Poet Mase's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: IGN Reviews: 337
7.2Avg. Review Rating

8
Action Comics (2011) #2

Oct 5, 2011

Action Comics #2 improves upon issue #1 in many ways, and, despite some noticeable slip-ups in the artwork, it serves as a highly enjoyable follow-up effort. Morrison has already created several distinct levels in both the hierarchy and interactions of his characters, promising ammunition for at least the rest of this first arc. With a heavy dose of philosophy tied to his characterizations, Action Comics is already showing signs of being a typical Grant Morrison yarn. For those of you who aren't familiar with his work, that's a ringing endorsement.

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8
Action Comics (2011) #5

Jan 4, 2012

Action Comics #5 may well be the point in Morrison's run where the shallow end becomes the deep end. The story is charming, beautiful, and well-layered. Make sure you pick up this issue if you have any intention of knowing what the hell is going on later.

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6
Adventures Of Superman #528

Jul 6, 2011

As the story draws to a close, an impromptu final examination for those remaining Academy members holds hope for interesting resolution in next month's issue, but it's not enough of a cliffhanger to recommend this book with much enthusiasm.

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7
Adventures Of Superman #529

Aug 3, 2011

The uncertainty that Levitz, Borges, and Alquiza paint over the book's cast is like a song's final and intentionally discordant tone, reminding the reader of both the happy and sad times for the Academy members' while giving a nod to the future. This is a fitting end for the series, but it's likely that fans will catch glimpses of Glorith, Comet Queen, and Chemical Kid down the road in the rebooted Legion of Super-Heroes.

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6.6
All-Star Western #0

Sep 26, 2012

This month's issue fulfills its obligation to tell Jonah Hex's origin, but it's not the smoothest process. I'll give points for cramming so many of Hex's formative moments into such a small space; however, the experience is hampered greatly by the project's ambition. I do look forward to Moritat's inks every month, and the team of Palmiotti and Gray once again put together some of the most natural dialog in monthly comics. Verdict: green light for interested newcomers and fans of the creators, yellow light for everyone else.

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7.5
All-Star Western #3

Nov 23, 2011

something different to your new 52 pull list, pick up a copy.

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9
All-Star Western #10

Jun 27, 2012

This book is excellently crafted in all regards. The artwork is topnotch from the first page to the last, and the script for the main tale is elegant without surrendering ardor. Shoot, they camethis close to a Rock Me Amadeus quote! What's not to love?Rest assured that this book is well worth your $3.99.

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6.1
All-Star Western #13

Oct 24, 2012

If you're in the mood for action, All-Star Western #13 has you covered. The problems creep in when you start asking for a clear, fresh direction to drive the book into its next enthralling adventure. The Haly's Circus angle feels tired, and the story lacks a high degree of coherence. There's no doubt that these creators can and will turn this ship around; however, it may be better to wait for some momentum to build if you're strapped for cash.

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6.4
All-Star Western #14

Nov 28, 2012

Palmiotti and Gray close this book with a bang, but it mostly serves to counteract the blandness of the issue's lead-in. Judging from the last two pages, though, there should be something about which to get excited in the next few issues of All-Star Western. However, it might be asking too much to expect a winner this month.

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8.5
Animal Man #15

Dec 5, 2012

The noose is getting tighter around the Baker family's neck, but Jeff Lemire may have provided our heroes with the pocketknife they need to save themselves. Save for a minor complaint about one or two characters not having much to do, this book is a strong entry into the Rotworld narrative. If you're following the title and/or the event, this one's a must have; however, anyone who's enjoyed this title in the last year will find something to like here as well.

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7.8
Animal Man #16

Jan 9, 2013

The cameo-powered climax of Rotworld may still be lurking in the future, but this month's installment of Animal Man is a tale worth your money. You may not get the emotional catharsis that you've been waiting for, but the story is engrossing enough to make the trip an enjoyable one.

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8
Aquaman (2011) #3

Nov 23, 2011

Aquaman has already had some great moments in the short span of his New 52 title, but issue #3 adds a grander scale to the series. Johns improves the sense of roundness for his title character and the direction for the series while Reis handles much of the nitty gritty of realizing those larger concepts. This issue concludes as though standing at the edge of a precipice, and I'm definitely going to be back in a month to join Arthur as he plunges into battle.

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9.2
Aquaman (2011) #13

Oct 31, 2012

Fans should approach this issue with no reservations. Be ready for powerful emotions, desperate battles, and intriguing implications. This purchase is a no-brainer.

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8.5
Astonishing X-Men #41

Aug 24, 2011

This story may not be typical of many superhero books on the shelves these days, but it's no less enjoyable because of that. Way runs through an array of emotional modes in this book, and Bradshaw's images are refined and unobtrusive. It's frustrating that this storyline is interdigitated with the Meanwhile arc, but Way and Bradshaw have delivered a story in this issue that can be enjoyed either on its own or in the greater context of the Monstrous narrative.

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8
Astonishing X-Men #42

Sep 28, 2011

Juan Bobillo's artwork has not been the easiest for me to get behind, but his work in this issue is terrific. The composition of his images is a true highlight of this book where he uses a plethora of circular images to effectively capture the space station setting. It's clear from the perspectives and character blocking that Bobillo has thought long and hard about giving the images as much depth and three-dimensionality as possible. Several of his illustrations are quite arresting, and several frames of the book could be used as artwork on their own without sacrificing the information that they are meant to convey. The only problem that I have with Bobillo's style in this issue is that his bold images are occasionally so arresting and interesting that it breaks up the flow of the story.

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6.5
Astonishing X-Men #43

Oct 26, 2011

Many times, one-and-done issues are meant to bridge the gap between runs on a particular title. Occasionally, you'll get a great story in one of these stories, but, in general, you can't really expect too much. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Astonishing X-Men #43 tells a great story (or even escapes accurate classification by the word "filler"), but it does give us a few interesting thoughts to savor while we wait for Greg Pak's first issue next month.

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8
Astonishing X-Men #47

Feb 29, 2012

As the lone Astonishing arc under Greg Pak's pen comes to a close in issue #47, it's readily apparent that my misgivings about the story were unfounded. Pak has worked yet another engaging tale, bursting with great character moments, and McKone has made the process of translating Pak's layered concepts to the page look easy. Take a gander, and be back for issue #48 to see what Marjorie Liu and Mike Perkins have in store.

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7
Atomic Robo Presents: Real Science Adventures #5

Aug 8, 2012

Of the two Atomic Robo offerings this week, this is the lesser. I like the anthology style of presentation; however,the stories seem a bit insubstantial. I can't recommend this book as a starting point, but, if you love the character or you've been following the series and have a couple of bucks to spare, it's worth a chance.

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8.5
Atomic Robo: The Flying She-Devils Of The Pacific #2

Aug 8, 2012

Atomic Robo is no secret to those in the know, but I still feel like that group is relatively small. It's today's Bone, people. The characters are so cute, you just want to hug them. The sharply defined arcs make the property eminently approachable, and the high caliber humor combined with a lack of offensive material make it perfect for readers of any age. Stop watching from the sidelines, and jump right in!

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6.5
Avengers Origins: Thor #1

Nov 30, 2011

Avengers Origins: Thor #1 serves as a condensed history useful for introducing neophytes to Thor and his kin or for transitioning fans of the movies to the format and conventions of comic books. As a work of literature, on the other hand, precious little is done to blaze new trails.

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8.5
Avengers Origins: Vision #1

Nov 9, 2011

This book is one of the best surprises of this week's comic releases. The emotional peaks and troughs of the writers' script and Perger's art chase one another through the story, pulling the reader deeper and deeper as they go. Do yourself a favor, and take a break from the steady onslaught of monthly series to enjoy this hidden treasure.

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8
Batman and Robin (2011) #10

Jun 13, 2012

Batman and Robin has been among the stronger titles in the Bat-stable, and, after a month of coasting on the strength of a larger crossover event, it's back to setting an exciting tone in issue #10. Interpersonal dynamics form an involving backbone for the book, and the artwork is exhilarating in all but a few areas. This is book is a thoroughly enjoyable start to what promises to be another captivating chapter in this series.

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6.2
Batman and Robin (2011) #14

Nov 14, 2012

There's not much to get excited about in this issue of Batman and Robin. It comes off as a filler half-step before Death of the Family " and a forgettable one at that. I do like seeing Damian in action, but this book fails to justify a purchase.

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9.3
Batman and Robin (2011) #15

Dec 12, 2012

If the measure of a crossover event is, indeed, the response it elicits from its peripheral titles, Death of the Family may be the best event of DC's relaunch (yes, including Night of the Owls). Batman and Robin #15 is a jaw-dropping use of the comic book form. I am absolutely certain that the first full image of the Joker from this issue will never leave my memory. That alone is worth a purchase" and there's so much more to be found here.

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8.5
Batman and Robin (2011) #17

Feb 14, 2013

There are a host of women in my past who can attest that I'm not the most sensitive person in the world, but even I see Batman and Robin #17 as more proof of Peter Tomasi's ability to soften the stoniest of hearts. It's over in just a little more than the blink of an eye, though, so a hasty read-through will earn you little more than a week of confusion while everyone else raves about the story you can barely remember. The good news is that the story has great value in subsequent readings. Just be aware that you'll like it more each time you look through those wonderfully strange pages.

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9.5
Batman and Robin (2011) Annual #1

Jan 30, 2013

Simply put, it's just a whole lot of fun watching a young assassin playing and having fun, especially after the hard times he's had to endure so far. There's a lot of good character foils to be found, and the mirrored plot structure gives the one-shot a nice sense of closure. Each character is given excellent dialog and characterization throughout the issue, not the least of which being Tomasi's portrayal of Alfred Pennyworth. This is good old-fashioned superheroing that is well worth your five dollars.

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6
Batman: The Dark Knight (2011) #1

Sep 28, 2011

This isn't the worst of the new 52, but it's certainly not the best. This book has explosions and a James Bond-esque idea of romance. You should check this one out if you're really into Batman, but even die-hard fans will agree that it's mostly fluff.

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7.5
Batman: The Dark Knight (2011) #2

Oct 26, 2011

I'm not going to recommend this book for everyone, but it serves its purpose as the loud, angry alternative to other Bat-titles out now. Some readers will probably recoil from moments like Batman not being able to put Gordon's white rabbit clue together with having seen a woman dressed as a rabbit in issue #1. Provided you can derive entertainment from people getting the crap kicked out of them, though, this book is a diverting romp.

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5.5
Batman: The Dark Knight (2011) #3

Nov 23, 2011

The architects of Batman: The Dark Knight have put their full efforts into creating a title full of blockbuster content; however, this means that episodes like issue #3 in which the plot necessarily gathers itself are underwhelming. As a result, those hoping for something deeper are unlikely to find what their looking for, and those enjoying the adrenaline-drenched hyperbole of previous issues will have to make do with tide-me-over morsels.

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6.5
Batman: The Dark Knight (2011) #5

Jan 25, 2012

There's plenty of punching to be found in this issue, but, unlike previous issues, the punching is integral to the story rather than being just a detail. Were it not for the well-realized artwork, this book would be yet another miss by the creative team. The highly improbable storyline won't win any awards, and it's hard to believe, in light of issues one through four, that next issue's story will either. Let's just hope that Finch is able to make that book as pretty as this one.

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5
Batman: The Dark Knight (2011) #6

Feb 22, 2012

This month's story is a different creature from its predecessors in that it offers some nuggets about the arc's greater plot; however, I almost wish that the creators had stayed with their earlier tactic. The excitement of previous issues' fight scenes is nowhere to be found, and what incremental plot progression we get is crammed down our throats without any integration with the images that we are shown. I haven't been able to identify with the sentiments of this series' fans, but I'm going to guess that even those readers will find this book to be a letdown.

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8
Batwing #3

Nov 2, 2011

I keep waiting to get bored of this storyline, but the excitement is in the details. The mood created in Batwing #3 shows - in powerful way - that the stakes facing David Zavimbe are very different than those facing me, you, or even Bruce Wayne. As long as Winick and Oliver can keep me off-balance and convince me of the importance of their story, I'll be clamoring for more.

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6.5
Batwing #4

Dec 7, 2011

With the absence of artist Ben Oliver and the origin story interjection, issue #4 feels like a bit of a sick day. ChrisCross does his job well, but he's not given a thrilling script with which to work. The modest upticks in emotional tension popping up in two or three places do enough to keep this book from being a disappointment, but there ultimately isn't much wiggle or wow to the story.

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8.5
Batwing #5

Jan 4, 2012

After last month's origin story, Winick and Oliver provide some excellent emotional beats in issue #5. The discovery of David's character and the contours of Massacre's modus operandi receive some significant development here as well. Under the cover of high intensity action, this series has built up a lot of momentum and a solid foundation. I can't wait to see where this goes from here.

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9
Batwing #6

Feb 1, 2012

If explained in a two-sentence plot summary, this book might come off as nothing more than a rehash of what we've already seen. The crucial variations to this title's characterization and subtext, however, make it a must buy. With their noticeable switch from band saw to rasp, Winick and Oliver are implying an enticing level of depth and sophistication to their story. Is Massacre really General Keita? Is he David's long-lost brother, as an IGN reader wondered in a comment weeks ago? Will David be forced to admit Massacre's justification in murdering the ex-members of The Kingdom? What was it that they did to even merit that consideration? I'm totally hooked on this title, and, if you're reading this book, I'm pretty sure you are as well.

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7
Batwing #7

Mar 7, 2012

I enjoyed this book, but a stronger focus on Batwing and his relationship to the mystery at hand would have improved the experience. Batwing is, in my estimation, the most populist of the Bat-titles. David Zavimbe is all grit and drive without much of the pedigree and calculated perfection of Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, or even Alfred Pennyworth. By surrendering much of the issue to regulars of the Batman family, the story loses some of its uniqueness, slipping toward the white noise status most often attributed to supporting characters. While the manner in which I've put my concerns with this book into words is, admittedly, a bit overstated and alarmist, I'm hoping that the book's creators can reinstate Batwing as the driving force behind this title sooner rather than later.

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6.5
Batwing #11

Jul 5, 2012

This issue isn't the return to form that I was hoping for, but it does manage to re-center the series on Batwing and his unique characteristics. Unfortunately, it takes many pages of clunky setup to get to that point. I didn't dislike this book so much as I find it hard to recommend enthusiastically. I'm looking forward to diving into a new arc of Batwing that distances him from his Gotham acquaintances for a bit; however, it's necessary to endure this month's transition issue first.

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5.5
Batwing #12

Aug 1, 2012

It's hard to watch a title that started with so much emotion and originality as Batwing in its current, neutered state. The onslaught of by-the-numbers capes-and-tights plot points has brought this series down to the lower echelons of the Bat-titles. Both writer and artist have it in them to restore this title to its former glory, but I have to think that the more distance between it and the JLI or other Bat-titles, the better it will be.

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9
Batwoman #2

Oct 12, 2011

There's a little bit for everyone here, and, although the mixture of styles and modes may test the boundaries of some readers' patience, each aspect is done with virtuoso skill. The themes of chaos and destruction as represented by water are expertly referenced through the book in the Weeping Woman, the gang's serpent logo, and the Williams' page borders, each foreshadowing the direction of the narrative. There is action, detective work, personal conflict born of both romance and animosity, and internal discord rooted in hubris, innocence, and wrath. In short, this series has the makings of an all-time classic.

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9
Batwoman #3

Nov 9, 2011

J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman have created what could be the most realistic, rounded character out of the 52 titles of the new DCU in Kate Kane. I was already hooked on this book due to the consistently impressive artwork and storytelling, but after seeing Kate in a totally broken, needy state, she may be my new favorite DC character. If you love good storytelling buy this book and take notes because this is how it's done.

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9
Batwoman #4

Dec 14, 2011

As in previous issues, the attention to every detail in this issue shows a mastery of the comic book medium. Little details like Kate being drawn in the same style as Maggie and Agent Chase's indifferent attitude speak volumes, and it's this deeper story that holds the more compelling aspect of the tale. Even though the plot in Batwoman #4 doesn't kick into an exceedingly high gear, strides have been made in this book to set up the inevitable showdown between Batwoman, the Weeping Woman, and Agent Chase.

