Chris Smits's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Mania Reviews: 91
7.5Avg. Review Rating

9.6
American Vampire #2

Apr 23, 2010

American Vampire #2 leaves me just as thirsty for the next issue as issue #1 did after I read that. I'm easily giving this one the grade of an A.

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9.6
American Vampire #6

Sep 14, 2010

I’m going with an A for this one and can’t wait to see where this story goes.

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5
Batman #688

Jul 14, 2009

I've bitched in the past about the forcing of Two-Face being Nightwing's Joker, and this was used heavily at the end of the Nightwing series. Well now that Nightwing is Batman, it looks as if Winick plans on taking it right back to that dry well. If Grant Morrison's series is all about the new, this Judd Winick book comes off as bringing back the old into a new setting. Average writing plus average art leads me to an average grade of C. This is even more disappointing because of the opportunity for doing bold new things in the Bat-Books right now, which neither of these guys are bringing to the page. It seemed like everything was set-up wonderfully; Tony Daniel gave these guys a hell of a pitch with Battle For The Cowl (which Winick was originally supposed to write) but these guys bunted instead of swinging away. Kind of makes me wonder what it would have been like if Tony Daniel had been left on the book.

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5
Batman #691

Oct 20, 2009

Unoriginal and borderline boring, this was a mediocre end to a mediocre storyline. It was told with skill, drawn with talent but just seemed to be taking up space. With so much momentum over the world of Batman this year, it's a big disappointment for fans of this book. This book is making me very anxious and almost irritable. I got all hyped up with Battle For The Cowl, driven crazy with Morrison's Batman and Robin and then turn around in a frothy Bat-frenzy for more... only to get "meh". Batman has become the anti-climax for everyone that's been worked into a fever pitch by what came before it and how well Morrison's book has delivered. This one comes in with a kindly C and it's best to just leave it at that. DC had better get these books living up to their potential soon or else I see sales dropping and interest just holding off until Bruce Wayne's return.

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8
Batman #692

Nov 3, 2009

After his fine handling of the characters and plots involved in Battle For The Cowl, Tony Daniel has come back and proven that he not only deserves to be handling this book on a monthly basis but that he also has a great understanding of the tone of the book as well. From the dialogue moments to the setup of the master criminal plan, everything is executed very well and any fan of Batman should find this a perfectly entertaining read with a thirst for the next issue. This one gets a B grading and looks to be leading down some interesting paths with the story and brings back the anticipation to see what comes next. It's that anticipation that's really been missing from this title in recent months and it's nice to have back. Very solid book and it's still holding on to that $2.99 price point so there's not a whole lot going wrong here.

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8.4
Batman #695

Jan 18, 2010

Batman #695 gets a B+ and a great shout out to Tony Daniel for getting past all of the drama surrounding what's been done to the character since Final Crisis and the press release nonsense about who's gonna write what book and how big of a deal it's supposed to be. Bruce Wayne or no Bruce Wayne, this is everything about Batman that any fan of the character could want.

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8.4
Batman #703

Sep 13, 2010

I’m going to go with a B+ for this issue and that’s completely due to the personal touches that Fabian Nicieza put in to this story. This is exactly what I needed from one of the Batman books right now and it’s served up with great dialogue.

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9.6
Batman and Robin #1

Jun 9, 2009

Grant Morrison just nailed it with this one. He may have taken a zig-zag path to get to this point, and it's a matter of debate as to whether it could have been handled better, but now that it's here, Batman and Robin is overflowing with kick-assery. The banter between Dick Grayson as the new Batman and Bruce Wayne's son Damian as the new Robin was fantastic. The anchor of mainstay butler/caretaker Alfred is used to perfection as the pivot point between the two, but it's the difference in styles, mannerisms and (in Damian's case) ettiquette, that made this incredibly cool and really fun to read. This may not physically be the Batman of old, but the tone is everything that's ever been great in the characters history. Since Dick Grayson is the epitome of a legacy character, it's like a father/son situation in the fact that there's a lot of Bruce still on the page. I loved that everything about Dick Grayson being raised and trained by Bruce comes into play and it works very naturally unde

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7
Batman/Doc Savage Special #1

Nov 17, 2009

It's not perfect, and at $4.99 I wouldn't consider it a "must-read" by any means, but it's a fun book. Phil Noto's style works great with this and it gives the book a classic feel as if from decades past while still having the polish of a modern title. This is a book that a lot of readers will really want to love but, to certain extent, that may cloud judgement as to how much they actually did enjoy it. The jury is out as to whether this will stand the test of time but, as of now, it reads pretty good. I'm giving this a B- and am very interested to see more Doc Savage from DC in any form!

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6
Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1

Mar 16, 2009

Even after the gripes I've listed above, this was a good book overall and the ending sets up the next issue nicely. I'm looking forward to seeing how this all plays out and it's already the best time I've had reading a Bat-book in months. It's a $3.99 book, but it's 40 pages and it does look nice. Tony Daniel might turn into a player if he can pull this off, so I think he should be given the benefit of the doubt on the bad points. Just cleaning up the aftermath of all that Crisis/R.I.P. stuff is a feat unto itself, so even if it's not the greatest thing ever, if it makes sense and it's good then I'll consider it money and time well spent. I'm calling it a C+ with the next issue looking to be of a higher grade. This is a fine setup but he's going to need to pull the trigger on the second issue to make this stick a little better.

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9.6
Batman: Battle for the Cowl #2

Apr 10, 2009

After the divisive outcome that fans have gotten from the past year with these characters, Tony Daniel is pulling everyone back to a linear, solid story and establishing a new status quo that should get some disgruntled readers back on board. Opinions on what's been done to Batman previously are finally having a solid enough foundation set under them so readers can begin to build their faith again. The first issue was good, this one is better and the third might just be awesome. I feel it's completely justified for fans to be skeptical at best over the Gotham end of the DCU. You can argue until you're blue in the face over whether things should have been allowed to get where they are in the first place, but what Tony Daniel is doing here is absolutely great. It's as solid as you could hope for and even if you don't like what's being done you can't argue the skill behind it. I'm enjoying this story and am actually frothing a bit for it's conclusion. You have no idea how pleased I am to

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7
Batman: Battle for the Cowl #3

May 21, 2009

I'm grading this at a B- only because it seemed a little overly condensed to me (as I stated above). Pick this up, read it and get yourself geeked for what's to come. It's not often that you can do something this ambitious and be able to pull it out of a potential train-wreck situation, but Tony Daniel and DC recovered nicely. Recovered so well, in fact, that I have absolutely no reason not to give DC the benefit of the doubt and let myself get excited about the new stuff coming. You should too.

