Matt Lehn's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comic Book Herald Reviews: 81
7.7Avg. Review Rating

7.6
1872 #1

Jul 12, 2015

Duggan and company have decidely placed their townsfolk Avengers on a hard and potentially fatal road to redemption. If anything, 1872 speaks more to hard-boiled drama than any winking salute to Steve Englehart.

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8.0
A-Force #1

May 22, 2015

Although Wilson and Bennett paint fantastic broad strokes but linger overlong on the wrong details, it's an impressive debut effort with loads of potential.

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7.4
Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #1

Jun 26, 2015

This book has serious popcorn-munching "summer blockbuster" potential but already displays a few "shut up and enjoy the ride" suspension hiccups. Robinson is insanely capable of balancing substance with the style- it's a shame the latter overpowered so much out of the box. Perhaps next issue will find a better stride.

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7.6
All-New All-Different Avengers #0

Oct 12, 2015

Clocking in at fifty-one big story pages and a six dollar price tag, Avengers #0 is an undertaking akin to crossing a double album with "TV Guide Fall Previews". As a publication, its individual merits may be many but there's a distinct lack of centrality.

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6.0
All-New X-Men #34

Dec 19, 2014

Indeed, points won for this issue go to visual prowess despite not having a tremendous amount of story "meat" to dig into. As stated, Bendis writes for the trade but damn if it's not frustrating on a month-to-month level sometimes when an issue like this hits. The last page's unsatisfying combo of questionable action with abrupt "non-cliffhanger" ending doesn't so much hinge on the "To Be Continued…" in the final panel as it does inelegantly crash into it. With only two installments left to go on this adventure, next issue better come out of the gate swinging.

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8.0
All-New X-Men #38

Feb 28, 2015

So far, "Black Vortex" is a fun story that's maintained consistency despite existing as the ficklest of beasts: the inter-title crossover. With so many contributing on an episodic basis, more often than not, this format typically yields some qualitative variance. Given how distinctly endeared Bendis is to both the X-Men and the Guardians, it will be interesting to see how this exploit unfolds as other storytellers rotate through. More than how the creators handle themselves, the longer-range implications for the characters is an interesting prospect.

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7.0
All-New X-Men #40

Apr 25, 2015

This week's All-New X-Men is solid but nowhere near the realm of "breaking the internet in half". Compelling and character-driven, it's sincere and certainly worth checking out.

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5.8
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #18

May 9, 2015

For a title once long-considered Marvel's flagship, the (temporary) last regular issue of Amazing Spider-Man is, sadly, nothing much to write home about.

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6.6
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #20.1

Aug 15, 2015

"Spiral" is a passably enjoyable 21st Century Spider-tale told by one of Peter Parker's definitive authors.

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8.0
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #3

Oct 25, 2014

Overall, the only place where any points really come off is in the wrap-up. Once the heroes revive and regain control of the situation, their characterizations all seem to take a hard retrench into super-familiar, if not somewhat tired, roles. Granted, this is a series predicated on hate being used as a mind-control weapon but the firm line that now divides our protagonists comes off as knee-jerk and mechanical. It also doesn't take into account that the Avengers Unity Squad should have a completely different reaction to seeing the Red Skull's surprisingly intact body! Again, the entire scene is fraught with ambiguity. Whether or not it's being used as an in-story plot device or if it's just an unfortunate creative misstep, more will certainly be known upon the release of future chapters. At the moment, though, it's just enjoyable to sit back and have Deadpool earworm pop ditties from yesteryear while "Magneto and the Dark Avengers" save the day.

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6.0
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #5

Nov 15, 2014

Despite bottoming out in the middle, the issue bounces back with a tremendous boost from the "Oh $#!+" cliffhanger. Like the previous chapters, Remender reaches down and somehow finds a way for this saga to up its own ante, constantly turning the dial well past "11". It also makes it impossible not to come back again and do it all over again next week. It's like a glorious trainwreck crossed with an Everlasting Gobstopper.

