Daniel Crown's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: IGN Reviews: 245
7.5Avg. Review Rating

6.5
Abe Sapien: The Drowning #1

Feb 6, 2008

Ultimately, fans of the Hellboy universe will enjoy this series. Shoot, I probably will too. After all, the Drowning #1 was an extremely solid read. The problem is, that I just can't help but shake the feeling that I've read it before.

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6.0
Abyss #3

Feb 20, 2008

I want to reiterate that Abyss isn't a total waste of time. Some of the jokes are well handled and the blatant spoofing of the prominent superheroes can be entertaining as well. What works against Abyss, however, is that the action/comedy genre is growing more and more crowded, and there are just too many other titles which toe the line between butt-kicking and laughter without sacrificing too much from either classification. Chances are that you'll enjoy this book if you're a fan of the fun-poking spoof, but for everyone else looking for a little humor shuffled in with their action, do yourself a favor and pick up Atomic Robo instead.

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7.3
Adam: Legend of the Blue Marvel #1

Nov 5, 2008

In the end, I can't think of a better time for this type of story to surface. We're at a crossroads in America and in some ways Legend of the Blue Marvel can help to accentuate both past sins and the resurgence of hope. The story itself suffers at times, specifically in the opening pages, but the message at its heart is thought provoking enough to make up for any shortcomings.

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6.4
Age of the Sentry #1

Sep 17, 2008

Not to say that Age of Sentry is a total waste of time. Both stories do muster a bit of the campy magic in which only Silver Age stories can. Plus, the artwork from Dragotta and Rosanas is spot-on to the era, making for an attractive and mildly entertaining package. But, to quote last week's official out of context slogan, "You can put lipstick on a pig and it's still a pig." And for the most part, the Void-less Sentry is a pig, plain and simple.

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9.8
All-Star Superman #10

Mar 26, 2008

Every All-Star Superman release comes as an unequivocal treat. It maintains all of the nostalgia and marvels inherit in golden and silver age comics, while substituting wit for the era's over-abundant camp. I find it funny that Grant Morrison, with all of his high concept masterpieces, may be doing the best work of his career on a title which combines his brilliant convolution with nothing more than a stripped down re-imagining of the very things that drew all of us to comics in the first place. He takes the basic joys of comic storytelling and packs each of these principles exuberantly into every issue, and in the process has created a book that continues to assert itself as the best superhero comic in recent memory.

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9.4
All-Star Superman #11

May 28, 2008

Like most penultimate chapters, All-Star Superman #11 is quickly paced and high on action, but when taken in after a re-reading of the previous issue, Kal-El's battle with Luthor takes on a whole separate level of sentimentality. Morrison really sets the stage here for an exciting finale- a book poised to close out one of the great series of the modern era.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #568

Aug 20, 2008

With the dust finally settled from what I consider a catastrophic event in Spider-Man's publishing history, Slott is finally showing me that there's some potential for the series moving forward. Unlike the initial Brand New Day stories, New Ways to Die feels cohesive and tautly constructed. Every sub-plot is skillfully woven together, while the inclusion of Romita Jr.'s pencils capture what BND was allegedly all about in the first place. Not to say everything changes, the characterizations are still goofy at times (which isn't necessarily detrimental), but the book's jauntiness becomes much easier to swallow when wrapped within a well-plotted, intelligent superhero story.

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8.8
Amazing Spider-Man #595

May 27, 2009

In the end, it's also worth noting that Amazing Spider-Man #595 is at times laugh-out-loud funny. Kelly's wit is as sharp as ever here as he uses a spot-on interpretation of Peter Parker to quip wise about everything from the ickiness of Aunt May's sex life to the departure of George W. Bush. You add this together with the author's intriguing Harry Osborn-focused premise and you've got a near perfect scenario for Amazing Spider-Man to return to the top of the stack as it approaches its 600th issue.

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5.0
American McGee's Grimm #1

Apr 15, 2009

In the end, while MacPherson does manage to translate the macabre tonality of the videogame into his script, ultimately, the resulting story is far too shallow to win over anyone who isn't already a diehard fan of the source material. With his tongue firmly in his cheek, the author's indictments of the industry manage to ring somewhat true. Unfortunately, when compared to the immature yarns Grimm seems to prefer, the repetitive circles of the superhero saga begin to look a lot like Shakespeare.

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9.5
Astonishing X-Men #24

Jan 23, 2008

On one hand, I'm eagerly anticipating Giant-Sized Astonishing X-Men #1, but there is also a part of me that doesn't want this series to end. To me it represents that rare level of quality- the perfect combination of great art and storytelling- that helps me retain faith in the future of superhero comics. I tip my cap to both of its creators as they head into their new projects, of which I can only hope will be of the same golden standard.

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6.8
Astonishing X-Men #26

Aug 13, 2008

Again, for all I know, this story could be headed into a marvelously entertaining direction, it's just that these first two issues haven't really made a declarative statement either way. Even despite all of this, I remain cautiously hopeful for the series, but also can't help but recognize that Ellis has his hands full if he plans to make a clean escape from this decidedly mediocre beginning.

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7.0
Astonishing X-Men #27

Oct 15, 2008

I don't mean to dismiss Bianchi's work as a total fiasco, at least, not in a universal sense. He obviously has a well-deserved place somewhere within the industry. There is, however, no doubt he has been miscast for this particular franchise. To be frank, even despite its minor annoyances, Ellis' Astonishing X-Men could easily be a far more enjoyable title under the guidance of a different artist.

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6.6
Astonishing X-Men #28

Jan 21, 2009

Ultimately, I don't know if there has been a book more conflicting to me over the course of the last year. If it's at all possible to come to peace with the artwork, it should be interesting to re-read "Ghost Boxes" once it's inevitably collected. There is no question that the long delays between issues has sapped the story of any momentum, so I'm rather intrigued to see how it plays out when read in one sitting.

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6.5
Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes #2

Dec 10, 2008

Again, Ghost Boxes may be unnecessary. It might also be exploitative (who really needs scripts for a throwaway book like this? And even if you want them, it certainly doesn't warrant an extra dollar being tagged on to the price). But at least this installment is mostly digestible. All things considered, this could have been much, much worse.

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9.0
Atomic Robo #4

Jan 16, 2008

I can't think of one single book more fittingly titled than Atomic Robo. The book is every bit as corny as its moniker would suggest- but therein lays its subtle genius. The cheese ball zaniness, wholly intentional, gives the book an undeniable sense of charm, and is exactly what makes Atomic Robo one of, if not the very best independent book in recent memory.

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8.0
Atomic Robo #5

Feb 13, 2008

If you're looking for a change of pace, or if you just like good comics, I can't recommend Atomic Robo enough. Red 5 Comics continue to bang out incredibly solid material, so it's worth noting that this has become the upstart company's flagship title. I really do enjoy it month after month, and I'm willing to be that you will too.

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8.0
Atomic Robo #6

Mar 12, 2008

Either way, I certainly hope the duo can take the building momentum Atomic Robo has garnered over the last six months and turn the title into the type of long running Indie series that has become increasingly rare over the last decade. As it is, there are a lot of things to love about this series, and it'll be fun to see how it evolves over an extended period of time.

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8.3
Atomic Robo: Dogs of War #1

Aug 13, 2008

Jesse's Score: 8.1

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7.8
Atomic Robo: Dogs of War #2

Sep 17, 2008

While mostly entertaining, it's also necessary to mention that this issue basically treads in familiar waters. If you weren't a fan before this miniseries, there isn't anything here to win you over. But from where I'm standing, Robo is routinely one of the very best independent comics on the shelves and shouldn't be missed by anyone with even the slightest sense of humor.

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8.8
Atomic Robo: Shadow from Beyond Time #1

Apr 29, 2009

Ultimately, Shadows From Beyond Time is the most mature Atomic Robo story to date. Not necessarily from a humor standpoint, but certainly in both scope and design. For fans of the franchise, this issue proves that Clevinger's series can easily make the transition from standalone comedy to full-length adventure, and most importantly that it can do so without sacrificing the mischievous attitude that makes it so wholly unique.

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8.8
Atomic Robo: Shadow from Beyond Time #3

Jul 22, 2009

There are only so many different ways to tout this book, so I'll leave you guys with this: you'd be hard-pressed to find a single read more rewarding than what Clevinger and Wegener continue to lay out every month with Atomic Robo. This book is the perfect change of pace for an at times stuffy industrya hilarious reminder of what makes reading comic books so much fun in the first place.

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7.3
B.P.R.D.: Black Goddess #1

Jan 14, 2009

In the end, Hellboy fans should be rather excited about the Black Goddess as it seems to be the beginning of a much needed transitional period. But while the mystery Mignola and Urcadi produce is certainly intriguing, this introductory issue never really seems to take off. In order to set up a large-scale, wide-branching story, Urcadi is forced to lay a lot of groundwork, and thereby dissolves any real tension or excitement. The installment is largely logistical, undeniably interesting in its revelations, yet not entirely engrossing either.

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7.5
Batman #670

Oct 30, 2007

By now you have probably made a stern decision on what to make of Morrison's run, but this story arc is proving epic enough to warrant at least a second look for those naysayers - after all, when it comes right down to it, as one of the few DC titles not affected in anyway by Countdown, by default Grant Morrison's Batman becomes one of the company's best books.

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7.4
Batman #671

Nov 28, 2007

Despite its relative shallowness, this crossover's use of the drastically untapped treasure that is the Demon's Head, makes it easy to recommend to even the most casual of Batman fans, and I can only hope that future Bat-collaborators decide to keep this larger cast of characters involved in whatever direction they take the series.

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6.9
Batman #684

Jan 3, 2009

Honestly, it pains me to write a mediocre review for an O'Neil project. His work on Green Lantern/Green Arrow and the 1970's Batman are amongst my all time favorite superhero stories, and when you take into account all the other amazing tales which fell under his editorship, it's hard not to place his genius right up there with the Kirby's and the Eisner's of the world. But again, remaining earnest, this particular enterprise certainly isn't his best work. Whether this is completely his fault, however, remains a whole separate question.

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3.5
Batman: Gotham After Midnight #1

May 28, 2008

I'm sure Steve Niles appreciates the steady stream of gigs and all, but he's got to be tired of his pigeonholed status as a gothic/horror writer, right? Don't get me wrong; I'm all for an author working with their strengths, but this is ridiculous. If you want your fix of a supernaturally gothic Gotham City, then go pick up the Simon Dark back issues- those stories are infinitely more entertaining than this one.

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6.3
Beta Ray Bill: Godhunter #1

Jun 10, 2009

In the end, this story is obviously built for fans of Beta Ray Bill and for the most part won't appeal to anyone else. Though, once again, even for those who might choose to pick it up on a whim, Gillen does a decent enough job of selling Bill's determination to make for an entertaining, albeit predictable read.

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8.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #8

Nov 7, 2007

While this book may never live up to the classic television series' standards, it remains downright entertaining nonetheless, and would be very easy to recommend to Buffy fans if all of them weren't already reading it anyway.

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8.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #13

Apr 2, 2008

It is easy to cry and moan over some of the recent revelations in Buffy Season Eight. Not only easy, but fair. But whether one agrees with these events or not, it's hard to argue the constant improvements the title has managed over the last few story arcs. Again, the series is beginning to feel continuously more authentic, and shouldn't be missed by any fan of the Whedonverse.

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7.8
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #15

Jun 4, 2008

Other than that, the issue really fires on all cylinders. The army of slayers' final battle with the sleek Japanese version of the uber-vamp was rewarding even if a bit customary. As I've already said, part of me considers Wolves at the Gate my favorite arc of the Buffy comic yet, which is somewhat confounding considering its fairly overt problems- but ultimately its charm more than makes up for its shortcomings, resulting in a memorable story at the very least.

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7.8
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #16

Jul 2, 2008

If by some weird happenstance you're a Buffy fan and have yet to read Fray, you've been missing out, and now you have an excuse to go out and purchase one of the most entertaining Buffy-verse stories of all time. It provided a different take on some of the prevalent themes from the television show, and I for one, cannot wait to see how Whedon weaves these two wholly different universes into one unified playground.