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0.8
Batman: Battle for the Cowl: Man-Bat #1

Apr 3, 2009

With the uselessness of recent tie-in books already adding to my distaste of these, I'm just sticking to the 3 issue "Battle For The Cowl" main book from this point. I'm giving this one a flat out F because I gained no enjoyment from reading or looking at it. Someone owes Ladronn an apology for wasting that great cover on such a craptacular book.

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9.6
Blackest Night #2

Aug 13, 2009

In the past several years of "Big Event" books coming out, Blackest Night may easily prove to be the best of the best. We've seen a lot of stories hit and miss with mixed results, but as of this issue (and Green Lantern Corps #39, also released this week), the bar seems to have been raised. This has a great story, a great look and it's been exciting as hell so far! There's a lot to frantically want to talk about but I'd be hitting serious spoiler territory in order to do so. Needless to say, this one gets an A from me. With no signs or hints of slowing down, this has every indication of being one of the best superhero sagas (from any company!) in a long time. If you've been looking at this and thinking it's zombies, you're missing out on a really great moment in comic books.

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5
Blackest Night: Batman #2

Sep 15, 2009

By labelling this as average, I don't want to give the impression that the quality isn't there because it absolutely is. One thing DC should be complimented for is that they've kept the price at $2.99 on this Blackest Night tie-in. So while there's been nothing obviously integral to the flagship books going on here, that could easily prove to be a false statement with the next (and final issue) of this three book story. If you're enjoying the main Blackest Night books, then this lower price point makes it a pretty safe buy if you want to add a little garnish to the main course. Like I said, so far I don't consider it a must-read by any means, but it's a fun read. I'm giving this a C grade and will say that if you've got a few extra dollars after you pick out your mainstays at the comic shop, go ahead and pick this up. It's not going to blow you away but it's a safe bet to say it should entertain you.

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8
Blackest Night: Superman #1

Aug 20, 2009

Blackest Night Superman is a very nice spinoff/companion piece to the title books Blackest Night and Green Lantern. After reading it, I immediately checked the cover price because my first thought was that it didn't warrant $3.99. Well DC was smart enough to head that complaint off at the pass and this one sports a $2.99 price tag! In keeping the price down, it makes it a better book to check out and that makes the grade I'm giving it higher then if it'd cost that extra dollar. It's a fun read, it doesn't cost too much and it keeps you excited to follow Blackest Night as a whole. This gets a B for those reasons and I have to say that as far as event tie-in books go, this one is better than what they usually are.

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5
Blackest Night: The Flash #3

Feb 22, 2010

The bottom line is that if you have the extra money and like the Flash characters then go ahead and pick it up. If you're indifferent, but have been following Blackest Night, then just stay over on the main series and don't worry about it.

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7
Brightest Day #10

Sep 21, 2010

Even though the Firestorm section didn’t do a lot for me, it was still written well and the art was fine, but the selling point is the Aqualad story. The artwork is better on those pages (which look to be Ivan Reis) and it’s definitely got the action of the issue. Great lead towards issue #11 (and some cool surprises as well) means I’m giving this one a B-.

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4
DC Universe Legacies #5

Sep 20, 2010

Everyone involved delivered a great book here (and I really hope they’ll forgive me for this because I really do admire all involved) but it’s my recommendation above that’s the reason I’m giving this a C-. It’s not that the book isn’t good enough to recommend to folks that are interested (it is) but by giving readers a reminder of how many fun storylines took place back then, I think they should just seek out the back issues, read them, love or hate them, and not worry about if they fit into the current continuity of the books being published now. Like most of the heroes that this book highlights, good stories are timeless.

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9.6
Detective Comics #853

Apr 27, 2009

Without any judgement towards opinions and without any obnoxious posturing, Neil Gaiman has just played peacemaker between angry fans and DC Comics. Some would say that there might not have been a peacemaker needed at all or that there was never any real problem here, but I disagree; this was really needed for fans and publisher alike. I don't know if he meant to serve in this capacity, probably not, but it's a great side product of Gaiman's writing in this instance and I never saw it coming. Loved it!

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9
Detective Comics #855

Jul 30, 2009

The quality of this book is impeccable. Rucka is completely spot-on with his storytelling and fleshes out a fantastic new character in Alice. Combine this with JH Williams being above phenomenal and you get a great amount of enjoyment out of it; the format just comes together perfectly in this issue. You don't feel cheated (as in "That's it?") and it ends up giving you every intention of buying the next issue to see what happens from here.I'm giving this an A- with it only being held back a bit because of the problems I listed above. Personally, I think this is one of the best issues Rucka has written in a long time and he'll whollop my complaints quite handidly if he keeps this up. DC has a book to rightfully brag about with the artwork, but the writing catches up with it really well this time. This one's more solid than the last one and hopefully the team can keep building momentum and make you forget that you're reading a Detective Comics without a Batman in it. It's not a

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7
Doctor Who: Room with A Deja View #1

Jul 20, 2009

As a casual fan of Doctor Who, I still picked up on Johnston's portrayal of the character and it felt right. You could see this as an episode of the show and his handling of the Doctor is consistent with the way he's handled on the small screen. The almost puzzle-like form of the story isn't perfect but it is interesting. Johnston's use of a character that's living "backwards" is risky in the fact that the stories success hinges on whether the reader is ok with that or not. There's more to it than just the murder mystery that I mentioned above, but if the reader doesn't go with the reverse format that shares the book then it's a lost cause. I admire the chances that were taken and also that those same chances didn't take anything away from the fun of the story for me, but that's going to be a very subjective thing from reader to reader. I thought that it dodged the bullet of being strictly about form because there's still a decent tale at it's heart and for that I'm grading i

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7
Driver for the Dead #1

Aug 9, 2010

Still, Driver For The Dead works as an entertaining read. Also, it’s 45 pages and it flows nicely, so you’re getting your $4.99 worth. With it being the first of only three issues, I think it’s looking to be a good story to check out for the horror fans. I’m giving it a B- with the expectation that business is going to pick up even more in the next issue.

