Brendan Hodgdon's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Doom Rocket Reviews: 40
8.2Avg. Review Rating

9.0
Batman: Creature of the Night #1

Dec 1, 2017

Perhaps the one "bad" thing you could say about Creature of the Night is that, as a retelling of sorts of Batman's origin, it's working with a very, very familiar framework in this first issue. But when the detail work is this good, who cares what the foundation is? Truly, it's the details that really lift this book up, and the honest emotions that make it sing. Those things combined promise a Batman story like no other. I can't wait to devour each and every chapter over and over again, as I already have with this one.

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9.0
Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1

May 31, 2019

Batman: Last Knight on Earth derives its strength from two major elements: the skilled craft of its creators, and the timely nature of its themes and ideas. And found beneath the fear and uncertainty that such an ending provides: Hope. Hope for new beginnings once the end has past. With what promises to be their final Dark Knight treatise, Snyder, Capullo, Glapion, Plascencia & Napolitano are offering a symbol for that hope, one that we should all aspire to emulate in our days ahead.

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8.0
Come Into Me #1

Mar 13, 2018

The collective work of this creative team results in an incredibly immersive piece of storytelling, one that drips with atmosphere, dread, and unease. The undeniable effectiveness of this is what makes Come Into Me #1 an issue worth checking out, and what will keep me coming back for more in the future.

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8.5
Dead Kings #1

Oct 26, 2018

Dead Kings #1 is an incredibly personal opening chapter. It brings us in at the ground level, showing us the seediest angle of its world first and making us experience it with the most downtrodden and vulnerable of its denizens. The opening juxtaposition of a mother giving birth in the shadow of a massive mecha battle seems very indicative of the direction of the series, and representative of Orlando's best creative instincts overall. Paired with Dow Smith terrific art, Lauren Affe's colors and Thomas Mauers' letters, Dead Kings is the sort of sobering and intimate reflection that we will always need from our art.

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8.5
Dead Rabbit #1

Sep 20, 2018

Dead Rabbit is a propulsive caper comic of a very high order. If this is the kind of work that Gerry Duggan plans to do when he's finished at the House of Ideas, then Ed Brubaker better keep an eye on his King of Crime Comics crown. And if this is the kind of next-level work that we can expect from John McCrea, then thank goodness he has this new monthly platform with which to play. It's not a pairing I would've anticipated, but damn do they play well together.

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8.5
Detective Comics (2016) #1000

Mar 29, 2019

After last year's quality celebration of Superman's legacy with Action Comics #1000, the pressure was on for Batman's to be just as good. Thankfully Detective Comics #1000 has very much lived up to that example and provided a worthy testament to Batman's significance. This army of superstars has spun some lovely yarns about Gotham's protector, unafraid to acknowledge the tragedy and pain of Bruce's life but also eager to celebrate what makes him and his family special. It's as good a birthday card as Batman could have asked for. Here's to many more in the years ahead.

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8.5
Event Leviathan #1

Jun 12, 2019

Regardless of its ultimate significance in the DC Universe, the thrillingly-executed craft of Event Leviathan is impossible to ignore. Bendis, Maleev and Reed are working at an incredibly high level here; they're clearly aiming to craft a new kind of event experience, one that recalls classic mysteries of yore in its willingness to slow down and let the characters do the talking.

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8.5
Evolution #1

Nov 17, 2017

There's no doubt that the creative team of Evolution is in for the long haul here, and I hope they get the chance to tell their complete story. It'd be hard not to be intrigued by what they've shown us so far" and perhaps just as importantly, what they have to show us yet. Evolution #1 is a rich piece of epic horror. Everyone should find out for themselves how great it is.

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8.5
Fairlady #1

Apr 12, 2019

The cumulative effect of all this is a debut issue that, on a technical level, accomplishes so much so well. In many ways it represents the platonic ideal of a modern one-and-done comic. That Schirmer, Balboni et al. achieve this while also constructing a fresh and engaging fantasy tale marks them all as premiere talents to watch. It also makes Fairlady #1 one of the most satisfying debut issues you'll read this year.

