Michael Escalante's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Batman-News Reviews: 88
7.0Avg. Review Rating

8
Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular: Catwoman 80th Anniversary #1

Jun 2, 2020

Catwoman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1 is a must-read for fans of the character. There isn't an outright bad story in the bunch and the art teams alone make up for any of the lesser scripted stories. Even then, the main flaw of the weaker stories is that they sometimes bite off more than they can chew which at least gives readers something to ponder over.

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7
Batman Beyond (2016) #35

Aug 28, 2019

Batman Beyond #35 is another solid chapter in Jurgens' run that is unfortunately marred by inconsistent art. Despite the feeling that this arc should have been shortened to a two-parter, Jurgens has the advantage of having built a solid cast of likable characters who I don't mind simply spending more time with. Additionally, The Splitt has turned from a rather uninteresting villain of the week, to a sympathetic child victim who has found himself in the middle of a dire situation. With a special guest appearance in the final pages, Jurgens has set himself up well for what I hope is a satisfying finale next issue.

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5
Batman Beyond (2016) #36

Sep 25, 2019

Batman Beyond #36 is an adequate comic that does very little to satisfy any reader that isn't already invested in its characters and universe.

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5.5
Batman Beyond (2016) #37

Oct 23, 2019

Batman Beyond #37 has a lot on its plate but doesn't do much with the bevy of plotlines it has to follow. Jurgens' plot structure feels like the equivalent of spinning plates as he bounces around from subplot to subplot without advancing any of them very far.

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5.5
Batman Beyond (2016) #38

Nov 27, 2019

If the book treads any more water, Batman Beyond #38 will find itself existing as just another cog in the slow set up of the new Batwoman.

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7
Batman Beyond (2016) #39

Jan 1, 2020

Batman Beyond #39 is by far the best issue of the arc so far. With a heavy dose of action and character development, Jurgens proves that he is more than capable of scripting a well-balanced issue.

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6
Batman Beyond (2016) #40

Jan 23, 2020

Batman Beyond #40 falls into the same bag of tricks that Jurgens used in previous issues. Despite its repetitive structure, there is a lot of forward progression in the plot that gives the series a sense of momentum and its reveal of Batwoman's identity is satisfying, if somewhat unremarkable. Jurgens spins a lot of plates here, but it seems like our ensemble cast will reunite sooner rather than later.

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7
Batman Beyond (2016) #41

Feb 26, 2020

Batman Beyond #41 is a great penultimate issue and sets the stage well for what aims to be an explosive climax. Batwoman has become a good character over the past few issues, but I can't deny that I'm more excited to see our longstanding ensemble cast finally reunite after a couple arcs of them being splintered. Terry is now ready to take a more hands on approach to the plot, but Jurgens and Chen have made a strong case for Batwoman to take the lead one more time. With some of Chen's strongest art on the book to date, Batman Beyond #41 course corrects the series with promises of even better things to come.

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5
Batman Beyond (2016) #42

Mar 25, 2020

Batman Beyond #42 is an adequate ending for what should've been a much better issue. Seeing Terry back in the cowl is great, but Jurgens doesn't deliver an interesting enough action sequence for the big return. Last issue seemed to imply a much more targeted and personal showdown between Blight and Bruce, but Jurgens deflects that goldmine of drama for generic comic book action theatrics courtesy of Terry and Elainna's team-up. Luckily, a return to status quo is welcome and Jurgens has all his pieces back in place for the book to return to its strengths.

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6.5
Batman Beyond (2016) #43

May 26, 2020

Batman Beyond #43 does just enough to return things mostly back to status quo and set the stage for the next storyline. Chen's pencils remain as strong as ever, but his page layouts take a step down and undercut some of the more intense argument scenes. It's a bit of a reset issue, but there's enough quality action and an interesting character turn in the form of a more violent Terry to make this chapter worth seeking out, especially for newcomers to the series.

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7
Batman Beyond (2016) #44

Jun 23, 2020

Batman Beyond #44 is a step up from an already solid previous issue and cements this arc as the most promising in recent memory. The stakes are clear, the characters are not keeping secrets from each other, and the action never lets up. There's a lack of true character development here, but the great art and fast pace makes up for the issue's simplicity. Damian's presence introduces a welcome wild card element to the ensemble and hopefully the next issue takes advantage of his and Terry's complicated relationship.

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7.5
Batman Beyond (2016) #45

Jul 21, 2020

Batman Beyond #45 features a gripping first half that suffers only because readers already know the end result and a second half that loses itself a little in the resulting chaos. However, the stakes are at an all time high and I legitimately don't know exactly how our heroes will save the world from Zeh-ro's man-made ice age. With mindful art from Pelletier and sharp dialogue from Jurgens, Batman Beyond #45 overcomes its structural issues and delivers a piece of high stakes action with a surplus of character development for the series' side characters.

