Dave Wallace's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comics Bulletin Reviews: 441
6.8Avg. Review Rating

7
1602 #4

Nov 21, 2003

The title of this issue may be misleading: much is certainly explained, but further questions continue to be raised. At this half-way point, 1602 is exciting and confusing in equal measure: it will undoubtedly be easier to evaluate once all is explained. A lot of faith will therefore have to be placed in Gaiman that he can provide a satisfactory solution to these many dangling plot strands. Currently, he still receives the benefit of the doubt, providing a story that is interesting enough without coming close to revealing what it is all about in the greater context of the Marvel Universe.

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9
1602 #5

Dec 19, 2003

It's a tribute to the quality of the writing that, after all novelty value of a Marvel Universe out-of-time has worn off, this title continues to be compelling and hold the reader's interest from one month to another. What's more, one comes away from what is essentially a talking-heads issue feeling more excitement for the story than any all-out 22-page fight could inspire. Whilst part of the appeal of this series is going to lie in the (presumably) action-packed climax, there are some real treasures to be found in the subtler moments of the set-up. What's more, the final image suggests that this tale may have more in common with a traditional "What If?" story than we have been led to believe...

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8
1602 #6

Jan 18, 2004

Even if some characters are wholly excluded from the action this time round (Peter Paraquha? Rohjaz? Virginia?) and their various plot strands not addressed, there is more than enough plot and action to lap up here before the climax of the final two issues in which everything will surely become clear. Despite this, I'm not looking forward to the time when I can't eagerly await it every month.

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8
1602 #7

Feb 15, 2004

An excellent set-up for the final part of this tale, which throws some unexpected plot developments into the mix and begins to tie up a lot of the loose plot threads dangling in this title. Much will depend on how the final issue plays out, but there is a sense that the climax of 1602 is going to be spectacular - and will likely make or break the series.

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7
1602 #8

Apr 20, 2004

If the fun of a great mystery is in its creation, its telling, the game between the writer and the reader - then 1602 - as a whole - has succeeded. Despite lacking the subtleties of storytelling and post-modernism that were so satisfyingly evident last issue, the writing on display here is a cut above much that the comics world has to offer. If, however, you like your mysteries to end conclusively with all questions answered and the solution delivered to you on a plate - then you may feel disappointed with the final issue of this fun and inventive miniseries.

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4
1602: Fantastick Four #1

Sep 3, 2006

Maybe Im hamstrung by my enjoyment of the original 1602, but this issue just doesnt work for me. Weve yet to see Davids plot come together, and although there are some elements that could raise the level of the story above the mundane (namely the appearance of Dr. Doom), thats only assuming that people are still reading the book after a first issue which will disappoint casual readers with its lack of substance and action (and of the FF themselves) and will frustrate 1602 fans as a pale imitation of a great miniseries that simply didnt demand a sequel. I left Greg Paks 1602: New World well alone for the same reason. Ultimately, the novelty of seeing Marvel characters transplanted to another world just isnt enough to make me want to shell out a couple of quid on yet another directionless spin-off book, and sadly David doesnt do enough to hook me back in for a second issue. Can we leave the 1602 universe alone now, please?

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6
24: One Shot #1

Oct 5, 2004

All in all, this is fun for fans of the show but fairly standard fare for anyone else. Theres certainly nothing special to warrant picking it up if you dont enjoy Jack Bauer in his TV incarnation, and although Id be interested in seeing a series although preferably with one hour per comic, to allow for a far more in-depth and densely-plotted adventure this book is just too much in too short a space to be truly satisfying on the same level as the show. A curiosity, but definitely not a classic.

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6
28 Days Later #2

Sep 18, 2009

There's nothing wrong with a book giving readers exactly what they're expecting, and this is the case with 28 Days Later: it's a violent zombie comic that respectfully expands the universe of the movies, whilst also working as a straightforward action/chase thriller in its own right. It might not be the most original or delicately-crafted book in the world, but I doubt that anyone who picks it up will be disappointed.

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7
Action Comics #851

Jul 8, 2007

On its own terms, Im still very much enjoying Last Son, as its providing an unpredictable, exciting ride which is light on continuity and which pulls together some of the most enjoyable elements of the Superman mythos to create an accessible, fun story. Sadly, as is frequently the case these days, its being scuppered by scheduling problems which really detract from my enjoyment of it on an issue-to-issue basis. One to pick up in the inevitable collected edition, I think.

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8
Action Comics #858

Nov 4, 2007

If DC drop the ball again (as they did with Last Son) and the arc suffers severe delays later down the line, its going to be difficult to get me back on board. For the time being, however, this is shaping up to be a fun, fast-moving story which makes the character of Superman more attractive and sympathetic than usual. Im looking forward to seeing how Johns explains the change in the Earths sun and how it fits into the dour, dystopian version of the future that we see here (is it me, or are there a couple of sly Civil War references in this issue?), and Ill definitely be checking out the next issue on the strength of this first chapter. A pleasant surprise.

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7
Action Comics #892

Sep 10, 2010

(Unfortunately, I had to knock some marks off this issue for charging $3.99 on the basis of a second feature that actually turned out to be nothing more than a preview for a completely separate Superboy title. DCs second feature experiment has thrown up some reasonably good stories -- and some less so -- but I think its very questionable to start substituting glorified ads, promoting other books, for original content.)

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6
Action Comics #893

Oct 3, 2010

The backup strip by Nick Spencer, featuring Jimmy Olsen, is reasonable enough--but equally, its not anything to write home about. In fact, its biggest draw for DC fans (and Superman fans in particular) is its incorporation of a character from the TV show Smallville into official continuity. Combined with the significance of the closing splashpage of Cornells lead story, it makes me wonder whether this issue might be worth snapping up just in case it rises in value as a result of these two historic events of minor importance to the world of DC comics.

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7
Action Comics #894

Nov 4, 2010

Finally, the issue also features a backup story about Jimmy Olsen and an alien invasion, written by Nick Spencer and illustrated by RB Silva. Whilst it's jolly enough knockabout stuff, it's also pretty shallow and forgettable, and I definitely wouldn't miss it if it wasn't there--especially if it meant that Action Comics would be a dollar cheaper each month.

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8
Action Comics #899

Apr 4, 2011

All things considered, this is a very nicely handled showdown between Brainiac and Luthor that makes for a great payoff for many elements of Cornell's run -- going all the way back to the first issue -- whilst also setting up an epic showdown for the anniversary issue #900 in a way that feels more organic and natural than a lot of DC's cosmic crossovers of late. However, if you haven't checked out Cornell's run on this book yet, then I'd probably advise you to start at the beginning, as much of the enjoyment of this issue depends on seeing how the writer brings together his disparate story strands in preparation for a high-stakes denouement.

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8
After the Cape #1

Mar 25, 2007

This is a strong first issue from virtual unknown creators, which is always heartening to see. The solid grasp of characterisation and compelling plot makes me confident that future instalments will be worth picking up, and Im definitely interested to see where the story goes. I also have to commend the book for its stark, striking cover with its splash of red. Its an instantly attractive image which also captures the essence of the story within in the way that all good comic covers should. An impressive package which deserves to find a wide audience.

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7
Alan Moore's Neonomicon #1

Jul 25, 2010

If anything, the issue feels like a good pilot episode of an American supernatural-thriller TV show, built around some compelling Lovecraftian lore. However, since Im not the biggest Lovecraft fan in the world (Im not intimately familiar with the Cthulhu mythos, and Ive also never read Moores The Courtyard, to which Neonomicon is apparently a sequel), I wonder if Im getting as much out of the book as other readers might. As Agent Brears rather clunkily remarks, Its almost like some big literary in-joke--and I wonder if I would enjoy it more if I was better acquainted with the source material that Moore is working from.

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7
Alan Moore's Neonomicon #2

Oct 17, 2010

In many ways, the second issue of Alan Moore's Neonomicon is an improvement on the first. We get a much stronger sense of active participation in the story from its two protagonists as they investigate a bizarre H.P. Lovecraft-related sex club that seems to have a strong connection to the crimes we learned about in the first issue.

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6
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #1

Jul 17, 2005

This book doesnt look like its going to reinvent the characters again, or be anything truly exceptional but then again, perhaps that was never the point. In one issue, the seasoned creators Miller and Lee have set the stage to tell a decent set of stories about Dick Graysons evolution into the Robin we know and love. Ill be interested to see how the series progresses from here.

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8
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #2

Sep 22, 2005

This issue isnt without its flaws. Certainly, some people are likely to find the characterisation of Batman questionable, as he comes off like an abusive father to the scared-out-of-his-wits youngster (and believe me, thats not the creepiest interpretation I could think of for their relationship at this point). Some may feel that the issue doesnt move things on enough, and that after two issues we really shouldnt be waiting for Bruce to get Dick in the Batcave. It could even be argued that Miller contradicts some crucial tenets in the portrayal of Batman here, as the supposed hero shows a remarkable recklessness towards human life as he takes on the police force in his supercharged Batmobile, relishing the creation of unnecessary and mindless carnage. But for me, this comic entertains, excites the eye and challenges my perception of one of the most iconic heroes DC has to offer, without feeling the need to resort to any cheap tie-ins (Infinite Crises, Houses of M or otherwise)

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3
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #3

Jan 6, 2006

I think a lot of people were hoping that there was more to this series than Millers first two issues suggested, that perhaps the whole Batman/psycho/goddamn retarded routine was an exaggeration of the character as seen through the eyes of Dick Grayson, or that we were going to see an abrupt change in direction soon. Unfortunately, this issue would seem to confirm that were stuck with a distracted, unfocused writer with this series and that any hopes of a return to form from the man who gave us the defining Dark Knight Returns are sadly unfounded. This is very much the Frank Miller of Sin City, and its perhaps not surprising that the huge amount of effort and energy that hes lately put into the cinematic adaptations of that series have led him to write this All-Star project in a similar vein. However, whereas the ridiculously overplayed deadpan noir of Sin City worked well for that series comic books and movie, it simply doesnt gel with any kind of satisfying incarnation of

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4
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #5

May 20, 2007

In addition to the Black Canary, who was introduced a couple of issues ago, there are now so many secondary characters running about in the pages of this book that I can only assume that Miller has got distracted and isnt really sure what to do with the story. This lack of focus, combined with the horrendously late scheduling, has really undermined what could have been a simple, streamlined and compelling story, and even if Jim Lee could conjure up the prettiest artwork on the planet (which he cant), All-Star Batman wouldnt make for enjoyable reading. Whereas the other All-Star book has seen Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely capture an elegant and timeless quality for their new take on Superman, Frank Miller and Jim Lee have stumbled, with a rambling, incoherent and (most heinously) unentertaining take on DCs other iconic superhero which can at best be labelled distinctive. If this book is aiming to be a parody, its forgotten to be funny, clever or insightful. However, if its si

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7
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #9

Mar 2, 2008

It might have been a long time coming, but this book is getting better, and the plot is starting to make a little more sense with each issue. That's not to say that it's providing a great story, because it hasn't yet convinced me that Miller has any kind of real plan for where he's taking the characters, and the plot still feels a little like it's being made up as Miller goes along. However, this issue at least manages to be entertaining, and - compared to some of the earlier issues - fairly restrained. If Miller had been paired with a less talented artist, I might have given up on the book by now - or at least been content to wait for the collected editions rather than buying the issues on a monthly (well, you know what I mean) basis. However, the combination of Miller's unique writing and Lee's solid art is enjoyable enough that I still look forward to reading the book on an issue-to-issue basis. Unless things take a turn for the worse again, I'll probably continue to keep buyin

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9
All-Star Superman #2

Jan 29, 2006

This book radiates an easy, effortless charm which cant help but win you over, both in the writing and the artwork. However, its biggest success is in its portrayal of the title character: Superman isnt godlike, majestic or removed from humanity in a way which distances him from the reader, and he isnt a moping weak-minded simpleton whose powers are the only thing hes got going for him. Hes that rare thing: the clean-cut good guy that you actually root for. Theres a sense of fun and wonder inherent in every page which makes you remember why you fell in love with the medium in the first place, and it manages to do so without being clich or overtly nostalgic. Im not even going to compare this book with DCs other All-Star title, because the two couldnt be more different: this is an all-ages, accessible take on the original iconic superhero which has finally enabled me to enjoy a character that has never before held any interest for me. I cant wait for the next issue.

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9
All-Star Superman #6

Jan 9, 2007

All-Star Superman already seems destined to go down as a classic, and it has joined the very slim ranks of those constantly-late titles that are actually worth the long wait between issues. It's a book which revels in its mysteries but doesn't rely on them to make itself interesting, and manages to tell a complete story each issue whilst adding to the overall picture via some sly references and links to events in previous instalments. It's a book in which the ideas are so involving that they're even more of a draw than the spectacle, and which is so rampantly imaginative that you hardly have time to appreciate one high concept before another one gets thrown at you. It's a book in which the script and artwork are each operating at such a high level that it's almost as though the creators are constantly challenging each other to go one better, and that's the kind of competition that can only be a good thing for the book's readership. The only reason that this issue doesn't warrant a

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10
All-Star Superman #10

Mar 30, 2008

There are very few comic books which make you feel in awe of their creators for the sheer skill and craftsmanship with which they have been put together, but All-Star Superman is one of them. I can't recommend it highly enough.

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8
All-Star Superman #12

Sep 21, 2008

Despite this final issue not quite reaching the heights of some previous installments, I have no doubt that this 12-issue run is going to be remembered as one of the defining takes on the character. All-Star Superman has been an imaginative, unique, and unexpectedly emotional interpretation of the Superman legend, and a milestone achievement in the superhero genre altogether. I'm already starting to feel sad that we haven't got another issue to look forward to in future, and I can only hope that the two creators decided to collaborate again in the near future, because I've grown very fond of my regular fix of Morrison and Quitely.

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7
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #501

Dec 7, 2003

A bit of old-school Spidey fun and some nice character work with Aunt May adds up to an enjoyable enough stand-alone issue here - just don't expect to be blown away. Hopefully JMS will get onto meatier stories soon, but stories like this one fill the gap happily enough.

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8
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #502

Jan 7, 2004

It's another filler issue before the title moves onto bigger things and a stronger overall story-arc, but when they're as well-executed and fun as this one is, it's difficult to complain. An enjoyable commentary on one of the sillier aspects of superheroics mixed with a simple if effective plot, it's everything a good stand-alone Spider-man tale should be.

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5
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #503

Feb 2, 2004

Not an out-and-out bad issue, but a further unnecessary delay which, though thankfully brief (only another issue to conclude - hopefully a more satisfying installment) is uninteresting enough that it risks turning off an audience that has been won over by so much good work on the title before. Let's hope this blip turns out to be temporary, and the upcoming Ezekiel storyline (starting in issue #505) puts this title back on course again.

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7
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #504

Mar 11, 2004

A justifiably brief yet enjoyable story arc ends here in a definite improvement over last issue. Although readers who are unfamiliar with the current run may be baffled by the heavy backstory and unfamiliar characters and tone, as part of a larger whole the book does a lot of good work integrating Peter's recent adventures more fully into the Spider-Man mythos. In addition, the stage is set for a significant arc to begin in forthcoming issues - hopefully bringing together the stronger elements of JMS' work on the title so far.

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4
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #505

Mar 26, 2004

Instead of the promised return to the core of the Spider-Totem plot thread and the Ezekiel storyline, Amazing Spider-man offers up another mawkish, predictable tale in which Spidey tells us "don't be a fool, stay in school". With the news that JR.Jr. is relinquishing art duties on the title after issue #508, JMS is going to have to be dazzlingly impressive in the next few issues or many are going to drop this title: and it would be a shame for a creative team which showed so much initial promise to finish their run together with bland efforts of this calibre.

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7
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #506

Apr 9, 2004

(Oh, and fans may wish to check out the original biblical book of Ezekiel - regardless of their religious beliefs - if they want some hints as to where this story might be going. There are a lot of false idols being worshipped there too...)

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9
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #507

May 25, 2004

Wow. Years of setup are paying off in a conclusive and exciting arc that ties together a lot of the threads that JMS and JR Jr. have woven into their stories, whilst simultaneously being accessible and thrilling for new readers. After a quality drought around the #490-#500 mark, this title is back on top - indeed, it may not have been this good since the very start of Straczynski's run. Having said that, Amazing Spider-Man readers may start to feel that, with a new arc and art team starting in two issue's time, this finale to the Ezekiel storyline may prove as good a jumping-off point as any, leaving JMS' run on a high. But let's see what happens next issue.

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8
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #508

Jun 23, 2004

The era of JMS and JR Jr comes to an end - for now - and, along with Bendis and Maleev's stellar tenure on Daredevil, it's a run which I'm proud to have in my collection. I'm not convinced that the quality of this team's work over the past few years can be matched by Mike Deodato Jr (starting next issue) - especially with the rumoured plot developments recently leaked to the comics community - but I'm willing to be convinced.

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8
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #510

Aug 5, 2004

Fresh, intriguing, and well-drawn, this new direction has the potential to be as memorable and thrilling as JMS first Morlun arc, which he hasnt equalled since. A couple of logic flaws in the plot mechanics aside, such a potentially controversial storyline probably couldnt have been handled much better.

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9
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #511

Sep 3, 2004

All in all, the creative team is continuing to tell a great comic-book mystery in classic style here, with twists-a-plenty at each issues end and a sturdy balance of action and character which satisfies most of the facets of Peter Parkers world. To the naysayers, Id advocate this approach: regardless of how you felt about JMS mystical storyline of issues past, lets see the Sins Past arc as a fresh start: Give him the benefit of the doubt, and lets follow this one through to its conclusion - because in amongst the action and intrigue, a lot of hints have been dropped which suggest that Straczynski has plotted this one pretty tightly and is still a few steps ahead of us readers. Im expecting to be pleasantly surprised by what is turning into JMS true return to form on the title.

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2
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #512

Oct 3, 2004

Its amazing (no pun intended) that an issue which contains so many good elements can be such an appallingly misconceived comic book, but its true. Moments like Deodatos crying Mary Jane or his silhouetted, brooding, costumed Peter standing at his window would be standout pieces of art in any other book, and JMS skills as a writer are still in evidence despite the subject matter but everything is so subsumed by the core of this story that it doesnt seem to matter any more. Im surprised that Marvel editors let him mishandle one of the key Spider-Man characters in this way, taking away more from Spider-Mans world in one issue than the entire contribution he has made since he started the book. Luckily, as a reader you are free to choose what you want to accept as continuity and what you want to throw away as if it never happened and I know where this plot is going. Theres only one image that is going to stick in your mind after reading this book: its not pretty and its cer

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4
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #513

Oct 31, 2004

Amongst this phoned-in script is some dazzling artwork from Mike Deodato Jr., whose faces are as emotive as ever and whose action sequences are definitely improving since his first couple of issues in the title. Whether handling a moody shot of Spidey on the Brooklyn bridge or some light silliness with a Spider-Man fanatic, the artist acquits himself well--but even he cant turn a hollow, predictable story into an enjoyable piece of comics art.

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6
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #514

Dec 6, 2004

JMS concludes his controversial Sins Past arc with an issue that is anything but, drawing on years of established continuity to rehash a tried and tested plotline with a slight twist, and ending a rollercoaster arc with more of a whimper than a bang. On one hand, the excellent art and solid characterisation and brilliant artwork provide enough thrills to make this comic worth your money if youre much of a Spidey-fan. However, a nagging feeling persists that the creative team could do a lot better.

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8
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #515

Jan 5, 2005

As a final note, its nice to see continuity being more overtly acknowledged than usual this time round, with this issue giving a couple of footnotes and pointers as to how events in Amazing Spidey fit in with other spider-titles and the Marvel Universe as a whole. With each separate Spider-title seeming like an isolated story for many years, maybe editors have decided to attempt a gradual return to a more cohesive shared universe. Its not an approach which is appealing to everyone, but its nice to at least see some thought going into the various characters relationships on a grand scale.

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6
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #525

Nov 7, 2005

Personally, Im optimistic about the kind of story we could see once Morlun returns in full force, when the significance of The Other becomes clear, and when JMS gets to pen his three issues of the crossover in December. But before then weve got the turn of Reginald Hudlin, who is a relatively unknown quantity to me. Still, Im hoping he can build on the basic foundations provided by David to move the story on significantly and actually clue us in as to what The Other is all about, because at this stage, the reader really should have some idea. Sadly, past experience would lead me to believe that Marvel will string this crossover out as long as possible, and it may not get much better any time soon. Im hoping to be proved wrong but I wouldnt bet on it.

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7
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #529

Feb 26, 2006

As a prelude to Civil War, this issue doesnt really give much away about what direction that series is going to take, short of pitting Tony Stark and Steve Rogers against one another over the direction that the government should take in its approach to superheroes. Even the good character work which is done in developing the relationship between Tony and Peter leaves a slightly bitter taste in the mouth, as the closing pages suggest that this has been done more to move pieces into place for a big crossover event than to really explore how the two characters personalities might play off each other. However, it does provide some solid Spidey action with a new twist, and will hopefully put minds at rest that think the new Spider-Man costume is just a simple visual gimmick. Ill be interested to see where the book goes from here, but I really hope that future issues address the compromises that have been made in allowing both Pete and Tonys characters to conspire so readily to turn o

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6
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #531

May 2, 2006

JMS takes the chance hes given towards the end of the issue to reaffirm some of Spideys key values as the Senate hearings on super-hero registration draw to a close, in a neat little speech which states the case in favour of the masked heroes plainly and simply (and in a manner which might seem clich if it came from anyone but Spidey). Nevertheless, the Senators rebuttal of his argument is an equally deft piece of writing from JMS and provides a surprisingly effective counter to Peters reasoning, which sets up the two sides of the Civil War in an unfussy and easily-comprehensible way. Bar a last-minute gratuitous Mary Jane shower scene, its a solid way to tie up the story, and JMS has clearly done his best with a plot which carries more than a whiff of editorial mandate. Of course, the final pages provide a segue into the opening events of the Civil War series, and I understand that the next big arc in this issue will also be a direct tie-in with Marvels big summer event, whi

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8
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #532

May 28, 2006

Anyone who usually steers clear of the tie-in issues for big crossover events would do well to reconsider their prejudices and pick up this issue, because it manages to accomplish the delicate balancing act of telling a story which is as big and important for the main character as the core Civil War series is for the Marvel Universe as a whole, whilst still fleshing out the details of the central Civil War premise enough that Mark Millars series is enriched by the experience. It seems clear that Spider-Man is destined to play a big part in the Marvel Universes big conflict this summer, and Stracynski has made a great case for himself here as the perfect writer to bring us Peter Parker s side of the story. With five more issues to go, the story is already looking like a winner, and even this opening issue contains more plot than some entire arcs manage to cram in. Im sure that things wont play out in as straightforward a manner as the closing moments of this issue suggest, but I

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8
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #533

Jul 20, 2006

Ron Garney is no slouch in the art department either, and Im quickly warming to his portrayal of the wall crawler (even if he does wear the Iron Spidey costume most of the time here). Over the past five years of JMS Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel has done a good job in matching suitable artists to the tone of his stories, and Garneys bold yet grounded-in-reality artwork does a good job of reconciling the realistic themes of the Civil War premise with the over-the-top colourful nature of Spideys corner of the Marvel Universe.

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4
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #536

Nov 27, 2006

When JMS gets it right, he can produce some pretty good Spider-Man stories, and his run on Amazing with John Romita Jr. saw the fortunes of the book improve with good reason, due to his back-to basics approach and enjoyable story ideas. Ever since then though, it seems as though the book has been occasionally flirting with creative success whilst treading water for the rest of the time, with only the New Avengers arc really standing out as a return to the quality of that initial couple of years' worth of stories. Sadly, a lot of JMS' niggling writing tics surface again this issue to ensure that the already thin story feels clunky and unexciting: we get politicised, preaching soliloquies which read more like campaign speeches than a character voicing their mind, misfiring gags (Aunt May talks to a pimp! Crazy, man), schmaltzy sentimentality (old Peter has a heart-to-heart with young Peter in a playground) and predictable plot twists concerning the Iron Spidey suit ("Ah-ha - but I've g

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4
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #538

Feb 23, 2007

The only real redeeming feature is Ron Garney's art. His consistent and reliable linework has given this arc a feeling of consistency even when the story itself has been compromised by the demands of Marvel's big crossover, and Bill Reinhold's chunky and solid ink job really helps to sell the weight and substance of Garney's deceptively simple figures. The art team obviously relishes the opportunity to depict the huge battle from the end of Civil War #7, and it's a shame that this sequence is confined to just a few pages, as the rest of the issue's story is fairly repetitive, with only a full-page shot of the sleeping sniper standing out as a truly memorable visual. I'm loathe to speculate about the extent of editorial meddling in this book, but I simply can't believe that this is the way that Straczynski wanted to tell his story (and the fact that he has recently announced his departure from the book suggests that he's had enough of working within the constraints of Marvel's flagsh

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6
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #539

Mar 18, 2007

There are some nice details in Straczynskis writing: I like the fact that Petes public outing would prevent him from being at Mays side when she needs him most, and the fact that (as with his origin story) Spidey is driven by his wish to atone for his own recklessness with regard to his responsibilities makes the drama feel very fitting for the character. However, it only goes to show what an exceedingly dunder-headed move it was for Pete to publicly expose himself in the first place - again, for no good reason - adding further fuel to the arguments of those who feel that Civil War rode roughshod over established characterisation for the sake of a few cheap shocks. Whilst the art does much to make the book an enjoyable read (I love that final splash of Spidey in his black costume - an effective image even though the mechanics of him hiding his costume away dont make sense and the surprise was spoiled by numerous other Spidey-related books in recent weeks), the weaknesses of the s

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6
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #613

Nov 24, 2009

Whilst this is a reasonably diverting story, it's not a particularly original or memorable one, and I feel as though the big "Gauntlet" arc needed to get off to a stronger start if it's to deliver on all of the build-up that we've seen so far.

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8
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #615

Dec 15, 2009

At just two issues, it looks like this Sandman-based arc is going to be short and sweet, and I'm already slightly disappointed that there's only one more issue of the story to look forward to. If every issue of Amazing Spider-Man was this good, then I wouldn't hesitate to recommend picking it up every week that it's published. However, whilst the book is still too inconsistent to make such a blanket recommendation possible, issues like this are definitely a step in the right direction.

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8
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #616

Dec 22, 2009

As with the previous issue, I'd definitely recommend picking this book up, even if the title's rotating creative teams make it impossible to guess whether the next issue will be of a similar quality. Let's hope that the creators who are working on the further reinventions of Spider-Man's rogues' gallery that are coming up in future issues take inspiration from this story, and come up with something equally enjoyable and well crafted for some of Spidey's other classic villains.

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8
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #617

Jan 12, 2010

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that this issue is priced at $3.99, but for that extra dollar we're treated to a backup story by Kelly that features artwork from Javier Pulido. It's a real pleasure to see Pulido provide more art for the book after turning in such strong visuals on the recent Sandman two-parter, and he provides equally charming work here. Kelly's short story may seem a little inconsequential to some, but I enjoyed it as an exploration of the character of the old Rhino, and one that adds some depth to his characterisation and his relationship with his love interest in the main story.

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7
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #620

Feb 9, 2010

On top of the main story, there's a final epilogue that probably won't come as a surprise to anyone who has been reading Amazing Spider-Man regularly for the last few months, but which adds even more tension to the preparations for the big "Gauntlet" story that Marvel has been teasing for a while. Let's hope it lives up to the build-up.

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5
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #624

Mar 9, 2010

Otherwise, however, this is not a particularly interesting story -- and my relative indifference towards it is compounded by the fact that the book's artwork just isn't to my tastes. Let's hope that the book gets back on track soon, because I'm starting to feel that, after a strong start, the overarching "Gauntlet" storyline might be in danger of running out of steam.

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7
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #625

Mar 16, 2010

Despite this minor complaint, this is an enjoyable story, and one that gives me hope that Amazing Spider-Man isn't going to slide back into mediocrity after a recent run of above-average issues. Joe Kelly has become easily one of the title's better writers, so I can only hope that he's heavily involved in future issues of the overarching "Gauntlet" storyline.

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7
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #626

Mar 23, 2010

Finally, the end of the issue sees yet another reference to Amazing Spider-Man's ongoing "Gauntlet" arc, and one that sheds a little more light on exactly what Kraven the Hunter's daughter might be up to. It's just a small tease, but -- like the similar teases in previous issues -- it helps to build anticipation for the upcoming storyline. Let's hope it lives up to it.