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9.6
Fables #83

Apr 20, 2009

I can't say enough about the fantastic story Bill Willingham has created with "Fables". It's had it's high points and it's had it's low points, but the low points have always been better than a large majority of titles on the market today. This new storyline has every indication to be a high point and that's saying something here. This issue has me hoping that Willingham (with the assist of Sturges) may actually be on the verge of hitting it's highest point to date. That doesn't happen as much as it should in comics; the start of a new storyline leaving you with such high hopes. For that reason, I'm going to give this an A. For readers unfamiliar with "Fables", it probably won't read as good for you. As for you regular readers... this is great stuff!

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8
Flash (2010) #5

Sep 28, 2010

I’m going to go ahead and grade this issue as a B and recommend to anyone who hasn’t given this book a try that you at least check it out for a few. I’m well aware of the anti-Barry Allen Flash sentiment out there as well as the “this is just the Silver Age” blanket statements. I think that both of those outlooks are lazy, untrue and useless things to use as criticisms. This book doesn’t feel like anything other than a superhero book to me; good guys, bad guys, powers, gimmicks and a large amount of heroism at the forefront.

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8.4
Flash: Rebirth #5

Nov 23, 2009

By being the most exciting issue in the series (with one issue left to go), this book is a fantastic read. Art and script work great together and there are some surprising moments that Geoff Johns throws at the readers. This is a book for fans of superheroes and has all of the classic ingredients thrown in this time around. The stakes are high, the villain is truly villainous and the fists are flying just as much as anyone could want. It serves as a reminder of how much fun a book can be when it's not tied in to a huge crossover and it gets to concentrate on the characters at hand. Each issue has been a little up and down with me but this one is getting a B+ due to the story being solid, some legitimate twists for the Flash canon, and Van Sciver bringing some exciting panels of artwork. At $2.99 there's no reason you shouldn't read this book; you're not going to get more solid reading from anything that costs that extra dollar on the shelf this week.

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5
Gotham Gazette: Batman Dead? #1

Mar 9, 2009

Gotham Gazette: Batman Dead does it's job. Nothing crazy, no big reveals, just a nudge to get people excited about the upcoming storyline. It does come across as a bit of a cash-in because of these reasons, and I have to say that it didn't come across as a "must read" by any means. If you're going to be reading the Battle For The Cowl, then by all means, give it a read, but I wouldn't worry about missing it in the long run. I'm giving this one a textbook C. This is the epitome of what a C book is, not being a bad thing but not really being all that great either. Either way, I am even that much more excited about the upcoming books after having read this, so I guess it does serve a purpose.

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6
Green Lantern (2005) #38

Mar 3, 2009

I'm giving this issue a C+ because of that. I realize it's kind of harsh and maybe a bit of a misrepresentation of the quality of this issue, but I have to call it like I see it and this is the way I see it. Once again though, I'm telling you that if you enjoy super hero comics and you're not reading this title, you should do something about it.

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9.6
Green Lantern (2005) #43

Jul 10, 2009

This is one of the best single issues of a monthly book that I've read in a long time. If anybody has any doubts as to why Geoff Johns has the fanbase and respect that he does, I submit Green Lantern #43 as Exhibit A. Also, in regards to fanbase and respect, let's talk about the skills of one Mr. Doug Mahnke for a minute. As far as working professionals in DC's stable of artists, this guy should be regarded as one of (if not the) best in the lineup. It's not an accident that he was the go to guy when Final Crisis needed help and he is absolutely fantastic on every page of this book. There's a bit of ret-conning going on here but it's used in a way that adds huge amounts of depth to a character most of us have probably never looked at twice. After a bit of stagnation with the prelude issues for Blackest Night, Black Hand's new origin and birth as the first Black Lantern will have you bouncing off the walls for Blackest Night to officially explode. There's no question as to the grade of

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9.6
Green Lantern (2005) #50

Jan 28, 2010

Yup, you may be catching on to a sense of redundancy in what folks are saying about this story. Well, it hasn't fallen flat with this issue and there's not a lot more to be said other than to give it the grade that you have to have realized was coming: an A.

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8
Green Lantern (2005) #55

Jul 1, 2010

Possibly the best superhero monthly that you can still get for only $2.99, I’m giving it a B.

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6
Haunt #1

Oct 12, 2009

Haunt is an "alright" book but is definitely not a "wowzer" by any means. My recommendation is that if you haven't read the Image books of the 90's, pick it up and see if it works for you, it totally might. If you have read that stuff (and want more just like it) then pick it up because it'll give you a new fix. But if you've read it and don't feel strongly one way or the other, flip a coin as to whether to buy it or not. It won't kill you to read it but it won't make you want to kill to get the next issue either. C+ all the way.

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5
Hellblazer #253

Mar 24, 2009

I'm giving this issue (and the Scab storyline overall) a C. Good book, good writer, good artists, great character and only $2.99. Surely that's enough to pick this book up next month when the new arc begins? In it's entire history, Hellblazer has never been a bad book and it often achieves moments of brilliance. Peter Milligan should be a good fit for taking John Constantine to some interesting places and I'm curious to see what's next for the guy.