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8
Batman Beyond (2016) #46

Aug 25, 2020

Batman Beyond #46 is a prime example of how to balance a high stakes plot with a focus on character interactions within an ensemble. Any hints of the series' shortcomings in recent arcs have fully evaporated and I feel confident saying this is one of DC's better books currently on the stands. Sean Chen's art is a true standout and some of his strongest work on the series yet. Dan Jurgens' script is quick paced, funny, and ends on an ominous cliffhanger that demands readers to return next month.

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7
Batman Beyond (2016) #47

Sep 22, 2020

Batman Beyond #47 is a solid ending to one of the better arcs of the series. Even outside of its usual Neo-Gotham setting, Jurgens' ensemble cast keeps the book grounded in its strength of strong characterization and fun banter. While the action does dominate this issue, Sean Chen's fantastic art makes up for this larger emphasis on spectacle. With only four more issues to go, Jurgens' Batman Beyond is primed to end strong and I have high hopes this series will be looked on as one of the better DC series in recent memory.

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7.5
Batman Beyond (2016) #48

Oct 27, 2020

Batman Beyond #48 is a fast paced, throwback feeling comic book that embraces the medium's ability to go over the top. While it's questionable for Jurgens to jettison most of the supporting cast in favor of a time travel story with Booster Gold, this set up is ripe for deep characterization for both Bruce and Terry. If this is to be the last arc of Jurgens' run, it's not a bad idea to go for a more sentimental storyline. On its own, Batman Beyond #48 is solid across the board though its true value is in potentially setting up more profound moments in the coming months.

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6.5
Batman Beyond (2016) #49

Nov 24, 2020

Batman Beyond #49 delivers a fun plotline greatly enhanced by Paul Pelletier's meaty pencils and Chris Sotomayor's bold colors. While I felt this arc put too much emphasis on Bruce and the importance of Batman's legacy, there's enough fun to be had with a surprisingly engrossing team up between Booster and Bruce Wayne's Batman. If this were earlier in the run, I'd be more positive, but with its placement right at the end of the series, I question the decision to remove the majority of the supporting cast and make Terry a pawn to a larger plot. Hopefully next month's series finale delivers a more well rounded goodbye to Terry along with the wonderful ensemble Jurgens crafted over the past four years.

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7
Batman Beyond (2016) #50

Dec 22, 2020

Batman Beyond #50 should satisfy most readers who have made it to this point. I would've liked to see the series' ensemble cast get more attention, but this month's guest star doesn't take the focus too much away from the true heart of the book. While the villain of the week approach doesn't fully justify its presence, putting Bruce in the hospital garners enough drama to keep loyal readers on their toes. If you've stuck with the series until now, this is an easy purchase, but newcomers are better served by either waiting for the inevitable "reboot" or by starting at the beginning of Jurgens' solid run.

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8
Batman/Catwoman (2020) #1

Dec 1, 2020

Batman/Catwoman #1 is a great opening issue that plays with memory and non-linear storytelling, but also manages to establish an intriguing mystery with a dash of romance.

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7.5
Batman/Catwoman (2020) #2

Jan 19, 2021

Batman/Catwoman #2 utilizes many of the same tricks as last month's issue, but with lesser results. The premise of the book is clear, but King's narrative structure has drawn battle lines within his own story. It's near impossible to not prefer one of the three competing plotlines at play here, especially since it's not clear how they'll all click together. I have faith in King and Mann to deliver the goods on an aesthetic level, but King's scripting should be wary of focusing more on form than function as the series progresses.

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7.5
Batman/Catwoman (2020) #3

Feb 16, 2021

Batman/Catwoman #3 is another solid, though somewhat languid entry into the series. I want some more blood in its teeth and even what should be a prominent action sequence ends before it really gets going. The texture, detail, and atmosphere remains impeccable, but King's decision to split the narrative across three time periods is starting to show some weaknesses in the approach. When you're trying to tell three stories at once, the entire picture better be worth the price of uneven pacing.

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6.5
Batman/Catwoman (2020) #4

Mar 30, 2021

The book is gorgeous as ever, but the series' ingrained structure leaves readers hanging onto the past when the future is far more interesting. The thematic connections between the three time periods could stand to be more overt and less implied, that is if the narrative continues to be drip fed.

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6
Batman/Catwoman (2020) #5

Jun 1, 2021

The three headed monster of a narrative actively hurts the book at this point, keeping themes simplistic and the narrative stale. However, on an aesthetic level, the series is strong as ever, even if it does lack the usual amount of truly impressive compositions.

