Bryan Joel's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: IGN Reviews: 524
7.4Avg. Review Rating

8.9
Action Comics #859

Nov 21, 2007

Still, there's a whole lot to like here. Geoff Johns is in the unenviable position of competing with the virtually flawless All-Star Superman every month, but while that book feels timeless and classic, thankfully Johns's Action Comics has come to feel like the future of the character.

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8.4
Action Comics #861

Jan 30, 2008

As with every review of "Superman and The Legion of Super-Heroes," I'll send it off by saying that this is shaping up to be a very solid Superman story. It manages to examine the character and his legacy without actually making him the spotlight hero, and meanwhile tell and engaging tale that benefits all the characters involved.

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7.3
Action Comics #862

Feb 27, 2008

Definitely not a worthless issue, but probably the least necessary of "Superman & The Legion of Super-Heroes." I can't shake the feeling that it could have been eliminated, with the useful parts being split between last issue and next.

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7.7
Adventure Comics Vol. 2 #2

Sep 10, 2009

All told, things are looking up for Adventure Comics. I won't say I'm completely sold on the idea of a Superboy ongoing or filled with certainty that it can sustain a this level of quality in the long-term, but issue #2 is a pleasant affair that deals with continuity in an approachable way and hits its beats more or less correctly.

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7.0
All-New Savage She-Hulk #1

Apr 8, 2009

It's always a gamble devoting an entire miniseries to an essentially unknown, unproven character, and Lyra may need a little tinkering to be a successful lead in the future, but All New Savage She-Hulk demonstrates a lot of potential and succeeds in being a fun old-school romp that is at least better than the last couple years of the title whose name it inherited.

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7.8
Amazing Spider-Man #548

Jan 23, 2008

I'll hold out the end-all judgment until the book has sufficiently demonstrated its rotating creator method and shown its hand a bit more, but for its moderate shortcomings, Amazing Spider-Man is turning out to be a good time so far.

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8.8
Amazing Spider-Man #549

Feb 6, 2008

Guggenheim's script paired with McNiven's pencils might've resulted in a fantastic opening to Spidey's new world, but regardless of the "what ifs," Amazing Spider-Man #549 stands as a very good issue. After a scandalous start to 2008, the Spider-Man franchise is definitely looking up.

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6.8
Amazing Spider-Man #552

Mar 5, 2008

As each writer takes his turn with Spidey, I'm slowly figuring out which creators to anticipate and which to dread. Judging by this issue, Gale falls into the latter category. I'm afraid this isn't going to be a banner month for ol' Web-Head.

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3.8
Amazing Spider-Man #554

Mar 19, 2008

This is a pretty awful issue of Amazing Spider-Man, all told. I can't say it'll make me drop the book outright because the next arc seems pretty exciting, but I also can't say I'm not seriously considering skipping Gale's arcs in the coming months.

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9.0
Amazing Spider-Man #556

Apr 9, 2008

I can't really put my finger on when Amazing Spider-Man began its descent into mediocrity (because, let's be honest, it happened a looooong time before "One More Day") but the Wells/Bachalo duo results in the best stuff this book's seen in recent memory. This should be the benchmark that Marvel editorial holds all future "BND" stories up to.

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4.8
Amazing Spider-Man #558

May 7, 2008

Barry Kitson turns in some satisfactory visuals on the whole, but it's not even close to enough to salvage this wreck. On top of it all, there seems to be very little point to the entire thing. The overarching story is moved forward incrementally at best. "Brand New Day" won't win any new supporters if it keeps exploiting itself to produce junk like this.

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8.1
Amazing Spider-Man #559

May 14, 2008

If the median of the Amazing scores is around a 6.5, it's safe to assume Dan Slott's issues are going to consistently fall above that, if only on the strength of his fundamental understanding of the character and direction.

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8.6
Amazing Spider-Man #560

May 21, 2008

Another solid issue of Amazing. Slott's sophomore outing is shaping up to be a winner so far.

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7.6
Amazing Spider-Man #562

Jun 11, 2008

If you've been a "Brand New Day" hater, this won't change your mind. But if you're like me and have been sticking with it, this issue is a solid installment that won't leave you groaning too loudly, which is more or less notable for the series these days.

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5.3
Amazing Spider-Man #563

Jun 18, 2008

Mike McKone's art is pretty much the only thing that saves this issue from being a total bomb. He draws a particularly nice Spider-Man and most of his panels have a nice pop. But it's not enough to completely save this throwaway issue.

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7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #564

Jul 2, 2008

Amazing #564 isn't the greatest comic I've ever read, nor is it the most original. But it tells a good enough story and employs a fair gimmick to boost it above a simple rehash of an old concept. The multiple writer concept is something I'd like to see explored more in the future, though. This issue is worth a look even if you sort of hate "Brand New Day."

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7.1
Amazing Spider-Man #565

Jul 9, 2008

Not a flawless issue, but not a complete waste of the paper it was printed on, like many "BND" installments. Time will tell if "Kraven's First Hunt" will be one for the books, but it's definitely an achievement that I'm looking forward to the rest of it.

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7.7
Amazing Spider-Man #567

Aug 13, 2008

A qualified winner for Amazing Spider-Man, at the end of the day. With the new direction's first litmus test, the "event" arc "New Ways To Die," just around the corner, it seems like Marvel is making a conscious effort to step the book's game up.

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5.7
Amazing Spider-Man #569

Aug 27, 2008

With six parts to "NWTD," I'm hoping Dan Slott can turn it around and capitalize on the promise of the first installment, but I just ended up frustrated with this issue. If this storyline is meant to be the litmus test for the title's direction (which I suspect it must be), it needs to improve quickly. Oh, and can Romita stay please? Like, forever?

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7.6
Amazing Spider-Man #570

Sep 3, 2008

Don't count "New Ways To Die" out yet. If nothing else, Dan Slott seems to have a very clear goal in mind and there's plenty of potential going on in these pages, even if the handling is bungled a little.

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7.2
Amazing Spider-Man #571

Sep 10, 2008

Still, that aside, "New Ways To Die" is still a big hulking improvement for the title and unequivocally the best story it's told since the new status quo set in. There are enough question marks and interesting pieces of the puzzle to keep me engaged in the book until the end, which isn't something I'm used to saying about Amazing Spider-Man.

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7.9
Amazing Spider-Man #574

Oct 22, 2008

I imagine there's a sect of Amazing readers who'll be bored to tears with issue #574, but there are certainly a number who'll welcome the break from the rip-rolling Silver Age pastiche and the opportunity for some real feelings in these pages.

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7.5
Amazing Spider-Man #580

Dec 10, 2008

I can foresee two schools of thought emerging when it comes to Amazing #580: one that sees it as the very reason "One More Day" was green-lit, and another that consider this kind of story better relegated to the Essential collections, far away from a core title that's supposed to be relevant to the character. I'm somewhere in between personally, but the old-school appeal of Roger Stern's story is undeniable. The book is charming in its own way, and many old fans will find a lot to like about it.

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5.7
Amazing Spider-Man #582

Jan 7, 2009

At the end of the day, this issue is damned by the same things that have killed roughly 60% of 2008's Amazing output. It's not necessarily bad... it's just bland, mediocre, inconsequential fluff. If you're easily entertained, perhaps issue #582 could scratch the itch, but anyone looking for heavier, more involved Spidey tales should look elsewhere.

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8.3
Amazing Spider-Man #583

Jan 14, 2009

Even as a placeholder between "event" storylines, issue #583's one-shot story ranks among the top ten issues of Amazing Spider-Man over the past year. There's character depth, plot development, a range of emotion, and enough uniquely Spidey touches to make it a perfect story to promote with the variant cover gimmick.

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6.8
Amazing Spider-Man #584

Jan 21, 2009

The book does earn a few points for featuring art by John Romita, Jr. As one of the few quintessential Spider-Man artists, any Amazing issue by him automatically feels familiar and engaging. The art, however, can't save a mostly dull script. "Character Assassination" isn't a miserable failure, but it hasn't started off with a bang on par with "New Ways To Die."

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4.9
Amazing Spider-Man #587

Feb 18, 2009

"Character Assassination" was supposed to be a big deal in the ASM world, but so far it's only succeeded in falling on its face. And the latest installment, a bland, confused installment, unfortunately isn't doing the storyline any favors.

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8.5
Amazing Spider-Man #598

Jun 24, 2009

Joe Kelly's "American Son" is still riding high, a perfect example of what kind of title Amazing Spider-Man can be when it's done right. This issue in particular is jam-packed with enough developments and subtle character work to keep fans happy as they wait for big anniversary issue.

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7.8
Amazing Spider-Man #603

Aug 19, 2009

Fred Van Lente's Chameleon revival arc in Amazing Spider-Man started off well and continues to shine in issue #603, coupling great characterization with complications in Peter's personal life. "Red-Headed Stranger" was a storyline was I skeptical about, but it's turning out to be a winner.

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8.4
Amazing Spider-Man #605

Sep 16, 2009

Amazing Spider-Man has had a few months of really strong stories, and this issue continues its streak. After a number of issues with Spider-Man fighting actual supervillains, it's refreshing to have an issue of Peter Parker and Mary Jane battling real life, and the writers having fun with it along the way.

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5.8
Amazing Spider-Man #610

Nov 4, 2009

I suppose it's something of a testament to the book's recent strength that I'm even noticing this drastic dip in quality, as opposed to begrudgingly accepting it as the norm like I would have a year ago. But this storyline and its hokey dinosaur-themed centerpiece is about as entertaining as the dictionary.

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8.3
Amazing Spider-Man #613

Nov 25, 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #613 has a decidedly different feel from the slightly looser, more whimsical tones of the title over the past year. It's more serious and gritty here, in both scripting and artwork. But ultimately that switch from the norm is why I'm enjoying it so much, and even casual Spidey fans should be sure to check this one out.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1

Oct 29, 2008

If we're nit-picking, the book does have the annoying little "BND" ticks that have nested themselves in the title. The Silver Age narration boxes that break the fourth wall show up a ton in the beginning. The Annual also creates a throwaway villain for the express purpose of a single-use beating from the hero(es). But this book is largely enjoyable and certainly worth a look compared to the normal output of the Spider franchise these days. A pleasant surprise, to say the least.

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6.8
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #36

Jul 8, 2009

The bottom line is, this Annual falls into a category that's increasingly popular these days: it's a fair enough book created with the implicit purpose to set up other, more interesting stories down the road. And this sort of project can only be so successful as a standalone, no matter how many chuckle-worthy moments are peppered throughout.

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5.0
Amazing Spider-Man Presents Jackpot #1

Jan 6, 2010

Solo books with a strong female lead are in short supply these days, but readers looking for a new icon in the mold of Ms. Marvel and Lyra, the all-new savage She-Hulk, may want to look elsewhere. While Marc Guggenheim provides a well-paced first issue that covers a lot of ground and juggles its plotlines well enough, there isn't enough substance to the lead character to warrant a recommendation. Plus, the whole project feels overwhelmingly nostalgic for the days when Liefeld creations ruled the stands, which is off-putting to me. Not the best way for a new character to start out, unfortunately.

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7.1
Angel: After the Fall #1

Nov 21, 2007

After The Fall #1 doesn't have much of the new reader friendliness that its sister series Buffy does, and seems geared almost exclusively toward the moderate to hardcore Angel fan. Those number quite a few, though, and they'll more than likely find this a competent start to the maxiseries.

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7.0
Angel: After the Fall #2

Dec 19, 2007

So far, Angel: After The Fall has done a fair job of continuing the Angel mythos, but it hasn't felt like the bona fide event that Buffy has. It also hasn't convinced me that the writers have a clear vision of where the characters should head in the long term. The series has yet to impress me.

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8.1
Angel: Revelations #1

May 28, 2008

A pleasant surprise, all told. I'm convinced that Aguirre-Sacasa at least has something interesting to say about the character besides "he has wings and used to carry around a stun gun."

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6.6
Astonishing X-Men #29

Apr 22, 2009

It's unfortunate, but since Ellis has given answers to some of the questions he's posed in Astonishing X-Men, they've proven to be uniformly underwhelming. Astonishing #29 certainly isn't a horrid book; there are definitely bright spots along the way. But the overarching feel of the issue is one of quiet dragging where earlier issues crackled along with momentum.

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8.7
Astonishing X-Men #30

Jun 24, 2009

No one would blame you if you thought the entire Ghost Boxes saga was overlong and, at times, boring, but the ending makes up for it. It may be a while before Astonishing X-Men reappears on the shipping schedule with new series artist Phil Jimenez, but there's more than enough in issue #30 to dig through while we wait.

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6.7
Astonishing X-Men #32

Nov 4, 2009

I'm a little perplexed at Astonishing X-Men. It's clear Ellis is getting around to where he's going, but the first two issues of this new story arc are basically throwaway outings by this team. The bright side is the hugely improved visuals; I just hope the scripts are going to make the most of them.

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8.5
Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #2

Jun 9, 2010

Traditionalist X-Men fans might balk at this interpretation of the team and the purposeful lack of adherence to continuity (in Uncanny X-Men, for example, Beast's membership in the X-Men is currently in question, and Storm's hairstyle is notably missing from any other book) but if you're willing to check that at the door, Xenogenesis is a wonderful little boutique book with top notch art and it's probably the best iteration since Ellis jumped on board.

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7.0
Avengers/Invaders #1

May 7, 2008

In essence, Avengers/Invaders #1 is the sort of thing you know you'll dig before you even open the first issue. As a fan who's thoroughly preoccupied with the late '80s Marvel and later, this sort of thing doesn't exactly push my buttons in any noticeable way. Flip through it and see if it catches your interest, but just be aware that this first issue probably won't drum up much enthusiasm that's not already there.

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7.6
Avengers: The Initiative #7

Nov 14, 2007

That's not to say this isn't enjoyable, because it is, in its way. But like last issue, I struggle to see the point, and I get an overwhelming sense that this book needs to be corralled and streamlined because it's dangerously overloaded. At the very least, it makes an argument for the existence of a third Avengers title, but I don't agree with the popular opinion that it's the best of the lot. Still, there's definitely promise.

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8.8
Avengers: The Initiative #10

Mar 12, 2008

With one swift blow, nearly all my complaints about Avengers: The Initiative have been addressed. I now actually understand all the hype that's been piled on this book and wholeheartedly agree with it. This is absolutely a book you should be reading if you're a fan of the Marvel Universe in any capacity.

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7.0
Avengers: The Initiative #12

Apr 30, 2008

A bit of an awkward close to this chapter of the book's life. With the horrendous fill-in art and the breezy, systematic feel of it, I can't help but wonder if this couldn't have supported one more issue. It'll be interesting to see what comes next for the title.

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5.5
Avengers: The Initiative #13

May 21, 2008

A nice but ultimately boring and skippable issue. There are passing moments of the title's signature light comedy, but unfortunately they're not nearly enough to save the sinking ship. Released as an Annual, the creative team would've just barely pulled it off, but instead as a proper issue of Avengers: The Initiative this one probably won't be looked back upon too fondly.

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8.5
Avengers: The Initiative #14

Jun 25, 2008

I consider Avengers: The Initiative to be a hit-or-miss book at best, but it's definitely having an "on" month. The creators seem to have a firm handle on how this crossover will work best for the title and if the quality continues, we're in for quite the wild ride.

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7.7
Avengers: The Initiative #15

Jul 23, 2008

Avengers: The Initiative continues to be a solid and consistent title. Predictably, Dan Slott and Christos N. Gage carry their mastery of the large cast and sense of fun to the book's Secret Invasion tie-in and lose nothing in the transition.

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8.6
Avengers: The Initiative #16

Aug 27, 2008

To be honest, if they decided to spin off the Skrull Kill Crew into a separate title featuring 3-D Man and Komodo and call it Skrull *#@%-ers as this issue suggests, I'd be the first in line to buy a copy. At this point, I have such faith in Slott and Gage's leadership on the title that I'm willing bite anything they're dangling in front of me. Certainly one of the better SI tie-ins, by far.

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7.7
Avengers: The Initiative #18

Oct 29, 2008

Still, the success of Avengers: The Initiative is undeniable. If you were ever a fan of the '80s Official Handbook series, this title is right up your alley.

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7.9
Avengers: The Initiative #20

Jan 3, 2009

There's still the big question mark of how exactly A:TI will work in the coming year, and just how effectively. But for now, its scattershot subject matter and shapeless directive are perfectly indicative of the state of the characters' lives and the overarching premise of the series.

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7.3
Avengers: The Initiative #21

Jan 28, 2009

It's fitting that the title of this storyline is "Avengers: The Initiative Disassembled," because the book is largely in a disassembled state. There's no momentum and the tone is undeniably bleak. That doesn't mean it's a bad issue, but the title should get in the beginning stages of sorting itself out sooner rather than later.

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7.3
Avengers: The Initiative #22

Feb 25, 2009

It's undeniable that Avengers: The Initiative needs a new, clear, strong direction post-Secret Invasion, and preferably sooner rather than later. And while this storyline is probably little more than treading water until then, it's still a great time and manages to find the right level of goof and fun amidst the chaos.

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7.6
Avengers: The Initiative #31

Dec 23, 2009

But based on the strength of Gage's work with Taskmaster, Avengers: The Initiative is worth a read. It's a good companion piece to Siege: The Cabal and gives a little more weight to the villain than "the guy who shows up right before Dr. Doom goes nuts."

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8.0
Avengers: The Initiative #33

Feb 24, 2010

If you've limited yourself to buying only important, unmissable parts of Siege, well, that's proving to be a mistake. Because while the main storyline isn't altered or added to with Avengers: The Initiative #33, it's a fantastic example of how a tie-in should operate, respectfully playing around in the fringes of the event and telling a fun, energetic superhero story.

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7.0
Avengers: The Initiative #34

Mar 24, 2010

It might sound like I didn't enjoy this issue very much, but that's only because the last three have been such surprise hit character pieces. This time around, Gage treats the New Warriors cast respectfully, allowing their threads to play out as the book heads for relaunch. It's not the strongest part of the Siege tapestry, but big fans should be pleased nonetheless.

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8.0
Batman: Streets of Gotham #1

Jun 17, 2009

Despite only buying this issue for the backup, I was pleasantly surprised by Batman: Streets of Gotham #1. If you're like me and plan on flipping to the back of the issue every month, you'll be happy to know the front half is actually worth reading as well. Some months you might even start with it.

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8.6
Black Panther (2005) #39

Jul 30, 2008

Jason Aaron's got another winner on his hands. His first fill-in issue of Black Panther is a fantastic traditional superhero story that demonstrates why the character is cool, a concept that I've failed to see conveyed from the title before. This one has easily leapt to the top half of the SI tie-ins.

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8.4
Black Widow (2010) #1

Apr 14, 2010

Most fans will be relieved to find that Marjorie Liu actually has a direction and a plan for this title outside of "cheap, quick Iron Man 2 cash-in." Her first issue of Black Widow is immediately engaging and cool, and Daniel Acuna has never looked better. Things are looking promising for this series.

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8.7
Booster Gold #5

Dec 12, 2007

Regardless, Booster finishes strong on its fun, old-school debut arc, and is only getting better as it progresses. A shake-up is suggested for the next arc, but with the talent involved on the book I'm confident it's only going to be as excellent as the first.

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7.3
Booster Gold #13

Oct 15, 2008

If there's one complaint about this issue, it's that it feels a little by-the-numbers compared to some of the insanity and high tension we've seen so far, but an average issue of Booster Gold is still better than a lot of the material on the stands these days.

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8.3
Booster Gold #1000000

Jul 9, 2008

Booster Gold is probably the DC book I enjoy the most every month. It's got a sense of fun that's severely lacking elsewhere in the DC universe with enough traditional superhero trappings to be familiar. Whether you're a DC encyclopedia with arms or a Marvel zombie, Booster is something you should be reading.

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7.8
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #9

Dec 5, 2007

Buffy #9 is a double-edged sword, really. It does a good job to finishing the story off and teases some great things to come. It's just that, unfortunately, they're not coming next issue.

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8.8
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #11

Feb 6, 2008

Finally, this book seems like it's firing on all cylinders. With all the pleasantries out of the way with the first couple story arcs, Buffy is now setting to telling its overall story and it's shaping up to be pretty great.

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7.6
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #12

Mar 5, 2008

It's a shame, too, because what surrounds the incident is essentially as perfect as anyone could ask of a Buffy book. And maybe in hindsight, the giant misstep won't look as egregious. But wow. For better or for worse, I was definitely surprised by this issue.

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4.1
Cable #4

Jun 4, 2008

Things aren't looking up for Cable. This certainly isn't what I'd envisioned for the series when it was originally announced, and I can't imagine many fans are satisfied with it either.

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5.7
Cable #5

Jul 2, 2008

Somewhere, deep down, Cable has the potential to be an interesting and unique title, but after a rather unremarkable beginning, Duane Swierczynski has an uphill battle ahead of him. Hopefully he's managed to learn a thing or two from the missteps of the first five issues and the upward trend started by this issue will continue on into the next storyline.

