Charles Martin's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comics: The Gathering Reviews: 51
7.7Avg. Review Rating

9.0
All-New Wolverine #31

Feb 28, 2018

That first Jonathan issue also delivered plenty of humour, but it offered significant character development for Laura and permanently (and heartwarmingly!) upgraded her relationship with Gabby. While #31 revisits the theme of family, it does so in a slightly shallower, lip-service fashion. Here comedy is the ultimate target, and though the creators score a bullseye, only the most rabid fans would contend that this was a particularly hard shot to make. This adventure is tons of fun, but it could have had more heart.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
All-New Wolverine #32

Mar 14, 2018

Laura tables most of the last issue's humour to do a darker, more Wolverine-y one-shot. This villain hunt includes some excellent twists and it also does low-key character exploration for Laura and especially her not-really-a-pal-yet Amber. The final page raises a weird question about storytelling tone, but everything prior to that is rock-solid jaw-clenched baddie-stabbing Wolverine goodness.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
All-New Wolverine #33

Apr 4, 2018

Though the plot is by-the-numbers so far, that doesn't reallymatter when the main goal is to make the reader say, "ooh, lookit what happens to …" a half-dozen happy times. That goal is capably achieved (though some stronger visuals could have made the results even more memorable). Tom Taylor and company have another two issues to spice up the story and make it just as rewarding as all the "lookit this crazy awesome future" revelations in #33; I have every confidence in their ability to do so.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #794

Jan 24, 2018

This issue badly wants to be a "hop on board, things are getting great" point for once-bitten twice-shy Spider-fans. Though the new story arc has promise, I'm not sure that the campy, under-cooked cheese of this Scorpio yarn is the most tempting entrée for readers who feel burned out on Dan Slott's Spider-Man. The next issue might bring us into "OMG you gotta read this" territory … but we're not there yet.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2016) #16

Feb 14, 2018

While Renew Your Vows #16 is decently entertaining, it doesn't deploy the sort of amazingly sympathetic "fall in love" hooks this title used to deliver regularly. It shows retrospectively how much effort the original creative team invested in this series. Renew Your Vows can coast for a bit longer on the considerable goodwill racked up in its first year, but this story arc needs to drill deeper if it's going to hold readers' attention.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
America #11

Jan 17, 2018

America's weird, wild ride as the star of her own solo bends towards its conclusion. While some concepts worth exploring have filtered down into this final arc, the odds of cementing them into a memorable legacy seem slim. This chapter in America's story is unlikely to be the most beloved, but we can still hope it's not the last.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Astonishing X-Men (2017) #8

Feb 21, 2018

Facing a potent villain with an ally they should really be questioning harder, the Astonishing X-Men are still in the hottest of hot water. Another rock-solid artistic performance and a fine-tuned script make this latest episode a hugely enjoyable one. Charles Soule has a clear destination in mind for this story, but the journey ahead of us still promises a lot of exciting twists.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Astonishing X-Men (2017) #11

May 2, 2018

Thanks to the smooth meshing of plot points laid down since issue one, Astonishing X-Men #11 delivers a pretty satisfying read even though its big twist is eminently call-able. There's plenty of peril and uncertainty left for the final issue. I have a terrible suspicion, though, that all the questions will be answered a little too neatly and this arc's overall impact - on its characters, on the Marvel universe's status quo, and on readers' memories - will be minimal.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Avengers (2016) #677

Jan 24, 2018

A small but satisfying revelation and a hint of hilarity are enough (just barely) to keep the "No Surrender" train chugging along. Pepe Larraz's top-tier art cries out for a more memorable story to tell, but so far the script refuses to rise to greatness. This is a decent arc so far - but is "decent" enough for a story demanding so much of its readers' time and money?

