Matthew Theriault's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: AiPT! Reviews: 38
6.9Avg. Review Rating

7.0
Action Comics (2016) #959

Jul 12, 2016

Action Comics is not good by almost any criteria, and yet I anticipate it more than most any other Rebirth title each month. Sadly, such speaks to the current state of comics more than any quality on the part of Action. We're in the new '90s. Let's just hope no one gets nostalgic for Superman Red and Blue next.

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5.0
Action Comics (2016) #960

Jul 27, 2016

Action Comics since Rebirth, on the other hand, says "Remember the early '90s and the Death of Superman storyline. That sure was cool, wasn't it?" It's a vacuous story with nothing of importance to say and a dull, longwinded way of saying it.

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6.0
Action Comics (2016) #961

Aug 10, 2016

I love how Tyler Kirkham and Stephen Segovia's art recaptures so much of the DC house-style " which had received undue derision in recent years " while nevertheless maintaining wholly unique flavors of their own, and yet, aesthetics aside, Segovia's art certainly contributes to the derivative and often uninspired storytelling which has plagued Action Comics throughout Path of Doom.

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6.5
Action Comics (2016) #963

Sep 14, 2016

Compared to its middling mediocrity since the start of Rebirth, Action Comics #963is a bit better, but barely. Still, if this is as good as Superman stories will remain for the rest of the postmodern age of comics, readers would have been better off had the Man of Steel's never-ending battle actually ended after American Alien were wrapped up.

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8.0
Action Comics (2016) #964

Sep 28, 2016

DC is currently fetishizing the early '90s, the very era in which Superman spilled his secret to Lois, but an essential component of the Superman mythos has arguably been missing since precisely that moment. As much as I'm enjoying Jurgens playing with the mythology in a truly novel manner by having Clark and Superman actually be the distinct individuals for a while, I can't help but long for a return to form. After all, another of Superman's dual identities seem to me to have been split recently as well; but to that status quo there's even less hope of return.

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8.0
Action Comics (2016) #965

Oct 12, 2016

Between Jurgan finally hitting his stride and Segovia proving his chops as well, Action Comics is beginning to make me a believer in Rebirth. Like the rest of DC's offering since the start of the initiative, its neither revolutionary or outstanding, but it's solid storytelling month-in and month out. Add to the novel ways in which Jurgens is playing with the secret identity trope and the Superman mythos as a whole, and now's not a great time to be a Superman fan, but it's at least a genuinely good one.

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4.0
Action Comics (2016) #966

Oct 26, 2016

In comics jargon, "gutter space" is the blank area between the panels. Save perhaps for the (admittedly awesome) reveal on the last two pages, the entirety of issue #966 could have been relegated to the gutter. Nothing happens that couldn't have been filled in (better) by the reader's imagination in skipping directly over to the next arc in the series. The living Lois from a different dimension secretly took on the identity of the other Lois no one knew was recently deceased " it hardly takes an intrepid investigative reported to figure out that was where the story was heading.

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8.0
Action Comics (2016) #967

Nov 10, 2016

Villains are always at their most interesting when they straddle the line of anti-hero, when their intentions appear as noble as the heroes they fight against. Magneto has often straddled that line, as did Sinestro during Johns' tenure and Black Adam when written by the same. The Marvel Netflix shows have perfected this formula: Fisk's plans to gentrify Hell's Kitchen were no less noble than Murdock's defense of the disenfranchised, and Kilgrave, at least initially, demonstrated the same moral fortitude in restraining his ambitions and abilities as does Superman himself. Luther had seemed to be moving in a similar direction over the past several years" until now. It should prove fascinating to discover what drives the real super Man to utter villainy.

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7.0
Action Comics (2016) #968

Nov 23, 2016

I don't expect future issues of Action Comics to delve deeper into the ethical distinctions between deontology and consequentialism or the metaphysical implications of the Remnants' time-travel. This issue is hardly the first in the medium's history to dip the tip of a toe into the waters of morality and metaphysics, and hardly ever do mainstream comics wade in any further. This is unfortunate. Many other media have managed to tell utterly enthralling time-travel stories filled with morally complex characters while still working within the current concepts of spacetime; simply confer Lost, Oxenfree, Quantum Break, or The Last Question. And DC Comics have even managed such in the past, particularly Morrison's Final Crisis and Return of Bruce Wayne " even his run on Action Comics! Jurgens is spinning an enjoyable enough yarn, but Superman comics could stand for more sophisticated storytelling.

