Andrea Shockling's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Geek Smash, Read Comic Books Reviews: 44
8.8Avg. Review Rating

9.2
Amelia Cole #6

Feb 20, 2013

This is an intense issue, but I am comfortable continuing to share this great series with my second grader. Knave and Kirkbride write approachable action and engaging dialogue, and although there's a lot to take in, the pace is consistent and clear. There are consequences for Amelia's actions " not all of which are positive " but she holds her own protecting her friends and neighbors like we'd expect her to. At the end she's offered a choice that I didn't see coming, but she makes the decision I knew immediately she would. I like Brokenshire's art more and more with each issue, especially the expressions on Amelia and her adversary's faces as they fight. And the panels are packed with detail, something else that younger readers definitely respond well to.

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9.3
Amelia Cole #7

May 8, 2013

It's unfortunate that "all-ages" can mean the kiss of death to some comics titles, but Amelia seems to have found a solid fan base among adults and kids alike. Hopefully word will continue to spread when the first volume is released in print in August by IDW.

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9
Artful Daggers #1

Mar 6, 2013

There is an art to intelligent world-building, and Williams, Knave and Losq are doing things with Artful Daggers that have me pretty excited. New is risky, but risky can be fantastic if you're willing to put in the effort.

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9
Artful Daggers #2

Apr 4, 2013

The first issue of Artful Daggers was a dense yet delightful introduction to a complicated world with a fascinating premise. Writers Sean E. Williams and Adam P. Knave dispense with the exposition in the second issue, though the brief recap was much appreciated, and jump straight to further developing the story. This pacing works much better for the format: from here on out, Artful Daggers, published digitally by MonkeyBrain Comics on Comixology, will be twelve pages per issue. But with Andrew Losq's dynamic art, you can be damn sure this comic will be full to the gills month after month.

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7
Artful Daggers #3

May 8, 2013

Artful Daggers is familiar territory in a whole new world, which is why the story works so well. Unfortunately, this month the art didn't serve the storytelling as well as it has before. Stylistically it is gorgeous, and truly some of the most unique characterization around. But it's complex in a confounding rather than an experiential way. And as the story itself gets more complex, the art will need to get tighter so readers can keep up.

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8
Artful Daggers #4

Jun 6, 2013

More people should read this book. It's smart comics, requiring attention and dedication from the reader to match the effort being put in by the creative team. Consider it a personal challenge from me to you to try something new this month, and check outArtful Daggers.

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9.4
Avengers (2012) #3

Jan 23, 2013

“Avengers” #3 ends with a reminder that the Avengers' expansion was an idea born from two very different men: Steve Rogers and Tony Stark. This dark and light, life and death dichotomy is at the core of “Avengers” and “New Avengers” both. I think we'll all be surprised to see how each group struggles to find the balance as they move forward.

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6.4
Avengers (2012) #4

Jan 31, 2013

The final pages show us some alien-baby-child-tiger-guys that Hyperion apparently decides to spare, and a seventh infected site that again A.I.M. has found before it was even on the Avengers' radar. Maybe one of the issues I have with this series so far is how not-super Hickman is portraying these superheroes? Between their quick takedown in the first issue to their seeming lack of decent radar in this one, Earth's Mightiest Heroes just don't seem at the top of their game. And neither does Hickman, unfortunately. Here's hoping this is just one misstep in the larger story he is telling.

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8.3
Avengers (2012) #5

Feb 6, 2013

We end on another Big Foreboding Close-Up, but I wasn't as annoyed this time. Even though the larger story didn't move with this issue, I feel like we made progress with "Avengers" #5. The team is slowly coming together, and the characters are what I have always read for anyway, so I appreciate that. I'm excited to see how the old guard and new guard mix together, in more ways than one.

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8.8
Avengers (2012) #6

Feb 20, 2013

Adam Kubert's art and Frank Martin's colors are fine. I still miss Jerome Opea, but Kubert is consistent and that counts for a tremendous amount in a comic that's come out three times in four weeks. As things go haywire in this arc it will be interesting to see if he changes up his panel layouts at all. They're very linear, which works for now but will be less appropriate as chaos ensues.