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Avengers (2018) #1

May 2, 2018

Some pervasive flaws in plot, pacing, and characterization are saved from causing too much disappointment by Ed McGuinness drawing his dang hands off in Avengers #1. This initial issue casts its net too wide and doesn't let the heroes do enough heroing, but pretty visuals and gobs of potential mean that this cause is a long way from lost.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Avengers (2018) #2

May 16, 2018

Even more than in their debut, Jason Aaron's Avengers are marking time in #2. While I'd still put my money on this developing into a satisfying epic once the arc is complete, it's just not compelling in single issues. Holding back on this title and gobbling it down in trade-sized chunks might be the best way to approach it.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Black Bolt #11

Mar 7, 2018

Saladin Ahmed and Christian Ward have, since the first pages of #1, imbued Black Bolt with intensity, focus, and passion that do their protagonist proud. My expectations going into #11 were crazy high, and yet it delivered satisfying payoffs in a practically miraculous way. Most impressive of all, it ratchets up expectations even higher for the final issue. I will be there with bells on to see how everything plays out - and I hope you'll come along, too.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Cable (2017) #155

Mar 21, 2018

Cable's new story arc starts with a bang as Zac Thompson & Lonnie Nadler sculpt Cable and his daughter Hope into real three-dimensional characters. The overwhelming presence of the shape-shifting fear-monster stalking them ensures that this is more of a spine-chiller than a heartwarmer, though. The script gives Germán Peralta free reign to imagine a creeptastic beastie, and Mr. Peralta is very, very imaginative. Bundle up tight and leave a light on as you read this superbly spooky bedtime story.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Cable (2017) #156

Apr 18, 2018

Cable #156 delivers a surprising full-issue flashback and throws the main story into a bit of a holding pattern. It's initially disconcerting, but the points that are made by the end of the issue are both insightful and scary. Top-notch visuals throughout help sell a tricky script. If the start is shaky, the end is notably powerful, and the larger story is evolving in fascinating ways.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Captain America (2017) #698

Feb 14, 2018

The arc leading to the big shiny #700 starts off plenty enjoyable. There's still a lot of heavy lifting to do if it's going to get truly epic, though. This issue is primarily a post-apocalyptic Secret-Empire-echoing setup so that Good Ole Cap can do his thing in the next two issues. Fortunately, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have already proved capable of portraying Good Ole Cap flawlessly, and this launch pad of an issue has them primed for blastoff.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Captain America (2017) #700

Apr 11, 2018

The backup story closes with the proud assertion that "Captain America is one of a kind," and that's a line I'd happily hoist a glass to. While I'm underwhelmed by a few bits of #700 and the strategic layout of the "Out Of Time" arc as a whole, I wouldn't dream of saying its heart is in the wrong place. The Waid/Samnee look at Cap closes with the same insightful, resiliently positive view of its protagonist it's had since day one. This issue might not be a critical turning point in Cap's story, but it is a joyous demonstration and celebration of why we love him.

View Issue       View Full Review
5.0
Captain Marvel (2017) #128

Jan 31, 2018

Carol is due to pop up in Infinity Countdown in a few weeks lugging the Reality Stone. When it's time to explain the stone's origins, I think she's likely to sigh and rub the bridge of her nose and say something like, "There was a whole … Mirror Universe … Thing." And that is about all you need to know about this story arc; only the most die-hard Carol fans (and those of us who love the way Michele Bandini draws her) will want to slog through the plot-hole-y details.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Champions #16

Jan 17, 2018

A fresh take on Marvel's creepiest family and a healthy dose of hero recruitment combine into a comic that's both hilarious and heartrending. This issue covers a lot of ground, offers up a lot of memorable moments, and hangs onto the powerful "storytelling for the ages" tone this title has had since Secret Empire. If you have the slightest interest in these characters - particularly Viv and Vision - you just can't miss this new chapter of their story. If you're just here for cool teen heroes doing cool heroic stuff, Champions #16 has you covered too.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Champions #19

Apr 11, 2018

Hold your heads up high, Champions fans! Jim Zub and Sean Izaakse perform an impressive soft reset that makes this team even easier to love and nullifies a lot of the "oh, it could be great, but" complaints earned by previous issues. Champions #19 concentrates very productively on character relationships, and if future issues deliver as strongly on plot development, this title is poised for greatness.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Despicable Deadpool #297

Mar 28, 2018

"The Marvel Universe Kills Deadpool" kicks off with a bleak look at Deadpool in a rock-bottom mood. In dialling down the tone for the rest of the arc to the blackest of black humour, Deadpool #297 is a success. Unfortunately, this mood-setting issue suffers from a shortage of plot development, and it simply cannot satisfy on its own. We need to have faith that this grim mood will pay off in the future, because the arc's main plot is just barely getting started.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Domino (2018) #1

