Anthony Spataro's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: PopOptiq, Graphic Policy Reviews: 21
8.9Avg. Review Rating

10
Black Widow (2016) #1

Mar 3, 2016

Black Widow is off to a blisteringly great start that is simple but highly effective. More comics should take notes from the team of Samnee, Waid, Wilson and Caramagna to focus on utilizing each member of the creative team to make for a truly fun and exhilarating read that couldnt possibly turn people away from picking up the next issue. There hasn't been anything this fun and confident from issue one since perhaps Matt Fraction and David Ajas Hawkeye. If there is some kind of poetic way to sum up Black Widow #1, it would have to be something directly taken from one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents as he chases after Natasha once she escapes from the helicarrier: she turns a 40,000 foot fall into a ballet.

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8.5
Divinity II #1

Apr 20, 2016

Memories of the past are something that has moulded Valentina into the person she has become. Kazmir asks Valentina about the necklace he has always seen her wear, wondering where she got it from. Valentina can't quite remember where or when she got the necklace from, yet she acknowledges its importance to her childhood. Memories of the past are often kept within objects like Valentina's necklace and will play an interesting part in the direction that Valentina's journey is taking. The danger of living in the past can affect ones acceptance of changes occurring around the world and is sure to be an intriguing aspect on the decisions Valentina makes as Divinity II continues.

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9.5
Godshaper #1

Apr 12, 2017

Without giving too much away from the story, most of what appears to be the driving force for the title happens towards the final third of the first issue with the introduction of another character who has got themselves caught up in a conspiracy. The first two-thirds do a great job at setting up the world, without much really known, as well as making Ennay and his mute god Bud already likable as a duo. By the final few pages, it definitely looks like the enigmatic craziness of the first issue of Godshaper is only just the beginning.

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8.5
Godshaper #2

May 10, 2017

Though somewhat not as tightly woven and energetic as the first issue, this second issue of Godshaper dives a bit more into world building, with a few humourous moments (though some are a bit awkward) and introduces some characters and elements that look to be early placeholders for being important, especially with their connection to Ennay.

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9.0
John Flood #3

Oct 7, 2015

A great understanding of character, tone and space show the greatness that can be found within John Flood. This series is a lot of fun to read with incredibly entertaining characters and moments that are heightened with mystery and intrigue of present and past events. John Floodis a solid example of highlighting a high quality collaborative effort that only makes the wait for the next issue that much more unfortunate. The wait will be worth it, surely.

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8.0
John Flood #4

Nov 5, 2015

The cover of John Flood #4 showcases Coelhos intensive line work, capturing an image that doesn't quite make sense until the very last page. The rapid movement, something Coelho does so well, comes full circle and once again leaves quite the image to see before the next issue hits the stands.

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8.5
John Flood #5

Dec 3, 2015

Once again, another cliffhanger ends John Flood #5, setting up what is sure to be quite the final issue of yet another superb book that fits in quite well with the great year that BOOM! Studios are having on the comic shelves. Will the mystery that is John Flood finally be revealed? What exactly is the driving force behind this relationship between Flood and the killer? Whatever is revealed in the final issue, John Flood already deserves recognition as one of the more exciting and fresh titles on the stands and is in quite capable hands to round out this series in the new year.

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9.5
John Flood #6

Jan 13, 2016

John Flood isan excellent, thrilling, twisting, turning, emotional ride with entertaining, real, damaged characters. The journey over the course of six issues feels accomplished due in thanks to the well placed, humorous and dark script of Justin Jordan, the continuous, detailed, confident lines of Jorge Coelho, the tone and emotions provided by Tamra Bonvillain's colours, and the well placed lettering of Ed Dukeshire. By the end, it feels like more can be said (a Lyta spin-off series?) and definitely warrants a continuation. For now, a standing round of applause is well deserved for this six issue John Flood.

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9.5
Kennel Block Blues #1

Feb 3, 2016

Kennel Block Blues does an excellent job at parodying prison genre tropes through many of its sequences that perhaps shows how beaten down the genre really is but manages to stay fresh and even off-putting at times within thisanthropomorphic world. By having animals take the place of humans into positions of vulnerability paints this heightened picture of perhaps what it might feel like fora dog or cat to beput behind a locked fence. As much as there is a lighter tone to Kennel Block Blues, there is a dark underbelly behind the scruffy worried smile of Oliver that becomes even more mysterious upon the issues final pages. The creative team has done a great, confident job at setting the balanced tone early. It will be very interesting to see if Oliver will eventually come to terms with his reality or whether his ignorance will get the better of him.

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9.0
Kennel Block Blues #2

Mar 10, 2016

Kennel Block Blues #2 ends on yet another cliffhanger that will make things very interesting for the kennel prisoners. The creative team continues to present a very playful and funny prison drama, parodying the genre in all the right ways so far. Switching Olivers fantasy sequences to more morose images was rather unexpected but definitely works with the ante going up and the action moving forward in this issue.

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9.5
Kennel Block Blues #3

Apr 13, 2016

Kennel Block Blues #3 is a high point for the series so far. What began as a satirical, comedic take on the prison genre through animals in a kennel has turned into an even more emotional story than originally expected. The creative team is firing on all cylinders now so it is kind of unfortunate that the end is nigh with the final issue around the corner. The series is in good hands, so surely the final issue is not to be missed.

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8.5
Kennel Block Blues #4

May 11, 2016

Kennel Block Blues #4 wraps up an excellent series that had all members of the creative team providing a high level of quality within their own expertise to capture a real sense of heart, humour, and entertainment, all while continuing to play with the comic form. The final few pages embody what this series has pointed towards, examining what exactly freedom means amongst the relationships that have been formed between each of the characters and choosing to accept fate or pave the road to ones own destiny.The final few images leave a window open for a sequel series which, if not granted, leave a rather ominous taste in the mouth, considering the conclusion to Oliver's journey.

