Danny Wall's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Weekly Comic Book Review Reviews: 200
7.6Avg. Review Rating

8.0
A-Force #1

May 23, 2015

She-Hulk makes a commanding leader for the heroes of A-Force, although before Ms. America can become the break-out star, she's sidelined. Whether or not you think it's a gimmick to have an all-female hero team, there better be more opportunities for a truly ensemble cast for this book to live up to such a promise. That, and some confusing visual sequences, makes the reading experience more uneven than it deserves to be, but the book remains an intriguing and worthwhile addition to the Secret Wars line-up.

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6.0
A-Force #2

Jul 3, 2015

There's more to be disappointed with than to be intrigued with here. There are too many mysteries at play for our attention, with not enough to give us a grounding in the first place. There seems to be a focus on certain key players, but with countless others not actively contributing, it's diluting what could be a really important emotional connection and taking up too much space for what could really allow for more things to breathe.

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4.0
A-Force #3

Aug 15, 2015

The point tally is starting to stack up against this series, as too many plotting and artistic errors are making this comic too messy for its own good. It's enjoyable for some pretty art, and everyone loves the number of Easter Eggy-cameos, but the narrative through-line is too jumbled and the sequential art is too uneven that it feels below the basic expectations of a high-profile comicbook.

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6.0
A-Force #4

Sep 11, 2015

While not as messy as the previous issues, this one is still a bit lackluster in that it plays to the obvious. It's all pretty straightforward, though, with nothing to complicate the action and the "big traitor takedown," presented with some nice punching action for all our heroes. As always, it's the expressions and relationships that are nice, even if the world and its villain remain superficial. Let's hope these strengths continue so the series can wrap up on a high note.

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4.0
A-Force #5

Oct 17, 2015

Sorry, everyone, but this is just bland. There's nothing here to latch onto except a Where's Waldo-style game to catch a cameo of your favorite hero as a zombie horde descends into the land of Arcadia. It's all wrapped up without any real effort by a complete cypher that's meant to be the heart of the series, and we're supposed to celebrate this?

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6.0
A-Force (2016) #1

Jan 10, 2016

If this were a done-in-one issue, it would be hilarious" Singularity comes to Earth, but her friends don't recognize her and give her up to some Antimatter entity. The end. But of course there's more to it than that, and we get to join Singularity as she discovers this new world. The problem with a limited narrator is that our experience is also limited, and with some not-so-logical art sequences and plot contrivances, the book has to stand on the charm of its character design and not much more.

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6.0
All-New All-Different Avengers #1

Nov 14, 2015

It's got a very serviceable story somewhere in there, but it's shooting itself in the foot with certain choices, most notable of which is to divide the book in half as if it's an anthology of stories before the team is even fully formed. The art has some hits or misses, and the main villain Warbringer is less significant than a mystery man, but there's not enough time to develop either beyond vagueness and/or clich. We have yet to see the team truly interact beyond just Captain America and Iron Man, so it's difficult to see who the breakout star or the point-of-view character is meant to be. Because the voices are so strong and the interactions are poised to be intriguing, I'll continue to give it a shot, but things will have to feel more cohesive and more meaningful to be worthy of the "Avengers" title.

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4.0
All-New All-Different Avengers #2

Dec 9, 2015

There are some cool moments, with the team flying together through the city and Spider-Man Jr. surfing on Iron Man's back, and Thor's dramatic appearance. But it's not enough to raise the book to anything meaningful.

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4.0
All-New All-Different Avengers #3

Jan 18, 2016

The Avengers have re-formed, after just three issues! There's something about a villain and something about another villain, and since the kids have proved themselves, the adults will let them play. There's some elements of classic Avenger-ing, such as assembling some fan-fave heroes and a foe no single hero can withstand (except one did, before), but there's more to an Avengers book than that, and while some ground work might be laid for it, there would have to be a lot more that resonates on a gut level to make this book more than a checklist of superheroey tropes.

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6.0
All-New X-Factor #7

May 8, 2014

The Bottom Line:There's more to care about what's going on inthe subplots than in the actual plot, although the actual plot does set up some interesting ethical dilemmas. Conveniences propel the story forward rather than any genuine direction from the book itself. It's all just "OK," although an OK reading experience from David & Di Giandomenico is still pretty good.

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8.0
All-New X-Factor #8

May 24, 2014

The Bottom Line:Playing around with our expectations about plot and delivering on our expectations about X-Factor's characters and their exchanges, this issue is both funny, intriguing, and sets up consequences for future issues. The art continues to display strengths and weaknesses, and it's a shame that some of the weaknesses have to do with key plot points.

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8.4
All-New X-Factor #9

Jun 6, 2014

The Bottom Line: It's an “aftermath” issue, which means a lot of talking heads and discussion about status quo. Good thing these are always Peter David's strengths and X-Factor's distinctive characteristics. The bad things, however, include a weak central character in Georgia and some significant visual storytelling hiccups. And while it's always a neat cliffhanger to see a new villain, I suppose this means that we won't see the end of Georgia's storyline for a little while more.

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8.0
All-New X-Factor #10

Jul 3, 2014

The Bottom Line: Stylish in writing and art, as always, All-New X-Factor provides some genuine fun moments here. Even if Georgia's plight is wearing a bit thin, it provides the introduction of what could be X-Factor's chief antagonist in Momento Mori.

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8.4
All-New X-Factor #11

Jul 17, 2014

A nicely climactic battle with an intriguing supervillain. The battle has some significant moments of both pathos and humor at Gambit's expense, the wrap-up has some consequences for minor characters like Georgia, but the overall battle is a bit too dues ex machina than Momento Mori deserves.

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5.0
All-New X-Factor #13

Sep 6, 2014

The Bottom Line: We come to All-NewX-Factor for it's exploration of characters, and this issue is another good example of that. Having come so quickly after the previous issue where we had pretty much the same thing, however, is a bit disappointing and makes some of the plot elements feel like they're not really going anywhere anytime soon.

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8.0
All-New X-Factor #14

Sep 22, 2014

The Bottom Line: While I really appreciate the appearance of the Scarlet Witch, and the resultant focus on Polaris, I feel like I miss some of the momentum that was building with the other subplots, and continue to want more balance in that respect. The characters are strong, the voices sharp and witty, but they become too isolated in their own whirling subplots, crowding out any overarching plot and even the other subplots, too. The art has only a few truly winning moments, being too scratchy and uneven overall. The cliffhanger is intriguing, and promises to bring certain things to a head that I wondered would be addressed at all.

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6.0
All-New X-Factor #15

Oct 26, 2014

The Bottom Line: This is an abrupt jump into some version of the Axis story that leaves all the characters scrambling into action without a lot of context. There's some dynamic layouts among some poor ones, and some interesting character moments among some poor character decisions, and all that mixed messaging to the reader won't be enough to distinguish the comic as living up to X-Factor's real potential

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7.0
All-New X-Factor #16

Nov 12, 2014

The Bottom Line: While the action is fast-paced and often depicted well (especially in the dramatic end of the battle), the story feels like it's taking all of its turns too fast, without really developing a more natural momentum. While some characters are nicely highlighted, others perform things almost as, at best, an afterthought, or, at worst, a deus ex machina. Literally.

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8.4
All-New X-Factor #17

Dec 6, 2014

X-Factor wraps up its immediate problem of AXIS-related incidents, only to offer the promise of more. It presents an extremely well-done battle with familiar characters that offer fun banter and intriguing exchanges, but the art continues to obfuscate just as much as it illustrates.

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6.0
All-New X-Factor #20

Jan 26, 2015

All-New X-Factor presents us with too new, but too late. Characters get to stand around in a jet plane or in a boardroom, talking to one another and hinting at things that could be. Nothing's really changed, and the arcs of pretty much every character who's not Danger seems to be no better, or worse, off than when he or she started. I'm critical because I care-- X-Factor has always had extremely well-drawn characters (well, narratively, I mean, albeit with dynamic art) but it would be satisfying to see more of them "win" once all is said in done, and that opportunity seems to have never been realized.

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8.4
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1

May 1, 2014

As a new series, there is a sense of a fresh start and some genuine humor here, despite the high stakes and serious implications carrying over from the previous series. With so much needing to be carried over, however, some plot points may feel rushed or underdeveloped, which is further weakened by having other plot points shifted to supplemental chapters and a variety of artists. These are understandable choices, of course, and in terms of voice and characterization, the comic is as strong as ever. The momentum seems poised to never be slacking for this series.

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5.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1.1

May 8, 2014

The Bottom Line: Recommend this title toyoung readers or people new to Spider-Man's story. For other fans, they will find a story with by-the-book plotting and the "development" of a Peter that by necessity starts him in a regressed state before he can progress. Clash as a new character feels more like a product of the by-the-book plotting rather than a genuine person worthy of our empathy. All readers may want to buy the book by feature of the art, however, as it's wonderfully crafted.

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8.4
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #2

May 22, 2014

The Bottom Line:There's a range from “good” to “questionable” to the art, but otherwise it helps sell the idea that Spider-Man's world has never felt very “safe” for some time. And there's no sign of that slowing, with fallout continuing to spin out of Doc Ock' time as Spider-Man. Plot elements are developing in organic ways, and never exactly how you'd expect, continuing to make the main characters intriguing to follow.

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8.4
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #3

Jun 27, 2014

The Bottom Line: This issue contains all the momentum of subplots and character development that you need to make a solid Spider-Man issue. Peter Parker's honest attempts to keep building a future is nevertheless held back by the failed attempts that line his past– pretty much every subplot reinforces this theme, with the Black Cat's main plot driving it home. The villain's makeover is visual as well as narrative, but the former is far more successful than the latter, and may do more harm than good for the Cat's character in the long run.

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6.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #4

Jul 27, 2014

The Bottom Line: The Original Sin event does not necessary hijack Spider-Man's ongoing series, but it does seem to cause a swerve. Slott & Ramos are as good as ever, but there is a bit of narrative heavy-handedness to make things fit.