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7.8
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #18

Sep 3, 2008

Keeping things short and sweet, Whedon and Moline continue to make the Buffy/Fray crossover a memorable affair. The story loiters a bit during scenes involving Willow as she casts herself into the magical plain (again), but even these pages are forgivable as they help to weave the web of subterfuge and deceit which will likely pave the way for the story's dues ex machina, somewhere in the next issue. All in all, another successful outing in a string of good issues from a reliable and solid series.

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6.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #20

Dec 17, 2008

In the end, from a conceptual level, Loeb proves that an animated Buffy series could have worked fairly well with its universal accessibility and whimsical presentation. Yet even so, with Buffy #20, what should have served as an ill-fated pilot is instead relegated to an awkward piece of transitional filler, burying a lot of hard work into a hackneyed story that ultimately proves forgettable.

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7.7
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #21

Jan 7, 2009

In the end, this issue represents the general Buffy approach about as well as any of the installments up to this point. Part of the brilliance of the television show was its ability to use humor as a diversion while shiftily preparing the proverbial hammer to be dropped. And it's for this reason, despite the issue remaining a tad ebullient for my tastes (I've never enjoyed the character of Harmony), Buffy #21 still works as a fairly poignant piece of modern satire.

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7.6
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #23

Mar 4, 2009

Ultimately, as with the last few installments of Season Eight, whether or not a reader will like this issue is wholly contingent on what they think of a specific character- in this case Andrew. In any event, the barrage of one-shots continues to satisfy as it properly ties together various loose ends. Next month? Faith. Should be interesting.

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7.0
Cable #12

Mar 4, 2009

We'll see if "Messiah War" can rocket Cable out of its status as an average X-book, but for the time being there are some worthwhile moments here and there in the issue that warrent at least a look.

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7.9
Captain America Theater of War: Operation: Zero Point #1

Oct 29, 2008

In the end, the Knaufs present a well-told, if not predictable period piece. The story itself, with its UFOs and altruistic scientists, isn't anything original, but some of the character moments manage to stir enough interest to make the book easy to recommend. The authors' exploration of a young and unsure Captain America works on a conceptual level, but is also executed well enough that I'd certainly like to see more.

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6.8
Cars: The Rookie #1

Apr 1, 2009

Again, there is certainly nothing challenging here, but that's not really the intent of the book. For better or worse, Alan Porter harkens back to the film multiple times, likely giving his audience exactly what they are asking for. If you have a kid who enjoys Pixar's original movie, then this issue should serve as a no-brainer. It's cute. It's somewhat endearing. And it should do just enough to keep your child's attention.

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6.5
Conan #45

Oct 17, 2007

I am confident that Born on a Battlefield will make for a phenomenal graphic novel. Who wouldn't want a single book collecting all of the important events that shaped Conan into the man he would eventually become, and doing so in a cohesive storyline, starting with his tragic birth all the way up to the first moment of his true leadership? I just wish that Busiek and Dark Horse had taken a dramatically different route in delivering this important, and otherwise outstanding material.

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7.5
Conan #49

Feb 20, 2008

As the series heads into its upcoming reboot, it seems that Conan is once again in a stage of transition, this time from a thief into a warrior-for-hire. One would think that this metamorphosis would present Truman and company with more than enough ammunition for a series of bloody story arcs similar to this one, which might just take the series back into the realm of the must read titles.

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8.0
Conan #50

May 7, 2008

As the initial series in Dark Horse's Conan franchise comes to a close, all of the many creators who've contributed to the series can rest easy with the knowledge that the book ends on a relatively high note. Hopefully the new series can maintain this momentum and maybe even surpass its predecessor as the best sword and sorcery book on the market.

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8.5
Conan the Cimmerian #0

Jun 25, 2008

I can't stress enough how much Truman and Giorello accomplish here in 16 short pages. With a limited amount of narration they skillfully sum up the current state of Conan's disposition, while respectfully putting the first series to bed and swelling interest for the upcoming chapters. It would be easy to pass this off as nothing more than a promotional tool, but it's clear a lot of time and effort went into making the issue a legitimately entertaining read. If this is any indication of how Conan the Cimmerian will read, color me excited.

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7.0
Conan the Cimmerian #3

Sep 17, 2008

In the end, there might not be anything landmark here, but at least the issue redirects the series focus back towards Conan. Hopefully this more proactive trend will continue next month.

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7.5
Conan the Cimmerian #5

Nov 19, 2008

In the end, this book has drastically improved over the past two months, even if it doesn't quite deliver on its initial promises. As a fan of Robert E. Howard's original works, I take comfort in the fact that the franchise seems to be in capable hands, as Truman is finally beginning to hit his stride.

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9.0
Criminal Vol. 2 #3

Jun 4, 2008

Therein lies the genius of Criminal volume two; it sometimes appears that there are no ancillary characters. With the first three issues of his new volume, Brubaker creates a world of living and breathing characters- each of them fleshed out with the same amount of development and attention. This, a chief reason amongst many, helps to make Criminal one of the best comics on the stands.

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8.6
Criminal Vol. 2 #5

Sep 10, 2008

I don't know how its even possible, but this series continues to improve on a monthly basis. Brubaker and Phillips have mastered the hard-boiled crime genre in ways the comic book medium has never seen. But even beyond adherence to genre, Criminal is high quality storytelling, plain and simple. You'd be hard pressed to find a better example of character driven fiction anywhere within the industry.

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5.7
Crossed #1

Oct 8, 2008

Look, I love a lot of Ennis' work, but Crossed is the exact same zombie story you've already read a thousand times, only filthier. There is no prevailing reason that you should buy this title instead of Walking Dead, or even Marvel Zombies.

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7.9
Daredevil (1998) #112

Oct 8, 2008

Despite a short retread, Brubaker continues to provide an unalloyed action romp, which for this particular title comes as a much-needed shot in the arm. The author's kung-fu story carries what should be a universal appeal, the arc creating a perfect re-entry point for anyone who has jumped off the Daredevil bandwagon over the past year.

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8.0
Daredevil (1998) #113

Nov 26, 2008

This isn't groundbreaking work, and I certainly wouldn't rank it anywhere near the top of my best of 2008 list. It is, however, a whole lot of fun. These sorts of arcs are absolutely vital to any ongoing series that has planted its tent poles into predominately somber territories, and keeping that in mind, Lady Bullseye comes as a much-needed breath of fresh air.

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8.8
Daredevil (1998) #115

Jan 28, 2009

Ultimately, while the opening chapters of this arc were strong in a fun sort of way, Brubaker really uses his last two chapters to drive his story thematically home. After a few strokes of treaded water, this arc has properly returned Daredevil to its beautifully ambiguous roots. And as Matt Murdock struggles with his moral fortitude, the rest of us can sit back and watch with guilt-laden glee.

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7.2
Daredevil: Blood of the Tarantula #1

Apr 30, 2008

While in no way required reading for Daredevil fans, Blood of the Tarantula is certainly a must for those fans out there taken enough with the character of the Black Tarantula that last year's annual wasn't enough- and stands as solid, if still unspectacular work.

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6.8
Dark Avengers #1

Jan 21, 2009

Dan's Score: 8.8

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7.8
Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia #1

Jun 24, 2009

Again, Fraction isn't exactly breaking new ground with Dark Avengers and Uncanny X-men, but he executes so adeptly here that it almost feels like it. What's more, he doesn't allow Dark Reign to derail some of the themes he's been working on since taking the helm of Uncanny in the first place. That alone makes this book stand out a bit from the pack, making it a rare reward in a crowded field of oppressive tie-ins.

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6.0
Dark Reign: Mr. Negative #1

Jun 17, 2009

On the one hand, books like this do go a long way towards fleshing out an already large and vibrant superhero universe. On the other, they reinforce the increasingly esoteric air of the industry as a whole. Lente proves that Mister Negative is an interesting enough concept for a strong miniseries. Unfortunately this sentiment is lost somewhere in the crowded landscape, diluted by a multitude of similar stories that seem to grow in number with every given month.

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7.7
Dark Reign: Sinister Spider-Man #1

Jun 24, 2009

Ultimately, Dark Reign: Sinister Spider-Man packs in just enough fun enough to surprise even the most skeptical of event-weary readers. It certainly isn't landmark in any way, but it does entertain in an offbeat sort of sense, providing a standout outing that should garner Brian Reed a considerable look from Marvel as they fill out their title rosters for the rest of the year.

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8.0
Dark Reign: The Hood #1

May 27, 2009

To me, this is much more interesting than a simple thug's ascension into a position of power. And thanks in large part to Kyle Hotz's outstanding return to the character he helped create, this issue proves a more than worthy follow up to what is perhaps Vaughan's most underrated story. Ignore the Dark Reign logo and re-label it in your head as The Hood No. 2. There is plenty to like here, even for the character's biggest detractors.

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5.0
Dark Wolverine #75

Jun 24, 2009

Maybe it's just because this story arc follows Mark Millar's Old Man Wolverine — a tale built upon and exploiting an original idea — but this sort of recirculation serves as an unintentional and sobering reminder of the general direction of modern superhero comics. Dark Wolverine relies entirely upon the "ain't this cool" dynamic, hoping that one overextended premise is enough to satiate readers rather than appeasing them by providing a much more gratifying set of diverse and original ideas.

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7.0
DC Universe Zero #1

Apr 30, 2008

Maybe I was a little too nave in my expectations for DC Universe #0, but I couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed with the end result. Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1 set the bar at a fairly considerable height as far as epic preludes are concerned, and this one just doesn't measure up in comparison. That being said, when it comes down to it, Morrison and Johns do a good enough job of setting the stakes for their respective upcoming epics, that the issue is definitely worth a look, especially to anyone already invested in the DC Universe.

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7.5
Dead of Night: Devil-Slayer #1

Sep 3, 2008

Ultimately my gripes with this title are minimal at best. Fans of the macabre should definitely keep their eyes on this one, as Keene has written his fair share of notable horror stories in the past. It's a safe bet that things will only get better from here.

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7.5
Deadpool (2008) #2

Sep 24, 2008

There's certainly nothing landmark here, but Deadpool's blatant silliness creates an appeal that should branch out far beyond the want of diehard fans. This book not only provides a much-needed breath of fresh air within a crowded field of Secret Invasion also-rans, but also seems geared to become a constant source of amusement for the foreseeable future.

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7.5
Destroyer #1

Apr 1, 2009

Ultimately, whether you've read it or not, you probably already know if you'll like Destroyer based upon your general feelings towards Kirkman back catalogue. Not to pigeonhole the author - as books like Walking Dead prove his ability to tell diverse stories - but Destroyer is very much a cousin to books like Invincible or even Battle Pope. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is entirely up to you.

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8.0
DMZ #24

Oct 17, 2007

While I have enjoyed the epic war and morality stories this book has told over its first two years of existence, I really do applaud Wood for taking a step back to a lower key, and taking the time to show how violence and uncertainty effect not only society as whole, but also individuals on a hauntingly personal level.

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6.5
DMZ #25

Nov 14, 2007

For the first time in three months, I'm beginning to feel wary of the fact that we still have three more of these one-shots before Wood returns to the type of epic story arcs that usually make DMZ one of my very favorite monthlies. I am all for the further development of a fictional world, but despite what the old cliche says, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

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9.5
DMZ #29

Mar 12, 2008

I can understand that some readers don't necessarily want to read a story about a war torn nation, especially considering the times we live in, but I, for one, am finding DMZ one of the most fascinating comics I've ever read. Hands down, the title is one of the most spot-on investigations into the people, politics, and morality of war that has ever been told, and if it's in anyway uninviting, that's because it hits so close to home. DMZ does not present the small dosing of escapism that typical comic book fans generally demand, but instead bestows its readers with an important examination of both the good and the evil tendencies inherit in human civilization. This book isn't just good- it's important- and should be considered absolutely vital reading to anyone interested not only in comics, but the world around them as well.

