Chase Magnett's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: ComicBook.com, Comics Bulletin, Infinite Comix Reviews: 1412
6.7Avg. Review Rating

Dead Eyes #4 fulfills all of the promises and ideas of its debut in what is hopefully only the first of many stories to come.

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It's a slog, the latest in a 5-issue deep trench of slogs, and that's all readers can expect from whatever finale is yet to come.

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It's an issue that relishes the mundane life of this supernatural, found family, and the strongest issue of Ghosted in L.A. so far.

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The quality of storytelling and love of folklore present in each ensures readers won't be let down by a single entry, and will likely find something they'll want to return to during future winter seasons.

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Legion of Super-Heroes remains a colorful, inviting adventure to the future of the DC universe, but with each new issue it also increasingly feels like a story built on shifting sands.

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Ultimately, Second Coming was a series with visual and comedic charms, but also one that could never live up to the ambitions of its premise or the weighty themes it addressed.

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Skulldigger + Skeleton Boy may be the best installment in Jeff Lemire's Black Hammer universe so far.

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It's a dazzling display of humor, intrigue, and an abiding love for the superhero genre, but one would expect nothing less after six stunning issues of the same. Bravo.

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Undiscovered Country remains a series stuffed with ambition, but it also clearly struggles beneath the weight of that ambition here.

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The Amazing Mary Jane is a story that makes as little sense as the one being produced in its page.

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Kelley Jones' exaggerated forms and atmospheric set pieces bring the world to life, providing a clear tone that fills the narration and dialogue with life as they exist in such a specific and clearly defined world.

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The character bits in Excalibur #5 offer a reminder as to why this series still offers plenty of promise, even after multiple false starts and an opening volley of plots that all landed with a thud.

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The Immortal Hulk #29 is an issue best appreciated in the details.

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While this debut is more easily accessed and understood than later stories in the teamline, it still doesn't quite deliver on the interesting nature of its premise.

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If you've stuck around through 14 prior issues, then you likely know exactly what Risso brings to this series and he certainly doesn't disappoint here, even if everything else does.

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Pretty Deadly remains one of the best (sometimes) monthly comics around and "The Rat" is its best installment to date.

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The Butcher of Paris #2 reads like an excerpt from a script designed as a graphic novel for the bookstore market, then chopped into issues based on how many pages Dark Horse would publish each month.

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One of the most difficult elements of any longform ghost story is the constant need to build and release tension and The Plot #4 is a masterclass in doing just that.

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Readers seeking out a sequel to Trees or some sort of conclusion will be disappointed, but "Three Fates" stands alone as its own thing and succeeds as a story of a smalltown not prepared to meet the future in the cold distance of Russia.

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X-Force #5 manages to both take violence seriously and relish the visceral thrills of a violent story"no easy feat.

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This is the sort of superhero series that's simply enjoyable to occupy and it occupies its space quite well in this issue.

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This issue sets up a lot of what is to come in COPRA, but reminds us all that the reason we're reading is for this brilliantly illustrated set of characters who are at risk when the action returns.

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The addition of Jorge Fornes on art provides a much needed punch-up of style and presentation, one that readers should hope to see continue as every issue of this series should look as excellent as this one.

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While the formula feels familiar to what occurred on Gyk, it's a formula that can be repeated without diminishing returns based upon how interesting the newly discovered planet is.

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Even when the seams of this story appear to obvious or minor flaws are unable to be ignored, the comic delivers sufficient effort on each page so as to never discourage readers. That enthusiasm alone is worth applauding.

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When the seeming non sequitur at the start of the issue is the most engaging element of the entire entry, perhaps it's time to pack things in and wrap it all up, because it's not even entirely clear what Lois Lane is about past its halfway point.

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The last two pages are excellent, but the long slog to reach them was anything but.

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Elon is a protagonist with so few memorable features that it's difficult to remember his name between pages.

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This is a horror comic and a war comic, and will leave you feeling isolated and shocked as only the best stories from either category can.

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This is the promise of the summer's dual mini-series fully realized and everything I want from X-Men comics going forward. Bravo.

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The final issue of this story will have the final say, but nothing can negate the visceral enjoyment of a well executed heist comic like this one.

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Any promise embedded in this new premise is forgotten and ignored, and it raises the question of why a relaunch was needed in the first place if this was all that could be offered in a new #1 issue.

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East of West #45 secures the series place in a pantheon of excellent original comics epics. It fulfills the promises of the very first issue, offering readers both a vision of apocalypse and unexpected rays of hope.

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This is a Free Comic Book Day giveaway with an outsized ego and should be promptly ignored before being read and, ideally, never purchased.

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Sonic the Hedgehog remains a well constructed all-ages comic, but one that struggles to make each issue count in a story that is more interested in pairing its climax with a certain number than the best possible pacing.

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Much of the comic is spent in conversation with June and her new companion. A few of the jokes land and the surreal nature of their relationship is amusing, but that initial appeal doesn't cover just how long this lasts.

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Black Panther is a competently created comic book and delivers familiar beats, but it still struggles to rise above an overwhelmingly large herd of similar material at the end of 2019.

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The two narratives slowly build together and deliver an excellent pair of fight sequences at the end. While the artwork and aesthetic may lack the clear identity of prior Daredevil runs, the ideas are as strong as they've ever been in this series' storied history.

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Excalibur #4 offers a thrilling side adventure beneath the Earth's crust, spotlighting a couple of this series' most interesting heroes, even as events surrounding England and Otherworld become a bit muddled.

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Family Tree remains a contemplative, yet undeniably thrilling, new story on the nature of family in an increasingly uncertain new century.

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It's enough to keep going as Farmhand builds to a revelation that it has spent far too much time hinting at with little reward.

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There's a joke to be made about a Flash comic lacking any momentum, but this issue doesn't merit the moment of concentration required to craft it.

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Harleen remains an engrossing entry in the Black Label line, but one that's ultimately incapable of grappling with its complex subject matter.

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What a disappointment this all was.

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Yes, the relationship between Cap and Namor feels well-considered and a single guest page by Butch Guice is smile-inducing, but these are rare exceptions in a comic that reads like the local roller coaster that only lifts about a dozen feet off the ground.

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It feels like the spirit of Hellblazer has returned for a new decade, and it's nice to have that back.

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Legion of Super-Heroes #2 is a well-presented and generally enjoyable read, but it needs to offer something to invest in because it also reads as being superfluous.

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It's a welcome return and a reminder why this issue was so hotly anticipated by an existing readership, a readership likely to be even more excited for #2.

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Like many other series to spring from the pages of Black Hammer, Skulldigger + Skeleton Boy presents a clear homage to some of the most popular characters and styles in superhero comics.

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If Superman Smashes the Klan sticks its landing in February, it could become a classic in classrooms and beyond.

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Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen is some damn fine comic-bookery.

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Scattered throughout, Vampirella is a comic that can't quite decide what it wants to be and as a result fails to do anything well.

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This is an issue of Wonder Woman to skip, even for committed fans.

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It takes the new status quo for mutants and builds on what was a flop in #1 in order to deliver a shock so good it'll still be on your mind a few comics later.

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Even an issue that is less dull than prior installments is so poorly assembled that it's impossible to ever accept the story it presents or be entertained by various elements of artifice that desperately seek to be entertaining.

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This is The Dark Knight Returns updated for a new generation by conversion to a rollercoaster ride. It may not have much to say, but Gramp's approach ought to have you more concerned with who's getting punched and how hard.

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When the entire school is on display and events tell the story, Deadly Class can still be an engaging affair. It's just unfortunate that it has an albatross named Marcus hung about its neck.

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Weight of the Worlds divides its attention between Cliff's story and the rest of the team's adventures this week. The former plays like a highlight reel, building towards a big change with a series of well-selected moments that provide a blend of action and escalation with each new segment.

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With guest artists like these two, The Immortal Hulk remains one of the most satisfying monthly reads imaginable, taking even disruptions in schedule and transforming them into (generally) well-realized opportunities.

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They're reasons to push the plot forward and dish out some clever word play, but at least they're in service to a purpose and some sort of quality, even if it's largely aesthetic in nature.

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This descent into darkness renders the unimaginable as something mentionable, and offers a beautiful journey into darkness that is simultaneously unique to everyone who experiences it and universal.

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What's most impressive is how it centers the humanity of two men destroyed by careers of violence, then juxtaposes that to decision makers whose hands remain seemingly clean.

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This corner of the Spider-verse seems a bit smaller now, especially without any fully-considered characters to make the action matter.

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Stringing together cliches with blood and guts is one way to make a superhero, but it's not going to be one that many, if any, people enjoy.

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Even in the shadow of the gargantuan Tree, it's a comic that is primarily invested in human beings and that makes the rapid delivery of moments of loss and moments of stress much more rewarding in these pages.

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As the first arc continues to present readers with an understanding of what is happening and why, all of this may improve, but it's a significant hurdle for engaging with a narrative that still presents a plenty to fascinate us in the meanwhile.

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This is the teen superhero adventure done well and showing that this sort of story still possesses some legs.

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X-Force is thrilling, horrifying, and fascinating; one "Dawn of X" series that seems fully prepared to embrace the potential of this new era.

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Like all of the other "Year of the Villain" installments, this feels entirely unnecessary, but it is a whole lot of fun.

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It's still a plot machine that does little to distinguish itself from so many similar events across the past decade of Marvel comics, but at least it's good for a few moments of levity and doesn't overload the reader with excessive captions.

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This issue certainly connects the dots, but watching the creators draw that line doesn't leave much room for fun.

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With so many highlights, this is a comic that is pure joy to read, embracing the superficial joys of genre fare.

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This is a Batman story that recognizes why the character can go anywhere and appeal to almost anyone; it's incredibly fun and a fitting conclusion to the best Batman comic of the Rebirth era.

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Even an interstitial issue like this one can feel essential in COPRA where no page is ever without purpose.

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Daredevil #14 reminds readers why this is one of the smartest superhero series published today after a brief detour through melodrama.

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It's still a general pleasure, one packed with puns and genuinely surprising moments of action, but it's also clear that the best days for Deathstroke were already in its past. -

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Excalibur has slowly, but surely, discovered what works in its pages and finally delivered a standout issue.

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While #6 doesn't have much of a clear focus, the character work on the page provides reason enough to keep going, as it's far more engaging than any of the ghostly mysteries that are deployed primarily to fill space here.

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Lois Lane #6 is a mediocre, perfunctory funeral issue and one that has no reason to be part of the series to which it's attached.

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Rather than pushing the story forward, #39 doubles down on existing tensions with no clear destination in sight and a detour that's less than appealing. Considering the inconsistent nature of the art in this issue, it's a bad sign for the future of the series.

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The resolution is cartoonish and all the pieces are essentially reset for another story advertised in letters column. It's amazing that people are still reading these things when they can't even be bothered to play the hits.

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The scale of Simonson's Ragnarok is growing, even if much of this week's issue emphasizes personal battles between more mundane forms.

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The Butcher of Paris #1 provides the same general sheen of competence that surrounds most new, direct market series which are forgotten before their second issue arrives. However, the concept at the foundation of this particular series demands better treatment, but it doesn't look like readers can expect that in future issues of this muddled retelling.

