Chris Kiser's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comics Bulletin Reviews: 150
6.7Avg. Review Rating

8
Action Comics #891

Aug 2, 2010

As if we needed one more tie-in during the whole Blackest Night onslaught, I actually lamented the lack of a one-shot focusing in on Lex Luthors stint as an Orange Lantern. In Cornell and Woods Action Comics, DC has done us one betteran entire series devoted to its main figurehead of greed and malevolence. Off on his own yet not straying too far from the role that befits him, this arc promises to leave Luthor as an even greater antagonist upon Big Blues inevitable return to these pages.

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9
Action Comics #893

Oct 3, 2010

While J. Michael Straczynski works full-time to depress and frustrate Man of Steel fans over in Superman, Action Comics is delivering a celebration of the franchise the likes of which were last found during Grant Morrisons work on All-Star Superman. Now, with Spencer on board, its a double shot of entertainment every 28 days.

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7
Action Comics #897

Jan 30, 2011

By now, reports of the excellence of Action Comics are old news. The fact that this issue, starring two of the greatest villains in all of comics, ranks in quality somewhere around the middle of Cornells run is a testament to how spectacular the writers work has been on the whole. Even when it stumbles, this is a Top Five book, easily.

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8
Action Comics #900

May 1, 2011

Its just a shame that those re-readings will also include so many scenes involving Supermans friends fighting Doomsday. Without that nasty piece of subtraction by addition, this could have been unquestioningly one of the greatest of Actions 900 issues. As it is, its still probably better than at least 800 of them.

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5
Action Comics Annual #13

Dec 6, 2010

If I were to venture a guess, Id say that the two stories contained in this annual were late minute editions to the Lex Luthor saga that Cornell has been crafting in Action proper. While that series remains a diamond in the rough, this book lags a few laps behind as a disappointing companion piece.

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9
Area 10 #1

May 19, 2010

In the end, Gage and Samnee thwarted my original plans to read this book slowly, bit by bit. Area 10 is just too compelling for that. From start to finish, this is a thriller that will gnaw at the minds of those who love to read crime fiction in any medium.

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8
Atomic Robo: Ghost of Station X #1

Sep 6, 2011

Whatever your thoughts are on DC Comics so-called New 52-- the first full wave of which hits shops this Wednesday-- one central aspect of it cant be denied: the whole massively promoted endeavor amounts to a very public admission on the part of the publisher that, yeah, our books arent that easy for new readers to follow. The fact that DC wants to address this perceived problem is all well and good, but its worth noting that plenty of other creators and publishers have been doing a fine job making their books accessible for quite some time. Case in point: Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegeners Atomic Robo.

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8
Atomic Robo: Ghost of Station X #2

Oct 22, 2011

As I read more and more of Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener's Atomic Robo, it becomes less and less of a surprise that each subsequent installment ends up being very good. What does still catch me off guard, however, are the various different ways in which that quality is consistently attained. For the most part, the adventures of Robo are marked by a fun-loving tone that, though not completely giving itself over to comedy, still uses humor as a primary weapon. And while The Ghost of Station X #2 continues to toss out a few yuks, it's also a wonderful example of Clevinger and Wegener's versatility, mixing in greater parts dread and despair.

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8
Atomic Robo: The Deadly Art of Science #5

May 7, 2011

If, like me, youre just getting started with the Atomic Robo saga, The Deadly Art of Science serves as the perfect orientation. Its status as prequel means that seasoned readers are probably picking up on small details that the rest of us miss, but theres no lack of interesting fodder for us newbies. Now that Ive whet my appetite, Im definitely checking out those other four volumes.

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5
Avengers Vs. X-Men #0

Apr 1, 2012

If next week's formal debut -- the bestselling comic of the year so far -- also fails to deliver a decent hook, then it'll be time to worry. For now, I'm banking on the all-star team of Bendis, Brubaker, Fraction, Hickman and Aaron to get the job done, especially after seeing how good a job the last one did with Schism. See you guys next week, where this story really, really, really better begin.

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6
Avengers Vs. X-Men #4

May 20, 2012

Quite enjoyable in parts, the technical shortcomings of AvX #4 just avalanched too much for any of us to give it more than a middle-positive review. Perhaps more importantly, however, on an overall story level the series really has begun to deliver, especially to those with an affinity for the Marvel U. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next, which won't be for another three weeks this time around.

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5
Avengers: The Origin #1

Apr 9, 2010

With Heroic Age just around the corner and the Avengers franchise ready to relaunch soon, now would seem like an opportune time to reacquaint the masses with the principal concept behind Marvels premier superhero team. To a degree, I suppose The Origin accomplishes this task. Nevertheless, its chosen approach so far has been to adapt the details of its foundational storyline at the expense of recapturing the original comics imagination.

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4
Azrael #1

Oct 22, 2009

Azrael wants very badly to be the kind of comic that makes its readers stop and ponder tough moral questions. It also greatly overestimates its own abilities to make this happen.

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7
Batgirl (2009) #7

Feb 12, 2010

Amidst a deluge of fledgling Bat family titles these days, Batgirl is a keeper. Despite the presence of Red Robin and Gotham City Sirens on the shelves, it is Millers book that reads more like the successor to the beloved Robin and Birds of Prey series of the past. Even when the stories being told arent the best, you can be sure that Stephanie Brown will be serving up a heavy helping of attitude and charm.

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5
Batgirl (2009) #15

Nov 15, 2010

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of Batgirl is how clearly its intended purpose can be seen. A smart, witty book with a female lead that doesnt take itself too seriously would be a precious find amongst the comics industrys current offerings. Over a year since its debut, however, its probably time to admit that Batgirl has evolved as close to that ideal as its going to get.

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9
Batman and Robin #8

Feb 14, 2010

Batman and Robin is more than an excellent series packed with fun and excitement. It's a successful reinvention of the modern Batman paradigm.

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7
Batman and Robin #9

Feb 28, 2010

On the bright side, however, Batman and Robin #9 is the final issue of an arc that, taken as a whole, holds its own alongside the others in this series. Its a three-part tale that, unfortunately, just happened to have its climax in the second chapter.

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9
Batman and Robin #13

Jul 11, 2010

If my comments here sound like hyperbole, so be it; the scope and style of this series generally make it impossible to speak about in any other manner. Ill accept the rational possibility that Batman and Robin isnt actually the best comic book in the world, but reading the latest issue sure does make it difficult to bring any other candidates to mind.

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8
Batman and Robin #16

Nov 7, 2010

If youve been reading Batman and Robin, youd be a fool not to join him in Batman, Inc.. The many cherished memories from this series are a guarantee that your pal, Grant, has a whole new round of them already conjured up in that imagination of his.

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5
Batman and Robin #18

Dec 19, 2010

Even so, the implications this issue has for the future of Batman and Robin are fairly bleak. What was once the pride and joy of DCs line now seems to be simply a label to slap across the results of factory-produced storytelling.