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9.0
DMZ #30

Apr 16, 2008

I've written a fair amount of DMZ reviews in my time with IGN, but if there were ever one book in which I had no difficulties coming up with new things to say, this one is it. In fact, it seems that the book is geared towards doing just that, as month to month, DMZ gives people something to think and debate over. Even better, Wood, who is infamously opinionated, still manages to present these stories in a fair and balanced manner, never truly pushing his own beliefs but rather exploring both sides of a multitude of complex issues. It's hard and perhaps irresponsible to forecast the future, but if this series continues to produce at such a high level, it could easily go down as one of the best Vertigo titles of all time.

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9.0
DMZ #31

May 14, 2008

I've said it a million times already, but DMZ is shaping up to be one of the very best Vertigo series in recent memory. It's consistently entertaining, as well as thought provoking, and should be missed by no one.

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8.7
DMZ #32

Jun 18, 2008

I find it rather disappointing that the repetitive world of super-heroics dominates the sales charts while books like DMZ and Scalped struggle to break the top 200. Don't get me wrong, there will always be a place in the industry for a bit of romping nostalgia - but this book, along with a few others, is helping to set the standard for what the current generation of comic fans will expect from their adult oriented comics in the years to come. Take this sentiment as idle speculation if you will, but the truth is, I honestly don't know if I'll be reading comics like Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk when I'm 60 years old, but I am certain I'll still be reading books like this one.

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8.6
DMZ #34

Aug 27, 2008

Even within its fictionalized world, DMZ echoes real world events in a staggering fashion, satirizing and cataloguing the current decade as well as any piece of fiction I've ever read. I'm not gushing here, just stating fact. This book is a testimony to the social relevance of the industry, a bulwark against an inaccurate public perception.

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8.7
DMZ #37

Dec 10, 2008

In the end, DMZ is nothing more than entertainment; but that said, its success remains wholly contingent on its ability to stimulate debate. And while recent events have most likely swayed the title a bit in direction, they certainly haven't sapped it of its prevailing value. DMZ remains the perfect book for the political reader and a fun monthly reminder of the medium's unique ability to spur thought-provoking conversation.

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8.0
Ender's Game: Battle School #4

Mar 18, 2009

In the end, as far as adaptations go, this is one of the most impressive undertakings I've ever seen. As things move forward, it should be interesting to see how, or if, Yost attacks the Demosthenes and Locke ascension in the upcoming chapters. But even if he's forced to completely abandon some of the subplots, the author continues to show he can capture the basic themes of the novel without sacrificing its heart.

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8.7
Ender's Shadow: Battle School #1

Dec 3, 2008

For many of us, this adaptation allows us to have our cake and eat it too. The inevitably accurate motto of the novel reading public (of which I'm a loyal member) generally goes something like, "The book is always better." And while Marvel's version of Ender's is probably not an exception to this rule, not everyone can work such a long series into his or her crowded reading schedule. This provides a second option of the utmost quality and is much appreciated by those of us who have been interested in the series, but have yet to find the time to read it.

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6.4
Eternals #1

Jun 11, 2008

With the New Gods popping up all over the DC Universe and the Eternals refusing to say die in the Marvel world, one would think that Jack Kirby's deity-based stories of the 1970s had garnered more than a small cult following- or for that matter hadn't been cancelled in the first place. Sadly, without the benefit of an A-list creator, I'm worried this volume of the Eternals will likely follow suit, as despite being a fairly solid read, the Knauf's take on the franchise doesn't do nearly enough to save it from its undeniably cursed existence.

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9.0
Ex Machina #31

Oct 17, 2007

When it comes right down to it, this book works on just about every level. Vaughan is quickly becoming this generation's Alan Moore- if such a thing is even possible- and there is absolutely no reason this title shouldn't find its way into your hands every month.

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9.5
Ex Machina #34

Feb 20, 2008

When working with his own creations, Vaughan is on a nearly unequalled playing field. He builds his books with layer upon layer of reflective and precognitive thought and rewards careful readers with that extra little bit of reality that takes a story and makes it hit home- and he does all of this without sacrificing the type of action and adventure most of us require from an atypical comic. To put it simply, Brian Vaughan writes a darn near perfect comic book and it really doesn't get any better than this.

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8.0
Ex Machina #36

Apr 30, 2008

Ex Machina #36 stands as undeniable proof that the series, even at its most ridiculous, is one of the most consistent books on the market. Of all of his many successes, Ex Machina seems like it captures the author's personality most clearly and continues to entertain on just about every level.

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8.7
Ex Machina #39

Nov 19, 2008

It's becoming fairly clear that Vaughan's original intent to stay active within the comic book community was a mostly ideological sentiment; one that fell victim, justifiably, to a more consuming set of gigs. But this, in large part, is exactly why Ex-Machina remains so refreshing even with its bi-monthly release schedule. The book becomes the sole, remaining testament from one of the best portfolios of work from the millennial comic generation; a great book from an author who has for the most part moved on to new (some would say better) pastures.

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9.5
Ex Machina #40

Dec 17, 2008

And ultimately, this is what makes Ex Machina #40 so brilliant. Vaughan's work has always combined humor with a sustained emotional resonance, but this issue takes his patented blends to another level. The installment is at once hilarious and touching, perhaps providing a perfect encapsulation of the things that make the author one of the greats of the industry. It really is a shame that this issue came out so late in the year, as it is easily one of the most entertaining stories I've read in 2008.

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8.0
Fables #66

Oct 17, 2007

course of nearly seventy issues, Willingham has yet to bore me with one of his vividly adult fairytales, and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

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8.0
Fables #70

Feb 27, 2008

It will be interesting to see where Willingham takes the story from here. If Fables is anything, it's unpredictable, and as two years worth of issues have been building towards the upcoming war, I can't imagine the creative team will let their fans down as the many different plot elements converge and finally come to fruition. Willingham is writing the very definition of an epic, and I can only foresee good times on the horizon.

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6.8
Fables #71

Mar 19, 2008

If this Cinderella arc suffers from anything, it's probably its mere misfortune of being situated directly before a story arc that will likely culminate over two years worth of events. It's becoming harder and harder to plow through some of these stories, even if they are entertaining, because the feint aroma of the upcoming epic is slowly creeping within the range of my nostrils. Again, its hard to find too much fault in this particular issue, as it does a good job of telling a charmingly violent story, however, it's becoming harder and harder to fight the part of my brain that just wants Willingham to get on with it already and tell the story he promised so very long ago.

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8.6
Fables #74

Jul 2, 2008

Willingham has promised that Fables #75 will change the franchise with permanent repercussions, and it's becoming abundantly clear that he's not just blowing smoke. If Fables is anything, it's unpredictable, and while I have absolutely no clue what's in store, I certainly cannot wait to find out.

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9.0
Fables #75

Sep 3, 2008

Willingham makes a bold move here, apparently intent on changing the formula that has consistently kept Fables in the ranks of the medium's elite franchises. At this point, I'm equally exited and nervous over what is coming next, though no matter what I have to applaud the creative staff for never resting on its laurels. Saddle up Fables fans, because if it's at all possible, things are about to get even more interesting.

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8.7
Fables #77

Oct 15, 2008

I fully realize that I've graded this issue almost entirely on promise, but keeping context in mind, there's not a single aspect more important during this particular epoch in Fables' lore. Willingham took a ginormous risk in ending the war with the Adversary, so in this instance, possibility and potential are the strongest indicators of whether or not he committed a derailing mistake. And if the first two issues are any measure, it's clear he made the right move, the new-look Fables being as engaging as it's ever been.

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8.6
Fables #78

Nov 12, 2008

Before I close things up, it's worth noting that this is the second to last issue of Fables which will feature a cover by James Jean. Is there any doubt that Jean is the single best cover artist in the industry? His work on Fables has been arguably the greatest run in the history of the medium; doing more to enrich each individual chapter of the series than any set of covers on any title I can think of. Knowing that he is leaving Fables is downright depressing…

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8.3
Fables #79

Dec 17, 2008

It seems that there isn't such a thing as a throwaway issue of Fables. More than any other traditional comic in recent memory, Fables invokes the feelings of an old-time newspaper strip- the kind that draws readers back over an undefined, prolonged period of time. This issue stands as proof that as long as Willingham touches on each of his innumerable bases, his basic framework is virtually impervious to fan indifference.

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5.9
Ferryman #1

Oct 8, 2008

At the very least, fans of Manhunter should keep their eyes on Ferryman. It will be hard to pass any hard judgment on the series until the author steers the book into its stated direction, but as far as the introductory issue is concerned, Andreyko uses his sharp timbre to tell a decent pursuit yarn.

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8.5
Final Crisis #1

May 28, 2008

Final Crisis is a mysterious and gripping affair. The scope is large, but the story also feels isolated enough to enjoy without a DC Universe Encyclopedia immediately at hand. Even with my love for Grant Morrison, I was ready to write this off as yet another vehicle for ostentatious pageantry- but I've got to admit, even with it's complicated narrative, it's a darn fun read with immeasurable potential. It's going to be fun to see where it all goes.

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9.5
Four Eyes #2

Feb 18, 2009

From the first two issues of Four Eyes, it's readily apparent that Kelly is not content to merely tell a romping fantasy yarn. The author is layering his story with the perfect combination of meticulous symbolism and simple wonderments, creating a memorable opening to what holds the potential to be one of the best books of 2009. This book really is a testament to the prospects of the creator-owned movement, and hopefully represents the future of an industry that can at times become stagnant in ingenuity.

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7.4
G. I. Joe #7

Jul 23, 2009

We at IGN have certainly been critical of this series since its inception, so it's only fair that we give Dixon his due here. If he intends to continue to unveil Cobra in a deliberate and gradual fashion (which certainly seems to be the case), then he also needs to persist with character and relationship focused stories like this one. Here's hoping this isn't an anomaly.

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7.4
G. I. Joe #8

Aug 12, 2009

In the end, while G.I. Joe continues to push forward at an altogether bizarre, perhaps ill fit pace, Dixon is beginning to prove that this isn't necessarily a deal breaker. For those of who have given up on the series, do yourself a favor and give it a second read through. You might be surprised with what you find. The story might not be overly exciting, but it is certainly thorough. Dixon's tale is reserved in all the ways the recent film isn't, as the author has craftily layered multiple elements on top of a foundation that finds itself further fortified with every installment. And as this happens, the series is becoming much easier to swallow.

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6.4
G.I. Joe #1

Jan 14, 2009

Rich's Score: 7.6

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6.0
G.I. Joe #5

May 20, 2009

There is no doubt that IDW made the right decision in tabbing Dixon to re-launch this franchise. Atkins wasn't a bad pick either. Yet somehow this book continues to limp from month to month. The only hope remaining for this series works under the premise that Dixon's methodical pacing will prove a necessary evil that will ultimately pay off in future story arcs. If you dig deep enough into the story you might find some evidence for this theory, but in the meantime this book continues to tread water in a bizarre, almost unprecedented manner.

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7.4
G.I. Joe #7

Jul 22, 2009

We at IGN have certainly been critical of this series since its inception, so it's only fair that we give Dixon his due here. If he intends to continue to unveil Cobra in a deliberate and gradual fashion (which certainly seems to be the case), then he also needs to persist with character and relationship focused stories like this one. Here's hoping this isn't an anomaly.

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8.3
G.I. Joe: Cobra #2

Apr 15, 2009

Ultimately, what Gage and Costa have already accomplished in the early stages of G.I. Joe: Cobra is to prove that it's more than possible to tell an adult-oriented Joe tale without sacrificing its patented blend of fun and nostalgia. Their story is smart and realistic, yet it also has a clear message - creating what hopefully will become the blueprint for the franchise moving forward. This book is every bit as good as some of the best independent spy titles, providing a story that should prove entertaining enough, even to those less than enamored with the current G.I. Joe universe.

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9.0
G.I. Joe: Cobra #4

Jun 17, 2009

Anyone who enjoys a good morality play owes it to him/herself to pick this book up when it is collected. What's more, you'd be hard pressed to find a better espionage book released this year. Even putting aside the franchise tag, there is no doubt in my mind that GI Joe: Cobra is the most surprising book thus far in 2009 - period.

