Jack Fisher's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: PopMatters Reviews: 215
7.1Avg. Review Rating

8.0
A-Force #1

May 26, 2015

This is also a world where the strength of women takes center stage and they do it without denigrating men. On paper, it shouldn't feel like such a novel concept. Maybe it says something about both genders when something so refreshing also feels so unfamiliar. It's not that the idea of strong female characters not having to beat up arrogant male characters is new. It's just that someone finally took the time to tell that story in a way that all genders can appreciate.

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8.0
Action Comics (2011) #23

Aug 11, 2013

That embodies the true core of Superman. Action #23 doesn't really break new ground in Superman's story or do anything too novel. It establishes a powerful threat that only Superman can stop and shows him stopping it while not cutting any corners along the way. There's no shortcuts. There's no cut-and-paste. Superman does things the right way and that's all there is to it. That's what makes Action #23 a satisfying Superman story. While less durable characters like Batman still has a place in modern mythology, there will always be room for living embodiments of an ideal like Superman.

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8.0
Action Comics (2011) #30

Apr 15, 2014

This powerful message gives the impression that Superman lost the battle in Action Comics #30. Harrow made her point and while The Tower was destroyed, she proved to Superman that he could have avoided all these infuriating frustrations easily. But he chose not to and only made it worse. It provides a sobering message for Superman and one he'll have to consider when facing threats like Zod and Doomsday. This issue is billed as a prelude to the upcoming Doom crossover event and in many respects, it provides the perfect context for the challenge that Superman faces. But that's part of what makes him Superman.

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4.0
Action Comics (2011) #51

Apr 26, 2016

Superman dying is a big deal, even if it has been overdone and overplayed since the early ‘90s. Every major hero gets a death story these days and, being a 75-year-old icon, Superman gets more than most. That doesn't mean that these kinds of stories have to be overly generic. However, this latest attempt is dangerously close to that territory and not even Superman may be able to save it.

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6.0
Action Comics (2016) #962

Aug 25, 2016

In this case, putting the genie back in the bottle causes the bottle to crack and fracture. At the very least, Action Comics #962 keeps it from shattering completely. There are one too many predictable plot lines, but there are also new and interesting dynamics emerging within the story. It doesn't prevent some parts of that story from being inane at times, but it still finds a way capture the heart of what makes Superman so iconic.

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6.0
Age of Apocalypse (2015) #1

Jul 13, 2015

Age of Apocalypse #1 might not make everyone miss the ‘90s, but it will capture at least some of the spirit that this era had for X-Men fans. This is a dark world right out of a Soundgarden music video, where survival trumps heroics. It's gritty, but not too grim. It has flare, but not in the style of MC Hammer. It still offers enough intrigue to make Cypher a relevant character and that in and of itself is an accomplishment.

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9.0
All-New All-Different Avengers #4

Jan 29, 2016

This kiss and the dynamics built around it give All-New, All-Different Avengers #4 just the right impact. There's a sense of hope, albeit fleeting, that this team can function in 2016 in all its unique sensibilities. Mark Waid has taken a diverse cast with iconic names and made it feel genuine. Glen Beck may still protest at some point, but that would only confirm that this new team of Avengers is doing something right.

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5.0
All-New All-Different Avengers #8

Apr 14, 2016

Most Avengers stories involve them fighting super-powered bad guys at some point. The challenge is getting them to this point in a creative, novel manner. Avengers: Standoff tries to takes a creative path in meeting this challenge, but reverts back to familiar territory too quickly. There are any number of stories that involve the Avengers escaping the grasp of powerful, mind-bending, reality-warping threats. This is just the latest and far from the greatest.

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9.0
All-New Wolverine #18

Mar 16, 2017

These are the moving parts that forge the narrative for Enemy of the State II and All-New Wolverine #18 caps off that narrative with a potent mix of drama, action, plot twists, and exploding bean cans. It's every bit as entertaining as it sounds.

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6.0
All-New Wolverine #25

Oct 12, 2017

The ending sets the stage for a lot more melodrama and heartache. The connections that will eventually require Laura and Daken to team up again are there. Given the high standards that Taylor has set with All-New Wolverine, though, the impact of the conflict isn't felt yet. Too much of it relies on old scars that Laura has been carrying with her since her days as an extra in the X-men Evolution cartoon. While those scars are sure to deepen, the Orphans of X will need to hit much harder to leave a lasting impact on Laura and Daken.

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6.0
All-New Wolverine Annual #1

Sep 2, 2016

The story still lacks in some key components, but it still has all the overplayed features we would expect of a body-swapping story. Two characters swap bodies, they fumble around hilariously, and they come together to fix this mess. It's a simple formula and All-New Wolverine Annual #1 sticks to it for the most part. It doesn't try to overachieve beyond its worth. It doesn't lower the bar either. Overall, this issue acts as another step in X-23's evolution as the new Wolverine. So long as she can avoid Clone Sagas and avoid falling in love with redheads, it's safe to say she's on the right track.

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8.0
All-New X-Factor #1

Jan 21, 2014

At its core, All New X-Factor #1 sets up a new business plan for X-Factor. It's like a company that is being restructured in order to enter a new industry. Apple did it when they entered the cell phone business. Now X-Factor is doing it with Serval. It brings together several characters that are in need of a new outlet for being X-men while not getting too bogged down in emotional baggage. As a business model, it remains to be seen whether it will be profitable in a literal or figurative manner. But it succeeds in presenting a novel approach into a series that has already distinguished itself in that field. X-Factor is still a long ways from being the next iPhone, but it's off to a good start.

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9.0
All-New X-Men #13

Jul 7, 2013

The lack of action and suspense may dissuade some, but that is not the kind of story All New X-men has set up. This series offers a unique perspective on the entire concept of mutants. Through the eyes of the Original Five, the idealism embodied in Charles Xavier's dream clashes head on with harsh real-world circumstances. And that clash is what makes All New X-men #13 and the entire concept of the series one of the most compelling comics in recent memory.

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8.0
All-New X-Men #16

Sep 16, 2013

Brian Michael Bendis has told stories that are bigger in scope and scale than X-men: Battle of the Atom. However, the high stakes and the growing desperation gives this story an impact that touches the entire breadth of the X-men. All New X-men #16 doesn't have any big explosions or rampaging monsters, but it ensures that every character involved is emotionally invested in in this conflict. And when emotion and logic clash in a story, it becomes epic in its own unique way. Whether it's the fate of the timeline or the fate of two teenagers desperate teenagers, X-men Battle of the Atom is an event that promises to bring out the best and the worst of every character involved.

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7.0
All-New X-Men #17

Oct 15, 2013

“Battle of the Atom's” greatest strength continues to be the emotional impact it offers with both the story and the characters. This issue offered an impact of a different kind, creating a future that has far more contemporary parallels than previous time travel stories like Days of Futures Past. While the impact of Days of Futures Past was established in its own time, the impact of Battle of the Atom is resonating in a much more modern context. Yet it still uses elements from the past in a very literal sense, which makes the story seem all the more appropriate.

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7.0
All-New X-Men #22.NOW

Feb 3, 2014

Cyclops and Jean Grey's hopes and dreams about the future may be crushed much earlier than it is for most typical teenagers, but they don't have the luxury of curling up into ball and sulking until they accept it. They have to confront what's going to happen to them. And if they don't, a race of angry, war-loving aliens is going to do it for them.

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5.0
All-New X-Men #25

Apr 22, 2014

But it's an important realization in the context of All New X-men. There may not be much of a plot to All New X-men #25 and despite the additional length and long list of guest artists, it doesn't feel all that epic. It was a serious story with a serious impact that tried to get too cute along the line. While it may have failed at being cute, it does succeed at following the themes that make up the foundation of All New X-men's appeal. It just isn't worth paying an extra dollar.

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8.0
All-New X-Men #30

Aug 18, 2014

That's what makes All-New X-men #30 so much fun. It offers a sense of progression with these characters, but in a way that doesn't involve more time travel or more killer robots. These characters just get a chance to be themselves and connect in ways that don't need to occur in the heat of combat. While it's frustrating that some of the details are left undefined, the results are welcome and satisfying. It shows that if these characters can make progress in the midst of time travel paradoxes and psychic affairs, then we have no excuse.

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8.0
All-New X-Men #34

Jan 5, 2015

Even without the hugs, there are many plots and conflicts worth exploring in All-New X-men #34. With every new conflict, the Original Five X-men gain a new perspective on their future. The Ultimate Universe is less known for perspective and more known for its destruction, pro-incest, anti-France sentiment. Aside from Miles Morales, there really isn't much that can be learned from a world that hasn't been relevant since Tiger Woods' last major championship. But the O5 X-men are finding a way to learn from its horrors and that might be the best they can hope for at this point.

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8.0
All-New X-Men #37

Mar 16, 2015

As meaningful as Emma's lesson for Jean is, it still feels incomplete. It still feels like there are many more lessons for Emma to teach Jean. The fact neither of them brought up Cyclops seems like an oversight. However, it didn't make the impact of the story less meaningful. Jean Grey and Emma Frost may never be bffs, but they can still learn from each other so long as those lessons don't involve marital counseling.

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7.0
All-New X-Men (2015) #18

Feb 2, 2017

It's not just another tie-in where a teenage character mopes and whines at feeling so overwhelmed. This story digs deeper, achieving an impact that goes beyond an ongoing crossover. For a tie-in that focuses on an anxious teenager, that's quite an accomplishment.

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5.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #1

May 5, 2014

In its efforts to recapture all those amazing qualities that make Spider-Man who he is, Amazing Spider-Man #1 sends Peter Parker down the road to regression. The humor is back, the classic themes have returned, and the tone is much more upbeat than it was during Superior Spider-Man. But bringing Spider-Man back to basics in the context of the story paints a less-than-amazing picture. Every character not named Peter Parker comes off as compelling while Peter Parker just comes off as a guy who refuses to be the superior Spider-Man that Doctor Octopus told him he could be.

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5.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #1

Oct 15, 2015

For the moment, Peter Parker is in a new position with a new narrative. There are elements in Amazing Spider-Man #1 that give that narrative plenty of promise. At the same time, it feels more like a gimmick in the same mold of Superior Spider-Man. There's still a sense that at some point, Peter Parker will snap back to being that everyman who hasn't progressed beyond the stage of an indebted college student. As relatable as that is, there comes a point when someone stuck in that stage isn't all that amazing.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows (2016) #4

Feb 16, 2017

The way things play out in Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #4 make clear that Spider-Man can work as a family. They still argue, worry, and frustrate each other along the way, but that's what families do. That's what makes a family stronger. More importantly, that's what makes a superhero family amazing.

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10
Amazing X-Men #1

Nov 18, 2013

None-the-less, the impact of this story triggers all the right emotions. It's entertaining and humorous, the voice of every character sounding distinct and appropriate. And while the action may not be on the same scale as the final issue of X-men Battle of the Atom, it still feels epic in a way not unlike a Rocky Balboa fight. Amazing X-men #1 was primarily billed as the issue that brought Nightcrawler back to the X-men. It did that and so much more. It re-established all the dynamics that make the X-men at Jean Grey Institute such a fun story to follow and did it in an entertaining, concise way. It's a story that appeals to both Nightcrawler fans and X-men fans of every kind.

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8.0
Amazing X-Men Annual #1

Jun 16, 2014

Storm's triumph isn't just a testament to her power and grace. It reveals the scale and scope of her humility. Even though she was worshipped as a goddess, she still maintains close ties to her family and loved ones. Those loved ones might not be well-developed. Nobody is going to confuse her cousin with the Kents and nobody is going to confuse Meruda with Lex Luthor, but the story conveyed in Amazing X-men Annual #1 provides a conflict and a struggle for Storm that contains a very personal touch. It might not have the kind of breadth that is going to fundamentally change Storm's character, but it will reinforce the humility that makes her a goddess worth worshipping.

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8.0
Angela: Asgard's Assassin #1

Dec 8, 2014

There are many ways Angela can contribute to the Marvel universe. She's shown she can be part of a team. She's also shown she can fit into the overly convoluted history of the Marvel Universe. Now, Angela: Asgard's Assassin #1 shows that she can hold her own and do things her way. There will still be Spawn fans that refuse to accept that, but that's their problem. It isn't the perfect template on which to recast an established character. At the very least, it's a blueprint for actually making it good and not just avoiding a horrible crash.