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8
Batman/Catwoman (2020) #6

Aug 17, 2021

Batman/Catwoman #6 is one of the stronger issues so far given its better balance between thematic musings and overt action. The plotting is still a little haphazard, though re-reading previous issues does help connect some narrative dots, but each scene in a vacuum is compelling and well rendered by the art team.

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8.5
Batman/Catwoman (2020) #7

Sep 7, 2021

Batman/Catwoman #7 is the strongest issue of the series to date. The three-headed monster of a storyline still has its shortcomings, but this time around none of the storylines drag the others down. There's a better balance between action and emotional coherence in King's script this time around and Liam Sharp's thoughtful art elevates the series even higher than before.

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8.5
Batman: Curse of the White Knight: Von Freeze #1

Nov 20, 2019

Batman: White Knight Presents Von Freeze is a heavy hitting book that doesn't shy away from the gritty reality of Nazi Germany.

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9
Batman: Reptilian #1

Jun 22, 2021

Batman: Reptilian #1 is my favorite Batman comic I've read in a while. Garth Ennis is a master of balancing dark subject matter with a sense of humor and his take on Batman is highly entertaining. Liam Sharp's intricate art style pairs well with the stripped down narrative that follows Batman as he interrogates a couple of goons in a refreshingly to the point manner. While it likely won't hold mass appeal, those who are on the same wavelength as Ennis and Sharp will find themselves wanting the next issue as soon as possible.

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7
Catwoman (2018) #14

Aug 14, 2019

Catwoman #14 is a mostly successful attempt to inject energy into a somewhat aimless series. Ram V's script manages to pack a fair amount of characterization into a small amount of pages with the aid of Andolfo's expressive facial work. While the action sequences themselves are a tad stiff, the book keeps a fast pace and changes its stakes often enough to remain engaging. The Catwoman title has been plagued by a lack of consistency and relevance in the greater scheme of the DC Universe (the title itself spun out of Batman #50), but Catwoman #14 shows a potential path forward.

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5
Catwoman (2018) #15

Sep 11, 2019

Catwoman #15 is Ram V's weakest issue in his tenure on the series. His previous issues have been inventive crime capers that lean more into Catwoman's unique strengths as a character. However, this issue relegates itself to a series of fight sequences that lead up to a dull climax. Nothing seems to have really been accomplished in this two-part story. The plotting has twisted in upon itself in too many directions and styles that the ultimate result feels like a zero sum. There are worse comics on the stands, but Catwoman #15 struggles to both engage the reader with its story or sow the seeds for better things to come.

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7
Catwoman (2018) #16

Oct 9, 2019

Catwoman #16 is an artistic tour de force that is hamstringed by a slow moving narrative that doesn't have a clear sense of purpose.

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5.5
Catwoman (2018) #17

Nov 13, 2019

Once again, Jones has created a visually stunning single issue that lacks narrative progression. While previous issues had great sequences that were entertaining despite the slow pace, Catwoman #17 indulges in Jones' greatest flaws as a writer. Her reliance on non-linear structure drains any tension from each sequence and Jones' attempts to bring her themes full circle don't fully work due to Selina's lack of emotional progress. Jones' Catwoman #17 is a beautiful distraction as it finds itself wrapped up in on itself, with only glimpses of forward thinking in sight.

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6
Catwoman (2018) #18

Dec 19, 2019

Jones' Catwoman is a gorgeous book each and every time Jones herself is on art duties. Fortunately, Blanco's art compliments Jones' well enough to not totally derail the issue on an art level and his two-page spreads are a joy to pour over. Unfortunately, Jones' plotting leaves much to be desired. The dialogue and characterization remain solid, but Jones's overarching narrative has lost focus between the recent non-linear storytelling and inconsistent tone that has emerged.

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3.5
Catwoman (2018) #19

Jan 8, 2020

Catwoman #19 shows why having a consistent art team is paramount to a successful book. With three different styles fighting against, rather than enriching, each other, Jones' script needed to provide a solid base to weather the storm. Unfortunately, Jones' script loses its grip between balancing the nuanced character work she brings to Selina and the sudden shift in stakes and tone that accompanies a zombie invasion subplot.

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5
Catwoman (2018) #20

Feb 12, 2020

Catwoman #20 does its best to entertain as a horror tinged pulp adventure, but struggles to reconcile itself with the strong characterization from the series' earlier arcs.

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5.5
Catwoman (2018) #21

Mar 11, 2020

Catwoman #21 is a strong artistic showcase for Fernando Blanco and FCO Plascencia that serves as an adequate conclusion for Jones' Creel storyline.

