Russ Bickerstaff's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: You Don't Read Comics Reviews: 212
8.2Avg. Review Rating

9.0
Aero #1

Jul 3, 2019

There may be questions about the possibility of her longevity, but Aero comes across as an admirably badass hero in her first outing under her own title

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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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5.0
Age of X-Man: Omega #1

Jul 17, 2019

On the whole, a project the size of The Age of X-Man is an excellent idea. Projects SHOULD be this ambitious.  For all its faults, The Age of X-Man DID dazzle with its possibility. This conclusion casts glances at what might have been. The opening monologue has the title character lamenting how something so ambitious as a whole new world quickly grew too big for him to be able to handle. Thompson and Nadler might have been talking about the Age of X-Man event with that opening monologue as well. Reach for a huge achievement, and you might fall victim to it.

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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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6.0
Age Of X-Man: Apocalypse & The X-Tracts #2

Apr 10, 2019

Seeley does an excellent job of pasting together an issue out of odd corners of plot that needed to come together in this issue, but it seems to lack enough cohesion to really feel like it has any place on its own outside of the massive machine that is The Age of X-Man. Its doubtless that this series wasnt placed where it was to be filler for the event, but any specific reason for the series to exist has yet to present itself.

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8.0
Age Of X-Man: Apocalypse & The X-Tracts #3

May 8, 2019

As usual, an issue featuring a disparate group of characters can feel more than a bit scattered as a whole. Dramatic and aggressively percussive moments are held quite well in an issue that quite nearly finds the perfect grounding. Its not perfect, but it feels like Apocalypse and the X-Tracts is finally getting into a really good rhythm right before the mini-series comes to a close.

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8.4
Age Of X-Man: Apocalypse & The X-Tracts #4

Jun 12, 2019

Any one of the threads in this issue would have been much more satisfying if it had been allowed to develop in its own chapter. Eye-Boy, Kitty Pryde and the Son of Apocalypse are each interesting enough to carry their own title. The Age of X-Man begins to draw to a close, and it becomes all too apparent that the scope of the event was made WAY too big to be totally enjoyable. Had the multi-title event been allowed to occupy a slightly smaller space, it could have been brilliant. All that Seeley can manage with an issue like this is a fun and breezy, little dance with elements that have been echoing through Marvels Mutant titles for decades. Given the right scope, The Age of X-Man could have been so much more.

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6.0
Age Of X-Man: Apocalypse & The X-Tracts #5

Jul 10, 2019

All things considered, the penultimate issue of the Age of X-Man could have been far worse. Themes of intention and exploitation by well-meaning messiahs might hit the page in awkward angles, but at least theyre being addressed.  Theres a lot of exciting potential in the overall premise being explored in the event. Its too bad that it hasnt been given very much room to develop. Its possible that next weeks Age of X-Man: Omega #1 will breathtakingly wrap-up everything seen in this and all of the other series in the event, but given the awkward composition of the story, it seems doubtful.

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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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7.0
Age Of X-Man: NextGen #3

Apr 17, 2019

Though it doesnt meet the potential of characters searching for truth in a world fabricated by authority, the drama in the third issue of Next Gen is engaging enough to keep the pages turning in another oddly enjoyable trip to the Age of X-Man.

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7.0
Age Of X-Man: NextGen #4

May 15, 2019

Though it doesn't quite manage to hit the true potential of its premise, NextGen is making a simple drama fit remarkably well onto the comic book page. Like so much of the rest of the best of the Age of X-Man event, the fourth issue of NextGen is bringing a distinctively moody kind of mutant drama to a mainstream comics page much more accustomed to far more aggressive physical action. It's been a fascinating experiment thus far. NextGen continues to find some success with the venture.

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8.4
Age Of X-Man: NextGen #5

Jun 19, 2019

NextGen would have worked quite a bit better on its own outside of the confines of a rigid multi-title event. There are a lot of subtle moments in and within the student body of a totalitarian state run by superhumans that could have carried tremendous impact with this particular group of characters. Too bad it wasnt given a longer timeline.

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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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9.6
Age Of X-Man: Prisoner X #2

Apr 3, 2019

The first issue ended with a note. The second issue ends with something much more devastating. The mystery ramps-up pretty heavily in this issue. Theres a steady increase in intensity over the course of the issue that gets kind of crazy at the end. Its a fun trip, but itll be interesting to see if Ayala and company are able to maintain the kind of tight, clean rhythm for the remainder of the mini-series.

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9.6
Age Of X-Man: Prisoner X #3

May 1, 2019

Its a smart issue. Ayala and Peralta manage to keep Bishops presence at the center of the book even though he doesnt physically appear in the comic book until the penultimate page. Hes only seen for two whole panels, but the reader sees everything through his conceptual perspective. Its a very deft narrative construction. Quite an accomplishment.

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8.4
Age Of X-Man: Prisoner X #4

Jun 6, 2019

The big climax of tension at issues end brings-up a rather strange problem for the final issue of the series. Its starting on something that really feels like its the end of the series, but theres still a whole issue to crunch through before the story reaches its conclusion. Prisoner X #4 feels like the culmination of everything. Ayala and company do an excellent job of delivering on that climax. Itll be interesting to see where they take it for another 20 pages as the series ends next month.

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8.0
Age Of X-Man: Prisoner X #5

Jul 3, 2019

The big finale to the series feels a bit abrupt when it all comes to rest in the final panel, but it IS leading to the significant conclusion in the last issue in a very compelling way. Taken as a part of the larger run of the Age of X-Man, Prisoner X might emerge as the most satisfying corner of the event, but on its own, it feels more than a little lacking. With Prisoner X Ayala, Peralta and Horak do an excellent job of telling a solid story that almost has an ending. Too bad the story isnt over at issues end. It feels too modular to be 100% satisfying.

