Richard Gray's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Newsarama, Behind The Panels Reviews: 813
7.6Avg. Review Rating

The worst thing that can be said about Amala's Blade is that there simply isn't enough of it to satiate our newfound craving for this character. Indeed, perhaps the only thing that disappoints about this issue is that it's the end of the story for Amala and her merry gathering of miscreants and mayhem. With any luck, Horton and Dialynas have more like this up their sleeves.

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Spencer's skill is in spinning a yarn that is perfectly in keeping with both the event and the tone of his book to date, while also providing an easy access point for people jumping in from other places (such as the recent film).

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Despite its extended length, Barrier rips along at a pace, but never neglects the core characters who will carry us forward. Apart from being a compelling and beautifully crafted read, the 54-page debut issue comes at the bargain price of whatever you feel like paying for it. Of course, it goes without saying that if you want to keep seeing quality comics like this, a couple of dollars from every reader wouldn't go astray.

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Batgirl #49 is partially an answer to critics who have been unkind to the neo-Batgirl, including this one who was incredibly skeptical at the initial change of direction. However, the DC Universe is vast and complex, and a Multiverse with infinite possibilities allows for the constant reinterpretation of those icons. In a primarily art-driven piece, coupled with the wonderfully wilful version of the character that Stewart and Fletcher have crafted at the center, this issue of Batgirl is a reminder that every single one of those interpretations is equally valid, and that the malleable nature and core principles of Barbara Gordon's personality are the reasons why she has been so enduring for the past 55 years.

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If digital comics are to succeed in cutting through the digital morass and captivating mainstream audiences, there needs to be more of them like Batman '66. Like DC Nation has done for animated fare, this comic provides a lighthearted and easily accessible version of a familiar character that will be sure to please audiences of all ages. Whether it is nostalgia you crave or a chance to turn Batman's permanent frownupside-down, it is difficult to not have a giant goofy grin on your face while swiping your way through this innovative taste of the future of comics.

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As a classic villain is introduced in the final pages of the primary story, we realise that "Year Zero" is not simply the origin of Batman, but of his entire world. Giving greater strength to the argument that present day Gotham is a a result of the escalation that started the moment Bruce Wayne put on the cowl, Snyder fans the flames on a city that is just starting to hot up. We can't wait to see them ignite and blow the powder keg sky high. This is essential reading for any Batman fan.

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If you haven't had a reason to read Batman yet"what's wrong with you? Make this your reason.

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Tynion and Snyder will, of course, continue their association with the Dark Knight with Detective Comics and All-Star Batman under the Rebirth banner. While Snyder's Batman run has had its incredibly vocal fans and detractors at both ends of the spectrum, his legacy on the character has been ensured with the introduction of some worthy adversaries, and genuinely trying to do something different with an icon that often lends itself to repetition. Tynion, who has been involved in this run almost as long as Snyder, expanding the world with his work on Talon, ends this lengthy run with a stirring embrace of the Batman saga, and just as Bruce Wayne learns by the end of the issue, the best way forward is by honoring that past.

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Yet Tomasi's requiem issue is as close to a perfect single issue as any you might find. If Batman #18 was caught between violent response and finding human connection again, then Batman and Robin #18 is the mournful silent scream of anguish.

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The joy of Batman/The Shadow is not just in the engaging story and the top-notch art that would make it a top pick on any given week. What Snyder, Orlando, Rossmo and Plascencia have created is a mystery wrapped in all those elements, one that draws you in with its flagship characters and holds you there with the promise of a rewarding riddle to be solved in future issues.

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While justice could barely be done in a capsule review, it is worth saying that there isn't an ounce of fat on this, as DC assembles another wonderful collection of writers and artists

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Brenden Fletcher and Annie Wu's reinvention of Black Canary comes literally screaming out of the first page, and is relentless in its pace and excitement this month.

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Black Canary is about to embrace part of her legacy by co-starring in the relaunched Green Arrow, and Fletcher, Wu and Jarrell leave us in no doubt that they've restored the kick-ass history of one of DC's most powerful female leads. While it might be a shame that Canary no longer has her own series, having never made it past a dozen issues of a solo title, this perfect mashup of music and comics plugs straight into the mainline of everything that has made Black Canary an essential part of the DC Universe for almost 75 years.

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Clean Room is a mystery from the start, one that has multiple paths laid out before us. Chloe's self-affirming "Let's see what f--king havoc a journalism degree can create" isn't just a cool line worthy of Spider Jerusalem himself, but a challenge taken on by Simone to see how far down the rabbit hole these notions go. A first issue that is equal parts thrilling and ominous, this has all the makings of an outstanding series.

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Yet another perfect example of comic bookery.

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While a mix like this is typically difficult to sustain, and some of the characters might seem like complete non sequiturs if you're not familiar with their ongoing series, the Christmas theme makes this an excellent collection overall. It's a whirlwind tour through the DC Universe that highlights the core strengths of these heroes, wrapped up in an accessible and entertaining package. Which is what DC should be doing more of, and its unquestionably one of the best stocking stuffers for any self-respecting comic book readers this Christmas.

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Part romance and part mystery, the sense of foreboding Aaron drives home gives this ongoing series massive appeal.

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Make no mistake: this is dark and bloody territory. Yet it is also a rewarding and compelling read. It seems there is another Image title that will make four weeks seem like an eternity at least 12 times a year. Judging from the hyperbole around the web, a cacophony of praise that we've just happily added to, this series has a strong foreseeable future.

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Russell has already given us two of the best reboots of the last few years with The Flintstones and the sorely underrated Prez, and now he can add a third instant classic to that list. More than just a series of catchphrases and in-jokes, Russell and the art team have taken an easily mockable character and turned out one of the more compelling dramas of recent memory. This might be the first must-read of 2018.

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Relying partly on your remembrance of the original work, as well as on the bits you only half-remember, it's entirely appropriate that the familiar face (or what's left of it) that turns up in this book is the very same one that Sebastian wanted to destroy because it was beautiful. Palahniuk might be talking directly to us with these final pages, indicating that if anybody is going to take the last few punches at the beauty that is Fight Club, it's going to be him.

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When Percy first took over the New 52 version of Green Arrow, he had an equally strong start, but eventually got lost in an odd tension between horror and his clear love of Green Arrow's background. Here we see something completely different, a flat out classic depiction of a character that owes just as much to his current history as it does to its long legacy, never compromising either.

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Almost three years later, this fitting conclusion isn't just a rousing last hurrah for a character, but a reminder that Ollie Queen will always remain the bleeding heart and the conscience of the DC Universe.

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It's a mixture of excitement and sadness that fills the final pages of this issue. Robert Venditti will take over the book soon enough, and has some pretty big shoes when he takes over not only this title, but Green Lantern Corps as well. Yet Johns can't help but indulge himself just a little, flashing forward to the "bookends of Rebirth" and giving an epilogue for each of the main players. It's the job of other writers to carry the green torch now, but perhaps Johns has just ensured that his influence will be felt for many decades to come. A perfect way to end a spectacular run.

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The issue could work as a strong standalone, but hints at a bigger story, indicating that the off ill-treated character is in safe hands for now. Aja and Hollingsworth's artwork is once again phenomenal, bringing a gritty realism to this world of costumed heroes. It will be interesting to see what they do when Hawkeye suits up on a more regular basis. A must read.

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If this was a standalone issue, it would be a near-perfect piece of sequential art and plotting. The fact that it seems to be the beginning of a downward spiral for Clint Barton makes it all the richer. This is essential reading.

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"If you just give me one shot to show you how good I can be," declares Kate in two separate instances in the issue, "how hard I work, how much I believe in doing the right thing " I won't let you down. I promise". The repeated mantra could have almost been Fraction's pitch to Marvel, who deserve a tip of the hat for giving one of their cinematic Avengers a chance to let it all hang out in a prominent comic. Hawkeye Annual #1 does exactly what this kind of special should, supporting the main arc while giving an important character time to grow . We just hope it isn't too long before we see Kate and Clint back in each other's lives.

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If Huck was simply the story of a warm-hearted hero with superpowers in a small town, it would already stand as one of the more original creations of the year. Yet Millar also gives us something of a mystery in the identity of Huck, telling us only that he was abandoned as a baby and pinned with the note "Please love him." It's been a crazy and devastating week around the world, as violent acts showcase the hatred and fear of a small number of people. If Huck's message is that unconditionally passing on love and being kind to one another creates heroes from the most unlikely of places, then he might also be the most necessary hero of the year as well.

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It is early days yet in this six-issue mini-series, leaving us with a key moment in the origin story of Santa. Like many of Morrison's works, this first issue presents us with a series of puzzle pieces. We know roughly what it is supposed to look like by the end of the run, but the joy of getting will be in seeing how he fits all of these disparate threads together and wraps them up in a bow.

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Taking the best bits of old school fables and modern sensibilities, this comic might be the best thing that's happened to the Midwest since the Cubs won the World Series.

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The final pages will shock and much as they intrigue, and with all the controversy surrounding sex in comics over the last few weeks, we wonder if this first issue's final image will raise any eyebrows in conservative media. It's a stunning debut issue from someone who has already mastered the surreal. Here we watch him harness it, darken it and ride it hard for our entertainment. Bring it on.

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As the debut title in a new imprint, Naomi is much more than just a promising start to a new series. It's also a success as an all-ages comic, offering a low barrier of entry to new readers and relatable lead character. More than anything, it's a bold statement about the direction DC Comics is willing to go in 2019 and trust the audience to go along with them.

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While human rocket Richard Rider will undoubtedly return in the future, for now this is set to be Ultimate Spider-man in space, and that concept " combined with plenty of crossover potential for Guardians " makes this one of the first great debuts of 2013.

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The stark black-and-white art is rough and ready, and allows Murphy to add his own punk rock slant to this wonderfully thought-provoking new series from DC/Vertigo. A solid start to what might become a must read for the year.

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The only bad thing about this issue is that it's the penultimate one before the crew takes its end-of-arc break.

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Possibly surprising nobody, Saga remains supremely amazing as it enters its fifth arc.

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Magical realism is a genre that Bryan Lee O'Malley could rightly plant his flag in after Scott Pilgrim and Seconds, for he has shown the world just how it should be done. Beautiful, emotional and at times deeply personal, it is difficult to walk away from this outstanding graphic novel and not want another helping. Easily one of the best graphic novels released this year, and possibly one of the most magical of the last decade.

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If you loved Shaolin Cowboy to death, but for some reason though it needed to dispense with the speech bubbles, this might be your dream issue. Yet that doesn't stop Darrow's distinctive voice from shining through, and we can almost hear Lord Evelyn Dunkirk Winniferd Esq. the Third commenting on the events as they literally tumble out before us. A wonderful mix of madness, massacre and melee, made merry by a mishmash of mutilation.

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It's rare that a book that so summarily dispatches some of its leading characters keeps you compelled month after month, let alone maintain something as close to comic book perfection as this.

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In what is effectively an issue-long fight sequence, Hopeless gives us a microcosm of all of the things that defines the modern Spider-Woman, balancing as she does being a mother with superheroics and simply keeping her life together.

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One can’t begrudge Orlando for bringing Supergirl in line with her small screen counterpart, and he has mentioned in a number of interviews that there is a lot that the CBS/CW series gets right in terms of tone and flavor. Put simply, Supergirl draws on the best that the character has to offer, and serves it up in a package that fans of the broader super family can dip in and out of. This is definitely one to watch going forward, especially with that diabolically self-referential cliffhanger.

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Perhaps the only major issue with The Belfry is that there simply isn't enough of it, ripping us out of the world as quickly as it thrust us into it. In the short time that we spend with Hardman's creations, we get the sense that we have seen the tip of the iceberg of a much larger story. It's a deep guttural scream from the pit of the stomach, or the place under the bed where the really nasty monsters hide. In other words, it's a terrific example of what happens when the language of comics is used to maximum effect in close quarters.

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As the series progresses, one wonders if Morrison sees himself as burdened with this glorious purpose. After all, he spends much of this issue almost obsessively cataloguing the gateways to other realms and stories. Opening the door to an infinite number of stories, while warning us of the dangers of the "forces" that threaten to make them homogenous, what Morrison has accomplished with this mammoth 70-plus page The Multiversity Guidebook, and with the series more broadly, is nothing short of breathtaking.

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The Sandman: Overture is the wonderful place where art and storytelling co-mixes with waking dreams, vividly bringing back to life a modern classic in a way that exceeds expectations. The final splash pages reveal a cornucopia of detail that readers will go over with a fine comb, including a few surprising appearances if you look closely. Due out bi-monthly as a limited series, the wait will be all the harder for the high quality of this first new issue. An essential piece of reading.

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With some maxi-series, it is sometimes worth waiting until the book finishes playing out to dip in. This will not be the case with The Wake, which delivers a debut issue that is intriguing, filled with well-rounded characters and surprising at each turn. Put together by a team of creators all at the top of their game, we are genuinely excited to see this unfolds over the next year.

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While Lemire has dealt with elements of science fiction before (Sweet Tooth), and explored the depths of love and loss (Essex County, The Underwater Welder), but never before has he attempted such a grand examination of humanity. In this first of an intended 10-issues, Lemire has baited and captured us, laying out a world of possibilities in front of us. If Lemire's work has taught us anything, he might just surprise us and tackle them all.

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BIZARRO is one of the most charming books released by DC in a long time. (Or should that be "BIZARRO am worstest most unfriendly book from DC in short time?") Not just perfect for kids, who will love the visual madness of it, but for adults with a pulse as well.

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A punk-rock spin on Dazzler, but with edge. Put aside any prejudices or cynicism you may have about this reinvention. It's a punk (re)vision that is completely in the spirit of the character, with the right balance of ass-kickery and hooks to lure in new audiences. Put this one on your reading list immediately.

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Rocket Raccoon #1 is a terrific addition to the Marvel Cosmic Universe, reminding us that humour and galactic shenanigans go together like Rocket and Groot. Skottie Young delivers a Saturday morning cartoon in the form of a comic book, and brings a much neglected sense of fun back from wherever mainstream comics have been hiding it for the last few years.

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As close to monthly perfection as graphically possible, Vaughan starts things right with an indignant Countess Robot X accusing her underlings of being "overgrown condom failures". While the central story is some downtime for the fleeing family, a second read of the issue reveals just how much is actually going on across the multiple storylines.

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Westerns and the Marvel universe were made for each other, having at least a sense of vigilante justice in common, and Gerry Duggan's recasting of familiar heroes in Western tropes is a joyous celebration of both.

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It really is the Wild West as familiar faces get shot down, and the good guys and bad guys can be as clearly delineated as they like. Nik Verella's pitch-perfect art is gorgeously dust-covered and ridden off into the sunset by top-shelf colorist Lee Loughridge, a knowing mix of dime store funny book charm and a modern impressionistic view of the genre.

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A Voice in the Dark signals a new voice on the scene, one with a clear concept and a firm notion of what makes a rich story with a decent hook. While readers may certainly notice some nods not only to the aforementioned 80"s influences, but also more recent fare such as TV's Dexter, Taylor's strong cast of characters distinguishes this. It's early days yet, and we've only seen the initial incisions into Cutter's Circle. We're looking forward to taking a deeper slice in the months to come.

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If you haven't given A Voice in the Dark a chance yet, now is a perfect time to jump on. With fresh blood on the campus lawn, Taylor provides an easy access point to his growing world of the delightfully grim town of Cutter's Circle. It's a world that beckons us to get comfortable, because the surprises it holds are only just beginning to bob above the surface.

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Returning to the core story's strength of the anonymity of two killers conversing on live radio, Taylor builds up the tension nicely in this new arc that reveals a killer, but one that may not be alone in town.

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A Voice in the Dark: Get Your Gun is a series reinvigorated, and remains a clever blend of 1980s black comedy and serial killer drama. The reveal of Zoey's counterpoint, if that is indeed who this new character is, marks a foil for an already interesting lead that challenges assumptions about comic book heroes. We hope that this is the first of many more ofTaylor's series, as things are starting to get hotter.

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The best reason to pick this up is for the art. Samnee brings a grounded feel to his run on Daredevil with Mark Waid, and the street-level fight between Supes and "bad guy" Leon certainly contains similar elements. It's also filled with iconic shots, as the Man of Steel comes rushing towards the reader, we almost feel as though he's about to burst through our screens. Plus: Superman punching himself in the face. 'Nuff said. If this is a sign of what DC's digital comics have to offer, then sign us up immediately for more of the same.

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Afterlife with Archie is the Archie book for people who don't read Archie Comics, or perhaps the fringe group of horror fans that have always wanted to read an Archie comic. Peppered with references to pop culture, it's a genuine horror story and proof positive that a good Elseworlds-style mash-up doesn't require a line-wide reboot, but is simply a matter of taking two top creators and letting them run wild.

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Bryan Hitch's art is dark and gritty, reminiscent of his work on The Ultimates. His final page on this issue might just be the most heartbreaking of the series, but this is only getting started. Climb on board with this series, as we have the feeling that this is not only going to be one of the bigger events of the year, but one of the best written as well.

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Of course, if Age of Ultron simply pointed the way to this and other spin-offs, it would be remiss to not notice that this is also an effective zero issue for Sam Humphries's Avengers A.I. However, unlike that predecessor, it managed to do so in a single issue and imbue it with more emotion in 22 pages than Age of Ultron managed in the ten previous entries. If this is a shape of Hank Pym to come, then an ongoing Ant-Man book with Mark Waid at the helm is something we should rise up and demand.

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Akaneiro encourages us to go an play the American McGee game, and in that sense it has achieved its primary goal. Yet it does so because it creates such a rich and inviting world that one can't help but wanting to explore it in more depth.

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The strength of this arc is not only in tying back into previous stories, but in also clearly defining what differing characteristics the two Hawkeyes possess and what what makes them stronger together and apart.

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Tom Taylor's take on the "All-New" version of Wolverine has been superb to date, this is an excellent example of what he is best at.

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If this is an exemplar of the New DC Universe, then we are in for a hell of a trip. Ennis and McCrea effortlessly pick up fifteen years after the fact and running with the glorious insanity that is SECTION 8. This might be the only book we need.

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A fascinating world where Steampunk meets Cyberpunk, it is sure to please both crowds and draw in those who are in virgin territory.

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Horton is laying enough groundwork for an entire ongoing series here, but readers are lucky to get all the Amala they can handle in this concentrated fun-sized series.

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Bears, robots, and would-be assassins aside, at its core Ant-Man is a human drama, the kind that Marvel does so well. It's terrific to see that despite several major characters now existing outside the confines of New York, the essence of that dichotomy remains. In fact, in the case of the Scott Lang version of Ant-Man, the "fish out of water" only serves to heighten this notion of the loveable loser, one that we will enjoy checking in with each month.

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As the DC mothership gears up for Aquaman to headline a major film, and a new creative team in the form of Kelly Sue DeConnick and Robson Rocha dive into the pool, Aquaman/Justice League: Drowned Earth is a perfect ship to lead us there. Or as Wonder Woman puts it: "Whatever strange sea he's sailing, it's off the known map" in completely uncharted waters."

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One of the most highly-awarded writers of the last few years (Mark Waid) and one of the biggest artists around right now (Fiona Staples) work with 75 year-old character, and the results have been revelatory.

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In updating the formula, Archie is no longer just about the hijinks surrounding teen romance, but about the complex landscape that youth have to navigate in learning to become adults. The plots are not so much soap-operatic as reflections of the heighten sense of drama and immediacy that surrounds every moment of emotion as a teenager, and Waid has tapped into the psyche of the youth without having to pander.

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Written as a parody of the heist genre, complete with a "How to Do An Award-Winning Heist, in Twenty Two East Steps" playing out over as many panels, and artist Ramon Rosanas gets to have a bit of fun with every single one of them.

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Of all of the events that are running this month, this one eclipses the others by miles.

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More than anything, this first issue demonstrates DeConnick's continuing ability to bring humanity to the superhuman. It may be very much the first chapter in a larger story, but it is one that encourages us to want to spend a little more time with these characters.

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A white-knuckle ride of a first issue, it is difficult to not get completely suckered in. Giving us just enough information to demand some more answers, it ticks all the boxes of a debut by inviting us to stay a little longer and find out how this (anti)hero gets out of peril.

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A book that continually demands our attention each month, the only frustration is that the final panel flags next month for a "Zero Year" tie-in (from Marguerite Bennett, no less), meaning yet another interruption to what has otherwise been a continuous operatic narrative.

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While next month promises another interruption to the flow in the "Gothtopia" tie-in, perhaps a shiny happy interlude is exactly what Batgirl needs after all this darkness. Treating this issue as an end point in Simone's extended arc, it gives the character some modicum of redemption in the eyes of her father, and as was always the case from beginning, from Batgirl's own exacting standards as well.