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9.0
Astonishing X-Men (2017) #1

Jul 21, 2017

Even in an age when superhero blockbusters capture a huge chunk of the pop culture market, there's still a place for Astonishing X-men. The story is still unfolding, but if the final page is any indication, there's plenty of potential for even more astonishment.

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6.0
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1

Oct 15, 2014

What this issue lacks in detail, it makes up for in concept. The execution of that concept is what makes the story worth following. Even if some of the characters involved are forgettable or downright unlikable, they help establish the strength of that concept in a way where the details missing from this issue can be incorporated with subsequent issues. Unlike a chip on a statue, the flaws in Avengers and X-men: AXIS #1 are fixable. The oversights and missteps can be corrected or more refined at the very least. There's plenty to build on with this concept. Whereas the threat of a super-Nazi villain should bring bickering teams of heroes together, this might actually find a way to do the opposite and that's definitely a story worth telling.

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6.0
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #9

Jan 12, 2015

In the end, Avengers and X-men: AXIS #9 completes the story in a way that isn't wholly satisfying, but it won't make anyone too sick to their stomach. It's a powerful struggle with a compelling concept that never got the refinement it needed. It was still a struggle worth following and while some of the impact was lost in the spirit of not fixing what isn't broken, it still has merit. There will be some who don't appreciate it, but that's one inefficiency that can never be inverted.

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8.0
Batgirl (2011) #32

Jun 24, 2014

Batgirl #32 succeeded in taking Barbara Gordon to as low a point as she could have without another visit from the Joker. It added both personal and professional struggles, sometimes excessively. While the impact of those struggles became muted at times, it still strikes all the right chords. Now anyone who has a bad day has much less reason to complain. If Barbara Gordon can get through this issue without punching any brick walls, then nobody has any excuses.

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7.0
Batgirl (2011) #45

Oct 29, 2015

As such, it's not going to generate a lot of excitement or a lot of outrage from One Million Moms. It tries to do something different. It succeeds in part, but lacks the impact to make it feel complete. It's still another step forward in this new life for Barbara Gordon. The fact that she could make it through her friend's wedding without someone being abducted puts her way ahead of Peter Parker.

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8.0
Batman/Superman (2013) #6

Jan 13, 2014

In the end the story in Batman/Superman #6 won't have much impact outside its entertainment value. Fans won't be any more shocked, outraged, or disappointed than they were before this comic came out. And the breadth of this story is limited, as is the case with all satire. But it does make for a novel plot from a novel perspective. In an era where everything is a reboot, remake, or sequel, that goes a long ways towards making this story uniquely enjoyable.

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8.0
Batman/Superman (2013) #7

Jan 14, 2014

Batman/Superman #7 never came off as a story where the outcome was in doubt. Like so many other stories about DC's mightiest heroes, they find a way to defeat the powerful villains that plot against them. But it's the unique manner in which Superman and Batman defeated Mongul that makes it satisfying. It did not follow a traditional path. It took the concept of gaming and made what could have been just another battle against an unruly space tyrant into a spectacle. It won't overwhelm anybody with melodrama or suspense, but it is still entertaining and insightful. It reminds everybody that video games are as close to being Superman and Batman as they're ever going to get.

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10
Batman/Superman (2013) Annual #2

Apr 7, 2015

Like the final play of this year's Superbowl, Batman/Superman Annual #2 gave a thrilling ending that will thrill some and horrify others. And this time, it isn't just the city of Seattle that's horrified. The questions surrounding whether Superman can be who he is without his powers are all neatly answered. But the answer isn't as comfortable as some probably wish it were. At the end of the day, doing the right thing for the right reasons is a great power to have. But not being bulletproof means it's a lot easier for the wrong people to ruin your day.

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8.0
Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3

Feb 18, 2016

It's a remarkable accomplishment, creating a functional crossover between Batman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Maybe Batman is just more flexible than the Power Rangers, but there's something to be said about a story that threats the concept as more than a gimmick. In an era when unwritten rules dictate that every gimmick be done to death, it's refreshing to find one like this that is genuinely enjoyable.

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7.0
Batman: White Knight #1

Oct 5, 2017

That's the greatest appeal of Batman: White Knight #1. It presents Batman with an existential crisis that doesn't involve deadly novelty gags, crippling close friends, or corrupting innocent souls. It calls into question the methods and justifications he puts into being Batman, as well as the price that others pay for his actions. In a sense, nobody has ever been either crazy or sane enough to attack Batman on this level. It's only fitting that the one person capable of that feat is the Joker.

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6.0
Cable (2017) #1

Jun 1, 2017

With a promising future in Deadpool 2, courtesy of Josh Brolin, Cable is one of those characters whose profile is on the rise. Cable #1 puts him at the front of the batting order and shows off the potential of what he can bring to the table. With big guns, a bad attitude, and a blatant disregard for time paradoxes, he has all the tools he needs to be a major player for the X-men. At a time when Hugh Jackman has retired and Deadpool is the new adamantium standard, the timing couldn't be better.

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8.0
Cable and X-Force #10

Jun 23, 2013

Cable and X-Force was a series that struggled with numerous plot holes early on. But in the past few issues, the story has become much more coherent. The emotions of the team and the nature of their mission is finally coming into focus and it has created fertile ground for some very compelling stories. This builds on that foundation while providing some entertaining action sequences that should satisfy any X-Force fan. The sub-plot with Hope Summers has still been slow and her character seems to become more unlikable with every act she takes in this post-“Avengers vs. X-Men” era. But the series as a whole is solid and this issue nicely reflects how this X-title has come to be exactly that—solid.

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8.0
Captain Marvel (2014) #1

Mar 25, 2014

There's a lot that goes into "having it all," but everyone's standard is different. Captain Marvel #1 shows Carol Danvers adopting a new standard for herself. That standard feels overdue in some ways. While her reservations may make her painfully human, they sometimes come off as excuses that cause her unfolding story to drag. But despite her hesitation, she eventually does make a few very important decisions that promise to affect the course of her character moving forward. It also gives her a chance to live out her every Star Wars fantasy, which may very well add to her ambition.

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6.0
Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand #1

Dec 3, 2013

Like de-caffinated coffee, the impact of Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand #1 is limited. However, the circumstances of the story that tie it into the aftermath of Age of Ultron, which is still unfolding, give the plot some badly needed emotional weight. For once, Ultimate feels like a part of a greater narrative that involves more than just destroying things that can't be readily destroyed in Marvel's 616 comics. It gives the impression that this will fundamentally change the nature of Ultimate Marvel in a way that involves more than just global destruction and shock tactics. The gravity of the story is still muted, but the scope is refreshingly fitting.

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3.0
Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand #5

Mar 3, 2014

In many respects, Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand #5 came up to the plate with the team already down by a dozen runs. If it occurred six years ago at a time when the Ultimate comics weren't so burned out by death and destruction, the impact would be much greater. But even without playing in unfair circumstances, the narrative lacked refinement. With so few characters contributing and the lack of progression in the story, it had little chance of resonating. In the end it just added to the damage Ultimate has already endured and any hope it offers rings hollow. Reed Richards claimed at the end of the story that by surviving this onslaught, anything was possible. He may be right to some extent, but for now those possibilities extend only to more death and more destruction and little hope of anything else.

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6.0
Champions #6

Mar 2, 2017

Champions #6 still accomplishes an important feat for the greater narrative. It establishes what the Champions are up against and how their new movement of less civil wars and more heroics is creating an impact. Waid and Ramos mix that impact with the fun of a paintball game. While the entertainment value of paintball is indisputable, the larger implications of the Champions' story remains underdeveloped and unresolved.

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6.0
Civil War II #0

May 23, 2016

The greatest strength of Civil War II #0 is still the insight of the characters involved. This insight succeeds in the same way the premise of the original Civil War succeeded, creating an issue that has real-world parallels and major implications, especially for a fictional world where planet-eating entities are a legitimate concern. It's bland in terms of substance, but necessary with respect to context. It lacks a larger entertainment value, but such details aren't always possible for a certain narrative, Deadpool being the lone exception.

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8.0
Civil War II #1

Jun 13, 2016

It may be too late for Vanilla Ice, but the timing is perfect for this latest Marvel spectacle.

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8.0
Civil War II #3

Jul 15, 2016

Civil War II #3 succeeds in the most important part of any civil war. It draws the battle lines while establishing the merits of both sides. It also ends any possibility that this disagreement between Iron Man and Captain Marvel can end without someone getting punched in the jaw. Heroes are already choosing sides. Arguments are intensifying on message boards. This conflict is bound to get ugly, but Bendis makes sure it's a meaningful, relevant kind of ugly.

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6.0
Civil War II #8

Jan 3, 2017

One winning streak ends. Another winning streak continues. There are impacts, scars, and plenty of arguments to be had on message boards for years to come. In the grand scheme of things, Civil War II counts as a success. It's just not the kind of success that will make anyone less tired of superheroes fighting each other.

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8.0
Civil War II: The Fallen #1

Aug 22, 2016

Cho's reaction, as well as the reaction of others like General Ross, are somewhat muted at times. There are some inconsistencies in the narrative and with certain characterizations, but the underlying sentiment is spot on. The tone in Civil War II: The Fallen #1 is solemn, but appropriate. Pak and Bagley craft a fitting, heartfelt sendoff to the Green Goliath. For once, anger takes a back seat to a Hulk story and it works, creating far less collateral damage in the process.

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8.0
Civil War II: X-Men #1

Jun 23, 2016

It's the early stages of Civil War II. Characters are still choosing their sides, weighing the benefits, and wondering how likely it is that Tony Stark can win two Civil Wars in a row. In Civil War II: X-men #1, the stakes are a bit higher for the X-men. Their entire race is already sterilized, exiled, and marginalized. They really can't afford to make things any worse, lest their dystopian present become overly apocalyptic.

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6.0
Civil War II: X-Men #4

Sep 22, 2016

In the ongoing debate between aiding the Inhumans and fighting them, the balance may very well be too fragile to function. Civil War II: X-men #4 only reinforces the inevitability of another clash between these two teams. It also further proves that such a clash may not be a balanced one. At the end of the day, one side still has its movie rights. The other is tied up with another studio. Even with X-men being the ultimate underdogs, it doesn't feel like a fight that'll benefit them in any way.

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6.0
Convergence #1

Apr 13, 2015

Convergence #1 takes a while to become coherent and the characters involved who aren't named Brainiac don't really distinguish themselves. They're not pawns as much as they are a bunch of rats being put in a cage with only a finite amount of cheese. Those not already familiar with these versions of DC's characters probably aren't going to become cos-players at the next Comic Con. But they still play a role and they succeed in that role, triggering the conflict that kickstarts the story. Like a juicy steak without the steak sauce, it's still edible and it still has the potential to become part of an epic feast.

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10
Cyclops (2014) #1

May 12, 2014

The whole of Cyclops #1 is an accomplishment. This is a story that could have easily become just another story about a messed up teenage boy and an overwhelmed father. There are enough sitcoms, movies, and Star Wars rip-offs telling that story. This takes a different approach. It shouldn't feel so novel, a teenage boy spending time with his father and learning to become a better man. But that's what this comic accomplishes. In that sense, there might yet still be hope for fathers of teenage boys everywhere.

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8.0
Deadpool (2015) #7

Feb 15, 2016

Deadpool's story is still the primary selling point in Deadpool #7 and that story checks all the necessary boxes. The forgettable bonus stories don't detract from this selling point in any way, but they aren't going to make anyone feel better about the bloated price. It's still an entertaining Deadpool story, complete with obscene violence and unrepentant immaturity. As the failure of Wolverine Origins definitively proved, we wouldn't have Deadpool any other way.

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7.0
Death Of Wolverine #1

Sep 8, 2014

Even if Wolverine's death is destined to be temporary, the story in Death of Wolverine #1 offers a compelling foundation for an emotionally charged story. This firmly established to be Wolverine's final battle, at least for a while. Like the movie Snakes on a Plane, there is little ambiguity with respect to the content of the story. The success or failure of the story hinges on its ability to generate the right emotional impact. It might not be possible to evoke all right emotions due to the nature of death in comics, but this issue does succeed in laying the foundation. It might be a foundation built on unstable shores, but it's one that could still support a strong story.