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9.2
G.I. Joe: Cobra Special #1

Sep 30, 2009

In the end, Costa and Fuso do a brilliant job matching their overarching conceit with their experimental framework, making for a memorable installment in what is quickly becoming one of the best licensed interpretations in recent memory. The disconnect between the rigorously structured frame and the comparably combustible story makes for a poignant assault on the senses—in the process transmuting Cobra Special #1 into an instant classic and the type of book you'll undoubtedly want to re-read and dissect many times over.

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5.0
G.I. Joe: Movie Adaptation #2

Jul 8, 2009

Again, to be fair, the story itself isn't screamingly painful. At least it isn't in the comic. If this were to have been presented as IDW's rebooted origin story, its focus on warheads and covert agents would have made for an average to slightly below average launching point. The nucleus of the tale is entirely adequate. The problem with this issue, which one could fairly use as a gauge for the validity of the film as well, is all the "stuff" that surrounds said story: goofy costumes, corny jokes, bombastic speeches and contrived romances. All of these things add up to a prolonged and universal rolling of the eyes that certainly doesn't bode well for the quality of the film itself.

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7.3
G.I. Joe: Origins #3

Apr 29, 2009

The first two issues of this series were fantastic, so it's a safe bet that this installment serves more as an aberration than a derailment. Even when it lulls, Origins remains entertaining and Hama does a good enough job here of stirring intrigue for the next installment that the issue is certainly worth a look to new readers. If you are a G.I. Joe fan and can get past the artistic woes, Origins is an absolute no-brainer.

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7.8
G.I. Joe: Origins #5

Jul 8, 2009

With Chuck Dixon taking over the reins for the next arc of Origins, it should be interesting to see where the book is taken in regards to the IDW continuity as a whole. The brilliance of the basic Origin schematic is that it allows for a certain degree of leeway, making room for a series of solid stories by various creators, both old and new. Here's hoping that Larry Hama's next arc (following Dixon's) can be every bit as fun as this one.

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7.9
G.I. Joe: Origins #7

Sep 16, 2009

Ultimately, Origins #7 works so well because it uses Mainframe's confidence as a fulcrum for future stories. Considering the rise of the Internet as an intelligence device, as well as the sheer magnitude of the numbers and essays and data now at the world's disposal, the character has never been more pertinent. And to that end, Dixon does a commendable job of taking a rather dull piece in the G.I. Joe machinery and buffing him into a much more serviceable luster.

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6.2
Galveston #1

Nov 12, 2008

In the end, I'd keep my eye on Galveston as, despite its flaws, it does tap into a rather interesting and under explored segment in our country's history. Hopefully, with the bogging necessities of introduction already in the books, Stokes can translate her love of history into the exciting action yarn Galveston seems to want to be.

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4.0
Galveston #3

Jan 28, 2009

In short, Galveston's artwork is bad and the writing is irresponsible, making for a fairly detestable comic. Generally speaking, I don't like to use such harsh words while criticizing, but in this case the recklessness of Stokes' revisions are worthy of such severity. Stokes is a fine writer, but I honestly don't know what she was thinking here, as she basically pulls the historical equivalent of painting Adolf Hitler as an archetypal Mother Theresa.

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8.0
Ghost Rider (2006) #33

Mar 11, 2009

In the end, with its Sara-centered story, Ghost Rider #33 properly fulfills its promise to cast the series into a new and interesting direction. And with the status quo shaken to its core, the fallout from last month's climax is indisputably more interesting than the event itself. Not only is this a good jumping on point for new readers, but also a fantastic follow up for longtime fans, as Aaron continues to showcase his ability to keep a book consistently readable.

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7.4
Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression #1

Sep 16, 2009

Even still, while the story does lean a tad too hard towards the whole "What If?" scenario, the end result should certainly remain entertaining for fans of the franchise as well as mostly digestible for everybody else. IDW continues to do well by the Ghostbusters and even if this series only plays out as a whimsical progression of "wouldn't it be cool if?" moments, it remains worth keeping an eye on.

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8.7
Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1

May 26, 2008

With that off my chest, I want to end with a few nicer words. When I first heard that Whedon was taking a crack at writing the X-Men, my heart nearly imploded. It took me a while to wrap my head around the aspect of my favorite television writer working on my favorite childhood comic franchise. And ultimately, at its conclusion, Whedon's Astonishing X-Men stands as one of my favorite superhero stories of all time. It lived up to its hype in nearly every conceivable way. No plot thread is wasted. Almost every page is beautifully and clearly presented, and even with a less than perfect concluding issue, the way the story comes full circle will place it amongst the most memorable in recent memory. My hat's truly off to Cassaday and Whedon for creating one of the defining superhero stories of the decade - a collection of tales I'll undoubtedly revisit on a yearly basis.

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6.0
Gigantic #1

Nov 5, 2008

Admittedly, this isn't my favorite genre. But even so, Remender presents an interesting enough scenario that I might be willing to see where he is going, despite my general misgivings. If he can add a little substance in between all the noise, Gigantic might just become a fun a little book.

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5.5
Graveslinger #4

Mar 5, 2008

I really do respect what Denton and Mariotte were trying to accomplish with Graveslinger- after all, the notion of "Cowboys vs. Zombies" does sound reasonably cool in its own shallow way- but their final product feels rather empty. Unfortunately, it feels like a trivial attempt to carve a niche into a growingly annoying phenomenon within this decade's comic book legacy, and will undoubtedly be forgotten right alongside the thousand of other titles just like it.

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8.0
Greek Street #1

Jul 1, 2009

The fact that a seasoned veteran like Peter Milligan could take a set of sultry myths and make them work as a twenty-first-century crime story shouldn't surprise anyone. And while Greek Street might not appeal to audiences who are adamantly opposed to adaptations, the story he creates therein remains unique enough to provide almost any reader with something considerably different from any myth or crime story he/she has ever read before.

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5.5
Green Arrow / Black Canary #2

Nov 14, 2007

Despite my cantankerous ramblings, I still believe there is some hope left for this series. It is evident that for the first time in nearly 50 issues of Green Arrow, Winick is trying something different here. Who knows, maybe he'll eventually stumble upon something good. Only time will tell.

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3.5
Green Arrow / Black Canary #3

Dec 12, 2007

As a fan of Green Arrow, I admittedly have a vested interest in the future of this title. I really do hope that Winick can turn things around. Unfortunately I've been holding onto this dream for quite a while now, and while my LCS might prove to be some kind of statistically anomaly, it appears others aren't as patient as I am.

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3.3
Green Arrow / Black Canary #4

Jan 9, 2008

hard-broiled, a solid and singular direction would do a great deal towards making this book at least somewhat readable.

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2.6
Green Arrow / Black Canary #6

Mar 12, 2008

I don't mean to be overly harsh, but this series seems to get worse with every issue. Instead of addressing its flaws, it merely flames them into what's quickly becoming a veritable disaster. If this series has any hope of living up to the high standard set by previous Green Arrow collaborators, or even to match the mediocrity of the last fifty issues or so of the previous GA series, serious changes are needed and quick- though one could definitely argue that it is already too late.

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5.8
Green Arrow / Black Canary #7

Apr 9, 2008

As I've said a million times over the last six months of Green Arrow/Black Canary reviews, all this book really needs is a singular direction. Winick nearly achieved this with this issue, and honestly, if he'd used this comedic approach within the context of a less serious subject, it might've worked for the whole story arc as well- a revelation, I believe, which might bode well for the title's future, assuming that the author continues to veer away from such melodramatic gimmickry with his next main plotline.

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3.0
Green Arrow / Black Canary #8

May 14, 2008

Before I finish, I do want to note that I once again enjoyed the artwork, penciled by Mike Norton. His style is neat, clean and perfectly suited for a lighthearted action book (even if the story itself shouldn't be)- and is the only silver lining in what otherwise proves a complete disaster.

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3.7
Green Arrow / Black Canary #9

Jun 11, 2008

Again, I honestly believe that under different circumstances Green Arrow/Black Canary could work as a buddy cop comedy. The only problem is that this arc seems hell bent on lasting forever and I'm not sure that we'll ever get to test this theory. It's a shame too because with Mike Norton's outstanding pencils on the series, if there were even a hint of a well-written, well-plotted storyline, this book could be more than acceptable for fans of the Emerald Archer.

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4.5
Green Arrow / Black Canary #12

Sep 10, 2008

I also want to know what's the deal with Conner Hawke becoming less and less ethnic with every passing year. During the Dixon years he was clearly ethnic (being a third black and a third Korean), then he seemed to morph into a Caucasian with a Hollywood caliber tan, and today he's become as lily-white as Ryan Seacrest. I don't know who did Conner's pigmentation surgery, but whoever it was, Michael Jackson really should have given the guy a ring back in the summer of 1979.

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7.5
Green Arrow / Black Canary #15

Dec 10, 2008

Not to say that the Kreisberg's story is flawless - there are a few isolated instances of trite banter, particularly in the inciting scenes that provide the framework for Ollie's overarching introspection - but for the most part this book serves as a strong foundation for future endeavors, and at the very least, provides a nice reminder of the qualities that make the relationship between Green Arrow and Black Canary one of the most interesting in the industry.

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5.9
Green Arrow / Black Canary #16

Jan 14, 2009

Back to my original point, the Green Arrow is inherently lame. There are other characters, like Batman or Wolverine, who are much better suited for this sort of action romp. You simply cannot tell a good Green Arrow story unless there is an overriding humanistic theme to set the story apart. It's not enough to see Ollie out duel Merlyn. It's been done to death. Once you take away the existential drama of a middle-aged man being at a constant war with the incongruities between his ideals and his loyalties, what you are left with is an empty shell, dressed like Earl Flynn, who likes taping boxing gloves to the end of arrows.

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8.6
Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #3

Jul 9, 2008

Admittedly I'm a sucker for ebullient takes on the superhero genre, but my admiration for this book goes beyond it merely meeting personal preferences. If given a chance, this book should have a fairly universal appeal because it does just about everything a good comic can do. It's witty, it's fun, and it's quickly becoming one of my favorite monthly titles from Marvel.

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8.4
Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #4

Aug 20, 2008

This issue stands as proof that with a little time and effort, it's possible to present tie-ins that don't distract from an individual title's creative flow. By issue's end Abnett and Lanning leave the reader with a strong implication the upcoming story arc will center itself on trust and substantiation, both necessary steps towards establishing the group as vital and enduring. We've been singing this book's praises since its inception, but it bears repeating; Guardians of the Galaxy is right on par with Marvel's very best titles. Abnett and Lanning have a formula for the extraordinary here and you should be paying attention.

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8.5
Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #6

Oct 15, 2008

Again, with this story Abnett and Lanning present a perfect model for how a tie-in should be written. Even while fulfilling its required duties, this arc never abandoned the title's quirky disposition. There is not a single better example in the crowded field of mainstream comics of a book that entertains with youthful sensibilities, while maintaining a sharp, chic wit. Hopefully the Secret Invasion bump will help Guardians garner a larger audience; it certainly deserves it.

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9.0
Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #7

Nov 26, 2008

Not only is Guardians of the Galaxy my favorite new series of 2008, but also it's the mainstream book I'm most excited about for next year (and hopefully the foreseeable future). Between its diverse cast and blend of idiosyncratic humor, this book is as close to Grant Morrison's New X-Men as anything I've read in recent years. That title was routinely atop the sales charts in its initial run, and in a fair world, this one would be as well.

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8.4
Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #8

Jan 3, 2009

While part of me wishes that Guardians were a tad more accessible, it's hard to deny Abnett and Lanning haven't created one of the better epics of the past year. They have a plethora of tools at their disposal and could easily have turned this into a quick-hitting one and done adventure vehicle, yet they chose a much more admirable approach requiring long-range planning. It's hard to recommend this series without also encouraging a requisite catching up on material, but for those of you willing, it's still plenty early enough to merit the effort.

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7.6
Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #9

Jan 21, 2009

Yet if you can get past the artistic woes, Guardians #9 remains another outstanding installment of one of the most reliable titles on the shelf. I remain hopeful that War of Kings will bring more people on board, as there are still a large number of people missing out on Abnett and Lanning's best book.

