Dan Phillips's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: IGN Reviews: 930
7.5Avg. Review Rating

5.0
52: Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #2

Sep 26, 2007

Pat Olliffe's artwork is another problem area, as it's almost completely unremarkable and at times quite muddied and somewhat rushed. His super-skinny depiction of Wonder Woman will make you wonder when Diana gave up eating, and there are a few panels where it's tough to tell the exact nature of the threat that's supposed to have us and the Big Three shaking in fear. Of all the 52 spin-offs, this series might be the least necessary.

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6.2
52: Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #3

Oct 31, 2007

When this issue was all said and done, I would have much preferred to watch the comic book equivalent of a four-person play featuring Snapper, Bruce, Clark and Diana than sit through been-there-done-that action scenes, explanations of Oolong Island's new sovereignty, and cliche-riddled dialogue between the four lame monsters. It's a good thing Giffen's penchant for characterization and dialogue is such a pleasure to behold, otherwise this series would be a real snooze-fest.

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4.4
52: Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #4

Nov 28, 2007

We've seen quite a few fantastic mini-series spin-out of 52 thanks in no small part to the plethora of interesting material that Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Geoff Johns and Greg Rucka laid out in that weekly series. Sadly, once they chomped down on Osiris and caused Black Adam to go into a murderous rage, the Four Horsemen ceased being one of 52's interesting threads, which makes you wonder why the hell Giffen decided to tackle this particular story in the first place.

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4.9
52: Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #6

Jan 9, 2008

With Keith Giffen locked into an exclusive contract at DC, I can only hope the company will assign him projects slightly more substantial than a throwaway "Big Three" story that only waters down a previous plot thread.

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7.0
Action Comics #856

Oct 3, 2007

Thankfully, Powell is on board to transform Johns' rather conventional and unsurprising script into twenty-two pages of beautiful comic book art. If a lesser artist had handled this book, I certainly wouldn't be following it with half the enthusiasm. In the long run, I think this book's greatest accomplishment will be making more people pick up Powell's endlessly hilarious Goon.

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6.1
Action Comics #857

Oct 24, 2007

Although I loved seeing Eric Powell's Max Fleischer-esque Superman and his unique twisted take on DC's greatest icons, in general, I'd call this three-part arc a bit underwhelming. I hope we haven't seen the last of Powell on a mainstream superhero book, but I certainly hope we don't have to see another Bizarro story for some time.

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8.1
Action Comics #858

Oct 30, 2007

All in all, a strong start to this arc, even if it does have a few major flaws.

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8.4
Action Comics #860

Dec 26, 2007

After three installments, I'm confident calling "Superman and the Legion of Superheroes" another fantastic outing from Johns and a strong Action Comics debut from Gary Frank. In the end, I think these creators will manage to not only tell a riveting Superman story, but also find a way to fit the Silver Age Legion firmly back into the Superman mythos.

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8.0
Action Comics #863

Apr 2, 2008

Once again, Gary Frank's art is top-notch from the first page to the last. Frank's adult redesigns of the Legionnaires have been the best visual aspect of this arc, but his rendering of this book's high-octane action isn't anything to slouch at either. If I have one word of advice for Mr. Frank, it's to move away from drawing Superman as an almost exact portrait of Christopher Reeve. In early issues, Frank seemed to strike the perfect balance between Reeve's Superman and John Byrne's, but the later influence seems to have fallen by the wayside as this arc progressed. It's pretty distracting in some places, and I'd hate for it to remain a problem for the rest of his run.

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8.1
Action Comics #864

Apr 30, 2008

On art, Joe Prado steps in for Gary Frank and does a suitable job in his place. Either by design or coincidence, there's really not much in terms of action for Prado to tackle, and he's at least able to competently render these characters in various heated conversations.

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8.1
Action Comics #865

May 28, 2008

In the end, Johns and Merino leave us with a villain who is far more interesting than he's been in quite some time and the return of a longtime supporting character that hasn't been seen in almost as long. Action Comics continues to deliver the goods every month, and for that, Superman fans have reason to rejoice.

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9.2
Action Comics #866

Jun 11, 2008

Get ready Superman fans, Action Comics looks like it's about to take off in a big way.

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9.5
Action Comics #867

Jul 9, 2008

The art of Gary Frank elevates Johns' already fantastic story to entirely new heights, and I'm very close to calling this the finest work Frank has shown in his long career. Frank's ability to capture creepy and unsettling images is perfectly suited for a Brainiac story, and his action scenes are explosively dynamic. He does fall into the regular trap of drawing Supergirl like a porn star, and I'd still prefer if he didn't draw Superman exactly like Christopher Reeve, but hot damn this is a beautiful comic book. Between Frank and Ivan Reis, Johns has nearly cornered the market of comics' most talented pencillers. And between Green Lantern and now Action Comics, he also has two of the very best superhero comics on the stands to his credit.

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9.5
Action Comics #869

Sep 17, 2008

And then there's Gary Frank's art, which is truly breathtaking, and quite possibly the most impressive work of his career. Frank not only supplies some stunning visuals, he also captures the appropriate emotions and desperation of each and every scene, making this whole story feel as important as Johns no doubt intends it to be. Johns and Frank keep upping their game with each issue, and as a result, this arc just keeps getting better and better. This is a Superman story for the ages, one that no fan can afford to miss.

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8.8
Action Comics #870

Oct 8, 2008

I absolutely loved this story arc, regardless of my problems with this last issue. When collected, this will read as one of the best Superman stories in decades, and perhaps my problems with its conclusion won't be quite as pronounced.

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7.0
Action Comics #871

Nov 12, 2008

But again, the very fact that this issue progresses the New Krypton storyline the way it does will likely lead many to consider it a success. They may have a point. Those same people might also find it difficult to overlook the issue's significant technical shortcomings, or a suspicion that the final product could have been higher in quality had it been planned and executed more carefuly. For those reasons, I recommend the issue to anyone enjoying this current Superman epic, with the stipulation that they curtail any high expectations.

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6.4
Action Comics #873

Jan 14, 2009

In conclusion, there's no other way to say it: New Krypton failed at nearly everything it set out to achieve.

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6.6
Action Comics #874

Feb 11, 2009

And then there's the issue's "Origins and Omens" back-up. I don't know what else to say about these features other than they're proving to be rather worthless as sources of entertainment, and equally insignificant as sources of information (at least to regular readers). Most of the focuses of these tales, particularly Guardian, feel shoehorned in to all this Blackest Night business, and I have a tough time believing the majority of these features will prove to be anything more than wastes of valuable pages and annoying interruptions. I hope I'm wrong.

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8.3
Action Comics #875

Mar 11, 2009

Action Comics #875 is a promising start to what has the potential to be a great yearlong story. More importantly, the book also takes the time to entertain in the here and now while setting up what's to come. And for those of us who have been twiddling our thumbs waiting for the Superman books to cut to the chase already, that's a welcome sight indeed.

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8.7
Action Comics #876

Apr 15, 2009

With the extended set-up of New Krypton out of the way, the training wheels have finally come off the Superman titles. And as much as I enjoyed James Robinson's first post-New Krypton Superman issue and parts of Rucka and Robinson's Superman: World of New Krypton, it's easy for me to say that Action Comics has definitely burst out of the gates as the most lively and entertaining Superman book on the stands. Credit Rucka and Barrows – a creative team that's clearly firing on all cylinders, and can make even the most familiar and simple story seem fresh and exciting.

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7.0
Action Comics #877

May 13, 2009

All in all, I'm still fairly optimistic about Rucka's Action Comics and the new Nightwing and Flamebird-centric direction. The concept is intriguing, the lead characters have potential, and Ursa makes for a great antagonist. Likewise, the issue's cliffhanger suggests some interesting things down the road. I'd like to think that Action Comics #877 is merely a bump in the road, and that it'll pick up steam again next issue.

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7.0
Action Comics #879

Jul 15, 2009

The issue also marks the debut of Rucka and James Robinson's Captain Atom back-up serial, but I'm not sure what else to say other than I have no idea what to make of it. The story sees Captain Atom battle a horde of Orc-looking creatures in some unspecified time/reality, with Rucka and Robinson declining to give the reader any foothold. There's some nice action, and a quick cut scene to the Atom's time in the JLA adds some intrigue to the set-up, but the story still suffers from being far too enigmatic. I have a lot of questions about Captain Atom, chief among them being whether or not he remembers his unfortunate turn as Monarch in Countdown. By holding their answers so close to the chest, Robinson and Rucka made me less interested instead of more. The back-up certainly didn't justify the dollar hike in cover price.

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6.7
Action Comics #881

Sep 16, 2009

Unfortunately, Action Comics #881 doesn't boast nearly enough plot substance to call it a success. The character's eventually revert to the clich? that began the issue on such a tired foot, and in the end the only real development to occur involved a change of setting for the Kryptonians run-in with anti-Kryptonian forces. Combine that with another ambiguous Captain Atom back-up feature, and I was left wanting a lot more from this comic.

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6.5
Action Comics #885

Jan 13, 2010

This series' back-up is considerably more interesting than the main feature, which has been the case for the past couple of weeks as the connection between Captain Atom's predicament and the New Krypton storyline has become clearer. James Robinson deserves serious props for trying to integrate elements of Countdown and a character as severely broken as Captain Atom into the fold, even I'm not quite sure if he'll pull it off. At the very least, though, there's a feeling of risk taking and unfamiliarity at work in this co-feature that's not present in any of the other New Krypton-related books, except for perhaps Sterling Gates' Supergirl. For that, and for Cafu's expressive, dynamic art, it definitely deserves some praise.

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9.0
Action Comics #890

Jun 30, 2010

The Superman books desperately needed a shot in the arm following the seemingly never-ending monotony of the New Krypton saga. Whether or not JMS' philosophical "Grounded" storyline in Superman will provide that is still very much in question. The same can't be said about Cornell and Wood's Action Comics, even at this early stage in the game. This is exactly the type of influx of creativity, energy and talent the Superman franchise needed.

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9.0
Action Comics #894

Oct 28, 2010

The issue also includes the second installment of Nick Spencer and RB Silva's Jimmy Olsen back-up, and like the debut chapter this one offers a fun modernization of the wacky Jimmy Olsen tales of the Silver Age that accomplishes a lot in a scant number of pages. Although DC's back-ups will soon be a thing of the past, the pairing of Cornell's Luthor run and Spencer's Olsen serial looks to be a fun one while it lasts.

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8.0
Action Comics #895

Nov 25, 2010

This week, at least, Nick Spencer and RB Silva's Jimmy Olsen back-up is the star of the show, and I continue to have a blast reading their take on the goofy, light-hearted Silver Age Olsen tales. There's a playfulness and wit to this ongoing co-feature that's rarely seen these days in comics (well, at least outside of Cornell and Spencer's work on this book), which is why I hope it finds a place once DC eliminates these back-ups. Why is it that just as two books, Detective and Action Comics, convince me back-ups can be worthwhile, DC gets rid of them?

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7.8
Action Comics Annual #11

May 7, 2008

Overall, I'd call this long awaited Annual an entertaining read if not a riveting one, though I'd hesitate before saying it's actually worth the wait. I can think of few series other than maybe Planetary or All Star Superman that could realistically survive this sort of delay.

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8.8
Action Comics Annual #12

Jun 17, 2009

In weaving Thara Ak-Var and Christopher Kent's back-story together with the history of Krypton, Rucka takes his story to the next level, transforming it into a sweeping and often romantic adventure that's head and shoulders above the work currently being done in the other Superman books. The art, by Pere Perez, isn't quite as dynamic and eye-popping as Eddy Barrows' recent work on this title, but it is impressive in its own right. His work in the Phantom Zone sequences in particular hit all the right notes of terror, isolation and otherworldliness. By the time the issue is through, you'll be convinced you've just read one of the strongest Superman issues in a long time.

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6.5
Action Comics Annual #13

Dec 3, 2010

Action Comics Annual #13 is a very frustrating albeit interesting read. I'd much rather watch a writer take daring chances and shoot for originality than play it safe, and Cornell definitely doesn't play it safe with either of these stories. Unfortunately, there are far too many problems and missteps along the way to call this issue a success. Instead, I'll call it a fascinating failure – one that didn't much change my opinion of Cornell as a bold, original storytelling voice even if it brought him down to earth a bit in my eyes.

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7.5
Adventure Comics Special: The Guardian #1

Nov 5, 2008

Besides pointing out the general competency of this mystery, and Robinson's deft characterization of the Guardian as a man struggling with his own identity and humanity, it's tough for me to pinpoint whether newer readers will identify with this issue as much as long-time Superman fans. I suppose the most accurate thing I can say is that if you enjoyed the Jimmy Olsen one-shot, you'll enjoy this one. However, fans expecting a pure or direct follow up to last week's Superman issue are likely to walk away disappointed, as are those who expected all of Superman's titles to build of each other sequentially moving forward. On the plus side of things, Superman's world continues to get a bit more interesting and complex with each passing week.

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6.8
Adventure Comics Vol. 2 #0

Feb 4, 2009

So do I think the "Origins and Omens" feature alone justified the issue's cover price? Well, no, not really. Other than the development involving Lex and Brainiac, the story really didn't bring anything to the table. If you're interested in reading the first Legion story, however, I'd definitely recommend picking this book up. If not, then by all means wait for the Superman books to catch you up to speed.

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8.3
Adventure Comics Vol. 2 #1

Aug 12, 2009

However, based on the strength of the lead feature's set-up and the high quality of Manapul's art, Adventure Comics has enough going for it to make any Superman fan happy. At least for now, it looks like DC has yet another new hit on their hands.

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8.7
Adventure Comics Vol. 2 #3

Oct 14, 2009

With another enjoyable Legion of Superheroes back-up exploring the matter of the Legionairres still lost in the 21st century, the issue delivers plenty in terms of entertainment. Still, considering the strength of the Conner material, I can't help but wish this series would focus solely on Superboy.

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8.3
Adventure Comics Vol. 2 #5

Dec 9, 2009

So to bring things back to where we started, Johns and Gates have managed to provide a worthwhile, substantial and entertaining tie-in. Thank their willingness to shoot for the stars with big, imaginative high concepts. And if you're so inclined, thank Morrison for opening up the doors for them.

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7.0
Adventure Comics Vol. 2 #12

Jun 3, 2010

All in all, the issue is not nearly as impressive as Levitz' more modern Legion of Super-Heroes relaunch a couple weeks back, but it does offer a pleasant little call back to the days of yore. Whether or not that appeals to you is another matter entirely.

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6.6
All-New Booster Gold #6

Jan 16, 2008

I have to say, this latest development aside, this series' first arc was quite enjoyable and had the perfect mix of nostalgia, comic book satire, humor and super-heroics. Artists Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund have never missed a beat on this title, proving once again that Jurgens remains one of the best "classic" superhero artists in comics. It's just, you know, they kind of ruined everything with this latest storytelling decision. And that's a bit of a problem.

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7.9
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #7

Sep 26, 2007

I might be making more than a few stretches with this analysis, but I challenge any serious comic reader to examine this issue and tell me that Frank Miller has absolutely no game plan whatsoever, and is instead just crazily typing away these scripts with the goal of pissing off fanboys everywhere. At the very least, the many seemingly random creative choices Miller has made thus far seem to be tying together to make some cohesive statement about the Batman and Robin archetypes, and while I can't be certain what that statement is, I wouldn't dare look away for an instant.

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7.7
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #9

Feb 27, 2008

Bring on the hate mail.

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9.8
All-Star Superman #9

Nov 14, 2007

All-Star Superman is at the very least one of the best comic book series in decades, and at the very most one of the best Superman comics of all time, period. (Sorry, but I figured it'd be appropriate to end with such a bold, gushy statement.) I'm already counting down the days until the next installment ships.

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9.7
All-Star Superman #12

Sep 17, 2008

Crown's Score: 9.8

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #568

Aug 20, 2008

So to wrap things up, the first issue of "New Ways to Die" was an extremely well-drawn, well-crafted comic that was enjoyable but far from mind-blowing, one that most importantly will wet the appetite for what's to come in future weeks. And I suppose that's enought to ask from any first part of a major story arc.

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6.9
Amazing Spider-Man #572

Sep 17, 2008

One final, relatively small complaint: since Dan Slott is so clearly using voice-over captions exactly like thought balloons, why doesn't he just use thought balloons? If there's one character who can support this narrative device without it feeling dated, it's Spider-Man (as opposed to say, the Mighty Avengers).

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6.4
Amazing Spider-Man #573

Oct 15, 2008

"New Ways to Die" could have been the new Amazing Spider-Man's coming out party – its chance to show even the most pessimistic fan that the new status quo could lead to some very exciting stories. Instead, it fell a little short of that, giving us a watered down version of the Thunderbolts, a silly new symbiote villain, an annoying and whiney Harry and a slew of reminders that One More Day isn't nearly as far behind us as many of us would like. But don't miss next week, when Spider-Man frees himself from something heavy... again.

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8.3
Amazing Spider-Man #575

Oct 29, 2008

This issue oozes style from start to finish, and editors Tom Brevoort and Steve Wacker would do well to note how fantastically these two creators work together. As far as plot goes, there's also a ton to like about this issue. Kelly surely and confidently ties his disparate threads together, leading up to a climactic cliffhanger that leavess us excited for more. This new version of Hammerhead packs a serious punch both literally and figuratively as a character, and Kelly gets a lot of mileage out of the "laughable villain turned badass" motif. All in all, it's a tremendously entertaining Spider-Man comic that's as fun to read as it is to look at.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #576

Nov 5, 2008

But those are minor quibbles in the greater scheme of things. What's important is that Kelly and Bachalo have delivered a two-parter that simply oozes with style, bravado and fresh attitude. Due to the rotating nature of Amazing Spider-Man's creative team, I've come to expect a varying level of quality from story arc to story arc. However, I now know exactly what to expect when Kelly and Bachalo's names pop up in the rotation, and you can bet good money I won't miss out on another one of their Spider-Man collaborations.

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7.1
Amazing Spider-Man #577

Nov 12, 2008

I'd call it another entertaining Spidey yarn, although definitely a step down from the quality of the last two weeks.

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8.6
Amazing Spider-Man #578

Nov 19, 2008

Ever since the conclusion of "New Ways to Die," Amazing Spider-Man has been firing on all cylinders. First, there was the burst of fresh air that was Joe Kelly and Chris Bachalo's two-part story, then Zeb Wells and Paolo Rivera's enjoyable one-shot, and now, we get this visual gem from Martin and Waid. Let's hope the Amazing team continues to roll out the hits, and keeps their eyes wisely planted on the promising road ahead, as opposed to the rocky path behind.

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8.8
Amazing Spider-Man #579

Dec 3, 2008

Between the issue's lush artwork and Waid's ability to mix moments of levity with an overriding feeling of desperation, this book soaked me up from the very first page and didn't let go until it was all over. Like I said in my first paragraph, there's nothing startlingly original here. There is, however, tons of personality, an immensely high level of craft on display and enough action and excitement to make you believe you're experiencing an entirely new classic unfold before your eyes.

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8.7
Amazing Spider-Man #597

Jun 10, 2009

Regardless, "American Son" is the best Amazing Spider-Man has been since the start of Brand New Day. Hell, you'd have to go back a hell of a long way before Brand New Day to remember when any Spidey title has been this good.

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8.5
Amazing Spider-Man #600

Jul 22, 2009

But like I said, Amazing Spider-Man #600 mostly rises above criticism thanks to its bulk of enjoyable material. Even at $4.99, it's a real bargain for any Spider-Man fan, and I'd call it the strongest of Marvel's recent over-sized #600 issues.

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7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #601

Aug 5, 2009

The book also includes a six-page short by Brian Bendis and Joe Quesada that was supposed to appear in Amazing #600. I'm not sure what to say about this feature, other than the following: unless you're a huge fan of Quesada's art (he delivers one rather awesome double-page splash in particular) or absolutely love the type of shtick-fueled writing Bendis consistently delivers in New Avengers, don't expect this back-up to make the issue significantly more or less enjoyable than it already is. It's just sort of there.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #602

Aug 12, 2009

Despite its few stylistic faults, the issue definitely pushes the series in an exciting new direction (at least for the time being), injecting some darkness into Peter's life while progressing the everyday soap opera. The art by Barry Kitson, is clear and effective if not all that impressive. Still, the issue's parts do add up to a satisfying whole.

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7.8
Amazing Spider-Man #604

Sep 10, 2009

Now if only the Brain Trust would stop acting like the specifics of the Mephisto deal were an enticing mystery…

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8.4
Amazing Spider-Man #606

Sep 23, 2009

In addition to Kelly's numerous comedic set pieces, the issue also includes a creepy prologue involving Madame Web that builds upon a sequence from Amazing #600. How this scene fits in with the return of Black Mask, I have no idea. All I know is that this title is buzzing along marvelously. And with creators like Kelly, Fred Van Lente, and Mike McKone – who delivers Kelly's jokes with precision, and captures the sexiness of Black Cat without resorting to cheesecake – involved, it doesn't look like that will change anytime soon.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #607

Sep 30, 2009

That aside, Amazing Spider-Man is still firing on all cylinders. And wrapped in the palm of Felica Hardy's hands with his most dangerous rogues on the way, things only can get worse for everyone's favorite wall crawling bachelor.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #611

Nov 11, 2009

And since I spent most of this review trying to decide whether I enjoyed this issue or hated it (I've convinced myself I mostly enjoyed it, if you're still wondering), I'll leave you with one thing about which I'm absolutely certain: despite Kelly's clever explanation for Deadpool's attack on Spider-Man, there was no need whatsoever to tie this story into The Gauntlet. Again, there was enough going on already.

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7.8
Amazing Spider-Man #612

Nov 18, 2009

Amazing Spider-Man #612 is a fun, well crafted book that many fans will enjoy for no other reason than it finally introduces a familiar member of Spider-Man's rogues gallery back into the fold. At the very least, The Gauntlet promises to be entertaining for precisely the same reason, even if it doesn't turn out to be the cohesive story arc many of us (perhaps wrongly) expect.

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8.3
Amazing Spider-Man #615

Dec 17, 2009

Pulido's art was probably my favorite aspect of the issue. In my eyes Pulido's work on this title is second only to Marcos Martin. The two share the same timeless feel and expressive, animated style. I loved little flairs like Spider-Man's scarf, earmuffs and socks, his webbed parachute, and the otherworldliness of Sandman's stronghold. By the time he and Van Lente dropped the issue's big cliffhanger, I was ready and eager to dive into part two.

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8.5
Amazing Spider-Man #616

Dec 23, 2009

With this two-art arc, Van Lente and Pulido have definitively established themselves as two of the brightest voices in the new Spidey Braintrust/creative pool. Anytime you can read a Spider-Man story from two creators that feels simultaneously timeless and wholly new, you know they're doing something right. Amazing Spider-Man just keeps churning out quality stories. And as a reviewer, I can't help but feel a tad worried…

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9.0
Amazing Spider-Man #617

Jan 13, 2010

(One final note: degenerate gamblers like myself who happen to live in New York will get a kick out of seeing Yonkers Raceway Casino brought to life on the page as the battleground for the issue's action. I think I almost spotted my favorite pocket of video poker machines.)

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7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #618

Jan 20, 2010

In other words, I've already started looking forward to when either Kelly, Waid or Van Lente return to the book.

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7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #621

Feb 18, 2010

In the case of Amazing Spider-Man #621, exceptional art makes up for mediocre writing. Still, that doesn't change the fact that I loathe mediocre superhero writing more than putrid superhero writing. In an industry dominated by capes and tights comics, a writer must do his best to make sure his – or at least some – personality bleeds through the tropes and conventions of a superhero book. I never get that from a Slott Spidey comic. One of the best things about this book post-Brand New Day is that it's easy to skip certain arcs without really missing a beat. I wish I had the luxury to skip Slott's. Then again, if I did, I would have missed the chance to see Lark draw Spider-Man.

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8.7
Amazing Spider-Man #622

Feb 24, 2010

The issue doesn't stop with its delightful main feature, though, delivering a lengthy back-up written by acclaimed television scribe Greg Wiseman of Gargoyles and Spectacular Spider-Man fame, with art by Luke Ross. The issue deals with Flash Thompson's struggle with the five stages of grief, which in his case are experienced in reverse order. The most interesting aspect of Wiseman's script is his decision to invert Thompson's journey, but the rest of it plays out in a rather expected and conventional, albeit appropriately touching, manner. This story probably wouldn't be able to hold up on its own, but fortunately it doesn't need to. Next to Van Lente and Quinnones' awesome lead, Wiseman and Ross' tale makes for a nice little bonus. Together, they make Amazing Spider-Man #622 well worth the cover price.

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6.3
Amazing Spider-Man #623

Mar 3, 2010

Things only get more unnatural and problematic once the story's two main threads come barreling into one another, and Spider-Man injects Waid and Peyer's tired schtick into a Vulture/JJJ confrontation that could and should have been driven by the same eerie atmosphere of the Vulture's early segments. All in all, the clumsy unevenness of the issue makes it one of the weaker installments of Amazing Spider-Man to date.

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9.0
Amazing Spider-Man #625

Mar 17, 2010

Regardless of that last criticism, Amazing Spider-Man #625 is a great comic. What Kelly and Fiumara have achieved with Rhino is nothing short of remarkable. This issue deserves to be collected right alongside issue #617 in the inevitable collection, if only to serve as an example of how to revamp a villain the right way.

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6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #627

Mar 31, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #627 is a failure not only because of its dated style and forced script, but because it also feels largely irrelevant to the ongoing Gauntlet initiative. Such brief excursions from the ongoing status quo can sometimes serve as welcome tangents. Not this time.

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8.3
Amazing Spider-Man #630

May 5, 2010

There are a few missteps along the way, to be sure. For starters Aunt May's new attitude continues to come across as more awkward than dramatic, regardless of the explanation for it. On a similar note, I continue to have a tough time caring whenever the Kravens and Madame Web appear on the page, even if they are the guiding forces for this entire Gauntlet storyline. Nevertheless, the issue sets up the long-awaited return of the Lizard in an entertaining manner while providing some nice development in Peter's ongoing romantic soap opera, and for that it's well worth the price of admission.

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8.5
Amazing Spider-Man #634

Jun 17, 2010

The issue also features a pair of back-up tales that help justify the $3.99 cover price. The first sees J.M. DeMatteis, the writer who made Kraven one of Spider-Man's greatest villains in Kraven's Last Hunt, return to the character for a new serial revealing why and how Kraven set his sights on Spider-Man back in the day. The second is the first of a new two-page serial that will run for the next twelve issues, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Marcos Martin. To say this goofy, high concept, gag-driven story clashes with the preceding two would be a grave understatement. Still, it's Stan freaking Lee and Marcos Martin, so it's worth it even with the jarring tonal shift. All in all, the three features combine to make Amazing Spider-Man #634 a winner.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #636

Jul 8, 2010

Sadly, the issue marks a disturbing trend in these mini Spider-Man events this title has tackled over the past year: an inability on Marvel's part to tell an entire story with just one artist. In this case, not only does Marco Chechetto step into spell Michael Lark and Stefano Gaudiano for 18 of the lead feature's 22 pages, but Zeb Wells also helps Joe Kelly out on the script. Luckily, Checchetto's style isn't too much of a departure from the regular team's, and it's impossible to distinguish Well's voice from Kelly's. Still, the art shift is annoying nonetheless. Once again, though, the back-ups from the likes of DeMatties, Max Fiumara, Stan Lee and Marcos Martin help make up for the story's few flaws.

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5.5
Amazing Spider-Man #638

Jul 21, 2010

My main problem with Amazing Spider-Man #638 isn't as simple as the original Paul Ryan drawn pages sitting uncomfortably next to the Rivera-drawn pages, even though they do despite Rivera's best efforts to channel a classic look; my main problem is that the new sequences seen here don't add much of anything to the table, focusing on the aforementioned nameless henchmen breaking out of a police car (with some help from Mephisto), setting about on a half-realized scheme to kill a cop, and then ultimately preventing Spidey from reaching the ceremony. If Quesada truly intended and tried to make this story fit organically into the original, and it's fairly clear he did, then I fear he accomplished the opposite. This comic feels very much like a team of editors and creators rolling up their sleeves to try and jerry-rig past continuity to fit their needs. Which is probably the biggest criticism I can think to assign it.

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6.5
Amazing Spider-Man #642

Sep 9, 2010

But all that isn't to say that Amazing Spider-Man #642 is a bad issue. It's not. There are a few moments where Waid and Azaceta click amidst their early missteps, and by the time they do hit their stride by issue's end it's clear they have an exciting story in store as the big finale to Brand New Day. I just hope they do a better, more natural job of integrating all of these ideas, story threads and characters into one climax.

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5.5
Amazing Spider-Man #643

Sep 15, 2010

And although Waid's script hardly makes for captivating theatre, it does allow Azaceta to spent most of his time drawing Spidey in action, which is something he does with a visionary flare reminiscent of Steve Ditko. Thanks to Azaceta, the action sequences pop off the page with a sense of kinetic energy even if it's hard to care about what we're witnessing. It certainly doesn't help that Waid has Spider-Man needlessly provide play-by-play commentary of his every action, even going so far as to explain his motivation when it's more than obvious already. This is a rather poorly written comic that's only partially redeemed by stellar art.

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8.7
American Vampire #1

Mar 17, 2010

So yes, American Vampire now has me fully on board, and Stephen King is now only part of the reason.

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8.7
American Vampire #2

Apr 21, 2010

But again, even with a name as big Stephen King involved, Rafael Albuquerque still manages to steal the show. The artist brings a great sense of atmosphere and mood to each scene, with him and colorist Dave McCaig altering their style ever so slightly to give the two strips their own distinct visual feel. Albuquerque accentuates the unique iconic imagery of both periods, in such a way as to further accentuate the idea that this series is just as much about Americana as it is blood-suckers a quality that has already managed to make the series far more memorable than other vampire comics I've read in the recent year.

