Jen 'Miss J' Aprahamian's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comic Vine Reviews: 141
8.7Avg. Review Rating

8
Adventure Time Annual #1

May 29, 2013

This annual is wacky, it's irreverent, it's educational, and it's FUN. Fans of the animated series and comics will find familiar faces (minus the ladies!) and fresh stories from a range of creators. It's a solid all-ages book, and a great sample of the quirky humor ADVENTURE TIME is known for.

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8
Adventure Time: 2013 SPOooktacular #1

Oct 30, 2013

Halloween is tomorrow. Even if you're not dressing up (pro tip: a Finn costume is preeeeetty easy!), get into the festive mood by grabbing this neat little collection of holiday-themed stories from some of Boom's finest.

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8
Alex + Ada #4

Feb 19, 2014

ALEX ADA has been drawing out its narrative carefully, leaving a tease of a mystery with every issue. It's worth it; the just-ahead-of-now future is almost palpable, and the story is incredibly easy to invest in. Who is Ada? What is she like as a sentient robot? Is she likable, or terrible? Curiosity: piqued. ALEX ADA: added to pull list.

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8
Alex + Ada #6

May 7, 2014

Last issue was a jolt in ALEX ADA's slow build, as Ada gained sentience and became overwhelmed by the world. This month, we settle into a routine that's anything but; Ada gets to experience the world -- really experience it -- for the first time, and we get to experience it along with her. Vaughn and Luna continue to provoke us with questions about what it means to be human, and whether Alex or Ada is living more authentically.

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6
All New Executive Assistant Iris #1

Sep 18, 2013

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT IRIS is a unique title, with plenty of opportunities for fresh storytelling, and a rich, deadly world. I'm pleased with Brian Buccellato's decision to keep Iris' past intact rather that rebooting the series; sometimes a fresh start is too clean, and Iris has a great deal of experiences to learn from (and heal from) as she moves forward into new intrigues. The art style on the book isn't my favorite -- sexy ladies are great, but impractical posing and pouting aren't -- but I'll be sticking around because the story is interesting, and it's truly different from anything else out right now.

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8
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #700.1

Dec 4, 2013

Peter Parker's return to current Marvel comics (alas, not in ongoing format for now) feels very comfortable and classic, and "Frost" sets up a charmingly familiar-feeling story that's great for ASM fans and Spidey novices alike. There's nothing bombastic going on here; just Spider-Man doing his thing, looking out for Aunt May and the city of New York, and trying his best to be a hero during a winter slump. It's a nice winter read; cozy and familiar, and perfect for chilly weather and Peter Parker nostalgia.

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8
American Vampire Anthology #1

Aug 28, 2013

If we had any doubts about the robustness of the AMERICAN VAMPIRE concept (we didn't), the clever and varied palette of anthology stories proves it out. Each story stands on its own, but fits neatly into the world, whether by showing us glimpses of characters we've come to know throughout the main series or by riffing on the purpose and personality of the American vampire throughout the past century or so.

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10
American Vampire: The Long Road to Hell #1

Jun 12, 2013

Snyder and Albuquerque do a magnificent job of telling a single done-in-one story that perfectly captures the essence of AMERICAN VAMPIRE without requiring readers to catch up on the main series to-date (although it's certainly a good gateway, and hey, why aren't you caught up on this series?). It's a beautiful love story and a bloody adventure, all at the same time, and a must-read for your summer list.

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8
Astro City (2013) #2

Jul 10, 2013

ASTRO CITY #1 was fun. This issue takes it to the next level. It's a little bit unexpected that an issue about a team of support analysts at a call center could be more exciting than one about the Honor Guard or the mysterious (crazy? not crazy?) Broken Man, but unexpected isn't always a bad thing. Forget the road signs telling me that I'm leaving; I'm sticking around in Astro City, with all of its supers and humans, to see where Busiek and Anderson are going to take me.

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6
Avengers Assemble #15AU

May 8, 2013

Caveats abound, although I can't blame the creative team -- this issue is the victim of tie-in-itis. If you're loving the Age of Ultron stuff, this is another action-packed issue that fleshes out (er"robots out?) the event and takes it on a destructive romp through London. It's well-paced, it's loaded with Brit culture references, and we get to meet some interesting new characters. All good things. But if you're just reading AVENGERS ASSEMBLE? Get ready for some confusion. I can't see how this story will wrap within the same series, so if you're not on board with all of the AU books, it's a pass.

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8
Avengers Assemble #18

Aug 21, 2013

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE delivers a little bit of what you'd expect and a little bit of a surprise. The Avengers are, indeed, assembling, this time with some reluctant allies from across the galaxy, to fight a common, powerful enemy. On the unexpected side: the characters who end up being closest to Spider-Woman, and the ones who end up feeling more distant. The issue works, both as a standalone and as a part of INFINITY, and is a nice (albeit not uplifting) peek into Jessica's experience as a person and as an Avenger.

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10
Avengers: The Enemy Within #1

May 15, 2013

The dialogue is smart, there's no shortage of action (or dinosaurs!), and the mystery of the villain behind Carol's current predicament is intriguing. I'm fascinated by stories that look at the destructive sides of superpowers, and I can't wait to see how Captain Marvel is able to get past both the villains outside and the enemy within her own brain.

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10
Black Science #5

Apr 2, 2014

BLACK SCIENCE has a structure that feels like an addictive tv drama; it's peppered with flashbacks that deliver context at just the right time, but the story drives ever forward, even as fragmented dimensional paths give the middle finger to linear narrative. The characters, too, buck linear, one-dimensional arcs, and their emotional states are as complex as their paths through the eververse. Everyone lies, everyone reacts, and sabotage is just a symptom of the journey's tumult. Interpersonal drama is at the core of this book, even if it's branded as sci-fi adventure, and that's what makes BLACK SCIENCE such a compelling read.

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10
Black Science #6

Apr 30, 2014

BLACK SCIENCE closes its first arc in a spectacular manner, and as all great arc-enders do, leaves us wanting to know what's next. Remender & Co. are nailing this book, melding sci-fi, surrealism, and good old-fashioned human conflict, and taking readers on a strange interdimensional trip that they can't predict (but can certainly enjoy). There's non-stop action coupled with poignant reflection, and it's a slam dunk.

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8
Black Science #8

Aug 27, 2014

Remender, Scalera, and team are doing a fantastic job of keeping a dimension-hopping sci-fi story active, interesting, and emotionally grounded beyond the first arc, and BLACK SCIENCE continues to be a must-read. It's occasionally tricky to keep up with current locations and action (it's a wide, wild universe!) but the human core of the story keeps things on a steady course.

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10
Butterfly #1

Sep 24, 2014

BUTTERFLY unfolds delicately but deliberately, introducing us to a trustless world of espionage and the people affected most deeply by it. It's a family story as much as a spy story, and as two generations of deep-cover operative encounter each other in the least likely of circumstances, it's bound to get emotional. A sharp, well-executed first issue with a wealth of intrigue, this one's a must-pull.

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10
Captain Action Cat #1

Apr 16, 2014

Every time the Aw Yeah Crew puts out another book, it's a victory for comics. They're masterful storytellers with an immense genre knowledge and whip-smart senses of humor, and they're also exceptionally talented at engaging young readers. In a market saturated with dark, gritty, violent, and otherwise adult books (many of which are fascinating and engaging, but just Not For Young People), it's a true delight to see creators like Art, Franco, and Zod bringing great stories that are accessible for the next generation (and still fun for adults). CAPTAIN ACTION CAT is a sampler of their signature charm, with bonus crossover fun.