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5.5
Catwoman (2018) #22

Jun 2, 2020

Catwoman #22 is a fun, if almost immediately forgettable jaunt that relies on titillating art and a simplistic narrative to carry your attention. It's always fun to get a one-shot tale of Selina performing a heist or stopping some sort of wrong, but the moral vagueness here never adds up to anything compelling. This has all been done before, but watching Catwoman battle skimpily dressed maids will find a willing audience due to the sheer kitsch of it all.

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6.5
Catwoman (2018) #23

Jul 14, 2020

Catwoman #23 features exceptional art from Ciran Tormey and FCO Plascencia which greatly elevates an uneven plot and script by Sean Gordon Murphy and Blake Northcott. Tormey's work features such thoughtful detail and finesse throughout that it only exposes the uneven nature of Northcott's script. Murphy helped plot the story but he perhaps gave Northcott too much to deal with here. With only another issue left in this mini-arc, I fear there are too many moving parts and themes to cover with only twenty more pages.

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7
Catwoman (2018) #24

Aug 18, 2020

Catwoman #24 is by no means a bad comic book, but there's untapped potential within Northcott's scripting. Northcott has a good eye for theatrics, but she can afford to take more time in the quieter scenes to make her over the top plot lines feel more grounded and fledged out. Tormey's art isn't quite up to par from the standard set last month, but there's just enough energy in his pencils to carry the book through its stilted finale.

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8
Catwoman (2018) #25

Sep 15, 2020

Catwoman #25 marks the first time I've truly been excited for a run in a while. Writer Ram V has already established himself as a solid Catwoman writer with a few fill in issues, but I can't wait to see how he handles a longer run with Selina. Main artist Fernando Blanco ups his game considerably, even beyond his normally great art, and V's script keeps the pace light and fun without losing sight of Selina's more complex inner self. With two equally entertaining short stories as a bonus, Catwoman #25 is a must read for any fan of the character.

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8.5
Catwoman (2018) #26

Oct 20, 2020

Catwoman #26 is one of the best single issues of the series in a very long time. The self loathing Selina characterization ran out of steam months, if not years ago, so it's a joy to see a more proactive Selina try to take down local mobsters and retain her dominance in the underworld. V's script is a great example of how to balance great action, necessary exposition, and gentler character moments without overwhelming the reader. Simply put, there's a lot to like here and very little I can see being held against it, especially when Blanco makes everything so nice to look at.

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9
Catwoman (2018) #27

Nov 17, 2020

Catwoman #27 delivers everything you want out of a comic. The action is stunning, the dialogue is crisp, and the plot is growing more intense. Ram V turns in yet another solid script, but Fernando Blanco is an absolute star here with another set of beautiful two page spreads aided greatly by FCO Plascencia's colors. Simply put, Catwoman #27 is a must read and I highly recommend reading the previous two issues to hop aboard this promising run.

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8.5
Catwoman (2018) #28

Dec 15, 2020

Catwoman #28 is another home run for this creative team. V's script manages to make high stakes drug dealing feel like a fun romp, without losing any bit of its edge. Fernando Blanco's art doesn't miss a beat either, making each action sequence truly stunning while also giving the quieter scenes a great level of detail and texture. I'm eager to see how V moves the series forward and he's given himself multiple avenues to go down, all of which feel equally exciting.

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8
Catwoman (2018) #29

Mar 16, 2021

Catwoman #29 adds a lot more moving pieces to the carefully constructed world Ram V and Fernando Blanco have created over the past four issues. Blanco's pencils and Jordie Bellaire's colors effortlessly transition between sunny poolside conversations to grimy criminal hideouts and V's script keeps a tight pace between set pieces. However, there's a lingering feeling that the book is taking a bit of a hard turn away from its simpler crime story beginnings, but only time will tell what form the book takes over the next few months.

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8.5
Catwoman (2018) #30

Apr 21, 2021

Catwoman #30 shows that even set up issues can be fantastic reads when in the hands of a great creative team.

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8.5
Catwoman (2018) #31

May 18, 2021

Catwoman #31 does a great job of balancing a heist plotline and the subsequent fallout, with only a few hiccups along the way. Fernando Blanco doesn't get to flex with a double page spread this month, but his work remains excellent as ever and is only further enhanced by Jordie Bellaire's tremendous colors. Along with V's consistent scripts, this is a creative team that has clearly hit its stride and I see no warning signs of that changing any time soon.

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10
Catwoman (2018) #32

Jun 15, 2021

Catwoman #32 is a bold chapter in the series as it slows down the narrative pacing in favor of developing Selina and its supporting cast. Evan Cagle's art is more than welcome in the series, (which is no slight against the also extraordinarily talented Fernando Blanco) and pairs extremely well with Jordie Bellaire's diverse color choices. There's nothing I didn't like in Catwoman #32 and any complaint about the structure or lack of forward progress lies more so with reader taste than with execution from the creative team.