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7
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #627

Mar 30, 2010

I can't say yet whether this will turn out to be a story that's equal to (or better than) "Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut", but it's shaping up to be quite an enjoyable romp in its own right. A lot of the success of the story will rest on how Stern explains the development of the final page, and where he takes the story from here, but for now this is a fun ride that feels like a classic Spider-Man story of old, without feeling anachronistic or dated.

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6
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #628

Apr 20, 2010

The issue also includes a fun little throwaway short story by Mark Waid, Tom Peyer and Todd Nauck that shows Spider-Man fighting off a super-criminal attack whilst simultaneously undertaking a telephone interview for a new job. It's an enjoyable yarn that showcases the two sides of Peter Parker's life effectively, and has a resolutely downbeat ending that feels rather classic in its refusal to allow Peter to catch a break.

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8
Anna Mercury #1

Apr 6, 2008

Until I read the final page of this issue, I thought that the story was a reasonably enjoyable romp that made good use of some fairly derivative sci-fi and superhero concepts, but that Anna Mercury was not a book that was going to provide much in the way of originality and innovation. However, the final page puts a twist on the story that provides the book with a fairly unique hook, taking its audience's willingness to suspend our disbelief and pulling it out from underneath us, replacing what we thought we knew about the story with a completely different (yet equally imaginative - and equally imaginary) concept - and all with a single line of dialogue. It's a strong idea that strikes me as the kind of wacky notion that Grant Morrison might come up with, and which offers up all sorts of intriguing possibilities for the story the more you think about it. I'm glad that this final development wasn't spoiled before I read the issue - and I won't spoil it here - as that pleasant surprise

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4
Annihilation: Prologue #1

Mar 12, 2006

Admittedly, this issue probably had the cards stacked against it as far as Im concerned as I say, Ive no love for the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe but I was expecting better than this for a flagship event. Suffice it to say, I dont think Ill be following Annihilation any further.

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6
Ant #11

Apr 3, 2007

It might not be the most sophisticated comic in the world, but this issue of Ant provides a fairly enjoyable superhero yarn which succeeds in adding further depth to Hannah's backstory despite its inability to escape the clichs of the genre or add anything truly innovative to the mix. To say that it's an improvement on earlier issues is to damn this instalment with faint praise, as it's still a pretty average and unremarkable book. However, it does seem to suggest that Mario Gully's creation has more potential than I first assumed (especially when Gully is paired with another writer as he is here) and the artwork seems to be exercising a little more restraint than was shown in previous issues of the title, which makes it far easier to take the book seriously.

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3
Avengers (1998) #500

Aug 1, 2004

A couple of nice character moments (Captain America and Jarvis mutual respect; She-Hulks loss of control) hint at the possibilities of so much more, especially after the writers deft handling of the personalities of the Avengers - in particular Ant-Man and Captain America - in the pages of Alias. Sadly, however, this is not Bendis at anywhere near his best. This is not an intelligent superhero comic. And this is not what an anniversary issue should be.

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5
Avengers (1998) #501

Sep 5, 2004

The final problem is that this issues big finish has unfortunately been spoilt by having it splashed all over the web for the last month and I personally preferred Finchs alternate final panel, presented on the letters page but theres no denying that the ending opens things up for a compelling third issue from Bendis. If he can continue to improve, maybe theres hope for his new Avengers title yet.

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3
Avengers (1998) #502

Sep 26, 2004

The sad thing here is the knowledge that BMB is better than this. This is not the Avengers story I would have expected from him, lacking as it does anything in the way of witty writing, satisfying characterisation or even a distinctive writers voice. Marvels summer hype event was a golden opportunity to pull in lots of new readers - myself included - and tell a knockout Avengers story that kept us plugged into the title for months to come. As it is, Im regretting even giving this title the four-issue break I thought it deserved: I should have gone with my instincts and ditched it after the first instalment of this meaningless, confusing and (most unforgivably) unentertaining arc.

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4
Avengers (1998) #503

Nov 7, 2004

Admittedly, the artwork is still above-par (with some nice retro work this issue, the Wanda collage being particularly effective), but it serves a story so weak that Ive already lost interest. And this was meant to be the big lead-in to hook readers for the New Avengers title which begins in a month! Many casual readers, like me, will feel turned-off enough by this issue that they might not even take a chance on the new series, and thats a shame as theres undoubtedly a lot of potential there. There are enough big-money shots this issue to offer some entertainment (the final Cap confrontation with the villain is one of the few dramatic scenes which really works, and the arrival of Magneto regardless of continuity issues, I couldnt really care less is suitably large-scale), but theyre exceptions to the dull tone of the rest of the story. A wasted chance to attract new readers, and a blot on Brian Michael Bendiss record.

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7
Avengers Finale #1

Nov 14, 2004

The scenes set in current continuity this issue manage to capture an understanding of the team dynamic which was so absent from Bendiss other issues so far, and the candlelight vigil at the issues end is a respectful tribute to the old line-up. Avengers Finale as a whole serves as a line drawn under old Avengers continuity so that the new all-star group can take over next month. This all bodes well for the New Avengers series: lets just hope that the quality of the writing there is more like this issue than the dull four which preceded it.

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7
Avengers: The Initiative #1

Apr 8, 2007

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by this issue, especially considering my misgivings about the state of the Marvel Universe in the wake of Civil War. Slott has introduced a compelling new group of superheroes to the Marvel Universe, has given us more detail on exactly what the Registration Act entails for these youngsters, has shown how high the stakes can be as a powered superhuman in the post-Civil War landscape - even for these young trainees and has shown us that the more realistic concerns that were at the forefront of Civil War havent prevented the possibility of telling a more old-fashioned type of superhero story in the contemporary Marvel Universe. He might not be able to gloss over all of the less pleasing elements to have come out of Mark Millars series, but this book looks to be on the right track to be an enjoyable story in its own right even if Im not yet convinced of its ability to last beyond its first arc as a third ongoing Avengers title.

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7
Avengers: The Initiative #5

Aug 26, 2007

I still find the core concept of the book to be slightly oxymoronic (the whole point of the Registration Act was to avoid untrained, inexperienced heroes being put into situations where they were out of their depth and couldnt be confident of success - but theres no jeopardy and drama in that, so the Initiative recruits keep getting mixed up in situations which are beyond their abilities, despite them being under tight government control. On the other hand, no-one wants to read a dull monthly comic about super-powered kids in training in a safe environment...), and I still probably wont be picking up future issues, but this tie-in to World War Hulk proves that there is life in the Initiative concept, and that Slott and Caselli are talented enough creators to be able to make it work.

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8
Avengers: The Initiative #8

Dec 23, 2007

This issue feels like a soft re-launch of the book in many ways. It successfully revisits Civil War, reaffirms its own core concept (far more convincingly than in the earlier issues) with the addition of a couple of new cast members, and moves many of its existing characters into new places, capping things off with an intriguing cliffhanger which makes me interested to see where the story goes next. A pleasant surprise and one which might work to reel in those readers who had written the book off based on earlier issues.

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6
Batman #621

Dec 7, 2003

Azzarello and Risso produce more good work here, similar in style to their work on 100 Bullets and owing more than a little to the comicbook faux-noir of Sin City and Miller's own Batman series' - but there is somehow a sense of failing to deliver on an excellent first issue. Hopefully more will happen next issue, but when the synopsis of issue #622 describes Batman's search getting further sidetracked, it may be some time before we get any real satisfaction out of this arc. Let's hope it delivers.

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6
Batman #622

Jan 7, 2004

Despite this story being less than gripping, I'm still interested to see where it goes as I have a feeling that the plot will make more sense in retrospect. However, a slightly lacklustre tale is buoyed up by above-average art which does more for the plot and atmosphere than a lot of the writing manages. Hopefully, the currently disparate plot strands will eventually coalesce into a more satisfactory whole.

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7
Batman #623

Feb 4, 2004

Although there is still the feeling that this story will read better when collected in a trade, it is pleasing to see the writing and art fulfilling the promise of its first issue. Though not flawless, Broken City is finally starting to come together into a strong detective story that relates closely enough to Bruce Wayne's personal demons to make it an effective and suitable story for the Batman.

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5
Batman #624

Mar 11, 2004

Much depends on how the final part of this arc plays out. There are strong elements at work in this issue and they go some way to make sense of the story so far, but the jury is still out. A fair comic in its own right, the baggage of Broken City drags enjoyment levels down to the extent that only a stellar final issue will render the preceding five satisfying. It is open to debate whether this is the way that comics should be enjoyed.

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3
Batman #625

Apr 5, 2004

An uneven story arc comes to an end, and after 6 issues of red herrings and a whistle-stop tour of Batman's rogues gallery, we are left with a confusing mess of ideas rather than the taut streamlined noir mystery that this creative team promised. A wasted opportunity.

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4
Batman #657

Oct 5, 2006

Sadly, Jesse Delperdang's inks don't feel like they're making the most of Kubert's pencils either, coming off as slightly sketchy and rushed at times (maybe it's at this stage that corners are having to be cut in order to meet publishing deadlines?). It's reminiscent of Bill Reinhold's current work on Amazing Spider-Man in its occasionally flat and sparse look, and over-reliance on heavy hatching lines to give the images definition. The result is that Kubert's linework doesn't feel anywhere near as strong as it was in..., say..., his recent Ultimate Fantastic Four run, and it's concerning that he's only been able to produce four issues of this book before needing a fill-in arc to give him time to catch up. That said, there are a couple of strong visual moments to be found in the issue, with the aforementioned opening page and a later full-page splash of Batman swinging through the Gotham night both standing out as defining images for the issue. The latter panel might feel like a pi

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6
Batman #658

Nov 12, 2006

Undoubtedly, Grant Morrison is an intelligent writer whose work often contains more layers of meaning and subtext than may meet the eye on a first (or second, or third) read. However, I dont believe that his stories deserve to be highly praised for these elements alone when they dont work on a more straightforward level. This story simply hasnt delivered, especially when you consider the pedigree of the creators involved, and this fairly flat conclusion to what has been a messy, uneven arc with jarring shifts in tone only reinforces the impression that Morrison is making this stuff up as he goes along. With only one more stand-alone issue to go until a fill-in arc replaces Morrison and Kubert to give them time to catch up, the much-trumpeted creative team is running out of last chances to convince me to return for more, as the middling and inconsequential story which has kicked off their run doesnt exactly inspire me for the future. Hh, indeed.

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8
Batman #664

Mar 30, 2007

I found the story of this issue a little confusing in places, but I think that's the point - at this stage, anyway. One possibility that occurred to me is that Bane-Batman may be some kind of other-worldly incarnation of Batman (all that "Zur-En-Arrh" graffiti is showing up in the backgrounds again - and you can google that phrase if you don't know its significance already), and the implication that this might be tied into a more complicated explanation for the cop in the Batman costume who shot the Joker in Morrison's first issue on the book makes me more confident that the writer has a coherent long-term plan for the series, which should make for a compelling ongoing read. After a shaky couple of instalments at the tail end of "Batman & Son", this issue has got me back on board the series for Morrison and Kubert's run - for the time being, at least. Let's see where it goes.

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8
Batman #666

Jul 29, 2007

Ultimately, despite the appearance of being a simple stand-alone What If? story in celebration of the satanic anniversary of Batman's publication, this is a more complex issue than it appears, and one which may well reveal deeper secrets as Morrisons run on the book progresses. Whilst its not a perfect comic, failing to feel quite as accomplished a superhero story on a surface level as it is on a more complex level of meaning (the devil is in the detail, so to speak), it nonetheless makes for an enjoyable and very thought-provoking read once you start to examine its hidden layers more closely. Thankfully, it also hints at developments which could tie this current run of Batman together more cohesively - even if readers are still going to have to put quite a lot of faith in Morrisons proven track record as a writer, and trust for a while longer that the whole will turn out to be greater than the sum of its parts.

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8
Batman #676

May 18, 2008

This first issue of "Batman R.I.P." doesn't provide a big bang opening that will grab readers from the off, and I'm sure that those of us who have been reading Morrison's Batman since the beginning will appreciate it more than those readers who have jumped on board due to the hype that this storyline has received. Still, I'm sure that everyone who picks up this book will be able to appreciate the quality of the artwork and the palpable atmosphere of impending doom that the issue manages to create. Hopefully, that will be enough to convince even casual readers to stick around for the next issue to see where Morrison is going with this story.

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8
Batman #678

Jul 6, 2008

The issue also features the heaviest allusions yet to Batman #113, "Batman - Superman of Planet X," a 1950s Batman story in which Batman visited his counterpart on the planet "Zur En Arrh." The "Zur En Arrh" motif is one that has been employed by Morrison ever since the start of his run on the book (as background graffiti in several issues, and last issue as a trigger phrase to incapacitate Bruce). However, this issue takes things further, making several references to specific elements of Batman #113 (such as the "Bat-Radia" which appears to be a transistor radio as seen through the lens of Batmans madness), and culminating with a final image that shows Bruce adopting the persona of the Zur En Arrh Batman as the Bat-Mite (presumably a figment of his imagination) floats above him. Although some people might find it to be a strange and unsettling image, I got the impression that Morrison is trying to show that the essence of Batman's character will always shine through, even when g

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8
Batman #679

Aug 17, 2008

This is perhaps the most straightforward issue yet of "Batman R.I.P.", but it's no less enjoyable for that. There's a real sense that this book is gearing up for a climactic finale, not only to "Batman R.I.P." but to Morrison's entire run thus far, and I can't wait to read the concluding issues.

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9
Batman #680

Oct 5, 2008

As someone who has been reading comics for years, it makes a pleasant change to be genuinely interested and invested in an "event" storyline that promises major changes, as it would be all too easy to dismiss this arc simply for the amount of hype that it's received ever since it was announced. Batman's descent into madness has been a more complete and effective way to break Batman down than simply killing him, offering a unique exploration of Bruce as a character - and, unusually, creating a real feeling of jeopardy for the book's hero. His struggle against insanity and chaos has been genuinely thrilling, and this issue has been the most exciting of all, climaxing with a perfectly-paced sequence that makes me very eager to see how the final part of the storyline ties everything up. Like Morrison's Final Crisis, "Batman RIP" is one of those rare "event" comics that exceeds expectations, developing its concept far beyond the obvious route that might have been taken by lesser writers,

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8
Batman #681

Nov 30, 2008

Personally, as someone who has more or less enjoyed Morrisons entire run on Batman, I found this to be a satisfying finale that paid off a lot of the setup that he has put together over the past couple of years. Its only a little disappointing for the fact that the story isnt as self-contained as I expected. I look forward to reading Morrisons two epilogue issues and the final fate of Batman in Final Crisis, and I can only hope that we receive confirmation of the writers return to the Bat-universe soon.

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7
Batman #682

Dec 7, 2008

Hopefully, now that the groundwork has been laid, well see the battle play out a little more fully next issue.

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9
Batman #686

Feb 15, 2009

Still, on the strength of this issue, I think that I would have rather read Gaimans complete story through in one sitting--but perhaps thats more of an indicator of how much I enjoyed it than anything else. This is one of the best issues of Batman to have been published in a long time (and coming from a big fan of Grant Morrisons run, thats quite a compliment). Hopefully, we wont have too long to wait before the concluding chapter arrives.

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8
Batman #700

Jun 13, 2010

If they ever collect Morrisons Batman run into one gigantic omnibus, they should call it Batman and Robin will Never Die! because that seems to be the mantra that underpins everything that the writer has been doing with the character since he started working on the Batbooks some years ago. Bearing in mind current developments in the Return of Bruce Wayne series, it feels as though Morrison is implicitly rebuffing the Riddlers riddle of What can we beat, but never defeat?--suggesting that if theres one person who will not only always beat the clock, but who can also defeat the endless onslaught of time itself, its the Batman.

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7
Batman #701

Jul 18, 2010

However, there's still a nagging sense that we don't actually learn a huge amount here that advances the plot currently running through the Batman books. Perhaps the concluding issue will offer some slightly more revelatory developments to justify this flashback more convincingly.

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7
Batman (2011) #2

Oct 24, 2011

Along the way, artist Greg Capullo gets a chance to again show off his skills for slick action-oriented sequences, utilising some effective cartooning techniques that give Batman's antics a real sense of motion and fluidity.

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8
Batman and Robin #1

Jun 7, 2009

With Batman and Robin #1, Morrison and Quitely aren't reinventing the wheel of superhero comics. However, it doesn't seem as though that was ever the intention. Instead, they're taking the new Batman and Robin and setting out to have as much fun with them as possible--whilst also imbuing their world with a sense of freshness and novelty. It's a testament to this fresh feeling that Morrison even manages to pull off the old "together again for the first time" clich without it feeling self-satisfied or self-aggrandising. This issue feels like a genuinely new take on these old established heroes, and I can't wait to see where Morrison and Quitely take them next.

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8
Batman and Robin #2

Jul 5, 2009

On a first read, I found myself worrying that the book might be skewing a little too strongly towards cartoonish superheroics for my tastes. However, the more I read it, the more I began to appreciate the idea that Morrison and Quitely are experimenting with a new style of Batman story that's quite different to the dark, moody, grim'n'gritty adventures that we've grown used to over the last couple of decades. I look forward to seeing more of it.

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8
Batman and Robin #3

Aug 30, 2009

I look forward to seeing how Morrison addresses these questions, and whether the book can maintain a consistent level of quality when Philip Tan comes onto the series as illustrator of the next arc.

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7
Batman and Robin #8

Feb 14, 2010

Even a middling issue of Batman and Robin is well worth a read, and I'd still call this an above-average comic. However, in the context of a run that has often provided far better issues than this, it doesn't feel like anything particularly special, and certainly isn't as dense or satisfyingly compressed as some of Morrison's issues have been.

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8
Batman and Robin #9

Feb 28, 2010

Either way, Im still very much enjoying the book, and I cant wait to see what Morrison has in store for the next arc.

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9
Batman and Robin #10

Mar 14, 2010

Plenty of the writers hints and clues as to where the story is headed are conveyed purely through the artwork here, with visual symbolism that forces readers to pay as much attention to the illustrations as they do to the characters dialogue. From what I can make out, there arent any of the kinds of misunderstandings that have marred previous issues of Morrisons Batman run, and thats especially reassuring given that so many significant elements of the writers bat-saga are finally being drawn together.

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9
Batman and Robin #15

Oct 24, 2010

With so many elements coming together so effectively, there's a strong sense that Morrison is finally building up to the blowout of a climax that people have been anticipating since RIP, but which has never quite manifested in the conclusive and satisfying way that readers have hoped for. In conjunction with the parallel story running in Return of Bruce Wayne, there's a real sense that the event of Bruce's reappearance in the present is going to carry the weight that it deserves--especially considering this issue's cliffhanger (though, given the absence of the Joker for the latter half of this issue, and the focus on the human eyes behind the bat-mask in the book's final panel, I think it might a safe bet that it might not be who we think it is on the last page).

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7
Batman and Robin #16

Nov 7, 2010

Ultimately, however, I can't give this book a full five-bullet rating because there are still a few lingering plot points that need to be resolved before we can get the full picture of how Morrison is bringing his epic Batman run to a climax. Happily, however, in just a few days time we'll be able to read Return of Bruce Wayne #6, which will, hopefully, not only give us a few more answers about Hurt (whose origins might be given extra definition here, but who still feels like he deserves a little more attention) but also directly acknowledge Darkseid's involvement in the creation of Barbatos--as well as showing us exactly how and why Bruce returned when he did.

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7
Batman in Barcelona: Dragon's Knight #1

May 31, 2009

The novelty of seeing Batman operate in a familiar location (for me) thats a little closer to my home than his usual stomping ground is enough to raise my bullet rating slightly above the average. However, for anyone who isnt interested in the unique setting, this is a pretty generic and forgettable one-shot that will play well to Batman and Killer Croc fans but probably wont win over any new converts.

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8
Batman, Inc. #1

Nov 21, 2010

Overall, I'm already finding myself thoroughly won over by the next phase of Morrison's bat-saga. Minor complaints aside, this first issue is a great example of what a modern superhero comic should be in paying homage to the past whilst also developing the core concepts of Batman logically and originally. I look forward to seeing whether Morrison can use Batman Inc. to build a story that's as complex and satisfying as the last couple of years of his Batman work have been. He's certainly off to a good start.

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7
Batman, Inc. #2

Dec 26, 2010

Ultimately, this issue is an enjoyable comic that looks slick and features some fun ideas that allow it to outshine many superhero books being published today. However, a lack of any real depth (both in terms of plot and characterisation) and a fairly predictable trajectory for the story means that it isn't quite as challenging and engaging as some of Morrison's previous work with the character.

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7
Batman, Inc. #3

Mar 13, 2011

It's a pleasure to see Batman Incorporated is continuing the tradition of great Batman stories from Grant Morrison, with this latest chapter containing just as much depth and complexity as we've seen in some of his best issues. The result is a multi-faceted superhero romp that is also the first issue of the new series to really get me excited about the writer's larger plans for the latest phase of his Bat-saga. I highly recommend it.

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6
Batman, Inc. #8

Aug 29, 2011

This setup allows Morrison to give the wheelchair-bound Oracle the chance to engage in some physical action through a Batgirl avatar, teaming up with a virtual version of Batman to counter the viral threat. The writer wears his influences on his sleeve, with the entire issue evoking a Matrix-esque sense of a Baudrillardian erosion of reality in favour of simulation, not to mention the Tron-inspired costumes and gadgetry with which Batman and Oracle equip themselves.

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7
Batman: Battle for the Cowl #2

Apr 17, 2009

I fully expected Battle For The Cowl to be an exercise in empty storytelling, existing only to tidy up Batman continuity and tread water whilst DC waits for Grant Morrison to return to the Bat-books, and I almost didn't buy it for that reason. However, with two-thirds of the series complete, I'm happy that I gave it the benefit of the doubt. Whilst it might not be the most unpredictable story in terms of plot (we seem to be heading towards a conclusion that many readers saw coming ever since "R.I.P."), Tony Daniel's execution makes this an enjoyable enough diversion that explores Batman's legacy through the eyes of his past sidekicks. I'm confident that, once complete, Battle for the Cowl will provide a smooth transition from "R.I.P." to Morrison's new Batman & Robin title whilst also telling a reasonably interesting story in its own right.

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6
Batman: Battle for the Cowl #3

May 24, 2009

Other than these problems, the execution of the story has been reasonably good, with Tony Daniel telling the story adequately through both his writing and his artwork. Ultimately, though, this entire series feels like little more than set-up for the next phase of DCs batbooks. As such, I think it will be remembered as a skippable (if reasonably diverting) tale.

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7
Batman: Odyssey #1

Jul 12, 2010

To top it all, the book ends halfway through a scene that seemed to be just beginning to go somewhere interesting, cutting off a promising action sequence mid-flow rather than leaving us hanging at a tense moment that might encourage us to come back for more next issue. Unfortunately, unless its a very quiet week when Batman: Odyssey #2 appears, I cant see myself picking it up.

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8
Batman: The Cult #1

Feb 24, 2010

The Cult is something of a lost gem for Batman stories, and Id definitely recommend it to anyone with an interest in the character. The book is published by Titan books in the UK and DC in the USA.

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8
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1

May 16, 2010

The only part of the issue that bothered me slightly was the appearance of some time-travelling members of the JLA towards the end of the story. Despite setting up an interesting mystery that Im keen to see explained in more detail, the entire page felt out of place, in terms of both the tone of the storytelling and the quality of the writing and art. Im hoping that the page was included as an integral part of Morrisons story and not as an editorially mandated plug for the tie-in miniseries Time Masters: Vanishing Point that DC will be releasing to run alongside this main event.

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9
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6

Nov 14, 2010

To quote from Morrison's second Last Rites issue of Batman (issue #683): Batman's big secret was the classic whodunnit. Only it's not about who killed Batman, but who kept him alive all these years. In light of this issue's closing revelation, I can't wait to see what Morrison has planned for the character when he starts actively recruiting a wider support network in Batman Inc..

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8
Batwoman #2

Oct 17, 2011

Sometimes, these take the form of small touches, such as the inset X-Ray panels during the opening fight scene. These indicate the surgical, precise nature of Kate's attacks without resorting to Frank Miller-esque captions breaking down exactly what bones are breaking and exactly how long it'll take before the bad guys will walk again.

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7
Black Panther (2005) #1

Jan 30, 2005

Whilst the final page cliffhanger leaves me cold, and appears to drag the story towards a more clichd and straightforward superhero/villain formula, the rest of the issue sets up a powerful, mysterious central character, an interesting political subplot, and the mystery of Wakandas amazing technological advancement. I probably wouldnt have picked this up if it wasnt currently being offered as an online preview, but having read it I have to say my interest is piqued. And thats probably the best you can expect from a first issue from Marvels decompression-obsessed house of ideas at the moment.

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6
Black Plague #1

Jul 30, 2006

There are a fair number of interesting ideas to be found in this issue, but not all of them get a chance to be fully explored, suggesting that elements are being put in place for this title to develop as something more than the one-shot that it first appeared. Whilst that impression is confirmed by the books final page, its also something of a let down, because this issue feels like a glimpse of a bigger story that we havent really been let in on yet. In many ways, thats a good thing, as Im sure theres a market for future issues of this book and its nice to know that the characters universe is ripe for further exploration but whereas a self-contained issue which introduced The Black Plague and his world could have really got people hooked, anyone on the fence about whether to buy into the character for his future miniseries might have hoped for a little more detail and story information in this first issue to ensure that they come back for more.

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8
Black Widow (2004) #1

Sep 29, 2004

On rereading the book, theres definitely a lot more packed in - in terms of both story and art - than first appears, and this goes a long way to excuse the absence of a really clearly defined structure or plot as of yet. Its difficult to put my finger on exactly why I enjoyed this so much, but theres already a distinctive vibe of underground gritty cool which I couldnt help but enjoy. All in all, Black Widow #1 is a very promising debut for the series which guarantees that Ill be sticking around to see what Natasha gets up to next. Impressive.

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8
Black Widow: Deadly Origin #2

Dec 8, 2009

However, the issue's most notable achievement is its deft and elegant reconciliation of the many different (and often contradictory) Black Widow origin stories, acknowledging all of them and somehow managing to combine them into a single origin without invalidating any of these past stories by simply ruling them out of continuity. Instead, Cornell adopts a more ambiguous approach that's a little reminiscent of Alan Moore's Joker origin in Killing Joke (I couldn't help but think of the Joker's "Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another... if I'm going to have a past, I prefer it to be multiple choice!" when I realised how Cornell was choosing to handle the Widow's mysterious past). It's the perfect way to treat a complicated character like this one, allowing all of the previous stories to stand whilst offering a possible explanation that simplifies their apparent contradictions considerably. Combined with the reasonably compelling present-day plotline, it makes for an intrig

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7
Black Widow: Deadly Origin #3

Jan 12, 2010

The closing pages of the book provide the best kind of cliffhanger ending: one that's unpredictable and surprising, yet in retrospect perfectly logical--and one that almost seems obvious, given the subtle clues that we can now see that Cornell has worked into the story. It promises an explosive and emotionally-charged finale to this miniseries, which has not only been an enjoyable romp in its own right, but also seems to be accomplishing some excellent groundwork for the recently-announced Black Widow ongoing series. Let's just hope that that forthcoming book sees its creators turn in work that's at the same level of quality that Cornell and his artists are providing here.

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7
Black Widow: Deadly Origin #4

Feb 16, 2010

This is probably the most straightforward issue of the series so far: the present-day segment of the story progresses in a fairly predictable fashion, and the occasional flashbacks are used more to illustrate character than to provide information that's crucial to the plot. However, it provides a nice cap for the story, and one that leaves the character of the Black Widow in an interesting place for her upcoming solo ongoing series.

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6
Blackest Night #1

Jan 19, 2011

In fact, this entire book is probably best enjoyed by those readers who are already big fans of the characters and concepts established by Johnss previous Green Lantern stories, and who are interested in tracking down all of the tie-in stories and auxiliary titles to get the full picture of the story of Blackest Night. For me, though, dipping my toe in the story by way of the core miniseries hasnt convinced me that exploring the event further is going to be worth the time and the not-inconsiderable expense that buying all of those other collections would demand.