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4.5
Action Comics (2016) #969

Dec 14, 2016

That holds true of the character even in illogical issues, awful arcs, or altogether terrible runs, and it's the reason way, despite so many otherwise mediocre stories like "Men of Steel," I've always been and always will be a faithful fan of the character.

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4.0
Action Comics (2016) #970

Dec 28, 2016

While I've not particularly been enamored by Jurgen's run thus far or his portrayal of Superman in it, I do not believe that he miscomprehends the character so much that the last panel is indeed intended to portray Superman's genuine reaction. Likely, it's a ploy on the part of the Man of Steel to rescue Luthor per his original purpose for travelling to that planet. But if I'm wrong about such, and Jurgen's Superman, merely through poor storytelling and worse characterization, is actually actively working against the cause of Justice, then Action Comics will have gone from being merely disposable to outright disdainful.

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6.0
Action Comics (2016) #971

Jan 11, 2017

Jurgens has dug himself a deep hole with Action Comics, shoveling out contrivances and mischaracterizations, born, it would seem, out of his infatuation with cliffhangers in particular and mysteries in general. This issue's cliffhanger seems to focuses on the series' central enigma: the mystery man named Clark Kent, and his first encounter with the son of Superman. For all the problems with the current issue enumerated above, the fact that that particular subplot involving Kent has been far less guilty of leaps in logic and misconstruing classic characters " mostly because the entire premise is of a deliberately alternate take on a seemingly familiar character, which certainly seems to play to Jurgens' strengths (and weaknesses) as a writer " brings with it the promise that next issue might actually sail with some success through the Strait of Messina.

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7.5
Action Comics (2016) #972

Jan 25, 2017

The Men of Steel story arc is truly about Luthor and Superman following the same character arc, both having every reason in the world to mistrust one another, but each living up to the name "Superman" by taking great pains to place faith and hope in the basic goodness and decency of even their enemies, a hope with itself which waters and grows that goodness. They transform one another from mere Men of Steel to Men of Hope. It is that hope, in turn, which prompts Superman to exhort Zade and L'Call to look into his own future, not knowing what they'll see, but trusting not merely in a universal capacity for good, but in his own ability to actualize such. And that is the mark of a good Superman story, not that you come away believing that a man could fly, but that you walk away believing that all men can do right.

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7.0
Action Comics (2016) #973

Feb 8, 2017

The prospect of Lois and Clark having the second first date " a mere 973 issues after their seminal first first date " imbibes Jurgens' Action run with some much-needed excitement. His recent “Men of Steel” arc was instantly forgettable, but the continuing saga of the seemingly human second Clark Kent is a contribution to the Superman mythos that is genuinely inspired and sure to leave a lasting legacy.

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5.0
Generation Zero #1

Aug 22, 2016

First issues are notoriously poor indicators regarding the quality or direction in which a series will eventually develop. It may be that future installments will indeed feature much more of Generation Zero themselves and the likes of the cornermen and other uncanny encounters. But just as easily the elements which worked in this debut could prove the aberrations, with the teen angst embodied by the character of Keisha being doubled-down on with each new installment. Given my love of Imperium and my interest in revisiting Harbinger " especially in anticipation of Renegades " I came to Generation Zero with high hopes. After this disastrous debut, I won't be burdening the next issue with any such lofty expectations. And if that second issue is much the same as this first, I won't be coming to the third issue at all.

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4.0
Justice League (2016) #1

Jul 20, 2016

If DC has any ambitions of Justice League being a blockbuster book in the Rebirth era as it was in the New 52 when it was a monthly event in itself, they're certainly not communicating such with either the creative team selected to spearhead such a storied series nor with the final product they permitted to come to market. Rebirth was supposed to be about course correcting after the mistakes of the New 52, but as a successor to one of that era's successes, Justice League breaks one of the few books not broken. And while so many other Rebirth titles are counting on comic fans' '90s nostalgia, Justice League learns none of the lessons from Morrison's seminal run from that decade. Justice League #1 is unforgivably bland, and many readers will rightfully jump off after this awful first issue.