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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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9.6
Age Of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #3

Apr 17, 2019

With only a couple of issues left to go in the mini-series, McGuire and company appear to be right on track to really get this series going right before it has to end. With the sheer number of titles that comprise the Age of X-Man mega-event, it was bound to happen that one of them might end up frustratingly reaching its most satisfying moments uncomfortably close to the end of the event. For now, its okay, though. The Amazing Nightcrawlers third issue is one of the few genuinely good issues in the Age of X-Man thus far.

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8.4
Age Of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #4

May 22, 2019

The trend in The Age of X-Man seems to be reaching a state of fully realized potential at the end of the mini-series that make-up the event. The ending might be satisfying enough to be truly frustrating for The Amazing Nightcrawler really feels like its becoming interesting one month before it ends.

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7.0
Age Of X-Man: The Amazing Nightcrawler #5

Jun 19, 2019

McGuires work here feels a bit stifled by the massive superstructure of the Age of X-Man event. In Spider-Gwen: Ghost Spider shes got much more leeway to do whatever the hell she wants...a situation which allows her to develop nuanced humor and drama in very clever ways. Shes easily one of the best writers working for Marvel right now. Its too bad that she had to be hampered by the event that this series is a part of. McGuire could be great with Nightcrawler if she was given just a bit more room to develop her own story.

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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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5.0
Age Of X-Man: The Marvelous X-Men #3

Apr 10, 2019

A lot is going on in this issue, but not enough of it feels consequential enough to have any real impact. The aerial conflict between Magneto and Storm and X-Man really should have had an explosive intensity about it as it is one of the few scenes in the series thus far that really speak to the central themes of the Age of X-Man. Too bad it feels so uninspired.

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5.0
Age Of X-Man: The Marvelous X-Men #4

May 15, 2019

With everything beginning to end the way that it is, the Marvelous X-Men had a chance to be the central anchor for the Age of X-Man event. It has proven to be a bit too much story to cram into a single title, which is a disappointment. Writers in the past have managed to juggle disparate characters in the ever-evolving roster of X-Men characters. In the space of a world created to live for only half a year, Thompson and Nadler appear to have a bit too much to try to tackle.

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4.0
Age Of X-Man: The Marvelous X-Men #5

Jun 12, 2019

Its easy to be critical of Thompson and Nadler for the end of this series, but this issue isnt really the end. The final conclusion of the events which flowed through this series will happen in The Age of X-Man: Omega which will come out when all of the rest of the series comes to a close this summer. Its difficult to imagine the chapter which would make the five issues of this series feel at all satisfying as a contiguous whole, but there is every possibility that everything will wrap-up with some level of satisfaction once everything is lowered into place in that final issue of the event. This issue, though? This issue isnt terribly good.

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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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8.4
Age Of X-Man: X-Tremists #3

Apr 24, 2019

Williams does well to focus the story on a romance between Psylocke and Blob. The specifics of that relationship add a delightful sense of sophisticated emotional connection that is so often missing from mainstream superhero comics.

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6.0
Age Of X-Man: X-Tremists #4

May 29, 2019

It's strange pacing that sees a group of people sullenly dragging themselves through the ongoing frustration of perpetuating a false world. The significant shift at the end of the issue has been foreshadowed ever since the first issue, but the sudden change at issue's end still manages to hold an emotional impact leading up to the end of the Age of X-Man.

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8.4
Age Of X-Man: X-Tremists #5

Jun 26, 2019

Once again, another Age of X-Man title draws to a close with ample power that suggests that it might have become much better if it had been allowed more than five issues room to breathe. Williams has had some very compelling moments scattered around the fast-moving deterioration of a grim dystopia. Given even twice the length of time, it has been allowed, the Age of X-Man could have developed into something with admirable complexity. In X-Tremists as with every other title its clear that this multi-mini series event has been a bit rushed.

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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
Auntie Agatha's Home For Wayward Rabbits #6

Apr 17, 2019

Theres a lot going on here beyond the surface. Its difficult not to see a deeply flawed contemporary society reflected in the strange collection of psychologically challenged bunnies living on a rural farm that has been targeted for demolition. On some level, were all Sawyer trying desperately to save our homes from the utter destruction of sinister forces. Were all dealing with the dysfunctional dynamic of so many others who are far too wrapped up in their own infinite gallery of psychoses to be able to tackle the challenges of continued survival. Its just a funny animal comedy, but theres a very deep allegory going on here. Hopefully Giffen and Roman will be able to continue their exploration with the rabbits for a long time to come.

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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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6.0
Avengers (2018) #18

Apr 24, 2019

The idea of super-powered heroes being brainwashed by the government was kind of disturbing when Moore tackled it in Marvelman back in 81, but in an age as truly messed-up as the one we have come to live in, the idea needs to be ratcheted-up in order for it to have the kind of impact it needs to have. In the current political climate, the darkness of a fictional manipulative government needs to be that much more sinister in order to have any impact at all. Aarons going to need to get darker if this Squadron Supreme is going to make an impact.

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9.0
Avengers (2018) #19

May 22, 2019

Last issue the Avengers title cast its focus on a few characters that have largely been forgotten. Here its focussed on a character who is far more interesting than how hes been treated in the past. Its a clever approach to a mega-crossover: invite the readers to take a closer look at minor side characters caught-up in the rush of events rather than the standard ensemble so often found filling the pages of the book. Sometimes when things get really stressful, you just need to hang out with a gorilla.

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9.6
Avengers (2018) #20

Jun 26, 2019

So much of what Aaron has been doing with his end of War of the Realms in the Avengers seems to have been a process of testing various characters for future projects. The Squadron Supreme issue felt a bit off, but this issue and the one before it (featuring Gorilla-Man) show a willingness to further explore aspects of the Marvel Universe that have faded out of the center of the frame in recent months. This closer look at She-Hulk turns out to have been one of the best issues in the whole War of the Realms event thus far. 