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8
Hellblazer #260

Oct 27, 2009

Highs and lows; longtime readers on any comic book know that that's the way a series goes. Peter Milligan has Hellblazer on an upswing right now and each new issue seems to be getting a little better than the one before it. This issue is a terrific example of the lead character's worthlessness on a lot of levels. Milligan is hitting on the fact that when John Constantine starts acting really shitty then usually the tale around him is a fun one for the reader. What situation would make him super sketchy to the point where even a fan of his would be left shaking their head in disappointment? That's a good place to start at times when telling a story in Hellblazer. Milligan looks to be getting in the zone with the book and the sheer pleasure of being able to see Simon Bisley handling the art makes this issue a very entertaining read for fans. If you happen to be curious to the world of Hellblazer but have never actually tried it out; this issue will give you a great sense of what the feel

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9.6
Incognito #3

Apr 16, 2009

Much to my enjoyment, Brubaker's "Incognito" is filled with a wonderfully likeable rat of a lead and a really entertaining (and equally unscrupulous) surrounding cast. The action is picking up and the plot is just getting more rounded out. Yeah, it's got cussing and yeah, there's graphic violence, but it's not in there to be exploitive or to go for the cheap bang. This is just well written, well drawn and much needed on the stands. I'm grading it a solid A. The hell with Captain America, this is the book that people should be talking about Ed Brubaker for.

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9.6
Incognito: Bad Influences #1

Nov 1, 2010

Incognito: Bad Influence has way too much quality in it to be the fantastically guilty pleasure it feels like. I’m giving this issue an A and I’m very glad for the series’ return to the shelves. This book is the trifecta of a comic: Great writing, great artwork and great story. If you need more reason than that to give it a try, then all I’ve got is some head shaking and a disapproving look for you.

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8
Incorruptible #1

Dec 18, 2009

Mark Waid has now officially developed a world that is exciting and multi-layered; building so much that it's spilling over into another book. Not only is this first issue very good but it promises the intensity of when the two titles will intersect down the line. Nothing will likely be obvious about it though, because Waid seems to be taking great care in going with the slightly unexpected. Not so far out in left field as to leave your head reeling but definitely against taking a spoon-fed approach either. Incorruptible scores on every level it needs to and it does it well. I'm giving this a B and highly recommend that you give this (and Irredeemable) a solid looking in to. Good, fun, exciting comic book making going down right in front of you, so do yourself a favor and don't ignore it.

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8
Incorruptible #2

Jan 26, 2010

In only two issues of Incorruptible, Max Damage hints at becoming a stellar character to watch out for. In using the theory that a hero is only as good as his villain, we get the best of both world's because now that villain might turn out to be the hero. With it's complimentary twist to the Irredeemable title and the quality by which it's building it's own charisma, I'm giving Incorruptible #2 a very solid grade of B.

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9.6
Incorruptible #3

Feb 23, 2010

The bandwagon has been rolling for Irredeemable since the title began and it needs to be pointed out that it should be rolling just as heavily for Incorruptible. What Waid began in the first now makes what is happening in this book the best. If Irredeemable was the right hand, then Incorruptible proves that Mark Waid hits equally as hard with his left. To not have these books in your stack when leaving the comic shop is a crime. Incorruptible is adventurous, mysterious and even humorous, but it's Max Damage that is the true draw here. Where the character is going remains to be seen, but there's no reason for anyone not to want to see the journey. I'm giving this a solid A grade and waving my finger in the air like a disappointed grandmother at those of you that still haven't gotten behind what's going on over at Boom! Studios.

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8.4
Irredeemable #1

Apr 7, 2009

This one looks like it's going to be a great ride. At $3.99 it's got a sting to it, but it's better spent here than on a lot of the drivel on shelves out there. Don't be turned off by the various covers and such, "Irredeemable" has the meat on it's bones a hungry reader should want. As long as Waid stops trying to tell us that he can be tough too, this series has every indication that it's going to be great. My greed for more has me already wishing this was a few issues into the series. Giving this a B+ for now, but I can easily see how future issues may well hit a higher status. With no expectations at all, and only a little curiosity pushing me to buy this, "Irredeemable" was a great surprise and I can't wait for issue number two!

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8
Irredeemable #7

Oct 13, 2009

Irredeemable has yet to drop the ball. This time it inches even closer to what looks to be an awesome climax and one can only wonder where Mark Waid is going with it. This is pretty much what good cape books for an older crowd is all about. With a spinoff book in the pipeline, Boom! Studios looks to be developing a nice place for Waid and company to stretch their legs on superhero stories outside of DC and Marvel. It's a nice counterpoint to the other companies and deserves a look if you haven't checked it out yet. Irredeemable #7 is getting a strong B as a grade, and I can't tell you too often that you should have it in your pile of books when you get rung up at your local comic shop. I guarantee you buy worse stuff (I know I do)!

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8.4
Justice League of America (2006) #31

Mar 30, 2009

This is the best issue of Justice League of America in a loooong time. It seems to be at a turning point where it's either going to sink or swim. If the new arc tanks, I expect readers (including myself) to jump from the sinking ship for good. The way the characters are handled here are a nice indication that there could still be some life left in this title and I've definitely got my fingers crossed. And why shouldn't I? Why wouldn't you want this title to be good?! It is my pleasure to finally give an issue of this title a B+! I've missed you Justice League, welcome back. I just hope you stay around for more than just this issue.

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8
Justice League of America (2006) #33

Jun 2, 2009

Putting aside the company shenanigans, I enjoyed this issue. It's not the best that the Justice League has ever been, but it's a good storyline. Now that the entertainment factor is back, I feel safe recommending this for anyone that just likes a good superhero story and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Rags Morales can continue working some magic for it. This seems to be yet another title that's going into clean-up mode so I'll keep any predictions about it's future to a minimum. I will say that even though I'm getting quite tired of writing reviews that say variations of 'the writing's on the wall for things to get good again', DC is in the middle of an overhaul of sorts and this is a fact that the readers are stuck with for a little while. I'm still going to grade this at a solid B (mostly due to the artwork), but also because I just plain enjoyed it. If they can get their politics in order and clean up the team's roster a bit, this book may easily be back in the graces of A grad

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6
Justice League of America (2006) #38

Oct 26, 2009

With Robinson's Cry For Justice series getting ready to meld into this one, the Justice League should be establishing it's new lineup directly. James Robinson has been hit and miss with a lot of the stuff he's been writing but still seems more than capable of turning this back into the adventurous and entertaining book the readers would love it to be again. There's probably a lot riding on it though. With fans having already reached their breaking point with giving the title the benefit of the doubt and hoping for a return to glory with every new story arc, this may just be the last chance a lot of readers are going to give the book. One more chance is warranted though. He might not want the responsibility, but now this book is James Robinson's to either turn it around or put it 6 feet under once and for all. I'm going to grade this at a C+. The "+" being given because of the way Mark Bagley drew Despero and the rage that accompanied his attack. Bagley absolutely nailed it to

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0.8
Justice League Of America 80-page Giant #1

Oct 6, 2009

For the sake of whatever God you may or may not worship, do not waste your money on this 80-Page stapled uselessness. I'm lighting the letter F on fire and smashing it forcefully into it's cover. Editorial should have known better and they ended up throwing a bunch of artists and writers under the bus that didn't deserve to look as bad as this. Man, that really makes me mad. I'm totally on board for an 80-Page Giant, but (because of this) I'll be scrutinizing any further releases in this format heavily before deciding to give it another try.

