shathley Q's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: PopMatters Reviews: 78
8.5Avg. Review Rating

10
Action Comics (2011) #6

Feb 5, 2012

Go out and buy this book. Not because you'll get Grant and Andy (Kubert, who vividly realizes the inner zany of a Superman story) to sign it. Not because you'll store it away. Not because it will be worth more and more as the years go by. But because it will go with you forever. Because after just one reading, you'll see the world through its prism, and you'll be more, do more, whoever you are. And because, you'll read it and reread it into the ground. And you'll be wanting another copy for after.

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9.0
Action Comics (2011) #13

Oct 30, 2012

For those of us who found themselves in the path of Sandy, and for our own Associate Comics Editor Michael D. Stewart, our thoughts and our hopes are with you now as much during the aftermath, as they were during the storm.

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6.0
All-New Invaders #1

Jan 29, 2014

The original Invaders stories were about unchecked aggression against a morally corrupt force that illegally occupied once free nations. It offered the moral complexity of noir, without needing to resort to any of the conventions of genre. Robinson's story doesn't get there just yet. And while I am hopeful that, because it's James Robinson of Starman and Justice Society fame, we will get a solid story, I'm still twisting on whether the story we will get will tread the same ground, morally, as the original Invaders.

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10
Amazing Spider-Man #683

Apr 10, 2012

Building companies like Tesla for building emissions-free cars, or SpaceX for building rocketships (actual rocketships!), or Solar City for engineering human activity free from pollution and fossil-dependence, Elon Musk has involved me deeply in his quest for tomorrow, just as he has you. And in no longer simply responding to danger, Spidey has finally, flawlessly transitioned from being a teenage hero into being ready for an entirely new kind of tomorrow.

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7.0
Apocalypse Al #1

Feb 5, 2014

All pieces in play, Apocalypse Al is a rare work, in that it shows exactly the full range of its writer. Between the horror neonoir of Ten Grand and the retro superhero deconstruction of Sidekick of last year, Apocalypse Al reads like something light and fresh. But also something well-crafted and resilient.

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9.0
Aquaman (2011) #8

Apr 30, 2012

Retrieving Atlantis as a mythic place, and refuting it as just another exotic locale, has got to be one of the finest moments in the genre of adventure stories over the last century. Truthfully, you'd probably need to go back to Hemingway to encounter any adventure stories that were as vivid or as vital or as important as Aquaman.

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9.0
Aquaman (2011) #27

Feb 12, 2014

Aquaman #27 is worth reading, worth owning. Wrestle it down and it will keep rewarding you.

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10
Astonishing X-Men #51

Jun 27, 2012

That act of finding the inherent drama is the high art of Marjorie Liu, and the signature of a true master storyteller. It has been decades since X-Men books have evidenced this profound connection with their past of producing socially relevant storylines. And decades more since this was effected with such skill. Astonishing X-Men #51 comes with the highest praise. It deserves to be read and reread. It deserves to be owned. But even more importantly. It deserves buying multiple copies, and being left in the places where it can be found.

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10
B.P.R.D.: Hell On Earth #124

Oct 29, 2014

B.P.R.D. #124 comes with the highest praise, you simply owe it to yourself to read it again and again.

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7.0
Batman (2011) #35

Nov 5, 2014

So the question you should ask yourself is, “Can there be an better single issue to read, than Batman #35, on the morning you wake up to find the GOP having retaken the Legislature, and now needing to work with a sitting Democrat President?”

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8.0
Batman Incorporated #1

May 29, 2012

There's something beautiful here, something graceful, like that girl who when I was younger installed in me the desire to learn to smoke, because when she smoked in the rain, her cigarettes would hiss in the most elegant of ways. Something painfully human to be found in these pages. But nothing can really equal that moment Grant tackles directly the notion of the Ferryman's Dilemma.

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8.0
Batman: The Dark Knight (2011) #10

Jun 28, 2012

Batman: The Dark Knight #10 is truly one of the hardest reviews to write. There's so much Gregg and his collaborator (series regular artist, and filmmaker) David Finch have managed to jam into this single issue. There's the car chase sequence that opens the book for example. Once again we see Batman and Commissioner Gordon in pursuit of a criminal on the streets of Gotham. There's a riveting, vibrant kineticism to these panels. David's artwork crackles with life, Gregg finds exactly the right moments, the right images to capture in each panel. For just the briefest slice of time, you're lost in a Spielberg or a Buster Keaton or an Eisenstein.