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8.5
Gravetrancers #1

Nov 30, 2017

Gravetrancers is for sure a great premise, and could've gotten by on that and style alone. But when you add in the depth and emotion that's included here, you get a real winner of a book.

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8.0
Heroes In Crisis #1

Sep 28, 2018

For the time being, I have yet to see anything from Heroes in Crisis to give me much pause, but I also haven't seen enough to be sold on it either. The question of the series' success rests not on whether Tom King can tell a good story, really, but whether that story will work as a major throughline for the whole of the DCU. And we can't really know that until we really know what this series is, at its core. But even if King is completely off the rails here, at least Clay Mann is here to make sure he looks good while doing it.

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7.5
Hex Wives #1

Nov 6, 2018

This team knows what they want to say with this series, and the confidence and verve with which they say it goes a long way towards making this issue a fun and worthy read. And whileHex Wives #1 is not a perfect debut when it comes to giving us a thorough look at its characters, as a stylish, theme-driven roller coaster it makes for vicious Vertigo entertainment.

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8.0
High Level #1

Feb 22, 2019

When you consider Rob Sheridan's background as the NIN creative director, and Barnaby Bagenda's work with Omega Men, it's not surprising that a series like High Level would be the end result of their collaboration. They've built a bleak, but no less colorful, world around a hard-nosed hero, and have planted the seeds for some timely and pointed ideas about the current state of our world. I look forward to seeing those seeds grow.

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7.5
Justice League (2016) #34

Dec 8, 2017

While this weird disconnect does undercut the impact of the issue emotionally, I do think that the idea here is a smart one, and that the exploration of the League's dynamic is well-handled. Overall I'd still say this is a solid first issue of the Priest/Woods era, and I can see them doing a lot of cool things with this team going forward.

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7.5
Kong on the Planet of the Apes #1

Nov 10, 2017

A mash-up between King Kong and Planet of the Apes could easily have been a lazy cash-grab. But Ryan Ferrier clearly put a lot of thought into the social, political, and religious significance that such a mash-up might offer, and with Carlos Magno's solid art to bring all of that to life, I can safely say: this more, so much more.

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8.0
Legion of Super-Heroes (2019): Millennium #1

Sep 9, 2019

Writer Brian Michael Bendis and the art team led by Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen, Andrea Sorrentino & Andr Lima Arajo may be building to the gilded optimism of the Legion's future, but along the way they are offering a sober-minded reflection of life and unyielding time.

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7.5
Livewire (2018) #1

Nov 30, 2018

There is a great character study at the heart of this title, and as long as they keep that at the center of their plans this should make for a great series. Now that the current has been set in motion, there's enough spark here to give this character a future to fight for on her own terms.

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8.5
Low #20

Jan 3, 2019

With Low #20, Remender & Tocchini's series continues to be a vibrant, vicious examination of the concept of hope. Paired with McCaig and Wooton, the seamless, gorgeous final product builds on that theme to challenging effect. And while the hope these characters cling to remains an uncertain (and very possibly misguided) thing, Low affirms and reinforces our own with this successful return issue.

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8.5
Midnight Vista #1

Aug 29, 2019

With Midnight Vista, we have a comic wherein speculative fiction is being used to speculate about one of the authors himself, to acknowledge and grapple with the incident that for a long time was "the most important thing that ever happened" to him. In doing so, Eliot Rahal takes these difficult and frightening possibilities and he shares them with both his collaborators and their readers with no small amount of bravery. And Clara Meath, Mark Englert and Taylor Esposito have taken that vulnerability and bolstered it with great compassion. The end result is thrilling and heartfelt.

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8.5
Morning in America #1

Mar 1, 2019

Morning in America uses the quiet oppression of the Reagan years to reflect the loud antagonism of the Trump years, of that there is no doubt. But what makes Visaggio, Aguirre, and Saam's work so effective is its celebration of rebellion in the face of such opposition. They've crafted a group of characters that embody the "fuck you" mentality that is needed just as much now as it was then. There might be a lot of fantastical derring-do in future chapters, but this debut has already given us great new standard bearers for today's culture clash.