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9.0
American Vampire #4

Jun 24, 2010

And throughout it all, there's the art of Albuquerque, which becomes all the more impressive with each passing issue. To read American Vampire on a monthly basis is to watch an artist transform into a visual master before your very eyes. Whether he's evoking the images and atmosphere of the story's two eras in American history, bathing his vampire characters in menacing shadow, punctuating the gruesome violence of a scene or orchestrating kinetic action in a way that would make even Jack Kirby proud, Albuquerque proves invaluable to the success of this book. Together with Snyder and King, he's accomplishing the impossible, which is making the vampire mythology seem fresh, scary and cool again for the first time in years.

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8.0
Arkham Reborn #1

Oct 28, 2009

David Hine is a master of the macabre, and the world of Arkham Asylum is a perfect match for his bent for the horrific. If you're interested in Arkham, this is definitely one mini-series you shouldn't miss.

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9.1
Astonishing Spider-Man And Wolverine #1

May 5, 2010

The two make for a phenomenal team. If you liked Aaron's work in the Dark Reign- The List one-shot, you'll devour it here. Once again, he's proven to be just as comfortable with insane, high-concept-driven plots as he his hard-boiled ones. Pairing him with an artist as talented as Kubert on a vehicle that allows him to show that different side to his writing, on a book that stars Marvel's two most popular characters, was a masterstroke on the publisher's part. Let's reward them by making this series the best-seller it deserves to be.

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8.5
Astonishing Spider-Man And Wolverine #2

Jul 14, 2010

Aaron seems to revel in the inherent insanity of this premise, and never holds back from pushing the craziness of his concepts to the limit. This is a comic in which the power of the Phoenix Force can be channeled into a single bullet, where a new Devil Dinosaur parades the ruins of New York City while Spider-Man and Wolverine bicker about how to stop a mechanical asteroid possessed by the consciousness of Victor Von Doom from destroying the world. And with a talent like Kubert along to bring all of these over-the-top images to life, that makes for a fantastically entertaining read. This second issue isn't quite as much fun as issue one, and gets a little too wordy when it comes to Spider-Man's narration, but it's still a blast.

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8.5
Astonishing Spider-Man And Wolverine #3

Sep 15, 2010

Astonishing: Spider-Man and Wolverine is an insanely fun, incredibly daring comic from two of the industries top talents. Though it's not without its flaws, the book is still well worth its $3.99 cover price even without any worthwhile bonus material or pages, if only for the chance to see two brilliant creators shoot for the stars.

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6.0
Astonishing Thor #1

Nov 25, 2010

Hardly seems like the type of brisk, high concept, modern take on classic Marvel storytelling many have come to expect from the Astonishing line, no? Luckily, Choi's art at least comes close to livening the story up in some spots, particularly when he gets to draw big cinematic shots of Thor in flight or Ego's grand, double-page spread of an entrance. But, as I hinted at above, even Choi's art isn't really enough to save this dull, uneventful issue, nor is it enough to convince me to come back for a second installment.

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8.7
Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #1

May 12, 2010

I enjoyed Xenogenesis so much, I almost forgot about Ellis' less successful Astonishing X-Men stories. And if he and Andrews can deliver more issues like this one, I'll gladly give him a complete pass on those earlier books.

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8.5
Avengers: Children's Crusade #2

Sep 1, 2010

Children's Crusade #2 is another fantastic outing from the creative duo that first put the Young Avengers on the map. It's comics like this that make me tolerate long delays, and even wish publishers would more often allow a creative team the time and authority to take a group of company-owned characters on an extended journey.

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8.0
Avengers: Children's Crusade #3

Nov 10, 2010

Other than those few instances where it felt like Heinberg was either bending pre-established ground rules, resorting to gross hyperbole or both, Avengers: The Children's Crusade was another enjoyable albeit predictable read. Very few writers today are capable of telling a story that feels timeless and new at the same time, and even fewer are able to build on past continuity while still keeping their stories accessible. Heinberg is one of them, and his stories are often must-reads as a result. Even when they're slightly flawed.

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7.0
Azrael #1

Oct 21, 2009

Azrael #1 isn't a great debut by any stretch of the imagination, but that's mostly due to the art. Thanks to Nizieca, though, it does offer a lot of promise.

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6.9
Azrael #2

Nov 18, 2009

If this new Azrael series hit the ground running with its first issue despite its visual stumblings, then it definitely trips and falls fully in its sophomore issue. I can only hope Nicieza can find a way to pick himself up off the floor. He can start by fleshing out his protagonist and addressing the 800 pounds elephant he dragged into the room last issue.

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8.0
Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #1

Mar 18, 2009

All in all, though, I'd call the first issue of this miniseries a success. It fits in well with the greater tapestry of Battle for the Cowl, and even weaves in and out some of what Nicieza is doing in Gotham Gazette. I also love the idea of DC keeping these Cowl-related projects resigned to three issues, which means we're not likely to linger on many dull moments or have to witness any writer trying to stretch out a story for too long. And who knows - maybe this new Azrael will warrant his own ongoing series.

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7.0
Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #2

Apr 22, 2009

All nitpicking aside, Azrael: Death's Dark Knight is still an enjoyable comic. I just hope the lead character starts acting more like the tormented soul he is rather than some carefree adventurer.

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9.2
Bad Dog #1

Feb 4, 2009

I can't guarantee you'll be cooler if you read this comic... but it certainly can't hurt.

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9.2
Bad Dog #2

Mar 18, 2009

It's only two issues in, but Bad Dog is already one of the most original and inspired books I've come across in a while. It's full of not only piss and vinegar, but also vibrant life and personality. Each character sings in their own uniquely demented voice, and it makes for quite the hysterical symphony of crude noise. And above all else, it truly looks like it's headed some place special.

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8.9
Bad Dog #3

Sep 30, 2009

That small complaint aside, I remain in love with this book. Along with Image's other dementedly hilarious series, Chew, the publisher is churning out two phenomenal books tailor-made for those of us with a twisted sense of humor.

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6.3
Batgirl (2009) #1

Aug 19, 2009

But by and large, arguably the biggest flaw of Batgirl #1 is that there's no real logic or firm reason given for the new star and change in direction. Like with Red Robin, the change feels more like a room full of editors randomly deciding to swap some characters' costumes around rather than natural story progression. On a positive note, however, Miller does seem to write his protagonist well (I'll refrain from naming her in this first review), and artist Lee Garbett delivers the same sort of solid artwork found in his recent Batman and Outsiders work. And considering just how laughably bad some of the writing is on Smallville, I suppose this comic could have been a whole lot worse

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5.0
Batgirl (2009) #2

Sep 16, 2009

When you compound all of Miller's missteps with the fact that Stephanie's backstory - specifically her recent "death" and "resurrection" - is about as sloppy a plot development as you'll find, Batgirl becomes even more awkward and intolerable. The whole mess is enough to make you wonder why DC even bothered re-imagining the property in the first place. I suppose it could have been worse - they could have decided to take Barbara out of the chair.

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9.1
Batman #669

Sep 26, 2007

The real star of this show, however, is JH Williams, who seamlessly mixes a variety of styles in order to capture the schizophrenic tone of the mystery. Whether employing the granulated four-color panels of the silver age in flashback sequences or choosing a visually stunning panel layout in order to capture the grim nature of a scene, Williams rarely takes a false step. This is top-notch comic book storytelling, and I can't wait to have the collection on my bookshelf.

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8.7
Batman #670

Oct 30, 2007

Fresh off his run with Geoff Johns on Teen Titans, artist Tony Daniel provides some strong - albeit conventional - pencil work, taking a rather straightforward approach to Batman in particular that gives this story a somewhat iconic feel. While not dazzling by any stretch of the imagination, Daniel seems like an appropriate artist to take over for Andy Kubert. And seeing that Daniel is most likely capable of finishing more than a half-dozen issues a year, I'm fairly pleased with DC's decision to have him join Morrison on this book.

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8.8
Batman #672

Dec 26, 2007

Like most of Morrison's work, these twenty-two pages are stuffed with dynamic and engaging visuals (Tony Daniel provides two panels that more than recall Miller's Dark Knight Returns), provocative ideas and themes, and one hell of a fast paced story. The challenge rests in your ability to give yourself up to Morrison, stop trying to figure out precisely what is going on and just enjoy the thrilling ride. If you can do that, you'll love this issue. If you prefer immediate answers in your superhero funny books, you might find yourself a bit frustrated. I for one fall in the former category.

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9.3
Batman #673

Jan 30, 2008

To summarize, I think this is the type of material we were all expecting when Morrison signed on to takeover Batman.

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9.6
Batman #674

Feb 27, 2008

Morrison's Batman is a conglomeration of some of the best takes on the character of all time, specifically that of Denny O'Neil and Steve Englehart. There's an unmistakable classic feel to his take on the character, one underlined by Morrison's trademark brand of weirdness. It's a phenomenal combination, and artist Tony Daniel is a suitable choice for providing visuals that have both a classic and modern feel. At times, Daniel displays the iconic imagery of a Jim Lee, and at others, he seems cut from the same cloth as classic comic book realist (and legendary Batman artist) Neal Adams. Either way, he brilliantly captures the feel and tone of Morrison's hauntingly dark tale, and it's good to know he'll be on board for the rest of this "novel." I haven't been this excited about Batman in ages.

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8.1
Batman #675

Apr 23, 2008

Again, it's not a bad outing by any means, it's just that Morrison has set the bar so high with his work on this title that anything less than brilliant is bound to disappoint on some level, no matter how small. The biggest problem here is the work of Benjamin, whose sketchy style comes off a bit rushed at times, even if he hits the final sequence out of the ballpark.

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8.9
Batman #676

May 14, 2008

Crown's Score: 7.5

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9.6
Batman #677

May 28, 2008

To summarize, it looks like one summer series that boasts the "nothing will ever be the same" tagline might actually deliver on that promise in a big, big way.

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9.5
Batman #678

Jul 2, 2008

It's that weird sense of fourth-wall crossing self-awareness that makes Batman RIP – and much of Morrison work – so utterly unique. As in the case of Final Crisis, this arc will no doubt find a number of critics who hate the fact that they're being kept on the outside of Morrison's grand plans. I, for one, love inching closer and closer to the dark truth behind this story, and can't wait to find out what other horrors Morrison has in store for the Dark Knight.

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9.3
Batman #679

Aug 13, 2008

The reveal of the Black Glove's true identity is sure to send the Internet buzzing, and while I won't get into spoilers, I will say this: as it stands now, we still have no clear understanding of the Black Glove's motivations for destroying Batman. With just two issues left, Morrison has his work cut out for him convincing us that this character would act in such an extreme way. Because so much of this tale has clearly been planned and blueprinted since the beginning of Morrison's run, I have faith in his ability to do so. Still, Morrison has bit off quite a hunk of meat with this direction, and we'll find out if he can really chew it all with RIP's final two issues.

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9.4
Batman #680

Oct 1, 2008

Let me make one thing completely clear to anyone reading this review before reading the issue: it's not for the squeamish. Graphic violence and disturbing imagery permeate nearly every page of this book. It's why the book is as powerful as it is. Morrison means to shock, unnerve, horrify and convince you of this story's importance all at the same time. And in this reviewer's opinion, he succeeds at all of those things and then some.

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9.7
Batman #681

Nov 26, 2008

Jesse's Score 8.7

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9.2
Batman #682

Dec 3, 2008

The issue is a phenomenally entertaining, fast-paced read until the critical last few pages, when, as he's been wont to do lately, Morrison pulls the rug out from underneath his entire story – and quite possibly, his entire run. Depending on your tastes, it's here that Morrison will either suck you further into his psychological epic or drive you away with more elusive questions. I for one cannot wait to see where this is going. I mark this one down in my scorebook as another massive success for the Scottish scribe.

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8.5
Batman #685

Jan 28, 2009

Although Grant Morrison's run on Batman garnered most of the acclaim and attention (and hate) over the past year or so, Dini and Nyugen deserve a ton of credit for delivering consistently top-notch material during their time together on Detective Comics. This issue marks their last outing together before Battle for the Cowl puts the rest of the Batman franchise on hold. I can only hope that when all is said and done and a new Batman is crowned, Dini and Nyugen reunite to tell more stories.

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5.8
Batman #690

Sep 2, 2009

Batman #690 isn't an awful comic, but it's not a good one, either. Forced writing, middle-of-the-road art and a paper-thin story all combine with an ending that's more absurd than exciting to make this issue feel even less substantial than it is. Bring on Tony Daniel.

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5.2
Batman #691

Oct 14, 2009

The issue's one saving grace is that it ends on a genuinely enticing cliffhanger that promises exactly the sort of story that should be told with Dick Grayson behind the cowl. With Winick departing the book in favor of Tony Daniel, I don't know whether I should be thrilled that he wont be around to follow up on this twist, or worried that Daniel might abandon it for more Battle for the Cowl-related plot threads.

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8.7
Batman #692

Oct 28, 2009

Finally, it's worth noting that Daniel's storytelling is vastly improved from his work in Battle for the Cowl, mostly avoiding the awkward panel transitions and page layouts that made Cowl a headache to read at times. His pages are appropriately atmospheric and dark, which makes his flair for dynamic action all the more aesthetically pleasing. Combine his strong art with solid character work and the return of several classic Batman villains, and you have the makings of an extremely promising debut issue.

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8.2
Batman #693

Nov 11, 2009

Those criticisms aside, Daniel's first two issues on Batman have me excited and hopeful about his tenure on this title. It's clear Daniel has a firm idea of where he wants to take this story and the confidence to take it there, even if he might stumble a bit along the way. That, and his art is as atmospheric, bold and dynamic as it was on Batman RIP, even if he retains some of the awkward tendencies found in that story. All in all, it's an exciting time to be a Batman fan, and Daniel is a large reason why.

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8.0
Batman #695

Jan 13, 2010

Thankfully, the sheer spectacle of this tale, the quality of the art, the intrigue of its central mysteries and Daniel's stylistic flair together outweigh the story's significant flaws. Again, for the first time in a long time this series seems to be pointed in an exciting direction by a creator confident and capable enough to carry his plan into fruition. For all of Paul Dini's strengths as a writer, even he has been unable to grant his Batman work the distinct authorial voice so vital to any great superhero run. Daniel apparently is, and as a result Batman and Robin is no longer the only Bat-book truly worth reading.

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7.8
Batman #696

Feb 17, 2010

The finale to Daniel's first arc is sure to be a doozy, as Batman and Black Mask's rematch promises to provide some much needed answers in addition to more teeth-rattling action. If only this penultimate chapter did a better job of ratcheting up the tension, suspense and high stakes in the clearest manner possible.

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7.7
Batman #698

Apr 14, 2010

All in all, Batman #698 is a competent follow-up to Daniel's first arc on Batman, one that reaffirms his talents as a writer even if it underlines some of his faults. At the very least, it appears he more than capable of weaving many of the subplots he set into motion last arc together with this latest whodunit, which suggests his run on this title will retain that authorial voice that made his debut such a treat.

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6.8
Batman Annual #27

Oct 7, 2009

Batman Annual #27 doesn't do much to elicit excitement for the upcoming Azrael ongoing, but it does provide a fun exploration of the new Batman and Robin. For that, I'd recommend it to any fan of the new team.

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9.3
Batman and Robin #3

Aug 26, 2009

Though plenty of fans will be disappointed to see Quitely leave after only three issues, it's hard to be disappointed with the quality of work he and his longtime collaborator have delivered here. Plus, he'll be back in less than a year (hopefully), and he's bringing the Joker with him...

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7.8
Batman and Robin #4

Sep 16, 2009

The haunting Red Hood/Scarlett scene is preceded by another two-page sequence that stood out above the rest. The scene introduced another creepy new player named the Grave Digger, an English author decked out in an unusual mask and costume, and although I have no idea how this character fits into the story, I definitely want to see more of him. With any luck, we'll see more scenes like the pair of previously mentioned gems next issue than we will more shots of antiheroes offing rogues.

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7.0
Batman and Robin #5

Oct 7, 2009

Luckily, this arc does have a few strengths that partly balance out its many flaws. I continue to thoroughly enjoy Morrison's exploration of Dick and Damian's chemistry, and his take on Damian in particular brought a smile to my face on a quite a few occasions. It's also clear that there's a greater mystery at work beneath the surface of this story in the form of the Domino Killer. Again, if he and the aforementioned Gravedigger and Flamingo can make their presence felt sooner rather than later, this story might just turn into something worthwhile in the end. As of now, though, I'm still counting down the days until Cameron Stewart takes over the book and the next story arc gets underway.

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6.8
Batman and Robin #6

Nov 11, 2009

What saved this issue – and in many ways, this entire story arc – for me was the books' final three pages. There we see the subplot involving El Penitente and Oberon Sexton finally step into the forefront, and Dick Grayson utter three magic syllables that promise to shake this story to its very core. It was enough to make me remember how much I love this ongoing saga, and almost enough to make me forget how disappointing this arc has been.

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8.3
Batman and Robin #10

Mar 10, 2010

But above all else, the issue succeeds in large part because it's such a genuine thrill to see this story's grandiose ideas start to gel. As always Morrison is working with some incredible high concepts that are awesome to behold even if the dialogue doesn't always live up to the big ideas. Andy Clarke's art isn't as impressive or experimental as Quitely's or Stewart's, but unlike Philip Tan's it is effective in conveying the story clearly. That being said, the issue's final seven pages bring this mystery together in such an exciting fashion as to suggest Morrison and Clarke won't need any visual center pieces to make this tale a riveting read.

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9.5
Batman and Robin #13

Jul 8, 2010

Much of the issue's power is due to the art of Frazer Irving, who's the best thing to happen to this title since Frank Quitely departed after issue #3. Irving makes each unsettling image even creepier, and each turn of events all the more powerful. His storytelling is impeccable, and the haunting atmosphere he brings to each panel is invaluable in helping the story cast its spell. Batman fans, beware: with Irving at his side, already it looks like Morrison is ready to unleash his greatest Batman story yet.

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9.5
Batman and Robin #15

Oct 20, 2010

If you've been following Morrison's Batman run as eagerly and as intently as I have, Batman and Robin #15 won't disappoint. Not only is it another instance of all the jigsaw pieces falling into place in a jaw-dropping manner; it also features that unabashed surrealist style that has made so much of this run so memorable and groundbreaking.

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9.0
Batman and Robin #16

Nov 3, 2010

Batman and Robin #16 marks the end of one of the most exciting eras in Batman history and the beginning of an entirely new direction, as Morrison and the Bat-books gear up to explore the unchartered waters of Batman Incorporated. It's a fantastic finish to a wildly entertaining ride that's been at all times challenging, unsettling, amusing, inventive, iconic and epic. Bring on Return of Bruce Wayne #6 and Batman Inc.

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6.0
Batman Beyond (2010) #2

Jul 21, 2010

Batman Beyond #2 isn't a bad comic, and for those Beyond diehards desperate for new McGinnis stories, might even prove worthwhile. Still, I'd tell you to reread the recent Superman/Batman Annual from Paul Levitz and Renato Guedes and save your money.

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7.5
Batman Beyond (2010) #3

Aug 18, 2010

And am I the only one who thought the issue's first cliffhanger was a lot juicier than its second?

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6.0
Batman Confidential #10

Oct 10, 2007

On a far more positive note, veteran Batman artist Denys Cowan is turning in his most experimental and provocative work on this story arc, and his jarring and jagged line-work is quite powerful on each of these atmospheric and densely packed 22 pages. Cowan's artwork is alone reason to pick up this issue, but so is the opportunity to watch a rookie comic book writer force his entire foot into his mouth.

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8.5
Batman in Barcelona: Dragon's Knight #1

May 27, 2009

Batman in Barcelona is first and foremost an entertaining, extremely well-crafted comic. That it also happens to come along at a time when Batman is in the midst of a controversial extended storyline makes it even more worthwhile. Whether your loving the current Batman line or hating it, this comic offers a nice reprieve from all the hype and insanity. It's just a fun, accessible Bruce Wayne Batman comic told with a lot of energy and enthusiasm by a couple of talented professionals. As far as I'm concnered, there can never be too many comics like this on the stands.

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8.5
Batman, Inc. #1

Nov 17, 2010

But those few complaints aside, Batman, Inc. #1 is a wonderful start to this new series, providing a fast-paced, funny, energetic start to Batman's new path. Not only does the issue mark another exciting new stylistic approach to the Dark Knight by Morrison, but the issue's actual story is also chock full of fun surprises and cool twists. It looks like we're in for another inspired, rollicking ride along the lines of the first Batman and Robin arc.

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8.4
Batman/Doc Savage Special #1

Nov 11, 2009

The plot develops at a slow boil, with Batman crossing paths with Savage multiple times in the course of his investigation of the murder of a corrupt Gotham socialite. Azzarello's razor sharp dialogue propels the story forward even as the plot leans back, and as always it's a pleasure to take in the rhythm and style of his writing. On art, Phil Noto captures the world and atmosphere of the story well, even if his images sometimes lack the definition and depth you'd expect from a typical interior artist. By the time the issue was through, I was fully immersed in this reality despite the fact that Azzarello never went through great pains to introduce it outside the core world-views of his two heroes. I'm now ready to jump into the First Wave.

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8.8
Batman: Battle for the Cowl: Arkham Asylum #1

Apr 22, 2009

Finally, it's worth pointing out that although it only really uses Battle for the Cowl as a launching point, this one-shot manages to fit in with Batman RIP better than most other tie-ins that have attempted to. In the end, though, I'd say its greatest accomplishment is that it made me want to reread Arkham Asylum.

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7.6
Batman: Battle for the Cowl: Commissioner Gordon #1

Mar 25, 2009

Like I said, though, in the end, the appeal of Gordon and McGraw's work with him makes this issue a worthwhile read. Those who are eagerly devouring all things Battle for the Cowl will definitely find a worthy companion to the story in this issue, even if it doesn't exactly break new ground.

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4.8
Batman: Battle for the Cowl: Man-Bat #1

Apr 1, 2009

If you're reading this review before you make your weekly comic book purchases, then consider yourself warned. Battle for the Cowl: Man-Bat is a complete waste of time and money.

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7.5
Batman: Battle for the Cowl: The Network #1

May 6, 2009

All in all, though, Battle for the Cowl: The Network manages to tell an entertaining story that also succeeds in filling in the crevices of the main series' cluttered plot. Despite a few significant flaws, I'd call it another pleasant surprise.

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6.6
Batman: Battle for the Cowl: The Underground #1

Apr 29, 2009

All in all, I'd say Battle for the Cowl: The Underground isn't at all necessary unless you're a diehard Yost fan or are just dying to poke your head around the corners of Tony Daniel's main story. If you don't fall into either category, I'd say go ahead and pass.

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6.0
Batman: Cacophony #2

Dec 31, 2008

In case you haven't realized it from this review, though, I'm still far from impressed by this project. The quality of art is rather shameful, and for someone who got over Smith's writing sensibilities long before I realized it, the story and dialogue came as a jarring wake-up call. Just as there are those who will always swear by tequila, I suspect there will be Smith lovers who enjoy this book. I clearly don't fall into either category. Now, if you'll pass me that bottle of whiskey, I'd like to wash this bad taste out of my mouth

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3.3
Batman: Cacophony #3

Mar 4, 2009

Which brings me to the art of Walter Flanagan. Though I've certainly drilled this point home in my previous reviews of this series, it's worth reiterating just how amateurish Flanagan's work is. Whether he's failing to make sense of an action sequence, butchering the proportions of his character or just failing miserably at drawing a competent Batman, the quality of Flanagan's art never once matches that of a professional. At the very least, I guess it's good to know that if I had a friend who happened to be a famous film director, I too could probably draw a Batman comic.

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4.0
Batman: Odyssey #1

Jul 8, 2010

Where to start? Adams' dialogue is abysmal, his storytelling awkward and unclear, many of his decisions completely inexplicable. Why is Dick Grayson dressed in Tim Drake's uniform? Where the hell did Man-Bat come from, and what the hell does he have to do with any of this? For that matter, what do any of the seemingly unconnected things that happen in this book have to do with the others? This comic is awful. It's as if Neil Adams forgot everything he knew about the craft of comics during his time away from the form. I can't remember being this disappointed by a comic. It might look pretty in places, but it reads like the work of an amateur.

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7.3
Batman: Streets of Gotham #2

Jul 15, 2009

Finally, there's the back-up Manhunter feature by Marc Andrekyo and Georges Jeanty, which for me remains this series biggest draw. Whereas Dini's script is rocky throughout, Andreyko's is smooth sailing, as he masterfully navigates his limited space to a deliver a worthwhile installment. In her creator's hands, Kate is as badass and charming as ever, even if I still have a tough time accepting the plot point of her willingly leaving her son back home. One well-written scene in particular, in which Kate's intern nudges her ever so slightly past her own stubbornness towards a rational solution, reminded me why I fell in love with this character and her series in the first place. At the very least, it looks like Streets of Gotham will be worth picking up just for this feature. Hopefully, Dini's main feature will start matching the back-up.

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7.4
Batman: Streets of Gotham #5

Oct 21, 2009

If only the lead serial could step up its game.

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7.2
Batman: Streets of Gotham #7

Dec 17, 2009

The series' Manhunter back-up serial continues to add value to this book every month, and is probably the strongest example of DC's double-feature initiative. This week suffers a bit from the inconsistent fill-in work of Cliff Richards, but the intersection of Kate Spencer, Harvey Dent and Dylan Battles' lives remains as captivating as ever. This back-up could easily support its own title.

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7.0
Batman: Streets of Gotham #14

Jul 22, 2010

With some moments brilliant and others forgettable, this book is the same as it ever was.

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7.0
Batman: Streets of Gotham #15

Aug 18, 2010

But the same questions continue to linger around this title: what the heck is going on with Paul Dini's involvement on this book, and why hasn't DC been able to keep it from devolving into a glorified anthology series at such an early stage?

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8.0
Batman: Streets of Gotham #16

Sep 22, 2010

It's another strong outing from Dini and artist Dustin Nguyen, rounded out by the final installment of Ivan Brandon and Ramos Bachs' violent Two Face serial. If only Dini had the time to be the regular, steadying presence this book so desperately needs, Streets of Gotham could rank as one of the best Batman books on the stands.

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7.5
Batman: The Return #1

Nov 17, 2010

Batman: The Return isn't the glorious, burst-out-the-gates first chapter I expected from Morrison, even if it does show a lot of promise for this new direction while hinting that Bruce glimpsed a horrific truth about the future on his romp through time. Fans of Morrison's previous Batman work will find Batman Inc. to be a far more worthwhile, entertaining and fully realized kick-start to this new chapter of Batman's history. That said, this one's definitely worth checking out.

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9.0
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #3

Jun 24, 2010

The fact that Return of Bruce Wayne is so clearly and purposefully a continuation of Final Crisis will no doubt bother many who found that event to be impenetrable and nonsensical. However, that shouldn't keep the open minded from kicking back and enjoying the visceral thrill of seeing Bruce Wayne assert his considerable skills amidst Pirates, Witch Hunters and Cavemen. And for the rest of us who loved every panel of Final Crisis, the Mad Scotsman couldn't have come up with a crazier, wilder and more entertaining follow up to his seminal DCU event.

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8.0
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #4

Jul 28, 2010

Like each of the series' four installments, the issue utilizes the imagery, ideas and themes of its central time period without completely submerging Morrison's greater story and larger ideas in them. In other words, more than a case of Bruce Wayne playing dress-up in the Wild West, the story manages to enrich many of the mysteries at the heart of the story Morrison has been telling since he Omega-Beamed Bruce into the past in Final Crisis. Artist Georges Jeanty has a lot of fun riffing on the imagery of the Western genre, but also makes sure to bathe each panel in a dark, haunting atmosphere more akin to a supernatural horror film. It's not the best issue of the four, but it is damn good.

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9.0
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5

Oct 13, 2010

As elusive and implicit as Morrison has been while telling this story over the past few years, it's absolutely thrilling to see him begin to pull everything together in a way that answers critical questions while still leaving plenty of room for interpretation. I'm not sure where exactly we'll encounter his big climax – Return of Bruce Wayne #6 or Batman and Robin #16, both or someplace else entirely? – But that's part of the fun.

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9.5
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6

Nov 10, 2010

The Return of Bruce Wayne #6 marks the end of one the most creative, exciting and original eras in the history of Batman comics and, hopefully, the start of a new one. By the time Bruce Wayne rises from the his perilous journey and let's face it, in the end the fact that we all expected Bruce to return and then had those expectations prematurely confirmed in B&R #16 and The Road Home has very little impact on this story the doors have been blown open to all the rich possibilities of Batman Inc. Let's hope that series is every bit as challenging, rewarding and inventive as Morrison's work with the character has been thus far.

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7.5
Batman: The Widening Gyre #2

Sep 30, 2009

But despite the improvement in writing, the art remains a major problem. Flanagan continues to have some fundamental problems with anatomy, perspective and storytelling, and still can't draw Batman the same way twice, except when he draws Batman's cowl as a two-dimensional glob of ink. In the end, his shortcomings as an artist will likely overshadow anything Smith is able to accomplish with this series.

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7.0
Batman: The Widening Gyre #5

Mar 10, 2010

The issue's cliffhanger is another instance of Smith overestimating the novelty of an idea, and I have no idea where he's going with this Baphomet character. I don't really care, either. As long as Smith continues to have fun playing with these toys without breaking them, I'll come along for the ride.

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8.5
Batwoman One Shot #0

Nov 24, 2010

Clearly Batwoman is in great hands moving forward as Williams and Blackman gear up for the character's ongoing, which hits stores in February. The only real complaint I have about this issue is that it didn't deliver enough story pages. It's hard to look at a four-page preview of Batwoman #1 and seven-page preview of Detective Comics #871 as much added value, even if the 16 pages of story does manage to justify the $2.99 cover price.

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6.9
Birds of Prey (1998) #116

Mar 19, 2008

For a long time now, one of the best and most enjoyable aspects of this book has been the work of artist Nicola Scott, who continues to develop into one of the best superhero artists around. Scott might just draw the most realistic (yet still beautiful) female characters out of anyone in the industry, which is pretty important for a book starring an all female cast. If it didn't involve leaving Birds, I'd love to see Scott take a shot at drawing Wonder Woman, as her super-heroines are incredibly iconic. That and we already know she works well with Gail Simone.