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7
Captain America: Reborn #6

Jan 26, 2010

If I have any criticism of Reborn, it's that it might have worked better as a climactic arc of Captain America than as a miniseries in its own right. The story relies too much on what's gone before in Brubaker's magnum opus to be able to stand as a self-contained story, and we equally don't see any real exploration of the impact of Steve's ordeal on his character here (although presumably we'll see that in his ongoing title). As a high-profile arc of the Captain America title, this story probably would have been lauded as a high point of Brubaker's run on that book. As a miniseries in its own right, however, it's "merely" a fun action-packed blockbuster of a superhero story, executed by creators that clearly know how to bring the story that they want to tell to life, but who aren't going to be breaking any new ground whilst doing so.

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6
Captain America: The Chosen #1

Sep 2, 2007

Ill admit to being slightly disappointed by this first issue given the impressive preview art and the apparent strength of the story concept, but Im wary of writing it off too soon as it feels like we havent really gotten to the meat of Morrells story yet. The final page hints at a more Cap-centric story in future issues than this opener provides, and there are also some interesting hints at the heros impending death (this project was originally conceived as Captain America: The End, after all) which imply that his ghostly apparition in Afghanistan may be a little more than simply the fevered imaginings of a stressed soldier. Theres enough here to provide the potential for a satisfying series, so Ill reserve final judgment for now and give this story at least another issue for Morrell to convince me that theres something worth following here - but this isnt the runaway success that I was expecting.

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6
Captain Marvel #1

Nov 11, 2007

This issue is better than I expected, and even if it doesnt really get to the meat of its story just yet, it provides a solid setup and a compelling enough concept that Ill be interested enough to keep following the series for a while yet. It isnt without its problems: the urban legend element of Mar-Vells return never feels like its fully exploited, it would be nice for the big action sequences to actually mean something for the story, and Id like to see Reed explore Mar-Vells character a little more in future issues. However, this is a decent enough first issue that overcomes the stigma of The Return, suggesting that there may be a place for the classic Captain Marvel in the modern Marvel Universe after all. Lets see where it goes from here.

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7
Catwoman: When in Rome #1

Oct 5, 2004

Its a lovely-looking book, with great production values in terms of printing and paper stock, but lets hope the story picks up enough to make it worth it. With the long shadow of the teams previous Batman work hanging over them its going to be hard to live up to expectation, but this is a solid opener which puts a few pieces in place for a good mystery, whilst not really revealing much. One to watch.

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8
Catwoman: When in Rome #2

Nov 8, 2004

To be honest, Im enjoying this story a lot more than Loeb and Sales last Batman work on Dark Victory. Its faster moving, isnt taking its time in developing an over-complicated mystery, and is giving us a good few action scenes into the mix as well as managing to be funny and sexy (sometimes at the same time). Its a real pleasure to explore the creative teams take on Catwoman a little more thoroughly, and any possible fears that she couldnt support her own story after her fairly inconsequential Dark Victory appearances prove to be unfounded. A smart, witty and beautifully-rendered comic which isnt as laborious to read in monthly instalments as one of Loebs longer-lasting arcs. Well worth a read.

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8
Civil War #2

Jun 18, 2006

That said, the Spider-Man reveal is only one misfiring element of a book which generally gets it right, and which in my mind is getting better and better as the whole Civil War picture comes into focus. Millars writing might not quite be up there with his Ultimates or Ultimate Fantastic Four, but its close and for a project with such a huge cast and massive ramifications for the Marvel Universe as a whole, hes doing a damn good job. Coupled with McNivens fine art and the great set-up provided by these first couple of issues I cant see this series going too far wrong, and as such it might just turn out to be that rare thing: a company-wide crossover that actually deserves the hype.

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5
Civil War #3

Jul 23, 2006

However, what will really get people talking this issue is the conclusion both the outcome of the Iron Man/Cap fight, and the reappearance of a long-absent hero, ready to be integrated back into the fabric of the Marvel Universe. Whilst I got a visceral thrill from Iron Man coolly taking out Captain America with a knockout punch (again, full marks for the detail and impact of McNivens art), Thors big entrance on the final page actually fell a little bit flat for me. Ive never been much of a fan of the character other than in his Ultimate incarnation (also penned by Millar), although I will admit to a smidgen of interest in why hes apparently chosen to ally himself with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the pro-registration crowd in this conflict. Whether this plot strand is a big tease for next issue, and the God-among-men will actually act as a detached mediator is difficult to predict at this point, but Im sure itll definitely have readers coming back next month to find out.

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6
Civil War #4

Sep 24, 2006

One or two plot points promise interesting developments in future issues (the schisms in Caps group, for example, or the long-overdue introduction of some Marvel villains to the series at the issues close), and even if the jurys still out on whether McNivens artwork is really worth waiting this long for, its a very solid, consistent job with some lovely little touches which really make the book come alive (check out Sue Storms forcefield-umbrella, or the wonderful sense of atmosphere and mood established in the shes leaving home sequence - for which much credit must also go to colourist Morry Hollowell). Ultimately, this is still a decent enough continuation of the Civil War story which, even if it doesnt hit the heights of the first couple of issues, will be a worthy read for fans of the series so far. Lets just hope Millar kicks the book into a higher gear next issue.

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8
Civil War #5

Nov 19, 2006

When an issues biggest flaws are a slightly misleading cover (maybe theyre saving Bullseye, Venom and the Green Goblin for the big finale) and some slightly clunky and obvious dialogue (referring to a final battle and Tony Stark being a Judas figure), then you know it must be doing something right; indeed, some people might say that both of those elements are virtually a tradition in superhero comics. Millar has surprised me with a far more involving and significant beginning to Civil Wars third act than I expected, and I have a feeling that the relatively gradual build up to this point - which has been playing out throughout Marvels line - is going to result in a satisfying payoff when the series reaches its climax.

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7
Civil War #7

Feb 25, 2007

Anyone whos familiar with Mark Millars work on Ultimates or The Authority will know what to expect from his finale on this book, and the writer has become so adept at co-ordinating climactic battles which tie all the elements of the preceding story together that he makes it look easy (Captain Marvel even crops up in a hastily-included cameo which presumably exists only to justify his tie-in appearance in Civil War: The Return). Still, its a shame to see that a book with such obvious potential to explore the same kind of political issues which have underpinned Millars two volumes of Ultimates has avoided any attempt to add depth to its examination of the ideas behind the Superhuman Registration Act. Civil War has probably accomplished everything that Marvel could have wished for, with high sales, considerable coverage in the mainstream media, and widespread approval from fans. However, theres a nagging feeling that it could have been more than the status-quo-altering device with

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6
Civil War: The Return #1

Jan 26, 2007

Tom Raney's artwork is decent, conveying the tone of Jenkins' writing even when he isn't given anything particularly spectacular to illustrate. The Captain Marvel story is suitably downbeat and serious, capturing the shock and concern of Marvel's friends at his reappearance in their lives, and recreating his last days in a couple of panels which really evoke a sense of the classic Marvel Universe (the deathbed scene in particular, in which Marvel lies on his bed surrounded by the pantheon of MU heroes, is a very evocative image). The Sentry story allows Raney to illustrate some more traditional superhero action, and I enjoyed the lighter colouring by Crossley, which allows the back-up to function as a counterpoint to the darkness of the main story. However, the artwork can't make up for the flaws in the writing, and there's a definite feeling that this issue would have been far more enjoyable if Jenkins had taken a full 22 pages to explore Captain Marvel's return, rather than taggin

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5
Civil War: Front Line #1

Jun 11, 2006

Although it looks like its going to be an interesting place for Civil War related tidbits and for the storyline of Mark Millars core title to get a slightly deeper level of exploration, if Front Line can t stand on its own two feet then I dont really see the point of it being a separate title in its own right. I would have imagined that the point of books like this is to give the events of Civil War some depth by presenting them from a human perspective. Instead, the reader has so far gained about as much insight into the crossover as any random onlooker in the Marvel Universe, and if the Embedded section of the book doesnt get more interesting and examine the core of the Civil War conflict more thoroughly next issue, I cant see many people sticking around for the full 10 issues.

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3
Civil War: Front Line #6

Oct 6, 2006

What's more, this book shows up a real weakness in Marvel's editorial handling of the event, as the details that we get from Jenkins throughout Front Line mean that the title contradicts many of the plot points in other Civil War titles. It conflicts with what we've seen of the superhero prison in Amazing Spider-Man. It conflicts with the manner in which Goliath died in Civil War #4. That none of these deviations really affect the storytelling means that they are forgivable when examining the issue in isolation, but it does raise concerns over just how well co-ordinated Civil War really is.

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5
Civil War: Front Line #10

Jan 11, 2007

Although flawed, this issue of Front Line is still an improvement over much of the rest of the series, but that's damning the issue with faint praise. Those who have followed the book this far are unlikely to give up on it now, and there might still be an opportunity for Paul Jenkins to pull something out of the bag to redeem the book in the final issue, but right now it's looking like yet another example of a crossover tie-in book which exists to move playing pieces around without actually standing as a good enough story in its own right. The success of Penance will rest on how he is used in Thunderbolts, and the importance of Urich and Floyd's revelation will likely remain only a footnote in Mark Millar's greater Civil War story. There's nothing here to really mark it out as essential reading, and with reader enthusiasm for the big crossover event reflected in the core book's falling sales figures, Front Line is unlikely to go down as a particularly memorable series, and that's a

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4
Civil War: Front Line #11

Mar 2, 2007

Jenkins might have got some more mileage out of his self-created characters Sally Floyd and the Sentry with this miniseries, but I can't believe that he's happy with the way it turned out. The story feels stretched-out and thin (this eleventh issue was added at the corresponding hour, after all), the reveal of the pro-registration "traitor" is a non-event, Norman Osborn's involvement in the attack on the Atlanteans is unconvincingly explained away, and the book leaves readers with questions (why did Urich leave his job at the Bugle if he's not going to tell his big story anyway? Why is the Sentry only shown to be registering at the very end of the Civil War, when his allegiance has been common knowledge for some time, and Jenkins has already written a story which dealt with it in The Return? What was the point of this book again?). The biggest disappointment of all is that Front Line has been recommissioned for a second series, to run parallel with Marvel's "World War Hulk" event t

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4
Claws #2

Oct 6, 2006

This comic sadly falls short even of being so-bad-it's-good, as it's readable if only for Joe Linsner's cartoony but vibrant and old-school feeling art, which is good if you're into that sort of thing (even if his new look for the Black Cat does let on a little too heavily that the writers seem to wish they were writing Catwoman instead). The trouble is, an artist can only serve the story that the writer provides, and Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray singularly fail to justify the very existence of this book for any other reason than to capture sales from followers of two characters who are currently pretty popular.

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3
Countdown To Infinite Crisis #1

Apr 3, 2005

Regardless of the fact that its a fairly weak one-shot which apparently only exists to plug four upcoming miniseries (only one of which looks remotely interesting to me, and only then because it deals with the Batman mind-wiping thread from Identity Crisis and his secret plans for how to take down the JLA), youll probably pick this book up anyway. Its only $1 (Ive seen it for 40p in England and sometimes cheaper, as my copy was given away free with my weekly standing order), it features a lot of cameos from DC star characters, and it purports to be hugely important and significant as far as the DC universe goes. However, I found it to be dull, repetitive, difficult to follow for a relative newcomer, and hugely anti-climactic. Ill be vaguely interested to see what becomes of the O.M.A.C. project in that miniseries, but Countdown to Infinite Crisis has hardly sold me on DCs big crossover event this year. A wasted opportunity.

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9
Criminal: The Sinners #3

Dec 22, 2009

In addition to the main story, there's an enjoyably chatty afterword (in which Brubaker discusses the crime fiction that he's been enjoying lately) and a succinct backup feature on Korean Noir. But frankly, Criminal would be well worth picking up even without these added features, and if you haven't sampled the book's charms yet then I strongly urge you to do so.

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4
Daredevil (1998) #53

Nov 17, 2003

Despite Macks fantastic painted art and an explosion of ideas - both elements being different to the content of a lot of current mainstream comics - this storyline is threatening to collapse under the weight of its own slow-pacedness and lack of plot. Lets hope that the closing two issues of this arc will provide some focus to the relaxed beginnings of Echos story.

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2
Daredevil (1998) #54

Dec 4, 2003

Tedious and uninspired, the lacklustre plot is this time let down by something unexpected of David Mack: some repetitive and unimaginative art. The sooner Daredevil reaches issue #56, the better.

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10
Daredevil (1998) #56

Jan 27, 2004

This issue is a knock-out opener for an arc which promises to take the character in a new and exciting direction, also serving as a perfect jumping-on point for anyone who has been curious about this title but has yet to take a look. Bendis lives up to the accolades he has garnered that say he is making the title more interesting than it has been in years - and if the political plot pointers in this issue play out, there could be even more extreme changes to Matt's character to come.

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8
Daredevil (1998) #57

Mar 20, 2004

Pushing Matt's character to the forefront at the expense of a garish costume has done this title no harm at all as it continues to rise head and shoulders above standard superhero fare. Bendis and Maleev prove that sophistication in comics doesn't always have to come at the expense of kinetic thrills. Action junkies will get a lot out of this issue and, even if newcomers may feel overwhelmed by the plot up to this point they should really check out one of the most consistently entertaining titles on the market.

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6
Daredevil (1998) #58

Mar 26, 2004

Another very wordy issue, and one that may prove a turn-off to many of the title's fans who long for the days when DD will get a slice of the action. One the other hand, for those who have been enjoying Bendis and Maleev's work thus far, it is more of the same quality writing and grainy, realistic art that we have come to know and love. However, criticism that the title is veering too far from it's key concept - that of Daredevil himself - in favour of Matt Murdock stories is proving valid, and there is a feeling that too many diversions may be steering this already 3-issue old story arc slightly off course.

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8
Daredevil (1998) #59

Apr 28, 2004

All of the usual elements - the solid, unpredictable writing, the perfectly-suited artwork - combine to maintain the classy, realistic approach that we've been used to on this title for so long. Even when the creative team goes for a low-key mid-arc issue, they still manage to turn in a comic which stands head and shoulders above its closest competitors and manages to be genuinely different in a marketplace awash with derivative, cliched ideas.

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7
Daredevil (1998) #60

May 25, 2004

Bendis flips on the action switch to provide a refreshingly dynamic issue which returns the series to something approaching a status quo. However, as with many of the team's action issues thus far, there seems to be something missing: whether it's Bendis' more constrained dialogue or Maleev's renderings (which are improving notably, but still lack the requisite fluidity to convey any real urgency or dynamism in a fight scene), this issue doesn't stand up to some of the best of the team's run. It's a good comic and a fun read - it's Bendis and Maleev's Daredevil, after all - but something pulls it down just short of greatness.

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8
Daredevil (1998) #61

May 25, 2004

Having decided to have Milla bail on our hero may seem an odd choice for such a previously strong character - especially someone who had pledged to stand by a the new Kingpin, having supposedly understood the risks that went with his life but narratively, it has made Matts life a lot more fun. The introduction of the Black Widow carries a lot more dramatic and sexual tension now that Daredevil is a free agent, and points to an exciting storyline that promises to be refreshingly concise (Bendis arcs are getting shorter and shorter) whilst still fitting in with the creative teams over-arching vision for the character. Whilst longtime readers may wonder where Bendis is going with all this, as a fresh arc, this comic stands alone as an attractive new beginning for the costumed Kingpin of Hells Kitchen.

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6
Daredevil (1998) #62

Jul 23, 2004

It might seem unfair to give a worthy enough issue a merely average score, but Daredevil is up against its own high standards here, and lately theres been a feeling that this title is treading water. Whilst the writing is good, theres not really a sense of anything significant happening this issue: and Bendis arc set-ups are normally as much something to write home about as their denouements. Definitely not the place to start reading, but a fair enough stop-gap until something bigger happens next issue.

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5
Daredevil (1998) #63

Aug 22, 2004

If youre a regular reader youll still get something out of this, but its an issue to be tolerated and enjoyed in equal measure; and its definitely not a good place to start reading if youre a newcomer. However, something tells me Daredevil will pick up again after this arc is over a small blip on an otherwise exemplary run.

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8
Daredevil (1998) #64

Sep 15, 2004

Theres humour in this issue (Matts attempted 911 calls, Howard youll know it when you read it and Furys threat concerning J. Jonah Jameson are all great comic comic moments), theres some exciting Hollywood action and great dialogue, and theres also a real sense of maturity and heart on display nowhere more clearly than the double-whammy of Natashas autumnal farewell and the cold, rainy encounter with Milla at the issues end. Its ongoing story strands like this which have served Bendis so well, and its good to see him taking time to address them in a very realistic and logical way, being emotional without ever needing to resort to slushiness. All in all, its a better-than-expected end to an average arc. Im looking forward to the Golden Age story which begins in issue #66, but before that well be treated to an all-star artist single-issue-extravaganza which should be fun, hopefully giving the creative team a breather so they can make the next big arc something real

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7
Daredevil (1998) #65

Oct 5, 2004

Although a couple of continuity issues are thrown up, they will only affect the most die-hard fans enjoyment of the issue. Its a great jumping-on point for new readers, taking us through every major event since (and even before) Bendis and Maleev began their regular tenure on the title, and serves to add new depth to old scenes for regular readers, even taking the time to set up the next few issues story arc in a final epilogue. Well worth a read, even with the increased price tag.

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8
Daredevil (1998) #66

Nov 2, 2004

Overall, this initial episode is more of a teaser to set up the adversary that Matt Murdock is sure to face in coming issues than it is about any real conflict. However, the cliffhanger certainly suggests a darker side to this old man, and challenges the sympathy that the audience may have built up over the preceding 21 pages. There are certainly shades of grey in this character, and its in working through these ideas that Bendis normally excels. Its good to see the writer avoid the easy route of countless Kingpin storylines and work at introducing his own villains to Daredevils unimpressive rogues gallery and even better to see a fairly original creation born who has the potential to challenge Matt on more levels than the majority of his costumed foes. After a few months of the title treading water (by its own admittedly high standards), Daredevil really looks to be going places again.

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10
Daredevil (1998) #67

Dec 2, 2004

My only worry is that it giving the team a five-star review so early in the arc might leave me nowhere to go when they blow me away at the end of it. To say any more about this particular issue would be to spoil the surprises for the uninitiated, and I wouldnt want to do that. If you havent read it already, grab a copy and start reading this title. Whereve you been? This is a genre-defining run which is bound to be remembered in the same breath as other classics in the years to come. And after a slight sag in the teams run for a few issues Bendis and Maleev have really hit their stride and again come up with career-best work.

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8
Daredevil (1998) #68

Dec 20, 2004

Nevertheless, these are small blips in an otherwise consistently excellent book. Im thrilled to see where this arc goes, tying together as it does the many elements of Matts life under Bendis pen the King of Hells Kitchen status, the public outing, the White Tiger Affair and looking to condense even further the real-world, gritty noir feeling that the creative team have brought to this title. I cant wait for the next issue, and thats got to be a firm recommendation.

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7
Daredevil (1998) #69

Jan 24, 2005

I understand that Golden Age was originally poised to be a four-issue arc but was extended to five, whether to serve Bendis story needs or to bulk the story up to become worthy of a TPB in its own right. The weak cliffhanger of this issue which sets up a situation that readers have already seen played out in earlier issues certainly suggests that Marvel may have had more of a say in this than the writer, as the book is simply not structured or paced as well as Bendis work usually is, feeling very much like a padded fill-in issue to take us up to the finale next month. Such an approach risks losing the momentum of what has been a cracking story up until now, but has really been slowed in its tracks by this issue, and the upshot is a frustrating read which lacks any real focus and feels a little piecemeal - but is still put together with a quality and visual appeal which is impossible to deny. Fans will still enjoy it, but its certainly not the best example of the current run.

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8
Daredevil (1998) #73

May 22, 2005

Were still no closer to discovering exactly where this arc is headed, although some clues are being dropped plot-wise, and Ive begun to notice the baseball-cap wearing member of the church group who weve yet to glimpse the face of (frequently obscured by word balloons and never well-lit, could this be an interloping Matt?), and a lot will depend on the final couple of issues, but Im still getting some enjoyment out of this new format of single stories which relate to Matts yearlong war on crime. Seeing the superhero through the eyes of the general public reinforces the idea of DD as an urban warrior, and cements his street-level persona far more convincingly than another urban slugfest. A good issue of a story that Im keen to see continue.

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8
Daredevil (1998) #76

Aug 28, 2005

The final pages of this issue provide a fantastic show-stopping moment which reinforces the fact that the Kingpin is back to meddle in Matt Murdocks life, and also hearkens back to one of Bendis and Maleevs earlier great cliffhangers on Daredevil. Whilst such self-referential auto-cannibalistic writing might seem indulgent to some, in the context of the larger run of these two creators it serves a greater purpose of binding this final arc into everything which has gone before it, and unifying the entire arc which has been running since issue #26 into a final punchy storyline. Bendis also cannily toys with the readers expectations here, as a second glance at the headline of Ben Urichs article reveals that it actually confirms nothing about its contents well have to wait at least a month before we find out exactly what Wilson Fisk wants the world to think. If anything, Urich comes off as the hero here hes the moral force who never lets up, finding himself in a situation way

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8
Daredevil (1998) #80

Jan 3, 2006

This is truly the beginning of the end for Brian Michael Bendis Daredevil both literally and figuratively - and whilst it might not be quite the best-written or most exciting issue of his run on the title, its a strangely uncharacteristically solid tying-up of the major plot points which have dominated the book since his opening #26. Not quite everything is resolved here, and by the end of the issue, our protagonist is left in possibly the direst situation hes faced since the story of his out-ing in the press began, but all of this bodes well for the storys grand finale next month. Id be surprised if Bendis tries to restore the series status quo within the space of his one remaining issue, and itll be interesting to see whether Ed Brubakers forthcoming run on the book can truly take Bendis ball and run with it, but from what Ive heard the crossover between writers has been as smoothly constructed and cohesively planned as possible, and as such, Ill still be satisfied if

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9
Daredevil (1998) #82

Feb 12, 2006

The only part of the issue that didnt work so well for me is the heavily trailed plot development at the end of the issue. Whilst its a more brutal and viscerally shocking moment than I expected, its also the least well-executed, feeling as though it was included purely as a shock ending to punctuate an issue which is strong enough that it really doesnt require it. That said, Brubaker is known for plotting his arcs pretty tightly and not tipping his hand too early (see his recent work on Captain America), so Ill give him the benefit of the doubt and see what he makes of this plot twist in future issues. My only other slight concern is that Brubaker occasionally slips too far into Batman territory with his writing of Daredevil, as the grim-n-gritty opening voice-over and the section where the new Daredevil silently disappears after a brief rooftop confrontation with Foggy felt just a little too similar to scenes which have become too clich for the Dark Knight to really be eff

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8
Daredevil (1998) #83

Apr 14, 2006

Brubaker is treading a fine line between providing a good continuation of the past four years worth of Daredevil and also forging new ground here, and the craftsmanship of his writing shines through on every page. Whether hes dropping subtle hints/red herrings as to the identity of the second Daredevil, cannily setting up future plot developments in a way which seems very organic and natural, or simply writing the characters in a way which seems to capture their essences in an efficient, unfussy way, its very difficult to fault his work. The only problems I am having with this new era for the title are the slightly "off" cover art and the already very ambiguous nature of the crucial plot development of Foggys death (which has already, by the second issue, been given an obvious out - should Brubaker choose to take it). Still, these are minor quibbles for a book which was always going to come under heavy scrutiny: on the evidence of the teams first two issues, were in for a ru

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7
Daredevil (1998) #85

May 21, 2006

Frank: What it looks like when you turn into me.

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8
Daredevil (1998) #86

Jul 21, 2006

But just as things threaten to get really out-of-hand, Brubaker pulls things back from the edge, reasserting just what it means for Matt to be a hero. Its an in-character and logical step for a character who has seemed to be bordering on a breakdown for some issues now, and if the manner in which Murdock neutralises the two villains doesnt make you want to cheer, then youre clearly reading the wrong book. I cant wait to see how Brubaker writes his way out of the dire situation that Matt is left in for the final part of this arc, as some minor quibbles aside (some slightly questionable actions taken by supporting characters and an underdeveloped thread about the second Daredevil) this arc has all the makings of an instant classic.

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8
Daredevil (1998) #87

Jul 31, 2006

This is a fine finish to what has been a very strong first arc for Brubaker and Lark, and the icing on the cake is provided by the issue's final page, which provides a twist which will come as a relief to many of the character's hardcore fans. One aspect of the character which is still sorely absent is that of Matt the lawyer, but this omission is more symptomatic of the corner that Daredevil was written into by the previous creative team than any particular fault with Brubaker's take on the book. Although Matt's secret-identity problems don't look set to end anytime soon - by the end of this first arc, he's already got a "new" civilian alter ego which provides another nod to continuity for longtime readers - Brubaker is definitely taking steps towards clearing up the all-encompassing mess that was caused by the revelation of Daredevil's identity during Bendis' run. Whilst such U-turns can often come off as contrived excuses to reset the status quo, it's actually quite welcome here,

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7
Daredevil (1998) #89

Oct 6, 2006

Brubaker has given himself a lot of leeway to do great things with his complex but uncomplicated story, and I'm very keen to see where it goes next. However, the "swashbuckling" elements that the writer has promised longtime fans prove to be a mixed bag this issue. I loved the slick secret-agent stuff and the gradually-revealed overall plot, but the inclusion of Matt's superhero alter-ego seemed like a concession to comicbook conventions that pulled me out of the story and made little sense for the character. Still, a middling issue of Daredevil is still better-than-average these days, and it hasn't dampened my enthusiasm for Brubaker's run on the book as a whole. Let's see where this goes.

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8
Daredevil (1998) #94

Mar 2, 2007

Whilst there's not a lot that's new in this issue in terms of story, with Brubaker essentially recapping the last few years of Daredevil through Milla's eyes, the result is that it's the best jumping-on issue that the book has had in more than five years. After last issue "reset" certain elements of the book, bringing an effective end to many of the story elements which were hanging over from Brian Bendis' run on the title, this issue gives us a glimpse of Brubaker's take on Matt's complex personal life before launching into the next multi-issue arc. I'm keen to see where the writer takes the character next, as judging by the tone of this issue, his life isn't going to get easier any time soon - and that's just the way I like it.

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8
Daredevil (1998) #95

Mar 30, 2007

Brubaker has managed to neatly avoid the whole Civil War debacle by moving DD out of the country during that period (and the writer seems to take pains to avoid mentioning details of the event this issue), and I couldn't be happier, as this is one title that is making such a success of its current direction that any interference from the crossover would have undoubtedly had a negative impact on readers' enjoyment of the book. Costumed superheroics, criminal intrigue, legal machinations and human drama; this issue is one of Brubaker's strongest on the title so far, showcasing his ability to reconcile these elements of the book with flair and outlining some compelling plotlines which utilise longtime Daredevil characters in a new and innovative way.

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8
Daredevil (1998) #100

Sep 9, 2007

This is a fitting manner in which to mark the milestone 100th issue of the relaunched Daredevil book, and anyone with even a passing interest in DD or the artists involved should definitely check it out - I just wish there had been a little more substance in the story to go with the undeniable style of its execution, as the story isnt quite as thrilling or satisfyingly dense as most of Brubakers work on the book has been.

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5
Daredevil (1998) #504

Jan 26, 2010

Ultimately, though, the book feels dark for its own sake rather than because the character or plot demands it, and that makes for quite a hollow reading experience. I'm still enjoying some of the secondary elements of the book, and I'm sure there's a great story to be told about Matt Murdock taking leadership of the Hand and using it as a force for good--but for me, this isn't it.

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8
Daredevil (2011) #4

Sep 23, 2011

It's a satisfying extrapolation of the community spirit that we've always seen from Matt in his defence of Hell's Kitchen, and it gives the book endless potential opportunities for Daredevil to become involved in the lives of regular citizens, as well as the sorts of outlandish Marvel super-villains that we saw in the first arc. However, Waid makes sure to pepper his grounded stories with exotic details that give Daredevil the chance to live up to the swashbuckling characterisation that was such an important part of the original Silver Age conception of the hero.

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7
Daredevil: Father #1

Apr 28, 2004

A promising set-up for a story which looks to take a markedly different tone to its main title counterpart, giving us a more straightforward DD tale which for the most part escapes the continuity shackles of Bendis run. Some beautiful artwork is matched with an interesting story, the strands of which will hopefully tie up well in future issues. Ill definitely be picking this issue up: and for a comic which is published in full on the internet to also be worth a subsequent purchase is surely a stamp of approval.

