Ray Tate's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comics Bulletin Reviews: 2891
8.1Avg. Review Rating

10
24: One Shot #1

Aug 6, 2004

The book is as good as the show, and certainly better than season two when we factor in Kim "Where Platinum Blondes Go Trouble Follows" Bauer's escapades. I'm not sure how a comic book series might work, but based upon the one-shot, I'd have to say my doubts on that would also be unfounded.

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4.0
52 #52

May 5, 2007

52 isn't quite good enough to be mediocre. Therefore I cannot bestow to it the bland, emotionless score of three bullets. On the other hand, I'm not outraged over 52 just puzzled as to the whole creative reason for its existence. I can see the monetary rationale. It therefore earns two bullets. I didn't enjoy it. I didn't hate it. It was unnecessary, if you ask me.

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4.0
52: Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #1

Sep 1, 2007

I'm really hoping for 52: Aftermath--The Four Horsemen to get better. I'm hoping, but I suspect I'll be disappointed. If you took out the 52 and the Amazons Attack references, if you made the meeting of the Big Three Minds special and focused less on the villains, I think this story would have been better.

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4.0
52: Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #2

Sep 29, 2007

For a feature with a kick-ass super-hero fighting zombie hordes, go see Resident Evil: Extinction. Stay away from 52: Aftermath--The Four Horsemen. I will never trust DC's promos again. Never before have the legends of DC been so stagnant.

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4.0
52: Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #3

Nov 3, 2007

What The Four Horseman amounts to is a marketing ploy targeted at hardcore DC heads. The lure of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman smacking the Four Horsemen around in a one-shot, even a six issue series, would appeal to somebody like me, but that audience will find their heroes sadly lacking and being undermined by DC's precious 52 ciphers who are all important because DC told you they are. As far as I am concerned, DC has committed fraud by false advertising. I will never trust them again.

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4.0
52: Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #4

Dec 1, 2007

The Four Horsemen was advertised as a single issue starring Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. We get a glimpse at what might have been, but it's not enough and it took too long to get there. Giffin treats Wonder Woman shabily in the story, and the intellectual conversation between the Chief and Veronica Cale which I guess acts as a bizarre geek climax is complete rubbish. “The nervous system, neurological clusters, the ‘circuitry if you will'" does not remain intact after an individual dies. When death occurs, the entire body decays. Necrosis starts instantly. Tissues immediately begin to wither. The cellular powerhouses stop, and each fiber of the being begins to unravel. Everything in the body dies, including the “nervous system, the neurological clusters, the ‘circuitry if you will.'” If the body is resuscitated in time, cells replicate to replace the ones that have already been damaged beyond recovery. Brain damage can still occur during the

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4.0
52: Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #5

Dec 29, 2007

This is the best issue of The Four Horsemen, but I cannot give it that much higher of a return. The Four Horsemen was advertised as a one-shot. That made sense. If Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman join forces practically nothing can stop them. I doubt even Cthulhu, the most heinous creature from literature, could do much more than make their victory an exhausting one. The Four Horsemen aren't anywhere near the glimmer of Cthulhu's level. In terms of threat, the Four Horsemen make Ali Babble more formidable. It's difficult however to feel any kind of emotion regarding their supposed capabilities since they're menacing characters who are two-dimensional whiners and/or thoroughly unlikeable, stupid and far from innocent.

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2.0
52: Aftermath: The Four Horsemen #6

Jan 12, 2008

Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman figure prominently on the marketing poster to Final Crisis, but thanks to 52 Aftermath The Four Horsemen, people should know that such symbolism means absolutely nothing. That's what this mini-series has taught me. Never trust DC ever again. Never take them at their word. Never believe the blurbs. Never blindly put things on my subscription list. It doesn't matter if it's Keith Giffin or Grant Morrison. Never hope.

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8.0
Abe Sapien: The Haunted Boy #1

Oct 31, 2009

I didn't expect much from this Abe Sapien one-shot, but I found the story engrossing and the art riveting. Abe easily carried the story by himself, and he proved to be an engaging solo hero.

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10
Action Comics #814

Apr 16, 2004

Chuck Austen returns to Superman an abandoned sense of fun, and Ivan Reis returns to Action Comics dynamics and anatomy. What's more, this comic book can be read by anybody at any age. It's smart enough for kids and adults.

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6.0
Action Comics #815

May 14, 2004

This issue Ivan Reiss is the best thing about Action Comics, but for once the meaning usually behind that phrase does not pertain to the rest of tale. It's funny but the Gog part of the story I felt would be the most annoying part. Thanks to Superman's constant mockery of his foe, this part turned out to be the most fun. The Titans' presence while plausible remind readers needlessly of events that should stay forgotten, and Jack Ryder's nastiness confuses.

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8.0
Action Comics #816

Jun 12, 2004

The biggest plus of the story is that the battle is about something. Superman throughout the story reminds the reader why he fights Gog. He fights to save the innocents of Smallville. Why, it's almost as if he's a...super-hero. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Don't tell anybody!

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6.0
Action Comics #817

Jul 17, 2004

The story could have been tighter, but there are some real moments where Austen's ability shines through. The continuity issue of the shared DCU offers a problem that cannot easily be explained away, and in fact, it occurs to me that if the majority of the super-hero community simply stood in front of the doors to STAR Labs that they could very well stare down the opposition without a single punch thrown or a single drop of blood being spilled. "Criminals are a cowardly, superstitious lot."

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8.0
Action Comics #818

Aug 14, 2004

Despite the caveats, Action Comics represents a new era for Superman. A kickass era where Superman isn't a namby-pamby who flies over wreckage and lets tidal waves hit.

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2.0
Action Comics #819

Sep 10, 2004

Apart from Austen's abysmal characterization for Lana, he undermines the title further with an incestuous version of the Wonder Twins as the threat d'jour. Avoid at all costs.

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4.0
Action Comics #820

Oct 16, 2004

The only good scene occurs when Superman saves a very frightened girl, but he really let Silver Banshee's death toll go way too far. Was he on a sandwich break or what?

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6.0
Action Comics #827

May 11, 2005

Simone sadly does not research her subject enough. How can Repulse affect a bronze statue? Bronze is a precious metal and unaffected by magnetism. Magnetism cannot bend light. Gravity bends light, and exactly why is Superman blinded by the infra-red spectra? He can see that far down the rainbow, but why would specifically that portion blind him? Magnetism shouldn't be able to affect Superman's ability to absorb sunlight. This is implied by Repulse's dialogue. In fact, Superman even blinded should be able to mop up the floor with Repulse and Polaris. Maybe the next story will be better.

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2.0
Adventures Of Superman #533

Oct 23, 2004

This leaves the story. Rucka provides adequate dialogue, but there's no happiness in the tale nor a sense of wonder. Everything seems ultra-serious and unexciting. If you want to experience a truer version of Superman, watch Smallville.

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8.0
Adventures Of Superman #627

Apr 23, 2004

This is a good opening to Rucka's Superman. Mr. Rucka though an author more at home with grim and gritty seems to know that the presence of a Superman upsets the noir genre. Matthew Clark's art conveys the energy of Superman against a Metropolis that looks like a real city rather than a Mattel toy. If you haven't paid your respects on the Man of Steel lately, now just may be the best time to do so.

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8.0
Aeon Flux #1

Oct 8, 2005

Mike Kennedy provides a visually geared script that drops the reader right into the action. The art in Aeon Flux offers a huge improvement over the source. Cover artist Timothy Green, with the excellent colors of Dan Jackson, puts meat on the bones of the characters, maintains a snappy pace through the panels and for the second act quieter scenes almost emulates Moebus.

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8.0
Aeon Flux #2

Nov 5, 2005

Aeon Flux is also very timely. The psychological damage done by the noise from the Utopians battle against the plants mirrors the reports in the news about how sonic booms by Israeli jets terrify children and allegedly cause women to go into premature labor and suffer miscarriages. Sound, especially that of disco, of course has been used as a weapon of torture for decades.

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6.0
Aeon Flux #3

Dec 9, 2005

The plot in the mini-series deals with an attempt at keeping the encroaching fauna but at the risk of psychological damage to those living in the city. This plot is entirely different from that seen in the movie, and while it does work, the movie's plot is just more complex and based more on actual speculative science.

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6.0
Aeon Flux #4

Jan 7, 2006

Mike Kennedy's plot fits with the organic versus inorganic nature of Aeon Flux, but against the farther reaching story in the film, it just seems like a shoulder shrug. As with the artists, I would love to see Kennedy work on something else. His plots are finely tuned. He seems capable of producing a beginning, middle and an end, and I'm sure there were constraints associated with producing Aeon Flux that he had to follow.

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10
Afrodisiac #1

Feb 10, 2010

The book is made for grindhouse fans, but all can appreciate the artwork and the fact that this hardback with excellent paper stock is only fifteen dollars.

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10
Agents Of Atlas #1

Aug 5, 2006

By the end of the book, you know that you're in the hands of a new maestro. My hope is that Agents of Atlas will one day have a crossover with Birds of Prey so Bob's technology can fix Babs Gordon's spine.

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6.0
Agents Of Atlas #2

Sep 9, 2006

Parker leaves the proceedings on a cliffhanger that gives readers a taste of the Big Bad last seen in The Avengers and promises excitement. I'm fairly certain Parker and company will deliver.

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10
Agents Of Atlas #3

Oct 7, 2006

Even the murmurs of the Civil War do not distract readers from an outstanding issue of Agents of Atlas. The sublime lines of Leonard Kirk and Kris Justice allows for the complexity of character provided by Jeff Parker to be absorbed without the impediment of over-rendered pap in an action-filled mystery echoing back to the past.

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10
Agents Of Atlas #4

Nov 4, 2006

I'm not calling for the end to advertisements. I understand that advertisements keep the costs of producing whatever you happen to be creating, but how about a little respect for the flow of the story? Stupid, stupid publisher.

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10
Agents Of Atlas #5

Dec 9, 2006

The art and story in Agents of Atlas is just incredible. Parker and company run through all the traditions of the super-hero tale in a tightly paced tableau of visual power that impresses. They hint at mysteries that keep the reader looking for the next page and the next issue.

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8.0
Agents Of Atlas Vol. 2 #1

Feb 7, 2009

The Agents of Atlas return to resist the Dark Reign of Norman Osborn in the alternate Marvel universe once ruled by the Iron Tyrant. With their return, Parker reminds readers that once there were heroes. They rise again.

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10
Agents Of Atlas Vol. 2 #2

Mar 7, 2009

So in summary. Namora takes a helicopter upside the Grizzly's body. It's not just any cape or cowl. It's Namora. Namora issues a sense of history. Namora is a Golden Age super-hero. Namora has a motivation for ripping a helicopter in two and smashing said helicopter into the Grizzly. Even Namora's dialogue sounds heroic. So you need not have read the last series or even the last issue to understand what goes on. Screw the talking heads. Screw the introspection. Screw the 'effin deconstruction. Show more scenes of super-heroes splintering aircraft and crushing villains. Stop creating super-heroes that merely fill a role. Stop making generic knock-offs of better super-heroes. You want to create a hero? Do the work. Make me care about him or her. Stop bringing back heroes in forms that are alien to their histories. Stop crippling, raping and killing the really good heroes that you've got, and let them do what they are supposed to do: rip the tails off of helicopters and s

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10
Agents Of Atlas Vol. 2 #6

Jun 9, 2009

Ignore the meager cover. Buy Agents of Atlas, and enjoy. Parker conceives a witty story that bears historical significance. Hardman and Schirmer make each panel a gorgeous feast for the eyes.

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6.0
Agents Of Atlas Vol. 2 #9

Aug 8, 2009

This issue of Agents of Atlas is a trifle underwhelming when compared to previous issues. It's still however more adventurous, interesting, optimistic and smartly written than most of Marvel's titles.

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8.0
Agents Of Atlas Vol. 2 #10

Sep 5, 2009

Action-packed, filled with character bits that bank on the better qualities of humanity, Agents of Atlas is the best book set in continuity proper that Marvel publishes.

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10
All-Star Superman #2

Jan 21, 2006

J. Lo--the artist formerly known as Jennifer Lopez. A dubious singer who admittedly gave a decent acting performance in Anaconda.

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8.0
All-Star Superman #3

Apr 1, 2006

The dialogue can be quite beautiful at times as can the artwork. Morrison and Quitely have a forte for expressing super-heroes. Perhaps it's because they actually like them.

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6.0
All-Star Superman #4

Jun 24, 2006

Bearing in mind that I hate Jimmy Olsen and hate Doomsday, I still feel that the story is only a passable diversion in the All-Star Superman canon. However, I do not feel I can judge this tale too harshly even though I sorely want to do so, especially since it seems that Jimmy is going to have sex with Lucy at the end of the story. The character is just too unwarrantedly lucky.

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10
All-Star Superman #5

Sep 2, 2006

Only one mystery remains at the end of the issue. When exactly did Luthor lose that eyebrow?

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10
All-Star Superman #6

Jan 6, 2007

Chronovore--Time eater first seen in a different form on Doctor Who, during the Jon Pertwee era. Later reappeared in a different incarnation in the Hugo-Nominated Doctor Who episode, "Father's Day," during the far too-short Christopher Eccleston run.

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6.0
All-Star Superman #7

Apr 14, 2007

The ending acts as a decent solution--that makes good use of the backward nature of the Bizarros, but the final scene just made this reader roll his eyes.

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6.0
All-Star Superman #8

Jul 7, 2007

If you like Bizarro, this is the All-Star Superman issue for you. You'll be in heaven. If you dislike or don't care about Bizarro, the issue of All-Star Superman is a passable time-waster.

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10
All-Star Superman #9

Nov 17, 2007

Previously I've spoken about Frank Quitely's scope, and while the anamorphic widescreen treatment can be seen in these pages, it's Quitely's treatment of character that proves to be more fascinating. Given two knew Kryptonians, Quitely uses body language to distinguish them from Kal-El. You actually don't need to read a single word in this comic book to understand the story and the characters. You can observe Quitely's artwork and comprehend the plot, the interaction of the cast and what makes each character tick. As well, you can feel the emotional depth that's reflected in Morrison's story.

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10
All-Star Superman #10

Mar 30, 2008

Superman saves a life during his daily patrol. He does not catch this life out of the sky. He does not snatch that life from the certain doom of a death ray. He saves this life with his presence, his words and his honesty. He saves the life by simply being Superman. The scene is perfectly executed, and it is why All-Star Superman isn't merely a good book but a great book.

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8.0
All-Star Superman #11

Jun 6, 2008

Lex Luthor's B story is the least interesting thing in All Star Superman. When was the last time that happened? The dialogue, however, is pitch-perfect: encapsulating Luthor's ego and hatred for the Man of Steel. His niece is a riot, yet I almost wish that Morrison had simply dropped the section involving Luthor to instead focus on Superman's final battle against a cosmic threat to the earth. The two stories don't mesh very well, and that's why the book itself isn't as ideal as other chapters in the series.

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10
All-Star Superman #12

Sep 21, 2008

Morrison has done the phenomenal. Rather than cheapen Superman by nullifying his power. He has instead created a super man in both mind and body. He has given Superman senses beyond ours and the intelligence to comprehend practically everything, even the wonderfully chaotic humans that he defends. He has made Superman an alien raised human and therefore gifted with humility. For the sake of drama, Morrison crafted menaces that often dwarfed Superman in power. By doing that, Morrison reminded comic book readers that before there were all these copies of Superman flitting about, there was only one Superman, and often he was the only one who could save us all.

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10
Amazing Spider-Man #501

Nov 29, 2003

This issue of Amazing Spider-Man covers all facets of the Wall-Crawler. It makes for new readers a good starting point while still entertaining those already caught in Spidey's web.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #502

Dec 27, 2003

Once again J. Michael Straczynski, John Romita Jr., Scott Hanna and Matt Milla make Amazing Spider-Man the best Spidey book on the racks and indeed one of the best titles in the comic book store.

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6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #503

Jan 31, 2004

I would have appreciated Amazing Spider-Man more had the authors not cheated and gone back to the Dormammu plot which I thought was rendered void through magical time travel. Still, magic seldom if ever obeys the laws of physics, and this is an okay tale that's far superior to most Spidey stories just not reaching the level of quality expected from the creative team.

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10
Amazing Spider-Man #504

Feb 28, 2004

The creative team of Amazing Spider-Man do not even seem to be trying very hard, yet they achieve more fun and intelligence in this story than whatever hyped up nonsense happens to be on the comic book news radar.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man #505

Mar 22, 2004

While MJ takes in the lovely colors of a sunset at Fisherman's Wharf, the sun rises in Manhattan, and an unexpected development changes the serene atmosphere and laughingly petty theft into a tense drama that once more expresses the creative team's comprehension of their medium. In reality this situation could have easily become a tragedy. Spidey's presence changes that outcome in fiction.

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10
Amazing Spider-Man #506

Apr 10, 2004

Even exposition sounds good in this issue of Amazing Spider-Man. Just about the only problem I can find in the story is the presence of an Native American in the opening. He, and the role he plays, is a little cliche and unfortunately reminds one of Vandhino from The Mystery Science Theater Experiment Puma Man.

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10
Amazing Spider-Man #507

May 22, 2004

John Romita Jr. will soon be leaving Amazing Spider-Man, and this issue could not be a better farewell. The scenes of arachnid attack he makes creepy. The scenes involving M.J.'s attempt to hit the stage he makes subtle and natural, and he instills unbelievable drama to flashbacks and summary to Spidey's life.

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4.0
Amazing Spider-Man #508

Jun 19, 2004

John Romita Jr.'s art has been a massive asset to Amazing Spider-Man. He doesn't leave on his best work. Again, his Morlun battles were far more impressive not to mention action-packed. These pages just feel dry and tired. Pity.

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2.0
Amazing Spider-Man #510

Aug 2, 2004

In summary, "bleah, bleah, bleah!" "Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!"

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2.0
Amazing Spider-Man #511

Aug 27, 2004

A bad premise leads to a bad story that's badly executed. The real question that has to be asked is whether or not Mr. Straczynski was hit before the story's conception by a two-by-four or a four-by-four.

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2.0
Amazing Spider-Man #512

Oct 3, 2004

Prepare second arrest warrant should the accelerated aging be responsible for the Green Goblin/Gwen Stacy Tots' death or should one Tot kill the other Tot.

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2.0
Amazing Spider-Man #513

Oct 31, 2004

In short, "Sins of the Past" in Amazing Spider-Man is one of the finest arguments for abortion I have ever read. I'm betting a bipartisan committee would agree. Shame on Straczynski. Shame on Marvel.

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6.0
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #43

Jul 27, 2002

John Romita Jr. provides a traditional Doc Ock but I really couldn't care about the loon since he is a villain after all. He does however need to feed Mary Jane sometime. She's dangerously close to fading away.

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4.0
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #44

Sep 1, 2002

The final scene shows a plausible difference in the temperaments between Doc Ock and the usurper mollusk. While Doc has threatened at one time to kill three million Manhattanites and indeed would have killed those Manhattanites if not for Spidey's timely arrival, Doc Ock does not wantonly kill. The example from the past was a simple pay-up-or-die scheme. In the instance of the climax, Doc Ock hasn't a reason to harm any innocent bystanders. Thus, his actions make perfect sense.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #45

Sep 29, 2002

John Romita Jr. effectively pins Spidey's expression with determination, desperation and dishevelment. He looks ready to fall over at any moment. Romita's Mary Jane looks far better this issue than she did the last chapter. Not only does she appear sturdier. She also is more expressive with a clear concern for Spidey' welfare. Her worry over her husband makes the penultimate scene acceptable and gives the end-note its heart.

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10
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #46

Nov 9, 2002

The villain of the story is unique. JMS creates a villain who has a sort of happy-go-luck, lethal attitude that is the darker reflection of Spidey's Looney Tunes persona. This is a villain who likes to play but has no interest in reforming or bedding down the Wall-Crawler--although this tradition is given a subversive twist at the end as a gut-busting crescendo.

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10
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #47

Nov 24, 2002

John Romita Jr. also makes this book more about emotion than simple super-hero/ super-villain action. His depiction of faces is meaningful. Shathra has a look of vicious amusement. Spider-Man's anger is palpable. The friendly neighborhood cameos perfectly express the disbelief and disgust they have toward Shathra's accusations. While Mary Jane really should know better, her reaction depicts a vulnerability and genuine sense of hurt.

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10
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #48

Jan 6, 2003

John Romita Jr. once again matches the breathtaking level he attained for the Morlun saga, but he does not retread. Instead, he achieves this feeling by creating a world of webbing and a primal stark battlefield.

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2.0
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #49

Jan 26, 2003

This issue of Amazing Spider-Man is ridiculous. It lacks a single original thought in the main theme, and it's only novelty can be found in the aforementioned throwaway gags. The story does however have good artwork, but no matter how good the artwork, it cannot possess meaning if the story means nothing.

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10
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #50

Mar 1, 2003

John Romita Jr. has been letting me down lately with his depiction of Mary Jane as an anorexic, but in this issue, he beefs her up and gives her real emotion expressed with subtle head movements. Spidey he portrays as wiry and given a frame that recalls his namesake. His version of the mystery guest is beefier but also graceful. This character stands out when showing a human side in comprehending Spidey's interaction with Mary Jane.

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4.0
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #51

Mar 29, 2003

The second joke which involves detective Lamount would have worked better visually. I would have rather seen the heroes mentioned in his dialogue stop by, check the character's credentials and go on their business as he waits for Spidey.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #52

Apr 26, 2003

Artwork by John Romita Jr., Scott Hanna and Dan Kemp amazes and delights. The fight scenes excite, and the scenes with Peter and M.J. evoke a tenderness that belies the more stylized comic book look that certainly supports the lighter, comical scenes. I'm constantly awed at how much emotion Mr. Romita can weave from Spidey's face even when covered by a full-face mask. Were you merely to leaf through the book and ignore the crackling dialogue, you can just by observing the artwork still understand the emotions at play.

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4.0
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #53

May 24, 2003

These set-pieces could have been gently worked into any story. Unfortunately, Mr. Straczynski chose to knit them into this uninspired tale merging a lesser Hulk and gangster cliches. Worse, it continues next issue. The sorry concept barely has enough steam for two.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #54

Jul 5, 2003

John Romita Jr.'s work is as ever brilliant, but it's not really the big battle scenes that caught my attention. The battle just never really seemed to require a grand display of Spidey's powers. His understated reactions from the characters however help Mr. Straczynski reap the maximum impact from the jokes.

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10
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #55

Jul 19, 2003

John Romita Jr. who has outdone himself for scenes spotlighting Spidey cutting loose against Morlun or Shathra accomplishes equally well the quieter scenes where a little girl gets a helping hand by her friendly neighborhood teacher and in the panels depicting the closeness between M.J. and Peter. He shows in body language how the single mom is attracted to Peter and has lots of fun as Spidey plays with the seriously stupid and outgunned group of local hoods. This issue of Amazing Spider-Man isn't laden with special effects or fight choreography, nevertheless, it is an outstanding issue.

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10
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #56

Aug 17, 2003

John Romita Jr. has fun playing with the high drama and high comedy of the scenes. His panels beautifully teeter amid both moods so that the reader does not know quite what to expect. Do those headlights foreshadow foreboding doom, or are they merely headlights?

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10
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #57

Aug 30, 2003

John Romita Jr. does his usual reliable job for the opener. He begins to stir the reader during the aforementioned scenes depicting the sexy then tastefully nude M.J. and the build up with the red lightning. Again, artistically the book at this point earns about three bullets. John Romita Jr. can do this type of work on NyQuil. Immediately after Spidey freezes in the flash of red lightning and has readers wondering what's sent his webs in such a tizzy, Mr. Romita blows your mind and drops your jaw with a two page spread that will go down in comic book history as one of the most memorable scenes ever depicted. The visual delight does not end here but continues to the very end of the chapter where Mr. Straczynski has one more surprise up his sleeve. Keep 'em coming, gents.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 2 #58

Sep 26, 2003

While I watched my socks fly off my feet upon ibibing John Romita's artwork last issue. This issue while still a treat does not quite have the same effect, but I really doubt anything could.

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6.0
Amber Atoms #1

Feb 21, 2009

The premiere of Amber Atoms is recommended with reservations. The art and the characters are engaging, but the story needed a little more polish. It has, however, intrigued me enough to follow.

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6.0
Amber Atoms #2

Mar 28, 2009

As with the premiere, the art's the most enviable quality in Amber Atoms. Kelly Yates' space technology, which includes very cool starships that look like streamlined World War II bombers, and the alien settings deserve to be seen and admired. The story however should stand out more, and the dialogue requires sharpening.

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6.0
Amber Atoms #3

May 2, 2009

I keep trying to like Amber Atoms, but I can't work up any enthusiasm over the book. The art is wondrous in terms of technique and imagination, but the story and the characters leave me cold.

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6.0
Amber Atoms #4

Jun 20, 2009

The fact that I can recommend Amber Atoms despite the scattershot plotting is a testament to Kelly Yates' imagination as well as his ability to create intriguing characters and an arresting artistic narrative. With time and practice, I think Yates could be a very good crafter of stories. Call the series a draft for better tales to come.

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8.0
Amelia Rules #7

Sep 15, 2002

The artwork in this issue is more then just funny. It's very characteristic. The scene for instance in which the original members of G.A.S.P. share a lollipop while lying in the grass and staring in the stars mimics the cinematic sharing of a smoke. This scene also foreshadows Amelia's lack of obsessive interest in G.A.S.P. She takes the lollipop out of her mouth and looks disgusted that she would be swapping saliva with her friends. In other words, she puts the sucker in her mouth and then takes it out with a what did I do that for expression?

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8.0
Amelia Rules #8

Dec 15, 2002

The artwork still lovingly takes the Charles Schultz approach and pulls it into the twenty-first century by gently enhancing the color quality and including realistic shading as well as neat air-brush effects to accent expression and atmosphere. It's a fine mesh of the old and new and should be appreciated by any comic strip fan with an artistic sensibility.

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10
Amelia Rules #9

Mar 15, 2003

Gownley does something very unusual with the New York flashbacks. Rather than rely upon the tradition of sepia or black and white, Mr. Gownley creates a texture for the atmosphere. It almost looks as if he drew the scenes on crinkled up paper that has browned with age. Perhaps this was indeed what he did. Whatever his technique, it works adds to the total reading experience.

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10
Amelia Rules #10

Jul 19, 2003

The artwork also by Jim Gownley is some of the best honest to goodness comic strip style we've seen since Bill Watterson gaced the newspapers with Calvin and Hobbes. There's an innocence and aesthetic about it that far surpasses a lot of the so called serious artwork and that which is critically acclaimed.

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10
Amelia Rules #12

Apr 10, 2004

Amelia Rules! celebrates the good side of humanity. It addresses a realistic conflict, and it finds a unique solution to save a little girl's life.

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6.0
Amelia Rules #13

Oct 23, 2004

While the interpretation of the cough may just be my own cynicism about comic books creeping in, it doesn't affect the level of enjoyment which is unfortunately low. The artwork however matches Jimmy Gownley's set high standard.

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8.0
Amelia Rules #14

Sep 2, 2005

Amelia Rules continues to surprise and delight through artwork and storycrafting ability. Ironically, Amelia isn't exactly the star of this issue. Though it's clear that she's the catalyst of events to come.

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10
Amelia Rules #15

Oct 15, 2005

The artwork here offers a very different look at Rhonda and Reggie who are usually seen as bug-eyed, and for some reason I still think they're going to get together. Kyle proves to be a real jerk, and something unforeseen happens to Amelia.

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10
Amelia Rules #16

Dec 16, 2005

Amelia Rules is the tonic needed in the new Dark Age of comic books, and Jimmy Gownley writes sophisticated stories in a simple style that employs the full extent of what the comic book medium is capable.

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8.0
Amelia Rules #17

Apr 14, 2007

Welcome back Amelia Rules. You have been missed.

