Joey Esposito's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: IGN Reviews: 377
7.7Avg. Review Rating

6.0
Action Comics #901

May 25, 2011

I'm chalking this one up to trying to shove a square peg into a round hole; a demand from upon high for a mini-event in a series that didn't need it in the slightest.

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5.5
Action Comics #904

Aug 24, 2011

Bring on Action Comics #1.

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7.5
Action Comics (2011) #1

Sep 7, 2011

When all is said and done, this is the first chapter of a very long story (Morrison told us he's got 16 issues plotted out), and it reads as such. Much like Morrison's work previous, the whole will likely be greater than its parts. However, that doesn't mean Action Comics #1 is unenjoyable, not by any means. Morrison presents many interesting ideas in issue #1 that will most certainly blossom in ways we've never even considered.

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9.0
Adventures Of Superman (2013) #1

May 1, 2013

Two things are clear after this first chapter. One, Adventures of Superman is the alternative to fans that just aren't finding what they're looking for in terms of Superman in the New 52. And two, Jeff Parker and Chris Samnee need to work together again.

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8.1
Age of Ultron #1

Mar 4, 2013

It's these massive landscape shots that help to sell Bendis' plot-lite script, effectively depicting how drastically this world has changed and been devastated, rather than leaving to the dialogue or narration to describe it. That's not to say Hitch's character work is lacking, though, as the many action sequences thrive on the brutality of the participants and their interaction with the environment. There is some repetition to the facial work and the frequent blur effect that severely distracts from the action at hand, but in general Age of Ultron #1 is a beautiful and explosive book that is worthy of its event comic hype.

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8.6
All-New X-Men #1

Nov 13, 2012

One downside is that Immonen's penchant for action sequences isn't really put to use here, save for a few explosive panels. Those few panels, though, are truly outrageously rad.

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8.5
All-New X-Men #9

Mar 20, 2013

It's lovely to see All-New X-Men take a character-first storytelling approach, particularly when there's so much plot happening. Bendis has proved that the presence of the original X-Men is far greater than just a sci-fi gimmick; instead, it's a wonderful new prism with which to analyze the current cast of X-characters.

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8.5
Amazing Spider-Man #666

Jul 27, 2011

While on the surface the idea of Spider-Island feels gimmicky, issue #666 has proven that there's one central element that has taken precedence over any other: character. Because of that, I'm ready for the ride.

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6.5
Amazing Spider-Man #667

Aug 10, 2011

The first chapter of Spider-Island isn't bad or unenjoyable by any means, it's just that the styles of Slott and Ramos never quite get in sync to deliver a story that's on par with the chapter that led up to it. The duo has worked together to much success before, so hopefully they can find that same magic in future installments.

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6.5
Amazing Spider-Man #671

Oct 12, 2011

With only one issue (plus an epilogue) to go for Spider-Island, issue #871 solidified my interest in the long-term ramifications of the event, even if it wasn't entirely appealing to the eyes.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #674

Nov 16, 2011

While I wasn't keen on Spider-Island as a whole, the aftermath seems to be jumping right back into the groove that Slott was in before the event kicked off, complete with an interesting new status quo to play with.

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9.5
Amazing Spider-Man #677

Jan 11, 2012

It should be illegal for comics to be this charming.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #678

Jan 18, 2012

Despite the artistic shortcomings, Amazing Spidey #678 is another great entry into Slott's ongoing saga that ups the ante for our hero at a time when I hardly thought that was possible.

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7.5
Amazing Spider-Man #679

Feb 1, 2012

Humberto Ramos fares a little better this time around with an increased character-centric focus, resulting in fewer cluttered action panels. His style remains as angular and exaggerated as ever, but his bizarre use of the human body does have its certain ability to help Slott's more emotional scenes retain their resonance visually. Still though, I'd be lying if I didn't say I was looking forward to Stefano Caselli's upcoming arc on the book.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #682

Mar 21, 2012

"Ends of the Earth" Part 1 isn't a blast out of the gate, but it does offer some subtle hints as to what's to come in future chapters, particularly regarding Peter's reliance on new technology and old habits. If not as grand a scale as Spider-Island (yet), this story arc appears to be aligning Peter for some heavy personal confrontations in the weeks to come.

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6.5
Amazing Spider-Man #683

Apr 4, 2012

I've been a huge proponent of Slott's work on this book thus far, and have no doubt it'll bounce back from this somewhat disappointing installment.

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7.5
Amazing Spider-Man #684

Apr 18, 2012

Gone is Stefano Caselli from "Ends of the Earth" it seems, and in his place is regular Spidey artist Humberto Ramos. Thankfully, due to the rather isolated nature of this issue – a bulk of it relegated to the desert with a limited number of characters – the art is far less cluttered and more suited to Ramos' stylistic artwork. While the action sequences are still a bit spotty when it comes to clearly blocking the action, the characters are more effectively rendered with stronger detail and body language. This is the prettiest Ramos' work has looked in a Spidey book in quite some time.

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7.5
Amazing Spider-Man #688

Jun 27, 2012

No Turning Back is off to a nice start but isn't without its faults. However, Slott is clearly interested in again shifting the status quo for Spider-Man and this time, it's through one of his most beloved villains.

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7.5
Amazing Spider-Man #690

Jul 25, 2012

Things aren't looking so hot for either Spidey or Doc Connors, but if Slott can keep the Lizard's new status quo compelling, then this arc should prove to be a fitting companion to Shed.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #699

Dec 5, 2012

Whatever the outcome of issue #700, I'm of the opinion that Amazing Spider-Man is the most exciting it has been since the start of the Big Time era. I fully expect things to go back to normal for Peter down the road (don't they always?), whether that be in 6 months or 6 years. But in the meantime, if Dying Wish is any indication, I will enjoy the ride.

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9.0
American Vampire #26

Apr 25, 2012

American Vampire #26 continues the series' non-stop chain of quality comic booking, and I pity you greatly if you still haven't dabbled.

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7.0
American Vampire #27

May 30, 2012

Ultimately, Snyder's writing and devotion to expanding the mythos and cast wins out, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't already looking past this issue for the start of the next big arc and the return of Rafael Albuquerque.

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9.0
American Vampire #28

Jun 27, 2012

The series has hit so many highs it's hard to keep track of all my favorite moments. But the start of The Blacklist feels different; more substantial, in a way. If The Blacklist keeps up momentum, combined with the recently launched Lord of Nightmares, it's quite possible that American Vampire is about to reach its peak.

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9.5
American Vampire #30

Aug 29, 2012

American Vampire #30 is legitimately shocking in how violent and bloody it is while remaining so humanistic and heart wrenching. And the arc's not even over yet.

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8.9
American Vampire #32

Oct 31, 2012

American Vampire, two issues away from hiatus, is firing all cylinders, making it even more difficult knowing that we're going to have to say goodbye to this book for a little while.

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9.7
American Vampire #33

Nov 28, 2012

Snyder and Albuquerque have achieved true greatness here in an installment of a series full of standout issues. This one might rank as the best simply for its tear-jerking and violent payoff to the 32 issues that came before it.

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8.6
American Vampire #34

Jan 2, 2013

You'll be missed, American Vampire.

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9.0
American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares #1

Jun 13, 2012

If you're an American Vampire fan, Lord of Nightmares is already appearing to be a worthy follow up to last year's stellar Survival of the Fittest.

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8.0
American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares #3

Aug 8, 2012

Lord of Nightmares #3 continues to expand the American Vampire mythology in a way that no other AV story has done previously while also taking a more traditional approach to the horror genre.

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9.0
American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #1

Jun 8, 2011

Whether you're already a fan looking to flesh out the AV universe or a newbie wondering what the fuss is about, this issue will not let you down.

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7.5
Animal Man #0

Sep 5, 2012

If not required reading, Animal Man #0 is still an enjoyable issue.

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8.0
Animal Man Annual #1

May 30, 2012

For Animal Man fans, this is simply another installment of Lemire's ever expanding story. The $5 price tag is still a hard sell, but ultimately fans that want a bit more insight on the three elements (and some fun moments with Socks the cat), Animal Man Annual #1 should serve you well.

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8.9
Aquaman (2011) #14

Nov 28, 2012

All told, those are minor quibbles in an otherwise fantastic issue of Aquaman. Oh, and Aquafans that have been waiting for more of Arthur's supporting cast to make an appearance" this issue should do plenty to get you excited.

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8.5
Artifacts #8

Jun 29, 2011

In all, Artifacts #8 is an impressive conclusion to the second chapter of this massive saga. With Jeremy Haun coming on board for the concluding issues (along with the "Origin" back-up story in this one), things are only looking up for Top Cow's event.

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8.5
Artifacts #9

Aug 10, 2011

If you think you're suffering from event fatigue, I dare you to check out Artifacts as a sample of what big stories like this are actually capable of.

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8.0
Artifacts #13

Jan 4, 2012

Artifacts has been one hell of a trip, proving that it's not gigantic fight scenes and multiple earths that make an event, but a focus on the characters of a shared universe struggling to not only overcome a great threat, but being able to stand one another long enough to do it. Artifacts has been an education in building a proper comic book event.

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8.0
Astonishing X-Men #44

Nov 23, 2011

Joey is IGN's Comics Editor and a comic book creator himself. Follow Joey on Twitter, or find him on MyIGN. You may or may not discover a profound number of cat pictures.

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8.0
Astonishing X-Men #48

Mar 28, 2012

It's got some kinks when being read in periodical format, but plans for a big story seem to be in motion. For as much as we often complain about how many X-books Marvel puts out, at least we can also say that a majority of them are solid, worthwhile reads.

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4.5
Avengers 1959 #1

Oct 6, 2011

Chaykin's art also continues to be ill fitted for superhero comics, offering disgustingly bloated faces and his patented thick, scratchy lines that are subjected to Jesus Aburtov's glossy colors. The mixture of styles really doesn't work, instead making the art extremely muddy, obscuring any detail or sense of movement. One bright spot comes in Chaykin's backgrounds, particularly those of the city streets. The smaller details are appreciated, and the glowing hue of city life is brought to fruition by Aburtov in stunning fashion. Unfortunately, that's the only real bright spot in another wise lackluster book. Perhaps in issue #2 we'll get an idea of the meaning of this story, or even the point of it.

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7.5
Avengers: Solo #1

Oct 26, 2011

Hopefully, adding Avengers to the title will help boost the book's sales a bit to continue Marvel's trend of Hawkeye minis.

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7.5
Batgirl (2009) #20

Apr 13, 2011

Month in and month out, Batgirl continues to prove its high placement amongst the many Bat-books at DC Comics.

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8.5
Batgirl (2009) #21

May 11, 2011

With Nguyen back on board, hopefully consistently, I have little doubt that Batgirl will continue to meet or exceed expectations month after month.

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9.0
Batgirl (2009) #22

Jun 15, 2011

Batgirl #22 is every inch as great as I wanted it to be. It's a shame that the run will soon be coming to an end.

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8.0
Batgirl (2009) #23

Jul 13, 2011

Dustin Nguyen's lovely cover is also worth a mention (as it always is), offering up a nice mid-battle staredown between a smirking Stephanie Brown and her robotic attackers. The violet hue of the image is a great parallel to Batgirl's color scheme, and it won't be soon enough that I'm able to have this as a print on my wall.

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9.5
Batgirl (2009) #24

Aug 10, 2011

Miller gives a beautiful send off to a character that he no doubt had many more plans for, so much so that we get glimpses into her life as an altogether different costumed vigilante and mom. Stephanie's closing monologue is touching and sincere as Miller paints a picture for her readers with a wink and a nod that these stories never end, not really. Stephanie's last line of dialog is one of the most well-crafted I've ever seen, perfectly summarizing her character as well as the glory, tragedy, and ultimate underlying message of reading superhero comics: "It's only the end if you want it to be."

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7.5
Batgirl (2011) #0

Sep 12, 2012

Ed Benes does some fine work here, most notabley in the action sequences in the GCPD and the close-ups on various characters. The further Benes pulls back his angle, the less attractive the panels become. Luckily, he plays to his strengths for the most part and is able to keep the action quick and intense, avoiding ever making it feel claustrophobic. Though he's probably best known for his buxom ladies, Benes shines brightest on the pages featuring Batman himself, making him imposing and mysterious, underlining the way that Barbara is seeing him for the very first time.

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9.0
Batgirl (2011) #1

Sep 7, 2011

Do I miss Stephanie Brown? Of course. But there's no denying it; the original Batgirl is back, and it's going to be a hell of a ride.

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8.3
Batgirl (2011) #16

Jan 16, 2013

Art duties are split between Ed Benes and Daniel Sampere, who handle their respective pages well. The transition is noticeable, if only slightly, through the sudden appearance of Sampere's less rigid figures, thanks in part to the looser inks of Vicente Cifuentes. Each artist has some great pages to render that play to their individual strengths. Benes handles the majority of the creepy Joker moments as he monologues to Batgirl, while Sampere jumps in for the latter half of the book that is mostly an extended fight sequence. Samepere's energetic, if emotionally stunted, work is the better fit here, while Benes' penchant for detail and atmosphere makes the best of Simone's terrifying Joker.

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8.0
Batman (2011) #0

Sep 12, 2012

We get to see how Batman inspired the Bat-family " Dick, Jason, Tim, and Barbara " before ever actually meeting them. It's a great framing device that works on multiple levels, including giving Tim Drake his only worthwhile, significant moment since the New 52 launched last year. Plus, Clarke's nod to the original Nightwing costume is fantastic.

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9.0
Batman (2011) #1

Sep 21, 2011

Snyder's highly acclaimed run on Detective Comics was hardly a fluke. Just as he approached Detective with a story that could only be told through Dick's eyes, so too does he approach Batman #1 in the same fashion. This a story that is uniquely Bruce's, taking Snyder's fascination with Gotham City and twisting it to reflect the original Dark Knight. There's a wealth of Batman titles coming in DC's relaunch, but so far, this looks to be the one to beat.

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9.5
Batman (2011) #2

Oct 19, 2011

Also, this book might have one of the most badass Batman moments ever, which makes it all the more poignant knowing that it'll all be coming back to haunt him.

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9.0
Batman (2011) #3

Nov 16, 2011

Simultaneously, Batman #3 excels in showing us why Bruce is the best detective in the world, but perhaps the most overconfident one as well. It takes him down a peg while staying true to the character; Snyder and Capullo's story challenges the Dark Knight, but doesn't detract from him. Something sinister is afoot, and if Batman #3 is any indication, it's going to be a ton of fun to discover the depth of this conspiracy alongside Bruce every step of the way.

