at a character he helped make so legendary, this issue leaves little doubt that it was Snyder who made this book great. Perhaps that does make the issue a fitting end to the run in some way. Snyder will be a tough act to follow. This issue proves it.

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9.5
Batman (2016) #1

Jun 15, 2016

What does he do if Gotham no longer needs Batman? Does he stop? Can he stop? And most important of all, should he stop? Let's not forget, Batman did all the hard work. He navigated the plane away from the populated areas and kept it from hitting any buildings on his way. The new heroes, who call themselves Gotham and Gotham Girl, just swooped in at the last second and saved Batman. Still, they'll get all the glory and you have to wonder what King is trying to say with heroes who seem to be so confident in their abilities that they declare to Batman that they are his city's new heroes. After all, confidence and goodness never last long in Gotham City and nobody knows that better than Bruce Wayne.

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7.5
Black Canary (2015) #7

Jan 27, 2016

However, just because it doesn't quite stick the landing doesn't mean this first arc of Black Canary wasn't great. It's actually one of the best debuts of the last few years. Even if Dinah's future doesn't include any more concerts, readers can rest easy knowing that Fletcher and Wu will surely make it worth reading.

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3.5
Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1

Aug 24, 2016

That said, perhaps the dialogue would work a little better if the narrative weren't borderline incoherent. There's frankly so much yammering and set up throughout that it's nearly impossible to tell what this book is trying to be. Is it a story about Jaime and high school drama? Is it about Ted learning how to be a good mentor? Is it about magic and origins? Or is it simply the typical superheroes vs. villains story? Based on this issue, it could be any one of those things and while Giffen will certainly narrow the book's focus as time goes, this one-shot doesn't really make you want to find out how. So, in some way, Ted's right. First impressions are lasting and Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1 doesn't make a good one.

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7.5
Codename Baboushka: The Conclave of Death #1

Oct 15, 2015

Watching her garrote a man with her wig and use an exploding earring sets the book up as a spy story that isn't afraid to laugh at itself too, especially the panels that end the scene by showing her final escape by motorized hang glider. They'd be a perfect ending to the issue, but for some reason, there's another page after that sets up a cliffhanger. With more build up, maybe the moment would be a good tease for the next issue. Instead, it feels tacked on and takes away from the impact of what came before. But it's an understandable mistake. Launching a successful comic book is hard. Johnston or Image or whoever can't really be criticized for defaulting to a pretty reliable way of making readers come back. After all, there are lots of Russian spies in comics.

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7.5
Detective Comics (2016) #934

Jun 8, 2016

Regardless of who the villain ultimately is, however, Detective Comics #934 is worth reading. It's got a good cast of characters and solid artwork. Just don't be surprised when the bad guy turns out to be Nite Owl or, like, future Bruce from Frank Miller's Dark Knight trilogy. Whichever one is more pandering.

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7.0
Detective Comics (2016) #935

Jun 24, 2016

In fact, the best thing about this book so far is the way it sort of redefines who Batman/Bruce Wayne is. In the first issue, he did the unexpected and reached out for help. In this one, he drops the stoic act and tells Tim Drake a.k.a. Red Robin that he's an important part of the Bat Family. It's about as fatherly as Bruce has ever been and it conveys a lot about their relationship. It says just as much that Tim doesn't tell Bruce then and there that he's gotten a scholarship that would take him away from Gotham long-term.

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6.0
Detective Comics (2016) #943

Oct 26, 2016

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8.0
Green Arrow (2016) #1

Jun 15, 2016

However, he'll have to figure out what the hell happened with Emiko first. When Oliver's half-sister first showed up, she was a bit of a humorless hardass. Over the last year, however, she's become an integral part of the story, reminding Oliver of his humanity and pushing him to think of someone other than himself. So it was unnerving and somewhat baffling to see her shoot Oliver through the chest out of nowhere. Her final line to her mother Shado suggests her time with Oliver has been one long con, but it's frankly a little difficult to buy the idea that she's just been hanging around and hating every minute on the off chance she ever needed to take Oliver out. There hasn't been quite enough antagonism or mistrust between them to sell thator maybe there has. Perhaps I need to look farther back than just the beginning of the issue for clues.

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8.5
Green Arrow: Rebirth #1

Jun 1, 2016

Despite that rocky beginning, Oliver and Dinah eventually realize they make a pretty good superhero team after they infiltrate an underground human trafficking auction and promise to bring down the whole ring. That wouldn't seem like the sexiest of circumstances to the average person, but with Percy's dialogue and Otto Schmidt's gorgeous art and colors, it seems like these characters are engaged in the most exquisite form of foreplay. Those final panels, where Dinah and Ollie stand so close, feel filled with both romantic and narrative potential. I can't wait to see how it plays out.