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7
Batwoman #8

Apr 11, 2012

Batwoman #8 focuses the series to a degree unseen in previous issues. Killer Croc may look a little dopey here, but he's really a fleck on the skillfully executed artwork provided by Amy Reeder. The plot develops significantly here, and those developments are compelling. However, the flashbacks are not stitched together in the smoothest fashion possible. If the collaboration between Reeder and her writers, W. Haden Blackman and J.H. Williams III continues the way it has, this title's plot points should be hurtling along at breakneck speed when Reeder's first turn on Batwoman ends.

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6
Batwoman #9

May 16, 2012

This title was never one for delivering a grab-you-by-the-throat story. It seems, with recent issues -- and most especially with this issue " that the stylistic details and rich emotional impact have been left behind as well. By giving their story the Cuisinart treatment, Blackman and Williams end up with a story lacking flow, clarity, and dramatic punch. The artwork is serviceable, but it doesn't justify a purchase in and of itself. Hopefully, this title will turn things around because its stock has fallen significantly with this issue.

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7
Batwoman #10

Jun 20, 2012

I like the current arc of Batwoman. The artwork on this issue was quite well done, and it is an enjoyable experience on its own. I simply have yet to find myself able to respond to the way in which the story is being told of late. I want to be invested in the story, but anticlimactic pacing and storytelling that is seemingly stricken by the hiccups make it so hard to enjoy the plot while I'm reading it. I'll still keep reading this title, but I'm looking forward to the time that the title embraces a more traditional format once again.

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7
Batwoman #11

Jul 18, 2012

The conclusion to the To Drown the World arc isn't earth-shattering, but it isn't overly disappointing either. Blackman and Williams give us a good reason to tune in again next month, and the events are enjoyable enough as the light fare that they are. The most excitingnews forthis series going for it forward is that J.H. Williams III returns as the artist next month, but, for now,this book is worth a quick read, consideringits relatively low cover price.

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9
Batwoman #12

Aug 15, 2012

I was expecting this book to be an improvement, but I wasn't expecting it to be this good. The new dynamics between characters, the return of J.H. Williams III on art, and the potential represented by the Wonder Woman team-up have me as excited about this book as I am about any other book on the shelves.

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9.8
Batwoman #13

Oct 17, 2012

I honestly can't think of a reason that you wouldn't dig into your pocket for this book's $3 cover price. Maybe this won't be your absolute favorite comic like it is mine, but I can pretty much guarantee that it'll be in your top five. With a living legend like J.H. Williams III on art and W. Haden Blackman doing some of the best work of his career, there really is no other conclusion to be made.

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6.3
Batwoman #15

Dec 19, 2012

In a down month for the title, Batwoman shifts storytelling gears dramatically, eschewing the boundlessness of Williams' art in a supernatural setting for the boundaries of crime drama. Unfortunately, the progress and insight offered by the story are smaller still, leaving this ambianced issue with a hollow ring. The tease at the end is enough to hope for better next month, but this book is a little underwhelming.

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9.8
Batwoman #16

Jan 23, 2013

There are a ton of fantastic comics being made by an army of creators today. For my money, though, you can't find a better product than when Williams, Blackman, and their talented colorist, Dave Stewart, are firing on all cylinders. Action, emotion, and a promise of more to come. There's really not much more you can ask for, so stop wasting time and buy this book!

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9.8
Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan #4

Feb 27, 2013

I have spent a lot of money on Before Watchmen in general and on Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias in particular. This book, on its own, justifies every dollar that I've spent. It's a meaningful contribution to the Watchmen lore that is done respectfully and skillfully. As a comic book reader and fan of the original, I feel satisfied. I am happy.

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5.8
Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #5

Jan 30, 2013

The real problem is that this title is six issues long, and the original Watchmen story was simply written too tightly to interpolate that much new material. Furthermore, Adrian Veidt is actually a flat character in his adulthood. If he is to complete his plan, he must be perfect in every respect. To introduce wrinkles and doubts about his complete control over his situation as an adult (as is done in this book) is to cast his ultimate accomplishment as more of an accident, undermining the appealing Watchmen theme that everyone is being played by a greater power. With even less wiggle room left for the final issue of this series, it's unlikely that readers will be treated to much more than straight recap in this series' final issue.

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6.2
Before Watchmen: Ozymandias #6

Mar 13, 2013

It may seem a small difference between this book and more successful issues of Before Watchmen, but it is an important one. While those issues either invented entirely new stories or portrayed scenes implied in the original Watchmen in an interesting, meaningful way (thereby illustrating that we didn't really know the things we thought we knew), this book just laces together things of which we already had accurate understandings. As such, this story is just a paraphrase of the original series and is one of the weaker installments of the Before Watchmen initiative.

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5
Before Watchmen: Rorschach #4

Mar 6, 2013

A lot of this issue feels forced. Many of the characters look to be posing rather than moving naturally. Street thugs begin to philosophize about human nature while watching misbehavior in other citizens. The protagonist escapes his predicament as a result of a confluence of improbable events. In the end, this series ends as it started: searching for something worthwhile to say.

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7.5
Birds Of Prey (2011) #4

Dec 21, 2011

Swierczynski and Saiz remain surefooted as they deepen the mystery surrounding the Birds of Prey and their target. The problems that do arise are not likely to ruin readers' enjoyment of the book in any appreciable way, and the dual point-of-view presentation gives substantial insight into Starling and Black Canary's personalities and feelings. With another cool cliffhanger and the mystery of Batgirl's absence from the last shot, I'll be back in a month for sure.

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7
Birds Of Prey (2011) #9

May 16, 2012

It's almost inevitable that an event asinclusive as the Night of the Owls would produce a square-peg-round-hole situation such as the one that crops up in Birds of Prey #9, but it's not nearly as bad as it could have been. Travel Foreman does a great job of creating a cinematic aura to the book with nicely choreographed fight scenes, and the team resets for an exciting new direction centeredon Poison Ivy. If you don't expect this one to knock your socks off, you'll probably end up enjoying it.

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6
Birds Of Prey (2011) #10

Jun 20, 2012

Birds of Prey #10 was not my favorite issue of the series. It does, however, imply a new scale to the ladies' adventures that should be entertaining to experience. The deficiencies that I found in this issue are, by no means, enough to warn people away from the book. In fact, it's very possible that fans of the series and of Travel Foreman's work may come away with a totally different impression. Swierczynski and Foreman have both proven themselves able creators in the past, so, either way, readers should expect big things from the upcoming arc.

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8
Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #519

Jun 8, 2011

The ranging action sequences and strong cameos in issue #519 make it accessible and enjoyable, but the promise of a star-studded and action-packed conclusion to the arc in issue #520 has me excited for what's to come.

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7.5
Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #520

Jun 22, 2011

The only thing that really bugged me about this issue was the interactions between Ororo and T'Challa. Throughout the book, the two are teasing and chiding each other as they chase after Kraven. As a whole, it comes off as a bit much. Now, that's not to say that it's an inaccurate depiction. To the contrary, Liss hits the husband-wife dynamic on the head. The problem is that, as realistic and occasionally charming as it may be, I don't much feel like hearing a married couple bicker their way through a comic, even if it is good-natured teasing.

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4
Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #522

Aug 10, 2011

Francesco Francavilla's artwork is largely consistent with his commendable prior efforts on the series, but the colors that had been such a boon for creating ambiance in previous issues are far too monotonous here. Liss' unpolished script is not enough to hold the sustained mood implied by Francavilla's ubiquitous shades of red and orange. Francavilla's use of canted angles and some interesting layouts benefit the book ever so slightly, but those benefits are hopelessly lost in the morass of misaligned plot points and the heavy-handed reversal of fortunes in the book's final pages.

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6.5
Blackhawks #8

Apr 25, 2012

This finale of the short Blackhawks run is very much a bittersweet ride. Readers picking it up should expect the logistical limitations of the series' end to impact this book significantly. The experience should still be satisfactory to most that pick up this issue, though, since it's unlikely that people who aren't fans of the series will be doing so.

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5
Blood Red Dragon #0

Oct 5, 2011

While the concept of this book, at once ludicrous and simplistic, is not insurmountable, I can't see this book finding a wide audience. Yes, there are a few who are interested in the metal/horror/fantasy genre so quintessentially captured by the Taarna segment of Heavy Metal may find this book appealing, but I can't help but think that this book could have made better choices on subject and talent. If Stan Lee and Todd McFarlane decide to change out the artistic team, swap Yoshiki out for Jack Black, and pipe in a little Brutal Legend humor, I'll swing back around for another peek. Until then, I'll pass.

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6.5
Brilliant #1

Sep 28, 2011

While a solid groundwork is laid for conflict in upcoming installments, this issue reaches its resolution with little dramatic altitude. In addition, I didn't find the characters terribly convincing in their roles as nerds. The story was enjoyable enough, but I don't feel the urge to mark the release date for issue #2 on my calendar. Also, if you're interested in this book but can't find a copy, don't fret. You won't be missing much that a recap page can't capture.

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5
Captain Atom #0

Sep 19, 2012

I'm not quite sure why this story needed telling. We had already been clued in to the basics of Captain Atom's origin, and the new details didn't receive enough exploration to make them worth mentioning. There's a frantic energy about Krul's and Williams' work that suggests that they are enthusiastic about telling more storieswith this character. Unfortunately, there's also a lack of coherence and direction. Your money is best spent elsewhere.

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9
Captain Atom #1

Sep 21, 2011

I simply can't wait for issue #2 of this book. J.T. Krul announced earlier this week that he would be dropping writing responsibilities for one of his two relaunch titles. Let's all thank him for not dropping this one.

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5
Captain Atom #2

Oct 19, 2011

This meandering story of self-discovery is riddled with hackneyed internal monologue and blase artwork, making it one of the worst backslides of the new 52 thus far. If the creative team can capitalize on the mutant animal threat introduced in issue #1 and all but ignored here – and can do so quickly – they may be able to save this series from its violent nosedive. My patience and optimism, however, have been suddenly and severely shortened by this issue.

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7.5
Captain Atom #3

Nov 16, 2011

This issue takes an approach that many people might be expecting. Not too much happens to advance the narrative in this book, and there's not a ton of meaningful physical conflict. However, the internal war waged by Captain Atom and symbolized externally by the story's setting offers at least month's worth of food for thought. I'm very pleased to see that Krul is moving toward a philosophical examination of Captain Atom's unique situation in issue #3. It's a little annoying that this title has changed direction yet again, but Krul and Williams have fully restored my faith in the series with this issue.

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7.5
Captain Atom #4

Dec 21, 2011

The only real disappointment in this book is that it opens and closes with more generic "creepy monster" action. The action itself is well-rendered, but I'd love for the skulking, unnamed threat to reach this title's forefront so that it doesn't seem like we're being teased by a phantom plot. The creative team to be settling into a nice groove at this point, though, and I wouldn't hesitate to support a purchase for readers who might be on the fence.

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8
Captain Atom #5

Jan 18, 2012

This book is moving in a great direction. Gone are the scattered plot threads. In their place are a full-scale throwdown and intriguing questions about human nature. Just what is that giant, people-eating blob? Will Captain Atom really be able to help people without inadvertently hurting those he loves? I don't know, but I'm going to be back next month to see what Krul and Williams have planned.

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8
Captain Atom #9

May 16, 2012

This book, like its predecessors will not be for everyone. It's very much a freeform, meta experience that relies on the reader to derive the most enjoyment and meaning possible from the issue. Although a number of plot points are joined together here, there are still a number of questions from previous installments remaining. The good news is that it seems that this title has finally begun addressing its central focus:theconsequences thathaving the power of a god would entail. Thanks to this issue, my interest in this series has yo-yoed back to enthusiastic as I await what is sure to be an outside-of-the-box take ondivinity and atemporal causation.

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8
Catwoman (2011) #3

Nov 16, 2011

This is a title improving in leaps and bounds with every issue. I'm enticed by Selina's chaotic personality, which can erupt into cold, calculated brutality or exhibit genuine lover's anguish as she matures. The book closes in something of an inelegant resolution; however, it creates an interesting situation for Selina to face in issue #4.

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4.5
Catwoman (2011) #4

Dec 21, 2011

There's enough recap and exposition in this book to make it a perfect jumping-on point for any reader, but the question becomes, "Why would you want to?" Any depth that the characters received last issue is lost here, and the action amounts to a throw-away encounter with a throw-away villain. The dialog in this issue is lacking as well, especially during the introduction of Detective Alvarez, Winick's boring new cop. If Winick doesn't get back to meaningful interactions where I have a reason to care about the characters – and quick – this title will be on its way to being dropped.

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5.5
Catwoman (2011) #5

Jan 18, 2012

This book did a pretty impressive job of annoying me, but, in the end, I won't recommend avoidance of the issue to everyone. That might be confusing in light of the shortcomings that I've pointed out, however, I'm aware that I'm not the book's intended audience. Big and dumb sells a lot of movie tickets and fills a lot of prime time hours on television, so I'm sure there are scores of people out there who would find this story to be a decent use of their money. For the rest of us, though, it seems like this title will be one worth skipping for the foreseeable future.

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7
Change #1

Dec 12, 2012

Change is not a book that I can recommend to the average comic book reader. The good thing is I don't think anyone on the creative team really cares. The storytelling decisions are all made for specific reasons and to accomplish a very specific experiential result. If you are passionate about comics that run outside of the mainstream, you might find this one to your liking. For everyone else, take a pass.

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6
Conan: Island of No Return #1

Jun 15, 2011

Island of No Return #1 is a fun adventure with a classic Conan feel, but it seems rather hollow. The story of this issue is merely lead-in for issue #2 that, even with the strong efforts by Bart Sears, isn't able to constitute a memorable tale.

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9
Daken: Dark Wolverine #10

Jun 15, 2011

It's commendable that Williams can drive Daken forward into meaningful conflict so soon after the character seemed to reach an emotional plateau. The possibility of Daken losing control over his violent nature coupled with the threats posed by Heat and capable FBI agent Donna Kiel should be enough to convince anyone to pick up this series.

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8
Daken: Dark Wolverine #12

Aug 10, 2011

With the threat posed by Heat taking shape and the unfaltering artwork of Buffagni, Rossmo, and Peter, this series should be expected to continue its solid performance.

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7.5
Daken: Dark Wolverine #13

Aug 24, 2011

The new dynamic between Kiel and Daken is a significant step in this series' narrative, and Moon Knight's inclusion works on both practical and metaphorical levels. This issue doesn't have the same pop that Williams' previous scripts have had, but the subtle footwork done here reveals the setup for great things to come.

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6.5
Daken: Dark Wolverine #15

Oct 12, 2011

Unfortunately, the sequences with Kiel and Moon Knight occupy too much of the book, and the boon that the limbo sequences represent sinks under their weight. The death knoll for this issue, though, is its conclusion in which the identity of the Claws Killer is revealed, simultaneously pulling the rug from under our feet and undercutting the Donna Kiel's competence. There's little doubt that this series will return to its former brilliance, but this issue is a disappointment.

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8.5
DC Universe Presents #5

Jan 18, 2012

The conclusion to this series' first arc packs a punch, making it the best of the lot. If the first four issues of this title seemed directionless to you, and you're thinking of saving a shilling or two by skipping DC Universe Presents #5, resist that urge. This issue is great, and it really validates what's come before it. With a new storyline and new protagonists on the horizon, it's tough to say what the future of this title will be. The first story wraps up nicely here, though, and, for the time being, that's all that matters.

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9
DC Universe Presents #10

Jun 20, 2012

The upshot of DCUP #10 is that Savage's character is thrown into sharp relief against his co-stars and his force-of-nature personality is set loose. The most delicious moment of the story is not any point within the two covers but the hours after having read the story where one wonders what actions Savage will take. Will he destroy the imitator to protect his daughter? Will he ignore his daughter's plight and punish the imitator for disrespecting him? Will he just live up to his usual, selfish personality anddemolish everything in sight solely because it feels good and he can? I'll be back to find out, and you should too!

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8.5
DC Universe Presents #11

Jul 18, 2012

This book is the payoff to the enjoyable Vandal Savage arc of DC Universe Presents, and it provides a satisfying capstone for the story. In retrospect, the 3-issue collaboration between Chang and Robinson effectively explores and expands Savage family lore, presenting theVandal Savagefrom an interestingnew perspective. The explanation for Swan Killer's physicalappearance was rather weak, and it looked as though Chang might have gotten slightly enthusiastic at times with the highlights that he used while coloring his characters. However, this issue is another strong episode in the Savage tale. Fans who have chosen to sit this arc out would do well to rectify their error.