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8.0
Batman: The Dark Knight (2011) #12

Aug 28, 2012

Because more than anything, that little tidbit of Rock N Roll lore will put you in exactly the right frame of mind, for the absolutely phenomenal ending to the first year of Batman: the Dark Knight.

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9.0
Batman: The Dark Knight (2011) #19

May 14, 2013

This is an issue that stands at the strange intersection of neonoir and true crime. As an issue that comes just prior to the culmination of the current arc, and on laced with artist Symon Kudranski's beautifully neonoir chiaroscuro, Batman: the Dark Knight #19, “the Pool of Tears,” comes with the highest praise.

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10
Before Watchmen: Comedian #1

Jun 25, 2012

If Before Watchmen can be apprehended as a generationally definitive work, just as the original Watchmen was a generation ago, it will be by this—that the creators involved on Before Watchmen have already found the means to recalibrate the project and find that inner social media that fuels Twitter and Tumblr and FaceBook, and fuels us all.

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10
Beware the Batman #1

Nov 6, 2013

It would be the worst kind of backhanded compliment to suggest a personal sense of eagerness at the prospect of Cohen getting a crack at for a real adult Batman in the pages of Detective say, or maybe Batman & Robin or even Batman. But that would be to disavow the great work done by Cohen on this title. Beware the Batman comes with the highest praise.

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8.0
Blue Beetle (2011) #6

Feb 20, 2012

I will of course pick up a copy of issue #7. By now I trust Tony, and trust him to take me to the places he wants to go with this character, with this book. Three bucks seems a very small price to pay for the pure mastery we see in such a book as this.

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8.0
Catwoman (2011) #6

Mar 18, 2012

But the real question here, the question that unflinchingly runs to the heart of Judd's time on Catwoman is whether or not a man can write a woman. Are we trapped in ersatz, second-wave feminism that demands feminism is only a gender-specific option? You'll have to decide that for yourself. For my part however, Judd Winick has earned himself a fan.

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9.0
Coffin Hill #1

Oct 16, 2013

Coffin Hill simply deserves to be read by you, whoever you are.

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7.0
Coffin Hill #2

Nov 13, 2013

It's in this sense that Miranda's use of the masking effect, in particular in the pages of Coffin Hill begins to take on a New Journalistic flavor, and puts him on the same footing (albeit in a markedly different arena) as writers like Hunter Thompson or Michael Herr.

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9.0
Daredevil (2011) #10.1

Apr 11, 2012

And when you think about it just for a second, it's all the ways Julian Assange, when he first appeared, long before the sexual assault charges that might see him extradited to Sweden, originally reminded us of a kind of DD of cyberspace. And while personalities in the real world often fade with time or because of rooted in the real world of human foibles, icons are forever. For Mark to reclaim that original fire in DD himself, it's just the Best. Easter. Ever.

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9.0
Daredevil (2011) #16

Aug 6, 2012

What we see instead, is these artists rise. And not more so than in the segue between the two acts of Daredevil #16 where, simply in narrative monologue while in conversation with his rescuers, DD identifies each of their inner weaknesses. If Daredevil #16 succeeds, it is because Mark Waid as a writer, just as Grazia and Waits before him, has been imprinted with a kind of fearlessness the character he writes is possessed of.

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8.0
Daredevil: End of Days #1

Oct 9, 2012

And it's in this regard that Daredevil: End of Days is wildly successful. Because it is a testbed for the idea of Daredevil, rather than simply the daily adventures he finds himself embroiled in.

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9.0
Death Sentence #1

May 28, 2013

Here's the pitch then, Dear Reader. If you're a Metal Monkey, and the appearance of HIV damaged your sense of future, Death Sentence will read like all your favorite episodes of Doctor Who, like every emotion you've never realized you've had. But if you're not, if you've been born into a world that's already been rendered safer and smaller, and just a tiny bit uglier, then Death Sentence will read like only the best parts of Watchmen—a social analysis that exceeds the medium of comics, easily the equal of Dostoyevsky or Dickens.