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It's a delightful, one-and-done tale that will please new readers and veterans alike.

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Young Justice #11 is the sort of installment where you can see the work of set up and introductions being done on the page, and that's not a good thing.

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If Leomacs builds out the remaining sequences of the series as well as he does in Basketful of Heads #2, then the collected story is bound to become a fall favorite for fans of horror comics.

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The final installment of Batman: Creature of the Night completes a fine companion piece to Superman: Secret Identity, well-considered, brilliantly illustrated, and deeply humane, even if it might be wise to re-read the first three issues before returning to the finale.

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We would be much better off reading an essay covering this same material than a superhero comic that fails to excite or stimulate even once at a cover price of $3.99.

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Connecting both of the best halves of Criminal, #10 shows how the small and large moments of life are never too far apart and can build greater, and more affecting, stories together.

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The final few pages are the best in Curse Words #25 as they're the only ones that don't look much like the past year of magical battles, and they allow the series to go out on a good note, if not a high one.

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It's a stirring, exciting issue by itself, one made only more powerful by knowing that whatever comes next will be final.

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It makes for a fascinating conclusion to the story, one that's bound to make readers familiar with this chronology squint and chuckle, often at the same time.

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John Constantine: Hellblazer #1 is the closest a new series featuring the character has come to recapturing what made the original series work in quite some time.

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Lazarus rarely disappoints, and Risen #3 is no exception for the series.

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Between a lack of definition and two art styles that continue to be poorly dispatched in defining settings and tones, Second Coming still hasn't found its footing (if it ever will).

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It's clear that the Zombot plot is building towards its conclusion, but this was a much-needed detour for both the story, and series as a whole, before it arrives.

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It's a plot that forces characters into idiotic choices and unjustified opinions repeatedly in order to arrive at a series of moments that would be horrifying if there was any reason for readers to be invested in this tale. Instead, the violence is cartoonish and the end result laughable.

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After a couple of issues of stage-setting, The Plot delivers its strongest installment to date.

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It's ugly and purposefully so, delivering all sorts of spectacle along the way. It's a clearer mission and purpose for X-Force, and one that this issue does an excellent job of pitching.

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After a dismal first issue, The Amazing Mary Jane continues to walk a path towards a new genre, something that might be described as "anti-comics."

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Bloodshot #3 creates an effect similar to a traveling rollercoaster, providing a predetermined set of thrills with no encouragement to look around or remember once the ride ends.

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Excalibur is a perfectly fine X-Men comic featuring an unexpected assembly of familiar heroes and anti-heroes with an ongoing battle to justify at least one action sequence and a handful of juggled subplots in each issue so far.

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Even with Guillory's typically strong cartooning, this is a slow, transitory issue that does little with plenty of space resulting in an overall disappointment.

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This series becomes ever more baffling with each issue as it insists on repeating its worst tendencies to returns that would be diminishing if there was ever any value to be found in the first place.

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Ice Cream Man excels when its morbid gags and formalist appreciation take centerstage. So in an issue like this where a twisted family tragedy is emphasized placing more emphasis on characters, the aesthetic fails to lift up a concept that could be considered slight at best.

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Shonen and superhero fans alike are familiar with the obligatory, mid-tier fights that clog the path to an antagonist that might make readers nervous for their hero's wellbeing. Immortal Hulk #27 features just such a fight, one that nobody who has read comics for more than a month will invest much into, but it still manages to transform that fight into a thrilling adventure through a mix of formalist effects and tension-ratcheting side plots.

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Bland and banal, Olympia asks if passion is enough and the answer is plain: No.

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Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen remains one of the best superhero comics on the stands today, especially when it indulges the absurd.

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This issue adds nothing to the general idea of superheroes-transformed-into-monsters or even the specific story of "The Infected," and results in a read that is nothing but unnecessary.

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Wherever Vampirella is heading, it would be well served by picking up the pace and not spending another issue raising some concepts without any clear purpose or intent.

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Tracy Yardley's cartooning is excellent, but it ultimately presents a fine surface to a largely hollow concept.

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There's nothing terrifying, sinister, or even entertaining about this particular collection of comics and other materials. The vast majority of this issue is dedicated to two comics that it's almost impossible to recommend.

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This story of a young girl who grew into a tree and the subsequent collapse of society features both an exciting plot and a much more intimate portrait of how scary it is to feel alone, even as we are surrounded by others.

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It might have taken some doing to get here, but this series appears to finally have all of the right pieces in place and is moving towards a bright (or dark, depending on your perspective) future.

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It's possible to imagine this project tweaked ever so slightly to be a visual tapestry of big moments and events, perhaps sorted in chronological order, but lacking narration. Unfortunately, many pages are sub-divided between unrelated events, preventing them from succeeding as anything more than a fraction of themselves, and they are all accompanied by a never ending series of "and then" statements

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The character work and flashbacks remain potent, but the present is much more messy than those regular and rewarding looks back.

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While it's possible to imagine this story growing into something far more chilling, for now it appears to be spinning its wheels and chewing on some potent southern imagery with just enough sense of direction to keep it rolling.

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This is another investigation of human darkness that is exciting without glorifying the violence committed by any one involved, and based on the last page Soviet is just getting started.

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While it might be for the best that this story seems to be reaching a conclusion of sorts, it's too bad that the journey wasn't better considered.

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Even without the looming Tree, this would be an engrossing bit of drama filled with plenty of twists to keep any reader engaged as petty cruelties and small mistakes threaten to undo an entire community and ensure readers will need to tap their toes while awaiting #4.

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Both the snow swept vistas of Japan and monster-infused action alike are wonderfully presented in a single issue that shows a masterful storyteller really can do it all in this succinct issue.

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It's another slow journey between two points that fails to build suspense or stakes"a slog towards a repeated showdown with no clear purpose.

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Even with some notable flaws, Batman: Universe delivers one of this week's best pages in a spread that details a submarine's innards and the adventure occurring within. It's the sort of storytelling that reminds you why you love superhero comics.

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Berserker Unbound #4 delivers a series of climactic moments"often delivered in attention-demanding splash panels"that are all entirely unearned by the story preceding them.

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COPRA #2 is a roundhouse kick to the ocular nerve, increasing stakes without forgetting its sense of humor (and the unadulterated joy of action comics). It doesn't get much better than this.

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The worst issue of Daredevil still packs more to critique than most comics contain for praise, but that doesn't make this misstep any less of a misstep.

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Reading one page narrated in the fashion of Marcus' journal is stupefying; several of them strung together borders upon the coma-inducing.

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It looks like Christopher Priest's redefining run with Deathstroke will end on a high note.

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It's ultimately a nice, but forgettable, installment.

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In some ways Devil's Odyssey #2 reads as an initial foray, the first adventure on a journey not unlike Ulysses' from antiquity. If the promise presented here is borne out across the remaining 6 issues, then the newest installment in the Grendel saga may become one of its best.

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Everything is bigger about The Immortal Hulk now, and it has never been better.

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In leaving the past behind, Legion of Super-Heroes finally appears ready to enter the present.

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It's a steep decline from where this series started on all fronts and something that hopefully won't be repeated in the 7 issues to come.

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It appears to be time that Manifest Destiny move towards its conclusion or risk devolving into meaningless repetition or self-parody.

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Miles Morales #12 is a bit of linkage that falls below the standards set for this series, but at least it delivers the promise of a next issue.

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Pretty Deadly: The Rat is a comic that demands your time. Rushing through this issue, or any of the series so far, seeking out word balloons and plot misses much of what makes this essential reading.

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The structure, presentation, and ideas swirling in Undiscovered Country #1 make it an exemplar of how to introduce a new idea and earn the sort of hype that has swirled about this title. If future issues fulfill the promises found here, Undiscovered Country is bound to be a hit.

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There's a lot of potential in these pages in need of a clear purpose.

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It's a good issue of Young Justice that with a few changes could have been great.

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This issue is enough for now and will deliver quite the treat to any readers who save it for Halloween night.

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With few visual hooks and little connection between the scattered moments of this issue, the only call to continue rests in the last few pages. It's likely not enough for some readers to return.

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Unbalanced, but more charming than dull, Death's Head offers a fine slice of fan service for a small, but dedicated segment of Marvel fandom.

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There's still an immense amount of potential given the characters and magical concepts in Excalibur, but #1 reads like an old band ready to play just the hits even if we've heard them all before.

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Fantastic Four: Grand Design is dense, lovingly crafted, but ultimately incapable of recreating the magic that inspired it from so many decades ago.

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Harleen is far from perfect, but the flaws are forgivable and the strengths are rare enough to deserve far more attention.

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This is exactly the sort of Hellboy story I want to read every Halloween. Bravo.

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ales from the Dark Multiverse is clearly developing new characters for a future story, but it's best to wait for that future story with origins like this.

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It's the looming shadows and twisted figures that lurk throughout the landscape that make The Plot one of the year's best new horror comics.

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There's an odd charm and warmth to this similarly violent tale that sets it apart and reminds us what makes the experimental nature of The Ride endearing even after 15 years.

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Readers might have to wait for John Constantine, Hellblazer #1 to know if the first readable Constatine comic in years has finally arrived, but this one-shot makes it seem far more likely as all of the right elements are finally back on the page.

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Its emphasis on individual failings and unwillingness to look at the systemic issues underlying obvious facsimiles makes for some tortured narration and an ultimately shallow adventure. There's still a lot to look forward to in the coming months, but the future for this particular Wonder Woman villain appears far brighter than her origin story.

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A dull premise and inability to live up to its own promises leave The Amazing Mary Jane dead on arrival.

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As far as the mainstream of comics go, this issue at least feels fresh and that counts for a lot when discussing properties that are quickly approaching their centennial anniversaries.

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With a small, but exciting story at its center, and two characters who continue to reveal their depth and complexity, Criminal #9 is bound to keep longtime readers satisfied before "Cruel Summer" pulls its many threads together next month.

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This is far from essential reading, but it won't disappoint longtime readers looking to spend time with characters whose endings have already been delivered.

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This is the terrible magic of The Immortal Hulk, providing a poignant story that touches on modern fears while constructing a terror that only the comics medium could deliver. Bravo.

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Second Coming is still struggling to clarify its own purpose, as Satan's asides still feel forced, but it has become much more confident in its approach here.

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Sonic the Hedgehog continues to successfully repackage zombie tropes into an all ages package, but this one, neat trick is starting to wear thin.

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The finale of "Loveless" reads like a mandatory connecting issue between much more significant events, poor form for a story built across so many issues and month.

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A vague sense of competence doesn't make the delivery of this purposeless story worth any readers time.

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Analog #9 may be an uneven outing, but the rush towards the finish line prevents it from ever being boring and that makes for an overall improvement in a series that never found its footing.

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It's clear that this comic is a love letter to genre, but its own rambling nature prevents it from evoking any strong reactions.

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Flash Forward is shoddily assembled, but it's greater sin is being dull.

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H.G. Wells' dated approach to plotting, in addition to the translation of prose to comics, causes problems in the second half of this adaptation. Rather than reading like coherent narrative, the issue becomes a fractured assembly of key moments.

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It is an ornate collection of events that crumbles into tedium upon examination.