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6.0
Death Of Wolverine #4

Oct 20, 2014

While the details might be lacking, there are enough of them to get the point across. If the goal of this issue was to have Wolverine die with a sense that he accomplished enough to die honorably, it succeeded. But if the goal was to do so in a way that felt epic and worthy of his character, then it came up short. Death of Wolverine #4 doesn't have enough details to feel like the truly definitive end for Wolverine. It's impossible to make a life like Wolverine feel truly complete. His character and his history is so big and so profound that it just cannot be done. But in an era where characters like Bucky Barnes can come back to life, maybe that's the point. It doesn't have to be big or detailed. Like a good Apple product, it just has to work.

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8.0
Death of Wolverine: Logans Legacy #2

Oct 28, 2014

In the end, it's really not necessary to see X-23 fight people like the Happy Clam. The insight Windshear gave her, as wordy as it might have been, did more for her than any overpaid therapist could. It allows X-23 to return to the New Xavier School and actually admit she feels sadness at losing Wolverine. But she also feels pride for what he did to leave behind a legacy. Now she's part of that legacy. It still doesn't contribute to the story surrounding Wolverine's old rogues, but it does tell a compelling story about a teenage girl with inherently poor coping skills finding a way to cope in as healthy way as she can. That alone is more uncanny than any mutant power.

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5.0
Death of X #1

Oct 7, 2016

The details of what Cyclops did and how the outlook for the mutant race got so bleak remain unresolved, which still gives the overall narrative of Death of X promise. However, given the not-so-subtle undertones of this issue, it's painfully apparent that this conflict between the X-men and the Inhumans will not be a fair fight. Whoever has the advantage in movie rights is likely to come out ahead in more ways than one.

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4.0
Death of X #4

Nov 28, 2016

Death of X #4 doesn't read like the end of an event so it's not going to check every box before the final page. While it manages to be coherent and revealing in some respects, it still comes off as woefully incomplete. If it were a school project, it couldn't be adequately graded because it doesn't present a finished product. This may be okay for a movie trailer, but for a complete story that kills off one of the most iconic X-men in history, it's not even close to being enough.

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6.0
Extraordinary X-Men #5

Jan 21, 2016

Extraordinary X-men #5 succeeds in the basics, but not much else. The inherent flaws in the narrative render it impotent in terms of having an impact. However, these flaws don't completely undermine the potential of the story. There's still time to fill in these gaping plot holes to help give weight and context to this series. But like watching Tom Brady in a two-minute drill, it feels like that time is passing faster than it should.

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7.0
Extraordinary X-Men #8

Mar 25, 2016

These shortcomings don't derail Apocalypse Wars. Extraordinary X-men #8 isn't meant to deliver the knock-out punch for this event. It's just meant to get the story to strap on the gloves and get in a few light jabs. The fact that it can land some of those jabs in yet another story about time travel and dystopian futures is an accomplishment in and of itself.

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7.0
Extraordinary X-Men #12

Aug 1, 2016

Even so, Extraordinary X-men #12 feels complete in terms of tying together a cohesive narrative. That narrative is made stronger thanks to Storm's hard decisions and the inevitable consequences of those decisions. It ensures that the greater impact of Apocalypse Wars will only be clear once those consequences are explored in later issues. It's part final and part teaser trailer. At a time when teaser trailers are 90 percent of every mass media campaign, that's entirely fitting.

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7.0
Extraordinary X-Men #20

Mar 23, 2017

Taken as a whole, the end of Extraordinary X-men #20 doesn't give the sense of a complete, satisfying journey. Given the exceedingly bleak circumstances of its beginning, it's hard to go from one extreme to another. To go from the brink of extinction to a friendly baseball game is a journey that requires a lot more than 20 issues and a crossover event. Even if details are lacking, the primary spirit of the X-men narrative is still there. The fact that a series like Extraordinary X-men can end in a friendly baseball game is a testament to the strength of that spirit.

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7.0
Forever Evil #7

Jun 2, 2014

Even without these details, the core of the story is strong. From the beginning, Lex Luthor set out to further his agenda by whatever means possible. In Forever Evil #7, he succeeded. The way in which he achieved this success and the way he exploited it to the utmost is what gives the story its strength. Nobody is going to be rooting for Lex Luthor or think he's a genuine hero. Yet in the same way hippies will begrudgingly shop at Wal-Mart, readers cannot deny what Lex Luthor has achieved. It's a disturbing thought, yet it affords plenty of intrigue for everyone not named Clark Kent.

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6.0
Generation X (2017) #1

May 18, 2017

Beyond Kid Omega's tantrum, only a handful of other characters get a chance to interact or participate. Other than Jubilee, Hindsight, and Kid Omega, the rest of the cast just puts themselves in a position to participate in Generation X. In that sense, Generation X #1 works as a successful orientation for an incoming freshman class. Between new and familiar faces, as well as the inherent volatility that comes with adolescence, Strain and Pinna set the stage for a new generation of X-men. Whether they survive the experience, or even wish they did, remains to be seen.

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7.0
Generations: Captain Marvel & Captain Mar-Vell #1

Sep 14, 2017

Whatever limitations there are on the premise of Generations: Captain Marvel and Captain Mar-Vell #1, Stohl and Schoonover get the most out of it for the characters involved. By getting back to basics for anyone bearing the title of Captain Marvel, it demonstrates that there's a legacy to that title and one that's worth upholding. Whether or not Carol uses that legacy to improve her standing within the Marvel pantheon remains to be seen, but between gaining a better perspective and taking her frustrations out on Annihilus, she's in a much better place now.

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9.0
Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey #1

Aug 10, 2017

There's still a sense that teenage Jean didn't do as much as she could've. It could be argued that she didn't do as much as she should've either. However, what she ends up doing is probably the most responsible decision she could've made in that situation. For a teenager constantly looking for ways to avoid the destiny that fate has laid out for her, it speaks volumes to the strength of her character. Even if the circumstances of Marvel Generations are unclear and the overall impact is uncertain, Jean Grey shows why, no matter which era she's in, she's still the heart of the X-men.

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4.0
Generations: Iron Man & Ironheart #1

Sep 7, 2017

Bendis has many opportunities to craft a more meaningful connection between Riri and Tony in Generations: Iron Man and Ironheart #1. Few, if any, of those opportunities pan out. Riri still comes off as an annoying teenager who basically stumbles to success at every turn as Ironheart and Tony comes off as overly coy with his ego. The story succeeds at capturing the futurism themes inherent of most Iron Man stories, but that's all it succeeds with. For someone as capable as Riri Williams and Tony Stark, that's just too low a bar.

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5.0
Generations: Banner Hulk & The Totally Awesome Hulk #1

Aug 3, 2017

Mixing elements from the past and present creates opportunities to explore classic themes while expanding on the dramatic weight that has built up to such a massive extent over the years. Marvel Generations: Banner Hulk and Totally Awesome Hulk #1 feels like one of those opportunities only partially realized. It does enough to smash all the right things. It just doesn't add enough merit behind the smashing.

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7.0
Generations: The Unworthy Thor & The Mighty Thor #1

Aug 24, 2017

That story even includes a few bonus parts that make Generations: Unworthy Thor and The Mighty Thor #1 a prelude to other critical events in the past and future. It offers intrigue beyond the basic lessons in worthiness, which is something that previous issues of Marvel Generations has not done. It adds value to a story that can only offer so much before it undermines the hopelessly convoluted, ever-evolving timeline that is the Marvel universe. That value may not make anyone inherently worthy of lifting Mjolnir, but it will put them on the right track.

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6.0
Generations: Captain Marvel & Ms. Marvel #1

Sep 21, 2017

It still manages to accomplish something important for Kamala Khan and Carol Danvers' story. It effectively ties their ongoing struggles with one another. Carol is trying to have it all as both Carol Danvers and Ms. Marvel. Kamala is doing the same thing in her time. It's an ongoing struggle for both, but working together in Generations: Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel #1 gives them both some needed perspective. They even earn praise from J. Jonah Jameson along the way and in the context of the greater Marvel universe, such an accomplishment ranks right up there with beating Thanos.

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9.0
Generations: Wolverine & All-New Wolverine #1

Aug 17, 2017

More than anything else, Generations: Wolverine and All-New Wolverine #1 establishes that the legacy of Wolverine isn't just measured by mountains of dead ninjas. It's part of a legacy. Logan establishes that legacy. Laura carries it on. Being Wolverine is basically a family affair, albeit with a lot more stabbing and ninja attacks, and it's a family that Wolverine fans of every generation can root for.

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8.0
Guardians of the Galaxy & X-Men: The Black Vortex Alpha #1

Feb 9, 2015

The structure of Guardians of the Galaxy and X-men: Black Vortex #1 may seem confusing, but it throws all the right ingredients into the mix. For a crossover story of this scale, that's important. No cake was ever made delicious by skimping on the frosting. It's safe to say that the first layer of frosting has been spread on this story. Whether it'll add the hot fudge and sprinkles remains to be seen.

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7.0
Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #13

Mar 31, 2014

The narrative of Guardians of the Galaxy #13 had some significant developments and some intense moments that helped bring the Trial of Jean Grey to an appropriate culmination. It wasn't as elaborate as it could have been or should have been for that matter. But it triggered some promising new developments for the characters, none of which would have been possible if the Shi'ar hadn't tried to exercise their perverse brand of justice. So while justice may not have been served, it didn't lead to a more egregious crime. And for a brand of justice laced with technicalities, this is probably the best anyone can hope for.

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7.0
Guardians of the Galaxy (2015) #16

Jan 18, 2017

This basic, but effective approach makes Guardians of the Galaxy #16 one of those issues that fans of a specific character can cite when they want to explain why a particular character is so lovable. If Vin Disel's voice acting in the movie didn't do it for some, then the story in this comic should finish the job. He may be a giant talking tree with an exceedingly limited vocabulary, but he's as lovable as any furry animal that isn't armed with a machine gun. Rocket Racoon would do well to heed his friend's example.

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4.0
Hunger #1

Jul 29, 2013

The promise of Hunger is definitely there, but the realization of that promise is lacking. Just throwing Rick Jones, the Chitauri, and Galactus into the story isn't enough in the same way that just tossing ice cream and milk in a blender doesn't make a good milkshake. It still needs to be effectively blended. And Hunger #1 failed to do that until the final third of the book. And for an Ultimate universe that has been lagging almost as badly as Lindsey Lohan's movie career, that's just not enough.

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6.0
Independence Day #2

May 19, 2016

There are alien environments, armed clashes, and intense action sequences. There's even an intriguing plot that builds on the ending of the movie. It just doesn't build enough to make it the kind of spectacle that'll make people feel better about overpaying for a movie ticket. Independence Day #2 has the basics, but lacks the refinements. It does enough to generate intrigue, but not enough to inspire awe, and that's often the difference between a successful blockbuster and an egregious waste of popcorn.

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8.0
Infamous Iron Man #1

Oct 20, 2016

However, he also comes off as a character entering an exciting new phase of his development. He's not hiding from his infamy. He's channeling it into a new endeavor. It may not be as satisfying to him as punching Reed Richards in the jaw, but it gives him a bold new purpose. Whether it makes him famous or infamous remains to be seen, but it promises to be an exciting story.

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7.0
Infamous Iron Man #5

Feb 23, 2017

The story is still in a very nascent stage, but it's maturing rapidly and in a way that would make any mother proud.

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7.0
Infamous Iron Man #7

Apr 27, 2017

Between the character relationships and the methods Doom utilizes, Infamous Iron Man #7 gives polish to the overall narrative. It also sets up some new challenges that will test Doom's overly-efficient methods, as well as his commitment to being a hero. While stories about heroes becoming villains are nothing new, a character like Victor Von Doom requires a certain level of refinement. For the story unfolding in Infamous Iron Man, Bendis and Maleev continue to deliver. Terrifying hardened villains is just a nice bonus.

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7.0
Inferno #5

Oct 1, 2015

Rushed or not, Inferno #5 still succeeds in finishing the primary plot of the story. That alone makes it more complete than a typical Christopher Nolan movie. Colossus set out to save his sister. In the end, he had to be the one who stopped her. It made for a difficult, emotional struggle. But he still succeeded and managed to keep his girlfriend from dying. That's more than Cyclops and Wolverine can say.