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8.3
Birds of Prey (1998) #117

Apr 23, 2008

If you're not reading Birds of Prey, now's a good time to start. Not only is it the only place you'll find an all-female superhero team, it's also one of the most consistently entertaining superhero books on the stands. Get on board and see what all the fuss is about.

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8.0
Birds of Prey (1998) #118

May 21, 2008

Oracle, Lady Blackhawk and Huntress only pop in for a brief moment, but we never miss their presence, as Bedard and Scott craft a dark and exciting tale that showcases both these young characters and the rich, creepy atmosphere of the New Gods' new operation on Earth. It's good to have Bedard back.

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8.2
Birds of Prey (1998) #119

Jun 18, 2008

Liek a runaway train, Birds of Prey just keeps on chugging along.

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7.3
Birds of Prey (1998) #120

Jul 16, 2008

All in all, it's another strong issue from this consistently entertaining title. But seriously, can someone tell these damn superheroes to play nice with each other already?

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8.0
Birds Of Prey (2010) #2

Jun 16, 2010

You're not going to find many better team books out there in terms of writing. The problem with Birds of Prey is that we're only two issues in and this new run has already hit a jarring artistic bump in the road. The shift from Benes to Melo almost derails the entire issue, and almost undoes all the superb work Simone puts forward in these pages. Thankfully, the operative word in that previous statement is almost. When all is said and done, Birds of Prey #2 is still a damn entertaining issue.

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7.0
Birds Of Prey (2010) #3

Jul 14, 2010

It doesn't help that regular penciller Ed Benes isn't in his finest form, and once again bows out while Adriana Melo handles the issue's last handful of pages in an entirely different but just as unpleasant style. I recall a time when DC's high-profile relaunches didn't resort to fill-in artists in their debut arcs.

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7.0
Birds Of Prey (2010) #4

Aug 12, 2010

All that being said, there are some definite high points in this finale. Simone gives the new White Canary an awesomely wicked back-story, ultimately providing a great addition to DC's cast of kung fu badasses. (I for one immediately assumed it was Cassandra Cain behind the mask, and am pleasantly surprised I was wrong.) Simone also writes a great Penguin, making him every bit as creepy and perverted as he is slippery. Again, my main problem with this story, besides the clumsy art, is my lack of interest in the mystery villain, Simone's failure to make me care about him in the end, and the way his plot never really synced up with the White Canary/Black Canary face off. The issue does end on a very promising note, though, so here's hoping the sophomore outing is more fully rounded than this debut.

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6.0
Birds Of Prey (2010) #5

Sep 15, 2010

It's not all bad. Reminding us she reached superstar status by writing these various characters, Simone does a wonderful job capturing the unique personalities of Huntress, Lady Blackhawk and Oracle. There are even a few genuinely funny moments that remind you of Simone's trademark sense of humor. The main problem with Simone's script is that the various stories never feel at home next to one another, a problem that's only heightened by the different artistic styles of pencillers Alvin Lee and Adriana Melo. The poor quality of art is once again what really sinks this issue to disappointingly low levels, and I can only assume that will remain the case until this book gets one talented artist behind the wheel.

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8.2
Black Adam: The Dark Age #3

Oct 10, 2007

Overall, it's still an engaging and enjoyable read, and the Black Adam/Hawkman throw-down delivers some serious thrills, with Mahnke's violently graphic style underscoring the battle with the perfect amount of desperation and rage. The sudden introduction of Talia Al Ghul and the League of Assassins also managed to raise my eyebrows and leave me greatly anticipating the next installment, a sense of anticipation that was further heightened by the issue's shocking cliff-hanger ending. All in all, I'm comfortable calling this installment a necessary reprieve in this series' unrelentingly enthralling sense of gloom and doom, and I'm confident that this miniseries will continue to deliver on a high level.

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9.1
Black Adam: The Dark Age #5

Dec 12, 2007

And then there's Doug Mahnke's art, which works in tandem with Tomasi's script in a way that can only be found from the very best of creative teams. Mahnke is one of the best in the business at delivering dark and disturbing imagery, and Tomasi has certainly provided him with plenty such images to draw. DC should waste no time and just give these two a Black Adam ongoing right now. Seriously. Now.

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9.2
Black Adam: The Dark Age #6

Jan 30, 2008

And that's just one three-page sequence in this enthralling conclusion. The rest of the issue delivers all the haunting and somewhat disturbing character exploration we've come to expect from this story. And again, you'll be pleasantly surprised to find out just how Tomasi manages to close the book on a few lingering plot threads from 52. As far as Black Adam has come since his time as one of the stars of Geoff Johns' run on the previous JSA series (which was edited by Tomasi – surprise, surprise), he comes even further as a character thanks to this miniseries. His final fate is so tragic, it's nothing short of Shakespearean.

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8.0
Black Lightning: Year One #1

Jan 7, 2009

Black Lightning: Year One is a well-crafted comic and a pleasant surprised, and it deserves to be read by anyone who has even the slightest interest in the character.

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8.2
Black Lightning: Year One #2

Jan 21, 2009

If you've ever had the slightest interest in the Black Lightning character, then definitely give this mini-series a try. You'll be happy you did.

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8.5
Black Lightning: Year One #4

Feb 18, 2009

Black Lightning Year One is a must read for anyone with even the slightest interest in the Black Lightning character. Van Meter, Hamner and Martin are crafting a truly fantastic superhero book, and when all is said and done, it very well might stand as the best Black Lightning story to date.

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6.0
Black Summer #3

Oct 10, 2007

Don't get me wrong, Black Summer has the potential to turn itself around and deliver something new and exciting. At this point, however, it appears like we're in the midst of the fiction equivalent of a freefall - a story that starts with a fantastic and original concept and proceeds to wander downhill into boring and familiar territory.

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7.0
Black Widow: Deadly Origin #2

Dec 9, 2009

The strengths of the flashback sequences aside, nothing changes the fact that these two entirely different threads fail to jibe together on any level. Even as this issue begins to push the two plot lines together as the present reflects the past, there's still the striking disparity between Raney and Leon's work to pull you right out of the story. I don't see that changing anytime soon.

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9.3
Blackest Night #2

Aug 12, 2009

We're two issues into DC's latest event, and it looks like fans might be in store for the type of project they all too rarely see – one that actually lives up to all the hype.

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8.7
Blackest Night #3

Sep 16, 2009

That one complaint aside, Blackest Night continues to offer a ton of grizzly entertainment and an extremely high level of craft. The Geoff Johns at work in this event is a far more confident and concise storyteller than the writer behind Infinite Crisis, and he's joined by one of mainstream comics' brightest artistic stars in Ivan Reis. Reis continues to outdo himself with each page of this series, masterfully capturing the horrific tone of the story while delivering tons of detail, emotion and dynamic action. With these two creators locked onto each other like they are, this mini-series promises to keep on delivering the thrills.

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9.1
Blackest Night #5

Nov 25, 2009

But really, what's most important is that Blackest Night remains one hell of a fun superhero story, with the immense talents of its two creative architects ensuring that this event goes down as one for the ages. So far, they're well on their way.

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7.9
Blackest Night #7

Feb 24, 2010

I ended up enjoying Blackest Night #7 quite a bit when all was said and done. Reis' art is gorgeous and insanely dynamic despite its numerous storytelling problems. The story includes many of the elements that have made Johns' Green Lantern so enjoyable all along. It's a fun ride. That doesn't change the fact that the issue and this event both have their significant flaws – shortcomings that are unlikely to be redeemed by the concluding episode no matter what Johns and Reis pull out of their sleeves.

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8.6
Blackest Night: Batman #1

Aug 12, 2009

For fans worried about how Blackest Night tie-ins will work moving forward, Blackest Night: Batman should go along way towards easing many concerns. If the rest of the event's tie-ins turn out to be this strong and worthwhile, fans are in for a hell of a ride.

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4.8
Blackest Night: JSA #1

Dec 23, 2009

That's the plot in a nutshell. To say this comic lacks substance and consequence would be giving it too much credit. There have been quite a few excellent Blackest Night tie-ins since the event began. This is not one of them. I have a hard time believing even the most adamant supporters of all things Blackest Night will find much to enjoy in these pages. Although I have to say, the idea of a Black Lantern Robinson deliberately ruining the writer's reputation is quite amusing.

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8.1
Blackest Night: Superman #1

Aug 19, 2009

But unfortunately, all the flash and style in the world can't make the idea of a resurrected Earth-2 Superman and Lois Lane seem more significant or emotionally resonant, and that's ultimately what keeps this issue from realizing the same heights as Blackest Night or Blackest Night: Batman. The brief appearance of a third Black Lantern promises to change that for the better, but I still won't get my hopes up. Instead, I'm hoping that Robinson and Barrows can at the very least keep on delivering the horror in heavy doses. That alone should help go a long way towards making sure this is one tie-in worth reading.

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7.0
Blackest Night: Superman #2

Sep 23, 2009

Without any of the fun horror trappings of last issue or a book like Blackest Night: Batman, Blackest Night: Superman #2 is essentially just one long fight scene. Pyscho Pirate adds an interesting little twist to the story's exploration of emotions, but other than that, what we're left with is a sequence of characters punching each other. Eddy Barrows does his best to deliver dynamic action scenes, but even his kinetic pencils can't elevate this story into exciting territory, nor can they cover up for his inconsistent anatomy. All in all, I think this series would have benefited greatly from wrapping up before Blackest Night #3 hit the stands.

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6.5
Blackest Night: Superman #3

Oct 21, 2009

I have no doubt these projects seemed like strong ideas when they were first conceived. With so much great stuff going on in Blackest Night, Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, surely it seemed like there was enough room to explore certain A-listers as they reacted to their undead loved ones. But again, it wasn't enough. I don't care how well Robinson writes these characters or how far Eddy Barrows has come in his portrayals of dynamic, over-the-top action scenes. What we were given with Blackest Night: Superman wasn't enough to fill or even justify three issues. To paraphrase Jesse's review yet again, let's hope the next batch of tie-ins does a better job living up to the quality of the event's three flagship books.

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5.0
Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #3

Jul 29, 2009

In my review of last week's Amazing Spider-Man #600, I mentioned how the book included so much material and entertainment value for five bucks, it all but defied and rose above any attempt at criticism. Tales of the Corps #3 is the opposite type of book: it delivers so little, it's hard to talk about anything other than its cover price. Other than the chance to see Ivan Reis' un-inked pencils, the book barely offers anything, and nothing that it promises.

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8.5
Blackest Night: The Flash #3

Feb 17, 2010

In the end, Blackest Night: The Flash succeeds largely because it offers the chance to see Johns and Kolins once again have demented fun with the Rogues. Kolins' dynamic pencils and lush visuals are always a perfect fit for the Flash's colorful cast of villains, and he's virtually unparalleled when it comes depicting super speed in action. Am I alone in wanting to see a Johns/Kolins Rogues series far more than any Barry Allen solo book?

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6.2
Blackest Night: Titans #1

Aug 26, 2009

As far as event tie-ins go, though, I suppose you can do worse than Blackest Night: Titans #1. The book does add a little to Geoff Johns' main story, and fans of the characters might get a kick out of seeing them react to the resurrection of their dead allies. Still, for this reader, the issue was above all else an example of the current sorry state of this franchise.

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7.5
Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1

Dec 3, 2009

But all the talent in the world couldn't change the fact that Blackest Night: Wonder Woman is as inherently flawed as the last round of tie-ins. Until these series are allowed to probe deeper than the surface conflict of Blackest Night, they won't stand much of a chance of living up to the high standards of the more entertaining and substantial Blackest Night books.

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7.6
Booster Gold #0

Feb 13, 2008

Finally, I've reviewed far too many Booster Gold issues without giving due credit to artist Dan Jurgens, who remains one of the most consistent, reliable and talented superhero artists in the business. It's an absolute pleasure to see Jurgens' style sharply defined by Norm Rapmund's inks, and overall, the two talents make some damn fine looking comics.

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8.9
Booster Gold #3

Oct 10, 2007

Booster Gold is one of the most unique superhero titles on the stands, one that shouldn't be missed by anyone who might be growing weary of the self-importance and seriousness of modern superhero comics. It's one-and-done structure (it does have an ongoing story arc, but that overall plot is used to frame each stand-alone adventure) ensures each issue will be accessible to new readers, so stop making excuses and give this book a try.

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7.7
Booster Gold #7

Mar 12, 2008

Did I mention this book really is quite funny?

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8.5
Booster Gold #8

Apr 9, 2008

What can I say? Booster Gold has grown into an excellent superhero series that no fan of the genre or DC can afford to miss. With Johns and Katz firing on all cylinders and Dan Jurgens providing the crisp, clear and iconic artwork he's known for, this series is almost a sure bet to entertain month in and month out. And from the looks of it, things are only going to get better, crazier and funnier from here.

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8.0
Booster Gold #9

May 14, 2008

As a fan of the JLI days, I also can't stress enough how rewarding it is to see Johns and Katz write this unique team dynamic. And Jurgens again delivers some of the sharpest and strongest work of his career, proving he's one of the most talented and consistent veterans working today. This is unabashed superhero fun, folks. If you like that sort of stuff, you need to get on board before Johns, Katz and Jurgens' run ends.

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7.5
Booster Gold #10

Jun 11, 2008

Once again, this series provides all the thrills we've come to expect from this title. Johns and Katz have fun playing with elements of DC's long history (this time, the JLI team dynamic and certain 52 threads), dish out some amusing one-liners, infuse some great character interaction into the mix and generally craft an exciting and well told superhero adventure. Also once again, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the artwork of Dan Jurgens, who is seriously outdoing an entire career's worth of impressive artwork with this series. I know Johns and Katz are on the way out with next month's One Million issue, but I sincerely hope Jurgens sticks around to draw the character he created two decades ago.

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6.6
Booster Gold #26

Nov 11, 2009

But other than getting the most out of the book's heightened exposure through accessibility and adding a few surprisingly emotional moments, I can't say this issue does anything more with the Blackest Night storyline than we've seen in other relatively insignificant tie-ins. I think it's still safe to say you can skip any monthly book that has "Blackest Night" on its cover but not the words "Green Lantern" or "Green Lantern Corps."

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7.6
Booster Gold #27

Dec 9, 2009

In the end, the book's uneven artistic breakdown, and the overly familiar sight of Black Lanterns brawling, combined to keep me from calling it a total success. But again, kudos to Jurgens for capitalizing on this opportunity.

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8.5
Brightest Day #2

May 19, 2010

But just as the issue's creative energy reminded me of 52, so to did its frustrating pace. Certain threads are left completely unaddressed while others are merely nudged forward. Once again, Aquaman and Mera, two characters fans expect to see shine brightly (pun intended) in this series, are given nothing interesting to do. The issue doesn't even try to transition from one scene to the next with any fluidity or stylistic device, simply jumping forward after a scene has achieved its intended narrative goals. For that matter, as was the case with so many issues of 52, there's little uniting the different stories save for the fact that they're all collected under one cover and title. Again, none of this turned out to be much of a problem once 52 was completed and then read as whole, but they were qualities that made the weekly journey jarring and at times unsatisfying. Let's hope Brightest Day can do a better job providing a fulfilling read week in and week out. Infusing the series with t

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6.5
Brightest Day #4

Jun 16, 2010

Having said all that, I should point out that I fully expected to encounter an issue like Brightest Day #4 the minute I realized writers Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi would be taking such a fragmented approach to this series, which was somewhere around the halfway point of issue two. It's worth noting that 52 suffered from many of the same pacing problems on a week to week basis that are currently plaguing this book in its early stages, and that series managed to deliver one hell of a satisfying read when all was said and done. And until each of these threads kicks into gear, we're bound to encounter more of these sorts of underwhelming installments. With that in mind, I'll continue to foster high hopes for this series, even when one of its chapters leaves me cold. I just hope Johns and Tomasi hit their stride sooner rather than later. And would it kill them to give us a little more Aquaman?

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7.0
Brightest Day #8

Aug 18, 2010

But all backhanded compliments aside, I did enjoy several elements of the issue. Gleason again proves the perfect match for the weird imagery of the J'onn storyline, which itself is coming closest to matching Johns and Tomasi's normal high standards of storytelling. The Hawkman storyline is rife with rich, intriguing possibilities. Unfortunately, every one of the series' other plot lines are still stuck in their tracks after nearly a third of this maxi-series' total issues. And even if Johns and Tomasi find a way to kick them into gear, and then make them all feel at least somewhat like a unified story, I imagine I'll still have major problems with this project. But more on those other problems as they arise…

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5.0
Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Catwoman #1

Oct 20, 2010

In the end, the worst thing I can say about this comic is that it reads like a publisher's attempt to create a story where there is none. Which is exactly what it is.

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9.2
Captain America (2004) #40

Jul 16, 2008

If there's one area where I think "The Death of Captain America" has fallen short at times, it's been in the cliffhanger department. That's not the case this issue, which wallops us over the head with a huge development in the plot and leave us drooling for more. Though it shouldn't be possible, "The Death of Captain America" is as exciting and entertaining as it's ever been.

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9.2
Captain America (2004) #41

Aug 20, 2008

One last note before I leave (and I hate to end on such a sour note, but deal with it…): Is anyone else completely taken out of this story (albeit temporarily) whenever Brubaker reminds us that Falcon has the ability to communicate with his bird?

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8.3
Captain America (2004) #42

Sep 24, 2008

Despite my problems with the way this finale played out, it's still impossible not to recognize what Brubaker has accomplished with this epic, particularly what he accomplished with the Bucky Barnes character. With this story, Brubaker has made Bucky just as complex as Steve Rogers ever was while making him an entirely different sort of Captain America. Thanks to this story, the Marvel Universe now has a new A-list hero with a ton of dramatic depth and potential. It just would have been nice to see a more satisfying conclusion to his first adventure.

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8.0
Captain America (2004) #43

Oct 22, 2008

Once again, in Luke Ross, editor Tom Brevoort managed to find yet another artist capable of stepping in and maintaining the visual consistency established by Steve Epting. Like Butch Guise and Mike Perkins, Ross' style is similar enough to Epting's to make you momentarily forget about the latter's absence. Alongside Brubaker's decision to return this series to familiar territory, Ross' art enhances the feel that this issue really is the 43rd part of the story that kicked off with the very first issue of this series.

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8.4
Captain America (2004) #44

Nov 26, 2008

On-again, off-again Cap penciller Luke Ross once again handles the art, and his work here is yet another reminder that this series' rotating team of pencillers all somehow manage to channel the same visual feel. As a result, the book maintains a strong artistic consistency, and when you add that to Brubaker ever-impressive scripting, you get one hell of a reliable source of entertainment. "The Death of Captain America" might be over, but Captain America remains one of the strongest books on the stands.

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8.8
Captain America (2004) #45

Dec 31, 2008

What else is there to say about this issue that can't be said of this series as a whole? Brubaker's Captain America remains one of the strongest superhero comics on the stands, and with Bucky proving to be such a wonderful protagonist, it doesn't look like that will change anytime soon.

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8.5
Captain America (2004) #47

Feb 25, 2009

Like I said, Captain America is the rock of my pull list.

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8.7
Captain America (2004) #48

Mar 25, 2009

I've said it before and I'll say it again – Captain America is the rock of my pull list. Ed Brubaker consistently delivers the goods on this title, and somehow, Bucky Barnes continues to become more and more interesting with each passing issue.

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8.8
Captain America (2004) #49

Apr 15, 2009

Sprinkled throughout Brubaker's psychological exploration of Sharon are scenes detailing the Falcon's search for the deranged 1950's Captain America, and when the two threads converge at the end, we're reminded that there are still some extremely important questions that have yet to be answered regarding Steve Rogers' murder. As much as Bucky Barnes might be getting used to his new role as Rogers' successor, this issue makes it abundantly clear that Brubaker is still very much in the midst of the extended story he started way back with issue #1. If nothing else, it's evidence that Brubaker's Captain America and 'excellence' will continue to be synonymous for the foreseeable future.

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8.7
Captain America (2004) #50

May 20, 2009

All in all, despite an ending that's a little too saccharine for my tastes, Captain America #50 is another excellent installment of one of the most consistently great runs in decades. And with issue #600 on the horizon, it looks like things will only get better for this brilliant series.

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8.8
Captain America (2004) #601

Jul 15, 2009

Though it doesn't fit all that naturally alongside Brubaker's recent Captain America work, issue #601 is still an excellent read and a stunning accomplishment by Colan. It'll make you want to dig through your collection for his past work, or run to the store for the black-and-white Tomb of Dracula reprintings.

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8.5
Captain America (2004) #606

Jun 10, 2010

One final note: either by publishing gaffe or editorial oversight, it appears like the second page of a double-page title spread was replaced by a Honda ad. Come on Marvel - get on the ball.

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8.0
Captain America (2004) #607

Jun 30, 2010

Mitch Breitweiser steps in to handle the pencils this issue, and although his style is grittier and looser than that of Steve Epting, Luke Ross or Butch Guise, it still manages to feel at home next to the work of the series' usual team of rotating artists. There's a dynamic energy at the heart of Breitweiser's storytelling, and thanks to colorists Dean White and Elizabeth Dismang, there's also a rich atmosphere to every panel. So yes – Captain America remains as expertly crafted, entertaining and impressive as ever. Oh, and the Nomad-centric back-up tale from Sean McKeever and David Baldeon still isn't doing a damn thing to justify the book's price hike.

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8.0
Captain America (2004) #608

Aug 4, 2010

The issue does have a few flaws. For starters, the opening fight sequence, as insanely kinetic as it is, goes on for far too long considering it only really sets the table for far more intriguing and important scenes. More problematic is the presence of multiple inkers and colorists, greatly changing the way Guice's stellar pencils come to life from page to page. At times, the visuals have a smooth, glossed-over slickness to them; at others, they're rough and more grizzled. Still, Guice's pencils always shine no matter how they're finished, and it's fun to see him pay homage to masters like Sal Buscema and Jack Kirby. All in all, it's another great Cap issue, and – more significantly – a game changer for this latest arc.

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7.5
Captain America (2004) #609

Aug 25, 2010

Oh, and the Nomad back-up still exists.

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7.0
Captain America (2004) #610

Sep 29, 2010

Sean McKeever and Filipe Andrade's Nomad back-up serial, "Welcome Home," also concludes this issue. And while I appreciate Marvel's attempt to provide additional value to compensate for the book's $3.99 cover price, my disinterest in the lead character makes it difficult to feel like I'm getting extra bang for my buck. I'd much prefer the book lose its back-up and return to its $2.99 price tag, yet I won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

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7.0
Captain America (2004) #612

Nov 25, 2010

The issue's one saving grace is Brubaker's very creepy take on a new alliance between Master Man and Sin, which made my skin crawl – in a good way. Clearly this story needs much more than the boring dramatic theatre of a public trial to keep it interesting, and these two villains promise to add some desperately needed complications to this plot. The same goes for the involvement of Dr. Faustus as the defense's key expert on mind control. These villainous characters need to step into the forefront sooner rather than later, because even an artist as talented as Butch Guice isn't capable of making talking heads visually interesting no matter how much grit, personality and atmosphere he brings to the book.

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6.5
Captain America: Man Out of Time #1

Nov 3, 2010

However, the book quickly runs off the rails following the catastrophic explosion that sends Rogers on his fateful collision with the 21st century, with Waid leaping from one scene to the next without any logical transitions to aid the reader along. As the book progresses, it begins to feel as if we're watching a jumbled clip show that's missing integral pieces of the plot – like entire pages were inexplicably left on the cutting room floor. The rushed style of storytelling Waid employs ends up cutting the legs out from underneath his story just as it's getting started, which is unfortunate. To make matters worse, artist Jorge Molina is rather inconsistent from panel to panel, and his frequent shots of Cap charging towards us readers carries an unsettling resemblance to Rob Leifeld's work with the character.

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6.6
Captain America: Reborn #1

Jul 1, 2009

Bryan's Score: 7.6

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8.8
Captain America: Reborn #4

Nov 4, 2009

I wasn't the biggest fan of this series' first issue, but it's slowly won me over more and more with each installment. Again, it's that level of craft at work that I mentioned earlier that's truly made this series more than the sum of its parts. And you have to admit, even if you see it coming a mile away, this issue's ending is pretty damn cool.

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7.5
Captain America: Reborn #5

Dec 16, 2009

In explaining away some of their most egregious recent editorial gaffes, Marvel has often hid behind the fact that all we be forgiven, if not forgotten, once a mismanaged project is collected. I don't think that will be the case for Captain America Reborn. This issue makes me seriously consider whether this story will ultimately read better in one sitting than if they kept the mini at five issues and collected it alongside Who Will Wield the Shield?. I suppose time will tell, even if fans are unlikely to forget how poorly Steve's return was handled in the periodicals.

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7.0
Captain America: Reborn #6

Jan 27, 2010

When examining the problems inherent to Captain America Reborn and this final issue in particular, it all comes down to how little the comic has to offer in terms of surprises. Even its most exciting moments seem to lack any real consequence thanks to other recent comics. By the time Steve settles down to contemplate what he saw in his journey through time, it still feels like we're experiencing a retelling of events and developments we first learned elsewhere. But even that being the case, the most telling criticism of this series is that it includes about half the fun of other such spectacle-driven comics, and even less of what Brubaker has done so brilliantly in the main Captain America series. I'm glad it's over.

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7.9
Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? #1

Dec 23, 2009

Sadly, the reality of the situation is that the biggest development in both the story of Steve Rogers' return and the state of the Captain America franchise moving forward occurs in a comic that has yet to be published, and is apologetically revealed in the issue's opening recap and a late-issue monologue by Rogers. That's tough to swallow no matter how exciting the development might be and no matter how well Brubaker navigates these unfortunate circumstances. I'm just glad Steve's back and free to walk around the Marvel Universe without spoiling any more stories, and hope his future adventures can someday make us forget how sloppily he was brought back into the fold.

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8.8
Catwoman (2002) #72

Oct 17, 2007

On a final note, kudos to artist David Lopez for taking a script with almost no action and turning it into a riveting page-turner. Lopez makes each of these conversational scenes as engaging as any superhero slugfest, providing twenty-two pages of the finest kind of emotionally charged storytelling. With these two creators clicking so effortlessly and consistently churning out top-notch work, it's a damn fine time to be a Catwoman fan. And from the looks of it, it's only going to get better.

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6.9
Catwoman (2002) #74

Dec 19, 2007

Hopefully, Pfeifer and writer Bill Willingham will find a way to get Selina off of the prison planet and out of the pages of Salvation Run in a timely manner, because I'd hate to see this story shelved until after Final Crisis is over. I should say, however, that I am somewhat interested in seeing how both writers handle Selina's involvement in Salvation Run, and it'll be at the very least fun to see Pfiefer in particular get a shot at writing the large cast of colorful villains. That doesn't change the fact that I'd prefer to see Selina remain in the confines of Gotham City.

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9.3
Catwoman (2002) #75

Jan 16, 2008

I said it before, and I'll say it again – Will Pfeifer's and David Lopez' Catwoman is one of the best superheroes series currently being published by either Marvel or DC, and it deserves a heck of a bigger audience than it currently enjoys. Hopefully, by thoroughly outshining the very megaevent/miniseries it is supposed to compliment, this tie-in issue (and the proceeding installments of this Salvation Run arc) will attract more readers to the wonderful work being done by Pfeifer and Lopez.

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6.3
Catwoman (2002) #77

Mar 19, 2008

Pfeifer and Lopez's Catwoman is at its absolute finest when it's focused squarely on Catwoman's never-ending moral tightrope walk between good and evil, and at first, Salvation Run seemed like an opportunity to put Selina in a crazy situation while exploring that central moral dilemma. But it hasn't, really. At least not in these past two issues, which spun their wheels a little too much for my liking.

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8.3
Catwoman (2002) #78

Apr 16, 2008

I can't begin to describe how disappointed I am to hear this book is on its last legs. Thanks to Pfeifer and Lopez, Selina Kyle has remained one of the richest, most complex characters in comics, and her solo series was one of the most consistently rewarding, well crafted superhero vehicles on the stands. I guess all us Catwoman fans can do is hope and pray that the character lands in a decent series and that Pfeifer and Lopez both inherit a title worthy of their incredible talents.

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6.4
Catwoman (2002) #79

May 21, 2008

As always, David Lopez is on top of his game when it comes to the issue's art, providing crisp, clear visuals that pop with the right amount of emotion and personality. Here's hoping Pfeifer gets on his game in time to deliver a final story arc worthy of their wonderful run on this title. It'd be a shame to see this series end with a whimper.

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5.9
Catwoman (2002) #80

Jun 18, 2008

On the positive side of things, Pfeifer does seemingly wrap up this story at the end of this issue, meaning he'll likely spend his and David Lopez' final two issues tying a neat little bow on their extended run. This series was far too enjoyable to go out with a whimper, and I hope this creative team returns to form for their last hoorah. Selina, this book and their run all deserve a strong ending.

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9.0
Catwoman (2002) #81

Jul 30, 2008

To wrap things up, let me get back to what I said earlier about wondering what might have been had this series focused on Selina as a villain all along. As evidenced by this issue, the idea of focusing solely on one rogue definitely has some legs to it, and could make for a truly incredible series. One of these days, DC will figure that out, and give us an ongoing starring a classic bad guy with no heroic twist to it. Until then, I suppose we'll have to settle for one more issue of Catwoman.

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8.0
Catwoman (2002) #82

Aug 27, 2008

Anyway, I'm glad this series lasted as long as it did, and would highly recommend anyone who arrived to the party late to go back and check out Ed Brubaker's early run on the title all the way through to this concluding issue. It's a fun ride. I also hope it's not the last we'll be seeing of Will Pfeifer, who more than proved that Amazons Attack was a mere aberration for a very talented and capable writer.