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8
Captain Marvel (2012) #13

Jun 19, 2013

Sign me up for the Carol Corps. CAPTAIN MARVEL, in the hands of Kelly Sue DeConnick, has become one of my favorite Marvel titles, and Carol Danvers has become one of my favorite Marvel ladies. I'd be concerned about the lesion on her brain, but she's just so strong and confidently determined that I'm not even worried -- I just want to see the amazing face-off she has with Magnitron before she eventually takes care of what's going on inside her head.

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8
Captain Marvel (2012) #16

Sep 18, 2013

While I prefer my CAPTAIN MARVEL as a solo series rather than a constant player in crossover events, INFINITY has been a great opportunity for Carol to step up, front and center, and show what she's capable of. We've gotten to see her exercise incredible power, and also make some tough decisions. Ever the soldier, she's prepared to sacrifice it all when her planet's at stake -- luckily, she didn't have to this time.

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10
Captain Marvel (2014) #1

Mar 12, 2014

Higher, Further, Faster, More. Arc title or mantra for this All-New Marvel Now! flavor of Carol & Co.'s adventures? There might be a new #1 on the cover, but CAPTAIN MARVEL is still in the capable hands of Kelly Sue DeConnick, which means we're going to get an exciting mix of high-action stories and genuine character moments. Space seems like a most excellent frontier for this All-New story direction, and I'm sure the pairing of DeConnick and Lopez will make for a wild and exciting journey.

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8
Chin Music #1

May 8, 2013

Depending on how you'd like to interpret it, "chin music" can have a softer meaning (idle chit-chat to delay action) or a more brutal one (like the sock to the jaw our boy Ness takes). Both are appropriate here; Niles and Harris deliver slow, deliberate storytelling punctuated by high-action moments. It's a little slower than I'd like (especially for a first issue), but I'm willing to stay on for at least two more issues to see where things are headed. Supernatural crime dramas with top talent and an Image seal are pretty hot right now, and this period take on the concept has some definite promise.

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8
Chin Music #2

Aug 21, 2013

CHIN MUSIC is complicated, and I'm not entirely sure where it's going, but it's so nice to look at that I don't mind. I'm looking forward to future chapters, just to see where this wild, stylized version of Eliot Ness is headed -- and to stare at more of Harris' positively stunning pages.

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8
Coffin Hill #1

Oct 9, 2013

COFFIN HILL reads like a horror-themed young-adult novel, in the best way possible. It's decadent and reckless at the same time, it has a supernatural edge, and Eve Coffin is a thrilling vehicle for escapism if you ever got really into R.L. Stine or Christopher Pike (or whatever you kids are reading these days). There's some suspension of disbelief required, whether it's the supernatural elements, the high-society backdrop, or the fact that someone let Eve Coffin onto the police force with a past like that, but it's all in good fun, and it makes for a thoroughly engaging first issue.

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8
Coffin Hill #4

Jan 15, 2014

Kittredge and Miranda are really expanding the creepy-factor of this book with the revelation of Mel's new M.O., and along with that additional creepiness, we're getting ramped-up drama. COFFIN HILL feels like it's a casting notice away from showing up on the CW; it's a complex and intriguing stew of relationship drama, personal discovery, and (of course) supernatural mystery.

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8
Collider #1

Jul 31, 2013

Given the right conditions, Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez will launch a spectacularly interesting title. COLLIDER is different and fresh and weird, and I'm totally into it. I can't even begin to tell what the grander story is, but it looks like it's going to be such a fun, surreal journey that I'm willing to forget about the big picture for now, and enjoy the gravity disruptions.

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8
Copperhead #1

Sep 11, 2014

The backmatter in COPPERHEAD tells us that the book was initially pitched as "Deadwood in space," and it's not a bad way to look at this title. It's got classic Western elements fused with sci-fi staples, and the title is off to a strong start. I'm interested in seeing where things go, both in terms of worldbuilding and character development, since there's rich potential all around.

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6
Dash #1

Sep 24, 2014

DASH puts a spin on the traditional noir tale, keeping the aesthetic (complete with gritty '40s setting and the femme fatale), but ditching the world-weary hardboiled detective in favor of a trope-busting protagonist. It's great to see more LGBT visibility in genres that don't normally feature diverse casts, and it'll be interesting to see how this narrative develops.

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10
East of West #3

Jun 5, 2013

EAST OF WEST has been fast-paced and jammed an incredible amount of world-building into the first two issues, but this third slows it down a hitch to dive into the story's core. It's a welcome shift in pace and tone, because the emotional backbone of this story is worth savoring. And, like a slow breeze in a Western, this issue feels like a signal that dangerous, exciting things are on the very immediate horizon.

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10
East of West #4

Jul 10, 2013

EAST OF WEST is absolutely my pick of the week, and as a series, it tops my pull list. It's astonishing how much Hickman and Dragotta have been able to fit into just four issues -- the world is bleak and scary, yet totally immersive, and the balance of violent action and tender emotional moments is carefully cultivated.

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10
East of West #5

Aug 14, 2013

EAST OF WEST continues to escalate in both tension and scale; there are no compromises in this book, and we know that someone is going to lose big at the end. The stage has been set for Death and Xiao to fight it out in a grand war against The Chosen and their allies, but will the final standoff be their own, or will there be additional twists thrown in? My money's on the twists.

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10
East of West #6

Sep 25, 2013

I initially flipped through this issue, didn't see Death or Xiao wreaking world-ending havoc, and wondered if it would be lackluster. Spoiler alert: it wasn't. Though the focus is shifted, it's a strong issue that builds towards the central narrative, and we get to see some world-building on a historical and emotional level. EAST OF WEST is a must-pull, and the recently-released trade paperback of Issues #1-5 makes catching up on this series a breeze.

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8
East of West #7

Nov 6, 2013

Never. Stop. Worldbuilding. The team behind EAST OF WEST continues to enrich their world's history, environments, and magic, issue after issue. No stone is left unturned, and no beast is left without character, and it maintains the immersive quality that fans have come to expect. Catching glimpses of the epic history that brought both The Horsemen and The Chosen (some in lock step) to their current positions is a fantastic way to generate interest in the doomed agents of the end times and move this arc forward.

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8
East of West #8

Dec 18, 2013

Hickman and Dragotta are master craftsmen, building a world that gets more and more robust and wonderful with every passing issue. Learning about the history and politics of their grand dystopia is a pleasure every month; Dragotta's pages are striking and beautiful, and Hickman's narrative increases in both scope and detail as the series progresses. It's a book worth re-reading, just to find every nuance, every carefully crafted piece of the environment. There might not be an appropriate string of genres to apply to EAST OF WEST (I think the best I can come up with is "pre-apocalyptic Biblical-infused alt-history with sci-fi and fantasy notes and a Western motif"), but the series is interesting and well-crafted, and deserving of a spot on many readers' pull lists.

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8
East of West #9

Jan 29, 2014

The penultimate issue of EAST OF WEST's second volume marks another engaging stop on the (end of the) world tour, layering the gains and losses of history against the risk held by potential futures. The Kingdom seems to be populated by characters who are generally less odious or cruel than some of the other nations seen so far, but John Freeman has emerged from this issue as a shrewd and powerful player. What will become of him -- and, of course, the freshly-blinded Death -- is a captivating hook.

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10
East of West #10

Mar 12, 2014

Hickman and Dragotta lay it on thick this month -- between the hefty doses of philosophy (who's right? what's righteous?) and some seriously killer visuals (monsters and murderers and shapeshifting, oh my), this isn't an issue to just flip through casually. Pay attention. Drink in the weird, wild world. Watch it take turn after turn. Then go back and read the first nine issues (or wait a couple of weeks for another fantastic trade), because this is a big-picture book that just happens to thrill with the details.