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7.0
Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #11

Mar 11, 2009

There's no doubt that Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the better books being published by Marvel, so even when the book itself falls into a limbo not unlike the one its characters currently reside, there are always salvageable aspects to just about any issue. In this case, Abnett and Lanning get just introspective enough to avoid disaster, basically holding serve until new, more pertinent material is brought to the forefront.

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8.0
Guerillas #1

Nov 5, 2008

In the end, the second issue certainly doesn't pack the same emotional punch as its predecessor, but the quality remains extremely high, nonetheless. Revel, a relative newcomer to the industry, understands how to write and draw comics, period. The price is a bit steep at six dollars, but for anyone interested in a wholly unique, wholly engaging story, Guerillas is worth every penny.

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8.7
Guerillas #1

Aug 27, 2008

Hands down, this is the single best introductory issue I've read all year. Considering the multitude of horrifyingly blatant scenes of violence, its interesting that most of Guerillas entertainment is derived from its subtleties- Revel packing substance within the playful disparities between the driving narrative and the action in the panels. I have no clue what will happen to Guerillas as the story takes the turn into an anthropomorphic action yarn, but if its at all possible for Revel to keep this high standard, than he could parade a gun-totting pack of aardvarks or a knife-wielding collection of sewer rats and I'd still be onboard.

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3.0
Helm #1

Jul 16, 2008

Somewhere in the letters page, Jim Hardison admits to being new to the comic book medium, so I'm willing to cut him a little slack. He's obviously got a knack for pithy dialogue and the Helm isn't without a few good giggles (mostly involving the helmet itself, which talks an absurd amount of smack while using elevated, Shakespearean like language). He's just got to learn that there's a lot more to comics than shiny swords and superficial quips.

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7.9
Hexed #1

Jan 7, 2009

This issue really surprised me. While there isn't anything inarguably original about its story, Nelson provides plenty of evidence that a great deal of work went into developing its mythos. He unleashes his mysteries in a deliberate, referential fashion, never slapping the reader in the face with intent, while also establishing his story in a wholly comestible fashion. Hexed is well paced, at times brutal, and certainly a title worth keeping an eye on.

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8.5
Incognito #1

Jan 3, 2009

From a marketing standpoint, Incognito presents a fairly interesting trial. The truth is, fair or not, Brubaker's basic design for this title will probably appeal to a much wider audience than Criminal as it dips into more popular waters. Yet the book reads, and feels very much the same. He never alienates the themes that make his other Icon book one of the most consistently great reads on the shelf. It will be interesting to see how new readers respond.

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8.5
Infinite Horizon #2

Jan 9, 2008

I know that this book has probably flown under a great number of people's radars, as it was originally released on a small print run (which promptly sold out). Fortunately, it isn't too late to jump on the bandwagon as Image has already reprinted the first issue to be released alongside the second. I heartily recommend this book to any fans of the The Odyssey, as well as to any of you who are even remotely interested in current events.

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5.4
Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #33

Sep 17, 2008

Obviously, I'm not a fan of Secret Invasion, but I've got to believe that even the most ardent of its supporters are growing weary of reading the same story over and over. In a world of a thousand tie-ins, the best way to judge an issue is by its ability to stand out from the pack. And to that end, this one doesn't.

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8.0
Iron Man: Legacy of Doom #1

Apr 16, 2008

Fittingly, Michelinie and Layton begin their Iron Man swan song with the destruction of the suit of armor worn by the character during the duo's two classic runs on the title. The scene is a touching admission of transition from its authors, as their respective feelings emote from the page as much as the character's in which they're portraying. These veterans may see the world of storytelling inevitably changing around them, but Legacy of Doom feels like their final call back to the ways of old, and to that end, it stands as an absolute treat to the fans of an era already gone by.

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7.0
Jack of Fables #27

Oct 29, 2008

It goes without saying that the act of reviewing fiction is wholly subjective. If you love the character of Jack of the Tales, then you've probably loved this series from the outset. I don't, so I haven't. However, even I have to admit, when it comes down to it, this arc proves Willingham's branched out universe isn't completely void of merit. And for this Fables fan, there's a certain amount of consolation in knowing that.

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6.3
Justice League of America (2006) #17

Jan 16, 2008

Even for all of its strengths, Justice League of America #17 still suffers from the same pratfalls that many of DC's current titles are inclined to these days. After all, anytime a book is tied into a major crossover event there are too many dangling plot lines for a casual fan to fully enjoy it. That being said, if you are a diehard DC fanboy and have been painlessly collecting all things Countdown, then you've probably read much worse than this.

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7.5
Justice Society of America #10

Oct 30, 2007

This issue was very good. It was well plotted, well written and well drawn- par to the JSA course - but if I am being completely honest, it's hard to whole-heartedly recommend something which requires a semester long continuity course to fully comprehend.

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8.5
Kick-Ass #2

Apr 2, 2008

Kick Ass might not be completely true to life, but it is about as feasible as a superhero comic can be, which I surmise is the author's very intent. It's the perfect amalgamation of actuality and entertainment, and putting the story itself aside, I find the process itself intriguing enough in its own right - and to that regard, Kick Ass is easy to recommend to just about every fan of the genre.

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8.6
Kick-Ass #3

Jun 4, 2008

With Kick-Ass, Millar has created what may just become the archetype for the 21st century superhero. Instead of patrolling the streets, he pimps himself out on MySpace. Instead of carrying a utility belt, he carries a bottle of pepper spray. Kick-Ass is undeniably fresh, different and, most importantly, fun.

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5.0
Last Reign: Kings of War #1

Nov 12, 2008

If you are a hardcore fantasy fan, then you might enjoy Last Reign, but I kind of doubt it. The harsh truth is that there are much, much better products out there, and this one doesn't do nearly enough to set itself apart. I'd turn to something like Red 5's Neozoic instead.

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7.8
Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus #3

Nov 7, 2007

showUSloc=(checkLocale('uk')||checkLocale('au'));document.writeln(showUSloc ? 'US, ' : ''); November 7, 2007 - Welcome to another IGN Comics review. If you've been here before, you know the drill. If you haven't, here's how it works. We grade on a 100-point scale. Numerically this is represented as a 10 point system with 0.1 increments. These scores also translate to particular labels. Our indices will show the labels as will our "object boxes" which you'll see to the right. For trade, arcs and manga reviews, we'll comment on art and writing along with a final score. Weekly books get a faster treatment due to their shorter length.One thing to keep in mind is we're providing you with multiple reviews and multiple scores. To keep things simple (for you and for us), we're limiting this to one Additional Take. The Additional Take reviewer will have his or her score listed directly after their opinion. The Final Score is not affected by this and is directly determined by the Main Reviewer (

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9.0
Locke & Key: Head Games #1

Jan 14, 2009

If you are a fan of supernatural thrillers, do yourself a favor and pick up the hardcover of Locke and Key Volume One. This is high-caliber fiction and a real exemplification of what independent comics should be. It's clear that Hill has a great deal more in store for his readers with Head Games, and if this first issue was any indicator, it should be a contradictorily fun and discomforting trip.

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8.7
Locke & Key: Head Games #3

Mar 4, 2009

Locke and Key is not only one of the best independent comics on the stands but can also stand toe-to-toe with just about anything being published by the Big Two. If you haven't caught up with this series yet, go do it. The first volume is as good a collection as you'll find in the horror department, and this second one might just top it.

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8.7
Locke & Key: Head Games #6

Jul 1, 2009

Ultimately, Locke and Key remains every bit as exciting now as it was with its first issue. Even as things become slightly convoluted, Hill is able to ground the story in a bizarre feasibility that makes this series one of the scariest and most entertaining thrillers in recent memory.

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6.5
Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers #1

May 13, 2009

Marc's Score: 9.0

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9.0
Logan #1

Mar 5, 2008

I know it seems that I'm delving a little too deep into this story, but I honestly found it so entirely refreshing that I can't help but think my convoluted deconstruction is somewhat justified. Obviously, I can't wait to see where BKV takes this story - and looking even further down the road- I truly hope other writers will see what Vaughan has done here and re-examine not only how they portray the character of Wolverine, but the types of stories they choose to tell about him in the first place.

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8.5
Logan #2

Apr 2, 2008

While I do find it somewhat perplexing that Vaughan would choose this time in his career to write a Wolverine story, especially considering his adamant preference for creator-owned content, I'm not at all surprised that Logan is so darn good. The author owns membership within the small club of creators who can do little wrong, and this series proves no exception- another solid offering from one of the modern greats.

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4.9
Marvel Apes #1

Sep 3, 2008

When it comes down to it, Marvel Apes is the type of book in which you know what you're getting in to long before you actually sit down to read it. If the idea of an ape-like Captain America gets you all hot and bothered, then you'll probably enjoy the title regardless of its silly contrivances. Kesel himself sneaks in a small amount of self-mockery, which suggests he understands the whole premise is ridiculous. And as it turns out, along with some solid cartooning by Ramon Bachs, it's this very attitude that almost, but not quite, saves Marvel Apes from complete obnoxiousness.

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6.3
Marvel Apes #2

Sep 17, 2008

Once again, you know what you're getting into when you buy a book like Marvel Apes. But even to skeptics like me (who lampooned the first issue with a 4.9), it's hard to deny the drastic jump in quality that was made in between the first two issues. The artwork is easy on the eye, and even if it requires the disclaimer "For a book about monkeys", there is a fair amount of pleasure to be had in the story. Don't get me wrong, Marvel Apes is still unconditionally stupid, but it's also a tad bit of fun once you open your mind.

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6.4
Marvel Apes #3

Oct 1, 2008

Ultimately, there's silly, and then there's dumb. This book probably resides somewhere in between. To play a broken record, Marvel Apes is basically what you expected, only marginally better. Kesel has actually impressed me quite a bit with his ability to pull a serviceable story out of such a gimmicky product, but also to that end, if he would have avoided the wordplay jokes (or at least scaled them back a bit), it could've been even better.

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6.0
Marvel Super Hero Squad #1

Sep 10, 2009

Collecting a few online cartoon strips with a full-length mind-swapping story involving M.O.D.O.K and Wolverine, the book certainly doesn't offer anything of substance to anyone over the age of six. Yet to an extremely nascent reader, Christopher Jones' cute portrayals and Mark Hoffmeier's brisk script should provide just enough excitement to stir some level of interest in comic books to make do until these kids ultimately graduate to the Marvel Adventures line.

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7.0
Mythos: Fantastic Four #1

Oct 31, 2007

While Jenkins does succeed in adding more substance to the Fantastic Four origin story, there really isn't much new here. The book is fun, in that it brings back the memories of having first read the material as a small child- but if all I really wanted out of a comic was a sense of nostalgia, then I would be more inclined to pick up and reread the original work. What Jenkins and Rivera have created is a fabulous representing of an already classic story- one Fantastic Four fanboys will undoubtedly love to have in their collection- as for me, however, I can't really say that this book was needed in the first place.

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8.5
Neozoic #3

Feb 27, 2008

Neozoic does just about everything a great comic book can do. It's beautifully drawn, and delivers on its cool premise with an exciting story that successfully builds upon the very best assets that make the fantasy genre so much fun to read. It's a perfect example of the brand of story telling fittingly, and exclusively, suited for the comic book format and is quickly ascending to the top of my weekly stack with every release.

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8.0
Neozoic #4

Apr 23, 2008

I was as skeptical as anybody when I picked up the first issue of Neozoic last year, but it only took one issue to get me hooked. Atomic Robo gets a lot of attention, and rightfully so, but this series is quickly becoming my favorite Red 5 publication. It may not appeal to everyone, but again, anyone with even a feigning interest in fantasy, owes it to himself or herself to give this title a shot.

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7.9
Neozoic #5

Jun 25, 2008

There aren't enough all-ages fantasy books out there, so I really have high hopes for this series and its future. All the ingredients are there for a long and entertaining run- the art and writing are top-notch- so here's hoping Ens and Korim can keep this thing afloat for the foreseeable future.