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Rumble isn't a rising star, it's already one of the best collections of talent and new ideas in comics today.

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Whether readers are discovering Superman for the first time or steeped in the character's history already, Superman Smashes the Klan #1 presents a thrilling update on a classic adventure, one that seems bound to be read for years to come.

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Whether you're looking for smart or entertaining superhero comics, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen is the best place to start, as it never falters on either account.

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Superman: Year One #3 reads like a checklist and never offers the slightest bit of stylistic flair or originality to justify this exercise in the repetition of superhero tropes.

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With presentation that can best be described as competent, the only thing to discuss about this issue is why it exists in the first place.

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Trees: Three Fates invites contemplation, but doesn't ignore demands for entertainment. It's the sort of series that reads like it could deliver satisfying issues every month for years, but will simply have to be appreciated for the few issues there are.

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Vampirella might have begun on uneven ground, but now the many ideas of this relaunch are beginning to cohere and present a new take on an old character that's worth a monthly investment.

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Each installment of Batman: Universe continues to thrill in a variety of ways marking it as the must-read Batman comic to read 2019. There's simply nothing better out there.

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Doctor Doom #1 opts simply to be fine, perfectly okay, not too bad, even. However, it's worth remembering that the opposite of love isn't hate, it's indifference.

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Even with so much occurring, East of West #43 delivers a well-balanced introduction to the apocalypse. It appears the series is ready to end as well as it began"brilliantly.

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The final few pages of #4 intend to provide reasons to keep reading, but it doesn't appear that this series has anywhere interesting to go or a style that could make this walkabout in L.A. enjoyable.

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Ice Cream Man #15 delivers a creepy, uncomfortable tale about the fear and arrival of inherited illness. For this particular series that is inevitably linked to hallucinations, horror, and a too-friendly-for-comfort purveyor of ice cream.

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There are certainly excellent moments embedded in Invaders #10, including a Captain America line that will send chills down the spines of most fans. However, these exceptional moments emerge from a morass of plot mechanisms that serve primarily to set up the next phase of this particular story.

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Miles Morales has reached a comfortable rhythm in Spider-Man comics, heaping up problems in every aspect of its hero's life in order to make each new conflict a bit more complex and exciting.

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It is a spectacle, grandiose in presentation, format, and theme, the ending readers must have hoped for and hopefully deserve.

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Even as each page demands extended attention, momentum is building in this story towards secrets with shadows that cover everything on the page in darkness.

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This isn't a bad celebration and it's certainly a better issue of Spawn than readers have seen in quite a while.

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Thumbs might have been messy, but it ends as well as it began and that's not too bad.

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Beautifully accessible and emotionally complex, Usagi Yojimbo continues to define itself as one of comics' greatest epics.

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There's one solid twist, but it's not nearly enough to hang 20 pages on. Keep it.

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If you're looking for a good Joker story this week, you're out of luck at comic book stores and movie theaters alike.

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While the final page of this issue is an absolute showstopper, it's ultimately one big reminder of what readers have been discovering across two series in the past year, albeit a well-written one.

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It's a distracting jumble that would make it impossible to read a story with a bit of nuance, so it may be for the best that Berserker Unbound doesn't possess any.

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COPRA #1 is a masterclass in comics storytelling, a must-read issue whether it's your first or thirty second issue.

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Daredevil #12 provides a satisfying resolution to #11's cliffhanger, one with multiple phases and great moments for all characters involved.

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Deathstroke remains a uniquely challenging work in DC Comics' current lineup, but has hit a low point after years of highs. It's disappointing, even as the quality remains higher than most of its contemporaries.

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The positivity on display throughout the issue, especially in its surprise hero, also makes this a homerun"the best issue of Doom Patrol since it relaunched and that's saying something for a series where each installment flirts with perfection.

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The action early in The Green Lantern #12 is a high point followed by plenty of exposition with varying mileage, even for Morrison diehards. This is a relatively weak ending to a series that is well past its best issues.

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Matt Wagner's designs resonate with the ephemeral aura of cool as well as when they first appeared.

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The Immortal Hulk #24 packs two final pages that most series would kill to have in one year into one issue.

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Pacing is ultimately what makes the regular standards for art and packaging struggle in this miniseries that could have easily existed in only one or two chapters rather than stretching all the way to #5.

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Why Legion didn't simply return with its own #1 in November is a question with no clear answer and all of the artistic talents assembled for this aimless tour feels like some seriously squandered potential.

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This is a comic about conversations and never improves upon when those bits of dialogue are natural.

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Manifest Destiny returns in all of its bizarro glory.

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It's possible to have it both ways with a mix of sci-fi and fantasy tropes blended in a single spacefaring story; most of us have read Saga already. Sea of Stars never makes an effort to have its two very different stories feel like a coherent whole, however.

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Sonic consistently exceeds expectations by trying new things with familiar characters in a long-running format. It's clear that the jump to IDW has been for the best.

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. It's clear there are big plans for both Teen Lantern and Jinny Hex and, based on Young Justice #9, there won't be any disappointments.

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After more than a year of carefully laying groundwork, the master plan behind this current volume of Black Panther is revealing how well this epic is prepared to deliver.

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The over-sized finale of Black Science arrives far too late in the series' run to have much impact.

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Criminal #8 is one long exercise in foreshadowing and constructing tension. While each issue of the current arc has focused on an individual connected to the upcoming heist, the time spent with Jane here is as much about what is to come as what is currently occuring.

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A lack of concern for characters, an inability to clearly construct tone, and absence of something worth saying make the promise of Faithless' return in 2020 one more thing to not anticipate in comics.

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Harleen #1 presents Stjepan eji at his absolute best, constructing a sleek and sexy world that rarely falters in its storytelling, and one that strikes a far better balance between the distinct crafts of writing and art than most collaborative superhero comics.

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This issue hangs entirely on the slow build to one splash of spectacular body horror. That this standout moment is the B-plot of the issue (at best) speaks to how backwards this series' priorities have become.

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There's a lot of effort devoted to tying up loose ends with no reason to care about why they are tied up. It's unfortunate that this conclusion hangs like a stone around the neck of a much more enjoyable comic relegated to being the "backup."

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This is one team-up that's best forgotten.

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It's another excellent issue of Powers of X before its much-anticipated (red-highlighted) final issue.

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The newest issue of Ragnarok is a potent reminder of how comics can allow expository sequences to serve far greater purposes than plot alone.

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There's still far more good than bad overall and what Shazam! #7 may lack in consistency, it makes up with sincerity.

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Whether you're familiar with Albatross or wondering what this line is all about, Spookhouse Halloween Special #1 provides a look at the tone and style defining one of the best small press publishers in the direct market today.

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The White Trees uses grandeur as a vehicle to discover the humane, and in doing so delivers one of the best fantasy comics of 2019.

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The third chapter of "Loveless" provides nothing new to this story, opting instead to reiterate the same dull beats that have sent the series into narrative doldrums.

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This first issue focuses on constructing a potent foundation for those ideas to unfurl and delivers a potent mood to carry them forward. The result is an engrossing first issue"one that sets the mood for October beautifully and promises that the best is still to come.

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A lot of page space in Archie Vs. Predator II #2 is devoted to working through the concepts laid out in the prior issue, which results in a lackluster follow up.

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Death's Head #3 features several well-paced action sequences and plenty of pithy dialogue.

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While the panel-to-panel narrative is well produced, there's nothing substantial enough to catch anyone's interest for long.

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If the choice that forms this issue's cliffhanger is the heart of Saturn Returns, then Hellboy fans are in for a treat with its conclusion after this excellent issue.

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There is no clear narrative connection laid between these events and thus the final marker of "TO BE CONTINUED" on the final page can only be met with a shrug.

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This showcase is a treat for Rumble fans or any comics reader looking for thrilling, concise tales of battles long ago.

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Second Coming is capable of delivering some excellent gags, but for a series with so many big thoughts on its mind those rare moments of delight don't balance out a scattershot blurting of many ideas with no through line.

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It feels like these stories in all of their tonal complexity can only continue to soar up, up, and away.

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The newest volume of Vampirella appears to have found its footing and if this issue (and the resolution of a similarly convoluted set of narratives in Deathstroke) provide a forecast, then the series can only be expected to continue evolving for the better.

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Despite an abundance of ideas, this comic flops when forced to stand on its own two feet.

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Batman has not been this much fun to read in years, and Batman: Universe continues to be the perfect introduction to a character that is so much more than the darkness surrounding him in other modern stories.

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Many marks of quality are still there, but after so many dynamite issues one that's simply fine stands out like a lawyer wearing a devil mask.

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While multiple flaws continue to resonate throughout this installment, there's a lot left to like by the final page and encouragement to stick around, assuming you're still reading.

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While Spider-Man #10 doesn't quite justify its expanded page count or price, there's still plenty to like as there always is with this series.

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Pandemica #1 is a mess from start to finish, a comic that reads like a movie pitch any producer would be smart enough to walk away from.

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This is a quintessential middle chapter in a story that demands a lot of its readers; it keeps things moving even if the direction isn't entirely clear at the moment.

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You can almost hear someone saying, "get on with it already," but that might just be your own subconscious.

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However this series ends, it seems likely to deliver a lot of sturm und drang"thrilling individual pages"with very little worth hearing. -

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Trees: Three Fates #1, the beginning of that much-needed ending, wisely decides to forego revisiting almost any existing material and instead only retains the series' core premise in the far reaches of Eastern Russia where Klara, the region's lone cop, is tasked with solving the murder of an unknown person besides one of the "Trees." This step back in scope provides an issue that beautifully continues the core themes of Trees without imploding under the weight of the original series.

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While every individual on the page continues to bemoan their loss of love, it's not apparent in the story on the page and that leaves this story lifeless.

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The result is a fun one-shot that certainly understands its central character and problems, but one that lacks enough character on its own to make it a must read material beyond any readers already dedicated to The Riddler's career.

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This issue is a top-notch set up for what comes next both in a multiversal jaunt and for heroes prepared to establish what good and evil means their own generation.

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Considering the lack of originality found in this concept and how dedicated the series is to explaining such a simple idea, it's hard to appreciate even the bright spots in Berserker Unbound thus far.

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If these quick, ugly twists were part of a shorter, more gonzo effort, they might be easily overlooked, but Curse Words #24 does nothing to earn the years of story that led to these final moments.

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Readers who have appreciated Deathstroke from #1 are likely to recognize motifs and ideas that call to how excellent this series can be at its best; we can only hope it's on its way back to those heights.

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If every issue of Weight of the Worlds is prepared to experiment with form and style like this one, Doom Patrol will continue to provide the best, weird adventures at DC Comics.

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The Green Lantern simultaneously embraces the strangeness that a single series can indulge in, while still delivering lots of bridges to bigger ideas (in and outside of comics), functioning as something of a letter to DC Comics' true golden age in the mid to late 1980s.

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Perhaps what's most impressive in The Immortal Hulk #23 is that, despite being a seemingly perfect issue of superhero action and horror, it still promises #24 will be even more impressive. I can't wait.

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When visited as a tourist, rather than a historian, it delivers an entertaining tale with a unique form of spectacle in each era visited.