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4
Daredevil: Father #2

Sep 19, 2005

Daredevil fans would be forgiven for feeling some disappointment with this miniseries so far, as after being treated to a great DD mini in the shape of Gaydos and Hines Daredevil: Redemption, this pales in comparison. It feels like Quesada is writing Father from an artists standpoint, as its clear that for all his pretty visuals, theres a deficiency in storytelling which cant be remedied by a well-drawn splash page or a striking, stylized cover image. Unless Quesada can tie the myriad story strands into some kind of satisfying overall picture, this is going to come off as little more than an unfocused and slow-moving showcase for his artwork. A shame, as theres definitely room on DDs world for a miniseries which adopts a more straightforward and traditional superhero tone to that of his current core title.

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6
Daredevil: Redemption #1

Feb 6, 2005

However, if it seems like Im giving this issue a little more flack than it deserves in terms of my final score, then maybe its because Im becoming tired of the first-issue-syndrome that affects this sort of miniseries. Whilst I have no doubt that theres a well-crafted larger plot being set up here, this issue doesnt exactly thrill me in its own right, although it crafts a good sense of atmosphere and intrigue. Im sure itll read well as part of the completed story (and eventual trade), but with another month from now until issue #2, Redemption hasnt totally grabbed me yet.

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8
Daredevil: Redemption #2

Feb 21, 2005

Theres great writing this issue some fun lines about southern wit and hospitality and a neat little sight gag about Matts blindness and strong characterisation of the leads. The plot is becoming more gripping as more is revealed about the children at the centre of the allegations. After a slow start, there are enough ideas in this issue to keep the miniseries going for a good while yet, and that can only be a promising sign for things to come. Casual fans will enjoy a dark murder mystery with occasional super-hero elements here, whilst Daredevil die-hards will rejoice that a DD miniseries has eventually reached its second issue. Either way, this is definitely worth picking up.

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7
Dark Avengers #14

Feb 16, 2010

This story might not be quite as direct a Siege tie-in as is boasted by the cover (although I suspect that it may set up some significant character developments for the Sentry as that miniseries draws to a close), but it's no less enjoyable a story for that. This is one of the better issues of Dark Avengers that I've read, and one that demonstrates the book's potential far more effectively than the more traditional superhero stories that Bendis has been telling so far.

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4
Dark Avengers Annual #1

Dec 1, 2009

Unfortunately, that's exactly what this Dark Avengers Annual does--and the fact that it costs $5 just feels like an extra slap for Marvel Boy fans who were looking forward to one of their favourite characters being given some special attention.

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7
Dark Entries #1

Sep 2, 2009

This reviewer was working from the Titan Books edition of Dark Entries, published for the UK market; Vertigo is publishing the book for the US market.

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8
Dark Reign: The List: Amazing Spider-Man #1

Nov 17, 2009

I'm not clear on whether this is the final The List one-shot or whether the ending of this issue is going to serve to set up a final conflict between Osborn and his enemies--but it works equally well either way. Slott taps into some of the themes of Matt Fraction's Invincible Iron Man run to deliver a conclusion that gives Osborn a satisfying taste of his own medicine, whilst also leaving Peter Parker (in his civilian identity) more hated than ever by the Iron Patriot. It'll be fun to see how the repercussions of this issue play out in future: if it's written by Slott (and better yet, illustrated by Kubert), I'll definitely be there.

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8
Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #1

Feb 4, 2007

In truth, the book will probably be more successful for you if youre already au fait with the Dark Tower series, as the familiarity with the characters - combined with the thrill of seeing them brought to life in a new way - will make the book more accessible and will likely make this first issue an easier read. Still, its difficult to imagine this first Dark Tower comic accomplishing the difficult balancing act of catering for both sets of readers any better, and the wealth of bonus material in the form of text and illustrations at the back of the book serves to fill in a lot of interesting detail for those of us who havent immersed themselves in Kings world before. The higher-than-usual price tag may raise a few eyebrows, and the sales gimmicks (midnight store openings et al) are pure Marvel, but lets be honest: this book was always going to achieve high sales. More interesting for me will be whether this Dark Tower title can serve as the Holy Grail of comics that will attrac

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7
Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #3

Apr 13, 2007

On its own, the story of this book would probably get an average score from me, but the extra material provided at the back adds just enough to the package to make the issue feel like something a bit special. In addition to a long text piece by Robin Furth (with illustrations by Lee and Isanove), the book contains pencil artwork from Lee and a transcript of a Q&A session which took place at a recent comics convention, featuring the book's creative team along with Stephen King and Marvel E-I-C Joe Quesada as speakers on the panel. It's an illuminating glimpse at some of the processes that went into creating the book which hints at the story's future direction and gives us an idea of how King views both his own magnum opus and the medium of comics. Even if you can find similar reports online, it's a more extensive report than I'd seen before, and these bonus materials go a long way to justify the high cover price and production values which have been applied to the Dark Tower series.

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8
Dark X-Men #2

Dec 8, 2009

Even without its excellent final pages, this would still be a very good issue that clearly demonstrates the talents of its writer and artists for anyone who might have missed their prior work together. With those final pages, however, it's especially noteworthy, and I look forward to seeing whether Cornell's breaking of the fourth wall is a device that will extend into future issues or whether it's just being used for this single one-off (yet nonetheless inspired) moment.

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8
Dark X-Men #4

Feb 9, 2010

For some reason, I had it in my head that Dark X-Men #4 was going to be the final issue of the series. I was pleasantly surprised, then, to find that it's only the penultimate issue, and that there's one final chapter of the miniseries to come after this one. That indicates that I'm having a good time with this series, and would be very happy to see it continue as an ongoing title. However, the fact that the book's status quo is so closely tied to the "Dark Reign" of Norman Osborn (which looks likely to be coming to an end soon) makes this seem unlikely. Nevertheless, I'd be very happy if Marvel could find some way to reunite this creative team with this group of characters, as it's a great mixture that has produced a title that plays like a slightly lighter and more comedic version of Warren Ellis's Thunderbolts--and which has proved that there's really no such thing as a bad concept so long as the execution is strong.

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9
Daytripper #8

Jul 26, 2010

With only two more issues to go, Im already feeling slightly disappointed that weve got so little Daytripper left to enjoy. Its not often that a series with such an original concept comes along, and its even less common to see such weighty ideas explored with such a delicate touch, so I cant help but feel dismayed that this title is going to be limited to just ten issues. Still, I suppose I should take a hint from the books core message, and try to make the most of these final installments. Im sure the creators would rather I spent my time enjoying their work instead of worrying about the day when the journey will come to an end.

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8
Daytripper #10

Sep 20, 2010

To be completely frank, this is not the best issue that the series has produced (although that's to hold it to a high standard, as there have been some excellent earlier entries). And in all honesty, I feel as though the more surreal and metaphorical tone of the previous issue (#9) would have made it a better finale for the series than this chapter. But this is nonetheless a pleasant, uplifting story that makes for an understated and gentle swansong for Daytripper, whilst also summarising many of the series' central themes.

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5
DC Universe #0

May 4, 2008

As such, it sums this issue up pretty well.

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9
Detective Comics #853

Apr 26, 2009

Finally, and to the books credit, Im far happier with the two-part format now that Ive read this concluding chapter. What appeared from the first issue to be a single tale, arbitrarily chopped in half for commercial reasons, has turned out to be two slightly different (yet closely connected) stories, both of which celebrate the rich history and legendary status of the iconic figure that is Batman. It might not be quite the five-bullet experience that I was hoping for from the first issue (although maybe the two of them will read better in one sitting) but it comes close.

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8
Detective Comics #854

Jun 28, 2009

One thing that might make readers hesitate to buy the issue is the increased price tag. However, you get a pretty decent package for your $3.99. In addition to the enjoyable 24-page lead story, there's an eight-page backup story (or "Second Feature") starring The Question by Rucka and artist Cully Hamner. Whilst I'm not a particular fan of the character--and the first chapter of this story didn't do anything to really grab my attention--I know that some readers are, and it's laudable to see DC attempt to provide an outlet for their secondary characters, even if it has to be as a backup feature in another book.

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7
Detective Comics #855

Aug 2, 2009

Whilst I'm not quite as impressed by this issue as I was by the first, I'll definitely continue to follow this book--for Williams's artwork if nothing else. I get the sense that Rucka is building towards a more thorough revelation of Batwoman's origin, which should help to define the character--and, hopefully, we'll see the plot involving Alice lead somewhere interesting, too.

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7
Detective Comics #858

Nov 1, 2009

As ever, I bought this issue for the Batwoman story, and I wasnt disappointed. However, if the rumoured switch takes place, and future issues of Detective Comics present a lead story featuring the Question, followed by a Batwoman back-up, I dont think Ill be interested enough to keep buying the book--especially at $3.99 a pop.

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6
Detective Comics #861

Jan 31, 2010

Finally, were treated to another backup story involving the Question by Rucka and artist Cully Hamner. Im enjoying the second chapter of Pipeline more than I did the first, but its still not anything particularly special. That said, Hamners artwork is still decent, and there are one or two fun touches in this part of the chapter (such as the manner in which the heroes deal with their opponent) that add a little fun to an otherwise fairly unremarkable story.

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6
DMZ #4

Feb 28, 2006

I dont mean to sound too down on this issue, because the book as a whole still stands as a fairly original concept which holds a lot of potential. Unfortunately, the last couple of issues havent lived up to the standards of the first two, and I cant help but feel a little disappointed as a result. I hope that writer Wood returns to a more relatable urban environment next issue, as I feel that he has far more to say when dealing with the effects of war on a civilian population. This was an interesting little excursion into a slightly different arena, but it definitely doesnt stand as the strongest issue of DMZ so far.

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6
DMZ #5

Apr 6, 2006

The aspect of the book which continues to be most successful for me is the overall sense of strong visual design of the DMZ universe, all the way from the attention-grabbing and individual covers to the unique character designs and the consistently and convincingly war-torn urban look of the book. This issue also changes the way the credits are presented, as a single line of credits appears in each panel for the first few pages. Its clearly an attempt to create a very cinematic feel to the book, and it works to an extent. Whilst I love the occasional visual contributions Brian Wood makes to the title, which stand alone as well-composed pieces of stark graphic art, its the solid and consistent work of Italian artist Riccardo Burchielli which has kept me coming back to the book. Burchiellis style is interesting, mixing a slightly exaggerated sense of realism with a firm grasp of tone and emotional content in a manner which is reminiscent of some of Tim Sales earlier work. There

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7
Doctor Strange: The Oath #1

Oct 1, 2006

If enough people can be convinced to read this first issue, then the book has a good chance of succeeding - as Im sure theyll want to read on to see where the story goes next - and hardcore strange fans will likely lap it up. However, whether this is really the book which will revive Stranges popularity among a wider audience remains to be seen, as theres nothing that stands out as truly innovative or unexpected as far as Stranges character goes.

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4
Drax the Destroyer #1

Sep 25, 2005

As it is, Im loathe to give this issue an overwhelmingly negative rating because its not exceedingly badly written or badly drawn: it just isnt to my taste. It doesnt really grab me in the way that a #1 issue should, and as seems to be the case more and more with Marvels first issues it seems to be merely setting the stage for interesting things to potentially happen somewhere down the line (although theres no real indication of where that line might be leading at this point). Drax seems to be a supporting character in his own book in this first issue, and for newcomers like me who need to get to know the character for the first time, thats a fatal error. This book sadly hasnt given me any reason to check out its second issue.

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7
Eternals #1

Jun 18, 2006

Theres a lot to like in this book, and Gaiman sets up a lot of subplots which will be ripe for exploration later in the series without selling the main thrust of the story short (I particularly liked the reality TV segment). If youre a fan of either the writer or the artists previous work then youll definitely enjoy this first issue; other more tentative readers may find it less instantly appealing, but should still give it a try if they find the sound of the concept at all interesting.

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7
Ex Machina #3

Aug 23, 2004

Theres a lot to enjoy from the writing in this issue: a shame, then, that things dont really advance in terms of plot as much as we could have hoped this time round. Whilst important character development occurs and we get a lot of insight into how Hundred relates to many of the other characters in the book (Candys personality is nicely established in the opening pages, before a nice exchange between Mitch and his intern, Journal, which is followed by a fun back-and-forth with Wylie, before introducing Kremlin into the contemporary timeline, and so on) it means that the action and plot has to take something of a backseat. Its only really the final pages which give artist Harris a chance to show off some excellent large-scale comic book visuals which jolt us out of the comfort of his clean, simple but effective character work of the rest of the issue. It demonstrates that hes a great choice for this title, and I look forward to seeing more of his work next issue.

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8
Ex Machina #4

Sep 29, 2004

I like the fact that there are still a lot of unknowns about this series the unclear source, nature and extent of Mayor Mitchell Hundreds powers are further questioned by the use of a technology-based plot device at the end of this issue, and the character dynamics and history have been presented in such a filtered, chronologically-twisted sequence that the next plot revelation could come from anywhere in the past, present or future of the mayors political career. Its an approach that keeps the reader guessing and the book still feels new enough to be refreshing. Whats more, it looks to be focusing on a very character-driven story in its first arc, whilst still providing enough old-school superheroics to keep genre fans reasonably happy. It might be a bit too talky for some or too slow or political for others, but there is an increasingly expanding niche of people myself included who carry on getting a lot out of this book. With only a few backissues to track down its still

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8
Ex Machina #5

Oct 17, 2004

As an overall arc, this book has already given us a superhero origin story, a taste of dark things to come, some great writing and art and already a change in the status quo. Its a great book which has made a sterling start and for once lives up to the buzz. Try it.

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8
Ex Machina #6

Nov 21, 2004

I can get fairly evangelical about Ex Machina, and I think its a title everyone should read (or at least try) even if politics isnt really your thing. After all, those elements of the book are all about the issues that society has to deal with, rather than the dull mechanics of the system - and thats something that affects all of us. Suffice it to say, if this was any other book, the rating would be even higher, but the past five issues tell me that this is only the setup for another great arc of this highly intelligent, complex but incredibly readable title.

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8
Ex Machina #7

Dec 20, 2004

However, whilst some writers can get away with slipping a set-up issue under the radar, making it feel like things are really moving along, Vaughn doesnt quite manage it here. Theres too little advancement and too much setting up of conflicts for later on in the arc for this to be a really stunning issue, but a merely good edition of Ex Machina is a lot better than the best that other comic books have to offer. On its own terms, Ex Machina #7 is a middling instalment, but in relation to everything else out there its still definitely well worth checking out for the uninitiated and Ex Machina fan alike.

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8
Ex Machina #17

Jan 26, 2006

Ex Machina seamlessly mixes complex and subtle political ideas with the best kind of superhero plots ones which spring out of the characters, their situations, their beliefs and their choices rather than an empty conflict with the generic villain du jour. Were barely a third of the way through the huge opus that Brian K. Vaughn has planned for this proposed 50-issue title, and I cant wait to see where Hundreds story goes next. March to War has the potential to be the books best arc yet, dealing with concepts on a global scale yet still managing to relate its larger ideas to a very personal and intimate story. Even though this is very much an issue of set-up, the possibilities for this arc are already looking very promising indeed. Well worth a read, even if you dont do politics.

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8
Ex Machina #23

Oct 6, 2006

Whilst it probably won't wow new readers, I'm glad that Ex Machina is continuing to remain accessible whilst it builds on its past stories with relatively self-contained story arcs which also reference the book's history in a way that suggests that Vaughan really has a firm plan in mind for his book. As a mature superhero comic for mature readers, Ex Machina is unparalleled, and even issues like this one - which are relatively middling on the book's own terms - provide enough food for thought and beautiful art that they still stand head and shoulders above the competition.

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8
Ex Machina #27

Apr 20, 2007

For the moment, this is a slightly confusing story arc, but a nevertheless enjoyable one which should ultimately shed a little more light on the nature of Mitch Hundred's powers and their purpose, and I'm sure it will prove to be a significant part of Vaughan's long-term plans for the book. It's the nature of serial fiction that we occasionally have to put up with an individual instalment which will sit more easily as part of the whole than as a satisfying story in its own right, but to give Vaughan and Harris their dues, they still manage to make the book entertaining and very readable despite these limitations.

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8
Ex Machina #38

Sep 14, 2008

Newcomers to Ex Machina may read this chapter and wonder what all the fuss is about, but those who have been with the title since the beginning will probably be satisfied with an issue that serves the needs of the bigger picture more than it advances the current story arc. I can't deny that I'm eager to get some answers now that the series is starting to approach its conclusion, but Vaughan is still managing to provide an entertaining book in the meantime.

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7
Ex Machina #39

Nov 23, 2008

I still enjoy Ex Machina enough that I'll continue to pick it up whenever it appears. It's a fairly intelligently written adult superhero title with strong artwork and some fairly original ideas, and that's more than I can say for most books on the stands. However, I'm starting to realise that I don't look forward to each issue in the same way that I used to. The slow pace of the overarching plot development--which is only exacerbated by the erratic shipping schedule--may soon start to alienate even the most dedicated fans of the book.

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9
Ex Machina #50

Aug 22, 2010

Ex Machina is one of those series that I definitely plan to re-read in full at some point in the near future--though that reading will take on a whole new tone now that Vaughan and Harriss final chapter has revealed Mitch Hundreds tragic fate.

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6
Ex Machina: Inside the Machine #1

Feb 23, 2007

In a way, these kinds of books are always facing an uphill struggle. No-one would expect someone who isn't a fan of the regular series to shell out $2.99 for a collection of extras, and even those of us who are regular readers of the title may think twice before dedicating money to a glorified sketchbook which could otherwise be spent on a full issue of a completely different comic. However, for those fans of Ex Machina who are keen to learn more about the book - especially from a visual point of view - there should be enough here to justify a purchase. Just don't expect too many secrets to be revealed.

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7
Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America: Wolverine #1

Apr 13, 2007

Yes, there's not really any good reason for this story to exist other than to sell a few comics off the back of the latest big event in the Marvel Universe, and yes, some elements of the story seem contrived and ill-fitting (such as the Winter Soldier's early guest-appearance, or Daredevil being invited on Wolverine's mission instead of a telepathic X-Man who could have served a similar function more effectively), but this comic rises above those shortcomings to produce a tale which is fairly entertaining in its own right. I look forward to seeing how the series progresses, as the concentration on a different character each issue with a rotating art team promises to keep things fresh and interesting. My only real concern is whether Loeb can draw the different stories together with a coherent common focus, but we'll see how that goes.

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5
Fantastic Four (1998) #537

May 2, 2006

Ultimately though, the more enjoyable elements of the issue cant salvage the fact that the FF are almost bit-players in their own book here, making no impact whatsoever on Dooms plans and save for some empty combat with a group of robots seeming condemned to act only as spectators as the action progresses, whilst a final unnecessary coda hints even more blatantly that we dont have long to wait for the return of Thor. Its a marginally more satisfying issue than the one which preceded it, but its a close call: ultimately, this two-part story stands as more of a testament to Marvels canny marketing strategy than to the storytellers involved, and only time will tell whether its even an essential read if you want the full Civil War story.

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4
Fantastic Four (1998) #554

Feb 8, 2008

Maybe it's the weight of expectation that has led me to feel a little disappointed by this issue, or maybe it's just that I expected a different kind of book from Millar and Hitch. The more character-based approach of this first issue isn't without its merits, as it allows Millar to showcase the day-to-day realities of the FF as a family unit (including his setting up of a potential love rival for Reed), enables him to include some fun scenes which are more grounded in reality than followers of the book might be used to (such as the dull speech given by an oblivious Reed to a group of schoolchildren), and gives him the space to kick off some potentially interesting subplots (including Sue's involvement in a charity support group for victims of "Superhuman Incidents"). However, it just doesn't convey the excitement and wonder that is one of the defining characteristics of the FF, and if I wasn't such a fan of the creators' previous work, I'm not sure that I'd be convinced to stick aro

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7
Fantastic Four (1998) #570

Aug 25, 2009

I get the same impression from this issue that I did from the Dark Reign: Fantastic Four miniseries: Hickman obviously has some strong sci-fi ideas for the FF to explore, a good grasp of the characters, and an appreciation of the kind of tone that best suits the Marvel Universe's First Family. Even if it didn't blow me away, this issue sets up a fairly interesting new plot, and I look forward to seeing where it leads in future issues.

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6
Fantastic Four (1998) #575

Jan 26, 2010

That said, the pretty artwork can't overcome the impression that this is a fairly unremarkable Fantastic Four story, and possibly the weakest of Hickman's run so far. Having said that, I have to give credit to the writer for the possibility that he might be laying the groundwork for bigger and better things. I appreciate little touches like his respectful nods to the previous creators' work on the book (such as the reappearance of the dead Galactus from Millar and Hitch's run), and I wouldn't be surprised if this turned out to be one of those stories that's retrospectively improved by what comes later in the title.

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6
Fantastic Four (1998) #577

Mar 30, 2010

However, no matter how pretty the book is, it's difficult to give it much of a recommendation when the new elements that are being added to the book don't actually progress past their initial introduction. I'm quite prepared for the fact that they'll all make a lot more sense once we know what Hickman's endgame is, and I'm sure that, once complete, the "Prime Elements" story may well hang together far better than it currently seems to -- but that's an argument for waiting to read the story in TPB form, not for buying the monthly issues.

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7
Fantastic Four: The End #1

Oct 29, 2006

Despite this apparently character-focused first half though, the frequent, mysterious allusions to Reeds longevity-inducing Methuselah formula (a sly comment on Marvels sliding scale of time and ageing?) and the grand, epic feel of the second half of the book suggest that Davis has something more large-scale in the works for the curtain call of the Marvels Universes first family. However, its still too early to say whether Davis has bitten off more than he can chew with the sheer scale of the book: we look in on the Avengers, Namor, Ben Grimms family and a new (and decidedly different) Dr. Strange, but theses pieces only hint at where the story might be going. The scattering of the FFs members at this early stage allows for a crowd-pleasing reunion later in the series, but the story seems to flit around so much in the second half that its hard to really get a handle on the big picture, and hardcore FF fans may feel aggrieved that this series has been diluted by a grand, c

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8
Fell #9

Jan 20, 2008

This final coda throws up some far more complex questions for which Ellis doesn't attempt to offer an easy answer, but which paint the issue's antagonist in a more sympathetic light. In this way, the closing pages add a little more depth to a fairly straightforward story, but one which is enjoyable and well-told nonetheless.

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6
Final Crisis #1

Jun 1, 2008

As with all Morrison books, Final Crisis looks as though it's going to require some effort on the part of the reader to engage with his ideas. However, this first issue just doesn't provide enough meat for a casual DC reader like me to really invest in the story, or even to fully grasp the ideas that Morrison is dealing with. There's very little sense of overall coherence yet, and few hints as to where this is all going. Since this is only the opening chapter of a seven-part story, I'm willing to give the book another chance to convince me that there's a story here that's worth following, but this certainly isn't the impressive, arresting opener that you might expect for a big crossover title.

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7
Final Crisis #2

Jun 29, 2008

I enjoyed Final Crisis #2 a little more than I did the first issue. I still don't think that it's perfect - the story is still a little too fractured for me to really be gripped by it at this point, and despite a strong final few pages and a great cliffhanger, it feels like the series has only just got going by the time this issue ends. Still, whilst I still don't feel that the book has completely come together yet, there's a greater sense of impending doom here than in the first issue, and if Morrison can deliver on the promise of his epic story then this could still turn out to be a highly enjoyable book.

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8
Final Crisis #3

Aug 10, 2008

The book's only major weakness is that it's occasionally a little too reliant on readers to fill in the gaps in the story, when greater clarity would sometimes be desirable - especially for readers like me who aren't well-versed in DC continuity. That said, I'm finding the book increasingly easy to follow as I'm seeing how all of the pieces connect to one another, and I don't doubt that it will hang together very well by the time the story is complete. Final Crisis is shaping up to be a dense, innovative, and atypical "event" comic - and this issue's cliffhanger is going to make the extended wait for issue #4 feel like it can't pass quickly enough.

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8
Final Crisis #5

Dec 14, 2008

I struggled to decide whether to give this issue 4 or 4.5 bullets, but opted for the lower rating in the end because, while this is a very strong issue, it does contain a few flaws: Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayners discovery of the truth about Kraken seems a little sudden and convenient for such a major development, and hasnt been foreshadowed as well as it might have beenTheres a throwaway line of dialogue that spoils the outcome of Morrisons tie-in story thats currently running in the pages of Batman, which might disappoint followers of that bookFinally, theres a sequence involving a Rubiks cube that seems clever at first, but doesnt work logically when you stop to think about it (there is no minimum number of moves in which a Rubiks cube can be solved, it depends on the starting configuration). This problem saps some of the power of a later moment in which a wheelchair-bound character (possibly Metron) manifests his godly power. However, these are minor flaws in an otherwise

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8
Final Crisis #6

Jan 18, 2009

It's a little depressing that people are dismissing this series as "crap" or impenetrable just because it's a little more demanding than your average superhero book. Whilst some readers do have legitimate complaints with the book, and it probably won't be to everyone's tastes, I'd like to think that most comics readers are open-minded enough to be receptive to someone who's actually trying to do something unique and innovative with the medium, whilst also telling an exciting, epic superhero story.

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9
Final Crisis #7

Feb 1, 2009

Hopefully this series will signal the advent of a publishing strategy for DC that will be more experimental, more open to the possibilities offered by the medium of comics, and more willing to push the boundaries of the medium rather than endlessly recycling the same tired old ideas every month. I applaud the company for taking such creative risks with such a high-profile series, and I can only hope that Final Crisis will be a model that is followed for "event" comics to come.

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5
Final Crisis: Resist #1

Nov 9, 2008

Unlike Final Crisis: Submit, which managed to tell a reasonably interesting (if straightforward) story in a single issue, this feels like little more than a footnote to the Final Crisis event: an explanation of how certain characters got from point A to point B before their reappearance in the main Final Crisis miniseries. Its worth a look for Final Crisis completists and fans of the characters involved, but anyone else won't miss a lot by skipping this issue.

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8
Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D #1

Aug 31, 2008

It's looking like Final Crisis is going to form the culmination of much of Morrison's DC work up to this point, unifying many disparate ideas under a single banner (or, to borrow a concept from this issue, creating a single story that has "got all the others in it"). There's also a compelling cliffhanger that suggests a dire end for the multiverse by the time that Final Crisis is over (but actually implies the opposite, once you think through the reversed logic of Ultraman's opposite nature). Whilst it might seem like a mess of ideas for those who are put off by Morrison's unique and idiosyncratic take on the DC multiverse -- or for those who aren't following Final Crisis -- I'd recommend it to everyone else.

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6
Finding Nemo #3

Sep 18, 2009

This isn't a book that I expect casual adult readers to get a huge amount out of, but I'm sure children will love it -- and the Finding Nemo property has been treated with enough care and respect that hardcore Pixar fans will be sure to approve of it too.

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6
Flash: Rebirth #1

Apr 5, 2009

Lets hope that the week in which Flash: Rebirth #2 is released is an otherwise quiet one for comics because there are plenty of other series that would get my money ahead of this one.

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7
Generation M #1

Nov 27, 2005

Fans of the X-Men and other mutant-related titles will probably get more out of this book than casual readers like me, but its testament to Jenkins skill as a writer that he still manages to engage me in a plot and character in which I had absolutely no interest before reading this issue. Whilst I probably wont continue to read the book myself, its definitely shaping up to be one of the stronger spinoffs from the House of M event.

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3
Ghost Rider (2006) #1

Jul 9, 2006

With three attempted relaunches of the book in the last 5 years, it has not been long since the last Ghost Rider #1 hit stores, and that should say something about how difficult it is to get readers interested in the character. Sadly, with a confounding first issue like this one, I have a feeling that this new series is going to go the same way.

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7
Ghostbusters Holiday Special: CON-volution! #1

Jun 29, 2010

This is a fun Ghostbusters story that's marked out by an original premise that should lend it special appeal to comics fans. Fans of the movies should be happy with the way the characters are treated, and those who come at the book as comics fans first and foremost will find a lot to enjoy in the story's depiction of comics culture.