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6.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #5

Aug 17, 2014

The Bottom Line:Spidey's life is as crazy as ever, but it's difficult to know what to make of it. The lines between comedy and suspense are not quite as clear as the characters themselves are swept up into the demands of the story. I'm waiting for the moment we can clearly see Peter Parker as a hero and not simply being a victim to the forces around him. Even if the Black Cat chooses to ignore all logic and (disappointedly) become a supervillain, at least she's showing some agency.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #6

Sep 17, 2014

The Bottom Line:A more typical ending might have had Electro meet some more disastrous end, so for Parker to chalk up what happened as a “win” is fitting. It wasn't easily won, and various players are being put in place for future conflict, so despite the wrap-up, we get plenty of narrative momentum so perfect for serialized fiction. I can't say all the characters are acting consistently or logically, however.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #7

Oct 11, 2014

The Bottom Line: Although the main story feels like a departure from the regular events of the series, that's actually a bit of a breath of fresh air. The ongoing story arc is left to a new Spidery-character, but it relies more on the tone and shock value than genuine character-building. At least we learn a little bit more about these events to carry us on into future issues.

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9.6
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #9

Nov 8, 2014

The Bottom Line: The slow burn of the Spider-Verse sub-plot finally blooms into full-plot here, and it's handled superbly. There's less action than I'd like, especially for an over-sized issue, but the key feature here is not plot but characters– and nearly all of our starring characters are allowed some change to interact, if not to have the spotlight. Beautiful art, engaging characters, high-stakes plot, definitive tone, and even overarching themes? This is an example of events done right.

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9.6
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #10

Nov 22, 2014

The Spider-Verse keeps you guessing, so the readers are along for the ride just as much as our Spider-Man, and the conflict keeps the stakes raised and the action high. It's sad that the publisher's agenda keeps interrupting the flow, and characters have to be scattered to various titles rather than keeping the story contained. Thankfully, that doesn't keep the story itself from being one of the most exciting Spidey-stories in recent years.

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9.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #11

Dec 13, 2014

The time was right to take away all the Spider-Mens' safety nets, and it introduces Solus as a real threat. The art, both pencils and coloring/effects, are beautiful, but the interactions between the Spideys are what really shines by taking advantage of what makes every Spider unique and mashing 'em up. Another key moment to this great storyline.

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9.6
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #12

Jan 9, 2015

Dan Slott seems to be taking a Looney Tunes' "Barber of Seville" approach-- the heroes run on screen with a weapon, then the villains run on screen with a bigger one, then the heroes run on with an even bigger one" But with such alternatingly interesting, serious, and silly characters, and with genuine surprise reveals like our last page, this Spider-Verse story really is an exciting, must-read, roller coaster of an event.

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9.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #13

Jan 24, 2015

The issue suffers a little bit as the storyline's weak points show their strain, namely the way the story has to "weave" (pun intended) in and out of the stories from spin-off books, as well as the relatively nebulous presentation of the villains. It remains strong in other, more metaphysical areas, as it toys with ideas of family, of individuality, and of the big Spider-Theme of "responsibility." These strengths give us a reason beyond the "wow, cool!" of seeing so many Spider-Men, and shows that Some Kind of Uncle Ben doesn't just exist for shock value.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #15

Feb 28, 2015

It's a pretty satisfying epilogue as many of the story beats get to follow a natural pace as they play out, and the only one that doesn't really is the one I wish we could have gotten more of -- the Spider-Man/Superior confrontation. Still, it's an epilogue that has to follow up on some of the unsatisfying moments of the storyline overall, while not offering us any true answers to the Inheritors game plan all along. That, and some simply average-to-poor art continues to prove that this event ended with more of a long sigh than a burst of freshness.

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4.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #16

Mar 14, 2015

For some reason, the series tries to force its way back into a status quo rather than develop its way there, and it relies on some tired, clich, and downright lazy writing tropes to do so. Few of the supporting characters seem sympathetic or likeable, and ditto for the Black Cat, the lead character in the secondary story. The art remains exciting, even if it seems cheating a bit at times.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #17

Apr 3, 2015

The comic is settling into its groove after its event, and is still finding ways to present a new status quo and new ways to play around with them. Some of the plot points are a foregone conclusion, but with Anna-Marie becoming an intriguing character and the Ghost a nice choice for a villain, it makes it a fun ride along the way.

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6.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #17.1

Apr 24, 2015

An intriguing look at one of Spider-Man's spin-off characters, the Wraith, but although we get to see her argue with her boss and with Spider-Man, we don't really know much about her. Nor do we really know much about the stakes of the supposed gang war that's happening between the villains. It's all fine, and it's worth a character study, but we'll need a lot more if we are to rise above some fairly typical tropes of the genre and of Spider-Man's general milieu. The "plus" in the grade is for allowing me to info-bomb some ethics. Enjoy.

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7.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #18

May 9, 2015

It's a slick looking battle with Spider-Man relying on his supporting cast more than ever, and with a wrap-up that ends with a big question mark. The Ghost is a villain just as much as the things the characters keep hidden from each other, which lends a kind of cliffhanger into uncertainty, as we are curious where this will all end up. It won't feel too satisfying if this uncertainty isn't answered because of the Secret Wars event, which means we won't get closure on a lot of what's been going on. Also, the Black Cat is determined to not return to the character we actually like, but as her set-up seems complete, perhaps this is the last we have to see it for a while.

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8.4
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #1

Oct 11, 2015

It certainly feels like an issue #1, with both the good and bad that comes with that. It means there's a lot of world-building that has to be set up, and it borders on feeling like it's all a Spider-Man "Elseworlds" with such a jump into a deeply different status quo. Even so, you can't help but feel the energy and enthusiasm for it all, and the variety of characters and locations are delightfully surprising. I'm certainly on board to see where this is going, as it's all very logically extending from the Spider-Man that's been built over the last five years.

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8.4
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #2

Oct 24, 2015

The art is solid and appropriately adventure-y, except for a few missteps when it shifts gears to flash back with mixed results, but overall, seeing Spider-Man and the Prowler in action feels both fresh and classic at the same time, thanks to the Zodiac's interpretation as a sprawling evil spy-like organization. As with the first issue, it's still in the mode of establishing a new status quo, so there's a lot that feels like "a Spider-Man story" but it's all on a different level. For now, it remains fun, humor-filled, and intriguing, although I'll admit to still wondering if there's some missing ingredient of "hard luck" to really be Spider-Man in the long run.

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8.4
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #3

Nov 12, 2015

The weightier part of the issue is all about the Zodiac, actually. Interestingly, the Zodiac does involve the fabled Zodiac Key, establishing this "new" Zodiac is indeed a new iteration of our long-standing Avengers villain team. Like Spider-Man, however, the team has been re-envisioned on a global scale. Whereas for Spidey, it's striking a chord that still feels a bit fish-out-of-water, for the Zodiac, it feels like a true way to scale up their profile and power. We're still getting a slow build up for the organization, which actually helps to take them seriously. We may have to add some more significant and personalized characters to them, however, to really help us feel for them.

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9.6
Astro City (2013) #24

Jun 24, 2015

This is an example of good old classic Astro City stuff, the kind where extraordinary people (or, as the case may be, apes) struggle with doing ordinary things. The thematic resonance here is quite strong, as the main character, Sticks, is a talking, super-strong gorilla who dreams of being more than just a crimefighter. And so he does. There's a lot here about living your dreams, but there's more to it than that. It's also about feeling comfortable with yourself, and the power of friendship to spur one another on.

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10
Astro City (2013) #26

Aug 21, 2015

A quiet but resonant issue of Astro City; it's both nostalgic and forward-looking. The Samaritan can stand in for any of us who feel tired of fighting a good fight or simply nervous that a big Something might be around the corner. The themes as well as the artwork are rendered realistically enough to be a great example of what superheroes are to all of us.

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7.0
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1

Oct 9, 2014

The Bottom Line: The stakes are raised as heroes gather to face an overwhelmingly powerful foe. Appropriately, this means a lot of displays of heroic and villainous power, although it does mean some of our characters are reduced to simply cameos or lame soundbites. Sometimes the story doesn't seem to take itself seriously, with only token acknowledgement or even illogical actions/dialogue from various Marvel series, since it saves its most important moments from events and situations from the Uncanny Avengers. Except for Iron Man; his revelations are completely out of left field, or at least from a storyline eight years ago.

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8.0
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #2

Oct 17, 2014

The extended fight scene continues, with a bit more of a fatalistic tone. The groundwork is laid for the series' big twist as the Scarlet Witch awkwardly refers to "a rotation of axis," Iron Man feels just as much like a supervillain than a hero, and Magneto arrives in an exciting last-page splash. Solid comicbook set pieces and storytelling, with some straightforward art, makes everything just shy of "classic" but is still pretty fun.

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7.0
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #4

Nov 6, 2014

The Bottom Line: Some things are allowed to breathe, like giving characters time to show off their new-found selfishness, while other things are presented as-given, such as high-heeled bikini models on the baseball field ready to serve Iron Man champagne. It all proves once again that “Axis” is more interested in its high-concept than actually setting up or exploring the themes within it.

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6.0
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #5

Nov 12, 2014

The Bottom Line: Not much is added to the story, as it feels more like world-building and confirming what we've been suspecting. While that makes for a little, but unsatisfying, momentum, there's just too little real tension. The opportunity to really explore things and to introduce new ideas is diminishing, as the execution of the high concept has yet to really pay off. It's slipping into “Huh. Okay…” territory.

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8.0
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #6

Nov 21, 2014

It does what is says on the tin-- so it's giving us more of what we wanted to see. Good on one hand, but bad on the other, since it's just more of the surface level stuff that we expected, and fails to move into any real depth or excitement. Part of that results from the choice of scattered scenes around the world, staying plot-focused, instead of allowing deeper character interaction and a point of view through-line. That being said, there's a lot of action with the promise of more to come as it embraces the high-concept and rolls into Act Three.

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6.0
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #7

Dec 12, 2014

The series continues to thrive on sheer momentum-- set up the premise and watch things throw down. Unfortunately, the variety of things we can see are just there to be a background image for a panel or two, and we get a Deadpool one-shot issue instead, which has to rely on Remender's weak point-- naturally-sounding humor. Still, there has to be *something* fun about the fact I can type a phrase "final showdown between Deadpool and Apocalypse," which would never really happen if it weren't for this comic.

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4.0
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #8

Dec 23, 2014

Let's face it, the weaknesses of the plot structure and timing of the story beats are really coming to the fore. The series overall might have some fun moments, and the concept is worthy of exploration, but even if overall the series ends up as B, this issue contains all the disappointing bits. It's rushed, overcrowded, poorly timed, inconsistent, saved by some wonderful art.