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5
Deadpool (2008) #39

Jun 22, 2011

Unfortunately, the smattering of eye-catching images in this book doesn't justify the cover price, and the swept-under-the-rug plotline feels like an insult to the reader. For all of the effort Deadpool readers have spent over the arc trying to invest themselves in some aspect of the story -- be it the sad realization that Wade is alone and just wants the pain to stop, the premise that something can actually kill him, or even the protection of innocents -- Way teases them further in its conclusion with the equivalent of a shrug and a grin.

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7
Deadpool (2008) #41

Aug 10, 2011

This issue of Deadpool isn't great, but it could certainly be worse. Let's just hope that the exposition is over and things pick up again soon.

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4
Deadpool (2008) #42

Aug 24, 2011

Aside from the pace of the arc accelerating along with Deadpool's motivation to kick some posterior, there's not too much to get excited about here. The love stories that coalesce in this issue have been telegraphed for some time, and they aren't able to elicit much more than an indifferent sigh when they do come together. This issue is a disappointment, but with Way's mercurial approach to this title, I don't know that that will have any bearing on next month's issue.

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5
Deadpool (2008) #44

Oct 5, 2011

This title has rehashed the same concept for a number of issues, and, hopefully, we have seen its end in this issue. The tease at the end of this book offers a sliver of hope for next issue in that it suggests that a Deadpool character with a heart of malice will be introduced next issue. While this Evil Deadpool is most likely Foolkiller from Whitby's institution, it may yet offer something of interest, as we would see the first drastically different incarnation of the Merc with a Mouth in quite some time.

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6
Deadpool (2008) #45

Oct 26, 2011

There are some very entertaining scenes starring the flippantly violent and cobbled-together Evil Deadpool, but each scene with Regular Deadpool totally falls flat. I can appreciate the use of Evil Deadpool as a visual and dramatic foil, but one of the two has to go. This is especially true thanks to the introduction of two more (evil) internal voices to this title, bringing the total of Deadpool voices to six. Six voices are just way too many.

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4.5
Deadpool (2008) #46

Nov 16, 2011

Deadpool #46 is a test of the reader's patience. We're forced to endure what amounts to a dog chasing its tail for practically the entire issue after having been teased with an interesting new character in just the last issue. Judging from the last two times Way introduced good ideas before promptly buggering them up (Deadpool's suicide wish and an edgy attitude at the start of his institutionalization), we shouldn't hope for Evil Deadpool to live up to his potential.

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5
Deadpool (2008) #56

Jun 13, 2012

It's hard to score a book like this. The artwork is exciting and laden with genuine comedy while the story is daft and utterly devoid of successful humor. This issue gives every indication that the new status quo for the series' title character will suffer the same fate as the previous three or four developments in Way's run: interminable belaboring followed by a complete reversal which negates any progression made to that point. I offer my most sincere apologies to Shawn Crystal because his work is well-crafted and is a natural fit for the title. Unfortunately, Way's script is so bad, I can't recommend this book.

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6
Deadpool (2008) #59

Aug 15, 2012

Even though this issue is the comic book equivalent of a can of Spam, it's passable, especially in light of Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe. It is a sad time for Deadpool as a character, with his only consistently appealing appearances coming in Uncanny X-Force. However, hope is on the horizon as comedian Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan will be helming Marvel NOW's Deadpool relaunch in a few months.

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7
Deadpool (2012) #3

Dec 5, 2012

The recommendation for this book is to trust your instincts. If you liked issue #1 and #2, you'll probably be happy enough with this issue. If you were waiting for a drastic upswing in cleverness or storytelling, you may leave disappointed. Personally, I was frustrated that I found the letters page significantly more entertaining than the previous twenty-some pages. In the end though, Deadpool #3 is another capricious jag into escapism that is no more or less than it advertises.

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5
Deadpool (2012) #5

Feb 20, 2013

In contrast, Tony Moore's work on art is quite capable. He's asked to draw a number of situations that are logistically complicated, and the action is always explained well. If you're looking for more blood and guts, Moore's got you covered.

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7.4
Deadpool (2012) #7

Apr 3, 2013

Use Deadpool to mock the establishment like he used to. Have him tell the reader that he's giving the brass the finger and doing whatever he wants instead. The tendencies toward half-logic and catering to the lowest common denominator exhibited by this book are the reasons that this title has failed to shine so far. On the bright side, though, this issue shows that there is the necessary talent to return this book to its former days of glory.

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8.5
Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe #1

Aug 1, 2012

If you're a Deadpool fan, and especially if you're turned off by the main Deadpool book, pick up this issue. I'm thinking this one's going to be a classic.

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4.5
Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe #2

Aug 8, 2012

Maybe it's just that I don't particularly identify with existentialism, but this issue is a huge disappointment. It's entirely bereft of emotion " the one thing capable of driving this series to success. If you know that Spider-Man and the Avengers are in this issue, I'm pretty sure you can imagine a story of equivalent plotting and comparable quality for yourself without too much effort at all. The future for this series is ominous as it reaches its midpoint, with an underwhelming introduction capping off a general expungement of the series' emotion.

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3
Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe #3

Aug 15, 2012

If you've been reading this series and you're surprised by this issue, you have no one to blame but yourself. If you're thinking about trying this issue as an introduction to the series or the character, think again. There's nofoothold for new readers and no substance even if you can get into the mood of the book. This series has gone past the status of "waste of money" and into the range of "waste of time,"the point at which I couldn't even recommend the book if you were to get it for free.

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6.5
Deadpool Max #9

Jun 15, 2011

This book gives a slight, unexpected thrill like those you occasionally get from the smaller undulations of a roller coaster, but it leaves a sour taste when you realize the contrived means by which the endpoint is arrived.

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7
Deadpool Max #11

Aug 31, 2011

The manner in which Deadpool's origin and motivation are just dumped into the readers' laps in issue #11 is inelegant, but Lapham deserves credit for delivering a story with lasting emotional impact. Any comedic offerings in this episode are characteristically dead on arrival, but, as this is the first book that has shown promise in this series, you should check it out, so long as you've been following along thus far. If you haven't, um" carry on.

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3
Deadpool Max #12

Sep 28, 2011

Lapham closes his puerile, rambling, incoherent storyline with only the faintest glimmer of light. By some miracle, Lapham finally finds a genuinely funny tone for Deadpool in this issue, but this success is lost under the deafening collapse of his xenophobic and unexciting failure of a satire. As a result, I'm begging each and every one of you to restrain yourselves from ordering DeadpoolMAX II because this world that Lapham and Baker have created needs to die.

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8
Demon Knights #6

Feb 8, 2012

This is not a book that will be easy for new readers to digest from a standstill, but readers who have a running start should find this to be one of the strongest issues of the series thus far. One of the best facets of this book may also be its least obvious aspect: that it holds appeal for such a broad spectrum of readers. With strong female characters and a fully-developed fantasy setting, many of the smaller, less traditional comic book demographics are likely to become devoted followers of Paul Cornell's series just like I have.

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6.8
Demon Knights #15

Dec 12, 2012

Without a doubt, there are things to like about this book. But the difference between my expectations before reading and the reality of the experience was pretty large. I'm in no way off the Demon Knights bandwagon, but, if signs of editorial meddling like the awkward Stormwatch reference in this issue are an indication of future directions, I may find my faith rattled.

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5.5
Demon Knights #16

Jan 16, 2013

If this is a taste of what's to come, I'm not impressed. The fun is gone, the humor falls flat, and there's way too much standing around talking. To quote the Horsewoman, "We should've heeded [Merlin's] words and never separated." Also, Venditti's vampires are going to need to be way more badass if they're going to look like anything other than Jubilee from the X-Men in the wake of I, Vampire. To top things off, the violence toward animals in this issue, while marginally useful to Venditti's characterizations, is distressing. I'll give Venditti another chance next month, but, beyond that, no promises.

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6
Demon Knights #18

Mar 13, 2013

If you don't mind the lack of real intrigue or the inclusion of strange elements like vampires that attack near dawn or the unlikely possibility that torture by Vandal Savage is worse than torture in Hell, then you might find this comic to be worth your money. The fact of the matter is that there's not a ton to this book. I'm hoping that I see something worthwhile from this title soon, but that hope is fading with every issue.

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8.5
Detective Comics (2011) #0

Sep 5, 2012

More than just a couple of thoroughly entertaining stories, this issue may be remembered asa symbolic divider between what has come before and what waits in the future of Detective Comics. John Layman is taking over the writing duties next month, but I'm very please with Hurwitz and Tynion's efforts to break the seriesfree fromits 12-issue mold. I know that this one issue won't be enough to instill similar optimism in some readers, but everyone should buy a copy of this book. It's a terrific pair of stories that even the most cynical of fans will enjoy.

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5
Detective Comics (2011) #7

Mar 7, 2012

Detective Comics #7 represents a mediocre and, thus, disappointing next step for the series. This second arc is beginning to take on something of a make-it-up-as-we-go feeling to it, and, as a result, the drama remains low and the developments seem inconsequential. If Daniel could have cultivated some of the mystery in this book that even his Dollmaker arc possessed, the issue would have been greatly improved. Oh well, at least it's got a cool cover.

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5
Detective Comics (2011) #8

Apr 4, 2012

Luckily the backup story is a more enjoyable experience. The dialog makes a lateral shift from Governator to Clint Eastwood, but the artwork is much better. Szymon Kudranski isn't given much to work with in the way of action, but he manages to deliver eight pages of dark and moody visuals that fit their bipolar subject well. It's definitely not a good sign that the one praiseworthy part of this book was the part in which Tony Daniel surrendered his duties, but it is what it is.

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6.5
Detective Comics (2011) #10

Jun 6, 2012

I'm not going to say that Detective Comics is out of the woods. In fact, this series is still on a very short leash in my book. I will say, however, that I enjoyed this issue. It's full of tropes and isn't what the series initially represented itself to be, but this book's action and the quality of its artwork make this story feel more substantive than previous issues.

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7
Detective Comics (2011) #11

Jul 5, 2012

On the heels of the announcement that Tony Daniel is leaving Detective Comics, we are gifted with one of his best efforts on the relaunched series. The story is interesting, and it gives life to a previously wooden, two-dimensional villain. While the main story is worth reading, its importance may be diminished for some readers in light of Daniel's impending departure.

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4.5
Detective Comics (2011) #12

Aug 1, 2012

Detective Comics will be going in a different direction after issue #12, so there is hope in sight. As for this book, leave it on the shelf.

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6
Dial H #0

Sep 5, 2012

If you can stomach the subpar artwork and the general weirdness of the story, you're in for a pretty decent resolution. It's emotionally affecting and it progresses the reader's understanding of how an H-Dial works (assuming the reader already knows what an H-Dial is). Despite those positives, though, this is an issue that you can afford to miss.

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7.5
Dial H #1

May 3, 2012

Dial H is really a different animal than much of the rest of DC's current portfolio. Rather than emulating the current trend of occasionally connected superhero movies, this book has the distinct feel of the weekly supernaturally-flavored criminal dramas that you might find on TV. As such, it offers a welcome alternative for readers who may not be drawn as strongly to capes-and-tights comics. More importantly, though, it's well-written and absorbing, drawing even casual readers deep into the story before long. Dial H definitely sticks out from the pack in terms of storytelling mechanics, but, for many readers, that's something worth checking out.

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8.5
Dial H #2

Jun 6, 2012

It's really tough to give a recommendation for a book like Dial H because it's so out there that some people may have a tough time getting into it. The thing is: it's a really good comic book, and it's only getting better. I was hesitant after reading the first issue, fearing it to be a flash in the pan that might not translate well into a sustained series. This book should be all anyone needs to make up his or her mind on the series, though, and I'm pretty sure most people will agree that it's the most promising series of DC's Second Wave.

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8
Dial H #3

Jul 5, 2012

We're still just beginning to understand the scope of this story, but there's enough here to feel the excitement of the developments to come. At the same time, I'm certain that some readers will grow impatient for the payoff before it arrives and that others will be put off by the Morrison-like eschewal of comic clichs. Further, I would highly encourage new readers to pick up copies of issues 1 and 2, as they will be totally lost without those introductory chapters. Those caveats aside, though, I recommend that open-minded readers give this series a try. It really is a cure for comic fans who don't want to give up on the superhero genre but are tired of superhero tropes.

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8
Fairest #4

Jun 6, 2012

Despite those mild caveats, Fairest #4 is a well-crafted tale. It does a good job of bringing the staggered streams of narrative together so that the story can progress smoothly from here, and it's an absolute delight to look at. If you're thinking of testing the waters for this series, now's the time to do it because this issue is at the rollercoaster's final pause before that first wild drop.

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3
Fear Itself: Deadpool #3

Aug 17, 2011

In retrospect, I feel angry that I gave this series the benefit of the doubt. The promise of an impending and unseen threat was enticing in the first issue, but, here at the end of the series, it's clear that Hastings had never had any intention of using that threat as anything more than a tease. I'm also angry that a strong artist like Bong Dazo was wasted on a series of scripts this bad. Don't buy this book.

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6.5
Fear Itself: Wolverine #1

Jul 6, 2011

This series is off to a decent start, but it would benefit greatly if Peck, Boschi, and Brown were able to transform some of the text into imagery in the next installment.

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7.5
Fear Itself: Wolverine #2

Aug 3, 2011

While the reveal on the final page of the book is a bit of a letdown, Peck and company put together a very solid middle episode to Fear Itself: Wolverine. With my confidence renewed in their ability to instill energy in the arc and the emergence of the contrast between Wolverine as a fear-eating predator and Melita's struggle to overcome her panic, I'm back on board for this series' conclusion.

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9
Flash (2011) #2

Oct 26, 2011

If you missed out on Flash #1, don't repeat your mistake with issue #2. Even without the hand-wringing cliffhanger and understated humor (such as the nod to the cosmic treadmill), the smooth storytelling and lasting images are more than worth your time and money.

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8
Flash (2011) #3

Nov 23, 2011

For a series that hasn't made much headway in explaining its main plot, I find myself incredibly entertained each month. This month is no different. The book moves the plot forward only incrementally, but the bells and whistles are plenty to keep me entertained yet again.

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6.2
Flash (2011) #13

Oct 24, 2012

To be honest, this is a middling issue in terms of the experience and the implication. Yes, a conundrum presents itself to the Rogues, but it doesn't seem to have legs. Yes, there are impactful panels to be found, but they can't carry excitement through extended stretches of the book. This title has worked itself into a rut, and it's going to need a sizable push to get back on track.

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8
Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance #2

Jul 6, 2011

Issue #2 is, without a doubt, a good read, but I was left wondering if Azzarello, in the process of upping the ante, hadn't crossed into the territory of cognitive dissonance. Regardless, he's set the stage for a thrilling resolution in the series' finale.

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9
Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance #3

Aug 3, 2011

The larger world of Flashpoint may be seen as a curiosity in the ranks of comic book events, but Batman: Knight of Vengeance could be " and should be " remembered on its own as both a stellar example of storytelling and a worthy chapter in the history of the Dark Knight.

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8.5
Flashpoint: Green Arrow Industries #1

Jun 29, 2011

This book does a great job of putting the reader in the position of both Queen and McCabe, forcing us to see how we might behave similarly to each, were we to be in their positions. The juxtaposition of levity and profound sadness give this book an emotional range equivalent to a three issue arc. This story may not impact the greater world of Flashpoint in any significant way, but it is definitely worth the read.

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6.5
Flashpoint: Legion of Doom #1

Jun 15, 2011

Fortunately, Rodney Buchemi and Artur Fujita do well in their penciling and coloring duties, respectively. Action sequences are brought off in an exciting, colorful way and are juxtaposed nicely with grim images of prison life. When Glass finally gets around to his grand reveal, Buchemi is up to the task, creating some truly shocking images. It's these images that make the reveal work and keep the book from feeling entirely pedestrian.

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4.5
Flashpoint: The Canterbury Cricket #1

Jun 29, 2011

With a story as inconsequential and disinteresting as the Catholic saint that supposedly gave him his powers, The Canterbury Cricket #1 is simply not worth your time or money.

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8
Frankenstein Alive, Alive! #1

May 9, 2012

Don't buy this book if you think it's going to be terrifying or if you think, for some reason, that you're obliged to. Definitely don't buy it if you think that its silky smooth cover will someday be worth more than it is now. Buy it if you're into the horror genre and its history. Pick up a copy if you appreciate the visual storytelling of the old cinema. Take one home if you don't mind the effort of looking for subtext in a book that promises a new take on an old favorite. This one's not for everyone, but those in the target audience will enjoy it a great deal.