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Simone continues to find new depths to explore in the character of Barbara Gordon, a figure she has been playing with in some form or another for well over a decade. The success of this current incarnation of Gordon is in grounding her as a real person who just so happens to be dealing with extraordinary events. Simone leaves readers with a classic cliffhanger that takes Silver's villainy to new levels of psychosis, while adding to our own as we maddeningly enduring another month waiting for one of the best books in DC's current lineup.

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Batgirl is exactly where DC needs to be right now, throwing off-the-wall scenarios at established characters, testing their mettle inside situations that are equally grounded in character and high-adventure. Simone is a master of this kind of storytelling, and along with Red Sonja and Tomb Raider, of crafting strong female leads that eclipse their male counterparts. This latest issue is no exception to that rule.

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What may have begun as a cynical marketing attempt to attract a new demographic has evolved into something much more than that, and is perhaps even parodying the very audience that it will most appeal to. Which is why Batgirl has been such a success, balancing that fine line between talking to a younger audience in their own language while never making the mistake of condescending to them.

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Tuning back into the same Bat channel as last week, the launch title of DC2 continues to offer an enhanced reading experience that is a joy to participate in. Keeping the story as simple and goofy as the 1960s television series works surprising well on the tablet screen, allowing the reader to push on through the adventure at their own pace.

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This is more than just a palette cleaner, prior to next month's #0 origin story and the return of the Joker in #13, but is rather an essential tale of the city which Wayne has fought to protect all of these years. We hope to see more of Harper Row in the future.

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If "Zero Year" was about overcoming trauma and dealing recasting Batman's origin in a contemporary setting, then the start of "Endgame" sees Snyder pushing the other end of the spectrum. Batman might ultimately be confronting his own death, or at least brushing up against it, and with those closest turning against him, this is setting up to be a killer arc.

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"Endgame" is about to rapidly expand and spill out into the other Bat-titles before it concludes, and this is a shame in many ways. Snyder's arc has been tense and tight so far, stringing us along just as the Joker has pulled Batman's chain. This is where Snyder's storytelling excels, in these focused pitched battles between the Dark Knight and enemies that can truly challenge his supremacy as Gotham's defender. Yet with only one issue of the main arc left, we're left on the precipice of a story that has not simply returned the Joker to comic book pages, but one of the best versions of Batman, as well.

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As the issue itself suggests, there is little point in pondering whether this is Batman for too long. "You worry about Batman meaning something to people," argues Julia Perry/Pennyworth, "you'll go down fast. If you do it your way, the things you belive in, the things you stad for? Batman will stand for those too." The message from his crew is loud and clear: if Gordon is true to himself, Batman will stand for all of those things as well. Yet Snyder might be reassuring himself here, having rarely shied away from telling the kinds of Batman stories he has always wanted to tell. Even with the bombshell of a closing panel, which leaves us with perhaps the biggest mystery of them all, this issue of Batman is a statement on the Dark Knight, no matter who wears the cowl.

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Make no mistake: Snyder's current run with Jim Gordon in the role of the mechanical Batman is a superb shakeup of a familiar continuity. Yet as it touches on salient social issues, including police shootings of unarmed youths and disenfranchised quarters of society, this issue reminds us not just of why Snyder remains such a fan-favorite for the character, but what we have loved about the modern version of the Dark Knight for at least the last 30-plus years.

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While there is some action, particularly in the back half of the issue, this is a mostly character-based psychological drama, and a welcome one at that. Without actually featuring Batman in or out of costume, Tynion gives us some answers around the fine line between heroism and madness. As Bruce explains "what crazy is" to the Riddler, he sums up exactly what separates any version of Bruce Wayne from a villain, and exactly what kind of stuff he is made of at his core.

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After some especially strong one-shots featuring this team-up in JamesTynion IV and Alex Maleev's"Ghost Lights" backup for Batman, the New 52 version of Batman/Superman proves that a mature and compelling union of these characters is possible in an ongoing series. It's early days yet, but Pak and Lee have laid the groundwork for a terrific exploration of what makes these characters tick. It will be interesting to see if the multiversity of the initial story arc can carry the emotional weight of the story they have set up so far.

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The creative team that has brought us the current arc of the Batman: The Dark Knight book almost give us Gotham by Gaslight here, but also surprising with a double-page spread showcasing the madness of the Hatter. It's a great example of the sometimes lost art of single-issue storytelling.

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Bizarro is not going to appeal to all tastes, as there will be those looking for the tragic figure of Geoff Johns' B-0 last seen as the failed experiment of Luthor in the pages of Justice League. Yet if the Teen Titans can have their Teen Titans Go!, then Bizarro can happily coexist alongside the rest of the DC multiverse. Perhaps the only problem is that this series has a limited run, at least for now.

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This is one of DC's most inventive books out at the moment, and this issue opens the narrative up to a literal world of possibilities.

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Leaving us on an intriguing cliffhanger, the comic with its own fictional band continues to be one of "DC You"'s most interesting experiments until the very end.

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A completely unexpected and wholly welcome addition to a revived genre, and like East of West, it opens a doorway to the weird through the the shopfront of the familiar. The real Ketchum's final words were reportedly, "Good-bye. Please dig my grave very deep. All right; hurry up," before being decapitated by his hanging due to the weight he'd gained in prison. Fortunately for this Ketchum, it seems that we've only just scraped the surface of what promises to be an original new series.

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The journey of Blacksad is almost the story of America, told from the point of view of the people in the margins. While Blacksad: Amarillo may not be as politically ambitious in its commentary as previous albums, or at least not as overtly as the literal black and white themes in Arctic Nation, it doesn't have to be. Just as America was finding its own voice between the Second World War and Vietnam,Canales and Guarnido allow their lead some light before the darkness, and the narrative is necessarily more lightweight as a result. This is foreshadowed in the final gripping pages of the book, when both we and Blacksad come to the realisation that he can only take a break from the cycle of violence for so lo

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Bellaire, Mora, and Angulo aren't just remixing a classic TV show but breaking it down to its component parts and rebuilding it for a generation who may not have a connection to the original. By the time we get to the powerful final panels of this sophomore issue, Bellaire has shown us that this Buffy the Vampire Slayer redux is not only welcome, but absolutely necessary for modern audiences.

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We never have a bad word to say about this Eisner Award winning run on Daredevil, and the latest issue gives us no cause for concern.

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For over two years, Mark Waid's Daredevil has consistently been one of the best books on the market. High praise considering the fine examples of comic bookery we see every week, but since the "stealth reboot" of the series in the pre-Marvel NOW! years, Waid has been building up the character of Matt Murdoch and not just his horned alter ego. Indeed, some of the issues of this run should and will be spoken of in the same reverential tones as Frank Miller or Brian Michael Bendis's runs.

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This book continues to be the high water mark of storytelling in the Marvel universe, and if this introduction is anything to go by, then the next two years are going to be another magic ride.

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While there may be slight echoes of a certain "Court of Owls" story from the Distinguished Competition, the parallels between the two are only that they are the finest examples of mainstream superhero storytelling of this century. So far.

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In the hands of anybody else, the sudden appearance of an alien and the Silver Surfer in the gritty world of Daredevil would be classic shark jumping. Yet we take the leap of faith due to Mark Waid's flawless track record, and it's to his credit that this still plays like a 70's cop show.

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Yet it is the art team of Chris Samnee and colorist Matthew Wilson who are the standout heroes of the issue, transitioning seamlessly from the brighter opening (both tonally and graphically), to a mind-splitting 10-panel grid that shows each of the children testing the limits of Murdock's psyche. A magnificent piece of visual storytelling.

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In this concluding chapter of the face-off with Purple Man and his Purple Children (with nary a Prince to be seen), "storytellers" Mark Waid and Chris Samnee bookend their tale with one of the most simple, effective and touching narratives on depression in recent comics.

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The stylish finale is mostly an action climax, Samnee forever placing his stamp on the city of some of the most famous car chases with Daredevil actually behind the wheel. This alone should make it worth the price of admission, but it the double twist in the tale (the kind Waid excels at) that keeps this issue gripping until its heartwarming final panels.

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As Mark Waid and Chris Samnee's Daredevil approaches its finale, they prove there is still room to shock, bringing Matt Murdock and the Kingpin face-to-face for a surprising deal.

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Given that the current run of the ongoing Daredevil series has been consistently outstanding over the course of the last two years, it comes as a complete surprise as to how much this book was needed. It seems there is no such thing as too much Daredevil, especially when the quality is this high.

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This isn't elseworlds, it's an in continuity canonical tale of Daredevil's last days. It's also a frightening vision, but impossible to look away from. We can't wait to see how it all comes together.

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There's more chapters of "Trekker", "King's Road", "Bloodhound" and "Nexus", but there couldn't be a more perfect example of Dark Horse's ability to pick up future talent than the one-page story by 15-year-old Emma T. Capps. Simple and sketch comedy based in its approach, it still shows a sophisticated knowledge of structure and more importantly, a love of comics. It's great to see Dark Horse encouraging talent very early in a career. Who knows: one day Capps could be the next big thing, and this issue will be worth a fortune?

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There's a continuation of Jane Espenson's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Love Vs. Life" story, tying directly into the Season 9 arc, more "Trekker" from Ron Randall and editor Mike Richardson's interesting adaptation of Andrew Vachss's "Underground". Yet the moment of zen brilliance is Patrick Alexander's "Steggy Wilmot and Spimps", a satirical bit of surrealism in which the idly rich Steggy is brought his morning pig by butler Spimps, creates a list of things he could buy (including Spimps' house and daughter) and is saddened when his Great Newspaper article about why pigs are sad fails to yield the fan-mail he desires. If that doesn't get you running out to buy this always terrific anthology, then nothing will.

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The narrow list of suspects for this apparent murder makes the piece all the more fascinating, but not as tantalizing as the possibility that none of the people we've met so far is the killer. Dept. H follows all the hallmarks of a classic Agatha Christie-style whodunit, but nevertheless manages to be shockingly original in its executive, characterization and the precise beauty of its artistic presentation.

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From the vantage point of the end of this first issue, we have every reason to be excited about the subsequent chapter in this series. That there's already a cinematic quality to this book is probably indicative of why it has been optioned for a film, but it well and truly stands on its own legs. Taking familiar elements from genre stories and beyond, the combination of Lemire's character-driven narrative and Nguyen's coolly optimistic art makes this something truly unique.

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Like the best high concept series, Gillen and Hans may have drawn us in with their core characters, but hold us here with the world that surrounds them.

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A perfect jumping-on point for anybody not familiar with previous versions of Doctor Fate, or simply keen to find out what this cat in the golden helmet is on about. A storybook journey with some dark turns, it's mostly a lighthearted adventure from the days of matinee serials, and promises to be a ripping yarn.

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There's a little bit of a swagger about this issue, self-assured that Stephen Strange is every bit the hero without his magic as he is with it. It's designed to make all of these characters as proudly epic as their spandex-clad Avengers friends. With a film due out in only a matter of months, Jason Aaron's take on Strange is becoming close to a definitive one, perfectly accessible to the layman while providing something new and exciting to reward those who have stuck with it.

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If you don't feel like wandering outside of the main continuity of the ongoing series, it doesn't currently seem necessary to pick up a copy of Doctor Strange: The Last Days of Magic. Instead, it serves as an excellent introduction to the wider magical universe and some Marvel characters that may not be familiar to newer audiences. It also serves as further evidence that Aaron's skills as a writer don't simply lie in the ability to tell a good story, but rather in the ability to build a world around them.

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As we face the prospect of a long 2016 without any regular new Doctor Who episodes until Christmas, Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor goes a long way towards helping us forget this fact. Indeed, it helps us forget the fact that we aren't in 1977, and Tom Baker isn't still tripping over his own scarf and lowering his baritone to curse the menace of the week. Like the best Baker episodes, it finds the right balance between Gothic horror and lighthearted adventure, and is the start of a promising set of new stories featuring characters as we remember them.

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Greg Smallwood marks his first major break with Dream Thief, but that belies a talent that comes to the page fully formed, complimenting Nitz with an almost noirish crime style that isn't a million miles away from the stuff Sean Phillips is putting out in Fatale or Criminal. His art is clean and bright, using shadow and minimalist colour for maximum effect. TheAboriginalmask that gives Lincoln his Sandman-like abilities is part Australian indigenous and part wrestling mask, and instantly iconic. Indeed, there isn't much here visually that Smallwood hasn't touched, with his fingerprints to be found right down to the lettering. It's a wonderful fusion of art and clever storytelling, and we can't wait to see how the rest of the five-issue series pans out.

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Earth 2 is a title that in many ways has sat on the fringes of the New 52, with its continuity barely touching any of the other stories. As this new creative team takes over, it has proven to be the title's greatest strength, opening up a world of possibilities for the ultimate DC sandbox. It's time to take second look at Earth 2.

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Despite taking place on a parallel Earth, it remains an exemplar of how DC should be looking at their New 52 properties, stripping them down and rebuilding them from the ground up. The heroes may come out a little misshapen, and miss the odd part, but they are all the more intriguing for it.

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With false starts to be found in all corners of the New 52, Earth 2 has become a terrific example of how these reboots should be done, by taking the barest of essentials from what has come before, emptying out the box and building it back up again from the pieces that survive the fall.

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Earth 2 could quite easily be the most frustrating book in the entire New 52. In the previous issue, Hawkgirl acknowledged that they all felt like they were meant to be a team, but weren’t quite there yet. So while this edge-of-the-precipice teasing has kept readers guessing since the beginning, the notion that this is still all part of an alternative Earth’s “Year One” is a bold move. However, with the Kryptonians poised to clash next month, one gets the impression that Taylor is set to sweep the old cobwebs away so he has unfettered access to the sandbox that he is currently building, demolishing and re-imagining sandcastles in.

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A compelling read that demands your full attention, East of West has now solidified the reputation it rightfully earned last month.

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Richard Corben's art, which earned him a place in the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame last year, is masterful. He brings his Heavy Metal aesthetic, honed through years of Eerie and Creepy, and creates something that is both entirely Poe and unmistakably his own.

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EI8HT is a stunning and evocative new series from one of the best artists working in the business. The compelling premise takes familiar tropes and turns them on their head, asking readers to trust in it. Given the cliffhanger ending and plethora of questions left unanswered, we're in for the long haul. Highly recommended.

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It's a series that has the potential to change the way we look at the DCU, and not just because of it's ability to mess with canon. Here's hoping it maintains this level of momentum.

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Sturges manages to hold true to both the wider Fables universe as well as giving this the feel of a genuine period noir film, from the dialogue to the gritty crime scenes. You'd expect a story like this to be in sepia/black and white, and it is. Yet so effective is McManus's artwork that we were not even conscious of this fact until the final pages switch back to a colourful modern-day.

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If you aren't reading this book, take the week as an opportunity to catch up. It will be the best comic-related decision you'll make this year.

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We are always several paces behind the main characters, which is an impressive feat given that Miles never quite feels as though he is sure what is going on. As Josephine promises to reveal more next issue, Fatale makes the month between issues an excruciating wait.

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At a time when there is even more to be angry about in the world, from global politics to the division between rich and poor, Tyler Durden is needed more than ever. It is almost as if the character has been lurking deep within Palahniuk's unconscious mind for the last two decades, to return fully formed and ready to take over the world. A stunning major comics debut from the writer, and an amazing example of how comics can create an entirely new form of expression. Tyler Lives. Rize or Die.

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Like the best pulp adventures (although using 'pulp' here is really only to describe the inspiration), we simply accept that these mystical happenings are the norm in Fabian Gray's world. It's not done with irony like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen either, it simply delivers a rip-roaring adventure that gives us more questions about the nature of Gray's "tragic encounter" years ago. Equally dazzling is Chris Mooneyham's distinctive vintage style, that captures the spirit of the pulp adventures that inspire it, raising it to the epic proportions of Alan Moore's Tales of the Black Freighter.

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Our advice is to either go out right now and pick up all five issues if you haven't done so already or pick up the trade collection in September. Either way, you'll be wanting to get onboard for the ongoing series, as this could handily rival Fatale for Image's top book with a retro charm.

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In all of his various forms, Barry Allen has a penchant for turning his feelings inward, so it's with some degree of cheer that Williamson manages to round out this particular tale on a note of hope. That's a pretty nice anniversary gift for the character and readers alike.

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The finale to "The Price" crossover with Batman is full of surprises, but perhaps the biggest is the levels of introversion Joshua Williamson weaves into the majority of this issue.

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In the back-matter to the book, Mackiewicz describes his book as an “attempt to process real world horror, centuries of it, magnify it through genre, and learn from it.” In this sense, we have something akin to Scalped but with a more genre-specific edge to it, one that is yet to reveal the full depth of its twists and turns. A terrific new debut that feels all at once highly topical and timeless.

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If you've never picked up a Ghostbusters comic, but have always wanted to give them a go, this is a great place to start.

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It’s difficult to box Gideon Falls into a single genre at this early stage, but it begins with a frantic search and ends in blood. It’s a thriller, it’s horror, it’s literary, and it’s also something truly unique. With this new creator-owned series, we see two exemplary artists who share an unspoken symbiosis articulating that bond through sequential storytelling.

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The new age of Vertigo continues to go from strength to strength as writer Zoe Quinn brings her video game aesthetics to one of the most original comic books of the last few years.

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Perhaps the best way to describe the debut issue of Gotham Academy is that it's a pilot. It doesn't manage to avoid familiar tropes entirely, indeed it relies on them at times as a kind of cultural shorthand. Awkward cafeteria encounters, crazy old headmasters and even cameos from local famous billionaires all tick the right boxes, but it's hard not to get caught up in the sheer enthusiasm of the issue. Kudos where it's due should go to DC for trying to do something new with the Batman family of books, an impressive feat after 75 years and literally thousands of issues about Gotham City. If this is a mark of where the 'new' New 52 is going, then the Bat-Signal is shining a little brighter this week.

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This is what should have been the reboot back in 2011, and is indicative of what the Newish 52 was capable of. It is a shame that readers may not have made it this far after several false starts. Let's hope DC have finally got their heads on straight as use this title as a template for the other flagging titles, rather than simply cancelling the same misfires over and over again. For now, enjoy a layered action/drama from the best in the business.

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From a title than even the most devoted of Arrowites were struggling to stay loyal to, Lemire and Sorrentino have hit all the right targets to deliver a must-read book several months in a row now. We hope this partnership lasts for a long time to come.

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For the first time since the start of the Newish 52, Green Arrow is consistently leaving us gagging for the next issue, which should be the primary job of all ongoing series.

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Green Arrow #21 is an ending, but also an awakening to new beginnings. The partnership of Lemire and Sorrentino have spent these last five issues lining up their shot, and they've ultimately hit a bullseye. It's with great anticipation that we shall look forward to the next arc to see what they build on this solid foundation.

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Lemire gives us a treasure trove of reasons to keep coming back to the book, not least of which is the twist ending, and has provided enough questions in this one issue to last us until the next DC reboot. If you'd given up on previous incarnations of this rebooted title, now is the time to jump back aboard.

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The final pages are not so much conclusive as a massive tease for the next arc, including another bit of wordplay on a famous Grell title. Yet it manages to feel organic, a mixture of old and new that doesn’t smack of being forced in sideways as an Easter egg for pre-Flashpoint fans desperate for some sign that ‘our‘ Ollie will return. With two arcs now under his belt, Lemire has shown the potential for a Green Arrow book under the New 52 banner. If it can shake the tenuous links it strives to maintain between the comic book and TV worlds, the Emerald Archer might just be one of DC’s preeminent books again.

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Now that he has settled in this revived version of Oliver Queen, Percy is beginning to lean on his wider influence once again. While the main source of antagonism is another shadow group, the not-too-subtle references to Dante Alighieri's Inferno make for some interesting illusions to Ollie's current downward spiral. More encouraging is that this time around, Percy has balanced the difficult task of putting an existing character into a new environment, but managing to balance the tensions between the old and new.

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While the titular Green Arrow takes a back seat this issue, it also means that Emiko finally gets to step up into the limelight and be something more than just a plot device or sidekick. Indeed, Percy and Byrne make an incredible case for her as a solo character, or at least being part of a thematic crossover with the aforementioned Gotham Academy or Batgirl. More to the point, it underlines the wider push of Percy’s run: bringing in Black Canary and other characters to craft something closer to the Team Arrow we once knew, but leaving his own distinctive mark on the title in the process.

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Ollie's trial for murder still hanging around in the background, and with a killer of a cliffhanger, this certainly isn't the end to this narrative, but Percy appears to be having the time of his life getting us there. We are too.

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Highly publicised by the mainstream media, DC's first major Arab-American superhero makes his debut in the form of Simon Baz, who is introduced as being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Touching on the prejudice against Muslims in America since 9/11, the book carefully establishes Baz as his own man, and someone who will bring a distinctive spin to the Green Lantern history.