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There's still a lot else happening between these moments of marital consideration, one Question in particular, and that's what makes Lois Lane a consistent joy to read each month.

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Reading invites rereading, and The Rat is generous with ideas and style upon further review. It's a comic as complex as the form it inhabits, and that is an awe-inspiring experience.

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This isn't a quick cash grab based on a non-narrative property though, it's supposedly a premiere title with many of the most compelling Marvel characters around, so it's hard to cut such a shoddy effort much slack.

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Functioning much like a rough draft, it's not difficult to perceive both the potential and pitfalls of the concepts. However, the question remains why so many of the latter problems were not noticed and remedied before publication.

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As an old world adventure, a meditation on art, and even as a history lesson, Usagi Yojimbo #4 is yet another reminder that Sakai is a master of his form, just as Shikinu was of hers' so many years ago.

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Even with many of the beloved Superior Foes in session, this is yet another storyline in The Amazing Spider-Man that deserves a pass.

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Daniel Acua's depiction of travel through time and space is every bit as dazzling as readers would hope, though, and open doorways to a future where Wakanda's adventures span across both.

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Disappointment is largely developed by expectation, and the combination of 6 years and 41 issues makes this a notable disappointment from Image Comics.

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The Flash #77 is a drag.

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It's a reverse-Icarus tale, one where the flight of a son results in the punishment of his parents. That makes for an excellent, if broad, metaphor for the ways in which parents sacrifice to help future generations overcome oppression.

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A well constructed pair of final twists and broad strokes that allow plenty of room for projection make this one of the creepiest issues of Ice Cream Man to date, one that revels in the modern, suburban boogeymen.

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Even with so many heady considerations, Marvel Comics #1000 is a tremendously fun read"a testament to the longevity and influence of superhero comics. Excelsior!

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If any of this was intended to be exciting, or even entertaining, it fails to achieve that goal from the first to the final page.

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It makes for a delightful diversion with a slightly different perspective than normal, even if the final few pages devolve into endless dialogue.

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Like the overall story of Life Story, this issue tries to fit too much into a package that quickly discovers there's never enough time. However, there's more to be liked in these pages than not, and makes it clear that ambition is never entirely wasted.

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This issue connects dots between A and B, bridging a notable death with its unexpected consequences. Yet there is no tension or excitement to be found in watching that unfold in the fashion it does, only tedium and disappointment.

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Criminal #7 is yet another reminder that this genre-based series is not defined by its story, but by the immense imaginations and interests of two of the form's modern masters.

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As a culmination of the story so far, a meditation on failure and sacrifice, and set of tension-ratcheting compositions, Daredevil #10 thrills. It secures the series place as one of the absolute best superhero comics of 2019.

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Much of #2 reads as an extended explainer, setting up future plot elements, but never providing an entry point to enjoy the characters or their adventure. That overstuffed quality downgrades a story with many quality elements.

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There is no clear direction or purpose to what is occurring in these pages, and no evidence that this will change. Keep it.

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Ghost-Spider #1 functions as an easy introduction to the current status quo of the "Spider-Gwen" story, but moves at a glacial pace that hinders it from offering much to new readers.

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What is good is capable of being great and the rest appears ready to be drawn into that quality. That's just not the case in reading the first installment of this particular story.

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No matter how beautiful this comic might be, it remains an indecipherable mess at its core, one without a clear purpose or audience.

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While Pearl may be complete for now, it's a comic readers will likely continue to enjoy discovering for years to come.

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While the action is the most enjoyable element of Powers of X #2, there's plenty of momentum and new details added to a miniseries that continues to redefine itself almost every week.

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Without the typical narrative drive often found in superhero comics, the series becomes a study in character and style, one that does not disappoint even as it ignores the obvious next step to spend time exploring Metropolis and Jimmy's psyche.

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While Superman: Year One #2 isn't quite as disappointing as the series debut, it fails to deliver on high expectations, opting instead to muddle through a depiction of Superman that lacks charm or interest.

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The return of The Goon has delivered a potent mix of stylistic flair, characteristic action and humor, and topical moments.

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Whatever its faults may be, this Vampirella relaunch certainly provides readers plenty to chew on.

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While the overall effort may be uneven, it certainly delivers more good than bad in a one-shot brimming with evil intent.

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The spark of Superior Foes of Spider-Man is alive in Amazing #27. Not only is this incarnation of Boomerang recognizable, the non-stop banter and tonal fluctuations of his past series are on full display.

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Batman: Universe serves as a love letter to both the DC universe and Batman's ability to adapt to any genre or setting. Superhero comics are rarely any more fun than this.

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Event Leviathan #3 may not be the strongest issue so far, but it certainly gives readers a lot to consider ensuring they'll want more.

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It's a disappointing and flat second installment.

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This miniseries is already a lot of fun, and is set to deliver a lot more in its finale following a delightfully dense issue here.

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This issue may not provide the most satisfying conclusion to the mysteries and suspense introduced over the past couple of months, but it delivers an excellent story about family when read on its own merits.

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As a single issue Powers of X #2 is inviting and expansionary, but when considered as part of a much greater whole, it reads as titanic.

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Road of Bones turned a short and sweet concept appropriate for classic EC Comics into something that slowly starved across four months of unnecessary extension, bound to be forgotten as quickly as Roman's name in the minutes after completing this issue.

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Whatever comes next, this ending manages to capture the bittersweet nature of finite stories without forgetting that imagination is always unbounded.

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Beyond a few pages displaying a Heaven that is both wondrous and mundanely amusing, Second Coming remains a series that's far more interesting to dissect than read.

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The White Trees has reminded at least one reader how reading comics can feel like pure magic.

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. The finale does not disappoint and it appears that there are still many years of great Usagi Yojimbo stories to come.

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There is supposed to be excitement for whatever follows this cliffhanger, but it's hard to imagine being excited for Wonder Woman in its current state.

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Luke's journey was the standout storyline in this issue, reminding us that, at this point in his story, he is still desperate to learn as much as he can about the Force, even if it means taking advice from possible criminals.

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Daredevil #9 reads like an indie film, and that's a great thing in this instance.

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Deathstroke is weaving the genes of two parents stories together, with one proving to be far stronger than the other.

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Dick Tracy: Forever is a love letter to how characters evolve to reflect the times in which they exist, and it clarifies the potential of even an old school law enforcement agent to adapt for new challenges and ethical dilemmas. It's a symbol for how comics greatest characters can seemingly continue forever, when assisted the right, modern artistic talent.

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It's a quick status quo reset with some interesting new devices included, but no acknowledgement of the notable changes that have occurred or why they were so quickly reset like an inconvenience. In spite of that speed bump, this remains a stunning issue of Doom Patrol, one packed with a variety of styles and approaches to the page, all of which support this wonderfully eccentric story.

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This issue suggests that things may never be as they were in the Dreaming and pulls the veil back"if only slightly"on the puppetmaster causing the upheaval, drawing already engrossed readers further into the series' narrative web.

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Somehow, after more than a year of consistent excellence, Immortal Hulk continues to remind readers why it's the strongest superhero series around.

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All of it plays out like short scenes from a much-longer narrative, clips that don't quite complete a unique episode. That style of presentation works better in collection, but it leaves this one issue feeling slightly less than the sum of its parts.

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It's a slapdash rush to the big finale, one that leaves no room for excitement or anticipation.

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There is a dramatic shift in tone and style found in Sea of Stars #2, one that pines for the softer touch found in a debut that promised far better storytelling that what can be found on these pages.

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Thumbs #3 provides a lot more for readers to chew on, even in an issue that relies too heavily on splash pages and panels to speed things along.

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Measured by its own seeming goals, it is only a middling affair that offers a mixed-bag for entertainment and thought within the reading experience. In this case, being better than average can still be described in less than laudatory terms.

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While this might be worth picking up to peruse for Risso's pages, the collection rates a big "keep it."

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For those who have been with Black Panther since Coates first arrived, this is likely one of the series most rewarding issues and one that promises even more with its next installment.

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Death's Head is a series with all the right pieces (characters, talented creators, ideas) and it will improve if it can find a clear direction following this messy (re)introduction.

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If nothing else, the satirical sense of humor alone is worth the price of admission, however these moments play into the expanding new Green Lantern series.

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Reading the same comic essentially twice, and then again as you try it from start-to-finish or finish-to-start remains engaging. Given the length of this particular issue that seem almost impossible, and so Ice Cream Man #13 does the impossible in walking up to the very edge of its own formalist limitations without going over. For that alone it should be commended.

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Marvel Team-Up #4 is a better example of how to discourage new readers (of all ages) rather than invite them in. It could sorely use some of the confidence and charm on display earlier this month in Journey Into Mystery.

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Powers of X deftly expands upon the mutant mythos and addresses the nature of humanity's greatest challenges, providing a new legend and new meaning for the X-Men.

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No matter how much talk there is of gods and great magic, it cannot be filled with import in this broadly written and drawn outline of one of those stories that sounded like a good at the time.

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Building to the enormous 300th anniversary issue, Spawn #299 finally recaptures some of the series' core charms in an action-packed issue.

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Wherever Test may be heading, this is one series where many readers will want to buy the ticket, take the ride.

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It's a short story that captures the best of The Beauty and recalls a lot of energy to the core concept before the final couple of issues are released.

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The Goon #5 delivers exactly the forms of fun that first made the concept a hit, and are still plenty rewarding.

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This was a strange, largely directionless series, one that will be quickly forgotten beneath the continuing onslaught to Conan spin-offs.

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Fred Myers is the best part of the current Amazing Spider-Man run. His charm is every bit as magnetic as it was in Superior Foes of Spider-Man providing some much-needed fun for this cardboard presentation of Peter Parker.

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Archie vs. Predator II #1 delivers what might have seemed impossible, a rewarding sequel to a story that slaughtered its core cast and setting.

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This issue reads like tidying up before the big finale and fans can only hope that this overstuffed issue of narration is worth what comes next.

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Various characters float in space; individual encounters are provided too little detail or a unique enough perspective to leave much of an impression. The result is an unnecessary issue with little to offer even on style points. Pass.

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No matter how big the conspiracy behind the Jenkins Seed may be, this has always been a story about how families survive and rebuild in the wake of trauma. That is what makes this issue and the entire second arc strong as Farmhand prepares for future fireworks.

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All of "Year One" has been a slog and the final chapter serves as a summary of its substantial flaws. Keep it.

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No matter how beautiful The History of the Marvel Universe might be in its presentation, it's ultimately no better than the most tedious of college lecture halls.

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When this story hits its high notes, it's impeccable, but there are a lot of rough edges that undermine a very effective presentation.

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Lazarus remains a series well worth waiting for, especially when there is so much of value to be found in this extended format; a masterclass in modern comics storytelling.

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After five issues it's clear that Magnificent Ms. Marvel remains a flagship title and Marvel must-read.

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Rather than reducing itself to didacticism or platitudes, Ross and Busiek provide readers with the experience of the joy, hope, and sometimes fear that comes with change, ultimately encouraging superhero readers everywhere to embrace a better future, rather than wage war for the status quo. All of that accomplished in only 16 pages? That's truly marvelous.

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If every installment of Redneck reads like Redneck #22, I have been missing out on one of the best, current Image comics around.