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8.5
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #12

Aug 8, 2012

Frankenstein starts kicking ass on page 1 of this book, and he doesn't stop until the back cover. A lot of skill went into making this comic as powerful as it is, but it's that same skill that plasters over the seams and delivers a smooth experience. I'm very excited about where this book is heading, and you should be too.

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8.3
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #14

Nov 14, 2012

It's easy to write off a lame duck title, especially when it's playing a support role in a larger event; but, it would be a mistake to look past this month's issue of Frankenstein.

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8.9
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #15

Dec 12, 2012

Some of you may be wondering whether Frankenstein is still worth reading, seeing as the character is making his transition to Justice League Dark. The answer is a resounding "yes." Frankenstein is still one of the best titles in DC's stable.

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8
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #16

Jan 16, 2013

In what was clearly an abortive nub of a new arc, Matt Kindt and his art team succeed in capturing my exact feelings about the end of Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. As a quick Creature Commandos story with attractive visuals, this book is a satisfying celebration of the entire series. As a manifestation of my smoldering frustration with the decisions of the powers that be, it's a comforting head nod to fans of the title.

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1.5
Freelancers #1

Nov 7, 2012

This comic book is a train wreck from start to finish. It might sound like that's at least worth the dollar cover price to witness, but, I assure you, it's not. I needed three attempts to read this comic -- not because I was interrupted but because the story was so atrocious that I just couldn't stand it without a break. I found that, despite my concerted efforts, I was also unable to enjoy this book in the framework of camp or mindless, testosterone-fueled entertainment. It's not even appropriate for children. This comic is a total waste of money, as it is among the worst comic books that I've ever read.

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7.5
Ghost Rider (2011) #2

Aug 10, 2011

The Serpent's appearance seems more like a contractual requirement to the Fear Itself event than a necessary plot point, but the story manages to side-step the hiccup on its way through its satisfying narrative stride. Given its cohesive tone and enjoyable gait, it seems, in retrospect, that this is the story that should have been presented as the first issue, with the actual issue #1 being lumped in with issue #0.1.

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7.5
Ghostbusters #2

Oct 12, 2011

Burnham and Schoening have put together a solid supernatural comedy for the second time, and Ghostbuster fans would be crazy not to be excited. Those who are even slightly acquainted with the franchise – and I hope that includes everyone – will be able to find positives here as well, but the four dollar cover price may prompt a majority to wait for the trade.

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8.5
Ghostbusters #10

Jun 20, 2012

I really enjoyed this book. I just wish it didn't cost quite so much. Truth be told, there are several Marvel books out there with an identical cover price, fewer pages, and a lot less fun. The only context that value relies on, though, is what's rattling around in my piggy bank, so I'd be much happier adding this one back to my pull list if it were a half dollar cheaper. If you're looking for a title that delivers on a beloved property or you just want a light, enjoyable read, give Ghostbusters #10 a shot.

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9.8
Glory #34

Apr 3, 2013

Find this story any way you can: in back issues, in trade, or on Comixology. Whatever you do, read this run because it's cemented a place in my top 10 series of 2013, less than three months into the year.

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8.5
Green Arrow (2010) #13

Jun 22, 2011

I'm excited about Billy Miggs as a new villain for the Green Arrow. The idea that he sees himself as the means of God's wrath – thinking himself justified in his actions and somewhat divine – captures a mentality relevant to today's American and global societies. Keep an eye on this book because it's in the hands of a capable creative team.

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5.5
Green Arrow (2010) #14

Jul 27, 2011

It's a shame that Patrick's plot lacks so sorely in action because penciller Agustin Padilla and colorist Ulises Arreola are not given many opportunities to add a great deal of excitement. Padilla lays out some strong images, composing his frames effectively and showing off Queen's athleticism. Arreola does a fairly good job of associating each character with a distinct emotion through his colors, but he doesn't do much to go beyond what is expected.

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5
Green Arrow (2011) #8

Apr 4, 2012

With the story ambling along awkwardly, as though one leg is longer than the other, it's no wonder that it ends up back where it started. I can appreciate Nocenti's desire to instill a sense of intrigue by keeping the reader's head spinning. However, it really would behoove the title to establish some semblance of stability before heading off into the chaos represented by Nocenti's newly introduced characters. I'm sure that such a foundation will manifest itself soon, but, until that happens, it may be better to leave this one on the rack.

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8.7
Green Arrow (2011) #18

Mar 6, 2013

In the end, this issue makes huge strides in establishing Komodo as a formidable opponent and in defining the larger, family-facing focus of the current arc. The climax of the issue is jaw-dropping, and the introduction of two new sidekicks deepen Lemire's foiling structure. Get the word out: Green Arrow is a winner again.

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7
Green Lantern (2011) #6

Feb 8, 2012

This issue was even more slowly paced than the previous five issues, but it performs nicely in its goal of drawing both Hal and the reader further into the overarching storyline. The action is markedly declined, and certain aspects of the story are less fluid than in previous issues. However, by capitalizing on the emotional beats of this issue, Johns and Choi have shunted the story in an interesting new direction.

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8
Green Lantern: New Guardians #1

Sep 28, 2011

Bedard and Kirkham have successfully hooked me on this title. The brevity of Kyle Rayner's days before his initiation as a Lantern may be a bit short for new fans, but it is likely a concession afforded longtime readers who have heard the story before. Overall, this book is an experience that has something for all readers, new and old.

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5.2
Green Lantern: New Guardians Annual #1

Jan 9, 2013

This is probably a good issue to skip, but, if you've found it in the stack of comics that you brought home, it's best if you adjust your expectations accordingly. This story only pays lip service to Kyle's current quest to command the entire emotional spectrum, and it stumbles over itself in even that modest role. For a book that costs a fiver and isn't worth three, even fans of the title would do well to show restraint this week.

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9
Green Wake #10

Feb 29, 2012

This week's offering from Wiebe and Rossmo signals the end of their series, Green Wake, and fans of the title will find that this book provides a satisfying conclusion. In fact, readers in the northern latitudes are likely to find, as I did, that Green Wake #10 is pretty much the perfect book to read in the eerie stillness of a cold, winter day. As the series finale, though, this issue isn't for newcomers. In fact, for those of you who haven't read the series yet, I'd recommend skipping this issue entirely – on one condition: that you buy the series in trade and learn, firsthand, why everyone is so excited about the talents of Rossmo and Wiebe. If you've ever experienced life-altering loss, you need to read Green Wake.

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4
Grifter #0

Sep 12, 2012

This is a stinker. The action is so vanilla that it's hard to subscribe to the danger of the situation. The plot is boring and stretched out for way too long. The artwork is uneven to the point that one would think that there were about eight artists taking turns on the issue. Leave it on the rack, but enjoy Liefeld's cover. It's a riot.

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4
Heart #1

Nov 2, 2011

In addition, Mellon's positioning of round clocks and calendar years in the frame is inconsistent, and their inclusion doesn't add much to the tension of the moment. Mellon does well to give fighting characters a sense of weight and bulk, but his explanation of their techniques is confusing. For example, a critical frame is wasted as Oren goes from full guard to a leg triangle, leaving us wondering how he managed to shift his opponent's arm across their bodies (not to mention why Oren overhooks instead of sliding down the arm for a Kimura). The black and white artwork successfully shows the intended grit of Butler's script, but between the tough guy fantasy plot and the poorly executed artwork, there's no compelling argument for a purchase.

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9.5
Hellboy in Hell #2

Jan 2, 2013

The only bad thing about this issue is that it goes by so quickly. Still, every instant of this leg in Hellboy's latest journey is captivating. We're plumbing some enthralling aspect's of Hellboy's character here, and the process is eminently entertaining. Whether you're looking for a comic that stimulates your entire brain or just a fun, spooky diversion, Hellboy in Hell is what you want. Put this on your "must have" list immediately.

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8.3
Hellboy in Hell #3

Feb 6, 2013

This is another winner for Mike Mignola and crew, but I don't know if anyone ever doubted that such would be the case. The story works some up tempo sequences into a bitter power struggle, and the artwork works as much between the panel borders as it does within them. I would have preferred that the dialog connect a little more smoothly from panel to panel, but, taken in the context of Mignola's mosaics of atmospheric snapshots, it's not an enormous concern. Deeper down the rabbit hole we go, and I'm only too happy to see where Mike Mignola leads us next issue.

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8.8
Hellboy in Hell #4

Mar 6, 2013

Longtime fans of Hellboy comics and readers who have enjoyed this series so far will probably be big fans of this book. On the other hand, I might be hesitant to recommend it to fans who come in with expectations of Ron Perlman duking it out with a seven-story monster for 22 pages. Still, it's a compelling story that is likely to be important in more action-oriented issues down the road.

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9
House of Mystery #39

Jul 6, 2011

In the arc's penultimate issue, Sturges and Rossi deliver a memorable and enjoyable tale. Much of the subtlety of this issue will be lost on readers picking up the series for the first time, but longtime readers will undoubtedly enjoy every page. Keep your eyes peeled for the collected edition so that you won't miss out on this under-the-radar classic.

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8
House of Mystery #40

Aug 3, 2011

All that's left for this series is the denouement as it rolls back into the station, but there are enough unresolved issues and momentum to keep loyal fans' attentions until the next issue. This installment, however, should be a no-brainer.

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9
House of Mystery #42

Oct 5, 2011

Will you like this book? I don't know. If you haven't been following the series, probably not. There's almost no action, and you won't get half of the references. This book is a celebration of creativity, though, and that is something to which almost everyone can relate. On this level, and especially if you've read or are willing to read at least a few of the previous issues, this may be the best book you read all year.

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8.5
I, Vampire #3

Nov 23, 2011

Like seeing just a glimpse of Frank the Rabbit in Donnie Darko, the tone of horror stories are made or broken in the details. Sorrentino employs similar techniques in this issue to heighten the emotion of this book's key moments without intruding on Fialkov's plot. For his part, the way in which Fialkov disorders the issue's temporal progression points up the generally creepy tone of the book and inevitability is gentle enough to leave the hope represented by Andrew and his growing cohort believable. In their skilled hands, this issue is another strong entry in a growing portfolio of excellent stories.

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8
I, Vampire #5

Jan 25, 2012

This is not the best issue of the series, but it is, nonetheless, a really good read. The dynamics between Bennett, Batman, and Tig are sure to offer interesting stories well into the foreseeable future. Batman's attitude toward the professor also holds a great deal of potential. In all, Fialkov and Sorrentino accomplish their tasks of inserting Batman into their story without undue disruption and, with a compelling cliffhanger, building momentum for next issue. Pick this one up, because it looks to be your last chance to catch your breath for quite some time.

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9.4
I, Vampire #13

Oct 24, 2012

Joshua Hale Fialkov is putting on a clinic with this title. Many of I, Vampire's contemporaries have faltered after a good start, but this series is actually getting better with time. You could certainly pick up this book as your first experience with the title, but, with so much goodness in the previous thirteen issues, why would you want to? Do yourself a favor and work an extra hour this week. Write another article. Sell some more lemonade. Just make sure you have enough money to get into this series.

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8.2
I, Vampire #15

Jan 2, 2013

The overall experience in I, Vampire #15 is quite enjoyable, but it's hard not to wonder what might have been if the title had retained its award-winning artist. Calero will find his unique voice for the series instead of aping Sorrentino (and, honestly, the sooner, the better). Until then, I, Vampire fans will just have to settle for some of the best writing to be found at DC.

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8.1
I, Vampire #17

Feb 27, 2013

The poop has hit the fan once again for the characters of I, Vampire, and readers once again reap the benefit. There's a lot of room to improve the intensity and terror vis--vis the book's artwork; however, the weaker aspects of this book will likely give way its high points in readers' memories.

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6.6
I, Vampire #18

Mar 27, 2013

This book's story isn't necessarily poor, it's just poorly told. Given the power, I probably wouldn't have chosen Blanco to handle the artwork for this book. Also, I might prefer that Joshua Hale Fialkov not try to jam all of his plot points into what issues remain of the series. As these are decisions that are handled by the same folks who decided to pull the plug on this title in the first place, I think we all know where the blame for this issue's failures lies.

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8
Incredible Hulk (2009) #633

Jul 27, 2011

Incredible Hulks delivers again in issue #633, and fans will be counting the days until issue #634 hits.

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9
Incredible Hulk (2009) #635

Aug 31, 2011

This story is a well-executed and fitting end to an incredible run. If not for a noticeable unevenness in the face time given to the supporting characters and one or two other minor blemishes, this one might have challenged perfection.

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7.1
Indestructible Hulk #4

Feb 20, 2013

This book isn't bad, but it's also not as good as the previous three issues. I can't say that I'm particularly interested in the new threat that promises to populate the next few episodes of this title, but the introduction of a Chinese version of S.H.I.E.L.D. is an interesting new idea. I'm hopeful that Waid will take this storyline into unexplored territory next issue and that we will see more integration of the two sides of Dr. Bruce Banner.

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6.5
Judge Dredd #2

Dec 19, 2012

Judge Dredd #2 lacks all of the humor and subtext that made issue #1 a success. There is still a decent amount of action to slake fans' thirsts, but the whole experience feels utilitarian.

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7.5
Justice League Dark #14

Nov 28, 2012

Justice League Dark #14 is a mixed bag but, all in all, an enjoyable one. I, for one, am happy to overlook the shortcomings of this book in favor of the time that I was able to spend walking around with the characters and the interesting discovery in the House of Mystery.

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9
Justice League Dark #15

Jan 2, 2013

Keen-eyed readers (or those with more years of comics under their belts than me) may recognize the names Wild Area and Epoch from pre-New 52 lore, but I think it would be a mistake to let even that background knowledge color one's expectations for this arc. This book is the manifestation of what made me so excited about the New 52 over a year ago " potential. The core of Justice League Dark #15 is solidly represented in its characters, and the context represents a thrilling new adventure for the imagination.

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7.7
Justice League Dark #16

Jan 30, 2013

This issue has its action and revelations, but it feels a lot like the arc is being reset for the meat of the Death of Magic story. After last issue's dispersal, each of the three narrative threads has reached a compelling conflict in this book, setting up what are sure to be interesting developments in the title's foreseeable future.

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6.9
Justice League Dark #17

Feb 27, 2013

After having so much fun with this title for so long, I'm afraid it's starting to lose steam. I don't want to be an alarmist, though, so I'll just limit my evaluation to this issue: modest character development and incremental plot progression define a mildly disappointing issue.

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6.5
Justice League International #4

Dec 7, 2011

The entertainment value of Justice League International still rests within the range of superficial fluff, but it's a fluff of an enjoyable, classic sort. As it is, Justice League International #4 isn't without problems, but it's agreeable enough as it leads into the final showdown with Peraxxus nicely.

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6
Justice League International #5

Jan 4, 2012

Justice League International #5 is the best issue of the series to date, but it's still not going to command a huge following. The story is pretty much by-the-numbers for afternoon cartoon fare, making it diverting and approachable; however, spending $3 each month for something that's merely diverting is not a decision that I can see many readers making. These creators are too skilled to leave this title at such a superficial level of development, but, until they delve more deeply into the characters, I can't recommend this book.

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7
Justice League International #6

Feb 1, 2012

This issue has its problems, but I'd still recommend it to the majority of readers. The story features two unconvincing fight sequences and a whole lot of talking, but it manages to be the strongest issue to date. That could be interpreted as a criticism of issues one through five, but it would be disingenuous to end the conversation there. There's a real heart to this story, and, for once, you can tell that these characters are part of the same team. Also, the book is very approachable for new readers, and there's enough meat to the story to keep them entertained. I'm still not big on the title, but I'm now open to the idea of it being a solid offering each month.

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7
Justice League International #7

Mar 7, 2012

There's a lot that goes on in this issue, and the new, more serious tone is intriguing. In some ways, the transition from issue #6 to issue #7 reminds me of the transition from the old G.I. Joe animated TV series to the 1987 animated movie. I'm not sure that this series will be able to approach the same level of timelessness or impact, but, assuming Batwing's cameos aren't too painful, I'm definitely interested in seeing where it goes.

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3
Justice League International #8

Apr 4, 2012

Justice League International is officially adrift. I don't care about any of the characters or their situations. I don't want to give up on this title because I think that a creative team that's really on fire for the property can take it somewhere interesting. However, I can't see any reason to recommend this book. The implications of the primary antagonist as an embodiment of today's simmering anti-establishment zeitgeist will be lost on younger readers, and the shallow story and teeth-grating dialog will drive away anyone over the age of twelve. Save your money for another book.

