Ariel Carmona Jr.'s Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comics Bulletin Reviews: 112
6.9Avg. Review Rating

6
100 Girls #5

Aug 19, 2005

Derivative as it may be, 100 girls is still a fun excursion into a paranoid fantasy and like the best paranoid fantasies of its ilk, the pacing is well crafted, and there is a palpable sense of conflict and conspiracy. This book is like one sweet sci-fi comic confection: mix in some X-Files and add a dash of Dark Angel, let it sit and serve between the covers of a pair of vibrant purple colored covers. It goes down easy and leaves you wanting bigger helpings.

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6
Abra Cadaver: The Afterlife Adventures of Harry Houdini #1

Aug 20, 2006

I love the comics premise, but better execution in terms of dialogue and characterization as well as a clearer choice of fonts for the captions will be needed in future installments.

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7
Abyss #1

Aug 7, 2007

Ill reserve final judgment for the conclusion of the series, though I dont think it is quite up to par with Millars Wanted. Its off to a good beginning, and if the creators can keep up the momentum in the narrative, it could be as memorable as something like Mark Waids Empire, another recent limited series with a super villain as its protagonist.

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7
All-Star Superman #1

Nov 20, 2005

DC is putting top talent like Morrison and Quitely into their All Star line of iconic characters like Superman and Batman and Robin, but unlike Marvels Ultimate books, the new direction doesnt appeared aimed to be a ploy for writers to rewrite history, but to come at it with a fresh new angle and to gain new readers as a result.

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6
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #526

Dec 6, 2005

In The End: Though I was resolved to read this arc after the eventual trade saw print, I could not resist picking this issue up, if only to add Deodatos cool blue tinted cover (thought at first I thought that was Logan clutching at Spidey until I remembered it was part of The Other storyline) to my Spidey collection, but it remains to be seen whether Marvels through tinkering with their flagship hero. When will they ever learn: if it aint broke?

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7
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #538

Feb 26, 2007

Through most of this year and last year I have preferred to get my dose of Spidey from titles such as Friendly Neighborhood penned by Peter David, accentuated by that writer's sharp wit and unusual flights of fancy, Amazing has been a good read since the beginning of Civil War and has only gotten better with every subsequent issue. The big question remains: Will the title revert to a subpar offering following the event or will it pick up strength and momentum as a result of its aftermath? Only time will tell.

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7
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #543

Aug 28, 2007

I was simultaneously riveted and horrified by Peters actions this issue, but also they are very understandable. He is mostly reacting now and is trying not to let things get in the way of saving his world which is slowing crumbling all around him once more. This is a fantastic way to lead into One More Day and also a great way for Straczynski to end his run on the webslingers main title and to turn Peter into everything hes always fought against: A criminal. Prior to Civil War, Straczynskis plots were lackluster at best, but he leaves the book in good shape.

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5
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #544

Sep 17, 2007

If theres one redeeming aspect to this comic, I would say it is that Joe Quesadas artwork isnt bad. Though I had grown accustomed to the regular artists style on this tile, Quesada does a good job of rendering the Spider-Man cast and is adroit at rendering action sequences, even if his Peter Parker doesnt resemble Peter in many of the books panels. The final two page spread featuring a Spider-Man webslinging in his red and blue costume doesnt make that much sense given the fact no reason was given to ditch the black suit. But then again, his reason to wear the black and white costume was also flimsy at best.

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6
Annihilation #1

Aug 6, 2006

I was bored halfway through this comic and seriously doubt I would buy or read future installments.

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7
Aquaman (2011) #34

Sep 2, 2014

Ultimately though, this seems like a filler issue more than an all- out action brawl which is supposed to serve as the climax for the comic's latest story arc. It may have just been me coming in at the tail end of this story, but if you are like me, you might be advised to wait until next issue when the "Future's End" storyline crossover event begins in earnest.

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7
Ashes #1

Nov 3, 2005

From the excessive depictions of blood stained fangs and gore to the creepy zombie like eeriness of the monsters dwelling within its pages, to its treatment of vampirism as an affliction which leaves the protagonist a ravaged corpse, vomiting at every turn, rather than a gift of immortality, Damage takes a crack at reinventing the genre and just barely misses hitting one out of the park.

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6
Astonishing X-Men #13

Feb 19, 2006

Not the series best effort thus far by any means, but still sparks enough interest to ignite future incendiary conflicts between Xaviers mutants and the new Hellfire Club.

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7
Atomic Robo #4

Jan 13, 2008

I recommend Red 5s Atomic Robo of Mars to any reader who likes their sequential fiction mixed in with the perspective provided by historical hindsight. This comic feels and reads like a nod to an era where comic book characters fought Nazis, terrorists and other mundane threats in addition to extraterrestrial and supernatural threats and there isnt a damned thing wrong with that.

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7
Avengers: The Initiative #5

Aug 26, 2007

Final word: I like the direction this title is taking. Slott is able to manage a large cast with skill, and Caselli and companys artistic rendition of the proceedings is consistent enough to sustain its structured narrative style. This comic offers a refreshing alternative to Brian Michael Bendis use of the two major teams by focusing on lesser known, inexperienced heroes while making the appearance of more established characters like Iron Man and Spider-Man an occasional treat.

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8
Avengers: The Initiative #10

Mar 11, 2008

The artwork in this comic by Stefano Caselli is solid and blends well with Rudoni's color art, avoiding the murky hues which mire a lot of Marvel books into darker renderings of scenery devoid of light or vitality.