Apr 11, 2018

Gail Simone's take on Neena "Domino" Thurman is entertaining as all get out if just a tiny bit generic. That problem should disappear as the story grows, and the very slight weaknesses in the script are more than compensated for by David Baldeón's incredibly expressive and polished art. This is a just great comic in general, and if you feel that Marvel could stand to learn a few things from DC, you should find it particularly satisfying.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Exiles (2018) #1

Apr 11, 2018

Saladin Ahmed and Javier Rodríguez assemble the first three members of a new Exiles squad, present them with a dangerous antagonist, and raise a lot of fascinating questions in this breathless revival. The characters and the challenges facing them receive just enough spotlight to leave us clamouring for more. The Exiles concept is one that runs on imagination, and these creators are feeding their new series plenty of high-octane fuel. This is gonna be a hot one.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Exiles (2018) #2

Apr 25, 2018

In six months' time, we'll look back on this issue as either the misstep where a great series nearly left the rails or the jump-the-shark moment that led to a quick (and rightful) cancellation. I have faith in the creators' talents. I see the potential of the premise. I like the plot so far. I'm pulling hard for the first option. Considering Exiles #2 on its own, though, I can't deny the disappointment delivered by its cardboard characterization.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Falcon (2017) #6

Mar 14, 2018

Falcon launches into his second story arc with a spookier, more serious tone and a more modern pace. There's a tiny twinge of disappointment in saying goodbye to the over-stuffed scripts of previous issues. We've got cool vampires and interesting supporting cast developments to look forward to - but I worry that this title's unique, idiosyncratic voice might be slipping away.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Guardians of the Galaxy (2017) #150

Jan 3, 2018

If, however, you're not just in it for the Warlock, this issue should do an admirable job of pumping you up for Infinity Countdown. It manages to polish off the Guardians' current series in flashy, satisfying style while also whetting your appetite for the event to come. Marvel's cosmic arena is looking wilder and more exciting than ever, and though it will continue under other titles, the Guardians' story is still well worth following.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Hawkeye (2016) #14

Jan 3, 2018

This is a satisfying enough issue if you're already invested in the title and the current story arc. That arc is still on track, and it may well end up being great. Once we're looking at it in hindsight, though, I doubt that #14 is going to stand out as a high point.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Hunt For Wolverine #1

Apr 25, 2018

The Hunt for Wolverine presents terrific visuals throughout and some genuinely touching moments in the A story. The B story, though, charts out a roadmap for a vast crossover event that's already looking bloated and unsatisfying. By itself, this issue is a decent read and a very pretty one, but the continuation of the story across four different miniseries looks promising for only the most indulgent and well-heeled Wolverine superfans.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Hunt For Wolverine: Adamantium Agenda #1

May 9, 2018

While this issue doesn't make any cutting-edge Wolverine revelations, it does an excellent job of opening up new mysteries in its retrospective look at Logan's New Avengers days. Formidable art and a dense script that focuses on the "Why are these heroes hunting Wolverine?" question foremost in readers' minds turns this into a winner. Our recommendation for Adamantium Agenda #1: Buy it.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Hunt For Wolverine: Claws Of A Killer #1

May 16, 2018

A winning story, rock-solid characterization, and naturalistic visuals make Claws of a Killer #1 a real delight. While it's not a perfect comic, it's a very strong one both on its own and as part of the bigger Hunt for Wolverine plot. Our recommendation: Buy It for sure.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Hunt For Wolverine: Weapon Lost #1

May 2, 2018

In terms of progressing the Hunt, this issue does nothing beyond roping a supporting cast to Daredevil. The moody tone makes this issue worth a peek if you love hardboiled detective stories, but it couldn't possibly be considered "essential." And you can shave about three points off our rating if you're a die-hard Cypher fan and you don't care to see him turned into a punchline for the Nth time. Our recommendation for Weapon Lost #1: Skip It.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Incredible Hulk (2017) #713

Feb 21, 2018

Amadeus Cho's cruise-control Sakaar road trip comes to an end with slight confusion and a promise of real character development to come. It's been an aggressively non-memorable journey, and while there weren't any "grab the pitchforks" sins committed, I can't imagine this being anywhere near as well-regarded as the original Planet Hulk in ten (or five, or one) years' time.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Lockjaw (2018) #1

Feb 28, 2018

At the start of the issue, I was hoping for a good "Lockjaw saves his family" adventure. At the end, I'm hoping for a good "Lockjaw saves D-Man" story, and I'm fairly confident that we'll get that. And probably some awesome Lockjaw family action, too. While a faster pace would be welcome, Carlos Villa's gorgeous art and Daniel Kibblesmith's funny script ensure that these first slow steps are highly enjoyable.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #27