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9.1
Checkmate #19

Oct 17, 2007

As far as the art is concerned, it's nice to see artist Joe Bennett settle into a regular role on this series after the title suffered at the hands of pedestrian fill-in artists. Bennett is perfectly suited to capture the necessary emotion in these dialogue driven scenes. Let's hope he sticks around for the long haul.

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6.9
Checkmate #21

Dec 19, 2007

The art, by Chris Samnee, is a bit muddy and dark at times, particularly during flashbacks to the French Revolution. Still, it's a rather smooth transition from Joe Bennett to Samnee, and even though I'd prefer Bennett, his heir does a fine enough job in the long run. As a whole, however, I'd have to call this issue a bit of an underwhelming disappointment.

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8.5
Checkmate #23

Feb 20, 2008

That is, of course, until Bruce Jones comes on board.

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8.6
Checkmate #24

Mar 19, 2008

Finally, it's impossible to read this issue and not at some point think of the future of this series without Rucka or Trautman. During the few calm moments in this issue, I more than once shuddered at the name Bruce Jones, DC's inexplicable choice to take over this book. Checkmate fans would do well to savor this issue as well as next month's (Rucka and Trautman's last, I believe), because it's impossible to tell what this series will be like without its original mastermind involved.

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9.4
Checkmate #25

Apr 23, 2008

One central question remains – can this series continue to deliver the same high quality of cloak and dagger stories without Rucka involved? With the superb Queen and Country series already on his long list of credits, it's obvious that few writers have the same knack for meticulously plotted and intelligently characterized spy dramas that Rucka is known for, so I wouldn't be at all surprised to see this series stumble when Bruce Jones takes over next month. Then again, Rucka (and later, Trauttman) did such a fine job establishing these characters and this world that I can just as easily see this book continue to succeed for years to come. Either way, it's a shame to see Rucka leave. Together, these first twenty-five issues make up one of the best creative runs of the last decade.

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4.7
Checkmate #26

May 21, 2008

Listen, I'm all for an incoming writer taking a title in a new direction. More times than not, that's far preferable to the new writer merely attempting to ape the previous scribe's style. But with a book like Checkmate, which is so defined by its unique tone and storytelling style, such a glaring change in direction robs the title of its identity. That, and I'm fairly tired of Bruce Jones using whatever title he's given to tell horror stories.

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3.8
Checkmate #27

Jun 18, 2008

It's my job to read certain comics, but I can't see why any Checkmate fan would stick with this book through Jones' run. Get out while you can. He may bring the Chtulu monster from his Nightwing run back into the mix, and nobody wants to relive that horror.

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9.5
Chew #1

Jun 3, 2009

Chew is a great comic book the type that grabs you by the ears, takes a bite out of your nose, spits it in your face and still leaves you laughing and hungry for more. After only one issue, it might be my favorite book on the stands.

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9.0
Chew #2

Jul 1, 2009

The majority of the issue follows Tony's first case, which involves a severed finger found in a fast food burger and all the horrific complications that come with such a mystery. There aren't that many laugh-out-loud moments this time out as last issue, but there's still plenty of material to keep you giggling and cringing at the same time. That's the magic of Chew - you don't know whether to crack up or throw up.

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9.1
Chew #3

Aug 5, 2009

Chew is a creative homerun all the way, and it deserves the level of runaway success it's currently enjoying. If you haven't gotten your hands on a copy yet, you aren't nagging your retailer enough.

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8.8
Chew #4

Sep 2, 2009

If the issue misses the mark in one area, it's its ending. Are those last two pages intended to be an ironic punch-line, or an important plot development? Layman and Guillory don't quite pull the scene off as either, and the issue kind of limps to the finish line as a result. Still, seeing as how entertaining the preceding twenty pages were, I won't hold that against them too much.

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9.0
Chew #5

Oct 21, 2009

The series' first arc has immediately made it one of my favorite books on the stands. I'm already starving for the second.

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8.7
Chew #8

Jan 27, 2010

The issue's last image, another one of Guillory's gorgeous splash page mosaics, ensures International Flavor has plenty more surprises and exciting turns to offer. In short, I don't foresee my love for this series dissipating any time soon.

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8.5
Chew #11

Jun 10, 2010

So Chew is back, and I couldn't be happier. The first issue of "Just Desserts" might not jump out of the gates as well as the debut chapter sof the previous two arcs did, but it did put a demented smile on my face while leaving me hungry for more. It's good to have you back, my sick, twisted friend.

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9.0
Chew #12

Jul 15, 2010

The issue begins by informing us the issue's pages got shuffled out of sequence, and that page one is actually page eighteen. As he's done so many times throughout this series, Layman then dovetails back to show us just how Tony Chu wound up in this latest pickle, all culminating in a violent blowout that's drawn with wicked zeal by Guillory. The opening sequence, which parallels one of Poyo's cockfighting triumphs with a vicious beat-down of a hood, is the issue's best. All in all, it's another hysterical homerun for the funniest comic on the stands.

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6.8
Choker #2

Mar 17, 2010

Without Templesmith involved, Choker would read like a weird, nonsensical, directionless mixture of ideas and thinly realized characters. Thanks to Templesmith, though, the disconnect between those ideas almost becomes part of the book's charm. I'll take any excuse to watch Templesmith work his depraved magic, and above all else this book is precisely that – an excuse to watch Templesmith at work. If I can't have another issue of Fell, Choker will have to do.

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1.5
Countdown Arena #1

Dec 5, 2007

If you haven't figured it out already, I absolutely despise the very idea of this series, and couldn't in good conscience recommend it to anybody.

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7.1
Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Red Rain #1

Nov 7, 2007

Besides the unfortunate interruptions of Jason and Kyle bickering over Donna or Bob the Monitor explaining their need to find Ray Palmer (we get it, Bob), Johnson crafts a surprisingly complete story that sends this version of Dick Grayson on a tragic and appropriate narrative path. I don't know where any story about this particular universe can go from here, but I don't really plan on returning anyway, so I suppose it doesn't matter. For now, I'll take this issue for what it was, an entertaining exploration of one of DC's 52 Earths.

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6.9
Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Crime Society #1

Oct 3, 2007

In general, the new Earth 3 is a far less satisfying version of the same alternate reality explored in Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly's awesome JLA: Earth 2, and once again, it seems like DC has tried to fix something that wasn't broken to begin with. As far as Countdown related issues go, however, you can do far worse than this issue.

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2.0
Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Gotham by Gaslight #1

Nov 21, 2007

If it weren't my job to review these books, I surely would stop purchasing these stupid Search for Ray Palmer one-shots. They're self indulgent, pointless excuses to bleed Countdown's already paper-thin storyline completely dry. The ones that work, like the Crime Syndicate and Red Rain issues, work in spite of their ties to the Search for Ray Palmer, not because of them. There's no other way to say it, really: this whole concept not only highly flawed, but stupid.

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1.2
Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Superwoman/Batwoman #1

Dec 19, 2007

This might be the worst thing DC has published all year, which is saying a lot, considering we're talking about the folks who put out six months of lackluster Countdown issues and are currently publishing a laughable little piece of fan-fiction called Countdown: Arena.

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6.2
Countdown to Adventure #2

Sep 26, 2007

Artist Eddy Barrows really shines in this work, providing energetic panel layouts and crisp character work on levels far above his outings in 52. Judging by these first two issues, I'd say the main feature in Countdown to Adventure is alone worth the cover price and the crummy back-up, but that's a personal opinion and could very well change if the story doesn't deliver past it's initial set up.

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6.5
Countdown to Adventure #3

Oct 31, 2007

And then there's the Forerunner back up. What else is there to say about this 16-page serial other than it lacks the least bit of drama, intrigue, intelligence or even coherent story? Unless you're absolutely dying to see the Monarch's goofy-looking scout recruit characters from the least-compelling parallel Earths (this issue sees Forerunner head to Earth 33, home to the Justice League of Shamans. How fun…), do yourself a favor and put the issue down after you're finished reading the main feature. Justin Gray and Fabrizio Fiorentino's short will only make you wish Countdown would end even faster.

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6.1
Countdown to Adventure #4

Nov 28, 2007

As far as the art is concerned, Allan Goldman does an admirable and competent job filling in for Eddy Barrows, and even goes a long way towards imitating Barrows' style. His sprawling Rannian landscapes are particularly stunning, and I wouldn't mind one bit if Goldman returned next issue.

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4.5
Countdown to Adventure #6

Jan 30, 2008

Now to the whole Countdown to Adventure vs. Countdown to Mystery comparison. The first includes a decent, mildly entertaining main serial that picks up on a previous series/story and fails to meet expectations. The second include a wonderfully original and refreshingly mature take on one of DC's oldest magical characters. The first includes a horrible backup that tries to flesh out the back-story of one of Countdown's thinnest and dumbest characters. The second includes a mediocre serial that focuses on Eclipso's role in Countdown, but also takes time to hit on cool characters like the Spectre, the Creeper, and Plastic Man. They're both $3.99. You decide which ones worth it.

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6.0
Countdown to Adventure #8

Mar 26, 2008

Which brings me to my final point about this duel-story anthology format. I like it. I like it a lot. In today's publishing climate, where even the best new titles stand such a slim chance of catching an audience of any kind (just look at Marvel's The Order), books like Tales of the Unexpected, Countdown to Adventure and Countdown to Mystery offer platforms for characters, ideas and stories that simply don't exist elsewhere. At the very least, we're given a chance to read hidden gems like the Dr. Thirteen serial from Unexpected or the Dr. Fate serial from Mystery, things that would otherwise have never seen print. At the very most, these serials can win an audience and inspire an ongoing series. That said, the worst thing DC can do is to continue to use one of these books' two features to crossover with their next big event. Please, please, please, don't do that to me again, DC.

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1.9
Countdown to Final Crisis #4

Apr 2, 2008

Three more weeks, then we can put this whole mess behind us. Unless of course, my nightmare comes true...

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1.8
Countdown to Final Crisis #5

Mar 26, 2008

For all the lessons that 52 taught us about how to do a weekly series and tell a 52-part serial the right way, it seems like Countdown has done the opposite – underlining those very lessons by showing us what happens when you go about things the wrong way. I can only hope that DC, Kurt Busiek and any other bold and/or foolish creator that tries to take on such a task will learn from this Great Disaster of a series.

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3.5
Countdown to Final Crisis #6

Mar 19, 2008

There are only five issues of Countdown to Final Crisis left, and the end still can't come soon enough.

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3.1
Countdown to Final Crisis #7

Mar 12, 2008

Only six more weeks….only six more weeks…only six more weeks…only six more weeks…

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5.9
Countdown to Final Crisis #8

Mar 5, 2008

It's also unfortunate that Magno just happened to return for an issue written by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, by far the worst and most awkward (there's that word again!) of Countdown's dialogue writers. I would normally not complain too much when a group of characters stand around worrying aloud amongst themselves when they should be, you know, doing something, but when these two scribes handle such a scene, it's impossible not to eventually cringe.

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5.5
Countdown to Final Crisis #9

Feb 27, 2008

Like I said, I just can't get over it.

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5.0
Countdown to Final Crisis #17

Jan 2, 2008

Hmmm…so much for the fair shake thing, huh? What can I say? Countdown finally boasts competent artwork (Ron Lim steps up to bat in this issue) and a storyline that is finally going somewhere. That should come as good news to anyone who has stuck with the book this long, but for me, it's still too little too late. Only 16 more weeks to go…

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4.7
Countdown to Final Crisis #19

Dec 19, 2007

In the interest of giving credit where credit is due, I do feel the need to applaud editor Mike Carlin for at the very least getting Countdown's artwork on the right track. With the exception of one recent issue from the increasingly hard-to-look-at Carlos Magno, Carlin has found some genuine talents to fill the pages of his weekly series, and Jesus Saiz continues the trend of professional looking pencil work. And that's kind of nice.

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8.3
Countdown to Mystery #2

Oct 31, 2007

With that rant out of the way, allow me to reiterate how much I'm enjoying this Dr. Fate tale. I know you might not want to spring for the extra cover price, but it really is great.

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7.7
Countdown to Mystery #3

Nov 21, 2007

At the very least, Countdown to Mystery is worth picking up for the awesome Gerber Dr. Fate series alone, but Sturges' serial has also made this $3.99 cover price well worth it.

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8.8
Countdown to Mystery #5

Jan 23, 2008

As for the Matt Sturges-penned Eclipso section – well, it basically fills in Eclipso's story from Countdown. While it's certainly not as bad as other Countdown tie-ins, it's not even worth mentioning in comparison to Gerber's standalone serial. Pick up Countdown to Mystery. You might like the Eclipso stuff. And if you don't, it'll still be worth it.

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8.7
Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood #1

Oct 31, 2007

Crime Bible seems poised to become just the latest addition to Rucka's already fabulous resume, and even though the Batwoman (sigh) is certain to play into this title, I'm still confident that this miniseries can deliver the same type of high quality goods as Rucka's Checkmate.

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7.8
Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood #2

Nov 28, 2007

Artist Jesus Saiz's art won't blow you away, but his pacing fits right in groove with Rucka's plodding (in a good way) script, and colorist David Baron captures the dark mood of this disturbing little yarn. The Crime Bible is turning into yet another fantastic 52 spin-off, and I can't wait for more. I just hope we can keep Batwoman out of the mix. Now there's a walking stereotype that bloggers should be mad about.

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8.1
Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood #4

Jan 23, 2008

While a little muddy and nondescript at times, Diego Olmos' art in this issue fits the dark, noirish tone of this series quite nicely, and the whole thing makes for a riveting read, particular for those invested in this miniseries' themes and characters. With only one issue left, I'm ready for a Question ongoing - as long as Rucka's at the helm, of course.

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7.3
Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood #5

Feb 27, 2008

I know, I know. Keep dreaming...

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9.6
Criminal #9

Sep 26, 2007

Sean Phillips artwork is as strong and atmospheric as ever, underlining Brubaker's narration with unmistakable emotion. I can't think of two creators more perfectly suited for one another. Still my favorite comic currently being published, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

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9.2
Criminal #10

Nov 7, 2007

It's another near perfect outing for Brubaker and Phillips, two creators that seem so in sync it's downright scary.

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8.4
Criminal Vol. 2 #1

Feb 27, 2008

Whether you're an avid Criminal reader or a newcomer jumping on with this issue #1, it should take a lot more than a great-but-not-quite-brilliant issue like this one to dissuade you from viewing this title as one of the best venues for crime fiction around. Still, I know I for one am looking forward to when Brubaker returns to telling multipart tales as opposed to short stories. And at the very least, I'll never look at the Undertow's bartender the same way again.

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9.5
Criminal Vol. 2 #2

Apr 9, 2008

If you're not buying Criminal, I don't know what to tell you. It's the best series on the stands, period.

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9.3
Criminal Vol. 2 #4

Aug 6, 2008

As always, Criminal's plot is only a vehicle to explore very tragic and complex characters, and from what we see of the troubled but very human protagonist in this first issue, we're in for possibly the series' best arc yet.

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9.5
Criminal Vol. 2 #6

Oct 22, 2008

Next month sees the last issue of Criminal hit before the book goes on hiatus while Brubaker and Phillips churn out Incognito, their second creator-owned series for Marvel's Icon imprint. This issue includes a preview of that new series, and while it looks as fantastic as any of Bru and Phillips' collaborations, it's going to be painful to say goodbye to this series for six months. I know I wont be alone in counting down the days until Criminal surfaces again.

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9.4
Criminal Vol. 2 #7

Dec 3, 2008

Above all else, Criminal also remains one expertly crafted product. Between the brilliant main story, the sleek, glossy pages, Brubaker's regular letter to fans and the bonus article (this week sees Mark Rahner sit down with iconoclastic crime writer Andrew Vachss for a fantastic interview/article) there's plenty of material in here to justify the $3.50 cover price. Hell, Criminal is the one book that I wouldn't mind paying more for. I'm going to severely miss this book while it's gone on hiatus.

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9.3
Criminal: The Sinners #4

Feb 3, 2010

Every issue of Criminal finds new ways to remind me it's my favoite comic currently being published.

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9.0
Criminal: The Sinners #5

Mar 10, 2010

With this finale, The Sinners lands right alongside Bad Night, Coward and Lawless as the best crime comics of all time. If that wasn't enough, Brubaker outdid himself with this series' back-up features, which have included some of the most insightful and entertaining essays on the genre to date. Criminal is my favorite book on the stands. Learning that Sean Phillips is off to work on the Dark Tower, and another Incognito series with Brubaker after that, almost brought me to tears.

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8.7
Daredevil (1998) #108

Jun 25, 2008

My concern about accessibility did manage to pop up towards the end of an issue with the appearance of a Daredevil villain that I assume I was supposed to recognize, but didn't know from Adam. Still, I'm willing to chalk that up to my ignorance of anything outside Miller and Bendis' Daredevil. For now, I'm too busy enjoying watching Brubaker, Rucka and Lark rekindle their creative fire to complain about anything.

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7.4
Daredevil (1998) #110

Aug 27, 2008

In the end, I suppose it was nice to see one of my favorite writing duos of all time reunite for a brief stopover into the genre they do best, even if the final product was far below their work on Gotham Central.

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9.0
Daredevil (1998) #117

Mar 25, 2009

By now most have heard that Ed Brubaker is handling over the reins of this book to Andy Diggle. From the looks of it, he's getting ready to deliver his craziest story yet. If I had to guess, we're about to see a story every bit as brilliant as "Devil in Cell Block D."

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8.0
Daredevil (1998) #118

Apr 22, 2009

Rereading what I've written so far, it'd be easy to get the impression that I didn't enjoy the issue at all. That's not the case. The idea of Kingpin and Daredevil teaming up for one last rumble with the Hand is immensely exciting, and even if the two never share a panel in this issue, the prospect of their pairing is enough to make even this quiet issue seem somewhat eventful. Likewise, Brubaker's handle on Kingpin is pitch-perfect, and I'd glady read a scene of Fisk eating a sandwhich if Brubaker wrote it. My biggest problem with this issue goes back to my distaste for the way Brubaker has structured most of his arcs on this book, with all the juicy stuff coming at the beginning and end, and the middle resigned for quieter issues like this. This creative team doesn't have too many issues left before they hand the reins over to Andy Diggle. Obviously, I'd prefer each one to be as riveting as possible.

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9.2
Daredevil (1998) #500

Aug 19, 2009

The book also includes a cover gallery that features drawing by the likes of Joe Quesada, David Mack and Brian Bendis, among others. Finally, it reprints a classic Frank Miller Daredevil tale that remains every bit as powerful as the first time I read it. As a whole, though, these back-ups don't quite measure up to the outstanding supporting material found it Amazing #600. Luckily, Brubaker's main feature alone makes this issue well worth the $4.99 cover price.

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8.8
Daredevil (1998) #501

Oct 7, 2009

All in all, I'd say this new creative team is off to an auspicious start. Their new status quo is rich with promise, and they seem to have a strong grasp on the characters without being overly reverent. I'm ready for another exciting ride.

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8.4
Daredevil (1998) #503

Dec 16, 2009

But what happened to all those cops Daredevil and crew took down in the beginning of the issue? That question lingers throughout, and recalls the earlier question of how far Diggle is willing to go with this new direction. Yet even if it's not as far as I'd like, I suspect his run will remain an entertaining ride as long as he can push the envelope enough to make this story seem every bit as exciting as those of his acclaimed predecessors.

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8.7
Daredevil (1998) #505

Feb 18, 2010

The issue involves some exciting twists, as it becomes clear that Murdock is way in over his head thinking he can control the Hand. Between the introduction of Bakuto, multiple conspiracy plots, Murdock's dark new modus operandi, and the construction of the Shadowland, Diggle is offering plenty of reasons for me to believe Daredevil will remain one of my favorite books on the stands.

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6.7
Daredevil Noir #1

Apr 8, 2009

Luckily, there is one redeeming quality of Daredevil Noir, and that's the art of Tomm Coker, whose works recalls the Daredevil run of Alex Maleev and is gorgeous in precisely the shadowy, seedy, and smoke-laced way a noir comic should be gorgeous. If nothing else, he here proves that he'd be a perfect match for Daredevil's regular ongoing, which would hopefully give him a chance to draw better stories than this one.

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7.5
Daredevil: Black and White #1

Aug 4, 2010

Rounding it all out is a prose story from veteran Daredevil writer Ann Nocenti with spot illustrations from David Aja. Like so many comics writers tend to do when they're given the chance to write prose, Nocenti goes way overboard, burying her story in over-indulgent hard-boiled language that becomes a parody of itself. Still, the lead feature is good enough to call this issue a winner. And at the very least, I'll definitely be back for more.

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7.0
Dark Avengers #3

Mar 18, 2009

Of all the potential storylines to explore in Dark Avenger's first story arc, I'm a bit baffled that Bendis decided to go this route. Again, that could be my own personal preferences popping up above anything else, and I understand the Doom/Osborn connection is worth exploring in some way, but I sure would have liked to see Osborn's gang of misfits doing something a tad more interesting than battling generic demons for their debut adventure. Unless Bendis delivers more scenes like the one covered in the issue's first half, I might just have to sit this one out and come back when all this Morgan Le Fey business is over.

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8.0
Dark Reign: Elektra #1

Mar 25, 2009

You'd be hard pressed to find someone with a more dubious outlook on the whole Secret Invasion storyline than mine, so my sudden enthusiasm for this series should tell you a lot about what Wells and artist Clay Mann are able to accomplish in this first issue. There's not a whole lot of substance at work in these pages, but there is a ton of style, and just enough dramatic meat to make you hungry for more.

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7.5
Dark Reign: Hawkeye #1

Apr 8, 2009

In conclusion, Dark Reign: Hawkeye will come as another welcome dose of evil for fans of Marvel's new status quo. For those still on the fence about the whole Dark Reign direction, the issue won't do much to win you over.

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6.9
Dark Reign: Hawkeye #2

May 13, 2009

So far, Dark Reign: Hawkeye has been a mixed bag. At times, it offers a chilling look at the Marvel U's greatest assassin, and at others, it seems to lack a clear focus and purpose. The art, by Tom Raney, also has its hits and misses. Raney's art is bold and vibrant, but doesn't seem to match the grim tone of the story. We'll have to wait for more issues to see if this miniseries is capable of putting all the pieces together.

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6.4
Dark X-Men: The Beginning #1

Jul 8, 2009

Most anthologies, particularly these event-oriented ones Marvel has been rolling out of late, are typically hit or miss throughout, and Dark X-Men: The Beginning is no different. It's a mixed bag for sure, and as I noted before, I would only really recommend it to those diehard completists eager to look beneath the surface of the Dark Reign story. For those that are content following the bigger picture, I'd recommend sticking to Matt Fraction's core books.

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3.7
DC Universe Halloween Special 2008 #1

Oct 22, 2008

The real question is whether this 80-page book is worth its $5.99 cover price. It's not. Not with its lackluster and uninspired scripts, and certainly not with its mostly sub par artwork. There are more cruel tricks here than treats, which means we'll have to wait for next Halloween for a Holiday anthology worth reading. (Because god knows we're not going to get one for Christmas.)

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7.6
DC Universe Infinite Halloween Special #1

Oct 31, 2007

Tying it all together is Abnett and Lanning's two bookends detailing the Arkham inmates escape, and while I wont spoil anything, I will say that these two writers save the best twist of this issue for last and manage to make the last two pages more than just a tidy little bow to wrap things up. This pleasantly shocking ending sees the return of one of the coolest supernatural characters in DC's arsenal and proves once again why the Joker is the craziest bastard in the DCU. A pleasant surprise, all in all.

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7.0
DC Universe Legacies #1

May 19, 2010

Legacies #1 is by no means a bad comic; it just pales in comparison to Marvel's previous two forays into the same genre. It still has plenty of potential, and has the chance to rise to new heights if Wein can manage to turn his lead into a more fully rounded character. Right now, though, the best thing it has going for it is its lineup of talented artists.

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8.5
DC Universe Zero #1

Apr 30, 2008

DC Universe zero is a strange little beast of a comic. At times, it seems like it means to be a reward to long-time readers, but then rarely delivers anything we don't already know (with the obvious exception of the last page). At others, it seems like it means to be an access point for new readers, but then never goes out of its way to explain itself. Other than Morrison and Johns' voice, there's really only one consistent aspect of this book, and that's its ability to build excitement for future stories. In that regard, DC Universe Zero is wildly successful, considering I'm now more stoked than ever for Final Crisis, Blackest Night, Batman RIP, and yes, even the upcoming Wonder Woman tale (though I'm curious as to how DC plans on avoiding a law suit from Dark Horse and Frank Miller).

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3.9
DC Universe: Decisions #1

Sep 17, 2008

DCU: Decisions isn't just a bad comic, it's an aggravating comic. And those are the worst kind.

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3.7
DC Universe: Decisions #2

Oct 1, 2008

Wow. What a horrible comic. I won't be able to forget about it soon enough.

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5.8
Dead Romeo #1

Apr 1, 2009

If the best thing I can say about Dead Romeo #1 is that I didn't want to throw it away immediately after reading it, the second best thing I can say about the comic is that I enjoyed pinpointing everything it does poorly. I suppose that's worth something.

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7.3
Death of the New Gods #1

Oct 17, 2007

This is by far the best Countdown-related series you'll find. If only it weren't Countdown-related.

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7.0
Death of the New Gods #2

Oct 31, 2007

Instead, it looks like we'll never know how Starlin would have ended this opus had he not been hampered with the whole Countdown tie-in. It's a shame, because I'm beginning to really like this book.

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8.3
Death of the New Gods #3

Nov 28, 2007

I was more than a bit skeptical of this project before it began, but Starlin has completely won me over with this third issue. Watching Starlin pull every concept and character out of the Fourth World toy box, play with the ones that interest him and then throw the ones that don't into oblivion is truly a sight to behold. Those unfamiliar or impartial to the New Gods might completely disagree with my opinion, but this miniseries is turning out to be a real gem of a comic book story.

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7.2
Death of the New Gods #4

Dec 26, 2007

His artistic style – a blend of Kirby and John Byrne's take on the Fourth World – is by far the most satisfying component of this series, which is fitting when you consider the Fourth World has always been known more for dynamic artwork than three-dimensional storytelling. Still, the very fact that Starlin is succeeding somewhat at the latter task is one of the highest compliments one could pay this veteran creator.

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5.7
Death of the New Gods #5

Jan 30, 2008

This is all not to say that fans of the New Gods and Jack Kirby's creation won't find this issue important. They will, and in some ways, I did. It's just that I'm tired of ignoring the 800-pound gorilla that's been sitting on this project from day one: Jack Kirby's Fourth World deserved to be closed in proper fashion by a writer of Starlin's caliber without the impedance or obstruction of DC's latest silly crossover.

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4.8
Death of the New Gods #8

Apr 23, 2008

As if following in the footsteps of the King of Comics himself wasn't a big enough task, Starlin also had to deal with the perpetual interference of Countdown. Anyone who read last week's issue of Countdown should already know not to expect a satisfying conclusion in the pages of this book. If the creators of DC's weekly, yearlong disaster were trying once and for all to prove that they had little idea what they were doing with Countdown, then the fact that the finale of that book came from the pages of this series definitely got their message across. Poor Jim Starlin. First, Tony Bedard revealed the identity of the New Gods' murderer as the Infinity Man in the pages of an otherwise unrelated Birds of Prey issue, and then Starlin himself isn't even allowed to handle his own story's conclusion. Instead, he's left grasping at straws in order to provide a satisfying conclusion, and I think it's safe to say that an extended Darkseid monologue isn't exactly satisfying.

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8.3
Deathlok: The Demolisher #1

Nov 4, 2009

Deatlok: The Demolisher isn't the most original story I've ever read, but it's definitely a ton of wicked fun. I love the freedom Marvel has given Huston and Medina in this re-imagining, and I'll definitely be coming back eagerly for seconds.

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7.9
Deathlok: The Demolisher #2

Dec 9, 2009

Nevertheless, Deathlok: The Demolisher has a ton to offer fans of satirical, darkly comic and at times disturbing science fiction. Huston and Medina are attempting a lot with this story, and that they don't accomplish everything they set out to shouldn't be held against them too much. This is a fun mini-series, even if it has its considerable faults.

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4.7
Detective Comics #837

Oct 3, 2007

I sincerely hope Mr. Dini is finished trying to expand on his floundering weekly series, because we already suffer through enough superfluous Countdown-tie-ins as is, and his Detective Comics one-shots used to provide a much needed break from the monotony of following DC's current megaevent.

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8.1
Detective Comics #838

Nov 21, 2007

As in any great Ra's tale, Dini showcases the grand scope of this story, taking us from secluded, cavernous hideouts to snowcapped mountains; he even puts Batman in chain mail and armor to underline the dire circumstances of this quest. It's a fantastic read from start to finish, one that underlined my suspicion that the Robin and Nightwing issues of this crossover will be spent on less important fodder. Considering the issues of Detective and Batman are so clearly more important to this crossover, it really makes you wonder why DC assigned a lesser talent like Benjamin to this installment's art chores. Benjamin's artwork is an obvious weakness, but again, even his lackluster effort can't change the fact that this issue is immensely enjoyable.

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8.7
Detective Comics #840

Jan 2, 2008

On the art side of things, Dustin Nguyen – Detective Comics' newest "regular" penciller – does a more than competent job capturing the raw emotion of Ra's and Batman's showdown while delivering an exciting sense of dynamism. If there's one problem I have with Nguyen taking over this book, however, it's that I can't stand the way he draws Batman's cowl. It's been a pet peeve of mine since his first issue on Superman/Batman with Alan Burnett, but I suppose I'll just have to get used to it.

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6.4
Detective Comics #841

Feb 6, 2008

As with most of Dini's Detective issues, the characters and story are extremely well written, but the whole thing can feel a bit too brisk and inconsequential. Artist Dustin Nguyen has a lot of fun breathing life into these colorful, goofy villains, but his over-the-top approach – though amusing – only underlines the fact that Batman will have no trouble making mincemeat out of these idiots. As far as similar types of stories go, you can put this one-shot on the bottom of the pile of Dini's other works.