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4
Girls #23

Apr 3, 2007

I get the feeling that Girls might be more rewarding for regular readers who have followed the book since its inception, and I understand that it might seem churlish for me to complain that the penultimate issue of a book which has been running for two years isn't doing enough to be new-reader-friendly. However, the confusion that would greet readers picking up the book for the first time could be avoided with something as simple as a recap page at the start of the issue. I'm sure that the promised payoff next issue for the various mysteries which have run throughout the book (the invisible wall which has sealed off the town from the outside world; the nature of the Girls; and yes, the giant sperm) will be well-received by loyal fans of the title, and I can imagine horror/sci-fi fans getting a lot out of the weird and wonderful world that the Luna bros. have created, but more casual readers might struggle to understand the appeal of the book.

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4
Gray Area #2

Aug 10, 2004

Its a let down on what was already a so-so first issue, and I really wanted to like it, but for $3.95 its probably not worth your money. After two long issues, it feels very much like were stuck in early-origin-story territory, and if there wasnt just one concluding issue to go, Id likely be dropping the title without waiting around to see what happens. But well give J.R. Jr. one last shot.

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5
Gray Area #3

Nov 17, 2004

In short, the book has been a brave experiment but a real disappointment. The Gray Area isnt any place I want to visit again soon, and the three origin issues feel padded and insubstantial when compared to many of the other dense and intelligent comics out there today. If Romita had given us the origin in a more exciting, condensed manner, he could have taken more time to explore the possibilities of storytelling in his strange world. As it is, the whole book sadly symbolises missed potential and a mishandling of an idea which could have been so much better. Romita is still a master creator one duff book isnt going to take away from that but this is hardly his finest hour.

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8
Harker #7

Sep 27, 2009

This is very much an issue of setup, but it's an enjoyable and engaging one that introduces a compelling cast of characters and an interesting murder mystery, whilst also serving as a solid introduction to the protagonist. These elements make it a perfect jumping-on point for a new reader, and I look forward to seeing how the story develops in future issues. I'll definitely be reading them.

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6
Harry Johnson #1

Oct 3, 2004

Bright, snazzy and fun, this is an enjoyable enough comic adventure which will almost certainly raise a few (albeit predictable) laughs. Just dont expect anything too deep, well-characterised or ground-breaking.

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4
Haunt #1

Oct 4, 2009

Still, people have been criticising McFarlane for these weaknesses for years, and it hasn't prevented his comics from being very popular. With that in mind, I don't doubt that Haunt will do well--even though I'm unlikely to sample another issue.

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8
Hellblazer: Pandemonium HC #1

Apr 28, 2010

I can recommend Hellblazer: Pandemonium to fans of John Constantine and newcomers to the character alike. This is an enjoyable supernatural yarn that plays out against an interesting and unusual backdrop that helps the story to stand out against more conventional horror fare. And, crucially, the book always puts its characters at the centre of the action and makes it feel as though their actions are driving the plot, rather than the other way round. I've warmed to the character of John Constantine far more than before as a result of reading this book, and it's made me keen to check out Delano's earlier work with the character.

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3
House Of M #8

Nov 8, 2005

Hank Pyms statement at the end of the book purports to be a portentous rumination on how Wandas actions may have upset the balance of the Marvel Universe, but actually only serves to throw up vague questions about what the implications of this series might be in the future. Whilst this is presumably intended to lead us into the many spin-off stories and series which will follow in Marvels Decimation event (a flyer for which is stapled squarely through the double-splash centre pages, dulling the effect of an otherwise well-rendered and satisfyingly symmetrical visual), it only really underlines just how inconclusive this mini has been as a story in its own right. House of M makes a useful change in the Marvel Universe but fails to provide any decent payoff on its own terms, with the only exploration of its much-mooted Big Event being the dry ticking-off of a list of which mutants are still active and which have been de-powered. To be honest, its about as much fun reading a rund

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6
Identity Crisis #4

Sep 19, 2004

This is the first issue of the title not to impress me, but that doesnt make it a downer on the entire series. Maybe its just a case of middle issue syndrome, but this instalment feels less like a continuation of all the intrigue and action which has preceded it and more like a breather between the set-up and the finale. It doesnt really go anywhere, but gives us time to think (and ask ourselves Who Benefits?) and checks that were all still listening. Roll on issue #5.

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8
Identity Crisis #5

Oct 24, 2004

Overall, this instalment gives a real sense of things coming together. The story wisely begins to explain at least part of the mystery, dropping more and more hints (particularly by the issues end) of exactly who might be involved in the overarching plot and the murder of Sue Dibney. However, theres still a definite sense that things are unresolved, as well as a possible twist on the nature of the apparently threatening notes being sent to the loved ones of DCs favourite heroes. Many of the threads that began the series are still yet to be picked up again, but Meltzer is tempting us along with an excellent sense of pacing, giving us just enough each issue to be able to work out a little better where this is all heading. Im still expecting lots of surprises and a knockout sixth issue, but on the basis of what weve seen so far this could be one summer event which really lives up to the hype.

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9
Identity Crisis #6

Nov 14, 2004

Its interesting for me - as a relative DC newbie who shouldnt really care about the ramifications of such big crossover events that even without knowing all the ins and outs of the various DC characters featured in this series, the weight of the revelations here are easily conveyed through the story and art alone. The creative team has crafted a superb penultimate issue, the high point of the series so far, which sets the stage for a knockout finale whilst leaving some loose ends to be tied up, mysteries to unravel and even the possibility of a further twist in the final installment. Bring on issue #7

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4
Identity Crisis #7

Dec 19, 2004

I dont want to sound too down on Identity Crisis as a whole, because the series has done some great things with the super-hero genre, remaining a classily-produced act all the way through (with it being a particular pleasure to watch Morales and Bairs artwork consistently improve by the issue) and never being less than entertaining. Unfortunately, this cant be said for the lacklustre finale. As a new DC reader, this final issue had all the potential to open me up to new characters and ongoing series, and get me interested in the DCU as a whole. Unfortunately, Meltzers conclusion hits far wide of the mark, succeeding only in wrapping up the book in name alone, leaving too much by the wayside and reverting to the status quo as much as the titles premise would let him. Having set up such an easy final punch, this final floundering can only be said to be a sorely missed opportunity.

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4
Incredible Hulk (1999) #92

Feb 5, 2006

Im not sure if any elements of the plot are really strong enough to warrant Planet Hulk being billed as the next big Marvel event, and despite the more simplistic action-based storytelling potential that the arc may possess (as well as the possible future crossover into Marvels upcoming cosmic Annihilation event), this issue doesnt really grab my attention enough to make me want to follow it up with the next. Although theres undeniably some shallow entertainment to be had from the Hulk duking it out with some imaginative and colourful monsters and if youre a fan of the characters destructive side, youll no doubt enjoy some of the hyperbolic action on show here theres very little beneath the surface to make this book worth picking up.

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7
Infinite Crisis #2

Nov 12, 2005

After a first issue which came close to turning me off the whole project, Im glad I gave this second installment a try as whilst I dont think Ill ever grasp some of the finer plot points or understand who all of the characters in the series are, let alone the reasons for their actions Im finding myself quite enjoying the book as an old-school colourful and high-stakes crossover which is making more concessions to new readers than I expected.

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4
Infinite Crisis #5

Mar 5, 2006

You might well say that Im not the target market for the book, and Id probably agree but I still cant believe that this is the best way DC could think of to frame their Universe-spanning event. However, Im sure DC fans will love it, as theyll have a completely different take on the book than I do.

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7
Infinite Vacation #1

Jan 16, 2011

* Off the top of my head, there's DC's Final Crisis, Red Dwarf's Dimension Jump and an old 2000AD Time Twister by Alan Moore called The Startling Success of Sideways Scuttleton.

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8
Invincible Iron Man #23

Feb 2, 2010

If you're not reading Invincible Iron Man, you're missing out on one of the best superhero titles currently being produced. And that's not just my opinion: my fellow reviewers Danny Djeljosevic, Jason Sacks and Paul Brian McCoy have all given the book high marks in their respective reviews of issue #20, issue #21 and issue #22. I'm pleased to add my own positive review to the pile, and to encourage anyone who might not have tried this book to give it a shot.

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7
Iron Man/Captain America: Casualties of War #1

Dec 17, 2006

The artwork is solid, adding a nostalgic tinge to proceedings and making Cap and Iron Man feel a little more human than their portrayal under Millar and McNiven, and the way in which various fan complaints with the event are tackled actually do make Civil War make slightly more sense, but theres a growing feeling that a big event like this shouldnt need these special issues and satellite stories to fill in the gaps in order to make it work. If youve got no interest in Marvels big crossover, this isnt going to convince you, and cynical readers may still find themselves turned-off by this hastily-conceived exercise in money-grabbing, but for a fill-in story like this to be at least marginally successful is a pleasant surprise. However, I cant help but wonder whether the manner in which the story progresses from pseudo-intellectual debate to shallow, emotive speech-making to a hollow, empty slugfest is a sly commentary on the way that Civil War as a whole has panned out.

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9
Joe The Barbarian #1

Jan 24, 2010

Having said that, the quality of the artwork and the fact that this first issue is being released as one of Vertigos one dollar debut comics means that its very difficult to feel that you havent been given your moneys worth after reading it. As such, I have no hesitation in giving it such a high bullet-rating (one that may not have been warranted had the issue been priced at three dollars), and I hope that the next issue provides a little more for readers to get their teeth into now that weve been introduced to the world of Joe the Barbarian.

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7
Joe The Barbarian #7

Sep 21, 2010

Whilst this issue isnt quite as successful as previous issues in terms of mixing the high adventure and imaginative fun of Joes fantasy adventure with his real-world struggle to stop himself from slipping into a diabetic coma, its still a very enjoyable yarn in its own right. And the developments of the closing pages suggest that Morrison hasnt forgotten that the story possesses different layers of meaning -- hes just put them to one side for this penultimate blast of action, before leading into what looks to be a far more personal and nuanced denouement.

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7
Joe The Barbarian #8

Mar 6, 2011

I don't want to sound too down on Joe the Barbarian, because it's been a fun ride, and one that I definitely intend to experience again by buying the collected edition once it's released. I have no doubt that, when read contiguously, much of my vague disappointment with this final chapter will be tempered by the positive qualities of the rest of the story, and I'll enjoy it as a whole. It's just an unfortunate combination of a long shipping delay and a more-conventional-than-expected denouement that has left this final issue feeling somewhat flat.

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6
John Romita Jr. 30th Anniversary Special #1

Mar 23, 2007

If nothing else, this Anniversary Special reinforces the contribution that Romita Jr. has made to the medium of comics (and the superhero genre in particular) and the career timeline that is included would make any professional artist proud. However, there's a definite sense that this book is constrained by its short page count - many of which are necessarily devoted to reproductions of the man's art - with the result that the interview can't afford to get into much depth about Romita's work or his approach to his art, skipping through his work on Amazing Spider-Man, X-Men, Wolverine and Eternals at a fair old pace. The contributions from other industry professionals are illuminating, but are reduced to mere soundbites, where it would be interesting to see what more they had to say. Anyone with a real interest in the artist would probably get more out of the Marvel Visionaries volume which is devoted to him, as this single issue just isn't big enough to give fans anything meaty to g

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7
Justice League #2

Oct 24, 2011

A good example is the issue's title page: a double splashpage that gives us a highly-detailed and dynamically-posed image of the showdown between Superman and Batman, whilst also subtly filling in the gap between last issue's cliffhanger and the point at which we pick up the fight here by giving us several visual indicators that Batman has exhausted his arsenal against the Kryptonian without making a dent:

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8
Kick-Ass #1

Feb 26, 2008

Kick-Ass seems like the equivalent of junk food for the brain, and whilst that sounds like a damning criticism, it's not meant to be; it's just an honest description of the way this story feels. If you approach the book as a fun exploration of the misadventures of a wannabe superhero, you'll probably enjoy it a lot more than someone who is looking for more serious insight or commentary on the genre. As long as you have a balanced diet, there's no harm in occasionally snacking on something that might not be good for you, but is tasty whilst it lasts - and Kick-Ass serves that purpose perfectly well.

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8
Knight and Squire #1

Oct 17, 2010

If I had to sum this book up in a single sentence, I'd say it was like a Silver Age Batman book filtered through the sensibilities of the Carry On movies, Monty Python, Morecombe and Wise and The Two Ronnies. That might not make it everybody's cup of tea--especially if you like your superheroes to always be resolutely grim and serious--but I found it to be a charming approach that indicates hitherto untapped depths of creativity from Cornell, and one that provides a great showcase for Broxton's artistic talents.

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9
Knight and Squire #5

Feb 14, 2011

However, it's those three examples of pathos that really make the story effective and involving, and which have me incredibly keen to see how things play out in the book's concluding chapter next issue.

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7
Knight and Squire #6

Mar 21, 2011

However, for the most part this is merely a slightly-above-average story, told fairly well -- and while that's hardly the worst thing you could hope for from a superhero comic, it's not up to the high standards set by the book's previous issues.

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7
Legion of 3 Worlds #1

Aug 24, 2008

Finally, the closing panels of the issue provide an unexpected twist, with Superman's approach to the threat of Superboy-Prime making a refreshing change from the kind of mindless violence and conflict that accompanies many "epic" crossover stories like this one. The idea of redemption for one of the most disliked characters in recent DC history might sound like a pretty tall order. However, if Johns can pull it off, this could turn out to be quite an enjoyable story that functions above the level of a mere nostalgia-fest for Legion fans.

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5
Legion of 3 Worlds #2

Oct 19, 2008

I fear that Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds will only really be resonant if you're already familiar with the characters involved, and invested enough to care what happens next in the soap-opera of their lives. It's not even as though the series has a decent baddie to enjoy, as Superboy-Prime's motivation as a villain still amounts to no more than the desire to be villainous, which is about as shallow a motivation as I could imagine. Those readers who are hoping for even a tangential connection to Final Crisis will be disappointed by the continuing lack of relevance to that event, and even Legion fans may feel short-changed after paying $3.99 for an issue of meandering plotting and repetitive action that doesn't really take the story anywhere new over the course of its 31 pages. Anyone can write a love-letter to the Legion that will give established fans a warm, fuzzy glow: the trick is giving new readers a reason to care, and I don't think that Johns achieves that in this second is

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4
Man-Thing #1

Jul 25, 2004

In the end, theres a difference between saying a comic is bad and saying its not to my taste: and I can see how Man-Thing, whilst too generic, derivative, and slow-moving for me, would be likely to appeal to schlock horror fans everywhere. Its predictable, disposable entertainment in short, it does exactly what it says on the tin. But I dont think Ill be buying any more issues.

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8
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #1

Apr 20, 2004

A fresh, original and more serious take on Spider-Man is exactly what the Marvel Knights line demanded, and this creative team delivers it in spades. Working within the confines of a standard superhero premise, Millar and the Dodsons craft a distinctive story which sets up a fine mystery and draws heavily on the more successful of the Spider-Man storylines of recent years, coming up with a satisfyingly adult Spidey tale - albeit one which will not alienate readers looking for more simple superhero pleasures.

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6
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #2

May 24, 2004

After a promising first issue, Mark Millar settles into the meat of his 12-part Spider-Man tale... or does he? Whilst the opening pages play out some satisfyingly realistic concerns often neglected in comics plotting, the rest of the issue seems to take a left turn into irrelevant territory, felling downright illogical at times (couldn't there be better reasoning provided for an Avengers/Spidey throwdown?) and leading to a final cliffhanger which is less than thrilling. Despite some good writing and well-suited art, one has to hope that the next issue will put the more immediate plot-driven concerns back on track, and provide more thrills and character exploration and less nonsensical diversions than are apparent this time around.

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8
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #3

Jun 23, 2004

The fears induced by last issue's drop-off in quality have been successfully driven away with a third issue which happily lives up to the promise of the first. Next up, the Vulture!

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6
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #4

Jul 21, 2004

A mixed issue, but one with more good than bad. The Vulture encounter is a let-down, albeit one which is redeemed somewhat with the appearance of the Black Cat. Whilst the constant urge to reveal Spideys identity can be a bit draining (and suggestive of further revelations to come throughout the arc), feeling like a cheap shock tactic, its worth a read if only to see things being done a bit differently in a Spider-Man comic.

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7
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #5

Aug 15, 2004

The idea behind a 12-issue plotline which throws the best of Spideys rogues gallery up against him has been compared by many to the recent Hush arc in DCs Batman. Frankly, Im not finding it quite as entertaining in single instalments as that project was, and, on the evidence each 4-issue mini-arc is hardly going to be a self-contained story at all. However, if what Millar has said in interviews is to be believed, it should turn out to be a far more tightly-plotted, complete and satisfying enterprise than Loeb and Lees Batman story turned out to be. So whilst it seems like a cop-out to constantly describe this book as mixed, thats the adjective that Ive got to pick out again: Some bits I like, some I dont, but its never less than compelling reading and that sounds like a fair recommendation to me.

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6
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #6

Sep 14, 2004

A difficult book to judge, and although Im going to keep buying it, Im still having trouble getting over my ambivalence.

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5
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #7

Oct 26, 2004

Ultimately, I feel that Ive finally reached the point where Im unwilling to give this series the benefit of the doubt any more. Its a shame that a title which has thrown up so many good ideas seems to be having such problems putting it together, but its becoming more and more of a trial to sift through Millars various threads and follow the heart of the story here. It seems as though the writer is keen to create an epic, timeless Spidey story with some classic storyline homages and problems for the webslinger to overcome but in doing so, he has forgotten to ensure it all sticks together properly. A curates egg that provides some old-school Spidey thrills and dialogue with a clunking, illogical framing device. The frustrating thing is, this could have been so much better.

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7
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #8

Nov 16, 2004

As the issue draws to a close, Millar dispenses with many of the niggling subplots that have dogged the series and concentrates on introducing the head bad guy a little more fully. Be warned, Im going to go into mild spoiler territory here: Whilst the new villain poses a lot of questions, setting up the mystery of this titles final arc of three and providing a chilling coda to the issue, the simple fact is that another Spider-powered character just doesnt have the impact that it might have done a few years ago. Whether this character is connected with recent JMS invention Ezekiel, Fiona Averys young Spider-Girl, any one of the Spider-Women or (shudder) Spideys clones remains to be seen but Im hoping its an original Millar creation. Either way, it seems to put paid to theories that Harry Osborn might be making a return, or that Norman is the mastermind of the entire scheme. I just hope that Millar can finally follow up on the promise of his epic vision and deliver an emotional

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8
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #9

Dec 12, 2004

However, Im inclined to look favourably upon the additions Millar has made to the Spider-Man canon in this issue. At the very least, he has avoided merely rehashing Spider-Man stories of old, instead using continuity in a positive way, remaining reverential to old events and characters but using them to graft on a more structured, conspiratorial view on the endless battle between super-heroes and villains. Its a neat, original take on an old formula, and with three issues to go of his year-long arc, Millar still has plenty of time to provide surprises and twists. Im hoping Millar doesnt take the easy route and make this yet another Goblin versus Spidey epic, as this story holds the potential to mean a lot more.

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7
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #10

Jan 18, 2005

A lot of this story is going to depend on its conclusion in the next couple of issues the trouble is, I feel like Ive been saying that for the last nine months. Im enjoying this book well enough on a monthly basis, but whether or not it can be seen as a classic is going to depend on how well the myriad loose ends are tied up in the finale. I look forward to seeing how well Millar has plotted the series, because if he doesnt have a solid plan in place by this point, the ending could be a huge mess. Lets hope it isnt.

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4
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #19

Oct 26, 2005

This issue shows to just what extent bad art can cripple a good writer, but to be honest I think that Peter David is at fault here too, as his MJ story just lacks any kind of excitement or intrigue to hook in readers who have come to this title looking for a good book about Spider-Man. The entire issue seems an inconsequential diversion, and even if David aims for a little poignancy with MJs final speech about how Pete may have a death wish, it just doesnt ring true. Its an interesting point of view, but one which runs completely counter to handfuls of examples which have shown Petes triumph of will against overwhelming odds in the past, and its difficult to contradict such a fundamental tenet of the character with such a flimsy premise (although I liked the section which queried why Pete wouldnt have built some kind of web-fluid meter into his web-shooters). The overwhelming reaction to this issue is that its something dull to get through before we can get to the good stuff

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6
Marvel Zombies Vol. 2 #1

Oct 14, 2007

After the massive popularity of Marvel Zombies, a backlash was perhaps inevitable - but Im not giving this issue such an average score for that reason. Thankfully, the Marvel Zombies craze is a phenomenon that Ive mostly managed to avoid, and as such I havent become as tired of the concept as I might have been if Id read every zombie-based storyline or bought every comic with a Sudyam variant cover. Still, the fact that Im not predisposed to dislike this series doesnt alter my general impression that this sequel is milking a concept which was always going to be a limited-lifespan novelty to begin with. This first issue is not particularly notable (although its not particularly heinous either), but the general sense that its more of the same as we saw in the original Marvel Zombies means that it will probably be welcomed by the legions of fans that bought into the original. For everyone else, though, this is a cash-in sequel which seems likely to suffer from the law of dimini

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8
Marvels: Eye of the Camera #6

Feb 16, 2010

I can't decide whether the writers are implying that the point at which their story ends is the point at which the development of the Marvel Universe ceased to matter for them, or whether they're simply saying that life will inevitably go on after death, but all that matters is what we do with the finite amount of time that we have on this Earth. Either way, it's food for thought from a series that has never shied away from exploring the real-life implications of the Marvel Universe's ideas, and which uses its final issue to quietly make some interesting points about actions and their consequences, and the value of acting selflessly and responsibly.

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6
Mighty Avengers #1

Mar 4, 2007

Theres too little substance to the book to really be able to recommend it as a good read, but some may find its relatively carefree and old-fashioned tone more pleasing than Bendis decidedly different take on the Avengers that hes been presenting in their New title for the last couple of years. He gets the new team up and running in the space of a single issue, gives them a big high-level threat to deal with, tosses in a couple of super-villains and peppers his banter with plenty of action. If that sounds like a fun read for you, then youll probably enjoy Mighty Avengers, but if you look for a little more than the usual in your superhero titles then you might find yourself disappointed.

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8
Mighty Avengers #32

Dec 15, 2009

Although it doesn't seem to be attracting the same level of attention as some of the other (Bendis-penned) Avengers books, Mighty Avengers continues to be a great introduction to Marvel's wide universe of characters, in addition to being a good old-fashioned fun superhero book.

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8
Mighty Avengers #33

Jan 19, 2010

If you're not reading this book (perhaps because it's not written by Brian Michael Bendis, so "doesnt count") then Id urge you to do so, as this is truly one of the few current Avengers books to be worthy of the name.

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8
Moon Knight #1

Apr 2, 2006

Its a very promising start for a comic which I had absolutely no interest in before, but this first issue has ensured that Ill be back for more in future.

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8
Moon Knight #6

Nov 23, 2006

I haven't ever been a fan of Moon Knight before, and hadn't read a single issue of his own book before Huston took up the reins, but I'm very glad I gave this series a try. It'll be interesting to see how the writer holds our interest in the character now that his opening arc has played out and a certain status quo has been achieved, and the small tease at the end of this issue doesn't really give anything away about the next story he's got lined up, but getting Moon Knight back on his feet - both as a character and as a successful and commercially viable property for Marvel - is no mean feat. I don't know what kind of sales figures the book has been getting, but it deserves to do very well in the inevitable collected edition, as the story is the kind that will read even better as an entire completed arc. As Khonshu opines in this very issue, Moon Knight is a character who "dropped from the B-list to the D-list," but Huston and Finch have conspired to rejeuvenate the character with

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7
Moon Knight #7

Jan 29, 2007

The books final page suggests that Civil War will be more important in the next issue, and I can only hope that Huston manages to combine the big crossover with his own story as successfully in the next chapter. If theres one book that didnt need to be slowed down any further, its this one, and this issue falls foul of the same slightly irritating pronounced pacing that will probably read better in a collected edition, but doesnt work quite so well on a monthly basis. Also, its a shame to see that theres no letters page this issue, as its a feature that I enjoy.

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6
Moon Knight (2011) #1

May 8, 2011

That sequence aside, Maleev's work is pretty good here--if not quite as great as it is on Scarlet--and combined with Bendis's twist ending (which isn't much of a twist if you've seen any of the advance promotion for the series) it's probably enough to encourage me to come back for at least another issue. However, this first issue isn't the runaway success that it could have been, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see another re-launch of the character within a couple of years.

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7
Nemesis #1

Mar 28, 2010

However, if the book doesnt attempt anything as interesting as what I'm hoping Millar intends, then it definitely needs to provide stronger characterisation and more originality of plotting in forthcoming issues because, at this stage, it almost feels as though somebody has written an uncannily accurate pastiche of a Mark Millar comic and convinced an A-list talent to illustrate it.

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7
New Avengers #1

Dec 5, 2004

For the most part, the book feels like its bubbling just above average - which is better than can be said for the last Avengers arc. However, Brian Bendis throws in a few pages at the end of the issue which bode very well for the future of the title, creating intrigue around a character who is basically a blank slate for me, yet making his introduction more interesting and full of potential than any of the previous scenes of this fairly predictable supervillain-prison-break story. With this, and the identity of Electros mystery benefactor (who looks worryingly like Nick Fury in silhouette?) providing the intellectual intrigue, and Finchs solid action sequences as eye candy, this is a far stronger opener than the teams false start with the Disassembled storyline. Definitely one to watch.

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6
New Avengers #2

Jan 9, 2005

So, whilst not the greatest comic book youll read this month, New Avengers #2 at least gives us some cheap thrills and kinetic action that will tide us over until next month, when the plot can perhaps get moving again. The cliffhanger were left with, whilst familiar to fans of Alias, suggests a more meaningful conflict to come and the possibility of some strong character work which was conspicuous by its absence this time round. Worth a look for Marvel Universe aficionados and superhero fans, but hardly the creators greatest work.

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8
New Avengers #4

Mar 26, 2005

I continue to be impressed with David Finchs work: his male characters are starting to look a little more distinct from one another, and he draws a great slinky Spider-Woman in character this time round and he pulls off action sequences with aplomb too, whether its the Avengers arrival on the streets of Boston or the kinetic Quinjet sequence which brings the issue to a close. My only quibbles with the issue would be the slow pacing or the so-far inexplicable introduction of Wolverine at the issues end: but its worth giving Bendis the benefit of the doubt here to see how these elements play out.

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6
New Avengers #8

Aug 7, 2005

Whilst we do get a few minor yet significant character beats (a scene between Tony Stark and Wolverine manages to state the case for Logans inclusion on the team quite convincingly, and the revelation of Spider-Womans more subtle powers of persuasion were well-written and nicely paced), a neat action scene which ties up last issues fight with the Wrecker (with Steve McNivens art earning the issue most of its silver-bullet-tally: I love the opening page of the fight which shows Wolverine crashing to the ground among a spray of soiled nappies and apple cores, and theres an excellently drawn piece of co-ordinated teamwork which closes the fight), and a set-up for the return of the Void (which is going to mean very little to people who arent familiar with the original Sentry miniseries), theres only really about half an issues worth of material here. Whilst theres still a lot of promise in the Sentry arc, its currently treading water. Heres hoping for better things next iss

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7
New Avengers #11

Oct 13, 2005

You could be forgiven for turning away from this title after the last few issues, but youd be a fool to tar the Ronin arc with the same brush as the Sentry storyline without at least reading it first. To some extent, Bendis feels like hes cut loose from the storytelling shackles of previous arcs, employing the skills of returning penciller Finch to an excellent storytelling end and doing what he does best: playing with established Marvel characters in a new and exciting way. However, I will end this review with the proviso that I was equally excited with the opening issue of Sentry, and that arc eventually descended into a cacophony of ill-conceived ideas, overbearing guest stars and fudged continuity. I only hope that Bendis maintains the streamlined slickness that hes exhibited this issue and doesnt try to over-complicate the introduction of what looks to be one of the most interesting New Avengers in storytelling terms. But I wouldnt count on it.

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5
New Avengers #13

Dec 4, 2005

All in all, its not the worst issue of New Avengers, and its certainly better than the last effort but thats damning with faint praise. Now that the Spider-Woman story has kicked into gear Ill be interested to see where it goes, but the constant anticlimactic nature of the book doesnt have me very hopeful for the next couple of issues. I think the truth of the matter is that Bendis just cant write a good super-hero romp on a grand scale, and is wasted on an epic team book like New Avengers. It seems crazy to me that Marvel is letting him quit books which are so much more suited to his talents (Daredevil, The Pulse) and letting him pick and choose his projects, when they turn out average books like this.