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8.0
Death Sentence: London #3

Aug 12, 2015

If you're Monty Nero or Martin Simmonds, you do a page like this one. We'll pick this up in Friday's Iconographies.

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7.0
Defenders (2011) #1

Dec 11, 2011

Defenders is halcyon now, because we have no idea of the threats that face us. And postmodern levity is perhaps the only way to negotiate the dangers. For Fraction and Dodson to convey that in just 22 pages… there really is promise here.

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8.0
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? #23

Jun 2, 2011

This is Dick's finest writing from the original story. A deep, character-driven well that remained untapped by Scott. And this is Tony Parker at his best. Parker's page breakdowns, his panel breakdowns, and the sheer weight of exegetic text that he balances stands as a singular achievement. With this issue, as with the entire project, Parker has wandered well beyond Eisner Award territory and into Pulitzer.

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8.0
Fantastic Four #607

Jun 20, 2012

How will Hickman surpass or even conserve the emotional momentum those moments? And yet, with an opening as powerful as this one to "Inert", surpassing those moments already seems certain.

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7.0
Fantastic Four (2012) #10

Jul 23, 2013

For these reasons Fantastic Four #10 comes with substantial praise.

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10
FF (2012) #15

Mar 7, 2012

Because if you can make everything, you can make everything better. By what mechanism can everything be made better? Months later, in this most recent issue of FF, Hickman harnesses the internal drama of reading comics to explain exactly those powers of resilience and self-mastery that is required for breaking the Not-Yet-Fourth-Wall, and making everything better.

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9.0
Five Ghosts #2

Apr 22, 2013

Five Ghosts: the Haunting of Fabian Gray is so novel, and so sincere in dealing with its own literary tradition, that it achieves that rare moment where it is able to elevate the genre itself. And in doing so it poses the question, what is the place for novelty, and perhaps in a deeper sense, what is the price of novelty, in a world where there's nothing new under the sun?

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10
Flash (2011) #2

Oct 25, 2011

And yet, with Manapul and Buccellato's the Flash here is finally a comicbook that once again emulates the pattern of our daily lives. The Flash is simply comics at its finest.

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9.0
Flash (2011) #6

Feb 26, 2012

This Tarantino-esque, catching-up-to-the-Flash kind of a story, told over two days, is just thematically-rich and deeply-apposite detailing on exactly that genre of story.

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7.0
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #8

Apr 18, 2012

In Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #8 Jeff Lemire turns that drama inwards. Imagination unleashed is not the liberation it would prove to be for Einstein. Monsters lurk behind the veil. And ultimately the art of this issue is to bring you to a point where, as much for safety's sake as any, you choose to disavow that unbridled hope that Einstein himself represents. “Spawn of Frankenstein” is a sordid, filthy drama. And the world is richer for it.

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10
Green Arrow (2011) #23.1

Sep 24, 2013

In the final analysis, “Momma's Boy” is so finely crafted and do richly woven, and so singular an achievement, that you'll find yourself returning to it like Vertigo returns to the scene of a crime perpetrated against himself. As a project it remains singular among the other takes from DC's “Villains Month,” and reads like an unremitting portrait of an adversary worthy of confronting Green Arrow philosophically as much as physically.

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8.0
Green Arrow (2011) #24

Nov 20, 2013

It's hard to keep piling accolade upon accolade on this book. But in the hands of Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino, Green Arrow has become something special again. And it simply deserves to be read by you, whoever you are.

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8.0
Green Lantern (2011) #6

Feb 13, 2012

And then there's the issue itself. “The Other Hero”, the failed planetary protector who holds up such a dark mirror to Sinestro that Sin himself is forced to rethink the role Hal Jordan will play. There's something about this song of loss and age and experience that speaks vividly to the deep currents of a Hunter S. Thompson struggling with the (possible) loss of his longtime friend, and the shape of the world after his assertion of Gonzo Journalism. Ah, the things we choose to choose… “The Other Hero” is its very own sort of signal, not from any unconscious in particular, but from the collective unconscious of popculture. And who can say what ideas may come from there?

