Sean Bartley's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comicsverse Reviews: 90
8.1Avg. Review Rating

7.6
All-New All-Different Avengers #9

May 17, 2016

ALL NEW ALL DIFFERENT AVENGERS #9 is a fun comic. The problem is that the potential for this series to be great is high, and right now it isn't delivering on much more than fun. If you're looking for a superficially enjoyable series, then ALL NEW ALL DIFFERENT AVENGERS is for you. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but the talent involved in creating this book are capable of so much more.

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7.6
All-New Hawkeye #5

Sep 18, 2015

All in all, ALL-NEW HAWKEYE #5 continues to tell two very good stories including everyone's two favorite archers (though I suppose Green Arrow fans may take umbrage with that), even if it's taking forever to move those stories along. While this book will probably read very well in trade format, following along issue-to-issue has been a bit of a slog. The work is strong on all fronts; Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez and colorist Ian Herring are putting out high quality work with each issue, and it's hard to argue with that. The end of this issue is a surprise and almost ensures that next issue will finally get things moving, so here's hoping!

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9.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #1

Oct 7, 2015

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 comes out of the gate swinging and knocks it out of the park. It has everything you'd expect from a book starring Spider-Man: high-octane action, humor, intelligence, and fantastic artwork all wrapped up in a gorgeous package presented to us by Giuseppe Camuncoli and delivered straight to your local comic book shop. Dan Slott has been on a roll with the Spider-Man series for years now, but if you haven't been reading because you weren't a fan of his prior work, now is a great time to jump on board. Spider-Man is back, and he's better than ever.

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7.6
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #2

Oct 23, 2015

All in all, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #2 is a far less impressive effort from a plot standpoint, and although it's nice to see the ol' Webhead in some new locales and different environments, the emphasis on his new technology is wearing a bit thin. Luckily the art team hasn't faltered at all from last issue to this one and remains a highlight of this young series. Hopefully within the next couple of issues Slott will ditch the lame villains and get to a plot with some substance.

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9.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #3

Nov 5, 2015

While AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #2 floundered a bit and the series appeared as though it might be slipping in to a very boring pattern of teaming Spider-Man up with a hero, placing them in some new vehicle and having hem chase Zodiac around them, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3 rights the ship with an emotional tale that packs a serious punch. If the quality of this issue is any indication, we've got a lot of good to look forward to from the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN team. That said, the sooner this Zodiac saga ends, the better.

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9.4
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #5

Dec 23, 2015

While the Zodiac story may not be completely resolved here, it takes a drastic turn that creates a potentially very interesting situation for Peter going forward. With the knowledge that a number of his villains are waiting in the shadows, there's little doubt that things are going to get a lot worse for Peter very soon. The work that Dan Slott, Giuseppe Camuncoli and the crew have been doing is phenomenal, and as long as this team stays together, there's little reason to believe that this series will be anything short of sensational.

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6.6
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #6

Jan 6, 2016

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #6 is certainly a step down from the highs of the previous arc, but Slott has earned more than enough good-will to give him the benefit of the doubt. Not every issue of any comic book can be filled with the character development, emotional depth and fun that Dan Slott has consistently managed to infuse in to this series, and given some of the developments in the prior arc, we can rest assured that big things are on the horizon for Spider-Man.

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8.4
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #8

Feb 25, 2016

It's safe to say that “The Dark Kingdom” was a filler arc that was intended to kill time while Giuseppe Camuncoli gotcaught up on his artwork. Besides Lian's connection to Scorpio, everything that takes place here is removed from the wider narrative that Dan Slott has been building. That's okay, though, because this short arc gave Slott an opportunity to freshen up the Mister Negative character, leaving him in a place that should make his next encounter with Spider-Man pretty interesting. It also allowed us to see Cloak and Dagger again, which longtime fans will appreciate. The evolution of Matteo Buffagni throughout these three issues has been interesting to watch as well, and in the end, he made a fan out of me. All's well that ends well, and even though it had a rocky start, “The Dark Kingdom” goes out in style.

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8.6
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #9

Mar 12, 2016

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9 is a book that succeeds because its creators are confident enough to take a wacky concept and make it work. Dan Slott has proven time and again his mastery over the Spider-Man character and his universe, and this issue is no exception. While it does continue to follow the formulaic approach of teaming Spider-Man up with another hero and having them go on an adventure in one of Spider-Man's new vehicles, it results in a story that's different than what we've seen before in this series. Giuseppe Camuncoli resumes kicking ass on the art front after a short break. The work that he, Gracia, and inker Cam Smith have done throughout this series is absolutely incredible. Slott continues to tease that there are big things on the horizon for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, and as long as this creative team is along for the ride, I will be too.

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9.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #10

Apr 13, 2016

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #10 is another home-run for a creative team that's been on fire. Dan Slott continues to build drama into the conflict between Spider-Man and Scorpio, with twists and turns that have managed to keep their feud compelling over the better part of ten issues. That's no easy feat, but Slott pulls it off with grace. Though there are a couple of scenes that slow down the pace of the issue, the tremendous art of Giuseppe Camuncoli ensures there's always something pretty to look at on the page. Overall, this is a fun, exciting installment of a great series.

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7.6
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #11

Apr 28, 2016

After the incredibly cool battle between Spider-Man and Scorpio on a speeding train from last issue, it was unlikely that the creative team behind AMAZING SPIDER-MAN would be able to top themselves. Instead, they went the other direction entirely and delivered a pretty bare-bones, straightforward wrap-up issue. It's unfortunate because one of the hallmarks of this series has been amazing set pieces. This certainly isn't a bad issue by any means, it's just disappointing given how great this series has been. Dan Slott has been teasing a number of plot developments for a while now, and the end of this issue suggests interesting things to come. This arc may not have ended well, but there's little reason to believe this usually stellar creative team won't be packing a punch next time.