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6.0
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #9

Dec 30, 2014

The series, thankfully, finishes strong. Or at least, as strong as possible. It's unfortunate that the series wanted to scatter its focus, so that many heroes and villains were reduced to fairly static scenes, becoming little more than disconnected vignettes. That's something not helped by the splitting of various scenes among the writers. Still, the colors remain a strong suit, and the story attempts some token acknowledgement of its themes. Moreover, there are several significant endings that don't follow a very pat resolution, providing a feeling of wrapping up while keeping some threads open for some genuine change. The characteristic weaknesses are still here, though, and really hold this back from being something truly momentous.

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5.0
Avengers (2012) #35

Sep 23, 2014

The Bottom Line: Shifting the setting to the near future adds a new wrinkle to the ongoing plot, but that wrinkle isn't helping resolve anything about this old, old plot. In fact, it might just do it a disservice, since it ratchets an already-raised stakes to something that arguably has been “the new normal” for eight fictional months now, which doesn't seem to be enough for the amount of stuff we're expected to accept. The art is uneven thanks to the jumbling back and forth of different artists, but there are enough new design elements to help us stay visually engaged, regardless of the plot treading and re-treading.

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8.4
Avengers Undercover #2

Apr 13, 2014

Bottom Line: This is a good example of a well-done comic book. I care about what these characters have gone through, how it has shaped them into who they are now, and am anxious to see how it all plays out. There is no foregone conclusion to the events and characters in this title, and even if you disagree, there are hints (such as Constrictor and Masque's conversations) that there is still more to be revealed. The sheer amount of stuff going on in a “villain city” is a bit over the top, and I do think the book is still suffering from some interrupted momentum when shifting from Arena to Undercover, but this issue shows a lot of upward trajectory.

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9.0
Avengers Undercover #3

Apr 24, 2014

The Bottom Line: The art overall takes a bit of a dip, although the coloring and storytelling remain strong. Story-wise, Hopeless continues his exploration of character growth, philosophical themes of ethics and morality, and ominous subplots that bode even more suffering and dilemma for our heroes. The cover says "game over," but in many ways, the game is really just getting started.

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9.6
Avengers Undercover #4

May 15, 2014

The Bottom Line:Issue #4 proves that there is a grand story being told here, with each chapter providing a flow that seems to force our characters in an unavoidably tragic direction. The story beats are nearly perfect to balance the tension and the tender moments, helped by the expressive art and deliberate color choices. Everything is tinged with a very real sense that these characters are both trying to do the best they can while at the same time dealing with their very limited and high-stakes choices.

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9.6
Avengers Undercover #5

Jun 15, 2014

The Bottom Line: There's a distinct lack of action in this issue, but if anything, the dramatic tension is even more pronounced. Hopless and Walker/Gorder/Beaulieu do some great world-building here as well as genuine character development. The heroes make their decision to be “undercover” as the title suggests, but what exactly this means and how it will all play out remains tantalizingly up in the air.

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9.6
Avengers Undercover #6

Jun 29, 2014

In an effective character-driven piece focusing on a fast-becoming fan-favorite character, Avengers Undercover brings its premise to the fore to show how it creates conflict both internal and external. The art is competent but still a departure from Walker's signature touch on the series, and there are some subplots missing here, but the cliffhanger and its implications are great, as always.

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9.0
Avengers Undercover #8

Aug 17, 2014

The Bottom Line:Displaying the same strengths and weaknesses as previous issues, AvenUnder #8 thankfully capitalizes on the former– delivering a strong premise, key character growth, and a few surprises. The tension is as high as ever, with a distinctive tone that keeps the readers wanting more. The change in artists isn't disruptive, but neither is it immediately winning me over.

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9.0
Avengers Undercover #9

Aug 28, 2014

The Bottom Line: We got some great small-scale interaction within some great high-stakes action, but the result is more mismatched than you'd hope for, with some storytelling that could be helped with better staging. It's certainly a fun ride, overall, with characters we've grown to really enjoy and therefore cheer on.

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8.4
Back to the Future #1

Oct 24, 2015

This is more than just a re-hash of familiar BTTF scenes. There's a real attempt here to build into the world and expand the universe, as it were. I'm happy to see a bit of a road not taken here, as it's natural to want to just pick up with the series in a kind of Part 4, much in the same way the animated series spin-off did. Instead, we round out some of the story points in straightforward way. I'm not sure if that's both a strength and a weakness, though, as the revelations are new but the story beats and frameworks aren't. With familiar characterization and spot-on voices, though, not to mention the original screenwriter involved, it's quite a nice adaptation and sure to fit any fan's expectations.

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6.0
Bee and PuppyCat #1

May 20, 2014

The Bottom Line:If you haven't seen the Bee and Puppycat short on YouTube, you really should. It's quite funny, and enjoys a very stream-of-consciousness randomness. That doesn't translate into a comicbook form, unfortunately, at least not as presented here. Instead, it makes for an average, and very decompressed, comic when all is said and done. Especially for a 3.99 price tag. If you want this, you should probably wait for the trade. This is assuming, of course, that you're in the right target audience in the first place.

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5.0
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #1

Mar 28, 2015

Pretty average stuff all around, which makes it hard to judge if it's worth it to keep up monthly. It's nice to see a period piece, with all the great opportunities for distinct backgrounds, costumes, and design, but the story and characters default to modern-day generic heroes and situations. Remember the target audience is younger than you are, and the lack of nuance will become understandable, but kids are pretty smart, and it would be nice to aim for at least a little complexity.

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7.0
Big Trouble In Little China #1

Jun 5, 2014

If you are looking for a spin-off comicbook to be a seamless continuationof the movie it's spinning off from, this is a near perfect example. The danger comes from perfectly matching a movie that came out 30 years ago, as audience tastes and expectations have developed. It's fun enough, and quirky by its nature, which makes it satisfactory" but not necessarily satisfying.

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6.0
Black Knight (2015) #1

Nov 21, 2015

It feels like another "more is more" kind of storytelling, with too many elements competing for narrative attention, even though they are all necessary to build this new world. The result is that the stakes are not clearly defined, and the relative importance of things are confused. I like the Weirdworld setting, but I don't feel properly introduced to it, and the setting itself isn't allowed to come the fore with so many other things to consider. As a character study for the Black Knight, it's fairly strong, and perhaps we'll get to see some opportunities for more aspects to be explored. Otherwise, as of now, it's just a pretty typical, but nicely drawn, lost-in-a-strange-world kind of story.

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6.0
Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #1

Oct 6, 2014

The Bottom Line: A wonderful experiment in visual art? Check. Taking characters in bold new directions? Check. And yet, the combination of these two fall flat. The comic defies your expectations (and moreso if you're a new reader having just learned of The Winter Soldier from the movie) but asks too much of the reader to be an effective story. The characters seem witty and charming and there are hints to some serious ethical debates here, but little incentive to really keep going beyond the curiosity of the art.

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6.0
Captain America And The Mighty Avengers #1

Nov 17, 2014

It's a solidly structured comicbook to be sure, but when the main protagonist is set up to be fundamentally unlikeable, that's a fundamental problem.

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7.0
Captain America And The Mighty Avengers #2

Nov 28, 2014

By focusing on the team as a whole, this issue feels much more dense, and the inverted characters of AXIS as much more out of place, which is actually kind of appropriate, isn't it? The minor threat of the Fast Five was a funny diversion without apologies or self-deprecation, making the Marvel universe feel more real, and the Mighty Avengers as truly down-to-earth kind of heroes. They are exactly the kind of heroes I like to read about, despite the inconsistent artwork, and I hope to not lose that as we work through the impact of AXIS.

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9.6
Captain America And The Mighty Avengers #6

Mar 22, 2015

Various plot strands begin to streamline, the villain is genuinely creepy and still mysterious, and it's got heroes being heroes. If a book deserves more attention for being classically "Avengery," this one is it.

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9.6
Captain America And The Mighty Avengers #7

Apr 17, 2015

If this were a podcast that gave Picks of the Week, this one would be it. And this was decided before I read any other comicbooks on my list. The art enhances the action and drama, with some key panels like Captain America's boot-to-monsterface that are simply awesome. Quantrell makes a compelling and personal villain to Spectrum, hitting that "horror" vibe that other writers aim for. And with such intense battle scenes throughout the book, it's a fun read that makes me happy to be a comicbook fan.

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9.0
Captain America And The Mighty Avengers #9

Jun 12, 2015

The art is capable of matching the extreme pathos for such an issue" aiming for something realistic and emotive. The personalities come across as strong, and there are several sequences of panels that pace the reading nicely. Check out how many characters are in close-up, head tilted but looking up.

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8.0
Captain Marvel (2014) #2

Apr 14, 2014

Bottom Line: Captain Marvel continues to prove herself a confident player in whatever environment she's in, helped by some snappy dialogue and expressive art. While the character itself is strong, the plot isn't, and the apparent non-linearness of it and reliance on exposition leaves more questions than answers. Also? That cover is expressive, but also kind of creepy.

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7.0
Captain Marvel (2014) #4

Jun 14, 2014

The Bottom Line: Whereas most of the best entertainment nowadays is remixing if not entirely throwing out all the tropes we've come to expect, it's disappointing that Captain Marvel seems to be reverting to stock situations and characters, weirdly taking Captain Marvel in a new direction that just doesn't feel new at all. There's some action, which is good, and some great expressive artwork, which is beautiful, and even a hint of intrigue and cliffhanger, but it still ranks as Pleasantly Diverting rather than Truly Great.

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6.0
Captain Marvel (2014) #5

Jul 14, 2014

The Bottom Line: There continues to be some narrative missteps here in the overall story, despite a nicely operatic political drama. Our characters still hint and complexity and being engaging, but have yet to fully come into their own. With most of the visual action happening offscreen, it's hard to recommend the book as an effective superhero action showcase, but the art remains beautiful and expressive.

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8.0
Captain Marvel (2014) #9

Nov 18, 2014

Overall, I'd say that Captain Marvel has found a groove of its own" the tone, artwork, and ideas as presented here give the book a distinct flavor. It's a signature quality and distinctive feel" it's a "Captain Marvel book."

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8.0
Captain Marvel (2014) #11

Jan 17, 2015

All in all, though, the comic wears its heart on its sleeve, with a completely personal and poignant story that reminds me of the best of the done-in-one kinds of stories I grew up with. We don't need a giant space epic to show that Captain Marvel's a true hero. We just need some crazy villains and some heartfelt moments and beautifully expressive art. And a last page splash with a dramatic explosion, of course.