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6.9
Cable #6

Aug 6, 2008

But by the end, I inexplicably find myself with a lot of goodwill towards the series because of the developments here. It's setting up threads for later use, which the book badly needed. Cable's mission statement of Nate on the run with the baby can only sustain so many issues before the status quo needs a shake-up, and while we're not quite there yet, Swierczynski seems to be wisely planning for that eventuality. For the first time since issue #1, I'm cautiously optimistic about the book and I'd call issue #6 a noticeable improvement despite its flaws.

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5.8
Cable #7

Oct 1, 2008

Because I don't think Bishop is entirely wrong (perhaps just misinformed), I find the entire premise of the book just a bit off center, especially when a story like the one in issue #7 uses it as a foundation. I can plainly see the importance of keeping The Baby alive for the sake of the franchise's best interests, but I can also see the hint of a better series than Cable currently is.

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6.8
Cable #8

Nov 5, 2008

Cable was born out of the biggest X-Men crossover in years and was positioned as a title with great importance to the overall brand moving into the future. It's probably predictable, then, that the portions of it that deal with the X-Men are the more intriguing ones, and the seemingly endless world-jumping aspect is growing old fast. Still, it's a change of pace for the title when at least half is entertaining, so things are definitely looking up. It's just not all the way there yet.

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7.4
Cable #9

Dec 3, 2008

At its core, Cable is a book about the struggle between Nathan and Bishop, so it's good that Swierczynski is cleaning up their weak spots as the series moves forward. Fans of the characters should find this issue a welcome reprieve from their recent questionable handling.

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7.5
Cable #10

Jan 7, 2009

This most recent arc of Cable has been a little sleepy in the middle parts, but there's a workable plot at the center and enough momentum to carry it along. Technically it's still a story of Cable and his child running from point A to point B, but this time there are a significant number of interesting flourishes added to distract from that fact.

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7.2
Cable #13

Apr 1, 2009

If nothing else, "Messiah War" is a massive shot in the arm for Cable. For the past year it's often seemed that Duane Swierczynski was just creatively twiddling his thumbs until this point, and now the book feels like it matters for once. But in the grand scheme, it's a relatively low-key installment of the story that doesn't move things along very much, albeit one with that does have more good moments than the average Cable issue.

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7.4
Cable #14

May 6, 2009

Aside from the fact that X-Force just kind of stands there looking dumb, Cable #14 is the first good issue of the "Messiah War" storyline. It's a fun, exciting chapter that actually does something with the potential of these characters and takes a relatively gigantic step forward in the storyline.

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7.0
Cable #16

Jul 1, 2009

The bad news is, "Messiah War" didn't leave Cable feeling any more significant, or switch up its sometimes formulaic premise. The good news, though, is that the crossover didn't strip the title of its strong point in Hope, and Swierczynski seems to have a great handle on the character. Cable #16, then, is a case of "if you liked it before, you'll like it now."

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6.0
Cable #17

Aug 12, 2009

It's difficult to be overwhelmingly critical of a book like Cable #17. It's clear that Duane Swierczynski has a plan for the title and some imaginative concepts at play, but in order to really blossom they needed more than just the two issues they were allotted. The result is an issue that feels cluttered and rushed.

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4.7
Cable #18

Sep 2, 2009

It's been said a hundred times, but Cable surely can't continue with the same formula for its entire run. This is a title in need of some big ideas to shake it up and refocus it, because as it stands it's scarcely doing justice to either of its main characters.

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8.9
Captain America (2004) #36

Mar 19, 2008

A solid issue of a reliably solid book. Brubaker seems aware of the fact that James is potentially a tough sell and is immediately addressing that.

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8.9
Captain America (2004) #46

Jan 28, 2009

If you've been following Captain America regularly, you know the deal. It's consistently top tier, and issue #46 once again proves why. James is, in many ways, a character with more story opportunities than Steve Rogers had, and Brubaker is already doing wonders with him. You'd be hard-pressed to find better superheroics out there.

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8.7
Captain America: Reborn #2

Aug 5, 2009

If after reading issue #1 of Reborn you considered waiting it out to see how successful, important, or interesting it would end up being, wait no longer. This is the issue where things start to click and get intriguing.

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8.3
Captain America: Reborn #3

Sep 16, 2009

Art blips aside, Reborn #3 is a perfectly solid entry into the Brubaker Cap mythos. True to his style, he peppers the issue with dire twists for the heroes and establishes a nigh-insurmountable antagonistic force for them to push against. But more than that, it's the first issue of Reborn that feels like a proper issue of Captain America, which is what I think many readers have been looking for.

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9.0
Captain Britain and MI:13 #1

May 14, 2008

I don't know if I've made this clear enough: this book is crazy. But it's crazy in all the right ways. Captain Britain And MI: 13 #1 is as good a debut to a superhero story as I can remember, and if the quality continues, this is going to be a stellar series long after the Skrulls have been beaten back.

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8.9
Captain Britain and MI:13 #2

Jun 11, 2008

The quality is still as high as the inaugural issue, as far as I'm concerned. Some will take issue with its sudden reliance on backstory, so definitely keep that in mind. But Cap is easily my favorite thing to spring out of Secret Invasion so far.

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8.8
Captain Britain and MI:13 #6

Oct 15, 2008

Yet another solid effort for Cap & Co. This book is more than just another quirky take on a C-list cast and it reads like nothing else on the stands right now, giving an rare look at intelligent and fun-loving superheroics.

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8.7
Captain Britain and MI:13 #7

Nov 12, 2008

On one hand I feel like a hack when I continually praise Captain Britain every month, but it really is one of the best Marvel books out at the moment. When it comes to a quirky and unique take on superheroics featuring a number of characters you know and love, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better title than Cap.

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8.2
Captain Britain and MI:13 #8

Dec 10, 2008

There are parts, however, that veer into incomprehensible. I know there's some business going on with the Mindless Ones and their dimension, but I couldn't tell you what it is. It's all a bit garbled, and that's why this issue doesn't work quite as well as others have. Still, the main draw to Captain Britain is its off-kilter cast, and they certainly outshine the minor flaws of this issue.

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7.8
Captain Marvel #5

Apr 16, 2008

I feel like Captain Marvel began life as one sort of book, and ended as another. It's not necessarily a bad thing. In a way it managed to stay true to the character of Mar-Vell -- whomever he may be -- and why he's an important figure in the post-Captain America Marvel Universe.

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7.7
Countdown to Final Crisis #12

Feb 6, 2008

One of the most enjoyable things about Countdown in the past month or so is how its stories seem to be leading somewhere and coming together to result in something big. The sense of momentum and a tighter direction has helped the book greatly and this issue is no different, despite the necessary evil of moving the Amazonian plot thread forward. At the end of the day, though, I'm still intrigued enough to come back next week.

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7.8
Daredevil (1998) #101

Oct 24, 2007

Still, heads and shoulders above anything since "The Devil In Cell Block D." Daredevil works best when the stakes are high, and Brubaker uses the unlikely Mr. Fear to shoot our hero up there. I think this issue was necessary to Matt's character, but perhaps not the most engaging portion of the whole story. The good news: With this out of the way, it's only going to get better.

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7.6
Daredevil (1998) #103

Dec 29, 2007

A perfectly competent installment in a perfectly competent storyline, but I'm almost becoming bored with Daredevil in the past year. It needs to be shaken up with more title-altering stories like we saw in the Bendis days.

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9.0
Daredevil (1998) #105

Feb 27, 2008

I won't go as far as to say this issue single-handedly validates the more yawn-worthy middle pieces of "Without Fear," but it does contain a very solid Daredevil story that has everything you'd rely on the character to provide, and one that ultimately furthers the character a bit. That's as good an accomplishment as any ongoing book can reasonably hope for.

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5.5
Daredevil (1998) #106

Mar 26, 2008

I can't in good conscience recommend this issue of Daredevil. I firmly believe what came before was solid and have high hopes that what comes next will be equally as great, but this is not necessary reading by any stretch of the imagination.

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8.0
Daredevil (1998) #502

Nov 11, 2009

It's clear that by the end of this installment of Daredevil I was left feeling conflicted. Part of me wanted to see Diggle really put the pedal to the metal and take Matt to the limit, as is customary with this title. But another part of me knows that we're dealing with lines that, if crossed, could prevent Daredevil from being a functional superhero again. But all that aside, Daredevil #502 is certainly an engaging issue, and one thing it did right was make me care about what's going on. I think that's as rousing and endorsement as any.

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8.2
Dark Avengers #2

Feb 18, 2009

The bottom line is I'm having a good time with each issue of Dark Avengers. It's not going to change the face of serial comic books as we know it, but it has an agenda, a nice range of art by the ever reliable Mike Deodato, and just the right amount of self-referential sarcasm to pull the whole exercise off.

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8.9
Dark Avengers #6

Jun 24, 2009

Dark Avengers has quickly gone from being an industry marketing line to an impressive comic. I never expected to be gushing over a book like this one, but Bendis and Deodato have definitely won me over with stellar character work and plot twists.

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7.0
Dark Avengers #7

Jul 15, 2009

Dark Avengers #7 does what it says on the label, but doesn't live up to the potential that you might imagine when you think of a creator like Matt Fraction on it. Couple that with some uninspired artwork, and most regular DA followers will probably be glad to see "Utopia" depart from these pages.

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6.3
Dark Avengers #8

Aug 26, 2009

Perhaps with all these shenanigans out of the way, there's hope for Exodus to be a simpler affair that gives readers what we signed on for, the Dark Avengers duking it out with an all-star band of X-Men. But Dark Avengers #8 approaches debacle status on more than one occasion.

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7.9
Dark Avengers #9

Sep 16, 2009

Mike Deodato, Jr. is a reliable artist, and even though he's not given a whole lot to do this issue, figures still look strong, and regular readers will no doubt be relieved to have his gritty feel back on the title after "Utopia" took over. And that extends to the rest of the book as well. Under "Utopia," Dark Avengers felt like just another issue of Uncanny X-Men for three months. With Bendis and Deodato back on the title, readers are again treated to the twisted web of machinations that characterizes Dark Avengers and makes the book so likable. We're not back to usual levels of quality yet, but we're getting there.

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7.1
Dark Avengers #11

Nov 18, 2009

By the end of this issue, though, I felt the same way I feel about a number of Bendis efforts, that not a whole lot had happened over the course of it. This issue does feel like a product of decompression, and it doesn't even have its cast or ongoing plot threads to fall back on. With a couple months left until Siege rocks the Avengers world, this one feels an awful lot like filler.

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7.6
Dark Avengers #16

May 12, 2010

Dark Avengers #16 isn't the oversized, heartfelt celebration of the title that New Avengers Finale was (or even the succinct mission statement completion that Mighty Avengers #36 served as). But then, it's not supposed to be. Dark Avengers was clearly a concept that couldn't last forever, and a messy, cataclysmic finish to these characters' time as "heroes" just about feels right for them.

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6.4
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1

Mar 4, 2009

It's a shame that DR: Fantastic Four is Hickman's unofficial first F4 book, because it's underwhelming. I suppose there's a fair chance he's saving all the big, Internet-breaking ideas for the next issue and these are just the warm-up act, but regardless, I wasn't too impressed with this one.

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6.3
Dark Reign: New Nation #1

Dec 17, 2008

Hit or miss for the project as a whole, then. There are some sleepy points, but none of the high points really offset them (or the price tag). If you decide to splurge, though, there are some fun moments to be had with the glimpses into Marvel's future.

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6.8
Dark Reign: The Cabal #1

Apr 29, 2009

Dark Reign: The Cabal definitely has its moments, but for the most part any reader mildly interested in the group or the "Dark Reign" drive could easily miss this one-shot and still be in the know. Those who do fork over their hard-earned $3.99 will find some great artwork and a fun story or two amidst a worrying number of duds.

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6.9
Dark Reign: The List - Secret Warriors #1

Oct 7, 2009

Your enjoyment of Dark Reign: The List - Secret Warriors depends largely on your ability to look past the mismatched art and try your best to enjoy what's essentially a second helping of Secret Warriors this month. Personally, I'm disappointed that the greatness towards the end of this book couldn't be fully realized visually by the chosen art team, and it inhibits my overall feelings towards the effort.

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7.1
Dark Reign: The List - The Hulk #1

Oct 21, 2009

I'll give The List: Hulk credit for playing by the rules of this mini-event and offering up a tale that satisfies both parts of its title. However, there's no denying this mostly solid story errs on the side of the sparse and doesn't pack quite the punch of other installments.

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9.0
Dark Reign: The List - Punisher #1

Oct 28, 2009

I'm prepared to call this the best List entry of them all. It's true to its lead character while using the remit of the event to tell a compelling story which stands on its own, but also works well in bringing its home book to new places. It's a moot point by now to flag up how The List pieces really have no unifying through-line, but honestly, it resulted in this. It was all worth it.

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8.0
Dark Reign: The List: Daredevil #1

Sep 16, 2009

If you're following The List event and don't read Daredevil monthly, you might be a bit lost on this one. But Dark Reign: The List - Daredevil is a good, solid read for those who've been following the core series, and if nothing else assures us that the book's still in good hands and has some spectacular places to go moving forward.

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7.4
Dark Reign: The List: X-Men #1

Sep 23, 2009

That all makes Dark Reign: The List - X-Men a hard one to give a solid recommendation. It's a perfectly fine issue of X-Men goodness, but readers buying into The List as it's being marketed might not find enough of a connection to "Dark Reign" or the Cabal. Still, a solid effort by this creative team.

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7.8
Dark Wolverine #82

Jan 20, 2010

For much of its run, Dark Wolverine has been a pleasant surprise with some impressive characterization. This issue continues the trend and, if nothing else, makes a case for an ongoing Daken series long after Osborn's Dark Reign has ended.

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5.8
Dark Wolverine #83

Feb 24, 2010

But ultimately, Dark Wolverine #83 doesn't capitalize on the promise of the first Siege tie-in issue. The storyline comes off forced and unnatural for the character of Daken, and one can't help but feel that there are better uses for him.

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8.5
Dark X-Men #1

Nov 11, 2009

I never thought I'd end this review by saying you should read Dark X-Men #1. Maybe it's "Dark Reign" fatigue, but I just wasn't looking forward to this one. As it turns out, though, Dark X-Men is a potent little combination of the Captain Britain craziness and the Thunderbolts team dynamics. I'm not sure how long the book would last as an ongoing, but if this were the general thrust of it, I'd be on board for the long haul.

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8.5
Dark X-Men #3

Jan 13, 2010

As shocked as I am to report this, Dark X-Men has been a quiet joy to read so far. Don't let the dark, brooding Simone Bianchi covers fool you - this is a bouncy, light, fun angle on "Dark Reign," one that relishes its rich characters and toys with its premise in exciting ways.

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8.4
Dark X-Men #4

Feb 10, 2010

And maybe it's those little pieces that make the issue seem like so much more. Dark X-Men #4 is a rewarding reading experience, one that builds on what's come before in the series and even as the penultimate piece, brings new things to the table. I've been saying every month that the series is "a pleasant surprise," but no longer - by now I sort of expect it to be this good.

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4.5
Dark X-Men: The Beginning #2

Jul 29, 2009

If you'd hoped that the chain of poor X-Men anthology issues would be broken by introducing the motley crew of Dark X-Men, that's clearly not the case. Issue #2 proves that there's little to nothing a behind-the-scenes recruitment drive can add to the "Utopia" crossover, especially since this new team has already debuted and their answers to Osborn's invitations are already set in stone.

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4.6
Dark X-Men: The Confession #1

Sep 23, 2009

Dark X-Men: The Confession is an issue plagued by problems from top to bottom. Casual fans aren't going to care very much about the inconsequential, wafer-thin plot, and hardcore readers will find a woeful lack of stimulation in what basically amounts to a Cyclops and Emma Frost installment of Marvel's "encyclopedia-esque" Saga series priced at $3.99. It does nothing to benefit its lead characters, and seems to actively damage its heroine. The sooner this whole thing can be swept under the rug, the better off Scott, Emma, and their fans will be.

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7.3
Dazzler #1

May 26, 2010

Those original issues of Dazzler are full of off-the-wall lunacy, to be sure (at the end of the day, it's about a disco artist regularly dragged into the world of superheroics against her will -- what else can you expect?), but at the heart is a solid character who proved she could stand on her own well before she ever officially joined the ranks of her fellow mutants in Uncanny X-Men, making her a great candidate to show off the themes central to the "Women of Marvel" drive. Thankfully, McCann ports that aspect of Dazzler over to his one shot as well, always keep his eye on Ali's determination and heroism. Like her '80s solo title, the script of Dazzler #1 may veer into the goofy from time to time, but that's part of its appeal; most readers who pick up Dazzler #1 are expecting it. And what they'll find is a story written by a creator who shares the same love for the character as her diehards. As niche fan appeal projects go, it's a strong if superfluous effort.

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7.0
DC Universe Legacies #2

Jun 16, 2010

DC Universe Legacies is not the cream of the crop this week, but it has something to offer anyone hoping for a richer knowledge of the sometimes overwhelming and convoluted DC continuity.

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8.4
DC Universe Zero #1

Apr 30, 2008

I will say this, however: after a year of glaring missteps lessened only incrementally by Batman and Green Lantern, I'm cautiously optimistic that maybe, perhaps, hopefully DC is getting its act together and doing something with their enviable properties that's interesting and worthwhile. DCU #0 has, at the very least, guaranteed I'll pick up the first issue of each series it's peddling, and I imagine that's all DC could ask for out of it.

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7.6
Deadpool (2008) #8

Mar 4, 2009

I'll admit I had my prejudice, but Deadpool #8 was a nice surprise. At the very least, it looks like "Magnum Opus" won't be like last year's "Original Sin" crossover between Wolverine: Origins and X-Men: Legacy, where the title pulling all the weight was evident from the start. A promising beginning, to say the least.

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7.1
Deadpool (2008) #9

Apr 1, 2009

What it boils down to, then, is that Deadpool fans are probably ecstatic over his treatment in this storyline, while T-Bolts readers may be bristling over the newly-minted team's ineptitude in a mission against someone so brazenly ridiculous. Still, as an issue Deadpool #9 does what it says on the box and provides some chuckles and cleverness along the way.

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8.0
Deadpool (2008) #900

Oct 14, 2009

The other stories have their notable moments as well. Charlie Huston's final tale "One Down" has some absolutely beautiful art by Kyle Baker, and Mike Benson's "Shrunken Master" verges more toward the chilling side of Deadpool, an angle of the character that's often underutilized. As I said, no story in this collection is outright terrible, and if you're a fan of Deadpool, you'll find a lot to like. There's also a fair amount of appeal for casual fans looking to get on the Deadpool bandwagon but may be put off by the deluge of recent material. Surprisingly enough, a third Deadpool book could work if it keeps up this level of quality.

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7.8
Deadpool and Cable #25

Apr 7, 2010

Is it essential reading for Cable, "Messiah Complex," or "Second Coming?" No. But Deadpool & Cable #25 is a well written book, one that will certainly appeal to fans of the characters, and those who miss their co-headlining title. It's also notable for its ability to stand out among the deluge of Deadpool material on the stands, and succeeding in being a straight, no-frills, fun read.

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6.3
Detective Comics #839

Dec 19, 2007

Mercifully, "The Resurrection..." was less than two months long. If it'd been as long and involved as past Bat crossovers, I shudder to think what we might've ended up with. Still, at seven parts the story is overlong and this final installment proves what we've suspected the whole time: there wasn't much of a point.

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8.1
Detective Comics #848

Sep 3, 2008

Dini's Detective storyline makes a considerable jump in quality and proves itself to be a real contender with this issue. Any real effect either way on "R.I.P." remains to be seen, but we've got a fun, intense story to enjoy while we're waiting for that answer.

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9.0
Detective Comics #856

Aug 26, 2009

Detective Comics is a bit steeped in winding DC continuity and it's a bit on the nose in places, but I'm willing to forgive all that in light of the strong, capable lead heroine and the dazzling artwork. An absolute winner.

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8.9
Detective Comics #857

Sep 23, 2009

And perhaps that's the beauty of what Detective Comics has become under Rucka. His upstart hero Kate is thrust into persona-defining stock situations, filling issues with a sense of freshness you can't really capture with, say, Wonder Woman or Black Canary, characters who are decades old. And coupled with J. H. Williams's breathtaking accounts of what would otherwise be labeled "banal," Detective contains a kinetic buzz that echos what Kate feels while wearing the cowl. I actually feel something when I read Rucka and Williams's Detective Comics, and that's ultimate what elevates it above a simple "by-the-numbers" superhero book.

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8.8
Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural #1

Oct 7, 2009

Doctor Voodoo #1 works as an inaugural issue for all these reasons, but it's important not to forget that Remender sets the rest of the series up exceedingly well here. There are a number of questions that still remain unanswered about this new character. Why would the Eye of Agamotto chose him when there are more qualified applicants poking around the Marvel U? How long can he really sustain this level of involvement in the mystic arts as well as his personal life? And what effect does the twist in the closing pages have on the answers to these questions? As long as this high level of quality remains in this series, I'll be around to find out.