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5.0
International Iron Man #1

Mar 17, 2016

More than anything else, International Iron Man #1 is a trailer for a much larger story involving Tony's heritage. While some trailers end up being better than the movies they tease, this one offers more promise than most. It's like the difference between the Deadpool trailer and the trailer for the last Fantastic Four movie: one promises great entertainment value, one promises to ignite outrage on message boards. International Iron Man is still building up its entertainment value, but it shouldn't ignite any message boards just yet.

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7.0
Invincible Iron Man (2015) #1

Oct 8, 2015

Even if Tony Stark does strike out in this issue, Invincible Iron Man #1 sets an intriguing tone for his character. His inherent vulnerabilities, coupled with his current situation, put him in a position where being savvy just isn't enough. No amount of smarts will build around the revelations surrounding his parents or the extent to which he's alienated his friends. He's still arrogant, but again, he's trying to avoid instances where his genius does more harm than good. Compared to the man who invented ski masks, he still has a long ways to go.

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7.0
Invincible Iron Man (2015) #7

Mar 3, 2016

At the very least, Tony Stark can say he has another beautiful woman helping him organize the growing list of vulnerabilities in his life and as Peter Parker can attest, this can be a very good thing. He just needs to stay away from Mephisto.

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6.0
IvX #0

Nov 30, 2016

In addition, characters not named Emma Frost do little to stand out. As a result, the impact of Inhumans vs. X-men #0 doesn't offer anything novel or groundbreaking—it just reinforces the inevitability and imbalance of a clash between the X-men and the Inhumans. One is poised to thrive. One is poised to die. One has Marvel's unconditional support in the form of movie rights. One remains stuck under the thumb of Rupert Murdoch. At this point, it a sentiment that need not be reinforced.

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6.0
IvX #1

Dec 15, 2016

Some flaws are inescapable. Whether or not these flaws will undermine the conflict remains to be seen. Lemire and Soule have an uphill battle ahead of them and they may only be able to go so far up that hill. At the end of the day, the conflict between the Inhumans and the X-men still comes off as uneven and petty. At the very least, it also means that Mark Millar's title as the last writer to craft a decent superhero clash is safe for now.

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4.0
IvX #3

Jan 26, 2017

The Inhumans still try to carry themselves as though they're the underdogs and have just taken a few devastating punches to the jaw. On the surface, and only on the surface, it works just enough to keep the sequence of events going. Dig just a little bit deeper, and the unpleasant truth is still there. The Inhumans are still trying to stop another species from saving itself. If the most they have to lose is not being able to create new Inhumans in a way that murders innocent mutants, then they can't be underdogs. Carrying themselves as such is just dishonest, misguided, and downright insipid.

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5.0
IvX #6

Mar 9, 2017

With respect to creating a meaningful superhero clash, Lemire and Soule just don't have the ingredients to make Inhumans vs. X-men as epic as others before it. The circumstances, drama, and character motivations just aren't there. They are still able to make the most of it. Some of the flaws are inescapable. Others are just ignored. In the end, the resolution just can't be as epic as it needs to be. No amount of psychic manipulation from Emma Frost can change that.

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9.0
Justice League #22

Jul 21, 2013

There are lots of appealing aspects about “Trinity War” and Justice League #22 demonstrates nearly all of them in a neatly contained package. The challenge now is to not overwhelm the readers with too many details and tie-ins, which DC has a nasty habit of doing. For now, at least, Trinity War is off to a promising start. Everything that has been unfolding in the DC universe is starting to come together and like the A-Team, there's a lot to love about a plan that comes together.

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8.0
Justice League #23

Sep 3, 2013

Justice League #23 doesn't just end an event. It forcibly injects humility into the DC Universe's most powerful heroes. It may lack substance in certain areas, but there's no denying its impact. In the end heroes and even demigods don't always win. In the saga of Trinity War, they defeated themselves and now they have to deal with the consequences.

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9.0
Justice League #41

Jun 15, 2015

Few spectacles outside Breaking Bad can say they accomplished what Justice League #41 accomplished. It succeeded in kick-starting the Darkseid War. Anyone who is a fan of big summer blockbusters or volatile stories with the flare of illegal fireworks is going to want to get some popcorn.

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7.0
Justice League #50

May 26, 2016

The pace and polish in Justice League #50 keep Darkseid Wars from broaching that iconic status. It's still a story that hits all the right notes, evokes the right drama, and balances the right themes. It just doesn't fit together in a cohesive, comprehensive manner in the end. It's a flavorful desert of sorts, being the Justice League story that caps off the New 52 era. It's not completely filling, but it's still very satisfying and previews the menu for DC Comics' next big feast with Rebirth.

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8.0
Justice League Dark #23

Aug 28, 2013

Justice League Dark #23 offers a painful lesson about what happens when corruption blinds otherwise good people. Even superheroes with all their power end up playing into the hands of a skilled manipulator. The scale of the conflict and the potential for it to get worse help this issue up the stakes in “Trinity War” to extreme levels. It also shows that while kryptonite is Superman's greatest weakness, corruption is the greatest weakness to every hero, no matter how powerful they are.

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8.0
Justice League of America (2013) #7

Aug 20, 2013

The mystery and the desperation of the three Justice Leagues were what made this issue compelling. The tension between each team is still there, but it wasn't quite as volatile as it was at the beginning of the story. This issue did fill in a few blanks. It just didn't do so in a way that felt coherent. It was like a dance routine where the song started skipping in the middle of the act. Never-the-less, Justice League of America #7 successfully maintains the momentum that Trinity War has established. The challenge is making sure it doesn't lead to anymore dead ends.

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7.0
Justice League of America (2015) #1

Jun 23, 2015

On the whole, Justice League of America #1 is like an extra large buffet at a fancy cocktail party. Not all the food in the buffet seems appealing, but there are enough tantalizing treats offered to justify a second helping. There are still too many missing connections to tie the plot together, but the secrets involved still hold plenty of intrigue. In an era where too many secrets can be shared in a tweet, that counts for a lot.

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5.0
Justice League: Darkseid War: Special #1

Apr 7, 2016

It doesn't fall flat on its face, but it doesn't break new ground, either. Grail is evil. Grail is her father's daughter. Her mother never stands a chance at helping her. It's a depressing message, but most stories that begin on Apokolips usually are.

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8.0
Justice League: Gods and Monsters #1

Aug 17, 2015

There are still points where the plot drags a bit, but it never feels choppy or boring. We get only a minor glimpse into this world of Justice League: Gods and Monsters, but in this glimpse, we see a world that has plenty to offer. For those who are tired of a world where Superman tells kids to eat their vegetables, this world will definitely appeal.

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7.0
Justice League: Gods and Monsters - Batman #1

Jul 28, 2015

The biggest challenge of Justice League Gods and Monsters: Batman #1 was making Kirk Langstrom a believable Batman. By the end of the story, he makes a case that would at the very least generate debate. While he does capture the main themes of Batman, the deficiencies in the way he operates are hard to work around. If he were a pro football team, he could qualify for the playoffs as a wild card. He's not championship caliber, but this story firmly establishes that he's a solid contender.

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9.0
Justice League: Gods and Monsters - Superman #1

Aug 4, 2015

The greatest accomplishment of Justice League Gods and Monsters: Superman #1 isn't just establishing Hernan Guerra as Superman. It's establishing the kind of Superman he is. His sister understood it best. The world can be a dark place and sometimes it takes someone who understands that darkness to do something about it. Hernan Guerra understands it in ways Clark Kent never will. Hernan has been subjected to poverty, racism, and Ann Coulter books. This means he might not be the Superman we all need, but he will be the Superman that we deserve.

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9.0
Justice League: Gods and Monsters - Wonder Woman #1

Aug 10, 2015

These differences put Bekka on a wholly unique path to being Wonder Woman, but it's a path that makes the story in Justice League Gods and Monsters: Wonder Woman #1 feel complete. Through this story, Bekka grows from a semi-blank slate to a woman worthy of being an icon. It's a personal story and one that isn't solely defined by her saving the world from evil hippies. At a time when female characters are just starting to be taken seriously, Bekka's story couldn't be more appropriate. She might not make it into Joss Whedon's next movie, but she proves she's more than worthy.

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5.0
Justice League: Rebirth #1

Jul 11, 2016

At the very least, Justice League Rebirth #1 offers a fairly concise story that re-establishes the Justice League as a complete team. Unfortunately, it does so in a way that feels shallow and forced, undermining any drama or upheaval that may have emerged otherwise. It's a missed opportunity in some respects, but it does move Justice League forward into the post-Rebirth status quo. It still comes at the cost of utterly undermining the death of Superman. Whether that cost is worth the results is debatable, but given the context of Rebirth, it's a lopsided debate at best.

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6.0
Kingpin (2017) #1

Feb 9, 2017

Kingpin #1 sets up plenty of intrigue and creates a great deal of long-term potential. Not much of that potential is realized, but there's enough there to make the story feel engaging. This is a story that doesn't try to fit into the mold of Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, or House of Cards. It tries to be its own story. Even if that story is centered around an unapologetic crime lord, it's still a story worth telling.

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9.0
Klaus #2

Dec 23, 2015

Add a little holiday music in the background with a little eggnog on the side and Klaus #2 hits all the right notes. It has all the right themes. It effectively mixes classic fairy tales with modern grit to create a fitting holiday treat, courtesy of Morrison. What he's done with Christmas mythology here should put him on Santa's “nice” list for years to come.

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9.0
Magneto (2014) #12

Nov 24, 2014

What Magneto #12 accomplishes has little bearing on the overall events of Avengers and X-men: AXIS. However, it helps enrich the concepts of this event in ways no amount of killer robots or Nazis could ever match. It details the actual sobering journey of villains who become heroes. And like a recovering alcoholic, it's a much harder journey to make. Nobody likes to admit they're wrong. But when someone does find the strength, it makes for a rare, beautiful moment that has only become increasingly precious in this era of message boards and Kardashians.

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8.0
Magneto (2014) #21

Aug 31, 2015

In the end, Magneto can't stop the final incursion. However, Magneto #21 details his struggle and puts it in just the right context. There's no ambiguity as to why Magneto is doing what he's doing. There's no final realization or change of heart either. To his dying breath, he's still Magneto and he still makes no apologies for anything he's done. He might not be the kind of guy anyone would hire to babysit their kids. However, Cullen Bunn's run on this series has proven that this is the kind of guy you want on your side.

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8.0
Marvel Legacy #1

Sep 28, 2017

While the Marvel universe seems to get redefined at least once a month, it's rare for a story to feel as large in scope as it's trying to be. Marvel Legacy #1 succeeds in conveying that feeling. From those disillusioned by Marvel's recent direction and enamored by its past, it offers something to latch onto. The fact it does all that without a time machine, clones, or magic spells makes it all the more astounding.

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8.0
Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers #1

Mar 10, 2016

While it might be updated, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1 does lack detail in certain areas and not just because there aren't any giant monsters that show up. There are a lot of new dynamics in this story that don't a chance to be fleshed out, but the potential is definitely there. For a generation of fans who may have outgrown their Power Rangers costumes, it's still more than enough to make this issue a satisfying start to a new era. It might mean getting that annoyingly catchy theme song stuck in your head again, but it's worth it.

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7.0
Monsters Unleashed #1

Jan 20, 2017

Monsters Unleashed #1 is not a story that's going to get anyone thinking too hard about real-world parallels or blurred lines between good and evil. It's not going to reinvent an entire genre, either. This story caters to the kid in everybody who plays with action figures, imagines giant monsters attacking big cities, and comes up with over-the-top battles full of fiery explosions and crumbling buildings. Anyone's inner child, especially those that pestered their parents for action figures every Christmas, will be thrilled with this story.

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8.0
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1

Dec 1, 2015

Even if the story lacks refinement, it still feels complete in the end. Lunella Lafayette is established as a character. We understand who she is and what her motivations are. It also established how Devil Dinosaur ended up in Manhattan. It won't be mistaken for a Michael Crichton book, but it does put all the necessary pieces in place in a coherent manner. When those pieces include a dinosaur and a cute black girl from the Lower East Side, that in and of itself is an accomplishment.