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This is a great continuation of a consistently strong relaunch, one that shows how much Sonic holds when delivered with the right attitude.

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With only one issue left, it appears that The Wicked + The Divine will stick its landing.

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Considering its tire-spinning point in a larger story and lack of entertaining execution, this is one one-shot worth skipping.

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Wonder Woman #75 sets up a potential jumping on point for new readers, but serves primarily as a jumping off point for current ones.

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The notion of "order vs. chaos" is simplified to the stuff of metal posters here, dragging out the ending of the series just a bit longer with nothing of value to be added.

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The conclusion of this enthralling mystery does not disappoint, fulfilling every promise offered by the incredible first issue.

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This relaunch continues to interrogate all of the underlying issues that have made Daredevil a resonant character for decades, and it is only getting better.

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While Faithless may not work as anything highbrow, it does have the ability to inspire when playing for the supernatural slasher audience.

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Ghost Tree provides one of 2019's essential comics.

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Despite its presentation, there's nothing much fun or exciting about the events of this comic, just another banal presentation of a woman made ugly by her embrace of the masculine. Unfortunately, the newest creators associated with this property are ones readers should expect more from.

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It's an excellent single issue, one that perfectly encompasses why The Immortal Hulk is the strongest superhero comic there is.

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There's nothing in this issue readers haven't seen before, even in Mignola's own work, but it's all delivered very well and that's nothing to scoff at.

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Pearl has only improved across its run and this penultimate issue sets up a compelling finale by building a great deal of momentum.

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Ragnarok: The Breaking of Helheim delivers a welcome return to a tumultuous take on the myths of Asgard and one of modern comics' greatest cartoonists.

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The final few pages go so big with their implications and displays to make it clear this story is drawing to a close. That's for the best as neither these characters nor this reader want to keep traveling much further.

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With only one issue left in this story, it promises to be the crown jewel of this already dazzling collection.

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There are so many concepts struggling to function that they each stop one another from ever succeeding in this comics version of "crabs in a bucket" syndrome.

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Sakai moves into forms of humor and detection throughout the rest of Usagi Yojimbo #2, but this story falls squarely in the supernatural-suspense genre. Everything is conveyed with such confidence that even this familiar sort of story still provides plenty of chills.

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Vampirella struggles to find its footing as it attempts to offer readers an introduction to Priest's idiosyncratic approach and Vampirella, herself.

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While mileage will vary for different readers depending on their appreciation of the great artistic lineup, this issue turned what could have been a fun, minor celebration of all things Spidey into a mediocre cash grab.

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Batman Universe isn't about some grandiose philosophy or intense personal statement here"although the character's history still holds meaning"this series is about telling the best Batman story imaginable, and that's exactly what it is doing.

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It serves to place this story more firmly within the shared mythos and timeline of the series' fractured narrative, and sets up additional tension for the three central characters involved thus far. However, it lacks the drive that made Criminal #5 such a compelling hook for what is intended to be the series' longest story to date.

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This story is very familiar with all of the most common tropes in Flash comics and seems to think that repeating every single one of them is the best possible way to tell a new story.

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There's a lot of potential if the series avoids being overly cutesy and allows itself to simply be with a charming heroine in future issues.

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This would be a great standalone issue, and it's good enough to justify resurrecting the X-Statix for more issues to come.

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Whatever the new antagonist for this series might be, the series' creators are using it for maximum visual impact.

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This far into Oblivion Song (and Kirkman's career), it feels like a band that never quite got over its successful early work, which is unfortunate considering the incredible production work on display around these very familiar notes.

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Second Coming is a disappointment, a comic bound to stir up far more engaged dialogues than the one it actually presents.

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If this is the standard of quality going forward in Wonder Woman, then even fans would be well-advised to give the series a pass.

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If this is what is possible with a displaced set of DC's most charming teenage characters, then let's hope they never find their way back home.

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This is an issue whose mileage will vary wildly based upon one's nostalgia and knowledge of the past.

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Deathstroke remains one of the best series from the entire Rebirth lineup, even if it's the one most dedicated to its own continuity.

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If you've ever loved the Doom Patrol, in any of their many, many forms, then Weight of the Worlds cannot be missed.

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This already excellent series has reached a turning point, one likely to only expand upon its already notable strengths.

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The future has never looked brighter for this series, even if the light is from the glow of radiation.

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While the series may draw some well-earned and positive comparisons to Gotham Central, it's clear that Lois Lane is a series with its own unique merits, ones that make it essential reading in 2019.

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If Savage Avengers can continue to give into its impulses and ignore the serious air of gravitas that has hung on it like a widow's veil, then this could become a very fun, oddball sort of series.

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Those seeking a spacefaring adventure will no doubt be pleased by Sea of Stars #1; it's a beautiful first issue that delivers some jaw-dropping action and twists before the final page.

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If nothing else, new Millarworld comics usually have a strong conceptual hook, but Space Bandits' seems to be "what if we imitated a bunch of other popular media."

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The Walking Dead #193 wraps up the story neatly, but fails to recognize the early ambitions that made this series great.

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If Thumbs has something to say, then its a series in need of much more focus and a clearer direction in future installments.

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The success of The Wild Storm has always hinged on this being her story and she manages to take it home in spectacular fashion here. The Wild Storm sticks its landing.

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Despite its superficial appeal, Batman: Damned earns a big "keep it."

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While the overall scope of the issue is limited, each page pays dividends.

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This issue offers current and possible new readers an excellent jumping-on point with a tale that stands alone, while still building out The Books of Magic's mythology.

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A mixed-bag that rewards a quick read without too much consideration.

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With only one issue left to go, Oeming has shown Dick Tracy to be a hero suitable for every generation.

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"Year One" has emphasized Barry's relationships with two key characters, Iris West and The Turtle, yet it's clear in The Flash #73 that both of these essential individuals lack interiority or meaning outside of how they're defined in relation to Barry.

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The ghosts and guardians lurking in this comic are brilliantly designed and deliver some spooky action at the issue's end, but this book is really about the living and better for it.

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Each turn of the page in Head Lopper #12 offers new thrills and the promise that there's still more to come makes this conclusion so much sweeter.

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By the midway point the reading experience can feel like a slog, but the issue's cliffhanger at least makes it clear this won't be an issue for High Level #6.

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The newest volume of Kick-Ass is the dullest sort of violence without anything interesting to spice up its banal ugliness. Leave it.

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Fans of crime comics and oddball period pieces are bound to be attracted to Killer Groove as various down-on-their-luck individuals continue to unravel.

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This is an example of great ideas in need of additional refinement.

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This series delivers an excellent denouement for both its eponymous couple and the current state of the X-Men.

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Now that Spawn is on the precipice of #300, let's hope it focuses on its strengths and leaves these mountains of word balloons behind.

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From start to finish it's a lovely sort of laugh riot, one where there are plenty of jokes and most of them deliver a good-natured ribbing. Top that off with two of the best cartoonists imaginable for this material (Lafuente and Latour) and you've got a perfect recipe for an annual issue.

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Taken as a whole Steel Cage is a great way to discover some new ideas and creators this Wednesday, and is a concept that Ahoy might continue in the future with any luck.

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With so many characters and opportunities on the page, it would have been easy for this issue to resonate more than typically ignorable tie-ins, but that's exactly where it wound up.

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This is a perfectly self-contained issue of comics that packs in just about everything a reader could want from The Goon.

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This was once a series with charm, but it's clear in Thief of Thieves #43 that this comic book is long past its expiration date.

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Even for readers not current with Wonder Woman, this is an issue well worth taking a detour to read.

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With only one issue left to go, there are still plenty of surprises and Assassination Nation #4 provides the bounce board to set up this miniseries as one of the absolute best comics of 2019.

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With only one issue left to go, Shaw promises a satisfying conclusion, one that has he already laid out through his puzzles and careful attention to detail. If #3 meets the high bar set by this issue, then Clue: Candlestick may be the best mystery comic of 2019.

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In spite of so much happening on the page, this reads as a story that has wondered well past its period into an ellipsis.

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A Daredevil comic focused on the absence of Daredevil is turning out to be far more exciting than even skeptics might have believed.

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This issue, like much of Faithless so far, reads like a storyboard, a concept ready for some life to be poured into it.

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The penultimate chapter of Farmhand's second season is dedicated to setting up a lot of dominoes in what is looking to be an epic finale. However, the arrangement of those pieces leaves little space for the typical humor and familial sincerity that make this series a must-read.

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With a seemingly final ending provided for Hellboy, small tales like this remind us why his stories are beloved and how the same themes of self-determination and redemption remain powerful, even in a detour like this one.

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This is likely the best form of Hit-Girl and it's still an uneven affair, at best.

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It's an excellent example of how a superhero series can take a break from non-stop action in order to set up the next big cliffhanger and batlle, something the final pages of #7 do very well.

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It's another fine installment in a story that has significantly built on the strengths of its earliest issues.

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Rumble #13 is yet another stunning issue in a perfect climax to the series.

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Superman: Year One #1 is uneven and disjointed on a superficial level, and deeply troubling once one begins to examine its ideology.

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For those who are unfamiliar with Usagi Yojimbo, this presents yet another opportunity to experience one of comics' absolute best long-running sagas.

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Andre Lima Araujo provides every member of the team a stand out moment in their showdown with Ares, one that is fast and furious, yet never undercuts the fun of this story.

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This is a section of X-Men history, beautifully composed and thoughtfully assembled, but ultimately only a section from a truly epic tapestry.

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Jimmy Olsen #1 is the rare superhero comic that not only acknowledges the immense potential of its medium, but throws a lasso around its neck and leaps onto its back to see how far it can be ridden.

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While there might be an epic tragedy bound up in the threads of this mini series, it's served as a buffet, rather than a feast.

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While it might feel like a nice slap on the back for liking The Flash, it really just reads as a bore.

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Monstrosity and humanity are present throughout the cast, both those who appear terrifying and those who are all too human, and that makes the continued investigation of these questions awe-inspiring.

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Multiple timelines assist this tightrope walk as the central conflict only begins to be exposed on the last page, a chilling cliffhanger worth pursuing in the next issue of "The Conjurors."

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All the opportunities for building a new form of story are squandered in this issue of Oblivion Song.

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There are few better compliments to be paid to a comic and, if the rest of Silver Surfer: Black maintains this momentum, readies this story to join a pantheon of classic Silver Surfer tales and artists.

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Truncation doesn't serve these ideas well, and it's a good thing Mark Bagley is present to make so many ideas function in a limited page count, even if they don't function well.

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While the constant stream of dialogue leaves the issue feeling a bit overcrowded, it also makes the experience far more enjoyable than another unnecessary tie-in.

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. The result is that readers will likely be drawn out of the action as Wonder Woman makes its way somewhere that is, hopefully, much more engaging.

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While this miniseries is all set to go out with a bang, it's unfortunate how long it took in arriving at its destination with little else to add.

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There is a lot to unpack from this short story, both in how it examines relationships between human beings and their companions, as well as how it bodes for where Beasts of Burden goes next. This series has always been great, and yet it is somehow still getting better.

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Only one issue in to what is promised as the longest Criminal story yet, and "Cruel Summer" already reads as being truly special.