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7
Avengers: The Initiative #11

Apr 19, 2008

This comic continues to be a consistently good read, and its lack of A-list Marvel characters proves that good writing can achieve wonders if you happen to be working on one of the few teams that doesnt have Wolverine on its roster.

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10
Avengers: The Initiative #13

May 23, 2008

Final word: When people try to craft a great comic story, this should be required reading. Its Christos Gages best issue to date made the more impressive by the fact hes had a long string of them on this series.

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7
Beyond #1

Jul 2, 2006

I have to give mixed reviews to McDuffies script. The first part in which Gravity flies out to battle Brushfire is good, but when he arrives to join the rest of heroes and villains, the dialogue falters, some of it is pretty inane banter with some pretty lame exchanges between the protagonists. Still, it moves at a crisp pace and climaxes with one heck of a cliffhanger. Theres nothing out of this world here, simple super hero fare which Marvel handles very well. These days, the company seems to be making good use of nostalgia and reviving older characters and placing them in modern tales with newer characters. Either that or retelling classic story arcs in fresh new ways. Such is the case here.

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5
Bomb Queen II: Queen of Hearts #1

Oct 1, 2006

Final word: Im no prude, and I am fully aware that the For Mature Readers tag on the books cover gives the creative team license to pack as much sex and violence as they see fit, but if it interferes with the narrative, it can only be a distraction which I feel is the case here and the reason I have to dock Bomb Queen a whole bullet.

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8
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #2

Apr 30, 2007

Like the song says, "We've only just begun," with Angel, Spike, Faith and a cadre of great characters yet to put in an appearance, and with an upcoming magical smackdown between Amy and Willow, like a fine bottle of Merlot, this comic can only get better with time.

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8
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #4

Jul 16, 2007

On the romantic spectrum, it's interesting to note that Satsu may have feelings for Buffy, as it is strongly implied that she was the one who kissed her last issue to break the spell, but is her infatuation more a sense of admiration than the manifestation of actual romantic feelings? And how does that bode for Xander and Buffy's apparent coupling? The creative team is taking a month off, so we have to wait until August for any more answers.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #5

Aug 20, 2007

The appearance of a colorful slug-like creature with a skull necklace is the prototypical Buffy adversary, reminiscent of Balthazar from the third season episode "Bad Girls," a slimy and disgusting test for the combined forces of the Raven clan and the slugs. Another thematic refrain is revisited: The power of many concentrated into an individual will with devastatingly awesome results, transcending even death itself. A reality which can hardly be done justice by a TV budget and CGI special effects comes to life in the pages of this comic. Like I've stated, a magnificent comic book, and in my opinion, Dark Horse's best and the best in the series

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8
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #16

Jul 6, 2008

Overall this comic is terrific. Whedon again exhibits great skill and respect for the characters he has created and has been directing since he was a college student, and the artwork by Karl Moline, who was the original artist on the Fray mini series and has returned for this story arc--while not as accurate as Georges Jeanty's when it comes to rendering the cast--is still pretty solid and expressive. Go get it!

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7
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #18

Sep 7, 2008

Final word: This was a typical Whedon penned comic that's par for the course for this series. This comic knows how a story should be paced, and it's organically being developed. It's a refreshing pace from a lot of the books that are being written for the trade or decompressed to death.

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5
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #22

Feb 9, 2009

Soon enough there's the appearance of a submarine in defense of the Swell's intended invasion of the Slayers' castle in Scotland. You gotta love a comic book in which a submarine is involved and it makes perfect sense in the context of the story. This wasn't the best issue of issue eight but I like the new trend of having former writers of the show like DeKnight and Jane Espenson pen installments of issue #8, I just wish they were giving us stronger stories.

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7
Cable (2008) #5

Jul 1, 2008

The big question is how long can writer Duane Swierzynski maintain the comic's narrative momentum without it sinking into a rehash of past dystopian future science fiction plots. Can a comic featuring a baby and her heavily armed mutant protector work as an ongoing series and as a compelling storyline? Will the pacing of the book which has felt stilted at time hold up? It has worked thus far, but there better be more than old west scenarios and showdowns with Bishop to keep us interested long term.

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8
Captain America (2004) #27

Jul 9, 2007

I wasnt reading this comic before because its dark tone seemed to contrast greatly with the more colorful and light hearted Captain America comics I read while growing up. Its a testament to Brubakers greatness as a writer how his story has pulled me in following the events of Civil War.

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4
Captain America: The Chosen #1

Sep 10, 2007

Bring Cap back to life, or keep making great comics about what people around him do when they realize hes dead. Whatever you do, set him in the fictional troubled mainstream Marvel Universe where the character works best. Nuff said!

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8
Captain Marvel #1

Nov 11, 2007

This is a very good introductory comic to what is sure to be an interesting character study of a super hero best known for the way he exited the Marvel universe so many years ago.

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5
Case Files: Sam and Twitch #19

Oct 25, 2005

I like Spawn comics, even if McFarlane hasnt drawn them in years. I didnt like this one at all. Unless youre a real fan of the characters, or an avid collector who doesnt want holes in his/her collection, I would skip this turkey altogether.

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5
City of Villians #1

Dec 13, 2005

Final Words: Is it a case of sloppy marketing? A deceptive way of promoting an online game? Sure seems that way. At least Lord Recluse is an interesting enough villain to craft the initial arc around. Too bad the cover scene between him and Statesman (the hero which got the company sued by Marvel for ripping off Captain America) never actually materializes. Dont buy this comic, unless you have to complete your collection of CoH like I do.