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9.0
Ms. Marvel (2014) #4

Jun 9, 2014

The journey of Kamala Khan becoming Ms. Marvel takes another important step in Ms. Marvel #4. She goes from just struggling to understand what she's becoming to actually forging a superhero identity. She still has a long ways to go. Being Rookie of the Year doesn't immediately make an athlete into a Hall of Famer, but it's a good start. Fighting killer robots is basically Superheroing 101 and for now, Kamala Khan has more than earned a passing grade. It remains to be seen whether she'll be able to handle the advanced courses, but she has already created a sizable fanbase that will be rooting for her.

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9.0
Ms. Marvel (2014) #8

Sep 15, 2014

Ms. Marvel #8 is yet another step in the process of Kamala Khan becoming a superhero. She's had her first major battles. She's fought her first killer robot. She's had her first team-up with Wolverine. She's dealt with complicated family issues. Now she has to learn to deal with the larger complications that come along with being a superhero. And this is all in addition to having a new pet in Lockjaw. She's had to deal with a lot in such a brief span, but the manner in which she deals with it is part of what makes her so much fun.

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9.0
Ms. Marvel (2014) #14

Apr 22, 2015

It really shouldn't be surprising, a handsome new guy turning out to be another caricature from a Revenge of the Nerds movie. But it still has an emotional impact because Kamala Khan is just so easy to root for. Seeing this promising love interest blow up in her face has more of an impact than watching her fight killer robots or giant crocodiles. The impact of Ms. Marvel #14 is a testament to just how much we've come to care about Kamala Khan. Like so many other teenage girls, she learned the hard way that cute boys will take advantage of them if they let their hormones overshadow their judgment. It's a lesson she'll probably learn more than once, but one that'll make her stronger and more lovable in the long run.

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7.0
Ms. Marvel (2015) #8

Jun 24, 2016

That impact and the undertones surrounding it remain the greatest strength of Ms. Marvel #8. It takes the larger conflict created in Civil War II and personalizes it. Like a bad movie teaser, it does somewhat spoil the outcome. Ms. Marvel is setting herself up for disappointment and heartbreak. All that idolizing and admiration for Captain Marvel is going to take a crippling gut punch. That punch is going to hurt, but it's worth enduring for certain characters. Kamala Khan is one of them.

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7.0
Ms. Marvel (2015) #12

Nov 1, 2016

The primary theme of the issue still works. The underlying message is both clear and relevant. Kamala Khan is in a state of transition. Like many struggling teenagers who don't understand or even want to understand the complexities of the real world, she struggles to find her place in it. She's still torn and conflicted, but Ms. Marvel #12 establishes that she's still a hero. More than anything else, she'll continue to strive to be a hero. With her idol having failed her, she's going to be that hero on her terms, and it's hard not to cheer her on.

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5.0
Ms. Marvel (2015) #17

Apr 21, 2017

That's the most Ms. Marvel #17 accomplishes. It's different. It's relevant. It's a story with problems that can't be solved with punching, smashing, or one of Tony Stark's fancy gizmos. Even if that's all it accomplishes, it still ensures that Ms. Marvel will resonate with a new generation that fears more than just killer robots.

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9.0
Old Man Logan #1

Jun 1, 2015

This is a version of Wolverine that has been missed since before he was killed off in the mainline comics. In many respects, Old Man Logan #1 establishes that Wolverine needs to be a little jaded and cantankerous to be the best he is at what he does. He doesn't need Sabretooth tormenting him. He doesn't need Cyclops busting his chops. He just needs to know that something isn't right and while stabbing it might not solve the problem, it certainly makes for a fun, overtly visceral story.

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7.0
Original Sin #0

Apr 29, 2014

That's the daunting question that readers are left to ask at the end of Original Sin #0. While the details tended to drag and were sometimes obscured by Nova's immaturity, the emotional stakes are definitely raised by this story. It may not be necessary in the overall Original Sin event, but it gives a great deal of emotional weight to the story. It's like adding chocolate sauce to a hot fudge sundae. It may get lost in the mix, but it still improves the overall product.

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8.0
Original Sin: Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm #1

Jul 16, 2014

Even if this tie-in is only minimally concise with Original Sin as a whole, it certainly delivers the impact that was intended for this event. Aside from a few distractions, the events of Original Sin: Thor and Loki #1 send Thor and Loki on a path to directly confront these dark secret that have been suppressed for so long. What makes these secrets all the more remarkable is that they're presented in a way that give no indication that Marvel only recently acquired the rights to Angela. It's a seamless dark revelation, if ever there was one. Most revelations from powerful authorities aren't nearly this smooth, which is only a further testament to how secrets at any level can have an impact.

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7.0
Red Wolf #1

Dec 3, 2015

It's still only a moderately engaging story, but it has the potential to succeed in ways not seen since Back to the Future III. Red Wolf just has to make sure he doesn't hook up with any of his descendants.

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9.0
Saga #38

Sep 29, 2016

If the true success of any space opera is its ability to inject heart into exotic sci-fi settings, then Saga is already wildly successful. It makes it so easy to develop an attachment and fondness for each character. Saga #38 further supplements these elements by making it feel personal. It may not be personal enough to inspire sequels, prequels, and its own rides at Disney World, but it's well on its way.

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7.0
Savage Wolverine #6

Jun 16, 2013

The setup of this issue is compelling. The characterization for Wolverine and Elektra is spot on. But the details are what's lacking. And an entire page was wasted on Spider-Man. Moreover, there's still no romantic overtone between Wolverine and Elektra. While he refers to her as a “kindred spirit” that understands what it's like to be a killer, he's just fighting alongside her without without even the suggestion of romance getting in the way. It's a refreshing take on Wolverine that shies away from clichés and as much as it does misogyny.

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7.0
Scarlet Witch #1

Dec 10, 2015

Wanda Maximoff now has something to contribute to the Marvel Universe. She has a unique set of skills to take on a unique set of challenges. In a world that's populated with clones, robots, and aliens, she can forge her own path and not go crazy in the process. Anyone who has ever had to work retail during the holidays can respect that.

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8.0
Secret Empire #1

May 4, 2017

Spencer and McNiven take a huge risk in Secret Empire #1, daring to make a conflict that involves fascists feel balanced. While that balance is somewhat fragile, it still works. It creates a story that feels compelling and dramatic. It won't make anyone pro-fascist, but it will offer plenty of intrigue.

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7.0
Secret Empire #7

Jul 27, 2017

While certain moments struggle to create an impact, the overall story of Secret Empire remains on track. Like a slow-building firestorm, it's finally getting noticeably hot and the artwork of Leinil Francis Yu ensures it's a spectacle to behold. With only a few issues left, Hydra is facing many headaches and for an army that claims to have so many heads, that's saying something.

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7.0
Secret Empire #10

Aug 31, 2017

The overall structure of the story still works with respect to showing the rise and fall of Hydra's empire. Secret Empire #10 even helps streamline some of the confusing, disjointed elements that are scattered throughout the previous nine issues. However, the manner in which it ends, the feelings surrounding it, and the prospect of moving forward from such a reality-shattering event are still mixed.

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9.0
Secret Empire: United #1

Jun 15, 2017

By nearly every measure, Secret Empire United #1 exceeds the expectations usually associated with tie-in issues. It's not simply a shameless plug for a larger story that creates one too many holes. It tells the kind of story that offers just the right kind of impact for a specific kind of story. It's essentially a targeted narrative, one that hits its mark in all the right ways. That, in the grand scheme of things, is still worth enduring more angry political rants.

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9.0
Secret Wars #9

Jan 20, 2016

Not every tie-in was satisfying. Not every character got a chance to shine. But the core narrative that culminated in Secret Wars #9 made it feel as though every character and sub-plot got a chance to contribute. Every moment carried some level of the dramatic weight. In the end, it made Secret Wars feel less like another event comic and more like a catalyst for the next stage of the Marvel mythos. Secret Wars #9 may have made readers feel better about forking over more of their hard-earned money to the Marvel enterprise.

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7.0
Silk #1

Feb 23, 2015

Cindy Moon is definitely one of those characters who could have her own legion of cos-players at some point. She hasn't achieved that status just yet, but she's on her way to earning it. If she can tolerate working for J. Jonah Jameson, then she's capable of standing with the rest of Marvel's growing pantheon of powerful female heroes.

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8.0
Sinestro #1

Apr 28, 2014

Sinestro #1 began with Sinestro being an exiled tyrant and former Yellow Lantern. Sinestro #1 ends with him taking up that mantle again and confronting the harsh circumstances that he helped incur. But he does not apologize for anything he's done. He doesn't seek redemption and he doesn't try to change his ways. He's just back on the same journey he has always been and it's a journey that can't be found anywhere else in the DC Universe. It's still may be jarring to some, rooting for someone like Sinestro. But like a burned out punk rock star, he still has undeniable appeal.

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8.0
Spider-Gwen #1

Mar 3, 2015

There was a lot to love about Gwen Stacy before she ever got spider-powers. Spider-Gwen #1 reveals a world has a very different Gwen Stacy, but she still has all the same characteristics that make her so lovable. She's still that sweet girl next door that boys are afraid to talk to since her father is a cop. She just happens to have spider-powers in this world and she's had the same rotten luck as Peter Parker in terms of using them responsibility. But considering how she ended up dead in Peter's world, it still counts as an upgrade.

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7.0
Spider-Man & The X-Men #1

Dec 16, 2014

There are a lot of strengths to build on with this narrative. Spider-Man and the X-men #1 establishes an awkward set of circumstances, but in a wonderfully entertaining way. It just goes off-track before it can develop into something truly cohesive. It still has the potential to become a more polished product that blends all these themes. It just needs to find a better way to do so without resorting to killer dinosaurs.

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7.0
Spider-Man (2016) #1

Feb 4, 2016

Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli follow the necessary formula to make Miles Morales feel like Spider-Man, but the finished product feels incomplete. It lacks the kinds of flaws that would make that formula volatile. There's never a sense in Spider-Man #1 that Miles Morales is ready to make a deal with Mephisto. Miles is still a long way from Peter Parker in terms of iconic status and movie appearances, but with this issue, at least, he takes another important step.

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9.0
Star Wars (2014) #1

Jan 22, 2015

While it has been decades since Marvel has published a Star Wars comic, Star Wars #1 doesn't miss a beat. It's the most seamless continuation of A New Hope anyone Star Wars fan could ask for without Harrison Ford and Mark Hamil acting it out in front of them. The Force is undeniably strong with Marvel at the moment, given its success with movies and comic book market share. And epic narrative of Star Wars that has become so iconic can only benefit from this success.

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6.0
Star Wars (2014) #33

Jul 10, 2017

Star Wars #33 will give them a greater appreciation for who they are as characters. Anyone hoping for more than that, though, is asking too much of the Force.

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7.0
Star Wars: Darth Vader #1

Feb 16, 2015

This story is deeper than Darth Vader being ruthless and that's one of its greatest strengths. However, the overall narrative has a few holes in it and won't put anybody on the edge of their seat. It still puts Darth Vader front and center in a story that explores his character in a way the prequels failed to do. And if it can do this without Gungans and pod racers, then it's definitely a story worth telling.

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9.0
Star Wars: Darth Vader #11

Oct 26, 2015

Darth Vader #11 acts as a culmination of sorts where Darth Vader's agenda finally clashes with that of the Emperor. It's a clash that's not quite on the level as the Battle of Hoth or the Battle of Endor. No planets blow up and nobody gets a hand chopped off. But it has all the necessary details. It conveys a refined, concise narrative that fits perfectly into the existing Star Wars mythos. And most importantly, it does this without gungans or Trade Federations.

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9.0
Star Wars: Darth Vader #25

Oct 13, 2016

Gillen didn't set out to remake or redefine Darth Vader with this series. More than anything else, he works to reinforce the devious, villainous part of the character that the prequels tried too hard to circumvent. There's still an internal struggle here that will manifest in the final minutes of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, but the tone of the narrative in Darth Vader #25 is clear. This narrative embraces the dark side and the results are impressive. Most impressive.

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8.0
Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #9

Jul 13, 2017

That doesn't prevent Dr. Aphra's character from being any less endearing. She's still someone that's easy to root for. At the same time, she's also someone that can slip up and not upset too many people. Gillen's development of her character continues to be strong and Andrea Broccardo's art adds visual appeal with that distinct Star Wars style. Dr. Aphra may not care much for the Force since it can't pay her debts, but she doesn't even need it to be a great character. Debts or not, the galaxy is inherently richer because of her presence.