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6
New Avengers #15

Feb 9, 2006

Im tentatively looking forward to seeing what kind of threat Bendis is going to come up with for the teams first big, public mission in the next arc, but the news that it springs out of the ending of his House of M doesnt exactly inspire me with confidence. Over the course of this series, weve seen Bendis draw on numerous plot elements from his other Marvel books - including Daredevil, Alias, The Pulse, Secret War, Spider-Woman and House of M - to create his stories, and although some of this has been done fairly organically (I thought Nick Furys appearance last issue was a fairly logical development which holds a lot of promise for future storylines) theres also a sense that hes using his past work as a crutch in lieu of pushing forward with new ideas. Instead of creating the feeling of a rich tapestry of continuity between titles in the Marvel Universe, its actually having the opposite effect, restricting the stories to Bendiss own well-worn corner of the Marvel Universe in

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4
New Avengers #17

Mar 30, 2006

There are some readers who will doubtlessly lap up Bendis individual stylings, and Ive enjoyed his own particular distinctive tics of dialogue and characterisation many times before in his previous work. Some of his newer habits, however, are less easy to accept. Theres more of that weird tendency for characters to refer to recent arcs by their published titles creeping in (as Wolverine makes reference to House of M and the Secret War) and this is linked to the increasing amount of references to his own other work, as the Bendis-verse grows ever more tightly knit. Its also quite likely that as ever - the pacing of this issue will make more sense when read in a collected edition: and thats a good job, because thats the only way Im likely to read this series in future if I ever come back to it. Its a shame, because Bendis provided one of the consistently best monthly reads of recent years in his Daredevil and has created many other standout comics in the past, but I just

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8
New Avengers #28

Mar 19, 2007

Yes, there are a couple of minor irritations - Bendis obviously doesn't intend to exploit the full extent of Dr. Strange's powers, and there's a silly bit of business with the Silver Samurai watching Lindsey Lohan movies - but if you can overlook these small flaws, then there's a lot to like about the book. Thinning the New Avengers down to a loose group of rebel street-level heroes has made the book more compelling and exciting than it was in previous issues, and Bendis even has the good sense to downplay the "Who is Ronin?" schtick this time around, rather than making it a central mystery for the story. I hope that the creative team keeps the standard up for this arc and beyond, because even if it still isn't the Avengers in their classic form, this feels like the book that New Avengers should have been all along.

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6
New Avengers #35

Oct 7, 2007

If youre keen on finding out more about the Hoods plans to take over the New York underworld, youll welcome this issue as an opportunity to learn more about exactly how hes going about becoming the new Kingpin. If youre a fan of Bendis earlier crime work, you might see this as a welcome throwback of sorts to the kind of material which first got him noticed in the industry. However, if youre looking for a progression of any of the plot points which directly relate to the New Avengers themselves, you might well be disappointed.

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8
New Avengers #51

Mar 29, 2009

I'm wary of being so positive about the first issue of a New Avengers arc as experience has taught me that these things rarely end as well as they begin, and story elements that seem promising rarely live up to their full potential. However, this issue is a surprisingly enjoyable read that's elevated by Bachalo's great visuals. And, for the first time in a long time, I'm actually interested in seeing where the story is headed.

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6
New Avengers: Illuminati #1

Mar 26, 2006

Another problem with the book is that, for an issue which is trying to establish the history of a secret society which has been operating in the Marvel Universe for years, we actually get to see very little of their work between the formation of the group and their reaction to present-day Marvel events (with Iron Man again referring to these recent storylines by their published titles, jarring the reader out of the story slightly). Whilst Bendis has probably concentrated on the most important parts of the Illumintatis history, theres definitely a sense that we only see what is absolutely necessary to allow us to understand how the group is involved in Civil War and Planet Hulk, and that the rest of their tale is being left to other writers to deal with at a later date. Its also the case that this book isnt going to mean very much on its own, and that its only really going to be a worthwhile purchase for those who are keen on following Civil War over the next few months. There

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9
New Avengers: Illuminati #2

Feb 23, 2007

What I love about this book is that it captures the classic spirit of the Marvel Universe through a modern, done-in-one story, taking advantage of the variety of characters, concepts and amazing powers that it offers in a way which makes them feel fresh and imaginative despite their familiarity. What I love about this book is that you don't need to have any prior knowledge of the history of the Marvel Universe to understand the plot, but if you have, there are many nods and winks included which will enrich your reading experience and add depth to its stories. What I love about this book is that it shows heroes battling their own flaws in order to try to do what they think is right, without betraying the characteristics which make them heroes in the first place. In an era in which superheroes seem to have to go through Crises, Wars and Dissassemblies every five minutes in order to remain "edgy" and "relevant," this is a blast of cool, fresh air which reminds you why these characters

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6
New Avengers: Luke Cage #1

Apr 6, 2010

For fans of Luke Cage, this is a nice opportunity to see the character handled in a slightly different way than he's been used in the last few years, and by someone other than Brian Michael Bendis. The artwork might not feel like the best fit for the book, but it's clear enough that it doesn't harm the issue too badly, and it's quite possible that it'll become more well-suited to the story as the series progresses. For casual readers, however, this probably won't stand out as anything special.

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8
newuniversal #3

Mar 6, 2007

I never read any of the original New Universe line of comics, so I don't know how much of newuniversal is inspired by those original stories, but happily the enjoyment of this book doesn't require any wider reading or previous knowledge of the characters. The book looks pretty, with Salvador Larroca mirroring Ellis' approach to the book with some highly realistic visuals which are complemented by Jason Keith's delicately shaded, almost painterly approach. The artwork isn't particularly dynamic, but it handles the few action sequences very well (with a particularly striking illustration of the effect of John Tensen's blade against a gang of young criminals). Ellis' sci-fi sensibilities blend well with the book's necessarily grounded approach to superhumans, and the characters are strong enough to maintain reader interest - although I was slightly disappointed to see two of the major superhumans barely appear in this latest issue. My one reservation is that after three issues, it sti

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6
Olympus #1

May 17, 2009

I look forward to learning more about the character that shows up in the final few pages, and seeing how the brothers react to his appearance.

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6
Omega Flight (2007) #1

Apr 1, 2007

Is this issue worth a look if you want to see how the fallout of Civil War is affecting the greater Marvel universe? Probably. Is it worth a look if youre a longtime Alpha Flight fan? Maybe. Is it worth a look if youve got no interest in either? Not really. Omega Flight will likely find a certain audience, as Im sure there are some fans who will relish the prospect of what looks to be a more old-fashioned and light-hearted superhero book starring a Canadian, C-list version of the Avengers, and followers of Oeming and Kolins work will probably find much to like here. Its a competent comic book, with decent illustrations, but it cant escape its contrived nature, and struggles to make this new Flight formation seem like anything worth caring about.

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6
Peter Parker #1

Mar 23, 2010

In addition to Gale and Olliffe's story, the issue also presents a Fred Hembeck short that deals with the pre-teen antics of Peter Parker and the Fantastic Four's Johnny Storm, who meet long before either of them obtain super-powers and inadvertently foil a crime spree. It's a fun, silly story that's illustrated in Hembeck's usual charming style and gets its biggest laughs from its forced references to the eventual superhero identities of its characters. However, it's not particularly memorable or hilarious, and I wonder whether Marvel's price of $3.99 might be a little too much to ask for a months-old (albeit fairly enjoyable) Spider-Man story and a light, fluffy backup strip.

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7
Powerless #1

Jul 9, 2004

An interesting concept which gives a fresh take on established Marvel characters. You'll get a lot more out of the idea if you're a big Marvel fan, but it still works as an enjoyable piece of intrigue which I'm keen to see develop further.

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7
Powerless #2

Aug 4, 2004

With fun cameos making the most of the Powerless universe (Bruce Banner being a particular highlight, coming off as simultaneously more disturbed and more sympathetic than his Hulking regular MU counterpart) and some nice takes on established characters, theres still a lot of fun to be had in this series. Lets just hope that we get a sense of the elements of three still fairly unrelated storylines coming together next issue.

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5
Powerless #3

Sep 3, 2004

Frankly, the writers arent making enough of the difference that lacking powers makes to our super-heroes. Whilst its fun to see Pete attack Norman over the world wide web instead of using his web-cartridges, or the Kingpin showing what hed really do to a Blind Lawyer who was causing him trouble, its ultimately the same conflicts weve seen many times before. Its unclear whether the writers are trying to say that these characters can be heroes in their own right, even without powers (like Peter Parker) whether its their super-abilities that really empower them (like Matt Murdock) or whether theyd be pretty much the same no matter what (like Wolverine seems to be). Im guessing the idea is to show that its their characters that make the heroes who they are and not the powers - but if thats true, then why waste time looking at an alternate universe of them for six issues when we can get the real deal, powers and all, in their own regular series? Lets hope that the writers manage

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4
Powerless #4

Oct 5, 2004

The biggest criticism of the series is that it isnt addressing the kind of questions that the audience wants answered: who is Doctor Watt? How does the Powerless Universe relate to the regular MU? Whats going on here? Instead, the writing has become as waylaid with the heroes individual stories as the central character, and as such its fast becoming a chore rather than a pleasure to read.

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7
Powerless #5

Nov 8, 2004

This penultimate issue has surprised me by roping me in again and making me interested to see exactly how this series resolves itself next month. With the characters all taken to more interesting places than I expected from the first couple of issues, Powerless is one of those series which is worth sticking with (or at least dipping into) simply because it dares to do something a bit different with the usual Marvel formula whilst still appealing to continuity-aware fans. Not quite my favourite book of the month, but a solid title which has exceeded my expectations and will likely read well in a collected edition.

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8
Powerless #6

Dec 6, 2004

Ultimately, this is a series which has perhaps struggled to find the right audience. Marketed as a more straightforward alternate Marvel Universe tale, it has taken me the full six issues to really appreciate the points the series was trying to make, and as such it may meet with more success when published in a collected edition in due course. Its a series which hasnt been too easy to get into, but has eventually been fairly rewarding, and definitely worthy of your attention. It would be nice to see Marvel taking more chances like this instead of slapping Spider-Man and Wolverine into yet another straightforward guest-appearance, but I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies: Powerless has turned out to be an under-rated and original comic, and one that is definitely worth a look for Marvel fans and fans of unpredictable storytelling alike.

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7
Punisher War Journal (2006) #1

Nov 26, 2006

Im not completely sold on the book yet: the painted-style artwork has a bit too much of a shiny texture and isnt quite energetic enough to really carry the action scenes, and some may feel that Castles character has been neutered in order to accommodate him in a Civil War tie-in book (I was surprised how many villains remained alive after their encounters with him). However, Fraction writes with enough wit to keep the reader entertained and provides a more complex and involving plot than I imagined for such a traditionally simplistic character. This is very much the Punisher returning to his all-ages anti-hero roots to take a role in the Marvel crossover event of the year, and from that description you should probably know whether youll want to pick this up or not.

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7
Punisher War Journal (2006) #2

Jan 11, 2007

Like Civil War: Front Line, this book seems to exist more as a companion to the core series than a particularly compelling story in its own right, and seeing as the Punisher's role in the crossover seems likely to end soon (even if the events of this issue don't put him out of the picture for good, the core title only has one more issue to go) it's difficult to predict whether they'll be much reason for Civil War readers to pick up the next issue of this title. Nevertheless, this issue stands as a decent expansion of Frank Castle's appearance in Mark Millar's overall story, albeit one which is marred by a couple of missed opportunities character-wise and an undynamic visual approach.

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5
Punisher War Journal (2006) #3

Jan 29, 2007

Ariel Olivetti continues to produce some pretty art. His figures are delicately shaded and outlined in finely detailed lines, and the muted, soft colouring of Dean White adds to the more realistic style of the visuals. It might not be my first choice for a more traditional superhero book, but it works in the context of this title. Unfortunately, its in service of a below-par story which doesnt provide much insight into the title character beyond what we were given last issue. Whats more, this issue doesnt stand as complete in its own right, and those of us who want to know more are going to have to wait another month for the final instalment of Marvels big crossover book to fill in the gaps. Its bad planning on Marvels part, and I can only hope that similar events in future will be handled in such a way that satellite stories like this one arent reliant on the content of other books in order to make sense. On its own terms, the story isnt even that compelling: this is ve

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6
Roy of the Rovers: World Cup Special #1

Jul 7, 2010

As a set of comics stories in its own right, this book is a pretty average collection thats probably only going to be of interest to Roy of the Rovers fans. However, the extra material helps to make this as much of a nostalgia trip through the last 44 years of football as anything else. As such, it might appeal to football fans in general, too.

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10
Saga of the Swamp Thing #2

Feb 17, 2010

Saga of the Swamp Thing: Book Two is published by Titan books in the UK and DC-Vertigo in the USA.

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7
Savage Brothers #1

Aug 13, 2006

The art is grand when it needs to be (a couple of full-page splashes demonstrate Albuquerques talents well, but never feel gratuitous) but generally follows the writing in concentrating on the two central characters instead of trying to show us too much of the books universe too quickly. However, the books odd cliffhanger suggests that things are soon going to move into a slightly more fantastical and off-the-wall area yet also with a little more of a straightforward hero-vs.-villain vibe. Im not sure how well itll work given that most of my enjoyment of the book came from the simple fun of seeing the boys take down zombies and ride around in their 4x4 (an admittedly thin concept for an ongoing comic), and it provides an ending for this first issue which takes the shine off the preceding fun pages a little as it doesnt really seem to fit the tone established up to that point. Still, this doesnt stop the book being a pretty enjoyable read in its own right even if Im not c

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8
Scarlet #2

Sep 5, 2010

Scarlet is obviously a book that Bendis and Maleev are really putting their heart and soul into, and it shows.

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8
Scarlet #4

Jan 29, 2011

As I said in my recent review of Mark Millar and Leinil Yu's Superior, it's very pleasing to see top writers and artists doing some of their best work in creator-owned comics these days. At a time when many readers are beginning to move away from the repetitive and often hollow antics of the Big Two, it's nice to know that there's a viable alternative that allows the likes of Bendis and Maleev to show just how enjoyably their talents can be applied outside of continuity-driven superhero comics. Scarlet is a book with a very provocative concept, great writing, and beautiful art. Let's hope it also has a long future ahead of it.

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8
Scarlet #5

Apr 5, 2011

Admittedly, Bendis might not be quite getting stuck into all that yet, preferring instead to throw a lot of these ideas in our lap and ask us to make up our own minds about how we feel about Scarlet and her mission, as well as the mission of those who would prevent her from achieving her goals. However, these first five issues (comprising the entirety of Book One) provide an excellent setup for what I hope is a long series that will examine the idea of social revolution from many different angles.

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7
Secret Avengers #4

Aug 20, 2010

Whilst its not the most stunningly original or complex title Ive ever read, its a pretty good stab at what a modern Avengers book should feel like.

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8
Secret War #1

Mar 20, 2004

Id challenge anyone not to be attracted by this artwork which alone would be enough to sell the first issue of this book. However, its also nice to see Bendis subversive and political sensibilities rise to the fore after a more muted showing in Ultimate Six. Hopefully with the advantage of a more mature storyline and intended readership this element will remain centre stage, paving the way for an outstanding fusion of good writing and great art.

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8
Secret War #2

Jun 11, 2004

Another standout issue of a title hampered only by its long waits between issues. The artwork is gripping and different from anything else you're probably reading, the continuity issues don't matter - and certainly don't affect the reader's enjoyment of the story - and the writing suggests a more politically-driven story than we are used to in most comics. This series is an entertaining read, and even if it hasn't got to the meat of the story yet, there are enough interesting elements in here to suggest a lot of promise for the remainder of the series.

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8
Secret War #3

Oct 26, 2004

In addition to all this, a fine gallery at the back of the issue gives us some added-value material including a transcript of a conversation that is glossed over within the issue, the stunning costume redesigns for the secret war characters, and a preview (read: plug) of the Secret War tie-in in Bendis The Pulse. I love stuff like this, and even if its a bit like watching a making-of before youve seen the end of a film, its worth it to see the craftsmanship which has gone into the series. With two more issues to go, Im looking forward to seeing some resolution to this story as its reached the stage where answers should be forthcoming pretty soon. Itll be a treat to discover the story behind this failed mission, and with this creative team readers are sure to be in good hands for the closing instalments.

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7
Shaun of the Dead: There's Something About Mary #1

Apr 9, 2004

The world's first rom-zom-com sells itself well on the basis of this nifty marketing idea, an enjoyable story in its own right but sure to work more effectively when coupled with the release of its big-screen counterpart. Showing promise for the concept in comic form as well as in cinemas (an idea which must surely by now have crossed the collective mind of Messrs. Pegg and Wright after seeing how effective this story looks in print), "There's something about Mary" seems destined to become a must-have DVD extra come the release of Shaun of the Dead on the home format - and provides a fun reason to revisit 2000AD for long-time fans with a particular nostalgic affection for this proud title.

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4
Siege: Embedded #1

Jan 5, 2010

Perhaps things will pick up once we get to the meat of Brian Reed's story: I always enjoy seeing big Marvel Universe events depicted from a more grounded perspective, and it may be that Reed has a lot more to offer than this clunky setup hints at. However, for many readers, one issue is all they need to decide whether to continue reading a book or not, and at $3.99 I can't foresee many people sticking around for the second part of this story.

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7
Silent War #1

Jan 21, 2007

Hines intelligent writing allows us to sympathise with the Inhumans anti-American cause - if not their methods and his depiction of a very modern style of warfare between the two peoples promises a thoughtful and intelligent miniseries with a fair amount of traditional superhero action thrown in. This should entertain those who have been enjoying the continuing fallout from House of M, and even those who are unconvinced may find themselves pleasantly surprised by Hines insight into the current War on Terror.

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6
Silver Surfer: In Thy Name #1

Nov 4, 2007

I think that this book will probably suffer unfavourable comparisons to the recent Silver Surfer: Requiem miniseries, and that would be a shame, as it deserves to be judged on its own merits. However, Im not sure that it would get a great reaction from its audience either way. Theres some potentially interesting (if dry) philosophical material, theres some large-scale superhero action, and theres a solid enough central premise, but it somehow doesnt come together in the way a good comic should. Still, its not completely without merit: the core storyline still seems quite promising, and regardless of the weaknesses in the writing, it might be worth a look for many readers due to its pretty art alone.

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6
Simpsons Comics Get Some Fancy Book Learnin #1

Mar 24, 2010

Perhaps this is a book that should be dipped into occasionally, and its stories enjoyed one- or two-at-a-time, rather than devoured in one sitting. If interspersed with other reading, it might help these stories to feel a lot fresher and funnier than they did when reading the entire collection from beginning to end.

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6
Soldier Zero #1

Oct 19, 2010

Whilst I enjoyed this issue and I'll be interested to check out the second chapter of Soldier Zero to see how things progress, I have to admit that I'm currently more invested in the exploration of Trautmann's attitude to his disability and his relationship with Lily than I am with the superhero stuff. Hopefully Cornell will do more in issue #2 to distinguish Soldier Zero as an original superhero concept, because aside from offering Trautmann the mobility that he lost as a result of his accident--which admittedly might add a fairly interesting angle to the story--I didn't find anything in the issue's more superhero-oriented pages to really capture my interest.

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7
Spider-Man and the Secret Wars #1

Dec 8, 2009

This isn't going to blow anyone away, but it's a fun romp with a link to one of Marvel's most defining crossovers (for good or bad), and as such I'm sure it'll find more than a few appreciative readers.

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4
Spider-Man and the Secret Wars #2

Jan 12, 2010

Ultimately, though, the issue can't overcome its biggest problem, which is that it feels surprisingly boring and uneventful--and for a book that has one of Marvel's biggest, most bombastic and over-the-top crossovers as its backdrop, that's difficult to forgive. I'm sure that Secret Wars completists will again enjoy filling in some of the gaps in that storyline, but for more casual readers, there just isn't the same verve, energy and humour here as was seen in the first issue.

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4
Spider-Man/Black Cat: The Evil the Man Do #4

Dec 15, 2005

This is an issue that I never truly believed Id hold in my hands, but I dont give Marvel or Kevin Smith any extra credit for putting out a book which is years overdue; however, it hasnt affected my bullet rating negatively either - because this issue, on its own terms, is a well below-par story. The books reliance on guest stars (Daredevil in this issue, Nightcrawler in the next) is a crutch which indicates the lack of confidence that Smith has in the core story that he began writing over three years ago - and with good reason.

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5
Spider-Man: Fever #1

Apr 6, 2010

Perhaps McCarthy is trying to evoke the simpler style of Silver Age Marvel storytelling, but even those early Spider-Man and Dr. Strange stories managed to couple their weird and wonderful ideas with characterisation that made you care about the heroes, and dialogue that had a bit of an edge to it. This just ends up feeling flat and unremarkable, and for a series that deals with such a wealth of fantastical visuals, that's a huge shame. Art lovers will probably be able to overlook the problems with the writing in favour of McCarthy's distinctive visuals, but everybody else might find themselves wondering what all the fuss is about.

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8
Spider-Man: House of M #3

Aug 21, 2005

One slight complaint with the book might be that Gwen Stacys presence here seems to be limited to the role of shrill, shrieking wife and eventual damsel in distress a surprise, considering her significance in the Spider-Man mythos. However, Waid has given the reader a lot of food for thought with this issue, which reaches far beyond the mere window-dressing of an alternate reality story. His implication of a certain self-destructive nature on the part of Peter Parker suggests a grim inevitability of unfortunate circumstances in his life: that without tragedy, the character ceases to exist. Whilst the final page spread might push that theory slightly too far, Ill be interested to see how Waid builds upon the idea next issue.

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7
Spider-Man: India #1

Nov 21, 2004

In the end, its difficult to say whether Id really continue to buy this title. As with Ultimate Spider-Man, Im too much of a regular continuity fan to really embrace a new imagining on the same level, no matter how original the concept, but as Im not really the target market for the book then that shouldnt bother Marvel too much. Hopefully - as Devarajan says in his endearing afterword - Indian readers really will get a kick out of Spidey represented as an Indian youth, living in Mumbai and climbing famous Indian landmarks. With more-than-capable creators apparently at the helm, the series deserves to be as huge a success in India as possible, and I hope Marvel continues to be as broad-minded about its properties in future rather than churning out another dull summer event (Avengers, anyone?) next year.

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7
Spider-Man: Reign #2

Jan 19, 2007

One other comment that I would make is that the placement of advertisements in this issue suggests that Marvel has listened to their readers' complaints about the deluge of advertising in their books of late and modified the placement of ads accordingly. Although a necessary evil of monthly comics, the advertisements here are unobtrusive, and don't interrupt the flow of the story.

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7
Spider-Man: Reign #3

Mar 13, 2007

There's a lot to like about Reign: I'm a big fan of Andrews' art, and I'm consistently staggered by his impressive ability to distinguish each new project with a markedly different style, matching his story ideas perfectly with the darkness of his images here and capturing the emotional content of the story well through his expressive characters. I'm also still enjoying his application of Miller's Dark Knight Returns template to the lighter character of Spider-Man, as it's quite an unusual approach for the character, and the elements which are "inspired" by Miller's highly influential work are becoming less jarring and distracting with each new issue. However, it's quite late in the day for Reign to have only just started to assert its own identity, and there's a real danger that the book has left itself too little time to make good on the promise of the concept. That said, I can't deny feeling a small thrill from Spidey pulling on his old red-and-blues at the end of this issue, and

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7
Spider-Man: Reign #4

Mar 19, 2007

Still, on its own terms, this issue provides a fitting end for Andrews' story which offers a final note of hope and optimism without selling the dystopian atmosphere of the book completely short with any quick and easy change to the series' status quo. Andrews shows off the strengths of Spidey's character by pitting him against near-unassailable odds and putting him through more fight scenes in one issue than most writers manage in a complete story arc, and it's difficult not to root for the sheer indefatigability of the aged Peter Parker as he meets the challenge of his greatest villains and succeeds. In the absence of Spider-Man: The End, this series will do just as well, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Andrews does next - both as a writer and artist - as this book has shown just how much potential the creator has.

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6
Spider-Woman (2009) #3

Nov 17, 2009

I said earlier that Spider-Woman shares the same sense of uncertainty as to exactly where the story is headed that we saw in Bendis's run on Daredevil. However, whereas that book created a strong sense of tension as to what twists and turns Matt Murdock's life would take next--and gave its hero a strong enough characterisation that his reactions to the outside forces that were affecting his life would be as important in driving the story as anything else--Spider-Woman feels adrift and directionless, with the titular heroine stumbling in and out of difficult situations without ever really feeling like she's engaging with them. I'm still not really sure how the story so far hangs together (although I get a sense that Bendis might be trying to recreate the compelling double-agent status quo that was ruined when the Spider-Woman of the early issues of New Avengers was revealed to have been a Skrull all along), and if it wasn't for the strong visuals of Alex Maleev, I probably wouldn't ha

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4
Spider-Woman (2009) #7

Mar 16, 2010

Bendis and Maleev have done great work together in the past: their Daredevil run is still one of my favourite superhero runs ever, and I look forward to their new creator-owned Icon project together. However, I have no desire to see any more of their Spider-Woman, and so the news that the series is coming to an end doesn't bother me. I'm far more upset to have seen the likes of Captain Britain & MI-13 and Immortal Iron Fist fall victim to cancellation whilst they were still better than the majority of books being produced by Marvel. In the case of Spider-Woman, however, it looks as though the publisher might have been right to put the series out of its misery.

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6
Spider-Woman: Origin #4

Mar 23, 2006

The artwork by the Luna brothers has a flat and cartoonish style to it, which is colourful, consistent and surprisingly captivating considering its simplicity and flatness. As has been noted elsewhere, their panels look very much like still frames from a Saturday morning cartoon - and whilst thats not necessarily a bad thing, I do find them to be an odd choice for this miniseries considering the adult tone and fairly mature subject matter (especially this issue, which includes scenes such as Jessicas discovery of the mutilated dead body of her mother, or the revelation that she has been forced to sleep with one of the villains to obtain information - who then rubs the fact in her face in order to degrade her further). That said, certain scenes do work well visually the opening confrontation with Nick Fury out in the open was well-staged, and the final page cliffhanger is a suitably moody and foreboding image even if the characterisation does fall foul of the weaknesses of samey

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8
Squadron Supreme #1

Mar 19, 2006

As I said, I didnt ever read any of the old Supreme Power series, but Im definitely tempted to check it out based on this strong first issue of the teams new book. The groundwork for some mystery and intrigue in future issues is established, and Ill be keen to see the sections of the book which deal with political spin and military interests elaborated upon as the series progresses. Its almost impossible to please both new readers and old fans when rebooting a title like this, but JMS walks the line between the two camps very carefully here, offering enough to make this comic worth reading for longtime fans, but not overloading newcomers with detail or excessive amounts of character history we get just enough information to understand the team and the characters, after which Im sure most readers will be keen to learn more. Itll be nice to see something actually happen to these characters next month, but the absence of action and relative lack of plot here can be forgiven in

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7
Stan Lee Meets The Amazing Spider-Man #1

Oct 6, 2006

Rounded out with an amusing and dense double-page strip cartoon from Fred Hembeck and a reprint of Amazing Spider-Man #87 in which Spidey accidentally reveals his identity to everyone before somehow contriving to get the cat back in the bag again (just how many times did that happen anyway?), this is a pretty good package, even considering the slightly higher-than-usual cover price of $3.99. It's not going to change the world or re-invent comics for a new generation, and it's not going to give you a look at what really makes Stan Lee tick, but it's a nice commemoration of 65 years (!) of the man's comicbook work at Marvel. Worth picking up for longtime Marvel fans.

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8
Supergod #1

Nov 15, 2009

Still, I look forward to seeing where the story leads next issue, and whether Ellis plans on tackling the theological implications of his ideas in more depth.

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7
Supergod #4

Aug 8, 2010

It might not be the most fulfilling book Ive ever read in terms of plotting and characterisation, but theres enough food for thought in these pages to make it slightly more intellectually nourishing than an average superhero title, and the generally high standard of artwork makes the most of Elliss bombastic action sequences and big ideas.

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8
Superior #4

Jan 24, 2011

All of these elements combine to produce a layered, thoughtful, and surprisingly heartfelt book that provides a novel take on the original superhero story. The title's fairytale quality and grounded elements give it more in common with 1985 than any of Millar's other books, and it's certainly streets ahead of the other titles he's writing at the moment. As I gradually move away from in-continuity books from the Big Two publishers, it's nice to see creators like Millar and Bendis (whose Scarlet I'm also enjoying greatly) doing some of their best work outside the confines of those traditional superhero universes.

