Russ Bickerstaff's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: You Don't Read Comics Reviews: 103
8.3Avg. Review Rating

9.6
Age of X-Man: Alpha #1

Feb 5, 2019

This is the opening of a 32-page epic thatll play out over the course of five months. Anything as huge and overwhelming as that is bound to have some flaws here and there. This opening issue sets a pretty high bar for the rest of the event. If most of the rest of The Age of X-Man can live-up to the quality of this issue, it should be one hell of a journey.

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7.0
Age Of X-Man: Apocalypse & The X-Tracts #1

Mar 14, 2019

As an introduction, the first issue of Apocalypse and the X-Tracts is a fun introduction to the fringe of The Age of X-Man. As a standalone narrative, it felt too flat and scattered to make much of an impact on its own.

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9.0
Age Of X-Man: NextGen #1

Feb 13, 2019

The Age of X-Man is now in its third week. One of the big challenges moving forward is going to lie in keeping each of the titles distinct and integral to the overall structure of the event. If anything feels at all like its not totally necessary for the development of the world as a whole, the integrity of the whole 32-part event might start to falter. With the first issue of NextGen, Brisson cleverly lays the foundations for a coming-of-age in a world of mutant social integration.

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9.6
Age Of X-Man: NextGen #2

Mar 20, 2019

A solidly entertaining issue for the second month in a row lends Next Gen the distinction of being one of the better (and possibly the best) of the Age of X-Man mini-series. Exciting characters are going through exciting things.  The danger is right around the corner from everybody, and there isnt a character in this issue which isnt in over his or her head in ways that arent totally apparent to them just yet. Hopefully, Brisson and To can maintain this quality through the end of the series.

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8.4
Age Of X-Man: Prisoner X #1

Mar 7, 2019

Drama and atmosphere are satisfying in the first of five issues that are likely to take place entirely in prison for superhuman mutants. The introduction to the series isnt quite as amusing as it could have been.

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8.4
Age Of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #1

Feb 21, 2019

Every other title in the Age of X-Man event seems to be focussing on people dealing with various problems. With this title we have someone seemingly having the time of his life. Its a sharp place to start and a smartly-framed contrast to the rest of what is shaping-up to be an interesting journey into a parallel Marvel universe.

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6.0
Age Of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #2

Mar 20, 2019

Between troubles on the set and troubles of the heart, McGuire and Frigeri are giving Nightcrawler some fun obstacles to roll through, but without his flashy personal stylishness, the character feels a little flat on the page. No one wants to see a stoic Nightcrawler. His passion is part of what makes him Nightcrawler. If McGuire and Frigeri can start to bring that to the page a little bit more, Nightcrawler will feel a bit more himself as the series continues into its second half.

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8.4
Age Of X-Man: The Marvelous X-Men #1

Feb 6, 2019

With this first issue of the first full series in the Age of X-Man event, Thompson and Nadler have lowered another foundational chapter into place that feels fresh and clever. As a whole, the event is hugely ambitious. This one chapter feels appealingly modular. There IS a conflict that gets resolved in dramatic fashion at the beginning of the issue, but theres A LOT of world-building going on here that shows careful thought toward the narrative mega-structure of a series with weekly chapters coming out through the middle of the year.

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6.0
Age Of X-Man: The Marvelous X-Men #2

Mar 16, 2019

Theres a hell of a lot going on in the multi-mini-series Age of X-Man event. Its a sizable finite story playing out in a micro-verse with so many moving parts. Chapters like this are going to inevitably crop-up here and there as the overall story shifts from one major event to the next. Necessarily there is going to be the occasional issue that is doing more work going over what has already been expressed in other chapters. Hopefully, there arent too many issues like this, though.

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7.0
Age Of X-Man: X-Tremists #1

Feb 27, 2019

The cheesiness of a dystopia that outlaws love is muted here in a very dramatic story that trudges through the drudgery of establishing another collection of familiar heroes in another parallel universe. Given the animalistic emotional nature of the people our heroes are going out to deal with, the issue is not without its impact as the opening round of the Age of X-Man titles begins to draw to a close.

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9.0
Auntie Agatha's Home For Wayward Rabbits #3

Jan 9, 2019

Its strange to see Auntie Agathas world so fully realized after only three chapters. Since issue one, its felt like a series that has been running for years, complete with the interpersonal dynamics between a girl, her rabbits, and her elderly auntie. Giffen and Roman have created something that is quite enticingly unlike anything else. Its a sitcomic book and wouldnt feel quite right in any other format. Hopefully this is the halfway point of something that will have a long and healthy life, even after the mini-series reaches its conclusion. 

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9.6
Auntie Agatha's Home For Wayward Rabbits #4

Feb 13, 2019

Given the slow, refreshingly relaxed pace of the comic book, Giffen and Roman are establishing something that could continue for years without ever feeling anywhere near as tired or fatigued as Sawyer is throughout this issue. Theres a vivid freshness about the whole thing even though the hipster funny animal genre has been more or less dead for decades. The cast of characters feels immense. Theres so much that can happen on a tiny, little property with so many strange rabbits.