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7.8
Neozoic #7

Nov 12, 2008

In the end, if you are a fantasy fan and haven't been following this series, there is no excuse for you to not pick up Neozoic when (and if) it is collected in a trade. The artwork is fantastic and the world Ens creates is emphatic and fun. I'm not sure what Red Five has in store for Neozoic, but I hope they keep this thing running for the foreseeable future.

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7.4
New Avengers: Reunion #1

Mar 4, 2009

In the end, this book should easily satisfy fans of Hawkeye and Mockingbird. Again, the combative threat in the issue does come across rather perfunctory (if not entirely clich), but McCann makes it clear that this title was never intended to be a complex thriller in the first place. New Avengers: Reunion is more or less a traditional character study, and in that regard it succeeds fairly well.

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7.8
New Avengers: Reunion #2

Apr 1, 2009

Again, if it wasn't for the rather perfunctory premise serving as Reunion's MacGuffin, this book would be a nearly flawless experiment in super-heroic drama. Still, McCann's apparent love for these characters is more than apparent from his well articulated script, making for a must read for any old-school fans of the West Coast Avengers.

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7.3
North Wind #2

Feb 6, 2008

North Wind is very true to its genre. Reading it feels at the same time familiar and refreshing, and I, for one, can't wait to see where Digilo and Cal take the story from here. And while those of you who don't appreciate post-apocalyptic stories probably won't be won over, the book's use of common, yet still entertaining themes, will undoubtedly satisfy fans of both the science fiction and fantasy genres.

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5.9
North Wind #3

Mar 5, 2008

Look, I absolutely love what Mark Waid is doing with BOOM! Studios. They are hands down one of the best independent publishers in the business. I also can't completely condemn Northwind, as despite its relative lack of originality, it does have a certain degree of entertainment value due to its appealing artwork and fittingly cryptic setting. The problem is that other BOOM! books, such as the Foundation and Potter's Field, continue to set the originality bar a little too high for a book like North Wind to hurdle, which makes it extremely hard to whole-heartedly recommend.

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7.0
Northlanders #3

Feb 6, 2008

We here at IGN have mixed feelings about Northlanders. And personally, while I certainly wouldn't classify the book as the greatest representation of Brian Wood's contributions to the comic world, I do continue to find a lot to like here. When it comes down to it, Northlanders really shouldn't fall under comparison to Wood's other works. It is what it is- a fun and exciting read. Nothing more, nothing less.

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7.5
Northlanders #4

Mar 5, 2008

Northlanders certainly isn't for everybody. For that matter, it isn't necessarily the type of title that Wood's typical fan base will enjoy, either. But that doesn't necessarily mean that its bad- just different. Next to All-Star Batman, this might just be the most love-it-or-hate-it type book of the year, and as I already stated, I'm starting to lean towards the former.

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8.0
Northlanders #5

Apr 23, 2008

There's no doubt in my mind that Northlanders will read better in one collected volume. As the story of Sven progresses, Wood has filled many of the voids lingering from the series' inauspicious beginnings. It's a rare feat for an author to make previous issues seemingly better as respective pieces of storytelling by fixing their problems with subsequent releases, but I feel like that is exactly what Wood is accomplishing here. Wood spent four issues mindlessly spilling blood, and now, as he starts to fill in the gaps of Sven's life, the previously empty violence takes on some semblance of meaning, making the series much more compelling, and to that end, much easier to recommend.

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7.7
Northlanders #7

Jul 2, 2008

As it is, Northlanders is one solid ending away from becoming an outstanding graphic novel. Considering the manner in which this issue ends, I have no clue what to expect out of the final installment of Sven the Returned, but I've a feeling Wood will return to the introspective type yarn that he popped in between all the violence during the middle of the story arc. These types of stories are Wood's bread and butter, so hopefully he can provide a satisfactory conclusion to what's already been a very entertaining series.

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8.0
Northlanders #11

Oct 29, 2008

For those of you who haven't picked up Northlanders to this point, now would be a perfect time to start. This arc is already showing signs of the sort of sensibilities that make Wood's stories so relatable, even when epic in nature, providing even more proof that the author is one of the best character writers in the industry.

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8.4
Nova #15

Jul 9, 2008

The fight between Nova and Harrow provides a more than satisfying climax to an outstanding arc, making it increasingly clear that Abnett and Lanning are placing themselves within the ranks of creators who can bring the goods just about every month. We've been singing Nova's praises for quite a while now, but it bears repeating that this book is quickly becoming required reading.

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5.2
Nova #16

Aug 27, 2008

None of this is Abnett and Lanning's fault of course. It's just that they're forced to tell the same exact story we've already read ten times this month. It's Nova vs. the Skrulls, just like X-Men: Secret Invasion was nothing more than X-Men vs. the Skrulls (and so on for the billion other tie-in miniseries which do the same exact thing). It's getting to the point where I never want to read about, or even see another Skrull ever again. I can't wait until this whole thing is over, so I can go back to enjoying the books that I love (like Nova) and all of the uniquely entertaining stories they're able to tell when left unhindered.

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6.3
NYX: No Way Home #1

Aug 6, 2008

I don't mean to come off too harsh on this title. There's a lot to like here. I was a huge proponent of the first series, despite its delays, and I honestly believe that these characters are strong enough to more firmly root themselves in the Marvel Universe. And beyond allegiances, the few clues Liu does drop as to the villains and transpirations of the story serve as mostly intriguing. No Way Home certainly deserves a second chance, merited mostly on strong characterizations and feasible motivations; I just hope the meat of the story can pick up a little steam as we trudge ahead.

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8.0
Punisher: War Zone Vol. 2 #1

Dec 10, 2008

And in the end, that's what truly makes this story tick. The character at the heart of the tale, the illustrious Charlie Schitti, serves as the sole remnant of morality in an otherwise conscious-free world. He is dumb, but he's also easy to root for, making War Zone the first weekly comic in recent memory to actually hold my interest heading into its second installment.

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8.0
Punisher: War Zone Vol. 2 #2

Dec 17, 2008

Ennis' best work (outside of Preacher), serves as the comic book equivalent of a well-written exploitation film from the 1970's. War Zone seems to fall somewhere under these parameters. The book certainly portrays itself as a carnal sort of entertainment, but there is just enough depth here to keep things interesting from week to week. For anyone skeptical of a weekly Punisher comic, you can rest your concerns. This is easily as good as anything Ennis has written over the last few years.

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8.4
Punisher: War Zone Vol. 2 #5

Jan 14, 2009

Though I would preferred the story either pack in more meat or wrap up sooner, I can't complain too much at what I've been given. This is a retro-flavored Ennis Punisher - simple, deadly, and endlessly amusing.

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8.2
Rasl #2

Jun 18, 2008

RASL's erratic release schedule will likely turn some readers away, but I for one, am far too hooked to relegate this title to trade-waiting status. It's certainly not something I would've expected from Jeff Smith, yet most of me believes this to be a good thing. It's always fun to see one of the greats branch out a little bit, so in that regard this is one of the most intriguing books of the year.

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7.8
Rasl #3

Oct 15, 2008

When all is said and done, the title should evolve into an outstanding trade/collection. It's just hard to recommend this book, in good faith, as a strong, segmented story.

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5.9
Red Circle: Inferno #1

Aug 12, 2009

Ultimately, the little bit of fun that is to be had within Inferno falls under the umbrage of the bigger picture. While this particular character proves an absolute and undeniable dud, the idea of re-implementing Archie's classic characters back into the mainstream continues to be a rather inspired end-goal. Here's hoping that next week's The Web can follow the lead of the Hangman and provide the sort of justification for this that Inferno has so enthusiastically misplaced.

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9.0
Runaways (2005) #28

Oct 10, 2007

I've recently been informed by a few of my fellow comic nerds that it is rapidly becoming uncool to gush over a critically acclaimed Joss Whedon book- just as it is unhip for a celebrity to use their appearance on Conan O'Brian to try and earn fanboy street-cred by claiming "Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns changed my life." But darn it good is just good- and this book is good. Don't be too cool for school. Read it.

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8.7
Runaways (2005) #29

Feb 20, 2008

Delays are bad, but Whedon's Runaways is good. We can complain all we want to about its sporadic release dates, but there's no reason for anyone to be completely unhappy with the end product, which just happens to stand as yet another great story from one of the best in the business.

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8.4
Runaways (2005) #30

Jun 25, 2008

In the end, Whedon's Runaways was just about everything I expected it to be. It was funny, action-packed and emotional, not unlike his other works, but in many ways better. Between all of the quirky action and witty quips, Whedon managed to gracefully handle a few serious issues pertaining to the process of growing up, which when it comes down to it is what Runaways is all about in the first place.

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7.3
Runaways (2008) #1

Aug 27, 2008

I have absolutely no problem with Marvel refocusing Runaways on a more youthful audience. In fact, this book is more or less what the industry needs right now, being a title that might draw a younger generation back to the medium. Whether or not Moore has the type of story to make this a reality, it's far too early to tell. However, at the very least, this first chapter proves he is capable of presenting a solid Runaways yarn, a fact from which the franchise's core group of fans can draw a considerable amount of comfort.

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7.5
Runaways (2008) #3

Oct 22, 2008

There is no doubt that the Runaways franchise holds a transcending sort of power. The initial third volume story might not be anywhere near as endearing as Vaughan's originals, but it still maintains a refreshing amount of relatability for a comparably disregarded segment of the industry's patronage. It's for this reason, that even despite its flaws, Moore's Runaways still holds a substantial amount of value.

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6.8
Salem: Queen of Thorns #2

Sep 10, 2008

While Salem's story plays out a tad too theatrical for my tastes, it does manage to feel true to the era, due in large part to Wilfredo Torres pencils. He does a whole lot with a relatively difficult setting, a dark and predominantly dead forest, managing to add quite a deal of motion to what could have been a stagnant background. He was a good choice for this series, which relies a great deal on the subtleties in which his detailed pencils are aptly fit.

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8.5
Secret Invasion #1

Mar 31, 2008

All of this brings me to the final and most important question. Does this book accomplish that which it sets out to do? I can confidently say, that Secret Invasion does just that. The stakes are set, a few secrets are revealed and the narrative is dramatically pressed forward. And, perhaps most importantly, Bendis succeeds in pontificating his ability to responsibly handle the authority he's been given in writing this potentially polarizing series. While Secret Invasion could still, undoubtedly and easily, take a bad turn, the first issue gives me faith that it won't - coming from a skeptical wannabe hipster such as myself, there's no higher compliment.

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8.0
Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers #2

Aug 13, 2008

I don't know if I've been more surprised by a comic at any point over the period of the last few months. Yost has all of the Runaways/Young Avengers characterizations down pat, while also providing a story of substance and significance. Even if you're not picking up the main Secret Invasion titles, if you're a supporter of either of these two teams, this series is required reading- its ramifications having the potential to affect both series for years to come.

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6.7
Secret Invasion: X-Men #1

Aug 13, 2008

Now, before you accuse me of assigning a low score without too much malignity, I just can't justify a high rating for a book that doesn't do anything new, or even approach pertinence. Carey's script is entertaining and Nord's pencils are beautiful, so in that respect I applaud Marvel for handing the title over to capable hands, but at the same time, Secret Invasion: X-Men seems like nothing more than a routine action book without much consequence.

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8.5
Serenity: Better Days #1

Mar 12, 2008

It's no coincidence that a great majority of Whedon fans share an affinity for the comic book medium. His TV work, while properly suited for the airwaves, has always contained the type of witty dialogue and blend of humor and melodrama that is more or less atypical of the best in comics. So it should come as no surprise that out of all the licensed comics out there, Whedon's ventures stand as the very best at maintaining the proper aura of the original subject matter. Serenity: Better Days continues this trend, and while those new to the Firefly universe probably won't garner much entertainment out of its fan-centered story, for the rest of us, this series is just what the doctor ordered.