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"Lights Out" is a textbook example of what an event should be: a mostly self-contained quest that not only ends on its own terms, but hints at the future. When Johns left the title, he laid out a road map for the ultimate fate of the characters he had crafted over the course of a decade. With "Lights Out," Venditti has ensured that his own name will become an important part of that history, indicating some major changes on the horizon for all the main players.

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It ends with a declarative statement of what the Guardians of the Galaxy 2019 look like, a solid face of villainy, and the promise of a wild ride ahead.

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Hadrian's Wall is an arresting new series from an established team, one that should hook in readers conclusive from the first panel. While much of the basic narrative structure and style are borrowed from a clear set of influences, they come together in such a meticulously crafted way as to form something new and exciting. This is one book that demands an immediate follow up, and if this first issue is any indication, the month-long wait between issues is going to be a difficult.

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The long-running gag of what happens to the friends and family of villainous henchmen gets trotted out again, but Curb Your Enthusiasm and Seinfeld alum David Mandel owns it in this sharp satire

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Just as Harvest did a great job of building a tangibly sticky world before pulling the rug out from under us, so too does Morrison in this fully realised creation that is sure to keep us on our toes in the coming months. We really have no choice but to listen to the horse.

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Morrison works best in these shorter stories, and at the halfway mark, Happy continues to be one of the best mini-series of the year.

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Harley Quinn #14 is a perfect jumping-on point for anyone curious to see what all the fuss about this title is. It perfectly encapsulates why the character has taken on such a massive fan base, and showcases all the major tenants that this series is built around. For ongoing readers, who knows that this book works best as a series of loosely connected one-shots, it was a nice break from the longer story arcs before she embarks on a quest to "harmonificate" her life.

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Far from being a cheap and quirky cash-in, Harley Quinn Annual #1 embodies everything that is still fun in comic books. A collision of surrealist storytelling and exemplars of some of the more interesting artists working in the field, this has more than a whiff of joyousness about it.

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For every reader expecting the Futures End continuity to get wiped away with a quirky twist of fate (or time travel, as is fashionable these days), Harley Quinn: Futures End treats canon with about as much reverence as it deserves. Where else are you going to find a talking dead beaver speaking to the hero from inside the stomach of a crocodile? Equal parts bloody and bloody funny, it's the antidote to event fatigue.

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Just as Mark Waid crafted a version of Daredevil that is wholly familiar yet completely new and fresh, so too has Matt Fraction with the underused Hawkeye. Yet the strength here is that Fraction doesn't concentrate on the Avenger but the man who has come up from the streets and has to work every day at being good.

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David Aja's artwork is again the real costumed hero of the day, and coupled with Matt Hollingsworth's understated colours, conjures up a New York of the late 1960s or early 1970s. As if Martin Scorsese had climbed inside the panels and begun filming a documentary about the saddest superhero in New York. Indeed, even the women are all accordingly dressed in retro attire.

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Buy this issue, go back and buy the other eleven, and then look out for the annual at the end of the month. No self-respecting comics fan should be without this in their longboxes.

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Just as as he did with the magnificent The Many Harold Holts of Space & Time (for the Home Brew Vampire Bullets anthology), Lindsay plunges face-first into the surreal and brings us something fresh and engaging. Offering just enough to hook new readers, Lindsay and the art team lay out an intriguing world that may have a familiar scent, but offers a vibe that is entirely its own.

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A must read for any comic book fan with the requisite amount of funny bones.

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Howard the Duck has undergone many changes over the last few decades, from failed movie star, to a mature readers line and a recent cinematic cameo. This issue hits the stride of the best aspects of all of those incarnations, proving that any character - regardless of how "fowl" they might be - has an amazing comic book inside of them.

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Even in the midst of the Secret Wars event, or perhaps especially during it, Chip Zdarksy and Joe Quinones's ability to mock anything and everything in the Marvel Universe is masterful.

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With Jughead, the new creative team have taken the one thing we probably all know about the character (that he is food's biggest fan) and made that an engaging plot point. Archie can have its love triangle between its title character and the two women who want him, but Jughead burns bright with perhaps an even more mesmerizing triptych: Jughead Jones, his food, and the forces that would keep him from it.

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As one of DC's flagship books, this is a franchise renewed, and one of the first team stories in a while that indicates we will be guessing and suckered in every inch of the way.

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Other creators take note: this is how JUSTICE LEAGUE is done. It might be a case of peaking early, but this opening salvo in "The Darkseid War" really has it all. Putting the Multiverse front and centre as a plot device, and pitting a classic Justice League line-up against one of the heaviest hitting villains, this has all the hallmarks of being a classic in the making.

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It is unsurprising, given his heavy involvement in so many of the titles to date, but Johns' encyclopedic knowledge of the entire DC universe has never been more evident than in this issue. Threads from previous New 52 events, Earth 2 and beyond are all present in this outing, with reverberations of Convergence still being felt behind the panels. The absolute bombshell of a twist in the final pages not only flips the script on the concerned character, but leaves us hungrily wanting more.

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Geoff Johns has barely given us pause for breath on the recent "The Darkseid War" run of Justice League, and this dive into the Multiverse is an exemplar of how to run a blockbuster epic in comicbooks.

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More than anything, Johns knows how to stage a thriller, and the final pages of Justice League invariably lead to a cliffhanger. No matter how the dust settles next month, when "Darkseid War" finally reaches its conclusion, this saga will go down as one of the essential Justice League stories in the history of the medium.

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At the end of his Green Lantern run, Johns showed us a forecast of events that were yet to come, not just challenging the next writer to top him, but throwing down the gauntlet and roadmap to ensure his will be done. With a cliffhanger ending of sorts, Johns does something similar here, although it's the fate of the entire DC Universe and not just Hal Jordan's world that hangs in the balance. Of course, Johns also accompanies this issue with his DC Universe Rebirth this week, and there is a literal death and rebirth in the pages of Justice League. With these two books, Johns has set a solid course for the future of the DCU, and the publisher just needs to find an equally set of safe hands to guide it forward.

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As the first issue in the “Outbreak” arc, Hitch and his art team have dropped the sequential art equivalent of a surround sound blast to the eardrums. There’s plenty of time for fleshing out the hows and whys, and focusing more on the characters tangential to the main story thrust, but for now we are more than content to see where the tracks of this locomotive lead us.

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The great thing about the post-Convergence world is not just a willingness to tell different types of stories, but a variety of stories utilising the same characters. JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA proves there is room for more than one Justice League book on the block.

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With a cliffhanger that reintroduces a massive figure in the Kryptonian's mythology, Hitch has us snagged from the beginning. If it seemed unlikely that another Justice League book was needed at the moment, then this allays those fears by filling the void with pure DC comic bookery. What begins ostensibly as a Superman story about putting himself first for a change, turns into a piece that plants the seeds for a tale about what makes the Justice League special.

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The double-threat of writer/artist Bryan Hitch delivers a rarity with a genuinely contemplative action blockbuster.

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Picking up on themes explored recently in Geoff Johns' "Men of Tomorrow" arc in Superman (not to mention J. Michael Straczynski's Superman: Earth One and the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice notes it inspired), Hitch couches his ponderings in some heavy-hitting action as well. Operating three concurrent storylines that all promise to intersect at some point, Hitch has not let us down in thus run so far, and shows no signs of doing it any time soon.

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With one issue left, we are left with the question of whether Mara Prince is irredeemable or incorruptible. One of the joys of this book has been in discovery, and with only one final chapter to go, we still can't guess what is coming next. In an age where comic arc are spoiled months in advance, the element of surprise is a welcome feature.

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With a bright splash of Jorge Corona's energetic artwork, the fourth issue of writer Skottie Young's alternate world fable complete envelops us in a carnival spectacular.

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Smith has commented that the heavy references to The Goonies are not coincidental, and that the frequent references will be essential to book as the series progresses. This kind of intertextual dialogue is not uncommon in retro-inspired works, but this self-awareness also speaks to what the reader brings to the book. No work is ever created in a bubble, but what Smith has done here is take a concept that could have been a simple old-school adventure and instead created something that will hopefully inclusively inspire a new generation, along with hooking us in for the next issue.

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Here's hoping that when this limited series is over, there is more room in the DCU for more wonderful character-based stories like this.

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Picking up moments after the first issue, the overarching narrative only progresses by millimeters. Yet the devil's in the details, and the subtle characterizations as Naomi confronts her parents are far more telling than any dramatic exposition.

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In a market saturated with the Clown Princess Of Crime, this one stands out from the crowd.

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A gripping first chapter to a 4-part mini-series that has convincingly set the scene and left us with a score of questions that will draw us immediately back next month. Miller is not the first to scratch at the dark substance that lurks beneath the surface of the circus, but placing the source of terror to be largely within the mind of a young girl who is discovering her own identity for the first time makes this a compelling read from start to finish. Highly recommended for fans who like their horror a little more on the psycho-surreal side.

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Unlike previous attempts at obscure retro revivals (such as The Green Team), PREZ works right out of the gate, taking its time to build up its world a panel at a time. It's almost a shame that this is a finite series, as we could foresee this expanding indefinitely.

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Inspired by a reasonably obscure 1970s comic book (one cancelled after only four issues), it spoke to the youth culture that came out of the baby boom following World War II. With the so-called Millennial generation seen as an echo baby boom, Prez is an argument for taking seriously a generation driven to distraction by mobile ubiquity, giving them a voice by showcasing their solutions to problems created by previous generations. This issue promises that the story will be continued, with Beth confident to take her ideas on the offensive. With a very chaotic 12 months of U.S. politics ahead, this might just be the comic the world needs right now.

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It's also great to see Vertigo putting faith in the black and white art of Murphy, which sells this world. We are now only a third of the way into this tale, and we literally have no idea where it is going.

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Just as it began, the first issue of Redlands defies expectation and leaves us with a cliffhanger. The traditional siege story would reach its climax with the events depicted in this book. Bellaire and Del Rey choose to start their story here, and where it goes now is anyone’s guess. A gripping start to what looks set to be a bold and topical new series.

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he world of Saga is an intriguing one, and Vaughn and Staples aren't simply creating a comic book each month, but an entire world. We hope this one sticks around for a while.

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Staples once again impresses with a consistent style over the most diverse group of characters in a comic book, also imbuing human qualities in the weird and wonderful. This is essential reading.

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Staples doesn't get to play with as many crazy characters in what is essentially a two-hander, although the little seal creature is incredibly cute. Yet she still manages to infuse this outing with the same grounded insanity that we've come to know and love. Another book that should forever remain on the must-read pile on a monthly basis.

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Vaughan continues to be one of the most consistently intriguing writers in and out of the the comic book world, balancing out this epic Saga with the slow boiling intrigue of his self-published The Private Eye. We hope we don't have to wait quite as long between arcs next time, but for now readers rejoice: Saga is back, and the comic book shelves just got all the brighter for it.

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Satellite Falling doesn't give us everything at once, and instead is the start of a mystery adventure with something genuinely fresh in the world of comic book sci-fi. Horton, Thompson and Jackson have taken a familiar bit of plotting and placed something simultaneously otherworldly and believable on top of it, ensuring the audience is hooked and there are plenty more pieces to be unpacked in future issues.

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Satellite Sam is one of the most complex andhandsomelyconstructed debuts of the year, showcasing Fraction's ability to build big and interconnected networks of characters. On any given page, he gives us enough material to sustain an entire series worth of character development, and one of the joys of this book in the coming months will be the discovery of how all of the pieces fit together. We are spectators in this theatre of voyeurism, but Fraction and Chaykin have just invited us in for a closer peep. We would be wise to accept.

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There are few more perfect unions than Fraction and Chaykin, with the latter truly in his element here. From the-world weary Ginsberg to the decline of Michael in just three panels, Chaykin imbues these characters with character. Chaykin is reigned in somewhat by Fraction's own restraint, not allowing either party to let it all hang out just yet. If you can stand to be on the edge of your chosen place to sit for the foreseeable future, then Satellite Sam might just be one of the most layered and handsome new comics of this or any year.

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Cooke's despair is a tangible entity, and while half of the readers may pick this up for some beautifully rendered skin, the rest of us will stay for Casey's world-building.

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Like the deed itself, Sex seems outwardly straightforward but promises a wealth of exciting complications down the track.

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With a final page reveal of a new character that promises to change Shazam lore, this is the best the character has been in decades.

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At the three-quarter mark of this limited series, Diggle continues to show that his strengths still lie in his creator-owned masterpieces, and the Green Arrow: Year One team are perfectly matched to one another. In a story that uses every inch of the comic book format, it is odd to say that this also deserves a place on the big screen as well.

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What starts as something lightweight and self-derogatory rapidly takes on the form of a European thriller, and does so in such a subtle and natural manner that you'll be flipping back a few pages to make sure you didn't miss something. Unlike O'Malley's previous Seconds, we don't have the advantage of reading this all in one hit, but have to wait for the next chapter. The serialized approach adds to the delightful melodrama of it all, and it will be interesting to see where intense character study goes next.

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Despite being a part of a much larger crossover, this month's Spider-Gwen remains a complete adventure for the hero, but sets up some mystery for the next chapter in the pages of Silk.

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One of the most joyful events of the last year was Spider-Verse, and this Battleworld bubble version almost equals its excellence.

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Only the unflappable team of writer Dennis Hopeless and artist Javier Rodriguez could take a one-shot story about cannibalistic Canadians and turn it into a Civil War II tie-in.

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Writer Dennis Hopeless, along with co-plotters Jason Latour and Robbie Thompson, have saved a huge showdown for last. Action-oriented as it is, the real hero is artist Nico Leon, who works closely with color artist Rachelle Rosenberg to deliver an animated epic

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This isn't just a tie-in: this is Star Wars told in deceptively still frames.

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It may be speaking broadly about the Rebellion against the Empire, but as the first issue of a female-driven, all-ages series released in 2018, it's a powerful new hope.

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It will come as no surprise to every kid that wanted to be the baddie that Darth Vader has rapidly taken the top spot as the most consistently compelling book in the current line of Marvel Star Wars comic books.

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If there is one thing that has made the current crop of Star Wars comics stand out from the crowd, it's the top shelf creators that Marvel has attached to the series. Although Princess Leia was far too short-lived, the slot is ready to be taken alongside the two main titles by stablemate Lando, for the heavy-hitter team of Charles Soule and Alex Maleev. Yet what Princess Leia has proved to Marvel and Disney is that this character, and other strong female characters in the Star Wars universe, are not only compelling and interesting outside of the characters they are normally associated with, but there is infinite scope for expanding the range of stories to be told in a galaxy far, far away.

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Darth Vader versus a kaiju: it's the reason comics exist.

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Of course, the majority of the issue is an almighty smackdown, with Romita's often divisive style shining as the Man of Steel discovers a new level to his powers. It results in Romita getting to show off the solar aspects to the Kryptonian's power source in spectacular fashion.

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In the earliest days of Superman, his muscular feats and strongman costume were designed to represent the peak of what humans could achieve. Despite the ridiculous powers that the subsequent versions have given us, the stories that are most fascinating remain the ones that remember the "man" comes before the "super." Some of this is recognized in the cover to this issue of Superman: American Alien: a sea of average faces that are each opening their shirts to reveal the "S" symbol, indicating that we each have that potential. Superman is a reflection of the best humanity has to offer, with our faults and all. With one issue remaining in the series, Landis' journey through Superman's formative years aren't just a love letter to a hero, but to the people who read him as well.

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Cleverly weaving Hayley's Circus into the narrative, extensively explored in the recent issues of Nightwing, this is easily one of the best new titles from the whole New 52 and a great example of how to spin-off a series from a hugely popular title. Guillem March, who copped some flak over his Catwoman #0 cover, is perfect in this world, bringing the right level of seedy Gotham and action framing necessary to propel this series further.

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As with the "pilot issue", the art and pacing are all impeccable, with Calvin one of the most interesting characters to spin out of the pages of Batman in a long time. There is some danger that this could be simply replicating what has come before, replacing Batman with Talon as a convenient proxy, but for the moment this is one of the most intriguing new titles since DC's reboot.

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This may not be the first time they have crossed over with fellow New Yorkers the Ninja Turtles, but it might just be the most fun. Writers Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz delay gratification with a lengthy exposition, but then hit the ground running with twin stories that spectacularly collide in a fashion that honors both franchises.

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Ten Grand marked the return of Joe's Comics, Straczynski's creator-owned imprint. With upcoming works including a limited series from Bill Sienkiewicz (sure to be its own kind of magic) and Straczynski's own Sidekick, it's a solid foundation. If this is your first issue of Ten Grand, you will undoubtedly seek out the rest. It's simply that addictive.

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A glorious old-school spin on Hellblazer that remains fresh and sinister, and demanding of your full attention.

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In any other story, leaving the lead battered and bruised in the final panels would be a shocking cliffhanger. Instead, here it is a kind of catharsis for both Charlie and Gil, albeit one that leaves both characters and readers on a downer. That itself is indicative of where this series is headed. "It's another betrayal to add to the pile," notes Charlie, projecting Gil's thoughts. "He's sure it won't be the last." The Fade Out hasn't taken us all the way down the rabbit hole yet, but we're only just desperately clinging onto the edges of it.

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What Morrison has presented here is the culmination of years of work, and is either pure genius or unhinged madness. Perhaps it is a little of both, but it is undeniably enveloping. Just as the story began, Morrison leaves the reader with the responsibility of how comics unfold, which is perhaps his most pointed bit of industry commentary yet.

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Ben Oliver's style infuses the book with the right level of filtered soap opera realism, drawing the reader completely into the world before releasing us just as the would-be heroes are beginning to break their own vicious cycle.

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The Multiversity: The Just isn't just a clever spin on existing characters, but an examination of the medium itself. Superman talks of his team-up with The Sandman. "The Sandman?" asks Batman. "Neil Gaim's Sandman?" The unstatedquestion is that if superhero worlds exist because we tell their stories, then who is telling the story that wills us into reality?Like the previous chapters in this series, this issue ends on one hell of a cliffhanger, at the very moment the spell of apathy is broken and our heroes once again have a cause to fight for. It's all pieces of a larger puzzle, one that we can't wait to see fully formed when the final chapter drops.

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We really want to see this make it to the end. So wait no longer and head to the Panel Syndicate website and fork out some wads of digital cash now.

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While actually a little longer than an average monthly title, The Private Eye rips along at the pace of a book half its length. Just at the point any other book would end with a little cliffhanger, Vaughan drops in those last few tantalising details to add a line and sinker to his already hooky book. The best comic book series currently not available in shops, make sure you do the right thing and head to thePanel Syndicate websiteand pay whatever you think is right. Whatever your cost, it's worth every penny.

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Whether you are a fan of Way's comic work or anxious to see more from the world of My Chemical Romance,The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys is easy to recommended. Way doesn't rely on knowledge of either to introduce us to his vision of the future, and Way and Cloonan are a match made in punk rock heaven. We look forward to seeing this series unfurl and provide more answers as to the nature of this landscape.

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What some may find difficult to crack in this opening salvo is how relentlessly bleak The Violent can be, while others may find that it is a little too close to home. Yet Brisson's admirable attempt to highlight one of the most pressing social concerns of our era is a holistic one, supported by the supplement texts that are set to appear in the back-matter, beginning with this month's 'Head Down' by writer Sam Wiebe. He's also created two characters that we want to spend some more time getting to know, already hooking us in for a second issue.

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The art is phenomenally good, taking Murphy's distinctive figures and environments and coupling him with the dream team of Matt Hollingsworth on colours. Just as tightly detailed as the script, the reveal on the final page is ominous, giving us just enough detail to keep us on the edge of our seats for the next month. If you aren't already reading The Wake, then you need to pull your head out of the water and get thee to a comic bookery!

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It would be far too easy to simply call this a new spin on the X-Men or a deconstruction of the marvelous Silver Age. Instead, They're Not Like Us updates those core anxieties that plagued the kids of the 1960s, and transplants them to the angst that a myriad of choices gives the so-called "Millennial" generation. In doing so, it embodies the spirit of the original Silver Age books, but filters them through something far more literate and not necessarily heading in the same direction as your average cape. This is definitely one to watch in 2015.

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Easily one of the highlights of the whole Secret Wars event.

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The opening pages feature several nude shots, but they aren't there for titillation. Instead they show the innocent beauty of a creation before it turns into one of humankind's (kick ass) creations. His colours are delicately applied, with most of the scenery gorgeous. As a bonus, we get some backmatter that includes interviews, concept sketches, cover art and even shots of a model in cosplay. They really have thought of everything.

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While not as immediately arresting as the debut issue, Lemire has crafted a world that has us completely hooked at this point. We can't wait until the third issue to see what magic he will weave then.

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A difficult concept for a first issue, but so brimming with ideas and grace that it is hard not to be enveloped by it.

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If you wandered out of Skyfall somewhat dissatisfied with the treatment of Miss Moneypenny, then Velvet might just be the series for you. The original Winter Soldier team of Brubaker and Epting reunite for something a bit special, as they once again turn their gaze to super spies in this incredibly taut thriller that gets the mix right as soon as it gets out of the gate.