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7.6
Avengers (2012) #7

Mar 6, 2013

Admittedly, there's an I-see-what-you-did-there moment at the end of “Avengers” #7 that will have you immediately flipping back through the pages. (I really liked Ponsor's colors on the second to last page especially.) Big things are brewing, and Hickman does big things brilliantly. But the people part is still missing from this title, and I don't think it has to be an either/or. One thing about Hickman's “Avengers”: it sure is polarizing. People are talking about what they love and what they hate, but they're still reading. And ultimately? That's a good thing, right? In two years when all the loose ends are tied up and we can evaluate the big picture, this is going to be just fine. But comic books are serial and that means in the moment it's difficult not to judge this as just that: a flawed moment in sure-to-be epic journey.

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8
Avengers Assemble #12

Feb 14, 2013

Check out the pacing, the overlapping and the pause at the end. It says so much about how these characters interact, how close they were in the past and how that familiarity informs Clint's decision to follow Natasha to Russia to provide backup. He may not have known it would lead underground, but he definitely knew they were heading to a dark place. Of course, no trip to the tunnels is complete without a visit fromanthropomorphic reptiles, so yeah. That happens. But the reveal on the final page is worth it, and I'm excited to see where this leaves our trusty heroes next month. Give this one a chance if you're in the mood for some fun with a side of Avengers adventure. It's a great balance to the slowly turning wheel of the main title.

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8
Avengers Assemble #13

Mar 13, 2013

Avengers Assemble isn't really a "lighter" Avengers comic; it's just a different approach to telling the story of these beloved characters by focusing on the characters themselves. It has more in common with Hawkeye and Captain Marvel than Jonathan Hickman's Avengers, but that shouldn't come as a surprise as DeConnick writes Captain Marvel as well. And there's a lovely cameo by a Hawkeye fan favorite in Avengers Assemble #13 that should clue readers in to how the tone of all three of these books overlap.

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9.9
Captain Marvel (2012) #9

Jan 16, 2013

Carol gets some news at the end of “Captain Marvel” #9 that could have some serious implications for her health and happiness. (It's not about the cat.) I am worried, in that non-creepy way you can feel for a character that last summer you wouldn't have given much thought to. Once again, that's all on DeConnick. She has some excellent support from Andrade and Bellaire this time around. I think Carol's in good hands.

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9.6
Captain Marvel (2012) #10

Feb 20, 2013

Man, character-driven solo comics are my new jam, and “Captain Marvel” is a nice companion to “Hawkeye” in that regard. Must be something in the water in the DeConnick-Fraction household, because they're both kicking ass and taking names. If you're a #hawkguy fan and you aren't reading “Captain Marvel” yet, pick up #9 and #10 and let me know what you think. This is superhero storytelling at its best.

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9.4
Captain Marvel (2012) #11

Mar 20, 2013

Captain Marvel the woman is in a vulnerable place. She's physically broken in this issue, and theconsequencescould be catastrophic. Old enemies and old allies make appearances, and new friends lend a hand. I think she'll be okay in the end. “Captain Marvel” the comic book is in a similar place. Old readers may be faithful, but new readers like you could seriously make a difference. Ask yourself why you aren't reading this book, because I just told you why I am. And like Carol, I'm willing to fight for it.

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9
Five Ghosts #1

Mar 20, 2013

Mini-series let writers and artists create self-contained comics with an emphasis on action not exposition. I don't know how the premise ofFive Ghosts would hold up in an ongoing series, but the good news is I don't have to. Barbiere and Mooneyam have five opportunities to tell their story. You'd be wise to add the first chapter to your list this week.