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7.0
Star Wars: Princess Leia #1

Mar 9, 2015

The themes in Princess Leia #1 fit nicely into the overall mythos of Star Wars in that it explores Leia's role in wake of the loss of Alderan. It's a critical time where she's in a position to make plenty of fateful decisions. The effects of these decisions eventually play out in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, but they now have a greater context in terms of the journey that got her to these fateful moments. That journey is still unfolding and at a somewhat sluggish pace. But the fruits of that journey have been known since the mid-80s. Knowing the context of that journey just helps make those fruits taste even sweeter.

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6.0
Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1

Sep 10, 2015

This comic still offers a great deal of potential. Shara comes off as likable and compelling. The potential for battles against lingering Imperial forces also offers plenty of intrigue, but it fails to generate the kind of excitement that'll start trending on Twitter. However, it does have a level of refinement that makes it a worthy supplement to Return of the Jedi. Princess Leia's bikini will still be the most memorable part of that story, but every little detail helps.

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10
Star Wars: Vader Down #1

Nov 19, 2015

There are times when you'll feel inclined to root for the rebels. There are times when you'll feel inclined to root for Darth Vader. But it never feels conflicted or forced. This isn't a matter of rooting for Jason Vorhees or against a virgin teenage girl. This is just a different kind of epic Star Wars battle. It might not involve a Death Star, but it feels every bit as epic and won't be decided by some obscure design flaw.

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7.0
Starfire #4

Sep 16, 2015

Starfire is still a sexual person by nature, as shown in her love of bikinis and casual nudity. But now those sexual traits are in the context of a character who is open, emotional, and affectionate to everyone around her. She's like a movie that is only bad if the wrong scenes are emphasized. But when the right scenes are given proper focus, it makes for an entertaining and compelling narrative. Starfire #4 is proof that a female character can be sexual, feminine, and likable while still beating up monsters on the side. She's not going to become a feminist icon anytime soon, but she's already proven that she doesn't need to be in order to be special.

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8.0
Starfire #12

May 17, 2016

After Starfire #12, Conner and Palmiotti can now boldly claim that they rebuilt Starfire's character. They made her lovable beyond her innate sex appeal. It's a remarkable accomplishment in the grand scheme of superhero characters. When a female character can be both lovable and sexy, everybody wins.

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9.0
Storm #1

Jul 28, 2014

Storm has so many qualities, both as a person and as a hero, that make her worthy of worship. Storm #1 serves as a simple, concise story that illuminates these qualities in all the right ways. It provides insight into Storm perceives herself and how she is perceived by others. It effectively conveys all the qualities that make her such a great X-man and a great hero in general. It is a testament to a goddess that doesn't need temples, worship, prayers, or sacrifice. Her own actions speak to her divine nature and this issue delivered her message loud and clear.

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10
Storm #11

May 20, 2015

It is the best possible conclusion for a series. Storm #11 effectively links all the elements that have been explored throughout this series into one, concise narrative that acts as a love letter to Storm fans of every era. She is the last remaining anchor in the world of X-men that champions their ideals. She has the kind of spirit and heart that the Inhumans will never be able to match, although they'll certainly try. There are so many traits that make Storm the ultimate X-man. It's impossible for any issue or series to cover them all, but this one made a truly worthy effort.

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7.0
Supergirl (2016) #1

Sep 8, 2016

This doesn't take away from the major accomplishments of this story, however. The biggest challenge of any character bearing the emblem of Superman is crafting a story that isn't solely defined by Superman. Like Dick Grayson, Kara Zor-El may never be able to escape her cousin's shadow, but Supergirl #1 shows that she can still follow her own unique journey.

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9.0
Superior Iron Man #1

Nov 18, 2014

In the end, what makes Iron Man so superior in Superior Iron Man #1 has nothing to do with how he conducts himself as a hero. He's still doing heroic deeds in protecting people from gamma-powered threats. He's also being a good businessman, giving people a product he knows they want and charging for it in ways that would make Ayan Rand blush. It's a superiority that's built on a mix of cunning and ambition. He's not just content with saving the day. He wants to make the days that come more enjoyable for the people he saves. He's just not going to do it for free anymore. Like anyone who ever bought a cheap cell phone, Tony Stark understands that superiority in any form comes at a price.

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5.0
Superior Iron Man #8

May 7, 2015

It's not a poor narrative in and of itself, but Superior Iron Man #8 does sacrifice some of the complexity and novelty that made it such an intriguing concept. If this were a game of dodge ball, everyone would be ganging up on Tony right about now. He didn't just lose his credibility as a savvy yet morally ambiguous visionary. He threw it away, spit on it, and stepped on it. Now he may still have a plan that's worth following that doesn't involve human shields. But like Peter Parker trying to be a marriage counselor, Tony now has little credibility left to work with.

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6.0
Superman (2011) #36

Dec 2, 2014

There are still aspects to Ulysses' plan that haven't been revealed, but his quick reversion to a proto-Zod takes away from what was such a compelling concept. Superman #36 put Superman in an uncomfortable position where he had to confront some uncomfortable truths about his principles. Then, like a kid getting a snow day before mid-terms, he ends up not having to confront anything. It turns into just another struggle against a Superman wannabe gone bad. Ulysses' offer is still a viable concept, but now somebody else will have to steal it to see if it could work.

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9.0
Superman (2011) #40

May 13, 2015

Superman #40 is an entertaining, condensed narrative that tells and important story. Some parts of that story are rushed, but the important parts are not glossed over. Superman learns more about his new power. He also learns more about human experiences, from the pleasant taste of a cold beer to the unmitigated agony that too many beers can incur. But he still finds time to be Superman. It's a perfect summation of what makes him an icon among icons. Only now, he's not just an icon that can inspire others to be better. He's an icon they can share a cold beer with and that just makes him all the more heroic.

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6.0
Superman (2011) #41

Jun 30, 2015

Future issues may help fill in the gaps and make those connections. On its own, however, Superman #41 feels less like a blockbuster movie and more like a teaser trailer. And in this age of cat videos and internet celebrities, that's simply no longer sufficient.

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6.0
Superman (2011) #43

Sep 4, 2015

There is still merit to the story in Superman #43 in that it makes an effort to establish an impact. It effectively asserts that even in a world where Superman and Lois Lane are not Shakespearean star-crossed lovers, there is still a powerful connection between these two. It's a connection that is now heavily damaged, but not completely shattered. However, it's probably going to be a while before Superman trusts Lois with anything other than his shoe size.

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2.0
Superman (2011) #52

Jun 7, 2016

Superman #52 fails at almost every level to make the end of Superman's story in the this comic feel meaningful. At best, it's rushed and hollow. At worst, it's outright forced by shoving one version of a character aside to make way for another that is almost exactly the same. The circumstances, context, and timing for this narrative can't be worse. Superman is being killed off in multiple mediums, so much so that the shock value just isn't there anymore. By failing to add substance to this story, it feels like a waste.

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4.0
Superman (2011): Futures End #1

Sep 30, 2014

Superman: Futures End #1 had unique set of circumstances. The concept of carrying on Superman's legacy has plenty of potential for drama, but little is realized here. It answers few questions and falls flat in critical areas. However, it does show that Billy Batson is capable of being a mature hero. Regardless of the circumstances, Superman was able to inspire him to be that hero and inspiring others will always be Superman's greatest power.

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8.0
Superman Unchained #6

Apr 8, 2014

At the same time, however, this clash of philosophies feels incomplete. Wraith gave his reasons for doing what he does. Now Superman has given his. But neither one of them really confronts the flaws in their approach. They both come off as stubborn. They choose to resort to mindless fighting as if that ever won an argument outside a boxing ring. That takes away from the larger conflict that has linked all the physical struggles that have manifested throughout Superman Unchained. But by the end of Superman Unchained #6, both sides show that they're as cunning as they are stubborn so this philosophical divide might not be over. It's a divide that can't be resolved by resorting to Kryptonite, but for now it seems to be the favored approach.

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9.0
Superman Unchained #9

Nov 12, 2014

The culmination of so many diverse elements make Superman Unchained #9 as satisfying a conclusion as anyone could hope for without enduring more delays. It makes all the right personal and emotional connections without getting too melodramatic. It's only real shortcoming is that the aftermath of this beautifully crafted conclusion is somewhat lacking. We don't get to see how Lex Luthor or General Lane react to Superman's thorough rebuke of their criticism. We're just left to assume they're all banging their heads against the wall in frustration. It might not be the most poetic ending, but it will still feel as sweet and satisfying as any piece of chocolate.

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7.0
Superman/Wonder Woman #3

Jan 6, 2014

In many ways Superman/Wonder Woman #3 sets up the next set of challenges for Superman and Wonder Woman. However, it doesn't do so in a way that flows evenly. It's like a garden hose with a few holes in it. But this issue succeeded in establishing the dynamics between Superman and Wonder Woman. This is not like their respective relationships with Lois Lane and Steve Trevor. This is a relationship that is maturing. It's not an ideal romance and would probably make a boring romantic comedy. However, that's exactly why it's so compelling and why the relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman has the kind of depth that makes it stronger than any relationship that doesn't involve vampires.

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8.0
Superman/Wonder Woman #19

Jul 20, 2015

That mutual trust and shared struggle is what makes Superman/Wonder Woman #19 feel like another important step in the development of this relationship. They've shared major battles together. They've shared the frustrations of being on the same team as Batman together. Now, they're sharing each other's personal struggles and even when one of them is weak, it still feels like a relationship among equals. That sort of thing is difficult to find in an era of radical feminism, men's rights activists, and Kardashian marriages. But that's exactly what makes it so meaningful.

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7.0
Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #1

Aug 12, 2014

That overall conflict is still unresolved. Superman is still infected by Doomsday and the invasion by Brainiac is not over. Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #1 succeeded in expanding the scope and scale of this conflict, but did little to expand upon the personal drama. It had the feel of a Superman comic more than a Superman/Wonder Woman comic. There was plenty of room for melodramatic substance, but that room was taken up by theatrical style. Overall, it helped move the Superman: Doomed narrative forward in a meaningful way, but with less emotional weight than previous entries. This is still a conflict that's going to require more than a few date nights and flower bouquets to work through, but it's not going to require extensive couple's therapy just yet.

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6.0
Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #2

Jan 4, 2016

Every relationship faces conflicts and obstacles. The Superman/Wonder Woman relationship is no different. But in the same way comics rely too often on Nazis and evil scientists, they rely too much on forcing dysfunction within a relationship to make it interesting. Superman and Wonder Woman don't have to be on the verge of breaking up or making up to be meaningful. The emotions between them just have to be sincere. With the exception of sociopaths and poorly moderated message boards, these emotions appeal to everybody.

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6.0
Superman: Doomed #1

May 20, 2014

Flawed concept or not, the execution of the story is still solid and the conflict it creates is set to expand into every Superman title. The connections to this story are still not in place, but the scale of the conflict has been effectively set. Superman Doomed #1 manages to set itself apart from a typical Superman-battles-a-killer-monster narrative. It creates a conflict that is both daunting and personal for Superman and one that will rely as heavily on his supporting cast as it will on his strength. While the concept may be akin to a very simple tool with a singular use, this doesn't make that tool any less effective.

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4.0
Superwoman #2

Sep 15, 2016

The heart and soul of what makes a Superman comic what it is just isn't here. It didn't necessarily die with post-Flashpoint Lois Lane, but there isn't much effort to salvage those elements, either. Lana Lang may still develop into a viable Superwoman. She just has a lot of forces working against her and even the strength of Superman may not be enough to overcome them.

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6.0
Thanos (2016) #1

Nov 18, 2016

Lemire gets all the fundamentals right in Now Thanos #1. He also succeeds in creating novelty and nuance, but only to the extent that he sets it up. There's not much else to give Thanos or his supporting cast any depth to his story. Thanos is still a long, long way from being on the same level as Victor Von Doom, Lex Luthor, or even Walter White in terms of character development. At the very least, this is a good first step and even for a mad titan, that's the most important step he can take.

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8.0
The Mighty Captain Marvel #0

Dec 23, 2016

In many respects, this comic acts as an epilogue for Civil War II. Carol Danvers is such an ambitious character, wanting to do more than just tie up villains and drop them off in front of police stations. That ambition shows in both her ability to punch things and her desire to ensure the danger doesn't punch back. It sets her apart from many heroes and Brie Larson would be wise to reference The Mighty Captain Marvel #0 in preparing for this role.