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8.0
Captain Marvel And The Carol Corps #1

Jun 13, 2015

CM&theCC has an unfortunately unwieldily name but is full of interesting characters presented by absolutely amazing art. The setting is also unfortunate, as it can't maintain your suspension of disbelief for a pretty critical plot point. At least it prompts the heroes to act smart and to rail against the System, and that's a pretty good reason to tune in.

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7.0
Chrononauts #1

Mar 22, 2015

It's got wide-screen action to be sure, so it's enjoyable in terms of sheer spectacle. Pretty much everything is presented as being slick and sexy, even time travel itself, which is certainly fun but ultimately superficial. Add some by-the-numbers kind of stock characters and you got yourself a popcorn action flick. Like a big helping of cotton candy, it's fluffy and sweet-tasting, but pretty much full of air and will make a nice treat, but don't look for anything substantial.

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8.0
Contest Of Champions #1

Oct 14, 2015

It almost feels like an entirely different universe to the main Marvel storylines, which might be the point, or it might be a by-product of the merchandising nature of the comicbook's inception. So far, that remains intriguing, if by-the-numbers, and I'll be looking for more of the edgy/comedic dynamic and for a continued balance of new, obscure, and twisted characters as the series continues. However, the reluctant point-of-view character is a bit bland, and something more substantial or out-of-the-box may be needed to really capture my attention.

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9.0
Daredevil (2014) #16

Jul 1, 2015

Both the writing and the art work together to tell a tense and moody story that might be Daredevil's most last-ditch effort of all time. The weight of the villains' plots start pressing heavily into the lives of our heroes (and not that's not really a Kingpin pun) which means we get to see (in words and pictures) our characters acting out of desperation, a very suspenseful reading, indeed.

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9.6
Daredevil (2014) #17

Jul 31, 2015

An example of comicbook storytelling at its finest" when words, pictures, tone, and momentum are all working together to create a gripping story about characters we've come to care about. The non-linear storytelling keeps us on our toes, as does the extended fight scene as our hero seems outmatched. The twist comes not as we expected, but from a different character who disrupts Daredevil's plan as well as the readers' hopes, making us anxious to tune into next issue to see the outcome.

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9.6
Daredevil (2014) #18

Sep 7, 2015

Mark Waid and Chris Samnee cap off their run on Daredevil, and what a cap it is. There's tension both narratively and visually, culminating in a vicious, bloody fight between our key players, and there's even room for some deep moments of characterization, featuring insights to the character that we rarely have seen before. If you look closely, some elements of the story arc are glossed over, but it's in service to the stronger features of the book" an epic throwdown between Daredevil and the Kingpin, and the epic feels between best friends.

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8.4
Daredevil (2015) #1

Dec 9, 2015

This is definitley a return to the mean streets of Frank Miller-influenced Daredevil.

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1.6
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1

May 18, 2014

The Bottom Line:A clichd plotline that starts with the killing of a competent minority female hero, features grossly ineffective art, and ends with a shot of our Chinese hero looking more like the Midwestern Jamie Madrox– this is not a great comic. The covers for this miniseries look amazing, though.

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7.0
Doctor Strange (2015) #2

Nov 12, 2015

Bachalo continues to provide some excellent art, perfect for the tone and subject matter for the series. It's a wonder that he was never positioned as an artist on this series before now. It's certainly a selling point that would be difficult to replicate.

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9.0
Edge of Spider-Verse #1

Sep 13, 2014

The Bottom Line: It looks like the Spider-Verse will be a fun ride, if the story allows each Spider-Man to really showcase his/her unique flavor, as this issue does.

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4.0
Edge of Spider-Verse #3

Sep 24, 2014

The Bottom Line: The comic takes too long to figure out what it wants to be, and what it wants to be isn't very engaging after all. The writing relies too much on exposition and awkward dialogue, gives us no reason to invest in these characters, and wraps it all up in some fairly dated presentations. There's only a few flashes of suspense, and some very lovingly detailed art, but overall it's just too dated, too ponderous, and too uninteresting.

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8.0
Edge of Spider-Verse #4

Oct 5, 2014

The Bottom Line: This story has a definite goal in twisting our familiar story into one of horror, and it does so quite effectively. It's not a story I'd naturally gravitate to, but I give credit where credit is due. Some attention is given to hint at the larger story regarding totem energy, but it holds its own as a creepy, disturbing tale.

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9.6
Edge of Spider-Verse #5

Oct 19, 2014

The Bottom Line: This Edge issue offers just as much of a distinct character, artistic vision, and unique twist on our formula as the better issues of the series. The visual style is of simple but shaky/vibrant lines and large panels that are supplemented by series of smaller ones. It's realism but with a tinge of sadness and of weirdness, presenting a world to the reader without having to hold him/her by the hand. Intriguing and satisfying, it creates a great new character but maybe could have been integrated into the ongoing storyline better.

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4.0
Extraordinary X-Men #1

Nov 5, 2015

As a first issue, it does what it needs to do, which is exposit, exposit, and exposit. Various characters are spotlighted, but mostly in the context of showing the same aspect of this new world over and over again. We get it. Cyclops did something. Mutants have it bad. And everyone feels sad about it. Beyond that, there's no real conversatoin about *why* we should empathize, nor about *why* our characters feel that way about it. Thankfully, the art remains edgy and kinetic, which helps in the largely static conversations people have, but seems a mismatch for the tone of doom and gloom. All in all, a pretty average effort that presents a world that fails to really connect on a personal level.

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5.0
Fantastic Four (2014) #3

Apr 24, 2014

This book has been criticized for not doing anything new. I'll take the opportunity here to praise it, instead" it's doing new stuff that looks so much like the old stuff that it appears like it's not new and that it won't go anywhere anyway. That's some Inception-level quality, right there.

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8.4
Fantastic Four (2014) #4

May 18, 2014

If someone asks you "when was the last time we actually had heroes fight villains in an honest-to-goodness, knock-down-drag-out titanic tussle?", you can give them this issue of Fantastic Four. What's more, the subplots and foreshadowing and collateral plot-damage are all intertwined seamlessly by way of some expressive and dynamic art. An all-around above-average comic.

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5.0
Fantastic Four (2014) #5

May 29, 2014

The Bottom Line:The issue takes advantage of its guest stars to mix up an otherwise all-talking issue, but the effects are hit and miss. A deliberate, defeating tone continues to pervade the story arc, but it requires a lot of buy-in from the reader since some information continues to be missing/withheld. Also present are themes of power and responsibility, but I'm still wondering if it's a genuine exploration of a Marvel trademark or if it's re-treading ground better left in the past.

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5.0
Fantastic Four (2014) #6

Jun 29, 2014

The Fantastic Four continues its narrative of "everything is falling apart!", which is usually the kind of story I'm a sucker for. But for some reason, this particular example of it fails to grab me, in part because it feels entirely arbitrary and not allowed to develop with a more natural momentum. The Four seem complete victims of some meta-narrative that has yet to offer readers any buy-in to care for what happens, which in turn leaves the art scrambling to appear visually interesting.

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7.0
Fantastic Four (2014) #7

Jul 11, 2014

The Bottom Line: If tension between a family dynamic is your thing, then check out this issue. It feels like a classic FF dilemma done with modern focus on characterization and expressive art. At the same time, however, it feels like there's something missing to make it truly suspenseful and not just going through the motions.

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6.0
Fantastic Four (2014) #8

Aug 15, 2014

The Bottom Line: Hopefully, this issue marks the turning point for this latest story arc, as more and more we can read about the pay-offs and not the set-ups. There are a few things that seem genuinely new, such as an ethical dilemma regarding Dragon Man and seeing the kids in action by themselves, but I can't help but feel that everything else is still pretty much regressive– Johnny's trouble with fame and the Thing's trouble with woe-is-me.

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8.0
Fantastic Four (2014) #9

Aug 30, 2014

The Bottom Line: It's a new arc for this ongoing storyline, one that is putting every character into his/her own dark place. This is balanced by a “win” for the kids of the future foundation, and a very surprising return of a forgotten character. The art proves capable but somewhat limited in truly emoting this dark new place, but the overall momentum of story continues to pique interest.

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8.4
Fantastic Four (2014) #10

Sep 14, 2014

The Bottom Line: The fractured tales of a fractured Fantastic Four makes for an almost anthology-style reading experience, but this time it's mixing the familiar and the old school, resulting in the story finally going to some interestingly new places. I can honestly say I wasn't expecting the final page appearance, but it's things like that which will keep me interested.

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7.0
Fantastic Four (2014) #11

Oct 19, 2014

The Bottom Line: There's some significant movement in what the characters are going through and what the ultimate plot may be, even though in the latter case we still have more questions than answers. It's a team book, so juggling the development of some (Reed, Sue, Wyatt) means leaving others back-burnered or absent (Ben, Johnny, the kids), much in the same way the art gets to be wonderfully dynamic sometimes (Ben, Wyatt) and dialogue-heavy (pretty much everywhere else.)

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8.4
Fantastic Four (2014) #12

Nov 1, 2014

The Bottom Line: It's a marked improvement from the momentum that's been bringing this series down, but aside from a genuine surprise reveal about the Eden corporation, most of the events still feel like items marked off a checklist. At least the checklist this time is overall a more positive one.

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6.0
Fantastic Four (2014) #13

Nov 25, 2014

A somewhat by-the-numbers issue, as plot elements continue to build but are essentially going through the motions, as always, without displaying any genuine motivation nor concern for true implications. The "caper film" moment is nice, but without twists or complications it's close enough to the characters simply walking out the door that it defuses any tension that was meant to be inherent to the situation to begin with. If that's the pattern, then why believe any of the other attempts to create high-stakes moments?

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8.4
Fantastic Four (2014) #14

Dec 23, 2014

What's been missing for many, many issues of the Fantastic Four is, quite simply, some context. Finally, we get that here thanks to the revelation of the Quiet Man. He makes an interesting figure thematically but not necessarily visually, which means we are forced to take things as spoken, including some pretty bold claims. Overall, the pace takes an upward momentum, which is something that's been needed for some time.

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8.4
Fantastic Four (2014) #642

Jan 25, 2015

This issue is almost entirely structured like the previous one-- a bit of action in the present, a bit of monologue and flashback from the villain, and a lot of set up for the final showdown. It's very satisfying to see the context of the Fantastic Four's troubles finally settled, and it's great to see some key character moments from the Invisible Woman and from Bentley. The team of Kirk/Kessel/Aburtov create some beautiful sequential art, although the plot continues to perpetuate some tropes and the choice to un-Limbo a forgotten character is intriguing but feels too sudden of a shift.