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6
Civil War #3

Jul 23, 2006

In The End: The main problem with the book and the entire series for me is that I feel these stories which Millar is great at writing are a closer fit for the Ultimate universe than the mainstream Marvel universe. Comic books which utilize plots to make quasi-political statements to mirror the political climate of our world are devoid of the escapist fun of previous incarnations. Maybe I am too much of a purist, or maybe I just long for the days of less realism and simple other worldly, other dimensional fantastic fun in my comics. That said, I will probably continue to read this, if only to see how it all turns out and to see how the cliffhanger at the end of this issue impacts the rest of the story.

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4
Civil War #5

Nov 19, 2006

I would be willing to bet that even those readers who have sworn not to see it through are peeking at some of the latest developments because curiosity gets the best of them. Even though Thors return was nothing more than a red herring, like all good cliffhangers should, the shockers bookending each chapter have kept us coming back for more. It will be left up to Millars wrap up of the series to see if it was all worth the effort.

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7
Civil War #6

Feb 19, 2007

Overall, a bit on the thin side plotwise, but still a satisfying enough read which makes you want to pick up the final installment.

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8
Dead Men Tell No Tales #2

Oct 9, 2005

Who wouldnt love a comic book tale about pirates and zombies with cut throat characters and cryptic treasures, especially one so well crafted and so well researched? Dwight McPherson has gone on record to say he is a student of these legendary pirate characters and it shows. Arcana has another winner with this one.

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8
Emissary #5

Mar 27, 2007

While this review could have further examined the current state of the market in which comics from more independent publishers and even established properties such as the Shadowline line from Image are sometimes hard pressed to compete with the big two, I chose instead to focus on what a fantastic job the entire creative team accomplished on this underrated title. Everything from Ferreyra's pencils to Lehmann's coloring works to perfection. There is the faint possibility of a trade paperback collection which could expose more people to Valentino's creation. I hope it comes to fruition because it would be a real bummer for Emissary to vanish in the same fashion in which he enigmatically appeared.

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7
Evil Ernie in Santa Fe #4

Apr 13, 2006

The point of this issue appears to be that even though Ernie is an independent agent (he kills who he wants and goes where he wants), he is still beholden to forces he cannot control and emotions buried underneath is psychosis: He has a thing for "Lady" even though she wants to see him rot in hell, and he won't harm kids. This prompts a demon from hell to call him a "wuss." It's the exploration of these themes which sets Grant's creation apart from the cinematic hackers like Jason. This book is not for the squeamish, but if you take it for what it is, you can find a pretty original and entertaining story.

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8
Fallen Angel #1

Jan 1, 2006

Final Thoughts: You dont have to read the old stories to enjoy this comic, as David and company have recapped the familiar elements while throwing in some new wrinkles. If David manages to give Lee a compelling enough back story to go along with Bete Noires appealing characters, were going to want to keep coming back for more.

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7
Fear Agent #1

Oct 23, 2005

Inspired by the creators love of zombie movies and Wally Wood and Joe Orlando and all the old EC horror/sci-fi stuff of years past, this is a satisfying enough read, even if it appears to be a self contained introductory tale, rather than a long running story arc. All the familiar elements are in place: phaser guns, alien worlds, rocket ships, tough as nails Pulp inspired space adventurer. The book comes alive in vibrant, colorful pages by Moore including a masterful full page depicting the big bad of the book. The cover is a throwback to the great space adventures popular in the 50s. It will appeal to the fans of this genre the most, but will it give general comic book readers enough entertainment for their buck to keep them coming back for more? Id wager a phaser pistol and a rocket pack that it just might.

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6
Flare #34

Jul 13, 2006

Also in this issue is Liberty Girl. Theres a plug to this other heroine within the lead story as people comment on Flares outfit in the courtroom. The backup story involves Liberty Girl helping police thwart a hostage situation. The question asked by the police officers at the end of the story echoes the readers, but no answers are provided. It seems most will have to pick up Liberty Girl #1 by Dennis Mallonee and Mark Sparacio to get more background on this bronze goddess of freedom.

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8
Generation M #1

Nov 27, 2005

Overall, Jenkins and company provide a satisfying and well crafted tale in the post M-Day chronology. This comic is not as decompressed as most Marvel titles, and it will be interesting to see what directions this book takes.

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5
GeNext #4

Aug 12, 2008

Have you read comics such as the old X-Force, New X-Men, Young X-Men and Runaways laid out in cartoonish mangaesque panels? Does it feel like there is a young team of X-Men recruits seemingly every few years? That's because there is, and that is because you probably have. The novelty has worn off, what we want now are good comic book narratives and fewer stories about confused teen romances and other clichs.

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8
Ghost Rider (2006) #1

Jul 9, 2006

So is this inaugural tale any good? Well, its definitely entertaining. Ghost Rider enlists the help of a demon named Greexix (which resembles the slime creature from the old Ghostbusters) cartoon to bust out of hell, but of course, Satan is there to try and thwart his escape. It isnt yet clear what Johnnys subsequent missions on earth will entail, but it looks as it will deal less with taking on the criminal underworld and focus on more supernatural elements, which of course made the character popular to its original fanbase. I think as long as Johnnys flaming noggin and that awesome looking bike keep riding into strange situations and offbeat corners of the mainstream Marvel universe, and as long as A-list characters make occasional cameos, the fans will be happy and will keep coming back for more of the same.