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8.0
The Mighty Thor (2015) #700

Oct 19, 2017

It may not have the loud explosions, coupled with heavy metal music, but The Mighty Thor #700 is plenty appealing in all the right ways. Worthiness may still be a hopelessly esoteric concept that fans will be arguing over on message boards for another 700 issues, but this one proves its worth, as only a Thor comic can.

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8.0
The Unworthy Thor #1

Nov 7, 2016

Overall, The Unworthy Thor #1 creates a narrative that has the right impact. It gives us a former God of Thunder who has to fight harder and cope with being weaker than he's ever been before. It brings out some of his less noble traits, but he still carries himself like a warrior. He gets a chance to become more worthy and he jumps at that chance, if only to ensure he doesn't have to bite his enemies anymore.

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7.0
Thor (2014) #1

Oct 7, 2014

That's not to say the impact isn't meaningful. The mystery-woman says it herself. The world needs a Thor. It doesn't matter if a man or woman has that title. A hammer doesn't care which body parts its wielder has, only that it can hit the nails at the right angle. That takes away from the whole novelty of Thor now being a woman, but it doesn't take away from the more tragic themes explored in this book. Thor struggling with his unworthiness helps make the story in Thor #1 compelling. The new woman who becomes Thor might as well be an afterthought. It might not make this story completely unworthy. But like grading a test on a curve, it still skews the concept as a whole.

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9.0
Uber: Invasion #1

Dec 8, 2016

In the end, Uber Invasion #1 is a different kind of alternative history. It's a different kind of World War II story. It's different for all the right reasons and those reasons manifest in all the right ways. This is not a story that anyone, be they Nazi or American, would dare use as war propaganda. In many respects, though, that makes the impact all the more profound.

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3.0
Ultimate End #5

Dec 21, 2015

The ultimate tragedy of Ultimate End #5 is that it set goals that it had no chance of achieving. Like Homer Simpson attempting brain surgery, it was destined to get messy. It tried to encompass everything that once made Ultimate Marvel so appealing. It could only ever remind readers that this appeal ended years ago. Marvel just finally got around to making it official.

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6.0
Uncanny Avengers #14

Jan 7, 2014

The strength of any story that involves death is the ability to have an emotional impact. With the Scarlett Witch and Wonder Man, there was definitely an impact. With Rogue, the only emotion that could possibly be evoked is frustration. Many events in the past have failed because characters were callously killed off for the sake of shocking and upsetting people. And unlike recent issues of Uncanny Avengers, the narrative isn't as well-organized or concise. It was as if this issue was made solely to create the circumstances necessary for a death theme. In an era where death is a revolving door, that shock is now more of an annoyance. Uncanny Avengers #14 attempts to maximize the impact of death in this convoluted era of comics. However, it only partially succeeds.

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9.0
Uncanny Avengers #21

Jul 15, 2014

All too often, overly complicated stories have mixed results. Like trying to scramble an egg with a pin, the finished product rarely justifies the complexity of the methods involved in making it. But Uncanny Avengers #21, for all its complications, has incredibly satisfying results. The epic struggle, the personal drama, and the sheer scale of the narrative come together in such a powerful manner that it's more than worth the confusion. It might have been nothing more than an elaborate stage play for Kang, but it still put on a hell of a show.

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5.0
Uncanny Avengers #22

Aug 4, 2014

That's not to say that there weren't meaningful moments. The concept and themes of this final battle were all present. They just lacked refinement and organization. There were some character moments, but they were painfully few and exceedingly underwhelming. Uncanny Avengers #22 had so much to work with. Too much was overlooked and too little was developed. While it didn't throw everything away, it didn't do nearly enough to make for a satisfying conclusion to the conflict.

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6.0
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 2 #1

Feb 2, 2015

There are plenty of compelling elements in Uncanny Avengers #1, even for those not happy about the retcon of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch's heritage. However, it does little to make it feel as though that retcon was worth doing. It's still too early to say whether it'll be a failure on the level of the Clone Saga. It's got a long ways to go before it gets to that point. In the end, some will never be satisfied. But like internet trolls or boy bands, this is an audience that is best ignored for the sake of the story.

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5.0
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 2 #5

Jul 7, 2015

As a whole, Uncanny Avengers #5 gives the overall arc the bare minimum it needs to feel complete. If it were a term paper in college, it would get a C-minus at best. It addresses the primary issues, but offers little else. Anyone looking for added value should stick to the dollar menu at the McDonald's. Anyone looking for additional development into the struggles of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch will get exactly what they pay for.

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7.0
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #8

Jul 15, 2013

Going back to what I said about steak, I would say that each issue tastes good and can be easily digested. It's still not the perfect steak, but it certainly has the potential to be one if stories like the Limbo arc are avoided in the future.

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6.0
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #12

Oct 1, 2013

Uncanny X-men #12 effectively succeeds in escalating the conflict in “Battle of the Atom” while ensuring it continues to resonate. There are times when the details of the story lack cohesion or seem underdeveloped, but it sustains the emotional momentum that the first issue established. The events of this issue create a genuine sense that this event will have a far-reaching impact and for the X-men's 50th anniversary event, it couldn't be more appropriate.

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6.0
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #13

Oct 30, 2013

There may still be certain consequences to the original X-men staying in the present, but it isn't made clear yet. It only makes clear that the efforts of the phony X-men were almost entirely for nothing. It doesn't cheapen the overall story told in Uncanny X-men #13, but it does make the conflicts surrounding it seem more complicated and less meaningful. With only two issues left, there is still time to make this paradox less contrived. It would be an unfitting celebration of 50 years of history with the X-men to treat it only as an obstacle.

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8.0
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #14

Dec 10, 2013

There are many lessons to be learned from Uncanny X-men #14. The most important lesson to the underlying theme of the series is that Cyclops and Emma Frost know how to get the most out of their students. In addition, Emma Frost is still a hell of a teacher and one who finds a way to look good in doing everything she does. She may not be the best role model for someone like Benjamin Deeds, but she imparted on him the kinds of skills that will make him a successful X-man. And for a teenage boy with major self-esteem issues, it's the kind of lesson that he won't forget.

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8.0
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #16

Jan 28, 2014

It is by far the most powerful Magneto story since House of M. Uncanny X-men #16 effectively sets Magneto on a new path that diverges from Cyclops, Wolverine, Mystique, and pretty much everyone else claiming to have a vision for the mutant race. It's like he is Gordon Ramsey watching a bunch of amateur chefs repeatedly ruin the same dish and now he's ready to get into the kitchen himself so he can do it his way. It's a very satisfying transformation and one that feels natural, adhering to the core of Magneto's persona. It may be jarring for those who are used to seeing Magneto as a hero, but it's as refreshing as a cold beer on a hot summer day for fans longing to see Magneto as the villain he is at heart.

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9.0
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #22

Jul 7, 2014

There are so many satisfying components to Uncanny X-men #22. From its theme to its concise narrative, it realizes so much of the potential that seemed lost for a time. The overall disorganization of the series still shows. There are a number of instances where it feels like certain elements felt cut and pasted, disrupting the rhythm of the story. But the end result was nothing short of uncanny, if that's not too fitting a word. It exposed a level of organizational ineptitude without getting overly political and in this day and age, that's an accomplishment in and of itself.

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7.0
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #32

Mar 31, 2015

It's a meaningful, relevant story. However, it's poorly organized in the sense that it doesn't transition smoothly from one moment to another and it glosses over a few details. It also isn't going to qualify for a pay-per-view event in terms of action. This story is all about personal drama and while some of it is overdue, most of it still feels meaningful.

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5.0
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #600

Nov 5, 2015

While certain moments feel fitting and appropriate, they are like bits of bacon on to of a pile of under-cooked beans. They are not enough to make Uncanny X-Men #600 feel like a complete, concise story. It still feels too rushed and too contrived. If this were a real trial, it would be a mistrial or a bad episode of Judge Judy. For a milestone issue like this, some thing just cannot and should not be rushed.

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7.0
Uncanny X-Men (2016) #1

Jan 8, 2016

Like the plot of a typical episode of CSI, the big picture is there, along with the violence and car crashes. It's the finer details that are lacking. Like the other X-men comics, Uncanny X-men #1 has to build a story on a shaky foundation. So many of these finer details transpire off-panel and it's difficult to make the story feel refined. Still, Cullen Bunn makes the most of the hand that he's been dealt. It isn't much, but it's enough to discourage anyone from inviting him to a poker tournament.

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6.0
Uncanny X-Men (2016) #10

Jul 21, 2016

In many respects, the theme of Apocalypse Wars is a fitting metaphor of sorts for the X-men and mutants in general, ongoing sterilization plots notwithstanding. It's easy to accept apocalyptic doom and gloom when that sort of thing seems to happen every other week, but it's possible to reconnect with a less dire outlook. It won't make a second round of sterility feel less apocalyptic, but it will rally the likes of Magneto, Mystique, and Sabretooth on a cohesive team. In facing any apocalypse, it's hard to imagine a team more equipped.

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5.0
Weapons of Mutant Destruction #1

Jun 22, 2017

There's something to be said about a story that's so familiar that nothing short of clowns and Cosmic Cubes can make it feel novel. The concept of living weapons in the Marvel Universe will make anyone who has ever had to clean up blood stains roll their eyes. It can still make for a fun story though. Like a cold beer for Wolverine, it's a familiar and comforting experience. There will always be a place for stories like that in Marvel.

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4.0
Witchblade #172

Feb 11, 2014

That's not to say Witchblade #172 didn't strike a number of chords. It was able to put Sara Pezzini in some grim circumstances. The concept of her wanting to give up the Witchblade and build a different life has been done before, but these circumstances felt raw and unique. They just didn't have the emotional weight to make those circumstances compelling. Witchblade #172 still promises to start another chapter in Sara Pezzini's life, which also involves a new conflict with the Angelus. It would just help if that conflict had some emotional ramifications so that it felt more dire than a trip to the dentist.

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5.0
Wolverine (2014) #1

Feb 18, 2014

The story still presents a new and unique situation for Wolverine. The concept of him having to find new ways to be the best at what he does still works and it plays out in a variety of ways in Wolverine #1. It just doesn't come together in a compelling narrative. At the most, it sets the stage for the kind of Wolverine he'll have to be moving forward. He's still one of the most compelling characters in the history of comics. But giving him a gun is like giving him two different brands of beer. They look different, but in the end they have the same effect.

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3.0
Wolverine (2014) #12

Sep 2, 2014

The potential was definitely there for Wolverine #12. The setting and the emotions were all in place. But it all went to waste. It wasn't mishandled or destroyed either. It was just flat out ignored. It's like lottery winner spending millions of dollars on their dream home and opting to live in the dog house. There was no emotional weight to the struggle and little impact from its aftermath. This was set up as the most important chapter of the Wolverine/Sabretooth rivalry to date. In the end it barely qualified as a footnote.

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8.0
Wolverine (2014) Annual #1

Aug 27, 2014

It still makes for a strong story built around quality character moments and a different kind of conflict. For once, Wolverine got involved in a fight that was based entirely on an honest mistakes. Honesty might not even be appropriate in this instance, given the absurd circumstances of his life. Wolverine Annual #1 helped highlight the nature of these circumstances while also showing how vulnerable Wolverine is when he tries to deal with them without his healing factor. It'll make his bucket list much harder to complete, but it also makes for a more meaningful journey and a more eventful camping trip.

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9.0
Wolverine and the X-Men #31

Jun 18, 2013

And that's what makes this issue so enjoyable. It's conveyed in a fun, light-hearted tone despite the very serious overtones of the story. And as crazy as the concepts are, it does actually form a coherent plot. There's a lot of entertainment value for a comic that involves a school bent on creating evil mutants and it's not just because Mystique is in a sexy teacher's outfit. This issue is the first of the five-part “Hellfire Saga” and based on what it established, it's shaping up to be a hell of a saga so to speak.

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6.0
Wolverine and the X-Men #36

Oct 7, 2013

The underlying plot of X-Men: Battle of the Atom is still strong. The emotions portrayed in this issue and every other issue to date are still meaningful and genuine. But by throwing in a twist without including enough details to reveal why it matters, the plot just stalls. It's like a chapter of a book that ends in mid-sentence. It may not dissuade anyone from continuing to follow the story, but it does make doing so more difficult.