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7.4
Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural #2

Nov 4, 2009

But that's not to say this issue of Doctor Voodoo is bad. If you can take the things I mentioned in stride, there's some fun to be had. Remender injects in this issue a great extended flashback scene that reintroduces the sibling theme that's always linked to Jericho, but in a new way. And Jefte Palo is once again the quiet strength of the title, with some absolutely brilliant pencils and inspired creations. In truth, I actually liked Doctor Voodoo #2 quite a bit. But there's a couple of wrinkles along the way that prevent me from giving it the same wholehearted recommendation that I gave the initial issue.

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8.6
Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural #4

Jan 20, 2010

It's never easy when a book you love gets the axe, and it's even worse when it seems like it's hitting its stride after the fact. And while Jericho Drumm could certainly have a place somewhere in whatever Avengers permutation emerges out of Siege, I'm going to miss Remender's inspired handling of the former D-lister who's quickly becoming a heavy hitter in the Marvel U.

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6.2
End League #2

Mar 5, 2008

It's funny, but I don't even know how to rate this book. I'm hesitant to say it's bad because even after two readings, I really feel like I'm missing the joke. There's definitely something here, but exactly what eludes me.

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7.0
Eternals #7

Jan 7, 2009

If you're a reader of Eternals, you probably won't bat an eye when this issue comes along, but if you're one of the X-fans poking his head around the corner to see what's going on, you're going to be confused and put off. If that's the case, perhaps wait for next issue to take the Eternals plunge.

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6.8
Exiles #100

Dec 19, 2007

Exiles #100 ends with a reprint of Exiles #1, and I feel that's a poor move. Next month the book will be seeing a second #1, but I highly doubt the new one will deliver nearly as much promise and excitement as the the first did six years ago.

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7.6
Exiles Vol. 2 #1

Apr 8, 2009

There's definitely a charm to Jeff Parker's back-to-basics approach to Exiles and the recognizable band of new heroes. The underlying questions of the setup coupled with a friendly, inviting attitude towards the concept results in an enjoyable first issue that's a good indication of the rest of the series. Time will tell if this will be more successful than the last outing, but Exiles is shaping up to be a good time.

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8.8
Fantastic Four #556

Apr 9, 2008

After a leisurely start, Fantastic Four has picked up some major steam in the action department. Those who roll their eyes at the very mention of Mark Millar won't be converted, but for most there's a good time to be had in this title for the first time in a while.

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8.9
Fantastic Four #558

Jun 25, 2008

Very easily the high point of Millar and Hitch's run so far. A few things have been set up quite nicely and for the first time in my comic reading career, I'm feverishly anticipating the next issue of Fantastic Four. That's got to count for something.

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8.4
Fantastic Four #560

Sep 24, 2008

Fantastic Four is one of those books that I enjoy reading so much that I'm willing to let a minor slip-up or two slide. Fan reception and sales on Fantastic Four is decidedly muted, and that's a shame because it's easily the best Mark Millar product on the stands.

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7.4
Fantastic Four #563

Jan 28, 2009

Largely a foundation issue, then. There's no doubt in my mind that Millar has some great stories still left to tell in his run on the title, but I can't help noticing this one is a bit sleepier than usual.

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5.8
Fantastic Four #565

Mar 25, 2009

Looking at the big picture, issue #565 is probably destined to become a curious footnote in Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch's run of better-than-average Fantastic Four comics, but that doesn't excuse any of its faults. The story is a mess, and the art is serviceable if uninspired. Next issue begins the promised "Master of Doom" storyline, and if this issue's teaser is anything to judge by, it's going to be a return to form for the book. I'll certainly be waiting anxiously for it to wash the bad taste of this issue out of my mouth.

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7.1
Fantastic Four #566

May 20, 2009

So it's a mixed bag, then. Fantastic Four #566 is likely to impress the first time you crack it and offers a decent first part of a story, but falters upon repeat readings and analytical dissection.

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7.7
Fantastic Four #567

Jun 10, 2009

No doubt this kind of thing is going to piss some fans off. If you can't stand Millar's "Old Man Logan" style whimsical alternate futures and off-the-charts cruelty and violence just for the sake of it, this probably isn't going to be your idea of a good time. But if you can do without nitpicking the thing to death, FF #567 is a funny little curio and does its thing as well as can be expected.

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6.5
Fantastic Four #568

Jul 1, 2009

It's a shame Millar and Hitch's controversial run on Fantastic Four is being finished off in this manner. The ideas are there, the story is strong enough, but for this issue the smooth execution just isn't there.

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7.2
Fantastic Four #569

Jul 29, 2009

Besides being a little too jammed full, stylistically there isn't a whole lot wrong with Fantastic Four #569. But for longtime readers, there's the sneaking suspicion that we've both been here and done that before. Regardless, considering the trajectory of the Millar/Hitch era as it wound down (and considering Millar and Hitch are only really present in spirit), it's better than I had expected.

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8.0
Fantastic Four #570

Aug 26, 2009

So it's a bit out with the new, in with the old when it comes to Hickman's Fantastic Four. He seeks to revitalize the title by bringing it back to what always made it work, and as far as the first issue goes, he's succeeding.

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8.9
Fantastic Four #572

Oct 28, 2009

Hickman's Fantastic Four is quickly becoming one of the more memorable runs on the title, and easily deserves mention in the same sentence as Waid and 'Ringo and, if the current level of quality persists for years to come, perhaps even Lee and Kirby.

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5.8
Fantastic Four #573

Nov 25, 2009

Jonathan Hickman looked to be off to a strong start on FF, but this one is mostly a misstep. It's more of a utility issue than anything, meant to complete a job and move on to other things. Unfortunately that results in a mediocre issue of this book, and I had hoped that Hickman's arrival meant we wouldn't have to suffer through more of those.

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7.0
Fantastic Four: True Story #1

Jul 30, 2008

It's a little left of center, sure, but there are things to like about FF: True Story. If I'm being honest, it hasn't really given a solid reason for its existence, but its unique brand of charm and Cornell's sense of humor will surely entice some readers.

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7.4
Final Crisis #1

May 28, 2008

I'm willing to be forgiving since this is issue #1 and as such needs to be the launchpad for most, if not all, of the threads that will run through the remainder of the event, but I'm deeply cautious that this thing has the potential to rocket the number of hits Wikipedia receives from my IP address through the roof, and that's not a very appetizing prospect.

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5.2
Final Crisis #7

Jan 28, 2009

On some level, I have to respect Grant Morrison for using the prototypical "comic book event" to sell something like this. It blatantly refuses to adhere to the established rules that have proved to work for 25 years and tries something different altogether. In an honest moment, I'll admit that counts for something; a noteworthy misstep is better than a story that doesn't even attempt to break new ground any day. But Final Crisis #7 is still a misstep all the same, and with its intentionally confusing, overstuffed script, I find it hard to believe anyone but the most devout Morrison fans will be tossing around hyperbolic terms like "work of unfettered genius" in regards to this issue anytime soon.

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7.3
GeNext #1

May 14, 2008

Still, it's not off to a bad start. Surprisingly, this isn't just a project for the Claremont diehards. And it holds the dubious honor of being the most competent "next generation" X-Men titles on the stands right now, Young X-Men being what it is. A perfectly decent debut issue.

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7.0
Ghost Rider (2006) #28

Oct 15, 2008

Next issue is gearing up to be more all-out insanity, and issue #28 is just the calm before the storm. But Aaron manages to provide some character work and build the intrigue before things fly entirely off the rails.

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8.0
Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1

May 26, 2008

Still, I personally find it hard to overcome my own X-fanboy leanings. I definitely see how some X-Men fans will squee themselves into oblivion over this issue, but speaking as a decades-long fan, there are things that trip it up along the way for me. And ultimately, I don't feel that Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men sets the bar that all future X-Men books need to meet or risk being branded a failure. It does, however, manage to tie a nice ribbon on the whole thing and see its threads through to their logical conclusions, and for a storyline that's meant to be accessible by definition, that should be just fine for most readers.

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9.4
Green Lantern (2005) #27

Jan 30, 2008

The Sinestro Corps War spills onto Earth.

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8.9
Green Lantern (2005) #46

Sep 30, 2009

I was initially underwhelmed at GL's "Blackest Night" offerings, which started as an average battle scene on earth. I never imagined it'd grow to this level, but I'm very thankful it did. Add issue #46 of this title to Geoff Johns's growing list of Green Lantern universe masterpieces.

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7.3
Green Lantern Corps #19

Dec 12, 2007

It's not nearly as eventful as it has been recently, and it's definitely not a necessary addition to your library if you don't really care about anyone besides Hal Jordan, but "The Sinestro Corps War" epilogue in this month's Green Lantern Corps won't disappoint Corps fans.

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5.0
Green Lantern Corps #22

Mar 12, 2008

The good news is that this was just a two issue break from the main story, and there's more Mogul and Sinestro Corps fallout in the next issue. But honestly, you could pass this issue (and the last for that matter) and not have missed very much. Or, actually, anything at all.

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8.3
Green Lantern Corps #34

Mar 11, 2009

Leading up to "Blackest Night," Green Lantern Corps is receiving a dizzying degree of importance and thrust. From the great characterization to the exciting additions to the line, GLC is in top form.

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8.8
Green Lantern Corps #39

Aug 12, 2009

We're only one month into the "Blackest Night" storyline, but I already like Green Lantern Corps' addition to the plot more than either Green Lantern or the Blackest Night mini. Tomasi and Gleason have a great title on their hands with brilliantly fleshed out characters and some truly awesome story potential.

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9.1
Green Lantern Corps #47

Apr 28, 2010

Green Lantern Corps #47 is the creative team's farewell to the book as the Green Lantern franchise gets a shake-up coming out of "Blackest Night," and I can't imagine a better sendoff than this - a loving survey of the world they've created and the lush cast of characters that populate it.

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7.7
Green Lantern Corps #48

May 26, 2010

Regular fans of GLC will be happy to see their best-loved title is in good hands with the new creative team. Their first issue on board is a good mix of plot developments, character moments, and hints at the future.

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8.7
Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #19

Oct 28, 2009

Abnett and Lanning craft a terrific tale that has been building for quite some time. Even with Realm of Kings in the offing, I'm more interested in the fallout of this issue than anything else going on in the cosmic section of Marvel. Actually, let's do away with the "cosmic" qualifier to that last sentence – Guardians is the first comic I read every Wednesday it comes out and so should you.

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7.7
Hawkeye & Mockingbird #1

Jun 3, 2010

Is Hawkeye & Mockingbird #1 a groundbreaking work? No, but it fits well within "The Heroic Age" initiative, providing some old-fashioned superheroics and enough interpersonal drama to keep it engaging along the way. McCann lays the groundwork for what could turn out to be a very rewarding examination of two heroes struggling to make it work in the midst of the Marvel Universe's craziness.

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7.2
House of Mystery #1

May 7, 2008

If seeming impenetrability frustrates you, a visit to the House Of Mystery might not be the best idea. But if you're patient, this could be a pretty good addition to the fledging Vertigo imprint.

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7.8
Hulk (2008) #1

Jan 9, 2008

Again, I was pleasantly surprised. It's not the home-run career validation Loeb might need to erase the his recent missteps on books like Wolverine and The Ultimates 3, but Hulk is shaping up to be a fun little ride.

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6.7
Hulk Vs. Hercules: When Titans Collide #1

Apr 23, 2008

I'm sure there's a small portion of fandom who'll love a book that amounts to "Hulk's Romp Thru Greek Mythology!" but I was mostly bored. Hulk Vs. Hercules may, in some ways, be tied to Incredible Hercules, but none of the fun or humor translated over. You won't miss much by passing this one by.

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7.8
I, Zombie #2

Jun 3, 2010

Roberson is clearly employing a slow build approach to the scripting landscape of I, Zombie. It's an enjoyable read on an issue-to-issue basis, features some good characters, and has some of the best artwork of any new Vertigo book. While others like Sweet Tooth and American Vampire may have gotten off to a quicker, more engaging start, I, Zombie has more than enough going for it to keep it one to watch.

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9.1
Immortal Iron Fist #10

Nov 7, 2007

I can't say this enough: The Immortal Iron Fist is one of the top five best books on the shelves month in and month out. The scripts are top-notch, the art matches perfectly, and the Iron Fist has slowly transformed into a character I'm actually excited to read about every issue. Honestly, I feel like we're in the middle of a run that will be looked back upon decades from now as a classic. There have only been ten issues, find a trade paperback or an eBay auction. I'm not kidding.

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8.4
Immortal Iron Fist #13

Mar 19, 2008

Say what you want about this issue, it got me very excited for the climax next issue. Nine-part stories (counting the Annual and the Green Mist one-shot) are deeply inadvisable, but "Seven Capital Cities..." has never once felt like it dragged. This is as close to a down issue as it's likely to get, and even then it's still a competent effort with more than a few redeeming qualities.

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7.0
Immortal Iron Fist #15

May 28, 2008

Still, not up to the book's usual standards. Most will probably be thankful for the breather after the "Capital Cities" arc that dominated Immortal's world for over a year, but this one probably isn't necessary reading material.

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8.6
Immortal Iron Fist #16

Jun 25, 2008

It's a shame to see Fraction leave Immortal, but he gave it a send-off that matched the level of quality the book's enjoyed for the better part of its run. Some really first class stuff here.

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7.5
Immortal Iron Fist #18

Aug 27, 2008

The dedicated will be happy to know Iron Fist is in eminently capable hands with Duane Swiercynski. If you've loved this title all along, there's no reason to abandon ship.

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9.6
Incredible Hercules #114

Feb 20, 2008

A confession: I really wasn't looking forward to reading Incredible Hercules this week. Another confession: it'll be at the top of my pile next month. I never, ever would have guessed that the title would've improved so drastically with such a risky overhaul.

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9.6
Incredible Hercules #115

Mar 19, 2008

Everything about Incredible Hercules has been pitch perfect for the past couple issues. If it continues this surprisingly stellar trend, the book deserves to be around for a very long time.

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8.8
Incredible Hercules #116

Apr 16, 2008

I'll admit, I'm wasn't exactly drooling with anticipation for the upcoming "Sacred Invasion," which features Herc tangling with Skrull deities, but Incredible Hercules has more than proven it's capable of handling a screwy story and pulling it off. Herc is as incredible as ever.

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8.3
Incredible Hercules #118

Jun 18, 2008

Another consistent issue from Incredible Hercules. It seems like this title can do no wrong, even when is sort of does.

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8.5
Incredible Hercules #119

Jul 16, 2008

I feel like Incredible Hercules has developed itself a stock closing paragraph on IGN by virtue of consistency. It's chock full of (mostly) dumb fun with more than a couple laughs tossed in for good measure. Very easily one of the most solid performers in the Marvel catalogue.

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8.7
Incredible Hercules #120

Aug 20, 2008

Business as usual for Incredible Hercules, the lovable underdog. Probably not hugely important to the overarching Secret Invasion storyline, but to focus on that misses the point and overlooks a fun, engaging superhero read.

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7.2
Incredible Hercules #121

Sep 17, 2008

Like I said, I have a feeling that "Love & War" is supposed to be nothing more than dumb fun, but unfortunately this issue delivers more heavily on the former, and less on the latter.

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6.8
Incredible Hercules #122

Oct 29, 2008

Herc is still a favorite series of mine, but I'm not loving it recently. Give me sex, give me low-brow, but give me a little brains with it too. This issue just comes off soulless, an adjective I would have never slapped on the book before.

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7.6
Incredible Hercules #125

Jan 28, 2009

Nine times out of ten, alternate reality stories beg you not to take them seriously because they're usually one-off ideas that will eventually get left behind as the title moves along. Incredible Hercules #125 manages to get some mileage out of the concept and tell a fun, creative story along the way. It's nice to see the book back on form.

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5.0
Incredible Hulk (2009) #600

Jul 22, 2009

Where Incredible Hulk #600 should have been a towering testament to Bruce Banner's longevity and appeal, it's mostly just fluff stories pencilled reasonably well. If you're an old-school Hulk fan hoping that issue #600 might signal a juncture where you can begin following the character Rulk-free, sorry. No dice.

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8.6
Invincible Iron Man #3

Jul 9, 2008

I expected to like Invincible Iron Man based on Fraction's knack for dialogue alone, but I didn't expect to be having so much fun with it. If any book is going to save Iron Man's image after the virtual character sabotage that was Civil War, this will be the one to do it.

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8.3
Invincible Iron Man #4

Aug 6, 2008

Art aside, Invincible Iron Man continues to be a solid read. From the first issue Matt Fraction has demonstrated a mastery over all aspects of being Tony Stark while keeping the pages turning, and the book doesn't seem to show signs of letting up any time soon.

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8.5
Invincible Iron Man #5

Sep 3, 2008

Invincible Iron Man is probably the best thing that could've happened to the character post-Civil War. It paints him as a bona fide hero and brilliant industrialist, and goes a long way in repairing the character sabotage that's still occurring even today in certain parts of the Marvel Universe. It's refreshing to see someone treat Tony Stark with respect and reverence.

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8.8
Invincible Iron Man #6

Oct 8, 2008

As the latest in the string of renumbering/relaunching tactics Marvel has employed recently, Invincible Iron Man at least makes a case for itself as a title deserving it. Whether you like the character or not, the book is edgy and engaging enough to suck almost any reader in. When it comes to first-class superheroics with a bit of a twist, it doesn't get much better than this title.

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9.0
Invincible Iron Man #7

Nov 5, 2008

Iron Man fans, Spider-Man fans, Marvel Universe fans - I really can't think of many demographics to which I wouldn't give an unqualified recommendation. Invincible Iron Man #7 is one of the better books I've read in the past few months, maybe all year. It very well could be the best $3 you spend this week, plain and simple.

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8.7
Invincible Iron Man #9

Jan 7, 2009

It seems like almost every Invincible Iron Man script succeeds in blowing me away these days, and this is no different. "Dark Reign" has given Fraction's brain a ton of viable story options and for readers of this book, from the looks of things it's going to be quite a fun ride for the next year or so.

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8.7
Invincible Iron Man #10

Feb 4, 2009

Marvel did a good thing limiting Tony Stark's exposure following Secret Invasion. Besides drumming up more interest in the character, it also puts a lot of weight on Invincible Iron Man as essentially the only place to find the high-profile hero, and brings more attention to Matt Fraction's masterful stories. It's a title that's always reliable and always entertaining.

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7.4
Invincible Iron Man #11

Mar 11, 2009

But there's no getting around the fact that issue #11 isn't up to the title's usual standards, and that's the bottom line. It looks as though this sleepy issue's developments will pay off next month, but until then we'll have to starve a little longer for a proper shot of the Invincible Fraction genius we're used to.

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8.8
Invincible Iron Man #12

Apr 1, 2009

It's reassuring to see Invincible Iron Man back on its game and in top form. As the storyline develops, it's looking like this book is as crucial to the "Dark Reign" tapestry as the bigger players in the Avengers franchise.

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8.8
Invincible Iron Man #13

May 6, 2009

There are some things I'll always trust, and in the span of 13 issues, the reliable quality of Invincible Iron Man has joined the list. Even though "decompressed" story arcs longer than four issues went out of style years ago, Matt Fraction proves they can still work if the material warrants it.

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8.5
Invincible Iron Man #16

Aug 5, 2009

The "part nine" tag on the cover of this book might be off-putting to some and mentally atrophying to longtime readers, but the content inside is still the first-rate stuff we've come to expect from Invincible Iron Man. Fraction has a great cast of characters on his hands here and continues to find ways to capitalize on Tony's new status quo.

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8.0
Invincible Iron Man #26

May 19, 2010

The third year of Invincible Iron Man rockets into the future with a new purpose, a different angle, and yes, a different Iron Man upgrade. While the core of the series is still recognizable, I'm having fun getting to know the "new" man inside the armor as much as the armor itself.

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7.5
Invincible Iron Man #27

Jun 9, 2010

The complaints and compliments about Salvador Larroca's artwork are trivial by this point, as they're all largely the same here as they have been since the series began. Unfortunately this issue involves a lot of talking heads and Larroca's photoreferencing is emphasized. There are also a few instances of repeated panels, a comics pet peeve of mine that is often horrendously distracting. Without a punchy Fraction script to boost it up, most of this issue is a little sleepy, even if its developments do prove to be critical in the coming months. It's one that you should probably read, but perhaps not the first one you'll pluck from the stack this week.

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8.5
Justice League: Generation Lost #3

Jun 9, 2010

Given the premise, the creative team, and the fact that it was bolted onto the side of "Brightest Day," I had my reservations about Generation Lost. But I'm happy to report it's probably the biggest surprise coming out of "Brightest Day," and the writers have been able to keep the quality steady for three straight issues. With the new addition to the cast, this book has made the jump to one of the first things I'll be reading every two weeks.

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7.3
Justice Society of America #13

Feb 27, 2008

The quality and necessity of a JSA/Kingdom Come crossover is debatable, but suffice it to say that Justice Society has seen better days. However, #13 is not a terrible issue by any stretch, and indeed actually improves on its predecessors by giving a clear villain to work against.