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9.6
Auntie Agatha's Home For Wayward Rabbits #5

Mar 11, 2019

Giffen and Roman end the issue on quite a little cliffhanger. They do so in a way that is suitably stagnant for a series which has become so defined by idle moments in the lives of those living in impending doom of losing their homes and ultimately their lives. Once again, Giffen and Roman brilliantly develop a very unique blend of satire and serious drama.

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9.6
Avengers (2018) #16

Mar 7, 2019

The pairing of Aaron and Marquez has achieved pleasant alchemy with this issue. The Avengers have tried to go in the direction of the demonic and supernatural in the past without quite managing anything anywhere near as impressive as theyve accomplished on a more cosmic level, but with Aaron and Marquez crafting the story, they fit right into the action horror superheroing. If they can string together a few more issues like this, the Avengers might finally have a satisfying brush with the supernatural.

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9.6
Avengers (2018) #17

Mar 20, 2019

Blade is hanging out with a mini-Man-Thing. Jen literally blows-up. Blade performs a decapitation and Captain Marvel shoots a blast right through the head of a vampire. There's witty dialogue and brisk pacing. Its a fun conclusion to the story for Aaron and Marquez. Next month, Ed McGuinness takes over the art as the War of the Realms crossover event. Aaron has an opportunity to take the team in new directions as the Squadron Supreme re-enters the picture once more like the United States latest superhero team.  

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8.0
Avengers: No Road Home #3

Feb 27, 2019

The A-Team/B-Team approach to the large ensemble substantially aids the third issue of No Road Home. Theres almost enough here between the two different groups to warrant a pair of satisfyingly interlocked mini-series, but expanding the action too much might make the series feel that much more padded-out and cumbersome. The creative team behind the book seems to have found just the right amount of action to fill the book.

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8.4
Avengers: No Road Home #4

Mar 7, 2019

Nyx is actually a really cool villain with a profoundly resonant background, so the issue feels satisfying as it leads-in to the halfway point of the twelve segment No Road Home mini-series. The story of Nyx and her kids almost feel drawn from some end of Neil Gaimans Sandman and into a more aggressively brutal Marvel iteration of godliness. This issues pacing sets things up quite well for rising action that will doubtlessly rush through the fifth issue.

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9.0
Avengers: No Road Home #5

Mar 16, 2019

The introduction of one more hero at issues end is meant to have a bit more impact than it probably does. This may be a mega-popular legendary hero who first appeared at the dawn of the twentieth century, but Marvel has a decades long history with the character and his appearance here just isnt nearly as impressive as it needs to be. . . And given that the introduction at issues end is kind of a jarring smash-cut of a thing, its difficult to say quite precisely where the series is going from here, but a major conflict has ended, and further adventure awaits next issue.

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8.0
Avengers: No Road Home #6

Mar 20, 2019

Its nice to see more Conan for Marvel. With this crossover and titles like Conan and Blit, it almost feels like the barbarian was never really gone. That being said, this crossover doesnt REALLY feel like a crossover. Its just...Scarlet Witch hanging out with a barbarian. It wont really start to feel dynamic until the second half of the ten-part mini-series really sets in next issue with greater integration between the realm of Marvel and the realm of Robert E. Howard.

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7.0
Batgirl (2016) #27

Oct 10, 2018

Barbara Gordon is a fun character to follow into shadows, whether or not they are rendered in great detail. Shes not some old, rich guy with a vendetta; shes risking a lot more than some multi-millionaire avenging his parents. If Scott could pair her up with a villian that had a bit more depth, this could be a very clever evolution beyond the traditional Batman formula, but Scott falls just a bit short of the well-balanced brilliance that could make her truly unique.

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7.0
Batgirl (2016) #28

Oct 25, 2018

Scott guides the story through the penultimate chapter with a somewhat stilted rhythm. It's an awkward collection of moments to try to frame inside a single issue.

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8.0
Batgirl (2016) #30

Jan 2, 2019

Scott Explores divisions between father and daughter in the first part of a story in which shadows of the past loom into the present. Its a promising opening to a new chapter for Barbara. Shes gaining some level of independence having been recovering from serious injury in the recent past. With the opening of the story established, this new chapter in the life of Batgirl should find some interesting new momentum.

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8.0
Batgirl (2016) #31

Jan 30, 2019

Scott and company arent reaching for something revolutionary with this story. Its a solidly-produced earthbound crimefighter fiction with a badass heroine trying to aid in a fair election, which is admirable in the current political climate. Just enough of a mix of topical action and intrigue to make for an entertaining read.

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8.0
Batgirl (2016) #32

Feb 27, 2019

Batgirls shaken at issues end. Scott has put her through some really intense action over the course of the issue and theres a definite tension leading to the upcoming chapters. (The next one comes in the form of a crossover tie-in to The Batman Who Laughs miniseries.) This issue works remarkably well on its own, though. Scott has been doing a good job of delivering individual issues that feel self-contained while building ongoing tension in a larger story arc.