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8.5
Catwoman (2018) #33

Jul 20, 2021

Catwoman #33 is a fast paced issue that will satisfy those who thought the last couple issues spent too much time looking backward. The quick pace is fine, but there is a sense that V's script is making up for lost time as some twists and reveals come rapid fire. The expanding roster of Selina's allies is exciting, but hopefully V spends some downtime with her growing army before diving head first into outright war with Future State's Magistrate and Father Valley himself. However, most small nitpicks are largely forgotten by the time readers see the final page.

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10
Catwoman (2018) #34

Aug 17, 2021

Catwoman #34 is an absolute blast with equal parts heart and bombast. Seeing Father Valley finally turn the screws in on Selina is gripping to behold, and the reunion scene between Bruce and Selina doesn't disappoint. The showdown with Father Valley is beautiful on an aesthetic level due to Fernando Blanco and Jordie Bellaire's excellent work, but Ram V's script serves up multiple twists and turns within the fight itself. Catwoman under the hands of the current creative team has never missed a step and Catwoman #34 is one of its best issues yet.

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7
Catwoman (2018) #35

Sep 21, 2021

Catwoman #35 is a perfectly adequate tie-in issue that mostly manages to balance its obligations to Fear State, while still wrapping up some character arcs of the main series. The pieces are all here, the art is solid, the script keeps a fast pace, but by the end the hindrances of Fear State creep into view. I have no doubt the series will fall right back into place once this event comes to a close, but the conundrum some face is that there's just enough here to keep the issue relevant to longtime readers.

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8
Catwoman (2018) Annual: 2021

Jun 29, 2021

Catwoman 2021 Annual #1 is a solid tale of conflicted allegiances within a fanatic religious organization. Father Valley and Ludovic dominate the narrative, but longtime readers will likely enjoy understanding Valley's background. The three artists work well together, with Juan Ferreyra's pages a particular standout, but there's no aesthetic missteps as a whole. While the political tension in Alleytown does feel a little abrupt to what came before, V's Catwoman run so far has been stellar and future issues have a great foundation to leap forward from.

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5.5
DC's Crimes of Passion #1

Feb 5, 2020

Despite a couple truly great short stories, Crimes of Passion #1 lacks consistency to fully recommend. Most of the stories lack any true suspense or high quality art to overcome being generic. Additionally, there is a distinct lack of happy, romantic endings here with even the better stories being somber, which damages its appeal as a holiday treat. With a ten dollar price tag, I only think two of the stories are really worth the money, but for fans of the characters who make appearances, there might be just enough for a purchase.

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7
Future State (2021): Nightwing #1

Jan 19, 2021

Future State: Nightwing #1 tells a familiar tale of a cyberpunk future taken over by a shadowy organization. However, there's not much mystery or intrigue to be found.

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9.5
Future State (2021): Catwoman #1

Jan 19, 2021

Future State: Catwoman is my favorite of all the Future State titles so far. Not only does it deliver one of the better depictions of life in Gotham under the Magistrate's rule, but it feels wholly connected to Ram V's regular Catwoman run. Otto Schmidt's fantastic art is worth the price of admission alone, but a few surprise character appearances and a well-paced script from Ram V make this a must read. It's impressive work from a team that has carved out an engaging storyline within the somewhat murky and uneven Future State era.

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9
Future State (2021): Catwoman #2

Feb 16, 2021

Future State: Catwoman #2 signals Ram V as one of the best writers at DC right now. V's scripts are purposeful, exciting, and even a little romantic when they need to be. It doesn't hurt to have Otto Schmidt on art duties either as he turns in expressive and dynamic work on a consistent basis. Even with only two issues, V and Schmidt turn in a fully fledged story, with twists and turns, that doesn't let itself get bogged down in pages of exposition due to the changes that came with "Future State".

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6
Future State (2021): Nightwing #2

Feb 16, 2021

Future State: Nightwing #2 plays with interesting ideas in all the wrong ways. The drama is inert due to some key plot points being kept a secret until the end. Additionally, Nicola Scott struggles to both create interesting compositions and display Nightwing's unique skill set. Constant's script is overwritten, filled to the brim with ideas and statements that don't congeal into a precise point. Despite this issue not fully working for me, I'm eager to see Constant's work yet to come.

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6.5
Generations (2021): Shattered #1

Jan 5, 2021

Generations Shattered #1 is a well-executed, but extremely familiar tale of multiverse hijinks. I can't count how many times the entire fabric of the multiverse has been at stake so the narrative here doesn't do much to distinguish itself. What's left over are a series of well drawn vignettes that range from average to spectacular depending on your fandom of appearing characters. Whether or not the pure spectacle of it all makes it worth the ten dollar price tag is debatable, but I imagine most fans of Death Metal and similar stories will find it a value.