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Deathstroke is far from over, but this issue marks a significant transition in the series and an ending of sorts.

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The Green Lantern remains as ambitious as ever with no signs of slowing.

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It is a very different take on the character compared to Immortal Hulk, and provides an excellent romantic contrast to that series.

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With so many characters arriving from so many directions, the narrative is scattered at best and much of the actual plot is simply told to readers rather than shown. Unfortunately, that makes many of the small pieces of this issue far greater than the overall effect.

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It's an edge of your seat experience, if you've been invested in all of Stray Bullets, one that walks right up to the edge of a cliff and promises to jump next month.

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It is a story well told and an earned conclusion for the moment.

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In an era where dystopian tales are far too easy to find, Thumbs still catches the eye with ease. Character work still takes centerstage, offering a compelling story however one engages with the concepts on display.

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Tony Stark: Iron Man doesn't skip a beat when integrating itself into the "War of the Realms" event.

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While fans of the McElroys won't be surprised at their adept grasp of humorous dialogue, the penultimate issue of "Journey Into Mystery" showcases their flexibility as writers. This one has it all, including two raucous battles and a heist.

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It's the last third in which the premise of the series is finally, fully established that offers a big surprise and lots of reasons for readers to return, even if this issue disappoints some.

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This is another example from the current Black Panther run of a chapter that might function well as part of a collection, but lags as a single installment.

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This is one series that should have ended while the getting was still good, quite some time ago.

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This take on Daredevil is only getting more complex and every sign indicates that Zdarsky and co. have what it takes to construct an all-timer.

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All of the classic characters, settings, and dialogue are still present, but Oeming's brilliant sense of style makes it feel like an idea that could have been invented yesterday.

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While this may not be the best entry point to Hellboy, it's another excellent one-shot bound to make existing fans smile.

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Heroes in Crisis ends as it began, answering serious questions with cheap bromides.

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Immortal Hulk remains a steamroller of a superhero comic, and it seems that #19 will only make it all the more powerful and fear-inducing.

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When the story lingers on a one-dimensionally foulmouthed little girl, the seams start to show, but every sequence with even an ounce of action is enough to spark ample interest, wherever the script may be drifting.

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If nothing else, this is definitely what someone should expect from an issue of Spawn.

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Powell's occasional use of pencils brings the lowest lows of this issue into stark relief, drawing out the pain of a little man who will never understand why he continues to fail.

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There's still a lot to conclude heading into The Wild Storm #24 and the last few sequences slow things down considerably to reassemble the pieces, but the tension and promise of an enormous New York City showdown cannot be tempered much.

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There is so much to be unpacked in this series, and that has never been more true than in "X-Tinction" as the finale draws ever closer.

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If the rest of Clue: Candlestick is as charming and challenging as its first issue, then it might be time to reassess the original game given the quality of adaptations it has continued to inspire.

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Despite pushing the exclusivity and luxury of the fashion on display, every character appears to be dressed in the roughest of initial ideas. Most of the setting and individuals in them appear flat on the page, never providing much of an invitation for readers to be tempted either.

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Even as this ghost story grows bigger and more fantastic, the artwork infuses each moment with a remarkable sense of humanity.

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There's nothing in much of this issue that hasn't been played out with dozens of other teen superheroes in a very familiar fashion for decades. It's the last few pages that keep Miles Morales engaging.

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It's a tough trek to get through, albeit not as tough as the one these prisoners are facing.

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. If this is the bar for the current arc of Rumble, then future issues cannot come quickly enough.

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The first multi-part story of Slott's run took six issues to arrive at an ending that feels rushed and disconnected from each bit of a crowded epilogue.

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The action at the end provides a nice change of pace, but the reason to keep reading is how well the B- and C-list members on this journey into mystery are elevated by dialogue and pacing.

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Replacing some antagonists with hellish-looking characters from Norse mythology doesn't do much to improve a scenario that would have felt played out in the Baron era. Keep it.

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No matter how well depicted Diana and all of her divine colleagues might be drawn, this issue's resolution is rote at best.

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It is a well-told bit of comics, but one that does not offer many reasons to pick up Black Badge #11.

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Daredevil #5 is the rare mainstream superhero comic that forces itself outside of mainstream conversation. It refuses to play by the rules of the game, removing the gloves and pretense of boxing in order to confront the real costs of violence. The result is not pleasant, but it demands readers' attention and engagement.

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Farmhand #8 is a bridging piece that hinges on a single encounter, but it's another testament to how well conceived every element of the series is and why it stands out as a must-read in a very crowded field of new creator-owned series.

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Even as it prepares to set up much bigger conflicts, both internal and external, Immortal Hulk never provides more than a moment to gasp while reading; confirming its status as Marvel's pre-eminent horror comic.

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There are all the makings for the best Joe Golem story thus far here.

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There are lots of women in this comic book, but they are primarily an excuse for "empowering" action, including a new villain who is barely distinguishable from every antagonist that preceded her. That same action is functionally dull, doing little to impress.

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The newest issue of Oblivion Song functions as an extended call to action, moving a handful of characters into place for yet-to-be revealed twists and turns. It's a bit thin and whatever small beats are scattered among the moving pieces don't really work.

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Wherever the series goes from this turning point, it is absolutely confident in how it can balance and present so many different modes of a surprisingly fun crime story.

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Life Story does not suffer from a lack of ambition, but it does struggle to channel its massive scope and history at the midway point.

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While the concept is clear and offers plenty of potential, the execution of this issue fails to deliver.

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While the story is competently told, there's little that will stick and that makes it difficult to recommend this story, even if it lacks obvious flaws.

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Border Town continues to astonish on every page and shows no sign of stopping.

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Even in this amplified world of master thieves and ominous mobsters, there's a strong strand of truth that makes every joke and injury hit home.

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This is a series that alters very little and does so in an incredibly tone-deaf fashion.

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Farmhand remains one of the best news series of 2018 and one whose return will be eagerly awaited.

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This is a stunning issue and yet another reminder of why Immortal Hulk is the definition of a comics must-read in 2018.

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Even as it threatens to unmake most of reality, Infinity Wars never delivers a consistent purpose as it winds its way towards whatever sort of arrangement will compose its finale.

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Given more space to breathe, it's possible to see this story hitting the same highs as Justice League #11, but the pressure is too great for just one issue here.

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The series continues to disappoint as it builds upon a base of sand, one that claims big ideas, yet refuses to grapple with them.

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If the rest of Marvel Knights 20th and the new Marvel Knights series to come can maintain this momentum, then it has every bit as much potential as its inspiration.

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Much of Spawn #291 reads like an illustrated Wikipedia entry.

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Even when some events that could be characterized as action actually arrive, the explanatory dialogue maintains its onslaught and slows the pacing so much as to kill any opportunity for excitement to occur.

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In any event, The Dreaming is a case study in how to tackle big ideas without alienating readers.

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Characters are flimsy and the action is steeped in lore that has not actually been grounded in the pages of The Unexpected. There is nothing to be signified by all of this storm and fury; keep it.

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As The Wicked + The Divine approaches its final story arc this December, "The Funnies" makes for a loving farewell enriched by a deep knowledge and appreciation of its source.

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The scheme bringing the protagonists of Gotham City and Riverdale is finally unveiled and it's very bit as colorful and fun as what fans of the classic Batman '66 series might expect.

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For any readers who have been on the fence, these pages make it clear Black Panther is a comic to watch closely as it continues.

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While it's possible to see the individual elements that make this story engaging, including another impressive set of backdrops for this era, the overall construction of the story is lacking in its climax.

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This issue is the rare fifth week crossover that should simply be skipped altogether.

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There are still great ideas in this issue and series, but its an open question whether they'll ever find their way onto the page in a format worth trusting again.

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After only two issues it's clear that Heroes in Crisis suffers from many of the same problems as most superhero events, but has dressed these topics up in a serious tone that disallows even the possibility of stupid fun.

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As a single issue, Hex Wives #1 may be fairly described as middling, but as the foundation for an ongoing series it is nothing short of thrilling.

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While there are also hints of what's to come, this issue is all about how different people come to love one another, and it provides a great summary of a classic friendship.

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What this issue does have in common with prior installments is an overall sense of messiness, now with an unnecessary factor of poorly considered ethics.

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Even with the stakes so high, this series remains an absolute delight to read, capably evoking both laughter and shock from a single panel.

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After so many issues of introduction, The Wild Storm seems to have finally reached its destination. The players are named and sides are set. Even as this issue focuses on framing the tension is palpable and promises exciting things to come.

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No issue has better defined why Brian Michael Bendis is the right writer to steer the Superman line of comics than Action Comics #1004.

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This is the best issue of the new Amazing Spider-Man so far and sets up even more good things to come.

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As this showcase continues, it is only increasing its capacity for fun while Jones remains the stylistic dynamo readers have come to know across so many years of great Batman stories.

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Every page and gory detail of this series continues to stun, providing a big reason to check it out, if only the scripting would get out of the way.

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There's nothing that makes this story stand out from Dredd stories of the present or past, and any reader will quickly realize whether what comes next is something they'll enjoy.

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While Moon Knight #200 is as messy as most special issues of a long-running series, its approach to the character and story of the past few years provides lots of reasons to love it, flaws and all.

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There are some truly great action sequences, but Return of Wolverine remains something best left on the shelf, no matter how stylish some pages might be.

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Scarlet improves its pacing and style in its third issue, but still shows a lot of necessary improvements to be taken as seriously as it is offered.

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As far as superhero events go, Spider-Geddon #2 is the definition of a cash grab, taking money and providing very little in return besides disappointment.

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The result is an issue that drags on and deflates every point it is trying to make along the way.

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Throughout the decades of Usagi Yojimbo, there have been many great introductory stories, and "The Hidden" is already prepared to join their ranks as both a grand adventure and sweeping historical narrative.

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Superhero events are intended to be exciting, vivid affairs, and that is exactly what Wonder Woman #57 and the rest of this event is not.

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As an individual unit, it's not the most exciting superhero comic of the month, but what it does deliver is everything necessary to start some real fireworks with characters, concepts, and conflict all in place by the final page.

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A handful of striking visuals boost this otherwise bland experience, but a well framed silhouette isn't nearly enough to salvage this miniseries.

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There is a great deal of craft on display here, but it still feels decidedly part of the wrong format.

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As Cover shifts its focus from establishing connections to the comics industry to the work of spycraft, the premise clicks into place and every idiosyncrasy becomes much more interesting.

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There's a fascinating notebook packed with ideas on this world, but the introduction in this issue falls far short from producing any desire to pick up the second issue.

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As East of West begins to write its ending, with only seven issues remaining, it is clear that the series is as strong as it ever was.

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It's a stunning end to a stunning issue, a perfect wrap up for the first collection of one of 2018's best new series.

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The third arc of the new Hit-Girl series takes its hero to Rome, which would at least provide an interesting setting if readers could see any of it.

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It introduces the threats, twists, and stakes for what is to come within the consistent tone of Justice League, never disrupting the series rhythm for the sake of the larger picture.

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Despite all of the window dressing, this is pure anti-climax.

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Characters remain two-dimensional, with cliche tragedies and vague Yakuza allusions used in place of actual nuance. It's a disappointing disparity that pulls away from the initially immersive reading experience, and a tension that needs to be resolved quickly.