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8
Godland #4

Oct 17, 2005

Caseys pacing and plotting of the comic has been superb, he teases the reader with glimpses of Adam Archers background and the motivation behind the supporting casts actions, but doesnt distract from the flow of the narrative to do so. Yet, there is no sense of clear demarcation, the comic can shoot into many different directions and espouse many varying themes, something which would be dangerous in the hands of less skilled people. The action sequences between the glowing burst of energy that is Archer and the robots was first rate. The dialogue is funny and contemporary without coming off as contrived and its tongue in cheek treatment of clichs is an amusing treat. You almost dont mind shelling out the $3 price of admission because at least you know youre in for a fun read which will leave you wanting to pick up the following months issue. When was the last time a book by Marvel had the same consistent effect?

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8
Hack/Slash #3

Jul 13, 2007

Seeley has the same ability as someone like Joss Whedon to balance comedy with subtle character moments like the sequence in which Cassie reveals to her captive partner that she doesnt have luck with men and she wonders if she might be gay. This comic is less violent than previous issues, but it is very funny, inducing more than one big laugh from me. With a major motion picture in development, Cassie Hack can become the next big name in the horror landscape and that would be a refreshing development.

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9
Hack/Slash #15

Aug 21, 2008

The artwork by artist Emily Stone and colorist Mark Englert is, once more, solid. I especially like the technique of framing the characters employed in the final page. This is another chapter in the Hack/Slash saga and another example of a consistently great comic book.

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6
Hack/Slash: Son of Samhain #2

Aug 12, 2014

In this issue gore and the blood are there in spades, and there is a nice segment where Cassie and her new partner exchange philosophical banter amidst name calling, but sadly, this gives way to frenetic monster bashing and action sequences way to soon. I think once new readers have been sufficiently filled up on the backstory, and once the new creative team gets a better handle on the book's pacing, regular readers may be in for a consistent treat.

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9
Hatter M: The Looking Glass Wars #1

Oct 30, 2005

I would buy this book, and re-read it. The beautifully painted pages and the artwork by Templesmith and the artistic team is eye catching and bold, and the narrative by Frank Beddor which is only the beginning of the saga based on his book, especially the final battle with the books villain and his undead henchmen, is fantastic. I would recommend it to friends who are skeptical over the ability of comics to tell a pleasurable and meaningful story. Is there any better endorsement?

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6
Hero Squared #2

Jul 11, 2006

Captain Valor is the traditionalist throwback, while the other Milo is the modern guy, a wannabe who has turned his back on his superhero heritage to pursue a career as a film maker. In other words, hes the idealist and the slacker, the embodiment of generation Y while Valor is all Baby Boomer. This is all accomplished through a therapy session in which the doctor is a stock character, firing out the tried and true questions of a typical shrink, but just when she gets down to the interesting stuff, their hour is up and so is the readers, making for a subtle cliffhanger. The artwork by Joe Abraham is nice, rendering the character expressions needed for this type of story, and even though the cover is great, it would probably cause me to pass on the issue as it advertises an all therapy issue which usually means a lot of talking heads with very little action sequences. If youre a fan of Giffen and Dematteis off the wall humor and explorations of the human side behind superh

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8
Hunter-Killer #5

Feb 2, 2006

Final thoughts: This is the ultimate paranoid conspiracy book for the modern era. Waid and Silvestri do a masterful job of keeping as much in the dark as possible while concurrently telling a good story with superb artwork and imaginatively created characters. I like the integration of computer elements such as the pictures of U.S. Presidents at the top of page 5. The creators just better make sure to pick up the pace so readers sick of decompressed Marvelesque comics dont abandon the book.

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7
JLA #118

Sep 26, 2005

The stage has been nicely set for a showdown between the rest of the Justice League and Desperos mind controlled superhero pawns, but the writers have also cleverly managed to sidestep the thorny issue of the mind wipe, or at least delayed it until later on in the story arc.

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8
Jovas Harvest #1

Sep 18, 2005

Tis not for mortal ears matters of heaven or hell, says Jova to those who give him lodging and a good stew early in the book. Well, these mortal ears are attuned to talks of good independent books, and Jova confirms that Arcana is putting out some very good work.

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9
Justice League of America (2006) #1

Sep 26, 2006

The book is concurrently a tribute to the long histories of these characters while at the same time it's another modern mystery in the making. The type of story Meltzer loves to craft with unexpected twists and turns, none of which I care to spoil here. While there are enough references to events in current DC continuity to satisfy long time readers, there aren't so many to make this book inaccessible to new readers. The artwork is stunningly solid. Characters look the way they are supposed to, whether in costume and in action sequences or out of costume in more subdued scenes of reflection and conversation. I could have done without the excerpt plugging Meltzer's latest novel at the end of the comic, but that's a small nit to pick in light of all that is great about this introductory tale which focuses not on an established character like Batman but on a long running, albeit less well known, hero such as the Red Tornado. Perhaps the book's only discernable flaw is the fact it le

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7
Kick-Ass #1

Feb 26, 2008

Overall, Millar has put together a provocative look at super hero conventions which pokes both fun at its devotees while at the same tries to have a meaningful, albeit implausible purpose. Its going to be fun reading the next chapter.