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7
Generations (2021): Forged #1

Feb 23, 2021

While some sequences are truly special, overall the book trades in simplistic characterizations that heavily rely on the reader already being a fan.

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8
Gotham City Monsters #1

Sep 11, 2019

Gotham City Monsters is a book about outsiders regaining their sense of worth in a world uprooted by chaos. I only hope Orlando digs deep into those themes and doesn't lose himself in upping the stakes of Melmoth's plot too much.

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7
Gotham City Monsters #2

Oct 9, 2019

Gotham City Monsters #2 takes a slight step back from its surprisingly effective debut issue as it finds itself shackled to a rushed "gather the team" structure.

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7.5
Gotham City Monsters #3

Nov 13, 2019

Gotham City Monsters #3 is a step in the right direction primarily since Orlando nails down his villain's personality and motivation.

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7.5
Gotham City Monsters #4

Dec 11, 2019

Gotham City Monsters #4 proves that a book can provide entertainment within the comforts of its own simplistic plotline. While I wish Orlando's narrative will fully commit to either being a small scale Gothic adventure or a large scale multiverse extravaganza, watching this fun cast of characters interact with each other is worth the read. Nahuelpan's art is strong as ever with multiple exciting action sequences that don't rely on overdone panel layouts and instead put the focus on his strong pencils. Melmoth threatens to take the spotlight from the true leads of the book, but with the series edging closer to its finale, Gotham City Monsters finds itself in a great position to end strong.

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8
Gotham City Monsters #5

Jan 8, 2020

For those who like a little bit of horror mixed into their super hero books, Gotham City Monsters #5 is a great chapter in an overall very solid series. Now is the time to catch up before next month's finale.

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8
Gotham City Monsters #6

Feb 12, 2020

Gotham City Monsters #6 is a rock solid conclusion to a great miniseries. It doesn't take any major chances in terms of the plot, but Orlando and Nahuelpan have done more than enough to earn themselves a traditional, but satisfying final issue.

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7.5
Harley Quinn (2016) #71

Mar 4, 2020

Harley Quinn #71 is a very good comic even for those not entirely privy to the character or the series. As a newcomer, I found Humphries' script incredibly tight and easy to follow along with. Sami Basri's art perfectly fits Harley's larger than life (and oftentimes self-aware) nature, but also does well to imbue her with a strong degree of agency. While the plot concerning a rigged wrestling match and faked suicide is nothing new, Humphries' character work with Harley and the supporting cast is strong enough to overlook the familiarity in the narrative.

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7.5
Leviathan Dawn #1

Feb 26, 2020

Leviathan Dawn does its job of setting up the next miniseries to come with great art and a solid, well paced script. While I think Bendis has a tendency to get lost whenever he has a group of characters talking over each other, there's enough truly spot on character moments within the issue to show he has a grasp on them. Leviathan has the makings of being a memorable villain, but it's time for his speeches to stop and for his organization to truly put his make the world a better place plan into motion. Bendis has used more than enough arcs over several different series to set the stage for Leviathan's big play. Only time will tell if issues like Leviathan Dawn will be paid off in full, but for now, I'm game to stay aboard.

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4
Nightwing (2016) #66

Nov 20, 2019

Nightwing #66 establishes the stakes for the Ric saga's endgame without much nuance. Bluntly redefining Dick Grayson via a memory implanting set of goggles is about as trite a plot device as you can get. With Dick even further removed from who he once was, Nightwing must rely on its supporting cast to carry reader interest. Unfortunately, none of the new Nightwings has done enough to carry the torch. Jurgens has dug himself into a pit I fear he cannot escape from by removing Dick's agency and calling into question some of his core characteristics.

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4
Nightwing (2016) #67

Dec 19, 2019

Nightwing #67 fails to live up to the promise of last month's cliffhanger. For anyone who has been waiting to see the Nightwing team get taken down a notch, this book may not fully satisfy. For everyone else who has dismissed the "Ric" saga until now, this chapter does little to entice those readers back.

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6.5
Nightwing (2016) #68

Jan 15, 2020

Nightwing #68 is the series' first spark of life in a while. Even though it doesn't mark the complete end of the "Ric" saga, this chapter makes a significant step forward in returning Dick back to his proper place as Nightwing.

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6.5
Nightwing (2016) #69

Feb 19, 2020

Dan Jurgens' Nightwing needs a bit more flash in both its art and writing to truly break free of its recent history of mediocrity, but Nightwing #69 is a step in the right direction.