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10
Green Lantern (2011) #10

Jun 18, 2012

Undiluted in every way, and poignant “Silver Springs” reminds us also why Hal Jordan's Green Lantern spearheaded the Silver Age. And now, with the concluding chapter to “Secret of the Indigo Tribe” it feels like that groundbreaking Green Lantern has finally returned, wizened not weathered by the long road Geoff Johns took to bring him here.

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6.0
Hellblazer #294

Aug 19, 2012

With issue #294, Constantine continues to track down a serial killer with unique ties to Irish magic and the poetry of WB Yeats. A killer who may or may not be his own nephew, long ago abandoned by his then teen-mother. But there's another magic at work here. The deeper magic of finding new places to go with a grand old character like Constantine.

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8.0
Invincible Iron Man #515

Apr 29, 2012

The “Demon” is that older, deeper insecurity that Tony feels. Something that drives him to greatness, by driving him to lose control. For Matt Fraction to have reframed the character in this way, he's clearly tilled the fertile soil of myth himself. There'll come a time, soon enough, when critics will be saying, “It's a good Iron Man story, but it's no ‘Demon'”.

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9.0
Invincible Iron Man #521

Jul 30, 2012

Fraction doesn't surpass all expectations with “The Demolished Man”, he simply educates us that when it comes to “The Future”, expectations are more or less meaningless.

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10
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #1

Apr 23, 2014

Simply put, the Marquez obit allows for an insight into the inner unity between the two halves of the issue, and between Danny Rand's two stories. The violence that allows the Iron Fist to flourish, and the mundanity that saps the vigor from Danny Rand's life is exactly the same. In the space of just 22 pages, Andrews has demonstrated a profound and hauntingly beautiful argument for the Iron Fist being of a very different genre of story to either Spider-Man or Wolverine or Green Arrow or the current cinematic shibboleths of Iron Man or Batman. In Andrews' skilled hands, Iron Fist is given an entirely new and radically thrilling creative vision, one for which only one issue per month is far, far too little.

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10
Justice League of America (2013) #1

Feb 19, 2013

Johns has excelled with this book, conceiving of a most unique way to tell the story of the Justice League of America—by meditating on why America appears in the team's name. Even the fact that no one before has considered this, and that such consideration now seems obvious, pales into comparison against the true intellectual core of this book—that meditations on a Difficult America and our collective struggle with American identity is now exactly what's needed in popculture. This is exactly the social realism in American literature that Tom Wolfe mourned the death of when he inaugurated New Journalism. Justice League of America proves that Johns isn't only heir to the American literary tradition of Whitman, Twain and Hemingway, he is also their equal.

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7.0
Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand #1

Feb 1, 2012

If the weird, old pulp we know is still to come in Lobster Johnson: the Burning Hand has any meaning, it is because the noir world that Mike has built in this issue matters.

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8.0
Loki: Ragnarok and Roll #2

Mar 19, 2014

"'Be your own god' is bad advice," Hercules says of the acts of self-liberation Loki leads the ordinary people of our everyday world to. But wouldn't those accustomed to power always say that anyway? Rather than ask us to just accept this on face value, the text itself counters with, "Our lives aren't like other people's lives." Loki: Ragnarok 'n' Roll, in the end, reads like what it is, a studied, concerted, meditatively postmodern consideration of the deep connection between rock 'n roll and the infinite renewability of pop culture, and in offering this consideration, taps into powerful existentialist underpinnings that roil through twentieth century literature from Robert Frost to Lester Bangs. Loki: Ragnarok 'n' Roll comes with the highest praise.

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7.0
Mad #514

Mar 12, 2012

And of course, there's an even bigger picture. A few hours, or maybe a few days after you close the book, you'll think of the previous issue of MAD, “The 20 Dumbest of 2011: the Year we Ran Out of Money”, and you'll notice an ongoing, evolving theme. Perhaps more strongly than libertarian political commentators, MAD reframed the 2011 US Downgrade as not a failure of government, but a failure of those governing. For an issue so strongly themed around paucity as #514 to follow on from “20 Dumbest 2011”, MAD certainly seems to have profound something to say. And watching them over the next few weeks and months, watching them work towards saying it (I'm assuming in “20 Dumbest of 2012”) will prove bracing.

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8.0
Mad #515

Apr 26, 2012

This issue of MAD #515 in hand, and its easy to realize that we've never been closer to some of the nightmare scenarios of Philip K. Dick. And it's equally easy to realize that forewarned is forearmed, and that paranoia is no longer our only option.