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8.0
Amelia Rules #19

Jan 26, 2008

The big moment occurs when Amelia learns about the importance of the necklace that she had given to her friend Trisha. Amelia winningly fesses up the truth to her mom, and the underplayed emotion evoked in the colors and staging gives the scene the power necessary for impact.

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6.0
Amelia Rules #20

Mar 31, 2008

The remaining pages are filled with a preview of Apathy Cat. No thank you.

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10
Amelia Rules!: Super-Heroes #1

Nov 1, 2003

Amelia Rules! shatters the myth of carefree childhood but lacks a heavy hand. The prime goal is to share in the laughter of this wonderful cast that deserves to be the next Peanuts.

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8.0
American Dream #1

May 9, 2008

Shannon doesn't often dwell on these shortcomings, and once she's presented with a crime, she instantly becomes alive as a determined, strong, smart, athletic Avenger that energetically entertains the reader via Nauck's artistic sense of kickass. Some really nice color combos by Ro complete the aesthetic.

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10
American Dream #2

May 24, 2008

By putting an end to decompressionist pap, the creative team actually illustrates American Dream like a comic book of old but losing none of the sophistication that many aim for but frequently miss. We learn American Dream's origin. We see her sort out bad guys and her own needs. At the same time, the book addresses dicey issues like illegal immigration and the abuse of power in the government. While they show the reality of trauma, they do not let reality get in the way of rational storycrafting within the context of a super-hero world. In short, American Dream is a perfect comic book.

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10
American Dream #3

Jun 7, 2008

Hill's actions force Shannon to follow Cap's boot-steps. This gives DeFalco the opportunity to have Shannon flashback to Clint Barton's dojo and fill in more pieces of the puzzle. Upon graduating his class, she is given a codename, but chooses a different direction:

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10
American Dream #4

Jun 20, 2008

Not counting the titles in the Marvel Adventures line, American Dream is the most entertaining series Marvel has produced in something like two decades. I'm ready to declare Shannon Carter equal to Tigra, my favorite Marvel character.

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10
American Dream #5

Jul 5, 2008

American Dream came as a complete shock. I expected a time waster. Instead, I read the best mini-series of 2008. Each issue accomplished multiple feats of writing strength. The chapters gave insight into the Dream's origins and her motivations. They signified her place in the Avengers and the MC2 universe. They reinforced her status as Cap's successor. They introduced plot threads to be laced together tightly in the conclusion. Nauck, Koblish and Ro made Shannon Carter graceful dynamite. Let's hope the American Dream resurfaces.

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6.0
American Way #1

Feb 24, 2006

The technology levels of the government border on the ridiculous. There is simply no way possible that the government of the period could perpetuate the lie in such a convincing manner. No way possible. I don't care how much money they threw at the problem, the technology was not there to suit their needs. The administration also risks innocent lives in perpetuating their lies, and if these characters really are super-heroes, then they would not, could not allow such a thing. A sufficiently corrupt administration may not possess a shred of conscience, but a super-hero would possess more than a shred. A normal empowered individual would object to such treatment.

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8.0
Anchor #5

Feb 12, 2010

Hester only lost me when he shifted the story to Hell. I didn't see this as a necessary side-trip. Certainly, the writing in this new environment amuses, and the art's stellar with darker colors and black humorous designs, but the shift in focus loses some of the momentum.

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10
Angel vs. Frankenstein #2

Oct 16, 2010

Angel vs. Frankenstein #2 is actually superior than Byrne's first one-shot. Whereas previously, Angelus and Frankenstein were simply distillations of evil, Angel and Frankenstein are the opposite faces of the coin. This change makes it easy to root for the vampire with a soul.

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10
Angel: Blood & Trenches #1

Mar 14, 2009

When Byrne did Blood of the Demon, I considered Byrne's Jason Blood a defacto Angel. This inference of mine became stronger when Byrne began showing Jason/Etrigan in mid-transformation, which was represented by something like Angel's vamp face. Now, that I have read a John Byrne Angel story, I can see that he was just warming up.

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10
Angel: Blood & Trenches #2

Apr 4, 2009

Angel: Blood and Trenches earns my highest recommendation. Its a feat of artwork showcasing John Byrne at his very best. Its also a damn good Angel story.

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10
Angel: Blood & Trenches #3

May 9, 2009

Angels: Blood and Trenches is a memorable tale with art that exemplifies Byrne at his very best. The choices from the selection of paper stock to the decision to publish just Byrne's structured tight penciling were brilliant.

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8.0
Angel: Blood & Trenches #4

Jun 13, 2009

I would have given Angel: Blood and Trenches five bullets if not for the ending. The curious finish in which a historical personage shows his face feels too disconnected to the story, almost as if Byrne merely tacked it on as a joke.

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8.0
Ant-Man & the Wasp #1

Dec 6, 2010

I recommend Ant-Man & Wasp. It's an entertaining mini-series written and illustrated by a team that thrive in Marvel history.

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8.0
Ant-Man & the Wasp #3

Jan 7, 2011

I bought this series for Tigra, who sadly does not appear in this issue, but I stayed for the intelligence in the script and the sane, absolutely sane, Hank Pym. Thanks to this series and Avengers Academy Hank has become a bona fide champion.

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8.0
Anthem #1

Feb 18, 2006

Daniel Acuna illustrates the book, and you can see that if this is the same Acuna who provides DC with such lovely covers that Mr. Acuna has come a helluva long way. This is not to say that his work in Anthem is bad. It's just simple and a little crude. That said, you can see a lot of the talent he will become in the animation of the characters. The reprinting of the book does not offer the best quality. The line work looks scratchy, but you really can't blame the artist for this. Mostly Anthem is just an understated hoot.

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8.0
Anthem #2

Jul 1, 2006

The printing on this issue of Anthem offers better representation. It's a little blurry, but the jaggedness of the lines has thankfully departed. Jorge Santamaria Garcia's artwork is solid enough but less personal. He's more interested in detailing the action than the emotions of the characters, but there's nothing really wrong with that since Thomas' story demands a lot of action-oriented visual storycraft.

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8.0
Anthem #3

Jul 29, 2006

Do you admire Roy Thomas' writing? Do you like stories set in World War II? Do you have an affinity for heroes of that era? If so, Anthem will likely be a right fit for you. Be prepared though to wade through some subpar transferred artwork from a source material that was apparently the best available.

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8.0
Aquaman (2011) #2

Oct 31, 2011

Hapless humans are quite defenseless and quite tasty. A deputy calls upon Aquaman, but other investigators fail to relish the former Sea King's involvement. That will change when a horde of Piranha Men attack.

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8.0
Aquaman (2011) #3

Nov 28, 2011

...the book is always going to score high.

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8.0
Aquaman (2011) #4

Jan 2, 2012

Johns ends the story on an uplifting moment for Aquaman and Mera. They gain a cheerful pet suitable to Aquaman's and Mera's amphibious lifestyle. It's a nice full circle moment that arises organically from the plot.

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6.0
Aquaman (2011) #5

Jan 31, 2012

This ham-fisted attempt at censorship is the worst thing about Aquaman#5. Mera's naked and hasn't any hangups about nudity. If that's supposed to be a sheet covering Mera's breast, it's badly illustrated and just smacks of last minute anti-titilation. What's really the point of that? Protect us from nipples if you want, but don't insult my intelligence. Why not simply simply cut the panel here?

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8.0
Argonauts #1

Dec 12, 2009

The Argonauts is an intelligent action book with strongly characterized superheroes and villains. It's time travel premise intrigues, and the attractive illustration entices.

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8.0
Argonauts #2

Apr 24, 2010

The book ends on a backward Doctor Who moment. What more could I cask for? Dallas, Saunders and Towry make Argonauts a pleasure to experience.

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8.0
Argonauts #3

Dec 11, 2010

The third issue of Argonauts steams ahead with unexpected treats, masterful characterization and a taste of bona fide social science fiction.

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10
Arrowsmith #1

Jul 19, 2003

Carlos Pacheco cannot help drawing things that look aesthetically pleasing, and indeed, his presence on the book eschews the type of gothic, dark fantasy setting one expects to see. In each scene however the innocence of the fairy tale, as it once did, bears an undercurrent of the sinister. When first we see the OAC they should be a bright spot and spectacular, but the reader has already experienced vicariously the battlefield, and she can see the meaning behind the trappings. Pacheco depicts Bonnie--he with the Robin Hood mustache and beard--as too eager to inveigle Arrowsmith. In contrast, he imbues nobility to the Rock Troll who will not fight even if his own family have been killed in the attacks. Such evocative artwork matches perfectly Mr. Busiek's thoughtful, involving story.

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8.0
Arrowsmith #2

Aug 22, 2003

What could have been a carbon of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles instead carves its own story by cleverly avoiding cliche and depending upon beautiful artwork to convey a fantasy setting with period detail. Arrowsmith is recommended for anybody who likes a ripping yarn.

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8.0
Arrowsmith #3

Sep 21, 2003

Romance, action and magic without a seam showing blend to create a fun comic book with dramatic moments. Fletcher Arrowsmith, an inspired take on Horatio Hornblower, serves as a more thoughtful hero for readers to follow.

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10
Arrowsmith #4

Nov 7, 2003

Arrowsmith is not to be missed. It's a serious study in the mistakes we seem to keep repeating, and although given fairy tale dressing, the story pertains to what occurs to this very day.

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8.0
Arrowsmith #5

Jan 24, 2009

Arrowsmith questions war through a fantasy setting that becomes darker as the weapons of the good care not how much evil they can spread.

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8.0
Arrowsmith #6

Apr 3, 2004

Other than these major foolish deletions and amendments, Arrowsmith's finale shows that a soldier's reward is guilt over crimes that would not have been committed had everyone stayed home instead of fighting for a "glorious cause." War devours innocence as assuredly as flames devour skin, and the cause is often lost in the personal battle to stay alive and human. I'd like to see this book given away on Free Comic Book Day to contrast Chuck Dixon's ridiculous testament to Cheney's wet dreams. Arrowsmith was an impressive series that had something to say.

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8.0
Astonishing X-Men #1

May 28, 2004

I have no real affinity for the X-Men. I'd be sorry to see them die in the cultural consciousness or in the comic books, but I don't really care about them as much as I care about the Justice League, the DC multiverse, Buffy and the Scoobies, Angel and his firm or Mal and the crew of Serenity. Joss Whedon and John Cassaday make me care about the X-Men just a little bit more. I'm impressed by the way these literally two-dimensional characters come alive on the pages.

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10
Astonishing X-Men #2

Jun 30, 2004

John Cassaday provides the actors for Mr. Whedon and with Laura Martin the cinematography necessary for Joss Whedon's direction. Without Cassaday and the subdued colors, the realism in Mr. Whedon's writing would not be so perfectly conveyed.

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8.0
Astonishing X-Men #3

Aug 2, 2004

Cassaday's artwork especially in these scenes is--well, astonishing. He imbues so much realism to Hank McCoy's condition and Wolverine's comparatively normal physique that the scenes still appear to be photographed then traced. It doesn't matter if the Beast is blue and furry. He still looks real.

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10
Astonishing X-Men #4

Aug 28, 2004

X-Men used to be an incomprehensible mess in terms of writing and artwork. Joss Whedon and John Cassaday with Laura Martin effortlessly translate what appeared to be an alien language.

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10
Astonishing X-Men #5

Sep 24, 2004

In truth, The Avengers should be Marvel's flagship title, and for a good Kurt Busiek while it was. However, thanks to Joss Whedon, John Cassady and the depth of Laura Martin's color palette, a JLA/Astonishing X-Men team up now makes an inherent amount of sense. Bonus points for the reference to Xander's strategy: "Man's got eye-balls..."

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10
Astonishing X-Men #6

Nov 13, 2004

Astonishing X-Men certainly lives up to its name. At first you were just happy to find a readable X-Men book, but now Whedon is making the title his own.

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8.0
Astonishing X-Men #7

Dec 26, 2004

Joss Whedon, John Cassaday with Laura Martin introduce a new storyline, make it obscenely easy for a new audience to be enticed and justify the faithful fans attention span all in one neat package that while not necessarily astonishing still entertains through meaty characterization, a fine battle and a surprise super-hero team-up.

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6.0
Astonishing X-Men #8

Feb 19, 2005

The art team of Cassaday and Martin is still up to snuff, but this second chapter in Joss Whedon's latest X-Men excursion wasn't really worth the wait. The last line in fact is unwittingly hilarious. Granted, the succeeding chapters may end up providing the resonance sorely needed to make the story stand up to even cursory scrutiny, but judging by this chapter, Whedon has created a Mystery Science Theater 3000 experiment.

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4.0
Astonishing X-Men #9

Apr 1, 2005

P.S. Please consider Angelina Jolie as Wonder Woman. She fits every criterion to make Diana awesome.

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4.0
Astonishing X-Men #10

May 11, 2005

The "Hydra-haired"--see that's wit I expect from Whedon--Special Agent Brand of SWORD checks in on the superbly pathetic nasally-challenged alien that Lockheed burned in a previous issue, and he's the only provider of comedy. No, wait. Scratch that. Xavier provides humor too. It's funny when a man confined to a wheelchair challenges a killer robot that should be able to eviscerate him before he can think up some last words. My thought here was maybe you should call in some backup, Chuck. Like Babs Gordon for instance. The Wheels of Prey!

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4.0
Astonishing X-Men #11

Jul 23, 2005

If not for Cassaday's illustrations of Kitty Pryde during her conversation with Colossus this issue of Astonishing X-Men would be good landfill material.

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2.0
Astonishing X-Men #12

Sep 2, 2005

Fact eight, John Cassaday can sure draw purty, but it takes more than really beautiful artwork to blind one to a lame story authored by somebody can write better even when stricken by say a mutated strain of flu virus.

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10
Astonishing X-Men #13

Feb 24, 2006

How often have we heard pretentious street super-heroes make some sort of claim that while you look at the big picture, the small picture escapes your notice? Whedon turns it all around, as he so often does.

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6.0
Astonishing X-Men #14

Apr 29, 2006

That final scene is meant to be a shocking cliffhanger, but it loses its potential impact. It makes no sense. Fortunately John Cassaday and Laura Martin provide their usual gorgeous artwork, and though mediocre, the story's far better than the last tale: Danger Room come alive and gone amok.

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10
Astonishing X-Men #15

Jun 24, 2006

Whedon did no favors for John Cassaday or Laura Martin when writing at his lowest ebb in previous issues. Cassaday's ability to create a tableau of photorealism within the framework of traditional comic book action has always evidenced itself, but this time out Cassaday brings to Astonishing X-Men a gamut of artistic sensory gems. He creates a sense of old school fun in his battle between Peter Rasputin and Sebastian Shaw. He creeps you out when Kitty meets a dangerous cuckoo in the nest. He makes you burst out laughing when we see that Wolverine is indeed the best and what he does. His homage to Byrne at the end of the book makes one smile. He gives the third-tier character's actions incredible weight. Laura Martin's colors vividly deepen the emotions at play--Emma's tear-jerking--and gives depth to the settings--such as the fiery hot Kitty trap. This issue of Astonishing X-Men lives up to its name. Whedon, Cassaday and Martin have a right to be proud of this one.

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8.0
Astonishing X-Men #16

Aug 26, 2006

I've remarked before on Cassady's ability to illustrate in a convincing photorealistic fashion, and this issue marks no exception. What's more noticeable however is how he displays Kitty's power to phase through objects and take people with her. Cassaday with the tactile colors of Laura Martin gives the insubstantial visual substance.

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4.0
Astonishing X-Men #17

Sep 23, 2006

The capper of the whole mess is when we learn that Cyclops is up and about. His move against Emma definitely rules out the possibility of time travel. This time Whedon hamstrings himself with his own cleverness. Cyclops is once again holding back his own optic ray blasts. No, no, no. A thousand times no. Cylcops has no control over the physics of his power, and none of Whedon's apologists can claim that Emma Frost is using her power to hold them back. She's trapped in a hole far beneath the mansion, and the other White Queen has just acquired a pair of smashing red holes to offset her ensemble. This issue of Astonishing X-Men was a huge disappointment.

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8.0
Astonishing X-Men #18

Nov 18, 2006

The look of insanity on Scott's face as he shoots describes him to the reader more so than words ever could. The way in which the art team presents Ord as a blustery bruiser and far, far removed from the realms of superior alien intellects gives weight to the comedy he produces. The anger they seethe from a third-tier character helps Whedon draw dignity from the shambles of the Holodeck gone mad affront. The way in which they frame Hank McCoy as he enters the fray makes the whole scene work. Cassaday and Martin are David Boreanaz and Sara Michelle Gellar to Whedon's scripts.

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4.0
Astonishing X-Men #19

Dec 31, 2006

Had it not been for Agent Brands tactical idiocy, I may have given this issue of Astonishing X-Men , but Brands apparent lack of intelligence, which reflects Whedon not thinking things through, forces me to knock another bullet out of the chamber.

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4.0
Astonishing X-Men #20

Feb 17, 2007

Neither gripping, ground-breaking or epic, the best thing I can say about Astonishing X-Men is that it's pretty, but pretty for a lack of story isn't really enough of a saving grace especially given the talent involved.

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4.0
Astonishing X-Men #21

May 5, 2007

This is another unimpressive issue of Astonishing X-Men. Whedon is just not up to snuff in these pages. He lacks passion for his subject and his own story. Cassaday's and Martin's art is as usual pretty, and Kitty gets naked. If that's enough to warrant your purchase, please be my guest.

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6.0
Astonishing X-Men #22

Aug 25, 2007

This issue of the ever-late Astonishing X-Men should be absolute dross, and yet the power of Joss Whedon's words saves it from ending up in the rubbish heap. Impressive.

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6.0
Astonishing X-Men #23

Nov 10, 2007

Setting aside the interaction of the characters and the sumptuous artwork, it's still very difficult for me to care about what happens to the inhabitants of Breakworld. As a result I feel even more detached from this story than I did from the horrendous Star Trek Presents the Danger Room Coming Alive saga. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Breakworld is a real sphincter of a planet. Blow it up already. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

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6.0
Astonishing X-Men #24

Jan 26, 2008

I still have zero enthusiasm for this Astonishing X-Men story and its characters. The conclusion certainly made me sit up and take notice, possibly for all the wrong reasons.

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6.0
Athena #1

Sep 19, 2009

With fantastic artwork and a respectable hero, Athena's debut is a success. However, Athenas secret identity is too vague. Because the supporting cast is linked to her secret identity, they lack a necessary dimension to fully enjoy. If theyre not important enough to name, why should the reader care? By not designating the positions and roles, they become generic, a necessary evil to get the main character to the center of the story. As a result, the story becomes less substantial. The obfuscation is a pity because had the area been developed, Athena would have earned four or perhaps five bullets.

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8.0
Athena #2

Nov 7, 2009

The second issue of Athena is stronger because the reader knows more about the characters. The impressive art merely gets better as Athena reveals her powers.

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8.0
Athena #3

Dec 5, 2009

The Zeus effect is a good one. He really appears to take form from the clouds of dust thrown up during the melee. His eyes crackle lightning, and the scene alludes to elemental visions Ray Harryhausen conjured with stop animation. The scenes on a more terrestrial plane bear verisimilitude, and the realistic moments of gunplay, gangsters and cops sharply contrast the actual representation of the Trojan War, also depicted in Athena. Given a brassy hue, the artists burnish their illustration for the classic with a nuance of antiquity. The Trojan War narrative acts like a miniature graphic novel buried within a modern comic book.

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10
Athena #4

Jan 8, 2010

Athena and Ares are old school heroes transported into a grim comic book world that emphasizes the darker aspects of our reality. However, Murray does not go too far. Yes, there is terrorism. Yes, there is callous stupidity. Yes, there is greed. Yes, there is degradation, but intelligence, innocence and honesty still subsist, and Athena has chosen to protect people with these qualities.

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8.0
Athena Voltaire #1

Feb 4, 2006

In terms of basic artistic mechanics such as proportion and aesthetic use of space, Athena Voltaire is a beautiful book. Furthermore, the well metered pace often explodes into breakneck action, and there's still time for well-crafted dialogue. A lot of fun and recommended.

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8.0
Athena Voltaire Flight of the Falcon #2

Nov 4, 2006

Steven Bryant and Jason Millet make Athena Voltaire a beautiful exploration of classic cliffhanger archetypes. They keep the characters proportionate, realistic and give the book an underlying verisimilitude that keeps the book from teetering into over the top histrionics or cartoon lampoonery, always a possibility when one stirs Nazis into the mix.

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8.0
Athena Voltaire Flight of the Falcon #3

Dec 9, 2006

Snyder, L. (1976), The Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. McGraw-Hill: New York.

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6.0
Athena Voltaire Flight of the Falcon #4

Mar 24, 2007

Athena surprisingly does very little, apart from get pissed off. Granted she did a helluva lot in previous chapters, but in the conclusion, she's more like a witness. Ultimately, the story will probably read better in trade paperback form than in comic book form. As for the cute tag scene at the end, passable, but how you approach it will depend on your opinion of things like the World Newton Family Tree.

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10
Atlas #1

May 21, 2010

The latest volume of Atlas kicks off with a bang. The return of the 3-D Man is welcome, and one must ask, will Jann of the Jungle or her daughter be the next Agent of Atlas?

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8.0
Atlas #3

Jul 23, 2010

It's primarily the new Delroy Garrett that earns the latest issue of Atlas four bullets. In addition, the Human Robot backup is a powerful tale. Parker takes the thin origin for the Robot and expands upon his own words from past issues. He also explains the discrepancy of the Robot working for Plan Chu, alias the Yellow Claw, and why M-11 wound up at the bottom of the sea. Artists Ramon Rosanas provides the affecting artwork in a style that's sublime.

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4.0
Avengers (1998) #55

Jul 7, 2002

In the next scenes we learn Duane Freeman died. Did anybody see him go? Iron Man is choked up about the whole affair, and I just wish I could feel something for the man. These should be really strong scenes. Iron Man who is the answer to the JLA's Batman being emotionally overcome should really make me feel something, but the whole affair seems artificial. Duane is a Busiek character. He had to die because the other writer may wish to replace him with his own character. It's ugly and cynical but the truth.

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10
Avengers (1998) #56

Aug 3, 2002

Mr. Paquette captures the boisterousness nature of a care-free Thor. His Iron Man does not resemble a refugee from an anime robot factory and looks more like his own armored self. The Captain looks remarkably stalwart. Another Avenger appears uberserious while still another reflects the changes made but enjoys a less serious demeanor.

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10
Avengers (1998) #57

Aug 31, 2002

The one misstep occurs in an overtly staged argument between Jack of Hearts and Ant Man. These heroes have never really interacted as far as I know. They have no animosity toward each other, and the tempers flaring line doesn't really seem quite plausible. Ms. Marvel's reminder of continuity regarding Jack's power is throwaway dialogue, but the majority of the The Avengers makes the heart pound.

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8.0
Avengers (1998) #58

Sep 28, 2002

Apart from the characterization, surprises await Avengers readers. The actual culprit behind the cosmic whirlpools feels like a baseball bat struck squarely against the eyes. I never saw this coming. By the time the scene shifted to the duet of Yellowjacket and Wasp, I started making a list of suspects, but I was delighted to discover how incomplete my list was.

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6.0
Avengers (1998) #59

Nov 2, 2002

The blurb reminds me of DC's Secret Files books. The problem I have with them is identical to the problem I have with the expository blurb below the roll call. Readers should not need a guidebook to read a simple story. The story itself acts as the guidebook as well as entertainment. If the reader becomes confused by the behavior of the characters and confusion is not meant or part of the story, the writer has failed at his job to convey the emotions believably and failed to make the information pertinent to his tale.

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10
Avengers (1998) #60

Dec 8, 2002

Johns' Avengers women are intelligent, confident and powerful heroes. Wanda--thankfully free of all her gypsy garbage--steps out into the open, orates and then decisively hexes the hell out of one of the antagonists. Shulkie creams one of the bad guys after making clever commentary in an earlier scene. The Wasp acts like a leader: motivating the reluctant heroes of the group and stinging like her namesake. Even Ms. Marvel is blasting away and in the thick of battle. One of the best issues in Johns' run. One of the best issues in the series.

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8.0
Avengers (1998) #61

Dec 14, 2002

The Avengers gets more than a change of roster this issue. Gary Frank's innocent cheesecake as well as his overall study of anatomy and proportion would have been welcome to compliment Geoff Johns storytelling. Unfortunately, Mr. Frank's artwork is covered in Jon Sibal's spidery scrawl. It's not bad artwork per se but jarringly unlike Frank. What is bad is that Frank's obsession with the gum line is over emphasized. Grins become ghoulish as if the Joker paid the Avengers a visit, and we must ask where did Ms. Marvel's waist go.

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6.0
Avengers (1998) #62

Dec 29, 2002

Mr. Johns seems to know the history of the Avengers and has the other members vouch for Ant-Man's sincerity and bravery. The blindness in Jack of Hearts' viewpoint thus is purposeful, but it's a misguided rationale. Even Jack can't be this stupid. For a hell of a long time, he was Iron Man's protg. Talk about "coat tails." Mr. Johns asks the reader to feel sorry for the cretin simply because he has a problem involving his biochemistry, but he's such an unlikable dope that you find it hard to sympathize. Ant-Man's problems while unbelievable at least would merit a sad feeling if they were not so obviously orchestrated to mismatch the consequences of the Jack of Hearts' situation. On the other hand, maybe this hatred is actually a clever disguise for the forbidden love each hero feels for the other. Marvel may intend to stealthily kick a B-level and C-level superhero out of the closet to capitalize on their one hundred year old dead gay gunslinger publicity. Seriously though,

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10
Avengers (1998) #63

Jan 31, 2003

A story as compelling as this final chapter in the enjoyable three part crossover needs powerful artwork, and Alan Davis provides. Opening with a montage to the Captain's rebirth in a modern age, Mr. Davis evokes all the heroism and raw potency the story requires. He symbolizes the reclamation of Iron man's intellect and honor with a reflection of his classic look armor. He creates the subtle and class of Dr. Doom. Then there's that scene with the soldiers that makes one's heart beat faster. Words fail to describe it. The scene can be felt.

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10
Avengers (1998) #64

Mar 1, 2003

The saddest part of the Avengers is that this era will soon be diminished with Geoff Johns departure for DC. For once, the Avengers really were "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" and not the Justice League's younger cousin still having much to learn.

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8.0
Avengers (1998) #65

Mar 30, 2003

On the other hand, Ant-Man's helmet looks ridiculous. Ms. Marvel wears padding. Why? She's Kree. She was hit by Iron Man and reacted as if she had been smacked in the face with a pillow. It's obvious Copiel likes drawing the She-Hulk; we can thank John Byrne for taking the savage out of her name. I must though protest her abbreviated costume. Such a garment has no place in a dramatic story. I did not wonder once if She-Hulk shaved down there, but after seeing her, all I could consider was whether or not she went for the Brazilian. I would also like to know why her nipples stand at attention throughout the adventure. It's not cold. She shouldn't be sexually excited over the carnage. So her nipples should not be erect. Q.E.D.

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10
Avengers (1998) #66

Apr 26, 2003

Olivier Copiel again impresses with a distinctive larger than life interpretation of the Avengers that rises above the simple standards of the comic book's past history. Many an artist has given the Avengers realism and made the book aesthetically appealing. Anatomy has been recognized. Visual plotting has entertained, but this is the only time I've seen the Avengers become something other than a bunch of costumes--however well drawn--on a page. With the Olivier Copiel and Johns at the helm, you have faith in the Avengers as heroes.