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8
East of West #11

Apr 10, 2014

EAST OF WEST unfolds quite like a chess match, with each issue involving strategic moves and losses on every side, building towards a dramatic final encounter. Fresh off the second trade, this issue is both a concise recap of the locations and statuses of key Chosen and a lining-up-of-moves for the brutal action that's sure to ensue next month or the month after. EAST OF WEST is no miniseries -- it's playing a longer game, and pacing very deliberately -- and this month's installment is a solid beginning to the third volume.

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10
Edge of Spider-Verse #2

Sep 17, 2014

EOS:GS:SW nods appropriately to familiar Spidey characters and lore, but twists the script enough that it's really something of its own. The mark of a good What If? story is its ability to balance the existing continuity with bold, exciting ideas, and this issue really lands. I can't wait to see more Spider-Gwen in ASM #9, and I'm glad that this book was at the top of my pile this week.

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10
Fantastic Four (2014) #1

Feb 26, 2014

FANTASTIC FOUR opens with a predictable enough first issue -- imminent doom, a fresh (but familiar) introduction to the Four as they vanquish a monster and spend time as a family -- but the arc title and a sneaking suspicion that Robinson, Kirk, & Co. have a lot more up their sleeves than just "the First Family gone bad" make this one of the more intriguing selections of Marvel's latest renumbering. I'm always a fan of this series, and this new #1 seems like a great time for anyone and everyone to jump on board.

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8
Fatale #15

Jun 26, 2013

FATALE continues to draw me in. Maybe it's Jo's eyes; more likely, it's Brubaker and Phillips spinning a beautiful, dark story that just doesn't stop fascinating.

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8
Fatale #16

Aug 7, 2013

Brubaker and Phillips have approached the femme fatale with such fervor and depth that FATALE is turning into a master class on the archetype. It doesn't matter that Jo's game ultimately plays out the same way with so many men; the repetition is welcome, rather than stale, because there's a twisted comfort in seeing it happen time and again, reinforcing her sexy, destructive role and highlighting the hopelessness of remarkable and unremarkable men alike. It's impossible to avert our eyes at the impending disaster -- possibly because we're charmed by Jo, too.

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8
Fatale #17

Sep 25, 2013

It's hard not to crave more of this story, like Jo's men crave more moments with her -- in this regard, Brubaker and Phillips have locked us into FATALE in the most meta of ways. Every issue reveals more hooks, more drama, more danger, and even though the title itself tells us how things are going to play out, it's a captivating narrative with compelling illustrations. The multitude of subplots might make it a smart choice for trade-waiting, but I can't say no to each month's new issue -- you can't say no to Jo.

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8
Fatale #18

Nov 6, 2013

Brubaker and Phillips have done a marvelous job of setting the stage -- literally and figuratively -- for Jo in this arc. Her entanglement with the band has been so much more than another variation on the femme fatale theme; it's groundwork for the revelation of how powerful Jo can be when amplified. Like a compelling song, she does things to people, and given a platform, she does it with exceptional force and magnitude. This issue was an exciting crescendo in an already fascinating arc, and I can't wait to see where things collide in its wake.

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8
FBP: Federal Bureau Of Physics #4

Oct 9, 2013

This issue of FBP isn't just a turning point in the story; it's a prescription to sit back and let Oliver and Rodriguez serve up any flavor of weird that they deem appropriate to this warped story-world, and enjoy the ride. Appreciate the science, but don't get too caught up in it. Do get caught up in the noir-like mystery brewing underneath the surface, and do feel a need to learn what really happened to Jay, and to Adam's father. And do keep pulling this title.

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8
Ghost (2013) #1

Dec 18, 2013

In its energetic and action-packed debut, GHOST opens up as a series with strong potential to appeal to a wide range of readers. It's loaded with mystery and drama, set against a fantastically large supernatural backdrop, and full of history that we're only getting hints of so far. Kelly Sue DeConnick and Chris Sebela take an interesting premise and make it approachable and fun to read. It should be hard to connect to a character like Elisa -- who doesn't even know who she really is -- but this issue makes us want to learn about her and get to know her more (and see her fight off those demons!). It's a strong first issue, with plenty of hooks for interesting plot paths, and it'll be great to see where things are headed.

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10
Gotham Academy #1

Oct 1, 2014

Welcome to the freshest take on Gotham this side of the New 52. GOTHAM ACADEMY enriches the city we know so well, stretching the scope wider than the heroes and villains we're used to, and inviting us along for an interesting tale that shares as many notes with Harry Potter as it does with classic Bat lore. The creative team has knocked this one out of the park -- it's recognizably Gotham (Bruce Wayne cameo and all), but it's brimming with heart and absolutely distinct from any other title with bats on the cover.

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6
Hexed (2014) #1

Aug 13, 2014

HEXED returns, blending adventure and supernatural horror in one of Boom! Studios' more mature offerings. New series penciller Dan Mora brings Michael Alan Nelson's creation to life (and death) with vivid, unique illustrations, and the team hits the ground running with an issue that definitely prompts a "What's next?"

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10
Itty Bitty Hellboy #1

Aug 28, 2013

It's really interesting -- and really cool -- that this book may be responsible for a new generation of HELLBOY fans. We get the reverse effect of licensed properties that try to make our nostalgic favorites still feel cool and fresh; coming in to an existing universe with a family-friendly spin means that young fans of ITTY BITTY HELLBOY have a fantastic selection of books to grow into. And even if you don't have kids? ITTY BITTY HELLBOY is still pretty likely to make you smile in a not-itty-bitty way.

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8
Itty Bitty Hellboy #2

Sep 25, 2013

ITTY BITTY HELLBOY is bite-sized, adorable HELLBOY fun for all ages. I'm loving it as an all-readers series, and it's making me even more certain that Art and Franco need to take on every property in comics. Making a family-friendly book that stays faithful to the original source material is no small feat, and their passion for well-made all-ages comics and the Mignolaverse is the opposite of a Squatch (easy to see!).

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8
Larfleeze #1

Jun 26, 2013

Count me in for this series. Giffen and DeMatteis tell a refreshingly fun story, and make the solo Orange Lantern anything but one-dimensional. I'm looking forward to a fierce battle next issue, and curious about the "Revolt of the Orange Lanterns" that's teased for later.

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10
Lazarus #2

Jul 24, 2013

LAZARUS is a soap opera. A violent, dystopic soap opera. Two issues in, it's brimming with potential for an explosive story steeped in clan drama and class warfare. I'm searching for something else on the stands to compare it to, and coming up blank. I'm calling this a must-pull; "sleeper hit" is not good enough for this series.

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10
Lazarus #3

Aug 28, 2013

Rucka and Lark have invited us to a world ready for a major war, and set a series of small conflicts that line up like dominoes -- we get the pleasure of watching new pieces join the board until it all comes crashing down in a spectacular way. It's primetime TV caliber drama mixed with deadly comics action, and they're nailing it. Three issues in, and we've got compelling characters, sensational rivalries, and an arsenal of weapons (including at least two in human form) just waiting for a firefight.

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10
Lazarus #4

Oct 3, 2013

LAZARUS continues to be a stand-out, must-pull series. There's no lag in the narrative, no slips in the choreography; it's just compelling storytelling with beautiful illustrations and more drama than anything you'll see on network tv during the daytime. As Rucka and Lark continue to build out their world, it becomes more dangerous, more interesting, more real. The science falls very much in the could-be-happening-now or could-be-happening-soon categories, and the more we learn about how Forever and the other Lazari work, the more chilling it is. All of this is mixed into a setting rife with power struggles, secrets, and attempted coups, and nothing feels contrived; LAZARUS is just playing in an entirely different league than most comics on the shelves right now. If you're waiting for the trade, you're missing out. This one gets the pull-every-month endorsement.