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6.0
Avengers & X-Men: Axis #7

Dec 14, 2014

Along those lines, the issue's actual moment of greatest importance not only underdelivers but threatens to yank the cart out from beneath the whole affair. This sort of twist spin-off is usually reserved for the final epilogues and really trips up progression with its clumsy placement smack in the third act. Raising more questions than answers and offering little hope in quick resolution within the remaining time, this new development also doubles as a great in-story fix to some rather troublesome marketing issues. Synergistically convenient? Perhaps. Despite the inelegant manner of the news broken, it's certainly paid its way forward to be a tale examined another day. Too bad it's being done at the disservice of finishing strong on the current story in progress.

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8.0
Avengers (2012) #39

Dec 14, 2014

While "Part 1" rightfully denotes copious amounts of word intensity that one expects from writer Jonathan Hickman, the set-up is punctuated along the way by formidable action sequences courtesy of Mike Deodato and color artist Frank Martin. Dialed in extremely tight for this month-long "crossover within the crossover", the character drama elevates as well with the S.H.I.E.L.D. Avengers portrayed for the first time as anything other than cold fascists. Well, some of them anyway.

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8.0
Avengers (2012) #40

Jan 16, 2015

Coming into the home-stretch as the series conclude in April, it's refreshing to start getting resolutions. Considering how densely-packed Hickman's narrative is, this is no small feat.

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7.0
Avengers (2012) #41

Feb 6, 2015

As evident from the last few issues, key components are now coming fast and furious from obscure and unlikely places.

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8.4
Avengers (2012) #42

Mar 7, 2015

In sum, this issue has all the earmarks of a classic "end of the final season" ramp-up episode. As much as Jonathan Hickman loves to sprawl a story out for eons, "It All Comes Crashing Down" is fantastic proof that he can execute tight, poignant "revolving cam" action just as well. In a book divided into eight scenes, only one (intentionally) felt like the "B" plot. Secret Wars will be well-served following in kind. Bring on Battleworld!

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7.4
Avengers (2012) #43

Apr 4, 2015

Without robbing momentum from the two-part finale's impending epicness, this issue only has to tell about half issue's worth of "forward story". The flashbacks are padding but illuminating, if not humorously awkward. Mission accomplished for functionality with a small side of grounding humanity. Bring on the end!

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8.6
Avengers (2012) #44

May 2, 2015

If either of these stories are someone's first-ever Marvel comic, they're a pretty unforgiving read. However, if you've been invested, you won't stop now but the immediate reward's really down to what you're willing to make of it.

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6.0
Avengers World #19

Apr 11, 2015

Since beginning, Avengers World has always been a "companion piece"- the designated eternal bridesmaid of the franchise. The also-ran. No-medal Chewbacca. Sadly, this reflects in expectations sometimes and standards lessen.

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5.0
Captain America And The Mighty Avengers #4

Jan 23, 2015

Overall, Captain America and the Mighty Avengers isn't a bad book. Ewing's dialogue is typically sharp and funny and plants many an Easter egg along the way. Luke Ross is a great fit for the team's "street level" m.o. and is seasoned enough to warrant the (literal) "A" franchise. As a newer hand, Iban Coello is a fun alternative artist with tremendous growth potential. On paper, this should work: a great creative team with a solid product. In fact, this really could be the new sleeper of the Avengers comic family. Unfortunately, this is not their issue.

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6.0
Captain America And The Mighty Avengers #7

Apr 19, 2015

"Kick 'Splode" isn't an overly satisfying ending to a long-standing plotline but it is an ending all the same. However, it's a fine collection of footnotes and maybe does more to raise a question or two. If you're a fan of Nextwave and/or Hickman's Avengers saga, it may be worth the once-over.

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6.0
Captain Marvel (2014) #10

Dec 20, 2014

There is one final eyebrow-raising point: the issue's actual title. While it's very punny to release "A Christmas Carol" in mid-December, it's the "Part 1" denotation that brings on the questioning. Harnessing the seasonal tie-in is a bit of an "all-things-to-all-people" stretch and really a bit misleading. Yes, there's some appendencial action on the last two pages that may lend slight validation to the name but it's more in service of setting up next issue. Which brings up a second point: unless "Part 2" is slated for a stealth release within the next two weeks, it will be treading on being unseasonable. A shame Marvel's schedule couldn't be otherwise as coordinating such a one-two combo would've been more befitting an event worth celebrating.