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10
Avengers (1998) #67

May 31, 2003

While "Red Zone" expands on an already big idea, the story still crackles because the Avengers are the stars. These are not mere ciphers discovering the Frankenstein Monster beneath the Pentagon's more public ideals. This is Captain America whose spirit remains unbroken and vows that the criminals hiding behind the flag will be found and punished. This is the Vision who despite being an android or perhaps because of it exhibits more humanity than his foes. This is Iron Man and the Black Panther, whose relationship has become similar to that of Superman and Batman, combine resources to find a cure. Everything about this book is perfect.

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6.0
Avengers (1998) #68

Jun 26, 2003

The revelation of the villain ties in with the Falcon/Gyrich partnership which comes to an explosive end, but anybody who has seen a Universal Dracula film will guess the identity, and his presence exonerates the United States government thus blowing the whole point of the exercise.

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6.0
Avengers (1998) #69

Aug 17, 2003

The previous issues handled Black Panther's resentment toward Iron Man in an understated manner and as a result, this element enhanced the storytelling. By emphasizing Black Panther's practical bitterness toward Tony Stark in this issue, Mr. Johns undermines the story. He forces the reader to question from whence these feelings come. Iron Man and the Panther never really hung out while serving in the Avengers. Often they were not in the same incarnation of the team. They had no memorable team-ups that I can recall in either of their books. So what is the source of the resentment? Such animosity arises from accrual. Without that interlaced history, the scenes become forced. It's as though Johns wanted friction between heroes and decided these two would fulfill the role.

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4.0
Avengers (1998) #70

Oct 3, 2003

"Red Zone" is a mix of missed opportunities, promised drama that fizzles and in the end a love note to Ann Coulter. The She-Hulk subplot thankfully missing from this issue padded out the story from four issues to six and will likely be removed from the trade paperback so as not to confuse first class book buyers as opposed to we prolls who buy comic books in theory on a monthly basis.

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2.0
Avengers (1998) #71

Oct 18, 2003

Such a stupid issue. Johns rolls the dice. Craps. We lose.

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8.0
Avengers (1998) #77

Jan 17, 2004

Any book that contains two knowledgeable allusions from The Prisoner and another humorously from the original--or if you prefer semi-original--Avengers John Steed and Emma Peel cannot be all bad. In fact Chuck Austen's debut writing for The Avengers isn't bad at all.

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10
Avengers (1998) #78

Feb 13, 2004

Together with Austen, the creative team makes even little scenes mesh within a layered story, and a few continuity gaffes in the artwork cannot distract from a superhero story that has the under-hyped appeal of an average tale but swells into something more special. This story celebrates rather than deconstructs.

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4.0
Avengers (1998) #79

Feb 28, 2004

With a little editing most of the important instances in this issue of The Avengers could have been probably incorporated into the finale that has yet to come. As it stands, the third chapter is sadly wanting in depth and relevance.

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10
Avengers (1998) #80

Mar 27, 2004

I keep hearing bad things about Mr. Austen's writing ability, but what I see in The Avengers is fun, verve and women whose power equals if not betters their male teammates. That's exactly what I'm looking for in a comic book.

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8.0
Avengers (1998) #81

May 1, 2004

Even the epilogue of "Lion of Avalon" is worth reading. The dialogue between Britain and Wanda show a depth of personality and kindness. I like also how they speak about Jan while she's not present. Friends talk about other absent friends all the time. It's habitual, and added here; this quirk of humanity gives the section of story a natural, warm feel. Sweetness can be found in the illustration of the two Jennys: one fast asleep and cradled in titanic arms that can rip a tank into two. Very few readers cannot help be moved by the final splash page.

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6.0
Avengers Academy #1

Jun 11, 2010

I'm still going to continue reading Avengers Academy because Tigra is love, but I can't really give a high recommendation for anybody with a passing fancy in superheroes.

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10
Avengers Academy #3

Aug 20, 2010

Valkyrie is a better Wonder Woman than Wonder Woman is or was for about twenty years. Iron Fist is presented as a far better Batman. That's kind of the feel of Avengers Academy. Despite this underlying idea that the students are most likely to become super-villains, which is only given lip service this issue, there's a real vibe of heroism in the book, and it especially lives up to the lofty promise of the Heroic Age. This is how the Justice League should read, but it suits me just fine that an Avengers book has stolen DC's thunder.

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6.0
Avengers Academy #4

Sep 24, 2010

This issue of Avengers Academy is recommended only for fans of the new, new Thunderbolts and, of course, those who have the wisdom and taste to worship at the altar of Tigra.

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6.0
Avengers Academy #6

Nov 5, 2010

The cover is a bit of a fib. However, the creative team more than atone through the beautiful scene in which Tigra decks Justice. I never imagined that happening and while the current incarnation of Justice has grown on me a little, that punch is sweet. Tigra is love.

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10
Avengers Academy #7

Dec 17, 2010

I would have given Avengers Academy five bullets even had Tigra not appeared. Gage's Hank Pym spotlight is immensely entertaining and engrossing, and his actions best represent the heroic ideal.

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10
Avengers Academy #8

Jan 21, 2011

Artist Mike McKone has grown into an arch Tigra illustrator; he even slips Tigra's tail through the hole in her bottoms. Inker Rebbeca Bachman and colorist Jeromy Cox enhance the sinew and the fur of everybody's favorite werecat. Needless to say, because Tigra prowls in the spotlight, she rates 48 panels, Avengers Academy is a necessary purchase. Remember, Tigra is love.

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10
Avengers Academy #9

Feb 18, 2011

The art team's partner in crime scripts choice dialogue that reflects generational characterization and really frames the personality of the Taskmaster; his strange admiration for fighting heroes conflicts with a desire to be a master criminal. Gage conceives of an intriguing limitation for Taskmaster that also explains why he remains a villain. A rational being really should stay on the straight and narrow. Taskmaster would indeed make an excellent hero, but he's missing a component in his physical makeup that will always return him to the dark side.

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10
Avengers Academy #10

Mar 4, 2011

So, in summary, Gage reinforces Hank's newfound sanity and heroism while using a continuity fixer-upper to try to give Hazmat a respite from her condition. At the same time, Gage convinces me that Leech is actually worth getting to know and instills even more curiosity in the new FF title. These moves and the willingness of everyone to help grant greater cohesiveness to the Marvel universe. Once again, Christos Gage builds on the foundation of the Heroic Age. This is why I'm making mine Marvel.

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10
Avengers Academy #11

Mar 18, 2011

Despite Tigra gracing but one panel in a cameo role, Avengers Academy still earns a perfect score. It's simply the best book Marvel's publishing.

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10
Avengers Academy #12

Apr 22, 2011

Gage's story compliments classic Avengers while adding more layers to the continuing theme of the Cadets learning the ropes of being a hero. Raney, Hanna and Cox fully integrate their art with Gage's words.

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10
Avengers Academy #13

May 6, 2011

Mettle and Hazmat have a heart to heart, and it's just the right amount of pathos and comedy which later ends up visually as a raucous dance. Veil gets through to Striker, and the whole thing appears to end in a fight until, in homage to The Simpsons episode "Lard of the Dance," Speedball cuts loose, and the crowd goes wild.

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8.0
Avengers Academy #14

May 20, 2011

It's not that the Cadets are incompetent. It's not that they're hopeless fighters or just plain old stupid. Theyre raw, and they've never fought the Sinister Six before. Fortunately, the Six have not lost their characterization to changes in Marvel history. None of them are child killers. They're rotten thugs. Robbers with gimmicks, and that leads to an entertaining nostalgic story bearing a fresh spin thanks to the Cadets of Avengers Academy.

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10
Avengers Academy #15

Jun 17, 2011

Gage uses The Fear Itself event to explore the many facets of Tigra. He spotlights her courage, her doubts, her origins, the many changes that defined her life all in one issue. Frequently her internal monologue conflicts with her dialogue, and these at-odds words add even more depth to the story and her characterization.

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6.0
Avengers Academy #16

Jul 22, 2011

It's sort of fun to see Hank Pym and Absorbing Man act like giant monsters, but it would be genuinely fun if the Absorbing Man weren't possessed by a magic hammer. Fortunately, letterer Joe Caramagna distinguishes the dialogue you can skip. Don't read the black dialogue balloons unless you really love Fear Itself. It's just not worth it.

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6.0
Avengers Academy #20

Oct 28, 2011

I've read numerous similarly-themed team books, and they're always decent time wasters as long as the art's good. Avengers Academy is no exception. Tom Raney and Scott Hanna wring every emotion out of this melodrama. Veil goes through so many facial expressions that you might think Bill Plympton was behind the whole scheme.

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10
Avengers Academy #23

Dec 16, 2011

Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups, where he reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.

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8.0
Avengers Academy #24

Jan 6, 2012

This hindsight all can be attributed to the perfect fusion of art and writing. I mean, X-23 was a joke. She was a younger version of Wolverine with B-cups, and there were also some lesbian undertones thrown in for kicks. Marvel was essentially creating a character to appeal to a narrow, perceived demographic, not for comic book readers in general. Gage however treats his characters like people. Sure, there are some lapses in judgment like that horribly written Captain America a few issues back, but by and large, when you read Avengers Academy you end up involved in a story that centers on characters that demonstrate a wide range of emotion and depth. In fact, if you replaced Hybrid with an original, less resonant villain, Avengers Academy would still be entertaining.

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10
Avengers Academy Giant-Size #1

May 6, 2011

Arcade contrasts the Young Allies and the Cadettes. Whereas they emanate youth, Arcade issues decay. His face appears emaciated, and his eyes are mere pin-pricks dancing among the darkness of his sockets. It's as if the corruption has eaten anything human. He's a far cry from the fat cheeked devil's cherub that years ago snatched Spidey and Captain Britain from the streets of Manhattan.

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10
Avengers Next #1

Nov 4, 2006

As to the artwork...When did Ron Lim get this good? Seriously. You cannot solely credit Scott Koblish's inks however expertly crafted they are. Ron Lim used to have some problems in the area of anatomic depth. All gone now. Lim with Koblish and Rob Ro create a professionally beautiful comic book. The characters' physiques look rounded not flat or overly angular; two deficits I found in Lim's past work. His ability to express emotion has undergone an astounding transformation. He handles equally well the larger than life moments and the understated body language of the characters. Lim has improved greatly, and that improvement benefits Avengers Next.

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10
Avengers Next #2

Dec 2, 2006

Avengers Next offers the reader more of the same. Courtesy of DeFalco, Lim, Koblish and Bob Ro, consistency is a beautiful thing.

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10
Avengers Next #3

Dec 16, 2006

The biggest bombshell in Avengers Next results from Ultron's presence, but to comprehend the meaning behind my tease, you'll just have to buy the book yourself. The gambit's too juicy to reveal, as is the cliffhanger.

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8.0
Avengers Next #4

Dec 30, 2006

I've got to hand it to DeFalco. Not only does he come up with a very impressive reason behind the crone's mischief, he makes it characteristic and historical. He furthermore never cheated the reader. He laid the clues to the scheme up front and foreshadowed the spanner in the works issues in advance.

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10
Avengers Next #5

Jan 27, 2007

Avengers Next is easily the most underrated series Marvel produced in the year 2006-2007. Even White Tiger received scant hype. Avengers Next was barely promoted. Don't let this series fly beneath your radar. Nuanced with nostalgia, the story is excellent. The art bares the sensibilities of proportion, scale and super-powered kinetics, but done in a stylish manner that demonstrates the maturity of a well-known comic book penciler.

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6.0
Avengers Prime #1

Jun 6, 2010

The reason why I bought Avengers Prime is simple. Alan Davis and Mark Farmer rarely do wrong. In that regard, Avengers Prime is no different, but the writing leads me to the conclusion that I should wait for the trade if all I want to do is enjoy the artwork.

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8.0
Avengers Vs. Atlas #1

Jan 26, 2010

"Defender of the Deep" is fantastic. A perfect character vignette combined with a decent setup to the main story pushes the worth of the book from three to four despite the increase of a dollar.

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10
Avengers Vs. Atlas #2

Feb 20, 2010

The art by Gabriel Hardman and Elizabeth Breitweiser creates an attractive battlefield where all the costumed champions fight at their best. Repulsor rays blaze through panels. Electricity crackles from M-11. Atlantean sinew flexes as mutant wings carry Namora through the air. Simian facial expressions accompany crack-wises against Iron Man's future self. Jimmy Woo's martial arts play out against the moves of the ultimate soldier. Venus' nude beauty manifests in her song. Witty and beautiful, Avengers vs. Atlas is a winner.

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8.0
Avengers Vs. Atlas #3

Mar 20, 2010

Cornell casts her as a fourth wall breaking answer lady for the lovelorn of the Marvel Universe. Did Hulk really ask She-Hulk out on a date? That's just wrong if true. Unlike Namor and Namora, Hulk and She-Hulk are blood cousins. Ick.

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10
Avengers Vs. Atlas #4

Apr 24, 2010

I've analyzed these new feelings. With the exception of my undying love for Tigra, I have always just liked the Marvel characters. Unlike the almost ingrained ties I have with the DC heroes, I never harbored a strong connection to the Avengers. Remember, you can hate the comics and still love the heroes. For me, the Justice League trumped the Avengers, but you know what? In the hands of Hardman, Breitweiser and Parker, the Avengers live up to their reputation. With this artwork and this writing, It's very difficult not to find your heart beat racing.

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8.0
Avengers/Invaders #1

May 9, 2008

If anything, the Invaders represent how far Marvel has damaged itself irreparably. They represent how far the mirror universe Avengers have strayed from the concept of heroism.

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8.0
Avengers/Invaders #2

Jun 7, 2008

The resistance, in the form of such heroes as Spider-Man, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, are the good guys. They plan out next issue's attack on the Tin Tyrant and his goose-steppers to rescue the Invaders. Some though have already taken steps to extricate themselves from Iron Man's THRUSH-like organization.

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8.0
Avengers/Invaders #3

Jul 5, 2008

Finally, we come to Cap and Bucky. I confess that I don't particularly have any feeling for Bucky. I always saw him as a generic sidekick shaped from a mold of a mold of a sidekick based on Robin. Cap needed a sidekick. This is the best we could do. Krueger and Ross grant Bucky resonance, if not his appeal, by displaying Cap's absolute faith in him. They also give him the last scene, and it's a doozie. "Call me Tony" gets his comeuppance through physics and his unfamiliarity with a symbol of justice. How poetic.

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8.0
Avengers/Invaders #4

Aug 8, 2008

Sadowski's illustrations aren't just potent in the fight scenes. The Washington D.C. architecture is detailed and looks accurate. He embodies frustration to a sword in the stone scene. The scientists wanting to perform a live autopsy on Toro maintain a certain detachment. The flame on moments impress as does the evocation of another golden age hero.

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10
Avengers/Invaders #5

Oct 14, 2008

At first, you're carried along through Avengers vs. Invaders by the shear whimsy of the dialogue, the little things in the plot and the enjoyable distortions of well known heroes, but once you encounter the Torch's ponderings on his true nature and the Holocaust, the mood shifts, the heroism skyrockets and the idea that this book is just a really good ripping yarn fades. The story's much more than that.

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8.0
Avengers/Invaders #6

Nov 21, 2008

When I saw Ross and Krueger's name attached to the Avengers/Invaders project, I suspected it wouldn't be the same old team-up or slugfest, and so far those suspicions have been proven correct. Combining forces with Sadowski and Berkenkotter, they have treated the book as a critique on modern day shock tactics while still hammering out a strong story that addresses the concept of superiority.

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6.0
Avengers/Invaders #7

Jan 5, 2009

"Call me Tony" is a complete douche. While I knew he wouldn't die, I couldn't have cared less about him, nor could I root for his rescuers. I cheered for and cared more about Dr. Doom and Batroc Ze Leaper when they threw their lot in with Spider-Man, Vision, the Scarlet Witch and the bona fide Captain America to fight the Dark Rider and Mr. Hyde, respectively. To put it another way, and to paraphrase Crow T. Robot, "No matter how much Marvel insists that Iron Man and his lieutenants are still heroes, I must respectfully disagree."

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10
Avengers/Invaders #8

Feb 14, 2009

If you're a fan of the Invaders, you'll definitely want to pick this up. I imagine the followers of the Avengers fled in droves when Marvel made them the villains, but still those who appreciate Captain America may consider this issue an auxiliary purchase.

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4.0
Avengers/Invaders #10

May 2, 2009

I'm not absolutely sure that Avengers/Invaders had a story that was sustainable for twelve issues. I think it might have been better to end the tale with the Avengers rescuing the Invaders from Iron Man's clutches and sending them home. I get the feeling that this second part is more of an attempt to recover some of the heroism lost during The Civil War. It's not going work. Marvel has made Iron Man irredeemable in comics and Ms. Martinet is just as bad.

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4.0
Avengers/Invaders #11

Jun 1, 2009

The story should have ended with the resistance rescuing the Invaders from the Avengers and sending them home. That would have been a satisfying, clean victory. Such a conclusion would have clearly picked a side, without the half-hearted attempt at redeeming forever tarnished heroes.

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6.0
Avengers/Invaders #12

Jun 27, 2009

Avengers/Invaders started out beautifully. It indicted Iron Man and his flunkies. It ridiculed the Sentry. It should have ended with the resistance Avengers rescuing the All Winners from the SHIELD Helicarrier, and Dr. Strange sending them back to their proper time. Perhaps, Iron Man could shake a fist at them as they depart. This added part two was just unnecessary.

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8.0
Avengers/Thunderbolts #1

Mar 13, 2004

Less a reintroduction and more of a continuation, the opening chapter to The Avengers/Thunderbolts is a finely crafted story with rich characterization dependent on Marvel history. It promises future issues to comprise a smooth, fun and thoughtful ride.

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10
Avengers/Thunderbolts #2

Apr 10, 2004

While Kitson only does the breakdowns this issue, Gary Erskine does not jar with a series of sharp contrasting finales. Erskine was an excellent choice on Marvel's part to accompany Mr. Kitson since nothing visual distracts the reader from Busiek's and Nicieza's surprise.

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10
Avengers/Thunderbolts #3

Apr 30, 2004

With this issue, Tom Grummett takes over, but you'll hear no complaints from me. Shucking the weird angular look he gave to his recent DC titles, Mr. Grummett provides a traditional look to the heroes based upon proportion, scale and human anatomy. The technique compliments the tale. The idea is original. The players are from the old school, and any jarring bad art claiming to be style would ruin not just the aesthetic but also the intelligence, the wit and the depth.

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10
Avengers/Thunderbolts #4

Jun 5, 2004

In terms of the mechanics of writing, everybody sounds in character, and Baron Zemo becomes shockingly heroic as well as human while Songbird hints at her Avengers Forever fate. The narration by Hawkeye gives the tale a distinctive voice and allows the reader to feel for both teams.

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10
Avengers/Thunderbolts #5

Jul 2, 2004

Avengers/Thunderbolts is so good that it's painless. The creative teams give the Avengers one last hurrah, pave the way for Songbird's inclusion on the team and explore what it is that makes a super-hero a super-hero through panels that flow into one perfect movement.

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10
Avengers/Thunderbolts #6

Aug 14, 2004

Busiek, Nicieza, Grummett and Erskine with the vivid palette of Reiber and Sotomeyer create an elegant conclusion to the Avengers/Thunderbolts mini. They seem to close a number of chapters on the characters, and that's their right. The somewhat tragic tale nevertheless does not feel like the end.

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8.0
Avengers: The Initiative #29

Oct 31, 2009

I bought Avengers Initiative for Tigra, but Gage made me also like the Constrictor for a moment. His dialogue for the villains sounds accurate, and the plotting is easy to follow. The art in Avengers Initiativeis some of the best I've seen from the company since they went dark, gloomy. It reminds me of the superior work found in the Marvel Adventures line.

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10
Avengers: The Initiative #35

May 14, 2010

Gage characterizes the cowardly, reptilian Taskmaster and the newly enlightened Constrictor extremely well. I actually liked Vance Astro. Usually, his presence instills vomiting. Ultragirl enjoys some excellent moments. The heroes throw a party atop Avengers Tower and Avengers Initiative acts as a one stop status quo update for those who haven't been following anything in the Marvel Universe since the onslaught of Civil War. Furthermore, I actually felt good after reading Avengers Initiative.

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6.0
Aya #4

Sep 9, 2006

The story by Vicino maintains Aya's sharp characterization, and her disguise as a private detective is an ingenious addition, but Vincino devotes the lion's share of the tale to the murders, which despite his claims, are not as ingenious or as cool as he thinks. I also question a scene where Aya confronts the murderer but does nothing to stop her. The guy holsters his weapon, and Aya could have just karate chopped him in the back of the neck. She should have done something, at least slap a tracer on him.

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10
Aya #5

Oct 7, 2006

This issue of Aya is not only entertaining; it's an arousing informative panel by panel instruction manual for people looking to add excitement to comic books. I wish more people would study.

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10
Aya #6

Nov 11, 2006

Aya, looking like hell, seems doomed, but Vincino unveils a final surprise in the third act that can only be successfully accomplished in the unique format of a comic book, or perhaps the absurd comedies of Matt Groening.

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8.0
Aya: Princess of Darkness #1

Jun 3, 2006

The premiere of Aya: Princess of Darkness is a good start for the hero and the reader. I look forward to seeing more of this far from generic crime fighter.

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10
Aya: Princess of Darkness #2

Jul 22, 2006

First-rate artwork combines with excellent writing and inventive twists to the midwife of science fiction's plot. Add a daring, competent female super-hero, and you've got one damn good comic book with the resonant name Aya: Princess of Darkness.

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10
Aya: Princess of Darkness #3

Aug 12, 2006

Vicino's pacing and his characterization for Aya naturally evolve these strategies to their logical fruition. Rapaak's staging of Vicino's scenes perfectly visualizes the writer's intent. Precision inks and evocative colors make the final chapter in "The Clone Order" all the more appealing. Such is the importance of observation; the creative team highlights Aya's eyes in the panels. They become striking reflections of her intellect. The quality of this issue of Aya: Princess of Darkness is the bar to which all others will be measured.

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2.0
B.P.R.D. #3

Jan 22, 2005

As to Abe's predicament, I guess you'll have to wait even longer because he and Kate Corrigan only get a cameo of two pages. More time is dwelt upon characters for whom you do not care one whit.

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8.0
B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs #1

Mar 6, 2004

While in truth I would have preferred Mike Mignola had done the story and art on B.P.R.D., Guy Davis makes a suitable if unexpected substitute. The attitude of the B.P.R.D., and the moodiness fairly kept by Mr. Davis almost sends a chill up one's spine.

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8.0
B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs #2

Apr 11, 2004

Mignola's story is far from mediocre. While he has done better work in the past, Plague of Frogs is stil a Mike Mignola story. Once the team leaves the somewhat crowded BPRD HQ, Mr. Mignola throws a pair of dice to issue some unexpected consequences. From this point in the story, we do not know who will survive, and that's the sign of good horror. We do not know what will happen next, but we're eager to find out. That's the sign of a good story.

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8.0
B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs #3

May 8, 2004

While Kate Corrigan's part in the story adds some humor, the threat she faces is more of a shoulder shrug compared to the grotesque frog men and the borderline nauseating fungus-thing. She does not drag the story down, but when you've seen wyrms, Jenny Greenteeth and space fungi gods, the rising dead almost seem by comparison pedestrian.

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10
B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs #4

Jun 5, 2004

I haven't really ever read a Mignola project that has disappointed me. BPRD: Plague of Frogs is no exception.

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10
B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs #5

Jul 10, 2004

Mignola somehow manages to work the conspiracy against Lincoln and his subsequent assassination into the plot. Some critics might argue that it's a throw away piece of grandstanding, and yet the impact fits with the resonance of the characters the story explores.

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4.0
B.P.R.D.: The Dead #1

Nov 5, 2004

Does Arcudi know that BPRD and Hellboy are supposed to be dramas? Certainly, Mignola included some sly wit, but Arcudi turns BPRD into sitcom material. Sitcoms are evil.

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4.0
B.P.R.D.: The Dead #2

Dec 11, 2004

The friction between Daimio and Liz makes one naturally assume that in a future issue that she will sleep with him. Should this happen, I will vomit. Arcudi writes Roger as an idiot, and his juvenile humor is so very misplaced in Mignola's universe. Here's hoping for a dimensional transfer.

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4.0
B.P.R.D.: The Dead #4

Feb 25, 2005

Guy Davis provides a macabre tableau of god-awful gruesomeness. I mean that in a good way. He however cannot save a padded story with a repulsive lead character as its albatross. The Dead isn't stirring.

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8.0
B.P.R.D.: The Dead Remembered #1

Apr 9, 2011

In terms of plot, Mignola and Allie form the basis around intolerance, religious bigotry and corruption in the church. Same old same old, but instilled with the writers' convictions and sincerity.

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8.0
B.P.R.D.: The Dead Remembered #2

May 7, 2011

At a guess, Allie pinned down some of the more realistic characters in Mignola's story. Trevor, a winning lad with a smoking issue, is likely his. Trevor's father though briefly seen is more down to earth than the odd, scholarly Bruttenholm. Both writers however expose the hypocrisy of the Church, and it's not a visual of The Necronomicon that the poor woman fears at the end of the story. It's The Bible.

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6.0
Bad Girls #1

Aug 8, 2003

Bad Girls' best element, apart from the superb Lara Croft milk advertisement on the back, which really is the very best part of the book, comes in the form of Simone. Given the premise's similarities to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you expect the soon to be best friend of Lauren to be similar to Willow. Simone however stands out as a three-dimensional character whose qualities of competence and unique charm are welcome.

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8.0
Baltimore: The Curse Bells #1

Aug 13, 2011

Baltimore: The Curse Bells #1 (Ray's review)Posted: Saturday, August 13, 2011By: Ray Tate Mike Mignola, Christopher GoldenBen Stenbeck, Dave Stewart (c)Dark Horse Writers Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden build on the mythology of Baltimore. The vampires, huge monstrous bat things, scavenged the near dead on the battle-scarred fields of No Man's Land during World War I on an alternate earth. Vampire grand poobah Haigus promised the extermination of humanity when the heavily wounded Baltimore refused to be the beast's supper. Lord Baltimore's crusade though was inevitable. There's no way these gargantuan blood suckers would have settled for just the dying doughboy or the husk of the Hun. Besides, evil lies.

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10
Baltimore: The Curse Bells #3

Oct 20, 2011

Blavatsky's rebirth is one of the most repellent things that either Mignola or Golden ever conceived. Mignola's work is well known, but Golden may be unfamiliar to comic book readers. Golden wrote Vampirella and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So, he knows his way around horrific imagery. Artists Ben Stenbeck and Dave "Deep Red" Stewart underscore the terror with suspenseful graphics that twist the miraculous, living, evolving being into a grotesque example of body perversion.

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8.0
Baltimore: The Plague Ships #1

Aug 7, 2010

Mignola's and Golden's Baltimore: The Plague Ships is a worthwhile addition to the dark fantasy worlds fostered by Dark Horse. Ben Stenbeck's illustration suits the imagination of the artist/writer/creator.

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10
Baltimore: The Plague Ships #2

Sep 4, 2010

Imagine wild dogs ambling along and feeding from the dead, as well as the lively. Imagine witnessing the blood of your friends dripping from the maws of these dogs. Guess what? A dog is coming for you, and you, my friend have been shot in the leg. That's Baltimore's situation. Kind of. Sort of. See, instead of contending against wild dogs, he must fight giant vampire bats. To quote Hellboy, "Crap."

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8.0
Baltimore: The Plague Ships #3

Oct 9, 2010

Lord Baltimore and Vanessa grow a little closer. In fact, their relationship is somewhat like the Doctor and his companion. However, the characterization isn't quite so important this issue. This week Baltimore: The Plague Ships is a tour of the supernatural earth, rendered ably by Stenbeck and Stewart as directed by Mignola and Golden. The perfect Halloween book.