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8
Justice League of America (2006) #58

Jun 22, 2011

With the moon shattered and the new angel of vengeance poised to spread devastation across the universe, there's a lot of urgency in this issue. The dialogue is lacking and the flashback timing is a little confusing at times, but these shortcomings are easily overlooked against the backdrop of Starman's secret mission and Donna Troy's desperate battle with Eclipso.

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7
Justice League of America (2006) #60

Aug 17, 2011

This book answers a few lingering questions and gives a vector for the League's members, but it's essentially a goodbye issue. Maybe you're the sentimental type, and you'll enjoy it. Maybe you're not, and you won't. I'd say that if you've been following the series, you should make sure to check out this issue, if only for a sense of closure.

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7.5
Justice Society of America #52

Jun 29, 2011

Justice Society of America #52 doesn't pack a ton of action, but there is plenty of humor to accompany a meaningful message. Guggenheim sets up a potential rivalry between the Society and the Challengers of the Unknown, and it should be interesting to see how such conflict might impact each team in the future.

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7
Justice Society of America #53

Jul 27, 2011

The look of the book is serviceable, but it does not stand out. Ordway does his best work toward the end of the issue when all is being revealed to the members of the JSA. As Guggenheim's script builds momentum, Ordway's layouts and illustrations help it to snowball into a sufficiently enticing tease.

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7.5
Ka-Zar #1

Jun 8, 2011

The real draw of this book is the artwork by Pascal Alixe and colors by Jesus Aburto and Jorge Maese. Each image is carefully created, making each character and environment come to life. Hopefully, future issues will offer more opportunities for these three to showcase their talents.

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7
Ka-Zar #3

Aug 17, 2011

It's worth noting that Jenkins' primary purpose in writing this series is to give a logical argument in a format more accessible to new audiences. I can't say that I blame him, either, as this tactic has worked well for other writers, notably Art Spiegelman. Although thinly veiled, Jenkins' message takes a much more manageable form for the general populace than the intricate dance of words played out by politicians and reporters on television or the erudite texts found in academia. Another benefit is that this format lacks the instantly divisive symbolism of blue donkeys, tea parties, labor unions, or any of a myriad of other organizations. By circumventing the knee jerk reaction to root for this ideology or that like one roots for a sports team, Jenkins presents the issues in a less polarizing setting. Let's just hope enough people take enough time to read and internalize this series' principles.

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9
Ka-Zar #5

Oct 19, 2011

Unless analyzing symbolic storytelling sounds like a good way to spend your free time, this individual issue may not be the best purchase for you. The same can be said for Maus, though. The best stories are the ones that help us to gain a better understanding of our world, and, once in a while, a story comes along that does so in regards to an important social issue. This series teaches much more than it initially appears. Tolerance, political strategy, environmentalism, foreign policy, corporate mentality, and racism are all topics examined over the course of these books. For the reason that the series presents these pertinent but complicated concepts in an accessible manner, it should be given proper respect as an important literary work. Buy the trade and share it with your children. Ask for it to be added to your class' reading list. Above all, though, read it for yourself, and try to understand what it means to you.

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7
Legion Lost #0

Sep 12, 2012

When so many #0 titles are falling short of spectacular, Legion Lost #0 actually gives readers a reason to tune in. The story's skeleton is a bit familiar, but the Woods' execution is worth the price of admission.

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6
Legion Lost #3

Nov 9, 2011

It's probably no secret, but this title is likely on its way out. I wouldn't go so far as to start up a grassroots movement to save the title, but I think that that is a bit of a shame. There's potential here, especially in light of the revelations toward issue #3's conclusion. If you're still looking for a title to take a flyer on (and somehow your wallet can handle it), give Legion Lost a chance. This issue may be the turning point it needs to become something worthy of your money.

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5.5
Legion Lost #4

Dec 14, 2011

I don't know what it is about this book, but I keep pulling for it to up its ante. It may be the same thing that makes me root for underdogs in sporting events in which I have no stake, but I think there's something to this premise and cast upon which its creators can capitalize. I don't know where the plot will go from here, but the optimist in me says up.

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7.5
Legion of Monsters #1

Oct 12, 2011

It's tough to find time in life to enjoy even well-crafted frivolity, and $3.99 is a lot of money to spend when you can watch loads of people trying to be funny on TV for free. Juan Doe's artwork is dynamic and interesting, though, and Dennis Hopeless' script is charming. My recommendation is that, if you find a fiver in your pants while doing your laundry, you should try this one out.

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7
Legion of Super-Heroes (2010) #14

Jun 15, 2011

Issue #14 does enough to entertain fans of the series, but newcomers will likely be underwhelmed.

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7.5
Legion of Super-Heroes (2010) #16

Aug 17, 2011

For the final issue of Legion of Super-Heroes, Paul Levitz devises a short but tight two-step of a story. The themes are eminently familiar, but the somewhat peculiar details of how the plot plays out give the tale enough of a feeling of freshness to make it memorable. As such, this is a fitting end for an enjoyable series.

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5.5
Legion of Super-Heroes (2011) #1

Sep 21, 2011

This is probably the most approachable jumping-on point for the Legion of Super-Heroes that you'll get, but it's unlikely to stir up much interest from new readers. Even longtime readers may have difficulty getting excited about this book, as it offers little more than an epilogue to Levitz' previous two series and a re-introduction to the team's characters.

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6.5
Men of War #4

Dec 7, 2011

It's a little confusing that the cover advertises a new take on Sgt. Rock when the book focuses mostly on the turmoil within and between the members of his squad. It's also strange that the backup story upstages the main story so easily. Despite these irregularities, though, the title is starting to show signs of a coherent narrative direction toward less generic conflict. Hopefully, the trend of developing Rock and his crew as interesting individuals instead of interchangeable trigger fingers continues next month.

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3.5
Mister Terrific #3

Nov 9, 2011

There's plenty in Mister Terrific #3 to criticize and precious little to praise. I can't decide whether the character himself is an insurmountable obstacle keeping this title from succeeding or whether it's the approach to the character taken by the creators that is acting like anchor to pull down this title, but the result is the same. This series is truly awful, and this book shows no sign that the title's course will be changing soon.

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7.5
New Avengers (2010) #18

Nov 9, 2011

This is a promising start for Bendis' reassembled Dark Avengers. Time will only tell if their mission lives up to the team's grand introduction, but it seems that there is enough variety and new blood on this team that those chances are good.

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6.5
Nightwing (2011) #10

Jun 20, 2012

Where this series has splintered just far enoughfrom Batman-centric titlesto have its own voice until now, this issue has a whisper of the dreaded Batman: The Dark Knight formula of an overdone, hardass copchasingin the wake of the hero's meaningless battles. I don't really believe that Higgins would let the book devolve into a cycle of meaningless villains or allow his title to fully rehash the ground covered when Dick took over the cape and cowl before the relaunch. However, this book contains quite a few themes that we've seen before with little to differentiate them from their previous incarnations. It's likely that this new arc will kick thingsinto gear next issue, but this offering was just alright.

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8.5
OMAC #2

Oct 5, 2011

The most attractive part of this book (and the series so far) is that it's so much fun. By remaining exciting, intellectually interesting, and visually appealing all while keeping its tongue firmly in its cheek, it's hard not to be taken in by the book's charm. The next time Grant Morrison has your head hurting or your favorite anti-hero's emoting gets to be too much, pick up O.M.A.C. In terms of pure escapism, it would be tough to find a better option on the shelves.

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6
OMAC #3

Nov 2, 2011

There really isn't anything different in this issue when compared to last. More recurring characters are introduced, and more inanimate objects are broken beyond any hope of repair. Unfortunately, the charm of those features has worn off, and this series feels suddenly adrift. Approach this comic only with the understanding that you're getting the same thing that you got last time and nothing more.

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8
OMAC #4

Dec 7, 2011

I had concerns that last issue was a sign that the series' plotline had gone adrift, but this issue convincingly sweeps those fears aside. The story is still fun and audacious, but the solidification and development of relationships between characters is the real reason to sing this issue's praises.

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7.5
OMAC #5

Jan 4, 2012

I'm sure that this review seems like a downer so far, but the truth of it is that I still had a lot of fun reading this book. The majority of the characters are quite entertaining, and the bi-layered storytelling between the soldiers and their commanders is a nice variant for the series. The artwork is bright and energetic, and Kevin Kho's facial expressions hit the just the right notes. Most of all, though, I'm happy that there's a book on the shelves that is as solid and funny as this one is. If the book's chorus didn't take up so much of its duration and didn't overdrive the speakers so much, this book would rank near the top of my list of favorite comics.

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8
OMAC #6

Feb 1, 2012

This story is very enjoyable on its own, but, in context, it may be tough for fans to emerge from the experience without a heavy heart. It's possible that the greatest injustice of O.M.A.C.'s cancellation and the sorest point of this issue is that we're teased with a Granny Goodness storyline that will never fulfill its potential. For what it is, however, this book is really good time.

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9
OMAC #8

Apr 4, 2012

Overall, this is a triumphant ending to the series. It surpasses its predecessors in every form of storytelling and holds its own with respect to the amplitude of its action. Fans of the series will almost certainly love this issue, but, in the biggest surprise of all, newcomers may actually enjoy this book as well in light of its high quality and self-contained nature.

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8
Peanuts #0

Nov 2, 2011

It's hard not to recommend this book when you consider its approachability. The book is brightly colored, and it includes the classic Lucy van Pelt place kick trick, providing an appealing introduction for younger readers. Further, the $1 cover price makes it cheap enough to give to children, knowing that it will be shredded in short order, or to send as a whimsical gift to a grandparent. Those of us who are familiar enough with the franchise to recite some lines from The Charlie Brown Christmas will find it hard not to crack a smile in response to the heartwarming nostalgia. Simply put, there's no reason not to pick up this book on your trip to the comic shop or past the newsstand.

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8.5
Peter Panzerfaust #6

Sep 19, 2012

Peter Panzerfaust is at the top of its game, here, my friends. If you've never picked up the title before, I'd recommend plunking down for the first arc to get the full experience. This series is too good to write off as a missed opportunity, though, so don't let the dissonance of dropping in on an ongoing series stop you from joining the party.

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8
Peter Panzerfaust #7

Nov 14, 2012

Peter Panzerfaust may not be a series for that every single comic reader can get into, but it's not at all surprising that fans of the series are rabid for the title. If you have a moderate to long attention span and have the ability to appreciate serious but skillfully crafted drama, you'll definitely enjoy this issue.

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8
Pigs #2

Oct 12, 2011

This series looks to be forming itself into a tight, tense thriller rather of an explosion-soaked blockbuster. Just as a whispered threat can be the most terrifying, though, Pigs #2 shows that a book about a dude in his house can be thoroughly riveting.

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7.5
Pigs #3

Nov 9, 2011

Aside from some nagging issues like the audible range of a shotgun blast and whether a commando team would check their weapons before going into action, the third effort in Cosby and McCool's espionage thriller cruises through a potentially awkward transition phase. This series is gathering steam, and, with the solid groundwork laid out to this point, it promises to be a treat for months to come.

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7.5
Pigs #4

Dec 14, 2011

McCool and Cosby bring the intensity back up to maximum levels in this issue, letting us feel the shock that their protagonist, Felix, feels when he feels it. This issue is a little like a Quentin Tarantino film in that it's thoroughly violent and a little perverse, but, if you can deal with the adult content, it also resembles Tarantino's work in that it's gripping in its intensity.

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8
Punishermax #14

Jun 8, 2011

Aaron has built up considerable suspense heading into issue #15, and it should be interesting to see how Castle reacts when he's finally unshackled.

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7.5
Punishermax #16

Aug 10, 2011

All in all, this issue does its job well. It establishes a firm starting point for the next arc, complete with a clear, logical setting and motivation. The rough edges are easy enough to ignore that most readers should enjoy this issue.

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8
Rachel Rising #1

Aug 3, 2011

Rather than dive into plot points, Moore's experienced hand expertly crafts a spooky and cinematic introduction. We learn very little about Rachel in this issue, but we're presented with an engrossing situation that begs to be explored. This minimalist approach should have fans taking note on both technical and emotional levels.

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7
Resurrection Man (2011) #3

Nov 9, 2011

Resurrection Man has a strange allure for me. As in previous issues, there's not a ton that wows me in issue #3, yet I don't feel like I wasted my money. Even if I can't put my finger on what I enjoy about this book, there's definitely a progression toward something more substantial and compelling in the future.

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6.5
Rocketeer Adventures #4

Aug 31, 2011

This book represents an entertaining fleshing out of the Rocketeer mythology, but it's not really a book that demands a place in your stack or download list.

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7
Star Trek #1

Sep 21, 2011

In case I've piled the negativity on too heavily, I should say that I enjoyed this book. It's a fun, novel diversion. Star Trek fans will likely enjoy this book immensely, but it's important that readers enter the experience with the proper expectations. This series is being promoted as the bridge between the 2009 movie and its sequel, but, if you're looking for the same action-packed Star Trek experience that those movies represent, you may be disappointed.

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5.5
Star Trek #2

Oct 26, 2011

I would agree that the latest attempts to expand the Star Trek mythos with totally original stories have been poor (see Scott Bakula's Star Trek: Enterprise), but I don't see this as justification for repackaging old stories instead of letting them speak for themselves. I'm sure that the creators of this series will continue to introduce wrinkles into each re-imagined episode's details, but I feel there's no reason to expect better than this first underwhelming performance.

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6.5
Star Trek #3

Nov 30, 2011

Even though the execution is more refined in this book than its predecessors and the choice of source material is more appropriate, issue #3 comes off as yet another re-mastering of "The Galileo Seven" instead of a new experience. Don't put your $4 down unless you're a fan who either hasn't seen the original episode or needs to have absolutely everything with "Star Trek" in its title.

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3
Star Wars: Blood Ties: Boba Fett is Dead #3

Jun 27, 2012

This book is not good. Nothing that happens between its covers is interesting or enduring. The script is weak, and the artwork is infuriating. The only possible saving grace would be for young or new readers to have an entry point to the storyline, but this, too, is an impossibility. The story is so convoluted that anyone not following the series (and preferably A Tale of Jango and Boba Fett as well) will be utterly lost. I usually like to finish the mini-series that I start, but I'll have to see if I can stomach another issue of this in a month's time.

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6.5
Star Wars: Crimson Empire III - Empire Lost #1

Oct 26, 2011

The dramatic slope of this issue remains relatively flat from one end to the other, but it functions adequately to establish the setting and to introduce the characters. We're teased with brief flurries of combat from both bounty hunters and Jedi as well as a cameo by one of Kenix Kil's most popular colleagues, but there aren't any truly memorable moments to be found here. The New Republic era has had some time to air out since the deluge of Expanded Universe content in the 90's, and I'm optimistic that this series will be highly enjoyable when it kicks into gear. However, issue #1 never quite reaches that point.

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7
Star Wars: Dark Times - Fire Carrier #1

Feb 6, 2013

Fire Carrier #1 is a solid Star Wars book that's not going to blow you away, but it won't leave you regretting your purchase, either. The personalities that writer Randy Stradley gives to his agents of the Empire and members of the local militia are refreshing and rife with allegorical possibility. Hopefully, the slightly rushed call to action near the book's conclusion will give way to a bit more action and adventure next issue, but, for now, I'm content with the tone of this first effort.

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8
Star Wars: Dark Times - Fire Carrier #3

Apr 3, 2013

This book succeeds because it offers more than a solid trip to a galaxy far, far away. The story itself is solid without being exceptional, which is, in all likelihood, good enough for the series' core readership. For those whose attention is starting to stray in response to Fire Carrier's simple plot, Stradley includes commentary to keep their brains engaged. I don't think this issue will bring in many new readers, but it should at least help to retain what readers have stuck with the title to this point.

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8.5
Star Wars: Darth Maul - Death Sentence #2

Aug 29, 2012

I've been critical of Tom Taylor's recent work, but he and his art team have sold me on this series. If they can keep delivering crescendos of this type, I may be picking this series up in trade in addition to the individual issues. I even like the use of the villagers as Shakespearean narrators. There's a lot of bang for your buck here, so snag a copy while they last!