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As far as mediocre event tie-ins go, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #311 actually manages to be a decent one.

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After a story that managed to build both some top-notch superhero sequences and some deep emotional ties, the conclusion of this story misses in a big way.

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Giant monsters. Ancient love stories. Hydras and dogs frolicking. This is an issue that runs the gamut from hypermuscular action to ridiculous frivolity and nails every note in between.

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Wherever it goes in its quest to define a rising star, the skill and strength of this team is enough to make it worth discovering issue by issue as Shuri continues.

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The promise of Stray Bullets is that each issue delivers a unique experience. The increasingly complex plotting of "Sunshine & Roses" undermines that promise in a big way here.

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The whirlwind romance of The New World is at its absolute best here in a moment of human tenderness and understanding embedded in so much chaos.

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As strange as it may seem, this interlude has surpassed the main show in Thor.

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Gags, action, and a moment of genuine goodwill all land well and make for the first issue of this new volume to really click. If this keeps happening, then Amazing Spider-Man will be a series to watch.

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There's not much to note beyond needless sacrifice and droning conversation in an issue that serves as a perfect jumping-off point.

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As Captain America zeroes in on some very specific action, the series delivers its most limited and most exciting issue so far.

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This is a series capable of being many things at once, leaping between tones with grace and delivering a compelling, complex experience in a single issue.

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This is still a series that loves twisting the narrative and surprising readers, and it manages to do so in a very big way in its final two pages: two of the best pages in this outstanding series so far.

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This is one event that is already ready to be forgotten.

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No matter how complex the plot becomes, this is a story that appreciates the simple pleasures of a well-told detective story.

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This is simply an issue without a purpose, filler and recap building to the hook that is provided everywhere but in the actual story.

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While Kick-Ass #8 showcases some craftsmanship in storytelling, the story itself, in words and visuals, never rises above its most base and ugly observations.

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In this moment the experience remains a roller-coaster ride, and it works very well in that mode.

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While it would be very easy for the jokes and emotions of this moment to fall flat, they flourish here. That's the sort of storytelling which consistently makes this Plastic Man revival worth reading, and it stages the small and large stakes for the final issue beautifully.

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While Sleepless remains an enchanting and exciting story, this is one issue that must be experienced for the artwork alone.

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One element absent from that feature is the Inheritors, and this issue makes it clear why that is. Even when their complex history is succinctly explained, they remain visual non-entities, dragging down every colorful page they enter. What is far worse is how they replace excitement with cringes and confuse random death with stakes.

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While the larger story of the Wildstorm reboot marches on, this tangent can be ignored.

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Wonder Woman #56 is a poor representation of the entire comics medium, and is best left behind.

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Rex Luthor's gang of childish supervillains prove to be an entertaining distraction for most of an issue that runs in circles.

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From the slightest character notes to the boldest monsters, Border Town remains an absolute winner.

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. There are a million directions for this concept to go and its debut provides a very sure footing for whichever way it chooses.

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There may be a worthy discussion of what this series could have been, but with only one issue left it is clear that it will never reach any potential that might have existed.

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There is simply nothing there making a large section of this issue a waste. When it returns to the spy action it stuns, but the cost for reaching that point may simply be too high.

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The real joy comes from the careful attention to detail with small elements of Superman's office and other places revealing a well-considered appreciation for each of these heroes and what they mean.

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Despite all of its indulgences, this is a great little comic with the notable strength of restraint.

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Spawn #290 is never aware of the massive gap between intent and execution on almost every page though, and it results in a reading experience that is truly bizarre and rarely interesting.

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This issue offers another odyssey deep into the Dreaming and promises much more to come.

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For the first time in The Magic Order, much of this emphasizes dialogue above all else and exposes the hollowness of the entire series as a result.

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Like so many of the New Age of Heroes titles, The Unexpected has somehow forgot to craft a story worth telling.

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The Walking Dead is playing with fire, but each new relationship and problem that is discovered in this issue shows the value of trying new things and touching on difficult topics, no matter what comes next.

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While the finale might still be exciting, this issue simply asks the question of why anyone should care.

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The core concept is strong, but this issue simply lacks the ability to execute upon it, making it the first weak installment of Tony Stark: Iron Man so far.

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Despite having a great idea, this is a comic that never has the confidence to actually tell its own story, which means readers should give this one a big "keep it."

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The result is one of the least compelling invitations to a superhero event in more than a decade.

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Action Comics #1003 is yet another strong entry in this Superman renaissance.

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After a very disappointing opening arc, hope springs eternal as Amazing Spider-Man begins to course correct.

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There are still some fine moments, including a top-notch pairing of '66 riddles and fisticuffs, as well as some very well written jokes. Yet Archie Meets Batman '66 chooses to live and die by a style crafted over almost a century, and minor flaws in this installment add up in a big way.

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Using fear gas as the basis for a showcase of Kelley Jones' Batman artwork proves to be a great idea as the second issue of "Kings of Fear" tosses reality to the side in about half of its pages.

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This issue feels like a genuine turning point for the entire story, one that is offering ample depth for its characters and setting, all while establishing much darker twists and turns to come.

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There is plenty that occurs in Black Panther #4, including an action-packed escape sequence featuring some surprising changes to the status quo, but none of it feels like a distinct issue.

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With every issue of Edge turning out this well, the prologue may very well turn out to be the very best part of Spider-geddon.

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Heroes in Crisis is far more engaged with the idea of seriousness than any ability to seriously interpret the world, and that makes the greatest tragedy of this comic the comic itself.

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It is a mixed conclusion to this arc, one with more good than bad, but enough of the latter to miss greatness.

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When future list writers form compilations of the greatest issues of Spider-Man ever, this story will have earned a place among many other classics.

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For a series with such a potent premise, there remains very little worth discussing in Scarlet.

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It is a great send-off to this series of backups, issues that have grounded the ongoing series in history.

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An offering of action sequences, alien gaslighting, and a great splash page will give fans of these two characters something they will likely enjoy, but there's not much to lend this story depth or legs.

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Batman: Damned is not so much read as relished, enjoyed for individual elements that do not add up to a stronger whole. That level of craftsmanship affords it the label of interesting, even if it would not ordinarily be categorized as good.

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There's still potential in Black Badge, but the series doesn't move toward realizing it in its second outing.

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As a mystery there is still plenty to pick apart and enjoy, but there's little else to be savored beyond the historical presentation by this chapter.

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This Annual takes a classic superhero story and executes upon it with great purpose in a manner that makes it feel both timeless and exactly like what readers might need in 2018.

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This far into the story the spectacle of Curse Words has begun to wear off as all of its extraordinary designs have become expected and the long-term plans at its center may not be enough to maintain momentum.

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Days Of Hate is paced in a novelistic manner, one that benefits a reading of the first collection, but can make the breakdown of its second half seem questionable at times.

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We can only hope this team is given a chance to do more with Spider-Ben and Spider-Pete, as this is a tremendous issue of superhero comics that deserves a future.

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It is yet another reminder of the potent range and abilities on display in this series, and why Flavor is one of the must-read new series in 2018.

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Whatever interpretation is applied to Hit-Girl #8, it remains yet another installment in a series with a shallow premise and a schtick that has been repeated too many times to shock or surprise.

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It's another impressive issue perfectly sized for a single issue.

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Even as Immortal Hulk refocuses itself on an ongoing narrative, it still provides a couple of unique twists to each new installment.

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Justice League #8 accomplishes exactly what it needs to in binding multiple stories together and building plenty of tension for what comes next.

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The double-sized length of these digital exclusives is proving to be a very valuable feature, not a bug, as shown by this riveting middle chapter in Luke Cage's battle against Everyman.

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Across five issues, New Challengers has never found a driving purpose behind its tale, and this expository installment fails to offer any new reasons to stick around.

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Pearl is still a visually striking comic, but one that may not even be aware of where its greatest strengths actually lie.

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As both a single installment and a built to the final chapter of this story, Quantum & Woody #10 excels.

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The island discovered in Rumble #6 is already presenting great new opportunities for characters to show off new aspects of themselves, even as it builds upon the series' mythology and visual dictionary in notable ways.

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This is a well paced chapter packed with almost every character you could want in a Sonic comic, and it perfectly sets up something even bigger for #10.

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This is a perfect blend of the heavy metal style that defined the start of Jason Aaron's run and something appropriately epic as it approaches its end. Most importantly, it is a whole lot of fun to read and re-read.

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There's simply no denying Sakai's mastery of the form, and "The Hidden" seems ready to take a place amongst his greatest accomplishments on Usagi Yojimbo.

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West Coast Avengers remains one of the most entertaining new superhero team books of 2018.

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There's absolutely no doubt that the build to this showdown pays off and gives fans of Witchfinder, and Mignola-verse comics in general, a great ending to this miniseries.

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This has been a deeply disappointing relaunch and the best thing to hope for is that #6 provides an opportunity for a fresh start in the wake of a story that served as more as a jumping off than a jumping on point.

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No recent issue in the Mignola line of comics has better captured the entropy of Hell coming to Earth than this one; you have been warned.

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There is no doubt that individual elements of Cemetery Road are great; Howard produces some of the best action sequences of 2018 and Ellis' dialogue is in top form. Yet the narrative lacks clear form and there seems to be little call for reading the story in monthly installments rather than waiting for it to cohere in a more fitting form.

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Skip Exiles #8 and come back for the next actual step in their ongoing saga.

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After making small moments seem grand in #1, the series has managed to make the epic seem unfortunately dismal here.

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Farmhand continues to expand upon a world that was already plenty vibrant in its debut and give readers a bushel of reasons to tap their feet until the next issue arrives.

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This comic never features a dull page and is a valuable reminder as to why any Image Comics reader should be excited for the return of Head Lopper.

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At the midway point of this event, it's unclear what the purpose is so far or why it might be worth sticking around.

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While this version of New York City that functions more like Venice is still a truly fantastic setting, "The Drowning City" #1 fails to provide a hook beyond the quality of its visual storytelling.

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The Howling Commandos landing on a living, monstrous island is a premise rife with potential, but "Birth of Krakoa" never manages to explore any of the introducing opportunities to satisfaction.

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While the story doesn't move forward much in this specific issue it casts its gaze ahead and there's a lot of road to start running as of the final page.

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After last month's melancholic reverie, this Sandman story takes an unexpected turn that provides some big action and even more introspection into what the life and legacy of the Sandman means in Marvel Comics.

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While that doesn't necessarily bode poorly for the future, it is a bit of a letdown following the excellence instilled in #2 and #3.

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The overall effect is a welcome return with the promise of many secrets to be revealed very soon.

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Superman #3 has plenty going on and captures Superman's voice and approach perfectly as it slowly builds to something bigger.

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Even as the story is superficially changed, the actual act of reading The Beauty feels no different and that is a disappointment.

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It is not even interested in what made this story great at its debut and is designed for creators and readers primarily interested in the comic's continuation and conclusion for their own sake.

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The New World #3 features one of the most thrilling standoffs in comics in 2018. A series of horizontal panels build a perfectly tense countdown to the explosive sequence that follows complete with grenades, swords, guns, and the claws of a cat.