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7.0
Wolverine and the X-Men #37

Nov 4, 2013

At the very least, Wolverine and the X-men #37 makes clear that there are other forces at work that haven't been revealed yet. It seems to begin the process of tying up loose ends, but doesn't have all the knots in place. What makes this issue feel less disappointing than previous issues is the sheer breadth of the conflict that unfolds and the classic X-men elements that are used to set it up. This is a story that has all the right ingredients to celebrate five decades of X-men and this issue added the icing. Now it's just a matter of effectively mixing everything to make the final product fittingly delicious.

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6.0
Wolverine and the X-Men (2014) #1

Mar 12, 2014

Wolverine and the X-men #1 establishes a new course for the Jean Grey Institute. However, that new course is poorly defined and even more poorly executed. Putting Kid Omega in charge and recruiting Fantomex make for some entertaining and colorful moments, but it's hard to take those ideas seriously. And maybe that's the point. Wolverine is essentially reinforcing his status as being an under-qualified headmaster and he's doing too good a job. There are a number of flaws in the first part of this new course, but few of these flaws are so egregious that they can't be addressed in later issues. And despite these flaws, this issue provides a fairly smooth transition, at least in terms of theme and vision, from one era of Wolverine and the X-men to the other. The Jean Grey Institute is still in a state of self-imposed anarchy. It's chaotic and hard to follow at times. But like watching wannabe stars fail at American Idol auditions, it's still entertaining.

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8.0
Wolverines #1

Jan 13, 2015

This is the biggest accomplishment of Wolverines #1. It continues Wolverine's story and his legacy in a way that's compelling and meaningful. It does get a little crowded with so many characters and the pacing does feel somewhat choppy since it builds on stories that came from other comics. But it's a story that has the right setting, the right cast of characters, the right circumstances, and the right amount of violence. If it were a cup of coffee, Starbucks would grossly overcharge for and it would still be worth it. In many ways, that is the best way to honor Wolverine's memory.

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7.0
Wonder Woman (2011) #35

Nov 3, 2014

That feeling of incompleteness doesn't detract from Wonder Woman's strengths, but it does detract from the story. Wonder Woman #35 is presented as a culmination of so many plots and conflicts. While it does address the major plots, it negates many of the smaller sub-plots. It still finishes the story, but not only to the extent that it took the express lane in lieu of the more enjoyable scenic route. It's a story that has required Wonder Woman to utilize all her strengths for all the right reasons. For her, it's a testament to what makes her one of the most iconic characters in comics, female or otherwise.

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7.0
Wonder Woman (2011) #38

Jan 28, 2015

Wonder Woman's humanity and vulnerabilities take center stage in this story, but there are still conflicts unfolding all around her. And if the ending is any hint, she'll have to share that stage with Donna Troy. The pressure is building for Wonder Woman. There's only so much that even the world's strongest woman can handle. At some point, she has to confront her limits. That doesn't make her less a feminine ideal. It just makes her someone who can keep fighting, despite tabloid-level scrutiny.

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6.0
Wonder Woman (2011) #43

Aug 25, 2015

There is still hope for Donna Troy as a character. Her journey is one that has the potential to be something unique and intriguing. She just has to find out how to circumvent self-hatred and meddling gods. If she can do that, she can be an inspiration for melodramatic teenagers everywhere. And in this day and age, there can never be too many of those.

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7.0
Wonder Woman (2011) #49

Feb 25, 2016

Even if the story doesn't get anyone's heart racing, it does generate plenty of intrigue. Meredith Finch does a good job of generating the same intrigue that made Brian Azzarello's run on the series so engaging. It might not result in another mortal woman being impregnated by a god, which would make it an novelty in Greek Mythology, but it does adhere to the same powerful themes that has helped certain mythologies stand the test of time.

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6.0
Wonder Woman (2011) Annual #1

Jun 8, 2015

This incomplete resolution makes Wonder Woman Annual #1 feel disheartening in too many ways. The Amazons still come off as thugs more than warriors. Other than Wonder Woman herself, the emotions in this story might as well have come from Kristen Stewart. The Amazons are in need of redemption. But by all accounts, they're a long ways from getting it and their efforts in achieving it are haphazard at best. And for the tribe that birthed Wonder Woman, they deserve better.

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9.0
Wonder Woman (2011): Futures End #1

Sep 22, 2014

Over the course of Futures End, numerous characters have been strained or distorted by the circumstances of this future. It's not entirely dystopian, but it's no hippie dreamscape either. Some have lost their way completely. Some have disappeared altogether for reasons not fully explained. That's why Wonder Woman's story in Wonder Woman: Futures End #1 is so refreshing. It shows a Wonder Woman that has been affected by this future, but not in a way that deviates from the core of her character. She's still a beacon of hope and love. And for a God of War, that's saying something.

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8.0
Wonder Woman (2016) #25

Jun 29, 2017

Overall, Rucka's run on Wonder Woman is a remarkable accomplishment. At a time when Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, and Patty Jenkins are elevating Wonder Woman's star to new heights, her DC: Rebirth journey finds a way to make that star burn a little brighter. Wonder Woman is tough, compassionate, loving, loyal, and beautiful on every level. It's not something that most people need to be reminded of, but some reminders are still worth having.

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5.0
X-Force (2014) #1

Feb 26, 2014

None-the-less, X-Force #1 succeeds in presenting a more classic incarnation of X-Force. This is a team that has a clear mission that won't be mistaken for any other X-men team. Cable provides the classic, hard-nosed leadership to set the tone for a team of this nature. And its newest member Marrow provides an entertaining, albeit immature perspective. That perspective may not resonate with everybody, but it's a concept that still works. It also proves that no matter how dirty a job may be, there will always be someone who finds a way to have fun with it.

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9.0
X-Men '92 (2016) #1

Apr 1, 2016

X-men 92 #1 doesn't just succeed in capturing the essence of a defining era for X-men. It creates a world that feels unburdened and unencumbered by never-ending efforts to reinvent the X-men for a new audience. Like an ice cream cone on a hot summer day, some things don't need to be reinvented. Even so, it doesn't hurt to be reminded of why it worked so well in the first place.

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9.0
X-Men '92 (2016) #10

Jan 6, 2017

Even with a series that had so little time to grow and ends so abruptly, X-men 92 #10 manages to accomplish so much in such a short span of time. Given the scope and scale of the narrative, it's impossible to resolve every element without making a triple-sized issue, complete with bonus pages. Chad Bowers and Chris Sims still succeed in completing the X-men's narrative. Whether it's a cartoon from the mid-‘90s or a limited comic book series from 2016, it's still very satisfying. For X-men fans of all eras, especially the extremes of the ‘90s, it's astonishingly fitting.

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7.0
X-Men (2013) #3

Aug 5, 2013

Brian Wood's approach to this book is akin to someone trying to be a good overall athlete and not just good at a particular sport. While a professional sumo wrestler's athletic skills may be somewhat narrow, a professional athlete can do more and branch out when necessary. X-Men as a series could go in many different directions, but X-Men #3 nicely demonstrates the skills of the characters and the overall theme. Some parts may have been overly generic, but it had a level of refinement that makes this book worth reading and bodes well for the future of this series.

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8.0
X-Men (2013) #5

Sep 23, 2013

Every great superhero was an awkward teenager at some point. But even for those who weren't born with superpowers, these awkward years were very influential. The Original Five X-men began their path as teenagers. Between near-extinction and spats with other superheroes, it's easy to forget that the X-men went through these formative phases. And after 50 years, they still make for a compelling narrative and despite their awkwardness throughout X-men #5, Cyclops and Jean Grey are still the best embodiments of that narrative.

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8.0
X-Men (2013) #6

Oct 21, 2013

It feels overdue in some ways, but exposing the lies in X-men #6 also gives greater meaning to the previous parts of the story. This helps add to the scope and scale of the story that “Battle of the X-men” is telling. Now it's actually possible to see the coming showdown and it promises to be epic in a way that will resonate through multiple eras of X-men.

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5.0
X-Men (2013) #11

Mar 17, 2014

Despite this unrealized potential, the death and resurrection theme remains a consistent and compelling feature of X-men #11. More than anything, it establishes the Sisterhood as a powerful threat that will test the all-female X-men in ways nothing else has to this point. It can do without the ongoing side-plots with Jubilee, John Sublime, and the other students at the Jean Grey Institute. These are characters that have no history of dying and coming back to life yet. Selene and Madelyne Pryor do have that history. This along with their choice of attire makes them a much more compelling story and one where too much material was wasted for no good reason.

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4.0
X-Men (2013) #16

Jul 21, 2014

The details might be lacking, but nobody gets mischaracterized and nobody does anything that completely undermines their established personality. X-men #16 certainly feels like an X-men comic, albeit a very disorganized and underwhelming X-men comics, but it doesn't feel like the same X-men comic that had been built around this powerful, all-female cast. Like hippie protesters, it tries to do too much and only ends up next to nothing.

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8.0
X-Men Prime #1

Mar 30, 2017

Sure, there are bound to be more attacks by killer robots. Sure, it's very likely that more clones and time travelers will enter the mix and frustrate the X-men. Like Wolverine and beer, certain elements are inescapably linked. The challenge is making the narrative behind these links compelling. In that sense, X-men Prime #1 rises to the challenge. For now, there's hope for the world of the X-men and, provided nobody ends up sterilized, that hope holds a great deal of promise and potential.

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9.0
X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1

Sep 9, 2013

At its core, X-men: Battle of the Atom #1 embodies by Jean de La Fontaine often ignored warning, "Our destiny is frequently met in the very paths we take to avoid it." The very future of the mutant race is at stake in a ways that covers the past, present, and a potentially dire outcome. It effectively connects with the vast history of X-men into one event that really does feel like it was 50 years in the making. Whatever may happen in the next 50 years for the X-men and the struggle of minorities, the message that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby sent in that fateful first issue will continue to resonate in a way that is, if nothing else, truly uncanny.

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7.0
X-Men: Battle of the Atom #2

Nov 11, 2013

When all is said and done, the impact of the battle is clear even if the details aren't fully realized. X-men Battle of the Atom #2 succeeded in ending this event in a satisfying way, but lacked refinement. It's like a champion marathon runner only running three-quarters of the race, lacking the necessary elements to get it to the finish line in a way that is as concise as it is complete. In terms of a large-scale crossover event, it's above average. For an event meant to celebrate 50 years of X-men, it doesn't reach the exceedingly high bar. But at least Battle of the Atom can say it made a worthy effort.

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8.0
X-Men: Blue (2017) #1

Apr 13, 2017

That track even has some interesting turns towards the end. While the story starts off as fairly basic, it gains greater intrigue towards the end. There are hints and teases about the Original Five X-men's larger goals and how they intend to go about it. Coming on the heels of a classic clash that brings new energy to a team that underwent so much upheaval, X-men Blue #1 creates a new foundation for an old cast of characters. For characters are teenagers, time-displaced, and dabbling in magic, that's quite an accomplishment.

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6.0
X-Men: Blue (2017) #4

May 25, 2017

He's still that character who failed miserably to fill the void left by Logan's death in Ultimate Marvel. Now, he's in a world where two other characters can claim some measure of success, one of which made Dafne Keen famous. Jimmy is a long way from that kind of success. That baggage is still as heavy as ever. He's still that character few mourned when Ultimate perished at the end of Secret Wars. Escaping that baggage isn't easy and with X-men Blue #4, he's off to a poor start.

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7.0
X-Men: Gold (2017) #1

Apr 6, 2017

It's the same fight that Charles Xavier led the X-men into back in the days before civil rights was more than just a hashtag. Kitty Pryde and her revamped, revitalized team of X-men, one of which is her ex-boyfriend, carry on that fight in X-men Gold #1 after one too many interludes. It gives hope that the X-men are back to doing what they do best, provided nobody gets sterilized again.

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8.0
Years of Future Past #5

Sep 25, 2015

More than anything else, Years of Future Past tried to incorporate a distinct sense of heart into the narrative. While there's only so much possible in a story featuring dystopian futures and internment camps, the heart conveyed through Colossus, Kitty Pryde, Christy, Cameron, and even Wolverine help make it endearing. Not every story about a dystopian future should have the undertone of a Linkin Park music video. It can have heart along with killer robots and giant dragons. When put together, it can be a potent combination.

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