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7
Batman Beyond (2010) #1

Jul 5, 2010

In short, fans of Batman Beyond should readily welcome this mini-series into the McGinnis canon, even if it takes a back seat to some of the better animated episodes. Its a testament to the strength of Dini and Timms original work, that the formulas and conventions they devised over a decade ago can still form the basis for a solid story today.

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7
Batman Incorporated #5

Dec 3, 2012

Now that these glimpses of Gotham's bleak, apocalyptic future are being given some context, though, they have started to lose a bit of their luster. Sure, the story about a rampaging Joker virus and the US government's final nuclear option is as casually gleeful as a Morrison book ever is, but some of the air starts to come out of the balloon once it all starts to get a (rather weak) explanation. On their own, these random, unexpected look-ins to the adventures of Damian-Bats are still pretty fun, but tied down to the larger context of Morrison's comprehensive Bat-narrative, they don't feel quite so special.

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8
Batman, Inc. #1

Nov 21, 2010

A relatively weak cliffhanger at the end puts a damper on the fun, but theres more than enough in this issue to bring readers back for more. As with most comics penned by Morrison, Batman Incorporated is one that seems destined to become a fan favorite.

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7
Batman, Inc. #3

Mar 13, 2011

At this point, it goes without saying that you should run, not walk, to grab any Bat-book to which Morrison lends his considerable talents. Despite the presence of a fairly clear formula being used (for now, at least), Batman, Inc. is great superhero fun, just the way one of the industrys top books should be.

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10
Batman: Li'l Gotham #1

Nov 6, 2012

At the price of a buck, this is a full-size candy bar that tastes way sweeter than DC's typical three-dollar circus peanuts. It's a must-read for anyone who has ever enjoyed superheroes, especially for those who've grown weary of the way they're so often done nowadays. Nguyen and Fridolfs have delivered 2012's finest Halloween treat -- and a pretty spectacular one for Guy Fawkes Day, Armistice Day and Election Day too.

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6
Batman: Streets of Gotham #7

Dec 18, 2009

Month after month, Streets of Gotham (the Batman portion, anyway) exhibits a clever blend of self-containment and serialization. It is a mixture that can become volatile, however, if its components are not put forth in the right proportion.

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5
Batman: Streets of Gotham #8

Jan 22, 2010

I have no doubt that the Dini penned Streets of Gotham #8, as originally planned, would have been better than this one, but theres still some value to be had in this issue. That said, Mike Bensons fill-in job certainly isnt spectacular enough to overcome the readers potential disappointment over the comic he or she thought would be coming out this week.

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5
Batman: Streets of Gotham #14

Jul 26, 2010

Id really love to sing Streets of Gotham's praises this month, as it features one of the best Batman writers at the top of his game. In absolute terms, Im more than willing to give this issue my recommendation for that very reason. From an economic standpoint, however, it makes little sense to purchase this comic. At a price of four dollars and weighed down by one story too many, Streets of Gotham #14 provides far fewer moments of entertainment than do many of DCs more modestly priced offerings.

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6
Batman: Streets of Gotham #19

Jan 25, 2011

Theres no doubt that readers will ultimately look back fondly upon Dinis Batman comics work. His creative use of Hush alone is enough to solidify that fact, especially given the characters uninspired beginnings. Even so, this issue makes it tough to shrug the notion that Streets of Gotham may end up feeling like a missed opportunity when all is said and done.

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8
Batman: The Brave and the Bold #16

Feb 14, 2012

Thankfully, this comic isn't all lecture and dressing down, ending with a note of encouragement to disheartened readers. As it turns out, #16 is the final issue of Brave and the Bold, a fact that makes sympathy with Bat-Mite -- at least in part -- a reasonable sentiment. Who among us haven't wept inside upon the cancellation of a favorite series before its time? Therefore, we can all stand to benefit from Batman's final words of wisdom to his diminutive devotee. "You still have your collection of my old issues, right? You can re-read them anytime you want." It can be easy to forget that these stories we adore are just that, printed on pages that don't magically vanish once new editions stop coming out. As another Batgirl once put it, "It's only the end if you want it to be."

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7
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1

May 16, 2010

Ultimately, I think the success of this series will be in its cumulative effect, giving us multiple implementations of the Batman template in rapid succession. At this point in the game, however, were only at phase one, where Morrisons master strategy is at its most basic.

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5
Batman: The Widening Gyre #3

Nov 6, 2009

Those who dislike the writing style Kevin Smith has employed as of late shouldnt act surprised if The Widening Gyre doesnt give them warm fuzzies. Faithful Smith devotees, on the other hand, should probably start to worry that this series will ultimately disappoint.

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7
Birds Of Prey (2010) #1

May 15, 2010

Like a band reunion tour gone right, Simone and Benes are hitting the high notes and nailing the instrumental solos. From the way it seems so far, the formula for a successful second act looks a lot like the one used the first time around.

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6
Birds Of Prey (2010) #4

Aug 16, 2010

All in all, Birds of Prey remains a completely known quantity, seemingly being written for the exact same fans who read it the first time around. While theres no real reason for the original formula to be reinvented, the nature of this relaunched title begs the question of why DC canceled the series in the first place. The only change seems to be an issue renumbering that could easily trick new readers into thinking this might be a suitable jumping-on point.

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8
Blackest Night #5

Nov 29, 2009

Now that Ive read issue #5, Im convinced that Blackest Night will ultimately take its place alongside the classics. Barring a severely deficient conclusion, this series will serve as a satisfying capstone for a longboxs worth of prior stories.

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5
Blackest Night: The Flash #1

Dec 4, 2009

Barry Allen may be sharing top billing in Blackest Night with Hal Jordan, but dont confuse this series with the companion piece found over in Green Lantern. Blackest Night: The Flash neither significantly contributes to the larger saga nor ventures far enough away from it to find an identity of its own.

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4
Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1

Dec 6, 2009

It is good that DC Comics no longer feels the need to infringe upon their ongoing monthlies for the sake of an event tie-in. Purchasing Blackest Night: Wonder Woman is purely optional. Whether it's an option that would be wise to take is a different matter altogether.

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6
Brightest Day #1

May 9, 2010

Ultimately, the choppiness of Brightest Day #1 is excusable due to its strong ensemble of characters and creators. Fortunately, there is the promise of a more defined story down the road--otherwise this wouldnt be a comic worth talking about.

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6
Brightest Day #8

Aug 21, 2010

Its a foregone conclusion that the end of Brightest Day will serve as a launching platform for a plethora of new solo series, thought it might be prudent for DC to consider publishing an ensemble book like this for a longer period. Im not sure Id be interested in buying a monthly comic dedicated to any one of these characters individually, but theres something immensely fulfilling about getting to peek in on their assorted exploits all at once.

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8
Brightest Day #10

Sep 20, 2010

So while I certainly look forward to Aqualad IIs presence in the DCU (as well as in the upcoming Young Justice animated series), its the development of a renewed Firestorm mythology that has me the most excited. Its the kind of innovation that could revitalize the character for the next several years and just the sort of thing you should expect from a comic book that is all about resurrection.