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6.0
Avengers (2018) #21

Jul 10, 2019

The issue pulls things forward for all of the characters with a degree of wit but without much flair. Ghost Rider granting a watercraft Speedboat From Hell qualities aside, a bunch of characters lounging around isnt a terribly engaging way to frame the inner lives of the characters. The conflict between Black Panther, Coulson and a matching set of Nick Fury L.M.D.s would be interesting if it were allowed to cover more of the issue, which seems to be trying to cram too much into a single installment without finding a way to bring it across dynamically.

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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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8.0
Avengers: No Road Home #7

Mar 27, 2019

Nyx and Rambeau are a fun match supported by a lot of drama around the edges of an issue that advances the series to its final three chapters. Conan feels like a bit of an afterthought in an issue that might have been better served with some greater integration. The Avengers/Conan meeting could have had more impact had Zub, Waid and Ewing been a bit more focussed on it, but they really ARE juggling a lot here.

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6.0
Avengers: No Road Home #8

Apr 3, 2019

The series enters its penultimate chapter next issue. Its been kind of a hit-or-miss proposition with every issue in the series so far. Fusing Conan with the Avengers in a huge dual-setting mini-series has been a very ambitious exercise. With any luck, the final two issues can close the story with a well-balanced finale.

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6.0
Avengers: No Road Home #9

Apr 10, 2019

The series begins to draw to a close in one corner of the Marvel Universe as the big War of the Realms crossover picks-up elsewhere. The intensity of this particular mini-series owes a lot to the deep emotional characterization that has been thoughtfully brought to the page, and thats what really matters as the series draws to a close

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7.0
Avengers: No Road Home #10

Apr 17, 2019

The ten-issue No Road Home mini-series had been a relentlessly sketchy patchwork of a narrative, so its fitting that the end would be as scattered as it is with Vision confronting Nyx in Long Island and an extended epilogue. While its far from a perfect story, clever art and earnestness in the story make the series very difficult to dismiss as a purely commercial exercise. Theres real love thats been poured into this thing. And like any love thats worth anything, its flawed and inconsistent.

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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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9.6
Batgirl (2016) #33

Mar 27, 2019

Though the issue fits into a more massive crossover event, Scott and Casagrande put together a story that stands quite well on its own. There are more profound implications of the overall psyche of Barbara Gordon that carry plot lines from previous issues, thus making this a chapter in the life of a crime fighter that works well both on its own AND as a part of a long-running saga.

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9.6
Batgirl (2016) #34

Apr 24, 2019

The latest issue of Batgirl is the opening of a three-part story Scott is calling Terrible. The three-part story is off to an engaging beginning featuring a compelling combination of decent writing, decent art and a very precisely-balanced amount of stylish weirdness. The quality of Babs adventures appears to be looking up for the next couple of issues.

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8.4
Batgirl (2016) #35

May 22, 2019

Batgirls defiance in the face of nearly insurmountable odds has a profound impact. Her names on the book, so we know shes going to be alright, but Scotts tumbling her through the kind of hell that makes Batgirl all the more impressive. Shes going to survive this AND the third part of the story next month, but things are about to get worse for her...and just like seeing her escape that tube, itll be fun to see Batgirl escape all of the strife Scott has planned for her in issues to come.

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7.0
Batgirl (2016) #36

Jul 3, 2019

Given how many moving parts there are in a story like this, its challenging to get everything to come together ideally under deadline. The great thing about Scott, Pelletier, and Rapmund is that they work well enough as a team to overcome anything that might be dragging from month to month. Here the action is given its place in the art while the emotion is given its place in the dialogue. Next month it might be different. The important thing is that Batgirl can crawl through the hell and make it onto the splash page of the next issue. Shes good at that.

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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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5.0
Batman Beyond (2016) #30

Mar 27, 2019

Obviously, this isnt actually the end of an era. The Joker is worth too much money to ever get rid of the guy for good. So whats the point in killing him off here? It makes for a potentially good story. Its just too bad that the story in question isnt framed better. Heroes have been dying in comics for decades. The death of an iconic villain seems relatively rare in comparison. Theres a lot that could have been explored here. Jurgens and company have missed an opportunity with this issue.

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6.0
Batman Beyond (2016) #31

Apr 24, 2019

Batman Beyond has great potential to go beyond the traditional concepts of a Batman story. Jurgens seems to be heading off in a direction that mixes the shadowy crimefighting with a technologically advanced future, but the title is still largely lost in the standard Bat-Formula action story.

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6.0
Batman Beyond (2016) #32

May 22, 2019

Its really nice to know that there are still issues like Batman Beyond #32. Its the type of chapter that could have appeared in just about any similar Marvel or DC title going back to the dawn of the silver age. But without anything more to offer in the deliciously attractive potential of Gotham in the future, this is just another issue in the series that fails to live up to the possibilities of the premise.

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8.0
Batman Beyond (2016) #33

Jun 26, 2019

A story of mystery and suspense pulls Batman Beyond into the very entertaining territory. Its nothing new to anyone who might have read Batman over the decades, but Jurgens and Leonardi navigate McGinnis and his colleagues through a really entertaining story with tension that holds together throughout the issue. With questions of identity, memory, and motivation sliding in around the edges of the story, Juergens could potentially lead this series in a captivating new direction that could possibly influence the story into some very fresh territory if everything lines up in the right way. Even if this new direction doesnt live up to its potential, the series continues to be fun thanks to the efforts of a couple of very experienced storytellers.

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9.6
Black Cat (2019) #1

Jun 6, 2019

Mackay establishes the new ongoing series firmly on the right foot. Theres nothing terribly fresh about the story, but it IS a story well-told with art that delivers style and action to the page.