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6.9
Justice Society of America #14

Apr 9, 2008

I'm growing very weary of Justice Society. As much as I'm warming up to the KC Superman in its ranks, the fact that a remixed version of his story is taking pages that should rightfully feature character development and exciting plots is just irritating.

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7.7
Justice Society of America #30

Aug 26, 2009

At lot of readers, I'm sure, grimaced at the departure of Geoff Johns from these pages. But two issues in, it's clear Willingham and Sturges have a clear goal for these characters and they're managing to tell a good opening story.

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7.9
Justice Society of America #31

Sep 30, 2009

The JSA are headed for a big shake-up when the team splits in two, but for now readers are being treated to an expert handling of the team, with a back-to-basics style and enough fun touches to keep it fresh.

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7.5
Last Defenders #1

Mar 12, 2008

When it comes down to it, The Last Defenders will be greatly helped if you have no prior expectations coming into it. This isn't going to be New Avengers, Jr. There's a good story underneath, just be receptive to it and know what you're getting into.

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7.3
Last Defenders #2

Apr 9, 2008

The other side of the coin, of course, is that this is going to appeal to a very specific type of reader -- presumably those with a taste for the old-school. Yes, it co-stars She-Hulk, and god knows it's a more interesting take on Jen Walters than what's been going on in her solo title, but Last Defenders is by no means an earth-shattering, Skrull-infested, internet-bisecting event. You'll know if it's up your alley by your reaction to that last sentence. If you're looking for a perfectly acceptable superheroing piece with Silver Age Marvel sensibilities, here's Last Defenders for you.

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8.4
Legion of Super-Heroes (2004) #37

Dec 29, 2007

So DC has a minor success on its hands here. There's promise that the Legion can and will become a great little book. As far as I'm concerned, Jim Shooter's controversial return to DC was definitely a step in the right direction.

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7.2
Manhunter #35

Oct 1, 2008

The book is certainly still a favorite of mine, but there's no denying it's on a bit of a down swing at the moment. Marc Andreyko's style and scripting just about saves the issue and keeps it a smooth, enjoyable read on the surface, but the subject matter isn't a great fit for the book.

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8.3
Marvel 1985 #2

Jun 25, 2008

1985 is certainly strange, but certainly intriguing. Some of the initial magic might've worn off a bit, but it's definitely occupying its own niche and it's off-beat enough to warrant a look.

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9.0
Marvel 1985 #3

Jul 16, 2008

Anyone who's ignored 1985 as just a novelty series to appease a Millar whim might want to give it another look. There's more going on in these pages than the reaction of some senior citizens to finding the Sandman in their back yard.

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7.2
Marvel 1985 #4

Aug 20, 2008

If we're being honest, I don't see this as a fatal blow to the book's momentum, or a sign that it's all downhill from here. Quite the opposite, in fact: the final pages seem to suggest a return to what made the first half of the book so enjoyable. It's just that issue #4 of 1985 suffers from the typical mid-storyline slump while the writer builds the bridge from the beginning to the end. Good news for readers, though: I think this could potentially be the worst issue of the series, and when even that is still okay, it's a good indication.

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7.6
Marvel 1985 #5

Sep 24, 2008

1985 continues to be an odd but deeply enjoyable experience. Minor flaws aside, this issue keeps the book's streak of defying expectations alive.

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4.6
Mighty Avengers #8

Jan 30, 2008

A real waste of an issue all around, but unfortunately it was necessary in order to move the team out of their rut and into something we haven't already heard about, which is more or less promised next issue. It's a shame Mark Bagley's last Marvel work before his DC exclusive contract kicks in is this.

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7.2
Mighty Avengers #9

Feb 20, 2008

It's absolutely possible to read Mighty Avengers #9 and thoroughly enjoy it for what it is: an uncomplicated, fun superhero book. All the pieces are at least competently done. I just have to wonder what the point of the title is meant to be.

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7.3
Mighty Avengers #11

Mar 26, 2008

Nagging problems crop up everywhere in Mighty Avengers #11. If it sounds like I'm being hard on the book, bear in mind the rating I'm giving it correlates to a "Decent." And yes, there is an entertaining story buried somewhere here about a super-team facing down a very iconic villain. But there are so many things standing in the way of the story's overall effectiveness that it's hard to enjoy it without actively dumbing yourself down. Mighty Avengers is one of those books I really want to like, but it's teetered on the edge of quality for so long now and it's just frustrating to see it fall short.

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5.0
Mighty Avengers #14

May 21, 2008

The inexplicable attention to him (and strange "twist" ending) leads me to believe that the Sentry is destined to play a bigger role in the event later, but him being a superpowered deus ex machina is rarely satisfying in the way writers seem to think it is. Truthfully, the issue does carry a sense of existing a vehicle to get the character into position for a larger concept down the road (especially because it's not the first time we've seen that flashback sequence in the pages of an Avengers book), I'm just not convinced by Mighty #14 that it's going to be especially interesting. It's become increasingly apparent to me that the Sentry works best in small doses and is not a strong enough concept to support a worthwhile story on his own. This issue doesn't hurt my argument.

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8.3
Mighty Avengers #16

Jul 16, 2008

But still, all told it's got to go down as another winner in the string of great issues the Avengers books have enjoyed lately. Along with Spider-Woman, Elektra is probably one of the characters most deserving of this type of Secret Invasion spotlight issue, and Bendis does the character and event a great service while being sure not to give everything away. Dedicated fans should have a blast.

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4.1
Mighty Avengers #19

Oct 15, 2008

Some of the Secret Invasion tie-in issues have been minimally significant, but at least mildly interesting. Mighty Avengers #19 not only wastes its pages with continuity errors and rehashed material, it also fails to do anything compelling with either of the characters in its power. The pictures aren't even nice to look at. Skippable, in every sense of the word.

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7.4
Mighty Avengers #20

Dec 17, 2008

The thing about a book like Mighty #20 that makes it so hard to grade is that there are very clear, defined peaks and valleys. Bendis's handling of Hank Pym is as solid as they come, but to me his Janet portrayal is a little less than respectful. Perhaps it's being saved for the Requiem one-shot down the line, but it comes off as a misstep. Your enjoyment of the issue may depend on which character you find yourself caring about more.

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7.4
Mighty Avengers #21

Jan 21, 2009

But the bottom line is, Mighty Avengers #21 could make use of a Pym Pocket, because it tries to cram too much stuff into too small a space. Being overambitious is much, much better than being boring, though, and there are some isolated glimmers of potential in this new team and Slott's new setup. Once it finds its rhythm, the new iteration of Mighty should be one to watch.

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7.7
Mighty Avengers #22

Feb 25, 2009

I didn't expect to enjoy this issue of Mighty Avengers as much as I did. Thankfully, Dan Slott seems to be promptly hitting his stride and if the pattern continues, we'll have a great addition to the Avengers line on our hands.

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8.4
Mighty Avengers #24

Apr 22, 2009

Things are looking up for Mighty Avengers, as the title has unexpectedly become a book I'm going to look forward to every month. It took a little time, but with this issue Dan Slott has begun crafting the kind of Avengers book we all expected out of him.

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8.5
Mighty Avengers #25

Jun 3, 2009

Art blip aside (and seriously, it's not a major one), another solid outing for Mighty Avengers. Dan Slott's Mightiest Also-Rans are quickly becoming the Avengers team to watch if you're concerned with quality and story, or just enjoy a proper superhero romp.

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7.8
Mighty Avengers #26

Jun 17, 2009

Art issues aside, this is another great installment from Mighty Avengers, a book that's continually surprised me. There's a lot to like in these pages for hardcore Avengers fans as well as readers who gravitate to the "newer" teams in the franchise.

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7.9
Mighty Avengers #27

Jul 15, 2009

Mighty Avengers has quickly become the picture of consistency. Story arc titles are very clearly for trade paperback purposes only, as Slott's plotline has been one long, meandering tale. That tactic only adds to the old-school appeal of this book, and I can't imagine anyone looking for refuge from "Dark Reign" won't find something to like in these pages.

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7.5
Mighty Avengers #28

Aug 19, 2009

I'm pretty sure I've said some variation of this every time I've reviewed Mighty, but every issue I'm surprised I'm enjoying it this much. On paper, an old-school throwback team of Avengers featuring the likes of Hank Pym, Jocasta, and Stature would be enough to turn my stomach. But Slott and Gage manage to make it a workable mish-mash of concepts and ideas, and it's easily the most consistent Avengers book on the stands today.

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6.8
Mighty Avengers #30

Oct 21, 2009

In the old days of Avengers, calling in the reserves and creating one massive team of superheroes used to give a threat legitimacy and signal to readers that the story was serious business. Unfortunately it doesn't work the same way for Mighty Avengers #30, because while there's a degree of coolness in seeing so many different Avengers from factions past and present, I've never felt like I was following the exploits of the also-rans until just now.

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5.2
Mighty Avengers #31

Nov 18, 2009

Sean Chen's fluid, expressive artwork isn't even enough to save this issue. His work here is a confused, rushed affair that doesn't do much with the pieces the writers laid down over the course of its admittedly boring first four parts. If the creators are going for a Silver Age technique of storylines that are more free-flowing, it isn't immediately recognizable, and they've only really succeeded in making things feel detached.

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7.5
Mighty Avengers #35

Mar 24, 2010

While the Siege connection in this issue is tenuous at best, Slott does provide a fairly satisfying story centered around a strong hero. Hank Pym's status as an Avenger in the Heroic Age hasn't been fully revealed, but judging by this issue, he deserves to be on the frontlines alongside Hawkeye and Thor.

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8.6
Mighty Avengers #36

Apr 28, 2010

As a Hank Pym rehab project, this issue is a complete success. Some may argue that it's not a proper Siege tie-in, or that it's a lackluster end to Slott's quirky team of losers by virtue of only featuring them in a cameo capacity. But that's all beside the point. Dan Slott has worked a very subtle, very enjoyable character arc over the past two years, and this is the final payoff. As far as I'm concerned, it's an excellent one at that.

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7.7
Moon Knight #21

Aug 20, 2008

If you were also suckered into Moon Knight #21 by the high-profile guest stars and loaded title, you might be a little upset to find that most of the action is being held for a later date. However, you're still treated to a dark, gritty crime-flavored story that holds the promise of much better days ahead for the book.

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7.0
Moon Knight #22

Sep 17, 2008

Still, Benson has managed to build a lot of goodwill with "The Death of Marc Spector." It has a kinetic feel and moves along nicely, and most importantly has a weight to it that Moon Knight has been missing for a while.

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8.4
Ms. Marvel #25

Mar 26, 2008

Something of a pleasant surprise, honestly. It's sort of funny to see Carol Danvers treated so respectfully in her solo book and so ineptly in Mighty Avengers, both in the same week. Regardless, this issue is a clear winner.

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7.5
Ms. Marvel #27

May 28, 2008

As Ms. Marvel heads into a proper Secret Invasion tie-in (as opposed to the "Secret Invasion: Infiltration" tie-in the last three issues have been -- geez, get your banners straight!), one suspects the focus will be superheroics, where the book excels. Hopefully this one odd issue will only be a glitch.

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7.5
Ms. Marvel #29

Jul 30, 2008

I can imagine more than a few readers who've just stopped by Ms. Marvel for the tie-in and wondering what the hell is so special about it. But for fans of the series and the character, this issue is pretty rewarding.

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7.4
Ms. Marvel #39

May 27, 2009

Art aside, Brian Reed's take on my favorite ex-Thunderbolt continues to satisfy. It has all the misdirects and darkness you'd expect from the character and makes a valid case for her as a solo figure apart from Norman Osborn's operation.

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8.3
Ms. Marvel #41

Jul 8, 2009

Ms. Marvel has been a bit dodgy since Karla Sofen's arrival, but this is the best issue since her arrival in issue #38, and there's really no reason for casual fans not to check this one out.

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5.0
Nation X #1

Dec 9, 2009

As is traditional with this sort of thing, there's at least one thing to recommend about the issue, and that's undoubtedly Mike Allred's rare presence in the X-world. Otherwise, it's mostly a collection of passable stories unless you're disproportionately interested in post-"Utopia" depictions of Magneto.

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7.8
Nation X: X-Factor #1

Jan 6, 2010

Nonetheless, regular X-Factor readers will find a lot to like here. Tangential one-shots for this series are usually hit-or-miss, but fans will welcome the deluge of character dynamics Peter David pours on, and the team's acceptance of their image as edgy loners who want nothing to do with the X-Men's west coast nonsense. This certainly isn't the deepest of X-Factor plots, nor the most ambitious use of the characters, but it is fun, and deserves a large amount of praise for that.

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8.0
Nemesis #2

Jun 9, 2010

I am absolutely loving Nemesis. I'm actually being shocked and entertained, despite the nagging voice in the back of my head that knows Millar's every stroke is practically screaming "LET ME SHOCK AND ENTERTAIN YOU!" Millar haters will doubtless find a lot to cry about and deride, but issue #2 of Nemesis was just a good time as far as I'm concerned.

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7.7
New Avengers #38

Feb 13, 2008

I think I enjoyed this issue more than most will. Taking that into account, you could probably skip this issue if you don't give a damn about Jessica Jones or Luke Cage.

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8.8
New Avengers #39

Mar 26, 2008

Rocketing into Secret Invasion, it's clear New Avengers is the tie-in to watch. And while it might not contain the slap upside the head that Illuminati #5 delivered, it's still a good idea for anyone who's got the Invasion itch to pick this one up.

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7.3
New Avengers #43

Jul 23, 2008

There are a few minor bits of Skrull culture and methodology to be picked from New Avengers #43, for those who are interested in that. But with so many other SI tie-ins doing mildly entertaining stories that only tangentially involve Skrulls, I expect the Avengers to be hitting harder than this. Still, I can't honestly say it's a bad or flawed book, just unremarkable.

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7.5
New Avengers #46

Oct 22, 2008

In the interest of full disclosure, if you've been unimpressed with the vast majority of the Avengers tie-ins, you can probably add this one to the bunch. But I found myself interested in the crime syndicate's involvement, and if you're got similar inclinations there's a development or two that makes this issue worth a look.

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8.5
New Avengers #48

Dec 24, 2008

Say what you want about Secret Invasion (Lord knows I have), but Bendis is making the most of it in the pages of New Avengers. It's refreshing to have these kinds of stories back in the pages of the book, and things are really looking up for the once-rebel band of Avengers.

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8.2
New Avengers #51

Mar 25, 2009

Issue #51 seems like business as usual for New Avengers: a briskly paced issue with some nice character moments, and just enough evil villainy to move things along and give the impression that something's been accomplished. It's probably a better jump-on point than the "Dark Reign"-immersed anniversary issue last month, as a matter of fact.

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8.1
New Avengers #52

Apr 22, 2009

While the Avengers effectively take a back seat in their own title, Bendis is doing some great character work for his revitalized backwater villain. One could argue that the a storyline like this one might find a more natural home in a title other than New Avengers, but it's certainly a well-done affair that has its merits.

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7.1
New Avengers #53

May 27, 2009

This issue continues to relegate New Avengers to the role of Marvel's Justice League of America: a high-selling book featuring a band of recognizable characters that is often used as a springboard for side stories instead of a team book with its own identity. NA hasn't completely jumped the shark or anything, but I should find myself more interested in the dynamics of this new cast than the goings-on of Marvel's mystical realm.

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7.3
New Avengers #56

Aug 26, 2009

Still, New Avengers #56 does continue to live up to its colloquial status as the "proper Avengers title." It incorporates heavy hitters like Loki and the Dark Avengers alongside old-timers like the Wrecking Crew and Madame Masque, and tells an exciting story with those ingredients, all rendered by a fabulous, talented artist.

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8.0
New Avengers #57

Sep 23, 2009

So it's an up month for New Avengers, then. "Dark Reign" is wearing on us all, surely, but here Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers actually end up feeling like real villains with tangible effects on the characters. Bendis and Immonen manage to work up a fair amount of goodwill from me this issue.

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8.6
New Avengers #59

Nov 25, 2009

After a stretch of sleepy issues, New Avengers is back to what makes it great. Fast-paced action, a smart storyline, and a collection of awesome characters makes this issue a winner.

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8.7
New Avengers #60

Dec 23, 2009

New Avengers has an extended string of Siege tie-ins in its future, but the last two or three issues should go down as high points in the book's run, and this installment only continues the streak. It's fast-paced, doesn't mess around with decompression, stops to have fun once in a while, and is coupled with some dazzling artwork. Great stuff here.

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6.5
New Avengers #62

Feb 24, 2010

I still call shenanigans on this being a Siege crossover at all, and as an issue of New Avengers it only approaches satisfactory. There are a few good moments along the way, and Immonen knocks it out of the park on at least two pages, but if you're looking for good clean Asgardian smackdown, maybe wait until next month.

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6.5
New Avengers #63

Mar 24, 2010

This is a largely missable issue of New Avengers, and one that makes striking little use of its Siege cover banner. Fans of inter-Avengers romance could find a page or two of interest here, but for the most part all the juicy Avengery goodness related to Siege is being found in the core title.

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8.8
New Avengers Annual #2

Jan 30, 2008

Mindless dumb fun but still very important to the parent title, just like a good Annual issue should be. If you're looking for a very traditional all-out superhero fight, look no further.

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8.2
New Avengers Finale #1

May 12, 2010

Ultimately, what matters is that Brian Michael Bendis ensures that New Avengers Finale feels right. It's an emotional beat that speaks to both the end of "Dark Reign" and the beginning of "The Heroic Age" while staying true to these characters' struggles over the years. Given its mission, New Avengers Finale succeeds on all counts.

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7.4
New Exiles #1

Jan 16, 2008

Simply put, if you liked the past year of Exiles stories, or have liked the past eight years of Claremont's X-output, New Exiles is for you. If you were hoping for a renaissance of quality on either front, though, you'll be disappointed.

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8.0
New Mutants (2009) #1

May 6, 2009

It's debatable if a New Mutants revival is the right way to go in the current climate of the Marvel Universe, but Zeb Wells makes a great case for the title's existence with issue #1. I came in skeptical, but I finished the book reminded why I used to love these characters in the first place.

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8.1
New Mutants (2009) #2

Jun 3, 2009

I'll admit to being on the fence - and at times downright negative - about a relaunch of New Mutants, but issue #2 has proved it's a piece of the X-Men franchise with great story possibilities under the right guidance. Once this band of mutants gets their act together and once Neves becomes a little more comfortable and is given more to work with, this could turn into a stellar series.

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8.1
New Mutants (2009) #5

Sep 30, 2009

Next month brings the "Necrosha" crossover to these pages (notice Rogue subtly shoehorned into this issue?), and while issue #5 begins sowing the seeds of that storyline, it's a much more character-driven affair than this title has seen in its short time on the stands. Zeb Wells takes the downtime as an opportunity to create new dynamics within the team and strengthening the overall roster. The issue gains some big points with me for an unusual art style that separates it from its peers and gives it a unique appeal.

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6.9
New Mutants (2009) #6

Oct 28, 2009

I suppose as the first part of New Mutants's involvement in the X-Men's fall crossover, this sixth issue is perfectly fine. The villain is handled extremely well and the artwork never looked better. But the foundation of the series makes things a little shaky in places, and some hamfisted Cliff's Notes of the team's internal dialogue don't help things.

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7.0
New Mutants (2009) #9

Jan 6, 2010

I'm still not convinced that New Mutants' slot in the shipping schedule is best served by this team and their exploits, which frankly is a bit worrying as we're nearing the one year point. However, this issue is one of the better outings by this title's standards and does some good work with the new additions to the cast, as well as effectively setting up a villain for the team to push against later down the road.

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6.8
New Mutants (2009) #11

Mar 31, 2010

For its successes and failures, one thing is for certain - New Mutants #11 will probably one really appeal to those with a vested interest in Dani Moonstar as a character. For those of us who have followed her for decades, while this issue may not be the seminal interpretation of the character, it still contains a good plot beat for her and reminds us why she's a decent character in the first place.

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8.0
New Mutants (2009) #14

Jun 16, 2010

Part eleven of "Second Coming" only lengthens the storyline's streak of improvement, this time adding some good character additions and more than a couple exciting moments along the way. Zeb Wells makes a case for himself as one of the more adaptable X-writers in the stable with this issue.

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3.4
New Warriors (2007) #6

Dec 12, 2007

The most disappointing part of New Warriors is that some of the concepts are quite strong, they're just carried out ineptly. I suspect with a different writer New Warriors would have been a success -- or at least readable. As it stands, the first six issues fail to inspire me to care one way or the other about the characters.

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7.3
New X-Men (2004) #43

Oct 31, 2007

More than anything, it feels like an editorially mandated arc to drive home the importance of a new mutant baby, which we already knew. It also answers the question of where Predator X comes from, but if you're looking for more than that you can probably skip this interim issue.

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8.8
New X-Men (2004) #46

Jan 16, 2008

Every time I think "Messiah Complex" has shown its entire hand, it's got another ace up its sleeve (no Gambit pun intended). If it can nail the finish next week, we'll have a classic X-Men story on our hands.

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6.1
Outsiders (2007) #2

Nov 28, 2007

The plot, however, does not look promising. I'm not dropping the title completely yet, but Chuck Dixon will need to work hard and fast to convince me to stick around with this new lineup of characters.