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9.0
My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies #1

Oct 16, 2018

My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies is a sharp, intense read, one that you'll burn through quick and keep thinking about long after the back cover flaps shut.

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8.0
Mysteries of Love in Space #1

Feb 4, 2019

DC has been on a respectable roll with their holiday-themed anthologies in this post-Rebirth Era, and Mysteries of Love in Space is a lovely continuation of that trend. One hopes DC will continue to publish these collections; they aren't just a fun way to broaden the DC Universe, they also serve as a wonderful playground for the many terrific creators that we all know and love.

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7.5
Ninja-K (2017) #1

Nov 9, 2017

The issue wraps all this up with a scene that effortlessly combines all three of the threads from the rest of the issue. Colin King's outsider status within the Ninja programme, his disconnection from the people around him, and the history of the programme itself all come together to launch us into the mystery of the series' first story arc. And after how well Gage, Giorello et al. set this story up, I'm very curious to see where it goes from here.

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8.5
No One Left To Fight #1

Jul 1, 2019

After luring in readers with flashy colors, stylized character designs and aesthetic echoes of formative 90s anime, it is the emotion and intimacy of No One Left to Fight that makes it such an engaging read. Sitterson, Ossio and Esposito offer an eye-catching piece of old-school dramaturgy in comic book form, built on the understanding that "action" doesn't have to just mean energy blasts and martial artistry. No One Left to Fight speaks to the atypical approach that makes it such a success.

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7.0
No. 1 With A Bullet #1

Nov 2, 2017

Taking your time with a story is always a risk, especially in comics; if you don't do enough in the first issue, you can drive a lot of people away. No. 1 With A Bullet flirts with this. However, with a combination of smart characterization and dynamic art it overcomes that hurdle.

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7.0
Out Of The Blue #1

Mar 12, 2019

For lapsed and devout military history buffs alike, Out of the Blue will scratch a particular itch. It highlights a very narrow piece of World War II, and Ennis, Burns, Wordie & Steen do a fine job of immersing the reader into this particular martial world. The path their story takes is certainly well-trod, but it delivers exactly the retro, rah-rah combat glory found in the best war comics. If that's your cup of tea then this is certainly where you want to be.

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8.5
Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt (2019) #1

Jan 25, 2019

One issue into Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt and Gillen, Wijngaard et al. are already firing on all cylinders. Resurrecting an often overlooked character, one that inspired a more impactful icon at that, is not an easy task. But there is an ease to how this project fits together that bodes well for the series. It gives us an exciting second chance to appreciate a great Silver Age hero.

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8.5
Sex Death Revolution #1

Nov 2, 2018

Sex Death Revolution #1 is certainly a slow-burner, and while the fact that it is a double-length issue does ameliorate that somewhat it is a very talky, context-establishing opening chapter. But the final product is more than worthwhile, as the team makes use of that extra space to firmly and capably establish the ideas and emotions at the core of their story. Sex Death Revolution is beautifully realized; it immerses usinits story of change and its world of academic witchery, demanding our presence and rewarding our attention.

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7.5
She Said Destroy #1

Apr 19, 2019

Corallo, Kangas, Nalty & Ujimori have imbued their title with an ineffable sense of magic and a unique visual footprint. She Said Destroy will catch the eye and the imagination alike.

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8.5
Star Trek: Year Five #1

Apr 24, 2019

As a mission statement for the series to follow, Star Trek: Year Five #1 is an invigorating debut. This can be attributed to both the quality craftsmanship of the creative team, and their clear love for the Starship Enterprise and her fearless crew. In filling in such a major gap in Trek lore, Lanzing, Kelly, Thompson, Kirchoff and Uyetake have held nothing back. The result is undoubtedly worthy of its progenitor's vaunted place in the history of science-fiction.