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6.0
Fantastic Four (2014) #643

Mar 5, 2015

Narratively, things are either too clich to take seriously, too convenient to be believable, or too hand-wavy to be logical. My favorite breakout star is really Bentley, so it helps me enjoy the issue more if I think it's really just Bentley's title and the rest of the FF are simply acting in it. Art-wise, things are more of a treat, but it all balances out to something a bit more generic than it deserves to be for my tastes.

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6.0
Fantastic Four (2014) #644

Mar 14, 2015

As the comic nears the climax, it's great to see all the characters united and the villains standing revealed. There is still a sense of overwhelming odds, which is nice for the story momentum. The art has its strengths, of course, but the finishes and colors appear rushed and disrupt the flow. In most ways, for good or for ill, it's just what you'd expect for a story in its penultimate chapter, making this a fun and maybe slightly above average comicbook.

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8.0
Fantastic Four (2014) #645

May 3, 2015

Much of the plot is (self-admittedly!) formulaic, it is a formula that works. We feel the tension and energy in the various fight scenes, particularly so because of the pace of the battle and some powerful poses and character expression. With a big action set piece, and several backup stories that feature some touching, poignant moments, there's more positives to focus on than negatives, along interesting cameos and a strong sense of family. Everything is set to ensure the readers, as Johnny says, "[they're] not going anywhere."

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8.0
Fantastic Four (2014) Annual #1

Oct 4, 2014

The Bottom Line: The art here is classic in sensibility and raw in emotion. Sue makes an awesome show of power as a mother and as a hero, but ultimately scares herself and perhaps sets up the re-hashing of a character “development” that should be left in the past. This storyline in some ways feels like it's ticking a checklist item for a story point that should have been in the main series, and, when combined with the fact the Future Foundation has been sidelined, the regular title can continue without any pesky kids featured in it whatsoever.

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10
Fight Club 2 #1

May 29, 2015

All in all, Fight Club 2 is a near-perfect continuation of the story, with many poetic touches and turns of phrase that is equally matched with artistic flourish and visual metaphor. The existential dilemma of the Narrator and Tyler is taken to the next level, proving you can't keep a good bad guy down, although I do hope we get to see more nuance of Tyler's philosophies and other complex explorations on the mind-state of the modern individual.

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8.4
Fight Club 2 #2

Jun 26, 2015

It's a tease of a story, maybe, as it tells its tale in a deliberate pace and level of artistry that will make you read, reread, and consider. It's definitely an intriguing comic that weaves both words and pictures and plays with non-linear storytelling and juxtaposition. Whether or not it will be a rewarding or satisfying read is still unclear at this point, but for now, I'll settle with intriguing.

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7.0
Fight Club 2 #3

Jul 29, 2015

The main characters are very well realized and interact with each other in both real and humorous moments, but without such signature art, I doubt that the story could distinguish itself in any special way.

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8.4
Fight Club 2 #4

Aug 31, 2015

Fight Club continues to keep us all on our toes" with some new roles and direction for Marla and her unlikely friends, as well as a whole bunch of self-referential jokes that want to play with the comedy of Fight Club's world. Unfortunately, that means pushing things like actual characters (Tyler, the son) to the side while having to compete with more violent and serious scenes.

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8.0
Figment #1

Jun 17, 2014

The Bottom Line: While the comic falls short of genuine world-building by relying on stock situations and supporting characters, the main characters are appealing in their design and familiar set-up. The comic is beautiful to look at and balances “reality” with imagination as appropriate thematically to the book, but it feels a bit bland as if the creators really want next issue to be one where we'll see the story they really want to tell.

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6.0
Hercules (2015) #1

Nov 10, 2015

So, Hercules is a mythical hero for our modern times. If this were an independent publisher taking advantage of a public domain character, I would probably nod approvingly, but ultimately pass it by, as it's not necessarily what I'm looking for. As it was one of Marvel's relaunched issues, I picked it up to see if it would intrigue me. Seems like it will be going in some pretty obvious places, all told. I mean, if ever there were a hero attempting to make good while connecting with the common man, it'd be Marvel's Hercules. Hmm. I'll give it points for the attempt at some interesting themes, but all in all it's just "nicely average."

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7.0
Howard The Duck #1

Mar 15, 2015

The art is a real selling point, but the story feels off. It seems like there are so many opportunities for different "takes", whether that's something satirical, something noir, a slice-of-life, a mystery, he's on his own but he's in the midst of superheroic Manhattan " but nothing quite gels. There's indeed a lot of humor here, but the sarcasm is too much, the duck jokes are too often, and a few real bombs. Overall, it's not quite gripping because I'm not sure what to hold on to.

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8.4
Howard The Duck #2

Apr 12, 2015

It's a breakneck pace to get Howard out of space-prison, and the team-up with Rocket feels very consistent overall, while the same can't be said for the other Guardians who show up. Because of the pace, the humor hits fast and hard, but that makes it weird when the melodrama starts" especially since we're still not sure who Howard really *is,* beyond what we take for granted. There's enough genuine laughs here, and quirky art, to keep this title moving in an upward direction.

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8.0
Howard the Human #1

Aug 22, 2015

A pretty nice comic all around. Not a place to find a bunch of laugh-out-loud one-liners, but it's a fun premise in a quirky world, aided by a hyper-kinetic and totally exaggerated Mahfood-y art style. It's rare we get a stand-alone story that works so well, although the story itself doesn't have much do say beyond the gimmick of the title. Since it's a done-in-one, it's a pleasant enough snack with a healthy dollop of noir.

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8.0
Hulk (2014) #1

Apr 17, 2014

The Bottom Line:As a first issue, Waid sets up a new status quo for the Hulk, less than two years from his previous new status quo. It's helped by taking deliberate choices of tone and plot, blending together those of classic monster stories, whodunnit mysteries, and conspiracy theories. The artistic choices are solid, but the opportunity for equally deliberate artistic choices may have been missed.

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5.0
Hulk (2014) #2

May 4, 2014

The Bottom Line: There is a deliberate choice to once again keep the Hulk marginalized as a key player to this story, but in this issue it works to a decidedly less extent than the previous. Many of the benchmarks to a good comic are on display, but personally it fails to click with me, in particular because I feel like there's an absence of some genuine emotions that should be driving the characters through this very plot-driven story arc.

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5.0
Hulk (2014) #3

May 27, 2014

The Bottom Line:Once again, the extended fight scene is brilliantly rendered and can be a good reason to pick up the book. Unfortunately, the heightened role of SHIELD/Maria Hill and the slow burn of the antagonist suffers in comparison,failing to elicit the same resonance as a reader, and giving a good reason to gloss over it.

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6.0
James Bond #1

Nov 12, 2015

I think Ellis really captures a good Bond voice, though. It's too bad that at times it feels like there's a bit of a metacommentary that disparages such a voice. Perhaps we're getting some subtle jabs at the clichd hero, but it's too early to tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I also kind of regret seeing that we're less concerned with four-color adventures in international megalomaniacal plots and more about stopping a local drug trade, but maybe there's room for the series to grow into the latter.

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8.4
Kaijumax #3

Jun 24, 2015

There's so much going on, in fact, that it's a bit overwhelming. There's not really a strong narrative through-line, and some characters who received the spotlight before are shuffled to the background a bit. It helps to create the sense of a big world, but it's difficult to get a real, singular "hook."

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8.4
Kaptara #1

Apr 27, 2015

Taking a cue from some famous fantasy stories but making its own unique expression of them, this book is stylish and intriguing. It's difficult to pin down what kind of tone it's aiming for, but that can be part of such style and intrigue. The visuals contribute to the fun, creating a world that's both like and unlike anything we've seen. You have to really like this world to return for next issue, though, as the point of view character comes across as too abrasive to want to invest much in his journey.

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9.6
Kaptara #2

May 25, 2015

Kaptara can be a confusing comicbook to pin down, since it takes its cue from many different sources. The result is a head-trippy mash-up of expectations that constantly surprises and intrigues. It's a visual trip as well, with eye-popping palettes and fantastically distorted caricatures and creatures. Can something be completely earnest while being a send-up of the very stories it's presenting? Sure it can! And it makes for a damn entertaining read, too.

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9.6
Kaptara #3

Jun 28, 2015

This comic is reveling in its creativity and humor. The result is just " weird, but in a completely entertaining way. The art carries the story while also packing a lot of background action and gags, all wrapped up in caricature and bizarre design. Take MAD Magazine, Masters of the Universe, and Adventure Time and jam it all together " and you'll just scratch the surface of this delightfully weird world.

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9.0
Kaptara #4

Aug 8, 2015

Once again, Kaptara rounds out its crazy and imaginative world with even more craziness and imagination. There's a quietly significant moment for our main character, while one of the supporting cast gets featured more extensively. It's essentially played for laughs, and while it doesn't break the tropes of sci-fantasy like previous issues, it certainly bumps up against them and playfully teases. The art likewise continues to be a perfect match for such sensibilities, especially when the caricatured 70s' barbarian Dartor drives our issue.

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8.0
M.O.D.O.K.: Assassin #1

May 30, 2015

The story presents an intriguing world of villains, but MODOK don't care. He just does what he wants. That's a bit of problem, though, because the readers aren't clear on exactly what that is in the first place. Thus, when the big last-page tilt happens to the story, we aren't quite sure if it's a tilt at all. As a bit of a character piece in the context of Secret Wars, it's an interesting look through the eyes of an unrepentant villain, and the comic rightly presents MODOK as a serious (yet inherently silly) player in the world, which makes it a different option to most of the mainstream books out there.

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7.0
M.O.D.O.K.: Assassin #2

Jun 27, 2015

One of the best things about this series is the unknown about it. Just where exactly is all this going? We don't know, and this issue is just the latest step along the way. There's not a lot of depth to the classic Marvel team-up structure that makes up this chapter, but it's fun, with more than a few actual laugh out loud lines. The only downside is the near-parody that it threatens to fall into, but so far I'm on board.