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8.0
Baltimore: The Plague Ships #4

Nov 6, 2010

If you're treading in the footfalls of these classic terrors, yet still producing original grotesques--courtesy of Ben Stenbeck and the bright red of Dave Stewart--then you're doing something right. Baltimore: Plague Ships is a treat for people who know that vampires are disgusting monsters that pervert the dead for their own gruesome amusement. I foresee a Bram Stoker Award in the creative team's future.

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6.0
Baltimore: The Plague Ships #5

Dec 3, 2010

Ben Stenbeck and Dave Stewart on the other hand pull out all the stops. Under a sheen of symbolic lilac, Lord Baltimore and Vanessa engage in a visceral battle against the forces of evil, and yes, Hun Diving Suits are cool.

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10
Banana Sunday #1

Jul 15, 2005

Artist Colleen Coover oils the characters' gears with distinctive, cartoony looks that help flesh out the beasts--both human and their cousins. All in all a winning combination that will occasionally make you peal with laughter.

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10
Banana Sunday #2

Aug 26, 2005

The growth of character isn't only limited to the humans. Go-Go very cleverly in the opening scenes displays superior spatial knowledge. Knobby peels back his Don Juan outer layer to reveal insecurity. While Chuck who instigates the conclusion, combines his intelligence with a nasty form of wit.

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6.0
Banana Sunday #3

Oct 21, 2005

Nibot expertly directs the character interaction, and the snappy dialogue makes for a quick pace. Colleen Coover once again provides charming, cartoony artwork with clean lines that enhance the clearly crafted story.

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10
Banana Sunday #4

Nov 19, 2005

Colleen Coover's artwork adds the icing to the muffins, and I hope to see more from Banana Sundays and Colleen Coover's charming judiciously used lines in the future.

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2.0
Bart Simpson Comics #9

Aug 31, 2002

"Prize Possession" is another clunker with some minor humor in Homer's attempt to start up a barbecue. "Cyrano De Barte" lacks any punch, and a superb surreal beginning to Robert L. Graff's and Jesse Leon McCann's "Hill of Beans" becomes swamped by a derivative flat story.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #10

Dec 3, 2002

The art of course would keep you from quickly reaching the accuracy of the comparison, and a great deal of the sight gags comes in the form of Millhouse's Muppet-like expressive, blue eyebrows. Add a few shorts by Chris Yambar and the aforementioned artist, and you've got a very funny comic book that earns its price tag.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #11

Mar 10, 2003

Likewise, I suspected "Balloon Party" would go bust, but Sherri Smith shows a comprehensive understanding of how Bart ticks. The dialogue and his actions are just perfect as his satisfied smile.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #12

Apr 27, 2003

The rest of the book makes use of Springfield's odd and fickle desire for culture. The Mark Twain festival doesn't seem out of place at all and is symbolized in part by the play put on by Bart and Lisa. Lisa of course wants a strict adherence to the story, and the devilish Bart seeks to provide only the best entertainment. This basically goes to the idea that Springfieldians really just want to have fun. If culture comes with it, fine. If not, all the better. Thus, it's not absurd to see Homer in expertly tailored period clothing, nor should you expect that a speedboat chase in a Tom Sawyer tale would be unwelcome to the hedonistic denizens of the surreal town.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #13

Sep 5, 2003

The intelligent humor of Gail Simone even when the characters act far from intelligent makes this issue of Bart Simpson Comics resonate with the power of a jungle call. The addition of an interesting off-kilter anecdotal tale and a hilarious short more than give the reader her money's worth.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #14

Oct 25, 2003

Finally, Mr. Kress shows the Simpsons' immunity to "Family Reading Night," and while the behavior amuses, it's the ending that's laugh out loud funny since it comes from nowhere and strikes without reason.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #15

Dec 27, 2003

Colorist Rick Reese and inker Patrick Owsley evoke the eerie mood of sci-fi horror of which "Invasion of the Baby Snatchers" is a partial tribute. Artist Luis Escobar concocts all sorts of interesting designs for the alien babies and again drops them through the lens of Matt Groening then pops in on Metaluna for his inspiration for the title antagonists.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #16

Feb 28, 2004

Although the finale borrows from Mark Twain, Bryan Uhlenbrock's "Zone Wars" shows Bart at his best. A practical joker extraordinaire, the idiot savant Bart goes on an impressive spree. Nigles, Novin and Villanueva delight in the interpretation of Bart as evil, urban genius.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #18

Jun 30, 2004

Bart Simpson Comics is not for your eyes only. Anybody of any age can read the book or have it read to them. The universality of the audience however does not dumb down the story which pays homage and pokes a little fun at the spy game.

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6.0
Bart Simpson Comics #19

Aug 27, 2004

Joey Niles, Mike Rote and Nathan Hamill provide a buffet of wild takes. Mike Kapleh, Jason Ho and Hamill display an array of art within art. Mark Erwin, Mike DeCarlo and Hamill tame a colorful bestiary. John Costanza, Phyllis Novin and Art Villanueva engineer a new outre cast member, find a way to impregnate with texture and fluidity a prank and imagine an awesome thirtieth century styled intensive care unit. Gnarly.

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6.0
Bart Simpson Comics #20

Oct 30, 2004

The artwork is consistently impressive. Given the short's subject, Bates uses some interesting angles and expression to depict the cast. Rote's inks add even more precision to the art than those in the previous story, and Hammill's color sense actually matches Villanueva's, which given his experience with the Bongo books is quite a feat.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #21

Dec 27, 2004

In the final story James Bates offers a loopy parody on The Defiant Ones. In this version Bart and Nelson are cuffed together and must escape museum security and find their way out of their predicament. Bates uses the props of the genre to create faux suspense. The guillotine gag is in particular an inspired twist, and the core to the gag makes realistic sense. Luis Escobar through his timing in the panels milks the fake tension. Owsley's inks give the work added dimension and colors by Hamill take on a more down to earth note but does not shuck aestheticism as the kids leave the candy-codified trappings of Springfield.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #22

Mar 5, 2005

In Rogers' story a supernatural detention slip seeks out Bart. Though whomever the slip passes to winds up in the hell of detention. Costanza provides some very animated Simpson doings for this tale. The more physical comedy takes a backseat to what is essentially action over a minor punishment raised to the nth degree.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #23

Apr 30, 2005

And finally, Bates comes back like an infectious disease for "Flu Shot" which shows the devilish Bart finding a means to escape the needle and stick it to Lisa. Jason Ho with Mike Rote and colorist Nathan Hamil--what? Did Villanueva die during production?--draw a line of Springfield youngsters for your guaranteed yuks.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #24

Jul 4, 2005

James Lloyd, Andrew Pepoy and Nathan Hamill further strengthen the wacky state of affairs. They cast dramatic shadows to give the opening an even more uproarious feeling, and they even nail the poses of the characters involved in the more gentle type of such mysteries--always standing around and doing nothing. Truly this one must be read to be believed.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #25

Sep 2, 2005

Finally, "Cross Country Clown" is a winner due to Lloyd's and Pepoy's visual camaraderie between Bart and Homer.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #26

Oct 29, 2005

James Bates in "Bart's Stink Strike" does not with the story stink up the room. Instead, he offers a bouquet of carefully crafted comeuppance for the usually unflappable Bart. James Lloyd peppers the panels with illustrations that one may find unusual in a funny book. On the very first page for instance, the reflection of Krusty on Bart's eyes combined with the cathode-blue courtesy of Art Villanueva give the reader a hint of how Bart has become practically hypnotized into forgetting all else--including bathing. Lloyd and Pepoy also give the aroma of slyness around Homer as his plan unfolds. While it's true that Homer is a "slow-thinker" Bates makes his shrewd scheme pungent and within Homer's purview.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #27

Jan 7, 2006

Ortiz, DeCarlo and Hamill return for the panel pieces, and this time their talents must be directed for scenes filled with multiple denizens of Springfield. Needless, they succeed and make certain that the storyboard never looks cluttered.

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6.0
Bart Simpson Comics #28

Feb 24, 2006

Is this issue the worst Bart Simpson Comics issue I've read? No. Despite being unable to get me to crack a smile, the writers do characterize the characters to their television models, and all the artwork matches Matt Groening's designs. These assets are enough to raise the book from two bullets to three bullets. It's not bad. It's just the definition of mediocre.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #29

Apr 29, 2006

Between these channels, Tom Peyer, James Lloyd, Andrew Pepoy and Hamill render a sweet short where Chief Wiggums expresses his love for his son at a baseball game. Jesse McCann, Mike Rote and Hamill entertain thoughts of revolution with another disturbing and bizarre episode of "Worker and Parasite."--the Russian version of Itchy and Scratchy that made Krusty on the show pause a few bug-eyed moments then cry out "What the hell was that!"

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #30

Jul 1, 2006

In the final story, Tony Digerolamo gets Bart, Milhous and Martin into trouble. Digerolamo makes one laugh out loud when Skinner gets into the act and the two enemies break down in an attempt to clear the conscience and comfort each other. The art by Ryan Rivette, Mike Rote and Villanueva beautifully highlight the emotional release all still contained in the Matt Groening style.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #31

Aug 26, 2006

The artwork by James Lloyd and Andrew Pepoy in both stories gives the reader Matt Groening's style in a variety of the characters' moods and poses. Nathan Hamill's colors actually match the multitudinous rainbow collage employed by Art Villanueva.

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6.0
Bart Simpson Comics #32

Oct 28, 2006

You can do worse, but this issue of Bart Simpson Comics isn't a necessary purchase. I'd only recommend it if you had some spare cash lying around in the vault.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #33

Dec 30, 2006

I doubt art for the Simpsons ever can be considered a chore. Carlos Valenti, Phyllis Novin, Nathan Hamil, James Lloyd, Mike Rote, Art Villanueva, Phil Oritz and Mike DeCarlo all convey their excitement toward their work onto the pages. Each story adheres to the model of recognizable silhouettes. The illusion of animation through the panels fluidly compliments the words, and the visual timing for the jokes is impeccable.

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4.0
Bart Simpson Comics #34

Mar 3, 2007

Chuck Dixon's story "The Burger Meister" is the best of the lot, but it's still a toothless war between Homer and Bart involving a Burger contest. I enjoyed the Snoopy and Red Baron gag at the opening more than the entire story. At least the art by John Costanza, Phyllis Novin and Hamill--combining to illustrate a splendid biplane by the way--pulls you through the minor episode.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #35

Apr 28, 2007

Bart's impish nature gets him expelled in "Elementary School Dropout." Earl Kress demonstrates plausible reasons through the tale explaining why Bart wants to return to the warm comfort of the status quo. Aided and abetted by the panels of Niles and Pepoy brightened by Hamill, he creates an Odd Couple inspired comedy piece, which ingeniously changes Seymour Skinner's mind.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #36

Jun 30, 2007

Bart Simpson Comics features three short stories and one two page joke that provides more laughs than most comedy features. The artwork in all the stories syncs with the television series' designs. Nathan Hamil's vivid variety and Art Villanueva candy coats are as beautiful as those on The Simpsons.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #37

Aug 25, 2007

Templeton has a trickier task than usual for this issue of Bart Simpsons Comics. He must not only mimic the style seen on the show and create the illusion of animation for the regular cast but also consistently reinforce that stamp while reimagining the characters in slightly different forms. Given the fact that these characters are not easy to draw, it's doubly impressive that Templeton also nails their look and their behavior when they're presented in different stages. Inker Andrew PePoy is on hand to pick up some of the slack from Templeton, and his inks nicely over dramatize things like Bart's mask and Colossus' mad cackles. Colorist Art Villanueva gets some aid from Nathan Hamill, and all the artists must be commended for their at times intricate detail and rainbow of colors that make the Bongo books so attractive.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #38

Oct 27, 2007

Special note must be made of James Lloyd's comic book gags, which feature continuity specific references such as "Krusty's Playhouse Comics" but also odd little riffs on Basil Wolverton, Superman, musicals and obesity. Andrew Pepoy's inks come into focus for forced perspective shots. Nathan Hamill's colors add a particularly beautiful nuance to a three panel change in time, and quite frankly allegedly serious comic books should be this beautiful and this inventive with their angles.

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6.0
Bart Simpson Comics #39

Dec 29, 2007

Costanza relies on close ups and tilted angled panels to emphasize the drama to be found in the bizarre Perry Mason milieu. Novin's sharp inks refine the detail, especially during a really smashing Man from UNCLE gag. I wonder if Peyer also bought the attache DVD set?

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #40

Mar 3, 2008

Hilary Barta who has illustrated previous Bart Simpson's "Treehouse of Horror" episodes for the comic book specials was an excellent choice for the tale. His shadows and more dimensional illusions fit the eerie ambiance of the science fiction in the flexible reality of the series. Robert Stanley's sickly greens give the opening a particularly impressive chiller theater spotlight.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #41

Apr 26, 2008

Tony Digerolamo, Jason Ho and Hamill round off the book with a webisode of Angry Dad. Digerolamo thinks of a slapstick skit that could have been conceived by a ten-year-old but still appeal to adults; the mustache gag is fairly sophisticated, but Bart is actually pretty sharp, and it's within his purview. Ho contributes two types of styles successfully. He illustrates the typical Simpson look, and the more primitive art that attributes the Angry Dad episodes from Bart's imagination.

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6.0
Bart Simpson Comics #42

Jun 28, 2008

Nina Matsumoto and Mike DeCarlo remodel familiar faces in the story, and they also bring in newer characters that motivate Bart's and Milhouse's final decisions. The motivation arises in conveying what a couple of kids might find cool.

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6.0
Bart Simpson Comics #43

Aug 29, 2008

Asprec's, Novin's and Hamill's simple two-act play between Lisa and Milhouse as well as Bart's Frank Sinatra imitation add to an already outstanding story by Bates. While "Cool Rules" isn't impressive, Santiago's, Rote's and Villanueva's transformations for Lisa are better than the concepts. "Lisa's Bad Word" isn't much, but the art by Rivette, Glines and Hamill excels in exemplifying Lisa's embarrassment and the bad day that took her to the bad word.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #44

Oct 25, 2008

All three stories in this week's issue of Bart Simpson Comics amuse as the artists adhere to the Matt Groening model while staying true to their individual styles.

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6.0
Bart Simpson Comics #45

Dec 27, 2008

Three stories and one forgettable short comprise Bart Simpson Comics #45. Only one tale is outstanding. All the art in the book captures the comedy and construction of The Simpsons television series, but one is in that respect severely lacking.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #46

Feb 28, 2009

Each tale has a plot, a beginning, middle and an end. Simultaneously, the writers lace in an abundance of comedy, keep true to the characters and write some fantastic dialogue and twists. The artists within their own styles maintain the model of the show and master the timing of the sight gags.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #47

Apr 25, 2009

In all respects, this issue of Bart Simpson Comics easily rests in the cream that rises to the top. The two stories satisfy in different ways that never the less seem intertwined.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #48

Jun 27, 2009

One could accuse Bongo of hypocrisy. Batton Lash is after all filleting the Big Two's tomfoolery, but he's doing it in a crossover. However, there are some stark differences. This is a crossover lasting only three issues. Compare the trilogy to DC's weekly dovetailing drudges and Marvel's inbreeding Dark Civil Reign of the Secret Brand New War. One also needs to consider that this is only the second Bongo crossover. That's right. After 155 issues of Simpsons Comics and 48 focusing on Bart, Bongo engages in its second crossover. Surely, the Powers That Be at Bongo deserve an Eisner for the restraint.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #49

Aug 29, 2009

Bart and Lisa first match wits with corn-fed crazies and then with ten classmates who have axes to grind. The Bongo crew does a tremendous job keeping your ribs tickled and your eyes glued to the richly colored pages.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #50

Oct 31, 2009

Sergio Aragones! Sergio Argones Aragones That's why Bart Simpson Comics earns five bullets. The Mad maestro makes merry with Matt Groening's brainchildren.

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6.0
Bart Simpson Comics #52

Feb 27, 2010

I didn't get "Homer Simpson Chick Magnet" and that's why this issue of Bart Simpson earns only three bullets. This longer tale by Gilbert Hernandez consists of a series of accidental meetings between Homer and numerous attractive women. The explanation for the attraction is unsatisfactory and unfunny. However, Carol Lay's opener is strong enough to sell the book.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #53

May 1, 2010

This issue of Bart Simpson Comics offers a change in design theme. For "La Barta Vita" John Costanza and Phyllis Novin imbue European style to Bart's appearance. In the end, their talent provides the last sight gag. If they were any less skillful, good story or not, the final panel would have been the butt of the joke.

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6.0
Bart Simpson Comics #54

Jun 26, 2010

In "Let the Games Begin!" Evan Dorkin attempts to express his frustration with security packaging. That might have been funny in the nineties, but there are plenty of handy little devices that can make short work of cellophane wrap and stick-ums. Perhaps, somebody needs to buy Mr. Dorkin a Swiss Army knife to end his exasperation.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #55

Aug 30, 2010

Lay's story is a superb battle between Lisa and Bart. Her art neatly imitates the style of the show, and she has an able assit in Alan Hellard and Karen Bates with her onomotopaiea sound effects.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #56

Oct 30, 2010

The two shorts and the vignette in Bart Simpson Comics are all worth reading and keep in tune with the series.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #58

Feb 26, 2011

Bart Simpson Comics is a meaty cartoon cavalcade that will please any fan of the show or readers of funny books.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #59

Apr 30, 2011

This excellent issue's final short arrives courtesy of Sergio Aragnes. His expressions for Homer and Maggie make dialogue superfluous, and her dainty dabbing of the mouth favors Matt Groening's edicts for dining depiction.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #60

Jun 25, 2011

Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.

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6.0
Bart Simpson Comics #61

Aug 4, 2011

Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #62

Aug 27, 2011

Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #64

Oct 29, 2011

In the first story by Paul Kupperberg, Bart turns over a new leaf, and the citizens of Springfield don't quite know what to do. The story gives James Lloyd and Dan Davis a field day with the panels depicting Bart's unflappable angelic expression contrasting with the wild takes from Lunch Lady Doris, Mrs. Krabappel and Principal Skinner who goes straight down a noir spiral that includes booze, accident and tragedy.

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10
Bart Simpson Comics #65

Nov 28, 2011

Bart's selection of targets is inspired, and I love how Bates includes a sly slight against the gullibility of the media. Balloon Boy anyone?

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8.0
Bart Simpson Comics #66

Dec 31, 2011

The story benefits not just from Eric Rogers' imaginative escalations for Lisa but also from James Lloyd's and Andrew Pepoy's dead on replication of the distinctive linework from the animated series. As you can see, they do more than just polished work. They bring the characterization to the pages and think up new ways to visually represent the cast and their feelings.

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10
Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror #8

Oct 4, 2002

Hillary Barta next surpasses his peers and probably makes Gail Simone go "D'oh" with an moodily illustrated creature feature alphabet done in a limerick style. If more comic books gave this amount of entertainment for the coin, I'd have less to complain about.

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10
Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror #9

Oct 3, 2003

The subgenre of Jack the Ripper horror was just dying to be spoofed, and Gary Millidge proves just to be the right bloke to do the job right. Ear-to-ear grins will fill readers' faces as this slice of kidne-pie fills the gut of the story with all the conventions of the lore. Conspiracy, Abberline, Freemasonry, nothing is sacred when profaning what Ripperologists hold dear.

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10
Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror #11

Oct 8, 2005

Chris Bonham and Steve Ringgenberg are two names not often associated with Simpsons Comics, but reader unfamiliarity should not breed contempt for their trio of clever tales within tales within tales. “You've read it! You can't Un-Read it!”

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8.0
Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror #12

Nov 25, 2006

The Goon's creator Eric Powell shows up for the last tale. This ghoulish story involving relations with emus and cannibalism begins with a Lad's Magazine as a catalyst. The short just tears down The Simpsons style of storycraft but with a seriously twisted subject matter. Powell shadows the characters and gives them an almost three-dimensional semblance. These factors culminate to produce an ever more disturbing end. Kudos also sticking with the Treehouse tradition of slipping in Kang and Kodos.

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8.0
Bart Simpsons Comics #17

May 15, 2004

I would have to say that this issue of Bart Simpson Comics isn't as laugh out loud funny as previous issues in this series or the other Simpsons books. It is however throughout amusing, smart and inventively sends up the super-hero genre without denigrating the subject.

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10
Batgirl (2011) #4

Dec 20, 2011

Batgirl plans something special and merciless to end the Mirror. The scheme exemplifies just how far Babs will go to see justice done and just how cruel this kind person can be.

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10
Batgirl (2011) #5

Jan 16, 2012

Batgirl shares the history with Batman and Robin. The healing of Batgirl forces Batman and Robin to share their paternal and fraternal love for her. The new Batman continuity with its links to comic book history is being written right here. In many ways Batgirl is the keystone book in the Batman Family titles.

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10
Batman Annual #26

Sep 1, 2007

While DC, surprise, surprise, did not hype The Batman Annual, Batman fans must not miss this book. I want Peter Milligan, the Lopezes and Mulvihill back on a Batman book right now.

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10
Batman & Poison Ivy: Cast Shadows #1

Apr 3, 2004

Ann Nocenti and John Van Fleet work beautifully together to create a unique adventure with a strong hybridized Poison Ivy and a Batman more appreciative of light than darkness.

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10
Batman & Superman: Generations III #2

Feb 15, 2003

Other hints of Byrne's talent for writing comic books surface. A guest-star makes a surprise appearance. The scenes involving New Genesis ring true. Izaya looks like Izaya in the only way Byrne can draw the character. There's just a volume of information within an interesting story to be dissected and a plethora of heroic characters to enjoy.

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10
Batman & Superman: Generations III #12

Dec 13, 2003

The second half of this Generations issue slightly disappoints. Until this last chapter, Mr. Byrne has been writing time travel in a way that made sense out of the speculation. The climax to this final chapter creates a massive paradox, but again, the execution, the drama of the exercise and the brilliant epilogue make this tiny shortcoming easily forgivable.

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8.0
Batman (2011) #5

Jan 23, 2012

Batman has people waiting for him. Nightwing, Robin, Batgirl and Catwoman all make an appearance, and these cameos are just as important as the widescreen scope of the plot and the artwork.

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10
Batman Adventures #1

May 9, 2003

The internal narration hits the right notes, and the final sentence shows Batman to be more than a humorless sociopath. The artwork by Mr. Templeton smoothly brings the lank Cavalier to the animated Gotham City. I also appreciated how the origin is a precise recreation of Bob Kane's and Bill Finger's Bat-Man origin. No bats smashing through a window here. Frank Miller I think only intended that to be point of view symbolism--and not the ridiculous idea that Man-Bat's experiments sent the bat crashing through Bruce Wayne's window. "It's an omen!" Batman Adventures heralds a long-life for Batman fans young and old.

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8.0
Batman Adventures #2

May 25, 2003

The brief but poignant tale offsets Penguin's criminal past with his polished present. Artist Templeton further muddies the question of Penguin's innocence and ultimate goals by portraying him as an arrogant, preening bird. He also stages a beautiful take on Batman in disguise.

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10
Batman Adventures #3

Jun 22, 2003

The ramifications of the story present an interesting problem. Because of Ivy's situation, the Joker/Harley team must be reconsidered, and this may also lead to Batman having a new ally when the clown needs a cute punching bag. Surely, Ivy must also reconsider her ecoterrorism stance, and a cure for her condition may become her top priority.

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10
Batman Adventures #4

Jul 19, 2003

This attention to detail in every element of the story whether it be how Batman should react when an event occurs, the display of esoteric knowledge that makes him more than a common street fighter, the insightful characterization of his archenemy or his various love-interests, the right amount of art that should be shown in a pitch black fight scene or the understanding that the Batman is not always dark and his image can even be graceful when surrounded by a sunset setting on an exotic island, all of these things makes Batman Adventures superior to every Batman book purporting to star Batman on the racks.

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8.0
Batman Adventures #5

Aug 22, 2003

Batman Adventures like its predecessor titles usually presents a perfect issue month after moth. While this story bears a few shortcomings, it still features a Batman who acts consistently in character, engrosses with a coherent plot and captivates with beautiful artwork that facilitates frenetic action.

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10
Batman Adventures #6

Sep 20, 2003

Batman Adventures is the only Batman title where you can find a Batman in whom you can trust and a history that you can comprehend. This is the only Batman title where you can find Batgirl. This is the only Batman title where drama unfolds with action and humor, and this is the only Batman title that appreciates audience intelligence. Batman Adventures is the best Batman title on the racks.

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10
Batman Adventures #7

Oct 18, 2003

I expect greatness from Batman Adventures. This issues exceeds my expectations.

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10
Batman Adventures #8

Nov 29, 2003

Mr. Templeton's Malone gains more weight of character as an informant, but the author does not stop there. Through his partnership with Mr. Burchett and Beatty, he adds one more element to the myth that gives a deeper explanation for why Batman continues to resurrect this low-life hood.

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10
Batman Adventures #9

Dec 18, 2003

Dean Haspiel provides the artwork on both stories, and his style differs strongly from the cleaner look of the fluid animated Batman. It's raw with a nod to the underground and something that you might be able to find in a Bizarro Comics collection, but it's still a valid interpretation of the Dark Knight. A key moment to note is how the darkness shades Bruce's face as he lets his cape show during a psychiatrist's interview.

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10
Batman Adventures #10

Jan 24, 2004

Batman Adventures gives readers two stand-alone stories that are each worth the price of the book. Written with intelligence and a care for characterization as well as consistency that can no longer be found in DC's continuity titles, Batman Adventures simply put is the only Batman book on the racks and one of the very few books overall worth reading.

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10
Batman Adventures #11

Feb 21, 2004

Ultimately, The Riddler's high regard for Batman is what saves him from a return visit to Arkham. Hopefully he'll stay away from the asylum because the Riddler actually makes for a better protagonist than villain.

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8.0
Batman Adventures #12

Mar 22, 2004

While the mystery in the main plot is somewhat lacking, the characterization of the Dynamic Duo more than make up for the loss. The second story is another perfect vignette reinforcing the relationship between Batman and Robin--er Nightwing.

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10
Batman Adventures #13

Apr 24, 2004

This technique of staying on model benefited not just the action as in the scene where Batman confronts the Penguin but also the visual characterization such as where Batman rubs his chin as he ponders the mystery. If you were to name the Batman artists of the twenty-first century Rick Burchett and Terry Beatty should be the names on the tips of your tongues. Never once need you question their skill. They have without accolades been illustrating the adventures of the bona fide Batman, Batgirl, Robin and Nightwing for longer than the hyped artist of the day. There will never be another book like Batman Adventures. Mourn the loss.

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10
Batman Adventures #14

May 22, 2004

Batman returns from the Slott adventure to the Cave and into Ty Templeton's vignette. Instead of brooding about his encounter with the villain and wallowing in angst, the bona fide Dark Knight removes his cowl and sits back to watch an episode of The Gray Ghost. This stirs his memories and makes him think of a more innocent time when he was a child and his parents were alive. His mother is portrayed with such sweetness, that you cannot help feel for Batman.

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4.0
Batman Adventures #15

Jun 30, 2004

Other problems occur within the story. Batgirl while looking cute does absolutely nothing. Yes, I too find the character of Batgirl to be sexy. However, her appeal is based more on the fact that she is an intelligent, dangerous crimefighter not because she wiggles and makes googly eyes. If the police investigated, why didn't they find the letters forged by D'anjou? Why did they not find the robot in his workshop since he cleverly hid it under a sheet on a table in plain view? Why doesn't Nora recognize the letter is forged? The letters do not even appear to have the same handwriting. Why is D'anjou being given blood through an IV when he hasn't even been wounded? The only way out of a Freeze ice-cube is the method first used by Batman in "Heart of Ice." No transfusions needed. If Batman "jammed Victor's robotic body" how can Victor move the body even if by remote control to save Nora? Why would Victor tell Nora to "run" when he knows that the safety of the snow and ice canno

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10
Batman Adventures #16

Jul 23, 2004

One thing not in this book's favor are the two grievous color errors. You may not think a change in Batgirl's boot and gauntlet colors affects the story, but they do. They create a sudden distraction that takes you out of the story and hurts the artwork. In her proper colors, under Burchett's direction, Batgirl cuts a visually striking figure. With the altered colors, you can't help but notice that something is very wrong with the character. This is still a minor quibble and certainly not the fault of the main talent regarding the best comic book on the rack.