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10
Black Cat (2019) #2

Jul 10, 2019

A few thieves enter the home of a sorcerer supreme to steal an artifact. One of them is a ticking time bomb. Anything could happen. Its a simple premise that MacKay and Foreman have a great deal of fun with. That fun easily transfers to the reader in another thoroughly enjoyable issue of the Black Cats new series. If MacKay and Foreman can maintain this level of quality and originality, this series is going to be a lot of fun.

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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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9.6
Black Widow (2019) #3

Mar 27, 2019

Theres no question that the Soskas have a very definite plot for the series with a clear progression. Theres an end coming. Its undeniable. Too bad it cant keep going after the end of this story.  The Soskas have a very sophisticated grasp of what makes Black Widow such an interesting character.

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9.6
Black Widow (2019) #5

May 15, 2019

Bolstered by Flavianos art, Jen and Sylvia Soska have sculpted a neat, little corner of the Marvel Universe that would be great fun to dive into again. Just as the story feels like its wrapping up, theres the full realization that the story is ending. Theres a kind of satisfaction in that, but theres a strong desire for more with Jen, Sylvia, Flaviano, and the badass red-headed Russian super-spy. With any luck, the Soskas will return to another mini-series at some point soon.

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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
Catwoman (2018) #10

Apr 10, 2019

Presumably, Jones and Blanco will have a chance to settle down into something a bit less disjointed next issue, but for the time being the creative team is juggling a lot of different elements with admirable poise in Catwomans tenth issue.

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8.0
Catwoman (2018) #11

May 8, 2019

For about four pages, this issue is impressively breathtaking as Catwoman ride a motorcycle in pursuit of the truck. Its not enough to make the issue entirely satisfying, but its really impressive that Jones and company did as good a job as they did making that one action sequence feel as intense as it does. If only the issue had animated by a bit more of that kind of action it might have been amazing.

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9.0
Catwoman (2018) #12

Jun 12, 2019

Visual inconsistency aside, Jones packs a lot of plot and character development into 20 or so pages. Through it all, Catwoman remains a rather great mystery at the heart of the series. Shes a mystery hidden in plain sight. The series focuses so mainly on the surface of her life and what shes doing that her inner thoughts arent allowed to make it to the page. This maintains more than enough mystery to keep her interesting.

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7.0
Catwoman (2018) #13

Jul 10, 2019

Things collide in this issue in a way that may not precisely feel cohesive, but at least its true to form for Kyle at this stage in her life. Things arent neat and tidy. Sometimes theyre gloopy and murky. Sometimes they get ugly. Every now and then shes got to hop onto a bike and go for a ride. Issue thirteen might not feel very connected, but it IS an impressive 20 pages or more with a fascinating character.

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9.6
Catwoman (2018) Annual #1

May 29, 2019

Kyle acts as the leader of a group of apprentice thieves. It's a fun concept. Jones has been placing Kyle out of her comfort zone in exciting ways throughout the series thus far. With this issue, 'she's pushing the character in a direction that feels much more compelling than previous issues in the current series thus far. If Jones can develop more like this in the future, Catwoman could have quite a bit of vitality moving forward.

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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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7.0
Doctor Strange (2018) #13

Apr 24, 2019

The overall story Waid and Kitson are delivering here is genuinely fun and interesting, but the execution lacks the kind of brilliance needed to live up to some of the most cosmic forces in the Marvel Universe. Not actually bad, but its a fun story that could have been awesome if it had been framed in a better way. As the story continues next issue, Waid and Kitson are likely to draw more on character development with Strange in a way that will distract from the cosmic scope of the action. The hero is joining forces with his ex-wife Clea as the dread Dormammu waits in the shadows. With any luck, that will put the story on a firmer, more manageable footing.

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7.0
Doctor Strange (2018) #14

May 22, 2019

The development at the end of the story features a fascinating transformation for Galactus as the dark magics encroach around the planet devourer. Its too bad so much of the rest of the issue feels like a mad rush to arrive at. This issue really could have been much, much more had Waid simply wanted Galactus to be more of a long-term co-star in the book. As it is, hes clearly got designs for a larger story thatll wrap-up in a couple of months. Too bad. This could have been much more interesting if it was given the chance to breathe.

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8.0
Doctor Strange (2018) #15

Jun 26, 2019

This is the first issue of the series thats been released since it was announced that Doctor Strange would be coming to a close again. There are a few issues left before Strange exits again, but the recent announcement makes this issue feel like a bit of a passing. Dr. Strange will doubtlessly return in one form or another once the remaining series ends near the end of 2019. Hes had so many series over the years. Whats one more resurrection to a sorcerer supreme?

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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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9.6
Fairlady #2

May 15, 2019

The fusion of genres seems to improve both of them. The nauseating world-building and constant drone of backstory that so dominates the high fantasy genre fades-out in the rigorous structure of the detective murder/mystery. The monotony of the milieu of the down-on-his-luck gumshoe detective is freshened-up by the magical fantasy setting. The greatest weaknesses of both genres seem to fade-out in the fusion. There's brilliance in the single mystery per issue format as well. Readers can jump in at any chapter, which isn't something typically found in the fantasy genre. It's the type of fusion that could find an audience not ordinarily interested in dungeons, dragons or sorcery.

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9.6
Fairlady #3

Jun 19, 2019

Schirmer and Balboni have only begun to scratch the surface of a very, very exciting, and idiosyncratic fantasy world. Jenner is given a bit more depth in a story that finds her contrasted against legendary barbarian warriors with basic skills far more advanced than her own. Shes dwarfed by legends but still manages to remain the most interesting character in her own book. Jenner is making quite an impression in her first three issues.

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9.6
Fairlady #4

Jul 17, 2019

Schirmer and Balboni blend genres in a moody comedic mystery that feels quite distinctly unlike anything else available right now. Jenner and her friends fuse well with the monthly comic book format once more. The episodic nature of a monthly comic book is perfectly grafted to yet another fun excursion into another world.