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Despite what the cool logic of the Vision and his synthezoid family would have you believe, this book is filled with heartbreaking emotions.

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While King has managed to keep his closed world in a discreet pocket of the Marvel Universe for the last six months, the twist ending is a jolt to the system precisely because it drags us screaming back into the mainstream. It will be fascinating to see how this saga plays out now that the Vision and his dysfunctional family unit must deal with reality, or at least the version of it that is replete with capes and powers.

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This is a frustratingly beautiful break in the main narrative: frustrating because we were left on such a crushing moment, but beautiful because it is still one of Marvel's best books on the market.

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Welcome Back is an arresting debut, taking a concept that could have been worn out from the start and injected it with a much-needed dose of humanism. The twist in the final page hooks us in conclusively for the next month, although it wasn't a hard sell when the story is as good as this one. With massive scope for endless stories that could legitimately take us far into the future, this is one to watch.

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It's the versatility of the art that sets it apart, from the quieter clean line-art moments between father and daughter, enhanced with Hollingsworth's pastel colored shades. Yet they too explode into chaos when needed, making for a chilling piece of modern horror that knows all the right buttons to push.

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With so many X-Men books already on the market, it's always going to be a tough call as to whether regular readers should fork over cash for yet another spin-off. However, Marvel have shown faith in this as one of their flagship X-titles by assigning it two of the hottest names on their roster, a characteristic of the whole Marvel NOW relaunch. Every bit as vital, or arguably more so, than Uncanny X-Menand the umpteen Wolverine excursions, this starts a new era of X-Men with a bang.

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If Miller's series maintains the strength and scope of this first outing, then the horizon is as bright as the one in the final panel of the book.

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It's the "Rise of the Third Army" this month as Geoff Johns continues to demonstrate how to do an event within the DCU, New 52 or any other U for that matter. Essential reading for readers of any Lantern book, this issue will have ramifications across the entire Lantern line, and perhaps even the second year of the Newish 52.

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Now in its third issue, one of the quirkiest consequences of Age of Ultron remains one of the most pleasurable to read, and shows no signs of wearing its concept thin.

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It's always a risky thing when you change a formula that's been in place for eight decades, and Batman has seen this kind of change before. It's not the first "death" of Bruce Wayne, and it certainly won't be the last. Yet somehow Snyder, Capullo and the team have found a balance between radical change for change's sake and experimenting with something new, leaving the escape hatch open for what we can assume will be a return to something more familiar in the future.

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Black Market is an noteworthy new title that legitimately has something new to say in the superhero world, even if it does cover some familiar ground. The only potential concern is that for a mini-series, Barbiere has already set up so many potential threads that we won't have them all resolved by the end of the run. Yet that's half the joy of discovery, and we are looking forward to seeing what Barbiere has in store for the rest of the run.

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This terrific creative team brings a fresh new spin to CONSTANTINE: THE HELLBLAZER. While it is not quite the old school Vertigo title, it is also an evolution from the New 52 version, creating something almost entirely different and immediately arresting.

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Percy is still (re)building the elements, and not all of them gel together seamlessly. On the one hand, bringing Jeff Lemire's Emiko back to being a core member and conscience of Team Arrow (after the interim writers Andrew Kreisberg and Ben Sokolowski pretended she didn't exist) gives the book a whole new tone, one we haven't seen since the relationship between Mia Dearden and Ollie in Judd Winick's pre-Flashpoint run. We've even got a dog on that team ow too. Setting up a dichotomy between Ollie's brand of street justice and the less judiciously applied automated kind, Oliver Queen fighting giant robots doesn't seem like a natural fit. Yet GREEN ARROW has constantly adapted to what was required of it, and time will tell if this new direction is one where all those pieces come together.

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For what is partly a continuation of an existing story, JUSTICE LEAGUE 3001 can almost stand alone as its own book. There are enough new elements to pull existing readers in, while giving new audiences enough information to hit the ground running. For that is the real joy of this book, in always trying to catch up with the action. If you aren't reading this already, and you like a decent chuckle, it may be one of the funniest books on the market at the moment.

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Lazarus is an increasingly rich and complex tale that has rewarded our patience, and it will be fascinating to watch these characters flourish.

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Spread makes a welcome addition to the horror genre, introducing a badass new hero with a clear goal and end-point. It's a title that could have a long run ahead of it if it maintains this quality and same level of nail-biting cliffhangers for its duration. Come for the story, stay for Strahm's next level art.

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Narrated by Immortal Man, or more accurately diarised given the amount of text, there is a world weariness to some of the observations that comes with 40,000 years on the Earth. This makes the dawning realisationthat the world is "much bigger, stranger, and more frightening" than he'd imagined all the more impactful. Like Morrison's Seven Soldiers, this book can be treatedsingle issue with one world's heroes, and it serves a bible for future creators to take up these characters and run with it. Yet as the presence of the comic-within-a-comic "Ultra Comics" issue (by Grant Morrison and Doug Mahnke) makes its presence known in the chamber of Doc Fate, we get a link that will presumably run throughout all of the chapters. "That comic book," warns Doc Fate, "is the most dangerous thing of all". Forgive us for proceeding with reckless abandon.

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It's a convoluted but rewarding first issue, but to Bendis's credit it is also packed to the gills with action and carefully sets up everything you need to know within the boundaries of the issue itself. The art is often quite beautiful, combining Frank Cho and Stuart Immonen's pencils for a high degree of impact.

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In many ways, 3 Devils is an ideal first issue, putting all the pieces in place to bring the two protagonists together and literally send them off down the road for their next adventure. It's also somewhat safe in its characterization for the moment, but nevertheless suggests that both of these characters are more than they initially appear. While Hampton only gives us the barest of hints as to what might be coming next, he does convince us that the focus of the book will be on the characters going forward, taking them from the familiar to something entirely new.

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Baby Hulk deserves his own series, if for no other reason than the line "Hulk like bear. Him keep bear forever". We also never realised how much we needed to see Baby Galactus suckling on the moon.

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A-Force is a title that would be on the top of the heap were it not for its Secret Wars origins. Just as Spider-Woman began to soar when it was divorced of the Spider-Verse tie-in, Marguerite Bennett and G. Willow Wilson's showcase for Marvel's strong top-tier female leads is precisely the team that the world needs right now - it's just hampered a bit by the fact we know their status quo on Battleworld is to be short-lived.

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Ben Oliver's art nicely compliments this change of direction in story, and there's also a nice little backup in which Sholly Fisch draws Morrison's background to the Captain Comet and Neo-sapiens story.

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Diggle's setting could just as easily fit within Mark Waid's Birthright origin universe as it does within the so-called New 52, handily drawing on traditional elements in a newish setting. The dichotomy between old and new is nicely demonstrated in Tony S. Daniel's ultra-slick modern interiors, especially the vision of Superman's outfit literally forming underneath his open shirt. It's an exciting story, and it is simply a shame that Diggle won't be going any further.

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If Aliens: Fire and Stone doesn't completely soar in its first issue, it is only because it's burdened with necessary exposition. We can already see elements of the two existing series coming together, and there is enough intrigue here to keep us coming back for Alien v Predator: Fire and Stone and beyond. For now we can only echo some of the final words in this issue, and sense that there is "so much still hidden beneath the surface."

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As the series comes to a close, Six-Pack at least remains convinced of his own heroism, but Ennis has already made his point about the futility of the never-ending superhero genre. "This is his world. His dream. Whichever," muses the narrative voice (or is it our own?) "As dreams go... well. I suppose you could do worse." It's rare thing that a comic book feels not only fully complete but deflating at the same time, with a character that appears to be wholly contented within and observably tragic end. As every comic book reader knows, the end of one book is merely the beginning of the next chapter of the endless story.

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This is in many ways a culmination and combination of Slott's Superior Spider-Man with a forward-thinking Peter Parker, and a renewed Prowler team-up that holds lots of promise for the future. Better still, a final tease indicates that Slott isn't done with his previous stories just yet.

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With a renewed media hype around Spider-Man, this is exactly the companion book the character needs right now.

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If, like us, this is your first journey with the dynamic duo, then it appears to be a terrific place to start. What is immediately disarming is just how funny this book is, filled with terrific dialogue, visual gags and spins on the comic format itself. The artwork is gorgeous to look at as well, perhaps making this Valiant's must-read debut of the year.

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This is a bold marriage of art and story in a way that only comics can truly deliver on. If the uniqueness of comic books is that the reader is the third essential element, joining the dots between the otherwise static panels themselves, then Art Ops is partly about being caught in the middle of that experience. There are some promising ideas teased here that will hopefully pay off in the forthcoming issues, but for now it begins as an clever way of engaging the viewer with a discussion around art imitating life.

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The Astonishing Ant-Man always threatens to topple over into being a poor-man's parody of itself, but like the titular character, still finds ways of surprising us each month.

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Titan Comics have taken the original 72-page albums and cut them in half for the American market. Given that the robust formatting of the European album offers way more bang for your buck than the U.S. floppies, this is a disappointing move. The story also frustratingly cuts off at an arbitrary point around the 36-page mark. Despite this, the story itself remains as strong as it did in its original format, and this release should ultimately earn these puppers a few more fans across the pond.

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Kathryn Immonen's Yuletide one-shot is a breath of fresh air, and sometimes silly but always joyful seasonal romp.

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Avengers A.I. arrives as a breath of fresh air after the often stale salesmanship of the event that got us here. The Age of Ultron is over. The Age of A.I. is now. So far, things are looking up for this new age.

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Humphries uses this issue to quell any doubts as to whether another Avengers title was needed, populating his panels with a fistful of Datas looking for meaning. What we didn't expect with this title was how much humour would play a part in developing the narrative. Doombot is the comedy smash of 2013"s comic book slate, especially as his recently separated head threatens to return and destroy the Jefferson Memorial in Washington.

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Adam Kubert really steps up to the plate on the art too, matching the pace inch-for-inch and giving us some glorious splash pages this time around. It's still not perfect, but another three of these and the event will end much better than it started!

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With a dose of Scooby Doo (literally in the case of the Shaggy-esque character Weed), this is a positively fun salute to all things DC across the Multiverse.

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Batgirl #25 mostly functions as a showcase for what is happening in the rest of Gotham while Batman figures out his plan of attack in his own titles. While we are itching to sink our teeth back into Simone's wonderful ongoing tale, Bennett at least uses the arbitrary confines of the "Zero Year" structure as an opportunity to flesh out what is already one of the most interesting leads in the current DCU.

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There are some stories that don't flow into each other as readily as others, such as the far too convenient inclusion of the Gotham Academy kids for a bit of much-anticipated fan-service. Yet Batgirl Annual #3 is an innovative and original piece that showcases the best that the new DC talent have to offer. If you're looking for a way to inexpensively dip your toes into both Batgirl and Fletcher's other series, this is an excellent starter kit.

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Giving the hardworking Greg Capullo a break this month, Andy Kubert delivers an awe-inspiring first half. Witness the shot of Batman taking down a perp in the glow of the Batmobile's headlights. Alek Maleev shifts the tone in the second chapter, delivering a more personalised art style that recalls David Aja (Hawkeye) and Paolo Rivera (Daredevil) in the best way. Snyder and Tynion continue to brove that great Batman stories can still be told in big a small forms.

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Even more intriguing is the first part of a back-up story by the very talented James Tynion IV entitled "Ghost Lights", in which Superman and Batman team-up for a supernatural adventures that brings the Man of Steel to his knees. The artwork from Alex Maleev ensures that this is a gritty and frightening tale, the kind of horror story that would fit in nicely in a desperately needed horror anthology.

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While the issue may be a little exposition heavy at times, Batman Annual #2 manages to tell a compelling solo story while maintaining links to the main title. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in future issues.

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It's terrific to see Tim Drake's Futures End story continued, and while it may be disappointing to some that McGinnis is out of the picture (at least for now) it is difficult to argue with a fast-paced action comic that dares to throw new and existing readers straight into a future world and ask us to come along for the ride and revelations, including a bombshell that is dropped on the final page.

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There's some nice moments in the Wayne Industries boardroom, and it is great to see some of these characters such as Knight and Squire back on board. No sign of Batwing, but that can only be a good thing. We only hope the main Batwing title can be as discreet and quietly disappear for us. Frazer Irving fills in for Chris Burnham, and provides a similarly pleasing light take on these dark characters, while losing none of their edge.

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What is amazing about this issue is that in rapid-fire panels, jumping through various points in Bat-history that Morrison has covered elsewhere, he manages to get to the heart of what makes Talia a compelling villain, love interest and here, an empathetic character as well.

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Filled with the same offbeat humour that has characterised his work to date, and with wonderfully vivid art from Burnham, this also marks a turning point for Robin. Nightwing rather flippantly refers to him as "the new dead Robin", in front of Bruce no less, but that is what makes this book work. It also features, to our great delight, the return of BatCow, who seems to have been tended to by Alfred this whole time.

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If this ending is less than the sum of its parts, it certainly doesn't fail from a lack of ambition. Grant Morrison has left an indelible mark on the Dark Knight, and superhero comics generally, and we hope there is still a place for this off-beat Bat in the New 52.

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Black Canary is a pleasing change of tone for a series that's now almost a year old, giving pre-reboot fans a taste of the old magic. While it's mostly an issue about D.D. finding out who she is outside the context of the band, there's a dynamic between that eclectic group of misfits that is sorely missed in this outing. Perhaps that is the lesson to be taken away here, that Black Canary works best as a character when she has equally strong characters to surround her.

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One of the most interesting things about the first chapter of Black Road is that it feels like a complete piece, so this leaves us with the dilemma of not having a mystery hook to latch onto for the next chapter. Nevertheless, the character and world that Wood and Brown have constructed here are well studied and feel as whole as this issue, and the chance to peel back a few more layer of Magnus - not to mention explore the fascinating tensions between the Norsemen and the Christians - is hard to resist.

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While the bottom of the barrel has been scraped clean with this particular revival, Krul compresses something that originally spanned two dozen annuals down to a self-contained and far more focused story. It's a joyful throwback, one that leaves the creative team of plenty of potential opportunities to branch out into different corners of their own universe. Perhaps some of these 'New Bloods' will make their way into the world of DC's Rebirth, ensuring that the dream of the '90s is alive and kicking.

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This joy of discovery is really the appeal of The Bounce, and the expectation that the unexpected is only a few pages away. Finding new takes on the superhero genre is becoming increasingly difficult, and while this first issue may not have the same impact as Casey's Sex, we get the same feeling that he is still setting us up to knock us down later.

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While some may feel that Buffy is just fine without a reboot, try thinking of this as a journey through the Buffy Multiverse (or Tuna Verse) where you know all the players but everything else is up for grabs.

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Setting up just enough story elements to carry this series through several arcs to come, it is a strong start for a new direction.

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Picking up from the events of Age of Ultron and Hunger, this tightly packed issue kicks the series off with several bangs, whimpers and lightning bolts. It's light on plotting, with Mile Morales/Spider-man, the Ultimates and Fantastic Four helplessly throwing themselves against the jolly purple giant to no avail. Yet it has an epic grandeur to it that feel as though it is all headed"somewhere.

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There are plenty of great ideas here, which is exactly what a first issue should deliver, and it will be interesting to see if Niles can start pulling these strands into narrative in the coming months.

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Niles has now given us any number of threads to follow, not least of which are several that have been dropped somewhere between the first and second issue. This has all the promise of a lengthy ongoing series for Image if the book can maintain this standard going forward. It's just crazy enough to work.

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Constantine: The Hellblazer is a harder sell than most, because undoubtedly many fans of the classic Vertigo series will have been turned off by the lighter version that has been playing out over the last few years. This is a shame, because this current series comes close to that same darkness that inhabited earlier books, and while it may not capture the same magic of the original, it at least captures its spirit.

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It's a filler issue in many respects, but a sharp journey through the darker side of the DCU, setting up a bigger confrontation awaiting the anti-hero.

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Another case of an issue building us up for another chapter, but with plenty of mystical throw-downs to keep us entertained as we head to the finale.

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Perhaps it's due to a familiarity with this era, butCONVERGENCE: GREEN ARROW #1captures the mid-1990s Green Arrow in a literal bubble. While it would have been interesting to pull in a different periodof the character's history, this largely overlooked era serves as a perfect point for a much angrier Ollie and a more nave Connor. If you've not looked ahead at next month's solicitations, the reveal of Ollie and Connor's sparring partners is an interesting one as well, bringing together two competing '90s realities in the same book. Perhaps when the dust settles, the version of Green Arrow that returns will be something a little closer to this one.

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While the story is still leading to a confrontation with the Atomic Knights of Durvale, themselves an alternative future of a post-apocalyptic Earth, it packs in more heart and insight into the characters of this era than many of its contemporaries have done to date. Convergence: Legion of Super-Heroes #1 may follow a similar structure to all of the other event titles in this series, in that it is ultimately leading up to a confrontation, but how many of those have knights in armor riding around on the backs of giant dalmatians?

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While ultimately heading towards the same type of confrontation that every other book in this event is mirroring, Jurgens at least uses the opportunity to pay tribute to the mythos of DC's most iconic character. It's as much a celebration of Superman and his relationships as it is an event tie-in, and marks itself as one of the stand-out entries in the line-up. In this sense, Convergence: Superman succeeds where some of the other books in this line have failed.

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Like the best of these Convergence books, Convergence: The Flash is a love-letter to the DC Universe and a nod to the important role that The Flash has played in almost every Crisis across the Multiverse. It's not over yet, and perhaps the current Scarlet Speedster has a critical role to play in this Convergence.

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Samnee's art continues to impress, with some of the best depictions of what it is like to "be" Daredevil we have seen in years.

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The ongoing strength has been in Waid breaking down exactly what is intriguing about the character and playing to its strengths. Simple as that. This month, Waid ponders what would happen if all of that was taken away, and that which makes Matt Murdock special " that is, his radar sense " was suddenly taken away.

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Waid’s double-bluff in this issue gives resolution to the deceptive retcon of the previous issue, a trick he has pulled on more than one occasion in the past. Here it is even more effective, as Waid plays with our expectations to create something that adds something to the Daredevil canon, without sidelining the important message about postpartum depression. If it sometimes comes off as heavy-handed or wraps up to conveniently, it never feels like it diminishes the ultimate message of the arc. In the words of Matt Murdoch himself, “We should all fail so tragically.”

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The beautiful 80-page volume is what comics were made for, exploring unseen worlds, introducing us to stories outside the mainstream and acting as a showcase for some of the best writers and artists in the business.

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Image are knocking them out of the park this year with new debuts, and the new mini-series Debris is no exception.

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Debris is a high-concept adventure story done right, and has the potential to be a massive crossover hit for Image, who really can't be faulted this year at all.

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From the majestic rolling hills of green, to the roasting rabbit on a spit (something Maya is unable to identify), we view the familiar through the eyes of someone who is effectively a newborn in a strange land. One of the most compelling new titles of 2012, we just don't want this one to end.

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Yet with bonus pinup pages by various artists " including some especially gorgeous work by Alex Maleev, Francesco Francavilla and Batman Incorporated's Chris Burnham " this is a fitting celebration of Batman's 900 issues as the world's greatest detective.

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Fans can miss Amy and Rory no more as this rollicking adventure kicks off in style. If you somehow miss out on picking this up, ensure you find a TARDIS to go back and order it in time. We're going forward to check out the next chapter!

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Buckingham's art is gorgeous, and is almost photorealistic, completely capturing the likeness and essence of the three main characters. We look forward to seeing more of this series, although with Diggle off to more mainstream prospects in the near future (namely, the aforementioned Action Comics), we will see Witch Doctor's Brandon Seifert and Tank Girl's Philip Bond on the title next month. Geronimo!

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Fans of Doctor Who have put up with some less than spectacular adaptations over the years, but there is nothing in Titan’s first major Tenth Doctor release that is remotely cringeworthy. Fully embracing the spirit of the series, all Whovians will find themselves shouting “Allons-y!” in anticipation of the next installment.

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DOOMED gets off to a promising start, taking a familiar set-up and infusing it with enough humour and enthusiasm to give us good reason to care about this new character. It's an outright fun book, and like many of the other debuts out this week, is willing to do something new with an existing idea.

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In many ways, this is Men in Black or R.I.P.D for the unconscious set, but is written far more in earnest than either of those comedies. Like Ten Grand, Straczynski has taken an existing genre and set it on the path that sets his brain alight. We can only imagine what his dreams look like.

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One of the biggest drawbacks of this kind of adaptation is getting something that is already whole in piecemeal chunks, and it is easy to believe that this may have been better served as a singular graphic novel release. All the other elements are here though, with rich visuals, a compelling narrative, and a non-linear story to draw us in for the trip.