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6.2
Detective Comics #842

Mar 5, 2008

Again, my main problem with this issue is the fact that there doesn't seem to be much of a mystery or explanation behind this suit of armor, which hardly justifies why an entire issue was needed to explore its back-story.

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7.5
Detective Comics #843

Apr 2, 2008

All in all, it was an enjoyable, if unremarkable, installment, with Dini offering nice characterization and artist Dustin Nguyen providing more of his stylistic pencil work (even though I still don't like the way he draws Batman's cowl).

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6.1
Detective Comics #844

May 7, 2008

Speaking of Zatanna, in my review of last issue, I voiced my excitement at the prospect of a Zatanna/Batman romance, but I have to say, after reading this issue, I'm glad such a pairing will likely never see the light of day in any serious capacity. Though they work in the confines of a JLA story, Batman and Zatanna just don't work that well together in a grounded story. Unless the two are going up against the likes of the Joker (which made for a brilliant 2-part story by Dini last year), having Zatana around for a fight with armed gangsters feels too much like cheating. I don't want to see Zatanna utter a backwards phrase and have the goons drop their Tommy-guns, I want to see Batman forced to disarm his enemies the old fashion way. From a story perspective, I think the Bat-books are far better off with less Zatana as opposed to more, though I wouldn't mind seeing her pop up from time to time to demonstrate her and Bruce's unique chemistry.

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8.0
Detective Comics #845

Jun 4, 2008

On the art side of things, I have to admit that I'm slowly coming around to Dustin Nguyen's work (though I still don't like the triangular, pointy appearance of Batman's nose behind the cowl). Nguyen use of shadows adds the appropriately dark atmosphere to Dini's noir-ish tales, and he also has a lot of fun with his character designs. Selina Kyle is as darkly sexy as she should be, and I loved the disheveled, Albert Einstein like quality to Commissioner Gordon's hair. It looks about right for a guy who spends twenty-hours a day sucking down coffee over crime scenes.

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6.8
Detective Comics #846

Jul 9, 2008

As I said before, Dini has a long way before he convinces me that Hush is a strong character, but I'm willing to stick around and see if he'll pull it off.

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8.0
Detective Comics #847

Aug 6, 2008

There are some truly harrowing moments here, and artist Dustin Nyugen has a lot of fun setting the dark atmosphere in each of Hush's modern day scenes with some strong use of shadows and lighting. He also does a great job with the last page reveal of the previously alluded to famous Batman villain. In general, this Detective Comics arc definitely seems to be going someplace interesting, even if it's nowhere near RIP. (Again, probably a good thing).

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9.0
Detective Comics #850

Nov 12, 2008

In the end, "Heart of Hush" turned into a strong and very fun Batman story. Thankfully, it also turned out to have very little to do with RIP.

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7.5
Detective Comics #851

Dec 10, 2008

As for the link to the recently concluded RIP, O'Neil fluidly includes shout-outs to a number of different stories currently taking place in the Bat-books, and he does it with the ease of a career editor who oversaw a number of different convoluted Bat crossovers in his time. What he doesn't do is clue us in on why all this matters to Millicent Mayne's predicament, and we're left wondering whether or not the veteran scribe might be using this RIP post-mortem to tell one last Batman story that's been lingering in his imagination. Seeing as I have full faith in O'Neil, I don't think this will be the case, and I fully expect the second issue to deliver more in terms of exploring the idea of a Gotham without Batman. As it stands now, though, all we really have is a relatively compelling story starring a mysterious new character, Nightwing and Two-Face.

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8.7
Detective Comics #852

Jan 7, 2009

On art, Dustin Nguyen continues to prove he's the perfect match for Dini's brand of storytelling. In an issue mostly void of action, Nguyen manages to provide plenty of interesting visuals to hold your attention, and along with inker Derek Dridolfs and colorist John Kalisz, does a tremendous job of capturing the different atmospheres of each of the issue's exotic locales. The issue speeds along smoothly from the very first page onward, and it all leads to a cliffhanger that left me desperate to read part two. Here's hoping Dini and Nguyen return for another lengthy run on Detective Comics following Battle for the Cowl.

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9.5
Detective Comics #853

Apr 22, 2009

"Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" is a marvelous love-letter to the Batman character and a meditation on what makes him so fascinating to so many generations of readers. Even if it isn't the last Bruce Wayne/Batman story ever told – and surely it wont be – it will still stand as one of the definitive Batman tales of all time. If you're a Batman fan, you'll want to reread it multiple times to re-experience its magic.

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9.3
Detective Comics #854

Jun 24, 2009

With a lead-feature that'll have fans talking for years to come and a back-up that promises to add considerable value to an already precious read, Detective Comics #854 is worth every penny of its $3.99 cover price. Go buy it.

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9.1
Detective Comics #858

Oct 28, 2009

Above all else, Detective Comics #858 proves that JH Williams is one of the most versatile, complete artists in comics. In addition to his flair for stunning page layouts and evocative designs, he's also a ridiculously talented nuts-and-bolts storyteller. Because he and Rucka are doing such stellar work with Batwoman in this series, I have a tough time being too hard on the lackluster Question back-ups, which remain oddly paced and unfulfilling each week.

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8.8
Detective Comics #862

Mar 3, 2010

With a Question back-up that furthers Rene's story in interesting ways even if it continues to struggle with the form, Detective Comics remains one of the best comics on the stands. When all is said and done, this run might stand as the finest work of Rucka's career.

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9.0
Detective Comics #871

Nov 24, 2010

Detective Comics #871 is one hell of a debut. Again, no Bat-fan should miss the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of what proves to be a memorable run.

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7.4
Detective Comics Annual #11

Oct 15, 2009

Looking back, I think I was a little harsh on last week's annual from Nicieza and Calafiore. Yes, it had its significant shortcomings, but it did provide what so few Batman books offer these days: a chance to watch the current team in action in a complete story. That it doesn't exactly hook us into the upcoming Azrael ongoing shouldn't be counted against it too much. Sometimes, telling an entertaining adventure story should be enough. Isn't there room for a Batman series that tells stories like this?

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4.3
Doc Savage #1

Apr 14, 2010

Luckily, the comic also consists of one of DC's second features, in this case a back-up starring First Wave's Justice Inc., written by novelist Jason Starr with art by Simon Dark's Scott Hampton. This back-up succeeds in nearly every area the lead feature fails. The Justice Inc's main player, The Avenger, is introduced beautifully by a revelatory opening scene as well as Starr's hardboiled narration. A few of the supporting players also get brief but succinct introductions. More importantly, Starr and Hampton give us a clear, easily recognizable story to sink our teeth into, as the Avenger sets out to solve the kidnapping of one of his troubled team members. There's nothing mind-blowingly original here, and I'd be hard-pressed to say this back-up provided enough to convince it's worth a second visit. But I'll be damned if it's not infinitely more professional and competent than the amateurish lead feature. Thanks to that little stinker, I'll leave all subsequent issues of this new ongo

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8.2
Doom Patrol (2009) #1

Aug 5, 2009

If there was ever a property that was meant for the sitcom treatment, it's Dr. Magnus' metal maniacs. And judging from this first installment, this title might be worth the cover price if only for its back-up. Thankfully, the main feature is also pretty damn good, too.

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5.7
Doomwar #1

Feb 18, 2010

Like I said, I haven't been reading Maberry's Black Panther work, and his writing in DoomWar #1 has me glad I haven't. Whenever a writer can make an idea as promising as a war between Wakandan revolutionaries, Dr. Doom, the X-Men and the Black Panthers boring, it's probably best to avoid his work.

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7.4
End League #1

Jan 2, 2008

All that said, this is only the first issue, and even if The End League doesn't exactly burst out of the gates, it did leave me wanting more. The title also has one huge plus going for it the art of Mat Broome, who delivers sleek, dynamic and powerful artwork from start to finish. Though Broome's work is a bit over-rendered for my tastes, it does manage to tell a hell of an exciting story and fits the tone of Remender's dark script quite well. The jury's still out on this one, but I'll certainly be back for more.

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9.2
Ex Machina #47

Dec 16, 2009

Readers might be interested to note I was late to the party when it came to this series, and had been reading in trades until recently catching up with the floppies. This is the first installment I've read as it's been released, and I can say without any doubt that the series reads just as well as a serial as it does in big, heaping servings. Ex Machina is the type of comic that's so damn good it's intimidating.

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9.2
Ex Machina #48

Mar 10, 2010

With only two issues left, I'm simultaneously ecstatic to see how the series ends and depressed to see it go. Kind of like how I was with Y: The Last Man. If Ex Machina concludes half as magically as Y did, we're in for one hell of a treat. If it meets Y's conclusion in terms of both quality and satisfaction, it will undoubtedly go down as Vaughan's strongest, most fully realized work to date. Which, you know, is saying a lot.

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9.5
Ex Machina #49

May 19, 2010

As noted before, everything is now in place for a fantastic, totally fulfilling final chapter. Though I'm heartbroken to see this series draw to a close, I can't wait to see how Vaughan and Harris tie the final chapter back to their bold debut issue, completing the engrossing circle they began spinning fifty issues ago. One thing I won't miss about the series? Trying to find new ways to praise its greatness.

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9.5
Ex Machina #50

Aug 18, 2010

As was the case with Y: The Last Man #60, there will be readers who decry Ex Machina #50's incredibly downbeat mood and lack of literal answers, but I'd say those people were probably reading the wrong series – and the wrong writer – all along. In my eyes this finale delivers everything the series promised and more, closing the book on Vaughan's greatest work to date with the confidence and nuance of a master. This series will be missed, but only until I inevitably go back and read the whole thing over again. And again.

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5.9
Fables #69

Feb 6, 2008

Whatever happened to the high stakes, anything-can-happen feel of Willingham's stellar series? Hopefully, "The Good Prince" will prove more of an aberration than a sign of things to come. I'd hate to think that the citizens of Fabletown all of a sudden have it easy.

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8.8
Fables #73

May 28, 2008

Again, it finally feels like the same old book I fell in love with a year ago, and when I hand out this series' trades to my next unsuspecting victim, I'll be sure to leave out the one that collects the last ten months or so worth of issues.

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8.8
Fables #76

Sep 24, 2008

The issue sees artist Mike Allred return for another fill-in stint, and although I'm a fan of his work, I don't think it really fits in this issue. Allred's depiction of certain characters, Pinocchio in particular, is so markedly different from the way Mark Buckingham draws him, that he almost seems like a different personality altogether. It's distracting, to say the least, and the dull color scheme makes the issue a bit boring visually.

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8.2
Fables #80

Jan 14, 2009

One minor complaint about the issue and the arc as a whole: if I had my choice, Willingam would let up on the use of back-up features, at least in the course of extended arcs. I would much rather have seen Willingham tell the "Dark Ages" in four parts as opposed to five, and then tell the Mowgli back-up serial in a one-shot. I think spreading the two stories out alongside each other lessens the effectiveness and disrupts the pacing of both. Other than that, Fables continue to impressively captivate me in the early goings of its second major era.

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7.8
Faces of Evil: Deathstroke #1

Jan 21, 2009

But as much as I had a problem with the specifics of Deathstroke's escape, I should say that Hine ended up redeeming himself with the issue's conclusion, which definitely pushed the character towards an interesting direction even if it's not a new one. In the end, the issue turned out to be one of the few Faces of Evil issues that proved more than just a cover gimmick, and actually revitalized its star character. And as uneven as Hine's writing was at times, penciller Georges Jeanty's art was consistent throughout, and I was reminded of a strange but pleasant hybrid of Scott McDaniel and Adam Kubert. If nothing else, I'd certainly be interested to see what the two creators would do with a longer Deathstroke story - as long as Hine stays away from absurd plot developments, that is.

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7.7
Faces of Evil: Prometheus #1

Jan 14, 2009

But like I said before, the most important question when dealing with a story like this one is whether or not it is entertaining in and of itself. Although this issue is clearly trying to serve a utilitarian purpose in raising a once mighty villain back to the top, it did manage to provide an enjoyable read as well. Even if Gates' Prometheus doesn't quite sing as much as Morrison's did, Gates' take is still a lot of fun to follow, and I enjoyed seeing him drag himself up from out of the gutter. Gates was thankfully shrewd enough to pepper in plenty of his backstory, which is as inspired and interesting as any villain's out there. Along with artist Federico Dallocchio, who comes across as a sort of Michael Gados-lite, the writer manages to deliver a worthwhile read that also accomplishes some important DCU house-cleaning. In these regards, I'll call this one-shot a success, even if it's not a mind-blowing one.

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9.1
Fantastic Four #571

Sep 23, 2009

But what really elevates Hickman's Fantastic Four is that wild, unbound creativity I mentioned earlier. There's a sense of wonder present in these pages that's been missing from this title for quite some time. More importantly, Hickman is still able to ground his story with logic and heart, giving readers an entry point into these high concepts. On art, Dale Eaglesham proves a capable collaborator, transitioning effortlessly from family oriented scenes of dialogue to bombastic sci-fi set pieces. This is definitely one creative team worth keeping an eye on.

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8.2
Fantastic Four #574

Dec 23, 2009

Fantastic Four #573 begins as an amusing little diversion and ends as a promising start to another high stakes adventure. Fans of the series will enjoy it for what it is, but fans of Hickman's work might leave every bit as disappointed as they are eager to see where this goes.

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9.1
Fantastic Four #575

Jan 28, 2010

Thanks to Hickman and Eaglesham, Fantastic Four is now once again Marvel's most exciting ongoing. And they're clearly just getting started.

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8.4
Fantastic Four #576

Feb 24, 2010

The issue's final five-page sequence introduces the three races of the underwater city, and then pushes Sue Storm to the forefront in a way we haven't seen in Hickman's run. There's a lot of potential to the concepts and ideas introduced here, and I'm looking forward to revisiting them once Hickman and Eaglesham are done introducing the other two realms. In the end, though, the way they tell this story is far more interesting than the story itself. Which is fine by me.

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8.8
Fantastic Four #577

Mar 31, 2010

One final note, which I'll shoehorn into the end of this review only because it seems an appropriate way to address this particular subject: Hickman's brief one-page text afterwards are some of the strangest oddities I've encountered in a mainstream superhero comic. I've yet to see what they manage bring to the table, except to suggest that Hickman isn't yet able to convey all of his wild ideas in the actual comic itself. The sooner these things go away, the better.

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9.0
Fantastic Four #579

May 26, 2010

As you can tell by this glowing review, the issue is another stellar performance by Hickman. Sadly, Dale Eaglesham's art is not present, presumably as a result of him taking on the Steve Rogers: Super Soldier mini with Ed Brubaker. Neil Edwards draws the issue instead, and his more conventional approach comes as a jarring shift after Eagleham's heavily stylized work in preceding installments. I can only hope that at some point Eaglehsam returns to see this epic through, even if Edwards does prove if he can draw one hell of a action sequence with the aforementioned kiddie kung fu match.

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8.5
Fantastic Four #580

Jun 24, 2010

The issue's final eight-page sequence is by far its best and most powerful. It's there that Hickman uses the school for gifted youths Reed set up last issue to introduce one of his most exciting plot developments yet. I won't describe it with any detail for fear of ruining the impact of the scene, but suffice it to say it involves the children successfully solving a problem that's plagued Reed for years – one that hits very close to home for the team. There are a ton of wonderful emotional moments in this scene, but its last page definitely packs the most punch. Once again, it reminds us that this title is in the best hands it's been in for years…maybe decades.

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8.5
Fantastic Four #584

Oct 28, 2010

As its cover suggests, Fantastic Four #584 focuses on Ben's struggle to decide whether to use the temporary cure concocted by Reed's class of child geniuses. Once again, Hickman proves as adept at injecting heart into his FF writing as he is shooting for the stars with crazy high concepts. The Thing sequences will strike an emotional chord with any fan of the character, and leave you off guard for the issue's surprising cliffhanger. Hickman's FF hasn't been told in the most conventional manner – the pacing is a little unusual and whole story threads seem to fall by the wayside for issues at a time as a result – but it's still damn enjoyable. Now with Epting on board, it appears the book is ready to kick into a new, higher gear.

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8.7
Final Crisis #1

May 28, 2008

Those complaints aside, Final Crisis #1 is an engrossing read and an absolutely stunning visual experience. With this issue, Jones steps right alongside Frank Quitely and J.H. Williams as the only artists capable of going step for step and perhaps even surpass Morrison's endlessly manic imagination. At the very least, this is one of the best-looking mainstream comic books you're likely to encounter.

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7.7
Final Crisis #2

Jun 25, 2008

Even with all the faults and problems I've pointed out, I think Final Crisis deserves praise for one reason: it's completely different than any one of these big event books we've ever seen. Morrison can be accused of a lot of things, but a lack of innovation and risk taking is not one of them. Rather than try and entertain us with a lot of big fight scenes and bells and whistles (see the main Secret Invasion series), he's chosen to try something completely different, one that fits right alongside some of his most challenging work. For that, I'm thankful. I just hope all of Final Crisis' grand plans will pay off in the end, because its not clear that they will.

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9.5
Final Crisis #3

Aug 6, 2008

Final Crisis #3 was one of the finest superhero comics I've read in some time, and trumps most other attempts at ambitious big event comics you'll find from past or present. This is reality shaking, good vs. evil, heart-pounding storytelling at its finest. I wouldn't call the series close to perfect just yet, but it's an absolutely engrossing read that kept me glued to every page. I know I can't wait for issue #4, that's for sure.

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8.7
Final Crisis #4

Oct 22, 2008

Jesse's Score: 8.4

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8.6
Final Crisis #5

Dec 10, 2008

Jesse's Score: 7.6

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9.0
Final Crisis #6

Jan 14, 2009

When it comes down to it, though, as I look at the closed copy of Final Crisis #6 that sits on my desk as I write this, the first thing that comes to mind is a book that blew me away with its high level of entertainment and overwhelming scope. The issue is significantly flawed, yes, and it's difficult not to suspect we were meant to read this installment after the few remaining tie-ins had hit. Still, I can't help but think back to how much fun, excitement and awe I experienced while reading the book. In that regard, I'd say the issue delivered and then some.

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9.0
Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #1

May 20, 2009

Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance is a spectacularly fun comic. With Casey, Chriscross and their coconspirators at the helm, it looks like the Super Young Team is in great hands. With any luck, they'll stick around the DCU for a long, long time. This team is just too much fun to dissapear into the ether of forgotten characters.

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8.4
Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #2

Jun 17, 2009

If you like fun, intelligent, off-beat superhero comics, you'll like Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance. In a comics market filled with generic superhero vehicles, this series is a breath of fresh air. There's really nothing else quite like it on the stands.

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5.6
Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape #1

May 13, 2009

Seeing as how this is the first issue of six, and (I assume) answers will be forthcoming down the line, I can't dismiss the possibility that Escape might turn into something worthwhile. That being said, I can say that as an individual issue Escape #1 fails miserably. I suspect many readers will forget what they just read moments after putting down the book, and that's never a good thing for a debut issue.

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5.6
Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape #3

Jun 10, 2009

I sincerely hope that those who slog through the murky waters of Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape in periodical form will be rewarded in the end for their patience. As a reviewer, I can't in good conscience recommend doing so. Instead, wait to see if the reviews and word of mouth turn around by the project's completion, and then go buy the trade.

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8.0
Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink #1

May 27, 2009

Fabrizio Fiorentino's work in Ink is gorgeous. Moody, atmospheric, haunting and brutal when it needs to be, Fiorentino's painted visuals are the biggest reason to give this series a try. The scenes of the Tattooed Man's ink coming to live to serve up violent justice are exquisite to behold, and you won't find another book on the stands that looks quite like this. Even if Wallace falls flat on his face with this story (and I don't believe he will), the series will be worth it just for Fiorentino's art. Give it a try and see for yourself.

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7.0
Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! #1

May 6, 2009

I will admit that there is a certain amount of fun to be had in watching a character as inept as the Human Flame stumble from one horrible mess to the next. I just don't think there's enough potential there to warrant an entire six-issue miniseries. Hopefully Sturges will prove me wrong.

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7.6
Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! #2

Jun 3, 2009

The infusion of new blood into the book doesn't just help the story, either; it also made me understand why Freddie Williams II was chosen for this series. In my review of last issue, I remarked how Williams' cartoony art felt out of place in this ultra-violent spectacle, but his style felt right at home as soon as Condiment King and his band of morons appeared. With this band of garishly costumed goofballs present to balance out all the blood and guts, Williams now seems like a great choice to handle the art. His work in the last few pages is another reason I'm looking forward to reading more of Run.

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5.8
Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! #3

Jul 1, 2009

Freddie E Williams II does another admirable job trying to keep things lively with his cartoony art, but again, even his energetic visuals aren't enough to get this issue off the ground. There's just no getting around the reality that there's not enough meat on either this character or this story's bones to make me care, nor is their enough style to compensate for its lack of substance. This is a miniseries that probably would have been better off left at the conceptualizing stage. Suffice it say that after only three issues, it's already run out of steam.

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8.8
Final Crisis: Legion Of Three Worlds #2

Oct 15, 2008

Outside of Johns and Perez, I can't think of any other pair of creators that could possibly have made a book like Legion of Three Worlds work on any level, which is a testament to its worthiness as well as the intimacy of every one of these Final Crisis tie-ins. How much this book succeeds might depend on your level of adoration for the Legion. At the very least, though, it will inspire awe and wonder like very few books you're likely to come across anytime soon.

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9.0
Final Crisis: Legion Of Three Worlds #3

Feb 4, 2009

Legion of 3 Worlds is a great comic. Regardless of how it might or might not fit into the tapestry of Final Crisis proper, it is clearly a story that has great significance to the past, present and future of the DCU. For fans of DCU cosmic epics, and Johns' work in particular, it's an absolute must read. Don't let this one pass you by simply because Final Crisis is over, or you didn't quite like what Grant Morrison did in his main story. Believe me - you'll be glad you stuck with it through all the annoying delays.

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8.4
Final Crisis: Legion Of Three Worlds #4

Apr 29, 2009

Because it's essentially a direct sequel to Infinite Crisis, many of that series' weak points spill over to this book as well. For starters, Superboy Prime remains an endlessly boring and one-note villain who's far more bearable when he's punching things than when he's spouting painful lines of dialogue. Johns is also a little too reliant on random character deaths that are meant to grant the story weight, but instead feel unnecessary and forced. By the time the issue got around to its earth-shattering reveal, however, I had accepted the series for what it is: a geek-tastic superhero slugfest meant to put a smile on the face of DCU fanboys everywhere. In that regard, the best thing I can say about this issue is that I found myself smiling more often than not while reading through these pages.

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8.0
Final Crisis: Legion Of Three Worlds #5

Jul 22, 2009

Seeing as how Legion of Three Worlds #5 hits stands just a week after the first issue of Johns' and Ivan Reis' Blackest Night #1, it's impossible not to compare the writer's work on the two very different takes on a DCU event. I'd definitely say that Johns' more organic, internally-driven storytelling approach in Blackest Night is far more satisfying than the gimmicky, externally-driven take on Crisis on Infinite Earths and Infinite Crisis found in Legion of Three Worlds, but again, I think it says a lot about Johns' talent and versatility as a writer that he can now successfully pull off both.

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8.7
Final Crisis: Resist #1

Nov 5, 2008

To summarize, Final Crisis: Resist is another top notch tie-in to Final Crisis proper, a book that contributes significantly to Grant Morrison's story while also succeeding on its own terms. Fans of Rucka and Trautman's work on Checkmate in particular can't afford to miss this issue, as it's the powerful last installment we've been waiting for ever since the two unceremoniously left the ongoing series.

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8.3
Final Crisis: Revelations #1

Aug 13, 2008

To wrap things up, this is a strong debut of a mini-series that is certain to be celebrated by some fans and derided as inaccessible by others.

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8.6
Final Crisis: Revelations #2

Sep 10, 2008

Final Crisis: Revelations is not only a gorgeous and moving site to behold, it's a also testament to how diverse this DC event really is. I personally commend the publisher for sidestepping the usual tie-in fodder and instead linking their top creators' most personal projects to Morrison's epic. It might not be so accessible to new readers, but I'm loving it.

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9.0
Final Crisis: Revelations #3

Oct 8, 2008

Once again, Philip Tan proves an invaluable contributor to this story, heightening the haunting and foreboding tone of the plot with an appropriately unsettling atmosphere. Tan's level of detail seems to waver inexplicably from page to page and panel to panel for the first time in this miniseres, but again, he captures the appropriate aura of this dark story and makes us buy into its biblical importance.

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8.7
Final Crisis: Revelations #4

Dec 10, 2008

With Revelations drawing to a close next issue, I'm eager to see how this epic confrontation ends, and what it will mean to Morrison's main story. Greg Rucka has asked some fascinating questions in this series, and I can't wait to hear the answers.

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7.9
Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge #1

Jul 16, 2008

In the end, as Final Crisis and Rogues Revenge dovetail in a more meaningful and recognizable manner, all of my questions and concerns might very well be addressed sufficiently. As it stands right now, however, I'm still in the dark as to why all this matters.

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9.3
Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge #2

Aug 27, 2008

Scott Kolins' art hasn't always been my cup of tea, but I'm happy to say I've loved the look of this series. It may be because Kolins has upped his game considerably, or because of colorist Dave McCaig's vibrant work, but each and every one of these pages is soaked with lush visuals that really make it a feast for the eyes. Kudos to both of them, and kudos to Johns for once again reminding us why the Rogues are awesome.

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9.2
Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge #3

Oct 15, 2008

Rogues Revenge is another homerun for Johns, Kolins, the Rogues and the greater Final Crisis event. I suppose now it's time to start counting down the days to Rebirth and Final Crisis #4.

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4.8
Final Crisis: Secret Files #1

Dec 31, 2008

Final Crisis: Secret Files isn't just bad; If you're a fan of Morrison's main story, you'll find yourself wishing this book never saw the light of day. What a shame, and for $3.99, what a rip-off...

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6.3
Final Crisis: Submit #1

Oct 22, 2008

Final Crisis has had some exemplary tie-ins in recent months. Submit is not one of them. All in all, I'd call it an unexceptional, very mediocre book, which is par for the course as far as typical tie-ins go, but nowhere near the quality we've come to expect from this event.

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4.0
Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D #1

Aug 27, 2008

Let's hope Morrison gets this weirdness out of his system with these two issues, and that it won't spill over into Final Crisis proper. I don't think I'd be able to handle it.

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5.8
Flash (1987) #233

Oct 24, 2007

If there's one real reason to pick up this issue, it's for a fantastic six-page backup written by Waid and John Rogers, with beautiful painted artwork by Dough Braithwaite. The story stars a Golden Age-era Jay Garrick as he attempts to save a peaceful alien race from extinction, and it's an absolute delight from start to finish. Waid and Rogers' characterization of the original Flash is spot on, and Braithwaite's painted work might alone make these entire 22-pages worth the cover price. Judging from the fact that this short is titled " The Fast Life: Part 1 of 4," it looks like Waid, Rogers and hopefully Braithwaite will be back for similar stories. For that alone, I'll be looking forward to future issues. Let's just hope Waid's new "West Family" direction will hit its stride sometime soon.

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5.6
Flash (1987) #235

Dec 26, 2007

And then there's this arc's goofy, B-movie villains, sea creatures that remain exceedingly ridiculous despite being fleshed out in this issue's backup feature, the third short installment of Waid and John Rogers' tale of the many Flashs' encounters with an alien planet over the years. I admire Waid and Rogers' risky decision to build up and develop an antagonist in such an unusual manner -after the fact, in a seemingly unrelated series of backups - but giving these villainous creatures depth before hand would have made previous installments far more interesting.

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7.4
Flash (1987) #236

Jan 16, 2008

I should also point out how little I care for the art of Freddie Williams II, who inexplicably draws the Flash (and Black Lightning and John Stewart, for that matter), as if he's been pumped full of ten doses of Bane's Venom. I'm no stickler for proper anatomy in my superhero comics, but Williams' humans are lumpy and a bit grotesque, and I'm fairly certain that's not the look he's going for in a book like The Flash. In comparison to the Doug Braithwaite-painted backup stories that have accompanied each of these last five issues, Williams' art looks rather amateurish.

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3.9
Flash (1987) #237

Feb 20, 2008

I'm not sure whether to call this issue a horribly executed one-and-done fill-in issue by Champagne and artist Koe Turnbull or a sign of what's to come for the Scarlet Speedster. I can only hope that future writer Tom Peyer can figure out a way to bring the Flash back to basics and away from this ill-conceived family-oriented direction. If that's not possible, I can only hope that Peyer won't hesitate to send the twins back to the future from which they came.

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8.0
Flash (2010) #2

May 12, 2010

In all fairness, the main plot of Flash #2, and "Dastardly Death of the Rogues", isn't poorly told; it's just dull and familiar. I'm sure Johns has plenty suprises up his sleeves when it comes to this story, and you can already sense him making Barry's unique perspective as a forensics scientist inform the style of storytelling. For now, though, I'm more entertained by all the juicy stuff he and Manipul are piling on top of the main story.

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8.5
Flash (2010) #4

Jul 28, 2010

Francis Manapul's art continues to be the book's biggest strength, and once again the artist has a lot of fun depicting the title character in super-fast motion. One sequence in particular, in which the Flash raises along the twirling blades of a crashing helicopter to save its pilots, is beautifully staged and rendered. Thanks to Manapul's gorgeous, kinetic art and a script from Johns that finally kicks this story into gear, Flash #4 is undoubtedly a winner and the strongest issue of the series to date.

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7.5
Flash (2010) #5

Sep 22, 2010

But man, do I wish Brightest Day hadn't unnecessarily reared its ugly head just as this story was getting good.

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7.0
Flash (2011) #7

Dec 31, 1969

Oddly enough, the quality of Kolins' art mirrors that of Johns' script, with the artist struggling with some awkward facial expressions and static compositions during the flashback sequences before rising to his usual level of dynamic, emotionally driven work once the story kicks into gear in the present day. The issue is definitely a mixed bag, and the good only barely outweighs the bland.