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4
Brightest Day #13

Nov 6, 2010

Even at its best, Brightest Day could never fool anyone into thinking that its a comics masterpiece. Still, the bulk of its plot threads have often been interesting enough to cover up its rather simplistic storytelling techniques. When that interest wanes, however, as it is wont to do whenever Hawkman and Hawkgirl step onto the page, this books defects cant be denied.

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6
Brightest Day #17

Jan 10, 2011

It may not threaten to convert the most pretentious and cynical readers, but youd have to question why folks like that would still be reading this book. For the rest of us, Brightest Day exists as the perfect mission statement on what a mainstream DC comic should look like in 2011.

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7
Brightest Day #18

Jan 25, 2011

With the release of Brightest Day #18, Im definitely excited to see where this series goes as it heads toward its ultimate end. With even the books weakest aspect brought to a rewarding close, it seems likely that readers are in store for some pleasant treats in the weeks to come.

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5
Brightest Day #23

Apr 11, 2011

Though Brightest Day has boasted very few unqualified great issues in its run, it has generally been a series that deserves some slack for its flaws. Even so, I cant let it off the hook for the nature of this most recent outing. With an out-of-the-blue reference to a character that has been out of the public consciousness for the bulk of many readers lifetimes, theres no doubt that quite a few fans have been left high and dry.

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5
Brightest Day #24

May 2, 2011

Its rare that a floundering conclusion doesnt cast a dark shadow upon the entire tale that preceded it, but thats exactly the case with Brightest Day. Despite the pretense of a cohesive big picture, this has essentially been an anthology series, the bulk of which was fairly enjoyable in and of itself. Johns and Tomasi can keep their whole; Ill take the sum of Brightest Days parts.

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6
Captain America (2004) #624

Nov 28, 2011

The problem isn't that the creative team falters in presenting any of these aspects of the book, but simply that they feel like the pieces of a different story than the one that was, up 'til now, being told. With the chronological setting of the series set to jump forward once again in the next issue, it's anyone's guess as to what the future of Captain America and Bucky holds. Based on previous output, I'm inclined to trust that Brubaker and company have a firm command over the direction they're heading, but the ultimate success of this series will rest in its ability to maintain a consistent trajectory.

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7
Cold War #1

Oct 22, 2011

Sometime recently, John Byrne must have decided that he wanted to write and draw a James Bond comic, as there's really no other explanation for Cold War, the new series published by IDW. It is, undeniably, an outright relabeling of the mid-20th century 007, depicting the exploits of a British secret agent named Michael Swann in the midst of the espionage-heavy conflict between Western powers and the Soviet Union. Swann is arrogant and bullheaded, prone to causing high levels of collateral damage and often preoccupied with the art of lady seduction, yet ultimately he's really good at his job. Sound familiar? To top it all off, he even looks like a hybrid of several of the actors who've played Bond on the screen.

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6
Daredevil (1998) #509

Aug 15, 2010

While Ive had enough of Shadowland proper, Im not yet ready to bail on this series that has been a tent pole of my pull list for so long. Theres a depth to the Daredevil tie-in issues that isnt found in the main Shadowland series--along with ample evidence that Marvel hasnt completely sold out one of its best characters for the sake of a quick buck.

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4
Daredevil (1998) #510

Sep 12, 2010

For the first two months of Shadowland, the Daredevil tie-in issues were more smartly written than the corresponding chapters of the main series, even if they still werent up to the series typical level. I have no idea whether that same pattern holds true this month, but if it does, then Shadowland #3 must have been one lousy comic book.

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8
DC Universe Legacies #2

Jun 20, 2010

Not content to merely present a tweaked version of the post-Infinite Crisis DCU timeline, DC Universe: Legacies is a powerful commentary on a life lived reading superheroes. It speaks to those of us who fondly remember poring through stacks of comics as children and who plan to leave them lying around the house for our own kids.

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8
Defenders (2011) #2

Jan 6, 2012

Still, even those doubters must begrudgingly admit that it's wonderful to see Fraction back in his element like this in a mainstream comic. The restless iconoclast found present in the writer's creator-owned works has often felt restrained and hidden amidst his more recent Marvel works such as Uncanny X-Men and Fear Itself, much to the disappointment of a sizeable contingent of original fans. To date, Defenders feels like it offers Fraction the greatest degree of creative freedom of any of his corporate gigs. Check it out to see a fella's imagination unleashed.

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6
Existence 3.0 #2

Feb 8, 2010

Though not without merit, Existence 3.0 reads like a sequel whose creators dont quite understand what made the previous offering work. Nick Spencer and friends certainly deserve credit for getting half the formula right, but recapturing the glory of a beloved story requires more than just telling us what happens next.

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7
Fantastic Four (1998) #581

Jul 30, 2010

As with most of Hickmans work, the ultimate context of this issue is unlikely to be realized until much further down the road. It will be interesting to see how prominently the suggested father and son motif ends up being featured as time goes on. For now, though, weve got a slightly better focused lens with which to reexamine what has come before and a good reason to believe that the future of Fantastic Four has been carefully planned.

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8
Fantastic Four (1998) #583

Sep 26, 2010

While I certainly cant fault Marvel execs for wanting to publicize a story that threatens to kill off one of their central characters, its hard for me to envision this arc ultimately standing out as an epic among Hickmans other work. The real epic has been the writers entire run, a continuous unified story of which Three will comprise only a single part.

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7
Fantastic Four (1998) #585

Nov 26, 2010

As is often said of a Hickman book, the true value of this issue won't be properly ascertained until the revelations of the grand finale. Even so, it's already plain to see that "Three" is yet another carefully considered entry in the Fantastic Four canon. Hickman is a writer who clearly understands the value of the franchise entrusted to him.

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7
Fantastic Four (1998) #588

Feb 25, 2011

All in all, the final issue of Fantastic Four is an adequate farewell to the team as we knew it, though its nowhere near as powerful as was last months death scene. Much like an end-of-episode music montage on television, it surely gets its point across, while simultaneously trying your patience with its excessiveness.

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7
Flash (2010) #1

Apr 18, 2010

Unlike the overeager citizens of Central City, however, I am willing to wait for the resolution to that problem when the time is right. In the here and now, The Flash is quite the enjoyable read with Barry Allen at the helm.

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7
Flash (2010) #7

Dec 12, 2010

Its likely that Johns best days writing the Scarlet Speedster are behind him, but The Flash #7 is a high point for a series that seemed deserving of being cast aside just a few months prior.

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6
Flash (2010) #9

Feb 13, 2011

Comics readers should be used to entire spans of their favorite series being employed as long term plot build-up, but it honestly feels like thats all The Flash has been so far. Johns may indeed make it worth our while in the end, but sooner or later some of us are going to tire out from chasing his dangling carrot.