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8
Manhunter #16

Nov 22, 2005

Manhunter succeeds where many books fail by proving on a consistent basis that a comic doesnt have to be non-stop action to be a good read. Well developed characters and good dialogue goes a long way. Some people like to treat themselves to a good bottle of wine, or a big juicy stake at the end of the day. Manhunter is in the same category, and I like to savor every delicious panel.

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6
Marvel Zombies Vol. 2 #1

Oct 14, 2007

Overall, this is a fairly entertaining comic book, even if the story isnt as engaging as it could be. This comic book seems full of potential with many story possibilities, and it will be interesting to read the next installment.

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7
Ms. Marvel (2006) #7

Sep 15, 2006

It was nice to see the letters page at the end of the comic, though this issue Reed departs from the tried and true formula of letters followed by a response in favor of a column/blogging approach. This is fine, unless it means one less page of story like it appears to be the case here.

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8
Ms. Marvel (2006) #25

Mar 25, 2008

I was afraid that breaking up the team of Reed and Robert De La Torre when Marvel re-assigned the latter to draw Iron Man would be a mistake, but I am happy to report that recent issues of this comic have proven that it hasn't suffered from the switch; it continues to deliver a quality read in terms of story, characterization and artwork. This issue is no different. It's also great fun to mix stories from the silver age into the current narrative of the impending Skrull invasion and to see how Carol will play a large part in the overall story arc. Whether the comic borrows from earlier yarns penned by the likes of Stan Lee and others in an effort to encompass a sweeping sense of continuity or whether the connections have been manufactured for a seamless inclusion into the current narrative is of little consequence. The end result is still a fun comic book to behold and one reminiscent of the Marvel silver age of comics.

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7
Ms. Marvel (2006) #29

Jul 29, 2008

There are no big reveals here, unless you want to count the requisite cliffhanger at the end of the book which poses an intriguing mystery. Mostly, this comic is an old fashioned slugfest as Carol gets down to the business of bashing the skulls out of the invading Skrulls, and this is fine considering how slow the pace has been in the main title up to this point.

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6
Ms. Marvel (2006): Special #1

Feb 9, 2007

I think Ms. Marvel is better suited to stories where she has to battle her own personal demons and has to cope with her commitment to her super hero lifestyle rather than battling these cosmic threats. That said, she certainly held her own against the Brood, and thats no small feat.

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9
Muppet Show Comic Book: Muppet Mash #1

Mar 23, 2011

Long live Jim Hensons Muppets; they are a throwback to an era of creativity and innocence no longer with us, but their legacy of putting smiles on peoples faces remains intact.

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6
New Avengers #8

Aug 7, 2005

Yet, heres something I dont get: almost half an issue of the new adventures of Earths greatest superheroes who unite to fight the foes no single super hero can withstand is devoted to: the Wrecker? You gotta be kidding me. Is he really that powerful? I always pegged him as a second rate villain. One of the best parts of the book was the opening sequence by Sal Buscema whose work Ive enjoyed since he was on Spectacular Spiderman in the 80s. Overall, I found the Sentry to be an interesting character, even though he looks a little bit too much like Thor on the cover. The art by guest penciler McNiven is solid and it reminds me a lot of John Cassady who is skilled at rendering both action sequences and facial expressions with ease. Lets hope well be treated to greater cosmic threats than the Wrecker in future issues.

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6
New Avengers #32

Jul 16, 2007

If you ask me though, I think Brian Michael Bendis is a Skrull.

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7
New Avengers #35

Oct 7, 2007

Final word: Despite a few flaws, this book will stay on top of my reading list as long as the surprises keep coming and as long as it manages to remain a consistently entertaining read.

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8
New Avengers #40

May 6, 2008

This issue of New Avengers, while devoid of its regular cast does such a fantastic job of exposition that it will be a pleasure to most readers whether they are regular readers of the title or seasoned veterans of Bendis' prose which is refreshingly crisp and interesting this month.

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5
New Avengers Annual #1

Apr 23, 2006

Did you get the feeling I didnt care much for this comic yet? Good. Dont buy it. Its got Marvels heavy hitters like Spidey, Sentry and Wolverine, but it doesnt do anything interesting with them in 40 pages. Its a padded mess of violence, melodrama an inane dialogue. Nuff said!

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8
New X-Men (2004) #39

Jun 18, 2007

Great pacing, interesting characters, vivid colors courtesy of Jean-Francois Beaulieu, and some of the best cliffhangers in the industry guarantee that this comic is a great read every month. Its amazing how good it can be without featuring prominent characters like Cyclops and Wolverine on a monthly basis. More people should be giving it a try.

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5
Nextwave: Agents Of HATE #1

Jan 22, 2006

In The End: I get that this is supposed to be a tongue in cheek book and a nod to Marvel continuity, but Elliss dialogue is really bad at times and even though the artwork by artist Stuart Immonen, whos done extensive work for Marvel in the past in titles like Ultimate X-Men is competent, this book is just too wooden for me to recommend. Silly comics can be deliciously good, but in this case, silly is badly crafted and it shows.

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6
Runaways (2005) #25

Apr 8, 2007

Michael Ryan appears to be a good fit for this book on the artistic end of things. He renders the action with fluid adroitness, and theres some great action sequences here, especially with the young Skrull and the dinosaur who reminds me a lot of Lockheed, the dragon. I have to hand it to the colorist for some vibrant, eye popping scenes, and this adds to the comics strengths. Overall, this is a very ambitious offering. Is it Earth shattering? Not really, but it is entertaining.