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8.0
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #12

May 6, 2016

The latest arc of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN promises Spidey teaming up with the All-New, All-Different Avengers, though the only Avenger who appears here is Iron Man. The dynamic between Spider-Man and the team could lead to a lot of fun, but if this issue is any indication, less is more when it comes to characters that Slott has to juggle. There's quite a bit to enjoy here, mostly the interactions between Peter and Tony/Mary Jane, but beyond that, this issue lacks focus. It sets up a number of different plots for later issues, which is all well and good, but that takes away from the quality of this one. Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli are bound to find their footing, though, and there's enough good here to believe that this series will soar again shortly.

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6.6
Amazing Spider-Man (2015) #13

Jun 8, 2016

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN has been a consistently solid series since its first issue. The latest arc hasn't matched the quality we've come to expect, and has taken away from what has been an otherwise Peter-centric story. This arc would arguably be far more interesting were it focusing more on Peter's mentor/mentee relationship with Miles instead of his childish feud with Tony. Dan Slott has done a fine job building Regent into an interesting character so far, but seems intent on hotshotting him into battle with the Avengers which would kill his momentum. Slott and Camuncoli need to right this ship before it sinks.

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8.0
Batman (2011) #43

Aug 16, 2015

Snyder and Capullo's stellar Batman run continues to deliver as it explores its new status quo.

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8.4
Batman (2011) #44

Sep 11, 2015

BATMAN #44 is a heartfelt offering from Scott Snyder, Brian Azzarello, Jock and the rest of the BATMAN crew that takes us back to ‘simpler' times in the career of Batman to tell a tale that manages to offer more on the Mr. Bloom character, show us a younger and less experienced Batman still learning the inner workings of Gotham and be a social commentary all at once. Because of the nature of comics and the need to write for the trade, small one shot stories like this don't come around very often, which makes it all the greater that the team took this opportunity to tell the story that they did. That they did it so well is icing on the cake. And though Greg Capullo is an amazing artist and his return to illustration duties will be a welcome one, if there's any luck in the world one day Jock will illustrate a long run on a Batman series.

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8.4
Batman (2011) #45

Oct 16, 2015

Thus far, Scott Snyder has written three different characters as Batman, each one with different voices, mannerisms and difficulties to overcome. Rumors have swirled about the potential for DC to pull the plug on this iteration of Batman sooner than Snyder planned, which would be unfortunate because clearly there's still a lot for us to learn about Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne through this lens. Snyder and Capullo have been firing on all cylinders throughout this story arc, and while this may be the weakest issue of “Superheavy” so far, it's still a great character examination of its main characters and pushes the conflict between Batman and Mr. Bloom to the forefront.

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8.6
Batman (2011) #46

Nov 11, 2015

This entire storyline shines brightest when the focus is on Jim Gordon and his personal journey as Gotham's new Batman. When this issue is concerned with that element of the story, it's great. The stuff with Duke feels shoehorned in and unnecessary. Snyder has done a fantastic job since he started on BATMAN at treating Gotham like a character unto itself. Streets and spaces have meaning and mythos. He cares about the city and it's lore and Mr. Bloom being tied directly in to that strengthens the character. Snyder's writing and Capullo's art have crafted a truly compelling villain who will hopefully stick around long after his confrontation with Jim Gordon ends.

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8.6
Batman (2011) #48

Jan 20, 2016

BATMAN #48 is a fantastic issue. It ratchets up the drama and intensity of this title to eleven, is excellently scripted by Snyder whose dialogue " while at times overwrought " stands as some of the best writing in his career, and the art of Greg Capullo shines as brightly as it ever has during his run on BATMAN. With two issues to go before Bruce dons the Batsuit again, one can only hope that his return doesn't overshadow all of the great work that this creative team has done to strengthen Jim Gordon's character and build a truly terrifying villain in Mr. Bloom.

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10
Batman (2011) #49

Feb 15, 2016

BATMAN #49 is an excellent comic book. It's deep, complex, emotionally charged and powerful. Whether you're a lifelong fan of the character, a newcomer only familiar with Snyder's run, or a holdover from Grant Morrison's run, you'll find a lot to like here. The storytelling is tremendous from a visual and narrative perspective, and it definitively answers the question that both Scott Snyder and Grant Morrison, like many writers before them, have been obsessed with: can Batman exist without Bruce Wayne?

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9.6
Batman (2011) #51

May 3, 2016

Where BATMAN #50 was the perfect ending to five years of storytelling, this issue is the perfect coda. The story itself is straightforward and fairly predictable, but this issue isn't meant to be a winding narrative. It's meant to serve as a farewell on the behalf of the creators to this world, these characters, and us. Many view what Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo accomplished with BATMAN as the definitive take on the character, and while that's a conversation for another day, what the two of them did together was rare. They built a great friendship, a series that managed to be fun, exciting, smart and fresh at almost every turn, and a run with a beloved character that will stand the test of time. Hats off to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. As for what Gotham is… well, Gotham is Batman.

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7.4
Batman (2011) #52

May 11, 2016

The creators of BATMAN #52 have the unfortunate duty of following an incredible, near perfect issue that should have been the finale to this series. Tynion and Rossmo do their best to tell a good story here, and as a stand-alone issue, it works well enough. This isn't a must-read by any stretch, and those who choose to view issue #51 as the real ending to this series won't be missing much by skipping this issue. The overall concept of Bruce's list falls a bit flat, but it does allow Tynion to craft a beautiful ending to this issue and, ultimately, the series itself.

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8.4
Batman (2011) Annual #4

Oct 1, 2015

Annuals tend to be rather inconsequential as publishers often want to keep the central character's main story to their proper title, and usually a lesser creative team works on these issues. On paper, James Tynion IV and Roge Antonio aren't nearly the creative team that Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo are, but they manage to tell a very good tale about the new Bruce Wayne and the ghosts of his former life. Sure, this story is relatively inconsequential, but it's a good story that adds some wrinkles to the overarching Batman narrative.