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10
Batman Adventures #17

Aug 20, 2004

The Dark Knight can and will still be found in Justice League Unlimited, but this is the end of something special. The last thing I'll say about this series of comic books is thank you.

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8.0
Batman Begins #1

Jun 15, 2005

Batman Begins ushers in a new era in which Batman once again prowls Gotham City to make it safe. The filmmakers have not forgotten the basics of the formula, and in fact you're better off spending five to eight dollars on this movie than you are spending half as much to buy a Batman comic book. Dark Detective being the exception. As a lifelong fan of Batman and somebody who believes himself to be an expert in all things Batman, I can say without a shadow of doubt that yes, Batman Begins is indeed Batman.

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10
Batman Confidential #17

May 16, 2008

The depiction of Batman should be momentous. Maguire gives the same resonance to Batgirl. In the third panel, Babs takes off her glasses and lets loose her flashing hair. The fourth panel shows her drawing her utility belt from her purse, and the fifth shows her pulling apart her bulky clothing to reveal the truth behind the facade.

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10
Batman Confidential #26

Feb 14, 2009

Originally I only intended picking up Batman Confidential to marvel at the artwork, assuming Garcia-Lopez and Nowlan were up to snuff. I'm actually looking forward to the next chapter in the story as well.

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10
Batman Confidential #27

Mar 14, 2009

As the story continues Nunzio DeFillipis and Christina Weir bring their Tut superficially closer to the television version. They derive Tut's secret identity as a homage. They catalyze Tut's birth with a crack to the noggin, but this Tut is smarter and more dangerous than Victor Buono's broad Egyptian clown could ever hope to be.

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10
Batman Confidential #28

Apr 10, 2009

I thoroughly enjoyed this arc of Batman Confidential. Thanks to Jose Garcia-Lopez, Nowlan and Baron, Batman looks good, especially with the lengthier ears. Thanks to Weir and DeFillipis, he acts like the proper Dark Knight I grew up with. His team-up with the Riddler offers comedy but more than comedy relief, and Tut proves to be an interesting, even horrific foe.

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10
Batman Dark Detective #1

May 7, 2005

Batman once again becomes an impediment to the Joker's plan, and in the conclusion to this single issue, Englehart and Rogers enhanced by the inking of ever-reliable Terry Austin Batman and the Joker engage in what really is the metaphorical glove slap in the face but it has more excitement, more closure than the entire run of No Brain Land, Bruce Wayne: Murdering Fugitive and the latest excursion Infinite Torture of Gullible Fan Wallets.

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10
Batman Dark Detective #2

May 20, 2005

Dark Detective is the best Batman book on the racks, and Batman has never looked better.

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10
Batman Dark Detective #3

Jun 11, 2005

Dan DiDio explained that after Infinite Cucarachas all of DC's continuity will take place a year forward. Yeah, thanks for that. That's really inventive. Do you really want to publish comic books worthy of an adult mind? Pay attention then to Dark Detective. Idiots.

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4.0
Batman Dark Detective #4

Jun 18, 2005

If Moxton doesn't play a part in this drama, then I can't see a thug or drug-addict like Joe Chill making a friend in the dapper killer sent to slay Bruce Wayne, and while criminals do make alliances, one criminal killing for another criminal is highly unlikely. Murder is not something criminals of the day took lightly. This friend of Chill's would have had to have been paid either in oodles of cash or in favors to motivate him into killing a kid. Chill always seemed like a low-level gunsel--constantly without cash and certainly not in the position to grant any favors. So why on earth would this unnamed friend of Chill's actually want to paint a target on his chest? It doesn't make sense. Oh, and if Joe Chill didn't murder Batman's parents, then hey, why would this friend of Chill's want to murder young Bruce Wayne? Awful. Simply awful.

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10
Batman Dark Detective #5

Jul 9, 2005

When Batman discovers the Joker has kidnaped Silver in a scene where Evan and Bruce draw their lines in the sand, he immediately goes into motion, and again the creative team surprise you. Two-Face logically should give up the location of the Joker's home--a death trap no doubt inspired by the serial killer H.H. Holmes' abode, but Two-Face's abnormal psychology stands in Batman's way. Yet another twist gives Batman the answer and sets the stage for what I suspect will be a killer denouement. Dark Detective is how Batman is supposed to be.

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8.0
Batman Dark Detective #6

Jul 30, 2005

The reason why Batman: Dark Detective does not earn a perfect score is that Engleheart totally cops out on the reasons why Silver St. Cloud and Batman do not stay together. Batman: Dark Detective wasn't set in proper Batman continuity. The book is far, far too smart for that, and no stupid status quo needed to be preserved. Since Batman: Dark Detective was about logic versus madness. A logical conclusion should have been reached. Silver St. Cloud going home with Batman, and the Dark Detective ready for another adventure.

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10
Batman Gotham Adventures #52

Aug 3, 2002

Robin is important to the story for a number of reasons. While the continuity Batman has managed to turn away every friend he believed he never had. Robin likes Batman and knows he will without hesitation support him. Robin can also do things Batman cannot do. He takes on a role straight from the Bob Kane originals. Batman Gotham Adventures is a back to basics approach friendly to new readers, respectful of older readers and faithful to the essence of the bat.

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10
Batman Gotham Adventures #53

Sep 2, 2002

I always expect greatness from Batman: Gotham Adventures, and the title rarely disappoints.

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10
Batman Gotham Adventures #54

Sep 27, 2002

When the antagonist stands revealed, the villain uses a very strange weapon that would normally call into question the entire plausibility of the story. When you think about it, the weapon is so unusual and so unnecessary that only this particular type of villain would choose it. The villain's end may seem like a shameless deus ex machina, but given the villain's nature, this is a fitting comeuppance, and Batman's grim joke at the end serves as fitting punctuation.

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10
Batman Gotham Adventures #55

Nov 3, 2002

Batman Gotham Adventures also surpasses the other Batman books in another way. No matter how dark the hero or the mystery, the adventure is optimistic. The hero wins, and the point of the book, besides engaging the reader's ability to think, is to see just how the hero will surmount the often deadly odds.

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10
Batman Gotham Adventures #56

Dec 8, 2002

The confrontation in Dr. Leland's office leads to the raison d'art, but don't expect to solve the mystery. Unlike the Riddler's typical clues, these rely on obscurities only the most expert reader will know. Naturally, Batman being the World's Greatest Detective knows, yet another important difference between the animated Batman and the lesser version in the DCU, this Batman is not merely an effective thinking machine. He's neither without humor nor without heart.

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8.0
Batman Gotham Adventures #57

Jan 2, 2003

Due to the absence of Batman, this is the least visually exciting issue of the run. However, the art team succeeds in making Robin resonate as an action hero. The anatomy and his acrobatic antics are in keeping with how he looks and acts on the series, and the book is not without its usual attention to aesthetics. Interesting enough the colors of Robin's uniform actually make much more sense given Gotham's perpetual red skies and seem less like a glaring bulls-eye.

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2.0
Batman Gotham Adventures #58

Jan 25, 2003

Nobody was thinking when they let this issue out on the stands, but the artwork by James Fry and Ty Templeton, soon to return to the throne of Batman Adventures meets the high standards of past issues. The story however is unfortunately worthless.

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6.0
Batman Gotham Adventures #59

Feb 28, 2003

The Bruce Wayne seen in this issue is a dullard. He forgets on purpose his employees names and is seen as a lay-about rarely at the office. Mr. Peterson should have known better, but what's worse is that Batman was unaware of the skimming at Waynecorp. Even were I to accept the Bruce Wayne performance as a bridge between the first and second animated series, I cannot and no Batman fan should accept that Batman would not know everything that occurs within his own company.

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10
Batman Gotham Adventures #60

Mar 29, 2003

When Batman reaches the Joker, he learns an unsettling truth about himself. The words do not immediately impact. They gnaw at him later, and this time in the light, Batman makes a decision to finally accept the meaning behind his parents' grins.

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10
Batman in Barcelona: Dragon's Knight #1

May 31, 2009

Though pricier than the average comic book, Batman in Barcelona contains thirty-nine pages of actual Batman in a good story with excellent artwork. The ads are kept to a minimum. I would have preferred the book to be a square-bound graphic novel with a nice cover and heavier paper stock. However, as it is, Waids and Olmoss latest is a worthy addition to anybodys Batman collection.

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10
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #157

Jul 14, 2002

Everything Dan Green adds to the book can be exemplified in the splash page depicting Batman's rescue of the woman. Examine the musculature. Green deepens the various muscles with thick inks an subtle lines representing every fiber of sinew. The emphasis of grit on the woman's skin and hosiery mars her beauty and style. Sure, she's a knockout, but she hasn't had a very good day. It's gotten better. Thanks to Batman.

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10
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #158

Aug 17, 2002

Page nine and ten exemplify the artist's perfect timing and the depiction of the Dark Knight's strength and speed. The running joke of “My Hand…!” indicates his intellect and his skill in the fighting arts. His method is to first disarm then disable. This is Batman.

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8.0
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #159

Sep 15, 2002

To enhance the real world setting, David Lopez and Dan Davis eschew comic book conventions of cross-hatching and the by the numbers anatomy that so eases the sketching of mightier than mortals. Lopez meshes smoothly with Ostrander. He follows the direction of mystery, and generates suspense and smiles for the readers. After Batman removes a threat, Mr. Lopez treats readers to what for the onlookers must be a creepy moment. For readers, it's a grin-worthy example of Batman's sly sense of humor. Don't believe for one second Batman doesn't have one. He has to have one in order to stage such moments. One more thing in Lopez's favor, he gives Batman the sharper, longer ears. We've missed you both.

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8.0
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #160

Oct 12, 2002

More than symbolism is at work in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight. John Ostrander makes Batman the World's Greatest Detective. Batman recaps the previous chapter for the reader, but for him this is all new information that he uncovered during his investigation. He quickly learns the lay of the land, and if not for a few semi-humorous obstacles, Batman probably would have been able to secure Jim Gordon's release the night in which this case takes place. Never the less, these barriers do not seem artificial. Once again, this is Batman.

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10
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #161

Nov 16, 2002

The remainder of the plot runs extremely tightly, and there's irony in that Jim Gordon is not the one who will face down Hatchett. Two foes that do not know each other, who do not share a history will duel each other to the death, and this makes for a refreshing change. The one tiny moment I believe was unnecessary slows the book down somewhat but balances out the overall effect by providing a light ending moment of banter between Jim Gordon and Batman.

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8.0
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #162

Dec 15, 2002

While the story simply wowed me, I did not believe I would appreciate the artwork, but Roger Langridge's style grew on me. While there's a certain underground look, it's not without an aesthetic sense. Furthermore, while Batman is designed in sharp edges, he still displays characteristic behavior something while artists more inclined to be anatomical have failed to show in the countless storyarcs of recent days.

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8.0
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #163

Jan 10, 2003

If you're looking for another deadly serious, boring Batman exercise in pretentiousness, Batman Legends of the Dark Knight probably isn't for you, but if you're looking for something new in the Joker/Batman feud as well as something lighter and clever, then you need not look any farther.

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10
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #164

Feb 16, 2003

Speaking in terms of artwork, the pages by Val Semeiks while decent do not really reach the standard he achieved last series. Batman's ears are too short for my tastes, and there's a definite Jim Lee influence to the look of the character which ill suits Mr. Semeiks' personal treatment. However, Semeik's attention to caricatured plug-ugly faces can be found here, and often Mr. Semeik's Batman slips through the veil of Jim Lee. Semeiks furthermore draws out more of the character's benevolence--especially in scenes shared with Karen and scenes depicting his devil may care driving--while still keeping him a figure of threat and fright for the opposite side.

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8.0
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #165

Mar 16, 2003

This issue sets up the plot proper, and perhaps that's why you're not expecting the splendid surprise ending. The artwork by Val Semeiks is looser than that found in the first issue, but it's still professional enough to keep the story in fluid motion regardless of whether Batman battles government spooks or speaking with Hyland and Karen.

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10
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #166

Apr 11, 2003

Kudos must also be given to unsung hero Kurt Hathaway who is no mean letterer. His decision to add sound effects or remain silent creates an impact. We can for instance imagine how a breaking door may sound, but the chok of a batarang and choom of its explosion exhibits fine foley engineering.

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10
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #167

May 15, 2003

McDuffie does not suddenly lobotomize the Dark Knight. He does not make him standoffish where he refuses help. He instead finds a smart way to cut Batman down to a level more suitable for the match and makes the finale something you don't just read or observe but savor.

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10
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #168

Jun 15, 2003

When Mr. Fowler manifests Batman toward the end, he realizes the dark legend he is supposed to represent without losing the humanity behind the mask or the man in the costume.

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6.0
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #169

Jul 12, 2003

The plot of the story is neither original nor is it overly familiar. Ultimately the reader comes away with the feeling that while this was not the worst Batman story he has ever read neither is it the greatest. More excitement would have been welcome, and as it stands, the story just seems lethargic. Threatening the antagonist does not really generate suspense because he does not possess a single enviable quality. So the reader does not care what happens to him.

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8.0
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #170

Aug 22, 2003

Less interesting still is Frank, the diluted Cornelius Stirk. Mr. Peyer does try to show the freakish character's conscience, but it's difficult for me to care about him when he continues his brutal behavior. Still, we see less of him and more of Batman in a well drawn legend.

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8.0
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #171

Sep 26, 2003

This three part Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight perhaps is not the best of the series, nor is it the worst. It also lacks the mediocrity of safety and instead delivers outstanding characterization of the Dark Knight--as well as Alfred--through the actions of one repugnant character.

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8.0
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #172

Oct 11, 2003

Though we've seen this exercise run before, it's still nice to read a comic book where Batman is not insane and not truly a vigilante in the classic sense of the word. Because John Wagner's writing the book, the dialogue and choice of scenes seems fresh, and Chris Brunner's artwork is easy on the eyes.

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10
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #173

Nov 14, 2003

The basic way in which these lives become endangered has been seen on the television series Alias and read in one of Rucka's few good issues of Detective Comics. Mr. Wagner makes his means distinct but just as gripping. Chris Brunner through a little research makes Batman's impact stronger. The tiny attention to detail on how specific windows shatter adds realism and makes Batman's actions all that more fantastic. We wish Batman existed in the real world. I wish this Batman existed in Detective and his name title.

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6.0
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #174

Dec 13, 2003

There's a subversive element to this story. John Wagner and Chris Brunner set out to show what makes Batman different from all the other anti-heroes from the nineties and all those that followed. They also inadvertently show how their Batman more truer to the original concept differs sharply from the lunk in the so-called continuity books.

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8.0
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #175

Jan 16, 2004

Less interesting to the story is a Gotham City Detective's pursuit of Lonnie, the repentant member of the gang of Hillbillies who are metaphorically blasting shoguns in Gotham's streets. Wagner bestows to his detective an above average intelligence, but these scenes while offering the well drawn cleavage of Lonnie's friend and while well choreographed just seem formulaic and unenergetic when compared to the evocative moments of Batman ripping through Gotham's seedy side to find a lead on Rough Justice.

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8.0
Batman Legends of the Dark Knight #176

Feb 13, 2004

Devin Grayson--she who had Bruce Wayne buy a gun "just to see what it feels like"--next drags Legends of the Dark Knight into whatever the hell DC calls continuity. Such a move means that the sobriquet Legends no longer applies. I suggest hardcore Batman fans run away as far and fast as they can.

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10
Batman Strikes #45

May 17, 2008

Putting aside the orientation questions; Batgirl's dialogue rings true to the form of the classic. The plot to Batman Strikes is a good one, and the surprise ending adds another dimension to the story as well as bumping up Batgirl's intellect. This issue of Batman Strikes is recommended for Batgirl fans.

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10
Batman vs. Aliens II #1

Dec 29, 2002

Mr. Johnson erects a sense of place with detailed architecture that combines skyscrapers with the more classic gray stone of the late Anton Furst who created Gotham for Tim Burton's Batman. He evokes mood and atmosphere in the dark arena of the Aliens and a nineteenth century mad scientist's laboratory. The Batcave in comparison actually looks homey. Inker James Hodgkins refines Mr. Johnson's work with precision, unbusy inking. Gregory Wright finishes the presentation with eerie colors that accent an otherworldly design.

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10
Batman vs. Aliens II #2

Feb 8, 2003

The story's pacing though as quick as the antagonists seems to be physically exhausting to the character. When Batman finally beats the Aliens, there is no doubt in the reader's mind that he should look up Selina Kyle and take a very long, languid vacation.

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10
Batman vs. Aliens II #3

Mar 9, 2003

Woefully under hyped, Batman vs. Aliens likely soared right above the average comic book fan's radar. Seek out the back issues, or wait for the trade paperback, but do not miss this superb story detailing a problem that deserves Batman's involvement.

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10
Batman/Deathblow #3

Nov 1, 2002

The characters themselves are given the artistic care equal to the city maintenance. Deathblow while beefed up actually would fit in our world. While Batman is still the larger than life hero, the artists draw him in such a way where the costume would make sense in the real world. He is a leathery creation that almost appears to have stepped out from another age. In a way he is. The antagonists are drawn with a heavy emphasis on seediness, yet these features are not over the top or cartoony rather a physical manifestation of guilt that the human beings buried deep inside them feel.

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2.0
Batman/Planetary #1

Jun 26, 2003

Avoid Batman/Planetary at all costs. For those interested in seeing the best crossover between the Wildstorm and DC, I recommend Adam Hughs' and Lee Bermejo's Superman/Gen13.

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8.0
Batman/Superman #60

May 23, 2009

I'm more than satisfied by Batman/Superman. The art is what I expected from a talent like Manapul. The subtle colors by Buccellato enhance his pencils and inks through myriad shades emitted from various light sources. The writing by Mikes Green and Johnson entertained even if the Justice Titans should have perhaps been thought out a little better. The issue certainly could have been far worse.

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8.0
Batman/Superman #61

Jun 20, 2009

Green and Johnson hinted at a mystery in play for the opening chapter, and here they give clues to not just what is going on but how Batman and Superman will solve the problem. As soon as the heroes mention one word, readers that are old hands at Justice League chronology should think of one villain. That's who manifests. Green and Johnson do not pull a Monarch. The payoff makes sense.

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10
Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity #1

Jun 22, 2003

Mr. Wagner does some amazing work in Trinity. The settings are both symbolic and evocative. Metropolis stands around Superman like a golden city of tomorrow. The panels depicting Antarctica almost feel cold. The architecture and the environment give the book scope. This story is not taking place in the two dimensions confined by the borders of the comic book page. It occurs, as with the best movies, somewhere at some time. The heroes breathe. Their costumes and clothing wrinkles. Their feats of strength and majesty and sneakiness appear out of the ordinary because their world is a tactile, living thing that lends motion to the story rather than serve as a reminder for the static of the medium.

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10
Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity #2

Aug 1, 2003

Mr. Wagner falters on occasion when dialoguing the Dark Knight. Batman, in full possession of his faculties, has never said "Why I oughtta..." as if he were a Bowery Boy. He also hasn't used the slang "scene" since the sixties and early seventies. Wonder Woman's use of the common tongue makes perfect sense when considering that she has observed "Patriarch's World" and given her more cosmopolitan attitude, which incidentally contradicts the characterization seen in her post-Crisis debut series. Trinity in short is not perfect, but it's damn near close.

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10
Batman/Superman/Wonder Woman: Trinity #3

Nov 30, 2003

A majestic Themyscira opens across and island situated in a vast blue-green ocean. Superman and Batman fly in a clear blue sky. Batman stealths through an art noveau forest dappled with pastel shades. Batman and Superman soar beneath cottony clouds. Under the ocean depths, ghostly jellyfish drift an dolphins play. Doves fly away from a marble floor holding the cast in the pale shadows of massive columns. Bats flutter in a massive cave below Wayne Manor. The breathtaking settings create the illusion of a real thriving world under a threat that only can be stopped by the combined might of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

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10
Batman/The Spirit #1

Dec 3, 2006

All the villains of the piece look in their own special way smug. They think theyre going to win. From the looks of serene triumph the reader can tell that they think they have a foolproof plan. When these plans sour, Cooke masters looks of individual disgust on their visages but leaves the readers of Batman/Spirit with smiles.

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6.0
Batman: Death Mask #1

Apr 11, 2008

Asamiya's artwork and Natsume's have their strengths and weaknesses. Asamiya has a much surer hand when it comes to shading. His Batman was much more evocative and of course gifted with the long ears that the Bat-Gods intended. However, Asamiya also had a nose fetish; all his characters, male or female, have big noses.

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6.0
Batman: Gotham After Midnight #1

Jun 2, 2008

Niles and Jones make the setting of the story important, but I'm very biased in this respect. I firmly believe that Gotham City should be the second safest burg in the world. Batman has been around, even in this continuity-light story, at least five years, and that should be reflected. Only the stupidest or most arrogant criminals should exist in Gotham City. Batman is a deterrent. His presence should be like dropping the meanest, biggest cat in a ship's hold filled with rats. The rats would learn how to swim.

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10
Batman: Harley & Ivy #1

Apr 30, 2004

During the escape, Ivy comes into possession of a gun, and here's what separates the wheat from the chaff. See a crime writer would have Ivy doing her impression of Scarface--the Al Pachino role--on whoever got in her way. Not Dini and Timm. They conceive of a way that fits her character and leaves the reader rollicking in his seat.

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10
Batman: Harley & Ivy #3

Jul 3, 2004

A superb diversion that never outstays its welcome, Batman: Harley & Ivy is a fitting coda for the animated adventures imagined by Timm and Dini. In fact, rather than cancel the Adventureverse books, can't we cancel the DCU instead?

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10
Batman: Nevermore #1

Apr 4, 2003

Guy Davis drew Baker Street, Sandman Mystery Theater, the Nevermen and Danse Macabre. He has never once for the comic book reading public illustrated an anatomic, finely honed physique and to an extreme often prefers a citizenry of Mole People. This is not to say that Mr. Davis cannot do something that would make Burne Hogarth proud. Rather, he chooses to do something that is dynamically opposed to that type of traditional comic book artwork. Nevertheless, Davis' artwork fits the atmosphere of the story and fulfills the requirements of period detail that blends into the background. His Poe is somewhat whimsical and innocent which nicely contrasts the Batman who seems to come straight from a Heironymous Bosch hell dimension. Davis is also the most animated for Batman: Nevermore. Some of those issues of Sandman Mystery Theater tended to eschew action for ratiocination. Nevermore combines the two. I can't say that I fully appreciate Mr. Davis' artwork, but I really can't see anyb

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8.0
Batman: Nevermore #2

May 9, 2003

Nevermore with Batman pro Len Wein and the attentive artwork of Guy Davis continues to be a not-to-miss elseworlds series. Fans of both Poe and Batman will be especially pleased.

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10
Batman: Nevermore #3

Jun 7, 2003

Poe in the opening attempts to claw his way free from the coffin and in the process bloodies his fingers. Mr. Davis does not splatter blood from his hands. Instead, he shows his hands cracking with tiny cuts. He reminds the reader of the pain through scenes of Poe as he talks to the Batman rubbing and dabbing his hands with a handkerchief. The scenes give the reader something tactile in which she can sympathize and conveys the trauma that Poe experienced to help create the artificial reality of the story. Len Wein and Guy Davis are a rare and unlikely match in the world of comic books.

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10
Batman: Nevermore #4

Jul 5, 2003

With those facts in mind I paid particular attention to how the Batman deals with the beast. Len Wein and Guy Davis make the brief battle memorable. The fierce creature enraged for reasons yet to be disclosed does not hesitate in attacking the Dark Detective, and Wein and Davis give the hero no easy out. His counter-attacks against the brutal creature make sense, and the final choice Batman makes echoes his response to Hugo Strange's Monstermen in the Bob Kane/Bill Finger originals.

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10
Batman: Nevermore #5

Aug 22, 2003

If you haven't picked up the pamphlet version of Batman: Nevermore you'll want the trade paperback. Len Wein's and Guy Davis' comic book tale that witnesses madness is a must for any Batman or Poe fan.

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10
Batman: Order of the Beasts #1

Jul 17, 2004

While pastels are not the usual medium one expects to find illustrating Batman, and Campbell's mystery is more cerebral in nature than the average Batman story, his artwork still lends excitement and action to the panels. The colors still bring out the eerie nature of the bat and still give him a heroic look while among the Order of the Beasts.

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2.0
Batman: The Dark Knight (2011) #1

Oct 3, 2011

David Finch opens the book with Batman rappelling out of a Batplane. This moment culminates with a double page spread and promises excitement, but Batman's not on his way to stop a madman from blowing up Gotham. No, he makes haste to change clothing. At least he does it quickly.

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10
Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again #3

Aug 2, 2002

Frank Miller's imitators only saw darkness in his seminal work, but they missed completely that The Dark Knight Returns is one of the most optimistic comic books in the history of the genre. Here was a crime-ridden and controlled world that demanded the return of the hero. Let's hope that this time the writers who claim inspiration from Mr. Miller finally see the Knight as well as the Dark.

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10
Batman: Year One Hundred #1

Feb 18, 2006

Pope's artwork is uniquely stunning. He does not illustrate male or female models. He does streamline faces or features. He instead concentrates on effect and motion. He considers panel layout and storycraft. His vision produces a fusion of government and sports celebrity through the design of the Federal troops. It equates beauty with duty to justice and humanism. Pope doesn't draw the prettiest figures, but these characters move, express and breathe.

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10
Batman: Year One Hundred #2

Mar 18, 2006

Any true Batman fan simply should not overlook Batman: Year One-Hundred.

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10
Batman: Year One Hundred #3

Apr 15, 2006

When Batman returns to his headquarters, he and his group of compatriots--consisting of a Robin and a non-crippled Oracle--discover the hidden messages concealed in the tooth and the reason why the Fed was killed. Pope takes his corrupt future borne out of the slippery slope and brings a threat to that future that goes beyond mere staining. This new escalation demands the attention of Batman. Fortunately for the world, Batman is back!

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10
Batman: Year One Hundred #4

May 20, 2006

Pope creates a problem that demands the Batman's involvement, and along the way he touches upon the legend. Through Jim Gordon he extends that legend. Through the Bat's smart strategies he bows to the resonance of the World's Greatest Detective, and in throbbing, velocitous panel after panel Pope drives the Bat to the satisfying conclusion where the criminals quiver in fear.

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4.0
Battle of the Planets #1

Jul 14, 2002

start protecting the world. The best thing about the book is

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8.0
Batwing #2

Oct 10, 2011

You know what? I expected nothing from Batwing. I said to myself that this character was going to last maybe three issues tops, but something happened. Batwing was good, really good, and it ended on one helluva a cliffhanger. So I added the title to my subscription list.

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8.0
Batwing #4

Dec 13, 2011

Young David sets into motion vengeful events, but he makes a vow. This glimmer of honor in a cesspool of deceit attracted Batman, and we trust in Batman because that's what fiction allows. Because we place our faith in Batman, we know that David is a good man, and although he's better at terrible things, we know this history created the hero we have now.

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8.0
Batwing #5

Jan 12, 2012

Winnick characterizes Batwing and Batman as detectives. Even when in the thick of battle, both men offer insights into the case, track down the perpetrator and see through Massacre's latest tactic. Winnick also spotlights Batman's and Batwing's status as protectors, not just avengers. The safety of the innocent is their main concern. Of course, this requires them to beat the snot out of Massacre's henchmen, which leads to much visceral entertainment.