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8.5
Batman (2011) #4

Dec 21, 2011

Joey is IGN's Comics Editor and a comic book creator himself. Follow Joey on Twitter, or find him on MyIGN. You may or may not discover a profound number of cat pictures.

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9.5
Batman (2011) #5

Jan 18, 2012

From every perspective, Batman #5 is fantastic.

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8.5
Batman (2011) #6

Feb 15, 2012

Batman #6 is, for lack of a better term, a "fight" issue, but one that doesn't sacrifice plot progression (however slight) for a brawl. It's not my favorite of the series, but there's no doubt that it's a step above most other comics that I read this week.

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9.0
Batman (2011) #7

Mar 21, 2012

Batman #7 is yet another solid, ominous chapter in the Court of Owls saga that holds a significant turning point for Bruce Wayne and those around him. With Bruce finally accepting his place within Gotham, perhaps we'll begin to see him take charge and stick it to the Owls. It's going to be an exciting ride as we head into the coming crossover.

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9.0
Batman (2011) #8

Apr 18, 2012

Regardless, Night of the Owls has launched in fine fashion, piling on the action to the already established intrigue, leaving us truly wondering about the fate of the Bat-family.

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8.0
Batman (2011) #9

May 9, 2012

A re-read clarified my mistake, but it could've been avoided with a line of narration early on. Regardless, the expansion on the Pennyworth family and their history with the Waynes is fun. The real appeal to the back-up, though, is the work of Rafael Albuquerque. This story is steeped with heavy linework and moody inks, and assisted by the lush colors of Dave McCaig, it becomes the primary selling point of the extra tale.

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9.5
Batman (2011) #10

Jun 13, 2012

Batman #10 is an issue that's got it all; great characterization, the answers to an intriguing mystery, haunting artwork, and a tragic new villain to add to Batman's rogues. There's still one issue to go in the Court of Owls story; if Snyder and Capullo have proven anything during the course of their run, it's that a lot can happen in the span of one issue. Personally, I fully expect even more exciting twists on the way.

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9.0
Batman (2011) #11

Jul 11, 2012

The Court of Owls ends as it began: with a bang. This is a definitive end to the epic, but leaves Batman in a place that will surely inform what's to come from Snyder and Capullo in the future.

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9.5
Batman (2011) #12

Aug 8, 2012

Though there's that slight nitpick, Batman #12 is a complete triumph. This is the kind of issue that we get far too few of in superhero comics; the one that reminds us a superhero book can be so much more than just the typical big action we get month-in and month-out. This is a book that exemplifies the true potential of these characters " and Batman hardly shows face.

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9.3
Batman (2011) #14

Nov 14, 2012

Batman #14's back-up isn't as strong as last month's, this time focusing on a meet-up between Joker and Penguin, but Jock's atmospheric art remains a high point of this issue in general.

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9.4
Batman (2011) #15

Dec 12, 2012

The back-up story features some nice interaction between Joker and Riddler, and though we don't get to learn much about the Joker's plan " but we do learn that even the Riddler thinks it's insane.

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9.6
Batman (2011) #16

Jan 15, 2013

In fact, that's the one and only gripe I have with the narrative is the sudden " and brief -- introduction to the peril that the Bat-family has found themselves in. Though this problem is rectified if you are reading a bulk of the tie-in issues in their respective series, for a reader of Batman alone it'd probably be nice to have some inkling of the events the other Bats are going through, considering their safety is the primary motivating factor for Batman himself.

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10
Batman (2011) #17

Feb 12, 2013

Another stunning piece of work in this issue comes in a splash page that depicts Joker's unending adoration for the Dark Knight; it's haunting and strangely romantic in a way that only the Joker could manage. But even more than the horrifying detail that Capullo provides these pages, there's simply no denying the grace and apparent effortlessness with which he tells the story visually. Every single page in this chapter reads as though you're watching a movie; even when the action is slim " the first few pages is basically a bunch of people talking around a table " Capullo's work is dynamic and ridiculously expressive. With the aid of inker Jonathan Glapion and colorist FCO Plascencia, Batman #17 is one of the most vibrant, disturbing, and attractive comic books you're likely to see this year.

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7.8
Batman (2011) #18

Mar 13, 2013

Though Batman #18 is a bit of a breather issue, Snyder successfully deals with the death of Damian in an effective way, all the while evolving a very possible candidate for Girl Wonder in Harper Row.

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8.0
Batman (2011) #19

Apr 10, 2013

Also a delight this month is the back-up feature by James Tynion IV and Alex Maleev. Not only is it an immense joy to see Maleev drawing Batman, but this issue does one better by bringing Superman into the fold. That's right, the back-up here is a classic World's Finest team-up. It's very much Superman coming into Batman's world " Tynion plays up Superman's weakness to the supernatural " and it's just a blast to read. Tynion jams off of some beats in the main narrative where Alfred references Clark calling Bruce to talk about Damian, and it works like a charm. It might not be the most memorable Batman/Superman pairing, but it's certainly the best we've seen in the New 52 and it's gorgeous to boot.

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8.0
Batman (2011) Annual #1

May 30, 2012

The last thing to note is that this is a $5 investment, and while it's certainly over-sized and a high quality production, it's not an essential read by any means and might be better left read as part of a collection in the future.

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6.0
Batman and Robin #24

Jun 8, 2011

Though the art was disappointing, Winick's script manages to rise above in most instances to continue his engaging narrative. But comic books are half visual and half text, for better or worse, and Batman and Robin #24 falls short in one of those areas.

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8.0
Batman and Robin (2011) #0

Sep 12, 2012

Patrick Gleason handles the action portions of this issue with great care. Visually, the standout moments come in the form of a pair of double-page spreads in which Talia tests the limits of her son. Gleason splits the pages into lightning-quick vertical panels that manage to condense years of training into a few brief pages. Gleason nails the intensity and emotion of the images, letting us understand the trials that Damian has gone through. Less successful are some of the more subdued sequences, which sometimes suffer from some wonky character work. One panel of an infant Damian in particular is rather baffling, giving the character an enormous egg-shaped head. Problems like this crop up occasionally, but overall Gleason is able to keep this zero issue visually compelling.

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7.5
Batman and Robin (2011) #6

Feb 8, 2012

As endearing as the spotlight on Robin is, it's artist Patrick Gleason that steals the show. While I'm not particularly fond of the flashback sequences – finished with much lighter inks and a subdued, faded color palette – the rest of the book is an accomplishment in setting the mood of this story through dynamic angles and heavy, heavy shadows. Gleason's present-day work colored by John Kalisz is worth the price of admission alone, offering a multitude of stellar panels that not only stand alone as a fine piece of Batman art, but lend to their overall pages in terms of sheer storytelling and page construction.

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9.0
Batman and Robin (2011) #8

Apr 11, 2012

While the art lessens the dramatic punch of the final scene ever so slightly, in the end Batman and Robin #8's character building finesse and remarkably strong ending make it one of the best superhero comics of the week. Plus, Damian's dog finally gets a name and they play fetch… and that's adorable.

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7.0
Batman and Robin (2011) #9

May 9, 2012

Mired in unnecessary exposition that interrupts the fast paced urgency of the story, this book delivers on its promise of a standalone tale but falls short of making it one to remember.

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8.6
Batman and Robin (2011) #16

Jan 16, 2013

It keeps the design of Greg Capullo's Joker but presents him with black hole-like orifices, as though presenting a gateway to the character's innards that are, expectedly, entirely vacant. Save for Capullo's take on Joker in Batman proper, Gleason and company have done the character the most justice in Death of the Family by taking the horror elements of his redesign and cranking them up to eleven.

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7.0
Batman Beyond (2011) #1

Jan 5, 2011

Batman Beyond #1 brings forth a new beginning for a title that fans have clamored for since the show ended in 2002. While it's not necessarily the high quality romp the first few issues of the mini suggested it would be, Batman Beyond's return is a welcome addition to the DC stable of books.

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8.4
Batman Incorporated #9

Mar 27, 2013

In general, Burnham and colorist Nathan Fairbairn deliver big time, particularly during the funeral sequence. Burnham's strong character work coupled with the grim hues that Fairbairn provides make for a particularly depressing scene. However, there are a few pages featuring the work of Jason Masters and Hi-Fi that look quite bland in comparison. The colors on these pages in particular leave these scenes struggling to compete with the fullness Fairbairn is able to provide. That said, this accounts for only four pages of the total book, and all in scenes that aren't essential to the emotional impact.

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9.0
Batman: Earth One #1

Jul 4, 2012

Batman: Earth One is a resounding success. There's no supplemental material to speak of, but the beautiful characterization, interesting new direction, and stunning artwork makes it an easy recommendation. When Superman: Earth One disappointed it left me cold on these books completely, but Johns and Frank have rejuvenated this line tenfold and made sure that Batman fans have a great new graphic novel to rave about.

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8.5
Batman: Gates of Gotham #1

May 18, 2011

Gates of Gotham #1 is a compelling start to what has potential to be one of the most evolutionary tales in Batman's recent history.

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8.5
Batman: Noel #1

Nov 3, 2011

If the higher concept of Batman: Noel sounds slightly bizarre to you, well, you're right. It is. But it's a book that is better to experience yourself than to try and sum up in a neat pitch-ready bow. At the end of the day, Noel delivers a Batman tale like none other – and considering the sheer amount of Batman stories out there, that's a feat in and of itself.

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7.0
Battle Scars #1

Nov 9, 2011

Battle Scars #1 is an interesting new take on the aftermath of Fear Itself, but all signs point toward it becoming much larger in scope than this first issue deals with. Hopefully, Yost and company can keep the thematic successes intact as they grow the story bigger.

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8.0
Battle Scars #2

Dec 14, 2011

Joey is IGN's Comics Editor and a comic book creator himself. Follow Joey on Twitter, or find him on MyIGN. You may or may not discover a profound number of cat pictures.

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6.5
Battle Scars #3

Jan 11, 2012

Though I'm still intrigued by what this series has to offer, it was disappointing to find issue #3 going the easy route of more action than taking advantage of the great character potential that the first two installments set it up for.

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7.0
Battle Scars #4

Feb 8, 2012

Battle Scars continues to seemingly have no real impact on the Marvel Universe at large, but that doesn't mean it's not an engaging story. If you've got an extra $3 to spare at the shop, you could do much worse.

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5.5
Battle Scars #6

Apr 25, 2012

While I honestly have enjoyed Battle Scars as a whole, its bizarre and frankly lengthy approach to establish parallels with the Marvel movie universe is painfully uninspired and disappointing. While there are nuggets of potential laced in this series' outcome, I'm not sure I have faith in the current state of superhero comics to deliver on it.

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9.0
Batwoman #1

Sep 14, 2011

Batwoman #1 is a tour de force of superheroics, mystery, and sheer artistic glory. Go buy it.

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7.5
Before Watchmen: Comedian #1

Jun 20, 2012

The shortcomings aren't a deal breaker; Comedian #1 is a surprising approach for one of the most maligned characters in the history of comics that lets the reader interested in Eddie, rather than disgusted by him.

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9.0
Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1

Jun 6, 2012

Admittedly, much of the narration is a bit wordy, and for the most part, the book feels like a history lesson on the characters we saw so briefly in the original. But Cooke excels in the small bits of dialog throughout the book. In particular, the scenes with Sally and Hollis are charming, and clearly showcase them as the most outwardly fun-loving of the masked avengers. By the same token, the brief-but-chilling Comedian sequence is unapologetic in the light it casts on the miserable Eddie Blake.

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4.5
Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #1

Jun 27, 2012

They couldn't all be winners, and unfortunately, it seems Dan Dreiberg (as he often does) drew the short straw. Before Watchmen: Nite Owl #1 will hopefully be a rarity amongst these books, but if this series continues down this path, the naysayers of Before Watchmen certainly have an easy target to point to for why these prequels shouldn't exist.

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8.0
Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #1

Jul 4, 2012

Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #1 is a great start to one of the prequel books that I wasn't all that invested in upon its announcement, but if the remainder of the series can stay focused on Adrian and offer new context to his plot to save humanity, then this could wind up being one of the standouts. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a fun little reference to the creature from Watchmen. It made me chuckle.

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7.5
Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #1

Jun 13, 2012

Silk Spectre #1 isn't the slam dunk that Minutemen was, but it's another visual accomplishment that has the seeds of a focused, character-centric story. Hopefully future issues will allow the series to blossom into something remarkable.

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8.5
Birds Of Prey (2010) #8

Jan 12, 2011

Birds of Prey continues to be another impressive outing for Gail Simone, and an education in how team books are supposed to be done.

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7.5
Birds Of Prey (2010) #13

Jun 8, 2011

As fun and engaging as this issue is, it remains a bittersweet end for Gail Simone's work on the Birds of Prey, particularly after being such a key part of the characters' history for the better part of a decade.

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7.0
Birds Of Prey (2011) #2

Oct 19, 2011

Jesus Saiz continues to show off his skill for body language and facial emotion, but his figures stand out from their backgrounds due to his heavy inking, lack of background detail and the relatively bland color work of Allen Passalaqua. The panel foregrounds are constantly engaging, but beyond that, the art team doesn't offer much to round out the experience, resulting in a book that feels flat. I love Saiz's dynamic character work, but the coloring and environments will need to get up to par if the book is going to truly excel visually.

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8.0
Birds Of Prey (2011) #3

Nov 16, 2011

Birds of Prey #3 is another steady improvement for this series that is quickly upping its rank amongst DC's New 52.

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7.0
Birds Of Prey (2011) #5

Jan 18, 2012

Saiz provides layouts with Javier Pina providing finishes, together delivering some more great character-centric work, getting a chance to forgo the big action sequences and focus predominately on emotion and body language. The scene between Starling and June is a particularly grand display of drama. However, Birds of Prey #5 suffers from some uneven inkwork and more detrimentally, flat coloring that is often dull and prevents many panels from achieving the required depth, be that emotional or technical.

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7.0
Birds Of Prey (2011) #6

Feb 15, 2012

Javier Pina steps in as artist this month and more or less retains the tone of the book that regular artist Jesus Siaz had established. His characters are spot on in terms of physical appearance, and even the inking style, though a bit flat, manages to stay in line with Saiz. The one big drawback of the artwork is the severe lack of background detail; oftentimes the backgrounds suffer from a bland and sterile quality that does little to make this issue as visually interesting as it's begging to be. However, the great facial and body work is a bright side.