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7
Savage Brothers #1

Aug 13, 2006

Final word: This comic book is fun. Not enough comics from the big companies, which appear nowadays more concerned with their big crossover events and tying in as many of their ongoing titles to said events, are as much fun as this simple but satisfying zombie saga. I want to see where it is heading in future installments.

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5
Sequence #1

Sep 11, 2005

Though very unpolished, the seeds for interesting future stories are here, but we need more original superhero fare because I get the sense I have read most of the material here, and under more engaging and entertaining circumstances.

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7
ShadowHawk #8

Jan 17, 2006

In The End: This is a very good read. The letters/column page promises a new Shadowhawk is going to be taking over next issue which contradicts the premise of the series which says Eddie will be the last. If there is indeed going to be a changing of the guard, then it will be intriguing to find out Eddies fate and how those around him deal with what comes next.

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6
ShadowHawk #14

Aug 22, 2006

Final word: Both the Shadowhawk one-shot and the latest issue in the ongoing series are worth picking up, if only because the characters are throwbacks to the types of comics of yore which we all love to read. Valentino and crew know how to put together satisfying superhero yarns. If only Image would drop the hefty cover price, I think this comic would be more accessible to a greater number of readers.

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7
Silent War #1

Feb 20, 2007

This may be a series which I continue to follow through to its end because it promises great comic fun, something which we need more of in these days of dark and gritty so called "mature" comics.

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10
Smoke and Mirror #1

Jul 31, 2005

This book exemplifies everything which is good and fun about the genre of superhero comics, and it has only scratched the surface with its first outing. What greater praise can I offer?

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7
Son of M #1

Dec 19, 2005

Final Thoughts: It would be a shame for this series to focus only on Spiderman and a handful of other Marvel marquee heroes. Though I surmise by the title, Pietro will be the focus, it would be great to see the aftermath of House of M as perceived by most of Marvels big guns such as Wolverine, Daredevil, Iron Man and many others. Its a promising beginning to an intriguing premise.

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7
Spawn #150

Dec 6, 2005

Final Words: For a guy who couldnt write his way out of the proverbial bag when he was given the assignment to write and illustrate a monthly Spiderman title by Marvel early in his career, McFarlane managed to construct a very interesting back story for Images most successful character, but then he disappointed his fans when he stopped drawing the comic. After 150 issues, Spawn is still an interesting concept (though somewhat derivative, most notably when it came to being symbiotically linked to a living costume) but when you go to a restaurant to have some steak, you dont expect to get seafood. A letter writer to this comic once compared it to a nice juicy steak. Its anniversary edition still serves up steak, but dressed up nice and pretty with a significant amount of garnish.

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6
Spider-Man: House of M #1

Jul 8, 2005

An intriguing addition to Marvels House of M mega summer event which falls short of faithfully portraying everybodys favorite web crawler, but packs more of a wallop than the usual introductory comic book tale to a limited series.

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5
Spider-Man: House of M #2

Jul 25, 2005

The reader can guess the book's climactic scene after Jameson gets his hands on Peter's journal because the writers have been foreshadowing Peter's secret since the series began last month. Because not much happens that's significant, it feels as though the story is shorter than it actually is.

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8
Spider-Man: House of M #3

Aug 21, 2005

I credit the writing for all of this, as this may be Waid and Peyers best effort of the entire series. I cannot say more about the artwork than I have already mentioned in previous critiques, only that I have grown accustomed to Larrocas pencils which nicely blend with Liquids colors. This issue does not suffer much from Marvels trademark big panelitis syndrome and Danny Mikis inks are especially effective in the murky battle sequences featuring the Rhinos henchmen and the Green Goblin. The real triumph of the entire comic is the final surprise on the very last page, a reveal which I myself never saw coming. A very solid and satisfying effort this time around.

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7
Spider-Man: House of M #4

Oct 5, 2005

Never put it in writing, that's what the old saying advises, and it's certainly true in this case as all the characters scramble to get their hands on Peter's journal. The fireworks are coming in the final issue as the contents of Parker's journal will surely finally be revealed. Yet, the final outcome including the identity of the real Green Goblin is not as important. This series is a matter of enjoying the ride, the destination is only the payoff, the frosting on the proverbial cake. Admirably, the creators have managed to utilize the Spiderman cast in an enjoyable and well crafted alternate reality, if not an entirely memorable one.

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6
Spider-Man: House of M #5

Nov 10, 2005

As a stand alone alternate reality Spidey tale, this series works at times, but its open ended conclusion, whether intended all along by the writers or a rushed solution to the problems presented throughout, feels very unsatisfying. The Franklin Richards supplement seems like a cheap plug for that one shot, which would be cool if it werent mediocre. Richards is nothing more than a Calvin clone with H.E.R.B.I.E. serving as a less clever and humorless Hobbes.

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6
SubCulture #2

Aug 3, 2007

There are some funny bits in this comic including a few which had me smiling throughout. I laughed at the reference to Arthur dating a girl on Sims 2 which was probably a dude. Though Freeman has said the books primary focus is on fans of comics, gaming, anime, science fiction and the like, it fares better when it broadens its scope to an examination of society as a whole, rather than filtering its character studies through a literary prism of trite generalizations.

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7
Super-Villain Team-Up/Modoks 11 #1

Jul 15, 2007

The bottom line is this is a fun, carefree, and therefore rare comic book, and Van Lentes script is full of enough levity and winning characterization to insure a pleasant comic reading experience, we should all enjoy the ride while it lasts.