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6.0
Justice League (2016) #2

Aug 3, 2016

Though I doubt an interview with myself would be forthcoming (though I have the highest respect for Hitch as an artist, I haven't exactly held back in voicing criticism against his writing in JLA and Justice League, I'd definitely love to one day hear from Hitch himself which earlier works he was emulating when writing this current arc. Is it indeed Bruce Timm or Grant Morrison, or actually just Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, or some source we can't yet guess? But as fascinating as finding the truth might prove, perhaps the better question is this: when will Hitch go back to working on art instead? The obvious answer being: not soon enough.

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6.0
Justice League (2016) #3

Aug 17, 2016

Indeed, some of the mysteries I'm finding to be genuinely fascinating. Such are not a sufficient crutch, and Justice League is still merely hobbling along"but credit where credit is due.

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6.5
Justice League (2016) #4

Sep 7, 2016

I fear Hitch's ambition in addressing such significant aspects of the mythology of the DC universe exceeds his skill as a storyteller. Much of the series thus far has been scenes of insensible action followed by brief excepts of inexplicable exposition, breadcrumbs of revelations doled out at regular intervals to pad out the plot and preserve its mysteries longer than they actually merit. Hitch raises interesting ideas, but their presentation is poorly paced and mired in melodrama. "The Extinction Machine" may well prove immensely consequential to the mythologies of various League members and the DC Universe as a whole, but if few readers remain due to its dearth of quality, the ideas it establishes will not matter much in the minds of fans nor future writers alike.

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5.5
Justice League (2016) #6

Oct 5, 2016

I had hope that with The Extinction Machine arc finally finished Justice League might begin to improve. The pencils of Matthew Clark and Tom Derenick might be of minor improvement over Tony Daniel's (maybe), but Hitch has yet to prove himself to be a bard worthy of writing the lays of our culture's greatest gods and heroes. Plus, now I'm going to be worried all night that if I try to hold my date's hand, she'll go crazy and attack the wait staff.

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6.0
Justice League of America: Rebirth #1

Feb 8, 2017

Given how lackluster Bryan Hitch's Justice League has proven " perhaps one of the only titles to have drastically declined in quality since Rebirth rejuvenated the rest of DC's lineup " high hopes were placed upon Justice League of America to return DC's former flagship property to its proper level of quality. The inclusion of Ivan Reis on the project certainly signaled that the publisher considered it meritorious of one of its top talents. But if Orlando does indeed have a seminal story to tell, it certainly doesn't start in this superfluous and best-skipped Rebirth special.

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9.0
Klaus #6

Jun 14, 2016

It goes without saying that the master of the medium Morrison has written in Klaus a great comic, both for the series as a whole and issue #6 in particular. It's well paced, action packed, and crammed with compelling characters. But where he truly deserves praise is just how well researched Klaus is, how smartly and subtly he synthesizes the real pagan roots behind Santa Claus with the superhero tropes the comics medium demands. Small touches like the meaning of several Anglo-Saxon runes are sure to be overlooked by the vast majority of readers, but such details demonstrate the depth of Morrison's world-building. And like Klaus himself, that which Morrison builds is made with magic and always gives the gift of joy.

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9.0
Klaus #7

Aug 17, 2016

The reader has always known that Klaus' character arc demanded for him to become a supernaturally long-lived yuletide gift-giver. And yet, much to my own surprise, that thankfully hasn't meant he had to surrender the adventuring spirit of a comic book superhero which defined this incarnation of the character. Moreover, Morrison marries these to aspects in this parting thought. Since Saturnalia, solstice festivals such as Yule and Christmas have always been about the conquest of light over darkness, and long before comic books stories of heroes across all cultures have been about the same. Morrison's genius is in making explicit a connection so obvious it's easily overlooked; so simple it becomes sublime. These are words which should permeate popular culture on the same level as Moore's "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night." After all, there've been many stories told about Santa before and after The Night Before Christmas " but none of them better than Klaus.