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8.0
Batman Beyond (2016) #27

Jan 9, 2019

Jurgens delivers a solidly satisfying bit of storytelling here that fails to live-up to its potential.

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5.0
Batman Beyond (2016) #28

Jan 29, 2019

Its nice to see Jurgens etching the echoes of the past into a future Batman, but it would be nice to see it develop into something new, which just might start to really assert itself once the action dies down and the drama ramps-up in the next issue. A new Robin lies in the hands of a very old Joker. Grayson isnt far away. Things could get interesting.

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7.0
Batman Beyond (2016) #29

Feb 27, 2019

Its a suitable climax to a long-running conflict. Booth and company close-out a series with some level of satisfaction, but its totally clear that this is no final ending, but theres a somber moment at issues end that feels like a much-needed rest amidst the reflection on a lifelong conflict. Theres no real insight here, but there doesnt need to be. Aggression and retribution remain as meaningless as ever, but theres a pearl of moody wisdom about the ending that feels appropriately final even if it isnt the end.

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8.0
Black Widow (2019) #1

Jan 16, 2019

The Soskas and company have a really resonant dynamic that feels quite unlike anything else being brought to the racks so far this year. The Soskas vision for Black Widow feels uniquely fresh while remaining true to the type of story that works best for Marvels redheaded Russian spy. An opening as satisfying as this shows great potential for the remaining four issues in the series.

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9.6
Black Widow (2019) #2

Feb 21, 2019

The Soska sisters bring on the brutality in a second issue that allows Black Widow to be extremely vicious to low-level villain who clearly deserve it in a surreal amplification of the street-level criminal darkness thats actually lurking out there in the real world. The villains have been revealed in this second issue. Now the Soskas have the rest of the series to navigate Black Widow through them in pursuit of justice for young victims like the one she encounters this issue.

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8.4
Blackbird #1

Oct 13, 2018

A world of magic just ever so slightly out of step with everyone in LA has great potential. The urban fantasy genre has been covered by so many others so many times before, and in so many other ways, so the series DOES run the risk of potentially veering off into clichd territory. Nina comes across as a very subtly unique character with the potential to transcend the genre. If Humphries remain true to those narrative elements that make Nina unique, he might just have something special here.

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8.0
Blackbird #2

Nov 9, 2018

Blackbird continues to coax magic and mystery out of a magical urban fantasy genre that has become overdone in the course of the past 20 years or so. This is quite an accomplishment. Theres something really appealing in the haunting brevity of the series thus far. The first two issues combined might only be a dozen minutes worth of reading, but Humphries and Bartel are building a world that lingers in the imagination well beyond the page.

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8.0
Blackbird #4

Jan 9, 2019

The series may have missed an opportunity to do something truly original, but as pop urban fantasy Blackbird keeps it light, rolling into its fourth issue. Moments of clever originality between Nina and Sharpie continue to rest around the edges of a supernatural family drama that is beginning to pick up steam as relationships continue to get more and more complicated each month.

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8.4
Blackbird #5

Feb 13, 2019

The big revelation at the end of the issue delivers quite an impact. In a way it feels as though the end of the fifth issue reaches a resolution on so much that it almost reaches its own kind of ending. Not everything is resolved, but the central mysteries set-up in the beginning of the series have all been revealed. Humphries and Bartel could take the series in an infinite array of different directions from here. It will remain to be seen if they can keep the satisfying balance that they had achieved in the first five issues.

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8.0
Blackbird #6

Mar 11, 2019

With so much of the initial world-building out of the way, Humphries and Bartel can start to explore sophistications in the plot in issues to come. The two have yet to find the perfect balance between drama and magic that will fully realize Blackbirds potential, but this sixth issue is a rare instance of an urban fantasy series eschewing everything else, but the conflict between actions and intentions of people chance and circumstance have pitted against each other. The first arc ends in satisfying drama that is thoughtfully brought to the page.  

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9.6
Catwoman (2018) #3

Oct 10, 2018

Its fun to see this sort of noir feel for Kyle and Catwoman. Shes a badass. Not afraid to turn down an offer she cant refuse or climb out of an icy tub and into her costume with a few broken ribs. Theres no fear. There doesnt seem to be any sense of self-preservation either. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the long run. An unflappably cool character is only cool for so long. Sooner or later shes going to have to have a more emotional reaction. For now, this is actually really cool, though.

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7.0
Catwoman (2018) #4

Oct 14, 2018

Its always nice to dive into a characters past. As cheesy as it feels in places, the Catgirl mood actually kind of works. Itd be fun to dive into a juvenile Catwoman a bit more through Jones panels, but it feels like a rather strange departure from what the series has been thus far, though itll be interesting to see where Jones takes the narrative with Doctor Finick in the next issue.

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6.0
Catwoman (2018) #5

Nov 16, 2018

The overall rhythm of Jones work continues to feel breezy and appealing, even as the delivery doesnt quite live up to the potential. Catwomans charisma carries the issue through kicks and flips and the power of relentlessly slick attitude.