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8.6
Daredevil (2014) #18

Sep 7, 2015

Despite a few momentary bumps, Waid and Samnee's finale sticks to landing. Pumping out close to sixty consistently well-met issues in just over four years is no mean feat and a track record anyone can feel proud of.

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9.6
Deadpool (2012) #45

Apr 11, 2015

Literally pound for pound, Deadpool #250 is one hefty mothertrucker of a book. The price of admission may be comparatively steep but it's a worthwhile investment if you like a grand celebration to humor in your comics. Hell, buy it for a meaningful character death. That actually happens too!

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6.0
Fantastic Four (2014) #642

Jan 25, 2015

So, one or two parts down (depending on who's counting), three issues remain and Marvel's first family is out of circulation as a monthly. Given the press release Marvel gave just this Tuesday, this has probably been percolating for a while. This arc is deliberate but given James Robinson's acumen, this issue woefully underperfoms. However, there' still time enough to finish strong.

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8.6
Future Imperfect #5

Sep 5, 2015

Thoroughly enjoyable for its "rock'em, sock 'em robots" over-the-topness, the conclusion of Future Imperfect certainly isn't hindered by its full-circle familiarity.

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8.8
Groot #1

Jun 7, 2015

Slated for only six issues, Team Groot need to work swiftly and impactfully. The good news is that, so far, this is not proving difficult for them in the slightest. Even better, the road they're taking seems fairly continuity-free.

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5.8
Guardians of Knowhere #4

Sep 19, 2015

Despite a vetted, top-flight unit creatively channelling flavors of the cosmic Marvel Cinematic Universe, this installment sadly underperforms.

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7.0
Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #21

Nov 23, 2014

One small sidenote regarding the art, Schiti appears miscredited with cover duty when the initials "NB" appear quite visibly in the piece itself and done very much in the style of Nick Bradshaw. Just a minor point but worthy of noting to give credit where it's due. Regardless, Schiti has proven a worthy partner to Bendis in this one issue alone. Bendis's stories are notoriously slow starters but this one seems to be the exception. Sure, the cliffhanger is an old beat from his bag of tricks but it is no less effective or entertaining when a talking tree and a space raccoon are thrown into the mix.

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6.0
Guardians Team-Up #3

Mar 21, 2015

It's hard to get around this title serving any function other than acting as an additional placeholder to keep Marvel's improbable multimedia hit red-hot and in your face at all times.

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8.6
Hawkeye Vol. 2 #21

Feb 7, 2015

It will be a damn shame when this volume of Hawkeye wraps. However, it will be nice to have a completely self-contained short and sweet run. It started out fairly opened-ended but wound up telling one long story.

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10
Hawkeye Vol. 2 #22

Jul 19, 2015

By Marvel's own admission, this title resets the standard for the line. Indulge the erratic shipping schedule, it still plays like flagship to the final panel. This finale is not only the "Cinderella story" victory lap, it is also the most glorious mic drop on the super-hero narrative in years.

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9.0
Howard The Duck #1

Mar 14, 2015

Howard the Duck's unlikely comeback is already one of the success stories of 2015.

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8.0
Howard the Human #1

Aug 23, 2015

Honestly, the world is a better place for having this one-shot in it.

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8.0
Ms. Marvel (2014) #17

Aug 9, 2015

This is the totality of Marvel's ethos distilled into twenty enjoyable pages, good for fans of the entire run and casual readers alike.

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8.0
New Avengers (2013) #26

Nov 23, 2014

All of this being said, considering who visits imprisoned Anthony and the overall tone of the issue's central conversation, it may have served equally well as a chapter of the adjectiveless core Avengers title. As a related aside, this week's issue of Avengers also functions as a fantastic companion update to the "where are they now" scorecard. It also features a faction of New Avengers, as denoted in the "Cast" page. Slight irony aside, it does suggest that maybe Hickman has too much story for the average twenty-page delivery system to accomodate. It's not a bad thing by any means but if this persists, one must wonder how pacing will progress as the sprawling epic funnels into a singular event series by Summer 2015.