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8
Justice Society of America #24

Mar 2, 2009

Johns' is still just kind of unstoppable right now and I'm really enjoying everything he's writing. Jerry Ordway's art is not usually amongst my favorites, but it worked really well with this issue. There's a flashback sequence depicting Black Adam's ties to the Batson family, and Ordway handled it extremely well. All in all, this is a solid issue and I'm looking forward to seeing where these events go next. This is above average fare for a mainstream superhero monthly, so I'm grading it at a very solid B.

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9
Justice Society of America #30

Sep 1, 2009

Without downplaying several other moments that are happening in this story (or revealing spoilers about those moments as well!), the high point of this issue can be found right there on the cover. Yeah, I'm biased because I love Dr. Fate, but having him show up in this title was just a really satisfying read. Though the Justice Society of America has kind of been meandering lately, the new creative talent on board is leading the way towards what may prove to be a good (or possibly) great run on the book. I'd have given this an A almost for the Fate factor alone, but with the story being fun and the curiosity to see what happens next issue, I'm giving this an A- because the art fell a little flat for me.

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9.6
Kick-Ass #6

Apr 28, 2009

I'm officially entertained as hell with this book. I thought that it's been good, and even though I originally thought that it wasn't exactly taking any risks with the tried and true formula of giving comic dorks some swearing and violence, Millar is still making it a solidly entertaining story. Is it a guilty pleasure? Somewhat, but the quality is still higher than most books that try to follow that formula. Millar and Romita Jr. are working in perfect bloody tandem while still delivering characters that are just fun to read. Very impressed with the fact that this serves as an origin story and yet doesn't take a time-out to do so. The main storyline goes straight on ahead and even throws in some major predicaments for our awkward young hero, including an ending that had the phrase "Oh shit!" going through my head. I'm giving this an A for simply being great entertainment and the fact that John Romita Jr's artwork is flawless and, most importantly, this may not be the one tri

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8
Kick-Ass 2 #1

Oct 26, 2010

Kick-Ass 2 #1 is fun, has great artwork and it’s only $2.99 (while on the same shelf as many other more expensive books). This gets a solid B.

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3
Lobo: Highway to Hell #1

Nov 6, 2009

Too roughly done to command the $6.99 price tag. Though it's a fun premise and Ian seems to have an understanding of the twisted delight that can come from a Lobo adventure, it still needed some more work done on it. I love the format of a bigger book but this one didn't seem to hit enough high marks to leave me feeling like it was money well spent. I'm going to grade this at a D+ and hope that Scott Ian keeps trying his hand at comic books. He's got the right ideas and I'm still curious to see what else he can come up with but he still needs some more work in nailing the finished product.

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8
Mice Templar: Destiny #1

Aug 1, 2009

This book is an incredibly fun tale to read. The artwork and story work so entertainingly well together that it becomes a fairy tale that's timeless. Action and drama are given equal duties and that seems to be what seperates it from being just another comic book that has talking animals with swords. The characters are solidly endearing, have legit depth to them and the struggles they're facing are ones that you want to see them face. I'm grading this at a highly recommended B. If you're new to The Mice Templar, I also have to recommend that you run out and grab the collected edition of Volume One and then move on to this. It's an adventure the likes of which you'll have no real reason not to enjoy.

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8.4
Mice Templar: Destiny: Part One #1

Apr 27, 2010

I'm giving this collection a B+ and am recommending it to anyone that needs to get a gift for a young teen with an imagination. You'll enjoy it as an adult but this also has great gateway potential for the younger crowd that may not know that comic books can be like this.

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6
Mighty Avengers #33

Jan 25, 2010

In the final tally, The Mighty Avengers #33 is a good, worthy read. It doesn't achieve greatness but it doesn't have to to justify it making it's way home with you. At $2.99 it's perfect for what it delivers and I'm giving this one the passing grade of a C+.

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5
Nemesis #1

Mar 26, 2010

None of this is necessarily a bad thing, though, but it's important that the difference be pointed out. It still reads as good entertainment, but it's just that: good entertainment. Though it's only the first issue, everything is a little more spoon-fed than it needs to be and the next issues are going to need much more to them for Nemesis to rise above being considered anything more than shameless fun. Compared to it's hype, this book doesn't exactly deliver as cleverly as was hinted at, but it does set up what may be a fun "Rated R" action-fest of a story. I'm giving this one a C.

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6
Power Girl (2009) #1

May 12, 2009

This book is the epitome of "It was alright". This is a mid-level character who's presented in a very mid-level manner and it results in a very mid-level read. If it wasn't for Amanda Conner's ability to pull you into the personal side of the character through her art, I'd be giving this an even lower grade. It wasn't bad but it wasn't really all that great. The story is still good though, even with it's unoriginal trappings, and it's a better read at $2.99 than some other books at $3.99. It's not gonna 'wow' you but it should entertain you just fine. I'm going with a C+ here and have my fingers crossed that they can actually do the moving on with the character that they've written her asking for.