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8
Lazarus #10

Aug 6, 2014

LAZARUS enters its third arc and second year with this issue, and it's still very much going strong. I love getting to know more about the vast, rich world that LAZARUS inhabits, and issues like this one -- which convey a ton of information about how things work outside of Carlyle territory -- are great for that. It's also a great time to circle back to Jonah Carlyle, since he's been stewing for a bit after his failed plot. Rucka and Lark tee up another interesting arc, and it looks like we're on the path towards some sort of Five Families-esque meeting with the upcoming Conclave. Intriguing? You bet.

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8
Letter 44 #1

Oct 16, 2013

I've always wanted the excuse to say "I'll buy that for a dollar" in a review, and now I have it; Oni priced LETTER 44 out at one dollar. It's hard to ignore such an accessibly-priced issue, and even harder when it's a cleverly concepted book coming from such a talented team. LETTER 44 is a well-executed book with a fresh concept, and did I mention that it is one dollar? It's a promising series with an excellent entry point; seek this one out.

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8
Letter 44 #2

Nov 27, 2013

LETTER 44 tackles sci-fi and political intrigue with equal fervor, and the melding thereof is`shaping up to be an emotionally engaging and intellectually interesting series. There's no shortage of tension -- here on Earth or millions of miles above -- but the action is playing out with deliberate precision. This slow build, unfolding in tandem in the White House and aboard the Clarke, makes for a captivating new series that belongs on more pull lists.

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8
Letter 44 #4

Feb 13, 2014

Once again, I am mystified by just how much intrigue Charles Soule can fit into a single issue, and I'm equally impressed by his ability to do so without action beats screaming off the pages. LETTER 44 is pacing like a champion, revealing just enough weird space stuff and just enough scandalous political stuff every issue to evoke a sense of forward movement that doesn't feel pushed. The book is losing me a little bit on the visual side, but it more than makes up for it by reeling me in with questions like "yeah, what IS going to happen with that whole pregnant astronaut thing now that things are just outside of critical mass?" All systems: fully engaged.

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8
Liberator #1

Jun 19, 2013

LIBERATOR is vigilante escapism grounded in reality. Animal lovers and socially-conscious readers will be disturbed by the things our heroes are fighting against, but find a payoff in Damon's around-the-law actions. I'm expecting things to get worse (in terms of abuses that we'll see a need to solve) and then better (in terms of action and explosive power). I'll be picking up Issue #2 for more animal-saving and evil-destroying, and I'll also be hugging every puppy I see.

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8
Liberator #2

Jul 31, 2013

Miner and Aranda continue to balance a socially-conscious message with a tension-loaded vigilante story. Damon and Jeanette aren't playing things safe, because the safe path just doesn't get results, and there are innocent animals at stake. LIBERATOR is as educational as it is engaging; between the story itself and the essays included at the end of each issue, I'm learning a lot about animal welfare, and doing a lot of thinking. I'd like to see more about what happens to the animals after they're rescued -- Damon and Jeanette, as admirable as their intentions may be, can't possibly adopt every single puppy and rabbit that they save, and learning more about the adoption side of animal rescue would be a great way for readers who aren't quite ready for arson or B&E to feel like they can help.

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8
Liberator #3

Sep 11, 2013

LIBERATOR is a much-needed comic right now, because in spite of its fictional narrative, it's so purposeful and so rooted in reality. Comics are a form of escapism, certainly, but they don't have to be without connection to real issues. We might not all be able to relate to Damon or Jeanette (especially after this issue), and we might not be masking up at night to liberate animals from inhumane situations, but we can see the good in their intentions, and we can learn things. The best part is that we can do this while reading an engaging comic with an unpredictable and interesting story. (Excuse me, I need to go adopt a bunny now.)

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8
Liberator #4

Oct 16, 2013

LIBERATOR closes out its first arc with a spray of negative emotions -- namely, fear and anger -- but also gives us hope in the form of Jeanette and her rededication to the cause. Damon comes out quite a bit less on top of the situation (though his ending is less clear than Jeanette's), but the series has always been about real heroes (of the ski-mask wearing variety) rather than spandex-clad wish-fulfillment vehicles, and real people don't always live up to expectations. The issue's close is a pointed reminder about what it's all about -- the animals -- and a forward-focused mantra for Jeanette, her comrades, and perhaps impassioned readers.

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8
Liberator/Earth Crisis: Salvation of Innocents #1

Mar 12, 2014

The newest inclusion in the LIBERATOR line keeps up the "comics for a cause" spirit of the original, and it's not afraid to demand that readers think about their world. Combining music, story, and a strong message, SALVATION OF THE INNOCENTS will make you want to cuddle the nearest animal -- and possibly adopt a rescue pet. It's not a series for the faint of heart, but heart is definitely something that this book carries in spades.

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10
Lumberjanes #2

May 14, 2014

LUMBERJANES is just plain enjoyable; it's a delightful read with great energy, and it's one of the books I look forward to most because it's just so fun. Seriously. Pick up a copy, perk up your Wednesday. I'm also deeply curious about the Lumberjane badges and how to earn them for-real. (Can this be a thing?)

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10
Lumberjanes #3

Jun 12, 2014

Delightful and irreverant -- and still sharp enough to throw a math or word puzzle at readers -- LUMBERJANES is a fun read for all ages. It's not the sort of all-readers book that's too juvenile or simple for grown-ups -- pop culture and literary references abound, and it's whip-smart. I can't wait to see what the team brings together next month. There's probably a super rad badge -- and more great story -- involved.

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8
Lumberjanes #4

Jul 10, 2014

LUMBERJANES is pure fun; it's the summer camp story that young readers can aspire to (minus, perhaps, some of those supernatural elements) and that older readers can wish they'd experienced. The Lumberjanes deal with wild situations in unpredictable yet delightful ways, and it's a joy to read whether you're camper-aged or slightly beyond.

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10
Mara #5

Jun 19, 2013

MARA has been a must-pull for me since the first issue. The series is easy to follow, but not lacking depth, and it's a truly unique take on the superhero genre (plus there's a badass female protagonist). It's fascinating to watch Mara fall from a pedestal that humans created and then rise to a level that humans can't even fathom. Call this another victory for Image right now; I'm absolutely enjoying the series, and holding my breath for its ending next month.

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8
Mara #6

Oct 2, 2013

Wood, Doyle, and Bellaire give us an ending that is decidedly less explosive than Issue #5 may have led us to expect, but that provides something much bigger than the complete destruction of Earth: closure. In just six issues, we get to follow Mara through an incredibly dramatic character arc (from her ultra-comfortable beginnings as a celebrity darling to her isolation and alienation from the human race that rejected and betrayed her, and finally to her realization that there are still good people and good intentions in the world), bookended by the broadcast signoff that is now a mere echo of what it was in the first issue.

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8
Morning Glories #27

May 29, 2013

MORNING GLORIES followers will get double the fun in this month's oversized issue -- not only are there extra pages, but certain pieces of the story are finally starting to click together. There's still plenty left to figure out, but it's very gratifying to see this large, complicated world start to feel a little bit smaller.

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6
Morning Glories #29

Jul 31, 2013

MORNING GLORIES is an addictive mystery, and it's incredibly easy to get caught up in solving all of the exhaustively-planned threads that Spencer and Eisma have been weaving into the story. The decision of whether to devour each single issue as it's printed or wait for a trade for more digestible answers is a tough one, and both reading styles make sense. Issue #29 delivers some major plot shifts, but because they're ordered in such a complex manner with minimal context, this week's single-vs-trade coinflip lands on the side of trade.

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8
Morning Glories #31

Sep 18, 2013

Count this as another exciting and well-executed twist in the grand MORNING GLORIES puzzle. We got to meet a new set of characters, learn more about how the school works, and -- of course -- doubted everything we knew.