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9.6
Giant Man (2019) #2

May 29, 2019

The second part of a two-part series, Williams Giant-Man is going to be kind of easy to overlook. Its a marginal story in a much larger War of the Realms event featuring heroes who arent exactly popular. Williams has really managed something witty and sharp in the series thus far, though. Its too bad that four humble giants will likely get lost in the mix of a massive multi-series crossover. This is actually a really fun story.

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8.4
Giant Man (2019) #3

Jun 12, 2019

Castiello's art strikes the right balance between dramatic moments of dialogue and aggressive fight scenes. The script allows him to move pretty fluidly between both in a fantastic setting that glides between the concerns of the four heroes and the danger of what they're trying to do. The fantasy feels very earthbound. The grandeur of a towering castle of ice in the middle of Florida could have been framed with a bit more of a sense of fantasy that Castiello manages, but the flow of the drama and the action might have suffered. Williams had a very definite idea of how the rhythm of the story needed to be approached. Castiello was wise to follow that rhythm without attempting to frame too much of the visual immensity of ice giants in a final show-down in Florida. That being said, it's too bad that there wasn't more time to explore the fantastic visual potential of the story.

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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
Goddess Mode #4

Mar 27, 2019

On the whole, its another satisfying slide into the fantasy cyberpunk of Goddess Mode. Quinn is beginning to run the risk of falling so far into exposition that its going to completely overtake the issue. There are a few pages where most of the real estate is wholly covered in dialogue balloons.  This is perfectly fine for the development of concepts, but the visuals and the story begin to feel as though theyre sliding apart on different tracks. Hopefully, there will be a greater script/art integration in issues to come.

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8.0
Goddess Mode #5

Apr 24, 2019

With the origin of the fairy world firmly established, the series can now focus on actually telling the story, which it does quite well here. Quinn and Rodriguez bring visual and conceptual intensity together in a very unique story that feels special without feeling too alien. Its very much a fantasy story, but the characters in the ensemble are human enough to be more or less universally relatable as they struggle for motivation when its way too easy to give up. The issue feels a little bleak, but the emotion feels authentic enough to sell it.

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5.0
Goddess Mode #6

Jun 19, 2019

If the rumors are true, the DC Vertigo imprint that Goddess Mode is a part of is coming to a close. Its possible that Quinn and company werent entirely ready for the end of the series. Maybe things ended up getting rushed at the end because they didnt plan for it. If that was the case, perhaps it would have been better to lengthen aspects of the final argument into something much less final. It would have been much more satisfying if everything fell off a cliff with no resolution at all.

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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
Gunning For Hits #4

Apr 10, 2019

Once again, one of the more unique offerings on the modern comic book rack continues to make a one-of-a-kind impression in an issue that shuffles around the central focus of the ongoing story. Its difficult to measure the pacing of the series as Slade and Billy seem to be burning through the narrative relatively early. Billys band is already emerging to impending success, which suggests that Rougvies plans for the series will likely expand to cover the life of Mills in decades to come beyond the current era of the late 1980s.

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9.6
Gunning For Hits #5

May 8, 2019

Success and failure play in a crisp narrative stereo feel that works impressively well this issue. The build-up to the end of the issue is punctuated by a fun couple of pages that have Rougvie writing the rough copy for a total evisceration of the doomed album by a fictitious music critic. As the issue ends, its already apparent that the album is bad. Its a nice little stylistic punctuation for Rougvie to go into detail on just HOW bad it is in the narrative text at the end of the issue.

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9.6
Gunning For Hits #6

Jun 5, 2019

The first arc in the story of Martin Mills wraps-up with clever style. Theres a quick turnaround on the review of Slades album prompted by the events of the issue that serves as witty punctuation to the first six issues of the series. Rougvie definitely has something fresh here. Itll be nice to see it develop with the next instalment, which Rougvie will get to once hes finished work on a nonfiction book hes working on about the history of Rykodisc.

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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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9.6
Harley Quinn (2016) #60

Apr 3, 2019

Harley really has some kind of serious breakthrough this issue.  Humphries, Basri and Sinclair bring together a really complicated world for Harley to inhabit that feels every bit as complex as Harley herself. On the surface, its a fun little sci-fi adventure, but there IS deeper dramatic energy lurking beneath the surface of it all for those who are interested in something deeper. This issue continue to exhibit the sharper elements of Humphries era of Harley Quinn, delivering a good story that works on any level a reader wants to engage it on.

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8.0
Harley Quinn (2016) #61

May 1, 2019

Seeing Harley run amok in a D&D-inspired fantasy world is a lot more fun than it has any right to be. Humphries and Schmidt do an outstanding job of bringing the world of Dark Fantasy Gotham to life with striking wit and smart drama that doesnt detract from the reforming clown girl at the center of it all. Thrust a modern character into a Medieval fantasy world may not be a terribly fresh concept for pop fiction. (Twain did it all the way back in 1889.) Humphries and Schmidt do an excellent job of making it fun anyway.

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8.4
Harley Quinn (2016) #62

Jun 5, 2019

Humphries run on Harley Quinn continues to gracefully convulse through story elements that really have no business working. Nothing about Harley and her supporting characters necessarily has any reason to develop into anything more than a silly, little exercise in weak comedy, but Humphries manages to make Harley fun enough that its always a pleasure to hang out with her for 20 pages a month. Her two-issue glide through fantasy has turned out to be a lot of fun.

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9.6
Harley Quinn (2016) #63

Jul 3, 2019

Above all, Humphries and Schmidt handle a challenging subject with heroic looseness.  Theyre so wildly open to comedy, tragedy and everything else that theyre able to integrate this issue with a larger plot arc in her own title while gracefully shoving the last couple of pages into the Year of the Villain with all the subtlety of a giant wooden mallet. It doesnt sound like it SHOULD work, but it sure as hell does. Harley is going through a lot right now, but shes in good hands.