Jan 31, 2018

After a shaky start, the Fantastic Three have found their feet. Giving them a little breathing room before they tackle full-on world-saving is a great idea, and the way their chemistry starts to pop in this issue has livened up the whole story arc. Lunella + Ben Grimm + Johnny Storm always had potential, and now, at last, we're seeing it realized. I'm eager to see where they go next.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Ms. Marvel (2015) #28

Mar 21, 2018

As Gabe says, "This is Jersey City. We get weird chemical explosions and dinosaurs, like, every other week." Satisfying as this particular explosion-and-dinosaur fest is, it brings this arc to a close by giving Kamala just the gentlest of forward nudges in terms of character development. Previous issues laid the groundwork for a more ambitious leap, so closing with a bunny hop feels a tiny bit anticlimactic. My quibbles are minor, though, and it's definitely a pleasure to have Kamala back.

View Issue       View Full Review
10
Ms. Marvel (2015) #29

Apr 18, 2018

Kamala Khan has always been easy to fall in love with. If the past 47 issues have done the trick and turned youinto an adoring follower, this latest piece of her story is positively unmissable. Ms. Marvel #29 is a beautiful journey into the briar patch of love, and every step is going to be rewarding for Kamala fans. Some might be painful, but you will be delighted to have made the trip.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Old Man Hawkeye #1

Jan 10, 2018

The first issue of Old Man Hawkeye doesn't quite fight its way out of the shadow of Millar & McNiven's original Old Man Logan. Unless the storytelling tightens up significantly, the prudent course is going to be re-reading OML rather than following the pre-remix. The compelling post-apocalyptic visuals earn this series a second look, though, and lightning may yet strike twice.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Old Man Logan (2016) #34

Jan 31, 2018

Don't pick up Old Man Logan #34 looking for a love story. The straightforward art might fool you into dismissing this as a goodies-vs-baddy comic, and a shallow read along those lines will come off underwhelming. There are much more sinister nuggets buried in Ed Brisson's script. Though unearthing them takes a little too much effort, the questions they raise about Mariko are definitely worth asking.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Old Man Logan (2016) #36

Mar 14, 2018

The bad signage matches the overall level of creativity on display here, i.e., not a lot. This speedy little hardboiled vignette hasn't committed any real sins, but it is running on rails toward an achingly predictable end. If you're looking for a simple tough-guy popcorn comic, this will fit the bill - barely.

View Issue       View Full Review
7.0
Old Man Logan (2016) #39

May 9, 2018

Ed Brisson's slow-burn script drags its heels a little in establishing a connection between Old Man Logan's check-up and Glob Herman's Big Date. Though concentrating on some younger mutants is a refreshing change, it's hard to predict whether these two storylines are going to link up in a satisfying manner - and frustrating that they're insulated from each other so far. Ibraim Roberson's art delivers some much more concrete value and turns this issue into a feast for the eyes. I really hope the next installment lives up to the gorgeous visuals presented here!

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Phoenix Resurrection: The Return Of Jean Grey #1

Dec 31, 2017

I'm tremendously impressed by the way that all the creative aspects of the book - the writing, the art, and the colours - become more intense and more passionate when portraying the super-weird opening and closing scenes. The globe-trotting middle is standard-issue event content, but the start and finish are special. They're creepy (good creepy) and memorable and fascinating. In a word, they feel uncanny - and what feeling could be more appropriate for the momentous revival of one of the original X-Men?

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Quicksilver: No Surrender #1

May 16, 2018

Saladin Ahmed and Eric Nguyen deliver a speedy but intimate portrait of Quicksilver before throwing some fascinating roadblocks in his path. While this miniseries doesn't start off in a position of all-time greatness, that definitely could be where it's headed. The introduction is well above average and packed with enough promise (both visually and narratively) to get readers clamouring for more.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Spider-Man/Deadpool #27

Feb 8, 2018

Robbie Thompson and Chris Bachalo deliver a Deadpool-heavy issue. It uses both humour and pathos to paint a deeper picture of Wade. While the creators have successfully hoisted this title back up to the respectable heights of its Kelly/McGuinness days, this is very much a Chris Bachalo show. This story (both the longer arc and this issue) should be quite satisfying - so long as you've made peace with the steady stream of creepy crawly tentacle-y monsters Spidey and Deadpool run into.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
Spider-Man/Deadpool #30