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4
Superman #700

Jun 27, 2010

For that comic to be a special anniversary issue compounds that disappointment, and for DC to be charging five dollars a pop for the pleasure of reading it only adds insult to injury. Whilst Im still keen to pick up the next issue to see how Straczynskis run on the book shapes up, I havent exactly got off to a good start with the title here.

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7
The Authority: The Lost Year #3

Nov 22, 2009

The conclusion to this issue leaves us on an interesting cliffhanger that might give the Authority an opportunity to indulge in the kind of widescreen superhero action that has always been synonymous with the title. In any event, Im happy to see Wildstorm bring some closure to a story that began years ago--and in a manner that isnt a huge step down from the work of Morrison and Ha on those first two issues.

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7
The Authority: The Lost Year #9

Jun 29, 2010

Authority: The Last Year has become a bit of an odd beast, meandering through some very different types of stories over the past nine issues and featuring a constantly rotating team of artists that has made it very difficult for the book to establish a strong identity for itself. However, I'm actually starting to quite enjoy the fact that I don't know what to expect from the title next, and if it can keep throwing out unexpectedly enjoyable stories like this that subtly challenge the expectations of Authority readers without ever losing sight of what makes the book's core characters enjoyable to read about, I'll keep buying it.

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8
The Order #1

Jul 15, 2007

I really didnt expect to enjoy this issue as much as I did. The amount of new material that Marvel has put out in the six months since Civil War ended is intimidating, and even if theres a sense that the publisher should be congratulated for pushing so many new concepts and creative teams rather than relying on the same old standards month-in and month-out, theres also a real risk of reader exhaustion and overkill. However, this first issue of The Order has managed to convince me of two things: firstly, that the post-Civil War landscape of the Marvel Universe can be made as interesting and relevant as the concept always had the potential to be; and secondly, that the 50-State-Initiative can be more than just a throwaway big idea, developing beyond the vague roots of Mark Millars original conception to show the potential to support a completely new title. Kitsons art makes the package look great, and Fractions clever insights into the media-driven, celebrity-ridden world in w

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6
The Pulse #1

Mar 4, 2004

A fair first issue despite the absence of Jessica's P.I. identity and tendency towards strong language, but one which perhaps suffers in comparison to the high standards set by Bendis' other work in the field. Nevertheless, the development of incidental Daily Bugle characters holds a lot of promise and readers will likely be eager to see where this goes. By no means a solid gold hit from the off, The Pulse still holds a lot of promise by virtue of its down-to-earth approach to superheroics which promises a different point of view from the standard Marvel adventures many of us have grown up with.

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6
The Pulse #2

Apr 5, 2004

An interesting tale of a reporter who stumbles across a dangerous story serves to interrupt the main series after only one issue. Seeds for future developments in the series seem to have been sown, but considered on its lone merits the issue is as likely to provoke indifference as any real sense of excitement. With any luck, the storyline will fulfil its potential and blossom into a more interesting crime thriller, but having explained issue #1's mystery even more fully than expected it will be interesting to see where Bendis goes from here.

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8
The Pulse #3

May 24, 2004

The Pulse is really finding its feet as a title, managing to capture the point of view that made Deadline such a fun and original read whilst maintaining the strong roots of characterisation that have made Bendis' name in the field. The artwork, whilst cartoonish, is solid and professional with credit due to colourist Pete Pantazis for his excellent, atmospheric work. A good read.

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6
The Pulse #4

Jul 21, 2004

Maybe its just that my expectations of how The Pulse would turn out were off-mark, but its hard to believe that this opening arc is written by the same person who gave us the laboured and dull six-issue origin of the Ultimate Fantastic Four recently. However, if your only complaint is that too much is happening, things cant be too bad. Lets just hope that future issues see more of that team dynamic that was displayed last issue.

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8
The Pulse #5

Sep 12, 2004

So whilst I wasnt sold on The Pulse with its first issues, it has definitely grown on me. Bendis-penned superheroics are almost always great fun to read, and the fact that hes been allowed to pursue a fairly logical status-quo changing plot which advances the Marvel Universe for the better is refreshing. Not only that, but we get a return to his splendid characterisation of Jessica Jones (who has until now been flailing in this title as a pale imitation of her former self) and some knockout action from Luke Cage, Spidey and the Green Goblin. Its a fine end to the arc, and has ensured that Ill be tuning in again in a couple of months to see how he follows up his Secret War series in this title.

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6
The Pulse #6

Nov 23, 2004

Brent Anderson begins a stint as regular artist with this issue, and his style - whilst occasionally inconsistent or rushed-looking fits in with the darker tone of the book nicely. Fittingly, his work comes off as a cross between the dark noir-ish quality of Alias artist Michael Gaydos and the sketchy realism of Guy Davis work on the Deadline miniseries a while back which introduced reporter Kat Farrel (so far underused in this title). Its a tall order to better previous artist Mark Bagley but at least we lose the big-eyed young-looking faces that detracted from The Pulses more adult tone and his work suffers in the direct comparison with Gabrielle DelOttos Secret War painted art, which is copied panel-for-panel in some places. However, the slightly murky style works in its own right and should prove a fairly good match for the dark places Bendis looks to be keen to take the whole Secret War crossover.

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6
The Pulse #10

Jul 31, 2005

At only 50 cents, this is as near as dammit to free (my local shop was giving it away to anyone with a standing order) and goes beyond its remit of a mere advertising pamphlet to deliver some neat artwork and some interesting insight into some of the smaller corners of the House of M which have gone unexplored in the core title. Whilst its not going to change my mind about following any more of the tie-in miniseries, its worth picking up as a curious little novelty which isnt going to break the bank.

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9
The Pulse #11

Sep 18, 2005

(The final few pages of this issue feature a 4-page preview of a new Marvel series: and whilst Nick Furys Howling Commandos may find a niche somewhere, its certainly doesnt grab me on the strength of these pages. Putting this trailer in the back of The Pulse could well backfire for Marvel advertisers, as I couldnt imagine a starker contrast between the skillfully-executed and intelligent nu-Marvel of Bendis issue, and the hollow 90s-throwback that this new title seems bent on providing.)

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6
Thor (2007) #1

Jul 1, 2007

This is a first chapter which doesnt give much away about the direction that the book will take, but ushers Thor back into the Marvel Universe in an understated manner. JMS seems more preoccupied with the ideas of rebirth and godhood than he does with the actual personality of the character himself and that doesnt help this new title to get a grip on him, especially considering how detached and removed a God character has the potential to seem. That said, the artwork is solid, and Straczynski seems to be taking his time to lay a lot of groundwork for the characters new status quo. I just get the feeling that the book hasnt been quick enough out of the gates to make people care yet.

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4
Thor: Defining Moments Giant-Size #1

Nov 24, 2009

As Straczynski's swansong for Thor (and, for the moment, Marvel Comics), this is a disappointment, but as a highly-priced "special" issue it borders on insulting. It's a great shame that JMS's Asgardian epic had to end like this. Let's just hope that Siege is worth such upheaval.

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7
Thunderbolts (2006) #110

Jan 19, 2007

This is very much an issue of setup and laying of groundwork, and as such it's difficult to judge at this point whether Ellis' Thunderbolts will be worth following for many issues to come. It's good to see a writer take the time to build up these characters into something more than a shallow team of A-list super-villains, and I hope that the prominence of the plot thread which deals with Jack Flag is a sign that Ellis is planning to examine the anti-registration heroes' reaction to the Thunderbolts in just as much detail as the Thunderbolts themselves, as I still don't think I've seen a Marvel title make the most of the dramatic potential that's inherent in the conflict. The artwork is solid, and the political commentary is a welcome slice of intelligence that should quell the fears of anyone who thought that this Thunderbolts team would be the comic-book equivalent of a dumb action movie. I won't go overboard with my praise, as my positive reaction to the book has probably as much

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4
Time Masters: Vanishing Point #1

Jul 26, 2010

Ultimately, however, I just dont believe that this book is even worthy of such deep examination. Like all those Countdown mini-series and Final Crisis tie-ins, its just another cash-in marketing ploy to suck more money out of people who are enjoying one series by encouraging them to invest in another inferior book. Surely DC is going to end up losing out in the long run by putting out such a consistently poor level of supporting material for their big event books, because at this point itd take quite a lot of convincing for me to pick up another DC tie-in, let alone another issue of this series.

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7
Trinity #1

Jun 8, 2008

The book sets up a decent enough mystery - albeit one that we're only getting the first inklings of here - and I enjoyed the characterisation of the leads, so I'll probably give it a couple more issues to win me over. However, for people on a tight budget who are still undecided about this title, I'm not sure that it would be easy to justify sacrificing four monthly titles just to follow this one weekly book on the strength of this opener.

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6
Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #4

May 20, 2011

EDITOR'S NOTE: John Giltinan reviewed Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #4. Read his thoughts, too!

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6
Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates #5

Jun 30, 2011

And to give Millar his credit, this latest issue still taps into that characterisation, with one particularly powerful scene in which Fury exploits and then coldly kills a supporting player who had been previously been built up as one of the major new additions to the series.

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6
Ultimate Comics Avengers #5

Mar 2, 2010

I'm struggling to point out any major flaws in the craft of this issue, and for that reason I can't bring myself to award it any less than an average bullet-rating -- but in all honesty, I'm starting to feel that my affections for the world of Millar's Ultimates may have been exhausted. Just as I'll still pull out Aerosmith's "Toys in the Attic" to listen to a record that captures the energy and freshness of a new and exciting band, I'm sure that I'll still reread Millar and Hitch's two volumes of Ultimates for many years to come. But I'm not sure that I'm particularly interested in following the series any further.

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4
Ultimate Comics Avengers #6

Apr 20, 2010

As money becomes an ever-more decisive factor in whether I decide to pick up a comic or not -- particularly when it comes to Marvel books, many of which I've thoroughly enjoyed over the last few years, but which seem to have been going off the boil a little lately -- the time comes to make decisions about what books to keep following and which ones to drop. And despite my love of the original Ultimates and my general enjoyment of much of Mark Millar's work, on the strength of this first arc of Ultimate Comics Avengers, I won't be picking up the second.

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5
Ultimate Comics New Ultimates #1

Mar 2, 2010

The first issue of New Ultimates is an odd beast that demonstrates some potential, but never develops any of its individual plot strands to the point at which they become truly interesting, and suffers from some slight clunkiness in terms of the actual mechanics of the writing (for example, I found that Stark's inner monologue often clashed with dialogue in the same panel, making it a chore to follow the thread of either of them). I won't write the series off completely at this point, but for the moment it feels like the book is somehow less than the sum of its parts.

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8
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #7

Feb 9, 2010

In some ways, this feels like a fill-in story that exists as much to give David Lafuente the chance to get a head-start on the next arc as anything else. There's no reference to the scene from the end of last issue in which Kitty was revealed to be the Ultimate Shroud, and the reprise of the Rick Jones/Watcher subplot from Ultimate Origins feels rather sudden and abrupt. However, none of that really matters, because the heart of the story (teen superheroes try to help another super-powered teen to come to terms with his abilities) is so well-suited to the book and so comfortably handled by Bendis that by the end of the issue, you'll probably be finding yourself wishing that this arc was longer than just two issues.

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7
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #8

Mar 9, 2010

This issue isn't quite as much fun as the previous chapter: the humour is a little more predictable, the talkiness is a little more gratuitous, and the revisitation of Ultimate Power feels like a bit of a sidestep that exists only to fill time before Bendis can brings things back down to Earth for Rick Jones at the end of the issue. Also, the reveal of Jones's superhero name is slightly disappointing, tying him directly to an existing Marvel character when it might have been preferable to leave his regular MU counterpart ambiguous. Still, it's fairly enjoyable teen superhero stuff of the kind that Ultimate Spider-Man has always done well, and I'm happy to see that the book hasn't deviated too far from its central themes even when dealing with a slightly more fantastical character concept than usual.

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7
Ultimate Comics X #1

Feb 2, 2010

On the strength of this first issue, it's difficult to know where the story will lead next, and whether the tone of the series will continue to be unusually considered and reserved or whether we'll see a return to the Loeb of old. The cover of the next issue suggests that the focus of the book might shift onto a different character in issue #2, making me wonder whether Ultimate Comics X is going to be a coherent, linked story, or simply a series of character-based one-shots. Either way, I'll be interested enough to check out the next issue.

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8
Ultimate Extinction #2

Feb 24, 2006

Although Im keen to see this story progress a little quicker, this issue has convinced me that Ill be happy enough even if Ellis continues to adopt his slow-burn pacing for the remainder of the series. Hes a strong enough writer to make even the talking-heads scenes feel dynamic and exciting, and the mystery surrounding the Silver Surfers nature in the Ultimate Universe is a particularly compelling part of the book which Im eager to see continue. Coupled with Petersons solid artwork a great fit for the Ultimate Universe, especially with Ponsors colours this is book is fast emerging as the strongest of Ellis Ultimate Galaktus trilogy.

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8
Ultimate Extinction #3

Mar 17, 2006

This mini is a feast of ideas to an extent that the previous chapters of the "Ultimate Galactus" trilogy havent managed to achieve. Instead of coming up with one key conceit and playing it out as in Nightmare and Secret, Ellis continues to pile new concept upon new concept here, making the book dense in imagination as well as slick and exciting when it comes to handling its superhero or action-based elements. When you come away from the issue, youre not bored by a predictable or uninspired run-of-the-mill story as with so many company superhero comics youre wondering whether Reed Richards has worked out how to harness the power of thousands of tiny big bangs to create a superweapon capable of harming Gah Lak Tus, how the giant beings hive mind is going to react to the contamination of Professor Xs psychic probe, and just what the true nature and purpose of the Silver Surfer is in the Ultimate Universe. This kind of stimulation allows Ellis to entertain the readers imaginat

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8
Ultimate Fantastic Four #1

Jan 16, 2004

I'll admit that I was never much of a follower of the FF in regular continuity: what I have gleaned from their numerous guest-appearances along with the 9c issue last year is an image of a superhero family and a sense of fun, something lacking in many of today's "mature" comics. Happily, the down-to-earthness that is typical of a Marvel comic is married to a real sense of the fantastic here - although experience tells us that it'll be a few issues before the series finds its feet and we can really judge it on its own merits.

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6
Ultimate Fantastic Four #2

Feb 4, 2004

Even if this issue seems to slow the pace of the story even further, it provides a solid build-up to the creation of the Fantastic Four. The art and writing are both more than up to scratch and the title has thus far been impressive and intriguing - if just short of entertaining. This series won't survive on faith and expectations for much longer, and the readership is bound to demand bigger and more significant things soon.

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6
Ultimate Fantastic Four #3

Mar 4, 2004

Ultimate Fantastic Four is continuing to be a frustrating mixture of great artwork, a fun concept but surprisingly ordinary writing. If it is to be as succesful as other books in the Ultimate line, it may need to think about concentrating on the more gripping and fantastic elements of the characters. Whilst not a bad comic by any stretch of the imagination, the momentum is already starting to fall away a little from this young series: maybe standards have been set too high in the Ultimate line, but this comic is coming off as eager to please but simplistically formulaic, lacking the sophistication that is promised by its creators' pedigree.

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Ultimate Fantastic Four #4

Mar 30, 2004

A very ordinary issue of a comic which, whilst not as fresh or inventive as its Ultimate brethren still manages to be relatively involving thanks to the lively, detailed artwork and the central ideas which have changed little since 1962. However, there is a danger that the title is already starting to feel a little too comfortable and predictable for its own good. This is far from being Bendis' most impressive book, but if this is as good as it gets there may be a question mark hanging over the mileage of this Ultimate title. Let us hope that Ultimate Fantastic Four has chosen to keep its strongest material for future issues.

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5
Ultimate Fantastic Four #5

May 4, 2004

(Plus, disappointingly, it's looking like the entertaining letters page of issue #3 may have been a one-off. Oh well.)

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4
Ultimate Fantastic Four #6

Jun 11, 2004

Perhaps the most cutting thing you could say about a Bendis comic is that it is flat and uninteresting - and that's exactly the case here. Simplistic characters do not get fleshed out, and there is a sense of treading water until the series can get to a story we might actually care about. It's painful to say it for the bright young star in the Ultimate universe, but if Bendis wasn't making way for a whole new creative team next issue, I'd likely be dropping this title as of now.

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Ultimate Fantastic Four #7

Jun 23, 2004

An encouraging first issue for Warren Ellis' opening arc, which throws up some questions (who's the swamp-monster-guy in the flashback to the accident? - or am I being dumb here?) as well as setting up a solid conflict. This arc promises a fully-fledged classic Marvel villain for the Ultimate Universe, a darker tone and some real jeopardy for our team - and who knows, maybe they'll even get their costumes.

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Ultimate Fantastic Four #8

Jul 9, 2004

For an issue which is mostly talking heads and exposition, theres a surprising amount of excitement created by this issue. Whilst some may question the liberties taken with established characters like Dr. Doom, it's these changes which have for my money made the Ultimate Universe as intriguing to read as it is particularly the suggestion that Doom may hold the key to restoring the team to normal. Ellis updates the classic origins with some modern thinking and interesting faux-scientific ideas about the team's origins that make his run a far more readable improvement over the initial Bendis/Millar arc.

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Ultimate Fantastic Four #9

Aug 9, 2004

All in all, this is not a bad issue of UFF: just one that doesnt match the heights of Ellis last two efforts. If this is just a blip on the road to a great Doom finale, its forgivable - but with the title character of the arc nowhere to be seen this issue, some fans may come away feeling a little less than satisfied.

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Ultimate Fantastic Four #10

Sep 3, 2004

Its a shame that the central character of this arc should be such a letdown, because pretty much everything else about this issue hits the right spot: Reeds obsessive passive-aggressive behaviour, Sues subtle maternal dominance of the group, and Ben and Johnnys bickering and teasing (You fantasti-suck, dude) all capture the group dynamic effortlessly. We also get to see more familiar regular MU concepts introduced, a better sense of the Baxter building as a base for the group, and hey, we even get to hear our first Its clobberin time!. Sue and Johnnys father continues to be an interesting influence, conflicting with the youngsters more spontaneous heroic impulses, but providing a guiding hand to what is still an inexperienced bunch of science whiz-kids launching themselves into fantastical situations. Immonens art is on the upswing too, with more subtlety and detail packed into this issue, and emphasized by the improved colouring and less heavy inking used this time around.

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5
Ultimate Fantastic Four #11

Sep 29, 2004

There is still potential in this arc Victors revelation at Reeds powers is yet to be played out, and the military and inhabitants of Latveria are still likely to come into play eventually but it all has to be crammed into a single twelfth issue. Less setup and more payoff would have been nice. All in all, the entire title so far has been something of a let-down for me, and Ellis is going to have to pull some kind of spectacular finale out of his hat for me to continue to buy this series. Still, the little kid on the train who caught a glimpse of my comic-reading this week seemed attracted to this book above all the others, so maybe that says something about its colourful appeal to young readers (or maybe it was just the candy adverts). It is definitely pitched fairly low and certainly isnt sophisticated enough to satisfy readers of the other Ultimate titles, but the sense of fun and solid, thick-lined and bright artwork that we are treated to would maybe make it a good starting

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Ultimate Fantastic Four #12

Nov 8, 2004

All in all, this is the best issue of Ellis run so far, but its still not quite enough to convince me that the series really has legs. Im sure itll keep running as a cornerstone of Marvels Ultimate line, but Im really not sure theres enough there to interest me. Maybe its the simplicity of the characters, or the sheer fantastical nature of their adventures, but Im beginning to think the Fantastic Four just isnt for me. However, theres a lot here for superhero comics fans to enjoy especially younger readers - and I can recognize that its perhaps a good quality book which just isnt to my tastes.

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Ultimate Fantastic Four #13

Dec 2, 2004

Whilst Ellis never really manages to grab me with the big plot points or techno-babble (I enjoyed Mark Millars throwaway approach to the FFs gadgets in his recent Wolverine issue, but concentrating on this element of the team for too long just leaves me a little uninterested), you have to hand it to him that he writes some excellent character moments for all four of the characters here. I love his continuing sci-fi-science approach to the groups powers, with his explanation for Johnnys flame power here seeming so plausible you could almost believe it if you saw it on the discovery channel. I hope that this character-first approach becomes the model for Ellis run on the title, instead of again descending into the slightly hollow and ill-conceived theatrics that made the last arc feel a little insubstantial. Art, story and writing all score highly here, and this is one of the best issues of the title yet, giving me renewed hope for the series potential.

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Ultimate Fantastic Four #14

Jan 13, 2005

Sure, theres little in the way of any real action this issue, save for an excellently-rendered and extremely cinematic montage of the Fours shuttle being put together but the story doesnt drag or feel unentertaining as a result. Rather, Ellis and Kubert are harnessing the full strengths of Marvels paced-for-the-trade approach to monthly comics, providing a pitch-perfect snapshot of the group before they shoot off into the unknown. Despite being part two of a story, its a great chance to get on board what is unarguably the most-improved Ultimate title of the year, shedding its dull beginnings and finally promising to live up to the fantastic potential of our heroes.

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Ultimate Fantastic Four #26

Jan 6, 2006

This issue also features a back-up strip in the form of Ultimate Vision #6, the final in a series of six four-page strips which build up to the Ultimate Extinction miniseries. Although Ive only read one of the preceding strips, this seems to be a very strange coda to the Visions story in that it renders it all fairly irrelevant: Gah Lak Tus is on its way and theres apparently nothing that the Ultimate Universe can do to stop it. Of course, we, the reader, know that this isnt going to prove to be the case (unless Joe Quesada plans on ending one of Marvels most successful imprints in five months time) and as such the portentous nature of Visions warning doesnt quite instil the sense of dread that it seems to be aiming for. Coupling this with John Romitas art, which is fairly average by his own high standards - although this is perhaps as much due to the uninspired character design of Sam Wilson and Vision as it is his pencilling - makes for an emintently skippable mini-chapte

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Ultimate Fantastic Four #31

Jul 21, 2006

In an age where most comicbook arcs take one idea and stretch it over six issues, Millars dense three-issue tales have been a great antidote to the decompression sickness that can result from that kind of bloated approach, and are as rich with ideas as they are respectful to the classic conventions of superhero storytelling. Millars golden touch has really revitalised this book, and even though the new creative team of Mike Carey and Pasqual Ferry has its followers, I cant see the title being the same after he and Land leave. Still, with one more issue to go, Im hoping that the best is yet to come and if the popularity of the Marvel Zombies spinoff is anything to go by, this issues cliffhanger should promise a truly crowd-pleasing final issue.

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Ultimate Iron-Man II #1

Dec 9, 2007

Anyone who enjoyed the original Ultimate Iron Man miniseries will find plenty more to like here, as the writing approach is virtually unchanged, and the transition to a new artist isnt jarring or off-putting at all. Whilst Id still probably rather read about the adult Tony Stark than the teenage version, this is a reasonable enough modern superhero story that doesnt push the boundaries of the genre, but is an enjoyable enough continuation of the story that started in volume 1. I commend the fast pace of the story, but I hope that Card dedicates some more time to exploring the complexities of his characters and plot in future issues.

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Ultimate Nightmare #1

Aug 8, 2004

There are slight criticisms of this issue, sure: some of the dialogue sounds forced - Im missing the Posh Spice video!, Its like the sound of babies dying! (those two arent related, by the way), Hairsines facial artwork still leaves something to be desired, and the story is yet to really give anything away - but then again, this latter complaint is exactly what weve come to expect from these paced-for-the-trade miniseries. With all the promise of another high-octane crossover between the Ultimates and the Ultimate X-men, it would have been difficult for the creative team to make much of a mis-step here: as it is, Ellis exceeds expectations, eschewing the kind of bombastic storytelling which has characterized Mark Millars run on the Ultimates core title and opting instead for an original and inventive take on an alien invasion story. With all this, and the introduction of a brand-new Ultimates team member to boot, Ellis and Hairsine are setting out their stall for a potential

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Ultimate Nightmare #2

Sep 19, 2004

Im pulled in by the militaristic, cinematic angle this issue plays like the set-up of a movie before you get to the action set-pieces - and the details that Ellis does let out concerning the nature of the underground Tunguskan installation promise an explosive finale to this mini (remember Chekovs old theatrical rule: If a Gun is shown in the first act, it should be fired in the third). With the promise of the two groups clashing again after the Ultimate War miniseries, Im definitely hungry for more. Lets just hope that further issues give us something more in the way of plot.

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Ultimate Nightmare #3

Oct 17, 2004

I still like the series: Im enjoying Ultimate Sam Wilson (and he gets a cool sequence here), Im intrigued by the possibilities offered up by the unearthly creations that dwell in this bunker, and the creepy shlock feel is happily countered by the modern, intelligent sensibilities that The Ultimates bring to the title. Its just a shame that the characterisation couldnt have been woven in a little better with the plot threads, making Ultimate Nightmare feel a little uneven thus far.

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Ultimate Nightmare #4

Jan 13, 2005

Im still keen to hang around and see what issue 5 delivers, but if the whole miniseries ends up being one long set-up for Ultimate Secret, which follows on from this story, then Ill be sorely disappointed. Ill reserve complete judgement until I see exactly what happens with whatever the heroes have been confronted with at the end of this issue, but I have a real feeling that the potential of another Ultimate X-Men and Ultimates crossover is being wasted here. A shame, as - with a few little tweaks to the story and pacing the creative team could clearly deliver much better.

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Ultimate Nightmare #5

Feb 27, 2005

So, Ultimate Nightmare #5 offers some great writing, as military-speak meets sci-fi horror with some cool superheroics thrown in; we see some great art, with Nelsons finishes of Hairsines fantastically detailed pencils adding real depth and a cinematic feel to the proceedings; and we get a few cools twists with a neat set-up of future storylines to come. If I was being picky, Id perhaps complain that as an individual miniseries the finale is a little unfinished essentially climaxing with a To Be Continued but if Elliss future Ultimate miniseries can ratchet up the tension and scale of the action another notch from here, then Ill be more than happy. If all the issues of Ultimate Nightmare had been as densely-packed, well plotted and exciting as this one, we would have been in for a five-star miniseries. As it is, its a very good ending to a middling run of issues that leads nicely into Ultimate Secret, ensuring that Ill be on board to see where that story goes.

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Ultimate Power #1

Oct 8, 2006

Ill be clear: my enjoyment of this book stems from the fact that Im a big fan of the Ultimate Universe, that I enjoy Greg Lands art, and that Im a fan of Bendis writing when hes on form. If these boxes arent ticked for you, then you might want to consider giving this series a miss but I for one am fairly keen to see how the Ultimate Universes first major crossover plays out.

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Ultimate Power #2

Dec 7, 2006

Regardless of that storm in a teacup, I have to say that the book's art looks pretty good. Yes, there are a couple of panels which look a little "off" - the frankly unnecessary upskirt shot of Kitty Pride which opens the book and the shifting facial features of Hyperion are both a little eyebrow-raising - but for the most part, Land's images are slick, energetic and tell the story clearly. This issue in particular is a gift for a superhero artist, as it amounts to little more than an extended fight scene between all of the major players in the Ultimate Universe, with the arrival of each group of characters giving Land a perfect excuse for a parade of big, flashy images. Matt Ryan's inks are smooth and delicate enough that none of the detail of Land's linework gets lost, but he's sharp enough to add as much of a sense of movement as possible to figures which can sometimes come off as overly posed. Ponsor's vibrant yet restrained non-primary colours also do much to tie the book's uni

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Ultimate Power #4

Mar 23, 2007

This series might not be the most intelligent comic on the stands - it's not much more than an excuse to have the two universes of characters fight each other, after all - but it's carried off well, with attractive artwork and some interesting plot points cropping up this issue which suggest that the series has been fairly tightly plotted between the three writers. The revelation that Nick Fury might be more at fault for the contamination of the probes than Reed Richards promises some fireworks later on in the series, and his unrevealed confidante adds an air of mystery to the book which should keep readers interested. It's not going to change the medium, and it may well prove to be fairly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but it's an enjoyable, colourful romp which is providing enough action and intrigue to make it worth picking up on a monthly basis.

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5
Ultimate Power #6

Jul 16, 2007

This issue certainly won't win anyone over who isn't enjoying the series so far, and if it wasn't for the neat reveal of the mystery villain who appears on the final page of the issue, I'd probably rate it even lower than I have done. I can see why Marvel thought this was such a good idea for a crossover series, but the potential of the concept has only shone through very occasionally, leaving a bloated story which is unable to justify its extended length and which is surviving solely on spectacle - and on readers' faith that this is all going somewhere. Maybe Jeph Loeb's final three issues will rescue the book, but this is starting to look like one of the Ultimate Universe's first major mis-steps.