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8.5
Flash: Rebirth #3

Jun 10, 2009

My qualms about the art aside, Flash: Rebirth #3 stands as a pivotal chapter in this miniseries and Barry's return. The mystery is heightened, the characters sharpened, and the stakes upped significantly. I can't wait to see where the ride takes us next.

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7.0
Flash: Rebirth #4

Aug 26, 2009

I have no doubt Flash: Rebirth will go down as an important event in the history of the Flash, and there's even a possibility it'll read better when collected as a whole. Right now, though, it feels way too much like watching Johns do some home-repairs to the Flash property.

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7.2
Flash: Rebirth #5

Nov 18, 2009

But that's all not to say that this is a bad comic. I absolutely love the opening three-page scene explaining the Flash's biggest weakness – having to slow down. It's a reminder that, in addition to all of his other skills, Johns has an incredible knack for getting at the heart of a character. And as much as some moments feel forced and unnatural, others, like the Iris development, work wonderfully in the context of the story. The art, by Ethan Van Sciver, is beautiful enough to make me forgive the book's lateness, even if some of his figures seem too posed to be taking part in a kinetic, super-fast battle. Flash: Rebirth isn't a bad comic; it's just far from Johns and Van Sciver's best. I understand the Flash franchise needed some retooling, but couldn't it have been done in a better story?

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6.0
Gotham City Sirens #1

Jun 24, 2009

Having said all that, I feel the need to nevertheless point out that Gotham City Sirens still deserves a chance. Because it's Dini at the helm and he's handling these three characters, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that he'll be able to deliver some worthwhile stories down the road. As it stands now, though, this series hardly feels necessary, even for a fan of Dini's past work with these three stars. Let's hope he'll be able to come up with some worthwhile explanation for their alliance, other than they all look curvaceous when drawn by March.

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4.8
Gotham City Sirens #2

Jul 22, 2009

Seeing as how this series shares such a strong tie to Dini's far superior Batman: Streets of Gotham, it's even more baffling to think about its myriad failures as a comic. It's becoming clearer by the issue that the planning process behind Gotham City Sirens started and ended with "let's put these three hot super-babes in the same book!" If that's the type of thing that interests you, by all means go ahead and give it a shot. If you prefer more substance in your Batman comics, stick to the franchise's other titles.

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6.3
Gotham Gazette: Batman Alive? #1

May 27, 2009

If you've been enjoying all things Battle for the Cowl, then there's no reason for you not to pick up Gotham Gazette: Batman Alive. The book offers another look at the new Gotham landscape as well as a taste of what's to come for Batman's allies. Just don't go into it expecting a satisfying epilogue to Tony Daniel's three-part miniseries, or even much of a story, for that matter.

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7.8
Gotham Underground #1

Oct 24, 2007

Artist Jim Calafiore captures the atmosphere of Gotham City quite nicely, and since he's free from the rigid structure of Countdown, he's able to stretch his legs a bit with some more creative panel layouts. Though it doesn't have anything new to say about Gotham or the Dark Knight, Batman fans will enjoy this issue for what it is, a nice little tour of the grittiest city in the DCU. But if you're not a Batman junkie, and you've decided to avoid Countdown-related books like the plague, then by all means, stay away.

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6.5
Gotham Underground #2

Nov 28, 2007

If you're a Batman diehard, you'll want to dive into this book without thinking. If not, you'd probably do well to save your money for another, less formulaic title.

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7.7
Gotham Underground #3

Dec 26, 2007

If you're a similar type of Batman fan as I am, then I've probably already said enough to get you to pick up the book. If you're not, then I've probably given you plenty of reasons to stay away. Such is the nature of Gotham Underground, a book that succeeds in delivering everything it sets out to accomplish.

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3.9
Gotham Underground #4

Jan 23, 2008

When Gotham Underground was first announced, I rolled my eyes at the thought of another useless continuity-heavy mini-series that would only further muddle the greater story currently going on in the DCU. When the first few issues hit, I was pleasantly surprised at the goofy, whirlwind of action and character pieces. Now, after four issues, I'm back to square one, wondering why this series even exists in the first place.

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6.0
Gotham Underground #5

Feb 13, 2008

One final nit-pick before I leave you: Multiple times throughout this series, Tieri has made some pretty egregious continuity mistakes. And not the type of shallow continuity mistake that's common throughout the DCU these days, where a character is off on Mars when he's supposed to be imprisoned on Paradise Island. No, Tieri makes an entirely different and more severe blunder, and ignores stories that were printed not too long ago. In the case of this issue, Tieri portrays an Amgydala that's dramatically different from the character that used to live in Dick Grayson's Bludhaven apartment complex, and instead seems ripped right out of the pages of his appearance in Knightfall. If you're going to do nostalgic rehashes of the past, at least get the history right.

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3.7
Gotham Underground #6

Mar 12, 2008

If only it weren't too late to reconsider making Gotham Underground a six-issue miniseries...

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5.1
Gotham Underground #7

Apr 16, 2008

By now, you either enjoy the series as some sort of carefree (and brain-free) romp through the crossovers of your childhood, or you're like me, and find it too sloppy to enjoy or consider.

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3.9
Gotham Underground #8

May 14, 2008

With Countdown finally over and done with, Gotham Underground remains the lone remnant of that awful year in DC Comics, when boatloads of characters were thrown together into a random miniseries for no apparent reason than to prove the DCU is a joint universe. And just like most of its brethren, Gotham Underground proves the opposite. It also makes us wonder what goes through the minds of DC's editors when they approve a mini-series like this.

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4.9
Gotham Underground #9

Jun 11, 2008

After nine-issues of grasping at straws and trampling over every corner of Batman's world, it's worth pointing out that Tieri at least stumbled upon a character that he writes well: the Penguin. Tieri does a nice job capturing what sets Oswald Cobblepot apart from the rest of Batman's less cultured rogues, and there's one particularly poignant scene that sees him settle down alongside the only other civilized Bat-villain in Gotham, the Riddler, for what could be his last glass of fine vino. Jim Calafiore also deserves some kudos for his overall stellar work on this miniseries, even if I suspect that his style would be much more at home in a more traditional superhero book than the noir atmosphere of a Bat-book.

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6.5
Green Arrow (2010) #1

Jun 23, 2010

Look this is by no means a great or even good comic. By and large, the best thing about it is the art of Diogenes Neves, whose style is a lot cleaner and more impressive than similar Jim Lee knock-offs who have risen to prominence over the past decade. Still, considering Krul's mind-bogglingly bad recent showings (see: Rise of Arsenal), the sorry state of the Green Arrow franchise heading into this relaunch (see: Cry for Justice), and the issue's awful opening sequences, and credit is due to Krul for pulling the issue out of the muck long enough to convince me to come back for a second issue. I very well might decide that second taste will be my last, but at least I'll be back.

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6.0
Green Arrow (2010) #2

Jul 28, 2010

This issue follows Green Arrow and Hal Jordan as they visit one another and discuss Ollie's new status quo as the lone guardian of Star City's new star-shaped forest (another of the series' ridiculously random, contrived elements), a reunion which is interrupted by an army of mercenary policemen hired by the new head of Queen Industries to protect the city. The battle goes on for too long, with far little consequence and in a very clumsy manner, until the cliffhanger jumps out and desperately tries to convince you nothing will ever be the same again. Spoiler Alert: it will be.

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3.1
Green Arrow / Black Canary #5

Feb 13, 2008

There once was a time, somewhere around that GA/BC Wedding Special, where I was actually excited about this series. Those days are long gone. Right now, this series represents everything I can't stand about Winick's writing gimmicky plots, vomit-inducing melodrama, piss-poor characterization and overall lazy storytelling. Wake me up when someone else is writing this book.

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7.5
Green Arrow / Black Canary #17

Feb 11, 2009

Last but (surprisingly) not least, is the issue's Origins and Omens feature, which is actually an example of a writer turning this feature into an enjoyable story. No, it has absolutely nothing to do with Blackest Night, but at least Kresiberg is able to provide us with an interesting exploration of the consequences of Dinah's powers, and how she's been known to rack up collateral damage without even knowing it. And judging by this back-up, that very well might come back to bite her.

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7.5
Green Arrow / Black Canary #18

Mar 11, 2009

With as many crappy books out on the stands, I suppose it might be a little harsh to criticize a book for being only a few steps above mediocre, but I have no problem using that argument against Green Arrow/Black Canary. Kreisberg has shown some serious flashes of brilliance in the early stages of this run, and I'm fine with calling him out on the carpet for not putting all the pieces together into a greater whole. Because once he does, this series might finally become a book worth following closely.

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6.3
Green Arrow / Black Canary #31

Mar 17, 2010

The art is the issue's greatest strength. Federico Dallocchio stops by to lend this story a desperately needed sense of visual consistency and coherency. What his art lacks in detail, it makes up for in dynamic energy. There are some awkward poses in his work, but by and large his action scenes all suggest a sense of fluid motion. With Dallocchio on board, Krul might just be able to turn this new era in Ollie's life into a memorable one, mostly because, again, the central idea is a good one. He just needs to distance himself and his story from Cry for Justice as soon and as much as possible. He can start by following through on the promise of this issue's cliffhanger.

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9.5
Green Lantern (2005) #24

Oct 10, 2007

If Geoff Johns had to use Infinite Crisis to learn how to write a sweeping space epic of the Sinestro Corp War's power and magnitude, then I'm more than happy to forgive him for that infinitely disappointing miniseries event. Yes, this story is that good.

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9.6
Green Lantern (2005) #25

Dec 12, 2007

Much has been said up until this point, both in interviews and in previous installments of this storyline, about the upcoming "Blackest Night" storyline, the third part of Johns, Van Sciver, and Reis's epic Green Lantern trilogy. This final issue lays out the "Blackest Night" event in two segments drawn expertly by Van Sciver, the first of which details the prophecy in a rather haunting fashion, and the second of which shows the events of the Sinestro Corp War ushering in this dreaded new conflict. Without revealing any spoilers, let me just say that Johns and company look like they have an even more impressive story arc up their sleeves for Summer 2009, which is saying quite a lot really when you consider how damn near perfect the "Sinestro Corp War" truly was.

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9.2
Green Lantern (2005) #26

Dec 26, 2007

With one post-Sinestro Corp War issue in the can, I think it's safe to say that Geoff Johns has turned Green Lantern into the best DC Universe book on the stands. I can't wait for more.

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9.2
Green Lantern (2005) #28

Mar 5, 2008

One final note: Mike McKone's a fine artist and all, but he's no Ivan Reis or Ethan Van Sciver when it comes to drawing Green Lantern. I mean, few artists are, which is why any issue without one of the two involved is bound to dissapoint when it comes to the art. And this issue, as visually impressive as it is, certainly dissapoints.

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8.5
Green Lantern (2005) #29

Mar 26, 2008

All in all, Green Lantern offers up more stellar work, even if it's not as ground-breaking as recent arcs. At least not yet.

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9.5
Green Lantern (2005) #30

Apr 30, 2008

I've long believed that in order for a superhero origin story to succeed on a fundamental level, there has to be a believable moment where the character first realizes his power. And here, Hal's reaction to his rings' capabilities is damn near perfect, the best example of such a scene since the equally fantastic origin sequence from the first Spiderman film. That Johns was able to set this scene up by establishing Hal's desire to fly again makes it even more poignant. By the time Johns unleashes a jolting reveal on the issue's last page, we're already eating out of the palm of his hand.

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7.8
Green Lantern (2005) #31

May 28, 2008

If I had to guess by the way the first unexceptional issue ended with a twist and then led into the inspired second installment, I'd say that next month's issue should offer up some juicy new details of Hal's first year on the corps, particularly as it pertains to Sinestro.

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9.6
Green Lantern (2005) #32

Jun 25, 2008

Finally, I think I'm almost about ready to declare this series the best looking superhero book on the stands. Ivan Reis has made tremendous leaps and bounds with each issue on this title, and dare I say that he just might have leapt beyond the abilities of all but the best artists in the industry. Reis here shows a completely different side to the bombastic, action-packed work he did on the Sinestro Corp War, demonstrating an ability to nail each character's emotions that's on par with his ability to deliver stunning visuals. His work here is absolutely breath taking, and just another reason why any fan of the genre should be reading this book.

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8.4
Green Lantern (2005) #34

Sep 3, 2008

And of course, Ivan Reis continues to outdo himself with his work on this series and this arc in particular, proving that his flair for drawing deeply human drama is right on par with his knack for crafting bombastic space operas. His depiction of the battle between Hal, Sinestro and Atrocitus (thought wrapped up a bit too quickly by Johns) was breathtakingly gorgeous and exciting, and brought to mind memories of the Sinestro Corps War. As happy as I'll be to see this arc finish up with next issue, it'll be a shame to see Ries step away from the book for a much deserved breather.

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9.4
Green Lantern (2005) #35

Oct 8, 2008

And then there's the work of Ivan Reis, which stands head and shoulders above 98 percent of any work you'll find in current mainstream superhero comics. As incredible as Reis' work was on The Sinestro Corp, this issue is perhaps even more impressive, as its wide range of locales showcases his ridiculous versatility. Reis moves from emotionally fueled earth-bound scenes to sweeping outer space set pieces without missing a beat. I know I'll be counting down the issues until he returns to this book.

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9.4
Green Lantern (2005) #37

Jan 21, 2009

When you combine the interplay between Hal and Sinestro, Atrocitus' latest eerie prophecy, the appearance of the Blue Lanterns, the clash between the Sinestro Corp and the Red Lanterns, and the sheer number of plot twists Johns includes in this issue, what you're left with is a book that'll leave you gasping for air. And with Ivan Reis back on art full-time, it should go without saying that you'll find yourself admiring most of these pages with a slack-jawed look on your face. Let's hope this creative team can somehow continue to churn out the hits – and in a timely fashion.

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8.5
Green Lantern (2005) #45

Aug 26, 2009

All in all, Green Lantern #45 is an action-packed read that'll leave you gasping for air. Even if it doesn't leave me with much confidence that there will be a rhyme and reason to the way Blackest Night plays out across Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, it still delivered a hell of a fun time.

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8.8
Green Lantern (2005) #48

Nov 25, 2009

On art, Doug Mahnke continues to prove himself as the perfect fit for the Green Lantern franchise. Mahnke has always been known for his brilliant mix of the horrific with more iconic superhero imagery, and that sensibility works wonderfully on this franchise and this story in particular. The fact that Mahnke is easily talented enough to handle the core Blackest Night book should tell you a lot about the caliber of talent involved in this event, and Green Lantern's importance to it.

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9.1
Green Lantern (2005) #52

Mar 24, 2010

A comic such as Green Lantern #52 is hard to discuss without succumbing to a simplistic plot description that doesn't begin to do the story justice. Let's avoid that, shall we? Instead, just take my word for it – if you've been digging Blackest Night to this point, this issue will leave your jaw on the floor and your mouth salivating for Blackest Night #8. In that regard, it's a complete success.

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8.5
Green Lantern (2005) #55

Jun 30, 2010

Johns also has a blast with this material, and revels in the chance to handle Lobo's depraved sense of humor. There are a number of very funny lines dropped by The Main Man in the course of the issue, making for a humorous change of pace from the deathly serious tone that dominated much of Blackest Night. More importantly, Johns finally grants the series some much needed direction for the first time since his mega-event wrapped, at last giving this latest arc a more substantial hook than "the White Lantern is here, and it's mysterious!" Throw in a back-up feature detailing the origins of everyone's favorite blood thirty kitty cat, and you have a return to form for this lynchpin series.

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8.5
Green Lantern (2005) #57

Sep 9, 2010

Plus, it's Larfleeze in Las Vegas, people.

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8.5
Green Lantern (2005) #59

Nov 18, 2010

Between the central philosophical rift between Hal and Barry, the gradual, unnerving revelation about the Indigo Lanterns and a surprise appearance by the most infamous of the various colored entities, Johns is able to effectively suggest Hal still has a lot to prove to both his superhero allies and the Guardians of the Galaxy even after his universe-saving turn in Blackest Night. That's undoubtedly a good thing, as these new complications help invigorate this book and this franchise at a time when most other GL books are spreading the line's core storyline thin. Other than some unsuitably sloppy and rushed work from Doug Mahnke early in the book, Green Lantern #59 is one of the best GL book to hit in months. It's enough to remind you why this book was the best DC title on the stands for so long.

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9.2
Green Lantern Corps #16

Oct 3, 2007

This installment concludes the dire battle for Mogo, the living Green Lantern planet, with the struggle between Kilowog's GL soldiers and their Sinestro Corp counterparts reaching a frantic, heart-pounding conclusion when the Guardians desperately enact a new law into the book of Oa. It's a pivotal turning point in this epic story, and it is handled with the perfect amount of gravity and foreboding. Like I said, casual Green Lantern readers can get by without reading this issue, but I have no idea why the hell someone would want to miss out on something this fantastic. The "Sinestro Corp War" continues to do so much more than live up to its much-deserved hype. This is superhero comics at its best. Get it while it's hot.

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7.0
Green Lantern Corps #18

Nov 28, 2007

The few segments of this issue that aren't taken up by the Sodam/Prime brawl are spent on a flashback to Sodam Yat's youth and origin story, and these segments are by far the best parts of the issue. I have no idea whether or not Sodam Yat's origin story has already been told (I only started reading GL Corps once this event started), but I thoroughly enjoyed learning how this Daxamite came to join the Green Lantern Corps, and I specifically enjoyed seeing how this character is essentially Mon-El with a power ring. Still, my enjoyment of the flashback portions of this issue doesn't change the fact that they'd probably fit better outside the confines of the Sinestro Corps War story, which again, tells me this issue was slapped together to buy time for the finale. In the end, my heart still raced and my eyes still widened while I followed the action, but I wasn't nearly as thrilled as I was by every previous installment of this fantastic story.

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8.6
Green Lantern Corps #20

Jan 9, 2008

The only baffling aspect of this issue is the involvement of artist Carlos Magno, who splits artistic chores with regular penciller Patrick Gleason. One of the reasons Countdown has seen an upswing in quality has been Magno's recent lack of involvement on that title, which makes his role on one of DC's most popular recent books quite confusing. Are the editors trying to humble GL Corps and bring it back down to Earth (no pun intended) by assigning the sloppy and disjointed Magno to supply pages? That's what it seems like. This is one book that I'd rather see delayed than ruined by horrible art. It's a good thing Gleason was there to temporarily save the show this time out.

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4.2
Green Lantern Corps #21

Feb 13, 2008

I sincerely hope no new GL Corps readers drop the title due to DC's miscalculation. Tomasi and Gleason's run deserves better.

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8.9
Green Lantern Corps #23

Apr 9, 2008

Artist Patrick Gleason continues to play a vital role in the appeal of Green Lantern Corps, providing a unique sense of personality and movement in each of his panels and characterizations. It's been easy to overlook Gleason's stellar contribution to this book each month in the wake of the mind-blowing work being done by Ivan Reis on the Green Lantern series, but Gleason is a true treasure of an artist – one that deserves far more praise than he currently receives. With this artistic talent and Tomasi at the helm, it doesn't look like Green Lantern Corps will dip in quality any time soon. On the contrary. (Well, as long as they don't run out of old Alan Moore stories to mine…. I kid, I kid)

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7.2
Green Lantern Corps #24

May 14, 2008

Green Lantern Corps works best as a title when we get a sense of the vast scope of the DC Universe through the lens of GL Corps' everyday procedures, and even though this issue focuses heavily on the Guy Gardner/Kyle Rayner-led strike team on Mongul's planet, it cuts away to other GL Corps happenings just enough to drive home the vast scope that makes this series such a great sci-fi vehicle. This title is in competent, sure hands; I just hope Gleason figures out a better way to balance his out-of-this-world visuals with solid storytelling.

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8.3
Green Lantern Corps #25

Jun 11, 2008

Certain colors have played a huge role in the Green Lantern books recently, and it's worth noting that this issue is gorgeously dominated by greens, bloody reds and vibrant purples. This unique mix of horrific gore and strange beauty dominates each and every page, making the entire issue an immensely powerful visual experience. The confusing stage direction problems suffered in last issue are thankfully absent in this installment, and I'm glad to report that the chaos is now visually coherent. Credit is likewise due to new-coming inker Drew Geraci, who lends some much needed definition and clarity to these proceedings while employing a strong use of shadows and blacks. Let's hope this creative team gets the chance to stay together for an extended run, because I could certainly go for a few more issues like this one.

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7.4
Green Lantern Corps #27

Aug 13, 2008

Mongul sends the GL Corps his favorite flower arrangement.

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8.8
Green Lantern Corps #28

Sep 10, 2008

In general, Tomasi has developed a deep comfort and confidence with the world of the Green Lantern Corps, from Kyle and Guy's new bar, to the training grounds of Oa, to the prison science cells that house the captured Sinestro Corps members. He has likewise developed an ability to seamlessly slip in and out of the individual voices of his large and eclectic cast, making the book feel intimidate even when its dealing with a number of very different personalities. This issue's art, provided by guest penciller Luke Ross, is also top notch, and reminded me of Kevin MacGuire at times, specifically his ability to draw expressive faces. It's another wonderful issue of one of the most consistently entertaining books on the stands.

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9.1
Green Lantern Corps #30

Nov 12, 2008

Tomasi and Gleason pepper this central story with more tangential material about the Sinestro Corps quest to cripple the morale of the GL Corps, and all this leads to a huge development for this franchise. Between Tomasi' fantastic dialogue and Gleason's otherworldly pencils, the book zooms along with the slickness of a star cruiser. This issue is a must read for any fan of Green Lantern, and an exciting development on the road to Blackest Night.

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8.5
Green Lantern Corps #31

Dec 10, 2008

With the main Green Lantern title on an unfortunate hiatus due to some delays in the "Red Lantern" arc, Green Lantern Corps has been left to do much of the heavy lifting in terms of maintaining the excitement surrounding the franchise. Thankfully for GL fans everywhere, the book and its creators seem more than up to the task.

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9.2
Green Lantern Corps #32

Jan 14, 2009

Part 4 of "Sins of the Star Sapphire" is the strongest installment of the arc, one that's driven by Gleason's awe-inspiring visuals, Tomasi's trademark humor and characterization, several "holy crap" moments and a few that will warm your heart as well. If I have one complaint, it's that I wasn't quite ready for a certain big bad to return as soon as he did. I adore these characters, and I'd love nothing more than to see them have time lick their wounds before the coming storm.

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8.8
Green Lantern Corps #36

May 13, 2009

In the time since the Sinestro Corps War debuted, Green Lantern Corps has become so much more than a complementary book. Even more so than Johns' Green Lantern proper, this is the book that truly captures the epic scope of the Green Lantern franchise. It's gotten to the point where Tomasi and Gleason are no longer merely in the business of supporting Johns' series, but are actually in the habit of one-upping it.

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9.0
Green Lantern Corps #37

Jun 10, 2009

Blackest Night #1 is now right around the corner, and anticipation for DC's next summer event is at a boiling point. As is often the case when ridiculously hyped projects peer just over the horizon, many fans are mixing a healthy dose of caution with their excitement. While I'm as cautiously optimistic as the next reader, the strength of Green Lantern Corps is reason alone to believe this event might actually stand a chance of living up to our lofty expectations.

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8.8
Green Lantern Corps #38

Jul 1, 2009

It all makes for another immensely entertaining and momentous comic from this creative pair, with Patrick Gleason once again dialing up the energy to deliver a truly strange looking comic that's also extremely dynamic. For months many of Green Lantern Corps' fans have been proudly calling this book the best Green Lantern series on the stands. This issue is the perfect example why.

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8.2
Green Lantern Corps #39

Oct 8, 2008

Again, I implore those of you following Green Lantern but not Green Lantern Corps to give this series a try with this issue. You can thank me later.

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8.5
Green Lantern Corps #41

Oct 14, 2009

If the issue has one shortcoming, it's in the art department. Gleason is inked by three different inkers, each of whom brings a slightly different texture and depth to his pencils. It's not too much of a problem, but it's disappointing not to see a level of visual consistency in these dynamic, gut-wrenching battle scenes. I'll give Gleason and company a pass this time around, only because that cover, and its play on words, is one of the coolest things I've seen in a while.

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6.7
Green Lantern Corps #43

Dec 16, 2009

The best thing I can say about this issue, other than to once again praise the art of Patrick Gleason (his work in the Guy-as-Red-Lantern sequence is quite stunning), is to say that even in the midst of a crossover as big as Blackest Night, this series continues to feel like it's own story first and foremost. Developments, as cheesy and unfortunate as they are, reach back far before Blackest Night began. And more so than its sister title, Green Lantern proper, Green Lantern Corps has managed to maintain an identity throughout this event. In this latest case, it just isn't a very favorable one.

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8.4
Green Lantern Corps #44

Jan 20, 2010

It's hard to discuss a book like Green Lantern Corps #44, in which two or three gigantic, insanely imaginative set-pieces constitute the majority of the book's thrills, without spoiling the sheer spectacle for others. Suffice it to say that the issue provides the type of pages you'll want to tear out of the book and tack on your wall, and they're about the furthest thing from the typical comic book splash page you can imagine. And at the very least, credit Tomasi for challenging Gleason to draw the type of images we expect to see in a GLC book, and then allowing him to space to defy our expectations.

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8.1
Green Lantern Corps #46

Mar 17, 2010

I just wish Tomasi would have left that one skeleton in the closet, or in this case, that one woman in the refrigerator.

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8.0
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #1

Aug 12, 2010

The issue's biggest shortcoming has to be its ending, which closes things on a rather ambiguous note, especially for a debut issue. New series need to sink their teeth into you right off the bat, and I'm not sure the final two-pages of this issue do anything close to that. If anything, they simply left me scratching my head. Because its Peter Tomasi and Guy Gardner, though, I'll gladly come back to find out just what's up with that last page.

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6.5
Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors #2

Sep 15, 2010

Here's hoping this creative team syncs up sooner rather than later, because the book still shows a good deal of promise.

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7.0
Haunted Tank #1

Dec 3, 2008

But that's the thing about this young title – as hectic and all-over-the-place as it is, it's still immensely interesting, mostly thanks to the sheer weirdness of the central concept. There is a chance that Frank Marraffino can turn things around and lock into the right voice, but it looks like it could take a while.

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4.8
Haunted Tank #2

Jan 7, 2009

Haunted Tank is a bad comic. It's a clumsy and poorly crafted comic. It's also a loud and very annoying comic. For those reasons, I can't recommend it to anyone, regardless of how wonderfully weird the central concept might be.

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9.3
Hellboy in Mexico #1

May 6, 2010

So there you have it another glowing Hellboy review that heaps praise on the work of Mignola and his collaborators while still struggling to pinpoint its genius. Is there anything more familiar in the world of comic book criticism? If more people could more easily define what makes this series, and a book like Hellboy in Mexico, so magical, there'd be more books like it on the stands. If only that were the case

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8.5
Heroes for Hire #1

Dec 2, 2010

And then there's the issue's killer cliffhanger, which definitely had me clamoring to read issue #2. If that wasn't enough, the book also includes an eight-page prose Heroes for Hire saga identical to the ones Marvel usually publishes before one of these relaunches. Coupled with the book's high quality main story, this back-up makes this issue well worth the $3.99 price page, especially to those new to the property.

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5.6
Huntress: Year One #1

May 14, 2008

Again, my main problems with this issue all seem to stem from the fact that this mini hardly seems necessary, and even if it were a simple retelling of a B-list character's origin (which are always necessary in the ever-changing comics market), it's not a good one at that. Cliff Richards provides some crisp and provocative artwork, and his work in Helena's origin scene powerfully mirrors the iconic shot of a young Bruce Wayne standing over his fallen parents. Still, even his work isn't enough to compensate for Madison, who appears to be learning on the job. This is clumsy comic book storytelling with cheesy dialogue and expository-filled voice-over captions, and even the best artist couldn't overcome that.

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7.2
I, Zombie #1

May 6, 2010

But if part of the test of any debut issue is whether it provides enough reasons to come back for a second read, then I, Zombie #1 must be considered a partial success at the very least. Even with its unfortunate tardiness, Roberson's hook was strong enough to pique my interest, and Allred's pop-art style is always a huge asset to any story he illustrates. I'll come back for more, but with a strong urge to see Roberson do a better job of getting to the damn point in future issues.

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8.2
Incognito #2

Feb 11, 2009

Rereading what I've written thus far in this review, I'm guessing it will be easy for people to assume I didn't enjoy this issue, and don't care for Incognito as a whole. That's not the case, and I should point out that this book definitely is a worthwhile read. It's just not Criminal, and as unfair as that may be, it's reality. I for one yearn for the day Brubaker and Phillips fulfill whatever creative itch led them to this series and get back to exploring the world of Tracy Lawless, Leo Patterson and Frank Capra, P.I.

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7.9
Incognito #4

Jun 17, 2009

You can do a heck of a lot worse than Incognito while searching for entertaining comics at your local store. You can also do a heck of a lot better, starting with Brubaker and Phillips' past work. I'm not recommending anyone who's enjoyed those projects skip this one. I'm just hoping this incredible creative team gets this story out of their system so they can move onto something else, namely more Criminal. That might seem unfair, but it's the truth.

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8.0
Incognito: Bad Influences #1

Oct 28, 2010

But at its heart, Incognito: Bad Influences succeeds largely because Brubaker and Phillips again compliment each other so wonderfully. This is one of the best creative teams currently working in comics, and it's a pleasure to watch them enrich each other's work even if the story doesn't quite sing as loudly or as beautifully as past collaborations. Besides the central appear of seeing the writer and artist together again after a brief time apart, there are plenty of other strengths to the project to make it more than worthwhile, including another prose back-up from Jess Nevins detailing the history of a forgotten pulp character.

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4.3
Infinity Inc. #2

Oct 3, 2007

I know there's a saying that the English are an inherently depressed people, but come on, Peter Milligan - this is ridiculous.