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9.6
Black Panther (2016) #1

Apr 7, 2016

First issues often make or break a series. Unfortunately, comics that fail to hook readers with their first offering aren't typically given a second chance by readers. BLACK PANTHER #1 suffers from none of this and does some things better in its initial issue than many books do during their entire run. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze have a story to tell, and by all accounts, it's going to be epic. Should they manage to maintain the momentum built by this first issue, their run could become the defining Black Panther story. It's time for the king to ascend the throne.

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8.6
Black Panther (2016) #2

May 12, 2016

Brian Stelfreeze continues to do a great job on the art front. There aren't many big, standout moments to be found here, but Brian is a great storyteller, and that skill shines through. The one really cool panel this issue does offer features the women that the Midnight Angels rescued celebrating their victory. It's a simple, but effective shot that establishes these women won't lie down and be taken advantage of as their nation burns. It's a beautiful message and one that Stelfreeze is given the space to deliver all his own. The action sequences here are sort of bland, which isn't too much of an issue, though including some dynamic page layouts might help inject energy into the action going forward.

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8.6
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #19

Sep 25, 2015

With the finale of Season 10 nearing, it'll be good to get back to our regularly scheduled programming, but a few more issues like this one peppered throughout each season would be more than welcome.

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9.4
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #20

Oct 22, 2015

Gage delivers a strong script that hits on a big topic and moves the overall story forward in meaningful ways, and though it feels like beating a dead horse, it bears repeating that the man has done wonders for the BUFFY series. The team delivers an issue that feels like it could have easily been an episode of the BUFFY television series, and that's highest praise I can offer.

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6.6
Civil War (2015) #3

Aug 29, 2015

Charles Soule has taken the CIVIL WAR storyline and expanded upon it in a way that is compelling, but in doing so he's made some characters we know and love nearly unrecognizable in both their decision making and their personalities. The original CIVIL WAR was based on a simple premise: how far are our heroes willing to go to protect their ideals? It's difficult to believe that each of these characters would have allowed things to go as far as they have here, and it's not even clear anymore what they're fighting for.

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6.0
Civil War (2015) #4

Sep 10, 2015

Much of this issue focuses on the reveal of the puppet master who's been pulling the strings of our beloved heroes for many, many years, so your enjoyment of this issue, and maybe your feelings on the series as a whole, will hinge upon how you feel about the reveal. The original CIVIL WAR is my favorite event of all time, so there's a personal stake in this, but if the original intent with these SECRET WARS spin-offs was to take the initial series they were based on and add to them while keeping with the spirit of that story, then CIVIL WAR #4 is a failure. Ultimately though, you, the reader, choose whether or not this feels right for you. Whose side are YOU on?

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7.4
Civil War (2015) #5

Oct 16, 2015

What made the original CIVIL WAR so fascinating was that there was no puppet master behind the scenes manipulating the heroes against each other; we got to see everything, from the inciting incident to the mistakes made on both sides to the crushing finale and the aftermath. CIVIL WAR 2015 feels like everything the original CIVIL WAR tried to avoid being, and feels like a kind of fan-fiction continuation of that series. I commend Charles Soule and Lenil Yu for trying, and they absolutely gave it their best shot, but it just misses the mark and never reaches the heights of the original series. That said, I'm a sucker for anything CIVIL WAR, so bring on CIVIL WAR 2!

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9.4
Civil War II #0

May 23, 2016

CIVIL WAR II #0 is a perfect jumping on point for new or casual readers. Though it is mostly focused on setting the stage for the conflict to come, it does a great job of establishing some of the major players in the event who casual fans may not be well acquainted with. Brian Michael Bendis delivers one of his best scripts in recent memory, seamlessly (though verbosely) introducing the premise of the series and producing great character work. If you've never seen Oliver Coipel's art before, get ready to be blown away. As a massive fan of the original who has high hopes for CIVIL WAR II, it's a huge relief that this event is starting off so well. Here's hoping the best is yet to come.

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8.4
Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man #1

Jun 9, 2016

CIVIL WAR II: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 is a pleasant surprise. Whereas most tie-in books have only a loose connection to the story they're supposed to be related to, this one allows us to spend more time with a character in Ulysses who is woefully underdeveloped. It also establishes a connection between Ulysses and Spider-Man in the most logical way possible, giving Peter an important role in CIVIL WAR II without shoehorning him into the main story. Gage lays many of his cards on the table in this issue, giving him three more issues to expand upon all the great character work he accomplishes here. If you're unsure about which CIVIL WAR II tie-ins to pick up, make sure this one is at the top of your list.

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9.6
Dark Knight III: The Master Race #4

Apr 28, 2016

DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE #4 establishes very clearly that, in order for the world of men to be saved from their godlike invaders, they'll have to do it themselves. And so, it falls on Batman to be the protector of his people in a way that none of the super powered heroes can be. In the end, though, given their disconnectedness from each other and their actions, maybe Quard and the Kryptonians are right. Maybe human beings don't deserve Earth. It's this kind of depth that elevates DK III and makes it such a joy to read and dissect. Brian Azzarello, Andy Kubert and the rest of the creative team are doing something special with this book.

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9.4
Deadly Class #16

Sep 12, 2015

The three month wait for DEADLY CLASS #17 will be an agonizing one. This issue doesn't resolve any of the numerous dangling plot threads that exist in the series; instead, it adds yet another twist at the end that promises to shake things up. Rick Remender and Wes Craig have created something special with DEADLY CLASS, but putting together something this good requires a team of talented people looking to put out the best possible product with each issue. So far, the DEADLY CLASS team has achieved that lofty goal.