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5.0
Birds Of Prey (2011) #11

Jul 18, 2012

Duane Swierczynski's frantic script is unfortunately neutered by the artwork here, leaving his usual time-jump pacing to be a detriment to the story rather than a boon. The time frames are too confusing without a proper visual aid, and the sameness of the locations (due again to lack of environment detail) does nothing to combat this. It's unfortunate because without these severe technical problems, Swierczynski's Birds of Prey #11 has some of his strongest character work, particularly in the dynamics between Poison Ivy and the rest of the team. Starling also shines (again), but the entire product suffers because of the weak visuals.

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7.0
Birds Of Prey (2011) #12

Aug 15, 2012

Though my pining for a Starling solo series will never cease, Birds of Prey #12 is an entertaining, if narratively sparse, installment of the series.

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7.7
Birds Of Prey (2011) #16

Jan 23, 2013

Romano Molenaar delivers a great turn here, offering some dynamic page layouts that celebrate the plentiful action without sacrificing the emotion of the characters, limited though it is. His character detail is pretty refined " particular on Black Canary " but the backgrounds and most environments are left to colorist Chris Sotomayor to render. That said, Molenaar's presence gives Birds of Prey its most consistent look since the original artist left the series.

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6.0
Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #525

Nov 9, 2011

I'm loving Black Panther's new role as he bashes heads with classic Daredevil villains, but this book desperately needs some synchronization amongst the art team to get lift off.

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6.5
Blue Beetle (2011) #3

Nov 16, 2011

Ultimately, though, Blue Beetle #3 doesn't offer much for readers that are anxiously awaiting a new adventure for Jaime; instead it's another issue that feels like we're running in place until we can get to the good stuff.

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7.0
BlueSpear Review #1

Dec 21, 2011

Though BlueSpear isn't a surefire homerun, it offers enough promise to determine that continuing the unique 45 premise into the traditional comic format is a great idea.

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9.0
Captain America (2004) #621

Aug 24, 2011

The team behind Cap and Bucky is onto something special. Even treading ground that's been decently covered about a character that's currently deceased, this book is proving that there are so many more layers to be unearthed.

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8.5
Captain America (2004) #622

Sep 28, 2011

If Captain America and Bucky continues on its current course, it will undoubtedly become my most anticipated release from Marvel month after month.

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9.0
Captain America (2004) #623

Oct 26, 2011

There are no excuses for you to be not picking up this book. Drop another comic from your pull list, mow an extra lawn, or beg for cash from your parents. It'll be worth it, I promise.

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9.0
Captain America (2004) #624

Nov 23, 2011

Joey is IGN's Comics Editor and a comic book creator himself. Follow Joey on Twitter, or find him on MyIGN. You may or may not discover a profound number of cat pictures.

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7.5
Captain America (2004) #626

Jan 25, 2012

While I'm extremely disheartened that this series is essentially going to transform into "Captain America Team Up," Brubaker and company continue to turn in some quality work. This is my least favorite issue of the run thus far, but that doesn't mean it isn't damn pretty.

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6.5
Captain America (2004) #627

Feb 22, 2012

Hopefully next month's final Cap and Bucky installment can bounce back and go off on a high note before we're left to settle for another Cap and Hawkeye team-up story.

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7.5
Captain America (2004) #628

Mar 28, 2012

You'll be missed, Cap and Bucky.

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7.7
Captain America (2012) #1

Nov 21, 2012

It's clear from issue #1 that Remender has huge, bizarre plans in store for Cap. From a narrative standpoint, this issue has got it all "a strong hook, bouncy dialogue, a great thematic through line, and spot-on characterization " but some lackluster art is holding it back from hitting its full potential. Still, any Cap fans eagerly anticipating this one won't be disappointed.

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6.9
Chronos Commandos #1

Feb 20, 2013

In all, though, Chronos Commandos #1 is an enjoyable, if somewhat hollow, romp through time.

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7.5
Cinderella: Fables are Forever #4

May 11, 2011

Shawn McManus again delivers some stellar pages, using every inch to tell the story and every panel to show off his penchant for period work. In the opening of the issue, there's a nice throwback to the classic story of the Wizard of Oz, but with the appropriate twist to center it right in the middle of the Fables universe. The only detriment to this issue is the stylistic choice of colorist Lee Loughridge to color the flashback sequences in washed out hues and sepia tones. Because these sequences are so frequent, a huge bulk of this book is presented as such and it can become tiresome at points. While I understand the concept of a visual cue, I personally would prefer excessive date captions over a lack of lush colors any day.

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8.5
Cinderella: Fables are Forever #5

Jun 15, 2011

As he has done in every issue previous, artist Shawn McManus delivers the goods. A particular favorite moment in this issue comes during a reveal that sees Dorothy holding Cindy captive, but in the bottom corner stands Toto (or at least, I'm assuming it's Toto), propped up and growling angrily at their prisoner. McManus manages the difficult feat of not only making an animal portray human emotion, but also adding a very zany comedic element to a scene with some emotional weight behind it. Roberson's script, in true Fables form, constantly walks the line between drama, fantasy and comedy. McManus shows that he understands the formula perfectly and is able to inject little bits into his panels that help the issue soar to new heights.

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7.2
Constantine #1

Mar 20, 2013

Constantine #1 isn't a blast out of the gate, but it's a solid foundation to what could become a thought-provoking exploration of magic in the DC Universe.

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8.5
Daredevil (2011) #11

Apr 25, 2012

The Omega Effect might be over, but this issue makes it clear that the ramifications have yet to come. Also, there's a really awesome letter in the letters column this month from iZombie/Madman/X-Statix artist Mike Allred, so keep your eyes peeled.

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8.0
Daredevil (2011) #14

Jun 20, 2012

Since Matt isn't his jovial self, a lot of that charm is retained through artist Chris Samnee, who makes good on his potential as ongoing artist for this series with another showcase of damn fine storytelling, bold ink work, and stellar use of body language. The only unfortunate artistic shortcoming in this issue is the colors of Javier Rodriguez, which tend to overwhelm the careful line work at times. That aside, taking into account the flow of these pages, Daredevil #14 is yet another superb example of superhero comic action.

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5.5
DC Comics: The New 52 Hardcover Review #1

Dec 8, 2011

If you have the means to pick this up insanely discounted or win it in some fashion, by all means, indulge yourself. Otherwise, know that you're better off saving $150 for your regular monthly comics or the collected editions of individual New 52 series in 2012.

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7.5
DC Universe Presents #2

Oct 19, 2011

If anything, the issue's undeniable trump card is the gorgeous cover by the wonderful Ryan Sook. The man can't be beat.

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7.5
DC Universe Presents #3

Nov 16, 2011

DC Universe Presents #3 is one of those strange comics that is strong regardless of its fractured nature, but I imagine it will take on a whole new personality once it can be read all together in a collected format.

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7.0
DC Universe Presents #4

Dec 21, 2011

Joey is IGN's Comics Editor and a comic book creator himself. Follow Joey on Twitter, or find him on MyIGN. You may or may not discover a profound number of cat pictures.

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6.5
DC Universe Presents #7

Mar 21, 2012

It's still not on par with the Deadman arc, but DC Universe Presents #7 continues the hope that there's still some outlet for the more obscure DC properties in the New 52.

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5.5
DC Universe Presents #8

Apr 18, 2012

Other than a somewhat grating story, the other big detraction of this issue is the book's opening pages that have a sandy sort of veil laid over them, giving the pages a muted color palette as though you're looking at everything through fog. The idea is that characters are watching the action unfold on a television screen, but that knowledge doesn't stop the strain of your eyes as you try to read the pages, ultimately making the opening section of this book a less enjoyable read than it could be.

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4.5
DC Universe Presents #12

Aug 15, 2012

Perhaps if this story was self-contained " like the DCU Presents stories should be " the effect of this book would be different. But as it is, the narrative is poorly structured and unfulfilling, despite the voice of the lead character being generally entertaining.

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6.0
DC Universe Presents #13

Oct 17, 2012

Though not the strongest of the series so far, there are enough bits and pieces to keep this team-up interesting, if not entirely engaging.

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8.0
Dead Man's Run #0

Oct 27, 2011

If you're a fan of Pak's past work at Marvel, you owe it to yourself to watch him take his affinity for character-driven action into the creator-owned (hell) world.

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7.5
Dead Man's Run #1

Jan 18, 2012

Dead Man's Run #1 is another solid offering for the series; though maybe not as impressive as the issue that preceded it, fans of Greg Pak should take notice of his latest creator-owned effort from the get-go.

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7.4
Deathstroke #15

Dec 12, 2012

Deathstroke #15 is an enjoyable upswing in quality from what we're used to; Jordan's aesthetics are a perfect fit for the character, so here's hoping he sticks around for a while.

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9.0
Detective Comics #880

Jul 27, 2011

There isn't much time left on this run, but I have absolutely no qualms about saying that this will go down as one of the greatest runs on a Batman book ever. I doubt many of you will disagree.

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7.9
Django Unchained #1

Dec 19, 2012

One surprising benefit of this book is that it actually has some great supplemental content for the $4 it will run you (though, apparently the digital version is $5 for some reason). First is an introduction from Tarantino, who tosses out his comic book knowledge for anyone that might doubt him. Next is a mini-poster of Jim Lee's variant for issue #1, which is actually able to be torn out without ruining the story, since its opposing pages are ads. And finally, there's a neat 3-page sketchbook from Guera that would normally be reserved for the trade. It's almost like a Django fanzine.

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8.5
Doctor Strange Season One #1

Sep 18, 2012

All in all, Doctor Strange: Season One finally realizes the potential of this graphic novel series. It's true to the classic origin while offering something legitimately new and engaging to the mix, not to mention absolutely stunning to look at.

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8.5
Doctor Who Vol. 2 #13

Jan 11, 2012

It's been a while since I picked up a Who comic, but Fialkov's name drew me back in. I'm happy to say that if this issue is any indication, I'll be sticking around for a while.

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8.5
Doctor Who Vol. 2 #14

Feb 1, 2012

If you're a fan of Doctor Who, you've got no reason not to be picking this up.

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6.0
Doctor Who: A Fairytale Life #2

May 18, 2011

Unfortunately, the art is another matter entirely. Kelly Yates just can't match Sturges' level, and the result winds up being a very flat, uninspired book. Panel construction and angles are repeated time and again, with many characters sharing the same faces or expressions. There are some instances that it feels like The Doctor's head has simply been cut and pasted throughout the book, no matter how awkward it might seem. Many panels are distorted as Yates tries to find a balance between realism and classic cartooning, but it never finds consistency. Figure work is awkward, and everything feels as though it exists on the same plane, page after page. Luckily, Sturges' script is the star of the show, with issue #2 being particularly dialog heavy, deterring your eyes from the art whenever possible.

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6.5
Earth 2 #1

May 2, 2012

Earth 2 #1 on its own is an enjoyable if somewhat confounding read. It doesn't offer much more than a prerequisite for future installments, and the series has got its work cut out for it establishing the Justice Society from scratch. However, DC finally diving into the multiverse through the lens of the New 52 is certainly welcome.

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8.1
Fantastic Four (2012) #1

Nov 13, 2012

It's worth nothing that fans only interested in either Fantastic Four or FF might be a little disappointed here, as some of the threads established in this issue (Johnny's date with Ms. Thing, recruitment of the team to protect the Earth while the F4 are gone) will be continued into FF #1, and it appears the two books will have a necessary relationship to one another.

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5.5
Fantastic Four: Season One #1

Feb 7, 2012

However, that also doesn't excuse it from being completely redundant for longtime fans, for rehashing beats that are 50 years old, or for failing to tell a structurally sound, self-contained graphic novel. This isn't a "secret origin" type of story where new things are brought to light amongst the story we all know so well, it's simply re-telling the same tale, unencumbered, except by out-of-place modern quips and references. Here's hoping that Marvel will be able to make the future chapters of these Season One graphic novels a little more appropriate for both audiences, justifying the $24.99 price tag on all fronts.

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7.0
Fear Itself: The Fearless #1

Oct 19, 2011

For readers on the fence about the whole of Fear Itself, The Fearless likely won't be enough in and of itself to fully interest you, particularly in this first issue that relies heavily on the concluding event. However, the pieces that have been put in place could serve to move beyond just a follow-up series and into a fun spotlight for Sin and Valkyrie.

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7.0
Fear Itself: The Fearless #2

Nov 2, 2011

The Fearless #2 continues to show that there's a fun, necessary story to be told here. If the future installments can level the playing field in terms of each story's pure enjoyment, this follow-up to Fear Itself can easily eclipse "good" and become "great."

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7.5
Fear Itself: The Fearless #3

Nov 16, 2011

Paul Pelletier's work in the Crossbones/Sin pages continue to be a great fit for those characters, and it helps that Bunn gives him an Ant-Man-exploding-heads moment when Crossbones smashes the face of a magician with his knee. It's brutal and violent, but the pacing of the scene keeps it completely relevant to the situation at hand while offering up some nice comedic relief. As much as I'm intrigued by the overarching plot of our two lead characters hunting down the hammers, it's the smaller character moments like these that are keeping this book in my sights.

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9.0
FF (2012) #1

Nov 28, 2012

As much as I loved the characters and their interactions, this is ultimately Allred's show. While there is nothing too outlandish or crazy here (though Sue and Medusa sharing drinks on the edge of Attilan is pretty close), Allred's expressive and defined line work, spectacular layouts, and stunning character work is all present. Accompanied, as usual, by Laura Allred's absolutely vibrant color work, the artwork pops from the page like no other Marvel comic on the shelf right now. Allred takes full advantage of the comic book medium and its storytelling possibilities to construct a deceptively simple comic book that achieves visual mastery. I can't wait to see what Allred unleashes once things get crazy for this new team.

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6.5
Flashpoint: Citizen Cold #1

Jun 8, 2011

Despite the story's shortcomings, Kolins delivers visually. The pacing of his scenes and his panel composition go to great lengths to serve the narrative, even if the scenes themselves remain disjointed from one another. For example, the scene in which Cold learns of his father's death is a great sample of both of Kolins' strengths, despite the scene itself feeling isolated and confusing in conjunction with the rest of the book. Mike Atiyeh's colors aren't the best fit for the art either, despite being a recent frequent collaborator. The painterly textures freeze any sense of movement that Kolins puts into his work, and more often than not serves to muddy the images, particularly in lower light scenes. It's not damning to the book overall, but there are quite a few instances where a change in colors would've been a benefit.