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7.5
Serenity: Better Days #2

Apr 9, 2008

Fortunately for Matthews, it's been so long since we've heard from these characters, that his masterful handling of their individual personalities provides more than enough of an excuse to not only buy, but also enjoy this mini. And while I'm not convinced that the story at hand would make for anything more than an average episode of the TV series, the world Whedon created with Firefly comes off so rich that even an unexceptional tale set within its universe feels substantial in its own way.

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7.0
Serenity: Better Days #3

May 14, 2008

With the announcement of "A Shepard's Tale" it's becoming readily clear that if the story of Firefly is to continue, it'll likely be relegated to the comic book format. There's absolutely no way that Whedon and company would divulge the mysterious past of Shepard Book in a comic if there was even a fleeting chance that the story could see the screen, either big or small. But that doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. Firefly can definitely work as a comic if Whedon decides to full on embrace the notion instead of merely entertaining it with a mini-series like this one.

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8.2
Shrapnel #1

Jan 7, 2009

But even so, at less than two dollars, Shrapnel #1 is a veritable steal. If they iron out the few kinks in the artwork, this could easily become the hallmark series Radical needs to further establish themselves as a high-quality independent comic publisher. Hardcore science fictions fan should not miss this, and even if you don't care for the genre, at the discounted price you might as well give it a shot.

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8.3
Spider-Man: With Great Power #1

Jan 30, 2008

While some of you may dismiss this as an unnecessary re-telling, those of you willing to give it a chance should be pleasantly surprised by how "new" the books feels. Just about all of us have the Spider-Man origin memorized by now, yet this story feels appropriately important and relevant to the web-crawler's canon, even if it is out of continuity. And if that's not enticing enough, you could easily pick this one up based on the artwork alone.

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5.4
Station #1

Jul 2, 2008

I love the spirit of the traditional independent comic scene, but books like the Station, to me, seem like a part of an alarming trend towards using the comic book medium as a steppingstone to more lucrative ventures. Admittedly I could be totally wrong here, but the whole time I was reading the Station I couldn't shake the feeling that I was partaking in something that was written for the silver screen by an author who couldn't get a studio to bite on it.

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8.6
Sub-Mariner: The Depths #1

Sep 3, 2008

This sort of pulp-era adventure story belongs to an admittedly polarizing genre. Ironically, the bombastic language and inordinate overtones seem to bore certain readers with their blatant presentations, while others tend to wholeheartedly buy in. And to that end, fans of the pulp genre should embrace Sub-Mariner Depths as the best example of entertaining homage in recent memory, a veritable love-letter to an era gone by.

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8.9
Sub-Mariner: The Depths #2

Oct 1, 2008

By casting Namor as a mythological beast of sorts, Milligan presents a premise that breathes new life into a character that has long been relegated to secondary status. None of this would matter if the premise didn't work, but Sub Mariner: Depths sells its intent resoundingly well. No pun intended, I'm sure this book is sailing below quite a few people's radars, which is a shame, because Milligan and Ribic have started this series with a reverberating bang.

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8.3
Sub-Mariner: The Depths #3

Nov 5, 2008

Obviously, The Depths isn't for the Brett Rattner/Michael Bay fans of the world, but its lawful presentation should be downright scintillating those who appreciate good genre fiction, or predominately character driven narratives. It's early, granted, but this book has the potential to be the best Mariner story in recent memory, despite the fact that the character has yet to make a prominent appearance. You can either take that as a testament to Peter Milligan's talents as a writer, or to the relative shallowness of Namor's recent usage, but I'm inclined to go with the former.

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8.5
Sub-Mariner: The Depths #4

Jan 7, 2009

All of this, coupled with Esad Ribic's outstanding penciling/coloring, makes Sub-Mariner Depths perhaps the most well rounded miniseries Marvel has released over the last year. The book is beautifully wrought and shouldn't be missed by anyone when it's inevitably collected later this year.

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6.0
Sword #2

Nov 14, 2007

The Sword is a perfect example of how hard it is to tell a story based entirely off of a series of mysteries- especially when segmented into short increments. It is unbelievably risky to leave your audience thinking in a certain way, because if you misfire, even if the plot is headed in a completely different direction, there is no way for them to know this when choosing whether or not to buy the next issue. Again, I could be way off base here. Honestly, I hope that I am- I've just learned to be weary of titles like this because more often than not they tend to disappoint.

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7.8
Sword #3

Dec 5, 2007

Again, as with any series based around a set of mysteries, I can't fully recommend this title on the story alone, at least not until a few of the lingering questions are answered. What I can do, however, is recommend the book to those of you who enjoy a well drawn, action packed comic, with more than its fair share of "Oh no she didn't!" moments. As it is, even my skeptical buttocks is going to hang with this title, and I remain hopefully the Lunas won't disappoint.

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8.7
Sword #6

Mar 19, 2008

Every issue of the Sword seems to improve upon the last. Over the last few issues, the title has grown on me so much that I'm almost ready to declare the series as the Lunas' best work to date. They took a serious risk in their story telling technique, and it appears that it might just pay off- and for that I ebulliently tip my cap.

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6.0
Sword #7

Apr 16, 2008

I find the Sword a very difficult book to review as it continually dips in and out of mediocrity. Certain issues of the series have proven amazing, while others (like this one) are borderline mundane. However, it's hard to completely write off anything the Lunas' put out there, as they've got this knack to sneak up and impress, just when you think all hope is lost. And to that regard, hopefully, this chapter is nothing more than a small hiccup.

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7.7
Sword #9

Jul 2, 2008

If you haven't been picking up the Sword in the monthlies, this book is definitely worth a look once it's collected. There's nothing groundbreaking here, but it's a lot of fun when taken with a grain of salt. There are a lot of better books out there, but not too many so shamelessly entertaining.

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7.1
The Brave and the Bold #14

Jun 18, 2008

Again, this issue certainly isn't vital, but it is moderately fun. In many ways it's a testament to how a lighthearted Green Arrow story can work when properly setup and set in to motion. No gimmicks. No wasted time. Just a little bit of quick-hitting fun.

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7.3
The Brave and the Bold #21

Jan 21, 2009

Before I wrap things up, I couldn't live with myself without gifting you horror fans out there with a quick recommendation. If you haven't already done so, do yourself a favor and check out David Hine's original graphic novel, the aforementioned "Strange Embrace". The book presents the most twisted/depressing character study I've ever read in a horror comic. Just a little tip for the new year…

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7.5
The Destroyer #1

Apr 1, 2009

Ultimately, whether you've read it or not, you probably already know if you'll like Destroyer based upon your general feelings towards Kirkman back catalogue. Not to pigeonhole the author - as books like Walking Dead prove his ability to tell diverse stories - but Destroyer is very much a cousin to books like Invincible or even Battle Pope. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is entirely up to you.

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7.5
The Incredibles: Family Matters #1

Mar 25, 2009

In the end, this book might be simplistic but it isn't dumb either. Waid is an old pro and he knows how to give an audience what it wants. And ultimately, children will probably enjoy the quick-hitting, mostly inoffensive nature of the story. Any way you cut, that's a good thing. The industry needs younger readers. Hopefully the Incredibles can help make that happen.

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8.3
The Incredibles: Family Matters #2

May 20, 2009

If Waid sticks to his guns here and this book manages to meet expectations sales wise, then The Incredibles: Family Matters could go a long way towards legitimizing the validity of intelligent superhero comics aimed towards children. Here's hoping.

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8.2
The Muppet Show #1

Mar 25, 2009

I have a feeling that this book will prove divisive amongst Muppet fans. For some, any Muppet story void of actual puppets will inevitably prove a letdown. Yet, it feels like Langridge knows this. Instead of presenting a reverse Watchmen-esque schematic of intricate replication, he bends the franchise to work properly in a different medium - and for the most part it works.

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8.5
The Muppet Show #2

Apr 29, 2009

Obviously this sort of nostalgic homage certainly won't appease all readers - particularly those who aren't already card carrying members of the Muppet's faithful - but even for the most cynical adult audience, I'm willing to bet there are more than a few smiles to be had in the Muppet Show's pages. Langridge has the rare gift of actually being able to make puns humorous, using his experience as a comic strip artist to create something comestible for just about anyone with a funny bone.

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8.5
The Stand: American Nightmares #1

Mar 11, 2009

Largely from the benefit of Mike Perkins pencils, American Nightmares continues to capture and highlight the spirit of the novel while taking risks mostly unheard of in the world of adaptations. Instead of pushing through the quiet moments of the novel in order to win readers over with more visceral action, Aguirre-Sacasa continues to celebrate the heart of King's story. And while the pacing might frustrate the impatient reader, the rest of us can continue to celebrate the book's painfully intricate examination of the human spirit.

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8.6
The Stand: Captain Trips #2

Oct 6, 2008

In the end, "The Stand: Captain Trips", is effective on just about every level. People who have read the book have lauded the series for its faithfulness, while new readers (such as myself) can enjoy the book from a fresh, virgin outlook. The relationship between Stephen King and Marvel has already resulted in two gems, so I say keep them coming. The new author-centered franchise is an unarguable bestowal to the comic book medium, and I for one want more.

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7.0
The War that Time Forgot #1

May 7, 2008

Despite its use of characters from multiple eras, I call TWTF a WWII serial because it more or less falls under the trappings of the science fiction stories from that time period. Its focus on air fights and the setting of the mysterious island itself give the book a serious dime-novel vibe, for better or worse. The War that Time Forgot certainly won't win over those of you who don't enjoy the camp inherent in the old serials, or for that matter those of you who are tired of the genre's suddenly en vogue status in the industry, but as for me, I'm intrigued enough to give the book a chance as the story itself begins to materialize. There's some promise here, even if the first issue was somewhat underwhelming.

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9.0
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #2

Jan 14, 2009

Obviously, this series isn't for everyone. There are some grown-ups that prefer more heady material, and there is nothing wrong with that. But even so, for a lot of us, there remains an inner-child that needs to be fed. And to that end, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz provides a veritable feast.

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9.3
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #4

Mar 11, 2009

With its silver slippers and green spectacles, this is the Oz tale done right. The title is a perfect example of how to properly present an all-ages story, touting a universal accessibility while maintaining additional layers of intelligence and depth. If you have even the faintest of a pulse you'll love this book. Bravo to Marvel for making it happen.

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9.2
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz #6

May 13, 2009

What's more, for readers who are enjoying Marvel's adaptation to this point but haven't read the original book, the final two chapters should prove all the more interesting in that they cover material that wasn't even hinted at in the Oz movie. To a great number of Shanower's audience the next two installments might as well be brand new material - providing even more incentive for fans of all ages to pick this book up without hesitation.

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9.5
Thor (2007) #12

Dec 24, 2008

When you couple this skillful examination with Coipel's beautiful pencils, what results is a near perfect comic book. As a vetted professional, Straczynski has had his hands in a number of notable franchises, spanning both decades and mediums. So it is notable that what he continues to do with Thor is amongst his very best work. If you've yet to jump on board, do yourself a Christmas solid and catch up.

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9.3
Thor: Ages of Thunder - Reign of Blood #1

Jun 25, 2008

If you want a convoluted plot rich with character development and social repercussion, then look elsewhere. Reign of Blood is an authentically gritty, unabashed take on perhaps the darkest period in literary history. The characters may be despicable, the stories harsh and unapologetic- but the book itself is fun as all hell.

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8.3
Thor: Man of War #1

Nov 26, 2008

So when I say this is the weakest chapter, it's important to keep everything in perspective. This issue is still outstanding in just about every way, even if it lacks some of the debauched charm from previous installments. Fraction's diverse storytelling really shines in this series, his work on Thor being arguably the best of his mainstream career. This is mythology at its best and a noteworthy testament to the creativity of an incredibly versatile creator.

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8.5
Thor: The Truth of History #1

Oct 22, 2008

This is good comics, folks. Davis provides a complete, thoughtful story in a style he actively demonstrates is far from dead. It may not be the morbid sort of enterprise we've grown accustomed to over the last twenty years, but it is every bit as entertaining as any straightforward action story I've read this year.