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7
Supergirl (2005) #1

Aug 14, 2005

Now: For the re-launch, Jeph Loeb agreed with DC that the character of Supergirl should be reintroduced as Supermans cousin Kara Zor-El, but first they had to do some house cleaning and emphasize (as the cover to issue #1 declares) that there can be only one Supergirl so this initial story line deals with Kara continuing to try to figure out who she is, and why things didnt go as planned when her spaceship was set to follow her cousins prior to Kryptons explosion. I really liked the Michael Turner cover, but there are very few Turner covers I havent liked, so I wasnt surprised when I kept looking at it and marveling at the details. Churchill does a bang up job of rendering the new girl of steel and the individual members of the Justice Society. His artwork is definitely cut from the same cloth as Turners Superman/Batman, and thats not a bad template to work from. This fact alone merits the high bullet count in this review. The problem with this issue lies with the story,

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6
Superman #221

Sep 28, 2005

Once again, a comic book companys greedy attempts to sell multiple titles interferes with the storytelling process. Is it really necessary to devote almost an entire issue to the villains attempting to recruit Bizarro into their latest ploy to destroy all the heroes in the DC Universe? The ultimate sin is that the cover is nothing more than a big tease since Bizarro vs. Zoom wont happen until future issues and is only alluded to in the closing scenes of this comic. Absolutely unpardonable!

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9
Superman #659

Feb 26, 2007

This comic manages to accomplish everything a well written monthly book is supposed to do: entertain the reader while at the same time using all the strengths of a visual medium to say something meaningful about our world without falling into the usual trappings of cliched narratives. Kudos to the creative team for a strong effort.

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9
The Amazing Spider-Girl #22

Jul 8, 2008

This comic book has it all, and it's a pity that the spirit of the webslinger--so muddled and noticeably absent from the flagship title currently printed in the main universe--is alive and kicking in this alternate universe. A single issue of this comic is better than the thrice a week mess currently published by Marvel.

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8
The Blood Queen #3

Aug 12, 2014

In sum, Dynamite's Blood Queen appeals to readers engaged by fantasy as well as those just seeking an original story set in these familiar surroundings. It may not please those seeking all out action every issue as the comic favors character development and a slower pace, which suits me just fine when an intriguing protagonist like Elizabeth is front and center.

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10
The Goon #13

Sep 15, 2005

You have to give Powell a lot of credit, as this comic book is one of those rare products which actually lives up to its hype. Page for page, this is simply one of the best books on the stands today. Sometimes silly doesn't work, but in the bizarre milieu of the Goon, it turns into an irresistible romp. I can definitely picture myself scouring the back issue bins for more copies of this one, and I look forward to snatching a few copies of the 25 cent Goon comic.

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9
The Umbrella Academy: The Apocalypse Suite #3

Nov 20, 2007

Gabriel Bas pencils are a smorgasbord of ingenuity, detail and come to life in vividly vibrant panels which are enhanced by Dave Stewarts coloring. Every page and every panel is rich with visual information which almost makes it criminal to skim through the pages. This comic requires detailed study and for the reader to take in each and every scene for maximum enjoyment. Hasnt that always been the point of reading comics? This book is a rare treat and giant leap forward for the industry.

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8
The Umbrella Academy: The Apocalypse Suite #4

Jan 3, 2008

This was another installment of a clever, beautiful looking book, and I am only bummed about the notion that Dark Horse may take some time in between mini series after this one concludes, as this comic is one fine reading experience.

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6
The Walking Dead #34

Feb 5, 2007

After a less than stellar effort last month, The Walking Dead returns with a strong rebound issue. Despite the fact the cover by Adlard and Rathburn is a bit misleading, this was a fun read which is what I have come to expect from this title. I also appreciate the fact Rathburn is turning some very cool back covers instead of giving us another advertisement. A reader in the letters column says that The Walking Dead is treating some of the reoccuring characters as sacred cows, immune to death and tragedy. This issue proves that may not be the case.

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4
The Walking Dead #35

Mar 20, 2007

The question of a writer employing disturbing imagery in order to advance his story should not even be an issue if it is done within the context of the story he or she is trying to tell. For people to take offense by it seems absurd to me. This installment of The Walking Dead was pretty flat and uneventful and with the Woodbury lunatics set to descend on the prison, it doesnt seem that an upswing in the plot is to be expected any time soon.

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7
The Walking Dead #38

Jul 3, 2007

The tension throughout the comic is tangible and greatly adds to the sense of doom already permeating the milieu inhabited by these characters the reader is emotionally invested in. Kirkman does a good job of pacing while finishing up the comic with another masterful cliffhanger.

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8
Thor (2007) #3

Sep 14, 2007

I like the pacing of the book, we dont need to be slapped with life threatening cosmic events every issue like in the old Avengers comic. This approach also works well by focusing on the more human aspect of Thors supporting cast and his interactions with mere mortals, super-powered beings like Iron Man and otherwise. Also by allowing Strackzynski the time to tell a satisfying opening arc, Marvel correctly re-integrates the Thunder God into its pantheon of elite super powered beings. Welcome back Thor.

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8
Titans Companion #1

Dec 12, 2005

It was also a practice in the early days not to return original artwork to the artists and many of the original sketches and drawings would end up in the incinerators at the publishers New York offices. It is interesting to read about the efforts made by many of the artists to recover their work, or to try and save as much as possible from the flames, never, of course, anticipating the frenzied speculation which almost bankrupted the industry in the decades to come. This book is a must read for anybody who loves super hero comics in general, and the Teen Titans in particular.