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7.5
Flashpoint: Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager #1

Jun 8, 2011

The ending of the issue is its only real pitfall, throwing a wrench in what was an enjoyable standalone tale within this altered timeline. Hopefully it's merely serving as a temporary shock cliffhanger, and issue #2 will move forward with the more engaging aspects of the story.

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8.0
Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #1

Jun 8, 2011

Flashpoint: Emperor Aquaman #1 delivers what is, thus far, one of the essential Flashpoint tie-ins. It works as both an expansion of the Flashpoint Universe and a self-contained Aquaman tale. If Bedard can break free of trying to explain the setup, the delivery could be remarkable.

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8.5
Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #1

Jun 8, 2011

Even with its relative irrelevance to the core conflict of Flashpoint (or perhaps because of it), Frankenstein #1 is the best tie-in series yet. There are plenty of hints that suggest this may tie-in to the bigger picture, but on its own, issue #1 is a highly enjoyable dose of variety that the other tie-ins have been lacking.

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7.5
Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #2

Jul 13, 2011

Though the narrative stumbles a bit this time around, Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #2 remains another bright spot that shines brighter than the Flashpoint series proper.

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7.5
Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #3

Aug 10, 2011

While I've come to consider this series as more of a tie-in to the upcoming New 52 than Flashpoint, Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #3 remains a fitting conclusion to one of the triumphs of DC's latest event.

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6.0
Flashpoint: Hal Jordan #1

Jun 29, 2011

Flashpoint: Hal Jordan is capable of contending with the better tie-ins, but only if the remaining issues can fix the readability issues that hindered its debut.

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5.5
Flashpoint: Hal Jordan #2

Jul 27, 2011

I will say that Schlagman introduces a cool concept in the Amazons owning a fleet of invisible jets. Admittedly, that's pretty awesome.

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6.5
Flashpoint: Project Superman #1

Jun 29, 2011

Project Superman #1 is just short of a truly great tie-in book. Though the art is stylish, Francis never really gets a solid handle on his lead character, leaving the excitement to enter only when someone familiar shows face. The book certainly makes me excited for issue #2, unfortunately that moment doesn't arrive until nearly the last page.

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6.5
Flashpoint: Project Superman #2

Jul 27, 2011

Project Superman #2 is, in some ways, more successful than its predecessor but is held back by the constraints of the structure of the story. Unfortunately, despite its fleeting moments of sincerity, this issue amounts to nothing more than a few nuggets of cool ideas lost within the greater whole.

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4.5
Flashpoint: Project Superman #3

Aug 24, 2011

Project Superman #3 is a failure more for its lack of proper setup than what's actually present in the issue. A giant brawl is fine and good if it means something. But it doesn't, because these characters are simply strangers to us and I could care less about the outcome either way. Gene Ha's art is satisfying, but there's no way around the fact that the book borders being pointless. Between the disappointing endings to this book, Action Comics, and Superman, it's no wonder that such a vastly different approach is being taken for the Man of Steel come September.

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6.0
Flashpoint: Secret Seven #1

Jun 2, 2011

George Perez, Fernando Blanco, and Scott Koblish share art duties on this issue, all of whom do a commendable job. In fact, the art is the saving grace for this purchase. Remarkably, the book doesn't feel as disjointed as one might think with three different artists contributing. Granted, the story is so chaotic that it could be distracting from the finer details of the artwork, but I was surprised at how cohesive this issue is. You'll get the expected insanity from Perez (what's a DC event without some semblance of Perez detail?) plus really cool new designs for Shade and Enchantress. It's just a shame that it couldn't all feel more worthwhile than a lot of cool imagery with nothing threading it together.

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7.5
Fly #1

Jun 8, 2011

In the end though, Fly is a step in a bold new direction for Zenescope, and hopefully an indication of their attempt to diversify their brand.

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8.5
Foster #1

Jan 4, 2012

Foster #1 is a great way to kick off a series, let alone a foray into creator-owned comic book work. Since this is a self-published comic " you can't walk into your local comic shop and expect to find it " you'll have to work a little harder, either seeking it out online or at a convention. But I promise, you'll be hearing a lot more about this title on IGN in the near future.

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8.0
Foster #2

Feb 23, 2012

It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but the style and grime that Tuazon brings to Foster #2 is every bit as integral to the feel of this book as Buccellato's city and characters.

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5.5
Gambit #1

Aug 7, 2012

Though I'm not typically a huge Gambit fan, last week's Hawkeye #1 proved once again that any character can anchor a book for any kind of reader as long as the writing is solid and the storytelling is sound. Sadly, Gambit #1 is a fundamentally flawed book that doesn't live up to its concept. Hopefully, things can turn around in future issues with more cohesive art and consistent characterization.

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8.0
Gladstone's School for World Conquerors #2

Jun 15, 2011

Armand Villavert again delivers some very simple, kid-friendly cartooning work that is brought to life by colorists Carlos Carrasco and Andre Poulain. The color is quite honestly the star of the show in this issue, particularly in the multiple action sequences scattered throughout the book. The color is more reserved during the scenes with the children, but all bets are off during the more kinetic sequences. Bright oranges, purples and blues dominate your eyeballs in the best way possible. Villavert shines in these sequences as well, noticeably having more fun drawing balls-to-the-wall and designing all sorts of crazy characters than he does drawing classroom scenes. Understandable, and the result is the action scenes acting as the standout sequences of this issue.

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8.0
Gladstone's School for World Conquerors #3

Jul 13, 2011

Gladstone's #3 is the first step outside of what felt like a prolonged introduction to the main cast and the basic premise. This is where we get to see the plot threads start to show face, hinting at what the future could bring. I still maintain that this is a book seen primarily through the eyes of children, and thus could make for great reading with your 9+ year old spawn.

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8.5
Gladstone's School for World Conquerors #5

Sep 14, 2011

Gladstone's continues to impress, so if you've been neglecting this series for some oddball reason, it's time to stop doing so. You're missing out, and everyone's going to make fun of you for it.

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6.0
Green Arrow (2011) #3

Nov 2, 2011

Though the artwork is split amongst many different parties – multiple pencilers, inkers, and colorists – Green Arrow #3 remains surprisingly visually consistent. The iconic style of Dan Jurgens is entirely present, though a bulk of the pages simply consist of Green Arrow looking angry and punching someone. That said, the action is rendered particularly well. Good thing, too, because this issue has plenty of it to go around. The pages with Ollie out of costume don't quite fair as well, as Jurgens doesn't offer anything too visually interesting, either in panel composition or emotional resonance.

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6.5
Green Arrow (2011) #4

Dec 7, 2011

Green Arrow #4 picks up a little bit of steam from its predecessors, but the fact remains that Oliver Queen -- particularly in this issue " remains far more interesting out of costume than in, so take that for what it's worth.

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5.5
Green Arrow (2011) #5

Jan 4, 2012

While Dan Jurgens providing layouts (with Ray McCarthy handling finishes) is a small benefit for this issue, overall the art – somewhat stilted in places in its own way – isn't much of a saving grace for this book. Green Arrow #5 isn't the worst book you'll ever read, but in the end it amounts to little more than the comic book equivalent of a sleeping pill.

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4.0
Green Arrow (2011) #6

Feb 1, 2012

The writers try to save the issue with a brief epilogue that implies the launch of a new storyline, but honestly all I really needed to know is that there's a brand new creative team coming on board for issue #7 to hopefully pick this book up out of the mud.

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7.5
Green Arrow (2011) #7

Mar 7, 2012

Finally, a Green Arrow series that we can be truly excited for. But alas, there is still no goatee to be found.

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9.0
Green Lantern (2011) #0

Sep 5, 2012

As much as I've dug the buddy cop elements of Green Lantern as of late, Green Lantern #0 seems to be pushing the boundaries of the mythology much like the early days of the War of Light did a few years ago, but from a very new and very specific character-centric approach. Welcome to the DCU, Baz.

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6.5
Grifter #1

Sep 14, 2011

For all its shortcomings, there is still a good time to be had at the core of Grifter #1. There's a ton of great opportunity for Edmondson and CAFU to create a very unique book within the DCU, so hopefully future installments will build towards that.

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7.0
Grifter #2

Oct 12, 2011

Grifter #2 is a notably more enjoyable experience than the last time around, but it'll need to bring attention to the character himself if it's going to remain so.

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6.5
Grifter #3

Nov 9, 2011

Grifter #3 continues to tread water in terms of making Cole Cash an appealing character, but I'll be damned if treading water ever looked prettier.

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5.5
Grifter #4

Dec 14, 2011

Joey is IGN's Comics Editor and a comic book creator himself. Follow Joey on Twitter, or find him on MyIGN. You may or may not discover a profound number of cat pictures.

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5.0
Grifter #5

Jan 11, 2012

For a book that held the highest of potential with integrating one of Wildstorm's most beloved icons, Grifter has been consistently falling short of expectations all around.

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8.0
Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #1

Mar 26, 2013

But it's not all bombastic; McNiven does have to work in the "smaller" moments of character interaction too, though the more characters involved and the less action required, the less emotion and detail there seems to be. Characters can seem rather stiff when they're doing something other than punching or blasting something. But when the art is on, it's really on, and the action sequences throughout the book are told with the precision and intensity that we've come to expect from the artist.

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8.0
Hack/Slash #4

May 25, 2011

With a new arc set to start next month, this issue has sold me 100% to stay on board.

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8.5
Hawkeye Vol. 2 #1

Jul 30, 2012

As a traditionally non-Hawkeye fan, this book delivered in spades. In the span of one issue, Fraction and Aja made me care about a character I never had before, and did it with such force that I can't wait for the next chapter. But if you're an established Barton enthusiast, then this might just be your new favorite Marvel title.

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9.0
Hulk (2008) #33

May 18, 2011

Hulk #33 is a deceptively layered read that tests my ability to come up with new forms of praise. And hands down, it's one of the most beautiful superhero books on the shelves.

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7.5
Hulk (2008) #34

Jun 2, 2011

If you're worried that Hulk is going to be derailed by Planet Red Hulk, don't be. Even if it seems like an odd detour in the story thus far, I'm betting that Parker has a grander plan.

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7.0
Hulk (2008) #35

Jun 15, 2011

Though I enjoyed it for the most part, "Planet Red Hulk" ultimately feels like it's adding unnecessary punctuation to the Banner/Ross connection that it didn't really need. It's certainly not helped by the final scene that spells it out for us, but the story remains a fun, brief foray into a cosmic level adventure for Red Hulk.

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8.0
Hulk (2008) #36

Jul 6, 2011

Hulk #36 gets the series back on track after a slight detour, and it's glorious.

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8.5
Hulk (2008) #38

Aug 3, 2011

Elena Casagrande turns in another great round of work here, clearly enjoying the chance to create a massive battle in the streets of New York in the rubble of the Avengers Tower. More impressive is that it's an elongated action scene with M.O.D.O.K. at the center, a character not typically known for his malleable action hero capabilities. Casagrande's lines are precise but expressive, keeping the bold style that's defined Parker's run very much intact. Along for the ride are colorists Bettie Breitweiser and Jim Charalampidis, who have the unenviable task of creating a diverse palette when the entire book takes place surrounded in flames. They succeed, however, and help Casagrande to create a kinetic, fast-paced action book that is underlined by Parker's pristine character development.

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8.0
Hulk (2008) #40

Sep 7, 2011

Hardman continues to bring his cinematic, definitive style to the pages of Hulk, creating a very interesting atmosphere for this issue in particular. Much of the book is big on action, but it constantly plays second fiddle to the ongoing discussion between the usually perhipheral characters. Still, Hardman laces his panels with action even if its only in the background. More interestingly, he gets to go a bit off reservation due to the fancy time-phasing I mentioned earlier, which offers up some more variety in page construction and a chance to change things up a bit for colorists Betttie Breitweiser and Jim Charalampidis. Letterer Ed Dukeshire shouldn't go unnoticed either, as he deftly navigates the craziness of Hardman's layouts to accomidate all of Parker's wordy script in an easy-to-read manner.

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8.5
Hulk (2008) #41

Sep 21, 2011

Hulk #41 also marks the final issue of Gabriel Hardman, who goes out in style as expected. Despite the issue's increased focus on conversation pieces and character close-ups, Hardman offers the same classic pulp sensibilities that have come to define his run on this book. More impressively, he gets to employ his skill for facial emotion, particularly during the flashback sequences of Thunderbolt's childhood days. With so much of Parker's run honing in on the monstrous side of Thunderbolt Ross, it's refreshing to see the same care and detail being taken with the more delicate human moments. Hardman even gets to do something emotionally different with Red Hulk himself as the character reflects on the Betty's childhood and finds it hard to believe that Zero/One could take such little interest in it. Hardman's technical ability sells Parker's emotional beats and makes this concluding chapter an incredibly memorable addition to the ongoing Red Hulk saga.

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8.0
Hulk (2008) #42

Oct 6, 2011

Hulk #42 very much feels like a new starting point for this book, so if you've been hesitating to give this series a shot after all of the praise we've thrown it, this is your chance.

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8.5
Hulk (2008) #43

Oct 19, 2011

Patch Zircher goes even more cinematic with his layouts in this issue, stretching nearly every panel to the edge of the page. His panels are dynamic and help feed his work with bounds of energy, assisted by his lively inking and supreme choice of angles. It's a testament to his work when even the pages that feature characters sitting around chit-chatting are as interesting as the high octane pages; something that superhero comics don't accomplish often enough. I'm happy to say that at this point, Zircher could draw two old dudes sitting around a campfire and find a way to make it dynamic.

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8.5
Hulk (2008) #44

Nov 2, 2011

Patch Zircher delivers on the small bits of action that occur throughout this issue, offering his usual dynamic layouts and defining inking style. However, the more impressive moments from Zircher come during the low key conversational scenes that depict the relatively static discussion of Ross and Machine Man with as much variety as any action scene would have. The added emotional weight that Zircher is able to add to the wariness of the human Ross shouldn't go understated.

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7.5
Hulk (2008) #46

Dec 21, 2011

Joey is IGN's Comics Editor and a comic book creator himself. Follow Joey on Twitter, or find him on MyIGN. You may or may not discover a profound number of cat pictures.

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7.5
Huntress #1

Oct 6, 2011

It's not revelatory by any means, but Huntress #1 was a nice surprise that is hopefully a sign of things to come for some of DC's more beloved female heroes.