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7
Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi - Force Storm #2

Mar 21, 2012

It took just two issues (three if you count the encyclopedic issue #0), but John Ostrander has defined a new era in the Star Wars mythology and pushed his latest narrative vessel from the dock. Aside from the historical foundation lain in the preceding issue and a strong dose of Xesh the Force Hound, Dawn of the Jedi #2 is its own beast. So, if you missed this series' first issue or just didn't particularly care for it, you shouldn't have any fear of jumping right in with this week's offering.

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6.5
Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi - Force Storm #5

Jun 20, 2012

The abstract and esoteric Jedi lore that was presented in issues #0 and #1is mostly gone here, giving way to aconclusion more concerned with young force users from different backgrounds interacting with one another than it is with establishing the dynamics of a poorly described era of the Star Wars mythology. The Star Wars Expanded Universe has quite a few examples of the former already, though, so one can only hope that the scope of thisline begins to widen once again in its next miniseries. As it stands, this book brings the miniseries' narrative to an acceptable and not entirely predictableconclusion.

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7
Star Wars: Knight Errant - Deluge #1

Aug 17, 2011

I'm not sold on this series yet, but there's enough here to justify my attention for at least one or two more issues.

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7.5
Star Wars: Knight Errant - Deluge #3

Oct 19, 2011

Overall, this is a strong middle issue to the Deluge story. The momentum wilts a bit as Miller changes between the story's modes, but there's plenty of goodness here to justify a purchase.

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5.5
Star Wars: Knight Errant - Deluge #5

Dec 21, 2011

In the end, your enjoyment of this book will depend on why you're reading it. If you're a young comic book fan, you may not care so much about the intricacies of the story, and the copious action may be a big draw. Likewise, if you're a huge Star Wars fan, the chance to escape to a galaxy far, far away may be enough to justify a purchase. If you happen to fall outside of these groups, though, there isn't too much to recommend about this by-the-numbers conclusion.

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6.5
Star Wars: Knight Errant - Escape #1

Jun 13, 2012

The new mini-series in the Knight Errant line begins as just that: the next episode in a story that's been running for some time. There isn't much chance that you'll find yourself quietly putting the book down and whispering "wow," but there isn't much material about which to rantor complain, either. Don't break your neck trying to find a copy if you haven't been following the series so far, but, if you've been a devoted fan,rest assured that this issue carries on the Knight Errant tradition capably.

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6.5
Star Wars: Knight Errant - Escape #3

Aug 8, 2012

In my opinion, the Knight Errant series takes things more safely than it should. There are rarely any viable "Holy crap!" moments, with John Jackson Miller frequently opting for afternoon cartoon knots in his narrativethat can be undone quickly and with a minimum degree of difficulty. This issue may represent one of those safe climaxes, but it is also represents the pinnacle of the series thus far. As Miller's other Star Wars series have peaked at their midpoints before descending into disappointment, readers should temper their expectations for the rest of the series.

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4
Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith - Spiral #5

Dec 12, 2012

Lost Tribe of the Sith was ill-conceived from the beginning, and its finale appropriately unimpressive. The only positive to be found here is that the artwork, aside from the character designs, is decent. Let's just hope the powers that be will put their Star Wars property in more capable hands in the future.

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7
Star Wars: Purge - The Tyrant's Fist #1

Dec 5, 2012

Right now, this book is on the edge of worthwhile, in my estimation. If the second issue capitalizes on the unique relationships presented here, we could be seeing the birth of an interesting new character. If, on the other hand, those relationships turn cheesy " something that happens all-too-often in Star Wars comics " this could be just one more false start for the catalog.

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7
Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Lost Suns #5

Oct 12, 2011

The Old Republic – Lost Suns #5 is a solid conclusion to a mildly entertaining series. Fans of the Star Wars universe and those rabid gamers looking to immerse themselves in the Old Republic era prior to Bioware's upcoming release will find this book a light but tasty snack capable of tiding them over until more satisfying fare is made available.

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6
Suicide Squad (2011) #8

Apr 11, 2012

It's tough to see this issue as something other than a down moment for the series. Much of the book is spent re-establishing each character's current status, so, if you've been following the series, you aren't likely to find much to strike your fancy. Even the inclusion of a spy within the team comes off as less dramatic than it might have been without such an elaborate introduction. Pick this one up if you're loving the series, but don't be upset if you happen to miss it.

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5
Superboy (2011) #0

Sep 12, 2012

There's not much reason to pick up this issue. It's dull and lacks significant insight into Superboy's backstory. Like so many of these #0 issues, this story doesn't need its own issue. The class warfare and climate change themes percolating below the surface are interesting and preachy, respectively, but they don't have much to do with the story. This is definitely a book to skip.

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7
Superboy (2011) #5

Jan 11, 2012

I enjoyed this book. It was very cool to see Fairchild looking more like herself, and the utterance of "Ravager" teases attractive crossovers ahead for the New 52. There are a lot of familiar faces coming together in this series, but the shuffling of circumstances has me interested in how it will all play out. As for issue #5, it's an interesting read. Not thrilling, but significantly better than what has come in previous issues.

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7
Superman (2011) #2

Oct 26, 2011

In Superman #2, the questions mount with respect to the greater threat facing Superman and its relationship to Krypton, and the interpersonal relationships become more defined. It can be a bit frustrating that Perez is taking his time revealing his larger purpose, but we're given a solid story in the meantime.

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5
Superman (2011) #3

Nov 23, 2011

When the defining characteristic of your latest comic is a recap of another ongoing title in addition to decades of Superman tales, you know you're in trouble. It's pretty apparent that Perez is building up to something in the near future, but Superman #3 is really just a necessary means to an end that needs to be tolerated. Check out a recap before next issue or just let Perez do it for you in issue #4; I don't see a convincing argument for adding this book to your week's purchases.

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5.5
Superman (2011) #5

Jan 25, 2012

Superman #5 just feels… strange. Superman doesn't act like himself, Lois spends all of her time within arm's reach of a desk, and we don't know what any of it meant. I admire the sentiment that Perez expresses here by taking the Man of Steel in a different direction and dropping subtexts of xenophobia and facism, but the unlikely combination of over-explanation and general incomprehensibility of his script makes this issue difficult to get behind. Here's to hoping something happens in this first arc's conclusion to magically bring everything together.

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7.5
Superman (2011) #6

Feb 22, 2012

I haven't loved this series so far, but I absolutely have to show respect for George Perez. It's one of the hardest things in the world to give your all creating something for others to enjoy as much as you do only to see them react unfavorably. By gracefully excusing himself from his post as writer of Superman in order to focus on his artistic pursuits Perez has not accepted failure in his latest venture. Rather, Perez has proven once again his deep love for comic books, their characters, and their fans.

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4
Superman (2011) Annual #1

Aug 29, 2012

This issue accomplishes its purpose of initiating a massive crossover, but it's not a fun trip. Visually, the book is a mess, with awkward postures, inconsistent inking, and occasionally confusing visual flow. The script isn't totally smooth, either, as it teleports suddenly from scene to scene, vacillating between different voices and tones the whole while. There's no way this book is worth five of your hard-earned dollars, so feel free to pass over this one.

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6
Superman Beyond #0

Aug 24, 2011

The bottom line is that if this story was an animated cartoon on TV, I'd probably enjoy it a lot more. Whereas I might watch and re-watch an episode of Batman Beyond until it grows on me because my choices are that and an episode of Digimon, it's much easier for me to just spend my money on another comic book.

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8
Swamp Thing (2011) #9

May 3, 2012

While it may be disappointing that the showdown between Swamp Thing and the forces of the Rot is not quite as epic as it may have been, Snyder and his artistic teams have crafted a very enjoyable episode for the title in issue #9. The new status quo for the book going forward is quite interesting both for further exploration of Alec Holland's personal life and for the depth and complexity underpinning the Rot. Some may feel that this book straddles two better stories rather than serving as a watershed moment for each; however, most would agree that it's well worth any reader's money.

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9
Swamp Thing (2011) #14

Nov 7, 2012

With the foundation already there, Swamp Thing #14 instills an epic sweep to the Rotworld story, giving it blockbuster potential. If I have a gripe, it's that the story is over too soon. The engines of adventure roar to life here, but the final panels appear just as I was ready to plunge into the breach alongside Alec and Boston. This is, of course, a note of praise masquerading as criticism, and that last panel of this book has me more excited than ever for issue #15. Take home a copy of this week's Swamp Thing offering, and let yourself get wrapped up in the beginning of a thrilling saga.

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7.5
Swamp Thing (2011) #15

Dec 5, 2012

Swamp Thing #15 represents a necessary next step for the greater Rotworld storyline; however, readers should come in expecting more emotional drama than large set pieces. Snyder keeps things rolling along, and the substitution of one hero for another as the story progresses changes the story dynamics significantly.

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5.5
Swamp Thing (2011) #17

Feb 6, 2013

I want to make it clear that I don't blame Andy Belanger for the failure of this book. Belanger's work would be a boon to a different type of story, but the decision to have him take the reins on the final issue of a horror arc was a mistake. As it is, this issue is a huge disappointment. After months of build-up, the final issue of Rotworld peters out without a fitting conclusion. The Swamp Thing saga will, of course, lurch onward, but I certainly feel less enthusiastic about this title after having been burned on this finale.

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7.9
Swamp Thing (2011) Annual #1

Oct 31, 2012

Although it isn't necessary to read this story to follow along with the Rotworld event, there is enough relevant background to merit inclusion with the crossover. Readers who are unfamiliar with the history between the Hollands and Arcanes can look to this volume as a type of CliffsNotes and veterans can treat it as an updated redrafting. In all, there are enough positives here to assuage most anyone's concerns about ponying up five dollars for this supplementary tale.

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5.2
Teen Titans (2011) #0

Sep 26, 2012

This book may not be overly offensive for readers unfamiliar with Tim Drake's previous origin story, but others may find it significantly less enjoyable. The comparison between Tim Drake and his predecessors is a nice idea, but Lobdell is a little heavy-handed in his delivery. The best case scenario is a yawn for this book. Devoted fans may react more" vigorously.

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7
Teen Titans (2011) #3

Nov 23, 2011

Teen Titans continues to be an unabashed work of fancy with issue #3, but the afternoon cartoon charm of the characters coupled with a slowly unfolding story of mystery and camaraderie make the book a worthwhile gamble. Threads dangled in the forms of Detritus and Celine are interesting enough to promise a strong plotlines to come.

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6.5
Teen Titans (2011) #6

Feb 22, 2012

Is Teen Titans #6 the greatest thing since sliced bread? No, definitely not. But, that doesn't mean that it's without significant worth. This issue is still extremely easy for readers, young and/or new, to pick up and enjoy. The characters are coming into their own, and the team dynamics are rock solid. Booth's illustrations offer plenty of aesthetic beauty to the story as well. The developments in this issue may not be up to the standard that the title has set for itself, but it still serves as a satisfying helping of comic book comfort food.

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8.5
The Activity #1

Dec 21, 2011

This book is sure to keep the ultra-cool special ops storylines coming and to work deeper into the characters, but this first issue stands on its own as a nice taste of what's to come. Sure, the story's a little light on action, but the artwork is excellent and the characters are engaging. This title has a lot of potential, and fans of this genre would do well to jump on board at the ground level.

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7
The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #0

Sep 26, 2012

The key to enjoying this issue is not taking it too seriously. If you're longing for the days when comics were fun jaunts into a world of fancy and you've got a few extra bucks in your pocket, give Fury of Firestorm a chance.

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8
The Goon #34

Jun 29, 2011

Truly well-written humor in comics has been sorely missed in recent years, but Eric Powell is, thankfully, back with the answer. This issue is definitely light on plot and implication, but it really hits the spot for those of us who have been thirsting for some quality levity in our pull lists. Longtime fans will not be disappointed, and newcomers will find this issue an easy place to join the party.

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8.5
The Goon #35

Aug 31, 2011

It's noteworthy that Dorkin follows Powell's lead from last issue by sculpting his outlandish humor on a foundation of a solid moral message. It's pretty clear from the villains presented by Dorkin and Powell that the story is a commentary on imperialism, but there's more to it than that. Dorkin's script can also be read as a denunciation of retribution in addition to a criticism of oppression. Accordingly, this issue can be seen as a satire of those who would punish members of a majority, symbolized here as the normal people, for a historical wrong stereotypically ascribed to them as a whole. No matter what your views on the relevance of imperialism in modern times or the validity of reverse discrimination, this is a quintessential example of how comics can be used to approach a taboo subject in a new, more socially acceptable way, thereby opening a door for communication and cultural progress where previously there was none.

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9.5
The Goon #39

Apr 25, 2012

The Goon #39 satisfied nearly every desire that I have in a comic book. It's intelligent. It's hilarious. It's meaningful. If this book had more plot to support itself, I'd be hard pressed to call it anything but a masterpiece. As it is, though, this issue represents a brilliant piece of satire that stands, in my mind, as the comic book industry's equivalent of Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal." If you like comics – even a little – you need to read this book.

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7.5
The Iron Age #1

Jun 29, 2011

Each full-length story in this book tells an enjoyable story, but neither is entirely captivating. Some details don't quite ring true like why Tony jumps around the past Quantum Leap-style, but, as it seems that the journey will be more important than the destination in this series, perhaps it doesn't matter.

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8
The Iron Age: Alpha #1

Jun 8, 2011

Williams and artist Rebekah Isaacs control the pace of this tale beautifully, lingering just long enough during moments of heartbreak and pushing us inexorably on as the clock ticks toward a well-rendered Armageddon.

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6
The Savage Hawkman #1

Sep 28, 2011

I knew next to nothing about Hawkman coming in, and I still feel like I'm somehow not up to speed. I didn't hate this book, but it didn't capture my attention, either. I'll admit that there may be interesting references and foreshadowing that I missed because I'm not familiar with the character. However, judging solely from the dramatic arc and characterizations in this book, I don't feel the need to add this one to my pull list.

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7
The Spirit Vol. 2 #15

Jun 22, 2011

In a romantic and heartbreaking story, Hine contributes a story from an underrepresented genre in The Spirit #15. If you're looking for superpowers and battle scenes, pass on this one. If you're open to a fresh, well-written story about human nature, make sure you pick up a copy.

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7.5
The Unwritten #34.5

Feb 29, 2012

The Unwritten #34.5 is a solid story that offers some interesting context and details surrounding the ongoing plotline. It's important to remember that this story, like the other .5 issues, is a tangent for the series instead of a direct addition to the greater storyline. Fans who are just interested in the progression of Tom Taylor's story need not invest in this issue, but readers looking to dive a bit deeper into the mythos of The Unwritten will find enough to enjoy that they won't regret parting with their three bucks.

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9.4
Thor: God of Thunder #5

Feb 20, 2013

I'm happy to say that this week marks the point at which the disparate parts of Thor: God of Thunder come together and justify the build-up in issues 1 through 4. The story of Gorr's motivations and his plan for completing his divine conquest, as told in this installment of the series, brings satisfying closure to what has come before and springboards the narrative into its enticing new direction.

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7.7
Uncanny Skullkickers #1

Feb 27, 2013

Skullkickers is a title that fans of Deadpool should be reading. It may be tough for some to justify the $3.50 cover price when there's so little that happens, but I think plenty of readers will be too busy smiling at the lunacy to notice. The really cool part of Skullkickers is that Jim Zub actually cares about the craft of making comic books. As he's done in the past, Zub provides access to his script, detailing techniques for aspiring creators. All in all, Uncanny Skullkickers #1is worth at least a chance to win your loyalty.

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10
Uncanny X-Force (2010) #18

Dec 14, 2011

The high drama of the final showdown between X-Force and Dark Angel is every bit as majestic and affecting as this story deserves. After reading the book once, I read it straight through again. I assure you, my life is no less busy than any of yours, but I simply could not stand up until I had experienced this book one more time. As far as I'm concerned, that's the definition of an instant classic.

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9.5
Uncanny X-Men #538

Jun 15, 2011

Gillen brings his disparate narrative and thematic elements elegantly in together in issue #538. The bottom line to this arc is both profound and thoroughly in line with the symbol of the collective X-Men, and it should not be missed.

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9
Uncanny X-Men #539

Jun 29, 2011

Uncanny X-Men #539 sends a clear message that Kieron Gillen is able to deliver high quality stories consistently. Pairing his script with Roberson's pencils instills the book with the strong visuals that it needs and deserves. Regardless of your opinion on how the last arc of Uncanny ended, this one's worth your time.