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8.0
Catwoman (2018) #7

Jan 16, 2019

Jolle Jones isnt going to be returning to draw Catwoman for the next few months, but shes clearly delivering the same moodiness that she brought to the page in the first six issues of the series. Itll be interesting to see how she works with other artists in the future as Selena Kyles adventures in Villa Hermosa continue.

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9.0
Catwoman (2018) #8

Feb 20, 2019

The heroic thief is a difficult balance to meet strike in any adventure. Lending a seemingly indomitable hero with an authentic level of vulnerability can be equally difficult--especially when her name is written on the cover of the issue. Between Jones pacing and the art teams careful framing of Catwomans adventure in this issue, theyve come really close to casting her as an endearingly heroic AND vulnerable hero in this issue. Itll be interesting to see where Jones and company take her next.

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10
Catwoman (2018) #9

Mar 11, 2019

With this issue Selina has acquired a talented pair of accomplices in Ram V and John Timms. Itd be nice to see her working with the two of them in more of a long-term relationship. Naturally the dynamic would be likely to change throughout a multi-issue story, but its undeniable that Ram V and Timms have done something here that manages to rival anything that Jones had built-up in her initial run writing AND drawing the series. The cleverly concise 22 pages here feel every bit as masterful as Kyle herself in a thoroughly enjoyable issue. Next month Selina saunters back over to work with Jolle Jones with artist Fernando Blanco to resume the regular chronicles of the Catwoman.

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8.0
Cloak and Dagger: Negative Exposure #2

Feb 5, 2019

Hallum and company are delivering a story with a shrewd sense of composition which should play well when the three-part Marvel Digital series materializes on paper in comic shops late this coming March. One more two-chapter issue awaits in February as the conflict with Mr. Negative will likely be a predictably satisfying conclusion.

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8.0
Crypt of Shadows (2019) #1

Jan 29, 2019

A return to horror anthology feels like a good move for Marvel. The initial issue lurks around in the potential of such a series with a clever, little plot structure featuring stories that are breezy, little narrative chills. The traditional action that glides around on the page of most comics is nice and everything, but its nice to see some of the inky darkness return to Marvels pages.

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9.0
Doctor Strange (2018) #10

Feb 5, 2019

With the big 400th issue celebration out of the way, Waid and Saiz are now free to send Strange chasing after an old villain with a history that goes all the way back to Stranges earliest adventures between the covers of Strange Tales. Waid and Saiz make an excellent team. Hopefully Waid will have a similarly satisfying collaboration with British artist Barry Kitson when he takes over the art for issue #12.

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7.0
Doctor Strange (2018) #11

Feb 21, 2019

The combat that plays out in this issue isnt terribly interesting, but it IS part of a larger movement for Doctor strange that seems to be pushing the Master of the Mystic Arts in an interesting direction. Barry Kitson takes over the art with the next issue, which places Doctor Strange in the path of the world-devourer Galactus. So...yknow...things arent going to get any easier for him in March.

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9.6
Exorsisters #4

Jan 23, 2019

The sisters open the issue in an alley and end it swimming in darkness. Their journey continues. Boothby and Lagac have something that feels effortlessly unique here. This is a great accomplishment as the urban fantasy genre has been tread quite heavily by pop fiction in recent years. Cate and Kate are a lot of fun to hang out with for 30 pages per month.

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9.6
Exorsisters #5

Feb 20, 2019

Having finally arrived at the origin of Cate and Kate, the central pulse of the series is firmly established in the fifth issue of the series. The central mystery of who the characters is a delicate matter in this type of intrigue-based series. Now the backstory is fully rendered the series get on with the business of reaching what will likely be a satisfying conclusion to this story arc.

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9.0
Goddess Mode #2

Jan 16, 2019

Theres so much about this issue that continues to feel very electrifying as Quinn and company bring the world of Goddess Mode into full view. The distinct blending of Matrix-style 1990s pop cyberpunk with Midsummer Nights Dream fairy world has a lot of potential. The world-building and character rendering in this issue is a lot of fun. Itll be interesting to see how Quinn adjusts once the background of the world is fully established in issues to come.

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9.0
Goddess Mode #3

Feb 13, 2019

Quinns got a lot going on in Goddess Mode. The ground level of the series might feel like The Matrix of superhero comics, but this would be a pretty superficial read of what Quinn and company are doing here. By drawing Price into a world of superpowers and super peril, shes developing a fusion between genres thats cooly electrifying in its third chapter.

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7.0
Gunhawks (2019) #1

Feb 9, 2019

This Gunhawks revival  has a classy feel about it that fits right into a well-worn genre that might still have some life left in it. The anthology format of Marvels other 80th anniversary revivals is sorely missed in this issue. The issue-length doesnt feel padded-out in any way. Its exactly as long as it needs to be to get the story across, but a title like Gunhawks feels like it could really benefit from another story or two between the covers.

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9.6
Gunning For Hits #1

Jan 9, 2019

This is a very promising start to a story that will seamlessly bleed over into a number of other formats. Its not difficult to imagine this story translating well with actors - on a glowing rectangle of some sort. Moritat has done a great job of delivering Rougvies inside-the-music-industry drama to the comic book page, punctuating a very promising debut.