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7.0
Stronghold #1

Feb 14, 2019

Coming as it does from such an esteemed group of veteran creators, it's hard to imagine Stronghold not being a success when eventually taken as a whole work. And there's a lot of cool and interesting elements in this debut issue to stimulate the imagination and invite the reader back for the next chapter. But the way this issue unfolds and functions unto itself leaves some frustrating questions dangling in the air, left for another issue to catch them or not.

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8.5
The Forgotten Queen #1

Feb 15, 2019

One of the great promises of any shared universe is the possibility of stories that benefit from the whole without completely relying on it. In The Forgotten Queen, Valiant has the beginnings of just such a story. Moreover, it's a series that serves as a great showcase for both Tini Howard and Amilcar Pinna, not to mention its fearsomely cool antihero lead. This is definitely a title, and a creative team, worth remembering in the future.

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7.0
The Maxx: Maxximized: 100 Page Giant #1

Mar 19, 2019

While a $5, 100-page anthology seems like a great launching pad to find new readers, I can't fully say that The Maxx Special sticks the landing. The selection of issues doesn't have a functional through-line (or it does, but in a self-defeating fashion) and there are too many gaps left for new readers to be able to fully grasp what the series is about as a whole. At the same time, what the book does suggest about The Maxx can't help but pique one's interest and encourage readers to examine the series more thoroughly. And in that light, it's hard to deny that it isn't at least a partial success.

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9.0
These Savage Shores #1

Oct 12, 2018

These Savage Shores #1 is, simply put, a top-notch debut issue. If Ram V. wasn't already on your radar due to the inventive Paradiso, this series will definitely make him a permanent fixture, and will have Sumit Kumar and Vittorio Astone right there beside him. Beyond that, this book is exactly the sort of fresh blood that the vampire genre needs, providing new perspectives and interpretations that make the old forms work in all kinds of new ways.

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9.5
Thumbs #1

May 9, 2019

With Thumbs, Lewis & Sherman reclaim the heartbreaking core of cyberpunk with penetrating precision. As we cope with a world where tech giants implicitly harbor fascism and people stan for corporate brands, it's important to both acknowledge the dangers of those trends and interrogate what flaws in our social order led to them. Thumbs does that, and keeps the reader thinking about it long past this debut's last haunting panel.

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8.0
Tommy Gun Wizards #1

Aug 23, 2019

While using Ness and Capone in these roles doesn't add too much of value to the story, the larger Prohibition backdrop blends quite nicely with the fantasy elements of Ward's script. Right from the jump, Ward juxtaposes the religious zeal behind the real Volstead Act with the use of magic, implicitly tying this 20th Century religious judgment to the Puritan witch hunts of the past. It gives the whole tale an added fervor, and makes me wonder what ultimate moral judgment on magic the series will offer by the end.

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8.0
Trust Fall #1

Jun 6, 2019

Family conflicts over loyalty and trust are a perpetual literary concern because they are a perpetual human concern. Most people at some point have a reckoning with the worldview their parents stuck them with, or with their family's disregard or obliviousness to their well-being. This familiar emotional wound powers Trust Fall, and along with clever words and gorgeous images, makes this book a solid success.

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8.0
Wonder Woman (2016) #58

Nov 16, 2018

As far as debut issues go, Wonder Woman #58 is a frustrating one to review, as it largely relies on the been-there, done-that as a misdirection before the team gets into the real meat of their story. But given the back-and-forth that her solo title has seen over the last year-plus, it's reassuring to see Diana back in comfortable, reliable territory before going somewhere new. In the end, the deity is in the details.

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8.5
Wytches: Bad Egg Halloween Special #1

Oct 25, 2018

This book is a true Halloween treat, one that will have you clamoring for the next batch of scares as soon as it's finished.

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7.5
Young Justice (2019) #1

Jan 10, 2019

All told, Young Justice #1 certainly establishes the level of energy that the Wonder Comics imprint will doubtlessly have. It's exactly the sort of fun, YA-friendly personality that mainstream comics should always provide.

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