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9.4
Deadly Class #17

Jan 5, 2016

Jordan Boyd's color work is top notch here as well. Different colored backgrounds accentuate every page, playing to the emotion of the characters on said page very well. As an aside, it'd be interesting to hear Boyd's philosophy on color when it comes to DEADLY CLASS. His work has been a big part of the quality of this series, and hearing him speak on that would be enlightening for sure.

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7.4
Detective Comics (2011) #50

Mar 16, 2016

DETECTIVE COMICS #50 reads like an average, forgettable Batman story. It isn't bad, but the villain's hokey dialogue and some incredible conveniences take away from the otherwise-solid tale Tomasi tells here. It's a bit disappointing given that what works here is really good and could have resulted in a great Jim-Bat story that's removed from the wider story that Snyder is telling, similar to what Snyder himself did with Dick Grayson when he stood in for Bruce. This is a book that's carried by its art, both in the main story and the tribute afterwards. Not exactly what you'd expect for a “landmark” issue.

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7.0
Detective Comics (2011) #51

Apr 9, 2016

DETECTIVE COMICS is a book I want to like. It's got a great creative team with a golden opportunity to really flesh out Jim-Bat in a way that Scott Snyder didn't. But with only one issue to go, all we can hope for is that the second part of this story is better than the first and that Tomasi and Pasarin take this chance to do something that will make their time on the book memorable.

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6.4
Detective Comics (2011) #52

May 9, 2016

DETECTIVE COMICS #52 brings this series to a close in truly lackluster fashion. The book had its ups and downs during the New 52, but it was generally a solid option if you wanted to read good Batman stories that took place away from Scott Snyder's winding narrative. Unfortunately, it ends on a down note, even though Fernando Pasarin brings his A game to the issue. The story and dialogue just aren't strong enough to make this an entertaining issue, and as a result, the New 52 DETECTIVE COMICS goes out with a whimper.

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8.0
Doctor Strange (2015) #2

Nov 5, 2015

Aaron's Strange is a more grounded one, and while it's too early to say how effective this approach will be in the long run, for now it's a fun and interesting take on the character that nobody saw coming.

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7.4
Doctor Strange (2015) #3

Jan 6, 2016

DOCTOR STRANGE #3 doesn't do much to advance the plot of the book, nor does it add any wrinkles to the Dr. Strange character. It's far from a bad comic, though. The writing is still strong, and while Bachalo's art might not be for everyone, there's no denying the mans skillset or talent, which is perfectly suited to a book like this. Here's hoping that Aaron gets things moving next time around.

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8.4
Doctor Strange (2015) #4

Jan 6, 2016

DOCTOR STRANGE is still advancing its plot rather slowly, but at least Jason Aaron is taking the time to further develop the character of Dr. Strange. The last page teases that things are a lot more dire than the characters previously suspected, so maybe we'll see a bit more action in the next couple of installments. While not one of the top books Marvel is publishing, it's still better than most of the books in the All, New, All Different lineup. DOCTOR STRANGE has a lot of room to grow, and is good enough to warrant sticking around to see how the story unfolds.

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9.2
Doctor Strange (2015) #8

May 27, 2016

DOCTOR STRANGE is on a roll, redeeming itself for dragging its feet earlier on. This issue pushes Stephen to his limits, proving that he's just as brave and capable without magic as he is with it. While some questions linger, such as how Strange can possibly stop the Empirikul without magic, Aaron is telling such an incredible story that I'm comfortable waiting for him to show us how the good doctor will pull it off. Bachalo does a great job here as well, and while some images suffer from a lack of detail, this is such a gorgeous issue that it's easy not to get hung up on the weaker elements. Aaron and Bachalo have me under their spell, and I can't wait to see where they plan to take this story next.

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4.0
Home #1

Sep 11, 2015

I really hate to write a review this scathing. I don't take any pleasure in trashing other people's work, especially since I'm sure that they didn't intend to put out a bad comic, but that's what happened here. I wish I had anything good to say about this book, but I really don't. I have to assume that this title is establishing life as it was before/during the events of Night of the Living Dead, but if establishing this is necessary at all, it would be better done with some more excitement and ties to the bigger picture. Hopefully the rest of Double Take's launch titles are better than this, because HOME #1feels likean absolute dud. I would avoid this one… at least until we see where it's going.

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8.6
Invincible Iron Man (2015) #3

Nov 6, 2015

Brian Bendis and David Marquez are a great team, and as this series goes on both of them appear to get more comfortable living in this world. It's unclear where Bendis plans to take Iron Man beyond this storyline or what the greater goals are with this series, but any fan of ol' shellhead can find a lot to like here. The great character work that Bendis is known for is on full display and Marquez continues to deliver stellar artwork every issue.

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8.0
Invincible Iron Man (2015) #4

Dec 3, 2015

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #4 trades in the plot development of the series almost entirely, instead focusing on a great fight scene and a touching visit to a children's hospital. If you can accept the fact that we learn nothing new about what Madame Masque is up to or what the deal was with the ninjas, then you'll find a lot to like here. If you're tired of Bendis digressing and including scenes that don't push the story forward, you'll likely be frustrated by this issue. Either way, surely we can all agree on the sheer quality of David Marquez's art, yes? Thought so.

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8.6
Lazarus #19

Sep 3, 2015

LAZARUS deserves far more attention than it receives. It's a smart, expansive story that Rucka, Lark and the rest of the team have clearly put a lot of effort in to. To whit, each issue is packed with back matter, including more information about the Families and their histories, letter submissions and responses, and commentary from Rucka himself on whatever interests him at the time of the writing, which generally relates to technology seen in the book. There aren't a lot of creative teams that could pull off a book like this, but Greg Rucka and Michael Lark are one of the rare teams that consistently hits a home run, 19 issues and counting. LAZARUS #19 pushes the series many plotlines forward a few inches each, and sets the stage for potentially big shifts to take place in future issues. At the heart of it all is Forever, and it'll be interesting to see how her death and resurrection affect her going forward.