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6.0
M.O.D.O.K.: Assassin #3

Aug 1, 2015

The grade is slipping with this one. Perhaps the gratuitous violence and slapstick gore is meant to be a parody, but it's actually becoming a one-note joke and parody of itself. It's going through the same motions that it set up in issue one, with little opportunity to reach for more depth than some oversimplified character traits and a mystery that needs more panels devoted to the subplot if we are meant to be intrigued by something larger going on. If you're looking for some mindless fun, of course, it certainly delivers that,

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9.6
Master of Kung Fu #1

May 24, 2015

Whether you follow Shang Chi as a character or just love action movies, this comicbook hits all the right beats. The world of K'un L'un is very well realized, and there are enough twists to its backstory and there are enough truly surprising character appearances to really make this an exciting read.

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9.6
Master of Kung Fu #2

Jun 5, 2015

This feels more than just an "else worlds" with familiar characters who simply dress in a different outfit. There's some genuine re-invention of the Marvel world, realizing a very kung-fu world in the best sense of the genre. Shang-Chi is less a pacifist as he is simply stubborn, meaning we get a new way to think about a core heroic value of responsibility. With, you know, some superb action sequences and brilliant artwork. Of all the Secret Wars stuff I've read, I think I'd most want to keep reading about this one.

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9.0
Master of Kung Fu #4

Aug 18, 2015

A wonderful and satisfying wrap-up for a world that begs to be explored in detail. Without that detail, however, some things get a bit rushed and taken for granted, resulting in a bit of an unsatisfying aftertaste to an otherwise visual and narrative feast. The art never fails to capture energy and emotion, nicely keeping all the exciting bits as fresh and vibrant as needed. A fun world to explore that would probably never have happened without Secret Wars.

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8.4
Mighty Avengers (2013) #10

May 30, 2014

The Bottom Line:Three somewhat distinct plot threads are weaved together, making the book read as very dense. With each thread building from both short-term and long-term continuity, and each ending with their own kind of cliffhanger, Mighty Avengers has a sense of momentum and scale that delivers good action now and promises more action in the future. What's really holding the book back from truly excellent comicbookery are more than a few art quibbles and the fact that the book has yet to really allow it's full cast to interact all together for several months now.

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9.0
Mighty Avengers (2013) #11

Jun 15, 2014

The Bottom Line: Mighty Avengers is a great comic deserving of any superhero fan– full of fun ideas, solid character voicing, firmly built upon Marvel Universe lore, and deftly interweaving long-term and current crossover continuity. The artistic storytelling is what you'd expect, for good or ill, but it doesn't detract from what really should be a core title in Marvel's line.

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9.0
Mighty Avengers (2013) #12

Jul 23, 2014

The Bottom Line: The evil Deathwalkers are revealed as legitimate threats in a story that spans time and space but doesn't feel convoluted. Unfortunately, that leaves little room for non-plot features of our story, such as building rounded and sympathetic characters. What it does provide is the sense of fun and adventure as well as some raised stakes on a big scale (to put our team in action) and a small scale (to reconcile Cage and his father.)

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8.0
Mighty Avengers (2013) #13

Aug 21, 2014

The Bottom Line: Blade, and to a lesser extent the rest of the team, have some opportunity to appear heroic, but it's only the penultimate chapter in the Deathwalker storyline. Things are set up for a larger showdown, although the clichd villains and bland art are significant detractors for what could be an exciting super-powered showcase.

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8.0
Mighty Avengers (2013) #14

Sep 26, 2014

The Bottom Line: The art has some nice moments, but I'm used to more dramatic layouts and colors. Overall, story relies on a borderline clich trope, although a few characters do get to shine, most notably Cage. We still don't get any nuance from our generic villains, but it's nice to see heroes coming together, being strong, and winning the day.

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2.0
New Avengers (2013) #29

Jan 31, 2015

The situation for our characters and their world(s) continues to lumber downhill like a monstrous snowball, but it's a direction and momentum that all feels too obviously pushed by the writer and a publishing agenda. As a final, positive sentence for this review, I will admit that Dr. Doom's voice and mannerisms were captured perfectly in his small cameo.

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8.4
New Avengers (2013) #31

Mar 12, 2015

This issue is a nice example of the artform-- something that combines art and words to a singular experience. As such, it capitalizes on tone and pacing in a way not many other chapters of this long epic have done. The reveal of the Great Destroyer plays out beautifully, and fits narratively with the ongoing plot points we've seen. Still, the characteristic style of the writer is there, and it's both a strength and a weakness that you have to consider this book in context of the overall and on-going (and going, and going...) story.

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8.0
New Avengers (2013) #32

Mar 27, 2015

Again, it's a triumph of tone as the story is raised to epic levels, but a passing failure of plot as most of the characters meet their fate with no real emotional resonance. The story does confirm some details about the Beyonders, and there is a contender for All-Time Great Thor Moments, making this overall an enjoyable reading experience, thanks as well to some noble and momentous artwork.

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8.0
New Avengers (2015) #1

Oct 18, 2015

So it's a comic that wants to come out of the gate running, and it does so" at 100 miles per hour. There's no denying the energy and momentum of the storytelling, made more dynamic by bold artwork and crowded panels. To make it happen, the comic relies more on the set-up with few opportunities for reflective moments or deep characterization, but even at least with the surface-level stuff, the comic gives a bit of time for everyone, even the supporting characters. And, hey, if you can't take a bold approach when taking a team into a bold new direction, then you would have missed the opportunity. I'm certainly on board to see how this goes.

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7.0
New Avengers (2015) #3

Nov 22, 2015

It feels in some ways like an Avengers team that's been around for a long time, with comaraderie and workaday business among our characters and striking a familiar tone. Since I'm not so familiar with the characters, and indeed, we are all not familiar with this iteration of the team, I'm wondering if we're meant to be missing out on something. It also feels werid that we can't look at villains and threats on Earth, when it's still only the third issue of the series, and we're already pursuing personal stakes off on other worlds.

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7.0
Original Sin #1

Sep 4, 2014

The Bottom Line: It's been a great example of tone with a singularly well-crafted vision from the creators. Unfortunately, in order to create that tone, several plot elements have to be tenuously connected, at best, and various characters trotted out but ultimately abandoned. I would like to end on a more positive note about the series overall, but as I've been writing, I'm realizing I keep using the word “unsatisfying” too often. It's a present nicely wrapped, but I feel stuck with an expensive sweater I don't want to wear and that I can't return.

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7.0
Paper Girls #1

Oct 17, 2015

The $2.99 price tag also makes for a great sell for a 40 page comic. The youthful and female-centered cast may appeal to young readers, too, but it should be noted that the strong language and acknowledgement of the rougher edges of life make it a strong PG-13 rating.

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9.0
Prez #1

Jun 24, 2015

With enough discomforting satire and wonderfully detailed art, though, it's almost like a Vertigo title or "indie" comic in its complexity and ambition.

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9.6
Prez #2

Jul 29, 2015

There's so much packed into every page of this comic. A lot of the humor comes from what's visual and/or what's in the background, swirling around the characters who are oblivious to the absurdity of their world. Some of it's basic sci-fi stuff" the people have implants that produce heads-up displays instead of carrying around a smartphone, for example. Other times it's pretty biting satire" the advertisements that follow the people through the hospital unless you opt-out for fifty dollars.

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6.0
Red Wolf #1

Dec 9, 2015

Red Wolf himself is one of those paragons of characters, who can't have any flaws except maybe exasperation of the racist world he's forced to deal with, and his only supporting character is the clich medicine woman who's similarly perfect, if a bit cryptic. It's difficult to expect seriousness and nuance while also hoping for creativity and freshness.

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8.0
Runaways (2015) #1

Jun 24, 2015

Overall, it's a quirky corner of Battleworld filled with tweaks on characters we all like that will result in some pretty hilarious hijinks. Things do get a bit clich with the familiar high school setting, and there is more that a little exposition that's unclear, both with some scripting and artistic fumbles. But the expressions are lively and there's a lot of promise for some raised stakes, giving a kind of momentum that makes me anxious to see where it all goes.

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8.0
Scooby-Doo Team-up #7

May 11, 2014

The Bottom Line:If you are looking for comics that are FUN and accessible to younger kids, this comic really delivers. Fans of Scooby-Doo will find it a pleasant enough diversion, likely to produce somesmiles and maybe a couple of chuckles along the way. It's available on Comixology for $0.99 an issue.

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8.4
Scooby-Doo Team-up #8

Jun 9, 2014

The Bottom Line:This one's a quick read that really just features one central joke. Yes, it played on our expectation, but as a conceit it only allows for a simple reading, which is nevertheless perfect for kids. That, plus it's still just $0.99 on Comixology. If you are looking for good reading material for that demographic, it's a good choice.

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8.4
Scooby-Doo Team-up #9

Jul 8, 2014

The Bottom Line: It's a clever and cute comic with genuine humor and true-to-their-character interactions. There's something about mysteries, mythology, and superheroes that kids (and kids-at-heart) love, and this is a nice way to deliver on all three.

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6.0
Secret Wars #1

May 9, 2015

It's got one thing going for it" an overwhelming tone of doom as things go from bad to worse to oblivion. The focus is on the clash between giant forces and on a small band of refugees, with the culmination of three years worth of story ending with three blank pages of negative space. It's a curious choice for the first issue, which was billed as a status quo-changer but ultimately does not give any closure to the answers we've been hoping for, nor does it create any new status quo until people emerge from oblivion into issue #2. "Everything Dies," except for this storyline.

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8.0
Secret Wars #2

May 14, 2015

Despite some questionable plot-logic (random character appearances, point-of-views that are merely ciphers, absence of key characters) this issue presents a pretty convincing picture of Battleworld and how it fits together. Dr. Doom is set to become our protagonist, and a heavy head wears the crown. The excitement comes the cameos of the fan-favorite events and alternate stories over the years, even if it's largely all just window dressing (albeit beautifully rendered window dressing, even moreso than the first issue.) If you like a Dr. Doom story as a character study, this will be ranked among the best, but it will be hard to find any characters with which to root for, let alone emotionally resonate.

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9.0
Secret Wars #3

Jun 4, 2015

It's an issue of character-building right after one of world-building, with some touches of revelation that confirm/clarify a few things while leaving some mysteries still lingering. The art beautifully renders the characters and their expressions with a good number of subtle details to make every panel a visual treat. There is a momentum to the plot that propels our interest, proving the story is nicely hitting its stride.