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2.5
Infinity Inc. #3

Nov 7, 2007

At it's best, this series offers a "Freud for Dummies" look at superheroes that takes the postmodern deconstruction approach to super-powered entities and beats it to a bloody pulp; at it's worst, well, I don't know how you can get worse than that, but this series somehow does. Artist Max Fiumara and Travel Foreman provide moody and harrowing images that might fit well with a better class of writing, but coupled with Milligan's wet blanket of a script, they only succeed in dragging our mood down even further. I'm going to make a not-so-bold prediction and guess that Infinity Inc. won't make it past the twenty-issue mark. If we're lucky, it won't even come close.

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8.4
Invincible Iron Man #18

Sep 16, 2009

But as is often the case with Invincible Iron Man, the issue realizes greatness whenever Tony steps into the frame. Fraction's deconstruction of the character ranks up there with the best Iron Man stories of all time, and I could watch Tony struggle with his fading genius for another twelve issues if Fraction chose to go that route. One of my biggest complaints about this title is that I always have to wait another month to read the next the installment.

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8.5
Invincible Iron Man #24

Mar 3, 2010

In the end, the conclusion to Stark: Disassembled works largely because Fraction allows the plot to progress in a more fulfilling manner than he has in past installments. Finally, the story concludes with a rather brilliant and promising device to give Stark a new outlook on his actions over the past few years, putting the character in a fascinating place moving forward. For that, I'm almost willing to forgive the story's fundamental flaws.

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7.5
Invincible Iron Man #28

Jul 15, 2010

The centerpiece of the issue involves Tony and War Machine being duped into a PR fiasco by Justine and Sasha Hammer, a rather contrived development that doesn't really feel as devastating, or as inventive, for that matter, as Fraction intends it to be. We've seen Tony confronted with the negative consequences of his inventions plenty of times in the past, and this sequence does nothing new in that regard. Still, there are moments, such as a concise but revealing argument between Tony and Maria Hill that recalls Fraction's best work on this book. The issue also manages to end on a note that builds up this latest threat in an enticing way. Despite its flaws, and despite the fact that it involves Salvador Larroca rendering un-armored people in his awkward way for long stretches (never a good thing), the issue performs well enough to call it another winner.

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7.5
Invincible Iron Man #29

Aug 12, 2010

The plot sees Pepper Potts regain her chest repulsor and Rescue armor before she and Tony attend a Stark Industries gala alongside the Hammer women. There's a great moment when Fraction reveals a clever, almost ironic twist to Pepper and Tony's relationship, one I won't spoil except to say the development makes the on-again, off-again romance a hell of a lot more complicated. It's likewise amusing to see Tony nervous before setting off to shmooze potential investors, something the old Stark wouldn't have ever broken a sweat over. But again, the art is clumsy enough, and the plot slow and uneventful enough, that the issue never really springs to life. It also ends on a rather flat note, ultimately leaving me with the impression the issue didn't accomplish as much as it actually did.

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9.0
Invincible Iron Man #30

Sep 9, 2010

Save for a few storytelling hiccups and odd facial expressions I've come to expect from his art, Salvador Larocca even manages to reach new heights and impress with his work on this issue. Together, he and Fraction proudly reclaim this series' title as one of the most exciting, innovative superhero books on the stands.

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6.6
Iron Man Vs. Whiplash #1

Dec 3, 2009

All in all, I had a tough time caring about this issue and wasn't at all convinced to come back for seconds. Matt Fraction's amazing work on Invincible Iron Man should be plenty to hold me over until May, thank you.

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8.5
Iron Man/Thor #1

Nov 3, 2010

Iron Man/Thor didn't grab my attention right off the bat, but by the time the issue was through it had me hook, line and sinker. DnA are working with a seriously awesome high concept, one that's perfectly tailored for a Iron Man/Thor team-up. And with Eaton along for the ride providing some of his best work to date, this series immediately bursts out of the gates as a project no Marvel fan can afford to miss.

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5.9
Iron Man: Legacy #1

Apr 14, 2010

Iron Man Legacy #1 isn't a bad comic, but it is an entirely mediocre one. The issue lacks any of the originality or vision you'd expect form a new ongoing starring one of Marvel's flagship characters. I can only hope any reader compelled to pick up an Iron Man comic due to the upcoming release of Iron Man 2 will find his or her way to Fraction's Invincible Iron Man long before they pick up this one. Otherwise they might find themselves wondering what all the fuss is about.

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6.6
Irredeemable #1

Apr 1, 2009

Irredeemable #1 is a failure partly because its high concept isn't all that high, but mostly because it fails to say anything interesting about the idea. Hopefully, that'll change sooner rather than later.

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7.3
Irredeemable #2

May 6, 2009

Irredeemable #2 is huge step in the right direction for a series that got off on the wrong foot, yet it has a long way to go before I'd call it impressive or innovative. Because it's Waid at the helm, though, and he's ostensibly trying to say something profound about his favorite hero, I'm definitely going to stick around for more.

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6.8
Irredeemable #5

Aug 5, 2009

But fortunately, Waid does offer a light at the end of the tunnel in the issue's climax, stoking the fires of the Modeus subplot while revealing a scandalous affair between Plutonian and a female superhero that sends shockwaves throughout the Paradigm. If Waid can focus more on this type of drama and less on derivative – there's that word again – statements about archetypes other than Superman, I'd likely stick with this series for a long time. Even at full price.

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9.4
JLA/Hitman #2

Oct 3, 2007

Like I said in my review of part one of this special - I don't know how this book came about, but I applaud whatever DC editor had the idea or courage to make this killer project a reality.

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5.0
JLA/The 99 #1

Oct 28, 2010

Because there's so little context and depth to the tale, the plot feels like a random confluence of events rather than an actual story. The art, by Tom Derenick and Drew Geraci, is just as haphazard and uneven as the writing, making for a comic that includes plenty of costumed heroes, inane action, earthquakes and vague ideas, but little in the way of meaning or entertainment. It certainly didn't leave me with any desire to pick up another issue, or any book starring The 99, for that matter.

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8.0
Joe The Barbarian #1

Jan 20, 2010

The goal of any first issue is to draw readers in to the story and convince them to come back for more. Thanks to Sean Murphy's gorgeous art and a haunting atmosphere that hinted atmagical possibilities, Joe the Barbarian #1 definitely drew me in. For that, I'll call it a success, even if it's difficult to call it great without the context of future issues. That said, I have a feeling I'll be thankful that Morrison and Murphy took the time and space to walk us through this boy's house.

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9.0
Joe The Barbarian #2

Feb 18, 2010

Morrison and Murphy are taking on a very difficult task with this story. On the surface, Joe the Barbarian is about a diabetic kid who hallucinates while trying to get downstairs before he dies of shock. In another creative team's hands, that could seem like a pretty thin plot to build an eight issue mini-series around. Thankfully, Morrison and Murphy make it impossible not to get completely immersed and lost in this rich tale, where samurai rats, fiery demons and sci-fi pirates all tickle the imagination and suggest there's far more going on in this boy's perilous journey.

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9.8
Joker #1

Oct 15, 2008

Buy this book. Read it twice in a row. Then put it on your bookshelf right next to The Killing Joke, Grant Morrison's prose issue and your bootleg DVD of The Dark Knight, and try to sleep well tonight.

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5.0
Joker's Asylum: Poison Ivy #1

Jul 16, 2008

In the end, this third one-shot in the Joker's Asylum mini is largely forgettable, and will likely dissapear into the vast pool of bargain Batman one-shots found in any convention long box.

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3.1
Joker's Asylum: The Joker #1

Jul 2, 2008

The art is equally as troubling as Nelson's writing. Artist Alex Sanchez's rough and sketchy art isn't rough and sketchy in a provocative, stylistic way. It's sloppy, ugly to look at and seems rather rushed. This is not a good comic, and I can only hope the proceeding one-shots offer far more in terms of quality and intelligence than we find here.

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7.2
Joker's Asylum: The Penguin #1

Jul 9, 2008

On art, Jason Pearson's work is likewise a huge step up from the quality of last week's issue. Pearson brings the right sense of creepiness to the proceedings, and nails every nuance in the above-mentioned brilliant scene. This is a one-shot well worth the cover price – flaws and all – if only because it's fascinating to see a young writer who hasn't quite ironed out his craft, but is pretty damn close.

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6.5
Joker's Asylum: The Riddler #1

Jun 3, 2010

In general, the story suffers in the end from the use of the Joker as narrator, ultimately leading to all of the issue's unnecessary distractions, misleading narrative twists and unfulfilled promises. The idea of the Riddler trying to win the love of an innocent citizen is strong enough on its own without all the needless window dressing. At its best, when the Joker's narration didn't stick out like a sore thumb and/or derail the plot, the story almost felt like an episode of Batman: The Animated Series. Which is a high compliment, indeed, even if it sadly fails to live up to that comparison in the end.

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8.8
Joker's Asylum: Two-Face #1

Jul 30, 2008

The art is handled by Andy Clarke, who's no stranger to the Harvey Dent character after drawing "Face to Face," the "One Year Later" story that brought the character back to his roots as Two-Face. Hunt's relatively simple, straight-to-the-point approach works well throughout most of the issue, but falls far short when it comes to depicting the Joker. Unlike most artists who have fun giving Mr. J an almost alien appearance, Clarke draws the character as almost a normal, good-looking man with white skin and green hair, and the result is far less menacing than it should be.

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9.0
Jonah Hex #50

Dec 3, 2009

This is a great issue, and not just because of Cooke's art. Palmiotti and Gray have crafted a tremendously entertaining and rich little one and done story, enough to convince me to come back to the series even if Cooke won't be around for another issue. Mission accomplished. I'm sold.

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8.2
Jonah Hex #51

Jan 6, 2010

Even if I was once again late to the party, I'm thrilled I discovered Jonah Hex. There's always room on my pull list for masterfully crafted, smart, genre series that offer one-and-done stories.

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8.7
Jonah Hex #52

Feb 3, 2010

Jonah Hex is far more than a welcome reprieve from the typical superhero fare; it's an expertly written western vehicle that also happens to showcase some of the best artists around. Add it to your pull list. You won't regret it.

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7.4
JSA All Stars Vol. 2 #1

Dec 3, 2009

So JSA All-Stars #1 is a mostly successful debut for the DCU's newest team. Their first story is set-up nicely, we get a good handle on the team's dynamic and an idea of what's coming down the road. I just hope we see a lot more of Sandman. Just as Geoff Johns did before him, Sturges does fascinating work with the character in an extremely brief appearance, then abandons him entirely. Now that he has the space, I'd like to see Sturges do more with the troubled hero.

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6.5
JSA All Stars Vol. 2 #2

Jan 6, 2010

And because no one asked for it, the book also features a second feature starring Hourman and Liberty Belle written by Jan Ven Meter and drawn by Travis Moore. There's not much to say about this back-up other than it shares a closer connection to the main story than these secondary features typically do, and fails to make me care about these characters any more than I already did – which was not much. It definitely didn't justify the issue's $3.99 cover price.

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8.0
JSA Kingdom Come Special: Magog #1

Nov 19, 2008

As it stands now, this Kingdom Come storyline has been extremely unfocused and uneven, but has neverthless managed to entertain for the most part. In the end, this Magog one-shot continues that trend.

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8.8
JSA Kingdom Come Special: Superman #1

Nov 12, 2008

All in all, I'd say this one-shot special is worth every penny of its $3.99 cover price, and is a can't miss for Alex Ross enthusiasts.

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8.0
JSA Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom #1

Nov 26, 2008

On art, Fernando Pasarin once again turns in a quality performance on one of these one-shots, and proves he's more than worthy of contributing to the JSA ongoing if Dale Eaglesam can't handle the load. Pasarin's work here is crisp, clear and dynamic, and he's able to seamlessly shift in and out of a number of different moods and atmospheres. Pasarin's work here, coupled with the way this issue pushes the Gog storyline to the breaking point, just manages to make up for the insufferable emo-Damage character.

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5.4
Justice League of America (2006) #14

Oct 17, 2007

In short, if you want to sink your teeth into a great Injustice League/Legion of Doom story, pop in the final season of Justice League Unlimited, because McDuffie's comic book version isn't nearly as entertaining.

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6.0
Justice League of America (2006) #15

Dec 5, 2007

Don't get me wrong from a craft standpoint, this arc has been superb. McDuffie knows how to tell a comic book story, and artist Ed Benes certainly knows his way around action-packed fight scenes (even if his "boobs and bisceps" style gets a bit old after a while). I just expected more from such a talented writer than this type of standard superhero fare.

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5.1
Justice League of America (2006) #16

Dec 19, 2007

Compounding my suspicion that this entire issue was more or less an exercise in eating pages while McDuffie prepares his next story arc is the presence of a cheesy seven-page Alan Burnett-penned back-up story that belongs in one of DC's hokey Infinite Holiday Specials, not their most celebrated team book. I'm pretty sure I've read this type of Christmas story a hundred times before, with a costumed hero (in this case, Red Arrow) volunteering at a soup kitchen only to find that one of his former enemies is out of prison, on the streets and down on his luck. I don't want to sound like a Scrooge or anything, but I need to read more of these Christmas themed short stories like I need a pile of Reindeer dung in my stocking.

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6.5
Justice League of America (2006) #18

Feb 20, 2008

Ignoring one laughable caption in which Black Lightning calls The Key, Polaris and eight other jobbers "the ten worst criminals this world has to offer," this issue is generally entertaining. And if the story is headed where I think it is – with the JLA thrown into the mix of super-villains on the aptly named Hell Planet – then it might just turn out to be very entertaining. But that still won't change the fact that it's playing second fiddle to the far more enjoyable Salvation Run. I can only hope there's bigger, more interesting and original things in store for this title following Final Crisis.

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5.7
Justice League of America (2006) #19

Mar 19, 2008

What the heck has happened to what was once DC's flagship title? Say what you want about Brad Meltzer's convoluted whodunnits and his propensity for needless multi-perspective narration, but his run on this series' first dozen issues at least had a direction and consistent tone. That hasn't been the case since, and I blame the apparent editorial handcuffs that have been placed on the book and its writers. With a Final Crisis tie-in arc on the horizon, it doesn't look like McDuffie will be free to tell his own brand of story for some time. Instead of giving James Robinson another Justice League title to tell original, distinct stories, maybe the higher-ups at DC should have just allowed someone to do so with the JLA title that currently exists. Or does that make too much sense?

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8.9
Justice League of America (2006) #20

Apr 23, 2008

One more thought on the art before we wrap things up: if Ethan Van Sciver wasn't immediately placed alongside the biggest artistic names in mainstream comics following the Sinestro Corp War special, than I think it's safe to do so after his equally phenomenal work in this issue. McDuffie's script doesn't give Van Sciver any of the same types of bombastic, high-octane scenes that made up the majority of the Sinestro Corp War, but by focusing squarely on the Flash, the artist is able to nonetheless make this book a visual feast from start to finish. Bravo.

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6.9
Justice League of America (2006) #21

May 21, 2008

For the sake of Dwayne McDuffie and this title, let's sincerely hope that this upcoming Crisis really is the Final one in at least a year or so, because this book desperately needs to reestablish its own identity. And McDuffie deserves to tell his own stories.

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8.8
Justice League of America (2006) #25

Oct 1, 2008

Who knows? What's important is that we finally got a substantial JLA story that feels like McDuffie's, and McDuffie's alone.

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8.4
Justice League of America (2006) #26

Oct 29, 2008

All in all, I'd call this issue, and this arc, a very entertaining Justice League story that will hopefully push this title, and this team, into a new era of prosperity.

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8.0
Justice League of America (2006) #27

Dec 10, 2008

But my wariness with Benes is hardly the main point I'm trying to make with this review. What's important is that McDuffie's voice is finally coming through mostly unfiltered and uninhibited in this book, and the reintroduction of the Milestone characters only looks like it'll help matters.

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7.8
Justice League of America (2006) #28

Dec 31, 2008

To summarize, if you're a longtime Milestone fan, then this story arc is probably a huge treat. If you're unfamiliar with the Milestone characters, there's still a good chance you'll want to read more about them. In those regards, I suppose McDuffie is on the right track.

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6.0
Justice League of America (2006) #29

Jan 21, 2009

On the positive side of things, I think there are definite plusses to reading a comic that gleefully and unapologetically tells a story involving a vampire that sucks the life-force from planets, Superman and Green Lantern pulling the Earth back into orbit, and the JLA using the positive karma of Earth's citizens to overcome great odds. There's just a way to do this sort of thing without making it feel like the reader accidentally picked up a 1970's copy of Justice League as opposed to one from 2009. Wein never accomplishes that, and as a result, the issue doesn't really hold up to modern standards, even if its told with the clarity and craft of a legendary veteran. To a certain extent, fans expect different things from their superhero comics now than they did two or three decades ago, and I don't think this issue delivers many of them.

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5.9
Justice League of America (2006) #33

May 27, 2009

Whether intentionally or not, DC editorial took their flagship team book and ran it right off the road. It's going to take another drastic reboot or re-imagining to right this ship, and with all due respect to upcoming writer Len Wein, his silver age stylings aren't the answer. DC doesn't have to put The Big Three in the JLA to make it a successful and enjoyable series. What they have to do is allow the series' writer to actually tell a coherent story without having to accommodate every event and continuity hiccup that occurs in the DCU. I'd hate to say it, but until they do precisely that, I don't think this book will be worth reading.

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4.5
Justice League of America (2006) #38

Oct 21, 2009

I think I speak for a lot of JLA fans when I say it's not too soon to start looking forward to the next creative team to come along and revamp this floundering book.

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8.0
Justice League Of America 80-page Giant #1

Sep 30, 2009

With the main Justice League series languishing in mediocrity and James Robinson's Cry for Justice doing little to make fans think things will get better when he and Mark Bagley take over next month, this 80-Page Giant stands as one of the single best JLA comics to come along in years. This is the type of story the JLA property demands, and I'd rather see DC hand the book over to any one of these up and coming writers than read anything in the vein of Cry for Justice.

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5.2
Justice League: Cry for Justice #1

Jul 1, 2009

Daniel's Score: 5.0

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4.8
Justice League: Cry for Justice #2

Aug 5, 2009

To wrap things up, I'll leave you with one last damning statement about Cry for Justice #2 – I enjoyed Robinson's prose piece about Ray Palmer and Len Wein and Mark Bagley's two page origin far more than I did the actual comic. Take from that what you will, but I should point out that I mean it more as a jab against the main feature than praise for the added content of this $3.99 book. Save your money.

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3.8
Justice League: Cry for Justice #3

Sep 2, 2009

Judging from the issue's back-up text piece, Robinson has a strong passion for Prometheus, and really wants to bring him back to A-list status. Sadly, his efforts might be doing more harm than good. Prometheus' mere presence in this mess of a comic almost undoes all the damage control Sterling Gates did in the recent Faces of Evil one-shot. It's that bad.

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1.0
Justice League: Cry for Justice #7

Mar 3, 2010

Cry for Justice #7 might be the worst comic I've ever read, and I've read a lot of crappy comics. Thanks to Cry for Justice, I will no longer think of James Robinson as the writer of Starman. Instead, I will now forever think of him as the man who wrote the script to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen film, and of course this disastrous, detrimental mess of a mini-series.

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7.8
Justice League: Generation Lost #1

May 12, 2010

So that's the issue in a nutshell. It's mostly set-up, but mostly good set-up at that. DC, Giffen and Winick are clearly hell-bent on re-establishing Lord as one of the DCU's biggest heavies, and despite a dubious claim made by Superman in this issue that Lord came closest out of anyone to defeating the heroes of the DCU, they start the character off on the right foot back to big-time villainous status. Aaron Lopresti brings the same steady, crisp brand of art he brought to Wonder Woman for an extended run, and having Giffen back handling breakdowns 52-style means the storytelling buzzes along without a hitch. If you're digging Brightest Day, dug the lead-up to Infinite Crisis, and/or have an affinity for any of the lead characters, this is definitely a bi-weekly series worth following.

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7.0
Justice League: Generation Lost #2

May 26, 2010

Despite its flaws, Generation Lost still has a lot of potential. If Giffen and Winick can somehow make this familiar story seem fresh while delivering more in terms of humor, surprises and plot twists, Generation Lost has the ability to stand right alongside Brightest Day in terms of quality and entertainment. As of now, though, the writers have their work cut out for them.

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8.0
Justice League: Generation Lost #5

Jul 14, 2010

This fifth installment turns the story on its head and reveals a new facet to Max Lord's motivations, mirroring the JLI's debut story in a fun and surprising way. Scripter Judd Winick continues to wonderfully capture Booster Gold's voice, and here makes the most of the opportunity to delve back into the character's origins. His take on the rest of the cast is equally as enjoyable, with the new Rocket Red stealing a lot of the issue's funnier moments. I'm not entirely sure where Winick and co-writer Keith Giffen are going with this story, but that's part of the fun. And with a talented ensemble of artists that includes a rock solid penciller like Aaron Lopestri along for the ride, I foresee mostly good things for this series moving forward. I wish Brightest Day was this consistent.

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8.5
Justice League: Generation Lost #6

Jul 28, 2010

The issue accomplishes a hell of a lot in the span of twenty-two pages, fleshing out Captain Atom's personality while providing him motivation to put a stop to Lord once and for all. More importantly, the look into this possible apocalyptic future is an extremely fun, weird and ultimately scary one, making for a great stand alone tale that also manages to service the series' ongoing plot. Fernando Dagnino steps in this week to pencil over Keith Giffen's breakdowns, and once again the series provides a far more aesthetically consistent (not to mention pleasing) visual experience than Brightest Day does. The series' art and inspired issues like this one are two big reasons why fans are calling Generation Lost the better of DC's two bi-weekly series.

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8.5
Justice League: Generation Lost #7

Aug 12, 2010

Generation Lost #7 sees the newly formed Justice League International attempt a full on assault of Checkmate's headquarters in their hunt for Maxwell Lord, who begins the book by experiencing an epiphany regarding his reason for returning from the dead. The JLI's attempted siege is of course wrought with missteps and unexpected gaffs, the funniest of which come courtesy of the new Rocket Red – one of the best new additions to the DCU in years. Joe Bennett handles the art capably without the help of Keith Giffen's breakdowns, which means Giffen's grid like structure is absent for the first time. Not a problem. Bennet's storytelling is as crisp and concise as ever, and Winick's script provides him plenty of big action sequences to draw while keeping the laughs coming at a fast clip. While my expectations for Brightest Day are dropping with each passing issue, the opposite is true with this series.

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8.0
Justice League: Generation Lost #15

Dec 31, 1969

Generation Lost has long been much more than just a string of neat ideas, and Winick here adds to the fantastic characterization he's brought to this cast of characters since the series began. I love the way Booster Gold, over the course of the series, is slowly stepping into a leadership role, and the way the he dresses down a blood-thirsty Captain Atom in this issue was a great touch, one that added legitimacy to Booster without ignoring the character's core sense of humor. Add in some solid art from Joe Bennett and a shocking last page twist, and you get another very entertaining installment of DC's best biweekly book.

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8.7
Justice League: New Frontier Special #1

Mar 5, 2008

In addition to the visual and narrative delight described above, the issue also includes a hilarious introduction in which Rip Hunter tells readers to stop worrying about what Earth the following stories take place on and just enjoy the show. There's also a Cooke-penned and David Bullock-drawn story that has the spirit of the original novel, but isn't quite up to par. Finally, there's a somewhat humorous Wonder-Woman/Black Canary short drawn by J. Bone.

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4.5
Justice League: Rise and Fall #1

Mar 10, 2010

In the end, Rise and Fall isn't as offensive as its parent miniseries, but it is almost as bad. When he's done trying to clean up Robinson's mess, Krul sends Ollie off to hunt more baddies with the JLA on his trail, and we're told to follow along in Green Arrow's ongoing. Sorry, JT, but I'll pass.

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5.8
Justice Society of America #11

Dec 5, 2007

So what gives? Why's "Tall, Gray and Mopey" involved in this storyline to begin with? Besides the obvious answer that it would help sell more issues, I honestly couldn't tell you. I just hope he goes away sometime soon, so this book can get back to the type of legacy-driven storylines that made it one of my favorite titles on the stands.

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5.8
Justice Society of America #12

Feb 6, 2008

It's impossible not to feel like the quality of this new JSA title took a big hit when it crossed over with JLA so early in its existence, and I now feel like this Kingdom Come crossover is further harming the series' ability to tell compelling stories.

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6.1
Justice Society of America #15

May 21, 2008

Not surprisingly, the highlight of the issue has little to do with Gog, Magog or Kingdom Come and arrives with the type of "coming attraction" reel Johns first introduced in the debut issue of this series. The fact that the three previewed stories are far more mouthwatering than the issue's cliffhanger easily demonstrates it's well past time to move on to another story.

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8.5
Justice Society of America #18

Aug 27, 2008

Other than the Gog material and the previously alluded to development that I should have seen coming, Johns briefly visits with Power Girl on Earth-2 and alludes to some greater connection between her story, Gog's and Magog's. Where this is going, I have no clue. But I am interested and even excited, which I couldn't really say until good ol' Gog showed up to crash the party.

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8.4
Justice Society of America #19

Oct 15, 2008

Like the best ongoing titles, JSA once again consists of a number of threads that all point in relatively promising directions, and will all likely converge for some serious fireworks. The book has returned its main focus back to its characters by facing them with some seriously difficult questions. JSA is once again wearing its heart and brain on its sleeve, which wasn't exactly true during the first half of this KC crossover. With regular artist Dale Eaglesham apparently back in the groove, and longtime Earth 2 penciller Jerry Ordway lending a hand for the Power Girl scenes, it's also one of the sharpest looking book on the stands. For the first time in a while, I'm genuinely excited for the next issue of Justice Society of America.

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6.9
Justice Society of America #20

Nov 5, 2008

But again, it's worth pointing out that I'm sure many admire this series' ambitious desire to incorporate as many storylines and characters as possible, even if it prevents Johns from progressing the storyline very much. Me? I'm tired of multiple Earths, allusions to Kingdom Come, vague connections to the 31st century, and whiney Kryptonian doppelgangers, and am way past ready to see just how Gog manages to screw with the JSAers. It's about time this series just cuts to the chase already.

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8.5
Justice Society of America #21

Dec 3, 2008

With only its finale left, "One World, Under God" and the greater JSA/KC storyline are both in a very interesting place, and seem poised to deliver a very satisfying and entertaining total package. For those of us who at times grew weary of this project, that's a pleasant feeling to have after all this time.

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8.4
Justice Society of America #22

Dec 31, 2008

For a narrative that was dragged out longer than it needed to be, the finale to this story had a lot to live up to. When you think about it that way, that the story ended up living up to those expectations without exceeding them isn't too much of a negative. In an age in which so many comic book story arcs end up disappointing, seeing such an extended epic deliver despite all its flaws is actually refreshing.

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7.0
Justice Society of America #23

Jan 28, 2009

In the end, the only thing that really saved this issue for me was the major development involving Billy Batson's relationship with the JSA, which will come as a big pay-off for fans of the previous volume of this series. Other than that, nearly every facet of this issue is under-whelming, and makes you wonder whether Johns' run on this title might end up limping to the finish line. I sure hope not.

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5.7
Justice Society of America #24

Feb 25, 2009

And no, I'm not going to go into detail about how another Origins and Omens feature derailed the flow of an issue without accomplishing anything worthwhile.

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5.1
Justice Society of America #25

Apr 1, 2009

"Black Adam & Isis" is a bad Marvel Family story shoehorned into a Justice Society vehicle, and Justice Society of America #23 through #25 are bad comics. What's more troubling is that Ordway isn't done with the book quite yet. As far as this JSA fan is concerned, Matt Sturges and Bill Willingham can't get here soon enough.

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6.7
Justice Society of America Annual #1

Jul 30, 2008

Seeing that this story has only a slight tie to the Kingdom Come story currently going on Johns' JSA series, I suppose it's appropriate that it got this annual packaging. I think a lot of newer readers who dig the new JSA series might come away from this one-shot scratching their heads. Still, in the end, it's a decent enough read with some nice, crisp, old school art from Jerry Orway, and can be enjoyed to a certain degree, even if you have no idea why an adult Dick Grayson is running around in his Robin outfit or why this JSA's Dr. Midnight is a woman.

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7.9
Kick-Ass #8

Jan 27, 2010

Kick-Ass, and this finale in particular, works best when Romita's art takes center stage bringing Millar's wildest ideas to life, acting out absurd theatre that plays like some ungodly amalgamation of Scarface, the Three Stooges, Home Alone and Wild E. Coyote. Though I look forward to the movie – which, by the way, was written, cast, shot, edited and screened in the time it took to complete the actual comic – I have a tough time believing any director, cinematographer and cast of actors will be able to bring this craziness to life with the same wicked zeal Romita brings to this book. Maybe the movie will prove me wrong, but I seriously doubt it.

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6.5
Kick-Ass 2 #1

Oct 20, 2010

I still hold out hopes for Kick-Ass 2. Although I remain convinced the film was superior to the source material, the first mini-series did have unique qualities that the film lacked, most notably that level of cartoonish violence Romita captured so wonderfully. Let's hope he and Millar dial that up sooner rather than later.

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8.0
Knight and Squire #1

Oct 13, 2010

The issue's self-contained plot suggests this miniseries might stick to episodic stories, which is fine considering how foreign this world will be to many of us readers. Telling thinly connected stories set in this world seems like a fine way to get us acquainted to it. I just hope Cornell does a better job balancing effective storytelling with his crazy world-building.

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7.5
Knight and Squire #2

Nov 10, 2010

While there's certainly something to be said about a comic that effectively transfers you to a wholly unique, totally vibrant place, Cornell's episodic style of storytelling in this mini feels a little watered down. Although I never think it's fair to compare a writer to Grant Morrison, it's impossible not to compare this series to Morrison's work with the same characters in "Blackest Knight." That story boasted the same bursting-with-life sense of place and culture as Cornell's Knight and Squire, yet did so while still managing to deliver a rollicking, fast paced adventure. Don't get me wrong – this mini-series is still quite enjoyable and, like I said, charming; it can just stand to offer a little more in terms of story. And although Cornell's last-page glossary and explanation of the Morris Men is much appreciated by this ugly American, I'd rather not need it to fully appreciate the actual issue.