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5.0
Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #1

Jul 28, 2016

Still, the whole point of reboots is to attract new readers and returning the book to this familiar setup will inevitably make it easier for people with a cursory knowledge of Green Lantern Lore to jump in now. However, for everyone else, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #1 just feels like a disappointing missed opportunity to do something surprising.

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6.5
Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1

Jul 15, 2016

He does find a solution to that problem by issue's end and while it probably seems like a disappointing cop-out to those who followed the character pre-Rebirth, it does do exactly what this whole reboot of the DCU meant to do: put the character in a familiar, easily understandable place so that new readers can jump on. It may not be as exciting a start as some of the other Rebirth titles, but there's potential.

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5.0
Harley Quinn (2016) #1

Aug 3, 2016

Though we spend almost half the issue on flashbacks and unrequited Sapphic romances, the bulk of it focuses on a pretty bizarre zombie plot that has no apparent connection to either Harleys past or her desire for connection. Granted, the cause of Coney Island's sudden zombie infestation is wonderfully absurd (it involves a very hapless alien), it still feels like a sharpand sillyturn from the rest of the issue. While Conner and Palmiotti should be commended for trying to make a book thats an antidote to the rest of the rest of the DCUs gloomy self-seriousness, its disappointing they dont seem to have any higher aspiration for the character. After all, as Harley herself points out, she doesnt like playing the ditz. She only did it because thats the way the Joker liked her best. Its a shame her own series doesnt seem to respect that.

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8.5
Hellblazer: Rebirth #1

Jul 20, 2016

Though we don't get an answer, it's the fact that we don't know that makes Constantine so appealing. His moral ambiguity and self-interest make him unpredictable and there's something thrilling in not knowing if and when he'll choose to do the right thing. Writer Simon Oliver doesn't use the issue to launch some ongoing conflict, he uses it to show us how fun it is to spend time with this character. You'd have to be crazyor boringnot to want to read more.

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9.0
Huck #1

Nov 18, 2015

However, so far, it looks like Huck isn't a symbol in the way traditional superheroes often are. He doesn't seem to care either way about getting credit. He's content in his small town life doing his daily good deeds. For him, what he does and why he does it seems simple. But the rest of the world is not so easy. Power attracts attention. Huck may not be a superhero now, but who knows? No good deed goes unpunished, as the saying goes.

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7.0
Justice League (2016) #1

Jul 20, 2016

While we don't really learn much about that threat in the issue other than to hear that it possesses ordinary people and calls itself "The Kindred," it doesn't really matter. This series clearly isn't about creating a compelling plot. It's about watching a bunch of superheroes smash stuff. If you want to be intellectually stimulated, you should have bough Marvel's Civil War II instead.

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3.5
Justice League: Rebirth #1

Jul 6, 2016

Team-up books can be tough. The writer has to spend so much time servicing the individual characters that the narrative can get lost. James Tynion IV is currently making it look easy with another Rebirth book, Detective Comics, but here, writer Bryan Hitch's storytelling is disjointed at best. He jumps from Clark Kent's reluctance to join the Justice League to their battle with a tentacle beast and then throws in a flashback and a cut to the Green Lanterns as well. It's confusing and disorienting, but it's that last thing that takes it all a bit too far.

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9.5
New Superman #1

Jul 15, 2016

New Super-man may be a bit of a knock off of the original Man of Steel, but it's also way better than anything that's going on with the real Superman right now. Hell, it might even be the best Rebirth book so far.

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8.0
Nightwing (2016) #1

Jul 28, 2016

Unsatisfied with his methods, the Parliament forces Dick to take a partner, a mysterious mercenary named Raptor who will do anything for the right price. Their first meeting is such a stark contrast from the lighter, wittier tone of the rest of the issue (particularly considering it comes after a scene where Dick flirts with his old paramour, Batgirl) that its actually a little jarring. As Raptor beats the snot out of Dick and insults the two most important people of his past life (Batgirl and Batman), it becomes clear that Seeleys goal is to teach Dick what it really means to be on his own. You cant make a deal with the devil without getting burned.

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7.5
No Mercy #5

Dec 11, 2015

See, the thing about making the characters misery so unrelenting is that it can make the comic a bit difficult to read every month. As de Campi herself admitted, comics are usually about escapism and No Mercy offers anything but. Some readers will probably be turned off by that fact, but theres something to be said for making a piece of fiction feel inescapably, painfully real. The book may be challenging, but its rewarding and Ill take that over fights with supervillains any day.