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9.6
Powers Encyclopedia Vol. 1 #1

Nov 24, 2009

If you're planning on picking up the new Powers #1 when it hits shelves this Wednesday, it definitely won't hurt to have this Encyclopedia in your home. New readers get an instant basis for characters and past plot points that might be referenced, and longtime readers get a nice refresher course on things they might've forgotten about. Especially for readers unfamiliar with the series, this guide will definitely help smooth out the startup roughness that usually comes from picking up a new comic that already has a history to it. Because I think Powers is one of the better books on the market and because of the effort made to be able to let people come on board, I'm giving the Powers Encyclopedia an A.

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9.6
Powers Vol. 3 #1

Dec 1, 2009

Giving it a grade of an A comes naturally with this book. No matter what it's new numbering suggests, Bendis and Oeming have been in full swing with this world for years, and anyone looking to test the waters should jump in now. The previous runs are collected in trades and I have a feeling that any newbies that get involved (and see this first arc through) will find themselves going back to see what they've been missing.

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9.6
Powers Vol. 3 #6

Oct 1, 2010

With this new story arc looking especially good, I can’t recommend you jumping on board this book any more than I am right now. There’s no time like the present and (if you like what you read) you can pick up the readily available trade collections to go deeper into the history of the characters. Powers #6 gets an A for this issue and shows that it really is worth your attention and deserving of a try if you’ve never read it.

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9
R.E.B.E.L.S. #10

Nov 16, 2009

Let's be honest here...the only reason this issue/title is getting the attention is because buyers get a plastic promo power ring when the purchase it. It's a great promotion DC has going; take some lesser known books, tie them in to their huge Blackest Night event and bait people in with cool swag to check it out. Well the rings have been cool, but the issues haven't. With "stories" that consist of long winded bios on what the book is about, DC isn't fooling anybody by loosely throwing in a Black Lantern to say that it crosses over. For the most part, these are 3rd tier books with 3rd tier characters and it's probably not going to add any new readers to the fold for Booster Gold or the Doom Patrol. Please believe me when I say that this does NOT apply to R.E.B.E.L.S.! This creative team has taken the opportunity of so many new readers for a moment and they've ran like hell with it! Comparatively speaking, it handles itself way better than a few other "high profile"

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5
R.E.B.E.L.S. #11

Dec 11, 2009

I'm giving this a C but with the caveat that the series seems to be better than just this one issue and might not be worth the negative connotation that my grade gives it.

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7
R.E.B.E.L.S. #12

Jan 19, 2010

R.E.B.E.L.S. definitely seems to be Tony Bedard's book to either make or break and right now he's making it. This is getting a B- from me and if the artwork had been more impressive it would've scored higher. This is simple, fun adventure and is still at that wonderful $2.99 price point. Instead of taking the big event/crossover spectacles as a business model, the publishers should try concentrating on the type of thing going on with this title instead.

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4
Red Robin #5

Oct 19, 2009

When the first issue of Red Robin came out, it was a mediocre book that still made the reader believe that it might show promise down the line. Since then it's slowly been slipping into the realm of a waste of time, with a love of the Bat books not being enough of a reason to keep buying it (if it even was to begin with). This title seems to be dying a slow death and that's too bad. With Robin having been cancelled to make way for this new direction, it's kind of a bummer for fans who would like to be reading a monthly book featuring Tim Drake. Red Robin is looks to be an example of when a comic company comes off a well received event and wants to exploit it with the launch of new titles, whether they're warranted or not. It totally feels as if the mandate came down that this book was going to happen and then they had meetings to figure out what they would fill it with. That may work in some cases but it's not working too well here.

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8
Shadowland #1

Jul 9, 2010

The artwork is the only reason that I’m not giving this one an A. It’s alright but feels like it should have been a little better for what this book looks to have going on. Still, I’m giving it an incredibly solid B and telling any fans of the Marvel Universe that you’ll most likely dig this one. Marvel’s New York City just got a whole lot more interesting...

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8.4
Shadowland #2

Aug 6, 2010

Andy Diggle has somehow managed to create a subtle fire. Things are already starting to get crazy yet there’s a calmness to the storytelling that is paying off extremely well. I’m giving Shadowland #2 a B+ and (with 3 issues left to go) am expecting this to pick up even more steam in the weeks ahead.

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9.6
Siege #1

Jan 7, 2010

As far as an "event" title goes, the fact that Siege is only going to be four issues makes it kind of nice. Yes, there's going to be the inevitable onslaught of tie-in books galore, but ignoring all of that makes this look to be the makings of a fantastic run. The extras aren't that great and left me feeling a bit hungry after the $3.99 cover price, but any fan of Marvel heroes or monumental dust-ups is in for a very entertaining read.I'm grading this as a by the numbers A. The writing is great, the story is exciting and the art is superb. The only thing that holds it back from an A+ is the fact that the "Top Secret" document file and preview of Hulk #19 that serve as the dollar price bump bonus come up very unsatisfying as reasons to justify the $3.99. They should have just skipped that and increased the page count of the actual Siege story instead. Having said that, and by no means is that intended to rain on anyone's parade, for readers of superhero action tales,

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9.6
Siege #2

Feb 4, 2010

With that complaint out of the way, it needs to be said that Siege #2 delivers on the promise that was had from reading Siege #1, and Siege #3 is just begging to be read at this point and can't get on the shelves soon enough. I'm giving this an A grade and can't recommend it enough for fans of the Marvel books and fans of superhero action in general. Siege is still picking up steam and should really explode after the events of this issue. Makes a reader wish that more "Events" in comic books could be handled this quickly and with all of the add-ons out of the way. It's working perfectly in this case and it's a nice change of pace from year long arcs. I hope there's more like this in our near future!

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10
Siege #3

Mar 23, 2010

With the final issue left to come, Siege #3 sets everything up while still leaving the reader excited to see what the hell can possibly happen next. Siege #3 gets another A+ from me for the series and I have to say that if you're a fan of the Marvel Universe, READ THIS BOOK! There are some great "Oh S#!T" moments that I didn't even mention because they're best left in the pages of the book when you read it.