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7
Flash (2010) #10

Apr 18, 2011

While theres no doubt that The Flash could be a better comic, its already more than just an extended advertisement for Johns future projects. Those lured in by the promise of clues to the plot of Flashpoint stand to end up with a more generally enjoyable read than they would typically get in these kinds of situations.

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6
Flash: Rebirth #5

Nov 23, 2009

Flash devotees are still getting their moneys worth out of this issue, but the fact remains that the franchise didnt really need the renovation that Rebirth strives to make. Its a shame that Geoff Johns and company feel they need to do so much.

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5
Flash: Rebirth #6

Feb 26, 2010

Ideally, Flash: Rebirth would have been an unequivocal success that set the tone for the characters regular monthly series coming in April. Thankfully, theres still plenty of reason to expect that the continuing adventures of Barry Allen as told by Geoff Johns will be worth checking out. After all, Johns spent five years writing the last Flash book on his way to stardom, crafting stories that were far better than this one.

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6
Flashpoint #1

May 15, 2011

By its position as a company-wide crossover, Flashpoint places the burden of great expectations on itself. If this were simply the next story arc in the Flash ongoing, it may suffice to simply serve as a piece of Barry Allen character development, but that just wont do in the high stakes environment Johns is fostering.

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6
Flashpoint #2

Jun 6, 2011

For the past couple years, a steady decline has been evident in the quality of Johns-penned comics, and Flashpoint fits that bill as well. Its good fun, but not great fun. Maybe-read, but not must-read. The core concept just isnt brilliant enough for Johns to get away without having to do some heavier lifting.

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7
Flashpoint #3

Jul 11, 2011

Of course, it feels like Johns has moved even more slowly in getting us to this point than he actually has. Though this is only Flashpoints third official chapter, there have been in excess of twenty tie-in books published to date, most of them rather aimlessly filling out the altered reality this series occupies. The contextualization Johns provides here doesnt magically lift the poor quality of those other comics, but it does create a framework within which they dont come across as quite so random. Instead of a hodgepodge of Elseworld-like reconfigurations, we now know that the altered status quo of Flashpoint is part of a calculated plan by the Reverse Flash to delete the Justice League from Barry Allens arsenal of allies.

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6
Flashpoint #4

Aug 8, 2011

Flashpoint #4Posted: Monday, August 8, 2011By: Chris Kiser Geoff JohnsAnd Kubert, Jesse Delperdang (i), Alex Sinclair (c)DC Through with off-panel references and brief, isolated look-ins, Flashpoint, in its penultimate issue, jumps right into the heart of what was once the exclusive purview of its many tie-in series -- the Amazon-Atlantean war. No longer mere window dressing, these events are now fully integrated with the Flash adventure that comprises the heart of this book. While this serves to correct a rather glaring omission made by Flashpoint's early issues, it also requires Geoff Johns script to lean more heavily on the events many tie-ins which have, until now, remained fairly ancillary. In other words, readers who havent sampled those extra books may end up feeling slightly lost.

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8
Flashpoint #5

Sep 1, 2011

It would be easy to relentlessly bash the final chapter of Flashpoint by nitpicking it to death, as it offers many opportunities to do so. In fact, with the past 13 weeks spent doing that exact sort of thing in a feature for this site called Flashpoint Marathon, you could say that I've become an old pro at it. As it was with many of the Flashpoint tie-in miniseries and one-shots covered there, Geoff Johns' grand finale for the event leans heavily on half-cocked sci-fi explanations that don't meet the burden of proof that readers in today's world of Warren Ellis and Christopher Nolan have come to expect. It's very stereotypically "comic booky," reflecting much of what those outside of fanboy circles purport to dislike about the superhero genre.

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8
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #2

Oct 17, 2011

Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., one of the two New 52 series written by the increasingly well regarded Jeff Lemire, is a bit of a paradox in terms of its general concept. Though the book's premise -- one in which a top secret group of old-school movie monsters defends the world from supernatural menaces -- is drastically dissimilar from any of the publisher's other offerings, it is still likely to register as slightly derivative for seasoned comics readers. More than one critic has likened the series to Mike Mignola's Hellboy, which centers on, well, pretty much the exact same thing.

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3
Fringe: Tales from the Fringe #1

Jun 28, 2010

There may indeed be some mysterious market force out there calling for the creation of Fringe comic books, but I seriously doubt it could be asking for something like this. In fact, retailers would be better off to not even stock this book on their shelves, lest it draw in passersby and tell them cruel lies about the merits of the comics medium. If the DC-sponsored Easter eggs in the show's season finale served to direct any viewers to their local comics shop, Tales from the Fringe stands ready to drive them back out.

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7
Green Hornet #1

Mar 5, 2010

Save for a few pages at the end, this issue consists of merely the pre-credits sequence to what would have been Kevin Smiths film. However, its enough to assure audiences that the feature to come will be well worth the price of admission. I, for one, am ready to sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

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7
Green Hornet #2

Apr 2, 2010

In a comics culture where fans are constantly bombarded by the likes of Grant Morrison storylines and Secret Avengers teaser images, it is easy to confuse unpredictability with quality. The truth of the matter is, however, that the comics of today are built upon a foundation of tried and true formulas and conventions that are very much predictable. In Green Hornet, Kevin Smith displays a definite appreciation of this history. Rather than compete with other writers intricate machinations and heavily twisted plotlines, hes taking advantage of all the familiarity the Hornet name has to offer.

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6
Green Lantern (2005) #47

Oct 30, 2009

It is doubtful that many will read this issue who dont already have reasonable expectations for how it will relate to the rest of the Blackest Night titles. If youve been on board with the style and substance of the last few months worth of Green Lantern, youll feel right at home with this latest issue.

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8
Green Lantern (2005) #48

Nov 30, 2009

*Though Green Lantern #48 was released this week simultaneously with Blackest Night #5 those planning on reading both issues would be best served to read this one first.

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8
Green Lantern (2005) #50

Feb 1, 2010

In the contemporary style of event comics, the experience of reading an issue like this one has been hard to come by. Neither the publication of a special tie-in mini-series nor the collection of companion books in a trade paperback can replicate the feeling of immediacy generated by reading the floppy edition of an ongoing title the week it comes out. While Im certainly glad that DC and Marvel have found a way to minimize event-related intrusion into their standard monthlies, Green Lantern #50 proves that theres still a time and a place for an old fashioned crossover.

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Green Lantern (2005) #51

Feb 19, 2010

There is plenty to like about Blackest Night, but hardcore Green Lantern fans must admit that its content has been less than they were led to expect. Patience is a virtue, however, and Geoff Johns takes the opportunity this issue to ensure his faithful that earlier concepts have not been forgotten. Take your time, Geoff. I, for one, hope that well be reading your stories in Green Lantern for years to come.