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6
Nightwing (2016) #70

Mar 18, 2020

Nightwing #70 doesn't completely derail the momentum Jurgens' series has carved out for itself lately, but Dick's lack of pro-activeness in the plot is worrisome. Previous issues have done a better job of balancing the recap of Dick's current mental state and giving him something to do in the plot. With a change in artist and a relatively shifted status quo, Nightwing #70 feels like a soft reset rather than the next issue in a previously fast moving plot. With the Joker now in the mix, Jurgens needs to retain focus on Dick and his own choices in the plot and not spread the series out too thin.

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4
Nightwing (2016) #71

Jun 9, 2020

Nightwing #71 does very little to justify Dick's continued inability to remember his true self. Joker's appearance does offer a slight burst of excitement, but quickly loses steam once his plan is revealed.

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6.5
Nightwing (2016) #72

Jul 14, 2020

Nightwing #72 may barely be an actual Nightwing issue, but as a story on its own terms it succeeds. Joker War has fully taken over this book and while it's unfortunate Nightwing's ultimate return will likely take place in a story not his own, I find his plight as a Joker henchman just a little more interesting than him as a Talon. Barbara's arrival is a welcome injection of freshness into the series, but hopefully Bea and the other Nightwings aren't entirely phased out of relevance in the coming months.

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7
Nightwing (2016) #73

Aug 18, 2020

Nightwing #73 stands for everything that bothers me in the modern superhero comic industry. It's a tie-in issue to a larger event that hijacked not only the series' plot, but also keeps the titular character from his rightful place as Nightwing. Despite this, I found myself impressed with Jurgens' fun script and Benjamin's solid pencils and storytelling. Most readers by this point know that we're basically in stalling mode, but for those still around Nightwing #73 overcomes the stacked deck against it.

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6.5
Nightwing (2016) #74

Sep 8, 2020

Nightwing #74 will be embraced by most readers due to its ending. I'm fully on board with the plot developments, but I do think they've come far too late to be truly exciting. Ultimately the issue amounts to a largely toothless fight scene between Bat Family members, which is something I don't ever need to see more of. While Jurgens' script definitely has some highlights in the form of his Joker and genuine empathy for Bea, there's not much to chew on here. Nonetheless, Nightwing #74 is a must read for anyone that's followed the series to this point and gets by on competence alone.

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7
Nightwing (2016) #75

Oct 20, 2020

Nightwing #75 is beset by a surprising amount of hesitancy to fully dive back into Dick being Nightwing. While his relationship with Bea is a believable reason for Dick to be scared to fully return to his old life, Jurgens' script definitely looks backward more than forward. Travis Moore's interior art is a sight to behold, though I wish he got more action scenes to draw, and Ronan Cliquet turns in quality pencils as per usual. It's only Jurgens' script that gives me pause due to its repetitive and wishy washy depiction of Dick Grayson. The sooner the series moves past the remnants of the "Ric saga' the better, but Bea's continued inclusion is more than welcomed.

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6
Nightwing (2016) #76

Nov 17, 2020

Nightwing #76 is a technically competent comic that goes in a few disappointing directions. While many fans will be glad to see Nightwing back, Jurgens finds himself in a tough position of deciding what to keep from the "Ric Saga" and what to break free from. In my opinion, some wrong choices were made but your mileage may vary in that regard. If anything, the series is set to grow stronger from here on out, now that the push and pull of Dick's identity crisis is in the rear view mirror.

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5.5
Nightwing (2016) #77

Dec 15, 2020

Nightwing #77 is a safe, but still endearing holiday themed issue with solid art and some progression for its title character. I'm sure most readers are ready now for Dick to fully delve back into his usual crime fighting ways, but with "Future State" looming, that might have to wait just a little longer. For now, Nightwing #77 does enough to satisfy those in the mood for some cozy winter comfort. Those less susceptible to these charms will find less to grab onto here.

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8
Nightwing (2016) #78

Mar 16, 2021

Nightwing #78 is a return to form for the series. While the actual narrative is vague, Tom Taylor gracefully sets up his intention for a more optimistic take on the titular character. With gorgeous art from Bruno Redondo and a much needed splash of vibrancy courtesy of Adriano Lucas' colors, it's hard to imagine most fans of Nightwing being disappointed with this fresh start. I only hope the overarching narrative takes shape sooner rather than later.

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7.5
Nightwing (2016) #79

Apr 20, 2021

Nightwing #79 is a gorgeous and warm hearted book that will please even the most discerning Nightwing fans.