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4.0
Beware the Creeper #1

Apr 19, 2003

When the Creeper makes an appearance, you honestly do not care. Too much of the story has been wasted on the boring twins and the dull triangle shared with the detective-lover of the wild one. Let me save you around fifteen bucks, the detective will in a "surprise" revelation turn out to be the rapist.

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8.0
Beyond Avalon #1

Jan 29, 2005

What definitely bumps up the grade of Beyond Avalon is the artwork. Goran--another one in the same year--Sudzuka provides artwork that wouldn't be strange in Metal Hurlant. Though his characters while beautiful do not offer explicitness. Sudzuka's illustration gives Beyond Avalon a European school of anatomic appreciation and judicious detail that by rights should make most American artists hang their heads in shame. Likewise, Len O' Grady's colors bestow an Art Noveau sense of design that fits with the faerie themes and just takes the reader aback.

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6.0
Beyond Avalon #2

Apr 15, 2005

Jerome. This dwarf/troll's every word and action is annoying and grating. If this twisted, nasty and no doubt smelly monstrosity becomes Megan's sidekick, I just may vomit.

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10
Big Max #1

Apr 22, 2006

The characterization and the character interactions are too thoughtful to consider Big Max a spoof, and the situations are too dramatic to suggest parody. Big Max is rather a straightforward super-hero comic with a strong cast and excellent artwork by James Fry and Andrew Pepoy that's just a little cartoonier than the duo usually contribute.

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10
Birds Of Prey (2011) #4

Dec 27, 2011

Swiercynski and Saiz end their story on a curious note that appears to reference the Silence from Doctor Who. It's a surprising twist, but it suits the ultimate signature of the villain the Birds face, which is to use the entire capacity of the human body as a tool to commit crime. Batman readers may also want to note a curious connection to the Court of Owls. Perhaps, the Birds of Prey and the Bats ally themselves in a carefully waged war pitting the Gotham heroes against the new vermin in the city.

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10
Birds Of Prey (2011) #5

Jan 23, 2012

Needless to say, Saiz and Chung are no slouches when it comes to the action department, and all the Birds enjoy a spotlight of dynamics. Perfect issue.

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10
Black Coat #1

Apr 22, 2006

Black Coat takes advantage of a seldom explored arena for crime and corruption that fosters the birth of an interesting hero with ideas beyond the time frame in which he battles. Aye, I think I'll wear this book awhile to see how it fits.

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10
Black Coat #2

May 27, 2006

The beautiful art of Francesco Francavilla produces a unique textured look that ably animates the ample action--the standout being the take-no-prisoners fight toward the end of the chapter--as well as the proportionate scale of the characters. Throughout the artist of The Black Coat maintain a precision time-perfect atmosphere and choreograph a flowing story that breathlessly captures the power of the story carefully crafted by Adam Cogan.

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10
Black Coat #3

Jun 24, 2006

With outstanding writing by Cogan and an opulent tapestry of black and white uniqueness from Francavilla, The Black Coat once again arrives as welcome pulp adventure.

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8.0
Black Coat Special #1

May 24, 2008

The two stories both in terms of artwork and writing as well as their overall unification stick another feather in the Black Coat's cap.

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10
Black Coat/Athena Voltaire #1

May 16, 2009

Black Coat/Athena Voltaire is a slick non team-up between two critically acclaimed indie heroes. They work together through the passage of time to put an end to an age old hazard.

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10
Black Coat: "....Or Give Me Death!" #1

Jun 9, 2007

Science saves the Black Coat, but the perfection of the formula escaped the crazy Willhelm, still very much alive and crazy beneath the wreckage at the bottom of the bay. According to Willhelm's cohort, the formula isn't so much an elixir vitae but a drug that the Black Coat will need to take for the rest of his life if he wants to live sane. A tragic end for our hero, but Willhelm left notes, and I'm sure the fine minds of Nathaniel and Ursula will be able to decipher an answer to give the Black Coat liberty. Before that they'll need to contend with a league of comprised of legendary monsters brought to life by Francavilla's evocative art.

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10
Black Dynamite: Slave Island #1

Apr 23, 2011

EDITOR'S NOTE: Danny Djeljosevic also reviewed Black Dynamite: Slave Island. Read his thoughts, too!

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6.0
Black Enchantress #1

Jan 8, 2005

Black Enchantress casts three good stories with two having better artwork than the third. The character is an interesting throwback to a more innocent time of Marvel grue and a little tease, but be warned, the final tale continues next issue. So don't be surprised to be enticed to pick up the second issue of The Black Enchantress.

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10
Black Enchantress #2

Apr 1, 2005

These two unpredictable stories feature likeable, off-kilter stars. They address the core concepts of heroism--even if the main characters do not believe themselves to be heroes, and readers scorched by burning earth of DC will find clever writing and enjoyable adventures in Black Enchantress.

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6.0
Black Enchantress #3

Jul 4, 2005

"Demons in the Night" is the previous story's exact opposite. Psyche's multiple personality or possession issues offer the reader an intellectual puzzle with philosophical implications. The characterization fortifies a plot that better defines rape as the filthy crime that it is. Rhyming dialogue gently pushes the story into a surreal magical realm bordering modern day reality. The plot twists cannot be predicted, but writer Hill foreshadows all and plays fair with the reader. Artist Chris Marrinen and Mike Estlich on colors energize this story with powerful super-hero illustration and a vivid look that enhances the occult powers of the main character.

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6.0
Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #513

Dec 17, 2010

The Marvel editors and Liss never should have haunted this book with the memory of Matt Murdock. Instead, they should have let the Panther take over with a simpler explanation or no explanation at all. Here's two. With Daredevil gone, Hell's Kitchen needs a hero. The Black Panther aims to fill the void. They could have even tied Man Without Fear into the Heroic Age direction. Realizing Daredevil's importance, Steve Rogers requests the Black Panther guard a defenseless Hell's Kitchen. Both are superior to what's given--some tommyrot about testing himself.

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6.0
Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #514

Jan 14, 2011

If it weren't for Francavilla Man Without Fear would be a useless title. It fails as a spotlight for Black Panther since the specter of Daredevil haunts every word and every panel. It fails of course as a draw for DD fans. It's not even much of a superhero book.

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4.0
Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #515

Feb 11, 2011

Rumor has it that Francesco Francavilla will soon be leaving Man Without Fear, and I say good for him. He deserves so much more than being the swim bladder of a dying shark. The art's so damn impressive that that you can almost forget just how bad Black Panther is. Almost.

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4.0
Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #516

Apr 5, 2011

I wasn't attached to Daredevil, and I was looking forward to what the Black Panther would do in Hell's Kitchen, but this series wasn't what I had in mind. Even with Francesco Francavilla, Black Panther, Man Without Fear was doomed.

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10
Black Terror #1

Nov 15, 2008

Black Terror is another feather in the cap of the Ross/Krueger team. With Mike Lily contributing artwork attentive to anatomy and dynamic motion and Vinicius Andrade's evocative colors, the beginning of a new super-hero renaissance may be imminent.

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8.0
Black Terror #2

Dec 20, 2008

Ross, Krueger, Lily and Andrade combine forces to make the second issue of The Black Terror an enjoyable, climactic actioner; though it's far from mindless. The narration shows the Terror's reasoning cutting through the muddle of ideas and viewpoints othes may hold to define his actions perfectly.

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6.0
Black Terror #3

Mar 14, 2009

In terms of artwork, I have no complaints. Mike Lily and Vinicius Andrade do a superb job. This is especially true when they illustrate the complexity of the Terror's plan and show the teen partners of the superpowers in action. In general, they actually live up to the promise of Ross and Krueger's intent. They make these heroes look powerful and valiant. Rather than also-rans, they look like the real deal and resonate their respectable history with each step.

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6.0
Black Terror #4

May 23, 2009

Though I only rated this final issue of Black Terror with an average grade, it's still recommended for readers of these public domain heroes resurrected by Alex Ross, Jim Krueger and Dynamite Comics.

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10
Black Terror #5

Nov 14, 2009

Jonathan Lau and Ivan Nunes make the Terror an attractive read, and they also grant spectacle to the proceedings. The Crusader revenants glide silently out of the night. The attacks against the Terror are violent yet graceful and weirdly in sync to further denote a robotic group mind. In the last volume of the series, the Terror acquired a cutlass with some history, and Lau and Nunes delight in making the Terror a modern day pirate, slashing steel against the sepulchral.

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10
Black Terror #6

Dec 26, 2009

What I love about the Project Superpowers books is that they all feel connected. The Black Terror, The Death-Defying Devil, and Masquerade all connect with their mother title. It doesn't feel like a crossover. It feels like a cohesive universe and Black Terror is an exciting, action-laced section of that universe.

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8.0
Black Terror #7

Jan 30, 2010

The books differ in tone. The Terror's narration is deep with thought on humanity, freedom and what constitutes right and wrong. The Punisher is simply a freewheeling grisly dance of death anointed by the simplicity of righting wrongs. The art in The Punisher acts as a kind of fairy tale escape valve. The art in Black Terror is shinier and depicts a sort of elegant grace. Either or better yet both of this week's issues deserve a place on the reader's book shelf.

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10
Black Terror #8

Feb 27, 2010

Marcus Chamberlain becomes the next American Crusader. Historical entanglement sets the conditions, but it's Marcus himself that determines the reasons why he should be the next American Crusader. First, despite being misinformed, Marcus fights to protect the original American Crusader from harm. He's willing to lay down his life for the man who saved his grandfather. Second, he stands up to the Black Terror and bravely battles him. He in fact evinces more skill against the hero than every Crusader revenant and the robotic Dynamic Man. Third, once the truth stands before him, Marcus is willing to serve that truth. Whereas in the DC universe, any mute illiterate or dimwit amateur can wear a Batgirl costume, Marcus Chamberlain earns the honor.

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10
Black Terror #9

Mar 27, 2010

If you're tired of the death and dejection that has become a replacement for the word Detective, then look no further than the other D comic book publisher, Dynamite and the Black Terror.

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8.0
Black Terror #10

May 15, 2010

Though writers Phil Hester and Alex Ross reveal everything up front, counter to the typical mystery technique of keeping everything close to the vest, the answers still lead to questions, and that's where the eponymous star of the book takes center stage to prove just how his present self differs from his past incarnation. It's a fascinating, entertaining contrast, especially his non-traditional attitude. This opening bout is still not the main event, which promises to be something that fists and rage won't solve.

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10
Black Terror #11

Aug 7, 2010

The Superpowers outshine the better known champions in comics. This iconic story brings out the Superpowers in the best of lights, and the Black Terror especially comes out of the arena as an untarnished knight ready to kick some more ass. Judging by the ending, he'll have ample opportunity.

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10
Black Terror #12

Dec 20, 2010

For this issue, Hester and Ross pit Black Terror against genuine forces of evil as well as those of fantasy. The basis of the tale is elegant and a good, solid action, but with the addition of three turns to the plot Black Terror becomes even more entertaining.

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8.0
Black Terror #14

Feb 26, 2011

Alex Ross, Phil Hester, James Herbert and Vinicius Andrade build on the myth. Wielding a privateer's cutlass, The Terror in his spirit ship, accompanied by the resplendent avatar Parrot, travel the world looking for injustice to stamp out. That's the very essence of the heroic ideal.

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2.0
Black Widow & the Marvel Girls #1

Dec 5, 2009

The Black Widow is an old Marvel character with a resonant history. She could have just remained a one-note stereotype Cold War styled Russian agent and disappeared into comic book limbo with the Unicorn. Marvel writers instead transformed her into a likeable, multi-faceted super-hero, a one-time leader of the Avengers no less. If you're a young fan of this character, I recommend that you pick up some of her fun, exciting seventies adventures from The Amazing Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up and Marvel Two-In-One. Marvel will soon be collecting her own series, which she shared with The Inhumans, for some reason. Also, ask your local comic book merchant for Marvel Adventures Avengers #21 her exquisitely entertaining proper all-ages debut story. Older fans will appreciate Black Widow and Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her by Richard K. Morgan and Bill Sienkiewicz. All ages should avoid Black Widow and the Marvel Girls as if it were swine flu.

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10
Black Widow (2004) #1

Sep 24, 2004

It's a comment on our history that Natasha's KGB history still remains pertinent, and the spy genre will never die because soon after civilization began, the spies began watching. Natasha has always been a different sort of spy. She stands amid the spies who are also bona fide heroes, and Richard K. Morgan's story captures that Bondish dignity. Bonus points for the Kirsty MacColl reference: "In these shoes? Are you kidding?"

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10
Black Widow (2004) #2

Oct 30, 2004

Fast-paced, witty dialogue and smart characterization mark Black Widow. Black Widow is to action as She-Hulk is to comedy. Bonus points for the direct reference to Ian Fleming's Bond books.

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10
Black Widow (2004) #3

Nov 27, 2004

The past is preserved in The Black Widow, and the characterization by Richard Morgan proves that there is still a future for Marvel's most dangerous female super-hero spy. Bonus points for the reference to the only good part of Moonraker.

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10
Black Widow (2004) #4

Dec 28, 2004

Morgan's not yet done with the reader. The entire chapter of The Black Widow while easily being read as a stand alone fits into place as another piece in the puzzle presented throughout out the book. The plot thickens, and the dialogue, the characterization, the artwork is razor sharp.

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8.0
Black Widow (2004) #5

Jan 29, 2005

Artistically, Goran Pavlov, Bill Sienkiewicz and Dan Brown haven't as much to do when compared to previous issues. This is a more loquacious issue than the previous action oriented episodes, but their design for Black Widow as an older, taller, redheaded Jennifer Garner-influenced agent more than enough keeps the reader vested in the panels.

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10
Black Widow (2004) #6

Feb 25, 2005

If you haven't picked up the mini-series, don't hesitate to pick of the trade. Black Widow is the best Marvel storyarc of the year and possibly the decade.

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2.0
Black Widow (2010) #1

Apr 20, 2010

There is no excuse for this kind of shoddy writing. Research wasn't really even necessary. Common sense should have stopped this writer in his/her tracks.

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4.0
Black Widow (2010) #6

Sep 24, 2010

Strike two for Marvel. After Marjorie Lui's horrendous medical incompetence in The Black Widow Swierczynski follows her example with a trite, President Kennedy smear that asks you to pretend that Black Widow is a "shadowy flight into a dangerous world of a woman that does not exist." Trouble is the Black Widow's public image makes that impossible.

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10
Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her #1

Oct 1, 2005

Widow's deadly nature in each panel.

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10
Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her #2

Oct 29, 2005

Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her has everything: a believable super-hero who realistically came in from the cold of the spy genre, action, suspense, goombahs and wetwork assassins all confined by the intelligent writing of Morgan and the stylish artwork of Sienkiewicz and Phillips.

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10
Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her #3

Nov 26, 2005

Fortunately, the bonds of friendship and continuity offer our gal a respite. Fury's willing sacrifice perfectly fits with his history as a Howling Commando and Commander of SHIELD. He's been the Widow's friend throughout Marvel continuity, and Morgan has not changed that in these series. If anything he reinforces Fury's and Natasha's relationship and again gives a little nod to the James Bond type of cat-and-mouse games played in the sixties. Although Gynacon evolved from the Cold War, this long ranging conflict with its relatively mutually respectful adversaries was nothing like the greed-propelled savagery of the neocon spy game around which the Black Widow weaves her web.

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8.0
Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her #4

Jan 7, 2006

Artistically, Black Widow benefits from a striking look courtesy of Bill Sienkiewicz, but this issue some scenes may have benefited with a little more care. The Widow's boobs look mighty fake, and the way in which she carries Sally appears unnatural.

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10
Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her #5

Feb 10, 2006

Kestrel on the surface intends payback, but her actions expose her subconscious. Natasha will not give Kestrel what she really wants. If Natasha feels guilt over Hunter's death then she will be admitting that what Kestrel did and is doing was and is just. Kestrel will then be able to reclaim her identity, which Morgan and the art team have visually diminished through the symbolism of a crew-cut. In the first series, Kestrel possessed long golden hair. She acted human and chucked the whole mission in favor of pleasure. In The Things They Say about Her Morgan has dehumanized her. Kestrel succumbed to corruption through the pretense of vengeance. Kestrel on a deep level that goes beyond government conditioning knows that what she did and is doing was and is wrong. The Widow will not give in to Kestrel's demands. The best that Kestrel can do is cause suffering, an absolutely pointless endeavor. The cliffhanger however gives Kestrel an edge. The next and last issue promises to b

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10
Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her #6

Feb 24, 2006

The entire creative team works together as a single mind. Together they create a story that ripples with power and dimension, and it goes beyond a simple reclamation of the Black Widow. Morgan's story is an indictment of the Bush Administration's war against every day people. His story is an indictment against Domestic Spying, against the reclassification of documents previously released to the National Archive. His story is against an administration that demands your right to privacy on the net be destroyed. His story speaks out against a rush to war with no evidence, the knee-jerk patriotism that will no doubt fill my mailbox with hate-filled diatribes from Republicans who put a moron in the highest office and must take responsibility for every soldier that dies in Iraq and Afghanistan. His story speaks out against the outing of a secret agent to punish the husband who saw through their veil of lies. His story speaks out against an administration that would turn women into sec

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10
Blackburne Covenant #1

Apr 3, 2003

Gore and blood are alluded to on the very first page and clues the reader that this is not going to be a clean and censored story. Again, there is a difference between violence, and even ultraviolence, and splatter. Stefano Raffaele knows exactly how much to spill to cause an impact in the reader. Together, Nicieza and Raffaele, with the muted colors--a divergence from giallo--of Ms. Sanjust make The Blackburne Covenant a thoughtful exercise.

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8.0
Blackburne Covenant #2

May 9, 2003

Stefano Raffael's artwork adds to the realism of the book and provides the contrast needed for an unbelievable, fantastic element to stand out. His scenes, with the sepia palette of Elena Sanjust, interest through a faux tactile illusion provided by designer David Nestelle. The panels appear to be illustrated on the old rough-grain paper that you would find in the pages of an old tome, and this certainly suits a dark fantasy involving an author who has ties to a medieval time.

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10
Blackburne Covenant #3

Jun 7, 2003

Stefano Raffaele's artwork continues to impress through an exciting presentation of Mr. Nicieza's choreography. His style of anatomy bears a traditional European professionalism, and the entire package makes for an attractive dark fantasy with horror overtones worth reading.

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10
Blackburne Covenant #4

Jul 12, 2003

The art by Stefano Raffaele done in a style that's immediately recognizable as European beautifully creates an ominous mood when it appears Kaine will be reaping his bloody vengeance. The characters all have a realistic look to them complete with wrinkles and creases, which makes the fantasy elements such as the apparition of the Talinda/Kaine creation stand out. His appreciation for the female form can be seen in the proportion he bestows to every female character. Though given the shape and clothing of the stewardess seen in Blackburne Covenant I'll have to remember which airline Kaine uses.

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4.0
Blackhawks #1

Oct 3, 2011

The hot chick kicks the story off by battling a terrorist who strapped a bomb to a hostage. Somehow this terrorist manages to bite her and expose her to nanocytes -- a Blackhawk's worse nightmare for some reason. Possibly because the teensy bots allow the Big Bad, who blows up some nanocytes in a former employee, to control them. It's not made clear. Giving superpowers, strength and invulnerability to Kunoichi appears to be the only thing they do this issue.

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10
Blacklight #1

Jul 4, 2005

If you're looking for art that makes the mouth water in a good super-hero book that's not suffering from decompressive characterization implosion within a maxiseries of miasma, sign up for Blacklight.

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10
Blacklight #2

Oct 8, 2005

My theory? Blacklight failed due to shrapnel launched by a hyped up piece of crap that has alienated some people so much that they have quit reading comic books, and I have news for IC, they're not coming back. The Big Stupid Event has overshadowed worthy books that would interest people who actually like super-heroes, but it's too late. They're not reading any more, and that's a shame.

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8.0
Blood Of The Demon #1

Mar 12, 2005

My only caveat comes from the "vamp-faced" Jason Blood action figure. He and Angel seem to be separated at birth. The "vamp-face" hasn't been previously seen in any of the other Demon series and really just seems to be an unnecessary reminder of Joss Whedon's show not an allusion to previous Demon work.

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10
Blood Of The Demon #2

Apr 9, 2005

Now, it may seem that Batman takes over Blood of the Demon, but he doesn't. Etrigan and Jason Blood are the stars, and Byrne has produced an interesting twist on the Jack Kirby originals and the more malevolent alter-ego that so-called continuity titles embraced. This twist allows for some swashbuckling occult action as well as some really sick humor that had me laughing like a happy maniac. All of it looks fantastic, and that's what one should expect from John Byrne.

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10
Blood Of The Demon #3

May 7, 2005

Now I can see some folk being offended by the tasteful display of Zatanna's skin. However, Byrne uses Zatanna's shower scene as a source of amusement and realism. How many times has the phone rung while you were in the shower? There is some cheesecake to be found in the splash page of Zatanna clad only in a robe-which mysteriously changes color-displaying her cleavage as she assumes a bent-over position in which to cast her spell, but you know what? I'll take cheesecake over rape, torture and murder of female characters any day. Besides, Zatanna is portrayed as being alone and in her apartment. It doesn't make sense that she would behave as if somebody were watching her.

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6.0
Blood Of The Demon #4

Aug 6, 2005

So you're probably wondering why now if the book is so flawed and corrupted, how does Blood of the Demon manage to earn the generous score of three bullets. Simple. Byrne's artwork overcomes practically all the plot holes, the continuity problems, the characterization flaws, the entire messiness of the project. Although Jean Loring as Eclipso makes no sense whatsoever, in Byrne's hand she looks ominous and as if she's been Eclipso all along rather than on a whim. That's quite a feat.

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10
Blood Of The Demon #5

Jul 9, 2005

In good spirits, the Leaguers smartly battle a possessed Etrigan and dope out the means to free him. Even asides however ripple with proper characterization borne out of the history of the characters and not dimwitted plot twists. Batman merely looks bemused as certain doom falls his way. That calm is due to his "matchless knowledge" of the city. Superman spears through debris before it can do any harm. Wonder Woman kicks Morgan Le Fey's withered hide, and Etrigan delivers the coup de grace. What more can you want from a comic book than this?

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4.0
Blood Of The Demon #7

Sep 10, 2005

That said. Blood of the Demon is visually creative. This inker respects Byrne's work. Thus, Byrne's fans receive a seriously creepy opening splash page, superb renditions of Spectre and Jean Loring's Eclipso and the gory torture of Etrigan courtesy of the former. I would just love to see Byrne take a crack at the Spectre. Of course, DC would do something stupid like cancel the book after a dozen or so issues and/or hire an inker that drastically alters Byrne's pencils like that boob Nelson does on Action Comics.

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10
Blood Of The Demon #8

Oct 8, 2005

Etrigan acts fairly heroically this issue. This would seem to indicate Byrne has finally mitigated his infernal post-Crisis nature to its original level intended by Byrne way back in Action Comics. It's once again a shame to see a worthy book go the way of other worthy books, but it's nice to see Byrne has come full circle on the character.

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8.0
Blood Of The Demon #9

Nov 5, 2005

Blood of the Demon is one of the more gorier books that Byrne has written and illustrated, and this issue with its fluctuating dream states even more bloody than the first two issues in the series. It's well illustrated blood and grue which looks to flow and spurt from the wounds of the victims, but it might be a little beyond the scope of kids.

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10
Blood Of The Demon #10

Dec 9, 2005

I can't help laugh at people who speak out against Byrne's work. Blood of the Demon is another example of his consummate professionalism and his want to give the reader the best he can deliver, and on time.

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10
Blood Of The Demon #11

Jan 7, 2006

Byrne's artwork has never been better, and he doesn't just impress with pyrotechnics or Batman's mystique. He creates an opening scene that beautifully captures exactly what's going on in the panels. He shows the strain in the Demon's limbs without spotlighting his face as he tries very hard to break something in half. Later, Byrne displays witty visuals for which he is not known. Blood of the Demon is laced lovingly with black humor in the dialogue and the display, and Byrne just doesn't miss a beat.

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10
Blood Of The Demon #12

Feb 4, 2006

This book makes my mind boggle. Byrne surprises and delights while not shirking a deadline or a detail to the crosshatched muscle.

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6.0
Blood Of The Demon #13

Mar 4, 2006

The plot elements haven't changed as drastically as some of those in the other One Year Later titles. From what I gather Aquaman has had a fairly major shake up. You can follow the story in Blood of the Demon, but the reader has the feeling that he just walked in during the middle of the movie. You have to trace the story back to the point of divergence, and you're never quite sure if the path you're taking is correct. The dialogue rather than clue the reader to the characterization more often clues the reader to the plot. Because of this the dialogue suffers from a very distracting bout of clunk. Blood of the Demon was one of DC's more tightly woven titles, but because of One Year Later, a few threads come loose this issue.

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10
Blood Of The Demon #14

Apr 7, 2006

It's become rather fashionable to trash John Byrne's artwork and his storycraft, but I have nothing but respect for this amazing artist/writer who provides top-quality work on time and with flair. Blood of the Demon continues delight with the power of artwork and unpredictability.

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10
Blood Of The Demon #17

Jul 8, 2006

Despite unleashing limbs and grue in the panels, Byrne makes his final issue of Blood of the Demon his lightest. The tone is very much in keeping with a dark comedy, and Etrigan his own badself turns out to have the greatest sense of humor.

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8.0
Bomb Queen vs. Blacklight #1

Aug 5, 2006

Bomb Queen vs. Blacklight is a lot of slapstick fun. Wherle respects both characters. While it would be implausible from a marketing tack to think that Blacklight may actually capture and imprison Bomb Queen, Wherle does let her make her mark. Given Blacklight's relative inexperience as a crime fighter, her fight with Bomb Queen, a pro villain in the Image universe, should be considered a big deal. As should the smile-worthy conclusion.

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10
Bone #48

Dec 20, 2002

Part of the feeling of quality comes from Jeff Smith's mouth-watering cinematic storytelling. The book just feels more like a filmstrip that's been laid out in comic book form, and there's such a mythic quality in the characters that despite being one of the penultimate issues, a new reader would feel the power within the cast.

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10
Bone #49

Oct 11, 2002

Apart from drama and comedy, the chapter reflects a clever technique Mr. Smith employed in the past. Throwaway scenes from previous issues become important to future chapters. For instance, while the "Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures" scene instantly won Bone a place on my subscription list, that scene could not have possibly clued the reader to the evolving role the Rat Creatures would play in the overall scheme.

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8.0
Bone #51

Apr 4, 2003

Comedy relief comes in the form of Smiley and Phoney, who is well out of his depth. Smiley's laid-back and smooth understanding of almost any situation contrasts the rather goofy, insane individual that was introduced back in the fun days of "Stupid, Stupid, Rat-Creature!" None of these elements seem out of character. Rather, Smiley is simply put to good use in a very different situation with a harsher mood. His philosophy of life and questionable actions no longer seem lunatic when the backdrop is presented as a time of insanity.

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10
Bone #52

Oct 3, 2003

Bone creates a permeable story that lingers in the mind well after reading. The book could be years late, and the reader still can pick up where she left off.

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10
Bone #53

Nov 21, 2003

Thorn, Bone and Bartleby encounter an old enemy in some tense moments, but really this is the quality level you expect from Smith. That's when he pulls the what the hell moment and leaves you staring dumb-founded at the pages. This issue of Bone sneaks up on you.

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10
Bone #54

May 1, 2004

Mr. Smith once again escapes your expectations during a dramatic and philosophical conclusion. The Crown is something that requires for the heroes an agonizing journey that's merely inches in length. The suspense tantalizes.

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10
Bone #55

Jun 13, 2004

Bone's successful beginning, middle and end relays something that most readers already know. There's no excuse for lazy writing, lazy dialogue, lazy plotting and just plain laziness. You can rationalize that you didn't have the time. You can rationalize that the length of the story demanded padding, but I have one thing to say to writers who mutter such excuses Bone.