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9.6
Gunning For Hits #2

Feb 13, 2019

The issue wraps-up with Rougvie speaking directly to the reader in a long bit of text that provides some background on the thought thats gone into the series. Rougvies work with the creative team on coming up with a way to dynamically show the power of music on a comics page makes for reading thats every bit as interesting as whats going on in the actual narrative. That final bit of text at the end of the issue, the Spotify playlist that goes along with the issue and so much more continue to make Gunning for Hits a refreshingly deep multi-track series.

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9.6
Gunning For Hits #3

Mar 11, 2019

Once again, Rougvie, Mills and Silver put together a very novel and unique style of story to the comics page. In these first three issues, Rougvie and company have painstakingly drawn a very distinctive narrative onto the page. There might be a bit of a jarring cut between the story and the Back Matter at issues end and there might not be a clear sense of where things might be at the beginning of the next issue, but this third issue of Gunning For Hits feels nearly flawless nonetheless.

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8.0
Harley Quinn (2016) #50

Sep 26, 2018

Anniversary issues can feel excessive and unnecessary. It can be fun when a creative team takes a look back while carefully advancing the story in a new direction. Humphries takes a different route here: just invite a bunch of people over to have fun with the character. Its a huge party. Like any good party, it gets pleasantly out of hand. (Even the Anti-Monitor shows-up.) Not everything works, and it may not be perfect, but its the perfect approach thats perfectly suited to Harley.

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8.0
Harley Quinn (2016) #51

Oct 13, 2018

Harley's title is casually cartwheeling off in an interesting direction that could break new existential spoofery beyond the accomplished works of Gerber, Giffen and Byrne.

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9.6
Harley Quinn (2016) #52

Oct 16, 2018

Its very reassuring to see a character who is both crazy and relatable. Its also reassuring to see her walk the narrow path towards becoming something other than a detriment to society. As the storyline progresses, itll be interesting to see how Harleys long term character development is going to affect how everyone relates to her, on and off the page.

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6.0
Harley Quinn (2016) #53

Nov 9, 2018

Harleys journey to legitimate, responsible adulthood continues. The subtle Harley-is-America aspect to the story continues to be appealing. Here Humphries continues his exploration of modern American pop consciousness trying to grow-up into some kind of responsible adulthood. Humphries attempt to address this in internet video culture within this framework isnt quite handled with the kind of sophistication hed managed in previous issues. However, its interesting to watch it continue to unfold in this issue, even when the quality falters a bit.

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7.0
Harley Quinn (2016) #54

Nov 28, 2018

Humphries seems to be centering the story a bit less on the title character. This being said, Harley is trying to figure out who she really is. As she searches for her own identity after supervillainy, theres added depth in Humphries focus on the lives of others she comes into contact with.

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9.6
Harley Quinn (2016) #57

Jan 9, 2019

Harleys been through a lot. In this issue Humphries and Timm have tossed the captivating clown girl onto the page at just the right angle. As this is the beginning of a multi-issue story, theres hope that the next few issues could be the beginnings of a fascinating new chapter in the heroines life in 2019. 

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9.6
Harley Quinn (2016) #58

Feb 5, 2019

Humphries, Timm and Harley work some clever magic together for an issue with #58. The bad news is that Timm steps aside net issue. The good news is that Sami Basri is taking over for him. Basri has a solid handle on the character which should continue a very fun series as it moves beyond a remarkably enjoyable team-up with Batman.

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9.6
Harley Quinn (2016) #59

Mar 6, 2019

Humphries issues of Harley have been strangely erratic in kind of an appealing way. Traveling off into some weird Kafka fugue for 20 pages seems to fit the kind of weirdness that the title has been engaging in of late. It makes perfect sense in context even if it seems like kind of a departure from everything shes dealt with thus far a strange, little dream of an issue thats not without its charm.

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9.0
Heroes In Crisis #1

Sep 26, 2018

Overall, this is a great first eighth of a story. A tremendous amount of plot is delivered in 28 pages. If King and Mann can maintain the right balance, mood and pacing for the next 7 issues, this could be a very taut superhero drama with a heavy emphasis on the drama.

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8.4
Hex Wives #1

Oct 31, 2018

Its a fascinating first issue, and Blackers story has the potential to be something truly unique if it can only find the right focus. Theres a real potential appeal to empowerment in this series, with a group of women who have lost those magical abilities which define them, a corollary to how women have been marginalized for centuries. This book has the potential to gaze into the nature of that marginalization from an appealing horror-fantasy angle.

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8.4
Hex Wives #3

Jan 2, 2019

As it is a story which plays with mystery, its difficult to tell exactly where the story is heading. There is some foreshadowing that the witches will regain their full power, but it will be a long journey for them. The challenge for Blacker and company is going to lie in keeping the story interesting and compelling it such a slow pace that also plays on the frustrations of readers. Isadora cant keep forgetting things. There MUST be some acknowledgement that things are not as they appear in the pleasantly drab suburban torpor. If there isnt some quickening of the storys pulse soon, the series could start to flatline.