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8
Ms. Marvel (2014) #1

Feb 4, 2014

MS. MARVEL makes a delightful debut, showing confidence and heart even before she puts on a mask. Kamala is not your average superheroine -- she probably has a lot more in common with readers than most of the capes and suits in mainstream comics -- and her stories seem like they're headed in an exciting direction. Kudos to Marvel for expanding its range; amping up the diversity factor in a way that doesn't feel token or temporary is a great move, and MS. MARVEL is launching with a solid first issue and a world -- a universe, even -- of story possibilities.

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8
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #7

May 15, 2013

If you're a little girl, a brony, or a pony fan of any age, this is a solid issue that takes an exciting arc even further. If you haven't been playing along the whole time, it's a weird place to start.

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10
Nailbiter #2

Jun 4, 2014

Edward Charles Warren might not be serving up human flesh, but Williamson and Henderson serve up another twisted installment of NAILBITER, and it's delicious. If you've got the stomach (no pun intended) for a creepy crime story, this one's a must-pull. The pacing is excellent, and it's definitely hitting the right beats for a suspenseful tale that knows when to be serious and when to inject a little bit of humor. I'm not sure if this book is enough to get me to stop biting my nails -- yet -- but it's piqued my interest, and will probably give me some nightmares.

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10
Nowhere Men #6

Oct 16, 2013

Celebrity, secrecy, underhanded acts of self-interest -- and science. Now is an excellent time to jump on board with NOWHERE MEN (or re-join and catch up, if you've dropped), as Issue #6 wraps the first collected volume. Series fans will have to wait a bit for the next installment, slated for a January release, but can pick up the TPB in just over a month. And, after all, it's only the end of the beginning of the beginning

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10
Pretty Deadly #1

Oct 23, 2013

PRETTY DEADLY is a pretty sure bet as far as new series go. It's inventive in narrative and layout, the world is robust and hints at layers of story waiting to burst out and make themselves known, and it's sweetly compelling even amidst dour settings and pointed violence. DeConnick is a master of allegory, and the first issue prompts an immediate need to read the next, just to watch things unfold and reveal themselves. Every glimpse of a character, hint at an event, and passing reference is perfectly crafted, so the narrative moves forward atop frequent, small moments that beg further exploration. I don't want the next issue; I want the next twelve issues.

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10
Pretty Deadly #2

Nov 27, 2013

As a caveat -- PRETTY DEADLY may have a young girl in its principal cast and an overarching story that DeConnick can talk about with her children, but there are definitely some scenes that are more suited to mature readers.

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10
Pretty Deadly #4

Jan 22, 2014

PRETTY DEADLY debuted strong, and it's only getting stronger by the issue. Exceptional art by Rios and Bellaire sweeps us further into DeConnick's intriguing story of fear, power, and regret. The cast is wild and interesting, and Death vs. Sissy (and vs. Mason, and possibly vs. Ginny, who is also vs. Aliceyou get the picture) promises several rollicking issues' worth of action, magic, and sweet revenge. PRETTY DEADLY is an absolute must-pull, and one of the most outstanding titles out right now.

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8
Pretty Deadly #5

Apr 3, 2014

PRETTY DEADLY closes out its first arc with a beautifully-executed fifth issue. Loose ends are tied, exquisitely-choreographed action unfolds, and the fairy-tale-like framing device comes full circle. It's a run that will read well in trade (though trade-waiters will be shorted a set of incredibly thoughtful backmatter), and the title will be missed as the creative team takes a break before resuming Ginny's adventures.

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8
Princess Ugg #2

Jul 17, 2014

Gorgeous, inventive illustrations and a spunky protagonist make PRINCESS UGG an enjoyable title with a lot of promise for readers of many ages. The action isn't aggressively paced, but Naifeh is laying plenty of groundwork for a heartfelt coming-of-age story with lots of relatability and a diverse cast. I'm picking up hints of Wicked, Red Sonja, and Brave, which seems like a solid recipe for a story about strong female characters with more than one dimension.

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8
Red City #1

Jun 12, 2014

RED CITY takes two genres that Image fans can't seem to get enough of -- sci-fi and noir -- and melds them together in a street-level book with interplanetary consequences. Mobsters, crooked cops, and other classic noir tropes add a dark edge to a neon future, and a lengthy history involving warring planets sets the stakes high for our hardboiled hero.

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8
Red Sonja (2013) #2

Aug 14, 2013

This issue has definitely left us poised for a hell of a story to follow -- there's a powerful antagonist still unvanquished, a deadly plague to quell, a difficult past to deal with -- it's pretty obvious that Sonja isn't ever really going to just surrender and walk away, so I'm looking forward to seeing how she overcomes this minor setback. RED SONJA has all the makings of an epic tale...provided our fiery heroine doesn't plague out, of course.

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8
Red Sonja (2013) #3

Sep 11, 2013

RED SONJA gains a layer of context by diving into Sonja's past, but retains its signature action-packed style in its glimpses of the heroine's childhood. Like many origin stories, Sonja's is riddled with tragedy, conflict, and perseverance, and we get to see how a violent childhood trauma sculpted her into the warrior she is today. Knowing where things are (presuming that the ending is, in fact, a rescue from death), and where they've been, I'm keen to keep reading this series, and learning more about how Sonja grows. And if she's dead? Zombie Red Sonja wouldn't be a terrible read...

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8
Red Sonja (2013) #4

Oct 9, 2013

Red Sonja is amazing and brutal all at once; she's reluctantly heroic and unapologetically violent, and she's a fresh reminder of exactly why sword and sorcery is such an exciting genre. Simone and Geovani are doing a spectacular job of reviving the series and making the character dynamic and interesting. Poised for an arc-ending confrontation in the next issue, RED SONJA is a fascinating read that gets better and better each month.

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8
Red Sonja (2013) #5

Nov 20, 2013

This issue is the serve for Issue #6 to spike; it's an action-packed setup that runs on the momentum of a well-executed first arc, and if the next issue delivers a satisfactory ending, RED SONJA will be cemented as a must-pull series from Dynamite's recent swath of revivals. Simone and Geovani have tackled the title with energy and passion, and bring readers an adventure story as strong as Sonja herself.

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8
Revival #13

Aug 21, 2013

REVIVAL is still my favorite horror title on shelves right now, with its simple, Midwestern charm and inventive approach to the undead. Every character is distinctive, and they all feel like someone you know (particularly if you've ever spent any time in a small town), so it's incredibly easy to become personally invested in their stories. It's a title that seems to read best in trade at the moment, with an abundance of character development and subplotting that tends to make single issues feel slow or lacking in action, but the story as a whole is immersive, interesting, and beautifully executed.

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8
Roche Limit #1

Sep 24, 2014

ROCHE LIMIT balances steadily-paced storytelling with high-action moments, and introduces us to a world that begs to be explored. There's an undercurrent of noir mystery, but the book is very much rooted in sci-fi, and it's already evident that we're going to see exploration and progress pitted against timeless human nature. Moreci, Malhotra, & Co. bring us a finely-crafted first issue that piques interest in the rest of the series.

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8
Rocket Girl #1

Oct 9, 2013

Time-travel, rockets, and criminal intrigue make for a great high concept, and so far, ROCKET GIRL is poised to be a unique and entertaining series. Eighties nostalgia and future tech combine quite well as the backdrop for an adventure story, and DaYoung's arc is off to a very interesting start. I'll be keeping up with this series for Reeder's art and to find out exactly what happens when time gets altered in this universe.

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8
Rocket Girl #2

Nov 13, 2013

ROCKET GIRL is a fast-paced, clean story about a complicated time-travel situation, and Montclare and Reeder are handling the subject with aplomb. There's an excellent balance of serious sci-fi and light humor, and the time split between 1986 (as it was) and 2013 (as it might have been) keeps the story engaging and shows off some creative range. Bonus: it's appropriate for readers of all ages (thus far), and seems particularly suitable for tween/teen readers.