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Just as James Robinson, Tom Taylor and Marguerite Bennett excited by crafting something distinctly new in the sandbox, so too does Daniel H. Wilson. Elevating the notion of legacy superheroes to a global scale, this feels like a wild west frontier where anything could happen " and just might.

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It would be very easy to label East of West as a bit up and down, but like some of the best long-form stories of the last decade (Y: The Last Man, for example) patience is the most rewarding virtue of them all.

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Corben wholly makes it his own world by the end of the piece, not only giving us a twist on one of Poe's most chilling ends ("darkness and decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all") but loudly winking (is that physically possible?) at the reader while doing it.

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The cliffhanger to the issue is not dissimilar to a gimmick that was used at the start of this very issue, one that shows the limitations of their chosen form of transport. Yet it may also show the limits to the format of this book so far as well. While one of the strengths is definitely that it recognizes itself as a high-concept action piece, that dedication to a lack of exposition may ultimately hamper enjoyment down the line.

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It was never meant to be incredibly deep, but there is a profundity to the simplicity of the premise.

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There's a whole world here waiting to be explored, and this iceberg's tip certainly warrants some further exploration. So whether Farmhand is to your taste or not, it will be impossible to feel ambivalent towards it.

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Hickman demonstrates that he already has a firm grasp on the cosmic, and these creepy opening pages really do give us the same tingle we felt all the way back in 2006 at the start of Annihilation. As the cover implies, we will probably see The Inhumans, the New Avengers, Dr Strange and a whole lot more before the saga is out. Cheung's art, accompanied by Mark Morales's inks, is nothing short of epic, from the dark landscapes of the intro to the promise of a galaxy spanning saga at the end of this 10-page teaser. After the very disappointing issues of Thanos Rising to date, this has finally got us excited about his reappearance in the Marvel cosmic universe

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Reading Palahniuk's Fight Club 2 in a serialized format is a curious approach, with those king hits of his that we've grown used to reeling from now given a comfortable distance from their consequences. While the temptation might be to trade wait and see how this all turns out in the end, the series provides a rare opportunity to see how Palahniuk's mind unpacks something as complex as the dual narratives running here.

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Since Fight Club 2, Palahniuk has gone deeper down the self-reflective path with his 2018 novel Adjustment Day, his Vonnegut-esque exploration of the fringes that holds up a middle finger to haters and lovers alike. So if the opening to Fight Club 3 isn't as explosively in your face as its predecessor, and we don't learn a whole lot that we didn't know at the end of Part 2, one suspects it's only because Palahniuk is getting warmed up.

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While the entire saga will undoubtedly work wonders in a collected format, it is almost worth getting it every month simply for Chris Mooneyham's idiosyncratic artwork. Mooneyham's style conjures up visions of pulp book covers from the 1930s through 1950s, and maybe even takes the odd visual cue from Indiana Jones every now and then. Perhaps not a point to jump on at, but certainly one that will encourage you to go back and seek out the first two issues.

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The Flash may not be the earth-shattering debut that the "Rebirth" kick-off had initiated, and while there are no big reveals in the first issue out of the gate, it's nevertheless a solid and reliable version of the Scarlet Speedster. The hints are all there for bigger things to come, including the cliffhanger ending, but the contrary to the title, it seems we may have to wait through a more measured pace before we get to them.

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That final cliffhanger is potentially something that avid readers will have seen coming a mile of, but the beauty of Williamson’s world-building is that it still feels kind of exciting to get to this point anyway. Even if the story pieces seem somewhat familiar, they are being put together with panache, and after three-quarters of a century that’s an impressive enough feat for a character.

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As the latest arc in The Flash comes to an close, the past is very present in the narrative, but a wholly satisfying conclusion is achingly just out of reach.

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In some ways, this story is just a massive tease for Flash War event coming up in a few months time. Yet it's also a story that's been well over a year in the making, concentrating on the pre-Flashpoint Wally West and his return to the world.

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With about a dozen tie-ins or related issues to Forever Evil over the next month, the event occasionally feels that it is spread a little too thin. Staging an event with the complete absence of any major heroes is a risky move, but for the most part the characters present are compelling and likeable. As the threads slowly come together, we just hope this leads to a satisfying conclusion and not more questions.

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Forever Evil has had to contend with the major problem of being a superhero book completely devoid of superheroes, and this issue shows what kind of energy returns to the series when one of those heroes returns. Indeed, even the return of a familiar villain (and sometimes hero in the form of Sinestro) provides more gravitas than a whole syndicate of criminals from another dimension. The saga is now headed in the right direction, so fingers crossed that it can maintain this momentum until the series concludes in a few months' time.

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Following the story of a group of thieves who "never wanted to rule the world" has instantly become one of the most engaging aspects of the "Forever Evil" event, and DC would be wise to consider this team for their own standalone title outside of the confines of The Flash following this crossover. It has the potential to be as fun as Gail Simone's Secret Six and fill in a big gaping hole in the current publication line-up that we didn't know was empty until now.

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While the rest of "Forever Evil" grapples with the bigger questions of the whereabouts of the Justice League, the moon being shifted out of its orbit and general villainy, Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion focuses on a compelling set of characters at the heart of the maelstrom, and is all the more rewarding for it.

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In many ways, this is the comic that Michel Fiffe has been working on for his entire career.

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The post-credits scene in Ghostbusters (2016) teased a connection between these universes, and while the book doesn't immediately deliver on this, Burnham brings us something that finds the ley-lines between the original films, his comic book universe and the 2016 movie. Indeed, it's the kind of crossover can only be achieved in this medium, with original cast members having left our mortal coil far too soon. This is a fun start to a promising series, and one that will be irresistible to fans.

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As the first issue in a limited series, this looks like it will be one worth sticking around for.

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The artistic attempts to keep us on our toes is shared by the narrative, which almost feels as though it reaching a conclusion several times before catching us off-guard with an added twist. This has all the promise of a rich and layered series that invokes new levels of intrigue each month, so it will be interesting to see where this goes when it returns in the new year.

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The beauty of this issue is that it gives us a different perspective, a human one, on the Count, but this in no way diminishes his power. Indeed, Lemire's version is far more formidable than the often cartoonish pre-Crisis version ever was. One of the first recommendations of the month.

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Perhaps for the first time since the reboot, and to a lesser extent since Lemire soft-reboot in the middle of that, Green Arrow is really starting to feel like a book that has a big story to tell. Having firmly established an identity for the New 52 version of Green Arrow, Lemire is determined to never let him rest for a moment, and this makes for fascinating reading.

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The union of various elements of Arrow and Green Arrow was inevitable, and by the end of this issue it is clear that the line between the two is increasingly becoming blurred. Yet this can only be a good thing in the long-term. Comics are just as much a product of outside influences as they are inspirations for film and television, and two successful television writers are primed to bring some of that style to the funny books.

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GREEN ARROW #44 is mostly a prelude issue, albeit one that delivers some powerful scenes in the anticipation of the story to come. The addition of an unexpected ally in the final pages comes as a pleasing twist, and the addition of this character may raise some eyebrows who still haven't quite come to terms with her actions with another hero a decade ago. Once again, Percy leaves us pointed in the right direction, and now we patiently wait a month to see if his aim is true.

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This conclusion to the brief interlude following the restoration of Oliver Queen to “life” is a terrific character-based entry that really gives us a flavor of what Percy has in mind for the Green Arrow “universe” as a whole. More than that, by the end of this issue, we can see how a few extra characters from bygone eras of Arrow can be dragged back into the world, and that is incredibly exciting.

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There's the odd bit of cheese in this issue, from the undercover Dinah calling herself "Officer Kiniry" to a group of football players declaring "This here's the gladiator ring. We hurt for a living." These are hiccups that might take you out of the moment temporarily, but Percy restrains himself to keep this runaway train moving constantly. As this wraps up the current arc, it also leave plenty of room to move forward, showing that these last few arcs are exactly what the Emerald Archer needed to get back on target.

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The title of this arc, "The Rise of Star City," is of course a reference to the traditional home of the Battling Bowman. Like Grell's run, Seattle has served as the home for the "New 52" Green Arrow for much of his run. Yet Percy is playing to his own strengths, incorporating some of his horror/occult leanings into a bigger story that looks like it will change the nature of Ollie's relationship to his city in much the same way that Court of Owls changed Gotham for Batman.

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Green Arrow is winding down to its final issue, Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing hit the bullseye with their enhanced Count Vertigo, in a surprisingly emotional story has direct ties to Heroes in Crisis and Justice League: No Justice.

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The Green Lantern legacy was strong enough to survive the editorial changes resulting in the New 52 without missing a beat, and this issue suggests that it will continue to do so for some time to come. Venditti finds the right balance between Jordan as a man and a space cowboy, and this is just where we want to be as we head into the "Lights Out" crossover event this year.

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Rags Morales gives series artist Billy Tan a break this month, and there certainly isn't the same sense of scale. However, combined with Andrew Dahlhouse's wonderful work with colours, he provides something that sits outside of Tan's universe, but is easy to draw parallels between them. Relic is crafted as a worthy opponent for the Lantern Corp, and promises a big crossover event in the coming months.

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A promising new direction for Green Lantern. For a primary series that often gets caught up in the epic grandness of longer story arcs, it's nice to have a discreet Lantern-based story that doesn't require a tome of set-up to slip into.

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Yet through all the non sequiturs and madness, there is still a core story that drives the historic meeting of Groo and Conan onwards. With the issue ending on a cliffhanger of proportions most dire, readers are left with a legitimate desire for more, a rare feat for books that tend towards the self-referential gags. What could have easily been a one-shot has maintained its humour and pace throughout, and is heading in the right direction to be a memorable series overall.

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What a difference a year or two makes, with the Guardians now leading lights after sitting in limbo for several years, now starring in multiple titles instead of just the one. There's a distinct possibility of the Guardians over-saturating the Marvel market, with at least half a dozen titles exploring these characters in their collective or solo outings. The multiple stories in this first issue do exhibit a bit of brand confusion, but the main story returns at least some of the Guardians to position of protecting the galaxy from curious time anomalies, rounding this out to be a fun and familiar tale that will be appreciated by new and existing fans of the team.

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The collaboration between Bendis and McNiven is a strong one, and something that we hope will last for a while on this title. This is still the Bendis we've come to enjoy from Alias to Age of Ultron. While the book doesn't have the immediate youthful fun factor of stablemate Nova, or the previous Guardians of the Galaxy run for that matter, this takes the hard sci-fi of the previous incarnation and filters it through a mixture of Star Trek hanging out at the Star Wars cantina, ready to tell us a few stories over a glass or four. It's a big galaxy out there, and we can't wait to see what is on the other side.

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For a series that has struggled to find its own identity in this first story arc, with Brian Michael Bendis once again choosing to abandon the groundwork laid by the all-too-short previous series, the addition of a character from another publisher is just odd. However, this issue does manage to find its feet a little more, bringing back some much needed humour in a sparkling two-hander that sees Tony Stark taken down a peg or two by Rocket Raccoon.

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Ed McGuinness is at the top of his game in an epic smackdown with Thanos, as every moment with Nova is beautifully realized art.

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If this is indicative of the character-based approach that Bendis's Guardians of the Galaxy series will take, then sign us up immediately. Oeming's art is complimentary, the kind of style that perfectly suits the eccentricities of Marvel's Cosmic.

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With Grant Morrison slowly pulling out of the capes business, Happy has been one of the best examples of where his current strengths lie. Never over-staying its welcome at a mere four issues, this Christmas cracker (sort of) has kept us off-balance for much of this singular story about a washed-up detective pursuing a kiddie killer with the help of a small blue winged horse called Happy.

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Harley Quinn is a pure joy as a self-referential comedic anti-villain, and an antidote to the far too serious superhero operas that it shares its universe with.

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As long as you don't mind your comics playing with the fluffy tail of surrealism, then it's difficult not to like this fun outing.

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It's Power Girl and Harley Quinn running around the cosmos getting into fights and adventures. This really is a no-brainer: if you like either character (or better yet, both!), there will be very few reasons to turn away from this mini-series. Even if it doesn't have a scratch-'n'-sniff element to it.

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Yet Lorimer's art is the star here. Noir in its style and muted colours, he simply has a different way of looking at a scene to most artists, unafraid to take his "camera" to vantage points we don't normally view in sequential art and tripping us out completely on whatever Dane is taking. The only disappointment is that there are only four more of these left in the coming months.

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An intriguing title that might barrel through events too quickly this month, but perhaps because Lieberman is keen to get us to the bigger story he has waiting.

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It's a wonderful culmination of the community vibe of this entire run. It's just a shame that its timing has robbed it of some of its impact.

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Following on from Hawkeye & Deadpool #0, this second issue (numbering notwithstanding) from writer Gerry Duggan doesn't quite have the same meta-awareness of art-driven storytelling as the first issue, but it's a whole lot of fun.

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If the "Rebirth"-ed run of The Hellblazer had to be summed up in just a handful of words, it would be a "pervading sense of threat." Oliver is still playing his cards fairly close to the chest on this one, hinting with quoted passages from William Blake that there is some great calamity to come to knock the cocksure magician off his perch. There's also continual indications that the darker members of the DC Universe are being drawn back together, and it will be great to see this happening within the reframed context of "Rebirth." Yet it's still early days, and Oliver and his art team are off to a cracking start.

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This collection of short vignettes from some of the best in the business read like spooky campfire stories from three different periods.

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Leaving the reader on a cliffhanger, Sheridan, Bagenda and Fajardo point us in the direction the series will take without spoiling the fun of getting us there. There's still so many mysteries left after this first issue, from the idyllic family scene in the opening pages to the truth behind High Level, that keeping us on the hook should be a breeze.

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We get a strong feeling that by the time this and Infinityis through, the world devourers at Marvel editorial will have brought the Ultimate Universe to a close. From a marketing standpoint alone, the line has served its purpose, with the Marvel NOW! event and the films finally serving as the mass-market jumping-on points that the rich history of the Ultimate Universe no longer does. For now, the first chapter of Hunger gives us a reason to look forward to the rest of the series, especially as we know it is leading into Infinity and the reintroduction of Thanos.

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The arrival of Galactus in the Ultimate Marvel Universe would be where most event series end, and that this one has begun that way is one of the many reasons that this mini-series is worth more than a cursory glance

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There's almost too much of a good thing in this first outing, with Gertrude's post-mushroom "puking rally" potentially where readers will be at by the time they hit the last few pages of this debut. Being this unrestrained is a double-edged sword: on the one hand there's never any sense that Young has compromised his vision, but we do get a lot of that vision all at once. Nevertheless, there's a lot to love in I Hate Fairyland, and with the world now set up with a healthy sense of "anything goes," Young has the makings of a cult favourite on his hands.

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It's difficult to tell from this opening issue, but the titular Ice Cream Man would appear to function as a kind of Crypt Keeper for the series. In this vein, it seems that his van will travel from place to place, intersecting with the lives of fateful human, and creating minor winking breaches in the fourth wall. It's a promising start, filled with at least 31 flavors of possibility.

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This one-shot is a chance to slip into a familiar world, spend some time learning some more about well-trod characters, and get a little bit nostalgic about Picard while safe in the knowledge that it's all going to work out just fine.

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It may have taken us dozens of Avengers and New Avengers issues and countless chapter headings to get here, but Hickman's vision is now fully formed, birthing an epic space opera every bit the equal of Annihilation or War of Kings.

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Chip Zdarsky brings back the Invaders in a seamless blend of past and present.

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Ironheart is off to a solid start with a new series that continues to mark Marvel’s commitment to expanding the diverse hero gallery they’ve put together over the last few years. If anything, it would have been good to see Ewing go deeper some of the social issues she only hints at throughout this book. Of course, as this is the first issue in an ongoing series, there is plenty of time to explore the many plot and character threads that Ewing sets up here. “Ironheart is an engineer who uses many tools,” we are told in one of the most perfect lines in the book. Here’s hoping we get to see Ewing and the art team take a few more of them out of the box in the coming months.

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An incredibly satisfying start to what we hope is a long series full of cheeky humour, retro fun and groovy wibbly-wobbly timey wimey bits.

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John Flood is undoubtedly an intriguing pilot, with loads of potential, and there is definitely a sense of the familiar in the loose framework. Yet we also conclude the issue with far more questions than answers, having been sucked into the premise wholeheartedly. Not all of the elements presented here pay off immediately, including Flood's own high-concept eccentricity, but they all have the promise of leading somewhere, and you really can't ask more of a first issue than that.

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MIllar's short runs have always been his strength, and it will be interesting to see him once again work on an ongoing book. Jupiter's Legacy is a strong opening to what has the potential to be a terrific dissection of comics in the 21st century, a topic that Millar is well and truly familiar with at this stage in his career. A roster of compelling characters, lovingly illustrated by Quitely, certainly put this on a must-read pile for next month and the foreseeable future.

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Justice League #22 comes at a time when DC needs to win back fans, jaded after two years of reboots and gimmicks. With an issue packed with portents, action, and a couple of major deaths, The Trinity War shows the promise that the New 52 did back in 2011. Let's hope it survives its own first wave.

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The last panel of "Trinity War" leads directly into "Forever Evil", effectively making this one big event that begets another. It's a crime that both major syndicates are repeatedly guilty of these last few years, one so commonplace that it is increasingly difficult to take umbrage with a singular instance anymore. Regardless of whether this was just good salesmanship, the arc has been undeniably good storytelling from start to finish, cleverly weaving in threads set up two years ago in all related titles. While it may not be the conclusion that pre-Flashpoint DC fans were hoping for, and bears striking similarities to several endings from their marvellous neighbors, DC have just cracked open a Pandora's Box of possibilities for the next two years and beyond.

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While the issue only mildly progresses the overall "Forever Evil" arc, Johns seems to enjoy bringing these long-absent characters back to life (albeit briefly) and the reading experience is all the more pleasurable for it. With the goal posts now finally in sight for the end of this event, there comes the corresponding sense that the landscape is going to have a very different population on the other side.

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Can Lex Luthor really be a force for good? It's the question that Geoff Johns has been playing with since the end of Forever Evil, and even with the revelation of some of his plans, the compelling part of this arc is that it convinces you to constantly shift your allegiances.

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While many events that run across multiple titles often slap a logo on an existing series and call it a tie-in, quite the opposite is happening in "Trinity War". While the second chapter, in last week's Justice League of America #6, put the titular team in a supporting role, Lemire ensures that his team are an integral part of the overall arc in Justice League Dark #22. Seamlessly integrating the often convoluted world of magic alongside the capes and heroes, the team finally feels as though they are part of a wider DC universe. Indeed, in many ways, this appears to be the primary goal of "Trinity War", in that it unites the often disparate strands of the New 52.

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This event may just be a massive advertisement for the next big thing, but that's true of all events and this one has been done particularly well. Janin's art is kinetic, using interesting layouts and vivid colours to carry the action. The few splash pages involving Shazam are frameable. Yet there are still so many loose ends, and with the event officially ending next week in Justice League #23, there are bound to be plenty more crossovers to come.

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Rising from the ashes of Justice League International, this series may have taken a few months to find its feet. Yet what this event has so far achieved for the series is wrapping it inside the outstretched arms of the New 52, and embracing it as if it were a child of its own. The titular team was created to bring down the Justice League, but in narrative terms, they are doing a fine job complementing that title on a monthly basis.

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A bit of an exception to the rule here, this is a one-off story that is just fun to read, regardless of whether it ties into anything. Floyd Lawton has always been a compelling anti-hero, driven by a combination of family loyalty and money. Written best by Gail Simone mid last decade, Matt Kindt does a fine job in bringing a suitably tragic tale to the New 52.

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Justice League of America: The Atom Rebirth #1 is a classic origin story, but nevertheless feels fresh and accessible for both new and old audiences. It’s also a massive tease as well, directing us to next month’s Justice League of America: Rebirth #1 to “follow the adventures of The Atom.” Yet Orlando, who will also pen that one-shot, ensures that no matter what size the diminutive hero plays int the narrative, he will be noticed.

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Hal Jordan often gets a bum rap from some fans when it comes to comparative Lantern lore, with successor Kyle Rayner unquestionably less of an insufferable jerk than Hal could often be. (There's also the small matter of Hal slaughtering all of his comrades once upon a time, but we'll just quietly put that to one side for the moment). Yet this is one of those rare pieces that gets to the heart of a character by defining who he is by those actions he chooses not to take, a decision that will certainly have ramifications before this event is through.

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Justice League: The Darkseid War: Batman #1 is but a small vignette in a larger epic, and is to be continued in the Justice League run, yet it is also one that mostly works outside of the confines of that saga. It would be very easy to see this as another set of tie-ins to an overblown event, but instead this is a rare time where the opportunity is being taken to explore the impact a major twist has on the individual members of the League.