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8.4
Hex Wives #4

Jan 30, 2019

With Izzy serving as the center of a really interesting ensemble of ersatz witches in the middle of a very oppressive suburban bubble, Hex Wives continues to slink through the intrigue of a very interesting story. There might be some difficulty maintaining the right mix of amnesia and subjugated power in future issues, but at the moment Blacker, Andolfo and Louise have a really unique story running in the fourth issue of an engrossing series.

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9.6
Hex Wives #5

Feb 27, 2019

Tension is maintained throughout the issue until the end. With all the secrets finally out in the open, the final three pages set-up a vivid confrontation which should make for a suitably dramatic end to the series first 6 issues. Precisely where Blacker and  Andolfo take it from there is going to be interesting to see. A series so deeply entrenched in the mysteries of domestic incarceration might suffer a bit with all of the secrets out in the open unless Blacker can find something compelling for the series to transition into in issues to come.

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9.0
Isola #6

Jan 16, 2019

The gradual journey that  Flestcher, Kerschl and Msassyk is pretty remarkable. The story moves slowly without detracting from its power. The slow movement locks in a sense of mystery about the world thats being presented. Once again Fletcher and company present another corner of a story that appears to be brimming with potential life resting on the horizon of the next issue.

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9.0
Journey Into Unknown Worlds #1

Jan 30, 2019

Marvel's Atlas Comics anthology revivals continue to show promise with Journey Into Unknown Worlds. As with the straight-ahead horror revival Crypt of Shadows from earlier this month, more than one story fits the same theme without feeling repetitious.

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6.0
Love Romances #1

Feb 22, 2019

The comics page could hold so much more than traditional romance in ways theatre, cinema and video could never touch. It's too bad Paniccia didn't try something more daring in a one-shot anthology. It's only one issue, so it doesn't actually have to make money. Why not do something wild and breathtaking with it? What could possibly be more romantic than that?

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9.6
Man-Eaters #5

Jan 29, 2019

The depth of what Cain and company are exploring here continues to be deeply engrossing. Cain maintains the mystery of the attacks while delivering deeper insight into the ensemble AND exploring a world that is all too much like our own. With its clever mix of humor, drama and horror Man-Eaters is quite deliciously unlike anything else on the rack right now.

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10
Man-Eaters #6

Feb 27, 2019

As it has a nontraditional mode of delivering quirky humor in narrative, Man-Eaters was going to take a while to develop a narrative rhythm. Now in is sixth issue, the series quirky narrative pattern has emerged. Its enchantingly charming stuff which feels like its breathing fresh new life into an art form thats been around for the better part of a century.

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7.0
Martian Manhunter (2018) #2

Jan 9, 2019

Orlando and Rossmo are working on something that is definitely building in an interesting direction. Larger themes of alienation, humanity, and being caught between two worlds will no doubt come into full focus as the series careens into issue #3. For now, the current major conflicts are brought into full view with the blast of a pistol. 

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7.0
Martian Manhunter (2018) #3

Feb 27, 2019

Rossmos art is an acquired taste that is not without its charm. It might mutate the impact of the story in places, but it makes for a really distinctive impression that should find a nice rhythm as the mini-series pulls into its second quarter next issue. With the backstory fully-rendered, the series has a chance to build into something substantial.

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9.6
Middlewest #3

Jan 16, 2019

The world in which all of the action is going to be taking place is still developing at this point. Its very reassuring to see the moral complexity lowered into this one. This is a coming-of-age magical fairy tale, but its going to be a very ethically complicated one. With the right economy of words and image in well-paced scenes, this third issue establishes important conventions this serial will hopefully continue to follow for many, many issues and what will hopefully be a very long run.

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9.6
Middlewest #4

Feb 20, 2019

Young and company beautifully broaden the world of Middlewest this issue. The journey of Able and Fox and Bobby and Wrench looks like its starting to develop into something truly unique in an issue that feels viscerally powerful amidst the lights, popcorn and barkers of a carnival.

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9.6
Middlewest #5

Mar 19, 2019

Young and Corona are constructing something that feels quite distinctly unlike so much that litters the contemporary pop fantasy landscape. Its grounded in standard fantasy elements, but Young and Corona are carving-out something that feels genuinely fantastic. No need to bog down the narrative in so much detail. Young and Corona are wisely allowing the fantasy to be fantastic on its own.

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9.6
Naomi #1

Jan 22, 2019

The series is going to have to be really careful and thoughtful about letting bits of the mystery become revealed in future issues. Reveal too much at once and the series is going to lose even more of its appeal. As an opening, though, Naomi's first issue feels like it could be a part of something special.

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8.0
Naomi #2

Feb 20, 2019

Bendis, Walker and Campbell slink forward into further mystery in a satisfying issue with curious pacing. Its the type of nuanced drama not often found in mainstream superhero stories...a distinction which should prove interesting in issue three which is being billed as The Secret History of the DC Universe. Interesting alternative ground is being covered in the DC Universe in this title. As Bendis, Walker and Campbell focus more on the small town life in the shadow of superpowers, the series will find its unique voice coming out much more substantially.