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7.1
Outsiders (2007) #4

Feb 20, 2008

I'm willing to give Batman & The Outsiders a little slack and a few issues to get itself into the groove because there's clearly some promise in the idea. It's been kind of a bumpy ride so far, but I think Chuck Dixon is on the right track with this team.

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9.5
Phonogram: The Singles Club #2

Apr 29, 2009

I can't say enough about Phonogram: The Singles Club #2. It's a treat for music fans, for comic fans, and especially for the fans falling into the overlapping area. Even if you've never read a single issue of Phonogram before, pick this up. It's the epitome of a great comic experience and definitely worth every cent.

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6.8
Prelude to Deadpool Corps #1

Mar 3, 2010

So, yes, Prelude is the unofficial beginning of a fourth Deadpool book, and within that rapidly expanding world, it's about average. Things blowing up, some laughs along the way, but really nothing especially groundbreaking or noteworthy. If you're out to find the best Deadpool material on the stands, this issue probably shouldn't be your first stop.

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7.0
Prelude to Deadpool Corps #2

Mar 10, 2010

Prelude To Deadpool Corps doesn't take a massive leap in quality in its second installment, but it does have the benefit of featuring a more interesting character and a richer world to explore while the usual wedgie jokes are being told.

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7.2
Psylocke #1

Nov 4, 2009

But ultimately, as you might expect, this book caters to the Psylocke fan more than just the casual X-reader. It heavily references (but never outright explains) Kwannon, her various power sets, her time as a blonde-haired British girl, and the recent events in Matt Fraction's "Sisterhood" arc. It also lacks a wider relevance to the overall X-Men line that would appeal to less hardcore readers. But if Psylocke is your thing, and you've been clamoring for her return to the team for years, you certainly won't be disappointed by her portrayal here.

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7.0
Psylocke #3

Jan 13, 2010

Psylocke #3 meets expectations for the series, which is both a compliment and a criticism. It hasn't done much to nudge Psylocke herself forwards as a character, but it does succeed in being at least entertaining look nice along the way.

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8.9
Punisher (2009) #2

Dec 9, 2009

I don't think anyone's ready to call Punisher MAX an industry godsend on par with Scalped or even Ennis's run on the title, but it is a spectacular comic so far, and issue #2 allows Jason Aaron to sculpt his inaugural villain in a way that lets readers commiserate with him while simultaneously fearing him.

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8.5
Punisher (2009) #10

Oct 28, 2009

Punisher #10 is no doubt a landmark issue for Punisher fans, and one that will be referenced in any conversation about who the baddest badass in the Marvel Universe is. It's a risky, fast-paced script and probably the most fun I've had with Frank Castle in recent memory.

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9.1
Punisher War Journal (2006) #13

Nov 14, 2007

Finally, this book is making a claim for its existence. If, like me, you weren't sure what the point of the entire exercise was, give this one a try.

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9.1
Punisher War Journal (2006) #14

Dec 12, 2007

All told, though, Punisher War Journal has wormed its way into my favor and continues to stay there. The loss of Nextwave was unfortunate but I think we're on the verge of having a reasonable replacement here.

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8.6
Punisher War Journal (2006) #16

Feb 13, 2008

Punisher War Journal continues to focus more on the War Journal, and less on the Punisher. But when the quality is as good as it has been lately, I can't really complain. Against the odds, PWJ has grown to be a really enjoyable book.

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6.8
Punisher War Journal (2006) #19

May 7, 2008

I'm sure hardcore Punisher fans will find enough to like to justify buying this one, but if you don't really care that much about Frank Castle, it's skippable.

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5.8
Punisher War Journal (2006) #20

Jun 4, 2008

A very odd issue, and not one I can really recommend enthusiastically. That seems to be a trend with this book, unfortunately.

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7.1
Punisher War Journal (2006) #24

Oct 1, 2008

Issue #24 is probably the first time I've had fun with War Journal in a while. It's a simple, traditional Punisher story that happens to have Skrulls in it, as opposed to a lot of the SI tie-ins these days that all have the same script with that title's respective character written in.

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6.8
Punishermax #4

Feb 10, 2010

But with a creator like Jason Aaron, it's hard not to expect a certain level of depth, and equally hard not to be a little disappointed by material that doesn't go above and beyond the average comic issue. PunisherMAX #4 doesn't try to, and depending on what you're looking to take away from the book, that's either its greatest strength or most glaring weakness.

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6.0
Red Robin #4

Sep 10, 2009

Red Robin #4 could end up being an important piece of the Bat-tapestry in the coming year, especially if you're interested in the inevitable return to status quo. But as an issue on its own terms, it still doesn't mark an improvement for its lead character.

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8.5
Robin #171

Feb 20, 2008

For the first time... well, ever, Robin is one of my favorite DC titles around. Chuck Dixon has managed to breathe new life into the title and give it some much-needed direction. After some questionable handling in the pages of Teen Titans and his own title, it's refreshing to see Robin treated as a proper character and not simply one of the sidekicks.

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7.4
S.W.O.R.D. #2

Dec 9, 2009

By the end of this issue, though, things are looking up for SWORD. I wasn't quite convinced that it was all going to work well with the setup issue #1 offered, but if Kieron Gillen's imagination and strong grasp of Brand as the book's lead can hold out, Marvel could have a very solid title on its hands.

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9.4
Secret Invasion #1

Mar 31, 2008

Does Secret Invasion have room to grow? Absolutely. But with issue #1, Bendis ensures that those direction(s) are as outrageous as they are interesting. I'm hesitant to geek out completely because who's to say what the rest of the series holds? But SI #1 leaves me with no reason to assume the level of quality won't continue, and if so, I honestly think my head might explode and shoot confetti everywhere.

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5.9
Secret Invasion: Amazing Spider-Man #2

Sep 24, 2008

My feelings for Secret Invasion: Amazing Spider-Man couldn't be classified as outright hatred or revulsion, but I can't honestly recommend it to the casual Spidey fan. "Brand New Day" does have its vocal advocates, however, and I'm sure this sort of tale is right up their alley.

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7.7
Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1

May 14, 2008

I suppose it's not offensive, the characters are more or less on track, and there's a fun twist at the end, but Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1 is not a revolutionary book. I suspect this will appeal mostly to FF fans who don't dig the secluded Millar/Hitch run in the parent title.

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7.1
Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #2

Jun 18, 2008

I mentioned, the bulk of Secret Invasion: FF #2 depends on just how invested you are in Lyja and Johnny's '90s romance, as most of the tension stems from that. I can't recommend it to the casual FF/SI reader because it's really not aimed at either, but there is definitely an audience for this sort of thing.

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5.0
Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #3

Jul 30, 2008

Even though Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman will probably play large roles in Secret Invasion, their team's spinoff miniseries isn't where the action's at. Unfortunately, it's mostly where snores are at.

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7.7
Secret Invasion: Front Line #1

Jul 2, 2008

I was pleasantly surprised by Secret Invasion: Front Line, as I've never really been able to love any other Front Line-centric series before. I wouldn't say it's required reading for anyone only mildly interested in Marvel's shenanigans, but it's at least as good as most of the other event tie-ins (Avengers books notwithstanding).

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7.0
Secret Invasion: Front Line #2

Aug 6, 2008

So if you're interested in the sort of comic equivalent of a good crisis movie, SI: Front Line is for you. I've got a sneaking suspicion that it won't be as important to the overall storyline and after-effects as Civil War: Front Line was, but it's still a solid, well-constructed affair that's worth a look.

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6.6
Secret Invasion: Inhumans #2

Sep 10, 2008

It's certainly a solid effort in that respect, and if you've loved Hine's pseudo-revamp of the franchise, you shouldn't find Joe Pokanski's loyal continuation lacking. Tom Raney's pencils are also on point, and they're some of the cleanest output I've seen from the artist. Some of the Super-Skrull creations are pretty nifty, and the fight scenes are well done. But I have a hard time recommending it to any non-Inhumanitarian. I still can't shake the feeling that the important pieces of the Inhumans story lie elsewhere in the miniseries. Likable filler, but filler just the same.

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8.0
Secret Invasion: Inhumans #3

Oct 8, 2008

I'll admit, I was willing to write SI: Inhumans off as a token money-grab by Marvel, stretching the characters' nugget of Skrull involvement out far past its natural lifespan. This issue at least proved that even though the series might be overlong, it's not without its surprise gems.

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7.8
Secret Invasion: Inhumans #4

Nov 26, 2008

Fair enough, SI: Inhumans #4 doesn't really leave things radically different than they were for the race prior to Secret Invasion, and it's probably not a series to recommend to anyone who's unfamiliar with the characters and their struggles in the past few years. But it's a fun little jaunt that manages to use the SI setup better than most titles have and capitalize on the compelling cast.

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6.8
Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers #1

Jun 25, 2008

If you're a diehard Runaways fanatic who's in agony over the title's extended delays you might find this a worthwhile pickup. But considering the book finally did ship this week, that might not even be enough. Only marginally entertaining.

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8.0
Secret Invasion: Thor #1

Aug 13, 2008

Most readers of Thor will be happy to know that the spin-off SI: Thor keeps the quality and themes that they've enjoyed for the better part of a year. In terms of the grand scheme of the event it might not be hugely important, but it does tell a great Thor story and continues the character's banner year.

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6.0
Secret Invasion: Thor #2

Sep 17, 2008

As ridiculous as it sounds, even if you're really into Thor you could ostensibly skip this issue, only read issues #1 and #3, and still get the full story. Despite its minor charms here and there, it's really a fluff installment of a minor tie-in.

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6.0
Secret Invasion: Thor #3

Oct 29, 2008

As I mentioned before, the small pieces of issue #3 make it halfway worthwhile. It's nice to see the insanely heroic side of Thor, and Braithwaite does a great job rendering the onslaught of crazy things Thor does over the course of the book. But it's not quite enough to really recommend the issue to any but the most hardened Thor fans. If you've been intrigued by JMS's rebirth of the franchise, I'm not sure you'll find a terrible amount to like about SI: Thor.

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8.8
Secret Invasion: War of Kings #1

Jan 7, 2009

Secret Invasion: War of Kings, as the title suggests, does a fantastic job bridging the Inhumans's story between Secret Invasion and the upcoming War of Kings. Fans of the characters should find more than enough reason to be pleased, and if nothing else it's a strong indication that the crossover storyline on the horizon will be better than average - at the very least.

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6.2
Secret Invasion: X-Men #2

Sep 10, 2008

Still, at the end of the day it's still just a superfluous, glossy tie-in that's light on plot and misfires completely at doing anything that doesn't involve Skrull battles. There's an ineffective thread involving Nightcrawler's talking crystal ball that's attempting to draw a link between Skrull religion and (ostensibly) his own beliefs, but Hercules managed to do the Skrull religion schtick a lot better. Cary Nord's art is dodgy at times, especially with faces. When multiple squads of X-Men begin appearing it's sometimes difficult to figure out who's who. There's certainly some fun to be had here for the hardcore X-Men reader, but most others probably won't see the point in picking SI: X-Men #2 up.

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5.9
Secret Invasion: X-Men #3

Oct 29, 2008

SI: X-Men is neither the X-Men's finest hour, nor Secret Invasion's, and I can't find nearly as many pros as I can cons. But hardcore X-Fans trudging faithfully through the series will find a thing or two to like about issue #3.

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9.0
Secret Six Vol. 2 #12

Aug 5, 2009

Secret Six is the DC book I most look forward to monthly, and it seems no matter what wringer Gail Simone buts the characters through, they're always better for it. This book is proof that there's no such thing as an unusable character.

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8.2
Secret Six Vol. 2 #13

Sep 10, 2009

I admit, I'm growing a bit weary of this story, mostly because Secret Six has done better. But it's the characters that really count, and they're the real stars of this storyline.

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7.4
Secret Six Vol. 2 #14

Oct 14, 2009

It's certainly time that the Six departed from this story, but if nothing else it has provided fans with some excellent pieces of character development. And so-so story arc aside, Secret Six is still the book I fell in love with and it's still got a strong core built on the strength of its cast and talent creative team.

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8.3
Secret Six Vol. 2 #17

Jan 13, 2010

If this issue of Secret Six is little more than a traditional event tie-in book, it's at least one of the better ones we've seen so far, and an excellent opportunity for fans of both the Six and the Suicide Squad to see the antihero teams finally meet.

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8.8
Secret Warriors #15

Apr 28, 2010

Secret Warriors can sometimes be a challenging read on a monthly basis with a large cast, constantly changing allegiances, complex betrayal threads, and an ongoing narrative that could politely be described as "glacial." But when the threads begin to come together in satisfying ways and work in tandem to create one large tapestry like issue #15, this book is one of the best reads Marvel puts out.

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6.5
Siege: Captain America #1

Apr 14, 2010

On the other hand, there isn't much of a plot to speak of. Unlike Loki or the Young Avengers - both of which enjoy successful Siege one-shots this week - Bucky and Steve are central to the siege of Asgard storyline. A between-the-pages sidestory can only be so eventful before it begins to step on the toes of the main narrative. As such, it's sort of a sleepy issue in terms of developments. Federico Dallocchio's artwork gets the job done, but it's a no-frills affair to be sure. This issue is ultimately more notable for its concept (that James still has a long way to go mentally in filling the red boots of Captain America) than its actual execution.

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8.0
Siege: Loki #1

Apr 14, 2010

To be fair, Siege: Loki does seem like a book linked more to the Thor world than the Avengers' battle for Asgard, but that aside, it's a very good spotlight on a good character, and it's a fun read. Easily recommended for fans of the character and his home title, Thor.

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7.6
Siege: Young Avengers #1

Apr 14, 2010

If there's a glaring downside, it's that fans won't know when we're going to get another taste of the Young Avengers. Leaping from event to event has been fine, but it's past time these fantastic characters were put into regular rotation. McKeever's Siege: Young Avengers only serves to prove that.

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8.4
Simon Dark #1

Oct 10, 2007

I'm hesitant of being too overzealous about this book after only the first issue because, to be honest, without some great stories behind it the quirky premise will wear thin since it's not especially new. But so far it's a promising start and definitely deserves some attention.

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8.4
Simon Dark #2

Nov 14, 2007

As good as its debut issue, which is a promising sign. It has yet to completely wow me, but I'm content to let all the elements gel for an arc or two.

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7.7
Simon Dark #3

Dec 12, 2007

This issue hasn't convinced me to give up on the book at all, but I'm watching cautiously where it's going. I think there's a lot of good in Simon Dark but it has yet to completely blow me away, and with this issue I'm beginning to question whether or not it can.

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8.2
Spider-Woman #1

Sep 23, 2009

But those aside, Spider-Woman is off to a strong start. There's certainly room for improvement, but it's nice to know Jessica Drew isn't the next in the string of properties Marvel has given an ongoing series with minimal direction or reason.

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8.8
Spider-Woman #2

Oct 21, 2009

Spider-Woman is by no means a perfect comic, but for my money its pros far, far outweigh its cons. And above all, it's a unique book that offers a reading experience unlike most others on the stands, and deserves a level of recognition for that.

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7.5
Spider-Woman #3

Nov 18, 2009

It's a strange entry of Spider-Woman this month. While it's not bad, necessarily, it feels at odds with the previous two issues and could turn off some readers who were enjoying the trajectory of the character and feel of her title.

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6.9
Spider-Woman #4

Dec 23, 2009

I do feel like Spider-Woman is veering back toward the S.W.O.R.D. angle that it began with, and while this detour into the world of Viper and HYDRA has had its moments, it hasn't been as engaging or interesting as the first two issues. Couple that with an issue that isn't exactly the most material-filled installment, and I'm left feeling like Spider-Woman is just treading water until it gets back to the real meat of Jessica Drew's solo escapades.

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7.0
Spider-Woman #5

Jan 20, 2010

Spider-Woman isn't a perfect series, but it seems that while Brian Michael Bendis has been trying different treatments for the book, he's settling on one that's closer to the first couple issues of the series - #5 is definitely a step up from the last two months' worth of stories.

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6.8
Spider-Woman #7

Mar 17, 2010

In theory, this is how Spider-Woman should have operated from the beginning. It's the first time since issue #1 that this feels like Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. again, and it's a fun little story that brings Jessica full circle. While she understands she's not alone in the world, she's still not completely rehabbed. That anger and bloodlust still exists in her. This book would have been a good outlet for that, moving forward alongside her involvement with the Avengers. Instead, Spider-Woman exists as a story where Jess ran off to Madripoor, bit of more than she could chew, and needed Wolverine & co. to bail her out. It reads a little strangely as a finite series, unfortunately, and the finale is a bit of a mixed bag in that respect.

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9.2
Sweet Tooth #2

Oct 7, 2009

DC's Vertigo imprint has gotten a big push lately, but Sweet Tooth has quickly become my favorite of the new offerings. Its deceptively simple premise is backed up by Jeff Lemire's entrancing vision for the title's world and complex, emotive artwork. If you were enticed by the $1.00 first issue, you'll be happy to know that the full-priced issue #2 is just as much of a bargain for all its fantastic material.

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5.8
Teen Titans (2003) #53

Nov 28, 2007

There's still one more issue to go in this whole thing, and I can't say I'll be sorry to see it on the stands and over with. There's no clear reason for the Titans of Tomorrow to have shown up other than to give the Titans some new punching bags. It's a shame that the original Johns story has been tarnished with this.

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5.4
Teen Titans (2003) #54

Dec 29, 2007

"Titans of Tomorrow... Today!" has been overlong and has had its share of problems, but the fact that it's over and better stories are probably on the horizon makes it impossible for me to care a whole lot about the overall mediocrity of this issue.

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5.5
Teen Titans (2003) #55

Jan 23, 2008

Another in the string of lackluster Teen Titans issues, unfortunately. It seems that this issue is a placeholder before a seemingly more traditional story arc begins next issue. Let's hope it can elevate the book above a "blah" and capitalize on the potential the varied cast has.

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8.0
Teen Titans (2003) #56

Feb 27, 2008

It's been a long while since we've had a solid, enjoyable issue of Teen Titans, but it's finally come along. I'm not going to go as far as to declare this the end of the dark times the title's faced, but it's as good a start as any.

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8.2
Teen Titans (2003) #57

Mar 26, 2008

The Terror Titans still have yet to really materialize as anything other than a band of bad guys with '90s-inspired outfits, but there's time for that -- this arc is shaping up to be more about the Teen Titans as characters, and in that respect Sean McKeever is doing very well.

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6.9
Teen Titans (2003) #59

May 28, 2008

There's certainly a setup for something cool to happen next issue, but... I don't know. I feel like Teen Titans as a book needs a shot in the arm to rise up out of the depths of just "blah."

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7.4
Teen Titans: Year One #2

Feb 6, 2008

In terms of plot, we're firmly in the scene-setting stages and I'm waiting for Wolfram to show her hand a bit more. Teen Titans: Year One isn't a title that the world was necessarily crying out for, but Titans fans will find a thing or two to like.

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8.5
Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1

May 26, 2010

As only a casual follower of the cosmic books, my immediate concern coming into Ignition is that I'd be totally lost. There's a definite cause-and-effect relationship to the cosmic storylines - each one is directly dependent on developments from the one(s) preceding it, so straying from the titles for as little as six months can leave you out in the cold. Fortunately, it's not a challenge to pick Ignition right up and follow along easily. I felt as though I completely understood every development and, truthfully, the one shot has reinvigorated my interest in the line. First class stuff from an already strong section of comics.

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9.0
The Marvels Project #3

Oct 14, 2009

It's been a very long time since a comic book rustled up quite so many emotions in me, and I think that's a testament to The Marvels Project #3's superb writing and narrative angle. This is some phenomenal work, but we shouldn't be surprised. We expect nothing less of Brubaker and Epting.

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8.3
The Order #4

Nov 7, 2007

Barry Kitson delivers his patented reliable pencil work, and it's pretty much what you've come to expect out of him. The Order has a very classic look to it, almost at odds with the cyborg homeless zombies and a pink-streaked chick able to tap into "the spirit of Los Angeles" running around in its pages. This issue hasn't tarnished the book's potential as far as I'm concerned, but I'm keeping an eye on that prospect.

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8.8
The Order #5

Dec 5, 2007

Last issue left a bad taste in my mouth, but thankfully this issue seems to suggest last month's was just a glitch. The book is moving quite nicely and it's definitely earned its place on the Books-You-Should-Be-Reading-But-Instead-You're-Wasting-Money-On-Wolverine: Origins list.

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9.0
The Order #6

Dec 19, 2007

I can't recommend this book enough. The merits of Marvel's Initiative drive can be debated, but the fact remains it gave us The Order, and it deserves some praise because of that.

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9.7
The Order #7

Jan 23, 2008

The Order's cancellation was disheartening yesterday, and today after reading issue #7 it's nearly outrageous. But if this becomes the biggest mark The Order leaves in the Marvel Universe, it'll be enough.

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8.9
The Order #8

Feb 20, 2008

There isn't much I can say about The Order that I haven't already repeated at least three times. It's a well-written, beautiful book that deserves a lot more attention than it got, but it seems like it's going to go out with a bang rather than a whimper.