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8.5
Knight and Squire #3

Dec 31, 1969

There's no doubt about it – between the amusing gags, the richly detailed setting and the fun, over-the-top plot, this is definitely the strongest issue to date.

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7.6
Legion of Super-Heroes (2004) #38

Jan 23, 2008

If there was one DC comic that revolutionized the way superhero stories are told over a long, extended run, it was Legion of Super Heroes, which stood as the company's first successful superhero soap opera. For that reason, Legionwriters will (and probably should) always be judged with one eye towards what they accomplish over an extended period of time. Shooter's first two issues since returning to the Legion have certainly been entertaining, but I'm still anxious to see where he takes things from here. From the looks of it, it'll probably involve Lightning Lad's leadership – or lack thereof.

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7.8
Legion of Super-Heroes (2004) #39

Feb 27, 2008

Newcomers to the Legion and those who are wary to jump into a book that's already nearly 40-issues deep and stars fifty year-old characters (albeit modern variations of them), should note that Jim Shooter comes from the age and school of thought of comic book writers who truly believe that every issue should be accessible to first-time readers, which means this issue – the third part of his arc – is still incredibly easy to follow for non-Legion fans. I highly recommend getting on board this title, if not to experience a well-told soap opera, than to witness a silver-age comics legend working with an Image-styled artist like Francis Manapul. It's a fascinating combination, and dare I say that it works pretty damn well.

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8.1
Legion of Super-Heroes (2004) #40

Mar 26, 2008

Like any great writer, Shooter is first introducing us to his characters and their many flaws before tossing them into the fire, and it's why I've found his return to Legion to be so compulsively readable. Shooter's understated approach is even more remarkable when you realize he has such an action-oriented artist as Francis Manapul at his disposal. Whenever such a talent as Manapul is assigned to a book, a think the writer is tempted to provide them with dynamic action scenes, even when such scenes do their overall plot a disservice. To Manapul's credit, his art is just as beautiful to look at it when he's drawing a heated argument or quiet exchange as it is when he's drawing a superhero slugfest (well, almost). Either way, since both creators have come aboard, it's tough not to get the feeling that there are some great things in store for the Legion, both from a drama and excitement perspective.

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5.9
Legion of Super-Heroes (2004) #41

Apr 30, 2008

With so much going on with the Legion of Super-Heroes in the current DCU, I think it's only appropriate that the team be aloud to shine in the pages of their own book. Currently, Shooter's Legion is too obsessed with character driven soap opera to get around to telling the grand, sweeping stories the Legion is known for. We've followed all your "B" subplots, Mr. Shooter. It's time to unleash your "A" game already.

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8.7
Legion of Super-Heroes (2010) #1

May 19, 2010

Besides the exciting Green Lantern wrinkle, so much of what made Levitz's Legion work so beloved by so many is present in these pages. The characters are all introduced and voiced in a concise, instantly relatable manner, then given strong dilemmas with which to deal. Levitz also announces himself back onto the scene by taking a sledgehammer to an important corner of the Legion property, ushering in the type of bold change the series is known for. With vibrant, crisp Yildiray Cinar art that takes more than a few cues from Gary Frank's work with the characters, this is one Legion book any fan new or old can sink their teeth into.

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7.2
Lobo: Highway to Hell #1

Nov 4, 2009

This issue is above all else a fun exercise by two creators who are clearly having a good time with this project. I love the book's slickly produced prestige format and wish Marvel and DC would give more of their short miniseries the same treatment. In the end, the best thing I can probably say about this book is that I felt like I got my $6.99 worth, and that I smiled more times than I sighed.

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7.2
Madame Xanadu #1

Jun 25, 2008

All in all, I'd have to call Madame Xanadu a very successful debut issue, in that it eased my early concerns, pulled me in and left me wanting more. It didn't make me run out to buy more magic and sorcery comics, but it at least got me interested in this one.

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5.5
Magog #1

Sep 2, 2009

By the time the issue got back to the plot involving re-animated corpses, it had already lost me. I remain unconvinced there's anything worthwhile to this character, and I remain curious why DC thought differently. I don't think I'll stick around to find out.

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8.8
Manhunter #31

Jun 4, 2008

If you're wondering what all the hoopla about this series has been about, check out this issue. You should be able to figure out why it's so highly regarded in the space of a few pages. Go buy this comic, so us Manhunter fans wont have to scream to the high heavens when they try to cancel it again.

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9.3
Manhunter #32

Jul 2, 2008

Stop screwing around and pick up Manhunter, already. You wont regret it.

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8.2
Manhunter #33

Aug 6, 2008

I suppose it's a good day when you can say the main plotline of a comic was fast-paced and character-driven yet not quite riveting, and that the same comic boasted some very engrossing subplots. I suppose it's also a good day anytime you can hear Marc Andreyko's punchy dialogue sing in rhythm with artist Michael Gaydos' expressive art. Manhunter is just one of those rare books that somehow manages to be exceptional and entertaining even when it's firing on most but not all cylinders.

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6.8
Manhunter #34

Sep 3, 2008

Manhunter is still a well-written book with great characters and excellent, expressive art by Michael Gaydos. It just isn't firing on all cylinders at the moment, and that's disappointing.

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8.5
Metal Men #3

Oct 3, 2007

Regardless, I seriously doubt Rouleau has meant for his work to be studied as closely as something like Grant Morrison's Invisibles, and would much rather you dig through each fantastic set piece with the eagerness that a five year-old digs through Christmas his or her presents. And that's precisely what you will do if you find this charmingly manic work as addictive as I did.

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6.9
Metal Men #4

Nov 7, 2007

Being that I still enjoyed myself when all was said and done, I'm willing to give Rouleau a mulligan for this issue and assume he'll tie up these many plot-threads in a more coherent manner moving forward. The Metal Men is still a hell of a lot of fun, and I'll probably dig into next issue with the same vigor and enthusiasm as I did this installment.

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8.1
Metal Men #5

Jan 2, 2008

On a final note, I think DC should go ahead and adopt a policy of only allowing writer/artists to handle the Metal Men. If there's one thing that Rouleau proves with this series, it's that only someone who is both writing and drawing the Metal Men can truly capture their individual metallic personalities with the right amount of flair and pizzazz.

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6.2
Metal Men #6

Feb 6, 2008

Being that I praised Rouleau for taking such a fearless approach to this miniseries, I'm not going to kill him for throwing far too much at us. Even some examples of Grant Morrison's "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" brand of storytelling have crumbled like a house of cards at times. At the very least, these types of crazy stories are interesting to try and follow, even if you fail more times than not to comprehend anything that's going on.

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6.1
Metal Men #7

Apr 2, 2008

Most of all, this endlessly confusing miniseries is tolerable – and at times, even very enjoyable – because of Rouleau's fantastic art work. I've often said that the Metal Men constitute the one property that demand one creator to handle both the writing and artistic duties. Rouleau ingeniously captures the differentl personalities of each robot through his cartoonish style, which never lacks in emotion or dynamism. Rouleau's art absolutely sizzles on each page, and it's amazing to see just how much action, personality and detail he's able to fit (or even cram) into every page. That said, I might have to reevaluate my insistence that a writer/artist handle the Metal Men, because Rouleau's story comes dangerously close to incoherence. Fun incoherence, granted, but still incoherence.

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5.8
Metal Men #8

May 7, 2008

I'd also be remiss if I didn't point out that this series commits one of my personal pet peeves and an egregious act too common in today's comic industry – the miniseries concluded it's "self-contained" story with, you guessed it, a cliffhanger.

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6.5
Metamorpho: Year One #1

Oct 3, 2007

Writer and layout artist Dan Jurgens and finishing artist Jesse Delperdang do a fine job blending the classic, pulp feel of this story with a bit of a modern, satirical take on Reality TV, but in the end, this is a pretty darn pure retelling of the origin story. Yes, it's donr well and rarely takes a false step, but unless you're new to DC comics and know little about the beginnings of this character, you'll be left feeling a bit under whelmed, albeit slightly entertained - in a nostalgic sort of way. Of course, this is only the first issue, and being that another five issues will follow this initial installment, it's entirely possible that Jurgens and Delperdang will lead this series into unchartered waters. For now, however, this is little more than a trip down memory lane.

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3.8
Metamorpho: Year One #2

Oct 17, 2007

If DC really felt like the origin of Metamorpho needed to be retold and updated for a modern audience, they should have made sure the writer they hired intended to either 1) say something new or at least relevant about the character, or 2) craft a mildly compelling take on the previous origin. Dan Jurgens has done neither. Sadly, there just isn't a reason for this mini-series to exist at all.

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8.8
Mighty Avengers #15

Jun 25, 2008

Not to beat a dead horse or anything, but it's worth pointing out one more time just how superior these Avengers tie-ins have been to the main Secret Invasion mini. By using his Avengers books to detail all the intimate, character-driven moments of his plot, Bendis has sucked a lot of the complexity out of his main title. On the other hand, he's made the two Avengers books the most entertaining superhero comics on the stands. I'm not sure whether this is good or bad.

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6.0
Mighty Avengers #17

Aug 27, 2008

One final point to wrap things up: the more I read of I>Secret Invasion, the less I buy the idea behind the Skrull's newfound power to clone or replecate superheroes almost perfectly, and the less I understand or follow the consistencies of how these clones/replicants operate. The more I think about it, the more the logic of Bendis' story begins to crumble upon itself.

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6.0
Mighty Avengers #18

Sep 17, 2008

All in all, I'd call this another immensely disappointing and wholly unnecessary addition to the Secret Invasion story, one that not only added little to the narrative, but never really got around to entertaining me either. You can imagine how excited I am for part two. I'm about ready to stand up on my chair and scream at Bendis to get on with it already.

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6.0
Nemesis #1

Mar 24, 2010

Millar has made a name for himself as the master of spectacle driven, in-your-face comics, and his past work has entertained me enough to convince me Nemesis deserves the benefit of the doubt. At times, when Millar is riffing on a few age old Joker tropes, you can almost sense the story about to spring to life. Sadly, though, it never does in this first issue. The ideas just kind of sit there while Millar and McNiven wave their hands and try to grab our attention with violence and potty language. It's kind of a bad sign when you derive more entertainment out of a comic's text afterward than you do the comic itself.

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6.0
Nemesis #3

Sep 22, 2010

I don't imagine the series' fourth and final installment will add much depth or intrigue to this story. Unless you're a diehard fan of Millar's work, you can probably afford to skip this series altogether.

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8.2
Nemesis: The Imposters #1

Mar 3, 2010

For those who enjoyed Escape for all its weirdness, have no fear: Brandon doesn't abandon everything that made that series unique. There are still some very unusual questions hovering above this drama, and the book's title alone seems to suggest all is not what it appears. But like I said, it's a huge improvement in every way, including the art. Cliff Richards provides sharp, clean pencils that compensate for a lack of detail with vibrant personality. All in all, this is a thoroughly entertaining read, and I'm glad I picked it up.

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8.7
New Avengers #40

Apr 30, 2008

I've made no secret of my distaste for Leinil Yu'sketchy style of art, so you can imagine how pleased I was to see Jimmy Cheung's crisp, clearly defined work between these covers. Cheung's art perfectly captures the evolution of the Skrulls from goofy little green men to physically imposing badasses, and there is never a moment where you'll find yourself giggling at the sheer silliness of the Skrull characters, which cant be said of most of the stories in which they appear.

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8.9
New Avengers #41

May 28, 2008

And am I the only one who suddenly has an appetite for a Ka-Zar series written by Bendis and drawn by Billy Tan?

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9.2
New Avengers #42

Jun 25, 2008

Much has been said about the way Secret Invasion has been structured, and I think most comic fans by now know they should – no; they have to – read both Avengers books in conjunction with the main series. Seeing that this isn't going to change anytime soon, I guess it's time to just accept that the interesting moments of this ongoing story will play out outside of the main mini-series. And as much as I can't understand Bendis and Marvel's rationale in structuring the event in this way, I will say that I've loved nearly every one of these Avengers tie-ins. The problem is, I've loved them far more than the actual series itself. As long as they are this good, though, I guess I'll keep the complaining to a minimum.

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7.6
New Avengers #45

Sep 24, 2008

The bottom line is that this issue is a stark improvement on recent Secret Invasion tie-ins. It includes clever nods to long time Marvel readers, and manages to add to the current event as well. For any fan like myself who was losing patience with this event, it comes as a breath of fresh air.

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4.8
Nightwing (1996) #137

Oct 3, 2007

Will I be picking up Wolfman's Vigilante series in December? Probably. Will I still have this rotten taste in my mouth? Only time will tell.

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7.9
Nightwing (1996) #138

Nov 14, 2007

Despite taking issue with the structure of this crossover and the way these two minor issues have played out in terms of plot, I am enjoying the brief glimpses of the greater story that I've caught between action sequences. I'll end this review in a similar way I concluded my review of last installment: If this crossover succeeds in further exploring the family dynamic between Batman, his surrogate sons, his real son, Talia and Ra's, turning out to be more than an excuse to bring the Demon's Head back from the dead, I'll consider the event a success. It still has a long way to go, however.

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5.8
Nightwing (1996) #139

Dec 12, 2007

In ranting about my distaste for this event's design, I haven't left much time to point out this issue's bright spots. Unlike previous installments of "The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul", this issue contains (for the most part) excellent artwork from Don Kramer, who handles the emotionally flaccid fight between Dick and Tim to the best of his abilities and at least provides the dumb scene with some exciting visuals. On a similar note, although he fails to competently write Tim Drake's character, Fabian Nicieza does display a sharp command of Dick Grayson's voice and trademark wit. Overall though, this issue is as uneven and as frustrating as the sum of this event's parts, and "The Resurrection of Ra's Al Ghul" is quickly crumbling into a disappointment.

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5.9
Nightwing (1996) #140

Jan 9, 2008

Besides this handful of missteps, I will say that Tomasi first and foremost seems to have a grip on Dick's voice and the family dynamic between him, Batman and Tim. The opening sequence in particular, which shows Dick skydiving from an extreme altitude, went a long way towards reestablishing Dick's daredevil side in an inventive and entertaining way. That said, Tomasi has a few things to iron out before I can outright praise his work on this title.

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5.7
Nightwing (1996) #141

Feb 6, 2008

The art, by Identity Crisis artist Rags Morales, sits alongside the crisp, competent art style of recent Bat-pencilers like Don Kramer, and Morales does a strong job fleshing out Tomasi's New York. I just wish the writer would give his artist some legitimately dynamic scenes to draw already. Tomasi's an exceptional writer and storyteller, he just needs to get around to telling his story.

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5.9
Nightwing (1996) #142

Mar 5, 2008

One of these days, writers are going to realize that the best way to make Dick Grayson live up to his potential as a character is to put him through riveting stories. In the case of the immensely talented Tomasi, I hope that's sooner rather than later.

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7.3
Nightwing (1996) #143

Apr 2, 2008

Either way, you're on your way to converting me, Tomasi. Just please don't go screwing it up by giving us an entire issue of Dick and Tim eating lunch with the Teen Titans in some Upper Manhattan deli.

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7.4
Nightwing (1996) #144

May 7, 2008

Overall, Tomasi's decision to focus on character over plot means that each of his issues lives or dies on the merits of their individual scenes, and lately, he's become far more skilled at figuring out what seemingly unrelated (as far as plot goes) types of character pieces are worth exploring and what ones should be left on the cutting room floor. I for one am glad to see less superfluous superhero cameos and more explorations of Dick's job as a New York based crime fighter, even if the one he gives us here has little connection to anything else in the book. I'm also curious to see how long Tomasi will take to actually wrap up or even tie-together the Creighton Kendall plotline he's touched upon briefly in each of his issues. I understand that he's decided on an approach that's more suited towards an extended run, but at some point, he'll have to give readers some sort of a conclusion, especially when you consider the current written-for-the-trade reality of mainstream comics.

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7.7
Nightwing (1996) #145

Jun 4, 2008

On art, Rags Morales provides his normal brand of clear, crisp visuals, even if his Batman seems like he'd be more comfortable in a 1970's comic than a modern issue. Together with Tomasi, Rags is the perfect fit for Nightwing, capturing Dick's unique personality every step of the way while offering up some exciting visuals.

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8.8
Nightwing (1996) #146

Jul 2, 2008

On art, the rotating team of Rags Morales and Don Kramer has proven a fitting match for Tomasi's vision. Both talents share many of the same sensibilities and qualities, and the shift from Morales (last issue) to Kramer (this issue) was practically seamless. Together, these three creators have put Nightwing back on the map, and this series is now truly one of the best DC currently has to offer. Let's hope they stick around for a long run.

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8.8
Nightwing (1996) #147

Aug 6, 2008

The rest of the issue proceeds with Nightwing attempting to save the DA in his typical swashbuckling manner, and while the issue definitely builds in excitement and suspense, it only reaches such astounding heights in quality thanks to that early Nightwing/Two-Face scene. From there and until the end of the issue, we enjoy the fireworks and wait patiently until their paths inevitably cross once again.

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7.6
Nightwing (1996) #148

Sep 3, 2008

Which brings us back to why these RIP tie-ins were such lousy ideas to begin with. Grant Morrison's esoteric, outrageously bizarre epic is so distinctly his own that making other writers tie into it just seems downright foolish. I'd much rather if Tomasi's series, which has been chugging along brilliantly and gaining momentum ever since he took over the book, were free to do its own thing rather than try to add atmosphere to the RIP story.

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7.4
Nightwing (1996) #149

Oct 1, 2008

The best compliments I can pay this issue is it makes a tired device seem captivating, and more significantly, succeeds in building up next issue so that I'm greatly looking forward to it. That and there are no RIP references.

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6.4
Nightwing (1996) #150

Nov 12, 2008

I don't know what else to say about this issue other than it was competently crafted by Tomasi and artist Don Kramer, yet very far from inspired or original. The characters all acted right, and maybe that's the problem - there's nothing new here. As "museum curator" Dick might say while on the job, "it's time to move our eyes to the next exhibit..."

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7.0
Nightwing (1996) #151

Dec 10, 2008

If you don't have a problem watching a writer and two different artists deliver unconnected snapshots of disparate threads from said writer's run, than you might not have as many problems as I had with this issue. There are certainly a couple of good scenes here, and the Two-Face/Dick confrontation in particular is extremely well executed. I just prefer my comics to make a better effort to deliver a unified narrative.

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8.3
Nightwing (1996) #152

Jan 14, 2009

If you're looking for pitch-perfect dialogue in a superhero comic, look no further than Nightwing #152.

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7.7
Nightwing (1996) #153

Feb 11, 2009

Finally, I don't really feel the need or have the stomach to again point out just how needless and ineffective these Origins and Omens back-ups have been, but I will say this: if you can tell me how Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon skydiving on Bab's birthday has anything to do with Blackest Night, I'll give you a dollar.

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8.3
Nomad #1

Sep 10, 2009

It's unfortunately all too rare these days to approach a comic with extremely low expectations and walk away pleasantly surprised. Nomad #1 is without a doubt one of those rare comics. I'll definitely coming back for more next month - only this time, I'll be doing it eagerly.

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7.1
Northlanders #1

Dec 5, 2007

Even if I'm not sold on this series being the definitive comic book exploration of Vikings and Norsemen, I'm still interested enough to come back for a second outing.

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7.7
Oracle #2

Apr 15, 2009

Those major hiccups aside, Oracle: The Cure is shaping up to be a mostly enjoyable read that finds creative ways to showcase Barbara Gordon's personality and considerable abilities. I'd put it right behind Azrael: Death's Dark Knight as the strongest of the recent projects to spin out of Battle for the Cowl, even if I remain more than a little concerned with where this might be heading.

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9.0
Osborn #1

Nov 17, 2010

After DeConnick and artist Emma Rios, who brings energetic life and atmosphere to the issue's many dialogue-driven scenes, Warren Ellis stops by to flesh out one of the murderous inhabitats of the aforementioned maximum security wing. In this back-up, titled "The Prime of Miss June Covington," Ellis and artist Jamie McKelvie bring the same wicked sense of evil the cantankerous English scribe brought to his Thunderbolts work. Seeing as how much wit and vigor DeConnick brings to the main story it's tough to say Ellis steals the show with his brief back up. But he comes close.

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6.7
Outsiders (2007) #1

Nov 14, 2007

Another big problem with this issue is that the ending has the rotten stink of Countdown tie-in all over it, which doesn't bode well for this new series moving forward. Still, in the end, Dixon and Lopez give us an entertaining little romp through the political underbelly of the DCU, and at the very least, the high quality of craft displayed here is enough to get me at least somewhat excited about this title's future.

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7.1
Outsiders (2007) #3

Dec 19, 2007

Besides the fact that this new Batman and the Outsiders series is shaping up to be a valuable addition to the DCU, if there's another reason to be optimistic about this new title, it's Julian Lopez' crisp and vibrant artwork, which comes alive thanks to inker Bit. I'm eager to see where Dixon and Lopez go from here.

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7.5
Outsiders (2007) #5

Mar 19, 2008

One final complaint I have with this series is the team, which seems to change from issue to issue. Are Grace and Thunder on the team? Are the two famous characters that show up this issue? Is Green Arrow? Even he doesn't seem to know his status. Batman, Batgirl, Metamorpho, Geoforce and Katana make a good core cast, but the team can definitely use a couple new faces.

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7.2
Outsiders (2007) #6

Apr 16, 2008

I think Dixon's Batman and the Outsiders can be a successful and important part of the DCU, but I don't see it happening just yet. Without a firm knowledge of what the team is up against, it's difficult to care all that much about their recent missions. Likewise, there's not enough of a consistent thread between each issue and each mission to make me understand just why and how this team exists in the first place. In interviews and promotional pieces, we've been told over and over again that the Outsiders are a team that carries out the cloak and dagger missions that the Justice League has no stomach for. That might be the case, but we've yet to see it proven convincingly in the actual series. After all, there's nothing here that the JLA, Checkmate, the Suicide Squad or the Birds of Prey couldn't handle.

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7.3
Outsiders (2007) #7

May 21, 2008

As in the case of his Robin, Dixon is at his strongest while peppering action scenes with witty character exchanges, and there are plenty of zingers to add color to this issue's proceedings. Dixon is a damn capable Batman writer as well, and he captures the Dark Knight's ruthless leadership role perfectly without making him too much of a jerk, something that many modern writers would have a tough time pulling off. Plus, his Metamorpho usually steals any scene he's in, which will please any fan who suffered through the recent Year One miniseries or Winick's take on the character. Together with the boldly rendered artwork of Carlos Rodriguez, Dixon has made The Outsiders a fun but not quite exceptional (at least not quite yet) read.

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6.2
Outsiders (2007) #8

Jun 18, 2008

All in all, I'm just not sure what to make of Batman and the Outsiders/> anymore. With Dixon on the way out and Frank Tieri's "Batman RIP" tie-in (and I presume a new writer after that) on the way in, it's hard to look at this series and get any sense of a direction or long-term planning. And that, my friends, can be the kiss of death for any serialized comic book series.

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6.4
Outsiders (2007) #9

Jul 16, 2008

It all reads like vintage Dixon without the overload of action we saw in previous issues of Outsiders, which comes as a relief until we realize this welcomed lull wont precede whatever storm he had in the works. All the ingredients that have made this series enjoyable thus far are here; there's tons of humor, artists Julian Lopez and Bit provide their sharp, boldly rendered art, and Dixon includes another one of Batman's stranger and more obscure acquaintances in the form of the Looker. Still, it's impossible to escape the gnawing feeling that we'll never find out where Dixon was headed with all this. At best, we'll see some future writer pick up on many of these threads and characterizations. At worst, some future writer will completely shake up the title, team and tone of the book. Whether or not this bothers you as much as it does me will impact your ability to enjoy the issue. Either way, don't hold your breath for part two of this story.

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5.0
Outsiders (2007) #11

Sep 17, 2008

Keeping with the overall mediocrity of the issue, Ryan Benjamin lends his hand at art and supplies his typical brand of rough, sketchy work. It's all immensely under-whelming and unnecessary, and makes you wish DC's editors had left Morrison's story alone and allowed the ancillary Bat titles to tell their own stories until it was over.

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3.5
Outsiders (2007) #12

Oct 15, 2008

Here's another related question: Is anyone interested in reading a book where a bunch of poorly written supporting characters do little but stand around and argue amongst themselves while fretting about the disappearance of Batman? Doesn't sound like the most enticing pitch, does it?

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4.0
Outsiders (2007) #13

Nov 19, 2008

Considering how utterly worthless this series has been ever since Chuck Dixon was pulled of the title and this RIP tie-in began, I wasn't at all surprised to learn that a Batman and the Outsiders one-shot is in the works, with an entirely new direction to follow. If there was ever a series more in need of some direction, it's this one. You know, it's tough not to wonder what was so horrible about Tony Bedard's proposal for this series to justify giving it to Chuck Dixon. We saw how that worked out in the end…

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3.0
Outsiders (2007) #14

Dec 17, 2008

But maybe I'm overreacting. Maybe some people out there agree with DC that $2.99 is an acceptable price to pay to see Batgirl and Nightwing fight, the Riddler chew some scenery, and a shadowy figure whip and dress himself. You know what I say to you people? You're nuts.

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8.2
Outsiders (2007) #15

Feb 18, 2009

The issue is essentially all set-up, but that doesn't stop it from being very entertaining. My one complaint is that, as was the case with last issue, it's tough to figure out exactly what is happening in the cliffhanger scene that's supposed to set up the team's upcoming antagonist. And of course, there's the annoying Origins and Omens back-up, which at least serves as an informative roll call for new readers. Finally, I won't fault Lee Garbett for falling short of the masterful work presented by Adam Kubert in last week's one-shot. Garbett's a talented artist, and I'm happy he's on board for the foreseeable future.

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6.7
Outsiders (2007) #16

Mar 18, 2009

With the talented Tomasi and Lee Garbett at the helm of a rich cast of characters, Outsiders has the potential to be quite the enjoyable series. Unfortunately, the book has hit an early hiccup with this debut story arc, which has yet to take form in any compelling or even identifiable manner. Here's hoping that changes sooner rather than later.

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7.2
Outsiders (2007) #17

Apr 22, 2009

As strange and as baffling as this series has been in these early stages, it's worth pointing out that it does take a strong turn towards this issue's end. Two major villains enter the mix, one of whom has some serious unfinished business with one of the Outsiders. Here's hoping he elbows the Insiders out of the way next issue, because I'm tired of trying to figure out what exactly their deal is.

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6.0
Outsiders (2007) #18

May 20, 2009

Which brings me to my final point. The most frustrating thing about this Outsiders series is that Tomasi is an extremely talented writer capable of far more than this. Anyone who reads Green Lantern Corps on a regular basis can attest to that much. Tomasis' considerable abilities are on display in some parts of his Outsiders work. The banter between the team is top notch, and each character's unique personality is easily identifiable. In Alfred, Tomasi has likewise found a strong lead character whose voice he knows quite well. The problems and shortcomings of this story all come down to Tomasi's ability to actually tell the story. In short, the more I read of the "The Deep," the more I get the feeling I'm watching a talented writer shoot for the moon and fall flat.

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7.0
Outsiders (2007) #19

Jun 17, 2009

With only one issue left before this storyline wraps, Tomasi has his work cut out for him if he wants to turn this plot into something comprehensible. As it stands now, what he has is a bunch of dangling threads that are neither interesting in their own right nor woven together in a satisfactory manner. I do hope he pulls it off, though. Tomasi's a talented writer with a knack for these characters and a strong core concept, and it'd be a shame to see him kick his run off with a complete miss.

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6.6
Outsiders (2007) #20

Jul 22, 2009

As you can no doubt tell from my reviews, I had a few major problems with "The Deep." That said, the story remained interesting throughout, if only because it offered the chance to see a talented writer struggle to juggle some bizarre ideas. This issue's final page has Geo-Force tell his team, "All right, Outsiders. Let's go home. Our first tour of duty is over." A more fitting line would have been, "All right, Peter Tomasi. Let's go back to the drawing board."

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4.9
Outsiders (2007) #27

Feb 18, 2010

In other words, it's the same as it ever was for this languishing title, and by the looks of it, that won't change anytime soon. One of these days there'll be a reason to pick up the latest issue of the Outsiders. That day just isn't today.

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5.8
Outsiders (2007) #28

Mar 31, 2010

Outsiders #28 isn't necessarily a bad comic, but it's not a good one. If DiDio can turn this boring, contrived initial conflict into a launching pad for greater stories, this debut arc might just turn out to be a necessary evil and means to an end. For now, it's just a mediocre superhero comic.

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8.4
Outsiders (2007): Special #1

Feb 11, 2009

While Tomasi's writing is without a doubt one of the comic's greatest strengths, it's Adam Kubert's art that truly makes this issue extraordinary. Kubert experiments with a two-page layout style that utilizes horizontal story progression more than your typical comic, and the issue flows wonderfully as a result. Kubert's interior work has only shown up sporadically during his exclusive contract with DC, but when it has, it's almost always been a special treat. His work here might even be more impressive than his stellar performance on the early installments of "Last Son," which is saying quite a lot. Dare I say it, but Kubert's exceptional art, coupled with Tomasi's inspired scripting, has me excited for Batman and the Outsiders for the first time in... well, ever. Here's hoping incoming artist Lee Garbett is up for the challenge.

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9.5
Planetary #27

Oct 7, 2009

Oh, and did I forget to mention this is one gorgeous comic, and John Cassaday can draw a breathtaking splash page like none other? Right, that much goes without saying.

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4.7
Power Girl #1

May 6, 2009

Power Girl #1 could have been a fun, energetic comic about a gorgeous superhero trying to stop an evil gorilla from destroying Manhattan. If only the issue's writers were wise enough to get out of the damn way…

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7.0
Punisher (2009) #1

Jan 7, 2009

Because the m