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9
Five Ghosts #2

Apr 18, 2013

Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham have built a tidy little homage to pulp classics here, with a healthy nod to Indiana Jones-style adventuring. Like the first issue, Five Ghosts #2 establishes a bit of Fabian's past with sepia-tinged memories that I neglected to credit to colorist S. M. Vidaurri " joined here by Lauren Affe " last month. Of course, all bets (and allusions) are off when Fabian actually gets to do that thing he does, but that's why you're reading this book in the first place, right? It's a very cool premise that just happens to be set against a pulpy backdrop for context and intrigue. Come for the spirits, stay for the spiders. So many spiders.

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9
Hawkeye Vol. 2 #7

Jan 30, 2013

I have a ton of respect for Matt Fraction pushing through this issue of “Hawkeye”. Telling a story that touches on the way Hurricane Sandy impacted New York for a character whose heart belongs to Brooklyn, and donating his royalties in the process, is a world class move. It's never going to be the strongest “Hawkeye” tale (that's a toss up between #3 and #6, so far), but it will probably be the only one that brought tears to my eyes.

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9.5
Hawkeye Vol. 2 #8

Feb 27, 2013

As for the bad guys, well, play time is over. When we next see Hawkeye he's going to need to man up, and probably apologize to Kate so she can help him out as well. (Maybe Jess, too, while he's at it?) Because the Clown is coming. And you're gonna be dead, bro.

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9.6
High Crimes #1

Jan 30, 2013

Geek Smash: I wondered if you could tell me a little bit about where this collaboration came from. I know you're both in Portland and I'm assuming you've probably even hung out in person, but I *think* this is the first time you've worked together. What brought that on?Chris Sebela: This collaboration came totally out of the blue, through the machinations of all sorts of fate-y elements. I'd pitched "High Crimes" to MonkeyBrain back when they were about to launch their first wave of books and Chris [Roberson] and Allison [Baker] seemed to dig it, so then I had to find an artist. A month or so later, I was lamenting to my friend Joe Keatinge about my lack of artist and he mentioned Ibrahim, who he shared studio space with at PDX's Tranquility Base. So we headed over there, Joe made the introductions and we got along great and within a day or two of me sending Ibrahim the pitch, he was totally on-board. Basically, if I hadn't invited Joe out for pancakes, we wouldn't be sitti

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9.4
High Crimes #2

Feb 27, 2013

“High Crimes” is gritty and suspenseful and not afraid to use convention to its advantage before turning it on its head. I'm rooting for Zan, but I wouldn't put much money on this being a pleasant ending for anyone. Sullivan Mars may just be the luckiest guy out of the bunch. At least he's already dead.

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9.9
High Crimes #3

May 15, 2013

“High Crimes” is available via Comixology for 99 cents. Unless you are under 17 or particularly squeamish when it comes to occasional graphic depictions of violence, you need to be reading this book. Keep up the outstanding work, Chris and Ibrahim. And hey – I'll gladly send you a care package or two if it means we get the fourth issue a month from now.

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8
Lost Vegas #1

Mar 7, 2013

Lost Vegas probably won't be for everyone, but it could be. Interesting characters with an appealing problem to solve amidst a unique and colorful environment. What's not to like? Don't let the science fiction part deter you. Lost Vegas is good comics storytelling.

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7
Lost Vegas #3

Jun 1, 2013

But the epic Cantina-like feel of the first two issues – this giant melting pot of alien species congregating in hedonistic Vegas glory – gives way in Lost Vegas #3 to backstory (interesting nonetheless) and conflict development (also essential) at the expense of the appeal of the Lost Vegas locale itself. Lee shows us a full exterior shot of the ship (station?) in this issue, but we don't get to play much with that fascinating visual. It's a fine line in a mini series, I know. There's limited time and panel space to tell the story, and the conclusion of Roland's tale is fast approaching. This issue just lost a bit of the melting pot magic that made the first two so appealing.