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9.4
Lazarus #20

Nov 28, 2015

LAZARUS #20 sees Greg Rucka and Michael Lark continuing to push their story forward at a perfect pace. With lots of action and high drama all around, LAZARUS shows no signs of slowing down.

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8.0
Low #9

Aug 29, 2015

The beauty of LOW lies in Rick Remender's unwillingness to give his characters anything; everything they have they've fought for, and each one of them has been put through hell to get where they are, and where they are isn't very pretty. It makes each victory (however few and far between) mean that much more, but the tide of darkness always lies just underneath these characters, waiting to drag them down. LOW #9 manages to be equal parts character study on Della, a kinetic action piece, and a hard hitting emotional roller coaster. Thankfully, the ride is far from over and the creative team behind LOW will continue to peel back the layers of this tremendous series.

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9.6
Low #10

Oct 16, 2015

LOW #10 returns the series focus to Stel for its last issue before a three month long hiatus, and what a wait that's going to be. Stel's new perspective on life will be vital to her and her allies going forward, and Tocchini and Mcgaig present a near flawless artistic offering. This issue encapsulates everything that LOW is about and offers a tantalizing finale that makes the wait for issue 11 an agonizing one.

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7.4
Narcopolis Continuum #1

Jan 15, 2016

NARCOPOLIS: CONTINUUM #1 is a solid first effort that does just enough right to encourage me to pick up the second issue. It's somewhat derivative and the art doesn't always hit the mark, but the story is solid and has some very intriguing elements to it. There's a lot of potential here: if writer Scott Duvall can flesh these characters out a bit more and the story provides satisfying twists and turns, it could evolve in to something special. Time will tell.

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6.0
New Avengers (2015) #1

Oct 19, 2015

I'm willing to give the creative team the benefit of the doubt because of the challenges that face them in living up to a classic run that came before and all of the legwork Ewing has to do to establish this team, but this issue is dull. It feels as though Ewing was hoping to execute strong, snappy dialogue not unlike what Bendis is known for, but it ultimately ends up falling flat. The art is alright and certainly does these characters justice, but doesn't aspire to do more than just tell the story. No innovation, no sizzle, just the steak. In order for this book to succeed it has to stand above the rest of Marvel's offerings as a dynamic book with a unique roster. Right now it certainly has the roster, but everything else here is completely forgettable.

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5.6
New Avengers (2015) #2

Oct 29, 2015

Al Ewing is clearly working towards something with this series, but he's given the book very little room to breathe and grow organically. Instead, he's throwing constant streams of information and words at the reader that take away from the central story. Too many times throughout the battle sequence we cut away to either A.I.M. or The Maker speaking, and none of their conversations add to the narrative. It would have been nice to see Sandoval given more to do during the action scene as it was certainly the best part of the issue, but not only do we not get that, we don't get any development of the team or its seven members (though I'm not sure Hawkeye should count at this point). Al Ewing is racing against time here: there's only so long that readers will put up with his approach to this series, and right now, there are no signs of anything worth sticking around for.

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5.6
New Avengers (2015) #3

Nov 19, 2015

NEW AVENGERS is a book that, by this writer's estimation, isn't worth reading if not for the pretty artwork of Gerardo Sandoval. Al Ewing certainly has the chops to write a good book, but they're not on display here sadly.

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5.0
New Avengers (2015) #4

Dec 24, 2015

There's no pleasure to be derived from reviewing a book poorly. This is a series that was near the top of my must-read list before it launched. Unfortunately, it hasn't lived up to expectations, and that's okay, not every book does. But NEW AVENGERS feels insulting to the intelligence of its readers. Aside from Gerardo Sandoval's art, there isn't anything redeemable about this issue,and it would be disingenuous to recommend it to anyone for any other reason than said art.

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8.4
Postal #8

Nov 23, 2015

POSTAL may be a newer series, but it's creators have proven that they intend to say something with this book. Born from an era of television series that have foregone the ‘Good VS Evil' story type and embraced shades of grey, POSTAL feels like it belongs in the same category as shows like THE SOPRANOS, THE WIRE or BREAKING BAD in that it's more of a character study and an exploration of some heavy moral questions. Whether or not it'll end up being of the quality level as the aforementioned television classics remains to be seen, but the creators are weaving a tale that deserves your attention.

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7.4
Postal Dossier #1

Nov 11, 2015

POSTAL DOSSIER #1 doesn't offer much for readers of the main series, but if you're a newcomer looking to hop on and give POSTAL a shot (you should), this is a good way to get an idea of what this series is all about without investing in the graphic novels quite yet. If you are a loyal reader of the series, having this issue as a reference could prove helpful when it comes to some characters, and we do learn two pieces of information that may prove important later on in the series. POSTAL is a series worth your time, and if this review doesn't convince of that, pick up POSTAL DOSSIER #1 and let the creators prove it to you themselves.

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9.0
Secret Wars #7

Nov 11, 2015

There are many, many questions left for Hickman to answer and not many pages left with which to answer them. Because of how long this series has dragged on due to delays and the addition of another issue entirely, SECRET WARS has become an afterthought in the minds of many fans who've moved on to the All-New All-Different Marvel status quo. That said, it's still very important for us to know how we get to that place, and only Hickman can tell us that story. Here's hoping that he, Esad Ribic and the rest of the team can deliver on the promises of this series and keep the quality high as we rocket toward the finale.

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6.6
Secret Wars #8

Dec 9, 2015

Previous issues of SECRET WARS always had just enough going for them to give readers a justifiable glimmer of hope for the following chapter. At this point, the only thing to look forward to about the final chapter of SECRET WARS (which has been delayed again until January 2016) is that we'll finally know how the MU goes back to ‘normal', though the longer we continue to live in a post-SECRET WARS Marvel the less that information matters. Though there is some good in this issue, none of it outweighs the fact that something went horribly wrong with this series, and there's no longer a reason to believe that Hickman will nail the finale.