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9.0
Secret Wars #4

Jul 2, 2015

As a story focused on Doom and Strange, it's hard to be beat. That means the usual plusses and minuses that we have seen already: Great figures, painterly art, and dramatic special effects" in largely static and perfunctory panels. Huge stakes and dramatic pronouncements from a few major players" with others just offering exposition or simply occupying the landscape. It makes for some good narrative momentum, although a very human-sized scale is still lacking, making it a nice spectacle but hard to resonate with on a gut-level.

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7.0
Secret Wars #5

Aug 14, 2015

Overall, it's a clunky issue with somewhat awkward transitions into a gear-grinding info-dump that nevertheless would be sorely needed for the eventual paperback collection of Secret Wars 1-8. And while certain unknown aspects are revealed, and while characters like Valeria are shuffled into place for later conflicts, there's not really that much that's new. If it were meant as a chance to catch our breath, well, we've had three months from the last issue to breathe so we're ready for more, please. The true saving grace here is the art, which very neatly captures everything needed, whether literal or metaphorical, for character and tone.

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6.0
Secret Wars #6

Oct 8, 2015

"When in doubt, set the story forward a few weeks" seems to be a common solution for Hickman. Comics already move pretty quickly, so I wish would could savor some important fight scenes and conflicts, and instead the characters are already moving into positions for the third and final act. We get some interaction between the players that we haven't seen for some time, and even some quick but poignant moments for Doom and Dad, but it's not enough to feel truly satisfied.

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6.0
Secret Wars #7

Nov 12, 2015

Secret Wars has drifted a lot, and suffered precisely from a lack of a point-of-view character. This issue bounces around too much to allow Dr. Doom that role (one that he enjoyed in the past) but neither allows any of our heroes to rise to prominence, either. It's good to see a lot of action, with this issue being the largest number of characters involved so far, I think, but it all feels perfunctory. The villains do bad things; the heroes try some last-ditch efforts. It's hard to tell if I'm being unnecessarily critical, as if a several-month delay may have hardened me to it all, but everything feels a bit too going-through-the-motions to allow me to connect to the story the same way I did at the start of the series.

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8.4
Secret Wars #8

Dec 11, 2015

The spectacular action more than makes up for the usual story flaws, and the art, while showing some storytelling that appears too cramped or nonsequitor in places, has a better hits-to-misses ratio overall.

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8.0
Secret Wars #9

Jan 14, 2016

I sigh as I as finish the issue. In part, because it's the release of breath that I've been holding for the lenght of the series, and in part because there are so many more elements that I wish could have been futhered. The final battle between Reed and Doom is so classic and satisfying, but nearly every element outside of that leaves so much that's unresolved, confused, or might be missing altogether. Like much of the series, it reads better "on paper," as if being recounted by someone from a summary, but when it comes to actualizing it, it could never hope to live up to that.

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6.0
Silk #1

Feb 22, 2015

The clean, bold artwork is a strong selling point, and the book overall makes a fairly good showing for a character (and a comicbook) that has to establish herself (itself) as something both familiar and unique. With so much of the first issue all about the establishment/expository set-up, though, there's a lot that defaults to some frankly average stuff that can only be explored later. It's a comic that hits the notes it needs to hit, so I'll give it a slightly-above-average grade, but I'm not convinced that Silk is someone who I want to follow in the first place. I might pick up issue #2 and see if the direction continues its upward momentum. Sidebar: -- Let's do take a moment to applaud a new milestone: a headlining solo hero who's Asian, female, and not Japanese nor a martial artist.

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9.0
Silver Surfer (2014) #2

May 3, 2014

The Bottom Line: Embracing the weirdness of story and design, Slott/Allred create a fantastically trippy space adventure. Slott is showing some new sides to his writing repertoire, while the Allreds bring their signature strengths. The character of Dawn Greenwood is certainly bursting out as a great new addition, although the Surfer remains largely a reactive character to this story.

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9.0
Silver Surfer (2014) #4

Jul 19, 2014

The Bottom Line: In balancing the mundane with the cosmic, this issue shows how the Silver Surfer works best– when he's put in situations that both highlight his strangeness and his humanity. There's also plenty of humor and suspense, thanks to both the script and the art, keeping things exciting, even with such a gratuitous and nearly pointless appearance with the Guardians of Galaxy.

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9.0
Silver Surfer (2014) #10

Mar 18, 2015

One thing I love about comicbooks is the sheer sense of scale that can be created with nothing more than printed ink on a page. If you can draw it, it can happen. Last issue, we had the Silver Surfer “surf” a moon smack into Galactus' head. This issue, it's not perhaps quite so unique but it still is as impressive and epic as ever– Galactus consuming an entire planet and the scores of refugees forced to flee in their makeshift armada. I hope I never become too jaded a comic reader to not be impressed by Galactus the mother-#@%!#$ World Eater. (That last sentence is more impressive if you read it in Samuel Jackson-voice.)

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8.4
Silver Surfer (2014) #14

Sep 5, 2015

Here you'll find some really wonderful art that's flowing and kinetic. The story doesn't really flow the same way, unfortunately, and is more just circling the drain in pretty widely meandering circles. I've read some recent comics reviews elsewhere that criticized the Secret Wars storyline for "getting in the way," and while there's no direct Battleworld or Doom references here, the publishing event itself does feel like a weight on this particular story.

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9.0
Spider-Gwen #1

Mar 2, 2015

Spider-Gwen is truly an alternate take on Spider-Man, in the sense that we get to see our favorite themes and favorite character types play out in different situations. (Although it comes dangerously close to being too unbalanced by cramming more of one than the other at different times.) All of it would be pretty standard stuff, though, without the signature art from both the pencils/colors and letters, creating a unique voice that's contemporary and youthful among the classic tropes.

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6.0
Spider-Woman (2015) #1

Dec 12, 2015

Actually, it's a pretty solid showing for Spider-Woman, if you are looking for a whimsical kind of Everyday Superhero story. Even the hardships of pregnancy are met with relative aplomb and good-nature. Could the fault be that it's own innocuousness is getting in the way? Or is it simply that I don't care if Spider-Woman is pregnant and really couldn't care less to see that story explored? Yeah, probably that.

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8.4
Squadron Sinister #1

May 24, 2016

The figure drawing is frankly amazing, which is to be expected from Carlos Pacheco, a consistent favorite of mine. The characters are appropriately bold and god-like in their depictions, a kind of retro 70s/80s-style, classic and solid. It helps sell how real and how powerful these characters really are.

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7.0
Steven Universe #1

Aug 10, 2014

The Bottom Line:It's a good offer for an all-ages comic featuring a fun property. It embraces the zaniness of Steven's, ahem, universe, especially in the experimental nature of the art. However, that same tone leads into some pretty significant artistic errors that disrupt the reading experience from being truly memorable.

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9.0
Superior Foes of Spider-Man #12

Jun 8, 2014

The Bottom Line: Foes does what it does best– offer a unique glimpse into the quirky ways Boomerang tries to make his life work. The dialogue is snappy, the art playfully changes style to visualize the inner minds of the characters, and there is a heist plot in there somewhere, with twists that will play out somehow. Stay for the fun, but stay away if you want to take things seriously.

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9.0
Superior Foes of Spider-Man #17

Dec 3, 2014

It's the kind of book that makes you laugh, 'cause even if you can't sympathize with Boomerang or his crew, you can at least understand their struggles and ambition. I don't think you are supposed to identify with a supervillain, per se, but the first-person narration, the brilliant sequential panel work, and emotive colors will make you feel kinship for a group of ragtag costumed criminals. Unless you are already running with that kind of crew, in which case, you better start modeling your career path after the Shocker, which is, in fact, quite shocking.

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6.0
Superior Spider-Man #32

Aug 9, 2014

The Bottom Line:The story does what it says on the cover– provides a set-up for the upcoming Spider-Verse crossover, but it does so with only one really “likeable” version, the Spider-Man of India. As such, there's many missed opportunities of setting and character and suspence, with only the promise of the gimmick to see as many Spider-Versions as possible as the real “hook.” Granted, that's a pretty neat hook likely to bring me back, especially since I trust in what Slott/Gage can deliver, but it makes me hesitate to recommend this book unless you're looking for a complete collection.

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8.0
The Totally Awesome Hulk #1

Dec 5, 2015

There's a simple premise, with the Hulk as a monster hunter, and a simple set-up, with Amadeus Cho and his sister as our leads. The only danger here is that it all becomes a bit too over-simplified, especially if Amadeus continues his tiresome, let's-call-it "flirting." Frank Cho's art helps keep things bright and filled with energy and emotion. Overall, it's good, goofy, and daresay monstrous, fun.

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8.4
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

Jan 13, 2015

Overall, Squirrel Girl proves to be a great, quirky little book with a lot of heart and humor. I always liked that the Marvel Universe could have hard-luck heroes like Spider-Man, or extremely marginalized ones like X-Men, or eternally doomed ones like the Thing. Squirrel Girl represents a rising tide of new, young heroes-- those that embrace the wonder of being a hero and revel in it, taking the readers along for the ride.

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9.0
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2

Feb 6, 2015

With art that's as playful as the writing, this book is full of whimsy and exuberance. It's a fun read that plays with the breadth of the Marvel universe cast and scale, all the while trying to balance some Silver Age-y adventure against typical college coming-of-age. At this point, while I might enjoy the comicbook for its playfulness, the character herself isn't at the center of the book's appeal, taking a backseat to the overall tone and caricature.

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7.0
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3

Mar 24, 2015

It's a silly book, but that's kind of why we're buying something called The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, isn't it? The art has some wonderfully timed moments and visual gags, but the humor in the script and plot isn't as strong, veering into being forced and too illogical for its own good. Sorry, I just can't get over the image of what happens when you surround your fist in squirrel and then try to punch something with it. Maybe I'm watching too many Quentin Tarentino movies.

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9.6
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4

Apr 25, 2015

The writing plays with the reader while remaining playful throughout. All the characters are taken seriously but are used for humorous effect, not to mention playing with the audience's expectations " expectations of comicbook form as well as characterization. It's pure fun and whimsy but not without it's genuineness. It's impossible to read this issue without a smile.

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9.6
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #5

May 12, 2015

It's everything you want a Marvel humor book to be. The only criticism is that it's almost too much of everything, to the point of some things getting lost. Just keep re-reading it, though, and you'll not only get them all but have a great time doing it.

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9.0
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #6

Jun 7, 2015

Lately I've realized I'm looking forward to the latest issue of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl more than most things on my pull list. Here, the world of Squirrel Girl gets a little more rounded out, and what a fun world it is. It's the kind of humor that's light and silly without being unsophisticated nor gratuitous. I'm reminded of fun superhero stories like Freakazoid and Defenders of Dynatron City, which means that Men of Action studios better get started on a Squirrel Girl and her Amazing Friends animated television series like RIGHT NOW.