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10
Klaus & The Witch Of Winter (One Shot) #1

Dec 20, 2016

Midway through writing this review, I received a large parcel, inside of which I discover about a dozen or so presents from my parents, wrapped and ready to be opened on Christmas morning. I'm definitely looking forward to what seeing what Santa sent them to give to me. But excited as I am, I have to thank Grant Morrison and Dan Mora for giving me early what will certainly prove to be the best gifts I receive this holiday. Already an annual re-reading of Klaus was planned as a new tradition starting this year. I'd been looking forward to such since before the series finished. But to have even more of one of the year's best comics arrive as an unexpected surprise just in time for the holidays? That's a genuine Christmas miracle!

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9.0
Ninjak #17

Jul 12, 2016

After dropping out of grad school, I initially pursued a commission as a Naval officer specializing in Human Intelligence, with hopes of eventually becoming a field officer for The Company. Though my aptitude tests guaranteed me a place in the program, more economically enticing offers in the oil industry forced me to relegate a potential career in espionage to once again being just a boyhood dream. Looking back, it's hard not to imagine how my life very well might have turned out. When doing so, it's works such as the Bond films, Archer, and especially Ninjak, to which I turn, if not living out their lifestyle as I might have then at the very least living it vicariously through them, pulling off honey-pots and secretly saving the world, one femme fatale at a time.

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7.0
Ninjak #18

Aug 8, 2016

‘The Siege of King's Castle‘ was easily the best arc in one of Valiant's " or any publisher's " best books currently on shelves. ‘The Fist and the Steel' Part One does not maintain the high standard set by that story arc, but it's nevertheless a compelling first issue full of promise and potential for the next installments. Moreover, its use of the flash-forward is brave and refreshing. Comics too rarely commit to a definitive vision of their characters' futures, and this brief glimpse into Colin King's is full of intriguing information " quite appropriate for a series about espionage.

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7.0
Odyssey of the Amazons #1

Jan 25, 2017

When Odyssey of the Amazons most consciously emulates classical sources, whether Homer himself or even classic comics, it's often to rousing success. Where it regresses to a more modern mindset " in the low prose of its middle section or its novel portrayal of the Moirai " the work often suffers, save solely for its global-scope and cosmopolitan cast. Ultimately, the concept of a mythological expedition in the style and structure of ancient epics and set in the DC universe is an absolutely inspired idea worthy of better writing and art than is found here. At their best, both Benjamin and Grevioux rise to the occasion of this premise, but fail to maintain that greatness consistently throughout.

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9.5
Seven to Eternity #1

Sep 16, 2016

Such is the particular power of comic books " whether superhero stories, or science-fiction, or fantasy, or the strange fusion of all three here in Seven to Eternity " that they offer not so much an escape from the troubles of our real world, but the tools to armor ourselves in idealism and to forge from fiction heroism here in reality. In this respect, Remender's works " no less than Morison or Moore's " are among the best; and even among his catalog Seven to Eternity promises to stand out as something special.

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7.0
Star Wars: Han Solo #1

Jun 15, 2016

Just as it would have been inappropriate for Solo to say in the original Star Wars, "It's true, the Force, the Jedi, all of it; it's all true," while still proper to the character at another point, so too is Han's abandonment of the rebellion and Leia during the period in which his Solo series takes place equally inappropriate. It's full of fun and charm and wit, fleshes out the universe more fully, and is gorgeously illustrated, and yet always feels out of place, untrue to the characters. It's a story I enjoyed in itself, but I question if it's a story that should have been told.

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8.0
Supergirl: Being Super #1

Dec 28, 2016

Unfortunately, it's not me. I can recognize the skill with which Tamaki is drawing Kara as a more relatable character; more down to earth both idiomatically and literally. Likewise, I can recognize Jones' pencils here to be every bit the equal of those I'd previously praised in American Alien. Being as objective as possible, Supergirl: Being Super is an absolutely superlative comic. But subjectively, it's not an issue I derived a great deal of enjoyment or insight from. I hope one day DC does put out another Supergirl title in the vein of Loeb and Churchill's. But Being Super definitely is not that comic, and it's definitely not for me.