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10
Boneyard #7

Jul 27, 2002

When Ralph starts spouting about male--not even werewolf--superiority, you know things will become ugly, and Mr. Moore choreographs supremely creative blows that I'd wager have never before been seen in comic books.

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8.0
Boneyard #9

Jan 31, 2003

Not convinced over why you should pick up Boneyard? Perhaps the artwork will sway you. Richard Moore has honed his skills to a fine black and white point that evokes beauty and whimsy.

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10
Boneyard #10

Apr 18, 2003

Boneyard is funny, beautifully drawn in a crisp clean style that draws upon the tradition of anatomy as well as cartooning but also unpredictable and well worth your time and coin.

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10
Boneyard #11

Jul 26, 2003

While I'll not say a word about the central battle of heroic monster vs. evil monster, I will instead point out how the artwork captures the cauldron of emotions emanating from two creatures who despise each other. I will also note how the denizens of the cemetery stick together when one of their numbers is hurt, and without hesitation, I will recommend Boneyard to any comic book reader.

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10
Boneyard #12

Oct 17, 2003

Boneyard and Hogsbreath the comic strip that occupies the inside back cover also by Richard Moore from page one to the end provides hours of amusement within a fifteen minute read.

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8.0
Boneyard #13

Feb 28, 2004

If you haven't tried an issue of Boneyard you're missing out on something special. Funny, sweet and with denizens who elicit sympathy, Boneyard is something special.

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10
Boneyard #14

May 22, 2004

Mr. Moore animates Abbie, the vampire, from her deep funk over Nessie, Gill-Woman and man-eater though not in a cannibalistic way, taking credit for dissolving Michael's financial problems about the cemetery. He throws Abbie into a dynamic fight against a horde of shambling, decaying as they walk zombies. Yes! Boneyard is a traditionalist horror fan's delight!

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10
Boneyard #15

Aug 21, 2004

Moore subtly shows Nessie to be more than the Marilyn Monroe like figure that she pretends to be. He furthermore lays that vapid portrayal to rest through a heart-breaking flashback that shows some humans to be more abominable than the monsters.

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10
Boneyard #16

Nov 27, 2004

Boneyard isn't what you expect. The surprise both beautifully drawn and reminiscent of Chuck Jones makes this digging of zombie lore refreshing.

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10
Boneyard #17

Feb 25, 2005

Richard Moore's Boneyard will soon be collected in a color trade paperback, but don't be fooled by bells and whistles. While I'm sure the color version will look gorgeous, the crisp black and white artwork looks just scrumptious.

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8.0
Boneyard #18

Jun 24, 2005

Artwork also by writer and creator Richard Moore offers the reader concise lines that curve along the superb scale and dynamic yet toony anatomy of the characters. Stylish.

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10
Boneyard #19

Oct 8, 2005

Moore concludes the book with another welcome quartet of Hogsbreath comic strips that are mere footfalls away from Berke Breathed's Bloom County.

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10
Boneyard #20

Dec 9, 2005

Richard Moore sketches Boneyard in crisp black and white, and he does not falter with changes of mood and atmosphere. It's the last act however that elevates Boneyard from merely damn good to perfect.

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6.0
Boneyard #21

Apr 15, 2006

This issue of Boneyard is probably the least necessary issue of the series, but it's difficult not to recommend the stunning black and white artwork and these likeable characters.

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8.0
Boneyard #22

Sep 16, 2006

Moore is no mean cartoonist. Moore's crisp black and white artwork offsets the sharp comedy and deep insights into the characters that makes Boneyard so special. He has clearly studied the Warner Brothers masters. Gifted with masterful timing, he crystallizes characterization through nuanced interactions and subtle expressions. Be sure not to skip the letters page.

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10
Boneyard #23

Jan 6, 2007

Usually Boneyard appeals to its readers as a jokefest. There is also another aspect, which explains the title's success. The characters have heart. They like each other. Michael does everything to protect Abbey. He embarrasses himself. He confronts mind-blowing wonders. He tolerates Glumph. He does all these things to save Abbey from the potential wrath of the Illuminary. Hildy drops everything to help Abbey. Glumph co-operates. Robin, the newest member of the cast, will do her part. It's a very optimistic approach to story writing that should be adopted by more books.

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8.0
Boneyard #24

Mar 10, 2007

What follows is a satisfying mix of sweet scenes and the promise of slapstick as Michael delivers the comeuppance to Lilith. A sexy epilogue, done in Moore's crisp black and white, featuring a severely hung-over Abbey concludes the chapter, and four Bloom County inspired Hogsbreath cartoons instill laughter on the inside of the jacket's final page.

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8.0
Boneyard #25

Jun 23, 2007

Beautifully illustrated with precise black and white linework, Boneyard looks as good as the excellent characterization and the inventive story reads.

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8.0
Boneyard #26

Sep 29, 2007

The story ends at a helluva cliffhanger. Next issue will most likely have the cemetery dwellers picking up their own pieces before they can open a portal to save Michael. Moore has my undivided attention and instills a want to know what will happen next.

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8.0
Boneyard #27

Jan 21, 2008

The saga of platypus Dudley's dilemma continues sometimes hilariously in Moore's Hogsbreath, the talent's lovely tribute to Berkley Breathed's Bloom County. As usual four strips sign off the issue on the inside cover of this highly recommended series.

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6.0
Boneyard #28

Aug 29, 2009

The finale compensates for some of the shortcomings. Moore makes Abbey's and Michael's moment, the one faithful readers of this splendid series patiently waited for, quiet yet stirring .

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10
Bongo Super-Heroes #7

Nov 1, 2003

Radioactive Man is a semi-serious homage to Superman. On the other hand, maybe I just don't get the book's jokes. Bongo Super-Heroes is a laugh out loud treat for anybody who has an affinity for super-hero comic books.

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8.0
Boston Blackie #1

Nov 24, 2002

The artwork by Kirk Van Wormer for the most part comports the characterization of the characters and conveys the mood of the era. There are a few gaffes regarding scale and proportion but nothing overall distracting. The shadows are usually well-placed and well-drawn, but sometimes they seem a little over-the-top especially when blotching faces.

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6.0
Breach #1

Jan 8, 2005

Breach may improve, but at the moment, mediocrity is the watch word. Breach's origin bears similarity to the onset of Penny Farthing's Para, which was far more intriguing and used science to produce something highly entertaining and readable. So, instead of Breach buy Para.

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4.0
Breach #2

Feb 12, 2005

A tiny scene in the title just underlies its ambivalence to the larger super-hero universe. When noting the UFO book on his desk, the wife chides her husband Paul: "You don't really read this stuff!" Well a) given that she shares a bed with him, she should know and b) why would a UFO book be considered fringe literature when the numero uno defender of the planet is an alien?

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4.0
Breach #3

Mar 12, 2005

The H.P. Lovecraft elements are remotely interesting, and Lopez delivers in terms of artwork, but he can't save the entirety. The shabby treatment of traditional losers Kobra and his men as well as the stupid not shocking character derailment of the mystery villainess make Breach a hole to avoid. You've got two more issues to wow me.

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6.0
Breach #4

Apr 15, 2005

Some members of the blogosphere have been promoting a very interesting theory that counters the idea of Keith Giffin's JLA being targeted outright. Instead, they suggest that it's the Charlton characters whom DC acquired long ago getting the bullets in their heads, and that this wanton destruction of fan-favorite characters is a result of copyright concerns. I almost dismissed that theory out of hand since DC owned Sue Dibney. However, it occurs to me that Breach probably would have been better as a bona fide Captain Atom reboot, and that Bob Harras was asked to change it into something "original." End result, the copyright issue becomes moot. Breach becomes property of DC--a white elephant, but still theirs. This makes Crapping Toward Crisis Light an even less artistic endeavor. Consider that DC could have killed off Booster Gold--pretty much a heartless character that only had one plausible role--comedy relief, but they chose Blue Beetle who had the resonance to be comical and

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8.0
Broken Trinity #1

Jan 10, 2009

Broken Trinity is not a book that's suitable to my super-hero tastes, but the story's put together well. The characters are clearly shaped. The protean players of the tale are changed by the events in the story. Add Brian Stelfreeze's appealing artwork, and you have a good comic book that just may be ideal for the followers of the Top Cow characters.

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10
Buck Rogers #0

Apr 25, 2009

In short, the writing and art on Buck Rogers whets my appetite for more, and just because as advertised this is the end of Buck's adventures, there are enough questions silently posed to serve as the backbone for a series. By the by, I see dozens of loopholes out of the ending. So even should the talent decide to return to this particular era in Buck's life, I'm sure it won't be boring.

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8.0
Buck Rogers #1

Jun 13, 2009

The art and the writing are lively. The latest version preserves the elements familiar to all who have heard the name Buck Rogers and the adventures are new.

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8.0
Buck Rogers #2

Jul 18, 2009

At the end of the tunnel, Buck finds out that clothes maketh the man. The clever twist in the plot and the artwork neatly brings Buck Rogers full circle.

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8.0
Buck Rogers #3

Aug 29, 2009

Beatty infuses a mix of wit and daring-do. He also guarantees that Buck will not be another insufferable swaggering ass like Hal Jordan. The fact that Buck fails frequently and only succeeds by the seat of his pants is one of his most endearing qualities. Buck genuinely impresses by quickly orchestrating unexpected tactics. This strategizing is what signifies Buck's importance to the future.

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8.0
Buck Rogers #4

Sep 26, 2009

I cannot get over how much I enjoy Buck Rogers, and I hope this feeling never goes away. The art and the writing somehow preserve the coolness of the concept, while bringing Buck to the twenty-first century and beyond.

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10
Buck Rogers #5

Oct 31, 2009

Instead, I'm recommending the book because of its finale. The end to the story characterizes Buck Rogers as a humane individual that lives in the twenty-first century but always sported future ideals. It's because of these actions Buck Rogers earns five bullets.

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6.0
Buck Rogers #6

Nov 28, 2009

At a guess, I would say that this was an inventory issue of Buck Rogers. It's purpose appears only to be a jumping on point for new readers. For the faithful fan, it's not a necessary purchase.

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8.0
Buck Rogers #7

Jan 8, 2010

Artists Rafael and Lopez actualize future societies arising from different areas of science fiction. The mutants look vampiric. Attractive glowing trans-suits sheathe a variety of proportions. Gennies walk like the animals, but they don't quite express themselves like animals. Subtle nuances define them as something more. The artists time daring rescues perfectly to inject energy to the visual narrative, and judicious computer effects enhance the story rather than distract the reader.

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8.0
Buck Rogers #8

Jan 30, 2010

Carlos Rafael and Carlos Lopez make Buck Rogers very easy on the eyes. Their spectacular artwork enlivens even the deadest of horses. This Buck Rogers/Beneath the Planet of the Apes mash up wouldn't be nearly as entertaining without the depiction of Buck's looks of disbelief, the goofy appearance of the cave dwellers and the ethereal trans-suits earning smart spotlight.

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8.0
Buck Rogers #9

Feb 27, 2010

Of course all three men, including Dr. Huer decide that they can't leave Wilma to a vulture like Harrier, but they must strategize instead of simply charging on trans-suit "steeds." This decision leaves the book on a tantalizing cliffhanger again alluding to the original Buck Rogers comic strip.

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8.0
Buck Rogers #10

Apr 17, 2010

Buck Rogers almost could be considered a send up of the stereotype, feckless square-jawed hero carving out his legend in the cosmos, but while there's humor to be had in Buck's reactions to the outlandishness of the future, there's also understated pathos. The character has dignity. He's not just a straight man in a parody of a space opera. Although he clearly enjoys this crazy environment, he's affected by the loss of his time. Given the freewheeling atmosphere of the lion's share of the plot, that moment when Buck realizes that he has lost everything he cared for becomes even more powerful.

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10
Buck Rogers #11

May 8, 2010

I'm really going to miss Buck Rogers. The title ends with issue #12, rather like Power Girl. Let me just refresh your memories. I never liked Buck Rogers. I never understood why the character persisted. Sure, great artwork by Russell Keaton and later the awesome cat-suited Erin Grey, but it took this series to make me notice how good Buck Rogers could be.

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8.0
Buck Rogers #12

Jun 26, 2010

The cliffhanger pulls a time travel rabbit out of the hat, and the presence of this character alludes all the way back to the zero issue of the series. That was a slick sleight of hand from Beatty who promises "Buck Rogers will return!" I hope so.

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10
Buckaroo Banzai #1

May 27, 2006

Buckaroo Banzai roars onto the racks and demands that you keep up with its frantic pace. Blue Blazer Regulars will not be able to get enough. Monkey-Boys need not bother.

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8.0
Buckaroo Banzai #2

Aug 12, 2006

Well, that's it from your old pal Rawhide. Maybe we'll do this again when the next issue comes in, or maybe I'll be out of this blasted bed and out saving the world with Buck and mi amigos the Hong Kong Cavaliers.

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8.0
Buckaroo Banzai #3

Nov 25, 2006

We can't have another movie. We can't have a television series. Moonstone however has given Buckaroo Banzai new life in the comics. Sayonara for now, Buck.

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10
Buckaroo Banzai Big-Size #1

Jan 31, 2009

Buckaroo Banzai is a double-sized no-ad fully colored comic book that's worth the slightly raised asking price. The adventure centers on a real life practice rather than retreading Lectroid or Hanoi Xan territory. The guile of Buckaroo directs the adventure even when he's not seen and this is the kind of intellect you would expect to find from a modern Doc Savage.

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10
Buckaroo Banzai Preview #1

Feb 4, 2006

The preview does this all for the measly price of fifty cents. That's right. Half a buck. Exactly why would you pass this book up, monkey boy?

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8.0
Buckaroo Banzai: The Hardest of the Hard #1

Oct 9, 2009

When I started reading Hardest of the Hard, I could not stop. Mac Rausch carries you along with an interesting character created whole cloth in but a few pages with snappy dialogue and speedily delivered scenarios. The artists generate velocity and Buckaroo Banzai styled action.

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6.0
Buckaroo Banzai: The Hardest of the Hard #2

Feb 20, 2010

The trouble is I don't remember how we arrived at this point, and Lady G doesn't appear in the book until the end. It would have been better had she been in on the action because the addition would have forged a stronger connection with the previous issue and maybe alleviate the feelings of bewilderment.

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6.0
Buckaroo Banzai: The Prequel #1

Aug 16, 2008

The mimicry of dialogue, as if delivered by Peter Weller, Clancy Brown and the rest of the Hong Kong Cavaliers, is the best thing about the book. A rapid pace adds to its worth, and although I question the inclusion of duplicate Wilbur, the scenes in which he and Buck interact are fun to read.

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8.0
Buckaroo Banzai: The Prequel #2

Dec 12, 2008

Buckaroo Banzai: The Prequel exemplifies a book that has a premise, concepts and characterization that overcome flaws elsewhere. This may not be as well written or as well illustrated when compared to some of the other books I'm reviewing, but it still merits a favorable review because of the things it accomplishes.

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10
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #47

Aug 11, 2002

His rendering of Buffy startles the reader. We knew that the creative team would get around to bringing her out of hiding given that she's the star of the book, but we never expected to see her this way.

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10
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #48

Sep 3, 2002

Although a woman, Buffy's poses escape the norm for comic books. The artists do not emphasize her gender, the talent instead pose her in such a way that would scare off the most cocksure vampire. Her poses thus mean something more primal in the battle.

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6.0
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #49

Sep 27, 2002

The idea of Buffy being consumed by the force of the Slayer does not segue well. She seemed fine after the revelation of Pike's identity from last issue. Now, she has a commune with Slayers of the past who initiate the amble down memory lane to remind her why she fights. It doesn't quite fit together with what we saw previously. Kendra by the way is wasted.

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8.0
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #50

Nov 10, 2002

The extras in the book are hit and miss. The briefly illustrated text piece by Mr. Nicieza exemplifies how point of view should be used, how it changes the tone and the very words of a narrative. On the other hand, Andi Watson's super-deformed Buffy short really isn't worth anybody's time. Probably took ten seconds to draw too.

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10
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #51

Dec 6, 2002

When last we left the Scoobies, Pike was preparing to tell this story. New readers may not know this fact and be confused by certain aspects of the pacing. His omniscient viewpoint where he seems to know what when on after he left the scene can be explained by input from the Slayerettes and Buffy herself who has accepted despite her protests earlier that Pike's going to tell the story anyway. Pike also seemed to know Dawn. This knowledge can be explained by the corrupted memories of anybody in contact with Buffy. Dawn did not even theory take part in this adventure. Everybody simply thinks she did and fit her in according to where she would go if she existed. In any case, these viewpoint divergences especially with regards to a surprise guest-star make the story better and only seem out of place in hindsight.

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8.0
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #52

Dec 31, 2002

The art team could have gotten away with all sorts of sleaze since the story takes place in the tackiest place on earth. Instead, while they show Buffy suffering for her art in a bustier, hot pants and nylons, none of the artwork looks exploitive. She looks instead as seriously out of place in that outfit as she should.

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10
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #53

Feb 9, 2003

The artwork by Cliff Richards, Will Conrad and Dave McCaig meets their usual standards for the issue. Outstanding are the Angel's appearance swathed in dark shadows and vampire colors and Buffy's gymnastics.

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10
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #54

Feb 28, 2003

"Viva Las Vegas" is a wonderful little storyarc that balances the humor and horror of the series, captures the voices of the characters and artistically keeps things jumping. If you missed the individual issues, I definitely recommend picking up the trade paperback when it inevitably becomes available.

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10
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #55

Mar 29, 2003

Dawn's characterization is quite winning in the story. The author/artist nicely seesaws back and forth to her status as an innocent little girl who likes to hold tea-parties with her stuffed animals and a Slayerette who enjoys kicking monster-butt on her videogame machine. Her dialogue perfectly captures her youth and innocence. I also like how the bear seems to respond to Dawn in a very honest way. His intentions are always good, and this garnishes reader sympathy toward his sad but funny end.

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6.0
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #56

May 2, 2003

"Slayer Interrupted" is not the best of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer canon, nor is it the worst. It's to borrow a Douglas Adams designation "mostly harmless." The characters with the exception of Dawn behave and sound like the cast, and I have no doubt that the story's pace will pick up speed in the next chapters. Cliff Richards pencils, Will Conrad's inks and the colors of Dave McCaig make for an attractive presentation that spotlight Sara Michelle Gellar's look and body language as the Slayer. Her despondency and loneliness are captured in each panel.

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10
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #57

May 31, 2003

"Slayer Interrupted" features only two fights knitted into the fabric of the pace. Normally, such a serious, less than action-filled story tends to make me consider chewing off my leg to escape, but every page of this book interested me and reached its dramatic goals.

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4.0
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #58

Jun 26, 2003

Any thought that actual thought went into this chapter of "Slayer Interrupted" vanishes when the writers and Cliff Richards pull an old trick employed by countless slapdash productions of cinema. When a solid script is not apparent, when lapses of logic bubble to the surface, when plotting becomes erratic, showing women undressing will make the entire exercise forgivable. The shadowed nudity however does not quite have the same impact of live women taking a shower.

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6.0
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #59

Jul 26, 2003

One thing cannot be doubted. Cliff Richards is the Buffy artist. He effortlessly brings to the pages Sara Michelle Gellar's style and expression she imbued to the part of Buffy. His nightmarish creations, this demon especially, often equivocate the eerie and gruesome monsters from the show, and although the artist is usually responsible for the pacing of the adventure, Mr. Richards is blameless.

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10
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #60

Aug 30, 2003

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is gone from the airwaves, but the comic book still keeps readers from feeling lonely. The first chapter in a new story is a masterful display of talent from the writer and the artists.

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10
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #61

Sep 25, 2003

The story shows Buffy's striking ability to adapt to any situation and better allows the reader to see how she became one of the more feared Slayers. Mr. Nicieza further uses the Slayer death-wish in an interesting way for the finale, and distinguishes Buffy as the Slayer who most wanted to live.

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10
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #62

Oct 25, 2003

Artist Brian Horton this issue illustrates more than bookend pieces for the title. His painted artwork very cleverly breaks into the Richards/Conrad/Madsen rhythm. The interruption acts as a believable lure and helps setup the layer upon layer of reality that Mr. Nicieza's story tricks the reader into believing.

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8.0
Buffy The Vampire Slayer #63

Nov 29, 2003

"Stake to the Heart" nicely encapsulates what Buffy was about: strength not only in body but also of mind, and it more than adequately provides a test of fire for the Slayer that we have grown to love.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #1

Mar 17, 2007

"Muppety Odin"--Odin as a Muppet, surely that one was obvious. Ah, but is it more than that? A puppet god perhaps? The idea of a god being useless as a puppet? An allusion to Angel turning into a puppet in his television series? Nah. Odin as a Muppet.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #2

Apr 7, 2007

"Feminine-Hygiene Product"--Douche, as in Douchebag, as in "Kenny is a Douchebag."

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #3

May 5, 2007

"Action Jackson"--Carl Weathers' sexified, uber-funky character in the blacksploitation movie of the same name.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #4

Jun 9, 2007

"Don't embarrass us."--The line Perfect Tommy spoke to Buckaroo Banzai when he was about to enter John Warfin's hideout and save Penny Pretty. Quite apropos.

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8.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #5

Jul 28, 2007

The Slimefolk--Intelligent magical slugs; to honor them, strip naked and let them slime you. Wearing their odor is like wearing a badge.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #6

Sep 8, 2007

Five by Five--Faithspeak for everything's fine. Five-by-Five has actually a long history regarding the audio quality of radio-signals among the military personnel. (wiki)

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8.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #7

Oct 6, 2007

"You and I are of a kind. In a different reality, I could have called you friend."--classic Star Trek line spoken by the Romulan Commander to Captain James T. Kirk in the episode "Balance of Terror." Faith seems to be starting to misquote it when attempting to assassinate Gigi. (IMDB)

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6.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #8

Nov 10, 2007

Anybody familiar with the way Whedon works knew how this story was going to play out, but it could have been enlivened with stronger character interaction between Buffy and Faith as well as Buffy and Willow, who only get a moment and don't say anything particularly witty. The oomph missing from the writing however is replaced by the strength of George Jeanty's pencils. Any Owens' inks cannot be ignored either. His lines give depth and texture to the cast, and Dave Stewart's choice of colors enhance the mood of the story with dark shades in surveillance rooms and bright hues in bathrooms.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #9

Dec 8, 2007

Whedon seems to be holding Giles and Faith as a Steed and Peel back for the massive climax that will no doubt arrive when Buffy, the Slayers and the Scoobies face off against the newest Big Bad and his army. I can see the beginnings of Whedon's long game, but even without the context, this issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Faith scores a massive victory over the forces of evil and the darker needs of her own nature is without a doubt one of the best.

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6.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #10

Jan 11, 2008

"Here's a you bad thing" -- "Here's a bad thing you did." Some of the more casual Slayer Speak involves the simple shift of pronouns and the elimination of verbs that are understood.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #12

Mar 8, 2008

Is it Whedon or Goddard who can be credited for a lack of cliche and pretension? Is it Whedon or Goddard who can take a bow for continuing a mature tone that lacks prurience and engages the audience as sophisticated people who are not interested in burlesque humor and see no moral outrage in homosexuality or lesbianism? Perhaps, it's both. If so, Whedon and Goddard write a seamless, beautiful story that's enriched in the humanistic elements that makes Buffy the Vampire Slayer so damn enjoyable.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #14

May 9, 2008

This is an issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that earns high marks by just being bona fide Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The story's witty. It's sharp. It's surprising and shocking. It's well drawn with characters who resemble the stars of the show and act in ways consistent with their histories. For what more can a reader or a watcher ask?

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #15

Jun 6, 2008

"Wolves at the Gate" was fantastic. The story orchestrated a devastating threat against the Slayers, brought in an unexpected guest-star that was even richer than the portrayal on the show, opened new doors for Buffy to explore and moved on the oil of the finest, wittiest dialogue. Furthermore, it lasted four issues and therefore lacked a single iota of padding. Because of Georges Jeanty, Andy Owens and Michelle Madsen, every scene sparked with perfect cinematography. Every issue received five bullets from me, and when you put the chapters together nothing changes.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #17

Aug 8, 2008

In addition to the genius of Whedon, Karl Moline makes the Slayers ultimate gymnasts. In Moline's hands, the Bond-like opener in which Melaka interrogates a Lurk becomes an Olympian acrobatic routine executed in mid-air between futuristic sky vehicles. He doesn't miss a single beat or waste a panel. Owens inking and Madsen's colors enhances the textures in Moline's pencils. Melaka's hair looks silky, and the purple tinges merge attractively into her natural black. Dawn's mane looks luxurious, and Willow's hair at different turns looks soft and sumptuous.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #18

Sep 7, 2008

Until Doctor Who returned, Buffy the Vampire Slayer could be considered the best series on television. I have no hesitation in saying that right now Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the best comic book series on the racks.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #19

Nov 28, 2008

Normally when you leave a book unsure of what occured, it's a sign of weakness. Buffy the Vampire Slayer's moot ending is a sign of strength. The key is that Buffy returns to the past, but the reader still has no idea what future door that key will open. The story, though, was more than just a question of will the what if be, and the heady crescendo ends on a giddy note.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #20

Dec 21, 2008

Seeing Buffy rendered in this style makes one even more disappointed that an animated series never surfaced. The caricatures, the vivid colors by Lee Louridge, the frenzy of motion--such as Buffy's constant cheerleader twirl of stakes--make this issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer memorable. Its a necessary purchase for any fan of the show or the comic book series.

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4.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #21

Jan 10, 2009

In this issue, because of Harmony, because of incompetent journalists, because of a vapid viewing audience, the public becomes aware of Buffy and her vast sisterhood of Slayers. Because of Harmony's charm, fomented by media attention, public opinion turns against them and favors the poor, put upon vampires.

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4.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #22

Feb 7, 2009

Buffy made no secret about how she felt about Satsu. She was honest with her. Satsu took the position of Team Leader Japan in part to help her get over Buffy, but in this story, it's as if she's waiting for Buffy. Naturally, they would still have feelings for each other. Emotions can't be switched off, and getting over somebody takes time. Satsu though knows it's likely not to happen in an eye-blink. Kennedy states that Satsu was promoted to team leader "like two minutes ago." So I'd love to know why Kennedy is actively kicking Satsu away from Buffy. Kennedy's urgings are unnecessary. They're not entertaining; neither are the multiple reminders that Kennedy and Satsu sleep with women. In fact I question why this story needed to be told.

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8.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #23

Mar 7, 2009

I thought for a horrible moment that Andrew was going to turn out to be the hero. That wouldn't be believable. Buffy must and does save the day. True, she has help from Andrew by a kind of remote control, but in the end, it's Buffy that does the unpredictable and renews the reader's faith in Whedon magic. Until Buffy, Slayers died young. The reason why Buffy has lived so long to use her experience is that she always does the unpredictable: whether by using a bazooka to stop a very surprised arch-demon or having Willow cast a spell that creates a new world in which "Every girl who wants to be a Slayer. Will be a Slayer."

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6.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #24

Apr 4, 2009

I recommend this issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I must, however, recommend it with the reservations of two unanswered questions that dilute the substance of the plot.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #25

May 9, 2009

This is an all around superior issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Done in one, funny rather than stupid, dramatic instead of over the top, the story centers on continuity without shunning the new reader and attracts all with bona fide heart.