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Aja's choice of imagery, starting with a tortoise entangled in six pack rings, is haunting throughout and will leave The Seeds in readers minds until the next issue arrives.

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As the series prepares for its final story to begin, it's apparent that every twist and turn has been anticipated and they are deployed with incredible skill here once again. Whatever happens, fans should only increase their expectations based on this quietly stunning installment.

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While the final arc of "Michael Cray" has lagged, this penultimate chapter does a fair job of setting up the series for a substantial finale.

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Wonder Woman #54 sets very high expectations for the battle to come and lays out characters and stakes in a manner where they could tumble as quickly as a Jenga tower.

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Black Science is at its best in moments of sturm und drang and high adventure, and there's enough present here for the issue to get by. Yet so much of the page is spent in captions and monologues that stretch points with minimal depth too far.

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Border Town #1 declares itself one of the best new comics of 2018 with an entirely earned sense of bravado.

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The result is the best issue of this new volume, one that skillfully blends Coates' rhetoric with the most stirring bits of superhero and spy action so far.

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There isn't enough to Cover #1 to provide much interest in the future and if this idea is to really take off, it will need to readjust its approach quickly.

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The series is still primarily a charnel house, but it's not without its moments.

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As both a Deathstroke and Batman narrative, this story has been tremendous in how it humanizes both men without ever diminishing the genre elements that define them. A must read.

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Even as Hulk steps out of the shadows this series does not skip a beat.

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In the midst of so many heroes and villains, such an enormous scope, and an incredible array of new ideas, Justice League finds its center and brings its titanic opening story to an impressive close.

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This issue is another consistent installment that sets high expectations for the finale ahead.

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This series has done a tremendous job of humanizing him without forgiving or dismissing those elements. That makes for a very strong ending to one of the best Quicksilver stories ever.

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In a week filled with ongoing stories of superheroes, Silver Surfer Annual #1 reminds us how much can be accomplished in a single issue and how special the Surfer is within the Marvel pantheon.

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In spite of the many "twists" in this issue, the reading experience feels more like drudgery from start to finish.

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There is already a rich setting and enthralling cast of characters ready to explore new terrain, and it's exactly the sort of comic far beyond the norms of the industry that could capture the imagination and undying interest of even the most unlikely readers.

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While this isn't a must read comic, it will likely provide a very specific audience with some solid laughs and a perfectly sized dose of nostalgia for an event that is truly a mixed bag.

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Like every installment since the series' debut, this one falls far short of expectations.

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Rather than linger any longer on questions of ambiguity, The Walking Dead has embraced didacticism and is using the same approach that has worked for horror and war to something much more political. Watching it unfold is undeniably interesting at the very least.

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As narrative captions fade from panels the issue dramatically improves and promises the potential for an impressive story to follow.

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This is Russell at his absolute best, hammering on a wide range of issues through a lens that feels like it shouldn't work, but absolutely does.

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While the last few pages move too quickly towards resolution of a very tragic battle, it still makes for a stunning reintroduction of one of the best new Spider-people at Marvel Comics.

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There is a lot of promise to be found in the premise and its presentation, but this issue doesn't move in a direction of realizing it.

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Events continue to race along, but the weight of history is heavy in what continues to be one of the absolute best looking superhero comics to debut in 2018.

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It's an engrossing start for this miniseries, one that will leave horror fans unable to look away.

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It's everything someone could expect from a great Jessica Jones story from top-notch banter to a star-studded tour of Marvel characters. Jessica Jones is a blast.

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With not much in the way of enjoyable action either, this is a miss for both the writer and the character.

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It's turning out to be a very good thing that Marvel Two-In-One wasn't forced to wrap up early, as it's a top-notch story for both The Thing and Human Torch.

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There is a great comics story to be told about the historical and current divides within American society, this simply isn't it.

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The world and action are still stunning, and that's a good thing because they distract from some apparent shallowness in this continuation.

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It's unclear if this was intended as a cash grab or an important addition of context for the upcoming movie, but it clearly is a bad idea.

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The conclusion of "Second Genesis" grows this story more than any of the previous three issues and make the final installment of "X-Tinction" seem even more ambitious than even these existing issues.

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X-O Manowar delivers a great ending to this arc, one that strengthens the series that came before and the one that still lies ahead.

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While there's an obvious love for Spider-Man lore and plenty of ideas simmering in subplots, they don't have much to offer in this issue and can't provide enough hope for the future of a relaunch that has already lost most of its luster.

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Fast-paced action, iconic designs, and nightmare sequences all build into an unforgettable reading experience. This won't change how you think about Batman, but it will certainly raise your expectations for how the vigilante is depicted.

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Whether or not you've ever heard of Beasts of Burden before, this introduction offers a great starting point, one that already appears to be leading to even greater thing.

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Whether you're coming to Black Panther for a meditation of colonialism, superhero spectacle, or T'Challa at his absolute best, you're bound to be satisfied by this new installment.

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It's a disappointing second chapter, one that does little to play on its premise or move the story along.

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This issue is only for fans who are already dedicated to the series and possess a completionist mentality.

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Days of Hate settles back into its narrative much like a fresh episode of television after a break, complete with a caption denoting how much time has passed.

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The second issue of Die!Die!Die! doesn't slow down in the slightest. While the level of gore and action is no longer shocking, the method in which they are delivered and twists from within the limited cast of characters upset the stock tropes of the genre.

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In the world of action comics there are far more inventive and captivating stories and this well trod ground just doesn't deliver enough to match its cover price.

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The newest installment of Jughead: The Hunger reads like a giveaway on Free Comic Book Day. It's a summary via newscaster of everything that has occurred in the series so far with only one notable addition to the ongoing story; that seems gratuitous considering there's a recap page providing the same details before the story even begins.

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Overall, "Inferno" is exactly what readers have come to expect from this line of stories, a nice introduction for the youngest superhero fans with artwork that will likely only match the taste of those already watching its cartoon inspiration.

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The final chapter of Mother Panic provides readers with three climaxes, struggling to tie up every significant plot thread in the series and deliver a possibly permanent conclusion for the character.

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The story is there, but there's little tension to be found in its presentation. This is a disappointing follow up to a great introductory issue for the arc.

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West Coast Avengers #1 embraces the oddball and comedic status of its cast within Marvel Comics, but that doesn't stop it from providing one of the best team debuts from the publisher this year either.

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While there's certainly more potential to be mined from this story, it cannot be denied as one of the great superhero spectacles of August.

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It's the best installment in the series so far, but that's still not high praise.

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All of the right elements are still in place, but there's simply not enough of them to maintain momentum here, much less accelerate.

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As Young Animal enters the rearview mirror, Cave Carson Has An Interstellar Eye holds a proud place in its history.

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The sequel to Edge of Spider-Verse is shaping up to be just as much fun on an issue-by-issue basis as its presentation of a punk Spider-Man's world offers up plenty of new takes on characters.

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Flavor continues to be one of the most colorful, inventive, and engaging new series of 2018; a must read for any fan of Image Comics.

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This is a true treat of a comic and one that will likely leave Ice Cream Man skeptics, like myself, coming back for a second and third serving.

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The second issue of Infinity Wars is almost all filler with very little killer, which does not bode well for the next several months of the story.

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This issue is a mixed bag, but one that still makes the future look promising.

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Luke Cage delivers another strong debut for Marvel's new digital original line.

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With only two installments left, it looks like the entirety of New Challengers will earn one enormous "Keep it."

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The aesthetics of this story are the best form of what they are, and it will surely delight fans of this longtime collaborative duo who co-created Alias and introduced readers to Jessica Jones.

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This issue may be a touch overly indulgent, but it's still a fun read.

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Rumble fans rejoice; the series is back and as excellent as ever.

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There's a new character and plenty of action for Sonic fans to enjoy in this month's installment.

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Every plot point and visceral detail of The Magic Order is designed and delivered with the subtlety of a hammer.

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Gillen and McKelvie have made the act of exposition incredibly entertaining as they fill in the gaps of this story in the build to its final arc.

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It is an effective introduction to a series that is sure to feature far wilder moments ahead that doesn't let readers forget about the people waging this war in its final pages.

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This issue shows off the design of the current series at its best, building on big ideas and plots simultaneously delivering a satisfying adventure with its own conclusion.

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There's mounting action on all sides as the stakes and threats grow ever larger. Even with a general absence of action it's difficult to not allow your heart to speed up a little bit when reading this installment.

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After a slow burn "The Gates of Heaven" takes off in this issue and prepares itself for an epic finale.

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After three issues, there are fewer reasons than ever to hope this series will improve and it may soon be time for even diehard fans of the webhead to jump ship.

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This is one of the true turning points in the stories of the B.P.R.D. and it will have repercussions for years to come.

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Black Badge is an example of a comic where the elevator pitch holds more promise than the executed premise.

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This very fast-paced series slows just a little bit and the results are excellent.

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Fantastic Four is once again the world's greatest comics magazine.

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Farmhand remains an immensely enjoyable new series capable of capturing your attention in every panel for a dozen different reasons.

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It's genuinely hard to believe that even a publishing house with an ongoing relationship with Chaykin like Image Comics accepted this submission. Keep it.

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It's still a visual treat, but one that doesn't match prior issues and sputters out in finding a way to wrap up the events of the miniseries.

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There are some high stakes present, but readers are never asked to cringe, only to allow their eyes to bug out like they just got hit with an extra-sized dose of adrenaline. It's something this creative team is more than capable of delivering.

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There is a real sense of momentum to Oblivion Song again, more than enough to keep fans of the Skybound line interested beyond this first collection of issues.

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As this story continues, it only gets better, and will likely leave readers begging for an ongoing if that trend continues.

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As "No Surrender" hits its penultimate chapter it begins to stall for time.

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It is a visceral read and one that will certainly please a specific set of readers for that exact reason.

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As an individual issue, there's far too little in these pages to justify the price on the cover.

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After four issues, the one-two punch of truly despicable takes on Wonder Woman and Constantine have lost their luster.

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All of the heart present in Wonder Woman #51 is quickly forgotten for a story driven entirely by functions of plotting and continuity.

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The action sequences are simply unbeatable in comics today and Fiffe manages to reimagine at least one common trope in a manner that will leave jaws on the ground.

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It's a smart take that utilizes the history of Captain America well, carefully raising complexity and resisting any urge to deliver trite answers or resolutions.

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Whatever thrills that might have been embedded in this shoddy idea are ripped away with bizarre tonal leaps, moving from theatrical sturm und drang to a "rad" one-liner. Keep it.

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This story is all set up for a truly explosive ending next month.

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As the series makes a transition from the individual stories of the first three issues to its first big cliffhanger and a more expansive plot, it's clear that everything great about Immortal Hulk is here to stay.

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While the concept of Legion of Doom issues are solid, this installment reads entirely as filler about killers.

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There is a tension between the life on the page and the coolness of its spoken words. While that might not make it the most thrilling or entertaining comic of 2018, it does provide a story that is absolutely fascinating to pick apart and engage with as the reader becomes another voice in the conversation it is hosting.

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Spawn unleashes a lot of chaos after he returns to prison in this issue, but there's incredibly little tension to be found in the proceedings.

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