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Ultimate Secret #1

Apr 3, 2005

If I had any criticism of the book, its that the lack of established personalities or any real depth for the character of Dr. Philip Lawson/Captain Marvel this issue leaves us with little attachment to any of the characters as of yet, and as such theres no-one to really root for. Im also eager to see the Galactus (or should I say Gah-Lak-Tus) storyline from Ultimate Nightmare expanded upon, and there was no direct continuation of that here. Its also fair to say that the artwork could be a little clearer at times, notably when trying to sell the relationship between Mahr-Vell and the Kree, or the nature of that alien warriors power and the effect of his attacks. However, Im confident that the outer-space sci-fi elements at play here should tie in to a suitably satisfying continuation of the Ultimate Galactus trilogy, and that Warren Ellis is a safe pair of hands to translate these classic cosmic Marvel characters into the more grounded setting of Marvels Ultimate Universe

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Ultimate Six #3

Nov 17, 2003

Four bullets for this issue of a miniseries which hasnt forgotten that comics can be all-out entertainment, whilst paying heed to character development and recognizing the need for a carefully-crafted and logical plot. Bigger things are surely in store further down the line, and it seems that Bendis and Hairsine are going to be the perfect people to handle them.

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Ultimate Six #4

Nov 25, 2003

Both story and art continue to impress in Ultimate Six with characterisation and a fast-moving plot proving that they need not be mutually exclusive. The title shines as a great example of mainstream comics with brains: balancing an intelligent plot with relevance to events in the world today with larger-than-life action and flashy superheroics. The next issue can't come quick enough.

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Ultimate Six #5

Dec 19, 2003

Building up to the climactic final two issues of this series, this installment serves as an excellent appetizer for what will doubtless be the mother of all battles on the White House lawn. My own personal interest lies in seeing where and how the various political strands tie into the main plot, but Bendis is a trustworthy man for the job. And even without the intrigue, its bound to be a fantastic clash of powers. And whats the significance of Peters bag?

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Ultimate Six #6

Feb 2, 2004

Ultimate Six finally lives up to its promise and delivers a superhero bust-up of the type you thought they didn't make anymore. In a triumph of pacing, the climax to the action element of the series fails to disappoint whilst leaving room for a more thoughtful character-based finale next issue.

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Ultimate Six #7

May 4, 2004

An oversized sixth issue would have been the perfect way to finish this miniseries. Unfortunately, this overlong, indulgent seventh issue provides nothing but a predictable, uneventful finale which is bereft of the subtlety or character insight that one would expect from such a lauded master of contemporary comics. Pretty as it may be, the final episode fails to follow up satisfactorily on the more overtly political threads that were indicated earlier in the series, leaving only a hollow and overly simplistic superhero story at its core.

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Ultimate Vision #2

Jan 19, 2007

Whilst not a wholly unentertaining book, Ultimate Vision isn't going to set the world alight. There's not enough emphasis on character to give readers an emotional anchor in the story, the plot is fairly slow-moving for a 5-issue limited series, and there's nothing to set it apart from other stories which have covered the same ground. Still, the artwork is solid enough to hold readers' attention even when the writing falters, and fans of pulp sci-fi will likely enjoy the book's unchallenging take on some old staples of the genre.

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Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #2

Feb 28, 2006

All things considered, this has been a pretty interesting first couple of issues which set things up nicely for the series as a whole but for a book which only ships every couple of months, its definitely time to get down to some action next issue.

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Ultimates #12

Dec 12, 2003

The Ultimates does what it does with style and panache, but when each issue is a major event it had better be worth the wait. Sadly, there's little on offer here beyond a predictable battle with some beautiful graphics and an ending which at least makes me want to see how this is all rounded off. Not a bad comic book by any means, but this is The Ultimates - and perhaps we've been spoiled enough in the past to expect something a little more special. Hopefully with the forthcoming "Volume 2" relaunch (after issue #13) we can look forward to further thrills of this calibre, but on a more regular basis.

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Ultimates #13

Apr 5, 2004

This super-sized issue - 40 pages plus the recap - is a fitting testament to the great work done on The Ultimates to date. Whilst Volume One will doubtless read even better in collected form (without those 3-month waits for an issue), anyone who has any desire for comics which thrill and entertain will want to pick this issue up as soon as they can. Proof that super-hero comics don't have to be shallow and worthless, the Ultimates stands as a shining example of quality craftsmanship in the medium which will re-invigorate the enthusiasm of anyone who currently finds Marvel, and comics in general, lacking.

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Ultimates 2 #1

Dec 6, 2004

The slightly unwieldy title aside, I pretty much liked everything about this book. It's sufficiently different and evolved from the old run to warrant the sequel tag, but the writing and art easily matches the high standards of the first 13 issues. I'll be following this every month, as it looks destined to remain one of my favourite superhero books in production at the moment. Its a book which rewards re-reading and close attention, works on more than one level (I love the political angle, but the more action-oriented reader will find something to enjoy here too) and this first issue really sets the scene for an even fuller and more satisfying dissection of the team than was managed in their first volume.

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Ultimates 2 #2

Jan 18, 2005

Whilst some may take issue with the apparent slowness in the progression of the storyline (this issue is almost all talk, with very little action) the title has proved in the past that its slow-burn approach to storytelling really pays off when the proverbial shit hits the fan in later issues. The densely packed pages of dialogue drop tantalizing hints about what may be to come in the title (the trial of the Incredible Hulk? A visit from Loki?), enriching the characters universe and paving the way for another great character-driven yet spectacular arc for the Ultimates. Another great issue.

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Ultimates 2 #3

Feb 13, 2005

Youll probably enjoy this issue more if youve been following The Ultimates for a while, as a lot of the issues the team is dealing with the Hulk rampage, Hank Pyms isolation from the group, Betty and Banners relationship - date back to the first few installments of the original Ultimates title. However, new readers will find a lot to enjoy here in the characterization of this group of heroes, which renders them far more interesting than their regular Marvel Universe incarnations ever were. This remains consistently the best title of Marvels Ultimate line, and the best book Mark Millar has been involved in to date. If youre not already reading it, give it a try.

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Ultimates 2 #4

Mar 20, 2005

My only (tiny) criticism would be that the European super-soldiers costume designs are fairly uninspired, with all of them wearing hi-tech jumpsuits in their national colours. But it only makes for an even more chilling visual towards the end of the issue, as a silent army emerges from the dark forest to take on the possibly insane thunder God in a fight to the end. The stage is set for a belter of a fight next issue: and if current form is anything to go by, Ultimates 2 #5 is likely to rocket off the SBC scoring scale.

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Ultimates 2 #10

Mar 7, 2006

On its own, this felt very much like an issue to deal with the aftermath of the last instalment and the set-up of the next, and with a lot of pieces to move around in preparation for the titles big finale the result is a merely good issue for a series which is usually outstanding. That said, even a middling issue of Ultimates is better than most other comics on the stands, and if youve any interest at all in following what is bound to become one of the eras most defining runs of comics, this is still essential reading. Roll on issue #11.

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Ultimates 2 #11

Jun 25, 2006

Its an odd feeling to read an issue of such a great ongoing title which doesn t quite work as a standalone comic in its own right - but which will obviously fit in to the overall picture beautifully come the inevitable hardcover collection - and it gives me difficulties when trying to come up with a bullet rating for Ultimates 2 #11. I cant find fault with the artwork, and its not even as if the problems of this particular issue really lie with Millars pacing, as its undoubtedly the scheduling of the book rather than the structure of his writing which has sapped some of the energy from these closing issues of Millar & Hitchs grand opus. On its own terms, its a merely very good issue of a book which, when taken as a whole, is far greater than the sum of its parts - and this issue at least provides just enough teases as to where the story is going that the three month wait for this instalment doesnt feel like a total waste of anticipation. Issue #12 is undoubtedly going to be

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7
Uncanny X-Men #517

Nov 24, 2009

Whilst this kind of thing is fun for an issue, I'm hoping that the next chapter will see things calm down a little, and the book will resume the exploration of the relationship between Cyclops and Magneto after the intriguing interactions of the last chapter.

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Uncanny X-Men #519

Dec 22, 2009

Elsewhere in the issue, we see Fraction build up several other subplots that are sure to become more significant in later issues. There's an opening tease involving Fantomex (that memorable mysterious mutant from Grant Morrison's run) that doesn't really go anywhere this issue, but has me intrigued as to how Fraction will use him in future; there's an interesting scene between Magneto and Namor that shows the pair forging an alliance that seems perfectly logical and natural given what we know of their characters; and there's a slightly more low-key development involving Beast that again feels authentic given the way that he has been characterised in the past, but doesn't feel particularly compelling at this point. Still, there's enough in the way of interesting characterisation and strong artwork here that I'll definitely keep reading to see where Fraction takes the book's many intertwining plot strands in future.

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Unthinkable #5

Sep 18, 2009

The closing twists of Unthinkable give this final issue an "everything you know is wrong" quality that makes for a compelling ending for the series, but one that could really could have done with an extra issue or so, in order to fully explore the implications of Sable's plot developments. Still, if your biggest complaint with a miniseries is that you wanted another issue, I guess that's more of a compliment than anything else.

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Vimanarama #1

Feb 13, 2005

Theres a nice boy-meets-girl plot beginning here, and Im already fond of the characters, so this opening issue has certainly done a good job in grabbing my interest and attention. However, it remains to be seen whether the weird and wonderful plot that Morrison has cooked up is going to be able to be supported by such grounded personalities. Ill definitely give issue #2 a shot, and my overall reaction is a positive one, but Im afraid that the more comic-book elements are going to detract from my enjoyment of the rest of the book rather than add to it.

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7
Watchmensch / Whatmen?! #1

Mar 6, 2009

Simon Rohrmuller's artwork, whilst only black and white, captures the style of Gibbons's visuals very well, and Johnston's dialogue is a more accurate play on the dialogue from the original. It might contain half as many gags as Lobdell's book, but Johnston's humour is generally sharper and more inspired.

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Wha. . . Huh? #1

Sep 20, 2005

This isnt going to go down in history as the mediums finest moment, and it likely wont be remembered as a classic What If? issue, let alone a great comic book, but if youre happy to plonk down $3.99 to read some wilfully puerile and silly humour, then youre sure to derive some enjoyment from this. I did.

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6
What If? (2004): What If Karen Page Had Lived? #1

Jan 5, 2005

Ultimately, this is one one-shot that I would have preferred to see given a little more room to breathe. With Bendis, the current master of decompression, at the helm, this concept could have found feet as an alternate-reality miniseries in the vein of Powerless as it is, the story merely stands as an engrossing and compelling story, but one which has a sense of being just a little too superficial and too quickly told to make it a classic.

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What If? (2004): What If Jessica Jones Had Joined The Avengers? #1

Jan 5, 2005

One minor gripe with the characters re-development could be that in this new continuity, Jessica apparently never gets to have her rematch with the Purple Man an important turning point for the character in the original Alias series, and one which led to the overcoming of a lot of personal demons. Then again, maybe this story sees those demons overcome in a very different, more positive and proactive way, playing like a fairytale ending for the original series which produces a much happier (if admittedly less interesting) Jessica Jones.

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What If? (2004): What If Aunt May Had Died Instead Of Uncle Ben? #1

Jan 3, 2005

Unfortunately, in places the story feels a little over-silly and illogical, even acknowledging in the text that certain plot elements have been messed with just to create an entertaining, diverting story. We get wisecracks about the Spider-Man movie, unconnected sub-plots playing out differently to how they did in the original Spider-verse, and even a silly development towards the end that sees Ben team up with Peter in a crime-fighting team. One could also question the fact that Peter chose to reveal his secret identity so readily to Ben when it was kept a secret from May for many years under similar circumstances. Whilst theres nothing wrong with these myriad additions, it seems to go against the principle of What If stories, which exist to show us how a single moment can affect the course of your life, Sliding-Doors-style. However, the result of Brubakers tinkering is a fun examination of Peter Parkers attitude to guilt, shame and responsibility - and even if the final outcome

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What If? (2009): Daredevil vs. Elektra #1

Dec 15, 2009

It's obvious that this story is the work of people with a real enthusiasm for the character, and there are little touches here and there that show that the creators have really done their homework (I love the reappearance of Foggy's ridiculous Moose hat from his college days, as seen in Miller's original story). It's also nice to see some amusing cartoony extras in the closing pages that show that the creators aren't above poking fun at their own work, and a certain amount of humour in the story itself (I enjoyed Elektra's comment about ninjas and the 1980s). Ultimately, though, this issue can't escape the feeling of being a pretty inconsequential and not particularly logical What If? tale, albeit one that provides some decent action scenes and some above-average artwork.

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7
White Tiger #1

Nov 14, 2006

Overall, Im quietly impressed by this as a first issue for a writer whos new to comics. The plot is fairly original (albeit not hugely inspired), its faithful to the character as she was presented in Daredevil, and it lays out the White Tigers origin quickly and efficiently in order to get to some old fashioned superhero vs. super-villain action as swiftly as possible. There are some nice light touches and an obvious awareness of the conventions of superhero comics without verging into the territory of parody (a fun riff on the tightness of superhero costumes raised a smile for me), but theres also a serious side to the book too, with inter-criminal relationships getting some attention and the villains set up as more than merely two-dimensional evil-doers. Theres a high incidence of guest-appearances, especially for a #1 issue, with Daredevil (the Danny Rand stand-in version) and the Black Widow looking to be quite integral to the overall story, and even Spidey pops in for a c

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9
Wisdom #2

Jan 26, 2007

Wisdom looks to be telling self-contained stories in every issue which all form part of the bigger picture, and that has enabled the book to remain fresh and funny without getting bogged down in an over-arching plot. Still, there are a couple of hints at the direction of the series, such as Pete Wisdom's references to his marriage of convenience to Tink, or the portentous opening page with its predictions of death and destruction. For now, though, it's a light, fun and enjoyable fantasy book which should be accessible to new readers thanks to its lack of any real ties to the Marvel Universe proper, and its winning sense of humour more than makes up for its lack of depth and fairly shallow characterisation.

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7
Wisdom #3

Mar 2, 2007

Other than that, Cornell writes some good jokes (well, mostly - check out that awful title) and some fun characters (I'm still enjoying the surreal novelty of the Skrull John Lennon, and Captain Midlands is becoming more interesting with every issue), developing the series' soap-opera elements towards the end of the issue with a scene which adds yet another portent of doom for the book's finale. I'm looking forward to seeing the various strands of the series come together, and whilst I would have liked a few more imaginative details from Cornell to make this issue-long fight scene a little more interesting, there's still a lot of obvious potential in the book. I'm sure I'll get used to Garcia and Farmer as the new art team, and perhaps their style will grow to suit the book slightly better as the series progresses. This is still a fun, mature fantasy title with a strong sense of its British identity, and I'm sure I'll continue to follow it for its final three issues.

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8
Wisdom #4

Mar 23, 2007

After a third issue which focused as much attention on its guest-star as its core cast, it's nice to see Wisdom return to a more character-centred story here, and one which feels much more like an important part of the ongoing story. I've enjoyed the way that the subplot of impending doom has been gradually built up without overshadowing the individual stories from month to month, and the cliffhanger ending of this issue suggests that the final issues will form more of a cohesive finale than the more self-contained adventures of the first few instalments. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.

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3
Wolverine & Captain America #1

Feb 15, 2004

Though the title gains some credit for a potentially promising mystery element, the other factors which make up the opening issue are so uninspiringly executed that many will be turned off before they get a chance to even consider buying issue #2. Only Wolverine diehards and people with no desire for any real level of sophistication in comic books need apply.

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7
Wolverine (2003) #10

Jan 27, 2004

A solid issue that presents a thoughtful perspective on the morality of the standard drug-baron storyline, with a climax which suggests strong future potential for Rucka's strong female BATF agent. Fans of Wolverine who prefer the grounded Jacket-and-Jeans Wolvie to his X-men incarnation with find much to enjoy here.

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8
Wolverine (2003) #11

Mar 4, 2004

A pleasingly unpredictable and sophisticated issue which caps a fine story arc for Wolverine. Fans of the tortured, lonesome interpretation of Logan will find much to like here, and the recent addition of Cassie's character to the book has only served to strengthen the more adult strands upon which Wolverine manages to focus. Hopefully the next arc will live up to the high standards maintained since the book rebooted.

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9
Wolverine (2003) #12

Mar 24, 2004

It is easy to dismiss Wolverine as the archetypal simple, repetitive, popular character - and as a consequence of this, many writers have used him as such. Rucka shows here that an intelligent Wolverine comic is not only capable of being written, but also of being one of the more entertaining and thought-provoking character pieces to have been applied to such a fiercely-protected and mass-marketed character.

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5
Wolverine (2003) #21

Nov 2, 2004

Whereas the all-out action approach was lots of fun for the first issue (countering the usual expectations of opening episodes of drawn-out six-issue arcs) it seems that transforming Wolverine into a simplified brainwashed killing machine risks losing a lot of the character elements that have made him a more readable character in the last couple of years. With no let-up in the pace, the continuing action ironically becomes a bit of a drag: if everything is urgent, nothing is urgent. It may be fun whilst it lasts, but with a lack of any real plot forthcoming - bar the appealing conceit that The Hands plans include the murder and revival of all major superheroes as servants to their cause - it might be difficult to sustain this story for a full six issues. That said, the cliffhanger promises a Fantastic fight next issue which should be worth tuning in for.

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8
Wolverine (2003) #22

Nov 23, 2004

There are occasional flaws in the issue, with Wolverines various upgrades seemingly being written into the plot whenever their powers are demanded and the apparent reveal at the end of the issue meaning nothing to me (am I missing something?). However, the previously unsatisfactory elements of the book are improving, with Wolverines conflicting inner monologue sounding a lot more genuine this time around, providing a sense of Logans morality as appalled by his actions his own hand against his heart, as Shakespeare once put it which pulls the action elements up from mere eye-candy to significantly damaging events for Logans character. Theres definite potential in the arc yet, but how long Millar can keep the reader interested with such a hitherto thin plot remains to be seen.

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6
Wolverine (2003) #24

Jan 24, 2005

This arc has been the comic equivalent of a Hollywood blockbuster over hyped and lacking in substance, but fine if you want to switch off and read something a little less challenging for a while. I enjoyed this particular issue more as a fan of Daredevil than of Wolverine, but as a whole the arc feels like it lacks a real drive or focus. A lot of the details of what Wolverines up to seem to be being made up as Millar goes along, but kept vague enough to not give any firm hints as to how they will affect the final chapter of the story. The ever-more-confused inner monologue suggests that Wolvie may be about to break away from Hydras control and he gets a brief respite at the end of this issue but to be honest, there hasnt been much advancement of either plot or character beyond the formulaic Wolverine v good-guy-of-the-month for the last four issues. The ending of this installment suggests a different tone for the arcs conclusion next issue, but Millar will have to wrap up t

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5
Wolverine (2003) #25

Feb 20, 2005

Wolverine under Mark Millar seems to be the Marvel equivalent of a run-of-the-mill action movie a lot of visual entertainment with some keen ideas and a couple of cool moments, but nothing beneath the surface to make it a real standout piece of work.

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7
Wolverine (2003) #48

Nov 27, 2006

This is an interesting, low-key cap for a run which has been all about action and spectacle. Just as Mark Millar did with his stint on the book, Guggenheim has left us with a final issue which is more thoughtful and open to interpretation than the rest of his output, and it'll be interesting to see whether he builds on this particular issue when he returns to the book after the next creative team has taken their shot at the character. Don't buy this issue expecting a breakdown of exactly how and why Wolverine survived the wringer that Guggenheim put him through during "Vendetta," and don't expect the loose ends of that arc to be tied up; this is very much an issue about the psychological toll that regeneration takes on Logan, and whilst it's an interesting take on Wolvie's tortured soul, it's not particularly fresh or innovative and doesn't say a lot that's new about the character.

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5
Wolverine (2003) #50

Jan 21, 2007

This issue also includes a bonus short story which sees the present-day Wolverine narrating a flashback to his fight with the Green Goliath in Hulk #181. On its own, it would be a cute enough - if inconsequential - throwback to Logans first appearance (with suitably chunky art by Loebs future Ultimates collaborator Ed McGuinness and some neat retro colouring from Dave McCaig). However, Loeb chooses to end his short story with an ill-judged, fourth-wall-breaking reference to Damon Lindelofs terminally late Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk miniseries. If there was a point to be made by that nod to one of Marvels more embarrassing delayed projects, I didnt see it.

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8
Wolverine (2003) #71

Mar 22, 2009

Yet again, the issue ends on a surprising cliffhanger that makes me keen to read the next issue--even if its going to be another nine weeks before the next monthly issue is released. Still, Im happy to enjoy these issues of Old Man Logan when they appear.

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7
Wolverine/Punisher #1

Apr 5, 2004

The competent enough first issue of this miniseries shows an enjoyable flair for the absurd but always plays it straight. This injection of humour into the normally overly "gritty" lives of the two leads is no bad thing, adding a welcome dimension of fun - something that comics can lack nowadays. If you buy a comic called Wolverine/Punisher you know what to expect: action scenes are executed well enough (and are sure to escalate in issues to come) and the plot won't tax your brain cells too much. Just don't expect it to blow you away.

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8
Wolverine: Snikt! #5

Nov 25, 2003

What this series has lacked in story it has made up for in relentless action. This issue brings the series to an explosive finale that is well worth checking out, especially if you are a fan of H.R.Giger-esque Alien creatures or dark, stylised sci-fi. Failing that, keep an eye out for the likely TPB collection.

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6
Wolverine: The End #1

Nov 21, 2003

A solid enough, if as yet unsurprising view of the last days of Wolverine which throws in enough new elements to make this story interesting and distinguished from his other titles. It'll be interesting to see how Logan himself reacts to the coming events of this series.

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5
Wonder Man #1

Dec 10, 2006

Although theres nothing horrific about the execution, this comic just doesnt appeal to me. Theres nothing to make you really warm to Wonder Man, nothing particularly original about the story, and the art doesnt grab me either. Wonder Man fans might enjoy this, but others may struggle to be really interested by it, and thats a pretty thin recommendation considering the niche appeal of the character.

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7
Wonder Woman (2006) #601

Aug 1, 2010

So, whilst JMSs Wonder Woman isnt my favourite take on the character (that honour is still reserved for Darwyn Cookes version in New Frontier), its not a disaster either. In fact, contrary to what you might have been led to believe by the hyperbolic reactions of fans to the changes wrought to Dianas costume and origin, this story is shaping up to be a fun (if fairly ordinary) superhero romp in a rather traditional mould.

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6
Wonder Woman (2006) #604

Oct 31, 2010

Perhaps particular fans of Wonder Woman will enjoy this issue a little more than I did--and I'm sure they'll cheer at one particular moment that sees JMS do away with one of the more controversial of Diana's recent costume revisions--but personally, I'm starting to wonder whether it's worth continuing to follow a book that hasn't provided anything to make it stand out as special.

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7
World War Hulk #1

Jun 10, 2007

Despite my problems with the issue, I enjoyed this first instalment of World War Hulk as some refreshingly simple, straightforward superhero storytelling which doesnt have aspirations to be anything more than it is: a fun, exciting punch-up between super-powered individuals, with the city of New York as a playground for the larger-than-life slugfest that World War Hulk promises to be. It might not look like its going to offer any real character insight (I was disappointed that Bruce Banner didnt make an appearance) or even a particularly original story, but this miniseries is already shaping up to deliver the delicious Green sorbet that weve been promised after the gargantuan food fight that was Civil War.

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8
World War Hulk #2

Jul 22, 2007

Considering my complete disinterest in the book in the lead-up to its publication, World War Hulk is turning out to be a surprisingly satisfying and enjoyable series. Part of its success is undoubtedly the fact that it hasnt been over-hyped or marketed with a false premise: as readers, were getting exactly what we were promised, and were not being made to wait until the end of the series for the core concept to pay off. If anything, Im concerned that the book wont be able to maintain this level of excitement for all five issues without becoming repetitive or one-note, as a lot of ground has already been covered in these first two issues - but the final page of this issue promises something a little different for the next, and suggests that the battle isnt over by a long shot. This might not be the most thought-provoking or intelligent title on the stands, but its one of the most all-out entertaining superhero books that Ive read in quite a while, and makes for a perfect summ

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7
World War Hulk #3

Aug 5, 2007

I cant deny that Im intrigued to see how this all plays out, and its good to see the series begin to move beyond the admittedly enjoyable if simple formula that characterised the earlier issues. As part of a whole, this issue will likely stand as an important transitional episode in the story, and one which is executed with the same quality as the previous instalments. Just dont expect the same superficially satisfying slugfest of a story that weve seen in earlier issues.

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6
World War Hulk #5

Nov 18, 2007

I would also have preferred it if Marvel had been a little less obvious with their plugs for future material in this final issue. Yet again, the end of an event comic feels like little more than an advertisement for forthcoming books from Marvel (there are at least three full-page trails for new series and story arcs which spin out of World War Hulk at the back of this issue, and the book itself finishes with a scene which exists solely to set up a new miniseries). As with Civil War, it feels as though the desire to set up future stories comes at the expense of a completely satisfying ending for this one. Hulk fans will probably be in heaven, but for everyone else, this might feel like a crass conclusion to an otherwise unpretentious and shamelessly enjoyable miniseries.

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6
World War Hulk: Aftersmash #1

Dec 2, 2007

Yes, by the end of the issue the now-familiar sense that Marvel is using the last pages of a story as advertising space for new books has crept in, and if you were expecting this one-shot to have anything to say about the Hulk himself, youll be disappointed. However, on its own terms its an enjoyable enough (if disposable) yarn which should answer the nagging questions of anyone who was worried about how New York would piece itself back together after the events of the main miniseries.

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7
World War Hulk: Prologue #1

Apr 29, 2007

Taken altogether, these two issues provide a good grounding for the World War Hulk event, even if Im not convinced that its going to be anything more than an excuse to have heroes fight other heroes for a few issues. Some of the hangovers of characterisation from Civil War are still slightly distracting, but it seems as though theres been a conscious effort to avoid the elements which deal with superhero registration in order to clear the path for a relatively straightforward revenge saga. Lovers of action might be disappointed with how little the Hulk actually smashes here, but I guess that Marvel doesnt want to jump the gun and take anything away from the miniseries itself. A solid start which works hard to make the event as accessible as possible for newcomers to the Planet Hulk storyline, even if Im not sure that itll convert anyone who wasnt interested in World War Hulk already.

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4
World War Hulk: Front Line #1

Jun 24, 2007

Lets be clear: this series would not exist if there wasnt a big crossover event to tie it to, and that should tell you how satisfying it is as a story in its own right. Its quite possible that Jenkins & co will overcome the problems of this first issue and ultimately craft a better series than the last, but theres nothing here that makes me care enough to stick around and find out. If you read Civil War: Front Line, then youll know what to expect from this title. Unfortunately, for me that equates to once bitten, twice shy.

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5
X-Men: Endangered Species #1

Jun 17, 2007

Endangered Species, then, isnt a badly written or illustrated comic book; its just a pretty dull and uneventful one which acts as a decent enough summary of where the mutant community stands in current Marvel continuity but simply doesnt do enough to make me interested in buying into the main event. If youre an X-Men fan already, youll probably be interested in picking this up to see where the teams big event is headed, but most other readers will probably find this to be a little empty and unsatisfying.

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4
Young Avengers Presents #1

Jan 22, 2008

I can't quite work out what story this comic is trying to tell. There's very little exploration of the Young Avengers as a team, so I can't imagine that Marvel is trying to substitute this book for Allan Heinberg's series whilst they wait for him to return for a second season. We barely learn anything about Patriot that we aren't told in the opening few pages, so it doesn't feel like a character study, and the lack of many of the other Young Avengers means that it doesn't function as an exploration of Eli's role in the team. If anything, it seems to be a story about Bucky and Patriot trying to live up to the ideals of Captain America (but inevitably falling short), and as such it feels more like another of Brubaker's Captain America one-shot issues than it does the first issue of a new Young Avengers miniseries. With such strong foundations to work from, it's disappointing that the first new Young Avengers comic in a long time feels more like a lost issue of Fallen Son. Disappoi

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