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8.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #26

Jul 4, 2009

During her talk with Giles, Buffy seems to have an epiphany. I have no idea at what it hints, but I'm sure it's going to be damn good. With this issue, Whedon takes control of his characters and directs them to the future spelled out by his long game. Espenson re-establishes herself as one of the top Buffy writers, and Georges Jeanty, Any Owens, and Michelle Madsen create an exciting visual narrative with points of drama and comedy shared among a wicked number of cast members.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #28

Sep 5, 2009

This issue Buffy the Vampire Slayer feels like an episode from the television show. Andrew's wit shapes the narrative. Espenson and Whedon underplay the big revelations. They set the viewer up and then quickly pull the rug out from under his feet. Georges Jeanty, Andy Owens and Michelle Madsen create artwork that reflects the richness of the script.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #30

Nov 7, 2009

Jeanty's artwork could be a trifle tighter in places, but for the most part, I think he nails it. Buffy always looks like Sarah Michelle Gellar. Xander always resembles Nicholas Brendan. Some of the faces of the Slayer army could use a little distinction, and for a moment, Giles proportions go way off scale, but Jeanty and Andy Owens match Espenson and Whedon with exciting visuals and a startling depiction of a metaphysical ending. Notice how Buffy comes back into being at first an outline of a drawing. That's a clever little flourish and makes you question whether the ending is really occurring or in Buffy's mind. Either suits me fine.

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8.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #32

Feb 5, 2010

Slayers die this issue, but they die as warriors. Death is their tradition. The battles occurred off panel while the previous story arc unfolded. So, there's thankfully a lack of ghoulish violence. You therefore cannot accuse Meltzer of singling out Slayers just to kill them and I would mostly characterize this issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as upbeat and chirpy. Despite Meltzer's reputation, it's also surprisingly pro-woman. No matter who writes the adventures of Buffy Summers, that's how it should be.

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4.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #33

Mar 6, 2010

The issue isn't however a total waste. The artwork still rocks. Jeanty, Owens and Madsen bring a stylish cinematographic look to the book rivaled only by Power Girl, and that's rather fitting. Buffy was a Power Girl fan. The conversation between Xander and Buffy is easily the best part of the book, and that can be attributed solely to the artists, who imbue intimacy to the old comrades and illustrate subtle, realistic facial expressions. I also appreciated that when Andrew puts together his costume of many super-hero parts, he wears Batgirl's belt. Only Buffy the Vampire Slayer could have made me think fondly of Batgirl and not seethe with rage over her current state. That's because the Batgirl nod is to the fictional character. It's a recognition of her power in pop culture, as free from DC's wretched continuity as the Batgirl button on my duster or the magnet on my refrigerator.

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6.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #35

May 8, 2010

I have racked my brain and I cannot for the life of me think of a rationale for Angel becoming Twilight. That just means his guise was merely an annoying Mcguffin and the face behind the mask didn't matter to either Whedon or Meltzer. Buffy the Vampire Slayer readers deserve better.

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6.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #36

Sep 4, 2010

Buffy the Vampire Slayer sets up the new Angel series coming from Dark Horse and the last of Season Eight amid multiple Doctor Who allusions. That's not a bad thing, and it's certainly better than "Twilight."

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8.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #37

Oct 9, 2010

For the first time, since "Twilight" began, I feel that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is building up to something tremendous, and this time I don't believe Dark Horse and Joss Whedon will pull a Monarch. To be fair, Whedon may have always intended Twilight to be Angel, but that decision is pretty damn close to the Monarch debacle, and I don't think it was necessary. He could have beefed up Angel without the annoying, superfluous pretense of villainy. The new universe didn't need to be bonked into existence. It could have come into being through another means. I've been really searching for a point where "Twilight" was necessary and I haven't yet found it. That's why Buffy the Vampire Slayer is only still earning my trust.

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4.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #39

Dec 3, 2010

Because of the artificial fight, the unconvincing shocks and the ridiculous revelations, Buffy the Vampire Slayer comes off as just another comic book and that's about the worst thing that can be said. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was the closest thing to Doctor Who on television. It was not just another television series. The comic book in its glorious opening arcs was superior to every other comic book. "Twilight" and "Last Gleaming" could have found a home at DC.

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4.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #40

Jan 22, 2011

To be sure, I'm not angry at Dark Horse. I don't wish its dissolution. I'm angry at Whedon, but not Barbara Gordon-crippling angry. I haven't given up hope. This isn't a boycott. I fully intend to occasionally pick up an issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to see if it has improved from the "Twilight" debacle, but the days that Buffy the Vampire Slayer can be counted among my subscription list titles are over.

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6.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tales of the Slayers #1

Oct 16, 2002

Gene Colon's artwork is stunning and a revelation. His best work I felt could be found in Wonder Woman, but not being a fan, I acquired those issues more for the characters and the story than the art. The Slayer short takes him out of the seventies and into the thirties. So while he gives readers his trademark rumpled clothing for the Slayer. He also displays a period knowledge of cars, architecture as well as the dapper thirties fashion sense. The choreography for both battles in the brevity of pages instills so much excitement that you can almost hear the trumpets of Buffy's fighting music as you read.

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4.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow #1

Dec 26, 2009

Karl Moline, Andy Owens, and Michelle Madsen make Willow prettier than this dreck has a right to be, and if you're a fan of the artists, you'll want to add this one-shot to your collection. Everybody else can skip it.

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8.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow & Tara #1

Jul 13, 2002

moves with the confidence she gained through the magic.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow & Tara #2

Sep 15, 2002

Willow and Tara though underhyped may appeal to a variety of comic book readers. The super-hero fan may enjoy Willow filling that mold. The fantasy-oriented fan may enjoy the Celtic mythology. Practitioners of Wicca, and there are more than likely thought, may appreciate a positive spin on their religion. Fans of empowered women may certainly enjoy the confident portrayal of three powerful female figures. Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans will most likely enjoy the entire package.

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8.0
C.E. Murphy's Take a Chance #2

Mar 7, 2009

Take a Chance is a surprisingly well-constructed exploration into how a costumed vigilante might actually ply her trade in the real world, which exists as a kind of underground to the super-hero and super-villain. Despite the realism, Chance still takes names. She acts heroically, and there are crowd-pleasing moments in this subtle character's life.

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10
Cadre #1

Aug 26, 2005

Now, you may balk against Cadre's price. It's a forty-eight page black and white book priced at $4.95. However, all but three pages are filled with artwork and story not ads. The story is done in one issue that leaves threads but no loose ends for an ongoing series, and that makes the price reasonable.

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8.0
Captain Action #3

Nov 27, 2010

Manuel Martin's artwork is good and solid. Martin captures realistic body language, embellishes believable emotion to the cast and weaves an easy to follow visual narrative. When Grant unveils the American plan for taking over the Directorate, Martin not missing a beat makes the reveal a memorable moment. Even taking in account the wacky world of comics, the heroes are a ridiculous bunch enhanced by the near blinding red, white and blue of Pedroza. They're Neocon poster children propagandizing the United States. I can't really mention the show-stopper without spoiling the plot. Suffice to say that Martin and Pedroza end the story on a splash page that should be made into a tee-shirt.

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8.0
Captain Action Winter Special #1

Mar 12, 2011

Most comic book anthologies are merely excuses for lousy artwork and even worse storycraft. Captain Action Winter Special gives you page after page of quality writing and art for your hard-earned coin.

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6.0
Captain Action: Season 2 #2

Sep 14, 2010

If you are a Captain Action fan or just want to take a peek to see what the fuss is about, the second issue is a painless, stand-alone taste of what's to come.

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2.0
Captain America (2004) #1

Nov 20, 2004

Captain America is supposed to represent the hope and optimism of the USA. He's supposed to make us believe that the USA can be the good guy even when evidence to the contrary keeps presenting itself. This fifth or sixth relaunch is simply not Captain America.

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8.0
Captain America (2004) #29

Jul 17, 2004

Kirkman's plot is not just Cap and our returning female super-hero vs. Hydra. He adds twists to the story that reflect the false patriotism meant by the title as well a bonus jaw dropper that occurs at the end of the book. Now, many may cry foul, but I would not yet write off the character as a reversion to the darkside. The true villain of the piece has before brainwashed heroes. Hopefully, that wasn't enough of a hint to be a spoiler, but even you did guess the identities of our mystery guests, you should still buy this book. The beginning of this new era of Captain America is simply a blast.

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8.0
Captain America (2004) #30

Aug 14, 2004

Unfortunately, Kirkman does not give over the lion's share of the book to Batroc. He does however slither in some old Marvel favorites that promise to balance out the nastiness of the Red Skull and the seeming betrayals of Diamondback. Kirkman drops several clues in this issue that all about Diamondback is not what it seems, and I look forward to finding out what's what.

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10
Captain America (2004) #32

Oct 16, 2004

After reading Kirkman on his continuity-conscious stint on Captain America I'm definitely more enthusiastic about his upcoming series Marvel Team-up. Thanks to Kirkman Captain America has become the kind of fun comic book that made me a comic book fan in the first place, and this is ultimately, the kind of super-hero comic book I want to read.

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8.0
Captain America Corps #1

Jun 17, 2011

Captain America Corps #1 (Ray's review)Posted: Friday, June 17, 2011By: Ray Tate Roger SternPhil Briones, Mat Milla (c)Marvel It all began during the tenth anniversary of Doctor Who. The Powers That Be at the time wanted to do something memorable, and they decided that the Doctor would face a villain more powerful than he ever encountered before. That villain would be the Time Lord known as Omega, one of the first Time Lords. The situation was dire enough to send an army of Time Lords to aid the Doctor, but Omega had already anticipated such a stratagem. So, the very same Time Lords that exiled the Doctor to earth, the so-called Celestial Intervention Agency, gave the Doctor help in the form of his past two incarnations. They took the second and the first Doctor out of time and space and teamed them up with the then current third Doctor. This novel, intrinsic idea is the basis as well for Captain America Corps.

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8.0
Captain America Corps #2

Jul 22, 2011

As with the premiere issue, this second issue of Captain America Corps is mighty entertaining. The book hits all the right buttons and adds a few surprises to spice things up. Stern for instance suggests that things may not be quite so bleak in the dystopian super white America guarded by a jingoistic government run team of "heroes" that abducted our time snatched Caps.

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10
Captain America Corps #3

Aug 19, 2011

The Captain America Corps focus on one particular timeline in which the Avengers' history has been irrevocably altered by the abduction of Steve Rogers frozen in ice. We discover through intel recovered by the impressive Commander A -- a Captain America from the 25th Century -- what happened to the team and the other heroes of the Marvel Universe.

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10
Captain America Corps #4

Sep 23, 2011

I know what you're thinking. This is the cat that believes Tigra is love. He's only giving Captain America Corps five bullets because Tigra and her former yellow-suited alter-ego appear. Phil Briones and Matt Milla grant both incarnations sinewy life. So, he's probably Jonesing on that nip. The dude's got a serious case of fanboy. I confess. You're absolutely correct. Tigra is love, and I am Jonesing on the nip. However, these two felines aren't the only reasons why Captain America Corps earns five bullets.

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10
Captain America the '40s Newspaper Strip #1

Nov 19, 2010

Old adventure strips such as The Phantom, Superman and Johnny Comet, just to name a few, were awash in action and excitement. Kesel creates a work that competes with the classics of the genre. I enjoyed every panel of Captain America the 1940s Newspaper Strip.

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10
Captain America Theater of War: Operation: Zero Point #1

Nov 1, 2008

I will never regret Cap's inclusion in the Avengers, but he was created to be a Nazi fighter. This is his milieu. Given writers and artists who care, I never will tire of such reverberations. Theater of War echoes with impact.

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8.0
Captain Clockwork Special #1

Mar 10, 2007

Captain Clockwork proved to be a nice surprise. The black and white thirty two-page book costs three dollars but contains no ads and is printed on decent paper stock that's perfect for capturing the medium.

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10
Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril #1

Aug 6, 2004

Equally impressive is the artwork by Sal Velluto and Bob Almond. Originally Keith Martin and Rober Quijano did a superb job illustrating the good Captain's origin adventure, but Velluto and Almond aren't slouches. The Velluto and Almond artwork gave Justice League Taskforce, the more intelligent, better-written version of Justice League Elite, a reason to exist. They helped make Black Panther proud, and though the make rare appearances in the comic book world, those appearances are always welcome. The team's artwork bestows to the pages a very unique look to Captain Gravity. All the characters appear lanky and well-nourished. Muscle spreads through the genders and independent of skin color. Velluto and Almond indeed often seem to be following Don Newton's footsteps. This school attendance creates a beautiful comic book experience.

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10
Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril #2

Jan 14, 2005

The second issue of Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril buoys on historical accuracy in a fun serial adventure beautifully drawn that depicts a smart but still learning powerful hero who makes for a fitting enemy of Nazi madness.

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10
Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril #3

Mar 5, 2005

Captain Gravity while soaring seldom drifts and stays focused on a cliffhanger styled serial adventure related in the sophisticated tongue of today.

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10
Catwoman (2002) #9

Jul 26, 2002

The art team once again keeps Catwoman in motion throughout the panels. Her fight scene though brief is memorable. They also enhance the mood. The feeling of violation even when from a criminal has a stronger impact because of the team "pulling back the camera" in the panel to show a wider space. It shrinks down the antagonist, and gives an alien feel to his apartment. The exchange toward the end of the book between Karon and Holly is quite smile-worthy, and it's the artwork--Karon's reaction, the brighter colors--that makes it so.

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10
Catwoman (2002) #10

Sep 3, 2002

Drawn in a lively, action-packed style, meticulously plotted with a beginning, middle and end, possessing its own internal continuity and outside influences be damned, Catwoman prowls forth a hero for whom you can cheer and one whose identity still in a way remains secret. She is a throwback to an age abandoned.

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8.0
Catwoman (2002) #11

Sep 27, 2002

Mr. Grant knows this history, and so he does not complicate matters with a fresh new slant or a mind-boggling uncharacteristic turn. For this issue, Mr. Grant designs an impossible theft amid a life-saving rescue. What keeps Selina's character in check along with the idea of a core historical characterization that no amount of tampering can intrinsically alter is Brad Rader's splendid visual continuity. Selina looks and acts like the Brubaker Selina. We don't get the side steps into her “domestic” life or the subtleties of her expression like we do when Mr. Brubaker pads through the story, but no scene with Catwoman looks like a sore thumb produced by a writer unfamiliar with the current run of the book. Regardless of whether or not Mr. Grant reads Mr. Brubaker's intensely recommended unofficial animated tie-in, in the denouement, both writer and artist work together to create a scene of surrender that only would work in Catwoman and leaves that all-important smile on

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8.0
Catwoman (2002) #12

Oct 27, 2002

The Dickensian street-urchin plot, Mr. Brubaker bolsters with an unsavory connection to a Catwoman nemesis who stays behind the scenes like a grand master of chess. I have to however believe in the queen. In addition, I'd have to agree that these particular crimes would not immediately interest Batman. Thus, the petty thefts occurring within a Gotham City district, under Batman's nose is plausible. These crimes are also unlikely to interest Catwoman, but Mr. Brubaker becomes involved in a believable way. Add a few decent cops and a rollicking scene with Holly and Slam, and you have a very good issue of Catwoman.

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10
Catwoman (2002) #13

Dec 3, 2002

Most people still think of comic books as kid's stuff or the kid's stuff from which better more mature entertainment comes: Batman and Batman Returns for instance. Animation--largely due to Batman the Animated Series--has shaken off the shackles of being solely for kids. Laypeople realize that animation isn't necessarily for kids and can be enjoyed by adults. Comic books still have that miasma of immaturity. If more people bought or just saw Catwoman that could change. The story deals with real emotion as well as crime. The brief nudity seen is presented as matter of fact like a good cable drama. None of the characters fit a stereotype, and Holly is an interesting, gay woman without an emphasis on titillation. Catwoman seems more like a carefully crafted movie or television series rather than a humble kid's stuff comic book, and the nods to Hichcock--the presence of a catalyst blonde and the scene without word balloons where there is only Maggie and Holly hugging--merely emphas

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8.0
Catwoman (2002) #14

Jan 4, 2003

Catwoman's look is tranforming due to the tone of the story. Cameron Stewart draws the panels as if he were animating a Batman short for adults. There's less a reliance on the highly-styled sublime Dark Deco look of Bruce Timm. The characters look more realistic without losing the essence of their original design. Whereas at times Batman: The Animated Series tried to look pretty and wash a little of the violence, Catwoman presents a seedy setting that refuses to be scrubbed.

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10
Catwoman (2002) #15

Jan 25, 2003

Mr. Brubaker makes use of Selina's past experience of a master thief during the train scene, and then he brings to the fore her new persona as the vigilante Batman used to be to a violent confrontation. Mr. Stewart choreographs the scene perfectly, and when Selina drops in unannounced, she bursts into action that is breathtaking in its originality. The vicious fight is even better than the Bond/Red Grant duel in From Russia With Love.

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10
Catwoman (2002) #16

Feb 28, 2003

Cameron Stewart's artwork wonderfully captures the horror of Black Mask's tortures as well as the surprises in store for the villain and the reader. The confrontations pack energy, and the quieter scenes are well presented. The artwork in the epilogue looks a little squashed, but all in all, Stewart's artwork almost always startles with a rare dynamism and hooks readers into the story.

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2.0
Catwoman (2002) #17

Mar 29, 2003

A man would hit the bottle or get into self-destructive fights. Women have sex when they shouldn't. Why can't a woman get drunk or become self-destructive in a physical not intimate way?

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2.0
Catwoman (2002) #18

May 3, 2003

Catwoman however isn't like a television show. Each episode is issued monthly. Each issue needs a change in mood to make the doom and gloom count for something. If all the characters are circling the drain, it's difficult to be affected since the rhythm of the story is one-note.

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4.0
Catwoman (2002) #19

May 31, 2003

One thing with which I do credit Ed Brubaker is that he did not prolong this lousy storyarc then dovetail it into another lousy storyarc to depict an all-consuming angst that has no place in what really is an escapist title and welcome. Here's hoping "Road Trip" returns the characterization back to normal.

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4.0
Catwoman (2002) #20

Jun 26, 2003

Sadly, these connections did not come from hindsight. They did not come from careful thought. They struck like a bolt of lightning. Catwoman like almost every other DC title by relying on distracting scraps of continuity remains simply falls apart. I could not enjoy it because I was reminded of everything I hate in DC's so-called original universe.

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6.0
Catwoman (2002) #21

Aug 1, 2003

So let's summarize. Catwoman and Holly are present and in character; it's the twist that gives the book its third bullet. The artwork is decent, but the story does not make sense and carries little excitement. Captain Cold does not have to be in the story, and the false continuity seems forced.

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6.0
Catwoman (2002) #22

Sep 5, 2003

This issue of Catwoman is way better than the Keystone Robbery issue or the Wildcat team-up, but it still doesn't match the power of the power and confidence of the reintroduction story. The dialogue is wonderful. There are some outstanding character moments between Holly and Selina which show promise for the future. These assets however are mired in two unworthy plots.

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8.0
Catwoman (2002) #23

Sep 25, 2003

Fortunately, unlike the Daredevil movie, Mr. Brubaker confines this unconvincing melee to the tail end of the book, and the main plot of two friends sharing an effervescent lark take up the lion's share.

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8.0
Catwoman (2002) #24

Nov 1, 2003

Catwoman's terrific artwork balances out, in reference to the whole, the scattershot characterization. The well-written dialogue balances out DC's overall Swiss cheese continuity. One story element however tips the scales in Catwoman's favor. While most of DC's books have a mood that's as dark as an oil stain, this issue of Catwoman fosters a mercilessly upbeat attitude. The optimism and ebulient tone does not quit, and Mr. Brubaker demonstrates that you can tweak a book to a appeal to a sophisticated audience without losing the sense of wonder that iconic of heroes are supposed to instill.

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10
Catwoman (2002) #25

Nov 29, 2003

The strong plot features an enjoyable cameo from a classic Batman foe. Mr. Brubaker gives him more depth through his dialogue and distinguishes him from the callous modern day thug who does not think and kills wantonly. I still do not care for this Selina's adventures taking place in a Gotham that should be much shinier thanks to Batman's presence, but there's no denying the enjoyment of seeing an efficient urban crimefighter such as Catwoman operating as smartly as Batman should in clever capers.

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10
Catwoman (2002) #26

Dec 27, 2003

Mr. Gulacy has a fairly large body of sweaty, sexy, lusty work. Working with Mr. Brubaker allows for him to explore a largely unknown range. A scene where Holly and Karon hug and kiss Mr. Gulacy depicts as sweet rather than salacious, and this isn't the only pleasant surprise one can find in Catwoman.

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6.0
Catwoman (2002) #27

Jan 31, 2004

This issue of Catwoman is really just puffed up nonsense that shows how tough the character happens to be, but even new readers I think could have taken that as a given. She is after all wearing leather the veritable badge of toughness when pertaining to women. The problem is that she does not act intelligently, and intellect is the vital component for any non-powered individual trying to make the world, or her corner of it, a better place.

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8.0
Catwoman (2002) #28

Feb 28, 2004

The artwork in all respects and the characterization in Catwoman is strong enough to make this flawed issue still a largely enjoyable read. It's not fantastic, but you would not put this book in the quarter bin.

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4.0
Catwoman (2002) #29

Apr 2, 2004

These storytelling inadequacies fail to mask an even greater deficit. All these preparations and anxiety are caused by Zeiss, a lame, seriously lame, villain that is so typical of post-Crisis shallowness.

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2.0
Catwoman (2002) #30

Apr 30, 2004

Catwoman is masturbatory material for misogynists and should be avoided at all costs. This will be the last issue for me. I was sold down a river of high expectation and fun only to have these feelings dashed upon the rocks of pessimism.

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10
Catwoman: Secret Files #1

Sep 14, 2002

The artwork in the text pieces is also superior. Cameron Stewart provides a growl worthy Catwoman who appears both sexy and dangerous. She's superimposed on a contrasting profile of Selina without costume--wearing clothes and shame on you for thinking otherwise. In the profile, Selina looks confident and happy, and that best describes her current characterization. For the Holly feature, Stewart surpasses himself by actually suggesting a story inside the artwork. Basically, Holly and Karon had a fun time somewhere near a photo-machine. Stewart spools out various portraits of Holly and Karon. This section includes a private photo with Holly wearing Catwoman's cowl and providing a cute send up of her friend.

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8.0
Chaos War #2

Oct 22, 2010

If amusing dialogue, lovely characterization and clever plotting fail to persuade you, perhaps Koi Pham's, Thomas Palmer's, and Sunny Gho's masterful illustrations can. Pham and Palmer make these gods live up to the sobriquet. They accent the majesty and power of Thor through a lesson in scale. Thor though comparatively smaller than a DC-10 nevertheless holds it in the air in an awesome scene. Hercules, though a so-called super god still behaves like Hercules and occasionally ends up with egg on his expressive face. Hela storms onto the stage. The Chaos King manifests as a frightening creature with Hieronymus Bosch styled proportions and Geiger grin. Venus plies her beauty and her voice. Every panel just exceeds in creating the illusion of a larger than life battle waged by gods in the arena of earth.

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8.0
Chaos War #3

Nov 5, 2010

The engagement takes on greater import, and the creative team craft conversation and art suitable for the gods at war. However, make no mistake, Chaos War is not another War of the Gods. This mini-series differs strongly from the mediocre Big Stupid Event. While there are lives at stake, Van Lente safeguards them smartly and transports the defense against the nightmarish invader to a higher plane. The immortal gods know each other, which leads to some witty banter, particularly from Sersi, that puts a lighter flourish to the drama. I didn't expect much from Chaos War, but it continues to deliver.

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6.0
Chaos War #4

Dec 17, 2010

The story should have had more pep and pizzaz. Pham, Palmer and Gho make this issue of Chaos War a potential purchase.

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8.0
Chaos War: Alpha Flight #1

Nov 26, 2010

I tried out each incarnation of Alpha Flight that arose from of the ashes of the old. Chaos War: Alpha Flight is far better than any of the pretenders to the throne and it's less a lesson in mental instability than Byrne's original series. I'd call the tone, just right.

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4.0
Chaos War: Chaos King #1

Nov 19, 2010

I can only recommend Chaos King for Michael Kaluta fans. Even those following the Chaos War should not contemplate buying this book unless they are a Kaluta fan.

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2.0
Chimera #1

Feb 18, 2003

On page seventeen the curious cup-fillers pry out of their thanks for trying harness to investigate a promising patch of snow. On page eighteen, our heroes--by which I mean the breasts--fall into a crevice. Such is their power that they take the woman attached with them. This just may be very clever Freudian subtext. In short, better than Killraven and a night spent watching J.A.G., but then what isn't?

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10
Clandestine #1

Feb 12, 2008

As Marvel learned bitterly only Alan Davis can do justice to his creations, and that's what we get. It's classic Davis under the lush inks of Mark Farmer. The colors are a little drab, but that just may be due to the paper quality. In any case, Clandestine is a treat for the faithful fan and newcomers.

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6.0
Clandestine #2

Mar 11, 2008

One other thing must be said about Clandestine. This issue exhibits some of Marvel's worst production values. The paper is thin and flimsy, prone to wrinkling. Some of the pages were falling out. I had to basically assemble this comic book. Fortunately, there were no actual rips or tears in the stapling area, but come on, Marvel. You should have higher standards for your products.

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8.0
Clandestine #3

Apr 4, 2008

Sumptuous artwork, decent to good writing and some familiar faces make this issue of Clandestine one of the better ones.

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10
Clandestine #4

May 17, 2008

As events boiled down to the conclusion, which does explain some of Walter's strange behavior, I really wanted to find out what happened next in Clandestine, and that's all one can ask for in a good story.

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8.0
Clandestine #5

Jun 13, 2008

The ending to Clandestine suggests Alan Davis has more tales planned, and I couldn't be happier. The Destines are enjoyable characters to follow, and the artwork makes one salivate.

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8.0
Comic Effect #46

Feb 1, 2007

The autobiographical account comes in digest form on sturdy paper-stock. The printing is of high quality, as are the miniature reproductions of comic book covers from the era. I'm amused that he picked most of the ones I possess. Recommended.

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10
Comiculture #1

Aug 9, 2002

Steve Bucellato ends the book with “Reptile Rant.” This corker of a story twists Hawk and Dove into a hilarious comedy starring the aptly named Zen Girl and Gun Gal. While Mr. Bucellato also did the Claire Donner case, he uses a different color palette and ups the cartoony look to suit the lighter tone.

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10
Comiculture #2

May 10, 2003

Something this thick would seldom fail to earn at least four bullets, but this second issue of Comiculture is actually better than the first. Its presentation is smoother, and the overall genre content combined with the breaks filled with interesting articles makes for a more satisfying read.

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6.0
Countdown to Final Crisis #10

Feb 23, 2008

"The Origin of Harley Quinn" is easily the best part of the book in terms of both story and art. Timm makes the brief section animated, engaging and memorable. The scene with a recently reformed Harley shouting out to the world from the passenger side of the Batmobile is going to stay with me for a very long time. Though I can't see it, because he's is in silhouette, I'm betting that Batman's got just the slightest smile on his face. Scott Beatty who has also written some excellent issues of the various animated Batman spin-off comic book series ably accompanies Timm's dramatic drawings.

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4.0
Creepy Comics #4

Oct 30, 2010

This issue of Creepy did nothing for me. Whether or not you're writing science fiction, mystery or horror, the story still must make sense. None of these tales possess an iota.

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10
Critter #1

Jul 17, 2010

Hutchinson gets it. When you write a super-hero, believe in her. Don't hamstring her with mortal foibles. Show her to be intelligent. Show her to be powerful. Show her to be a saver of lives. That's why Critter easily earns five bullets.

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8.0
Critter #2

Sep 15, 2011

Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups. In the POBB, as it was affectionately known, Ray reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.

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8.0
Critter #3

Oct 27, 2011

Of course, Tidalpool's real danger arises from his ability to lead a giant squid and his minions on an attack on the mainland. The squid proves a vicious opponent for Starlette and Rookie, but where is Critter? Paradox, the time traveler, has a record of Critter's appearance in this battle, but a confluence of events seems to put time out of joint. To quote another time traveler: "Time can be rewritten."

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8.0
Cryptozoo Crew #1

Jan 29, 2005

The smart conclusion in the second tale offers more fitting comedy than the firs