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8
Nightwing (2016) #80

May 18, 2021

Nightwing #80 does a great job at balancing the narrative alongside the fun banter between Dick, Barbara and others. While the previous two issues spent more time musing on Dick's responsibilities to his community, here we get a more overt threat in the form of Blockbuster goons, pushy police detectives, and Heartless. Fans so far will enjoy what's here, but those wanting a little more focus and momentum in the series will find much to like.

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8
Nightwing (2016) #81

Jun 15, 2021

Nightwing #81 is a must read for any fan of the character given its final page reveal. While the cliffhanger is definitely intriguing, the rest of the issue is solid in its own right. The fight between Dick and Heartless is well executed and concludes on an optimistic note for the citizens of Bldhaven. Sentimentality is more carefully managed and Taylor's script does a better job of balancing high octane action with his quieter, character driven scenes. With a major shakeup in store for next month's issue, the potential for the series is higher than before.

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7
Nightwing (2016) #82

Jul 20, 2021

Nightwing #82 spends its time dealing with last month's shocking revelation that Melinda Zucco may be Dick's sister. The change-up in artists breathes a little fresh air into the series that's been more than capably handled by Bruno Redondo. I don't blame anyone who's put off by the change in Dick's backstory, but the execution is solid, even if Taylor's script seems painfully aware of potential backlash. As it stands, future issues will determine if these changes are worth it, but right now I'm not fully convinced.

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9
Nightwing (2016) #83

Aug 17, 2021

Nightwing #83 is the strongest issue of the series so far. While the book lays on the schmaltz more than my taste can handle at times, there's no denying the high level of craft on display. I personally find myself unconvinced by the larger social themes Taylor plays with, but the book's heart is in the right place and that's enough for now. Fans of the series to this point will not be disappointed.

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6.5
Nightwing (2016) #84

Sep 21, 2021

Nightwing #84 is a competent tie-in issue that is likely skippable to those not invested in the larger DC universe. There's not much continuity here with the story Taylor has been telling over his first arc, though Barbara's inclusion could lead to some important moments between her and Dick. For readers invested in Taylor's run, this first issue might be worth a pickup just to get more Nightwing in your life. However, for those who have zero interest in Fear State, I'd wager that not much will be missed here in regards to the series' main narrative.

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6
Nightwing (2016) Annual #2

Oct 31, 2019

Despite the troubling core premise of this chapter, Nightwing Annual #2 is technically well put together. 'Travis Moore's art is stellar and he's the rare artist who has great control over facial "acting" as well as dynamic page layouts. Moore was saddled with a series of conversations and he still made it exciting to look at. Jurgens does his best to layer a sense of dread through the issue with the Court of Owl threat looming, but it feels like too little too late. I want the series to move on sooner rather than later, and having this annual wring its hands in an attempt to further enrich a status quo doomed to change in the coming months makes it all come off"misguided.

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5
Nightwing (2016) Annual #3

Jun 16, 2020

Nightwing Annual #3 is worth purchasing only for die hard fans of the series. Getting to see Nightwing back in action is great, but the story itself doesn't match that excitement. The Condors have the opportunity to grow into a interesting ally/potential threat, but their current status as outside observers kneecaps any potential to grow as of now. For completionists, the book is worth the extra dollar, but overall this chapter feels like a deleted scene that no one needed to see and whose relevance is up to speculation.

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7.5
Secrets of Sinister House #1

Oct 10, 2019

Secrets of Sinister House #1 is one of the better horror anthologies DC has put out. Many of the stories feature more optimistic endings than the norm, but there are enough outright terrifying pages to satisfy those looking for some frights. There's only one outright dud in the anthology so when it comes to value, it's hard to beat what you get here. If anything else, almost every story features great art making this a feast for the eyes at the bare minimum.

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5
Year of the Villain: Black Mask #1

Aug 23, 2019

Black Mask: Year of the Villain is not a bad comic book, but it is one that I feel I'll forget soon after reading it. It manages to tick all of the boxes required of a one shot like this, but does little to add to the bigger story at play. There is good character work with Kate and Renee and the promise of more Black Mask villainy to come, but the issue has not done a good job of making me want more. If Year of the Villain is going to work, it needs to up the stakes monumentally. In my opinion, this event is failing to deliver the game-changing narratives it promised.

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5
Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #4

Mar 19, 2020

Hell Arisen #4 features some great art from Steve Epting with fantastic colors by Nick Filardi. Unfortunately, James Tynion IV's script doesn't do enough outside of its action sequences to justify the lack of consequence the storyline ultimately entails. It's a common problem for most of DCs "event" style books and Hell Arisen #4 is no different. Taken on their own, there's a few good scenes in Tynion's script, but he is betrayed by the books' placement within the DC Universe as a whole. Tynion and Epting do what they can I suppose, but it's hard to get invested in a "world changing" book that can't afford to shake things up too much.

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