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9.0
Paper Girls #1

Oct 15, 2015

Vaughan is smart enough to set up relationships and mystery, but not tell us reveal too much about where the story is going. It's a great beginningexcept the last image. With one splash page, Vaughan brings the story crashing back to pedestrian old Earth. Maybe in the long run, this thing that's revealedthat means so much to the reader and absolutely nothing to the titular paper girlswill turn into something really interesting and unique. But right now, it feels like a cheap meta joke ended an otherwise strong sci-fi set up on a sour note.

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6.5
Poison Ivy: Cycle of Life and Death #1

Jan 20, 2016

That goes for Mann's art as well. Though it's competent and realistic, it's also indistinguishable from any other major character book from the big imprints. Regardless, there's enough in the first issue to justify buying at least a few more of the remaining five issues. But maybe that's just me. I'll stick around for even the barest hope of confirming the Harley/Ivy romance.

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9.0
Red Hood and the Outlaws (2016) #1

Aug 10, 2016

While I won't spoil who that character is here, you can probably figure it out from looking at the cover of this and the previous issue. And even though we know certain characters are bound to appear at some point, that doesn't make the moment any less exciting. In fact, it leaves you desperate for more. If only every post-Rebirth Batman book were this good.

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8.5
Red Hood and the Outlaws: Rebirth #1

Jul 27, 2016

The issue ends with Bruce warning Jason that if he goes too far in his mission to infiltrate Gotham's underground crime world, he'll come after him. And while both Jason and Bruce probably hope it won't come to that, it's pretty clear neither of them is totally sure. It's a really unique dynamic within the DCU and one that's rife for drama. It's going to be so much fun to watch it all fall apart.

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8.0
Spell On Wheels #1

Oct 19, 2016

Despite its strengths, however, Spell on Wheels isn't perfect. Leth may have learned from her mistakes on "School Spirit," but the issue ends a little abruptly, tacking on a scene that might have worked better as the beginning of the next issue. It's one piece of information too many in an issue that already toes the line on giving the reader too much in one sitting. Still, that's a minor quibble for a book that's mostly very fun and very well-written. It's worth picking up regardless of your feelings on fall or Halloween.

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8.5
Suicide Squad (2016) #1

Aug 17, 2016

Still, for those who find the main arc leans a little too silly, there's also a really strong back-up story about Floyd Lawton's past. There's very little fun to be had there as we learn how Deadshot ended up in Belle Reve in the first place. What makes the Suicide Squad interesting as a concept is that while the individual members are villains, they are capable of goodness. Williams proves that here through Lawton's attempt to save his daughter from a gang that hired him to kill Bruce Wayne, perfectly summarizing everything we need to know about the character's motivation. Hopefully, all the characters get the backstory treatment in the following issues. That alone would be reason enough to keep reading.

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7.0
Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1

Aug 3, 2016

What's always made the Suicide Squad an interesting concept is the moral questions it raises. And while Williams doesnt have much time to play with those questions in this first issue, he does set up some promising stuff for the series going forward. Flagan essentially good manmay join the team here just to get out of prison, but its only a matter of time before he starts to push back against Wallers demands. Maybe that moment will be good enough to make us forget Suicide Squad ever happened.

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8.5
Supergirl: Rebirth #1

Aug 17, 2016

As Kara zips around the damaged D.E.O. facility, they struggle to do even the simplest bit of clean up. And while Kara initially makes fun of them, she eventually stops to help. As Eliza explains it, if Kara's going to understand the human race, then she needs to understand how much more difficult things are for them. It's a simple moment, but it gives all the explosions and fights meaning. Maybe Clark should take notice.

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4.5
Superman (2016) #1

Jun 15, 2016

They don't seem to know what kind of book they want to write. Is this a super violent Superman comic for adolescents? Or is this the story of how Emo Clark Kent from another universe relearns how to be a heroic beacon of hope? In reality, it's probably a mix of both, but neither really sounds like something worth reading a couple times a month. For goodness' sake, this is a version of Lois Lane who writes under a pseudonym to stay out of the public eye. Have you ever heard of something that sounded less like Lois Lane?! Listen, it makes sense, these versions of the character are meant as a metaphor the extreme fear of Otherness permeating American culture right now. This Clark and Lois have seen the dangers of being open about your different-ness and they're acting accordingly. But it was easier to root for them when they were heroes instead of cowards

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9.0
Superman: American Alien #3

Jan 21, 2016

Admittedly, all the fun can make this third issue feel slighter than the others. Yet while there's not much derring do within these pages, it's important to remember that Clark Kent wasn't always trying to save the world. He had to decide to become more than just a farm boy from Smallville and this series makes that journey more interesting and human than it's maybe ever been.