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Green Lantern (2005) #52

Mar 26, 2010

For the most part, the Green Lantern issues concurrent with Blackest Night have been wonderful examples of the right way to link an ongoing series to a big event. This latest one, however, finds itself between a rock and a hard place. Released the week before Blackest Nights finale, it has no choice but to address the events of that series, but its proximity to the climax robs it of the opportunity to flesh out the story in a significant way. It would have been better if DC had chosen to delay the shipping schedule for this title, saving Green Lantern #52 for a post-Blackest Night epilogue.

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Green Lantern (2005) #62

Feb 19, 2011

Having reigned as the DCUs top book for a season, Green Lantern has lost a fair portion of its luster. If anyone can polish it back to its original shine, its surely Johns, but it would be nice if he didnt have to rely upon another crossover to do it.

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Green Lantern (2011) #4

Dec 20, 2011

What Johns and Mahnke are doing for Sinestro is the type of thing that could cement his legacy as one of the great villainous characters in comics. He's finally transcending his role as a simple mirror image of the hero, putting on layers of complexity a la Victor von Doom or the Paul Dini version of Mr. Freeze from Batman: The Animated Series. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before Hal is back in the solo lead of this book, but there's a good chance that the supporting cast he shares space with will be much richer and more developed once this current story arc is complete.

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Green Lantern (2011) #20

May 28, 2013

Every one of the numerous plot threads Johns aggressively heaped onto this book over the course of the past year or so makes an appearance for the finale, yet they never jell together to feel like they're telling a coherent story. The Big Bad of the whole thing is someone called the First Lantern, and the path to defeating him is a long chain of one-upmanship involving various characters' powers that have long lost their tether to the metaphors Johns originally built for them.

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Halcyon #3

Jan 17, 2011

Failing to ascend to the Watchmen heights by which it was clearly influenced, however, is no real crime. Whether it ultimately contributes to the philosophical dialogue over what it means to be a hero or not, Halcyon continues to be a quality effort on the part of its creators. Just past its halfway point, this is a story that begs to be read until the end.

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Haunt #3

Dec 7, 2009

With so little to latch onto from Haunt three issues in, it begs the following question. If Robert Kirkmans name were not attached to this book, would I still consider reading it? Right now, this reviewers answer is no, meaning that if future developments ever transform this series into a classic Ill have to partake of it alongside The Walking Dead in trade format.

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Incorruptible #1

Dec 13, 2009

For fans of Irredeemable who had concerns over the viability of a shared universe series, this book is at least worth a look. Incorruptible isnt going to re-engineer the modern superhero comic, but Waid clearly knows how all the pieces are supposed to fit together.

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Infinite Vacation #1

Jan 16, 2011

With one supremely excellent issue in the can, I couldnt be more excited to see what Spencer and Ward have in store for the remainder of this series. Get your Best of 2011 lists started now, folks, cause The Infinite Vacation is going to be on them.

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Irredeemable: Special #1

Apr 15, 2010

Hitting shelves right on the heels of Irredeemable's multiple Eisner nominations, this supplement to the regular book couldnt have been more aptly timed. With Mark Waids latest success in the spotlight now more than ever, Irredeemable Special #1 is a celebration of everything great the series has given us thus far.

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Irredeemable #8

Nov 23, 2009

Irredeemable is a book that would really soar if it could ever allow itself to deliver a cumulative impact. As a writer best known for his work in the '90s, Mark Waid knows how to avoid writing for the trade. However, he could do his latest series a big favor by treating it more like a singular epic than an aimless chain of individual issues.

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Irredeemable #9

Dec 28, 2009

Irredeemable #9 is easily the best issue of this series to date. Even the art of Peter Krause seems to have risen to the occasion. A month ago, I was ready to write this book off as having no real direction or progressive story arc. Now that Waid has tipped a bit more of his hand, it seems prudent to put such judgments on hold if not to overturn them altogether.

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Irredeemable #10

Jan 25, 2010

Up to this point, it seemed like Irredeemable was a critique of the Superman mythos, a suggestion that a hero of such nobility was unrealistic. However, it turns out that Mark Waid might have different plans in store. The Plutonian is an example of what Superman might have been were he to lack such a firm moral foundation in his character. In this way, Waid affirms the reputation of the worlds greatest superhero while telling a supremely interesting story of his own.

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Irredeemable #17

Sep 7, 2010

Regardless of the altitude to which a high concept soars, 17 issues is a long time to run on the merits of a mere premise alone. Thats why its so satisfying to see that, by this point, Mark Waid has set Irredeemable up to be more than just a critique of other superhero stories. The book has grown into its own over the course of the past year and a half, giving us quality characterization alongside the thoughtful commentary for which it is known.

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Joe The Barbarian #1

Jan 24, 2010

One issue in, Im fully immersed in the world of Joe the Barbarian. Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy have created a setting that is both sad and soothing, then ripped it out from under our feet for the sake of adventure. Ill be happy to let them continue doing so for the remaining seven issues.

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Joe The Barbarian #4

Apr 23, 2010

One of these days, Grant Morrison may pen a script that doesnt seek to blow your mind in some kind of vicious idea storm. Today, however, is not that day, and Joe the Barbarian is not that comic. Its the flurry of unparalleled innovation that youve come to expect from the industrys most creative writer.

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Joe The Barbarian #8

Mar 6, 2011

Quite often, the conclusion of a series can make or break the work as a whole, and there is no question in my mind that Joe the Barbarian #8 has done the former. With an indispensable dose of help from Murphy, Morrison has crafted another keeper--one to recommend and reread for many years to come.

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Justice Society of America #36

Feb 26, 2010

The smart money is on Willinghams eventual success in figuring it all out. He has earned his stripes with a much loved run on Vertigos Fables and an underrated stint with DCs magic-based characters in Shadowpact. Though the ins and outs of traditional superhero tales continue to elude him in this current storyline, his work on Justice Society of America may be worth revisiting in the near future.

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Kick-Ass 2 #1

Oct 23, 2010

When Dave lay bloody and beaten in the street on the final page of the first Kick-Ass #1, it was clear where that series would find its hook. If Millar has devised a unique theme for Kick-Ass 2, then he must be holding off on its full revelation until a future chapter.

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Marineman: A Matter of Life and Depth #1

Aug 24, 2011

At a glance, Ian Churchills Marineman, the first six issues of which are now collected in trade paperback here, resembles a close relative of Robert Kirkmans Invincible. It boasts an array of colorful, classic superhero comics imagery, an overt sense of fun and a straightforward method of storytelling. Not to mention the two books share a publisher (Image Comics), and, as of this past year, Marineman can stand alongside Kirkmans opus as a onetime Eisner Award nominee for Best New Series.

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Morning Glories #1

Aug 10, 2010

Few new writers in the industry seem to be rising in profile as rapidly as Nick Spencer, and Morning Glories stands only to accelerate that trend. If DC and Marvel dont already have him on their radar, theyre bound to after this one hits the shelves. Its an exciting first issue with a strong cast that has me really wanting to find out what happens next.