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5.5
Uncanny X-Men #540

Jul 6, 2011

This issue does little more than put the chess pieces on the table and move the first pawn. Gillen seems flatfooted in this book when one considers this story in the context of his recent tales - almost as though he needed this issue to gather himself after realizing that the Fear Itself tie-in had suddenly crept up on him. This tie-in may offer treasures in future issues, but Uncanny X-Men #540 is a disappointment.

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8
Uncanny X-Men #542

Aug 17, 2011

After two issues of disappointment, I'm officially back on the bandwagon. I would have liked to have seen some interesting developments involving Mayor Sinclair, but, even without them, this issue forecasts a strong close to the arc.

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7.5
Uncanny X-Men #544

Oct 19, 2011

Yes, this issue rehashes much of what has already been said about this moment in the X-Men history, but it also serves as strong punctuation to the first volume of Uncanny X-Men. If Marvel is truly going into a new phase in the history of the title, Gillen and Land have given us a reverent and effective divider between what has been and what is to come. Although you may not like it now, chances are that readers of the final collected edition of Uncanny Volume 1 will look upon it more favorably, and that is the appropriate context in which this issue should be examined.

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7
Uncanny X-Men (2011) #1

Oct 31, 2011

The bottom line for this book is that it accomplishes Gillen's monumental undertaking without adding much in the way of new developments. While it does well to at least touch upon all aspects of Cyclops' army, it serves more as a reference book than significant narrative progress in the new era of the X-Men. Consequently, this book is closer to a necessity than a helpful recapitulation for comic fans that have been away from the X-Men for the past year or so. On the other hand, the modest storyline will likely elicit negative initial reactions in a majority of readers. Overall, though, the appealing artwork, strong characterizations, and bizarre cliffhanger should be enough for anyone looking to follow this title to justify a purchase after a bit of reflection.

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7.5
Uncanny X-Men (2011) #2

Nov 30, 2011

For certain, Gillen has crafted an interesting new rock-and-hard-place situation for the Merry Mutants. The real concern about his approach is whether the time needed to get to that situation will cause some readers to lose interest. You'll be missing some great character work if you skip this issue, but, be sure to be back for the next issue of Uncanny if you do, because things are about to sure to be intense when issue #3 comes out.

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7
Uncanny X-Men (2011) #4

Jan 4, 2012

Uncanny X-Men #4 is entertaining on its own, but it's strange to see such a departure from the main storyline so early in the new series. Gillen has taken his time so far setting up a foundation for this title, and significant progress is foregone in this issue in favor of additional context. These books have been on an expedited release schedule, so the urgency for progress is really more a question of personal economics than one of waiting. Hopefully, Gillen will stop circling and attack his vision for this series soon, but, for now, there's enough in issue #4 to justify a purchase and to enjoy until next issue.

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6.5
Uncanny X-Men (2011) #9

Mar 21, 2012

I don't know that I'd nominate this issue for any awards, and paying four bucks for this issue is near the edge of what I'm comfortable with. However, I respect the direction Gillen's going with Magik, Colossus, and Danger; so, I'll hold off judgment of this storyline until it's had a chance to fill itself out. Unfortunately, Pacheco's art didn't do much for me this time around, and, in light of a rendering of an overly beefy Colossus and some hiccups in storytelling, there isn't much about which to get excited. Hopefully, the cameos in this issue aren't a sign that Gillen's reign over his own comic is contingent on larger Marvel events.

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6.5
Uncanny X-Men (2011) #10

Apr 11, 2012

On the positive side, Gillen has created a delightful interplay between Cyclops and Agent Brand in which the mutual assured destruction of their blackmail mirrors the portrayal of Unit as a weapon of mass destruction. Also, I'm really curious to see how Unit might act as a catalyst for a possible major change to Hope's character. Thus, the upshot of this issue is that there are a few teases of things to come, but the contents of this week's offering are largely without memorable developments.

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9
Uncanny X-Men (2011) #11

Apr 25, 2012

For me, this book represents the jewel of the AvX event so far. The characters shine both in their physical and emotional presentations. However, one of my favorite aspects of Gillen's writing – his ability to drive a deeper point home without destroying the narrative – is likely to leave the biggest mark on readers. The idea that the X-Men's greatest villain would be the X-Men (a concept born of the Schism event) finally reaches the threshold of its full potential here. I really enjoyed the way that Gillen overlays the conflict with themes of institutional oppression and topical implications for how freedom, liberty, and autonomy are handled in the real world. Also, the bone-shaking fight scene at the center of this book does little to detract from the storytelling goals of its creators. For those reasons, this book is sure to find fans in a wide range of readers.

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7
Uncanny X-Men (2011) #13

Jun 6, 2012

The real benefit of this issue is that Unit gives some justification for a few of the propagating events in the greater AvX storyline. Insofar as this finally brings Unit's horrifying brand of villainy to the surface, the book serves its purpose. The problem is that this simple plot point (which amounts to a villain monologuing) should be surrounded by a great deal more progression if this book is to feel substantial. As things are, the issue feels diluted " and artificially so. Fans should pick up this book, lest they miss out on a cool facet of the conflict, but similar difficulty could probably be avoided in the future if Marvel reduced the frequency of Uncanny X-Men releases by half.

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6
Uncanny X-Men (2011) #20

Oct 17, 2012

For me, this book is like red Ny-Quil. It goes down a hell of a lot better than it could have, and you know it'll fix things for the future. Now, I understand that companies like Marvel need to have giant events to fund opportunities given to newtitles like Hawkeye, but it doesn't mean I have to be happy about the havocthey wreak with other, more established books. This issue is palatable, but it's not sporting the neatest bow possible.

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7
Witch Doctor #1

Jun 29, 2011

There's a lot of talent being showcased in Witch Doctor #1. The problem is that the talent being showcased still seems slightly raw. Despite the rough edges, though, this book is an enjoyable read, and it's a great place to get a look at two up-and-coming creators.

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8.5
Witch Doctor #3

Sep 21, 2011

If there's one complaint that I have for this book, it's that Seifert is still a little too in love with showing everyone how smart he is. Overall, though, this series keeps getting stronger with every issue. If you haven't jumped on board yet, make sure you pick up the back issues while you still can!

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7
Witch Doctor #4

Nov 2, 2011

It's somewhat unfair to judge this book on the basis of its predecessors, but the story's main ailment is that it seems willing to go quietly into the night. The series reaches the apex of its crescendo here; however, the relative lack of weirdness leaves this episode feeling more like the end of The Empire Strikes Back than that of A New Hope. Although I'm glad to see the Witch Doctor world expanded even further here, I would have liked a more satisfying climax.

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7
Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #1

Nov 28, 2012

As a continuation of their strong start, Seifert and Ketner deliver a worthwhile new chapter with Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #1. Newcomers may have significant difficulty getting to know the characters, though, since the story presumes a certain degree of familiarity coming into the issue. There were enough creepy moments to tide me over to Mal Practice #2 (including the unexpected STD angle), but I'm looking forward to seeing this tale pick up a bit more steam next month.

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8.6
Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #2

Dec 19, 2012

Witch Doctor is once again a rollicking good time. Mal Practice #2 is imaginative and interesting, delving deeper into Dr. Morrow's plight and fleshing out the true nature of magic further. Morrow's assistant, Eric Gast, is starting to play a more significant role in the series, and the shadowy threat to the two paranormal physicians is forming nicely. Importantly, the humor is once again top notch. If you liked the earlier offerings from Seifert and Ketner, you'll love this.

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6.7
Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #3

Jan 23, 2013

Witch Doctor is one of the most innovative worlds to hit comics in the last few years. If every issue could stand on its own as nothing but 22 pages of world building, I'd be a happy man. Characters are a big part of any narrative, though, and the characters of Witch Doctor are still rather thin, even at this stage in their existence. The series of catastrophes that befall Dr. Morrow and his team in this issue suggest a more wide-open adventure in the next issue. But, for now, this issue's value lies in its logistical advances.

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7.9
Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #5

Mar 27, 2013

The last time we reviewed this title, it had a brief stumble, but the last two issues have proven that those problems were the exception and not the rule. It's very cool to see two creators that are so committed to a title that they built from nothing and brought to the big stage of comics. Seifert and Ketner have shown once again that they are capable of bringing this subgenre to even larger realms of popular consciousness.

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7.5
Witchblade #145

Jun 15, 2011

The pace of issue #145 can be slow, but there is enough beauty in the visuals to make Marz's deliberate exploration of archetypes a manageable experience.

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8
Wolverine (2010) #19

Nov 30, 2011

Jason Aaron and Ron Garney bring more insanity to the pages of Wolverine, and I couldn't be happier about it. Not every joke will leave you on the floor, but the variety of modes presented in this issue keep the story from depending solely on comedy. If you're looking for a little counterpoint to the responsibility and selflessness of Logan's character in Wolverine and the X-Men, check this book out. It's a great time.

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7.5
Wolverine (2010) #20

Dec 21, 2011

It's fun to watch Jason Aaron work. It's nice to see more weight to his plot, but I'm extremely happy that he's still including a strong dose of insanity. The transition from issue #19 to issue #21 doesn't go quite as smoothly for the artwork as it does for the scriptwork. However, this book is a solid, entertaining tale when all is said and done.

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7.5
Wolverine (2010) #300

Jan 11, 2012

If there's a character that fits Quentin Tarantino's character, Beatrix Kiddo, it's probably Wolverine, and, for the most part, I enjoyed Jason Aaron's ability to walk the line between camp and impactful moments of seriousness. I wasn't terribly impressed with the introduction of Silver Samurai's successor, but there were plenty of other bells and whistles here for me to come away a happy reader.

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7.4
Wolverine (2013) #1

Mar 12, 2013

In spite of the Cornell's subtle intimations and Davis' solid artwork, however, this book is, in and of itself, relatively pedestrian. This is not the first Marvel NOW title to slow-play its first issue, though,so readers may not feel too put off by the generic plot elements at this point. To tell whether this book is worth your precious money, take a quick flip throughthe book in your comic shop or find a preview onlinefor an idea of what Cornell and Davis have cooking.

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9
Wolverine and the X-Men #3

Dec 21, 2011

Jason Aaron gives this book what I would describe as a Scooby-Doo-like feeling, but I hope that my meaning won't be misinterpreted. Even though the reset of the book's circumstances by story's end is a little annoying and the outcome was never in question, Aaron's script and Bachalo's pencils make the ride an exceedingly enjoyable one. There's energy and attitude to spare, and I'm already excited about the next issue. I had a ton of fun reading this issue.

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9
Wolverine and the X-Men #10

May 9, 2012

This book has a whole lot to offer, with fantastic character development, effective humor, and exquisite use of symbolism. Shoot, this book even has a cool looking cover. I love Angel's new direction and how Aaron puts a clear divider in the ground for the character, clearing up any residual ambiguity from the Dark Angel Saga. Each character has a turn at being tremendously entertaining in this book, but the true sign that this issue is outstanding is that Cyclops and Wolverine are so real and relatable. If you're following the X-Men " even casually " this is a must buy. Simple as that.

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8
Wolverine and the X-Men #15

Aug 29, 2012

All in all, this book is a solid buy. I love Husk's sorta-creepy-sorta-sweet new relationship, Broo's continual evolution as an X-Man, and the heart-rending conflict running through the Shi'ar warriors. Even though it's not an essential read for the main AvX narrative, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book to current X-fans.

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8
Wolverine and the X-Men #23

Jan 9, 2013

A new antagonist rises from the ashes of the Murder Circus, and there appears to be reason for optimism that the next arc will bear more encompassing impact than its predecessor. As Aaron orchestrates the convergence of multiple plot threads in the relatively near future, I find myself growing more and more engrossed in what's in store for this title's young stars.

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7.5
Wolverine and the X-Men #24

Jan 23, 2013

I'm really glad that the focus has returned to Broo, and I'm still holding out hope for Warbird's role being expanded. However, I will admit that I am rarely less interested in this title than when generic Friends-like relationships are used to support more unique and interesting ones. There's a solid core here, though, and the book is, overall, enjoyable.

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9.2
Wolverine and the X-Men #25

Feb 14, 2013

Some of the greatest Wolverine and the X-Men issues have been buoyed by the details, and the latest issue is a prime example. Whether they're in-your-face details like the effect of Quentin's speech on his teammates, barely-there gems like Joe Caramagna's effects and lettering, or entirely invisible like Aaron's script work, this book is teeming with quality entertainment. Even the tongue-in-cheek jabs at Cyclops' open letter and roster schematics are pure gold. Palpable teen angst and danger have returned to the pages of Wolverine and the X-Men in an adventure that everyone needs to experience.

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7.6
Wolverine and the X-Men #27

Mar 27, 2013

I'm not going to act like I totally understood Aaron's reasons for assembling this particular cast at the beginning of this arc, nor am I prepared to say that I'm 100% behind the setup at this point. I will, however, say that I am enjoying the current storyline and that I'm excited to read more of what this series has to offer. The superficial aspects of this book are much less impressive than the deeper themes, so, if you can get past the basic facts of the story to see its timeless truths, you're likely to like this issue a lot more.

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8.5
Wolverine/Deadpool: The Decoy #1

Jul 27, 2011

The second story in this book is an unfunny throw-away tale, reprinted from the Summer Fun Spectacular, but the book easily stands on the strength of Moore's script and Crystal's pencils. This book was a great time, and I entreat the comic book Illuminati to work Moore into more Deadpool projects.

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8
Womanthology: Heroic Review #1

Mar 20, 2012

Womanthology: Heroic packs a large and varied collection of comic book-related content. When broken down by the numbers (pages of sequential storytelling, interviews, and instructional content) the cover price is justified fairly convincingly. To do so, however, is to miss the true value of the anthology. This hardcover combines heart, pragmatism, and professionalism into a unique mixture that will serve its target audiences well. More importantly, though, there aren't many better options for inviting young readers -- boys and girls -- into the world of creating comics.

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8.5
Wonder Woman (2011) #3

Nov 16, 2011

Wonder Woman #3 is yet another success in the short life of this series. There's no denying that a high standard has been set for this title, but there's also no doubt that whatever Azzarello and Chiang have in store for the future, it's going to be good.

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8.5
Wonder Woman (2011) #10

Jun 20, 2012

Wonder Woman is one of my favorite books, month to month, and it always surprises me. I keep expecting Justice League fights with Diana portrayed as a strong, positive female character who sets out to punish evil and right wrongs in the traditional comic book fashion. Instead, she's consistently a strong, positive female character who just listens to her heart and tries earnestly to be a good person. I had never seen Wonder Woman as that kind of character before Azzarello's run, but I wouldn't want it any other way. What's more, the book is so accessible to both adolescent readers and neophytes of any age that it has the ability to win your heart every issue. Now if I could just get my local comic shop to stop hiding Cliff Chiang's covers on the bottom row of the rack"

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6
X-23 (2010) #12

Jul 6, 2011

The emotional ground covered in this book develops X-23 beyond a morose killing machine, but the lack of action limits the audience to whom this story would appeal. Hopefully, the next installment of X-23 will incorporate more ways for Takeda to exhibit her sumptuous artwork than to produce fleeting zombie attacks and backdrops.

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7.5
X-23 (2010) #13

Aug 3, 2011

The story of issue #13 introduces a number of promising plot points, and the artwork matures the book's tone. The most appealing aspect of this issue, however, is the redefinition of X-23 as an independent and multi-faceted character. The issue does seem relatively light, but this is to be expected in the opening scenes of a new arc.

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7.5
X-23 (2010) #15

Oct 5, 2011

The main goals of this issue are to elucidate last issue's mystery and set up for the emotional vice of next issue, but we get a lot more. The backbone of the story is simple, and the fantasy elements seem somewhat out of place next to the FF's science. However, the action carries this issue, and Liu's cliffhanger promises more excitement to come.

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7.5
X-23 (2010) #16

Nov 2, 2011

Liu and Noto prove in X-23 #16 that they have successfully established a new mode for the series. This new mode is enjoyable, provided you can keep up with the fantastical abstractions, but I would have preferred that it last a bit longer and that the transition of this book's main plot to the series' background be handled a little more deliberately.

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7
X-23 (2010) #17

Nov 16, 2011

Yes, my friends, it's sad news that X-23 has been canceled. I honestly can't think of a better title to get young girls hooked on comics. This issue is a perfect example of that, though I did find that the new story that Liu and Takeda have crafted in issue #17 is a bit too melodramatic. Male or female, though, if you're looking to add a sizeable dose of teenage drama in your comics, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better book than X-23 #17.