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8.0
New Avengers (2013) #27

Nov 29, 2014

Although not overly somber or ominous, the wrap-up really drives the point home that this is a one-way trip for everyone but it shouldn't be without its element of humor. If anything, the issue's finale certainly suggests there may be a whole lot more mileage to be had with the overall "game" metaphor. True believers, start manning those tailgates!

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6.6
New Avengers (2013) #29

Jan 30, 2015

In all, this issue is an incongruous and semi-enjoyable episode. While righting itself before any real energy is lost, it does project its share of nosedives along the way. Again, a major plus is that Hickman's greater story is in much stronger shape coming out of this issue than going in. With Walker also slated as artist for the remainder of the run, the missteps here are far from the creators' final testimony. There's still ample opportunity to get back to fighting strength" before time runs out!

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6.0
New Avengers (2013) #30

Feb 28, 2015

Following a series of increasingly intense issues, Jonathan Hickman's latest somehow elevates the phrase "we're boned" to an unparalleled height. Framed largely as a sequence of flashbacks, "Beyonders" is an unrelenting twenty page tale of woe.

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8.0
New Avengers (2013) #31

Mar 14, 2015

Entering the final five issues before Secret Wars, Jonathan Hickman is expertly double-checking his work, crossing t's and dotting i's from throughout his multi-title saga.

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8.6
New Avengers (2013) #32

Mar 28, 2015

It's characterization and dialogue like this that makes one wish the writer was sticking around for other projects post-Secret Wars.

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7.8
New Avengers (2013) #33

May 2, 2015

If either of these stories are someone's first-ever Marvel comic, they're a pretty unforgiving read. However, if you've been invested, you won't stop now but the immediate reward's really down to what you're willing to make of it.

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7.8
Old Man Logan #1

May 31, 2015

So far, Old Man Logan operates mainly on semi-recent nostalgia- which is not necessarily a bad thing. Rather than glad-handing as winking homage, it commands as an heir apparent.

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6.0
Operation S.I.N. #1

Jan 9, 2015

Immonen and company offer a fun, "just roll with it" kind of story that also subtly grounds Soviet-specific characters to their place in history.

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8.4
Planet Hulk #1

May 23, 2015

The movie elevator pitch would be: Apocalypse Now with Dirty Dozen overtones in the vein of Spartacus, Conan The Barbarian and The Beastmaster. But with super-hero iconography. And a frikkin' dinosaur!

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9.0
S.H.I.E.L.D. (2014) #9

Aug 30, 2015

This current installment (cover-billed as an "Extra-Sized 50th Anniversary Extravaganza!") isn't just a shameless plug or a nostalgic trip down memory lane. No sir, somehow it succeeds in masterfully folding these distinct agendas into something much, much more.

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8.6
S.H.I.E.L.D. (2014) #10

Oct 4, 2015

From cover to cover, "The Duck Called H.O.W.A.R.D." is amusingly solid and even features an educational component.

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9.0
Secret Wars #1

May 8, 2015

No punches pulled, the months of foreshadowing hyperbole are indeed to be heeded! It's been quite a while since Marvel's had an event truly worthy of "capital-E" standing. Like it or loathe it for fear of the unknown, this is the new cornerstone all the same. On to Battleworld!

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9.6
Secret Wars #2

May 14, 2015

No small feat, Secret Wars is defying expectation and cutting through the hype with something for Marvel fans new and old alike.

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7.8
Secret Wars #3

Jun 6, 2015

Small forward progressions are made that will have huge potential but the broader strokes lack in the immediate. After such exceptional strides, it feels like the foot is coming off the gas a little.

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9.0
Secret Wars #4

Jul 4, 2015

The "Fellowship of the Raft" may be scattered to who know's where but the road to Act Three is certainly primed. It will be a maddening six week wait for the next installment.