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7.3
The Order #9

Mar 19, 2008

I have no doubt that Fraction loves The Order as much as the readers do, and it's hard to believe he'd do something as drastic as off the entire squad. But the depressing, gloomy mood that pervades this issue doesn't exactly suggest that this incarnation of the Order will make much more of an impact on the Marvel Universe than the previous one did.

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7.4
The Order #10

Apr 30, 2008

Zeke Stane quotes Neil Young's classic "Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)" in this issue, and ironically, it seems that with issue #10 the Order fades away rather than burns out. I don't really know what to make of this issue, and somehow that kind of makes it all a little sadder.

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9.1
The Twelve #2

Feb 6, 2008

Call me overly optimistic, but The Twelve is off to a fantastic start. Not having been familiar with any of these characters beforehand, I'm as good an indication as any that the title is new reader friendly. If you're a fan of more classic superhero fare, you'd be doing yourself a favor by jumping on the Twelve bandwagon now.

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8.7
The Twelve #3

Mar 5, 2008

Those are admittedly nitpicky, and it's because The Twelve is a resoundingly great book with very few problems. If nothing else, it's a showcase for Straczynski's writing skills and readers will come away with a great experience.

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9.3
The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #2

Dec 24, 2008

So yes. Umbrella Academy. Buy it. If you love Grant Morrison's off-the-wall tendencies and high concepts, but are currently put off by the fact that Final Crisis and Batman don't make sense, Umbrella Academy: Dallas is where you belong.

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9.4
The Umbrella Academy: Dallas #4

Feb 25, 2009

Umbrella Academy is an evolutionary step in superhero comics. I have a feeling that in ten years, praise like "well ahead of its time" will be printed on the back of collected editions. In the contemporary market, it'd be a challenge for you to find a book as inventive and exciting as this one.

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9.0
The Umbrella Academy: The Apocalypse Suite #2

Oct 17, 2007

Like I said, it's a little hard to recommend Umbrella Academy because I know there are readers out there who will hate everything about it. But it's too different and just plain fun for me to really care about those people.

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9.2
The Umbrella Academy: The Apocalypse Suite #3

Nov 21, 2007

Umbrella Academy continues to buck the trend by both surprising and getting better with each subsequent issue. Clocking in at only six issues, there's no reason why any comic fan shouldn't make the investment and go along for the ride.

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9.2
The Umbrella Academy: The Apocalypse Suite #4

Dec 19, 2007

Once again, I never expected something as blissful as Umbrella Academy when a miniseries from the frontman of My Chemical Romance was announced. Everything is so gloriously over the edge that you can't help but be morbidly engrossed in it. Umbrella Academy is shaping up to be a winner across the board.

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8.6
The Umbrella Academy: The Apocalypse Suite #5

Jan 16, 2008

I have no doubt Umbrella Academy will deliver a superb final issue that's as delightfully over the top and disjointed as the rest of the series has been, regardless of this tiny calm before the storm. But judging on issue #5 alone, it's not quite as enjoyable as past installments have been.

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9.5
The Umbrella Academy: The Apocalypse Suite #6

Feb 20, 2008

A pretty spectacular finish to a pretty spectacular series, all told. In a previous review I mentioned that Umbrella Academy probably isn't for everyone, and that's still true. I can imagine a chunk of comic fandom just scratching their heads (at the very least) in reaction to this. But those of us who "get it" were really treated to a wild ride unlike anything that's come before.

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9.0
The Unwritten #2

Jun 10, 2009

The Unwritten is only two issues in, but I don't think it's too early to call the series an unqualified success. In some ways, it's got all the trademark Vertigo hallmarks - a supernatural premise featuring characters based solidly in the real world - but in other ways, it's like nothing I've ever read before. This really is one of the better books you could spend your money on.

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9.0
The Unwritten #3

Jul 8, 2009

The whirlwind of mystery and intrigue that tore through The Unwritten couldn't reasonably be sustained for the entire series, and it's good to see Mike Carey is more than capable of keeping the title entertaining when that eventuality manifests. The Unwritten #3 is one of the best comics I've read in a while and gives me no reason not to anxiously anticipate issue #4.

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9.2
The Unwritten #5

Sep 10, 2009

Once again The Unwritten kept me guessing. This time, however, it was done by switching up the format in a way that stays true to the title's main themes but gives readers a glimpse at the scope of the entire operation that Tom Taylor has become embroiled in. Quite possibly the best issue since the debut, and just another reason why The Unwritten is the best new book on the stands.

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8.7
The Unwritten #7

Nov 11, 2009

The Unwritten is one of the best Vertigo titles at the moment, that much we know. This issue, Tom's fights exist mostly in the real world, which is refreshing given the focus on the literary world for so long. This title is as engrossing and mysterious as it's ever been.

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7.1
Thor (2007) #7

Mar 19, 2008

If you were one of the roughly 10,000 people who bought The Mighty Thor before its cancellation in 2004, you're going to eat this up. But if you're like me and don't have much time for all that detached, odd-fitting Norse mythology that clung to the Thor of old, this will strike you as off and vaguely annoying. The idea of reinterpreting Odin's place in the new Asgard is sound, but I can think of enough ways to do that without breaking the successful and enjoyable relaunch style.

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9.5
Thor (2007) #9

May 28, 2008

I'm officially back in love with Thor, and this latest issue is a clear-cut winner.

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9.1
Thor (2007) #10

Jul 30, 2008

If I had to find fault with one thing on this book, it's the erratic shipping schedule. But if it's this good when it does come out, well, that shuts me right up.

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6.5
Thor (2007) #609

Apr 28, 2010

One good sequence towards the end of a book is not enough to make it a winner, however, and while Thor #609 is certainly not a bad book by any means, it's one of those issues that's more bland than anything else, and sometimes that can be worse.

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9.3
Thunderbolts #117

Oct 24, 2007

There's no excuse for not reading this book. You're invited to like these characters as much as you're invited to hate them. Either way, you're treated to one of the best ongoing stories out there month in and month out.

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9.4
Thunderbolts #119

Mar 12, 2008

I'm really searching for things to say about Thunderbolts that I haven't already. It occupies a very unique and important spot in the Marvel publishing catalog and it's easily in the top two or three best books that they currently put out. At this rate, the Ellis/Deodato Thunderbolts should show up on many favorites lists for years to come.

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7.0
Thunderbolts #122

Jul 23, 2008

Essentially, Thunderbolts #122 isn't an event tie-in so much as a bridge between where Warren Ellis left it and where Brian Michael Bendis is guiding it. Still, there are one or two interesting developments that make the issue worth a look, even if the only reason you stopped by every month was Ellis's brand of anti-superheroics.

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6.1
Thunderbolts #123

Aug 27, 2008

There are a couple interesting things going down in this issue of Thunderbolts if you're willing to look hard enough. But with enough fatty material and mediocre art surrounding it, I don't think anyone would blame you if you didn't bother.

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4.6
Thunderbolts #124

Sep 24, 2008

Thunderbolts #124 should be infuriating to anyone who counted himself among the fans of Warren Ellis's relaunch of the franchise. The characters are shallow, the dialogue is stilted and asinine, and the art is awkward and messy. A new creative team is on the horizon for November's issue #126, and this whole exercise smacks of the creators twiddling their thumbs until then.

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5.1
Thunderbolts #125

Oct 22, 2008

A mildly nice issue, but completely skippable. The SI tie-in certainly hasn't been kind to the T-Bolts team, but the bright side is that this issue draws a line under it all and issue #126 features a new ongoing creative team. You'd do well to forget about this one and wait it out until then.

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5.4
Thunderbolts #131

Apr 29, 2009

Thunderbolts looks to be getting back to business as the title moves on, and I can't say I'm sorry to see Deadpool depart from its pages. If anything, "Magnum Opus" has seemed to be a time-waster for this book and certainly didn't do its shiny new cast any favors. It's a shame this came before they'd really had an opportunity to prove themselves.

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8.7
Thunderbolts #132

May 20, 2009

This is the Thunderbolts I'd envisioned when Diggle was announced as the next ongoing writer. It's smart, dark, and engrossing, and the cast members are starting to gel in a way that was desperately needed.

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8.5
Thunderbolts #133

Jun 24, 2009

Thunderbolts gets better with every month, and this one is no different. The new team is shaping up to be a round, intriguing one deserving of the T-Bolts title in their own right. Diggle's take on Marvel's dirtiest team has quietly become the book to watch.

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8.5
Thunderbolts #134

Jul 29, 2009

No matter which writer is working on it, Thunderbolts never fails to entertain me, and issue #134 is one of the most memorable issues since Diggle took over. His run is officially in high gear and I'm on pins and needles to see where it goes next.

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8.6
Thunderbolts #135

Sep 10, 2009

But that aside, it's another winner for Thunderbolts, a surprisingly resilient book that's continued to exceed my expectations despite the constantly rotating cast. Andy Diggle is making perfect use of the cast at his disposal and keeps me guessing with revelation after revelation. I really didn't expect to like the T-Bolts this much after Ellis's departure.

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6.6
Thunderbolts #136

Sep 30, 2009

It's a little disheartening to see Diggle go out like this when he's been quite successful on the title since his arrival. Thunderbolts seems positioned to go on with many good story possibilities as Jeff Parker jumps on as writer, but the title has definitely seen better than this under Andy Diggle.

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8.4
Thunderbolts #137

Oct 21, 2009

The only complaint I really have about this issue is that Remender isn't the new regular writer, and that's a shame. He seems to have a great head for what this book is about and how its characters are meant to operate. One of the better, more fun Thunderbolts outings in recent months.

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5.2
Thunderbolts #141

Feb 24, 2010

To be fair, the end of this issue suggests that things are going to get a lot more action-oriented and eventful next issue, but that doesn't keep this one from feeling overlong, dragged out, and sort of sleepy.

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6.8
Thunderbolts: Breaking Point #1

Nov 21, 2007

If you're desperately interested in some Songbird/Moonstone action, well, here's Breaking Point, enjoy. But I can't see most Thunderbolts aficionados feeling a burning need to grab a copy of this one, spectacular real-life controversy nod aside.

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5.8
Thunderbolts: International Incident #1

Feb 27, 2008

Much like Breaking Point before it, I have a hard time recommending International Incident to anyone besides diehard T-Bolt fans, and even then it's not a superb read.

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8.1
Titans #1

Apr 9, 2008

Dan's Score: 2.3

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7.0
Titans #2

May 14, 2008

To be fair, I'm still not 100% convinced Titans is a good idea, but I'm also not convinced it's a waste of paper either. There's definitely some potential here, if you squint a little.

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5.6
Titans #3

Jun 11, 2008

I wouldn't feel right about giving this issue anything more than a middling score. I want to be clear that I don't think Titans as a concept is sunk or devoid of value, but this issue misses the mark.

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8.7
Trinity #1

Jun 4, 2008

Surprising even myself, I'm actually calling this one a success. It's not reliant on lead-in backstory and doesn't alienate any reader who doesn't know Bruce Wayne's mother's stepfather's middle name off the top of his head. I haven't forgotten that it took almost two months before we all realized Countdown was a dud, but all told, Trinity #1 seems to be every bit the auspicious start.

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8.1
Ultimate Comics Avengers #2

Sep 10, 2009

Ultimate Avengers #2 is a very good superhero book. It plays by the rules, establishes a strong villain, and draws the main players into the conflict in a smart, organic way. And while it might not have that spark of originality or overt flair, what it provides is more than enough to warrant a recommendation.

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8.5
Ultimate Comics Avengers #3

Oct 28, 2009

I do believe this is the first issue of Ultimate Avengers that I enjoyed with no qualification. The book feels like its on its way to recapturing its former magic, and with a more consistent art team on board, this could turn out to be the best iteration of the team we've seen yet.

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8.1
Ultimate Comics Avengers #4

Nov 25, 2009

I can imagine Ultimate Avengers #4 ticking off some fans with its lack of any real depth or character work, but if you enjoy big action movies and/or the visual stylings of Carlos Pacheco, you'll find a lot to like in this book.

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8.3
Ultimate Comics Avengers #5

Mar 3, 2010

Ultimate Avengers has quietly become my favorite Ultimate Universe offering since the relaunch. It's not overly complicated and it doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it's reliable, offers exactly what it says on the tin, features a likable cast of mostly new faces, and does its thing exceptionally well. And best of all, it manages to excite me month in and month out. You can't really ask for more than that from this sort of thing.

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6.7
Ultimate Comics Avengers #6

Apr 21, 2010

That said, the issue isn't without its merits. The closing pages reveal a Nick Fury subplot running through Ultimate Avengers that's undeniably intriguing. The character work is still tight this issue, and Carlos Pacheco's artwork is as dashing and beautiful as ever. Even the textbook "Millar Moment Of Excess" this issue is cool and fits the title. As far as the franchise goes, Ultimate Avengers is still the Ultimate title I'm enjoying the most, and certainly the one with the most momentum and story potential heading forward. This issue was just cut off at the knees with a silly plot element that kept it from capitalizing on the strength of the previous five installments.

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7.1
Ultimate Comics Avengers Vol. 2 #1

Apr 28, 2010

I'll admit that I found the majority of Ultimate Avengers 2 #1 to be little more than well-drawn wasted space. But there's plenty to get excited about in Millar's next iteration of the Ultimate Avengers, and this issue does at least begin the process of sowing those seeds. Just bear in mind that your enjoyment may hinge on how many times you've seen Punisher "do his thing."

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6.4
Ultimate Comics Enemy #1

Jan 27, 2010

It's hard to have a strong opinion about an issue like Ultimate Enemy #1. Clearly we're just in the building stages here, with Bendis establishing that yes, indeed, the title of the series is referring to something tangible and threatening. And while I enjoy seeing Invisible Woman and Jessica Drew back in regular rotation, I have mixed feelings about this decompressed issue. Personally, I think calling the book Ultimate Enemy and having the characters look frightened on the cover achieved the same effect as these 22 pages.

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3.2
Ultimate Comics New Ultimates #1

Mar 3, 2010

The problem is, they're surrounded by a moat of terribleness. Some may argue that Frank Cho's involvement in the book is enough to justify its printing, and true, Cho offers readers' eyes a gorgeous alternative to actually reading the abysmal word bubbles. And truthfully, doing just that may be the only way to get through Ultimate Comics New Ultimates without having your intelligence insulted. It's a fundamentally flawed book from the ground up.

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8.2
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #4

Nov 4, 2009

It's business as usual from the Ultimate Spider-Man camp this month. Regular readers have become accustomed to this level of quality from this title, and it's good to see Bendis falling right in step on the book regardless of the "relaunch."

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8.6
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #5

Dec 3, 2009

It's great to see Ultimate Spider-Man still going strong regardless of the line-wide shakeups. In many ways it's better than ever, with a more lively cast and better dynamics between the cast. There's a lot to like here for longtime readers.

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8.5
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #6

Jan 6, 2010

It's still clear sailing for Ultimate Spider-Man as it follows through with its new status quo after the relaunch. Bendis is bringing established characters together in new ways and bouncing them off one another enjoyably. USM has always been, far and away, the best, most consistent offering in the Ultimate Universe, and that looks to still be true even after the "Ultimate Comics" brand name has set in.

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8.3
Ultimate Spider-Man #119

Feb 27, 2008

"Amazing Friends" is actually becoming a good time. The ending teases that the best is probably still to come, but this issue features a good blend of Peter's social life and the superhuman elements. Great material all around.

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8.6
Ultimate Spider-Man #120

Mar 26, 2008

"Amazing Friends" is a surprisingly enjoyable little side story for the title. It makes good use of the shared Ultimate Universe and gives its characters' feelings the respect they deserve.

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7.3
Ultimate Spider-Man #121

Apr 23, 2008

USM #121 is fine for what it is, a stock-taking piece that puts things in order again after a shake-up or two. But it's certainly not anything that's going to set the world on fire.

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6.0
Ultimate X-Men #87

Oct 17, 2007

I don't think Ultimate X-Men is a lost cause -- there are definitely some obvious advantages to a team of X-Men set in a universe unencumbered by the effects of Civil War or House Of M. But I do think it's gotten stagnant over the years and it needs some new ideas instead of just old ones warmed over.

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5.1
Ultimate X-Men #88

Dec 5, 2007

I don't know if I'm more or less tired of Ultimate X-Men after its brief glimmer of competency. What is immediately apparently, however, is that this stretch of stories will be looked back upon as the low point of the series. If "Ultimatum" threatens to end the Ultimate Universe, I can't say I'll be sad to this title go.

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8.5
Ultimate X-Men #89

Dec 19, 2007

A refreshingly good issue, then. And not a moment too soon, either. I was beginning to wonder if Ultimate X-Men had any good stories left to tell, and issue #89 came along and surprised me.

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3.2
Ultimate X-Men #90

Jan 30, 2008

Robert Kirkman's final storyline on Ultimate X-Men has not started off well. It's hard to believe the same creator who does such great work for Image can put out such tripe.

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1.8
Ultimate X-Men #91

Feb 20, 2008

Robert Kirkman's Ultimate X-Men run has been uninspiring at best, and at worst... well, it's been a mess from top to bottom, a.k.a. "Apocalypse." I can't advise you all to just skip the next few issues until it's all blown over because who knows, something not asinine might happen. But if this issue is any indication, it's going to be a rough trip.

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4.8
Ultimate X-Men #92

Mar 26, 2008

Ultimate X-Men's "Apocalypse" is probably as close as Marvel gets to a All Star Batman counterpart: so over the top and gloriously ill-advised that someone has to be kidding. Glossed over and taken at face value, it's the best the book's been for quite some time.

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2.7
Ultimate X-Men #93

Apr 30, 2008

Ultimate X-Men has never been lower than "Apocalypse," and #93's mindless script coupled with the unappealing art results in one of the storyline's worst parts. There is a silver lining, though - next month a new creative team debuts. Things can only improve.

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7.3
Ultimate X-Men #94

May 21, 2008

All criticism aside, the upshot is I'm actually sort of interested in Ultimate X-Men again, and that's saying a lot. There are finally some good plot developments happening here again, and at the very least I'm intrigued to see what happens next issue.

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6.2
Ultimate X-Men #95

Jun 18, 2008

Coleite's arrival on this book has fixed a few things, but still has some kinks to work out. Despite myself, I'm still hopeful that Ultimate X-Men can turn out to be a solid book in the future. It's just not there yet.

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5.0
Ultimate X-Men #97

Aug 27, 2008

There's a very real chance that this is the last issue of Ultimate X-Men in its current form. Ultimatum sets in next month, and I can't say I feel a tinge of regret if the status is irrevocably altered. For awhile Ultimate X-Men has been a title that's drastically lost its way and is searching desperately for anything to cling onto, but more importantly it hasn't been a hugely engaging read.

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4.1
Ultimates 3 #2

Jan 23, 2008

Ultimates 3 would be an okay story arc in Exiles or What If... ("What if the Avengers were all on crystal meth?!?"), but as the bearer of the Ultimates torch it doesn't stack up. The worst part is, Jeph Loeb has somehow make the central tenant of comics -- costumed superheroes beating each other up -- lifeless and irritating. It's going to be a long five issues, folks.

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2.3
Ultimates 3 #4

Jun 25, 2008

There are two kinds of bad comics: the kind that must've sounded like a good idea when it was pitched but somehow faltered, and then the kind that is, was, and always will be so fundamentally flawed at its core that whoever green-lighted it had to have been kidding. Four-fifths of the way through, I'm reasonably certain I know which camp Ultimates 3 falls into.

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2.7
Ultimatum #2

Dec 24, 2008

Very, very, very few redeeming qualities for the second installment of Ultimatum. I don't know if the deteriorating quality of the plot is meant to mirror the rapidly unravelling state of the Ultimate Universe, or if it's simply suffering from the same lack of editorial direction as Ultimates 3. Either way I really, really don't recommend this unless you've begun playing a self-fashioned drinking game with Loeb comics or something.

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5.7
Uncanny X-Men #497

Apr 23, 2008

Perhaps the biggest waste of time of all "Divided We Stand" tie-ins. A shame, really, considering Uncanny X-Men stood to gain the most coming out of "Messiah Complex." Unfortunately for us, it looks like we'll have to wait until issue #500 in July to really get anything worthwhile from the book.

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5.0
Uncanny X-Men #499

Jun 25, 2008

Better times are most definitely ahead for what's effectively the flagship book of the X-Men franchise, and it's without much sadness that I bid Brubaker's solo handling of this book adieu. Most would be wise to skip this one and just wait to see what crops up next month.

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5.6
Uncanny X-Men #500

Jul 23, 2008

So it's definitely not all frowns as far as Uncanny X-Men #500 is concerned, and I think there are some competent ideas in play here. It's just the follow-through that got garbled somewhere along the line. A dozen tiny fumbles do begin to add up after awhile, but I'm holding out hope that Brubaker and Fraction can run a tighter ship as everything settles.