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4.5
X-Club #1

Dec 7, 2011

There's clearly more depth to this miniseries than what's been shown in issue #1, but there isn't much reason to believe that it will be worth your money based on this book. If find yourself entertained by condescension and you don't mind storytelling that lacks nuance, it might be worth sticking around to find out how the X-Club roots out the real cause of the "dark." For the majority of readers, however, I would recommend skipping this title for now.

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8.5
X-Factor #221

Jun 15, 2011

Together, David and Calero are impressive in creating a dark, brooding direction for this series. The stage has been set for an epic showdown between the supernatural symbols of Rahne's sin and the strength that she draws from her friends and from inside herself.

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8.5
X-Factor #223

Aug 3, 2011

Peter David brings us further down the rabbit hole with this issue, and fans would be crazy not to follow. Each month, I find myself waiting with more anticipation for the next issue's subtext rather than its explicit plotline, but the main storyline (and its appeal to casual fans) should not be overlooked.

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8
X-Factor #224

Aug 17, 2011

It's interesting to wonder where David might go from here now that he's established that Rahne's sin, represented by her child and for which she is responsible, is now free to wreak havoc on the world. With Luppachino illustrating his scripts, it's almost a certainty that whatever form that path might take, his meaning will be conveyed in a clear and artistic manner.

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8
X-Factor #225

Sep 21, 2011

X-Factor continues to deliver with issue #225, but you don't need to be a longtime reader to enjoy the story. This book is as easy to get into as it is to appreciate. If you haven't been reading this title, check this issue out because things are about to get very interesting.

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8
X-Factor #226

Oct 19, 2011

There are plenty of memorable moments in this issue. The only substantial complaint that I have of the script is that David references an obscure fight from the early 90's to establish Hangman as a credible villain. I would expect such a talented writer to devise a more creative means of establishing Hangman as a threat, but this point is more of an annoyance than a critical problem. David doesn't move his arc's plot much in this episode, but, as a background to the enthralling interpersonal developments at play here, it still manages to feel fluid and satisfyingly significant. If you're looking for a smooth, character-driven title to get behind, you can't do much better than X-Factor.

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7
X-Factor #227

Nov 16, 2011

Our first introduction to Bloodbath in X-Factor #227 is quite the unexpected experience. David goes light on the development of the X-Factor team, but Bloodbath's personality is big enough to fill the void. If Bloodbath's introduction isn't enough to throw you off balance, the book ends in a nutty cliffhanger that is sure to have me scratching my head until issue #228.

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8.5
X-Factor #228

Dec 7, 2011

I was unsure of Peter David's newest X-Factor villain, but this issue proves that he really works. David is working his magic with this title yet again, and I find myself wanting to read the next issue before finishing even this week's comics. If you're not caught up on this title, you might want to wait for the trade, but it's sure to warrant a purchase when it's released.

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9
X-Factor #231

Feb 1, 2012

For me, this book has just about everything I could want. It's interesting on both intellectual and visceral levels. It has strong artwork that improves upon a strong story. And, perhaps most apparent, it's pretty freaking hilarious. This book isn't the greatest jumping-on point for new readers, but I'm sure there are copies of X-Factor #230 in most people's comic shops (not to mention digital) that will help. Stick this title on your pull list now, because it's one of the most consistently enjoyable comic books in the industry.

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7.5
X-Factor #233

Mar 21, 2012

This issue of X-Factor is enjoyable on a number of levels. The new direction for the title follows smartly on the tail of Madrox's journey through the multiverse, a new status quo is established for the new incarnation of X-Factor, and a menacing new villain is introduced. The script suffers from a lack of a central driving force, though, and the overall experience seems slightly less substantial than readers may be expecting from David. The artwork is laudable in most aspects, but there are a few technical details that may detract from the enjoyment of readers who focus on the book's art. These flaws aren't enough to derail the comic to an appreciable degree, however, and readers should be very excited with the future that this issue foreshadows.

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8.5
X-Factor #235

May 3, 2012

Readers should ready themselves for an emotional roller coaster before reading X-Factor #235. David and Kirk are firing on all cylinders, and it's unlikely that fans will walk away unsatisfied. A quick re-read/purchase of the excellent X-Factor #234 might help transition readers into this issue, but it's not necessary. By all means, though, get on the X-Factor bandwagon because you're missing out on one of the best titles around if you're not.

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8
X-Factor #236

May 16, 2012

I'm continually in awe of Peter David's ability to sense when a story needs to tip in one direction or the other. Following an issue heavy with emotional gymnastics, this book is a welcome change of pace. It provides the catharsis needed to reset the plot for its next stage while remaining grounded in substance and meaning. Readers unfamiliar with upcoming characters will find this issue to be ahelpful introduction to the relevant historicalcircumstanceswhile longtime fans will enjoy the way in which events are teased.

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7
X-Factor #237

Jun 6, 2012

I can't guarantee that following Rahne on her religious journey will intrigue you as much as it does me. I don't know if the subtlety of David's presentation will ring as true to you, either. If you aren't so concerned with life's deeper questions or how they affect those near us, consider this review a case of agreeing to disagree. If, on the other hand, you find yourself on a similar journey as Rahne or you wonder why guilt (especially in the context of religion) can affect people's behavior so profoundly, you would do well to sit down with this issue. Either way, expectthingsto be back to normal in issue #238.

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8
X-Factor #240

Jul 18, 2012

The latest issue of X-Factor shines its light on Layla, letting readers spendsome timein her shoes. Aside from offering an in-depth look at one of the more mysterious members of the team, Peter David gives his readership some intriguing philosophical questions to ponder. It's nearly impossible to come away from this issue thinking of Layla as the one who knows stuff and brings people back to life. In just one issue, newcomers and veteran readers have a comprehensive understanding of the insecurities and motivations behind the eyes of Madrox's squeeze. Pick up a copy, and enjoy, one and all.

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7
X-Factor #242

Aug 15, 2012

In the end, there'san entertainingmix of action and plot progression to be found in this issue. The book is primarily a means of re-racking David's hanging plot threads, but it manages to carry enough dramatic tension to remain enjoyable. Things are heating up in Rahne's family, but the biggest surprises may be waiting in the form of Darwin and his connections to Asgard.

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6
X-Factor #243

Sep 5, 2012

There are bound to be missteps in any great series, and this is, unfortunately, a misstep for X-Factor. The issue is clearly a transition towards greater things to come, but everything feels so forced and inconsequential right now. We get some explanation as to why Polaris has always acted a little different than everyone else, and David includes a healthy dose of his slick dialog. However, the shortcomings outweigh the achievements in this book.

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9
X-Factor #244

Sep 19, 2012

Last issue was clearly a setup for something big, and, unlike many of David's arcs, the payoff is quite immediate. I am so excited to see what happens next, I honestly can't wait until next issue. Be sure to pick up this book if you're a fan of the series because it's a brand new world from here on in!

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6.5
X-Factor #245

Oct 17, 2012

Don't let the score sway your opinion, here. This is one of those issues that will appeal strongly to one type of reader and repulse another. It's not terribly difficult to find technical flaws in this issue, but, overall, it's a sturdy episode. When deciding on this one, it's best to be honest with yourself about whether or not you can stand an issue entirely comprised of superheroes emoting.

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7.2
X-Factor #246

Nov 7, 2012

As the cover to X-Factor #246 suggests, the pieces of Peter David's puzzle are slowly coming together, and Pip rises to a significant role. The story is good without being great; however, its contributions serveas an emotional touchstone for the seriesand a deepening of the title's intrigue, making it well worth a read.

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5.5
X-Factor #248

Dec 5, 2012

By the end of the book, the absurdity has sunken in far enough that the close is bearable, but I wouldn't characterize it as a good time. If a goofy vibe and arbitrary direction are what you're looking for, you may find this book interesting. Be warned though, you will need to put up with some unfortunate mistakes in the art, including the dreaded spent-bullet-that-still-has-its-casing.

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9.5
X-Factor #250

Jan 16, 2013

In a week full of absolutely stellar releases, I'm thrilled to say that X-Factor is right up there with the best of them. Everything works in this issue. If there's one knock I can give this book, it's that a lot of what goes on may be over newcomers' heads. I think there's enough of a foothold for fresh faces to join the bandwagon here, but it would behoove them to rifle through the back issue bin or take advantage of digital sales. Top marks, and a job well done to all involved.

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6
X-Men Legacy #251

Jun 22, 2011

Mike Carey delivers a solid story in X-Men Legacy #251 that leads us to the upcoming showdown with Styx, but the issue can't escape the pall of filler. While it does the job, this book can easily be passed up in favor of what's to come.

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7
X-Men Legacy #252

Jul 27, 2011

If you've been enjoying this arc so far, you'll definitely enjoy this one. Casual X-fans may not find a lot to sink their claws into here, though.

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6.5
X-Men Legacy #253

Aug 10, 2011

After such a long lead-in, the resolution to the Lost Legions storyline falls a little flat. Carey's plot is a bit disorganized, and not much attention is paid to the interpersonal relationships at play. In spite of these faults, this book is worth picking up if you've followed the arc this far.

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7.5
X-Men Legacy #254

Aug 24, 2011

As many positive aspects as the X-Men's recent domestic struggles may have had, this issue instantly raises the bar. Suayan's artwork definitely isn't the selling point here, but it's not so bad that it ruin's Carey's exciting new feel for the series. It's hard to see how this series is going to be anything but a rollicking good time from here.

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7.5
X-Men Legacy #256

Sep 28, 2011

Despite the long drooping bridge which is Carey's mid-issue exposition and Kurth's broken-neck figure positions, this issue holds a lot of enjoyment.

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6.5
X-Men Legacy #258

Nov 9, 2011

This issue feels like the last five minutes of an episode of MacGuyver. Everything falls together neatly, and, although you have this nagging feeling of being cheated somehow, you still know that you enjoyed yourself. Kurth manages not to derail the narrative with his recurring difficulties, so fans should approach this book without trepidation.

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8
X-Men Legacy #259

Nov 30, 2011

This book does a lot of things well, and, for the relatively low price of $2.99, you'd do well to snap up a copy. It's a well-timed and approachable character study that doesn't succumb to the tendency of stagnation from which such stories usually suffer. The mystery of the stowaway spirit presented and solved in this issue is engrossing, and the momentum of the final pages is contagious. An enjoyable book all around.

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6.5
X-Men Legacy #265

Apr 25, 2012

In addition to the fact that this book doesn't even reference the showdown between the X-Men and the Avengers, it justifies the absence of an AvX header on the cover by focusing entirely on introspection and thoughtful reflection. The points made concerning what it's like to absorb another character's powers and having the confidence to stand on one's own are strong points. The problem is that the manner in which they are explored feels haphazard and drawn out. This book may hit a subsection of its readers at the right time in their biorhythms, but, for others, it may be a little too slow.

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4
X-Men Legacy #266

May 9, 2012

Instead of taking advantage of the ludicrous, panicky attitude leading up to most conflicts in AvX to point out similarities in the panicky reactions to tractable problems exhibited by average citizens in the real world, it almost endorses such a reaction. I actually felt more agitated and less rational after reading this book. Without a compelling storyline, deeper meaning, or even pretty pictures, it's hard to recommend this book to anyone.

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6
X-Men Legacy #268

Jun 13, 2012

The premise for building Frenzy's character in this issue is pretty convoluted, leading to a story in which the incremental gains made in our understanding of Frenzy are undercut by the lack of focus in the larger debate over might versus right. It is unlikely that Gage intended to advocate that violence is okay as long as a person is doing it of their own volition, but it's entirely possible for the reader to come away with that impression. Due to the inelegant presentation of the themes in this story, a dearth of innovation in Frenzy's backstory, and a total lack of any impact on the Avengers versus X-Men story, it may be better to leave this one on the rack.

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7.5
X-Men Legacy #269

Jun 27, 2012

The new conundrum placed before Rogue isn't overly revolutionary, but, in light of how deep this series dives inside Rogue's mind, I'm interested in seeing the AvX conflict through her eyes. I wish that Gage had found a more substantial way to induce Rogue's new mental state, and it seemed strange for her to refer to people she's known for decades as "the Phoenix Five" instead of by name. However, these are minor concerns. This book gets a green light for all X-fans and readers looking for a different angle on the AvX storyline.

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7
X-Men Legacy #271

Aug 8, 2012

X-Men Legacy #271 is solid entertainment, but the familiarity of several ofits aspects keep it from being something memorable. Perhaps the best news moving forward is that Rogue will be far, far away from the Phoenix Five for at least a couple more issues. I don't know how much we can expect in terms of character development from this arc, but the potential for fun action should be enough to satisfy most"capes-and-tights" fans.

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4.9
X-Men Legacy #275

Oct 31, 2012

It's sad to see such a storied title end with such a meek effort. The only spot of light to be found here is the positive message in Rogue's speech, and it's only earned after slogging through a nonsensical setup. This book really isn't worth your money unless you're buying it for a younger reader who may just be getting into comics.

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8.5
X-Men Vol. 4 #14

Jul 6, 2011

Yost performs some sleight of hand in this issue, dropping the tension that's building up around Cyclops onto the shoulders of Magneto. This doesn't sound so impressive at first, but the effect of delaying the story's resolution for an extra beat is substantial. The juxtaposition of Magneto's righteous fury in days gone by with his heroic concern for humanity in the present sets up the cliffhanger lurking in the book's final pages. Yost's skillful work in bringing together this arc's various threads make this issue a great read.

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6
X-Men Vol. 4 #16

Aug 24, 2011

You could do far worse by closing your eyes and picking at random from your local comic shop's shelves, but this book probably won't make anyone's "Top 25 Comics of 2011" list any time soon. Fans of this series are likely to find this issue entertaining enough, but it may be a bit too vanilla for casual readers.

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7.5
X-Men Vol. 4 #20

Nov 2, 2011

I'm excited about this title once again, and I'm looking forward to what Gischler can do with these characters outside of the spotlight's glare. The use of Sentinels as weapons of mass destruction traded on the black market is a fun take on an old concept, and I'm hoping that Gischler can do the same with Domino, Psylocke, Jubilee, Colossus, and Warpath.

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6.5
X-Men Vol. 4 #21

Nov 16, 2011

X-Men #21 represents a decent effort by Gischler and Conrad that seems to signal a narrowing of the title's scope. All in all, though, I'm still enjoying the tone being established for this series. However, in all honesty, shelling out four bucks for not much more than a decent effort is a bit more than I can recommend.

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6
X-Men Vol. 4 #22

Dec 7, 2011

X-Men #22 forgoes development of team dynamics in favor of creating a spark for greater drama to come. Unfortunately, it seems that there's not much hope for the Stealth Recon Team to return to is skulking ways with war on the horizon. If you're on the fence about this one, you're probably better waiting for an issue with a little more meat.

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5
X-Men Vol. 4 #23

Jan 4, 2012

The first arc for the Regenesis stage of this title's run coasts through to its finish on fumes rather than powering through convincingly. I still don't like the team either individually or as a whole. The cliffhanger is poorly executed as well, leaving little momentum for the next issue.

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4.5
X-Men Vol. 4 #24

Feb 8, 2012

I guess I should have known better than to hope much for the new direction of this series. Instead of an improvement on his first arc's underwhelming covert ops storyline, Gischler focuses his second arc on my least favorite aspect of the X-Men: Jubilee's vampirism. The optimist in me wants to believe that this arc is the necessary means to the end of moving past Jubilee's condition once and for all, but I just can't bring myself to wait it out. Consider this title dropped.

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8.8
X-Men Vol. 4 #39

Dec 5, 2012

Top shelf work, Messrs. Peck, Azaceta, and Southworth. The dialog is terrific, the artwork is beautiful. I owe my renewed interest in this title entirely to you. These creators really should have their own Domino solo title, be it under the X-Men heading or an eponymous one. Make it happen, Marvel.

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6.8
X-Men Vol. 4 #41

Feb 14, 2013

Issue #41 is a meek ending for such a recognizable title; however, the series never established itself as a must have line for any appreciable length of time, anyway. An empty spot on the comic shop wall where this title is supposed to be shouldn't be a concern to anyone other than completionist collectors. For everyone else, it's worth a spin but is overshadowed by the prospect of Brian Wood's next run on the property.

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7.5
Zorro Rides Again #2

Aug 31, 2011

Surely, things will pick up quickly in the next issue, but it would be a mistake to overlook this book. The artwork and authenticity of the script should be enough to see even casual Western fans through the story's pacing problems.

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