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10
Satellite Sam #1

Jul 3, 2013

There's a lot of noir on the stands lately. There's a lot of good noir, even. But even amidst that particular bit of saturation, I'm going to predict that SATELLITE SAM is going to stand out as something special. Something dangerous is brewing, and we've only gotten a snapshot of it -- I'm fairly certain that the murder of Carlyle White is going to be nearly forgettable in comparison to what's next. Like a serialized TV fan, I'm hooked and want to see the next episode of SATELLITE SAM.

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8
Satellite Sam #2

Aug 7, 2013

SATELLITE SAM came in strong with a unique and decidedly sensational first issue, and while the pace has slowed down a little bit for the follow-up, the drama and tension have only ramped up. There's a thick soup of venom, lust, and mutual disrespect sloshing into the world of this book, and it's almost an underdog story if you're on the side of the TV show (since the cast and producers themselves push the boundaries of "deplorable" on a regular basis!). Read it. Get hooked. Hooked like Mikey is on the sauce (I promise this book is healthier!).

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8
Satellite Sam #4

Oct 23, 2013

Fraction and Chaykin continue to give us a deliciously sensational peek at '50s serial television drama (on-, but mostly off-screen), and draw us further into the story by exposing more plainly the ugliness of some characters and the reactions of others to that ugliness. These vignettes are wonderfully intercut with snippets of a television serial being hacked together, a reminder of the setting and a powerful analogy for everything else that's going on. I'm missing the heavier focus on the murder mystery that was set up in the first issue, but enjoying the complexity and intrigue that's being delivered in its place.

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8
Sex Criminals #3

Nov 20, 2013

SEX CRIMINALS is one of the least predictable -- and most entertaining -- series in print right now. Compellingly human characters keep the series grounded, while kinky and absurd adventures drive the plot forward. The title alone sparks conversations about the book, but it's the antics of Suzie and Jon (and the hilarious references and jokes sprinkled throughout) that keeps them going.

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10
Sex Criminals #6

Jun 19, 2014

Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky have won fans' hearts (and maybe some other organs, based on the letters) with the first volume of SEX CRIMINALS, and now they're back for round two. Things take a more serious tone for this issue, but it's good; this issue sets up plenty of conflicts to resolve over the course of the next arc, and the war on the Sex Police gets off to a heated start.

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8
Sex Criminals #7

Aug 13, 2014

It's emotional deep-dive time, as Suzie reveals her secret to an old friend and Jon reflects on his relationship with his ability. Fraction and Zdarsky continue to develop their characters with incredible emotional authenticity, while still telling a story with a delightfully far-out premise. This issue is a little bit slower-paced than usual, but it's a great tee-up for something bolder next month.

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8
Sheltered #3

Sep 4, 2013

Don't worry about nuclear winter (or volcanic winter, as the case may be). Worry about the dark places people are willing to go, and the destructive elements of human nature that are bound to surface in a pressure-cooker situation. SHELTERED is a chilling exploration of the means by which isolation and fear can push a group to the brink of insanity, and for now, that scenario is more frightening than an uncertain end-times.

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8
Shutter #1

Apr 10, 2014

SHUTTER is one of those titles that refuses to be categorized concisely; it's an adventure story, for sure, but it also begs for genre descriptions as expansive and mysterious as the world that Keatinge and Del Duca have just introduced. There are bits of sci-fi, bits of action, bits of coming-of-age-drama, bits of surrealism; it's a stew of creativity, and we'll have to hang on for a few more issues before we can really pin down a snappy tagline for this one.

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8
Shutter #2

May 14, 2014

SHUTTER has definitely piqued my curiosity; it's a completely different world from anything else in comics right now, and there's so much to unpack. It's also fantastic to look at; I'm truly fascinated by Leila Del Duca's imaginative pages. They're bold, they're high-energy, and they're just so full of amazing details that I want to see what's next.

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8
Skyman #1

Jan 16, 2014

SKYMAN debuts with exactly the right beats to set up a promising and engaging new ongoing -- it's not as inaccessible as some revamps (which make readers feel obligated to "do homework" on the older version of the series) and it's completely straightforward in its narrative. The book is loaded with complexity -- in the form of character interactions (and conflicts!) and personal discovery (hello, brand new suit and hero-job!) -- and Fialkov & Co. have seeded plenty of exciting story possibilities. I'm sticking with this series to see how the "who's running the show?" dynamic plays out, and expecting a few surprises and a lot of brawls.

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10
Southern Bastards #1

Apr 29, 2014

Grit, grizzle, and Dixie justice make SOUTHERN BASTARDS the next book you'll be lining up for seconds of. Its debut is a well-crafted blend of groundwork-laying, pawn-setting, and good old-fashioned violence. Aaron and LaTour spin up a setting that's remarkably different from anything else on stands, and they do it with impeccable attention to tone and detail. And sweet tea.

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10
Southern Bastards #2

May 28, 2014

Image books tend to be a go-to when readers are looking for books that "aren't like anything else," but SOUTHERN BASTARDS is so fresh and fascinating that it even breaks Image's usual model. It's well-crafted, unapologetic, and tells a story that feels simultaneously familiar and strange. Family drama, corruption, murder, and revenge aren't new to comics, but the way they're packaged here most definitely is.

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10
Spread #1

Jun 14, 2014

SPREAD is not for the faint of heart, but it's a well-crafted thriller with tons of nightmare-inducing potential. It's utterly creepy, but has strong thematic undertones that elevate it and give the series a clear direction. Bonus points: No has a total Wolverine vibe.

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8
Ten Grand #3

Jul 3, 2013

It all comes down to the last five pages. They're beautiful to look at, and they're a game-changer for the story; a slow-motion sequence of the stakes raising even higher for Joe. I have to find out what's next, because this isn't flashback, this isn't resolved, and if they've done nothing else, JMS and Templesmith have gotten me really attached to Laura and her ending.

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8
The Black Bat #3

Jul 10, 2013

THE BLACK BAT might be a pulp revival, but it's appropriately modern despite the old-school grit. An enjoyably interesting cast of characters and a consistent underlying threat keep things moving forward, and the Black Bat is a flawed but honest hero who's easy to like. We're teed up for heavy action in the next issue, and I'm sticking around to see what happens with that bomb.

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10
The Fade Out #2

Oct 1, 2014

THE FADE OUT continues to be an example of Brubaker and Phillips doing what they do best -- telling a timeless crime story smartly and deliberately. 1940s Hollywood drips with glamour, grit, and the overwhelming sense that everyone is deeply flawed and selfish; it's an incredible setting for a masterfully-executed story.

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10
The Fuse #1

Feb 13, 2014

Sometimes a book just comes out that feels eerily tailored to one's personal preferences, and for me, this first issue is that book. Space. Murder. Cleverness. Pairing new-kid-in-town Dietrich with hard-boiled Klem is -- to use Klem's words -- a slam dunk. Not only are we getting some decidedly not-bland characters, but we get to watch them solve intriguing crimes in a neo-neo-noir setting. I'm going to call this one a must-read for fans of just about anything Image is putting out right now; there are notes reminiscent of both the gritty crime fare that fans of FATALE, TEN GRAND, and the like will enjoy, but also a healthy does of dystopic future adventure for BLACK SCIENCE, SAGA, and EAST OF WEST aficionados.

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8
The Fuse #4

May 28, 2014

THE FUSE blends sci-fi and crime -- two very hot genres amongst the Image set right now -- in a crisp, fast-paced read with surprises at every turn. It's not quite hardboiled, but it doesn't need to be; the characters of THE FUSE make the world an interesting place, even without an extra dose of grit. Natural-sounding dialogue and a kicked-up crime story keep things engaging, and keep us guessing who's behind the murders.