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Morning Glories #2

Sep 19, 2010

If he succeeds, hell have done those new readers a great favor. Morning Glories is one of those rare series whose story is supplemented by bizarre mysteries rather than propped up by them as a crutch. In the same mold as the television series Lost, this book carries with it all the intangible qualities to separate it from less substantive pretenders.

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Morning Glories #23

Dec 3, 2012

I do trust that when Spencer is finished, we'll look back on all this and it'll make perfect sense. But I wish I could be enjoying Morning Glories more right now instead of just mentally bookmarking each page for reference at some to-be-determined date.

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Nemesis #1

Mar 28, 2010

In a prose afterword at the end of the issue, Millar thanks readers for having enough faith in him and McNiven to pick up this book. His assessment of the series potential success is right on the money. So far, its creators reputation is the biggest thing Nemesis has going for it.

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New Avengers (2010) #1

Jun 18, 2010

That Bendis persists in winning over his old fans is of little surprise. Now that New Avengers no longer bears the burden of being its lines flagship book, perhaps it is time for yesterdays naysayers to also give it a shot.

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New Avengers (2010) #5

Oct 15, 2010

In my review of New Avengers #1 back in June, I wrote about how glad I was that the second volume of this book carried on the playful tone of the first. I still feel that way, but I hope that in subsequent months Bendis is better able to disguise some of the creative liberties he has taken.

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New Avengers (2010) #7

Dec 10, 2010

Though Joss Whedon may be directing the upcoming Avengers movie, its hard to imagine even the Master achieving a better sense of ensemble than Bendis does here. When its at the top of its game, New Avengers is the Buffy the Vampire Slayer of the Marvel Universe.

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No Hero #1

Feb 17, 2010

Now that its in a single-volume format, I hope that word of mouth can propel No Hero up the sales charts and onto bookstore shelves. It honestly belongs alongside popular modern classics like Sleeper and Wanted, weaving a blockbuster-styled tale while exploring complex ideas about the nature of heroism and villainy.

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Power Lunch Vol. 1 #1

Dec 1, 2011

Told in summary, Power Lunch: First Course, the first volume of an original graphic novel series by J. Torres and Dean Trippe, sounds like one of those classic "wish I'd thought of it" concepts. It's the clever and creative tale of a boy named Joey whose unique reaction to what he eats temporarily grants him super powers -- a different one for each color of food. See what I mean? I'm betting you didn't read that last sentence without cracking at least half a smile and suppressing a tinge of jealousy. Like a youth-friendly version of Chew (or perhaps a more sophisticated take on Popeye), Power Lunch is about as instantly marketable as they come.

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Prime Baby #1

Sep 22, 2010

All in all, Prime Baby is an engaging story with a great sense of humor and a smidgen of heart thrown in for good measure. Whether you consider it a creative critique of your formative years or simply a fun read, theres no question that Gene Luen Yang gets the job done.

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Red Robin #9

Feb 6, 2010

Nine months into its lifespan, Red Robin has yet to justify its existence other than as a means to meet a quota of a series for every major Batman character. This issue even marks the first part of a crossover with Batgirl and I still wouldnt categorize it as essential reading for followers of that superior book. As much as I would like to see another great comic headlined by Tim Drake, the reality is that such a thing has not been among DCs offerings since the publisher fired Chuck Dixon in 2008. Methinks that Dan DiDio and company owe someone an apology.

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Rise of the Black Lanterns: The Atom & Hawkman #46

Feb 1, 2010

If you picked up a Blackest Night checklist at your local comics shop, feel free to go ahead and circle The Atom and Hawkman with your favorite indigo marker. Alongside Green Lantern #50, also released this week, the story featured here deserves to be read. Even with their flaws, this issues 22 pages far surpass the other 1,200+ printed by DC under the same crossover banner.

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Scarlet #1

Jul 10, 2010

Ill admit to feeling a similar ambivalence to this creative teams first Daredevil issue, and now I would easily name that run as one of my all time top five. It is reasonable to hope that Scarlet, too, is saving some of its cards for a later round. Left merely to the devices revealed in the first issue, though, this is a series that stands little chance of holding its own against either a crowded comics market or its own popular creators strong legacy.

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Secret Avengers #2

Jul 2, 2010

While Brubaker still seems more comfortable as a writer telling street level tales than he does grand scale sci-fi sagas (his insistence that Beast be repeatedly shown spouting off about his all purpose sensor readings is an obvious crutch), he is no doubt quite skilled at crafting quality character interaction. Add that to Rain Beredos darkly toned bold color art, containing equal parts Secret and Avenger,and youve got yourself a series that is fine tuned for success. It is one thing to engage in premature punditry about a books cast, but it is another matter altogether to actually experience it.

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Secret Avengers #4

Aug 20, 2010

Ill consider Secret Avengers a wasted concept if it never advances past the level of complexity in this issue, but for now Ill assume that Brubaker is saving his greater intricacies for later on. If the cookie cutter is ever an acceptable weapon in the writers arsenal, its in an introductory arc such as this.

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Secret Avengers #12

Apr 29, 2011

Even better, his first issue, the promotionally numbered 12.1, also hit stands this week. I think Im gonna go read that now.

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Secret Six Vol. 2 #14

Oct 19, 2009

It would be easy to write a series about criminals without a moral center, but it wouldnt be easy to read one. In this issue, Gail Simone shows us once again that in order to connect to an audience, even Deadshot needs a conscience.

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Secret Six Vol. 2 #15

Nov 9, 2009

Too often, the return of a writer decades later to an old character feels out of sync with contemporary storytelling, but Ostrander goes nowhere near that pitfall here. I came out of Secret Six #15 with a greater understanding and appreciation of its lead character, and who could ask for more than that?

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Secret Six Vol. 2 #21

May 10, 2010

As Secret Six takes this darker turn for the current story arc, the only losers are the unwitting parents who might accidentally place this issue in the hands of their pre-teen children. Despite the lack of an advisory on the cover, this comic is just a few censored curse words away from belonging in DCs Vertigo line. For the rest of us, Simones tale is enjoyably gripping. Often playful with its tongue-in-cheek humor, its nice to see this series getting it done just as well with the drama dialed up a notch.

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Secret Warriors #15

Apr 30, 2010

For those whove followed Hickmans statements in interviews about this series, theres been an abundance of talk about the day when Secret Warriors would shed the burden of exposition and begin to grow into the saga it was always intended to be. In case you havent noticed, that promised moment has arrived ahead of schedule. As good as the book is right now, its hard to imagine what it will be like once the payoffs start really rolling in.

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Secret Warriors #16

May 28, 2010

Though Wake the Beast has arguably been the best Secret Warriors story, its conclusion this week may comprise the series weakest effort to date. A twist revealed on the final page does hold promise for upcoming issues, but the biggest reason to keep this book on your pull list is the spectacular work Hickman has been doing on the whole. One below average outing is bound to happen when the bar has been set so high.