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6.6
Uncanny X-Men #501

Aug 20, 2008

In spite of the glaring flaws that have begun plaguing Uncanny X-Men, I'm not ready to denounce the new direction or creators just yet. There's certainly a sense of the old '80s playfulness and plenty of potential in the concepts that Bru and Fraction are conceiving. It'll be a star title if they can work out the technical glitches in the coming months and smooth the rougher edges.

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6.8
Uncanny X-Men #503

Oct 15, 2008

Bru and Fraction's Uncanny X-Men hasn't won me over quite yet. For every nice development, there are about three or four parts that come up short in each issue. The crazy lack of commitment to one solid concept could be that the writers are laying a foundation for later stories, but it's a bit off-putting. I haven't thrown in the towel with this book by any means, I'm just slightly confused at the angle the creators have taken with it.

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8.1
Uncanny X-Men #505

Dec 17, 2008

Matt Fraction's Uncanny X-Men is starting to set into a rhythm and it seems like he's becoming more comfortable with the breadth of characters at his disposal. While it's certainly not the best X-Men I've ever read, it's still fun and upbeat in its own way, and that counts for something alongside moodier, brooding books like Astonishing X-Men and X-Force.

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7.8
Uncanny X-Men #507

Mar 18, 2009

After a few sleepy issues, Uncanny X-Men is on an upswing. While the respective storylines that are rounded off this week aren't exactly the most inspiring, Matt Fraction is subtly working his patented character magic and it's beginning to pay off.

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7.5
Uncanny X-Men #510

May 20, 2009

If you can get past the whole art debacle, there's a fantastic issue of Uncanny X-Men underneath. I doubt the days of dial-a-storyline are behind us, but for now I'm enjoying Matt Fraction's calmer approach to storytelling this issue.

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7.0
Uncanny X-Men #511

Jun 10, 2009

On the whole, Fraction's Uncanny X-Men is better than the Sisterhood arc suggests, but issue #511 is a fairly inoffensive number that cleans things up in a mildly interesting way while setting plot threads up for bigger developments down the line. I suspect diehard X-Men fans will get more out of this issue's smaller details while more casual fans might grow bored of this story, which isn't exactly unique.

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8.2
Uncanny X-Men #513

Jul 1, 2009

Minor blips aside, it's the first strong, important issue of Uncanny X-Men in quite some time. "Utopia" is showing a lot of promise for this title, and it's made me excited to read this series again.

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8.0
Uncanny X-Men #514

Aug 12, 2009

I'm not sure how much Uncanny X-Men #514 really does to improve the overall worth of "Utopia" as a crossover, but it's an enjoyable issue that stands on its own - especially if you're like me and have an affinity for seeing lesser-used characters shine. It also goes some way in selling the new Dark X-Men as a legitimate team, which is quite the accomplishment.

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7.9
Uncanny X-Men #516

Oct 14, 2009

When Magneto turns up in the pages of an X-Men book, he usually receives all the characters' and writer's attention. That helps Matt Fraction produce an issue of Uncanny X-Men that's actually not too bad, with a respectful and fitting interpretation of the X-Men's seminal villain.

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7.0
Uncanny X-Men #518

Dec 3, 2009

As usual, the latest chaotic installment of Uncanny X-Men certainly isn't without its share of problems, but there are redeemable pieces in the fray. More than anything, this title seems in overwhelming need of a stronger editorial hand to guide it more coherently down its path, because unfortunately I feel lost more than I'd like with this book.

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5.4
Uncanny X-Men #519

Dec 23, 2009

To be fair, it's not like Uncanny X-Men #519 is a completely wretched comic. Fantomex makes his grand reappearance in the X-books proper, and there's a good (if brief) exchange between Magneto and Namor, two characters possessing bigger personalities than most. But overwhelmingly, this issue just feels limp and lifeless, and the series in general could do with a shot in the arm.

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7.9
Uncanny X-Men #523

Apr 7, 2010

Elsewhere, this issue feels every bit the prototypical big X-Men crossover. The big-name characters all get face time, there are things blowing up, and the heroes are whacking away at the clearly defined villains. Thankfully, the X-Men actually catch up with Hope and Cable in this part, which is only the second of thirteen. It was a legitimate concern of mine that it would take at least seven to accomplish this. And while "Second Coming" doesn't seem to be reinventing the wheel, it is bringing the X-Men back to a bright, shiny place that feels fresh after so many years of sulking around about the hopelessness of their situation. So far, it seems to be hitting all the right notes.

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7.9
Uncanny X-Men #524

May 5, 2010

But aside from some screwy details, Uncanny X-Men #524 works well in the confines of the "Second Coming" storyline. It allows Hope some people to brush up against apart from Cable, and gives the title the opportunity to act like a proper team book again.

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7.0
Uncanny X-Men #525

Jun 9, 2010

But despite that, "Second Coming" is finally enjoyable for me again. This issue brings some exciting developments to fruition and knows how its chief players should brush up against one another.

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7.8
Vengeance of the Moon Knight #3

Nov 11, 2009

But if you're willing to do a bit of Google legwork (or just happen to be one of the two dozen diehard Moon Knight fans out there), Vengeance offers a really great horror story in its best moments. Opea's dark, creepy artwork and Hurwitz's solid crafting of the antagonistic forces result in the first issue of a Moon Knight book that I've actually enjoyed in quite some time.

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8.5
Vengeance of the Moon Knight #6

Mar 17, 2010

As the first storyline in Moony's latest ongoing title comes to a close, it's clear that the character couldn't be in better hands. This issue features some complex character pieces, exciting action sequences, and a battle that really feels like the culmination of the book's trajectory. Moon Knight scarcely gets better than this.

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5.0
Vengeance of the Moon Knight #7

Apr 7, 2010

Vengeance of the Moon Knight came as a surprise to me, with a strong central concept and great character work. But that's all sidelined as Deadpool takes over, and it becomes another in the tall pile of Deadpool releases this month (and not even one of the better ones). If you're looking for stories in the vein of the first six issues of Vengeance, you might want to wait for issue #9 in June.

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5.7
Venom: Dark Origin #1

Aug 6, 2008

It's hard to know who to recommend Venom: Dark Origin #1 to. For the Venom faithful, the sordid details of Eddie Brock's childhood is a well-trodden path, and this issue fails to offer much new material. For casual Spidey fans, the actively antagonistic central character will probably be off-putting. It's one to keep an eye on as it develops, but the first issue comes up short.

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6.7
War Machine #1

Jan 3, 2009

Your enjoyment of War Machine's first issue could depend largely on how much of the character's recent history you've been following, and how much you cared about it. As a new reader, you'll find a basic shoot-'em-up comic with a sci-fi/tech twist, and as a fan of the character's developments in recent months you might lament the lost potential in these pages. It's only the first issue, but I'm personally a little underwhelmed.

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9.3
Wolverine (2003) #62

Feb 13, 2008

If there's a tinge of the negative in Wolverine #62, it's only that Jason Aaron isn't the new regular writer for the book. He displays a fundamental understanding of the characters and really tells a great opening part to his arc.

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9.2
Wolverine (2003) #63

Mar 12, 2008

Another very strong effort. This is the best Wolverine has been in quite some time, and I find myself actively rooting for Mystique to live because she's just that much fun. I honestly hope "Get Mystique" allows Jason Aaron to find some really high-profile work at Marvel because he absolutely deserves it.

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9.4
Wolverine (2003) #65

May 14, 2008

But the art's a minor concern when you take into account the brilliance of the conclusion of "Get Mystique!" It's smart, it's fun, and it has a relevant point. I only wish Jason Aaron were sticking around on this book because he obviously has an excellent grasp of the character and his place in the Marvel Universe.

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7.4
Wolverine (2003) #66

Jun 10, 2008

What it does to right, however, is make me anticipate the rest of the storyline. Like I said, there's plenty of places to go with the setup established here, and it's more or less out of continuity so Millar can presumably go nuts with his crazy concepts and whatnot. After the eight issues are over, there's no doubt in my mind that "Old Man Logan" could turn out to be a wild ride, and this semi-nondescript first issue will make more sense as a piece of the bigger picture. But for now, there are a few small missteps that keep it from completely selling me from the word go.

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8.5
Wolverine (2003) #71

Mar 18, 2009

I was once ambivalent about "Old Man Logan," but issue #71 has changed my mind and I'm now looking forward to the conclusion of the story. It's still the equivalent of a big dumb action movie, but that's probably the premise any good Wolverine story should start with.

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8.2
Wolverine (2003) #73

May 13, 2009

When it's all taken into consideration, Wolverine #73 is actually a positive reading experience. Daniel Way succeeded in rocketing high above my expectations and turning out a great story, and Jason Aaron at least has the decency to be interesting and discussion-worthy over the course of his odd misstep. Add to that the artwork, which is top-notch and manages to add to each story's effectiveness. An issue like this actually makes me a bit sad to see a format change in the series if the title is capable of moments like this.

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5.3
Wolverine Origins #28

Sep 24, 2008

Even as the prologue to a hyped storyline, Origins #28 is overwhelmingly skippable. I have a hard time believing the small portion of this issue that's relevant to "Original Sin" won't be mentioned somewhere over the course of the event's beginning stages, and some decent art just isn't enough to save the issue.

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7.3
Wolverine Origins #29

Oct 29, 2008

Surprisingly enough, Origins manages to pull ahead of Legacy in the quality department and subvert almost everyone's expectations. Granted, it's not as story heavy as the previous two parts, but it's serviceable and has some good dialogue moments that caught me off-guard. Legacy readers just along for the crossover shouldn't have much to fear from this one.

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7.5
Wolverine Origins #30

Nov 26, 2008

A nice quiet, subdued ending to a nice quiet, subdued storyline. While arguments can be made that "Original Sin" probably didn't need five parts to get Wolverine and Daken in the same room to sort their problems out, the final issue delivers the next logical progression of Daken's arc and the effect he has on Logan.

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7.2
Wolverine: Manifest Destiny #1

Oct 22, 2008

I'm hesitant to count Wolverine: Manifest Destiny out just yet, but the first issue hasn't proven it a worthy successor to Jason Aaron's stellar arc on the parent title. It's one to watch, but unfortunately not one to wholeheartedly recommend at the moment.

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8.2
Wolverine: Manifest Destiny #2

Dec 3, 2008

Wolverine: Manifest Destiny continues to squeeze a fun little story out of an unpromising concept. Fans of Jason Aaron's other work will likely find a lot to like here.

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7.8
Wolverine: Manifest Destiny #4

Feb 11, 2009

I was pleasantly surprised by Wolverine: Manifest Destiny, and particularly this last issue. It's no secret that the character is massively overexposed, so my default reaction to any story starring him is overt skepticism. But for the third time running, Jason Aaron has managed to work his magic with the character and prove that he's got stories to tell with him.

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3.7
Wolverine: Mr. X #1

Mar 10, 2010

The underwhelming Wolverine segment of this book is the typical Wolverine one-shot fare, featuring, of all things, a bank robbery. Tieri's Logan owes more to a goofy action hero than any sort of layered, deep character, and it's immediately off-putting. Paco Diaz's art is fine enough, but his penchant for silly poses and awkward figures wore on me by the end of the issue. Wolverine: Mr. X seems to be a book that causes more problems than it solves, telling an uninteresting story that doesn't leave either character especially better off for it.

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4.2
Wolverine: Savage #1

Feb 3, 2010

As Wolverine one-shots go, this one's tepid, even with Richard Elson's capable (if overly animated) pencils. I imagine there are readers who will enjoy a goofy, playful story like this one as a reprieve from the grim moodiness of X-Force and Wolverine: Weapon X, but it's hard to recommend this one when stuff like First Class already exists for that purpose.

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8.5
Wolverine: Weapon X #5

Sep 30, 2009

The first arc of Wolverine: Weapon X is an unqualified success, and issue #5 is a joy to read. A lot has been done to Wolverine over the years in an attempt to make him deeper and more interesting, but Jason Aaron understands what's always been great about the character at his core and uses that as a springboard to tell some great stories.

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8.5
Wolverine: Weapon X #6

Oct 28, 2009

It's easy to make a crack about how many Wolverine books appear on the stands every month, but it's times like these I'm thankful for it. The character's presence in more straightforward offerings like X-Force, Wolverine: First Class and Origins allow creative writers like Jason Aaron to go off and do bonkers things like Wolverine: Weapon X #6, a chilling, engaging synergy of art and script the likes of which Logan too rarely enjoys.

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7.0
Wolverine: Weapon X #7

Nov 18, 2009

Looking ahead, it does seem like Aaron is getting his act together and moving the story forward next issue. But as far as this one goes, it's the best proof we've got that this story arc "Insane In The Brain" probably could've been a four-parter.

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7.9
Wolverine: Weapon X #9

Jan 20, 2010

I'm a bit conflicted regarding this issue of Wolverine: Weapon X. Taken as separate pieces and considered in depth, the moving parts of issue #9 are somehow "wrong," don't work in sync, and clash significantly at times. But viewed as part of a story about insanity and mental control, those weaknesses become strengths and add to the histrionics of the tale. As is becoming customary with this title, your enjoyment will depend on your willingness to let Aaron take you for his ride, and not worry too much about the details. Regardless, though, this is the most higher-level thinking I've thrown the character's way in quite some time, so that should tell you something about the quality of this series.

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8.5
Wolverine: Weapon X #10

Feb 3, 2010

While Wolverine: Weapon X #10 has its share of slip-ups, I count it another win for Jason Aaron. One of my favorite aspects of the book is how it continually straddles the line between grit and black comedy, and this issue is another great example of that. For a character like Wolverine who's so completely overexposed, we could use more stories like this one.

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8.9
Wolverine: Weapon X #11

Mar 3, 2010

Issue #11 is a strong issue of a very capable series, and finally signals the beginning of a more straightforward, real-time Wolverine story. Jason Aaron and Ron Garney have managed to craft an issue that quite easily appeals to casual fans and hardcore followers alike. I'd even go as far as to recommend Weapon X #11 to non-Wolverine fans. It really is a smart piece of comic storytelling and a great beginning to the storyline.

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9.0
X-Factor #201

Jan 27, 2010

There aren't enough positive things to say about X-Factor. With a new anniversary issue just last month, a new direction, an unparalleled cast, and one of the best, most consistent writers in the business at the helm, there's no reason why anyone shouldn't be trying X-Factor right now.

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8.0
X-Factor #204

Apr 21, 2010

X-Factor #204 may not be a "real" part of the "Second Coming" insanity ripping through the X-books, but it is a solid read. And more importantly, it showcases Peter David's supreme adaptability, weaving story threads in and out of the issue and turning everything he touches to gold.

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8.3
X-Factor #205

May 19, 2010

While I find Valentine De Landro's artwork touch and go usually, I can't complain about the man's ability to successfully tell a story, even if his handling of Guido isn't exactly the best. And David's shining scripting more than makes up for so-so art. While X-Factor may be in the throes of someone else's story, it's still its own idiosyncratic book filled with compelling characters and storylines, and still the best book you aren't reading.

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6.5
X-Factor #206

Jun 23, 2010

The silver lining to this just-average issue of X-Factor is that, as always, David is keeping one eye on the future of his title. This issue gives readers a few developments to keep in mind as the characters move forward, and ultimately leaves this team in a better place than they began. Fans can at least be thankful for that.

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8.6
X-Factor Special: Layla Miller #1

Aug 20, 2008

While it doesn't seem that Layla will be returning to the lineup of X-Factor just yet, it's nice to know she's not forgotten about and that she's still part of the grand scheme that Peter David has in store for the team. One part "Messiah Complex" epilogue, one part What If...? tale, it's got something for almost every X-Fan and definitely the X-Factor book you should be paying attention to this week.

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8.4
X-Factor Vol. 3 #27

Jan 9, 2008

"Messiah Complex" is above all an X-Men crossover, and they've never required you to do much more than show up. I never expected a thinking man's crossover, and that coupled with the ultimately high enjoyment factor allow me to begrudgingly overlook the basic logic issues that have begun permeating the story. I trust that there's a big finish brewing and despite myself, I can't feel much more than excitement.

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7.4
X-Factor Vol. 3 #28

Feb 13, 2008

X-Factor is still one of the stronger X-books out right now, but this issue, along with last week's issue of Uncanny X-Men, serves to show that the "Divided We Stand" tie-ins don't really mean a whole lot besides indicating that the cast participated in "Messiah Complex" last month. Still, there are some nice character moments to be found here and, at the very least, it's a bit of a step up from lame recent concepts like the Isolationist.

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7.2
X-Factor Vol. 3 #31

May 21, 2008

Not the most chipper book on the stands this week, but I guess it's not technically bad. I'm just curious as to why we're getting something along these lines instead of, you know, X-Factor trying to find out what happened to the teammate they lost all those months ago in "Messiah Complex."

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8.3
X-Factor Vol. 3 #32

Jun 18, 2008

Things are finally looking up for X-Factor. If you're a fan of the series who misses the team politics and dark fun of the early issues, take heart -- those days may be back soon.

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7.8
X-Factor Vol. 3 #33

Jul 16, 2008

It's obvious that someone at Marvel loves X-Factor, because this month's issue is over the top with jump-on appeal. And that said, if you haven't tried what's arguably the best X-book on the stands, you probably aren't going to get a better opportunity than this.

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4.3
X-Factor Vol. 3 #34

Aug 20, 2008

The less said about this issue of X-Factor, and really this entire storyline, the better. Destined to become a footnote in the team's history notable for bringing Darwin (and indirectly Longshot) to the fold. Unless you're a grade-A large fan of the once-forgotten X-Man, don't bother.

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7.5
X-Factor Vol. 3 #35

Sep 17, 2008

That aside, from a writing standpoint it's hard to remember when X-Factor has been a stronger title. The team's new XF Investigations initiative seems to be working nicely for them and Peter David is providing readers with everything that made us fall in love with the title in the first place. When that's the case, it's hard to criticize the issue too harshly based solely on the lackluster art.

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7.7
X-Factor Vol. 3 #36

Oct 22, 2008

If X-Factor #36 is essentially nothing more than the middle part of an arc, it's at least a fun, enjoyable middle with a stronger handle of its cast than many other books on the stands. I can't easily forgive Larry Stroman's artwork, but if you try your best to focus on the words you're in for more of the same great X-Factor material that built it a solid reputation.

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8.8
X-Factor Vol. 3 #37

Nov 19, 2008

X-Factor has always been a great title, it just suffered quite a bit under some bad artwork. With that hiccup in the past, it's back to its usual greatness, keeping a stranglehold on its position as the only X-book with a consistent identity from year to year.

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9.0
X-Factor Vol. 3 #39

Jan 21, 2009

From the throwaway comedic lines to the constantly shifting dynamics between characters to the surprises, this issue of X-Factor stands above most of its predecessors as one of the absolute best. It's a turning point for the series and a very satisfying reward for devoted readers.

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8.7
X-Factor Vol. 3 #40

Feb 18, 2009

X-Factor #40 is the first book I tore through in my stack this week, and Peter David failed to disappoint. I can't honestly say this issue hit me as hard as the last one did, but the title is still the best X-book on the stands today.

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8.1
X-Factor Vol. 3 #41

Mar 18, 2009

Despite what the drop in score may imply, X-Factor is still one my favorite books on the stands and certainly has some of the greatest character work in any title at the moment. Peter David is notorious for making the best out of plot developments, so I have faith that the chaos he's dumped on these characters can only result in quality stories for us down the road.

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8.5
X-Factor Vol. 3 #42

Apr 15, 2009

I've long considered X-Factor the most reliable, consistently well-written X-title since its first story arc. Peter David comes to the title with a love for the characters that's tangible on every page, and Madrox as the unlikely main lead gives the title a sense of humanity. As always, this issue of X-Factor delivers everything readers have come to expect.

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8.5
X-Factor Vol. 3 #46

Jul 15, 2009

X-Factor has a reputation for being the best X-book on the stands, and with the level of quality it's enjoyed recently (as well as the increased word of mouth from last issue's kiss heard 'round comicdom), that's unlikely to change. David has been crafting a fun, exciting epic that's been a joy to watch unfold, and this issue is one of the funnier, more engaging pieces yet.

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8.4
X-Factor Vol. 3 #47

Aug 19, 2009

Otherwise, issue #47 is the 47th quality installment of the best X-book of the current generation. The action is played cleverly, the comedy is on point as always, and the characters are deep and lovable.

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7.2
X-Factor Vol. 3 #50

Oct 28, 2009

Still, the emotionally resonant ending doesn't do enough to make up for the mostly tepid first half of the issue. I'm glad to see that X-Factor is headed for greener pastures as the title moves forward, but for those of us who've stuck with it month in and month out, it's a confusing, hectic ending to a confusing, hectic story.

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7.8
X-Force #1

Feb 13, 2008

I'm a diehard X-Men fan and I know it may seem like I'm slamming X-Force, so I want to make it clear that I really did enjoy a good portion of it. The new(-ish) Purifiers are sufficiently imposing and X-Force as a team succeeds in looking like a cooler, more bloody version of the X-Men, which is probably a large chunk of the mission statement. I just feel like X-Force has a lot of work to do in becoming a viable X-book. The potential is definitely there, but they haven't hooked me just yet.