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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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9.6
Hex Wives #6

Mar 27, 2019

Its a satisfying wrap-up to the initial six issues. At the outset of the series back in October, Blacker and Andolfo said they wanted to keep doing the series indefinitely. There are so many places the story could go from here, and there are quite a few mysteries revealed in the sixth issue for Blacker and Andolfo to uncover. The ensemble of witches has been introduced. From here it could get really interesting.

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9.6
Invisible Woman (2019) #1

Jul 10, 2019

Its not often that a single issue can deliver a totally new look at a character who has been around for decades and make it feel totally natural. Waid and Iulis do a brilliant job of this in a very cleverly-crafted opening issue. A little more than 20 pages, and already it seems like Sues always been a spy. Its a very engrossing start to a new mini-series.

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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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9.6
Loki (2019) #1

Jul 17, 2019

So Lokis cool, The creative team is cool., The team is VERY COOL. No creative team lasts forever, though. Its hard to imagine Loki working quite this well with anyone else. But in the opening installment, Kibblesmith and Bazaldua give this series the kind of appeal that makes it FEEL like anyone could pick up the title and instantly make it their own. Lokis just that adaptable. But with any luck, Kibblesmith and Bazaldua will be around for a long, long time. This is a fun opener.

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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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10
Man-Eaters #7

Mar 27, 2019

Cain and Niemczyk continue to bring something genuinely compelling to comics with a breath of fresh air to the medium. Their unique framing and pacing of a mystery story open endless possibilities for the nearly 100-year-old comic book medium that make it feel new again. As the series progresses, the long-running issues of plot development in an unfolding mystery will eventually emerge, but for now, its fun to watch Cain, Niemczyk and company play with an inventively novel idea in such a whimsically deft way.

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10
Man-Eaters #8

Apr 24, 2019

Theres a lot going on in the eighth issue of ManEaters. In addition to developing the world of the series, its a brilliantly non-traditional, little one-shot that tells the story of a couple of characters. Jennifer and Mandy serve as character archetypes in the games. At issues end, a pair of articles tell the stories of the characters behind these archetypes. The vastly different outcomes of two girls looking to rebel serves to increase the tension of the middle school girl at the center of the series. Now that a little bit more about the world in which the characters live, the danger shes falling into is given that much more depth.

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10
Man-Eaters #9

Jun 5, 2019

Cain and company continue to push the medium in a direction far more novel than anything else in comics today. With the plot arc playing out the way it is, theres clearly some kind of revolution coming. Itll be interesting to see if the series can maintain its edge if that happens. So much of ManEaters appeal lies in the power of the matriarchal dystopia. When its openly challenged, the power dynamic in the series is going to force the series in a different direction. I think fans of the series are in good hands. Cain and company havent given any indication of the series being anything other than deeply entertaining.  

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9.6
Man-Eaters #10

Jul 3, 2019

There are only two issues left to go in the series, but with the final chapter being another non-comic-centric Handbook-style issue, the central part of the story really ends with issue #11. The rhythm of the series has been great fun. The big climax is just one month away. Hopefully, theres satisfaction in things becoming more surreal at the end of the series. Its been a hell of a ride thus far. With any luck, Cain and company can hold out for at least one more issue to deliver a satisfying conclusion to the series.

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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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8.4
Martian Manhunter (2018) #4

Mar 27, 2019

Though it doesnt live up to its potential, the fourth issue of Orlando and Rossmos Manhunter is finding a bright pulse that stands out from most of the rest of the work currently populating the mainstream comic book rack. Its a very unique place that Orlando and Rossmo are visiting every month. Itll be interesting to see where it goes after issue four as Jonzz finally comes face to face with the central villain of the series.

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4.0
Martian Manhunter (2018) #5

May 22, 2019

All criticism aside, the visuals that Rossmo is delivering to the page ARE quite memorable. The fact that they hijack the story thats being rendered by Orlando is disappointing, but Rossmos art (which really IS beautiful in a soupy, formless, noodley sort of a way) definitely needs some sort of grounding to be effective. Orlandos script might be just the sort of thing that Rossmos art needs to bind it to a coherent page. Too bad so much of the story gets lost in the process.

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9.6
Martian Manhunter (2018) #6

Jun 26, 2019

The bigger picture of Orlando's story is given further grounding and motivation with this flashback issue. Had the series as a whole started with this story, it might have lent a great deal of momentum for the 11 installments which would have followed it, but some of the impact of the story would have felt missing. The rest of the series may well end up feeling as convoluted as the first five issues. As a standalone story, Martian Manhunter #6 is vividly weird and wonderful.

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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
Middlewest #6

Apr 17, 2019

Middlewest swings into a clever bit of momentum with this issue, which continues to develop through sharp bits of mystery that cut through every aspect of the issue from bits of plot resonating out of the dialogue to details drawn into key panels. Young, Corona and Beaulieu round out the first six issues of a series which clearly has a sweeping sense of momentum carrying through a fantasy mutation of the American midwest. From here, theres the risk of a repetition feeding into the story now that all the basic elements of the story are in place, but Young and company feel inventive enough to maintain interest in future issues.

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9.6
Middlewest #7

May 22, 2019

In a long-running fantasy serial, it was inevitable that Abel was going to tumble back into the horror of action. He had been hitting hinting at this for a couple of dishes now he had been hitting hinting at this ever since Able joined the carnival. Thanks to the delicate handling of the story, the emotional impact of the inevitable is felt with just as much strength as a random act of nature.

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9.6
Middlewest #8

Jun 19, 2019

Theres a clever balance to the issue that series well. The complexity of relations within the ensemble that could lead to a number of different directions over the course of the next few issues. The social and atmospheric ends of the world that Young and Coronas world captures the imagination and runs with it. No one else is doing anything quite like this on the comic book rack. Its a fun journey that makes another major step with its eighth issue.