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6.0
Superman (2016) #10

Nov 1, 2016

While I wouldn't say Tomasi is entirely accurate in the characterization of either the World's Finest or their Super Sons, at the very least the broad stroke of not establishing Damian and Jonathan as immediate allies is in keeping with tradition. Ever since Byrne rebooted Superman thirty years ago, the first meeting of a Kryptonian and a Caped Crusader has always been fraught with friction. Likewise, Damian Wayne only begrudgingly became Grayson's partner, but once the latter had earned Damian's respect, their relationship was far more amiable and less antagonistic. I expect a similar trajectory for this latest dynamic duo, and seeing what feats will suffice for Superboy to prove himself in Robin's eyes will hopefully prove an enjoyable read.

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9.0
Trinity (2016) #1

Sep 21, 2016

Trinity is a triumph. It makes the same "mistakes" as other Rebirth books " an overreliance on convoluted continuity, handing over writing duties to creators who work better as artists, etc " and succeeds, surprisingly, by doing exactly the same. Rarely if ever have continuity call-backs been used so effectively to build out characters, not merely by reaffirming the development that took place in the past, but rather by making salient comparisons to the present plot. Whereas the Superman titles seem to have a '90s fixation since Rebirth began, Manapul pulls references from every era " the Silver Age, the Dark Age, and even the current Postmodern Age " to deliver a distinctive take of the Trinity that's truly his own.

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8.5
Trinity (2016) #2

Oct 19, 2016

Whether intentional or not, Trinity #2 is an excellent example reverence done right. Instead of merely referencing comics which were popular in the past for the sake of nostalgia and nothing more, as other Rebirth titles have done with the Dark Age's Death of Superman storyline, Manapul makes use of the same motifs as a truly timeless tale, Alan Moore's "For the Man Who Has Everything" and juxtaposes such with his own unique take on the character, thereby producing a genuinely novel and worthwhile work of his own.

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7.0
Trinity (2016) #3

Nov 15, 2016

All in all, Trinity #3: good, not great.

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7.0
Trinity (2016) #4

Dec 21, 2016

It will be interesting to do the same for Manapul's take on the Trinity once the series has made more significant progress. I'd love to find that he'd emphasized certain aspects of these familiar origin stories in ways that later pay off in his characterization of Clark, Bruce, and Diana. Already its evident how his view of Superman differs from that of Alan Moore's, and all of themuch attention and intention he's poured into Trinity thus far, it'd be a challenge and a joy to squeeze out of the series all the meaning he's put into each and every panel.

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7.0
Trinity (2016) #5

Jan 18, 2017

Trinity is bold in attempting to continue a beloved work by Moore (cf. Before Watchmen and the reaction thereto to see the fire towards which Manapul has willingly run), and is an earnest sequel to "For the Man Who has Everything," benefiting greatly from its connection to that classic but hindered (or at least not helped) by its connection to the current continuity.

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8.0
Ultimates (2015) #8

Jun 22, 2016

Even integrating so heavily into Civil War II, an event of dubious quality thus far, this tie-in issue feels like a perfectly natural extension of the direction this series has taken since the beginning. Half the team may be supervillains whom I actively root against, yet that's proven an inspired premise in the past on titles such as Ellis' Thunderbolts and Bendis' Dark Avengers. Perhaps Ewing will embrace that dynamic; perhaps not. Either way, The Ultimates remains one of Marvel's best ongoing series, and so long that Ewing and Rocafort are on the title, that's unlikely to change.

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7.0
X-O Manowar #47

Jun 29, 2016

The bulk of this issue is an action-packed battle, and I'm probably alone in finding the dump of exposition at the beginning the most fascinating aspect. Such does a wonderful job of adding to the mythology of the Valiant Universe, but it's not itself sufficient to bring new readers up to speed. That said, it is enough to whet one's appetite, to garner greater interest in how the story got to this point and where it's going from here. If the Vine scriptures are to be believed, it going in an absolutely apocalyptic direction.

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