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10
Secret Wars #9

Jan 15, 2016

The book ends on an optimistic note, serving as a perfect bookend to what Hickman began years ago. On the whole, SECRET WARS doesn't feel like the story Jonathan Hickman ultimately wanted to tell. Many characters felt shoe-horned in and unnecessary, and the series is probably an issue or two too long. But with this finale, Hickman and Ribic shed the excess and focus on the characters that were at the center of this tale from its inception. The result is the most satisfying ending to an event to come from the Big Two in quite some time. This is Hickman's swan song at Marvel for some time at least, and with SECRET WARS #9 he perfectly closes the door on his tenure at Marvel and says goodbye to the characters who were most important to him. Kudos to Jonathan Hickman for nailing the finish.

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7.4
Squadron Supreme (2015) #1

Dec 21, 2015

Squadron Supreme is a book teeming with potential: if built properly, the Squadron could be viewed as a legitimate threat to the Avengers, while making readers care about who these characters are. Given the teaser on the last page, though, it doesn't appear that Robinson is going to waste any time in getting to the Squadron versus Avengers conflict. While there is intrigue in seeing that fight, there are only so many times readers will care about this before it becomes old hat. Squadron Supreme is off to an okay start, but James Robinson, Leonard Kirk and Marvel need to be careful not to allow this team to fizzle out before they've told the compelling story that lives within this new series.

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8.4
Star Wars (2014) #12

Nov 18, 2015

STAR WARS #12 is a solid entry in to what is one of the best STAR WARS books Marvel is currently publishing. It offers a nice lead in to VADER DOWN which begins this week (be on the lookout for our review of the first issue!), and resolves various plotlines from this story arc. It's got great character moments, awesome artwork from Stuart Immonen, and feels a lot like it could have been ripped right from the silver screen. So why does it feel hollow? Because it can't reveal anything about it's characters that we don't already know. Aaron will have to find a way around that once VADER DOWN wraps and we return to our regularly scheduled programming.

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8.6
Star Wars (2014) #13

Dec 3, 2015

We're now halfway through VADER DOWN, and though the mini-series has kept up a generally high level of quality (the art has been spotty for the last two issues), hopefully this event has some substantial surprises in store. There's reason to suspect that this will be the case given the creators haven't even begun to reveal the mysteries of Vrogas Vas. This issue may veer too closely in to slapstick humor territory at times, but overall it's a fun installment in a series that remains incredible as it enters in to its second half.

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9.0
Star Wars (2014) #14

Jan 6, 2016

The penultimate chapter of the VADER DOWN event brings the series back to the high of the first two issues and sets up a potentially thrilling finale. Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato bow out of VADER DOWN the same way they began: incredible action, strong characterization and awesome moments for Darth Vader. All that's left is for Gillen and Larroca to nail the finish, and VADER DOWN will prove to be a great first attempt at a STAR WARS event from Marvel.

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9.0
Star Wars (2014) #15

Jan 22, 2016

This issue is mostly a reintroduction to the central characters and setup for a future conflict, which is acceptable given how great Aaron's script is. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear as though Aaron and company will be returning to this storyline anytime soon, as next issue begins the “Rebel Jail” story arc. Despite this, STAR WARS #15 succeeds at everything it sets out to do and also introduces us to the incredibly talented Mike Mayhew, who we can only hope will return to illustrate more STAR WARS comics once Jason Aaron gets around to furthering the story he begins here.

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8.4
Star Wars (2014) #17

Mar 29, 2016

STAR WARS #17 is another solid entry for a series that has really found its footing after the diversion that was VADER DOWN. The focus on Leia, Sana, and Aphra has been great, even if it comes at the expense of Luke and Han. Jason Aaron doesn't shy away from some compelling moral questions here, which we haven't seen much of in the STAR WARS line of comics. Though the art isn't quite as strong as it was last time around, Leinil Yu does a great job depicting the various action scenes throughout the book. STAR WARS has been an enjoyable ride since issue #1, and shows no signs of slowing down.

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9.4
Star Wars (2014) #18

Apr 28, 2016

STAR WARS #18 has a lot going for it. It's a ton of fun, has great characters, and the art is fantastic. Put simply, this book is a joy to read. If you want to pick up a STAR WARS book but can only afford one, this should be it.

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9.4
Star Wars (2014) #19

May 26, 2016

“Rebel Jail” has been a masterclass in how to tell an effective, gripping STAR WARS story in comic book form. STAR WARS #19 is the peak of this series' success, delivering great character drama, a genuinely surprising reveal, and the fun that you should expect when reading a Marvel comic written by Jason Aaron. The art is fantastic as well; Yu was the perfect choice to illustrate this story arc, and hopefully he's brought back in at some point. STAR WARS is a joy to read, and a book that stays at the very top of my pull list each month.

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7.6
Star Wars (2014) Annual #1

Dec 18, 2015

With STAR WARS ANNUAL #1, Kieron Gillen tells a story that's a bit different than what we're used to seeing in the STAR WARS universe, and it works in large part because of that. While the art doesn't quite reach the highs that the narrative does, overall this a solid comic that gives fans of STAR WARS a look at not only how far the Rebellion is willing to go to bring the Empire down, but just how devious and vile Emperor Palpatine is. Gritter STAR WARS stories like these would be a welcome addition to Marvel's current line of comics.

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9.4
Star Wars (2014): Vader Down #1

Nov 19, 2015

Marvel smartly capitalizes on STAR WARS mania with its first STAR WARS comic book event. Thankfully, VADER DOWN isn't just a cheap cash in product; it's a well crafted book with an incredibly creative team behind it. So long as everyone involved can keep this a high quality affair, VADER DOWN should prove to be one of Marvel's best events in recent memory.