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7.9
X-Force #2

Mar 5, 2008

Still, half the work is done in selling the first arc of X-Force, as the team now has a credible and cool villain. Whether Warpath and X-23 can or will become more than Wolverine Parts II and III in either power or personality remains to be seen.

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7.3
X-Force #3

Apr 23, 2008

Yes, X-Force has its share of problems, but it's still showing some promise. Once again, if it can work out its kinks and do some cast work, it can exist as a thoroughly entertaining X-title. It's still not quite there yet, though.

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7.3
X-Force #4

May 28, 2008

X-Force continues to be kind of irritating in its refusal to be anything more than just decent. All the parts are present for an entertaining book, but they don't seem to ever work in unison. I'm hoping that with time the title will eventually hit its stride.

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6.3
X-Force #5

Jul 16, 2008

It's hard to score a book like X-Force #5, as I'm sure there are a couple readers out there who are just tickled at the idea of a Risman-centric issue. This project is absolutely something I want to like, but unfortunately this issue is just another in a string of so-so installments of X-Force's overlong, meandering debut arc.

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8.2
X-Force #8

Oct 29, 2008

X-Force has suddenly morphed into quite an enjoyable little series. Issue #8 is only part two of the title's second story arc, and already writers Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost have made the book's characters more interesting and fattened the cast nicely. Hopefully, like Young X-Men last week, this marks the turning point for the series and it just needed a grace period to fine-tune its angle.

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8.3
X-Force #9

Nov 26, 2008

X-Force is finally a book that I completely enjoy. The cast is working for it, the stories are engaging, and the artwork compliments its tone rather than dictates it. If you've been waiting to get onboard, now's the time. It's not just claws and fangs anymore, now it's claws and fangs and death wings and semi-automatic machine guns.

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6.1
X-Force #10

Jan 3, 2009

I do like that Kyle and Yost are approaching X-Force as a one extended storyline, which goes some way in explaining the cluster of info that was dumped on readers in the initial arc. It also helps that the writers embrace some of more obscure mutant nuttiness that went on in the '80s and '90s. But some of the developments in this issue left me scratching my head, and others just left me disinterested. It's a shame, too, because X-Force has quietly become a book to watch.

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8.0
X-Force #11

Jan 28, 2009

X-Force has tried left-of-center storytelling tactics before, but never as successfully as here. Eli Bard is at once a strong and sympathetic antagonist, one that I look forward to seeing as the title progresses. Say what you will about Kyle and Craig, they certainly have respect for their villains.

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8.6
X-Force #13

Mar 18, 2009

X-Force is at its highest point yet going into its first crossover event. Writers Chris Yost and Craig Kyle are clearly working hard to elevate the book's status in the X-franchise, and they're doing a bang-up, slice-up, shoot-up, bite-up job.

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5.8
X-Force #14

Apr 22, 2009

So, the good news: "Messiah War" feels like it finally started, and the pieces have begun gelling. But the bad news: X-Force #14 isn't so great as a standalone issue or as part of the ongoing series, with a number of glaring problems popping up as it moves along. The biggest disappointment, perhaps, is that this installment seems to have abandoned the book's grasp of fun and, as much as it pains me to say, issue #14 is probably a perfect example of what everyone was afraid a project like this would turn out to be - dumb, heartless action with very little point. X-Force really is better than this.

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5.0
X-Force #15

May 27, 2009

Unless something happens quick, "Messiah War" is proving to be a lackluster sequel to "Messiah Complex." If you've been following the crossover since the beginning, I'd venture to say you could even skip X-Force #15 and not miss a thing.

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3.8
X-Force #16

Jun 24, 2009

"Messiah War" will undoubtedly go down in X-history as the slow, impaired stepchild of the infinitely better "Messiah Complex," and X-Force #16 is perhaps the worst installment of all. As I said when I started this review, by all accounts X-Force should be back to its usual form next month, unencumbered by a crossover, but there's very little reason to buy this issue if you're looking for anything approaching competency.

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7.3
X-Force #17

Jul 22, 2009

Quibbles and storytelling tactics aside, all most X-Force readers probably need to know about this issue is that they're back and they're doing what you love. If you ducked out during "Messiah War," you can finally pull your head out of the sand.

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7.8
X-Force #18

Aug 26, 2009

Aside from the horribly out of place Rahne storyline with the Frost Giants (the less said about that, the better), X-Force is back to firing on all cylinders and providing exactly what it says on the label. This issue signals a turn towards even darker territory, where the team can really flourish.

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7.0
X-Force #21

Nov 11, 2009

So this issue ends up being a solid, above average fight scene coupled with some mostly dreadful artwork. While this book does leave me cautiously optimistic about the future of "Necrosha," it's definitely not without its flaws along the way. There are places where the artwork outright distracts from the flow of the story, and that's a major problem for me.

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4.9
X-Force #23

Jan 27, 2010

The fourth part of the "Necrosha" storyline is exactly what you'd expect from an event's middle portion: drawn out, uneventful, light on plot. By the end it's clear the story's heading somewhere, but on the basis of this issue I'm not convinced it's going to be interesting, and I'm outright doubtful that it's going to be visually accessible. "Necrosha" really isn't shaping up to be a milestone in X-Force's storied history.

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4.1
X-Force #25

Mar 31, 2010

Big, sweeping crossover stories haven't been kind to X-Force, and "Necrosha" is no exception. While the storytelling this issue isn't completely terrible, it doesn't make a good enough use of the months of buildup, and is cut off at the knees by horrid art.

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6.4
X-Force Annual #1

Dec 3, 2009

It's something of a mixed bag, this Annual. Some good artwork, a mediocre main story, and an entertaining if forgettable backup strip don't make for the worst collection in the world, but most will agree this issue's connection to X-Force is tenuous at best, and many -- myself included - will be disappointed with that.

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6.8
X-Force Special: Ain't No Dog #1

Jun 11, 2008

Your enjoyment of Ain't No Dog will depend largely on your degree of appreciation for the artistic aspect of comic book reading. If you dig some great, moody, gritty art that tells a competent story on its own, the "Ain't No Dog" portion of the issue is right up your alley. But if you'll feel ripped off for only being able to truly enjoy one aspect of the overall package, or you just can't bring yourself to ignore laughably bad scripting, you might want to steer clear.

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7.4
X-Infernus #2

Jan 14, 2009

It's important to note that issue #2 feels much more like an X-Men book than #1 did. The prior installment busied itself with hellish entities seated on their thrones of skulls cackling into the mists of Limbo, while this issue actually, you know... features the X-Men. If you were initially put off from the series, thinking it'd be a magical fantasy book with guest cameos by Pixie, Colossus, and Wolverine, check this issue out to see if it's more to your tastes.

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7.2
X-Infernus #3

Feb 11, 2009

X-Infernus is quickly becoming a decent X-event. While it's certainly not on par with offerings like "Messiah Complex," it does what it does well enough to justify its existence, and will most likely please fans who are into that sort of thing.

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9.0
X-Men #206

Dec 29, 2007

We must sound like broken records here at IGN, but "Messiah Complex" has been rock solid. Each week it's kept the quality level consistent and in some cases, like X-Men #206, it's raised the bar.

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8.2
X-Men Legacy #210

Apr 30, 2008

I'm optimistic about X-Men: Legacy coming out of the latest installment, because it now seems to have a purpose, and thankfully it's not altogether a waste of time. With the foundation in place, we could be in for a stellar run.

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7.4
X-Men Legacy #216

Sep 24, 2008

All in all, not quite up to par for X-Men: Legacy, but still worth a look. You might find this installment of the book a little talky, but there's some good character moments along the way and Carey manages to work a fairly good character dissection in a limited space.

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8.0
X-Men Legacy #220

Jan 21, 2009

It feels to me like X-Men: Legacy has received a shot in the arm, and the addition of some key X-Men players to the roster gives the book new life heading forward. The book continues to be one of the more above average X-books around when it's on point.

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8.1
X-Men Legacy #223

Apr 15, 2009

Mike Carey's X-Men: Legacy has been a devoted, loving book for devoted, loving X-Men fans, and the examination of Rogue in addition to the ongoing Xavier overhaul is an unqualified success. This issue is certainly up to the book's usual level of quality.

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8.2
X-Men Legacy #224

May 27, 2009

This last storyline of Legacy has been an entertaining ride through Rogue's history, and this is probably the best installment yet. The "thinking man's X-book" is better than ever now that it features characters like her and Gambit along with Xavier, building a sound foundation of cast members who've become synonymous with the franchise.

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8.2
X-Men Legacy #226

Jul 8, 2009

X-Men: Legacy #226 is billed as a tie-in to "Utopia" rather than a proper piece of it, and should be viewed as such. If you're a longtime X-Men fan, this is probably going to be right up your alley - if for no other reason than seeing Rogue and Gambit alongside the X-Men, kicking some tail for the first time in two years. But if you're more of a casual X-observer, you may want to stick to the main "Utopia" series, as you're probably going to be a bit nonplussed by the lack of relevance to the larger crossover plot.

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8.4
X-Men Legacy #227

Aug 19, 2009

X-Men: Legacy is a book that has a lot of potential as it moves forward with its Rogue-centric focus. Mike Carey is a writer who clearly has a lot of love for the character and her teammates, and if this issue is anything to judge by, the X-stable has another winner among its ranks.

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8.4
X-Men Legacy #230

Dec 17, 2009

After some aimless flailing about, X-Men: Legacy seems to be in a good place. Mike Carey has shown on more than one occasion that he's able to craft a serviceable superhero story, and with this issue it's clear he's working with characters and concepts he truly loves. Moving forward, Legacy is looking to become one of the more solid offerings from the X-Office.

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7.9
X-Men Legacy #232

Jan 27, 2010

While the premise for this issue may not be breaking new ground, it's an above average affair from two fantastic creators that isn't afraid to indulge fully in the nuances of superheroics. Featuring a perfect cast of characters, beautiful visuals, and an exciting pace, X-Men: Legacy #232 is the bar at which every fight issue should measure itself.

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7.4
X-Men Legacy #233

Feb 24, 2010

X-Men: Legacy #233 might not be breaking any new ground, but for an issue that is one long '90s-style fight, it's at least a very well done one. Carey selected a near-perfect team of X-Men and used them intelligently, even as he continues to strengthen his lead character over the course of his run. If you're just looking for an uncomplicated good time, X-Men: Legacy has been delivering over the last couple months.

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7.9
X-Men Legacy #234

Mar 17, 2010

It's hard to say what the future holds for the X-franchise coming out of "Second Coming," but smart money says there's a reconfiguring in the offing once it's over. If that's the case, it'd be a shame to shake up this formula too much, because the chemistry of Rogue and Mike Carey is clearly working.

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8.4
X-Men Legacy #235

Apr 21, 2010

From the look of things, "Second Coming" is firing on all cylinders. Mike Carey's entry to the storyline could be the strongest yet, with a good mix of characters, some great flashy moments along the way, and a dedication to the heroes themselves. One of the best things to come out of the X-offices in quite some time.

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6.3
X-Men Legacy #236

May 19, 2010

On paper I imagine X-Men: Legacy #236 sounded really cool. The idea of Bastion leaving the X-Men stranded and now irreversibly trapped in their own self-imposed exile does sound like a promising prospect, but the follow-through was bungled here. "Second Coming" may be headed for a big finish, but a year from now I feel that fans will look upon its bloated middle section with very little love.

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7.6
X-Men Legacy Annual #1

Sep 16, 2009

The inaugural X-Men: Legacy Annual is important reading for anyone interested in the future of the series, and a must-read for Rogue's hardcore fans. And while it's paced nicely and features trademark strong character work from Mike Carey, it doesn't go all the way in selling the "bold new direction" convincingly.

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3.3
X-Men Manifest Destiny: Nightcrawler #1

Mar 11, 2009

The gradual deterioration of the book extends to the art as well. It starts with heavily stylized, angular work that suits the character well, and by the end switches pencillers to a bland fill-in. Everything about this issue comes up short, and even (or perhaps especially) hardcore Nightcrawler fans will be ashamed that this character was subjected to something like this.

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8.0
X-Men Noir #1

Dec 3, 2008

If you've written the Noir books off as pointless ventures, take a look at X Men Noir #1. You might be surprised that there's actually a good story underneath the gimmickry and heavy inks.

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5.0
X-Men Origins: Sabretooth #1

Feb 11, 2009

Villains have been having a nice run of things over at Marvel. Norman Osborn runs the joint, Magneto's Testament mini-series was uniformly impressive, and even Loki's having a blast over in Thor. I had high hopes for Victor Creed as well, especially considering Kieron Gillen's hip, inventive past. But X-Men Origins: Sabretooth is a lightweight, unnecessary book that fails to say anything new or fresh about the old character.

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5.0
X-Men: Die By The Sword #1

Oct 10, 2007

So it's positioned almost exclusively for the Claremont fan, then, and if you've dug his stuff in the past you'll most likely eat this up. Also, I imagine the regular New Excalibur reader will enjoy it more than most, given this issue's heavy reliance on that title's characters and plot threads. But if you're an Exiles fan like me looking for advancement of that title's plots, you'll be disappointed.

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7.1
X-Men: Die By The Sword #2

Oct 24, 2007

I disliked the use of the Marvel UK last time around, and that's shuffled to the backburner here. I also noted that issue #1 reeked of Claremont's hallmarks, and happily they're kept to a minimum for this installment. There are still a couple telltale signs (like the patented "You're good... I'm better!" line), but it's toned down enough to be less noticeable. The art as as unnoteworthy as it was before, but again it doesn't inhibit the progression of the story. I'm hasty to be overly excited about the rest of the series because the end of this issue does tease the return of the Marvel UK lunacy next issue, but if some semblance of this character dynamic makes its way into New Exiles, I'm there.

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5.2
X-Men: Die By The Sword #3

Nov 14, 2007

This miniseries is not looking like it'll shape up to be very spectacular, and as always will probably appeal most to Claremont fans looking for their dose of his patented formula.

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7.0
X-Men: Divided We Stand #1

Apr 16, 2008

Somewhere in the middle is a Cannonball story, which I don't care one way or the other about, besides being a bit confused by the sudden lobotomy given to Paige Guthrie. But regardless of the shifting quality of scripts, Divided We Stand is a fairly good showcase of talent. I suspect X-Men fans wondering where their favorites went will get more from this offering than the casual reader, but if you know where to look there's a gem or two in these pages.

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7.6
X-Men: Divided We Stand #2

May 21, 2008

However, unlike Book I, there's more than enough material to warrant a pick-up by those who've loyally followed the X-titles in recent years. Problems aside, it's still a considerable step up from the last volume in nearly every way.

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7.7
X-Men: Emperor Vulcan #2

Oct 17, 2007

Emperor Vulcan isn't breaking any new ground for an X-Men book, but it does its thing well and transcends its source material. I'm not a big fan of space drama -- especially in X-titles -- but this series actually makes me not mind it so much. In fact, I sort of enjoyed it. And I think that's as good a compliment for this sort of project as anyone could hope for.

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6.2
X-Men: Kingbreaker #1

Dec 17, 2008

The War Of Kings symbol on the cover of this issue reminds readers that Kingbreaker will lead directly into this plot thread's crossover with the Inhumans early next year, so I have hope that the series will actually develop some intrigue in the coming issues. Sadly this first issue isn't exactly the bombastic comeback this team might've thought they were putting out.

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6.2
X-Men: Manifest Destiny #1

Sep 3, 2008

As far as a recommendation goes, Manifest Destiny lands in the same ballpark as its Divided We Stand brethren: if the specific characters appeal to you, you'll have a blast with it. But it's hard to imagine the average reader getting much out of the experience.

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4.1
X-Men: Manifest Destiny #2

Oct 8, 2008

Whereas the first issue of Manifest Destiny has its merits, issue #2 approaches irredeemable. Even for the hardcore X-fan, there isn't much to recommend unless you're irrevocably attached to the Iceman/Mystique dynamic.

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7.0
X-Men: Manifest Destiny #3

Nov 5, 2008

As of issue #3, X-Men: Manifest Destiny can now officially be referred to as "a series of varying quality," whereas before it just would've been described as "bad." It's still only for the X-Fans really, but there's more than a couple things for them to like in this installment of the series.

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8.4
X-Men: Messiah Complex #1

Oct 24, 2007

An impressive start to what's shaping up to be a satisfying story. The one-shot does cram a lot of information into its twenty-four pages and can sometimes seem a little spastic because of it, but it gets slack for being charged with springboarding four titles' worth of concepts. Despite its flaws, I'll pay it this compliment: This issue managed to hook me on another crossover with Mr. Sinister at the center.

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5.0
X-Men: Original Sin #1

Oct 8, 2008

I'm not counting "Original Sin" out as a storyline, but this one-shot has problems all over the place. Couple that with the fact that a Classic X-Men vignette has been reprinted and tacked onto the end of the issue (resulting in a price hike) and it makes it hard to feel good about recommending it.

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7.2
X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back! #1

Feb 10, 2010

All signs point to Pixie Strikes Back veering more into traditional territory down the line, but as far as this issue's concerned, it's a welcomed alternate take on the junior team with some unexpected wit from Immonen and more than a few charming qualities. Basically, if you were put off by the idea of a mini-series called Pixie Strikes Back, issue #1 is probably not going to change your tune. If you can get past that, however, it's a cool little X-curio.

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7.0
X-Men: Second Coming - Revelations: Hellbound #1

May 5, 2010

Hellbound #1 strikes me as a love letter to the X-Men diehards (which, admittedly, does include myself), featuring a left-field lineup and a heavy reliance on X-Men continuity. Casual readers who aren't interested in the intricacies of Illyana Rasputin's history and how it has affected other characters in recent years may not find a whole lot to latch onto here.

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3.8
X-Men: The Times and Life of Lucas Bishop #1

Feb 4, 2009

This is not something I'd recommend, even as a companion piece to Cable. There are some fair ideas, but the assault to the eyes actually hinders them. The book won't enrich your enjoyment of the parent series, and certainly doesn't do its titular character any justice.

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7.5
X-Men: Worlds Apart #2

Nov 19, 2008

Fair enough, one can still argue that the story in Worlds Apart isn't one that was desperately crying out to be told. When Storm returned in Astonishing X-Men and rejoined on probationary terms, everyone just sorted of nodded their heads. The question of whether she could balance the X-Men with Wakanda never really factored into it. But for Storm fans, Worlds Apart is more than satisfactory and tells a good enough story to keep you interested. A nice surprise, all told.

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8.2
Young Avengers Presents #1

Jan 23, 2008

I have a feeling we won't be getting any answers to the big questions from Young Avengers Presents, like status quo and membership post-Civil War, but when the proper series does eventually start up again, fans will probably have a heightened appreciation for its stars.

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6.9
Young Avengers Presents #2

Feb 27, 2008

It's a shame too, because I think Hulkling is a more dynamic and interesting character than any other on the Young Avengers. There's a lot of mileage still left in the character, and this story seems to be a necessary evil as it'd be odd for Marvel to completely ignored the two characters existing together simultaneously. But this is really not something you need to pick up, even if you're a Young Avengers diehard or Skrull theorist.

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8.0
Young Avengers Presents #3

Apr 2, 2008

Still, a good script is a good script, and of all the issues of Young Avengers Presents so far, this is the one that's worth a read by those who aren't hardcore fans of the team.

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5.7
Young X-Men #1

Apr 2, 2008

Not an auspicious start to the series, really. The other two book spinning out of "Messiah Complex," X-Force and Cable, may not be the greatest titles on the stands, but they at least make a case for their own existence. Young X-Men has a long way to go in that respect.

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4.2
Young X-Men #2

May 7, 2008

It's only issue #2 of this series, but it's already gotten off to a terrible start. Uninteresting, unintelligent, and unenjoyable all the way around.

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7.1
Young X-Men #7

Oct 15, 2008

Young X-Men's star is rising, and it's clear somebody at Marvel realized the book needed a defibrillator shot sooner rather than later. I have a lot of goodwill for the title and most of the characters, I'm just waiting for it all to come together and completely turn that corner.

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8.2
Young X-Men #8

Nov 19, 2008

Young X-Men is slowly but surely becoming a worthy successor to New X-Men. It traded the chaotic, overstuffed cast for a more streamlined one and a better initiative. And while some favorites may still be missing (paging Mercury, Hellion, and Surge, please report to this book now) the book is gradually finding its rhythm.

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5.2
Young X-Men #9

Jan 3, 2009

To be fair, Marc Guggenheim isn't a bad writer most of the time, and I trust that he knows this sort of thing can only realistically be a very, very short-term status quo. But it does come off as sloppy writing to me, a silly quick fix to get his characters out of a sticky situation with very little regard to implications. One can only hope that the more over-the-top developments this issue only herald the swift exit of the book's largest sore spot.

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8.0
Zatanna #2

Jun 23, 2010

When Grant Morrison and Ryan Sook gave Zee her own series in 2005, it featured a heroine as dark and fragmented as the world around her. Dini and Roux's interpretation of the character's life is, for all intents and purposes, a complete 180. Upbeat, fun, and likable, this is the Zatanna that deserves a book dedicated to her ongoing exploits, and it's one I thoroughly enjoy following.

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