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6
Ultimate X-Men #60

Jul 8, 2005

Final word: This book should stick to its strengths: well crafted action panels and the examination of young mutants honing their powers; it should stop tripping over its romantic subplots.

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6
Ultimate X-Men #94

May 20, 2008

I really enjoy the artwork in this title. Big panels are used throughout but they do not detract from the flow of the story and rarely does it venture into giant sized spread pages which are common in many Marvel titles and which serve little purpose other than as nice mini pin ups. Some of the story elements in this comic have insured me picking it up in the future, if only to see which X-Men characters are given the ultimate treatment next.

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7
Villains #3

Sep 28, 2006

At $3.25 by a smaller publisher like Viper, this series is likely to be less accessible to the masses, but good word of mouth and good reviews in Wizard and other publications will at least give it the opportunity to build a fan base, in case there are plans for an ongoing series.

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6
WitchGirls Inc. #4

Jul 6, 2006

The back-up story is an 8 page reprint of a tale which first appeared in Flare volume 2 #3 and features the mystic heroine Britannia. Will Meugniots pencils give it an old school style look even if the origin story isnt too inspired. I didnt much care for Walters and Mike Estliks cover, mostly because the colors and background are kind of bland.

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7
Wolverine (2003) #30

Jul 28, 2005

Another entertaining effort from the team of Millar, Janson and Romita Jr. Even though the final skirmish between Logan and the Gorgon has been delayed until the concluding chapter, it should be a satisfying climax to a fun and well crafted battle heavy story arc.

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5
Wolverine (2003) #36

Jan 2, 2006

Final Thoughts: This comic suffers from a long winded intro and from some agonizingly slow pacing. Are all Marvel writers taking classes from Brian Michael Bendis on how to stretch a story until it becomes uninteresting and irrelevant?

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6
Wolverine (2003) #50

Jan 21, 2007

Final word: Despite some apparent flaws, this comic book is still a good anniversary issue for our favorite feral Mutant.

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7
Wolverine Origins #1

Apr 16, 2006

Theres not much more I can say about this book. I am not completely sure why its titled Origins because it doesnt really tell the origin of Wolverine, but I surmise its an extension of the Origins storyline and that it will go on to tell tales of his life prior to the X-Men and his days before and after Weapon-X. Its a very enjoyable read and seems poised to deliver on future goods.

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7
X-Factor Vol. 3 #1

Dec 11, 2005

Final Thoughts: With some cool artwork by Ryan Sook and company and Davids firm grasp of Marvels mutant history, this comic is off to a great start. Bolstered by the events of DeciMation, this is another classic mutant team primed for exploring new and interesting storytelling avenues. Marvel is really enamored with Leonardo DaVincis Vitruvian image; Sook draws yet another interpretation of it in this book.

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7
X-Men #200

Jun 26, 2007

Though this issue suffers somewhat from the weak back-up story which serves as the opening chapter to the Endangered Species storyline running through all of Marvels mutant books, its still a pretty good read and a good looking comic. The fact the Cajun mutant Gambit, one of my favorite characters, makes an appearance in dramatic fashion is just icing on the proverbial cake. Damn you, Marvel, for making me want to add yet another title to my already crowded pull list!

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8
X-Men Legacy #214

Jul 22, 2008

The flashbacks continue throughout the issue and they serve to illuminate both Xavier's weaknesses, by forcing him to relive some key failures in his past, and his greatest strength: His formidable mutant mind. The climax is another great cliffhanger which have been handled well by the comic's creators since the conclusion of "Messiah Complex."

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6
X-Men: Endangered Species #1

Jun 17, 2007

Frankly, this comic doesnt stand up to some of the series immediately following M-Day such as Son of M, or Generation X, and maybe thats why Marvel has relegated it to one massive backup story in all its X-titles starting with X-Men #200. Ill have to survey follow-up issues to see if it can hold my interest long-term.

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7
X-Men: Messiah Complex #1

Oct 28, 2007

Final words: Unlike Endangered Species, which was a series of back-up stories running through all the x-titles this past summer that got bogged down at times with the technical aspects of Beasts research on the mutant x-gene, Messiah Complex looks to be a faster paced offering which will most likely keep X-Men fans goobling up all the tie-in issues.

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7
X-Men: Phoenix - Warsong #1

Sep 10, 2006

As if to drive home the point, Tyler Kirkhams artwork resurrects the Phoenix in a series of awesome visuals and full page spreads. The books climax is handled in a subtle matter, as it builds up from a training fight between Logan and one of the Cuckoos and builds like a crescendo, until we are left with the image of a battered and tattered Emma in Scotts arms and a cliffhanger which promises to build on previous plot points from New X-Men. This comic book rocks. Though Greg Land and Justin Ponsors artwork on the original seemed superior to this, Kirkham and the rest of the art team still manage to capture enough of the look of the original series to enhance an enjoyable first issue.

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6
X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #1

Jan 15, 2006

The Pitiful Ones conversation with Strange is hilarious, at once mocking comic book conventions while advancing the plot. All the villains want to live again. When the military intervenes, their unwanted arrival has predictable results. The comic books final page is priceless and the artwork by Nick Dragotta, while not flashy, serves to give the book a whimsical, light-hearted tone. Overall, this is a funny take on one of Marvels venerable magic wielding icons, and it shows the company is not afraid to take risks for the sake of some imaginative narratives.

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