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8.4
Naomi #3

Mar 20, 2019

The third issue of Naomi is a fascinating story, but its not exactly the type of thing people have come to expect from mainstream superhero comics.

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8.0
Old Man Quill #1

Feb 9, 2019

Sacks and company have an interesting opportunity here. The plot structure of the first issue seems to suggest that Quill, Rocket and the rest of the group have been through a LOT since they were last together. If Sacks can tap into the unique dynamic of a group of people working together for the first time in ages to save the galaxy, the next 11 issues could be a lot of fun.

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6.0
Oliver #1

Jan 22, 2019

As strange a mash-up as Whitta's Oliver is, there's real potential here for deep social commentary. The difficulty may lie in the novel that Whittas drawing-on for inspiration. Oliver Twist looked to cast light on the sinister nature of child labor and children being ushered into shadowy streets to become criminals. It was a situation brought about by economic disparity. After the war, though...there IS no economic disparity. EVERYONE is living through irradiated hell. Without the presence of wealth, Whittas Oliver might well run the risk of missing a major component that made Dickens classic so important.

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9.0
Oliver #2

Feb 27, 2019

Whitta and company are beginning to show the potential in fusing Dickens classic with dystopian sci-fi in comic book format. Theres a balance here that could define the series if the creative team can find the right mix of drama, mystery, and brutality to navigate through the plot in the months to come.

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8.0
Self/Made #3

Feb 5, 2019

With the initial three issues out of the way, Self/Made is beginning to reveal what might make it special. The series is gaining ground with the establishment of a regular behind-the-scenes podcast and a very congenial regular issue-ending letters column at the end of the issue. This issue marks a turning point for Amala, but it also serves as an important foundation for a series that could go quite far.

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9.0
Self/Made #4

Mar 6, 2019

Once again its a comprehensive package from beginning to end. Theres behind-the-scenes info at the end of the issue. Among other things, the team reveals some of the research thats been done on the Sydney, Australia where the issues action takes place. Between that and a regular podcast complete with further background information, the engrossment of the total package for Self-Made is another example of what comics need to do to continue to feel vital in a world of so many other competing forms of media.

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8.0
Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider (2018) #5

Feb 13, 2019

McGuire is carving out a refreshingly unique corner of the world for Gwen. The characters personality in action in Miyazawas art is perfectly in synch with the characters dialogue. McGuire and Miyazawa have a good connection with the character which will hopefully suit her quite well. The team is slated to continue on the title for the next couple of issues at least. Itll be interesting to see where they take the character.

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9.6
Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider (2018) #6

Mar 14, 2019

A street-level vigilante girl looking to help people has an identity that is publicly known. And she still wears a mask because...its cool. Semi-professional freelance super-hero-ing in the age of the internet with options open for internet business makes for an interesting dynamic that should be fun to explore as the more traditional aspects of spider-personing loom into view from that dim room with the Man-Wolf. This is a fun issue from beginning to end.

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9.0
Supergirl (2016) #22

Oct 13, 2018

Andreyko and company are developing a genuinely distinctive kind of fun here between Supergirl, her axe, and her dog. Theyre treating her dog and the axe as other characters, and it lends an enjoyably offbeat tone to the action heroine. Itll be interesting to see if Andreyko and company can maintain the pleasant novelty of the series once The Killers of Krypton storyline draws to a close.

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9.6
Supergirl (2016) #23

Oct 15, 2018

The story Andreyko and Maguire are delivering here has great potential. With Supergirl now on a quest across the universe, she could be on a journey all over the place. This could be a really refreshing tour through the cosmic end of the DC Universe that might touch on everything from the most popular stuff to the most obscure, as well as a very emotionally engaging journey into the alien end of the universe with Maguires art.

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6.0
Supergirl (2016) #24

Nov 14, 2018

Supergirl #24 might be a bit of a letdown after the last 3 issues, but the story continues to propel forward through a dull space western chapter under the power of a distinctly appealing take on the lead character.

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8.4
Supergirl (2016) #26

Jan 16, 2019

The spacefaring super heroine is looking good in her 26th issue. Andreyko may be keeping the pulpy space fantasy milieu rolling for now. The tour of the cosmic end of the DC Universe continues to show promise. Supergirl has been paired with interesting allies and contrasted against equally interesting enemies. If DC can pair Andreyko with a steady artist who can accomplish the dynamic balance of Maguire and shell continue to be appealing for a long, long time.

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8.4
Supergirl (2016) #27

Feb 13, 2019

Everything else aside, Andreyko advances Supergirl in a really engaging coming-of-age story here. She has gone into deep space in order to get answers and maybe a little bit of revenge, but after the events of this issue shes seen the anger within her and backed away from it. Given the right finesse, Andreykos treatment of Supergirls character development could turn into something interesting by the time she eventually returns to earth.