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10
The Green Team #1

May 22, 2013

Despite being presented as the less-sympathetic 1% to the underdog 99%ers of THE MOVEMENT, I found GREEN TEAM to be unabashedly fun. The teen trillionaires aren't flawless, but they're likable, and it's hard to hate a team of motivated kids who want to invest in innovation (especially when said innovation is clearly going to morph them into superheroes!). It's refreshingly light, it's culturally relevant, and it doesn't take itself too seriously.

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8
The Green Team #2

Jun 26, 2013

Bruce Wayne is just a guy with a lot of money; he's not particularly special or interesting except for the parts of his personality that make him Batman. Likewise, GREEN TEAM could just be a formulaic team superhero book with a bunch of kids whose power set consists of "is unbelievably wealthy," but it's the team's (and the book's) personality that really makes this title interesting. There's also plenty of groundwork being laid for exciting future issues -- only two of the team members have suited up, we don't know where Cecelia's robot-arm came from, and there have been teases about Deathstroke being hired for the team as a bodyguard -- so I'll be keeping this in my pulls to see where the story goes.

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8
The Green Team #3

Jul 24, 2013

GREEN TEAM continues to bring heavy-duty action balanced with strong character development and light humor. It's a tough sell for new readers since the main cast isn't your typical DCU fare -- which is a shame, since the creative team is splendid at making these kids interesting -- but cameos by Deathstroke & co. might help keep the title rolling in green. I'm still curious about that robot arm, and still loving all of the fantastic excess...and I want to know what kind of favors a man like Deathstroke asks for!

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6
The Green Team #5

Oct 23, 2013

While it's hard to keep a somewhat superficial concept moving forward, Art and Franco have been doing their best to drive the story into bigger, more exciting territory, and using the book as a vehicle to tell action-packed stories infused with light humor. As the series winds down, we get to enjoy a walloping arc with a space setting, a greedy villain, and powerful henchmen (and we can look forward to future Art & Franco fare when GREEN TEAM wraps in early 2014).

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8
The Life After #1

Jul 9, 2014

Fialkov and Gabo introduce us to a brave new world in THE LIFE AFTER, taking on the bleakness and monotony of the afterlife, and punctuating it with tragedy and curiosity. The sadness and repetition of purgatory take on a new dimension as we see how fully-controlled the situation is -- and how interesting it's going to be when our protagonist and his famous literary companion exploit the glitches.

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8
The Life After #2

Aug 20, 2014

Purgatory might be a miserable, dull place, but THE LIFE AFTER rises above the bleakness of its subject matter and is an intriguing read. There's an excellent blend of large-scale-machinations and on-the-ground (or under-ground?) movement, and things get more and more interesting as we learn about Jude and his place in the world.

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8
The Manhattan Projects #12

Jun 12, 2013

If you're current on MANHATTAN PROJECTS, give Issue #11 a re-read for sentimental reasons before opening up this one. Have an ice cream while you're at it.

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8
The Manhattan Projects #13

Aug 7, 2013

Ten years into the program, and thirteen issues into the series, MANHATTAN PROJECTS is still one of the single most interesting titles in print right now. It's operating in an entirely different sphere from most other comics, and while that means unfamiliar territory for some, it's worth exploring. Mad science, bad science, clever writing, imaginative art. After a big emotional build in issue #11 and its fallout in #12, we start anew with more seedlings of tension to come. And with a great many dissected aliens.

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10
The Manhattan Projects #15

Oct 9, 2013

This series continues to hold its own entirely unique position in the Image lineup, bringing rich and unpredictable new stories month after month. The interior of Oppenheimer's brain is a storytelling goldmine, and even these issues that take small breaks from the primary narrative are thoroughly fascinating. The book's visual consistency, throughout the primary arc and carrying into these fill-in issues, is a high point, especially because it's artistically unlike anything else on the shelves. MANHATTAN PROJECTS remains a must-pull series.

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8
The Manhattan Projects #16

Nov 13, 2013

MANHATTAN PROJECTS is perpetually surprising; like the scientists it's based on, the series continues to push, to invent, to innovate. At this stage, the plot is fully unpredictable, and readers get to enjoy the strange and wonderful ride that Hickman, Pitarra, et al are taking us on without feeling spoiled by our own expectations. Is it weird? Absolutely. But for every bizarre wormhole that the plot dashes into, MANHATTAN PROJECTS emerges on the side of consistent entertainment.

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8
The Movement #1

May 1, 2013

Gail Simone a ragtag team of supers a message larger than the story on the page = power combo. The Occupy movement and the workings of Anonymous are clear inspirations for the book's context, but the stories in THE MOVEMENT are very much their own. Simone walks us through this issue while setting up all of the pieces of the next one, and it's clear that we're about to see some amazing character-driven storytelling.

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8
The Owl #1

Jul 3, 2013

Once again, Dynamite delivers a strong pulp revival. I've been enjoying BLACK BAT, and I'm happy that THE OWL is another strong title in their slate. In contrast to Black Bat, The Owl is a hero with an incredible sense of duty, and far less moral ambiguity, so we're getting a different flavor of hero with just as much pulp. As far is series debuts go, this one did it by the numbers -- solid introduction to the hero and his world, immediate action, and groundwork for exciting future issues. I'm in for Issue #2 -- I want to know what's going on with the new Owl Girl, and how Terry is going to handle the cops' overflow (because we know there's more to that story!).

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10
The Wicked + The Divine #1

Jun 19, 2014

THE WICKED THE DIVINE drops us into a glamorous and exciting world populated with gods and everything that goes with them -- their fans, their skeptics, their supporters, and their enemies. It's an immersive world with plenty of hooks, and the story is incredibly smart. Pull list material, for sure.

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10
The Wicked + The Divine #2

Jul 17, 2014

One of the highest marks of praise that I can give to a series is that I dread the extra week between issues when it's a five-week month. But I don't want to wait until August 20th for the next installment of THE WICKED THE DIVINE; I want to consume it instantly, and the next issue right after. There are twelve gods to learn about/adore/hate, and a multitude more opinions to form -- and then change, because isn't that what pop culture is about?

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8
The Wicked + The Divine #3

Aug 20, 2014

WICDIV continues to surprise and delight, with larger-than-life characters and equally thrilling situations. Everything about the book, from design to research to dialogue, feels intentional -- which in turn, makes it easier to buy into. It's a stunning execution of a high concept that's already unique, and a fresh, enjoyable read.

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10
The Wicked + The Divine #4

Sep 17, 2014

THE WICKED THE DIVINE is a consistent must-pull for anyone who enjoys music, pop culture, criticism, and/or storytelling that hits on multiple levels. It's an exquisitely made comic book (writing, art, lettering, all of it), but it's also more intellectually intriguing than a lot of books in publication right now. I'm finding myself enjoying the ride more than I care about the resolution to this arc, and if that's not a reason to pick up a book in single issues, I'm not sure what is.

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10
The Woods #1

May 7, 2014

Successfully capturing teen angst and alien horror on the page with equal precision, Tynion and Dialynas make us want to explore more of THE WOODS. The high concept is definitely strange, in a good way -- it's something we've never seen before, and it's completely unpredictable where things will go. The creepy school atmosphere of MORNING GLORIES meets the pluck of Veronica Mars, with ravenous monsters and an engaging mystery to unravel.

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8
The Woods #2

Jun 5, 2014

THE WOODS continues to be scary and inviting at the same time, and it's a really solid young adult read. Even if you're not such a young adult, it's enjoyable and interesting and thoroughly surprising. There's a constant feeling of "what's next?" and interesting characters that keep fueling that.