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10
Siege: The Cabal #1

Dec 4, 2009

Michael Lark's artwork is great here but it's overshadowed by the events that take place. The scenes created by Bendis are so riveting and the blow-out between Dr. Doom and Osborne is just perfection. Normally you would think that that's more than enough grit for an issue but Bendis proves that line of thought wrong. As the reader gets past that and realizes the genius of what Loki is up to, the whole thing becomes an even more incredible read. To see such heavyweights have round one of what can only be the start of a bigger battle is a rare treat when it's given the solidity of character that Bendis has typed into every page. When combined with Thor #604, Siege: The Cabal is a powerhouse of a book. With absolutely no complaints at all, this issue gets a well deserved grade of an A+. There are several moments to choose from as far as best scene of the book and that's exactly my point. For superhero books it doesn't get much better than this and all we've seen are the villains so far! B

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7
Skullkickers #1

Sep 22, 2010

Dont try to argue with me. Two things that I think should always get the benefit of the doubt are werewolves and an arrow through someones eye.

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2
Superman: Last Stand of New Krypton #1

Mar 16, 2010

DC, I'm pleading with you. Do something different with where this is going; change direction. I realize that it takes a long time to turn the ship around but I really hope that you do. I'm giving this one a D because none of this is the artist's fault and we at least are maybe getting Superman back instead of Kal-El of New Krypton. That's enough to salvage it from the abyss of an F, but just barely. Yes, I realize this review is a rant, but that's kind of my overall point. After having the life slowly sucked from the world of Superman and not really saying much about it, all of that bottled-up frustration is coming out now.

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9.6
Superman: Secret Origin #2

Nov 3, 2009

Well, the Geoff Johns Bandwagon just keeps on rolling through. His love for the characters is wonderfully obvious by how well he writes them on the page; blending legitimately touching personal moments with the excitement that you probably felt towards Superman when you were a kid; this is the good stuff. By it's very nature, the story of Superman is a reminder of why so many people have fallen in love with comic books and superheroes in the first place. He's the high water mark as far as capes go and the team of Johns and Frank are giving it such heartfelt care that there's no other grade to give this than an A. This is hearkening back to a time when heroes could still be "cool" without having to be all dark and edgy to prove it and (even though cynics don't like that sort of thing) this is a great reminder of how engaging a comic book can be.

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9.6
Superman: Secret Origin #4

Feb 1, 2010

Though not quite as exciting enough for me to throw a perfect grade onto this issue, I'm still giving up the A. This had the personal touches of dialogue and facial expressions that couldn't possibly be a more perfect representation of the Superman legacy. Some conflict, for sure, but it keeps the emphasis where it's most important: the characters. If Geoff Johns and Gary Frank didn't make you so re-invested in these folks, the situations wouldn't have the impact they're having now. Wonderful, wonderful stuff that showcases why Superman isn't just the first, he's the best. If this keeps up, it may only be a matter of time before the same may be said about this creative team.

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9
Superman: Secret Origin #6

Aug 30, 2010

I’m giving it an A- instead of a perfect grade only because of the cheese-ish spots I mentioned earlier, but make no mistake; I think this series is an awesome tribute to what the idea of what Superman represents to people’s hearts all over the world. No shame in rooting for the good guy, no matter how hip, cynical or jaded we might think we are.

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7
Superman: World of New Krypton #2

Apr 14, 2009

This issue isn't a "rock your socks off" book by any means but the overall story line keeps you more than interested. The next stage of the story that I asked for above looks as if it might happen next issue. After having shown us what everyone's different take on things are, there's finally some situations for this to matter other than a verbal argument. I'm liking the way that Krypton's lowest social caste (The Labor Guild) are discovering thoughts of revolution and Superman's take on this should be interesting next issue. If not for the tone of the series to begin with, I might've given this a slightly lower grade than it ended up with. As it is, this second issue continues the enthusiasm I had about the series to begin with and I enjoyed reading it. I'm grading it at a B-: Not overly mind-blowing but still solidly entertaining.

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8
Superman: World of New Krypton #4

Jun 9, 2009

Every issue of this series has been very solid so far and as long as they can keep that up, I'll keep recommending it. Pete Woods seems to be making a good mark for himself with the art. He's consistant with his style and that really gives this book it's own feel, creating a fimiliarity when you open it up to the first page. Once again I have to point out the $2.99 price point here and say that it's more solid than a lot of it's more expensive cousins on the rack. World Of New Krypton isn't what I'd label as "jaw droppingly awesome", but it's undeniably up in the B range, and that's the grade I'm giving it.

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0.8
Superman: World of New Krypton #12

Feb 8, 2010

Stamp an F on it and thankfully call this one "done".

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9.6
The Goon #32

Mar 10, 2009

Mike Mignola isn't the only gem in Dark Horse's stable of talent. Eric Powell matches any of the best books on the market with his talent at telling a story that's non-pretentious and low-brow, but still has a charm and style to it that I think any would-be writer out there would be insane not to envy. His artwork is always flawless and will definitely suck you in, but the story work and the characters are what's going to keep you coming back. This one gets an A from me. When it's entertaining, the story is well told and the art is this solid, that's the only grade you can really go with, I highly recommend this book.

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8
The Last Resort #1

Jul 21, 2009

Yeah, I know... zombies are getting way played out. Keeping that in mind, The Last Resort won me over. It's definitely for the 18 and above crowd and it's done well. Keep in mind though; there's cussing, sex, gore and gay people. So if you're linguistically safe, physically pure, easily grossed out or a homophobe...stay away from this one for your own good. The rest of you will probably find this book entertaining but if you're looking for X-Rated, this ain't it. There was a part of me that thought some of the adult material was a bit forced and at first glance it seemed like "We're totally swearing and having sex!" but then I realized that it doesn't do that any more than a lot of horror films that I really like. In fact, that's one of the things that earned some respect from me towards Palmiotti and Gray; they really nailed that "horror movie feel" perfectly. Now I'm not talking The Exorcist kind of horror movie or anything, this is more of a fun spirited set-up.

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8
THE ZOMBIES THAT ATE THE WORLD #1

Feb 23, 2009

This is an 8 issue series and it does have a hefty cover price of $3.50 so a trade seems like the best bet for some people's budgets these days. The pages are a heavier stock though, and it's a gorgeous book. This is the first I've read from the Devil's Due/Humanoids publishing partnership and I will say that if their books keep this level of quality, from what's on the page to the actual paper it's on, I won't mind the price tag at all. I'm giving this one a B in part to the quality of the package. The story alone probably should come in at a slightly lower grade, but the entire package was nice enough to bump it up a little.