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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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9.0
Naomi #4

Apr 17, 2019

In this fourth issue, Bendis, Walker, and Campbell deliver the backstory of Naomi--a new hero who likely gets the big delivery on her mysterious origin next issue. The background on the character has been pretty fun in the course of this mini-series, but once the mystery is fully revealed, it will remain to be seen if she can remain as enjoyable as she is here. Given that the character is driven by the mystery of her own past, its possible that theyll continue to string that out as far as possible as she forges ahead in the DC universe beyond her initial mini-series. The perpetual mystery is only as engaging as the character that mystery is shadowed by. Naomi continues to feel engaging in this fourth issue.

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8.0
Naomi #5

May 15, 2019

The fifth issue of Naomi feels a bit unbalanced. Had her past been framed with more of an active integration with present action, this issue could have been sheer joy. The lagging backstory weighing-down the middle of the story isnt given enough impact to make it feel particularly strong. Emotional excitement and impending danger are compelling. The generic space fantasy backstory tethered to the middle of the issue keeps it from its potential.

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9.6
Naomi #6

Jul 10, 2019

Naomi now begins to make appearances in other DC comics. Issues end promises a second series. If Walker and Campbell are involved in that next series, it may be well worth checking out. The pulpy space adventure thats being delivered here really needs the kind of expressiveness that Campbell provides for it to feel right. It may have had its slow moments. All in all, however, this is an excellent opening for a new hero.

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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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9.0
Oliver #3

Apr 17, 2019

There might have been ways of making Olivers sudden realization of his capabilities feel like a bit more of a revelation by giving the physical aggression and brutality in a more graphic rendering, but the combination of elements here deliver a much-needed jolt of adrenaline to a series that has been mulling around in the shadows of tension thus far.

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7.0
Postal: Deliverance #1

Jul 3, 2019

The gritty earthbound brutality of Postal Deliverance sure as hell isnt for everyone. There are those who would say this sort of thing really needs to be moving around on a glowing screen in high definition to make any sense, but Iencos dense, silent, static visuals would beg to differ. Whats going on here isnt pretty, but its solidly different from most of the rest of whats out there on the rack these days. And thats saying something.

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8.4
Sea of Stars #1

Jul 3, 2019

Sea of Stars is off to a pretty solid start with its first issue. The pulpy space fantasy edges in the direction of cute without compromising a sense of danger and adventure. The final page of the issue suggests that theres real menace coming on the horizon of the next issue. As cute as the first issue is, its really a father-son story of adventure that feels like it could go in interesting directions as a father searches for his son who is being cared for by weird aliens. 

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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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9.6
Self/Made #5

Apr 3, 2019

Groom is showing a deft familiarity with the conventions of cyberpunk and simulated reality sci-fi. Hes not reinventing the wheel here, but he IS adding a few twists in and around the edges of sci-fi tropes that might begin to explore the nature of identity and reality with stylish new eyes. The issue feels like an introduction of sorts that stands quite well on its own as things shift gears into a new direction starting with the sixth issue.

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5.0
Self/Made #6

May 1, 2019

Self/Made has been a somewhat strange and derivative exercise that had real potential for turning into something breathtaking. The six-part series didnt allow enough of a runway for the story of multiple worlds and strange games to really take off the way that it could have. Its unfortunate. A brilliant story could have developed had the series been Abe to run just a bit longer and really spread its wings.

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8.4
Sonata #1

Jun 5, 2019

Obviously, the art team ISNT using an old version of MacPaint to put together the visuals of this issue. The visuals ARE a lot of fun for an opening issue of a story that shows signs of some genuine wonder and somewhat dazzling. The credits page mentions a behind-the-scenes companion app to the series which as of this writing isnt available. Itll be interesting to learn more about the process for the series once it becomes available.

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8.0
Sonata #2

Jul 17, 2019

Its not terribly original, but Hine and Haberlin delicately place a traditional pulp fantasy story in a breathtakingly unique world thats loving rendered in great detail. The fantastic nature of the world might be amplified with a bit more of a sense of mystery. The dialogue is definitely weighing down that mystery, but its still a solidly fun fantasy.

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9.6
Space Bandits #1

Jul 10, 2019

In the first of five issues, Millar and Scaleras Space Bandits slices through 25 pages with a very poised design-conscious delivery of energy that works. Its a smart mash-up of various genres that solidly settles into a kind of a late 1980s sort of a mood with bright colors and big cities coating the galaxy with just enough shadow to let the unseemly side of society leech out onto 

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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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9.6
Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider (2018) #7

Apr 3, 2019

Issue seven is called Some Nights. Some nights prove to be really, really well-executed by the entire team on the book. Its inevitable that some nights might NOT end up working out so well in future issues, but for now, McGuire and company have a really good handle on exactly what to do with one of Marvels most interesting characters.

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9.6
Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider (2018) #9

Jun 6, 2019

Its refreshing to see this sort of story handled with a better grasp of a long-term story arc.

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9.6
Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider (2018) #10

Jul 3, 2019

Gwens got a name now. The Ghost Spider will be returning next month in another number one as the Spider-Gwen name is dropped. The future of a character regularly living between timelines has great potential that should be a lot of fun for McGuire to explore in the months to come. Shes carefully constructed a very sophisticated angle on the Marvel web-slinger milieu. It will be interesting to see where she takes it.

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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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2.0
Supergirl (2016) #29

Apr 10, 2019

A muddled delivery of the rather sudden end to a grand quest is further muted by a substantial amount of exposition. With any luck, Andreyko and company are adjusting for a new direction with one of DCs most iconic superheroes. This issue, however, lacks the kind of impact it really needed to have to live up to its potential.

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8.4
Supergirl (2016) #30

May 8, 2019

Andreyko finally delivers an end to the multi-part story that has a perfect sense of drama, action, and pacing. The only thing that keeps it from being nearly as good as it SHOULD have been is the fact that Andreyko seems to have been rushed to get to this point in the story. There was real potential in a quest like this rolling through a couple of years. As it is, the resolution here feels rather abrupt when taken in the context of a story which really SHOULD have been longer.