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There are so many reasons that this series shouldn't work as well as it does: it's an unlikely combination of heroes, and a Multiversal McGuffin that could be exchanged out for just about anything, and the well-publicized behind the panel shenanigans that led to the scrapping of some issues. Yet writer Joshua Williamson's exploration of the Ghost Sector and the planets coming out of Colu is as exciting and new as the worlds of Dark Knights: Metal.

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This book is genuinely weird, evidenced by the fact that the mismatched crew find themselves on a planet that worships the Azrael while Starfire and Jessica Cruz ride Lantern constructs while battling robots. Yet in the heart of all this insanity, writer Joshua Williamson end his run by cleverly weaving in a story involving Cyborg and Darkseid that promises to have Multiversal implications.

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Perhaps where Kick-Ass 3 falters is in finding the right hook for an audience that has bathed in the blood, sweat and fears of these characters already. However, Millar seems to be legitimately interested in developing these characters again, turning them from caricatures back into real humans with real problems. He hints in an afterword that this is the final arc for many a reason, and perhaps that is all the hook we really need to keep going in this always busy series.

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DC's New 52 is hitting a strong average this month with debut issues, and Klarion adds a sense of the magic surreal to the DCU that has been missing for some decades now. Nocenti's mesmerising tale is bolstered by McCarthy and Major's magnificent art, something that can be devoured over and over again.

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Once again, Michael Lark is one of the main reason to pick up this book. Despite the sci-fi leanings and the dystopian setting, it's as if Lark has taken up a pencil and merely recorded the reality he sees in front of him. Coupled with the earthy colours of Santi Arcas, Lazarus is a cinematic event presented as sequential art.

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As good as the set-up is, with a cracking set of action sequences and witty one-liners, a big question mark hangs over whether this can continue to distinguish itself as a necessary separate entity from Star-Lord's already ripping team book. That said, if every issue is fast-paced as this one, we'll barely have time to draw breath to ask that question.

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A home for some of the missing-in-action mini-series originally announced under DC You, there's something for most punters in the four ongoing stories

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We've been sorely neglecting this outstanding series for the last few months, simply because it has taken us a while to catch up with everything. It's a serious crime, because Brian Wood's own creation is seriously good. It shouldn't be surprising from the guy who brought us DMZ and Northlanders, but Wood continues to build his future dystopia flawlessly, revealing just enough details to get us permanently hooked.

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The issue begins with a quote lifted from Bruce Springsteen's 1995 song "The New Timer" from the album The Ghost of Tom Joad, itself a reference to a character originally from John Steinbeck's 1939 classic The Grapes of Wrath. That song and album told parallels between the Dust Bowl period and the 1990s, in the same way that Aaron draws comparisons between images over a century apart. It perfectly sets the tone for a series that promises to be another of Aaron's musings on the nature of hereditary violence in America.

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Midnight of the Soul is a mystery, of course, with the catalyst being the ubiquitous girl in trouble. Yet the mystery of her nocturnal activities and the cause of her trouble is almost second to the mystery of where the parallel threads of Joel's life intersect, from the frequent flashbacks to the War through to his anger over the developments in this issue. It's a puzzle worth pondering, and it will be curious to see how it unfolds as Chaykin continues to level his gaze at a very particular period in American history.

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Some will focus on violence being a part of the DCU, while others will point to Midnighter's open homosexuality, but either way MIDNIGHTER is one of the most promisingly progressive books DC has released in the last five years

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The magazine style format of the publication gives the reading experience a quality that is tangibly different to reading any other book on the market, which is possibly the best way to describe this increasingly intriguing series.

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We don't know if any of these National Comics one-shots will spawn series, but this is one character than seems fleshed out enough to justify it.

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There might be a problem when things are already a bit confusing by the second main tie-in issue with Jonathan Hickman's Infinity, but this issue does focus on the far more interesting aspects of the Infinity crisis.

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Coupled with Guardians of the Galaxy and the events of Age of Ultron, we get the feeling that this will serve as one of the major titles for Marvel in 2013 and beyond, so you may as well jump aboard now.

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This is a fun and energetic issue, leading up to something big, but we've been building up to it for three issues now. We can't wait to see what is unleashed in the next two issues, because this bit is well and truly chomped at. McGuinness matches Loeb pound for pound, and the subtleties of a very one-sided conversation with The Watcher are some of the most priceless moments in the book. Brings the "Now!" into the Marvel NOW! line.

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Occupy Comics puts its money where its mouth is, donating 100% of the monies received to people involved in the actual Occupy movement. If you want to support this important moment in history, or you just like reading a whole lot of great writers and artists in one place (the list of names is growing), then support this book and any of the subsequent ones that come out.

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At its core, this is Oliver with a twist but Whitta sets us up with an entire world that is waiting to be explored. Rather than simply update the story to a shattered Earth, Whitta has used the character as a way to open the door to something darker and more mysterious. As Dickens, quoted in the final panel, once wrote: “Surprises, like misfortunes, rarely come along.” Dare we say: we want some more?

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The Peanuts: The Snoopy Special #1 is effectively a sampler of the work that Kaboom! has been doing over the last few years in bringing Snoopy and the crew back to life. It's a bit of a cop-out that this tie-in special contains a chunk of material from a book that was only released two months ago, but peppered as it is with some actual Schulz strips, it's a timely reminder of how sharp and adaptable these characters and scenarios were in the 1950s and today.

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Penny Dora & The Wishing Box #1 is the first issue in a planned five-issue arc, with the writer already planning a second arc to follow this one. It's a familiar story, albeit one that is incredibly readable, and it's easy to see how this could become a modern all-ages favorite, with the right mixture of youthful exploration, cautionary tale, and sheer magic. It's even got a cat for good measure. What more could any discerning reader want from their fantasy stories?

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Lopresti's Power Cubed is a little bit anachronistic, but that's just part of the charm that nevertheless makes it a barrel of fun. Filling out the ranks with a hi-tech Jiminy Cricket in the form of a small anthropomorphic robot named Click, and a mysterious redheaded cop whose loyalties remain ambiguous, the plethora of elements could run the risk of being overloaded. Yet Lopestri has so far balanced them all in a kind of dream logic that only makes sense in this kind of shamelessly confident adventure story.

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As a debut, it's vaguely reminiscent of DC's Mr. Terrific, but Albuquerque's stunning art is filled with speed-lines and Marcelo Maiolo's otherworldly colors, ensuring that this cracks along at a pace and transfixed for the next issue.

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Even though this is another superhero smack-down, coming so soon after another major event, we're in for the long haul. We expect to see some bloodshed, and there will be tears before bedtime.

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Kurtis J. Wiebe has been making a name for himself over the last few years, most prominently as the scribe of the cult hit Peter Panzerfaust. He scores another winner with Rat Queens, which may seem like a D&D exploit with breasts on the surface, but is a whole world of funny-making and subversion under the surface.

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What characterises this take is a decent dose of self-deprecating humour, another of Simone's trademarks, and it just makes for a fun adventure with a strong, smart, funny and occasionally hungover hero. Artist Walter Geovani is no stranger to the character, having previously worked with Brian Reed and Eric Stephen Trautmann's respective versions of the character for Dynamite. It's going to be great to get to see him cut loose on some battles in the next issue.

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The visage of a flame-haired warrior in a metal bikini might still illicit snicker, for it is a singularly ridiculous costume given her regular swordplay. Yet Simone has instantly given us a character to connect with, and one that is worth returning to next month. If you are yet to give this reboot of Red Sonja a chance, or haven't even thought about picking up anything about the She-Devil with a Sword, then this is a terrific place to start.

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Mike Norton's art is frosty cool and magnificent, often understating the weird and making the more shocking moments truly jump-worthy. Definitely one to add to the buy pile and to follow closely in the coming months.

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Regardless of where your Black Panther knowledge sits, it will be vastly improved by the end of this series - and just in time for the film.

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The deliberately unhurried pace gives this the sequential art equivalent of a lazy spring afternoon, where the destination is nowhere near as important as the journey. Young's artwork has been one of the defining features of these comics, and in many ways have become synonymous with the very idea of Oz. This is the start of another magical adventure, and we can't wait until the next one.

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I applaud Brian K. Vaughan for demonstrating Alana's sexual aggression, as well as adding more exploration to Marko's culture and race. Fiona Staples once again gives the characters great expressions and brilliant layouts.

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Even in a Saga issue where "not much happens," there is still a ton of new information and cliffhangers to digest. It's a book that is undoubtedly breathing a rarefied air right now, confident enough to launch straight back into a new arc without showing two of the three main characters at all, but simultaneously running the risk of alienating those who aren't yet inductees into the club. Saga is back and everything is more or less right with the comic book world again, and those questions that need answering will be what keeps us going until the next hiatus.

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The debut of SECRET IDENTITIES plays with the conventions we are all familiar with, but sets up enough mysteries for us to expect the unexpected in months to come.

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Secret Identities #1 does what all good debut issues should do, and gives us just enough set-up for each of the main characters to warrant a further bit of ferreting down the rabbit hole. The final twist revelation indicates where the series might go from here, but even this feels like a tease for something larger over the horizon. Regardless, Faerber and Joines have used a clearly extensive love of the genre, and just as Joines did with the culturally rich Krampus, begun to play on our assumptions and familiarity with the conventions.

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If for no other reason, Jose Casey's Sex needs to be applauded for being unafraid to put the subject of most superhero comics front and centre in his dialogue with the genre. Dissecting what happens after the thrill is gone for former foes Simon Cooke and Annabelle LaGravenese, Casey's narrative might as well be dealing with Batman and Catwoman hanging up their costumes, and with them the things that got them hot and passionate in the first place

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Casey reminds us with this issue why this book is about exploring drama through sex, and not the other way around, and why that is uniquely fascinating.

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"Every thought I have is colored by what I learned about these things from reading Ray Bradbury," muses Hill in an afterword. This was clearly a piece that inspired Hill, who explored loss and childhood extensively in his excellent and award-winning Locke and Key series. Jason Ciaramella does a capable job of distilling the 30-page short down into fewer comic book pages, while retaining the core truth of the piece. While it would have been nice to see these all represented as a single companion volume to the original stories, it will be curious to see these very personal stories unfold in words and pictures over the coming months.

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While the real crux of the forward momentum doesn't come until the final page, Brettholtz neatly lays out his world in this opening issue. Indeed, that the signal for the coming conflict doesn't arrive until late in the piece is a positive sign that there is much more to tell in this engaging reflection on superheroics. The series is worth a look if you are keen to venture outside the mainstream capes.

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After the multiversal madness of Spider-Verse, SILK is a return to a simpler style of Spider-story, one that involves great power, great responsibility and a whole lot of fun.

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Perhaps overlooked for the infinitely more cosplayable Spider-Gwen, Robbie Thompson's Silk has been one of the best new characters to emerge from "Spider-Verse."

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While this will undoubtedly make a ripper of a "thriller movie" when it is presented in a complete trade format, these single issues were made for the kinds of cliffhangers that Diggle excels at. As we impatiently wait for the continuation of this tight saga, we can thank heavens that this month has proven to be a golden age for creator-owned content.

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An early contender for Marvel's strongest new debut of the year.

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The original event may still be somewhat divisive amongst fans, but this Spider-Island is a satisfying spin on the Spider Virus that was borne in Dan Slott's 2011 event.

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It's an odd thing, but of the many Secret Wars tie-ins to date, Spider-Island has perhaps best captured the spirit of paying tribute to the Marvel Universe as a whole

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It's the Spider book we didn't know we needed! It may all fall apart after a few issues, especially as New York comes to term with multiple Spider-Men, but for now this is fun way to reintroduce a fan-favourite into the main Marvel line.

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At the end of the day, we love a good crossover, and this has all the markings of being a memorable one.

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Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War makes a genuine attempt to reconcile these two universes on a surface level, even if it is on a superficial level for the moment. One of the intrigue plot developments in this first issue is the person who doesn't receive a lantern ring, and the fallout of that will undoubtedly play into the character dynamics in the future issues. It's a pleasing union to kick off this event, and one that fans of either camp will be hard pressed to find fault with.

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While some may quibble about the questionable continuity, including the climactic confrontation in this issue, it is difficult to find anything fans of the original trilogy will judge too harshly.

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One of the chief issues Star Wars is going to keep running into throughout this run is the lack of any true mortal peril to its characters. After all, we know where they end up. The cliffhanger of this issue is forced to blind a character to stop them from encountering Boba Fett before their actual first meeting in a later film, which is not the first time the tension between canon and storytelling has happened in Aaron's run. Yet if you are willing to just accept these as adventure stories with your favorite characters, told with an authentic voice, then you and Star Wars are going to get along just fine.

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Stuart Immonen's artwork is divine, adding authentic details to every aspect of the familiar universe, all leading to a corker of a final splash page that will have us counting down the days until the next chapter drops.

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Jason Aaron's simple premise, that Vader has crash-landed on a remote planet and every Rebel is scrambling to take the opportunity to end him, is a clever move. Mike Deodato's art is nothing short of epic, especially given that much of the second act is a thrilling dogfight between Vader's TIE fighter and several squadrons of X-Wings.

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The story does feel ultimate inconsequential, and not as tied to the main events as the the other books in the current Star Wars series, but that might just be part of its charm.

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Filled with familiar nods, it even achieves the impossible by bringing some of the prequel film's stories full-circle by the end of this first issue.

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Salvador Larocca's art is pitch-perfect, not just capturing the authentic nature of the Star Wars universe of ships and landscapes, but in the more subtle way of replicating original actor David Prowse's stance and movements.

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Kieron Gillen's Darth Vader is a parallel to Star Wars in every way, from the narrative structure to the presence of the twisted companion droids. As we delve deeper into the world of bounty hunters, we can see just how much the Star Wars universe and modern comics like Saga have in common.

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A flatter end for a high-quality series to date, albeit one that is consciously holding the reins tight until it can launch the next arc.

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Kanan: The Last Padawan shows that even within the more limited scope of the new expanded universe, there are still a myriad of stories to be told. With the mini-series now half over, hopefully this sets the tone for more stories set in and around this untold era of Star Wars history.

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Putting the "Padawan" back into the title of the book brings with it a stronger focus on the past, with this entire issue a flashback within what is already effectively a flashback series.

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Thematically, the book deals with the consequences of failing the Emperor, and as such, goes to some welcomingly dark places.

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This particular issue goes pretty deep down the canonical hole, at one point directing readers to one of the prose novels to see how a story came to be, but at least that demonstrates how closely the Star Wars story group is watching everything that happens.

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For this first time in this mini-series, the stories of the sequel characters (or at least their antecedents) start to dovetail with the original trilogy heroes, as the seeds for what is likely to be a major plot point of The Force Awakens are quite literally planted by Greg Rucka.

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Starve is a fascinating premise, mostly due to the compelling nature of the characters Wood has introduced here. Wood takes what would otherwise be a tried and true concept and elevates it into not just a critique of modern media, but a potential character study of operatic proportions.

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By the end of this "Rebirth" introduction, Kara is given a new civilian identity and a setup that will certainly allow casual viewers of the TV show an easy point of egress into comics. It's all a little rushed towards the end, but the goal appears to be to rapidly get new and old readers up to speed with the status quo. Yet it is not merely "CW's Supergirl: The Comic," as this already exists under a different name. Instead, this is something that captures the spirit of that show and the legacy that preceded it, which is about the best you can ask from a the first issue of a character that has had numerous firsts over the last six decades.

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As Johns and Romita Jr. continue their first arc on this title, next month's Future's End issue notwithstanding, reader faith has been rewarded. This arc is a perfect jumping-on point for the New 52 version of the character, boiling him down to the essentials, although signaling some changes on the horizon for one of DC's flagship character. This is your daddy's Superman - just turned up to 11.

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Jim Lee's art seems far more in sync with Snyder's style this time out, bringing things back to Earth and making an excellent companion for Batman's Greg Capullo. This may all culminate in Superman simply punching things, and it certainly misses the humble charms of the digital Adventures of Superman, but this is by far and away the strongest Superman book currently on the market.

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It's unclear how this fits, if at all, into the current Forever Evil storyline, and allusions to Wonder Woman's recent trials and tribulations in her own title are assumed knowledge. However, unlike Batman/Superman, the new Superman/Wonder Woman has a clearer focus on how the relationship is going to be defined. The longevity of the approach is still questionable, but if DC continues to treat the two icons as characters, then there is potential for this to be one of the strongest titles featuring either of them.

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Dan Jurgens recognizes that the joy of this book is in watching the post-Flashpoint world through the eyes of the old guard, and their wry and knowing observations will only endear them to long-time readers.

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One of the things that DC rarely exploits these days, and certainly not post-Flashpoint, is the sheer number of stories and versions of characters that is has to draw upon. Hypertime notwithstanding, the canonical status of one timeline negates another until it is time to do an event every five years or so, at least until Convergence. This intersection between the old and the new is written purely to warm the cockles of fan hearts, and if it continues in this vein, we will have some very toasty cockles indeed.

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What this issue proves, and hopefully the Rebirth event will be aware of, is that the strength of the DC Universe is in its history. This isn't to say that Jurgens and the art team are simply retreading familiar ground, but rather using it as a foundation to tell new stories within a different universe. The reopening of the Multiverse doesn't close off the comic book world to new readers, but rather gives writers new opportunities to dust off the cobwebs and see if there is anything new that can be done with characters that are eight decades old. Superman: Lois and Clark is a prime example of this type of storytelling.

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Guillem March handles the action scenes with confidence, literally taking Calvin to the skies at some points before dragging him back to street level. His Batman is actually frightening, a true Dark Knight, mostly put in place to remind us that the Court of Owls aren't the only power in Gotham.

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It's probably too early to declare Ten Granda new masterpiece, especially when Image themselves have a few contenders for that crown in the last month alone. What JMS has done is build a solid foundation for a world he intends to play with for a time. In the back-matter, he speaks of allowing the comic to go "for the length it requires, no more, no less". With an emphasis on story arcs, and gaps between them to ensure quality control, it is certainly looking like an ambitious and fun project worth sticking around for.

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Tet is a strong opening that aims to obscure from the beginning, creating a world where we can't necessarily trust the person doing the telling. A rich character-based piece against a wartime setting is nothing new, but Allor is skillfully weaving in a mystery wrapped inside a bigger mystery to keep us on our toes for the long haul.

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In a year of goliath arcs and crossovers, this is just a nice one-shot for lovers of good character-driven superhero stories.

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Putting the Dark into the Dark Knight, Snyder and Jock leave us at a point that is nothing short of bleak. Snyder holds back some of his deepest cuts until the very end, with another cliffhanger that reintroduces a character who has some importance in Snyder’s earlier works. As both a Dark Knights: Metal spin-off and as a standalone limited series, The Batman Who Laughs continues to impress. You might just need to take a shower when you’re done to feel clean again.

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Those who have been waiting four years to see how the cliffhanger at the end of this issue plays out might be sorely disappointed that this issue ends on the same note, although this time we have the assurance in the back-matter that the next few issues are already completed. As compelling a setup as it was during its initial victory, The Beauty gives us a myriad of possibilities of where it will go next.

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Some of the more interesting aspects of this issue are only played upon briefly, such as the violent reaction Foster had to his 'change.' It all happens off-panel, and as pragmatic as the opening pages might have been, we see the physical effects of his reaction and that alone opens up a world of character notes that Haun and Hurley have only just started to play with, particularly Foster's relationship with his wife. The issue ends with an action cliffhanger this time, but one of the exciting things about this series is going to be the discovery of who these characters are. The conspiracy might be a grand one, but these leads are a mystery worth pursuing all by themselves.

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Literally killing off original Black Hood "Kip" Burland in the process, The Black Hood might look backwards in its aesthetic, but is determined to reinvent a pulp era character. Unlike DC's comparable revival of the Charlton characters, it's a series that both thoroughly modern and rich with its own history. Coupled with outstanding artwork, it marks the start of a new era for Archie Comics, one that promises to change perceptions even further.

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The Dark and Bloody achieves the difficult task of keeping the audience guessing at the end of the second issue, developing the plot further and yet still wholly shrouding the piece in mystery. About the closest thematic cousin would be something like Locke and Key, especially as the relationship between Shiloh and Ayah becomes more intriguing and supernatural. This is definitely a series to watch, with the hopes that it lives up to the best aspects of its promise.

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Image have been knocking out one solid debut after another this year, and while it may be a little too early to call this as the next big hit of the year, it's strength certainly puts it on the right path.

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As familiar as some of Empty's elements might be, it's a strong debut to this new series. All of the pieces have been set up in this opening chapter, and while the path seems relatively clear for Tanoor and her strange companion, it doesn't mean that it won't be this fun along the way.

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It’s clear from this first issue that DeMatteis has an idea that he has let fully gestate before bringing it to the page, something he credits his “truly gifted editor” Berger with developing to the completed script stage. It could go deep into revenge thriller at this point, or continue to explore something less tangible than that. The fact that it is hard to tell at this early stage is indicative of the hook that DeMatteis and his art team have already sunk into us.