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7.0
Huntress #2

Nov 9, 2011

Huntress #2 is another decent win for female-led books in the New 52. If the coming issues can get the plot back on track and retain the same great characterization, this series could be a nice counterpoint to all of the critics pointing out the missteps with DC's other female characters.

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7.0
Huntress #3

Dec 7, 2011

While this issue is still a worthwhile read, the latter half of the series is going to have to pick up the pace and offer more insight to its titular character to remain memorable.

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7.5
Huntress #4

Jan 4, 2012

For whatever faults that the plot may be hitting on the larger scale, the nuance of character work in this book make it worth a read.

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9.5
I, Vampire #6

Feb 22, 2012

If you're not reading I, Vampire out of some leftover vampire skepticism, with so many solid vamp books on the stands these days, that train of thought needs to end right here, right now.

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9.0
I, Zombie #14

Jun 2, 2011

Allred is at the top his game as well, delivering yet another gorgeous issue of this book. Running the gamut of zombie beheadings, Abe Lincoln, vampire paintball, and of course, skeeball, iZombie #14 is one of the most visually diverse of the series. Allred even expands a bit on his layouts and compositions, loosening things up and allowing the story to operate on a larger stage than we've seen previously. With both the narrative and art upping the ante in this issue, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that iZombie is destined for great things. And to make sure they make good on that statement, you all need to go and buy it.

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8.0
I, Zombie #15

Jul 6, 2011

I've told many folks that iZombie has one of the best artistic teams in creator-owned comics in Mike Allred, Laura Allred, and Todd Klein. Month in and month out, this trio delivers some of the freshest visuals in comics, and iZombie #15 does nothing to change that. Allred's smooth and precise inks punctuate the issue as always, with Laura Allred's colors providing a vivid, glossy finish to each and every page that works perfectly with the ink work. Again, Allred gets to have some fun with zombie killing action as Horatio blows some heads off; action hasn't been seen much in iZombie until recently, and Allred's appreciation of it shows.

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8.5
I, Zombie #16

Aug 3, 2011

Allred gets to take the snippets of zombie killing action that he's been getting to enjoy and turn it up to 11 here. The issue culminates in an all-out gorefest, the likes of which haven't been seen in iZombie. I enjoyed this approach, particularly because with so many zombie books on the shelf these days, seeing a hoard of undead descending upon a crowd has lost its basic appeal. But with Roberson and Allred taking 16 issues to introduce us to the cast and the world they live in, seeing them surrounded by zombies holds a much greater weight to it. The creative team has hit just the right note that exists somewhere between hipster quirk and genuine character drama.

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7.5
I, Zombie #17

Sep 7, 2011

With this chapter of iZombie closing, I'm excited to see the overarching thread of Gwen's universal importance picked up and explored.

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8.5
I, Zombie #20

Dec 7, 2011

And of course, Mike Allred's work continues to pack a stylistic punch that plays up both sides of these characters " the humanistic desires and their supernatural reality. iZombie #20 is a fantastic entry in an increasingly engaging series.

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8.0
I, Zombie #28

Aug 1, 2012

iZombie #28 is a fitting conclusion to the series, wrapping everything up thematically as well as in plot. While I'm certainly sad to see this book go, I can now enjoy the full series in one fell swoop. Farewell, iZombie, you've served me well.

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8.0
Incredible Hulk (2009) #628

May 11, 2011

I love you, Incredible Hulks, and I'm sad to see you go.

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7.5
Incredible Hulk (2009) #629

May 25, 2011

In the end, Incredible Hulks #629 is an unexpected yet fitting end to a spy flick homage done in a way only the Hulk can.

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7.0
Incredible Hulk (2009) #630

Jun 8, 2011

Admittedly, "Heart of the Monster" Part 1 has less finality than I expected, but judging by the quick pace of this issue, that will likely change with five installments yet to come.

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8.0
Incredible Hulk (2009) #632

Jul 13, 2011

With only a few issues left to go, Pak and Pelletier aren't pulling punches, and fully ramping up the action for a thrilling conclusion.

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7.5
Incredible Hulk (2009) #634

Aug 10, 2011

The ending to this issue is curious indeed, as it leaves plenty of questions dangling that I expect to be wrapped up in the final issue, hitting in a couple of weeks. Whether or not this story plays into where Jason Aaron and Marc Silvestri's Incredible Hulk #1 picks up this fall remains to be seen.

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7.0
Incredible Hulk (2011) #1

Oct 24, 2011

Incredible Hulk #1 is a good start to an engaging new series, but not one without some kinks to be worked out. Hopefully issue #2 can rectify those problems and offer a leap forward.

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8.7
Indestructible Hulk #1

Nov 21, 2012

For Hulk fans " or even non-Hulk fans that just like what Waid's done with Daredevil " Indestructible Hulk #1 is a must-read. It's high octane without sacrificing character, meanwhile positioning Bruce Banner to become as great an influence on the scientific community of the Marvel Universe as Reed Richards or Tony Stark.

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9.0
Jonah Hex #70

Aug 3, 2011

Overall, Jonah Hex #70 is a fitting send off for the acclaimed run, and earns the "Weird Western" label that is slapped on the cover.

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8.0
Justice League #0

Sep 19, 2012

Ethan Van Sciver handles the art on the back-up in his usual detail-driven style, though the story lacks any real variety to give the artwork significant punch. It's mostly just Pandora looking all Pandora-y. Except for the aforementioned last page full of radness.

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8.0
Justice League #1

Aug 31, 2011

Justice League #1 is fun, no doubt about it. There is a certain sense of feeling underwhelmed after reading it, simply because it's been hammered into our brains that this book represents the ushering of the single biggest comic book industry initiative in years. It's gained a whole lot of external weight. But when you strip all that excess media hype away, you're left with a perfectly entertaining " if somewhat safe " glimpse into a universe we're only just beginning to understand.

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8.5
Justice League #9

May 16, 2012

Justice League #9 is a great place to jump on if you haven't yet, and I'm delighted to say that this issue is exactly what I've been waiting for since issue #1.

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8.6
Justice League Dark #0

Sep 26, 2012

Still, this is a zero issue that toes the line nicely between a tried-and-true "origin" story while still being relevant to the larger story at hand.

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9.0
Justice League Dark #11

Jul 26, 2012

Justice League Dark is the full-out exploration of the DCU's magical side that I hoped it would be when it was announced, and I couldn't be happier. All it needs now is some Ragman action.

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7.0
Justice League International #3

Nov 2, 2011

Aaron Lopresti brings the goods this issue, getting to draw a wide variety of locales and creatures with the team split up across the globe. The artist excels in facial expressions and careful line work, which is displayed prominently through the book's various scenes. The only place Lopresti really falters is when the panels call for a much wider view of events. Characters lose detail and the panel becomes muddied with too much color and too little definition. Luckily, Lopresti's layouts avoid these angles for the most part and JLI #3 remains aesthetically pleasing throughout.

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7.0
Justice League International Annual #1

Aug 29, 2012

Jason Fabok handles the art duties for this issue, and does a solid job. His figure work is emotive, but some of the male faces suffer from clone-itis. That said, his action is fluid and explosive, never getting overly convoluted even when depicting energy blasts and super-punches all in one panel. One bummer is that the issue is mostly contained to the Hall of Justice, and so the interior backgrounds are relatively dull and unexciting. The color work is also cold and dim as a result -- though it suits the subject matter " and it makes this oversized issue a rather glum-looking book. Still, the action is solid and chock full of plenty of widescreen antics.

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7.0
Last Mortal #1

May 19, 2011

Still, Top Cow has something quite interesting on their hands, and if they can get the book to gel 100% and focus on the most interesting aspects of the story, it could be one of their strongest new titles.

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8.1
Lot 13 #1

Oct 31, 2012

If you're looking to be creeped out this Halloween, Lot 13 #1 is where it's at.

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7.5
Magdalena #6

May 12, 2011

Still, Magdalena is a fitting and satisfying conclusion to the first arc of what is, in my mind, the best series currently running at Top Cow.

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7.0
Magdalena #7

Jun 29, 2011

Big things are on the horizon for Magdalena as she continues her steady climb upwards.

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8.5
Magdalena #11

Mar 7, 2012

Magdalena is by far my favorite Top Cow Universe character, and it's issues like this one that remind me why that is.

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7.6
Masks #1

Nov 28, 2012

Masks #1 is an entertaining debut issue with some really big thematic ideas that I hope will remain prevalent throughout its tenure. It's hard not to wish for a more suitably action-oriented artist to really bring the scenes to life, but ultimately the complete package is a win.

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8.0
Memorial #1

Dec 21, 2011

Without a doubt, the work of Rich Ellis steals the show here. Each panel is rich with detail " just check out the background objects once Em enters the antique shop and you'll see what I mean " and his knack for body language is impeccable. Despite Roberson being a little light on characterization in this issue, Ellis picks up the slack with the way he positions his characters and blocks his scenes. The fundamentals of graphic storytelling is not something that Ellis lacks. It might sound silly, but the cat is a perfect example of Ellis' talent; attributing human emotion to an animal isn't easy, yet it's handled here with excellence. If the story or characters don't hook you immediately, the wonderful artwork surely will.

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8.5
Memorial #3

Feb 8, 2012

Rich Ellis shines once again, ably taking Roberson's mad concepts and transforming them into a living, breathing world. For instance, the raid of Babylon's tower by Smoke and his knights is truly a site to behold, despite one army all having similar features and the other drawn in black with outlines of gray. In words, the battle is easy likely easy enough to describe. But translating it visually without confusion is another thing entirely, and Ellis is more than up to the task. Amidst it all, Ellis, like Roberson, never loses sight of Em and Schrodinger, making their emotions the central anchor to the madness that surrounds them.

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8.0
Moon Knight (2011) #2

Jun 2, 2011

At this point, the multiple-personalities-are-Avengers shtick is still teetering into gimmick territory, but if Bendis plays up the character commentary angle and genuinely uses them to good effect, we could be looking at a definitive -- if different – take on Moon Knight.

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7.5
Moon Knight (2011) #3

Jul 6, 2011

Moon Knight #3 continues to be an engaging new look at a revamped Marc Spector, but it also begins to show signs of having multiple personalities akin to its titular character. As long as issue #4 is able to find some sort of balance between everything going on, the series will continue to engage old and new fans of Moon Knight alike.

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7.0
Moon Knight (2011) #4

Aug 3, 2011

Hopefully, the book can find its center and begin building Marc Spector has his own (crazy) man and less an amalgam of other heroes. If all of the elements can come together, this book can be something special.

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7.5
Moon Knight (2011) #5

Sep 7, 2011

Moon Knight #5 alleviates some of the problems that were found in issue #4, though it's still jogging at a leisurly pace.

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8.0
Moon Knight (2011) #6

Oct 6, 2011

Moon Knight #6 feels like Bendis and Maleev are finally settling into Los Angeles and Moon Knight's new world, so hopefully the coming chapters only continue the trend.

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8.0
Moon Knight (2011) #10

Feb 29, 2012

Alex Maleev again delivers some fine work, keeping in lockstep with Bendis' gritty crime scenes while never shying away from his patented dynamic angles. Only the final page of the book lacks punch; it depicts a dramatic shift in the balance between Moon Knight and his enemy, but the incident is both jarring and rendered rather ambiguously. The details of facial emotion for Marc aren't there, and the severity of the damage isn't quite clear. Still, the rest of this issue is rife with Maleev's signature character work and detail, so it's a small bone to pick.

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6.5
Mysterious Ways #1

Jul 6, 2011

Mysterious Ways #1 is interesting without a doubt, but the next installments need to up the character elements in order to succeed in making it truly horrifying.

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8.0
Mystery Men #1

Jun 8, 2011

Though Marvel has been pumping out a lot of great books as of late, Mystery Men #1 is the first to feel like something out of the ordinary that can stand on its own outside of the current goings on in the Marvel U.

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7.5
Mystery Men #2

Jun 23, 2011

Mystery Men #2 is a bit fractured in its pacing, but the concept continues to show its potential as the series moves forward.

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7.0
Mystery Men #3

Jul 13, 2011

Zircher excels in issue #3, particularly in the opening pages that set up The Surgeon's back story. He uses his heavy inks to evoke the pulp style, and his layouts mirror the evolution of the character. When the character is still merely Rupert Kingsley, Zircher's page construction is rather constricting and confining. As he undergoes the change however, the pages open up and panels begin to overlap. The Surgeon himself even protrudes the panel border in one instance. Zircher displays a thematic subtlety that goes a long way to help this issue rise above its narrative missteps.

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7.5
Mystery Men #4

Aug 24, 2011

Here's hoping the series can finish strong and warrant a repeat visit to this pulpy Marvel Universe.

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7.0
Mystery Men #5

Sep 14, 2011

It didn't end on a bang, but Liss and Zircher have created something truly special within a comic book universe that often feels same-old, same-old. Here's hoping readers/consumers agree and it leads to some more adventures with this group of heroes.

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8.0
National Comics: Eternity #1

Jul 25, 2012

The one real technical gripe I should mention is that while the narrative and artwork stand on their own, there are more than a couple of lettering errors " missing letters and such " throughout. It's not a huge deal and doesn't hurt the story (and hey, mistakes happen), but it's worth noting that this is only the latest in a continuing trend of lettering mishaps at DC, including another one this week in Green Lantern #11.

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6.0
National Comics: Looker #1

Aug 29, 2012

There are portions of Looker #1 that have enormous potential, and if this was the start of a larger story, then I might be able to give it the benefit of the doubt. But as a completed whole, there simply isn't enough here to make it worth the money, unless you're a die-hard Looker fan.

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8.5
National Comics: Madame X #1

Oct 24, 2012

Overall, National Comics: Madame X #1 is a winner.

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7.0
Nether World #1

May 11, 2011

Though Netherworld's plot is interesting enough to hold my attention, it's the art that will have me coming back next month.

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7.0
Nether World #2

Jun 8, 2011

Netherworld #2 may have taken a surprising new direction, but it still remains an interesting addition to Top Cow's stable of creator-owned properties.

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5.5
New Avengers (2010) #22

Feb 29, 2012

However, Mike Deodato and Will Conrad keep things visually interesting for the most part . While some facial structures become uneven at a distance, the artists do their best to provide emotional context to a script that lacks it. Unfortunately, much of those moments are negated by the utterly ridiculous costuming of the characters involved. I get that they are hot off a battleground, but watching Mockingbird and Wolverine interrogate ferociously with torn costumes revealing their assets is distracting and silly. It's kind of like that time Batman had sex with Talia al Ghul but left his cowl on – go big or go home. If your shirt is off, take the damn mask off too.