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Secret Warriors #18

Aug 6, 2010

If I had to guess, Id say that the current arc of Secret Warriors will have significant ramifications for the series larger plans when all is said and done, even if it takes its time getting there. Im certainly not opposed to decompressed storytelling in comics, but this is one awfully slow burn. Pacing issues aside, every detail feels purposeful and carefully crafted, a main reason why this title remains one of the most consistently satisfying books on the market.

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Secret Warriors #20

Oct 1, 2010

As much as I am tempted to complain, however, this is still an issue of Secret Warriors and it contains pieces of story that are no doubt integral to the outcome of this years long epic. If Hickman has failed to live up to anyones standard, it has been his own. The problem with continually upping the ante is that youre now on the hook for calling the bets.

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Secret Warriors #22

Nov 26, 2010

With the endpoint of Secret Warriors in view, it is a tremendous reassurance to see Hickman and company cook up an issue like this one. Regardless of how the story concludes, it's a sure thing that readers of this series will have their hearts wrapped up in it.

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Secret Warriors #28

Jul 29, 2011

Secret Warriors #28Posted: Friday, July 29, 2011By: Chris Kiser Jonathan HickmanAlessandro Vitti, IFS (c)Marvel More than halving the count of his original 60 issue plan to a mere 28, Jonathan Hickman was nonetheless capable of fully developing a sprawling superhero espionage saga in Secret Warriors, the stellar Marvel series that ships its final chapter this week. Though it often mimicked the form of decompressed storytelling across its six trade paperback-sized arcs, Hickmans opus was, in reality, anything but, packing in more ideas, conflicts and mysteries than it once seemed hed have time to resolve. That aspect, combined with informed references to decades worth of its publishers continuity, created a grand sense of scale and scope that defied the books brevity as well as the sales numbers it constantly struggled to raise.

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Serenity: Float Out #1

Jun 3, 2010

In the end, Serenity: Float Out really only stands a chance at delivering a measurable sense of enjoyment to those lovers of all things Whedon. Even then, this book is merely an illustrated fans discussion about their favorite character. At most, it amounts to the quality of a DVD featurette, suitable for those whove exhausted themselves on the main episodes.

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Severed #1

Aug 2, 2011

Debuting this week from Image Comics and Scott Snyder, the writer of the Eisner-winning horror-meets-history comic American Vampire, is Severed, an ongoing series set to deliver... another combination of horror and history. But rather than pigeonhole this new effort as a wanton act of self-cannibalization, its more accurate to say that it is the product of a writer who knows exactly how to play to his own strengths. And joining him is a pair of creators, Scott Tuft and Attila Futaki, that seems well poised to do the same.

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Severed #5

Dec 22, 2011

Tragically, such stories of child abuse and victimization are too familiar these days for those of us keeping an eye on the news. In Severed, Snyder, Tuft and Futaki turn over the rock to expose that twisted underside of our society. Their work echoes the cry of current events in a manner that -- without becoming exploitative -- hauntingly reveals a dark truth about our world. Evil assuredly exists, and we'd do best not to trifle with it.

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Severed #6

Jan 14, 2012

Having just weathered the annual storm of best-of-the-year awards, I was sorely disappointed to see Severed turn up missing on many sites' lists, Comics Bulletin's included. (Don't blame me, though -- I voted for it!) How such a brilliantly constructed comic could fly under the radar -- with an A-list creator co-writing it, no less! -- is beyond me. Snyder and Tuft are writing a textbook on how to do horror/suspense, perfecting a formula capable of delivering goosebumps via any narrative medium.

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Severed #7

Feb 11, 2012

Part historical lesson and part societal diagnosis, Severed is, at its root, a good, old fashioned spooky story. For those who missed out on the single issues, the trade collection due in April is as much a must-get as Snyder's DC work. As will be his next collaboration with Tuft, if we're ever so lucky to get such a thing. Whether it's more Severed or something new, this is a team I'm hoping to see reunite soon.

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Sinister Truth: MK-Ultra #1

Dec 23, 2009

The Sinister Truth may not fit the bill for those seeking a Ludlum-esque conspiracy thriller, but it certainly has plenty to offer. Cold War buffs will enjoy its witty summarization of that eras events while those unfamiliar with the history are likely to seek out more information on the topic when theyre finished reading. This graphic novel is a genuinely funny take on a story that could have been made up if it hadnt already taken place in the real world.

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Sparta U.S.A. #1

Mar 7, 2010

Perhaps the solace I find in Laphams restraint will fade away once subsequent issues further flesh out the world of Sparta. For the sake of clarity in storytelling, I hope the series eventually reveals enough to confirm or refute my interpretations.

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Static Shock #1

Sep 12, 2011

Often when a particular sight gag or visual reference in a comic book is unclear to the reader, it can be difficult to determine on whom to pin the blame. Both writer and artist can theoretically assert a plausible deniability in such cases, each one the equally likely victim of poor communication on the part of the other. When the writer and artist are the same person, however, gaffes like that are far less excusable. In other words, it's rather obvious who to take to task for making Static Shock, the DCnU book starring a revised version of the old Milestone teen character, into such an unreadable mess.

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Super Dinosaur: Origin Special #1

May 3, 2011

Still, there probably arent a lot of free comics being given out this weekend that your children will get a kick out of as much as this one. If theyre lucky, they might even be able to talk you into buying the for-pay issue for which this is essentially an ad, conveniently on sale now wherever quality comics are sold.

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Supergod #1

Nov 15, 2009

These initial 22 pages of setup are virtually all plot and narration, and the possible introduction of characterization and dialogue could certainly tilt the message to one side of the fence. However, until that day, Warren Ellis hasnt completely excluded anyone from the congregation just yet.

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Supergod #4

Aug 8, 2010

Some might say that this is an indicator that Supergod will ultimately work better in a collected format than as a series of single issues, but Im not so sure. Even if Avatar Press had released the story as an original graphic novel, I think there would still be the prevailing sense that the book made its point early on.

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Superior #2

Nov 20, 2010

For those reasons, any verdict rendered on Superior as a whole would be premature at this juncture. Assuming that Millar has a big plan or two up his sleeve for this series future, then its safe to say that hes done a fine job laying the necessary groundwork thus far.

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Superman (2006) #700

Jun 27, 2010

Jurgenss enjoyable effort aside, Superman #700 is a poor tribute to the father of all superheroes. Worse yet, it sets a new tone for the books foreseeable future--one that, if it had been allowed to dominate the series from day one, would have likely spelled the cancellation of Superman long before the 700 mark.

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Superman/Batman: Apocalypse #1

Oct 10, 2010

Perhaps if this had been an adaptation of a better comic book, the quality of the source material could have shone through such a bland, run-of-the-mill approach. In reality, though, Jeph Joebs original story was adequate at best, and Apocalypse could have used a much greater creative spark than anyone involved managed to muster.

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The Last Days of American Crime #1

Dec 27, 2009

If youre a die-hard crime fiction fan with a taste for the salacious, then your feelings about this comic will likely fall way out of sync with my own unfavorable opinion. Even so, there can be no denying that The Last Days of American Crime misses out on a great chance to use a wildly original idea to transcend the limits of genre.