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The series hasn't quite found a singular tone as yet, shifting as it has from time travel drama to supernatural horror in the space of a single issue. Yet perhaps this is the defining aspect of the series, one that is signaling its intention to keep us permanently on our toes.

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Aaron has described his latest work as "a Biblical caveman apocalyptic barbarian western noir," and nothing we've seen here would dissuade us from that notion. Guaranteed to offend at least someone, with Cain taking some Preacher-esque views on the nature of God, it's undoubtedly a story that rattles some of the austerity off the austerity off of these ancient stories, turning one of the original sinners into an anti-hero for an age that is full of them.

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One suspects that Craig's crazy world is something of a mirror to our own, like all good genre pieces. With this first issue, he drops just enough hints about Cole's relationship with his daughter to give us a motivation for us to stick around for the long haul. These characters just seem like they'll be a ball to hang out with along the way too.

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If The Last Siege was a show on a streaming network, you'd want to go straight onto the next episode for a binge. Unfortunately for all of us, we must now wait over a month to continue this saga. Leaving us on a hell of a cliffhanger that changes the power dynamic of everything we've seen up until that point, this feels like it is one worth waiting for.

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The events of this book become even more salient as we approach the next major DC event of Convergence in April, with the perpetual hints that all of this may be heading towards a 'Crisis' by any other name. It still remains unclear exactly how this possible future will play into the current continuity, or what role these events will have pre and post event, but DC has made it clear that this is core reading to fully understand the direction the line is taking. It's a good thing that it remains compelling every week.

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The Paybacks succeeds where similar outings have failed by maintaining its sense of humor for the duration. There's almost too much happening, but rarely does it every feel overly packed or squished. Cates and Rahal throw a lot of information at us at once, but gives the reader plenty of reason to trust in their storytelling, from the wickedly funny moments to, well, more of the same but with dinosaurs and unicorns.

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Storytellers John Romita, Jr. and Dan Abnett come swinging out of the gate with the tale of the past catching up with ex-Leviathan assassin turned suburban mom. The character comes equipped with an inventive set of powers, in which the Talia Al-Ghul trained fighter encases her foe in a field devoid of sound.

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This is just the first issue of an extended remix of Star Wars, so it is difficult to fully form an opinion based on a partial script. However, The Star Wars is likely to please fans looking for something new that is wholly within the spirit of the original movie, and not indebted to the masses of extended universe canon that has build up in novels, animation and comic books over the last four decades. An exciting prospect for the next eight months and beyond, The Star Wars is a terrific glimpse at what might have been.

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It's hard not to get caught up in the charm, especially with Erica Henderson's art capturing a Saturday morning cartoon vibe, enhanced by Rico Renzi's clevery retro color palette. A bafflingly enjoyable book.

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It goes without saying that this book is nuts, a pun that's not only obvious, but undoubtedly delivered in kind several times throughout this issue.

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Gillen has spent the first few issues introducing us to this world, and ensuring we know where all the main players stand on his stage. With this installment, he confidently opens the world up a little bit more, inviting readers to step inside. As such, this issue doesn't quite share the momentum that the first few outings did, concerned more with exposition than the wider world building of the first three parts. Yet just like the awestruck Laura, we might try to downplay our excitement, but it's just too damn cool.

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Unlike the monster of the week episodes, we are left on a cliffhanger, but we are also left with any number of questions ready to draw us back in next month. One question that might spring to mind is whether this series is needed at all? Probably not, but it is a nevertheless faithful and enjoyable return to a world we once loved, and there is something exciting about delving back into it. We want to believe, and so far we have every reason to.

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Abnett has the difficult task with this series of bringing together a team that, for all intents and purposes, doesn't have a history in this universe. DC appears to have signaled that they are willing to dip back into some of the classic stories a few inches at a time, and Abnett has taken the path of incremental reintegration of those characters. This isn't quite the classic Titans (at least not yet), and these are certainly variations on even the more recent depictions of those same heroes, but it is also something different, which in the case of decades-old icons is something to take notice of.

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In some ways, Twisted Romance does exactly what an anthology should do. It offers up a series of pieces that could not be more different from each other, challenging you to get comfortable. You may not love all the stories, and there may be some matches that you firmly want to swipe left on, but it is impossible to ignore any of the stories in this volume.

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The action-packed issue shows that Miles is every bit as conscientious as Parker, and as the crowd of onlookers comment that they are glad he isn't dead, so are we.

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War for the Planet of the Apes #1 does exactly what you’d expect from a prequel comic book, by establishing a number of the changes that have taken place in the world without giving away too much of what we can expect from the film hitting cinemas this week. It would be great to see a little more of what is happening beyond North America, as a comic book like this has the power to do. However, even within the confines of the landscape that walker and his art team have laid out here, there is plenty of scope for a story worthy of the excellent films that it accompanies.

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The concept of a book that sits somewhere between The Movement and Oliver Twist's street urchins is an exciting one, and those who may have dismissed the slower pace of the first issue should be encouraged to return and give this series a second chance. Without falling into the trap of a labored exposition, Bermejo has put all of the pieces on the board, and now we simply get to sit back and watch it unfold.

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Time will tell whether this formula works better in small doses or an extended format, but the sheer number of people filling this oversized issue is indicative of the fact that there are many stories left to tell in the vast Marvel Multiverse. The wider story hinted at in both of these tales, involving a silvery plot, is also something that Web Warriors has over a simple vignette format. With the right balance of different writers and artists thrown at this book, it could readily become one of Marvel's leading lights.

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There is a great deal happening in the second issue of X'ed, perhaps a little too much for such an early point in the series. Yet the plethora of new characters, concepts and scenarios is ultimately no more confusing than a journey through Lewis Carroll's Wonderland, one where the abstract images of dreams are accepted just because they are present. Patrick has maintained the tension and wonder of the first issue in this sophomore outing, coupled with the sense that we have only scraped the surface of the mystery he's unfolding.

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Never wavering from either central theme of "monsters" or "love," this anthology could just as readily been released at Halloween and still be effective. Not all of the stories are entirely successful, with some embracing the eight-page limit more than others. Yet this is a collection of some of the best storytellers that DC Comics has to offer at the moment, and it is sure to break down the carefully built walls of even the most ardent of cynics.

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While the issue itself does very little to push the story along until the final few pages of reveals, there's a solid bit of character development here, allowing new readers a chance to work out the dynamics of the different teams.

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LIke many of the second issues in these Convergence runs, CONVERGENCE GREEN ARROW lacks any real sense of resolution. The father-son angst that was set up in the first issue never really pays off, nor is it given any more attention other than a throwaway line in the final panel. This is disappointing, as Marx's set-up really makes us want to spend a bit more time with this group of unlikely characters, or at the very least explore the "what if" relationship between Ollie and Connor. As we've already had a taste of the future of Green Arrow with the post-Convergence Green Arrow #41, this may still be the last time we see the bearded Ollie outside of the back-issues.

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Grayson is a promising new direction for one of DC's oldest characters. It's the kind of changes that make their way organically into a long-running comic book, ones that can only happen once some history is behind them. It's a dichotomy that sits outside the New 52, but wholly encapsulates the best bits of it as well. Dick Grayson: Super Spy? It just might work.

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Percy's GREEN ARROW appears to be a slow burn, and we get the sense that not all of the pieces are in place just yet. For now, it's difficult to be anything more than cautiously optimistic about this new beginning, with only a handful of hints as to where the comic is headed. What we need now is some status quo, rather than a new direction every few months. The character of Green Arrow has always been in constant flux, as well he should be, but the post-Convergence DCU provides the perfect opportunity to take some time to rebuild this character from the ground up.

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Undoubtedly one of the most promising additions to the New DC Universe, it's also a little slow to get going as well. The real crux of the issue doesn't get going until the third act, by which stage you've either invested in the character or you haven't. We suspect this is going to be a slow burner, and definitely one to keep checking back on as the months go by.

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A fun diversion, but it will be good to get back to Wood's main story in issue #7.

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A comic based on a beer of the same name is an unlikely prospect for success, but this metal-as-anything salvo from Brian Azzarello, Nick Floyd and Steve Bisley is a twisted and irreverent biker epic with a Lobo-esque lead who is anything but a hero.

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The ongoing enjoyment of this series is really going to depend on which characters get paired up, including next month's wacky three-way of Iron Man, Kitty Pryde and Lockheed.

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A real treat this month is a back-up story by Scott Lobdell and Philip Tan called "The World of Krypton". It deals with a younger Jor-El, and an assassination attempt on the science council during Krypton's pre-kaboom days. This intriguing plot will presumably play out over the next few issues, as we continue to plumb Superman's heritage in this new DC continuity.

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The final page promises we will see more of this character in 2013, and from this brief introduction, it will certainly take the book to interesting places under the guidance of new writer Andy Diggle, who joins Action Comics with #18 in March. Sook's art is also quite eye-catching, telling the story in a cinematic fashion, in keeping with Landis's sensibilities. A solid example of what an annual should do: provide some one-off stories while teasing things to come in the monthly title.

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The unique approach to Adam.3 might not work all of the time, and is essentially a spin on a very traditional story, but it will undoubtedly have you thinking about it after you've put the book down. Kolins has created something new out of some clear influences, and it is undoubtedly a labor of love that has gone into producing it. There is enough here to warrant at least a second look, and a solid world to continue building upon.

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As controversial as Dan Slott's choices have been over the last few years, The Amazing Spider-Man has been given a new lease on life following Superior Spider-Man and the "Spider-Verse" arc. Which is why this issue, effectively an epilogue to the "Spider-Verse" event with everybody saying goodbye and setting up their new jobs, is something of an anti-climax.

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Dan Slott's latest chapters on his epic Spider-Man saga are as frustrating at times as they are fun, and they are certainly a lot of the latter.

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Dan Slott's current saga of a villainous Zodiac-themed cooperative seems to have been going on for a while now, and while this issue is very much a thrilling and jovially cheesy conclusion to that chapter, it's also one that's never had the same cache of the more classic Spider-Man villains to support it.

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It's difficult to see what the overall plan is for The Amazing Spider-Man at the moment, pinging from international adventures to more local slugfests.

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At this early stage, it is difficult to tell if this fun diversion from the seriousness of the last year will amount to anything that distinguishes it from the plethora of X-Men books already available on the shelves.

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There's maybe too much going on here, but the name of the game is fun and De Falco provides this in spades, with Domingues's art keeping it fresh and vibrant. One to dip into before the movie!

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Like Gotham Academy, the aim of Arkham Manor is one of pointing a microscope at a specific building in Gotham City, and potentially exploring all the hidden elements within. Unlike that book, this new title has yet to determine how it will be differing itself from any other Batman title, as this first arc has a very familiar "Bruce Wayne undercover" vibe to it. Yet if Duggan can pull the book away from Batman and focus on the manor as a character instead, there is the potentially here for this to be an intriguing new entry to the Bat-verse.

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Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas' briefly interrupted Ant-Man run picks up eight months later with a few surprises, but spiritually carrying on the journey of this (mostly) down-on-his-luck hero.

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In the midst of all this seemingly never-ending Avengers Vs X-Men madness, Bendis delivers a story that is all about character. A single character, in fact. Focusing on Red Hulk, the issue is largely an internal monologue, laid out in a largely dialogue-less format that continues to play with the format, just as Bendis did with the Fear Itself issues last year.

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The stakes have been raised, and allegiances are starting to crumble, and Bendis knows this. A small victory is also a major setback, and we finally get a sense that this is going somewhere. Kubert's art is unsurprisingly epic, making this a visual treat at the very least.

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Gale reminds us in the back-matter that the danger of playing with a time travel story is that one can undo all the things that worked in the first place. Back to the Future thankfully avoids that by focusing on the specific moments we never got to see before. This first issue is a mixed bag, and the ongoing appeal is going to depend on the strength of the stories chosen for the next three issues. That said, fans will struggle to not find at least something they like in this, especially given that it is the closest we'll get to Bob Gale writing another series film - at least for now.

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On the one hand, Bob Gale and Erik Burnham's slightly compressed version of game logic is a fun read, perfectly at ease in the existing Back to the Future world and true to the voices of the original characters. On the other, it's still an existing story being shifted into a different format, and so far it offers few surprises for those who have already dipped into the game.

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It's terrific to see DC taking aim at younger readers with their new line-up, and there is a definite charm to Bat-Mite. Some of the references ("Trickle down economics at work!") will undoubtedly go sailing right over the heads of the younger readers, but there's enough one-liners to keep at least the smiles coming. It's a fine start for a limited series, although as yet shows no reason to be an ongoing. The real test will be to see how this performs with the younger audiences.

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After what felt like a fitting conclusion to the "New 52"/ "DC You" era of last month, Brenden Fletcher has the slightly more awkward task of slotting in his version of Batgirl into the pre-Rebirth world.

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Batgirl: Futures End #1 falls short of recasting Barbara Gordon as a drug-fueled revenge junkie, so it never really breaks us away from the mold completely. It turns out that Banegirl had the Dumbo feather in her grasp the whole time, leaving us with a slight "afterschool special" vibe that isn't incongruous with the Babs we've come to know and love. With a "re-invention of Batgirl from the boots up" solicited for the next month, this issue is still a timely reminder that no matter how the character is repackaged to appeal to various demographics, strong female characters are ones that "make themselves a goddess." May Batgirl never leave us completely.

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This first issue of Batgirl is a fun and engaging story, and is true to the previous take of the character, but it just feels like it lacks any major consequences. Indeed, the final panel suggests that this was simply the first episode in a series of international jaunts that lay ahead for the Batgirl formerly of Burnside. While there is much to be said for this version of the character, even with its many detractors and fans, it just needs more than a familiar pastiche and a change of locale to maintain ongoing interest from herein.

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While it isn’t quite a classic union yet, the Benson sisters have pulled all the necessary bits together to build something that is. Like many of the other books being released under the "Rebirth" banner, much of the first arc is being spent reestablishing some of the good will lost during the "New 52" years. Batgirl and the Birds of Prey is unquestionably a step in the right direction, and we can’t wait to see what a fully-functioning team will look like.

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Concluding the two-part Clayface story brings to an end one less memorable arcs, or more accurately one that is merely treading water between "Death of the Family" and next month's "Zero Year" kick-off. Snyder gives us a new take on the shape-shifting Clayface, resulting in lots of voice-recognition hijinks and the villain coming awfully close to discovering Bruce Wayne's identity. The ultimate resolution is one that feels a bit of an afterthought, although Snyder can scarcely be blamed for not easily slipping a character as ridiculous as Clayface into a modern Bat-setting.

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Andy Clarke draws the Joker like we've rarely seen him before, expressive and emotional. Perhaps we've just forgotten after months of him running around without a face. Either way, Clarke shows some terrific versatility between the two time zones, with the flashback scenes truly nightmarish at times. It's surrealist and completely bonkers, but here they seem like admirable traits.

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While many of these villain's titles are simply de facto "Zero" issues by any other name, at least this one manages to neatly set up an existing headline villain for future appearances within the leading title. With Zero Year still raging for quite some time, it isn't too big a swing to guess that Mr. Cobblepot will feature in Bruce Wayne's formative years in the not-too-distant future.

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Putting to one side the immediate gratification of cool origin moments that "Zero Year" has thus far provided, any conclusion that this is leading may ultimately be a hollow one when contemplated for too long. While this story neatly keeps Batman in a holding pattern until "Forever Evil" expires, it has also killed any forward momentum that Snyder's otherwise excellent arcs have provided to date. Let's just hope that "Zero Year" doesn't live up to its name.

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Gleason's art is spot-on for this issue, balancing the insane darker moments with the levity of the fun-loving Carrie.

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What's nice about this issue is that it continues to show Bruce's desperation in reconnecting to the son he barely knew, perhaps seeking to find the child that was lost in him.

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We are glad this book exists, but sometimes its a tough love. The twist at the end of the book is sudden, hence being a "twist", and gives us the hook for issue 5. Who knows if it will be linear, but we mostly hope not. Squirrel.

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So as Morrison begins to bring his singular run with the character to a close, and threatens to leave capes forever, he really doesn't let up on bringing the weird.

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This isn't essential reading for Morrison acolytes (especially given his lack of involvement) nor Batman fans, but there are certainly worse things to spend your money on.

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The showstopper is Jim Lee's art, which has been of a very particular fan-pleasing style for quite some time, and it's wonderful to see him cut loose on a very different BD-inspired approach to pencil and inks, with the latter washes still feeling wet even in the digital format.

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Those hoping for a comic book follow-up to the recent series, or even something continuing the prematurely aborted Caprica, may be disappointed to find that this is based on the original Glen A. Larson series from the 1970s. Yet it's still a great licence for Dynamite to keep exploiting, not least of which when sci-fi masters Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (collectively known as DnA) are aboard for their take on this series.

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However, the book also follows many of the same tropes as familiar serial killer dramas, and there is a chance that this could be more Dexter than Mr. J. We'll definitely come back next month though.

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Filled with humour, knowing references and a very self-aware style, Cooke is not the problem here, but rather the rules that come with writing in someone else's world.

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Alan Moore may have rejected this series, and perhaps rightfully so, but his ideals remain intact in this issue.

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Make no mistake: Black Canary remains one of the most interesting books DC is putting out at the moment, and Fletcher's saga grows more intriguing by the month. It's not so much of it being a "rare misstep" so much as one weighted down by the necessity of launching into a new arc feet first.

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In the debut issue, Krul really gave us a sense of the world his characters inhabited, and it's disappointing that this issue is incremental in its progression. However, one gets the feeling that everything at the moment is a slow build waiting to explode.

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A book where we can honestly say that we don't know what will happen next, and feel compelled to stick around and find out.

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Like the character of Joe Toomey, Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises is an affable throwback to the 1970s. Bruce Lee fans who also read comic books will actually find more it has more common with the comedic/espionage plotting of a Jackie Chan classic, but the combination mostly works. While this probably would have worked better as an extended one-shot, the mystery around Lee's return and the group behind it provides enough mystery to warrant at least a second look.

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A startling original take on what could have been a standard concept doesn't alway work, but it can't be faulted for lack of imagination.

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There's an overwhelming sense of nostalgia that surrounds this issue, just as it does with much of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's collaborations.

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Captain Marvel #1 leaves us on a cliffhanger that takes Carol in a very different direction to what has come before, and this rapid change of direction signals a creative team willing to take some chances. It also means that there's still some more exposition to come. After this kitchen sink approach to the first book in the series, it's evident that these creators have the core of the character down pat, and it will be great to see this team settle into something more focused.

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Cavalry: 50 Years of S.H.I.E.L.D. is a familiar albeit engaging foray into the crossover world between television and comics. Several references to "Doombots" mean that this doesn't sit entirely in a Marvel Cinematic Universe that is devoid of Fox-owned Fantastic Four characters, but nevertheless opens up the characters of the television series to a slightly larger world, even if it is in passing conversation. By no means essential reading for either fans of the TV series or readers of the S.H.I.E.L.D. ongoing, it's a rapid one-off story that is designed purely to keep fans of May happy.

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At this early stage, Civil War II suffers some of the problems that have beleaguered similar narratives in recent years, principally in seeing heroes all too quick to take sides against comrades on a possible future. Indeed, Bendis has set big goals for himself in the past with events built around time travel and alternate timelines, and this series is a variation on some of those recent themes. Yet this is also just the beginning of something much larger, and while it may seem at times like this is an extended version of the "zero" issue that preceded it, all the pieces are now in place for the "war" proper to commence.

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Although this is undoubtedly not the Constantine of old, Lemire and Fawkes fundamentally get the character and infuse him with enough of his roguish charms to make him a sufficient bastard for this debut series. Instantly giving off a cinematic supernatural detective vibe, this first action-packed issues rips along at a great pace, throwing in just enough intrigue to make us want to see more in the second issue.

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In some ways, these mini-series are aiming for classicism, but falling short in execution that is hampered by the "rules" of the event. While the scope of Convergence: Speed Force is much bigger than some of its contemporaries, it is still difficult to get too invested in sets of characters that by necessity may be wiped out by the end of this run. However, what Beddard has achieved is balancing these small inevitable stories up against something much bigger than any individual character. It will remain to be seen whether this particular Flash will prove to be more significant in the wider Convergence, but if history is a guide, there will be at least one Flash disappearing in a Crisis.

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Sturges is well on his way to building a full world here, and we're intrigued enough to want to see what comes next.

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Special mention needs to be made of Javier Rodriguez's colouring, as it makes Davis's artwork pop all the more. Regular readers can rest assured that Mark Waid will be back on board for the exciting but far less upbeat story in the pages of the regular book.