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8.0
Night Force #1

Mar 7, 2012

If you're looking for another horror book inside of the DCU akin to I, Vampire, this is the place to look.

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9.0
Northlanders #40

May 11, 2011

Serving the story to the highest degree is artist Matthew Woodson, who is able to keep the narrative incredibly personal despite it being set amidst dense forests and wide landscapes. Woodson is great at getting his Hunter to emote; we can see the long life of the character showing through his tired eyes and weary face. It's great to see an artist like Woodson take on Northlanders after someone like Simone Gane; his work is realistic in its details and subtle in its approach. One page in particular encapsulates everything that is a triumph in this issue. Leading into the final act of the book is a simple, two panel page in which the deer eludes our Hunter once more, and he realizes that he has no choice but continue onward, despite his better judgments. Wood's talent for recognizing "less is more" combined with Woodson's fantastic body language is simply phenomenal.

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8.5
Northlanders #41

Jun 15, 2011

If Northlanders #41 had to be the final one-shot tale for the series, then at least it's one of the best.

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8.4
Numbercruncher #1

Feb 20, 2013

If you're a fan of books like Punk Rock Jesus, The Filth, or The Unwritten, give Numbercruncher a shot..

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8.5
Peter Panzerfaust #4

Jun 5, 2012

Peter Panzerfaust #4 has kicked the emotional gravity up a notch, so here's hoping the series is able to carry that moment through to conclusion.

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8.5
Punisher (2011) #2

Aug 24, 2011

The Punisher remains a slow burn crime/horror comic set firmly in the Marvel Universe, but don't expect it to pull any punches simply because a Spider-Man villain makes an appearance. This book isn't holding back.

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9.0
Punisher (2011) #5

Nov 16, 2011

Plus, Frank rocks a beard in this issue, and that's awesome.

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8.5
Punisher (2011) #10

Apr 18, 2012

Marco Checchetto is back at the helm of the book's art, finding a nice fit between his usual gritty work on Punisher and the more superheroic elements that the inclusion of Spider-Man and Daredevil require. While Checchetto blocks good action sequences throughout this book, the moments he shines are in the dialog-heavy scenes. His pacing is impeccable and help to underline Rucka's amusing one-sided banter between Spidey and Frank, or the more dire one-sided conversations between Daredevil and Rachel. Checchetto succeeds in expanding his scope beyond the expected action sequences and delivers on the emotional aspects of the issue. However, the ending cliffhanger is a bit unclear and might be construed at first as shoddy storytelling, but upon a re-read it's clear instead to be a purposefully ambiguous portrayal of events to leaves readers on the edge of their seats.

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7.5
Punisher (2011) #11

May 9, 2012

Overall, while the art doesn't exactly do much for the visual tone of the series, Rucka crafts another engaging " if out-of-left-field " story that illuminates the world of the Punisher within the regular Marvel Universe like few have done in the past.

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8.5
Punisher (2011) #12

Jun 20, 2012

This chapter also sees the welcome return of Marco Checchetto, who brings his detailed, gritty style back to the streets of New York. Checchetto seems to have kicked it up a notch in his facial work since The Omega Effect, particularly in the scenes featuring Norah Winters. He depicts her playful demeanor that's working so hard to cover up a lie to great effect, lending her scenes believability. The shining moment of the series comes in the multi-page throw-down between Frank and Rachel, rendered with fantastic panel-to-panel storytelling and brutality. The great colors of Matt Hollingsworth can't go unmentioned either, as it's his cold, desolate work that completes the book's visual tone.

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8.5
Punisher (2011) #14

Aug 22, 2012

Aritst Mico Suayan handles the art duties on this issue, and though his storytelling is much more rigid than what we're used to with Marco Checchetto, the colors of Matt Hollingsworth keep the visuals of the series intact and looking suitably cold. Suayan uses lines a-plenty with some heavy, heavy blacks throughout, but it works. Frank in particular is almost always draped in shadow, which makes his grand entrance to the fight later on all the more impactful (though his face, interestingly, is still obscured by a gas mask). Even though the conversation-based scenes are a bit stilted in their progression, once Frank's plan goes into effect, Suayan builds the tension to stunning effect and makes this sequence as adrenaline pumping as a comic book is likely to get. It's a great mesh of visuals and narrative.

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8.5
Punisher (2011) #15

Sep 5, 2012

Oh, and mega shout-out to Assistant Editor Ellie Pyle for sticking by the epic Punisher Beard in the letters column. And, guy who wrote that letter, you need some schoolin' in the amazingness of beards.

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9.3
Punisher (2011) #16

Sep 26, 2012

I'm looking forward to War Zone, but can't help but close this book with a heavy heart. So long (for now), Frank.

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7.0
Punisher: War Zone #1

Oct 24, 2012

Punisher: War Zone #1 is still a worthwhile read, particularly for devotees of Rucka's previous Punisher work. Let's hope that the art can kick it up a notch as the series continues on.

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6.3
Punisher: War Zone #2

Dec 5, 2012

Punisher: War Zone continues to be a fun, if unexpected, conclusion to Rucka's Punisher work that is not without its faults, but ultimately really disappoints in its visual offerings.

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6.5
Red Hood And The Outlaws #0

Sep 19, 2012

In all, Red Hood and the Outlaws #0 is a flawed but interesting history lesson about this incarnation of Jason Todd that positions the character for big things in the months to come. Whether the book can deliver on that potential remains to be seen.

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7.0
Red Hood And The Outlaws #3

Nov 16, 2011

Red Hood #3 is a step in the right direction of contributing more than just stylistic flair and anti-heroes, but the art needs to step up to that level as well if this series is to remain on the upward path.

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6.0
Red Lanterns #3

Nov 2, 2011

Even if the inner workings of this weird little tribe remains fascinating, Red Lanterns suffers a lack of interesting anchor characters to help sell the reader on this book. Hopefully the coming conflict of leadership will help to spice things up.

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9.5
Saga #1

Mar 13, 2012

If you love comics, you can't miss this book.

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9.0
Saga #2

Apr 10, 2012

Saga continues to be a multi-layered experience that asks a lot of its readers. It makes no apologies for being thematically dense and is all the more rewarding because of it. If this issue is any indication, it's not going to be long before Vaughan and Staples really kick it into high gear, so it's probably best that you climb on board now.

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9.5
Saga #3

May 16, 2012

There are so many plot threads at work in Saga #3, but they are delivered without losing focus on the core characters. This is comics at their best, folks. I hope you're on board.

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9.0
Saga #4

Jun 20, 2012

I also must mention the absolutely fantastic letters column, present in every issue, but of particular note here. Remember in issue #2 when BKV included a jokey "reader survey"? Turns out he got a lot of responses. The material is a personable, heartfelt piece of work that legitimately bulks up the value of this book. And yet, it's still priced at $3. I love Saga.

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8.5
Saga #5

Jul 18, 2012

Saga #5 continues to be a beautiful, if fast-paced, romp through a fascinating new world. Hopefully in the issues to come we'll get a chance to stop and look around a bit without being chased down by dudes with Mega Man blasters.

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9.0
Saga #6

Aug 15, 2012

It's going to be a long wait until issue #7, but it's become entirely clear that it will be worth it.

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9.5
Saga #7

Nov 14, 2012

Saga is back, in top form, and there's absolutely no reason any reasonable comic book fan should be missing it. Plus, if you want to see one of the most horrific images in comics this year, you owe it to yourself to check out this issue.

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9.8
Saga #8

Dec 19, 2012

And then the cliffhanger " perhaps Vaughan's specialty "is so simple yet so fantastic. I exclaimed an expletive as I turned the page, and I imagine anyone that's been with this series since the beginning will as well. Plus, the always fantastic letters column gets even better this month as Staples swings by to show the process of a page from pencils to completion. Not only is Saga one of the best books on the stands, it's also a seriously great value.

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9.2
Saga #9

Jan 16, 2013

Lastly " I've said it before and I'll say it again " the letters column of this book adds tons of value to the single issue purchase. It's personable, funny, and informative. While there might not be as much content as something like the back-up essays in Ed Brubaker books, it's absolutely a boon to the issue-to-issue reader.

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8.0
Saucer Country #1

Mar 14, 2012

Out of the gate, Saucer Country looks to be another solid entry worthy of the pedigree of Vertigo Comics.

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9.5
Scalped #50

Jun 29, 2011

It's at once heartbreaking and perhaps deceptively optimistic, but Scalped #50 is without a doubt a shining achievement of its publication. Between this, American Vampire #16, and DMZ #66 from last week, Vertigo is on one hell of a roll.

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8.5
Scalped #60

Aug 22, 2012

While the ultimate fate of Dash Bad Horse will leave some readers debating or perhaps even upset, in the context of the greater whole, it's the only place he was going from the get-go. Scalped is a crime epic that it's not hyperbole to call a modern classic, and its conclusion will put a serious void in my pull list.

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8.0
Secret Avengers #13

May 25, 2011

Scot Eaton returns for a solid go round, ably capturing both the big and small moments in issue #13. Spencer really runs the gamut on this issue, from high octane explosions to subtle character interactions, and Eaton nails them both. It's hard to buy a big blue cat person expressing his feelings for a human being, yet Eaton's scenes ring true and combine with Spencer's script for maximum poignancy. The only distraction in the art is some of the lettering for the sound effects. Dave Lanphear opts for GIGANTIC intrusive letters to emphasize the enormity of the explosions. I realize that the explosions are huge, but covering up entire panels (even with transparent letters) is detrimental to the read. Luckily, this only occurs in a few places, leaving the rest of the lettering to fly under the radar as needed.

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7.5
Secret Avengers #24

Apr 4, 2012

Secret Avengers #24 is the run's weak point thus far, but even then it's a far cry from mediocrity.

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8.5
Shinku #1

Jun 1, 2011

If you're looking for a samurai story, a twisted vampire yarn, a new female lead to cheer for, an adventure tale, or even a few laughs, Shinku is the place you want to look.

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9.0
Shinku #2

Jul 6, 2011

Shinku #2 raises the stakes from its predecessor, and has absolutely sold me on the ride that this book has to offer.

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7.0
Shinku #3

Nov 30, 2011

That said, Shinku #3 remains an enjoyable read throughout, despite the coloring mishaps.

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8.5
Shinku #4

Jan 4, 2012

Shinku #4 is a rise back up to the quality of the first two issues, and despite the title being her namesake, putting Shinku out of commission here has only reaffirmed that Marz is building a solid foundation of characters to build a world on.

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9.2
Shinku #5

Oct 17, 2012

In a week filled with some of the industry's best series hitting the stands " Daredevil, Hawkeye, Wonder Woman, and some others " I'm overjoyed to be able to add Shinku to this glorious release day.

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8.5
Spaceman #1

Oct 25, 2011

Spaceman #1 is a snowball of excitement and tragedy all rolled into one great comic, and at the low, low price of only $1, there's no reason not to expand your reading horizons a bit and give it a go. It's not like Azzarello and Risso have anything but a phenomenal track record.

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7.5
Spider-Island: Cloak & Dagger #2

Sep 21, 2011

I'm not particularly impressed with the main portions of Spider-Island, but I'm loving that some peripheral Marvel Universe characters are getting some nice attention out of it.

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5.5
Spider-Island: Spider-Woman #1

Sep 21, 2011

Out of all of the Spider-Island tie-ins so far, Spider-Woman seems to be the most arbitrary, with Marvel simply trying to find a way to shoehorn another obligatory spider character into the fold but offering nothing of real substance.

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8.5
Spider-Men #1

Jun 1, 2012

Spider-Men #1 isn't a burst out of the gate into the meat of the story, but it's an engaging first step towards what has the potential to be a defining moment for the Spider-Men of both worlds.

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7.0
Star Trek: The Next Generation / Doctor Who: Assimilation² #1

May 30, 2012

It might not be the burst out of the gate that many were hoping, but I think Who/Trek fans will find enough to enjoy here to warrant checking it out.

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8.5
Star Wars #1

Jan 9, 2013

D'Anda packs Star Wars #1 with some incredible work, particularly during the action sequences. The opening dogfight and subsequent ground battle pack a real punch, and D'Anda's attention to detail " particularly where vehicles and the design elements of the Star Wars Universe are concerned " is responsible for the success of these scenes. Take for instance the Vader sequence " D'Anda's ever-so-subtle visual tweaks in Vader's armor, as well as the way he frames him in-panel, helps to sell Vader's emotions despite his outward appearance being more or less static. His basic character work is strong, too (but don't expect actor likenesses), though a little less refined than what we saw in his work in 2011's Batman: Arkham City comic book prequel.

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7.5
Star Wars: Darth Maul - Death Sentence #1

Jul 25, 2012

In all, Death Sentence is a nice surprise for Darth Maul fans, and the first issue should particularly satisfy fans of the TV show until it finally returns in the fall.

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8.5
Star Wars: Darth Vader And The Ghost Prison #2

Jun 20, 2012

Two issues in and it overjoys me to say that this is the first Star Wars comic in years that's given me that old familiar "Star Wars" feeling in the pit of my stomach.

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9.0
Star Wars: Darth Vader And The Ghost Prison #4

Aug 22, 2012

Still, this is my favorite issue of this series to date, and all but solidifies the fact that this is the best Star Wars comic to come from Dark Horse in quite some time.

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9.0
Star Wars: Darth Vader And The Ghost Prison #5

Sep 19, 2012

If you have become jaded in regards to Star Wars comics (or even Star Wars in general), I urge you to check this series out. From start to finish, it has been a high quality exploration of the nature of the Empire and those who would sacrifice their lives to protect it. Brilliant stuff.

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6.0
Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command #5

May 25, 2011

Issue #5 is a mediocre end to a mediocre series. If you're curious, then check it out. But I promise that you're not missing much if you don't.

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6.5
Suicide Squad (2011) #0

Sep 12, 2012

Fernando Dagnino does some pretty good work in this issue, though, helping the rather lackluster narrative of the big showdown shine a bit brighter. The especially creepy aftermath is the best part of the book, though he isn't quite able to sell Waller's emotions. That's part of the larger problem, really, is that Dagnino seems only to operate on adrenaline and anger, with little subtlety in between for the more introspective moments. Still, his figure work is generally expressive and he's got a penchant for creative great atmosphere alongside colorist Matt Yackey.