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9.1
New Avengers (2013) #2

Jan 16, 2013

Hickman sets up Steve Rogers to be at odds with Tony Stark (no surprise there). By the end of "New Avengers" #2, however, I got the distinct impression that Cap's moral high ground could be more than just a point of contention, it could be a liability. The others are, if not mentally preparing for then at least discussing the possibility of the worst case scenario " the destruction of another world (universe) by their hand. But since it was Steve himself (!!) who suggests the use of the gems, the failure of the team's initial plan will cost him the most.

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8.9
New Avengers (2013) #3

Feb 6, 2013

I did feel like "New Avengers" #3 was extra talky-talky, especially the two page spread of 28 closeup panels right before the final reveal. Usually I prefer a more explanation-via-visuals approach, like the one used in combination with minimal dialogue to show Doctor McCoy what's up. All told, however, "New Avengers" is a solid comic that manages to both illustrate the danger, destroy a potential solution, up the threat level and remove a hero in one fell swoop. Who will keep the Illuminati in check, now?

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8
Nova (2013) #1

Feb 20, 2013

There are some potential inconsistencies with Nova's timeline, particularly in regards to Jesse's past exploits and how they intersect with those of the Guardians of the Galaxy. But Sam is very likeable in a Peter Parker-type way, a nice nod to Rider's initial characterization as well. Maybe the best part of Nova #1 is that you don't have to be a past Nova expert in any way to enjoy this book. Passing knowledge of specifically Sam's sporadic role over the past eighteen months is a bonus, not a requirement. Everything you need to get on board with Nova as a character is contained in Nova #1. Consider checking it out.

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8
Nova (2013) #2

Mar 21, 2013

Nova is shaping up to be a fun story, mostly because following Sam along as he discovers the full range of his new abilities is liable to be both entertaining and humorous. It's a nice diversion from the more serious universe-ending stuff happening in the main Avengers books, but not so steeped in history like the other solo titles. Probably many of the things about Nova that make it almost all-ages appropriate as well as very new reader friendly could be a turn off to seasoned fans more accustomed to epic storylines. But if you're looking to inject a little lightness into your sophisticated comics palate, Nova might just be good one to pick up this week.

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8
Nova (2013) #3

Apr 17, 2013

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Probably. Did it detract from my enjoyment of the comic? A little bit; only because it was a deliberate choice with unclear implications. But should it prevent anyone from picking upNova#3, starring my favorite teenage superhero wannabe who isn't already an Avenger? Absolutely not. You should be readingNova because right now it's a fun story told from the point of view of an incredibly likable young protagonist and the art is delightful. If in the future it also ends up holding the key to unraveling the Phase 3 master movie plan? Well, I guess you read it here first.

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6
Nova (2013) #4

May 16, 2013

Ed McGuinness,Dexter Vines and Marte Gracia make the frustrating story work visually, of course. The strong character design and color choices inNova are a major reason why the book deserves attention, even in the face of the story problems in this issue. And there is still plenty of time for Sam to fulfill my Peter Parkian dreams – the snark is there, the self-doubt is bubbling beneath the surface, and it is loads of fun to read along as he gets comfortable in his new superhero skin. I just wish Jeph Loeb had as much confidence in Sam's ability to make smart choices as his dad did leaving him the helmet. It's a lot to live up to. Here's hoping he gets back on track next month.

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9.8
Nowhere Men #3

Jan 30, 2013

With this issue, "Nowhere Men" immediately shot up a number of spots in my personal "most anticipated comics" list. Fantastic story, stunning design. Another winner from Image comics. Go get this book.

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9.9
Nowhere Men #4

Mar 14, 2013

"Nowhere Men" #4 broadens the conflict, raises the stakes, fills in some backstory and then crushes hopes in rapid succession, but the pacing is spot on and the goals are clear. This is just fantastic comics on every level.

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10
Saga #9

Jan 15, 2013

I immediately re-read “Saga” #9 when I finished it the first time because I didn't want it to be over. So if you're like me and want to talk about what you just read, hit me up in the comments below or on Twitter. We can totally get through this together until “Saga” #10 comes out next month.