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8.4
Thor (2007) #603

Oct 5, 2009

Still a very fun book with great twists and turns. Thor brings a level of dark seriousness to it's plot without getting too bogged down by it, and it does it well. Not trying to be so adult in tone that it becomes no fun to read, and it's not dumbed down at all either. Damn fine superhero book right here, no question. The grade for this issue is a no-brainer and an easy B+. Can't wait for next month's conclusion to the story! This is also going to read very well once it's collected, so if you're not on board yet, pick it up later in trade.

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4
Thor (2007) #613

Aug 31, 2010

Thor has quickly devolved from a great book to one of mediocrity. The artwork doesn’t raise anything up to any particular heights, it just hits the beats. Richard Elson does pull out the stops with his camera angles, and he really does succeed at some great panels, but everything just comes together in a very un-exciting way. It’s an alright read when it seems like not too long ago it was a fantastic read. It’s by these standards that this issue falls so short for me. I’m giving it a C- and really hope that Marvel gets this title back into fighting shape pretty soon. Recent months have felt like it’s just toeing the line.

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9.6
Thor (2007) #615

Sep 23, 2010

With such a convergence of creators that know their craft and a top tier superhero like Thor, I feel just fine about giving this book the grade of an A and a high recommendation. Thor now has that excitement to it that the title of a God of Thunder should always carry, and it’s a very welcome return. When I closed this book all I could think of was how much I love comic books. I don’t think I can say anything better than that on the subject.

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8.4
Thor (2007): Giant-Size Finale #1

Nov 30, 2009

This has been Staczynski's finest work in a lot of ways. He not only literally resurrected a cast of characters that the reading public had previously given up on, but he did so with extreme creativity and a plot that revealed itself to be multi-layered and exciting at the same time. His ending comes as bittersweet here because it delivers the goods to the extent that the reader will have to imagine where he would have gone with the story next, were he to be staying on the title. Marko Djurdjevic does a great job (as he has throughout his work on the series) and both men should be proud. As solid of a start that this arc has had, they bring it all together nicely while still setting up the next chapter for new creators.I'm giving this issue a strong B+ and not a higher grade only because of the fact that half of the book consists of Straczynski and Djurdjevic's actual story and the rest is padded with a preview of Thor #604 and early reprints of Journey Into Mystery.

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8.4
Thor: Defining Moments Giant-Size #1

Nov 30, 2009

This has been Staczynski's finest work in a lot of ways. He not only literally resurrected a cast of characters that the reading public had previously given up on, but he did so with extreme creativity and a plot that revealed itself to be multi-layered and exciting at the same time. His ending comes as bittersweet here because it delivers the goods to the extent that the reader will have to imagine where he would have gone with the story next, were he to be staying on the title. Marko Djurdjevic does a great job (as he has throughout his work on the series) and both men should be proud. As solid of a start that this arc has had, they bring it all together nicely while still setting up the next chapter for new creators.I'm giving this issue a strong B+ and not a higher grade only because of the fact that half of the book consists of Straczynski and Djurdjevic's actual story and the rest is padded with a preview of Thor #604 and early reprints of Journey Into Mystery.

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8
Thor: First Thunder #1

Sep 16, 2010

Here’s your Mighty Thor starter kit, so get to it!

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8
Turf #1

Apr 8, 2010

Turf #1 gets a very solid B grade and I'm eager to see what else is headed readers' way in issue number two.

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9.6
Turf #2

Jul 6, 2010

Turf #2 brings it all home: a ton of action, a deepening plot and realistic characters in an unrealistic setting. Pretty much everything I love in comic books! I'm giving this an A while also praying for no more delays in the release of the next three issues.

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6
War of Kings #2

Apr 6, 2009

After two issues of a series that I originally had little interest in, I'm still on board. "War Of Kings" has the personal touch of drama mixed with the sheer excitement of a balls out war in space. Sci-Fi, superpowers, explosions and bitter rivals; fun stuff all around. Because of the fact that some events involving featured players of this book seemed to have happened in other titles, it gets a C+. If you're having a multi-title crossover then I realize that that's going to happen, but then again, that's one of the downsides to choosing that path.

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8
War of Kings #3

May 11, 2009

Though I was complaining about the slowness of half of this issue, it's still solid. This is Storytelling 101 and the duo of Abnett and Lanning just continue to prove their proficiency in the class. I actually was surprised by how much fun I had by the end of this one: I had a smile on my face and an eagerness for the next issue, and that's exactly where I like to be after reading the last page of a comic. Though this story continues to be interesting because of the motives of the characters, don't let that be it's only selling point. When they decide to have a throw-down, Abnett and Lanning have no problems delivering the goods. With interesting motives, full-tilt action and great plot twists, War of Kings is the total adventure experience. I'm giving this one a B and have to say that it's not perfection, but it's a really fun read.

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8
Wolverine: Weapon X #2

May 22, 2009

Wolverine is a character that (along with every other person reading comics) I thought was the greatest thing in the world during the '80's. He's been horrifically overused since then and has been a caricature of what made him so cool in the first place. I tuned out a long time ago but I find that in revisiting him now, Jason Aaron and Ron Garney hit upon the chord that struck me so hard back then. It just seems like they "get it" and I'm having a great time reading Wolverine again. It's not so much that they're reinventing the wheel or turning the status quo on it's head as much as they're just tapping into what made Wolverine so appealing to everybody in the first place. Lest I forget to mention, there is a fantastic brawl between Wolverine and a couple of members of the Blackguard; just a straight up down n' dirty with a slight twist at the end. This issue gets a solid B for the sheer testosterone joy it brings along with a good enough plot that didn't leave everything gra

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8.4
Zatanna #1

May 25, 2010

This one has every indication of providing a lot of fun for readers willing to give it a try. I'm giving Zatanna #1 the grade of a B+ and look forward to a very interesting run with the title.

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