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7.8
Ultimate Spider-Man #131

Feb 25, 2009

Though in the end, it's a borderline miracle that the author has been able to muster any sort of momentum at all while being relegated (like so many Marvel writers these days) into the role of a tie-in creator. And putting minor quibbles aside, it's hard to deny Bendis is doing a good job with what has to be a mildly frustrating situation. One could easily argue that Ultimate Spider-Man has been the most consistent superhero book of the decade, so here's hoping Bendis is given back free reign post-Ultimatum, in whatever re-launched/reformatted form it comes in.

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6.7
Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem #1

Jun 17, 2009

Again, Requiem is full of interesting character moments and is framed around a very intriguing premise that Bendis almost manages to deliver on. But in a weird way, these positive aspects are ultimately what ruin the book when it becomes clear that they are to play second fiddle to an instantly forgettable team-up story. Hopefully Bendis can steer clear of this with issue two, because there is a lot of potential in the crux of his story and it would be a shame for him to miss the opportunity to wax poetic.

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7.8
Uncanny X-Men #500

Jul 23, 2008

Sometimes less is more. Uncanny #500 might not contain the epic material one usually expects from books as heavily marketed as this one, but I don't see why that's necessarily a bad thing. Admittedly, years of gimmickry had me predisposed to hate this book, but I couldn't help but fall into its deceptive trap. I can only hope that Brubaker and Fraction maintain this breezy approach as the series moves forward, while avoiding the general amount of pretentiousness that somehow managed to hijack the genre somewhere along the way.

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6.7
Uncanny X-Men #504

Nov 19, 2008

I don't know. Maybe I'm just being nitpicky with one of my favorite authors here, but this book feels slightly skewed. It doesn't help that Brubaker's run was all over the map, as there seems to be a certain level of residual disconnect left over here. But even with that said, now that Fraction has free and complete reign, I remain somewhat confident that he can finally steer this title into a more discernable direction.

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6.6
Universal War One #1

Jul 16, 2008

Ultimately, the first chapter of Bajram's space epic does just enough to keep me on board. Apparently, the series is quite popular overseas, which somewhat validates my theory that the promise of the series' strong premise will start to see the light a little more with each issue. The American comic market is somewhat lacking of any successful non-superhero science fiction, so I remain hopeful that Universal War One can fill that void.

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8.7
War Heroes #1

Jul 23, 2008

While Millar's typical superhero stories often fall into the "love it or hate it" category, War Heroes seems primed for a more universal appeal amongst adult readers. Image has a surefire hit on their hands as long as the author sticks to his unapologetic guns. War Heroes could easily become the next Wanted, albeit more pertinent, so color me infinitely intrigued.

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7.3
War Machine #3

Feb 25, 2009

Again, there is nothing landmark here, but it's undeniable that Pak is making the most of his given trappings. What could easily have become a niche book for a batch of devoted readers, Pak transforms into a tolerable story even for those not entirely interested in the character of Jim Rhodes. If you're at all entertained by unabashed shoot-em-ups, War Machine is certainly worth a look.

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8.8
War of Kings #1

Mar 24, 2009

A veritable dream for science fiction/fantasy fans, War of Kings is event comics done right. Abnett and Lanning might be flying a bit under the radar, but there is no question that what they've been doing at Marvel is special. The duo have taken a cast of C-listers and thrust them into prominence, providing ample proof that good writing can transform even the meekest of pawns into noteworthy icons.

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8.9
War of Kings #2

Mar 30, 2009

War of Kings is certainly exciting, but to define it as so is mostly shortsighted. Abnett and Lanning's epic is about building character and making touch decisions. The duo continue to prove that you can captivate an audience with intelligence and drama, and that explosions and violence aren't the end all and be all of epic storytelling. WOK is a complex web of conflicting viewpoints and interwoven politics, making for the best start to any event comic in recent memory.

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9.2
War of Kings: Who Will Rule? #1

Sep 10, 2009

In the end, War of Kings is not only an adept homage to the greatest science-fiction serials of a bygone era, but also a shining example of how to update said genre with the complex morality riddles that play so well amongst modern sensibilities. As it is, Abnett and Lanning have transformed Marvel's cosmic niche into one of the most cerebrally engaging, viscerally entertaining franchises in the entirety of the comic book industry.

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7.0
We Kill Monsters #1

Jul 22, 2009

Again, even if We Kill Monsters isn't in any way superb, the book does just enough to provide Red 5 with yet another comestible product. It's definitely worth a look to those who like their horror stories projected with a light-hearted, charm-driven approach.

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4.0
What If: Spider-Man vs. Wolverine #1

Jan 30, 2008

Nostalgic cover aside, the issue is basically worthless to anyone who hasn't read the original one-shot. And even then, it comes off a little shallow on story. I don't mean to be overly critical, but I really am scratching my head over why this book even exists.

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9.0
Wolverine (2003) #64

Apr 9, 2008

Obviously, I'm a big fan of this run. Everything about it has worked on multiple levels- namely on characterization and instantly quotable moments. Between this book and BKV's Logan, I haven't enjoyed the character of Wolverine this much in years. Aaron's pronounced style feels perfectly suited for this title, and while I know that the author's stay is limited to this one arc, I'll be damned, even with one issue still remaining, if he hasn't already made it memorable.

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7.8
Wolverine (2003) #66

Jun 10, 2008

When it comes down to it, I'm a sucker for alternate timeline superhero stories and I'm sure that I'll eventually love this one as well. It's just that while Wolverine #66 is certainly a good read, Millar gets a little too cute a few too many times for my whole-hearted approval. Hopefully this doesn't become a trend, because ultimately, there's a lot to like here and this arc has the potential to become one of the more memorable Wolverine stories in recent memory.

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8.0
Wolverine: Saudade #1

Sep 10, 2008

Moving somewhat under the radar, Marvel's recent European outreach program continues to create a bevy of fresh material. A lot of purists will dismiss Wolverine Saudade because of its lighthearted approach, but for those willing to give it a chance, there's a lot of heart mixed within all the craziness. The story is briskly paced and nonstop with excitement, definitely worth a look for readers with an open mind.

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5.6
X-Force #7

Sep 24, 2008

Ultimately, I understand what X-Force is trying to accomplish. There are people out there who really enjoyed the shallow pageantry of 1990s era comics, and that's perfectly fine. But for many of us, X-Force invokes a barrage of sour memories, all of them stemming from a period of publishing that actually managed to drive us away from the industry. To us, this book is one Onslaught appearance away from becoming an outright kick to the groin.

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7.5
X-Force #12

Feb 25, 2009

Not to say that X-Force has suddenly become chaste or restrained in anyway, but the title has clearly matured as it enters its second year. The large-scale violence remains, yet (at least for the time being) the scenes of destruction and mayhem are finally being used to accentuate a well-articulated story, as opposed to justify a three-dollar purchase on their own merit. Hopefully this issue doesn't serve as an anomaly and represents what we can expect moving forward.

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8.0
X-Force/Cable: Messiah War Prologue #1

Mar 25, 2009

Kevin's Score: 8.0

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6.7
X-Infernus #1

Dec 3, 2008

In the end, X-Infernus is a decent, if unmemorable start to a miniseries that seems to be aimed at a small audience of readers, but can still be mostly enjoyed by anyone with even a feigning interest in traditional superhero fantasy. You'll certainly feel like you've read this story before, but in this case, that isn't necessarily a deal-breaker.

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6.0
X-Men Forever #1

Jun 10, 2009

In the end there does remain some amount of fun in Claremont's script, even if it is steeped firmly in the realm of blissful nostalgia. If we're being honest, as much as we as a community like to criticize the speculator boom as what nearly killed the industry, there are many of us who never would have gotten into the hobby without it. And in that regard, X-Men Forever at the very least provides an interesting postscript to an important era in the history of the medium. This alone makes the book worth at least keeping an eye on an interesting experiment that may or may not blow up in all of our faces.

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8.0
X-Men Legacy #209

Mar 26, 2008

All in all, there isn't much to complain about here. While the first two issues have suffered slightly in the pacing department, the title's approachable insightfulness more than makes up for its relative lack of progression. The title has undeniably backed away from the type of accessible storyline geared for the casual reader, and it's this refocusing on the hardcore X-Men fan that gives it a distinct direction for the first time in many years.

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8.0
X-Men Legacy #211

May 14, 2008

X-Men Legacy is undeniably an interesting take on the X-Men, and specifically Charles Xavier, but more importantly it's a good one. There's a whole lot of potential here and if Carey continues to tell stories like this one the book might just stand amongst the strongest X-titles on the market.

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8.0
X-Men Legacy #213

Jun 25, 2008

Again, it needs to be said that Legacy is easily the most consistent X-Men title on the stands, especially now that Astonishing has wrapped up. At the very least, the book is the most unique X-Men title in recent memory. Carey has really stepped up his game here, providing what may just be his best superhero work to date.

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8.5
X-Men Legacy #214

Jul 23, 2008

X-Men Legacy is one of those rare superhero comics that actually delivers on its promises. Carey continues to combine pure adrenaline with an appreciative love of the X-Men's much-vaunted back catalogue, creating a satisfying title, which should prove vital to any self-respecting Marvel fan.

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5.7
X-Men Legacy #217

Oct 22, 2008

Ultimately, some of the joys inherent in Legacy remain visible through all the trivialities. Scott Eaton's pencils are clean and Carey's dialogue is smooth. The problem is that the core story swims against everything the duo has done in the series to this point. It falls victim to the same theatrical themes that drag so many of the other X-title down. Just because Legacy and Origins share topical similarities doesn't mean they are categorically cohesive. I sincerely hope that new readers don't view this issue as representative of what one can usually expect from Legacy, because Carey's run on the title has been much, much better than what this particular installment presents.

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6.5
X-Men Legacy #218

Nov 19, 2008

Ultimately, even while "Original Sin" works shallowly with its outward flash, it's also important to point out that this whole story is a little too reliant on violence, which in this case strays from the formula Carey has so brilliantly established for Legacy. The first year of Carey's run has been a very smart, albeit esoteric story, aimed at long time fans of the X-Men. In the end, I can't help but feel like this sort of action yarn is a small step backwards for a title that had to this point been a strong attestation to the validity of intelligent superhero comics.

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8.8
X-Men Legacy #219

Dec 17, 2008

I'm disappointed at the news that Legacy is about to come to an end. Ever since Grant Morrison's departure, this particular book had been mostly filler- a vehicle for the repetitive bore that has become the traditional action-oriented comic book. Carey's run, however, has at times flown in the face of the customary X-Men schematic, presenting the sort of smart, memorable tales that are usually reserved for stories outside of established canon. Carey is really on to something here and I hope that the series can maintain its intelligent approach even as it drops its new moniker and returns to more traditional trappings.

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7.3
X-Men Legacy #222

Mar 18, 2009

Ultimately, I take a great deal of solace in the fact that Carey uses this issue to return the series to its character centered roots. If this arc serves as a transition of sorts away from Xavier focused stories, then it does just enough to barely overshadow any residual disappointment in the changing of the guard.

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6.7
X-Men/Spider-Man #1

Nov 5, 2008

In the end, Gage never really alienates modern sensibilities while managing to tell a fairly entertaining homage to the bronze age of the Marvel Universe. Alberti's pencils invoke the same sort of sentiment, and ultimately, this issue does an adequate (while slightly shallow) job at exploring the core debate at the heart of the X-Men.

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9.5
X-Men: Magneto Testament #2

Oct 8, 2008

Even though Magneto's history as a holocaust survivor has been referenced on many occasions, it's never been brought to life with this sort of precision. Testament is both touching and revelatory, providing an unprecedented look into one of Marvel's strongest characters. If Pak continues to produce at this level, he'll leave an indelible mark on Magneto in a way few have in his forty-plus years of his existence.

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6.7
ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction #1

Jul 23, 2008

It will be interesting to see how people take to Zombies of Mass Destruction. Ostensibly, the book casts the U.S. as the villains-- a brave move on Grevioux's part, albeit, somewhat indicative of an increasing segment of the American sentiment. I'm cautiously intrigued to see where Grevioux takes the story from here and remain hopeful he can build off of this first issue's serviceable potential by telling a less expected, more original take on a tired genre.

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