Russ Bickerstaff's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: You Don't Read Comics Reviews: 33
8.2Avg. Review Rating

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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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
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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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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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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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
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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9.6
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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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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9.0
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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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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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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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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9.0
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
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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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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