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8.5
Sombra #4

Oct 26, 2016

Sombra overall does an effective job at showing the reality being faced by those experiencing the cartels first-hand and to show those, like Danielle, certain situations are best left to be figured out, to be solved, repaired, as Esteban says in his recorded video, by the people of Mexico. In turn, the attempted involvements made by outsiders like the U.S. in witnessing this distressing scenario can make for an inwardly attempt at reform. As Rojas enters the town lead by Conrad, before the bullets fly and knives are thrust, he stops in front of a display of pure depravity: skulls, body parts, smiles smeared with blood and candles are spread out, like a reverse shrine meant to divert the visitor instead of inviting for a moment of reflection. All Rojas can say is, This is theatre.

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9.0
The Fix #1

Apr 6, 2016

The Fix #1 has a lot going on in its first issue, revealing the dilemma that Roy and Mac have gotten themselves into amongst all the mayhem through flashbacks of the past, to characters like Donovan (whom puts a capital D in debauchery), Josh and Internal Affairs officer Sheryl Malone, it is easily understood that there is little room for purity in this day and age. The humourous approach to The Fix may not be for everyone (one would run out of a bar of soap to clean these characters' mouths before the half way point) but the dark, edgy, slanderous language works with the fact that nearly everyone involved has at least one hand in someone else's pocket. Though the creative team is tackling a subject matter with a tongue firmly in cheek, it is rather fitting and timely to question the morality of those deemed decent, upstanding individuals, and perhaps the language attributed to those upholding the law is in real need of a proper fix.

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9.5
The Fix #3

Jun 10, 2016

Elainas monologue towards the middle of the issue hits it right on the nose, just as the story takes a bit of a darker turn. Just like recent films Amy and Montage of Heck, they are more of a cautionary tale than purely the loss of talent that is put on display (and a bit too much of a dive into the privacy of their lives). There is something inevitable, as Spencer writes, tocause a break down to occur. The non-stop barrage of beckoning these artiststo perform and the backlash when requests aren't made or when fandom's purity is provoked (relevant) becomes an easier process with the closeness exhibited through the digital age. As much as The Fixis a bit more on the comedic side – with plenty of unexpected, well-placed laugh out loud moments, especially through Lieber's brilliant comedic timing – this issue taps into something more.

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9.0
The Last Contract #1

Jan 7, 2016

The Last Contract starts off with a heavy foot to the pedal, creating a world quite quickly with characters that have a real sense of history. It is very difficult to take a hitman as a character and produce a story that feels fresh and exciting but it appears that this title is in more than capable hands.

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8.0
The Last Contract #2

Feb 10, 2016

window.$tbn = window.$tbn || {"d":function(){}}; $tbn.d("2f0abc53-6d90-a812-cb5e-4f7a2beebd57");The Last Contract #2 continues the curious journey of who exactly is blackmailing these criminals and points fingers at everybody as potential withholders of information that could lead to substantial leads or become valuable to protect oneself. If one thing is certain in this world, nobody can be trusted. If there is any consideration forThe Last Contract asa filmic adaptation, Peter Weller would be perfect as The Man.

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8.5
The Last Contract #4

Apr 13, 2016

The creative team of The Last Contract has put together a well-rounded story of a tired character type in the crime genre that confronts questions of regret, identity, morals, and dealing with a fixed way of life. Having the main character remain nameless adds to the sort of tragic life that The Man is living. Without a name, he is further recognized as a tool used in the game of organized crime. However, this doesn't take the humanity and emotions out of this character, even after committing crimes and deeds that even he questions as impure and immoral. Even though the series is a short, four-issue bunch, The Last Contract succeeds in painting the portrait of a man who fights with the ghosts of his past whom channels a fate he must confront and not turn away from.

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8.5
Violent Love #2

Dec 7, 2016

Daisy has clearly changed from the first issue, becoming more and more reckless as the rage of her fathers death drives her to find the man who committed the murder: Johnny Nails. Barbieres script is fast and quick-witted, gets straight to the point and doesnt make the language too flowery; this is a crime/romance story after all. Rock is also introduced in this issue, doing his best James Dean impression, exuberating calm, cool and collectedat least for now. Daisy and Rocks first meeting is filled with slight jabs at one another but the primary focus still remains on Daisys mission to find Johnny. This mission is leading Daisy into some fairly precarious places and people, setting up the next issue with a very interesting situation for her.

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9.0
Wayward #12

Dec 16, 2015

Lastly, since Wayward focuses on the yokai of Japanese mythology and folklore, it was very unfortunate to hear of the passing away of manga and yokai mastermind Shigeru Mizuki. Wayward is indebted to Mizuki's wonderful and imaginative exploration of yokai. His brilliance and impact is summed up with a beautiful post by Zack Davisson. As Davisson says, otsukaresama deshita.

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9.0
X'ed #1

Dec 3, 2015

Xed starts off with a very intriguing premise that dives right into the action without any sort of hesitation. There is plenty of mystery abound as not much is revealed about the team that organizes these journeys into people's minds except for Colin. Colin, with his formal vested avatar aided by a crossbow once in Evelyns mind, appears to have gone through some potential hardships in past jobs that is surely to be of topic as the series progresses. There is enough intrigue, mystery, and flying hourglasses in this first issue of Xed that breathes lots of room for potential to be explored in terms of characters and world building. Whatever is in store for this new sure hit from Black Mask Studios, Patrick, Hayrula, Garbak and Campbell have only just begun.

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