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9.0
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #8

Aug 19, 2015

Fun of charm and fun, this issue brings the action as well as laughs. It's all in complete earnest, however, and the characters never feel like they *are* a joke nor *telling* jokes, the humor simply *is.* It's an excitingly optimistic book, which might be ironic for being the final issue of the volume/series, but that's exactly why it's so endearing.

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7.0
Ultimates (2015) #1

Nov 17, 2015

I'll give the comic some points for trying new things" from the line-up to the modus operandi to the sheer scale of it all. This isn't just Marvel Comics' version of Wildstorm/DC's The Authority or anything. This is truly a cosmic team, complete with some philosophical-slash-metaphysical implications about the nature of reality-slash-storytelling. However, there really isn't one central story to serve as medium for any of these neat little things, resulting in a series of vignettes as characters tell each other about it all. Again, it's basic first issue expository stuff, which then relies on the art to keep things visually interesting. The figure drawing is a bit stiff, but the layouts and shifts of perspective are done with artistic flair. It's all intriguing enough to keep reading, especially with the promise of having no one less than Galactus as a focal point. Comics, I say!

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9.0
Uncanny Avengers #19

Apr 25, 2014

The Bottom Line:Uncanny Avengers continues to provide a story that feels both modern and old-school at the same time. It's a visual treat that offers some philosophical musings and sustained emotional resonance. And while the grand scope of setting and character remains both a strength and a weakness, "always leave them wanting more" is a sign that there's some great world-building going on here.

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9.0
Uncanny Avengers #22

Aug 1, 2014

The Bottom Line: This issue caps off the momentum that's been building in terms of both story and tone, resulting in epic levels of cosmic adventure. Kang proves to be a master villain, and there's something quite visceral in how he's taken down one-on-one by Havok. With that and the intriguing mix and use of other characters, Uncanny Avengers should really be the standard for team books to follow.

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9.0
Uncanny Avengers #23

Aug 31, 2014

The Bottom Line: This issue is exactly what we needed when coming off of a big event, and the characters ring true although there's some question and tension about that which is sure to drive some of the subplots forward. It's more an issue about tone, from the fallout of our previous epic to the setup of the next. Unfortunately, the art could have used a dedicated inker/finisher to really smooth out more than a few rough areas.

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8.4
Uncanny Avengers #24

Sep 21, 2014

The Bottom Line: As a segue into a new conflict with the Red Skull, or in other words a “march to AXIS,” this issue does its job nicely, and by focusing on some key characters it helps to highlight major themes that will be going forward. Magneto is an interesting figure to bring into play, and already he shows he can play off of any of our major players. Sadly, the flipside to this means that the team again proves to be more insular than “unity,” nor is there much opportunity to show the team has a Justice League-style scope. Also, the art is not my preferred style and does not seem a good match for an action series like this.

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9.0
Uncanny Avengers #25

Oct 2, 2014

It's an effective book" full of drama, tension, and portent. Thanks to the moody and expressive art, which is nearly perfect in its sequential storytelling, and characters making unfortunate (but narratively resonant) decisions, this issue makes for a rich reading experience with a tantalizing momentum/cliffhanger. The full experience may rely a bit too heavily on readers' prior knowledge of Marvel history, unfortunately, although that has been a feature of Uncanny Avengers from the beginning.

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8.0
Uncanny Avengers Annual #1

May 7, 2014

The Bottom Line: Even if the characterization takes a back seat to the plot and satire, you will still find some satisfying Uncanny Avengers action/interaction that has been missing inthe main book since it's caught up in its alternate future. If you can accept the heavy-handed parody inherent in a story centered around Mojo, then you can enjoy the fun.

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9.0
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 2 #1

Jan 30, 2015

Despite some heavy-handed set-up that largely must be taken for granted, the Uncanny Avengers have one of the best openings of the recent #1 issues from Marvel, featuring an intriguing cast that feels both old-school and fresh. It's still too early to tell how the storyline of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch will pan out, and some of the characters have yet to show a true justification for their presence here. Thankfully, overall there's a feeling of high stakes, new directions, and just plain-old narrative momentum alongside slick and impressive art. When allowed to develop its own ideas centered around a small cast, Uncanny Avengers really is the best of the Avengers books out there right now.

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8.4
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 2 #2

Mar 3, 2015

I've often wondered what it would have been like to read Marvel Comics in the height of the Modern Age, when so much of what is now sacred continuity was being formed. What would it be like to have learned about Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch when the Whizzer claimed to be their father, and later to have it changed with revelations of Magneto. Perhaps it would have felt as roller-coastery as this new change of their status quo. But with distinct and moody art, raised stakes, and seemingly impossible odds, this issue's an engaging read with real momentum, despite it's problem of neglecting some characters as it's doing so.

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7.0
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 2 #3

Apr 5, 2015

The trials of our Uncanny Avengers team continue to really be the trials of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, with just a glance at the others, if that. The setting is interesting, the mystery is intriguing, but a both of those things are actually born out of a place of frustration, which can be either entertaining or disappointing depending on the reader. Most disappointing of all, however, is the fact the pacing and balance of all the characters remain a weak point of the book.

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6.0
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 2 #4

May 15, 2015

The most memorable part of the issue actually feels like an anticlimax, and thus the rest of the action feels less important than it should be. It all ends up being a nicely average book, but the art is not as vibrant or fleshed out as we've come to expect, and the villains are not breaking out to be fully realized, either.

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6.0
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 2 #5

Jun 25, 2015

For an all-out battle finale, this issue offers a more intense look at the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, with a large side helping of the Vision, bringing out some themes of family and personal responsibility. Unfortunately, as usual, that means the rest of the cast gets short shrift, as plot points are never really introduced nor resolved; they just sort of happen. The art, similarly, contains some poignant moments in between all the rushed ones, resulting in a pleasant read after the first experience but with increasingly diminished returns as you think about it.

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9.6
Vision #1

Nov 7, 2015

It may not be attempt to reinvent the sci-fi tropes that explore humanity by telling stories of robots, but rather it's one of the best examples of such a story type. This new setting and the new characters around him were necessary to bring the character of the Vision into the kind of story that just perfect for him. The art as well as the narrative touches work together to create a creepy kind of Vision, and one that promises some intriguing philosophical touches and pointed emotions. Very rich story potential here, in an unexpected way that yet makes perfect sense.

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9.0
Wayward #1

Sep 2, 2014

The Bottom Line: What we get in Wayward is a coming-of-age story with a touch of magical reality. The characters and plot seems a bit straight-forward so far, but what really sells issue is the fantastic depiction of setting that sets up the dichotomy between the reality and the magic in beautifully detailed scenes.

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8.4
Wayward #10

Aug 5, 2015

Issue #10 caps off the second act of Wayward's storyline (and marks a brief hiatus as the creators ramp up for the next act) with an extended battle against supernatural forces. There's still some intriguing mysteries, and the forces of the world (mundane and supernatural) are not as cut and dry, black and white, good and evil as you might expect. Hopefully, the cliffhanger page marks the end of a few problems of the series, such as the absence of the main character, and we can delve even more into the world of Wayward.

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8.0
Weirdworld #1

Jun 13, 2015

A very pleasant surprise in my reading stack this week. The main character really is the titular "Weirdworld," as the setting provides something that feels fresh and modern while being classic and retro at the same time. The actual characters are pretty thinly portrayed, however, and perhaps aren't as distinguished as the setting itself. Maybe if a more recognized hero were in Arkon's place, there would be more to offer. Or, you know, maybe you could just read Image Comics' Kaptara instead. Or in addition to.

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8.0
Weirdworld #2

Jul 29, 2015

With the introduction of Warbow, it's clear the comic is also using as its source material the world of Crystar, which apparently was one of Marvel's attempts in the 80s to create comics and toys in hopes to elicit a licensing deal, but it failed to connect to audiences. Sure enough (thanks, Wikipedia!), the other named character, Moltar, is a key player in the Saga of Crystar. An intriguing spin on some obscure characters.

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9.0
Weirdworld #3

Aug 26, 2015

Did you know that there was a time when I really hated Arkon? I never even read a comic with him in it, but I just hated the character. Well, if Young Me had the chance to go through Weirdworld, I would have a totally different opinion. The comic is tinged with darkness and fatalism while remaining, simply, weird. Also, Arkon here visually fits the world in a way he never could in a "normal" superhero setting, with almost prototypical high-fantasy art that's both evocative and expressive.

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8.4
Weirdworld #4

Sep 26, 2015

I love the revamped Swamp Things and the Swamp Queen, although I'm also glad that Arkon has his own personal quest and leaves that bit of world-building to stand on its own. Unfortunately, that means Arkon gets to repeat his previous journey almost verbatim, reducing him to just one dimensions and lessing out pathos for him as a result. Still, the weirdness of the setting and the lovingly rendered art and brilliant colors continue to make this an enjoyable world to explore.

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6.0
Weirdworld #5

Oct 27, 2015

There's a lot to love about Weirdworld, because there's a lot to love about a world full of weirdness. Especially when the art can deliver it through moody, painterly characters and landscapes in eye-popping colors and textures. Unfortunately, the weirdness trumps things like depth and nuance in our main characters, and the story never wraps its own arc. Instead, it lets someone else's story in Secret Wars cause a different ending entirely, all in order to set up new series like it's a do-over.Not a satisfying ending at all for something so intriguing at the beginning.

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6.0
Where Monsters Dwell #1

Jun 2, 2015

With too many one-note characters in stock situations, the comic presents a nice little pulp adventure, but that's pretty much about it. Thankfully, the art and colors are amazing to look at. But even with awesome art, the story can't really distinguish itself beyond familiar beats with an unlikeable hero.

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6.0
X-Men '92 #1

Jun 3, 2015

There's a lot of hits here but unfortunately its share of misses, too. It takes advantage of the infinite-style of digital comics, resulting in some pleasing point-by-point panel progression, except for those few moments when it's confusing and when my rhythm of clicking is disrupted by paragraphs of dialogue. There's a lot of groundwork here for an X-Men story that's completely separate to the Secret Wars event, resulting in a new kind of X-Men story told with familiar characters, but there's a lot of gear-grinding before the vehicle gets moving.

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