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Dark Knight III: The Master Race is so far exactly what one would expect from a book carrying this title, and perhaps that is what is holding it back from being great. It's a reminder of the greatest hits of Batman, a character that is necessarily defined by key moments in his existence. It sometimes seems that Batman has been mining the darker nights since the 1980s, although our era certainly lends itself to heroes that exhibit parallels the vigilantism of that earlier decade. It won't be until the subsequent chapters that we truly get to see if this is merely tipping a hat to a moment in time, or if it will break free and deliver a fresh and original playlist.

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There's a scene in this issue where Carrie injects a large needle into Bruce's knee, and his mixture of pain and relief could almost capture the sentiments of the reader at this midway point in the series. Dark Knight III: The Master Race is not the messy rollercoaster that its predecessor was often seen as, but it isn't the groundbreaker this version of Batman once was either. At an elongated running time of eight issues, it also feels like a long walk-up to something wholly familiar as well, but with the surprises it has still managed to offer so far, it's hard to count the master out of the race just yet.

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Several months and almost 20 issues into this event, Snyder has certainly kept the wheels of hopelessness spinning for what’s left of our heroes. As the second act of this potentially universe-changing saga comes to a close, there is a battle cry that heralds a sweeping finale. Yet having only moved inches since the end of the fourth issue, we’re left wondering how the light can possibly find its way back into the multiverse after all this darkness has permeated its shiniest of beacons.

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With Day Men, Steelfreeze might have just invented vampire mafia noir.

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It's hard to complain in a book called Deadpool Vs. Thanos when the bloodletting we crave fills frames in a frenzy of fists.

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What we have with Death of Hawkman is a mystery, but not the one that the title leads you to believe. To Andreyko’s credit, it’s an incredibly accessible book, with no prior knowledge really required for either the Hawkman or Adam Strange bits. Whether this results in the comic book death that makes the world stop and shrug in unison is yet to be seen, but it’s off to an interesting if not wholly arresting start.

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Taking the four issues together, Debris is still one of the strongest and most original mini-series we've seen in a while. What will be especially good will be the inevitable trade collection, where all of this saga can be read in its cinematic whole. The lack of a prolonged ending should be a minor quibble, and perhaps it is simply that we didn't want this series to end so soon.

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The premise is a solid one, although this patchy first issue makes us ponder whether the concept has legs to sustain a series.

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George Mann's script is mostly self-contained, which is incredibly pleasing for the casual fan reader, but this story in particular could have used a few extra chapters to elongate the drama.

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The slower pace of the first issue gives way to a barrage of technobabble from the Time Lord, as he and his companion Gabby flee from fear monsters, as writer Nick Abadzis perfectly capturing actor David Tennant's way of delivering a wibbly wobbly line at rapid pace.

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A colorful and fun opening, it's just that it's difficult to reconcile with the ongoing BBC TV production.

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Riley Rossmo's gorgeous art sells the world, beginning with something that is almost Japanese influenced as the protagonist has a vision in a pond, before emerging out the other side of a Western by way of Paris, Texas. Coupled with Karl Fan's amazing colours, which make maximum use of Rossmo's minimal frame fillers, it's the hook that keeps readers visually engaged enough to want to know more about this puzzle.

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Perhaps Drumhellar is not designed to be read in the same way as a traditional comic book, and is more akin to a visual puzzle than a straightforward detective yarn. It certainly makes no immediate claims on the latter, short of a having a ronin "Constantine" type at the helm. When it isn't deliberately obfuscating, there's plenty of levity to be had in the interaction between the main players too. In fact, to change a single frame of it would be to alter what makes Drumhellar a bit special in the first place, but at least then it might start to make a little more sense.

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It's all two shades away from being a straight-up Scooby Doo episode, but people who find themselves in the common chunk of Venn Diagrams for classic cinema and crypt-keeper comic books will find a fun home here.

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It might not be quite up to scratch with the main series that inspired it, but it is nevertheless a worthy companion to one of the most essential pieces of comic literature in the last few decades. Working primarily as an adaptation of the video game rather than being concerned with the expansion of the source material, this gives Fables: The Wolf Among Us scope to tell some good investigative stories within a world that was well defined by others. It gives us hope that there will be many more stories to tell by different voices within this world for years to come.

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The Flash #20 is very much a fill-in issue in many respects, adhering to the formula of following a secondary character for ad adventure where all's well that (mostly) ends well. Yet with a reveal of new foe on the horizon, even if it disappointingly indicates another speedster villain, Williamson has put some new pieces on the board. However, it is all merely a chance to pause for breath before next issue's Batman tie-in and what is sure to be the most talked-about crossover of the year in "The Button."

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The biggest problem with the issue is that the cliffhanger ending undoes some of the impact of the previous issue. On page and screen, there's been an overreliance on speedster villains for the last few years, and the spectacular end(s) to one of them in "The Button" gets seemingly reversed (get it?) in a single panel. It's why the Joker has recently been kept out of the comic books for a year or so at a time. Even so, this is a solid issue that hits the ground running and rarely lets up.

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It's this sense of despair that has us treading cautiously into this grim territory. Johns has given us the solid foundations of an epic event, just as he did with "Trinity War" before it. Yet this has a familiar feeling to it, and it's almost like starting over after coming so close to something that felt like a conclusion to two years worth of questions. With villain origin stories popping up all across the line, perhaps a New Dark 52 is on the horizon.

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While this may have been better off as a Steve Trevor one-shot, with little evidence so far that there's enough material here to sustain an entire mini-series, it is one of the first main "Forever Evil" tie-ins to give some glimmer of hope that there's a plan to get out of this thing.

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The six-issue mini-series has a lot of promise, and even though there is a familiar set of characters already at play, it's a slickly-told version. Frostbite doesn't so much demand your attention as casually invite you in to sit by the fire for a while and warm your weary eyes. As one of the characters in the book notes, an artificial warmth is only noticeable when you step away from it, and this pilot doesn't yet give us much of an indication of whether there is true warmth to be had from the series. We think we know enough of this narrative to say that, for now at least, ice will suffice.

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Of course, Neil Gaiman's The Dead Boy Detectives star in a story by Toby Litt with layouts by Mark Buckingham (Fables), and the various styles from dark to cartoony make this one of the book's centrepieces. It will continue on in the next Vertigo anthology, whenever that may be. We just hope we don't have to wait another year!

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One of the more original books of the year has the difficult task of following an outrageous first issue, and it doesn't alway live up to the task.

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Prior to Flashpoint, Green Arrow was one of the essential reads of the DCU, yet J.T. Krul's storytelling ability failed to translate into the new and younger vision of Oliver Queen. Nocenti's arrival barely helped matters, failing to recognise that going full throttle around the world is no substitute for character development, something Arrow's writers (especially Krul, Mike Grell and Judd Winick) had always been in tune with.

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This issue of Green Arrow demonstrates the dangers of trying to link stories with arcs beginning in other books, and how corporate synergy has a role to play in mainstream comics. To the credit of Lemire, he mostly overcomes this in a straightforward issue, promising a much bigger story to emerge from "The Outsiders War."

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Sorrentino excels in the lush playground of the island's jungle, but gives us some rare light-hearted art in the lead-up as well. The gentle back-and-forth between Ollie's crew (over pizza and beverages, no less!) showcases a brighter side for a comic that has gone to some dark places in recent months, and gives us a nice segue into an origin-defining arc for the increasingly high profile character.

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Despite some minor misgivings, GREEN ARROW is heading in the right direction under Percy. Free from the burden of another globe-trotting adventure, and delightfully free of blonde triplets, this grounded approach is where Ollie should be, and here's hoping Percy stays on this course long enough to give us some status quo. References to the Tacoma light rail and killer whales are no more on the nose than Grell's lingering shots of the Pike Markets, and it is to Grell that Percy appears to look when he approaches this character. This can only be a good thing, and we can't wait to see what he has in store for the next arc.

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Much of the issues appears to be a long setup for the return of a familiar character on the final page. It’s heralded by a full-page glory shot of the character spouting their new codename, a wonderfully impactful moment that would have even more power if Percy hadn’t used the exact motif to announce the arrival of the "new" Merlyn last issue. Even so, Percy and his rotating art teams continue to provide a classic version of Green Arrow, even if it’s a little too "greatest hits" at times.

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All's well that ends well in what amounts to a fairly goofy conclusion, where even the bad guy gets a happy ending at Christmas.

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Venditti is thrown in at the deep end with not just Green Lantern, but also by taking on responsibilities for Green Lantern Corps as well. In the final pages of this issue, we are given a whiff of what Venditti has in store for us in the coming issues, including the introduction of a new villain for the Forever Evil event in September. It is far too early to tell if the series is in safe post-Johns hands just yet, but it is undoubtedly pointed in the right direction.

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Kindt leaves us with little doubt that Sinestro's story is far from over, and while this issue adds little in the way of new perspective on the character, it does provide a handy overview for one of the most essential villains in the DCU. If anything, there's just as much scope for exploring the fate of Lyssa Drak in future issues as there is Sinestro, but the fate of the two now seems to be inexplicably tied. However, as much as these issues have worked as a curiosity, it will be far more rewarding to return to the main narrative next month to see how the events of "Lights Out" relate to larger issues in the DCU.

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It's an inauspicious start to the second chapter of Venditti's Lantern tales, neither bringing the same impact or promise of a major shift ahead of it. Instead, it feels very much like an epilogue that didn't fit into a single issue.

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We still have faith that Morrison has a grand plan in mind, so perhaps the best course of action is to just strap in and hope for the best.

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Steve McNiven and Sara Pichelli's art is incredibly striking though, particularly shining on the sleek designs of the Guardians' ships and suits. There's also a double-page spread filled with a holographic image that is a showstopper, but perhaps that is because it is also filled with almost 20 of Bendis's word balloons. This might be a changed group, but let's hope that nobody is forgetting the fun and irreverence that made the last series so critically successful.

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Valerio Schiti's art convincingly conveys the outlandishness of this space saga, although his cartoony choices for Rocket and Groot in particular make them feel as though they've stepped in from another book entirely, and partially undermine the drama of one of the best cliffhanger endings of the series to date.

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It's hard to tell at this early stage if the familiar set-up, with two factions splitting off over the potential use/misuse of the powerful Black Vortex artifact, is a retread of similar Avengers/Guardians/X-Men encounters over the last few years. Yet the book hits the ground running with some gorgeous art by Valerio Schiti, especially during the sequences in which a character is "touched" by the power, and some lovely moments between Kitty and Peter Quill.

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Harley fans will truly dig it, and already be in line for the inevitable National Peanut Day Special just in time for September 13.

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There's probably still a desire for most readers to find out what happens next, but if they are anything like this issue then they certainly have no sense of urgency.

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The introduction of the Red Mist might have been one element too many, but for the first time in a while, we are interested in what comes next.

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Romita's art is still deliberately gritty, but it comes together as whole with greater clarity here. Definitely worth a look, and a must-read for fans of the series.

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In D4ve, the narrative told us that the weird thing about robots was that they ultimately adopted the nuances of their human creators. If we follow that line of thinking, then Hot Damn is the thematic sibling to the creative team's previous outing, and we have only just scraped the surface of what it has to offer. Whether this is a redemption story of a bit of fantasy tourism is yet to be seen, but the final hook of this debut has damned us to return for another look when the sophomore issue hits.

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A comical take on a Raymond Chandler-esque plot - where Toomes is a literal vulture, the feline femme fatale is Black Cat, and Kingpin is a gorilla - it's a bit like reading Blacksad under the influence of heavy hallucinogens.

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"It's possible that we solicited a six-issue miniseries and are shipping a sixteen-issue series," Hickman recently told Comic Shop News. The fear, of course, is that he's dead on the money, but just in a way he didn't intend. As it has already been revealed that this series will"jumpstart a long-dormant genetic inhuman strain"with Matt Fraction andJoe Madureira's Inhuman later this year. Despite this, it's a cautious thumbs up for this first issue, pointing the Marvel Cosmic Universe in the right direction for a major clash, but still needing to show us the ability to pull it all together.

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Ultimately, it's a fable about disillusionment, about seeing that the emperor has no clothes and being unable to view it any other way once glimpsed. It's a promising start for an arc that is yet to define its main point of drama, and for now this serves as a teaser for future issues.

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Garth Ennis' revival of the Johnny Red character throws us straight into the dogfights of World War II this time, with a lavishly detailed dogfight from artist Keith Burns gracing the title pages.

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What this rebooted Judge Dredd represents is a mystery, albeit one not everyone is going to want to solve. Dredd as a fish-out-of-water is always an interesting concept, and there is plenty here to pick apart going forward. Yet those in the market for a more traditional Dredd story may do well looking elsewhere, as this is less about enforcement and more about exploration.

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While not a jaw-droppingly amazing issue, it does encourage readers to sink into the world a little deeper. Fans might not find anything of particular consequence here, but if the aim was to slowly hook in new readers to this classic character, then Matt Smith definitely has us firmly in his sights.

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The new line-up may give some cause for excitement, but all of the hoopla in the final 5 pages really just masks a second renumbering next month in the space of a year.

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Coupled with some inconsistent art from a whole team of pencillers, it's a slow month for the Justice League. Fortunately, back-up story Shazam! Chapter 12 continues to be one of the best titles in the DC lineup.

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The basic building blocks are all here for an interesting introduction to a new world, but this is still ultimately the fundamental dilemma of Forever Evil. It's a beginning of something when it should be the dramatic apex following an already cataclysmic change. With the main story continuing in the pages of the seven-part Forever Evil mini-series, it's just hard to escape the feeling that DC's flagship title is being used here as a sideshow to the main event.

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Justice League #40 is an extended prelude, and as such it's designed to tease the next big arc, something that it does incredibly well. Yet it is necessarily coupled with the Divergence giveaway chapter, which is arguably a more compelling prologue than this. That interrelationship weakens both introductions, cheapening the start of DC's next big crossover and taking some of the wind out of the sails. That said, if this first issue is anything to go by, then "Darkseid War" is gearing up to be one of the biggest showdowns on the the far side of Covergence and The Multiversity.

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While the first issue in this series may have struggled to find the team's dynamic, Hitch is slowly bringing it together here. There's a genuine sense of threat, and that lack of team cohesion creates a war being fought on two fronts for the fledgling team. It's inevitably leading a climax where the separate parts become a whole, but for the moment leaves the reader with an odd sense of foreboding.

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The conclusion to the issue is a cliffhanger that lives up to the promise of the grand beginning, and gives one of the less-defined Leaguers a new threat to contend with. If nothing else, Hitch keeps escalating the stakes of the issue so he has no choice but to bring it down hard when the first arc of the "Rebirth" title concludes next issue.

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The problem with the book as an ongoing prospect is that this is simply not a team that ultimately works well together, from a story point of view at least. Seemingly preselected rather than organically grown out of another title, the odd mix don't stand out as individuals. We're mostly looking at you, Vibe

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For a while it looked as though Justice League of America, replacing the cancelled Justice League International, would quickly follow the fate of its predecessor. Yet it is also becoming an integral part of the modern DCU. Now free of the boardrooms and discussions that dominated the first issue, the fieldwork proves to be intriguing.

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Justice League of America #6 is the difficult middle chapter of the first half of this crossover, mostly serving to set up the introduction of the Justice League Dark chapter next week. To this end, the issue works successfully in building up the pieces of the broader puzzle, but it may leave readers attached to the core members of the team out in the cold. Regardless, the Trinity War remains one of the more thrilling events of the year, and it will be interesting to go back and place this book in context when the entire saga is done.

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Minds are not exactly being blown yet. Immediately hired by A.R.G.U.S, the same secret branch of the US military that is putting the Justice League of America together, it is too early to tell whether the hero, or this book, can stand on its own two legs. Our prediction is a fifth (or is it sixth?) wave replacement for this title, but is worth a look as an a "bonus feature" to Justice League of America #1.

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There are some seriously awe-striking moments in King, and the basic premise is unquestionably a lot of fun. So while it feels complete weird to say this in relation to a book that has a bruiser of a leather-bound biker duck and pterodactyl in a Lakers jersey, there's still a vague sense that we've been down part of this road before. Fialkov and his terrific art team have defined the parameters of this strange future world, and what they do with it next will be of particular interest.

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"The Korvac Saga" is a classic story that has been adapted in various animated series, but in the context of Secret Wars it's mostly an excuse to throw the original Guardians of the Galaxy against a version of The Avengers.

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This is ultimately the hurdle that Lazarus has to overcome, presenting a series of overly familiar situations without sufficient reasons to care about the fairly standard characters found within. The opening hook is an interesting, albeit violent, one and sets the tone for this first issue. There are enough concepts here for Rucka to run with throughout this ongoing, which is why a second look is justified next month, yet this first issue does little to distinguish itself from the plethora of similar books on the market.

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Lobo, both the book at the character, certainly works much better in this new incarnation, and there is far more scope and potential for this version than any that has come before. The OG Lobo will undoubtedly have his faithful minions, and that Czarnian will forever remain a part of comic book history, filed under the excesses of the late 1980s and 1990s. New Lobo is still slightly tied to his past, and perhaps a victim of convention, but he's also undoubtedly a fun new addition to the DCU.

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Creepy, intriguing and filled with beautiful art, Lot 13 may not have the most original premise, but it is another one to watch from a month of creepy debuts.

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Following Marvel Comics Presents and Journey into Unknown Worlds, Marvel revives another classic anthology series for a one-shot collection of stories from top creators.

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A surprisingly strong book, and we hope to see more of this from Image.

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This series will undoubtedly be more interesting when this tie-in is over.

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The intriguing premise is filled with shadow groups, significant symbols, dream logic, and space travel to save a dying planet, but there is a lot going on for a first issue. It's difficult to follow at times, but for now they must be considered puzzle pieces for a greater whole.

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In its current format, Looker reads like a TV pilot of a Angel-style investigative mystery series. Coupled with a beautiful Guillem March cover, and equally lush Mike S. Miller interiors, this is one we hope gets picked up for series.

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If you are looking for a book that has got all the delightfully bad characters you love simply blowing things up, then New Suicide Squad just might be the title for you. Setting up future rivalries signals some interesting potential storylines, but for now it remains a solid piece of brain candy.

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The literal crash-landing of an ending brings the series smack-bang into the rest of the "Old Man" universe, and it's more the potential of a second issue than anything here that is likely to bring us back for more.

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While this mini-series isn't an ongoing in the New 52, it could quite easily fit into there without any effort, and pacing issues aside, it is a hell of a lot of fun. Artwork from Cat Staggs, who is best known for her work with the Star Wars/Lucasfilm family, is spot-on for the tone of the tale, bringing life and allure to Phantom Lady without it being just another plastic pin-up. Indeed, it's a strong issue for female artists, with Amanda Conner behind the eye-catching front cover as well. One to keep an eye on.

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Power Lines might not always be a wholly original debut, but it is nevertheless an important one. Robinson throws out some intriguing plot points that warrant further investigation, and it's clear that there's a deeper mythology that he is itching to explore. It's a tough criticism, but Power Lines does suffer in comparison with Robinson's superb work of the last few years, but perhaps that it is because it doesn't slap you in the face with its uniqueness just yet. Then again, the social relevancy and racial issues that the book raises before you even open the cover will be as faraway a world as The Empty for a number of readers, and if Robinson can put those issues on the readers' agenda in a lovingly illustrated superhero origin, then Power Lines may yet have a few surprises up its sleeve.

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The team of DeConnick, Rios and Bellaire work together on a dream-like narrative, one that is almost too dense in some ways. Like Hickman's East of West, DeConnick's Pretty Deadly is full of hidden meaning and concurrent stories, and while we're sure that they will gradually reveal themselves over time, DeConnick seems keen to share a whole bunch of them which the reader at once.

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Brunswick doesn't overdo the insider references, and Willard is a well rounded character. Bogdanovic crafts this plastic world of LA around him at an appropriate level, and his parallel comic within a comic is deliberately familiar and derivative.

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This is an annual that only properly works if you are already invested in the title. As such, it's not a bad issue, just realistically Red Hood and the Outlaws #20.1, with little more revealed than Green Arrow and Roy knew each other once, and they disagreed over some things. It has piqued interest enough to see where this series goes now, and perhaps on that level it has succeeded.

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There's a lot of promise in Red Thorn, especially if it takes the time to allow some of these individually great concepts to breathe on their own. Isla comes fully formed out of the gate, and the mystery it initially presents is genuinely compelling. The only issue is that Baillie undercuts some of his own drama by over-explaining a climax, albeit one that does neatly set us up for the next chapter.

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Sex is a pornographic soap opera, moving along an inch at a time and only teasing us with something bigger to come. Perhaps when it is finally all in place, we'll be able to see if these few extra inches make all the difference.

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Mark Millar's ready-for-Netflix bounty hunter with a heart of gold comes roaring out of the gate in a blaze of futuristic bullets, combining the writer's penchant for bold character in high-concept scenarios.

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It's a no-frills enterprise with no alarms or surprises, but also incredibly fun in the process. It may not get you rethinking everything you ever knew about Sheena Queen of the Jungle, but it may just get you reading her again.

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