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8.5
Superman: American Alien #4

Feb 18, 2016

Bruce has been flitting about the edges of the comic for awhile and he finally appears here, cape and all. At one point, a young Dick Grayson says to Clark, “Batman needs a counterpoint.” And while Clark may not understand the full truth of that statement at this stage, the issue makes it clear just how true that is. All the heroes Clark meats in this issue (Oliver, Dick and Bruce) chose to become more than what they were because of trauma. Clark is the only one who chooses to help people because hes good and he can. He embodies hope. Realizing how important that is is what makes Superman a hero.

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7.0
Superman: American Alien #6

Apr 20, 2016

What makes Superman admirable is his selflessness. He uses his power to help when he could easily become a tyrant instead. He gives people hope in the face of unimaginable evil. Who cares if that makes some of his buddies feel uncomfortable? The question of whether Superman may also have a negative influence is valid and interesting, but by approaching that question from such a personal angle, that greater point is lost. It's a rare misstep for Landis and one that hopefully won't happen in the final two issues.

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7.5
Superwoman #1

Aug 10, 2016

That said, it's not perfect. Jimenez has to perform a lot of narrative acrobatics to keep the twists a surprise and the way it jumps back and forth through time can be a little disorienting. There's also a crushing amount of dialogue and exposition that can make reading it feel like a bit of a chore. Still, you have to admire Jimenez's ambition and DC for letting him play. The Rebirth books thus far have been pretty standard, with those related to Superman being the weakest. Action Comics has spent nearly half a dozen issues on the same fight sequence with little to no character development or actual plot to show for it. Say what you will about Superwoman #1 (and people will have a lot to say), but nobody can accuse it of being boring.

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8.5
The Sixth Gun #48

Apr 20, 2016

Despite any digressions (and there were almost too many), Becky and Jake have always driven this narrative. Bunn has occasionally separated them in the past and while that stretched the central narrative and allowed for more exploration of the book's world, the story was always a little less interesting. Now, with only 3 issues left, Bunn has no choice to keep them together until the very end. It really is the perfect time to jump in, all the good stuff, no waiting around for it.

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10
The Wicked + The Divine #23

Nov 2, 2016

What makes The Wicked and the Divine one of the best and most exciting comics on the market is that it constantly pushes the idea of what the medium can do. However, that's not everyone's cup of tea. This issue looks nothing like a traditional comic and Gillen's typically coy storytelling can be frustrating. Me? I'm buying two copies. One I'll strip for parts like a stolen car so I can hang Wada's gorgeous art around my apartment. The other will be kept in pristine condition until I can get the creative team to sign it at the next NYCC and then will likely be buried with me when I die decades hence. All joking aside, The Wicked and the Divine #23 is one of the most remarkable issues of a comic you can read this or any week. So buy it. Bask in its glory. Cower in the face of its brilliance.

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8.5
The Wicked + The Divine: 1831 (One Shot) #1

Sep 21, 2016

As for the art, Stephanie Hans (with whom Gillen previously worked on 1602: Witch Hunter Angela) steps in for regular penciller, Jamie McKelvie, and colorist, Matt Wilson. Her painterly, softer style perfectly suits the issue's gothic tone. Though The Wicked and the Divine always has a touch of the fantastic, this issue feels particularly odd and other-worldly because of her art, hinting at a type of horror and strangeness the rest of the series never quite has. And while Gillen himself has said that reading this issue isn't necessary to understanding the present-day story, the world he's created is so complex (some might say convoluted) that you can only benefit from seeing more of it.

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4.0
Titans (2016) #1

Jul 28, 2016

While there's some comfort in the fact that the villain isn't yet another Watchmen character, that he turns out to be some two-bit magician called Abra Kadabra isn't much better. And yes, I know that's a big ol' spoiler, but maybe if you know that the issue ends so poorly, it'll be easier to appreciate what works about it. Because while this issue may not be the best showcase, Titans has potential and it's worth sticking around for a few more issues to see if it lives up to it.

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9.0
Titans: Rebirth #1

Jun 15, 2016

By issue's end, the Titans promise to make sure that whoever and whatever tore them apart and changed history won't be able to do it again. And while that promise may be comforting to readers in the moment, it's ultimately hollow. Reboots are an inevitable part of comics. Something big has to happen every few years to shift the status quo. Maybe next time DC will realize it shouldn't apologize for being creative.

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10
Wonder Woman (2016) #10

Nov 11, 2016

Wonder Woman's power should be obvious. And it is, but having her as a figure in pop culture has also made it easy to forget just how remarkable it is. This week especially, it's important to be reminded.

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