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8.4
Secret Wars #5

Aug 15, 2015

Clocking in at twenty briskly-paced pages, writer Jonathan Hickman takes slight intake pauses yet keeps on moving with big rewards, surprise and innovation awaiting at every turn.

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8.8
Secret Wars #6

Oct 10, 2015

Entitled "We Raise Them Up" Just So We Can Pull Them Down", the sixth issue establishes the game board for the big finale but opens with the pieces in very interesting positions few could have guessed.

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9.0
Secret Wars #7

Nov 15, 2015

Overall, "King of the Dead" feels like the part of the story the creators have been waiting to tell the entire time. Replacing any part of the equation just to keep product on a tighter shipping schedule is simply out of the question. This is quality worth waiting for.

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6.0
Secret Wars #8

Dec 13, 2015

Getting past the eye candy, "Under Siege" is a frustrating yet necessary piece of the Secret Wars puzzle. Despite a few stand-out character moments, overall pacing suffers from its formerly-conjoined status with the previous issue.

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9.4
Secret Wars #9

Jan 16, 2016

It's been one helluva (protracted) rollercoaster but the "going out on a high note" crescendo really makes it one worth riding all over again.

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6.0
She-Hulk (2014) #9

Oct 26, 2014

All of this being said, as the middle chapter of a three-parter, there's not a terrible amount to hang one's hat on beyond these individual achievements. On its own merits, it does offer some insight into a typical day for Jennifer Walters, PLLC but the story is far from self-contained. It's a conceptually intriguing tale but definitely served better in its greater context and certainly worth re-examining in a larger collected format.

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8.4
Siege (2015) #1

Jul 19, 2015

It's by no means an oasis but in terms of getting into the next-level nitty-gritty of Secret Wars, it can't miss!

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7.8
Squadron Sinister #1

Jun 19, 2015

"No Honor Among Thieves" is more an acquired taste than a one-size-fits-all crowd-pleaser but it is a great pot-stirrer all the same. As a series, it seems more about the destination than the journey but it will have you coming back to see it all go down!

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9.6
Star Wars (2014) #1

Jan 17, 2015

Essentially it goes like this: "Do you like Star Wars?" "Do you like comic books?" "Do you want to read a Star Wars comic that's basically a movie-between-the-movies drawn ridiculously well by the guy who worked with Joss Whedon on that X-Men book like 10 years ago (John Cassaday, Astonishing X-Men)?" If the answer to ANY of these questions is "yes", then face front and buy the living Force outta this book!!

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6.6
Star Wars (2014) #4

Apr 26, 2015

As "Skywalker Strikes" arrives at a lull intersection, the current installment is by no means an immediate grabber. It's great for connective tissue, though, serving as one part soft cross-promotion.

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8.6
Star Wars (2014) #8

Aug 22, 2015

Sure, the going is now arguably a little bit more hardcore "comic book" and less of a gateway for casual fans of the movie franchise but it's easily pushing all the right buttons and then some.

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8.0
Star Wars: Darth Vader #1

Feb 14, 2015

Minor nitpicks aside, the series is off to a good start delivering more good than bad. Judging from the years of work he put into (Kid) Loki, expectations are high that Gillen must have quite the long game planned. From Marvel's stable, he would be best to voice it. However, with so many of the character's bigger defining moments already accounted for, it will be most interesting to see what future installments hold

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7.0
Star Wars: Darth Vader #8

Aug 7, 2015

Despite boasting a clever, multi-tiered heist, this is unquestionably a "better in the trade" issue.

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8.6
Star Wars: Lando #1

Jul 11, 2015

For a guy starting out his cinematic existence as an unctuous, swindly hustler capable of setting off the most impaired of "Spidey" senses, Lando's new life as a comic book star is, so far, a most pleasant experience.

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6.0
Star Wars: Princess Leia #1

Mar 7, 2015

Princess Leia is an important concept greater than its on-page padding. Waid is a far more capable writer than this initial twenty pages balefully reflects. There's an idea for a story in here somewhere yet the reader is given little to invest in beyond telegraphing between skeletons of prospect. There's no maguffin just a vague idea that some cathartic experience will undoubtedly befall our protagonists in their "quest".