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10
Saga #10

Feb 19, 2013

"Saga" is the standard by which all other comic books are judged. It's a perfect ten, month after month. There really is nothing more to say than that, except maybe a thank you to Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples for sharing their masterpiece with the world.

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10
Saga #11

Mar 19, 2013

There's a point in every "Saga" review where I struggle to find a new way to say this book is perfection, but this time I'd like to riff a bit on why: Vaughan and Staples are masterful storytellers. Both of them. What Vaughan is offering with the words, Staples is matching with the art. It is cohesively perfect, and that just doesn't happen very often. As prose, the emotional connection would be there. As art, the emotional connection would be there. In comic form, it transcends both. Seriously.

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8.6
Secret Avengers (2013) #1

Feb 13, 2013

I have been looking forward to "Secret Avengers" #1 since last fall. Nick Spencer's first issue was solid, fun and funny. This title is in good hands going forward. But what did you think? Comment below, or hit me up on Twitter as usual.

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8.9
Secret Avengers (2013) #2

Mar 13, 2013

“Secret Avengers” strikes a nice balance between the character-driven stories in “Avengers Assemble” and solo titles like “Hawkeye” and “Captain Marvel” and the longer arcs slowly building in “Avengers” and “New Avengers”. If you're reading the latter two, which I recommend, you'll no doubt appreciate how this story folds neatly into those grander ones, but even if you aren't, “Secret Avengers” is a lot of fun. And if you didn't already know, Nick Spencer joins Jonathan Hickman on “Avengers” #12 in May, so it's likely the link between the titles will continue at least through then.

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9.5
Snapshot #1

Feb 6, 2013

To recap: go read "Snapshot" #1. It's awesome. The end. (See, that totally works every time.)

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8.9
Snapshot #2

Mar 6, 2013

"Snapshot" #2 was more conventional than the first issue, but I was never bored. This is definitely another Image mini series still worth reading.

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8.5
Uncanny Avengers #3

Jan 23, 2013

So the Red Skull wins. Seriously. He takes New York and Thor and (maybe) (probably) Wolverine and I don't know, guys. Things don't look great for the Avengers at all. Steve Rogers formed this new team of mutants and humans to protect both after the events of AvX, but “Uncanny Avengers” #3 shows us how little effect they have on the impossible threat of a telepathic Red Skull. Some more big guns are coming in future issues (Wonder Man, Wasp and Sunfire, specifically) (no, I don't consider Wasp to be a “big gun” either, but give her a break. She's been missing in a pocket universe for a decade) to hopefully tip the balance in the Avengers' favor.

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9.1
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #1

Feb 13, 2013

I am a pretty big Brian Michael Bendis fan. I think "Avengers Disassembled" and "House of M" are near-brilliant, and I've been really excited to see how some of the consequences of "no more mutants"" are being played out in the slate of titles mentioned above. I know Bendis gets some flak for being talking-heads heavy, but "Uncanny X-Men" #1 doesn't feel like that kind of book. Sure, there's some exposition, but it's a first issue. The traitor tells Hill what has happened through flashback action, not narration, and the pacing is smooth.

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9.9
Young Avengers (2013) #1

Jan 23, 2013

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention a bit more about Jamie McKelvie's equally awesome artwork. He's gotten a lot of attention lately, and rightfully so. He's working with Mike Norton like on the "Point One" issue, and with Matt Wilson again on colors. Whatever system they have for themselves seems to be working " the style is crisp and consistent and the colors look lovely. The book feels"dare I say"hip and modern without trying too hard, and the simple graphic backgrounds are a nice balance to McKelvie's figures.

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9.3
Young Avengers (2013) #2

Feb 27, 2013

So it looks like Wiccan and Hulking have their hands full with interdimensional parasites and gods of mischief and the like.The only thing missing in this issue of “Young Avengers” was the rest of the Young Avengers. Nice mention of Kate, but just that. I'm looking forward to getting the band back together soon.

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