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7.0
Supergirl (2016) #28

Mar 11, 2019

Theres a lot of potential in a story that pits Supergirl against monstrous mutation of herself. And while Andreyko and company find exciting ways of delivering the horror of that action to the page, the overall execution lacks the inventiveness that could have accompanied an issue like this. That being said, the inner conflict that Kara feels rests entirely at the center of a story continues to come across convincingly.

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9.6
The Unstoppable Wasp (2018) #4

Feb 5, 2019

Whitley and Gurihiru have found a really nice balance in the opening four issues of the series. With plenty of action lining the first three issues, this fourth one kicks the narrative into an interesting alternative gear that inventively explores the intellectual life of a character in a way that takes full advantage of the comics medium. The original Nadia van Dyne series was cancelled after only 8 issues. With any luck this isnt the halfway point of THIS series. Whitley and Gurihiru have found a style that works for the character. Itll be interesting to see her develop in the issues to come.

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8.4
The Unstoppable Wasp (2018) #5

Feb 21, 2019

The entire ensemble is closer at the end of the issue. Its a very endearing chapter. Its easy to get lost in clashing personalities and competing problems in a big superhero ensemble. Its nice to see everyone pull together in an issue like this. In its own way its kind of inspiring. Rarely is this much focus put on a superheros emotional support network.

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8.4
The Warning #3

Jan 16, 2019

There are elements of The Warning that feel very familiar to any other military-based story. There is a powerful undercurrent of something deeper here, though. In an August 16th article on Image Comics website, Laroche referred to the series as the first act of an opera. The immensity of the story DOES feel a bit operatic. Its like Independence Day crossed with Kubricks 2001. This sort of fusion makes for a very interesting and unique exploration of alien invasion as Laroches opera continues.

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9.6
The Warning #4

Feb 13, 2019

The fourth issue of The Warning is a really sharp three-act story which has the kind of integrity to practically stand on its own. Human concerns are nothing to the destructive power of common threats. Its a very well-balanced, dramatic installment of a unique alien invasion serial.

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8.0
The Warning #5

Mar 19, 2019

Laroches art carries the intensity of the story with an even-tempered hand. The movement of action across the page feels every bit as big as it needs to be to convey the feeling of doom and futility about military engagement.

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7.0
Vindication #1

Feb 5, 2019

D.M. Marie is working with energies that could turn into something profoundly original and insightful. The first issue is making all the right movements towards the possibility of a moody gaze into the nature of crime in America, but for now its interesting enough to think of all the directions Maries story might head off in as the series begins its promising journey. 

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7.0
Vindication #2

Mar 6, 2019

The climax at the end of the issue suggests action is on its way at the beginning of the second half of the series that will be doubtlessly accompanied by more glances into the psyche of Turn, Detective Christopher and the people in their lives. The drama here is capable of being remarkably compelling once the action starts rolling, but the series is already halfway over. The picture revealed in the series second quarter is impressive. The final two chapters will show whether or not this one bears as much intensity as it seems to have. If the series ends with another couple of issues like this one, the whole story could feel very murky indeed.

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8.0
War is Hell (2019) #1

Jan 24, 2019

The poorly-matched creative team on the second story is overshadowed by a casually clever, little 10-pager by a seasoned master in the opening issue of an all-new anthology series. Its refreshing to see a couple of simple short one-shot stories with throwaway characters in a mainstream comic book rack filled with complex long-running serials with backstories that continue to get more and more convoluted over time. A series like this really has the opportunity to showcase the work of individual artists whether they be legends like Chaykin or rising unknowns looking to prove themselves.

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8.4
Wolverine: The Long Night #1

Jan 9, 2019

Whether its there to promote the podcast or to capitalize on its success, the comic book adaptation of The Long Night seems to be off on the right foot in its opening chapter. The mood and tone are captured with an admirably clean and simple energy. Time will tell if the comic book series can keep up with what it managed to accomplish in the first issue. 

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6.0
Wolverine: The Long Night #2

Feb 6, 2019

Even if the story doesnt feel like its fitting the format of a comic book perfectly, the Percy and Takara are doing a good job of bringing it to the page. The X-Files-meets-Wolverine in Alaska moodiness of the series feels well-matched with the bitter winter in which its being released, but its beginning to appear as though the mini-series may feel a bit like a strange footnote to an audio drama that Marvel produced last year.

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7.0
Wolverine: The Long Night #3

Mar 16, 2019

The five-part series reaches its mid-way part in a charming style that makes up for some of its repetition. There are ways to make this sort of investigative drama live a bit more dynamically on the page, but they would require a far less straightforward rendering of the action that might get in the way of the story.

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5.0
X-Force (2018) #2

Feb 5, 2019

Brisson and Burnett are rushing from action to action amidst time travel and interpersonal politics of power and authority. Its kind of fun to watch from a distance, but without enough time to really engage any of the characters, this mini-series is leaning REALLY heavily on the history of the popular characters to draw-in the reader. There isnt enough impact in the story thats being told here to make any one of the characters seem terribly interesting beyond the rush of instability that welcomes aggression and explosion to nearly every page.

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