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7.5
Suicide Squad (2011) #3

Nov 9, 2011

Of course, I still wish Floyd had his mustache. It is Movember after all.

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7.5
Suicide Squad (2011) #4

Dec 14, 2011

Joey is IGN's Comics Editor and a comic book creator himself. Follow Joey on Twitter, or find him on MyIGN. You may or may not discover a profound number of cat pictures.

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7.5
Suicide Squad (2011) #5

Jan 11, 2012

Suicide Squad is headed in yet another unexpected direction, and you can bet that I'll be on board for the ride.

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8.5
Suicide Squad (2011) #6

Feb 8, 2012

Suicide Squad #6 continues the book's trend to rocket forward in unexpected new directions. More importantly, it continues the trend of improving steadily. If you've been unsure about this title to date, this is place to jump on.

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7.0
Superboy (2010) #7

May 5, 2011

Though the narrative is becoming increasingly engaging, unfortunately this issue is completely unbalanced in terms of art. It features three different colorists that I think are meant to differentiate between the different worlds – the real world and the "dream" world – but ultimately only serve to muddy the waters. Most pages simply come off as convoluted, which could additionally be attributed to the complicated layouts provided by Marco Rudy. I can see what the intent is, it just never quite comes together as the team intended. Still, Lemire's story is competently told and ultimately an enjoyable read.

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7.0
Superboy (2010) #8

Jun 2, 2011

Superboy is only scratching the potential that it's capable of despite it being nominated for an Eisner. Here's hoping it can find itself in the coming months before everything changes in the DCU.

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6.5
Superboy (2011) #1

Sep 14, 2011

Much like this week's Grifter #1, Superboy holds my interest but needs a more substantial connection with its characters to give it legs.

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6.0
Superboy (2011) #2

Oct 12, 2011

RB Silva's work remains a bright spot in Superboy #2, offering dynamic character work and great facial expressions. Though the backgrounds could stand to get a little more variety and detail, Silva does his best to keep Superboy #2 visually engaging despite it being set largely in the same barren metallic facility. These first two issues of Superboy have been incredibly confining for Silva, but I can't wait to see what he brings once Lobdell lets Superboy rage outside of the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. compound.

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6.5
Superboy (2011) #3

Nov 9, 2011

Superboy #3 continues the trend of grasping at a satisfying new take on the Boy of Steel, but falling short of its real potential.

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6.0
Superboy (2011) #4

Dec 14, 2011

Joey is IGN's Comics Editor and a comic book creator himself. Follow Joey on Twitter, or find him on MyIGN. You may or may not discover a profound number of cat pictures.

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6.0
Superboy (2011) #6

Feb 8, 2012

The real saving grace of Superboy #6, as it has been since issue #1, is the work of R.B. Silva. The artist continues to provide solid, definitive line work that showcases character emotion. While his background details are lacking and his depiction of Supergirl's costume is, well, awkward, overall Superboy #6 is another solid piece of work that maintains a unique visual feel for the Super-books. Unfortunately, it's all for naught as the series struggles to find a foothold that's worth shelling out money for.

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4.5
Superboy (2011) #7

Mar 14, 2012

I will say that if the interesting bit I mentioned earlier is an indication of where this series is headed, then there is certainly hope. But it'll need to secure a consistent voice for Superboy and feature fluid storytelling to make it worthwhile.

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7.0
Supergirl (2011) #0

Sep 19, 2012

Mahmud Asrar delivers some nice work here, though the lack of action sequences in this book plays against all of his greatest strengths. Still, the character work is solid and his designs for Argo City and Kryptonian culture in general are inspired. There is some degree of barrenness to the atmosphere, but I suppose this could be chalked up to Kryptonian culture as well.

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7.0
Supergirl (2011) #1

Sep 21, 2011

While the new premise of Supergirl is thoroughly enjoyable, the book needs to tighten up its art team and offer something beyond adequate to propel this book into the upper tier of DC's new titles.

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8.0
Supergirl (2011) #3

Nov 16, 2011

Supergirl remains my favorite Superman family book from the New 52 after three issues and it shows no signs of changing my mind.

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7.5
Supergirl (2011) #4

Dec 21, 2011

Joey is IGN's Comics Editor and a comic book creator himself. Follow Joey on Twitter, or find him on MyIGN. You may or may not discover a profound number of cat pictures.

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6.0
Supergirl (2011) #5

Jan 18, 2012

Now that all the mumbo-jumbo is out of the way, hopefully issue #6 will get the story back on track.

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7.0
Supergirl (2011) #7

Mar 21, 2012

In the end, it's Asrar's work that really sells the issue. Watching Kara truly let loose with her powers is a sight to behold; the heat blast that she unleashes on Perrilus is gorgeously rendered, heightened by the colors of Dave McCaig. In addition, Asrar gets to shine in other similar scenes that showcase Supergirl in action. For instance, a two-panel page that shows her getting blasted through multiple buildings and landing (hard) in the streets below is simple but gorgeous. The composition is stellar and the positioning of Kara's body allows the reader to feel the impact of the blow. Hopefully the narrative can begin to work its way back toward what made it so strong in the early issues; coupled with Asrar's level of work in this issue, there's no doubt in my mind that Supergirl has the potential to be one of the strongest books at DC.

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7.0
Supergirl (2011) #11

Jul 18, 2012

Supergirl continues to build an interesting cast, at least in its heroic characters. If this series can find footing on a solid, interesting villain, we'll be off and running.

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8.0
Supergirl (2011) #12

Aug 15, 2012

Supergirl stumbled a bit last month, but I'm happy to stay that issue #12 bounces it right back with an exciting, solid issue.

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7.2
Supergirl (2011) #13

Oct 17, 2012

Sami Basri is the guest artist on the issue, fresh off of the recently cancelled Voodoo. While I adore regular artist Mahmud Asrar's work, his style is more befitting action sequences; Basri is a stellar fit for this issue that is more or less confined to one locale and two characters talking. His slick lines and emotive faces are pitch perfect for conveying the subject matter of the issue, and colorist Dave McCaig is able to provide consistency between the two different artists. Collected in a trade, the changeover will be noticeable but appropriate. Closeups of Kara are particularly impressive, as is the visual storytelling that leads to Tycho's entrapment. Hopefully DC can find Basri a regular gig again soon.

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10
Superman #712

Jun 22, 2011

Superman #712 is the pinnacle of what I desire in a comic book. I guess depending on your connection to certain things – animals, Superman, etc. – the experience could be different. But I can't deny that quite some time later, I'm still feeling the punch in my gut from the emotional impact of this book. Despite the fact that Superboy has been back longer than he was dead; that in the eyes of some, this story isn't going to "matter" come September's relaunch. Despite the fact that we know Krypto and Superboy were eventually reunited. Regardless of it all, Superman #712 delivers a blow straight to the heart with flawless storytelling and an intimate, personal tale about a boy and his dog.

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5.9
Superman (2011) #0

Sep 26, 2012

And hey, there's a dude that looks exactly like Morgan Freeman. So that's cool.

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5.5
Superman (2011) #1

Sep 28, 2011

After a month and numerous appearances, it's disappointing to see Superman #1 so detached from its main character. If Perez can achieve the focus that he brought to the final scene of this issue and allows Merino to loosen up a bit, Superman can be on his way to something new and different. Until then, Superman #1 remains a disappointment.

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5.0
Superman (2011) #13

Oct 24, 2012

Superman #13 feels like a bunch of random ideas that are thinly stitched together by Clark Kent's desire to be a real boy. But wait " there's a crossover story coming next month, so we'll see if any of the threads that are actually interesting, like Clark's exit from the Planet and the testing of his powers, will be continued in any meaningful way during the event. I came to Superman #13 with great hope of a reinvigorated Man of Steel, but it looks like I've still got a ways to wait.

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9.0
Superman Family Adventures #1

May 30, 2012

Superman Family Adventures #1 doesn't quite reach the heights of the best installments of Tiny Titans " and I hope that future issues bring back the comic strip format of that series on occasion " but it's still the best Superman product being publishing at DC right now. Forget about making him "cool" and "edgy" -- making Superman fun is all that I need.

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6.4
Superman: Earth One #2

Oct 31, 2012

Finally, the supplemental material for this book is slim, offering just a few Parasite sketches and some brief clips of Daily Planet articles; certainly nothing overly insightful or even interesting.

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8.5
Swamp Thing (2011) #0

Sep 5, 2012

In all, Swamp Thing #0 takes an unexpected approach to exploring the past of the titular hero, and we're left with more appreciation for the threat awaiting him Rotworld than we had previously.

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9.0
Swamp Thing (2011) #8

Apr 4, 2012

Letterer Travis Lanham also deserves some special attention for his work in this issue; Snyder's more wordy pages have a very non-standard presentation thanks to the elaborate layouts from Rudy and Paquette, but Lanham keeps the reading order manageable and better yet, is able to keep his letters as part of the scenery rather than making them stand out amongst the beautiful artwork. It's the challenge letterers constantly face, and Lanham stands triumphant in an issue that was surely one of the more difficult challenges on this series to date.

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9.0
Swamp Thing (2011) #10

Jun 6, 2012

Swamp Thing is a series known for its dramatic art; including Francavilla in that tradition is not only inspired, but welcome. Here's hoping he returns to the series again soon.

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8.0
Swamp Thing (2011) #12

Aug 1, 2012

Still, Swamp Thing #12 is a pretty book that does its job in setting up Rotworld. Luckily, though this prelude chapter was a two-part story in both Animal Man and Swampy, the continuation that starts in October's #13s are separate tales.

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8.5
Sweet Tooth #22

Jun 2, 2011

Heading into its third year of publication, Sweet Tooth #22 is further proof that the best is yet to come.

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9.0
Sweet Tooth #23

Jul 6, 2011

Combined with Lemire's signature art style, Sweet Tooth #23 is another successful entry into "Endangered Series" that begins to bleed into the bigger picture of Jepperd's overall role in the story.

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9.0
Sweet Tooth #24

Aug 3, 2011

What I'm saying is, bring some tissues.

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8.0
Sweet Tooth #25

Sep 7, 2011

Sweet Tooth continues to be a heartfelt but ominous portrayal of very human characters doing their best to survive extraordinarily terrible circumstances. The hole only grows deeper, so I can't imagine what lay ahead for Gus and friends.

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9.0
Sweet Tooth #28

Dec 7, 2011

Matt Kindt's stint on this arc has been perfectly suited to the nature of this narrative, resulting in a painted look that feels right at home within this series but offers a fundamental stylistic difference at the same time. Kindt's harsh strokes and oftentimes abstract approach to backgrounds and characters underline the primitive environment that these characters have found themselves in and, more importantly, their primal instinct to survive and protect. Sweet Tooth #28 is more about raw emotion and instinct than anything else, and Kindt's approach to his art " from his linework to the colors " reflects that every bit.

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9.6
Sweet Tooth #39

Nov 7, 2012

We've still got one issue to go " which Lemire promises will be far happier than this one " but issue #39 holds so much emotional resonance that you'll be hard pressed to continue reading the rest of your comics from this week without your mind wandering back to Sweet Tooth.

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9.6
Sweet Tooth #40

Jan 9, 2013

Lemire's art is consistent with the rest of the series, which is to say that it's spot-on in depicting the emotion of his characters and remarkably detailed despite its deceptively simple style. He also employs his watercolor style for the flashback sequences, which works perfectly in conjunction with the aesthetic of the rest of the story, let alone the series as a whole. The page layouts and story pacing are pretty traditional, but it allows Lemire to get the maximum impact from his characters. It's also fun to watch him go completely off the reservation in terms of what we're familiar with; though the aesthetics are familiar, the jump into the future allows Lemire to draw some things that we haven't seen in the series before, so that's a ton of fun as well.

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7.0
Talon #0

Sep 26, 2012

It's nice to see Guillem March on a book that doesn't rely simply on cheesecake, allowing him to showcase his storytelling chops to the reader without worry of distraction. March isn't known for subtlety, but he gets to enact some during the aforementioned Court sequences, both in terms of action and horrific imagery. It's a very nice change of pace for the artist, so here's hoping that the future installments can maintain this sort of quality.

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6.0
Teen Titans (2011) #1

Sep 28, 2011

It'll be interesting to see this team come together, but the creative forces will need to step it up a notch to keep me interested for another issue.

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5.0
Teen Titans (2011) #2

Oct 26, 2011

A standout moment comes later when Tim is in the mall and we see an ad in the background with two models that reads, simply, "We're Hot! Buy Stuff!" It's a fun little dig at fashion retail. Whether it's a good thing that that's one of the best parts of this issue is up to you.

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5.0
Teen Titans (2011) #15

Jan 2, 2013

Despite some energetic visuals, Teen Titans #15 is another pointless extension of the Death of the Family story that should be avoided.

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8.0
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #6

Jan 25, 2012

Dan Duncan provides more engaging art, though the ongoing problem of fudged human anatomy is still present. That said, his exaggerated style works well with the turtles and other non-human characters, playing up the ridiculous nature of the characters and their world. However, the unsung hero of this issue is colorist Ronda Pattison, who gives the book a moody urban tone and helps to differentiate the turtles from one another not only by their mask colors, but by subtle differences in their skin tone. It's a small but welcome detail that makes the art on this book all the more impressive.

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7.5
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #7

Feb 22, 2012

I get the feeling that the best is yet to come from this series, but it's lovely to have a TMNT comic that, 7 issues in, is a sure bet in quality month to month.

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7.0
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #8

Mar 28, 2012

In all, though, TMNT continues down the road of enjoyment. I'm ecstatic to have a monthly TMNT book that I can look forward to with consistency.

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7.0
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #9

Apr 25, 2012

The cliffhanger for this issue should have fans quite excited for what's to come, I just hope that the book can focus itself a bit and make good on its potential.

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7.5
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #10

May 30, 2012

IDW's new TMNT is trucking on with a sprinkling of great character moments; with the introduction of the big bad, hopefully the creative team can kick this book up a notch from good to great.

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9.0
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secret History of the Foot Clan #2

Jan 23, 2013

I'll echo what Ben said in our review of issue #1 and say that if you're even remotely a TMNT fan, this is a series you need to be picking up.