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8.0
Star Wars (2014): Vader Down #1

Nov 28, 2015

VADER DOWN remains an impressive event for the STAR WARS universe, at least from a story standpoint. While the art may falter in this issue, Kieron Gillen delivers a superb script that gives each character (except Luke") moments in the spotlight and leaves things in an interesting place for Jason Aaron to take over from next week.

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8.0
Star Wars: Darth Vader #14

Dec 23, 2015

VADER DOWN is still a good event series, but the cracks are starting to show. Hopefully the injection of some new characters in to this story will freshen things up, but this issue spotlighted the significant problems that exist when trying to tell a meaningful story with the main characters of the STAR WARS universe. With two issues left to go, the creators don't have a ton of room left to play with, and still have to address things like what exactly is going on with Vrogas Vas. Gillen and Jason Aaron are both incredible writers though, and while this issue may falter, there should be little doubt that they'll nail the finish of this event series.

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6.6
Star Wars: Darth Vader #15

Jan 13, 2016

The problem is, the story is all tease and no please. There's no payoff to any of the storylines at play here, and the writers are forced to play around anything really interesting in order to preserve stories that must play out and resolve elsewhere. It's frustrating and not remotely satisfying. Hopefully Marvel learns their lessons with VADER DOWN and goes in a different direction with the (inevitable) next STAR WARS event. In comics, there's always another.

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7.6
Star Wars: Darth Vader #16

Feb 16, 2016

DARTH VADER #16 is a strong entry into a series that's been consistently good throughout its run. It's a slower, more methodical series than its STAR WARS comic counterpart, and it has done a great job of building a compelling supporting cast around Vader. That said, Larroca's page layouts lack the ambition that other artists playing in the STAR WARS universe bring to their books, and as of yet, the “Shu-Torun War” arc hasn't produced an antagonist suitable for facing off against Lord Vader. The series was on a roll prior to VADER DOWN, so hopefully Gillen and Larroca can find that spark again and deliver the high quality Darth Vader goodness that can turn this consistently good series into a great one.

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7.6
Star Wars: Darth Vader #17

Mar 4, 2016

Though Kieron Gillen's writing is as strong as ever, he's juggling too many plots this time around, leaving each feeling undercooked. The sooner the good Dr. Aphra returns to this series, the better.

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7.6
Star Wars: Darth Vader #18

Apr 1, 2016

The “Shu-Torun War” arc of DARTH VADER has been solid so far, and this issue definitely takes the story to new heights. It has its problems to be sure, but Gillen has done a great job of finding this arc's strengths and highlighting them. Unfortunately, the art of Salvador Larroca holds this issue back. It may do Marvel well to give Larroca a break from this series to recharge his batteries. Fans of this series have a lot to look forward to, though, as next issue looks to be explosive.

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8.0
Star Wars: Darth Vader #19

Apr 15, 2016

DARTH VADER #19 is emblematic of everything this book does right and wrong. On the one hand, you have the comedic elements that Triple Zero and Beetee bring to the table, the strong characterization of Queen Trios, and Darth Vader's insidious actions. On the other, there's a rushed conclusion, weak villains, and ultimately bland artwork. There's a lot of good here, though, and the last few pages tease that there are great things on the horizon for this series. Hopefully, DARTH VADER can once again reach the heights it did during its first year.

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8.6
Star Wars: Darth Vader #20

May 12, 2016

DARTH VADER #20 represents the best of what this series has to offer. Gripping, intense character drama and smart dialogue coupled with powerful art that does an amazing job of telling the story. Though not a whole lot happens here, what does is impactful and clearly establishes the road ahead for this series.

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7.4
Star Wars: Darth Vader Annual #1

Dec 21, 2015

DARTH VADER ANNUAL #1 is missing some of the charm of the main DARTH VADER series. It includes Triple-Zero and Beetee, but Aphra is missing (not sure how that makes sense). They aren't as funny or interesting here as they have traditionally been, which is a shame because this book could have benefited from their humor. DARTH VADER ANNUAL #1 is worth a read because of Vader's connection with Trios, even if it is missing a lot of what makes the proper title so much fun. If you're feeling STAR WARS fatigue however, or don't care to blow your money on a book that won't wow you, this is a book you can safely pass on.

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8.6
Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin #1

Jan 6, 2016

If you love the Prequel era of STAR WARS for its rich Jedi and Sith lore and want to learn more about the boy who would become Darth Vader, this is the book for you. While the first issue may be on the slow side, it does a great job of building its main characters, and introduces a mystery that's interesting enough to keep reading. The art is strong and, provided Marco can stick around for some time, this book is going to be one of the best looking books in Marvel's publishing line for quite a while. STAR WARS fans, this is yet another success. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up.

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8.6
Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin #2

Feb 5, 2016

OBI-WAN & ANAKIN #2 may not move the various plot threads forward much, but what's here is high quality. Charles Soule and Marco Checchetto are a great team, and they're doing a wonderful job of fleshing out the relationship between the Jedi Master and his Padawan learner. Hopefully, the pace quickens next issue, and we'll learn where this story is going, but for now, Soule's character-focused scripts and Marco's stunning artwork are enough to make this book a worthy read.

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8.0
Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin #3

Mar 30, 2016

OBI-WAN & ANAKIN sacrifices a potentially engaging story for incredible character analysis. At times this feels like an unnecessary trade-off and Charles Soule could have both if he really tried. This is especially frustrating when every character but Anakin feels woefully underdeveloped. With only two issues to go, it's unclear how deeply Soule plans to explore the intriguing world of Carnelion IV, or if we'll ever learn what it means to be Open or Closed. No matter what Soule does, though, Marco Checchetto makes this book an instant purchase because of his amazing artwork.