Mar 28, 2018

Chameleon's schemes roll slowly onward and hoover up guest-star Silk as they evolve. Deadpool serves solely as a medium-aware joke-delivery system. There are some good laughs to be had, but plot, humour, and visuals all land well below "must read" levels. I would not advise racing out to grab a copy just because Mr. Thompson has found an excuse to feature Silk; like a lot of Spider-Man/Deadpool issues, this one is better poached out of the bargain bin.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (2015) #32

May 9, 2018

Inviting Kraven into an escape room game produces a nice full-cast adventure - eventually. New artist Derek Charm lands not with a bang but a smooth upward curve, taking the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl we know and love and enhancing it in welcome ways without changing its core style. Though the road to the main plot meanders a little, the entire journey is funny and the cliffhanger is full of promise.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
Unbelievable Gwenpool #24

Jan 10, 2018

Maybe it's when Gwen starts joking about how incredibly old Batroc is: "One time I saw your first issue on Antiques Roadshow." Or maybe you're the snooty cultured sort and you click into "I love this" mode as soon as Batroc starts singing "I regret nothing" on page one. Long before it's over, this issue will jolly you out of your cancellation blues and remind you why you love this title. Yes, Gwenpool is ending. But it's not overyet, and by the last page of #24, it shows every sign of going out on top.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
Venom (2016) #164

Apr 4, 2018

In the rare quiet interludes between crossover shenanigans, Mike Costa has crafted a fascinating take on the Eddie/Venom relationship. He's turned the symbiote into a separate character, one with its own agenda and secrets it keeps from its host. What happens when those secrets are laid bare to Eddie Brock? Venom #164 delivers a blockbuster of a revelation, and there are doubtless more surprises ahead. Unless you absolutely cannot stand introspective, character-driven Venom, you'll find this new evolution enthralling.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
X-Men: Gold (2017) #23

Mar 7, 2018

Some surprisingly good art helps perk up a messy, aimless script in X-Men: Gold #23. The new story arc is not off to a strong start, surrendering too many pages to unwelcome foreshadowing and unproductive rehashing of dangling plot threads. This is both literally and metaphorically a rebuilding issue, but it makes such a thorough survey of the work that needs to be done that it doesn't get around to fixing anything up.

View Issue       View Full Review
6.0
X-Men: Gold (2017) Annual #1

Jan 10, 2018

Inconsistent tone and lukewarm overall quality make the main story a match (not in a good way) for the relentless mediocrity of the current X-Men: Gold run. A bouncing baby Braddock and a sweet B story don't do nearly enough to counterbalance the problematic script or to excuse the huge page-two spoiler. So my jokey suggestion from earlier becomes quite serious: Wait on this one until after Gold #22 comes out - or just skip it entirely.

View Issue       View Full Review
9.0
X-Men: Red (2018) #1

Feb 7, 2018

After a year of "meh" and qualified successes at best, Marvel has finally delivered on the ResurreXion promise. Jean Grey is back, and she's brought a classic "hero up and save the world" story with her. A character who took a graveyard end-run around the last shameful decade of X-History is the perfect choice to breathe fresh life into Xavier's dream and beat back the nightmares connected to it. It's going to be quite a ride, and you won't regret getting on board right at the start.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
X-Men: Red (2018) #2

Mar 7, 2018

After training in the Danger Room of All-New Wolverine for a few years, Tom Taylor has built up some formidable mutant storytelling muscles. It's a pleasure to see them hard at work as X-Men: Red storms out of the gate with a breathless pace and plenty of fascinating plot developments. Mahmud Asrar's sketchy but evocative art is a perfect complement to this fast story. While there are a few little missteps, this title is covering tons of distance and it still looks like a definite winner.

View Issue       View Full Review
8.0
You Are Deadpool #1

May 2, 2018

Play this book right and you get to see Kieron Gillen stab Deadpool with a sandwich. And that's just the tutorial for what we're still not legally allowed to call Choose Your Own Deadpool Adventure! Definitely not the deepest darkest Deadpool comic being published right now, but it's a remarkably strong contender for the funniest.

View Issue       View Full Review

Reviews for the Week of...

May

April

More