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8.0
Supergirl (2016) #31

Jun 12, 2019

Theres a lot the bursts out of the action in this issue thats been built up throughout the past several issues. The journey to reach this point in Supergirls life hasnt been a very smooth one, but Andreyko and company bring it to the page in a way that would feel clear and dynamic even to those who havent been following the story all that closely in recent months. Given all thats happened in the past six issues, thats actually quite an accomplishment.

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9.6
Supergirl (2016) #32

Jul 10, 2019

Andreykos story has been lurching through the first half of the year, occasionally coming across with brilliance and sometimes feeling strangely dull. With this issue, Andreyko regains a sense of power and impact about the series that will hopefully launch it in a good direction for chapters to come. Maguire really aids the series. He seems to have a much better grasp of how to bring Andreykos story to the page in a way that feels interesting.

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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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9.6
The Unstoppable Wasp (2018) #6

Apr 10, 2019

Its always going to be a bit difficult to find the right market for a comic book like this. A STEM-stressing social ensemble serial that is so obviously pointed at girls can feel like its reaching a bit too far to try to reach its target demographic. Thankfully Whitley and company are diligently piecing together a product that holds an appeal beyond its target demo. Theres nothing quite. Like this on the comic book rack right now. Hopefully, it can continue to find its audience as the series progresses.

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9.6
The Unstoppable Wasp (2018) #7

May 8, 2019

The fact that the physical action is used as something of a punchline to a joke is just one more charming, little detail in a really nice party that Whitley and company have thrown for their title character. As the series continues, theres a real dedication to this character that feels all the more solidified in an issue like this which fearlessly sidesteps the traditional format of a superhero comic book in favor of having a little carefree fun.

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9.6
The Unstoppable Wasp (2018) #9

Jun 19, 2019

The series concludes next month with issue #10. Fantasma is a fun villain to end the series on. Between the talented mix of drama, action and humor and the fact that every issue in the series ended with an interview with a different woman in STEM...its really too bad that the series wasnt able to survive. What Whitley managed to do here was genuinely unique. Too bad it couldnt find a bigger audience.

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9.6
The Unstoppable Wasp (2018) #10

Jul 17, 2019

Back in May, Whitley's third recommendation for those interested in keeping the series running included this bit of advice: "Review it. You don't know everybody out there, but when you review our books on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes, and Noble, etc.,. then your recommendation can help other people find the book." Okay...so here's my recommendation. Anyone else wants to hang out with Nadia and her friends? They're all pretty cool. It's a fun ensemble. Check it out.

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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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9.6
The Warning #6

Apr 24, 2019

Laroche is telling a story that in no way is extending itself directly at the reader. Typically by the sixth issue in a series like this, there would be a dizzying number of plot points and a nauseating amount of backstory hardwired into the narrative. Laroche sidesteps this in favor of a very visceral action disaster story that continues to build intensity half a year into its run.

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7.0
The Warning #7

May 22, 2019

It's too bad that the story is veering off in the direction of being more of a traditional Sci-Fi invasion story than something that it could have been. The military grounding of the story and the strange poetry of military language really seem to be pulling for something that would have been more abstract and stylish. With the aliens being more human than not, the whole story begins to feel a bit less appealing. A strange fusion between things that probably work better on their own. I'm taking on its own, this issue is OK. As a part of something more substantial, however, it's quite a disappointment.

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7.0
The Warning #8

Jun 19, 2019

Presumably the action settles-down a bit from here. (Given the scale of the combat in this issue, its kind of difficult to imagine it maintaining this level of action through too many more sustained pages without it feeling annoying and repetitious.) The action in Warning #8 might hamper its sophistication, but it DOES make for a quick, fun bit of action. 32 pages breeze along with blinding speed. It may not be terribly original, but it IS a lot of good, mindless fun.

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9.6
The Warning #9

Jul 17, 2019

The greater unity of Laroche's pacing begins to become a bit more apparent with this ninth issue. Conceived as a complete story, the overall plot structure is revealing itself. The Warning feels more like a unified project than a serialized piece of fiction. The brief, little tachistoscopic assault of 33 pages per month feels weirdly percussive. It'll be interesting to look back over it all once the final issue is out. For now, readers are only getting little snapshots from the hell of war on another world. It's fun, but it can be frustrating.

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8.0
Thumbs #1

Jun 5, 2019

A story like this is tricky. Lewis and Sherman are treading some very treacherous narrative territory. A dystopian story that is as politically charged as Thumbs DOES run the risk of veering off into preachy, hackneyed cautionary fiction. The first issue definitely delivers a promising opening to the series. It will remain to be seen if Lewis and Sherman can maintain this level of quality through the end of the year.

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8.0
Thumbs #2

Jul 3, 2019

The second issue in the series further develops the overall feel if a world gone wrong that might be somewhat close to the world on this side of the page. Its been a nice couple of issues so far, but so much of what has come across in the first couple of chapters seems to bleed together. The story is going to need to develop in a much more powerful way in the next couple of issues if it is to escape the heavy gravity of its own visual style.

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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
Vindication #3

Apr 3, 2019

The comic book medium can do a lot of different things. MD Marie is hauling it into a very formal place with Vindication that feels satisfying enough for another issue, but theres going to need to be some pay-off and shifting of mood in issues to come. If not, the overall energy of the mystery could easily grind to a halt.

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4.0
Vindication #4

May 8, 2019

There were some really interesting elements to the series. The strange enigma of an SD card. The contrast between an exonerated criminal lifted out of criminal justice and a police detective who descends into abject criminality. There was real potential in this story. It spent way too much of its time slinking along in shadows to manage much genuine interest. This being said, the story itself isnt all that bad. Its all very internally consistent in mood, tone and content. Its too bad there wasnt more to recommend it.

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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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