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8.4
Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin #4

Apr 21, 2016

While OBI-WAN & ANAKIN #4 may be the worst issue of the series in some respects, it also includes two of its best scenes. Couple that with the consistently incredible art of Marco Checchetto, and you have a book that succeeds. It adds truly significant details to the life and feelings of arguably the most important STAR WARS character, Anakin Skywalker. Though the overall story may feel like setup for the final issue, Charles Soule manages to include enough bits of great storytelling that this book is still really enjoyable.

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8.4
Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin #5

May 26, 2016

For all its faults, OBI-WAN & ANAKIN #5 does enough right to be a satisfying conclusion to the series. It lacks the strong characterization that this series promised and delivered in earlier issues, but it resolves the story effectively and includes some great bits with Obi and Anakin at the end. Charles Soule did in less than five issues what the STAR WARS films failed to do over the course of many hours: he made Anakin a sympathetic figure. For that reason alone this series is a success, but it accomplished more than that. It fleshed not only Anakin's relationship with Obi-Wan but also his relationship with Palpatine, which always felt undercooked in the films. The art of Marco Checchetto has been phenomenal all throughout but is especially great here because of how action-packed this issue is. I thoroughly enjoyed this series despite its problems and hope that this creative team can reunite to share with us more of Obi-Wan and Anakin's adventures.

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8.6
Star Wars: Shattered Empire #1

Sep 11, 2015

STAR WARS: SHATTERED EMPIRE #1 is a good comic. The story presented here isn't mind-blowing by any means, but as a first issue it does a solid job of establishing newcomers Shara and Kes and sets up the rest of the series pretty well. What takes this issue over the top is the artwork of Marco Checchetto. Even if the rest of the comic was trash (it isn't), Marco's artwork would be worth returning for throughout the rest of the 4 issue miniseries. Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens is off to a great start, and STAR WARS: SHATTERED EMPIRE will be a tough act to follow.

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9.4
Star Wars: Shattered Empire #2

Oct 14, 2015

All in all, SHATTERED EMPIRE #2 is a spectacular offering by a creative team assembled to ensure that this book not only succeeds financially, but that it's everything a STAR WARS comic book should be. Though it takes place after the events of RETURN OF THE JEDI, it doesn't make much of an effort to establish the whereabouts of many of the STAR WARS figures we all know and love. But that isn't its mission statement. Shara Bey is a wonderful inclusion in to the STAR WARS mythos, and one hopes that we'll continue to follow her adventures long after SHATTERED EMPIRE reaches its conclusion. Marco Checchetto continues to knock it out of the park and deliver amazing action that defines the way space battles should look in comics. While there should be little doubt about whether SHATTERED EMPIRE will ultimately end as strongly as it began, the question is how relevant it will be to the larger STAR WARS story when the time comes to close the doors on this incredible series.

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8.4
Star Wars: Shattered Empire #3

Oct 14, 2015

How this story will resolve itself remains to be seen, but with only one issue left, one must wonder whether or not Rucka and co have enough pages left to resolve this tale effectively.

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10
Star Wars: Shattered Empire #4

Oct 22, 2015

STAR WARS: SHATTERED EMPIRE #4 is a near flawless conclusion to an incredible series. It lacks the scale and cast of supporting characters from previous issues, but it benefits from being a more focused story overall. We saw Shara team up with a number of heroes from the STAR WARS universe throughout the series, but this issue and her and teaming with Luke is the strongest by far. This issue is impeccable from top to bottom, and although we've covered Marco Checchetto's greatness ad-nauseam, this run will likely be defined by his wonderful artwork. This is one of those times that a superstar team lives up to the expectations, and it's been a pleasure to witness. The Journey to THE FORCE AWAKENS has been made infinitely better by this series.

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6.6
Superman (2011) #50

Mar 21, 2016

Like last week's DETECTIVE COMICS #50, SUPERMAN #50 is a “monumental issue” only because of the number. The story inside the book is far more pedestrian, and doesn't say anything interesting or fresh about the character. Not only that, but it never gives us the payoff to Superman finally getting his powers back. Unlike DETECTIVE COMICS #50, the art here isn't good enough to carry the floundering story. It's often distracting how different characters look from page-to-page, and even though the action sequences look great, the rest of the book suffers from pages too stuffed with panels to breathe. It's unfortunate that Gene Luen Yang won't be the writer to close out SUPERMAN before the title ends with issue #52, as this issue isn't a fitting conclusion to his time with the character.

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9.0
Tokyo Ghost #4

Dec 23, 2015

TOKYO GHOST picks up in a big way with issue 4. That said, what does it say about us, the readers of this awesome series, that we doubted the creative team or the quality of this book simply because things slowed down a bit? Are we not ourselves like Teddy, addicted to the instant gratification culture that we live in now, where everything is hyper real and sped up? TOKYO GHOST has a lot to say about our society, and while it may not cause any of us to go technology free like Teddy and Deborah chose to, hopefully it forces some readers to consider how our world could be different if we put our phones down, turned off the television, and listened to each other.

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7.6
Ultimates (2015) #1

Nov 14, 2015

THE ULTIMATES is a very different book than each of the other AVENGERS titles on the stands today, and it succeeds largely because of that. Al Ewing focuses primarily on introducing us to his characters with this issue, but the various points at which we meet the cast aren't necessarily that interesting, nor is it clear how they fit in to the larger narrative. The promise of this series that it will deliver something that we can't find anywhere else coupled with its diverse cast and the incredible art from Kenneth Rocafort makes this a book to watch, and arguably the best AVENGERS book Marvel is publishing right now, though unfortunately that isn't saying too much.

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9.0
Unit 44 #1

Sep 8, 2015

When Area 51 employees Agents Gibson and Hatch forget to pay the rent on the facility's off-site storage unit the secret contents are sold to a couple of backwoods rednecks at public auction. When an alien invasion threatens planet Earth the agents will have to recover an item from the locker if they hope to stop the extraterrestrial threat.

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