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The Light #1

Apr 16, 2010

With four issues remaining, there is more than enough time for Edmondson to make good on his promise of an added dimension of meaning. If he accomplishes this, The Light stands a chance at becoming something memorable. If not, it at least features a fairly nifty core concept that could have formed the basis for a solid episode of Fringe or The X-Files.

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The Shield #1

Nov 2, 2010

All in all, I cant imagine the bookstore readers whom DC has surely targeted with the Earth One series being interested in reading this kind of thing, and regular comic book readers already have better Superman options. This book isnt a modern retelling of a pop-culture myth a la Marvels Ultimate line; rather, its a substandard story only worthy of attention because of the marketing emphasis placed upon it by the publisher.

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The Unwritten #8

Dec 17, 2009

Though The Unwritten has been a remarkable comic from day one, early chapters of the second story arc had seemed to indicate a sophomore slump. Now, however, it can be safely said that if the only purpose these issues served was to set the stage for this months, they were resounding successes.

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The Unwritten #18

Oct 21, 2010

Whether its pushing the envelope of comic book conventions or laying it all out for the audience in an uncomplicated manner, The Unwritten remains a genuine triumph of imagination. After consistently being asked to bend their brain around many a wild idea, readers should enjoy the opportunity this month to take a break and simply be fed.

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Thief of Thieves #1

Feb 1, 2012

For all its strengths and weaknesses, Thief of Thieves' debut makes it hard to peg the nature of the rest of the series, mainly since it seems to barely touch what the bulk of this book will be. That's because, first off, the final page of the issue appears as one of those everything-is-about-to-change moments and, second, the solicitations for this comic describe a plotline that's only spoken of in whispers and hints here. Ideally, you'll avoid those spoilers before picking this one up, but if you don't, you'll have an informed perspective on the seeds Kirkman and Spencer are planting. It may not be the apocalypse of awesome you were dreaming of, but if anyone deserves a few issues to get things going, it's these guys.

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Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #152

Jan 28, 2011

Undoubtedly, the twain shall eventually meet, but, for now, were left playing the waiting game. Its a scheme that puts the presence of two vividly distinct artists to good use, but it also creates a schism that undermines the cohesiveness of the comic when considered as a single issue. Ill happily take either Pichelli or Lafuente as my Ultimate Spider-Man artist, but hopefully in the future theyll come one at a time.

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Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #158

May 26, 2011

Whether Bagleys return had anything to do with Bendiss decision to go old school, its a true pleasure to read an issue of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man that could have easily fit into the early portion of the series first volume. In the unlikely event that Spider-Man really does meet death in this story, hell be going out just as he came in.

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Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #160

Jun 26, 2011

Though the polybag in which it came might beg to differ, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #160 falls a hair or two short of insta-classic status. As a grand finale -- to the current story arc, to this volume of the series, and perhaps to the life of lead character himself -- it certainly has its powerful moments, but none of them are quite enough to shatter the mold Bendis has cast. Even if you avoided the spoilers in the mainstream press or somehow remained oblivious to this storylines title, you might have been able to venture a pretty accurate guess as to how the events of this comic were going to play out.

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Ultimate Comics: X-Men #2

Oct 14, 2011

By no means under the radar but perhaps still somewhat overlooked, Marvel's Ultimate line got its own complete set of number one issues last month la DC's New 52 -- an almost-too-coincidental-to-be-true attempt at tweaking its product to appeal to new or lapsed readers. Conducted on a much smaller scale than the competition's onslaught, the Ultimate Comics relaunch may have been, on the whole, a better executed effort than DC's at starting everything afresh. Brian Bendis certainly succeeded in snatching both headlines and sales dollars with the Miles Morales-fronted Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, while Jonathan Hickman set up The Ultimates as the perfect jumping-on point for anyone who saw a Marvel movie this summer.

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Uncanny X-Men (1963) #534.1

Apr 8, 2011

For the first time in ages, an X-Men comic actually has me looking forward to reading the next one. Its not that the story here appears to be particularly epic or game changing, but rather theres a simplicity at work that seems well poised to take advantage of the series inherent themes. With a few more right moves, Gillen could restore Uncanny X-Men to a status it had seemingly left behind long ago -- that of a consistently good read.

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Uncanny X-Men (1963) #537

May 27, 2011

As it seemed when he took the reigns on the Point One issue not too long ago, Kieron Gillen is a keeper. Its safe to say that Uncanny X-Men is now one of Marvels best books, a prospect that becomes only more exciting when considering that the writer is just getting started.

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Unit Primes: Salvage #1

Feb 3, 2010

When delving into the pages of an indy comic, the reader must often be prepared to make his or her way through the obstacles of experimental storytelling--for better or worse. Not so with Unit Primes: Salvage. This book would fit right in with the crowd-pleasing comics on the shelves of your local shop while still delivering the kind of dramatic and emotional resonance that you dont see every day.

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8
Wonder Woman (2011) #4

Dec 26, 2011

Azzarello and Chiang's Wonder Woman clearly isn't for everyone, possibly not even for some of those who have enjoyed the series' previous volumes. It's a somber story that demands patience from its readers, often initially seeming to give you less food for thought than it actually is. Casting preconceived notions aside, however, it's clear to see that this is the product of two creators operating at a high level. Bravo to DC for taking a risk on an unorthodox choice for this, ensuring that this one slice of the 52, at least, is in fact new.

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6
X-Men: Regenesis #1

Oct 16, 2011

The entirety of this one-shot consists of Wolverine and Cyclops propositioning various X-characters to align with their respective sides in the newly fractured mutant community, followed by those characters announcing their decisions. That's it. Imagine if the brief recruitment scenes from Bendis's Avengers #1 were inflated to the size of a full-length comic and you'll have a pretty accurate sense as to what to expect here. Now, given that those scenes are being written by the criminally unheralded Kieron Gillen, there's plenty of smart dialogue and spot-on characterization to be had, but even a gifted writer can't escape what this comic is at its root. Regenesis is simply an illustrated X-Team checklist for the next several months' worth of Marvel books.

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5
Xenoholics #1

Oct 18, 2011

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but in the world of pop culture, the presence of parody is the surest sign that something has wormed its way into the zeitgeist. In the mid to late '90's, that something was the alien abduction genre popularized by The X-Files, the show that spawned countless network TV clones, quite a bit of late night comedy lampooning, and even an episode of The Simpsons. Though the alien craze has long since come and gone, its ripples are still felt from time to time, most recently in Joshua Williamson and Seth Damoose's Xenoholics, the Image Comics series that debuts this Wednesday.

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7
Zatanna #1

May 23, 2010

Still, given that the only real criticism I can launch at the book is speculative, Zatanna has to be considered a success. It must be a creators dream to work on a book starring one of his favorite characters--a dream that becomes all the sweeter when the finished product comes out as well as this one.

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