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9.6
Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1

Sep 12, 2015

From cover to cover, the first installment of Shattered Empire is another decisive victory for Marvel's synergistic "comics as canon" status.

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7.0
Star-Lord And Kitty Pryde #1

Jul 29, 2015

It seems Humphries and company intend a star-crossed rom-com with a hint of Midnight Run. That said, this issue is deceptively subtle in the route it takes getting underway. So far, we're treated to an ultra-swanky affair yet the current tenor reads more as an adversarial "Vs." than as a cooperative "And" (but that's how all great love stories start, right?). Featuring the "prime" Peter Quill, there's no question this story "counts" however it's opting for light-hearted larfs over it's potential for over-the-top drama and deep introspection. Not a perfect opener but amusing and beautifully constructed.

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8.0
Superior Iron Man #1

Nov 16, 2014

In all, "Superior" really is the best and only adjective to describe this latest version of Iron Man. Borrowing a page from Wolverine, Tony being the best at what he does isn't very nice. But it is damn enjoyable to read.

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9.0
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

Jan 10, 2015

This is the rarest of things: the ultimate in plug and play enjoyment that meets the reader at their own pace.

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8.0
Thor (2014) #1

Oct 4, 2014

As a stand-alone issue, this uneven finish is a detraction. I'm sure it'll execute better when revisited in the bigger picture. But for the moment, five weeks until the next issue is far too long of a wait.

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8.8
Thor (2014) #8

May 16, 2015

Jason Aaron shows no signs of abating his plans because all of creation, including Asgard's cosmology, has Katamari garbage-balled into Battleworld.

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8.0
Thors #1

Jun 20, 2015

There's a lot to like about this latest turn in the Thunder God saga. However, like summer vacation, it comes with an unspoken understanding that this is a fleeting commodity.

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7.6
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 2 #1

Feb 1, 2015

The bottom line, though, is that the title doesn't play like a limited. Remender still feels like he's got something to say beyond a protracted afterthought to a puzzling, debatably interweb-breaking revelation. The format and available toys may change up in the short term but that's the sort of on-the-fly twist he seems to enjoy. For good or bad, this is the mind that brought us Franken-Castle. Here's looking forward to the next phase"

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7.0
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 2 #5

Jun 27, 2015

In another era, this short-run volume would be labelled as a "Limited Series". Furthermore, it probably should be packaged as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch solo title. With the exception of the Vision and his somewhat forced "romance", the Avengers are set dressing and incidental at best- particularly the dwindling mutant faction.

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8.0
Uncanny Inhumans #0

Apr 6, 2015

Then again, the Inhumans thrive on the weird and unlikely so this all works out. And then some. This is the perfect jumping on point for any lapsed or curious reader wanting to get in on Marvel's other outcasts- especially as their q rating increases across all media platforms.

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6.0
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #31

Feb 21, 2015

This issue may not be what was expected but it's still integral to Bendis's bigger story. The actual protagonist is also not who the reader may expect either but that is a delightful surprise. Although folk consensus is that the story of the X-Men is the story of Scott Summers, it's a credit to Bendis's writing that he would have a newer supporting character rise up and become the foil by which Cyclops grows and re-earns that legacy. There's just enough cliffhanger to justify signing off on a ""and things will never be the same again" note but there's also enough in-story clues that Bendis is now crossing the threshold into his story's final act.

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7.0
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #33

Apr 19, 2015

This week's Uncanny X-Men boils down to a few key selling points: nostalgia for either Claremont-era X-camaraderie or vintage pre-Marvel Monsters.

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7.4
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #600

Nov 9, 2015

After three years (and a little help from his friends), Brian Michael Bendis goes out on top but one can't help but wonder if this finale's high notes couldn't have been oh-so higher

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9.8
Weirdworld #1

Jun 13, 2015

Aaron and company have really kicked open a treasure-trove of unexpected hidden wonders. Even better, they succeed in keeping it fresh and new-reader friendly.

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6.0
Years of Future Past #5

Sep 26, 2015

This run-through just happens to inject a poignant message while staying truthfully within the ascribed parameters.

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