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6.0
The Amazing Spider-Man: Ends of the Earth #1

May 16, 2012

However, the issue is drawn by Thony Silas " who will be taking over Venom duties with Cullen Bunn coming on board " who proves himself a fitting addition to the Spider-Man world. While there are minor inconsistencies with the established designs of things like Spider-Man's new armor, ultimately his action is slick and his layouts are dynamic. His characters aren't too heavy on detail, but his use of body language is notable. The way he stretches the human body " women in particular " is increasingly absurd as the book goes on, but ultimately he delivers a solid book of action.

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8.5
The Avenging Spider-Man #6

Apr 11, 2012

The Omega Effect is off to an impressive start with Avenging Spider-Man #6. With the promise of big repercussions for all characters involved and the talent behind the story itself, I wouldn't be surprised if this turns out to be one of the most talked-about stories of 2012.

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5.5
The Avenging Spider-Man #8

Jun 20, 2012

This is an odd hiccup for Avenging Spider-Man, and not a necessity for fans that wish to follow-up on Ends of the Earth. It's probably best to just acknowledge Sable's lackluster death and move on to greener pastures.

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9.0
The Creep #0

Aug 8, 2012

And that's what I really enjoyed about this debut issue. There's so much weight to Arcudi's words and Case's visuals, but they do so in a way that keeps the mystery at the forefront and everything else sitting subtly in the background. The Creep #0 requires a bit of careful, thoughtful reading in order to fully appreciate everything that's being done, but I promise that the effort is worthwhile.

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8.5
The Creep #1

Sep 12, 2012

Which leads to the only real problem for this issue " the numbering. It's not that big of a deal, I suppose, but despite being an issue #1, this book necessitates that you read #0. There's no benefit of exposition, and the story assumes you know what's going on. So if you snagged this and were unaware that there's a whole chapter before this one, seek out #0 before diving in, otherwise you'll really only be getting the broad strokes of what's going on.

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7.0
The Darkness #100

Feb 29, 2012

One last similarity Darkness #100 shares with Witchblade #150 is the $4.99 price tag without much significant bonus material. Included is a preview of issue #101, brief interviews with the new creative team, a thumbnail-sized cover gallery, a Darkness timeline, results of an art contest, and a "creator hall of fame." It sounds like a lot of content in theory, but in practice it's all filler that does little more than jack up the price tag. Overall, The Darkness #100 is a solid conclusion to the longest run in the title's history, but newcomers needn't apply here.

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7.0
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Vol. 1 #1

Nov 7, 2012

If you're looking for insight into the adaptation process or anything of a behind-the-scenes nature, you'll be sorely disappointed here. There's zero supplemental content, unless you consider an ad for Book 2 something worthwhile. The book design, however " including Lee Bermejo's fantastic cover -- is something to be commended.

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8.5
The Homeland Directive #1

Jul 12, 2011

The Homeland Directive is the same great quality that's become fittingly synonymous with the Top Shelf name. If you're a fan of political thrillers, conspiracy action, or even crime capers, there's something in this book for you.

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8.0
The Intrepids #4

Jun 1, 2011

As such, artist Scott Kowalchuck gets some time to shine in this last sequence. With Wiebe's dialog cut down significantly during the action sequence, the art gets to shift from less talking heads and more grappling gun goodness. As I've mentioned before, Intrepids is a great homage to the pulp spy stories of old, and it's great to see Kowalchuck take that notion and run with it. Between the great splash/title page early on in issue #4 and the ending action sequence, this installment is by far the artist's best work to date on this series.

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8.0
The Intrepids #5

Jul 27, 2011

While Wiebe's story is fantastically quirky and all sorts of fun, it remains the art of Scott Kowalchuk that serves as the heart of The Intrepids. His thick inks and dynamic panels serve to call forth the pulp adventures of old, but deliver that classic B-movie sci-fi (giant robot squid!) and infuse it with serious personality. Despite the premise of the series, Kowalchuk has had limited opportunity to really cut loose with robotic tentacles, explosions, laser beams and fisticuffs. The world is kooky, and Intrepids #5 is the first issue that, artistically, takes advantage of that.

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8.0
The Intrepids #6

Aug 24, 2011

The series is being collected in December (with a cover blurb from yours truly), so if for some ridiculous reason you had passed on this series, be a doll and pick it up in trade.

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6.5
The Secret History of Star Wars Review #1

Apr 3, 2012

In the end, The Secret History of Star Wars is a flawed but informative unauthorized history of the Star Wars saga untainted by any PR spin from Lucasfilm. That said, it's also worth noting that there isn't exactly any "insider" element to this book either – it's a collection of conclusions drawn from extensive studies of public interviews and published documents (including an interview with A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back producer Gary Kurtz from right here on IGN). In any case, it's further proof that Star Wars is far more than just a cinematic phenomenon, but a timeless story that will no doubt be discussed, celebrated, and scrutinized for generations to come.

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7.5
The Shade #1

Oct 12, 2011

It's been a long time coming, but Robinson's return to Shade, at least at the outset, has delivered.

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9.0
The Shade #5

Feb 29, 2012

There's a lot of people out there passing on this series; if you're any sort of self-respecting comic fan that knows superhero comics can be so much more than "the norm" of dudes punchin' stuff, buying this book is the way to make sure we get more titles like it.

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9.0
The Shade #6

Mar 14, 2012

Javier Pulido's simple but refined artwork almost steals the show here. His basic page layouts provide a nice underpinning to the subdued storytelling of Robinson's script, while relying heavily on colorist Hilary Sycamore to do the heavy lifting of establishing the atmosphere of any given panel. Similarly, the color dichotomy of our lead characters – the bright red of La Sangre, the dulled green of Montpellier, and of course the dark blues and blacks of Shade – makes for an interesting palette that leaves this issue as one of the more visually impressive offerings from The Shade thus far. The only shortcomings from the art come from the line work and definition on Montpellier, whose strange costume makes for many awkward positions throughout the book.

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8.5
The Strange Talent of Luther Strode #2

Nov 2, 2011

If you haven't climbed on board the Luther Strode bandwagon yet, believe the hype. This series is good.

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8.0
The Strange Talent of Luther Strode #6

Mar 21, 2012

Luther Strode was a unique little book from new creators that was able to stand its ground amongst the marquee names currently selling their wares at Image. I, for one, will be back in October for The Legend of Luther Strode.

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8.5
The Unwritten #25

May 11, 2011

Peter Gross is still on top of his game, offering up incredibly clean pencil and ink work that is filled in by Chris Chuckry's humble colors. Gross appears to go to great lengths to deliver crisp, delicate panels that show profound attention to detail. From the feint background details of a building in the skyline to picture frames that adorn the walls of the auction house, Gross is one of those artists that challenges you to analyze every panel with a careful eye. And with a series as engrossing and thick as The Unwritten, that's an absolute must.

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8.0
The Unwritten #26

Jun 8, 2011

Also, kudos to Carey for giving my hometown another shoutout in the opening page.

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8.0
The Unwritten #28

Aug 10, 2011

Peter Gross delivers his usual fine-tipped, detailed work here, but also gets to play around a bit with layouts and styles thanks to the sequences starring the pulp hero The Tinker. Carey also presents Wilson's narrative somewhat as an ill-fated hardboiled detective story, so Gross takes that to heart and plays up noir elements through his choice of angle, use of shadow, and the grainy colors of Chris Chuckry. In all, The Unwritten #28 amounts to another well-told chapter of the ever expanding journey through the seedy underbelly of literature.

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7.0
Thor: God of Thunder #1

Nov 13, 2012

Thankfully, the always-reliable coloring of Dean White helps to jolt this issue back to life somewhat, offering emotive colors that bounce in all the right ways and offer some genuine visual delights that would otherwise be lacking. Particularly in the aforementioned darker scenes, White's colors take advantage of the light source and turn an otherwise hard-to-depict sequence into a scene with mood and atmosphere.

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9.0
Tyrannosaurus Rex (One-Shot) #1

Feb 10, 2011

Though it's over in under five minutes, this book is absolutely worth the $4 you'll spend on it.

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8.5
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol. 2 #3

Oct 10, 2011

Three issues deep and the creative team has already fashioned a character that was nothing more than a headline grabber a few months ago into a well-rounded, engaging new character with all the pieces in place to continue the long standing tradition of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

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7.5
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man Vol. 2 #15

Sep 19, 2012

Marquez's character work is stunning. The construction of emotion and body language is spot-on and adds so much more context to the words of Bendis. These strengths also help what limited action there is in this issue, giving Spider-Man's web-slinging a sense of excitement that can be so easily lost when we see him do it week in and week out. The only significant flaw in artwork is the varying qualities of the backgrounds. Interior backgrounds, particularly in Miles' dorm room, are sterile and bland, but the NYC backgrounds are laced with great detail.

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8.0
Uncanny X-Force #7

Apr 13, 2011

Ribic's work in the issue is surprisingly adept at playing up the emotional aspects of these scenes, even amidst massive fights and characters wearing masks. Much credit is due to inker John Lucas and colorist Matthew Wilson, as their thin, precise line work and emotive color palette plays a huge part in the way that Ribic's art reflects Remender's words tonally, if not in action.

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7.5
Uncanny X-Force #10

May 18, 2011

Two smaller notes that may be a deciding factor for some folks. First, this issue features little-to-no Deadpool. Second, this issue reprints the entirety of Iron Man 2.0 #3. So if you're not reading that series regularly, you get a 2-for-1 deal with this $3.99 comic.

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9.0
Uncanny X-Men #537

May 25, 2011

I can't remember the last time I've been this excited to be reading Uncanny X-Men.

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8.0
Venom #5

Jul 27, 2011

Art duties on this issue are split between Tony Moore (pages 1-6) and Tom Fowler (the rest). Since we've seen both artists work on this book, both styles are familiar and fit with the tone that we've come to expect. However, both styles are vastly different in both penciling style and inks (Crimelab Studios inks Moore while Fowler inks himself). While colorist John Rauch does a commendable job at providing some consistency, what helps more is the fact that Moore plays to his strengths in doing the only pages that are action-oriented and Fowler tackles the bulk of the issue that is ultimately character-centric and emotional. Both styles wind up a bit muddied by the colors in some instances, but overall this issue is up to par with the four issues previous, albeit with a sense of division.

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8.5
Witchblade #144

May 19, 2011

Witchblade #144 includes a back-up "Secret Origin" tale of Sarah's boyfriend, Patrick Gleason, that is fun, if not particularly up to par with the rest of the issue. The book is priced at $4.99, but also includes a stellar cover gallery in addition to the two stories and afterword. Not a bad deal for a book that has some high quality painterly artwork in addition to top-notch storytelling.

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8.0
Witchblade #147

Aug 31, 2011

Witchblade, as it is month in and month out, is a solid superhero-style read without any of the common tropes of mainstream superhero comics. The departure of this creative team will be missed.

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8.0
Wolverine (2010) #18

Nov 9, 2011

If Wolverine in Hell and murdering his own children was a bit much to hold on your conscience, you can rest easy knowing that, for at least one arc, Aaron and company are perfectly happy serving up some good old fashioned fun.

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8.5
Wolverine and the X-Men #1

Oct 24, 2011

If you're looking for an in to the X-Universe, this should do it. It might not be the action or scenario you'd expect, but Aaron's characters will hook you immediately. And if you've been following these books for a while now, issue #1 feels like a significant step forward for this group. The future is now!

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8.5
Wolverine and the X-Men #2

Nov 23, 2011

Wolverine and the X-Men #2 continues the bold new adventures of Wolverine's dysfunctional X-team, and reaffirms that coming out of Schism, this is the book to watch.

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9.0
Wolverine and the X-Men #4

Jan 11, 2012

Wolverine and the X-Men #4 is my favorite of the series thus far, and if Aaron and Bradshaw can keep up its steam, it should have no problem working its way into next year's "Best of" lists with ease.

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9.0
Wolverine and the X-Men #5

Feb 8, 2012

As the months go on and my interest drops in various other X-books, I find myself foaming at the mouth waiting for my next dose of Wolverine and the X-Men. If the cliffhanger of this issue is any indication, we've only just begun the madness.

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9.0
Wolverine and the X-Men #6

Feb 22, 2012

Wolverine and the X-Men continues to fire on all cylinders. With so many offerings in the X-Universe, it's easy to overlook certain titles. Please don't let this book out of your sight.

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8.0
Wolverine and the X-Men #7

Mar 14, 2012

I'm very much looking forward to what's next for this series. I only hope it can avoid being bogged down in Avengers vs. X-Men.

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7.0
Wonder Woman (2006) #611

Jun 2, 2011

One unfortunate setback is the uneven art that has been plaguing this book for months. Boasting two pencilers and two inkers, there are some instances where a page turn can look like a completely different book. However, these occasions are far less frequent than have been present in past installments. Thankfully, Alex Sinclair's esteemed color work is able to hold down the fort and keep some semblance of consistentncy from page to page. While each page is more than capable of telling Hester's story on its own merits, the cohesive whole suffers from the inconsistent artwork.

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8.7
Wonder Woman (2011) #15

Dec 19, 2012

Cliff Chiang is back in full force, offering his classic cartooning skills that really excel in the quieter moments. The aforementioned scene with Zola, Hera, and Diana is the standout, due mostly to Chiang's fantastic storytelling; the facial expressions, reaction shots, and beats of humor are all spot on. He doesn't slouch on the action either, though the one page in which Diana confronts Orion lacks a certain kind of energy that we've come to expect from Chiang's work. That said, on the whole, this book looks as fantastic as expected.

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8.5
Worlds' Finest #0

Sep 5, 2012

I wish I could say that this zero issue put me back on board for the rest of the series, but knowing that the regular book is a fundamentally different tale, I'm afraid I'll just wind up reflecting on what could've been instead of what is.

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5.5
Worlds' Finest #2

Jun 6, 2012

Worlds' Finest continues to hold much potential in concept, but still falters in execution. Hopefully this can be rectified as the series trucks on.

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8.5
X-Factor #232

Feb 15, 2012

As I always feel upon concluding an issue of X-Factor, I can't wait to see what comes next.

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5.0
X-Men Vol. 4 #25

Feb 22, 2012

With such a number of quality X-books currently coming from Marvel, I see no reason to cough up another $4 for this. On the bright side though, two of my favorite characters – the Zapata Brothers, luchador assassins – make an appearance here, though they are played for laughs. Oh well.

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4.5
X-Men Vol. 4 #26

Mar 7, 2012

X-Men continues to be the weakest X-title in Marvel's library; the best we can do is hope for some life to get injected into it soon. And there's no life in vampire blood, that's for sure.

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