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10
Translucid #1

Apr 16, 2014

I'm still trying to process TRANSLUCID -- in a good way. It's giving me a great deal to think about vis-a-vis how heroes and villains engage with each other in our beloved sequential medium, and the spotlight on "the neverending battle" makes for a brilliant discussion topic (make your friends read this book!) and a dramatic tango of a script. Vibrant colors and dynamic panels make for a visually-enticing book, and I'm already caught up in the chess match between The Horse and The Navigator.

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10
Trees #2

Jun 26, 2014

The high concept of this book is enchanting, and its execution is proving to be a great match so far. It's as if Ellis and Howard have dared us to guess whether the trees are going to do anything, and that ongoing tension (for readers, and for the characters) is absolutely a reason to pick up this book. I'm looking forward to getting to know some of the cast a bit more in future issues, and seeing how far this tension game plays out.

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10
Trillium #1

Aug 7, 2013

Jeff Lemire has distilled the art of crafting compelling first issues down to a science, and TRILLIUM is no exception -- layered characters on the verge of making interesting choices, a looming threat with meaningful consequences, a solution that seems too easy to be true (so we know it isn't!), and heaps of mystery. His sweeping, watercolor-tinged illustrations add to the otherworldly, adventurous feel of the book, and it's captivating from the start.

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10
Trillium #2

Sep 4, 2013

Perhaps the best part of TRILLIUM is re-reading each issue with another layer of context. It's clear, only two issues in, that this is the sort of story that's as powerful in the macro as it is in the micro, and I imagine that I'll relish reading it in trade as much as I'm enjoying the single issues. Lemire is a masterful storyteller, and TRILLIUM is proof of his talent for choreographing not just his characters' actions, but the ful reading experience.

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8
Trillium #3

Oct 2, 2013

TRILLIUM continues to shine as one of Vertigo's gems; it's unique, it's beautiful, and it's compelling to no end. It's incredibly easy to become invested, not only in the fates of Nika and William, but of the universe at large. This kind of immersion is Lemire's wheelhouse; in just a few issues, he's built a world (or two, rather) that begs to be cared about, and seeded a love story that transcends time and space.

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10
Trillium #5

Dec 4, 2013

I've never been so excited about turning a book upside-down before. TRILLIUM is firing on all cylinders, and this issue in particular is stunning in its perfectly-on-point reversal of Issue #1. The narrative is deeply engaging, the characters are easy to invest in, and Nika and William are decidedly brilliant in each other's shoes. Jeff Lemire is doing amazing things with sequential storytelling, and if TRILLIUM isn't on your pull list already, put it there.

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10
Uncanny X-Force (2013) #9

Jul 31, 2013

UNCANNY X-FORCE has taken a departure from the "typical" love triangle arc found in comics, but while it's been a wild, almost surreal trip, it's also been astonishingly honest. Love is complicated. Rejection hurts. People don't always feel the way you want them to feel when you want them to feel that way. And, when you're a metahuman with deadly abilities, it's even more of a mess. I'm almost sad to see this arc come to a close, because even though the Revenant stuff looks scary and interesting, it's not going to be the same as this passion-filled super-soap-opera.

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8
Uncanny X-Force (2013) #10

Aug 14, 2013

UNCANNY X-FORCE is venturing into nightmare territory, but the story is anything but. It's immediately engaging, ripping the team apart and literally forcing them to confront the darkest, ugliest parts of themselves. When Bishop is the only one who can save the day, we're in for a wild ride. This issue is also a fabulous jump-on point for new or lapsed readers; with the Fantomex arc wrapped up, things are taking an entirely new direction.

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8
Uncanny X-Force (2013) #11

Sep 11, 2013

Bishop can be a wildcard character, but when his arcs are good, they're amazing. This one seems to be shaping up along those lines, with a compelling cross-timestream story and a solidly threatening psychic villain. I'm loving the action-packed direction this arc is taking, especially after the more emotionally-centered preceding story, and I can't wait to find out the real story behind the Revenant Queen.

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8
Uncanny X-Force (2013) #12

Oct 9, 2013

Mr. Bishop's Wild Ride continues in spectacular fashion, and now that we know the story behind the Revenants and their Queen, we're ready for a most serious confrontation. After all, it's only the end of the world at stake. Humphries has served up a fascinating arc thus far, and it's been stunningly realized on the page with the help of talented artists like Alphona and Sotomayor. Bishop, Storm, et al need to bring the heat next issue to keep the momentum going, but I have no doubt that they'll do so.

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8
Undertow #1

Feb 19, 2014

UNDERTOW is intriguing, partly because it's giving us a fresh angle from which to experience a sci-fi/adventure comic, and partly because it's packed with fascinating visuals. It's clever and modern in its scripting, but has classic pulp notes artistically, and the combo works well. Atlantis is something we know by name but see differently in this book -- it's a hotbed of political intrigue, ripe with story possibilities. We're thrust directly into a raucous search for a mythical monster, all in the name of science and rebellion, and if this first issue is any indication, UNDERTOW is yet another solid selection from Image's science-themed set.

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10
Undertow #5

Jun 26, 2014

UNDERTOW is one of those series that probably isn't being read by enough people; it's beautifully-executed and truly unique in concept. Orlando and Trakhanov have interpreted Atlantis -- and the surface world -- in a clever and fresh manner, and while the world itself is interesting and Atlantean, it doesn't get in the way of the very human conflict at the heart of the story. If you've been waffling on whether to pick up this miniseries: yes.

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10
Veil #1

Mar 5, 2014

Greg Rucka appears to be keeping on trend with that whole "putting out killer creator-owned books featuring equally killer lead characters" thing, and VEIL is a welcome addition to my pull list. It's a miniseries, so there's no long haul to settle in for; just five very different, very fascinating issues to savor. Rucka and Fejzula are walking a tightrope between genres; horror and suspense and quite likely a few more are represented, making VEIL a solid selection for a wide range of readers.

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10
Velvet #4

Mar 5, 2014

It's no accident that Image gave Ed Brubaker a green-light contract; the man produces incredible work, and always partners with dynamo art teams to deliver comics worth reading twice -- once in single issues to get the next layer of story, and then again in trade because they're worthy of the shelf position. VELVET is the lady-led spy comic we didn't even know we wanted, and it's one to look forward to every month.

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10
Velvet #6

Jul 23, 2014

VELVET kicks off its second arc with as much energy and intrigue as the first, never flagging in terms of action or sharpness. For all of the high-paced fight-and-flight of the first arc, the series feels like it's really diving into its core with Velvet's new, more personal motivation to find the traitor in ARC-7. And now that she's bringing the fight out in the open, I have a feeling we're going to see Velvet Templeton at her most exceptional.

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10
Velvet #7

Sep 10, 2014

This month's VELVET shifts the POV to some of the other agents, but continues the thrilling spy tale with the series' usual energy and drama. Following Velvet's trail via her colleagues reveals additional nuances about our heroine, and solidifies her as one of the most interesting characters in comics right now.

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8
Wayward #1

Aug 27, 2014

WAYWARD is a truly unique offering, even in the already-diverse selection Image has been publishing lately. For now, it's age-appropriate for a wide range of readers, and it explores Japan from a supernatural angle that isn't often seen in Western comics. Zub, Cummings, and team have piqued my interest, and I can't wait to see how a feisty half-Irish teen handles being swept up in Japanese myth.

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10
Wonder Woman (2011) #23

Aug 21, 2013

#23 is a positively incredible issue of WONDER WOMAN; if not one of the best issues of all-time, it's certainly a stand-out in an already powerful New 52 run. Azzarello and Chiang have brought their A-game, and there's no turning back. By the numbers, it's a fantastically-executed superhero comic -- action, heroics, character evolution, emotional pull, a gripping climax, an ending that begs for more -- but beyond anything a formula alone can deliver, there's truly masterful storytelling at play.

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