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8.0
Moon Knight (2014) #5

Jul 30, 2014

And in a single blow, we're living in exciting times again. Like when Frank Miller helmed Daredevil, or Bob Layton on Iron Man or indeed, Warren Ellis on the Thunderbolts. A time when the debate who's running the show, the publisher or the writer, hadn't yet been definitively settled. And for bringing this new kind of energy into monthly comicbooks, Ellis and series regular artist Declan Shalvey deserve kudos.

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10
Outcast By Kirkman & Azaceta #2

Aug 6, 2014

With its second issue, Outcast is proven to be the finest example of small-town horror blended with family drama. It's weighty, literary, entirely sober, and something worth delving into and reading and rereading. Once it's collected, you'll want to buy the hardback, not to rest it on your shelf and point it out to guests and friends alike, but because the heavier book will better approximate the weighty themes.

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10
Rai #1

Apr 30, 2014

With Rai #1, Kindt and Crain offer more than a promising start"they offer, each in their own way, a profoundly philosophical wrestling with the issues of our day, our lived-in battle between leisured hedonism and workaday toil, between popculture and "high" art, between print and digital. But the flawless beauty of Rai is that you simply don't need to approach the book only for its philosophical depth. If you're looking for nothing more than a beautifully visualized, engaging artifact of future noir, something the equal of Ridley Scott's gorgeous ziggurats in Blade Runner, then look no further. And for that mastery of both popculture and "high" art concerns, Rai #1 comes with the highest praise.

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10
Red Hood And The Outlaws #6

Feb 15, 2012

That building of capacity, that stirring of hope that you yourself can eventually work yourself free of the ropes that hold you back, is the true art of comics. And that Scott is able to carve out a character like Jason Todd, a character that is evocative of exactly the same dilemma, is testament to a talent without measure, and a gift to us all. And all this, in a comicbook that you'll read today, and toss tomorrow.

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10
Red Lanterns #10

Jun 13, 2012

This entire issue is about velocity rather than ferocity. It is a constant and sustained moving ahead, a surging forward, a sense of being impelled rather than compelled. To open with Atrocitus speeding through space after the end of last month's “Exodus” is just a wonder. And as with any wonder, as with any classic, I want to go back in time and relive that experience over and over again.

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7.0
Storm Dogs #1

Nov 12, 2012

In a crucial way, Storm Dogs evolves those ideas in the original X-Files that over time have come to seem ever so light more naive. Storm Dogs isn't the story of young investigators attempting to reassert an idealistic, “stronger, loving Washington” and bridge the gap between that Washington and Middle America. What we've come to understand in the decade or so after 9/11, is that events and larger contexts shape us. And what taking down both Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden has taught us, is that we're at our best when we assert ourselves as active participants in shaping that larger context. As we approach the fiscal cliff, and the ostensible decay of the idea of “e pluribus unum”, Storm Dogs reminds us that we are actors of global consequence. And that we shape the contexts that shape us. Unassumingly then, Storm Dogs is the evolution of not only X-Files but of the kind of American idealism seen during the Clinton Years.

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8.0
Suicide Squad (2011) #0

Sep 17, 2012

And for Adam's writing to be able to describe a psychological evolution from HST climbing down that hill, to Alexander climbing down from his, in as terse panels as he does, points to Adam's (who entered the popular imagination as a filmmaker) own unlikely strength in writing for the medium. Simply put, Suicide Squad #0 deserves to be read.

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8.0
Suicide Squad (2011) #6

Mar 5, 2012

I think that, and I realize how desperately wounded I am just by having partaken in that conversation earlier last week. Is there honestly no way forward for comics criticism than a paucity of imagination and ambition? Adam's Squad again, and it hits me that this is Adam's own wrestling with, and exorcising the drama of redemption that has haunted Western Literature since its origins. Now only TS Eliot seems to have enough of a response: ""the future is a faded song"/Of wistful regret for those who are not yet here to regret,/Pressed between yellow leaves of a book that has never been opened./And the way up is the way down, the way forward is the way back./You cannot face it steadily, but this thing is sure,/That time is no healer: the patient is no longer here".

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8.0
Suicide Squad (2011) #14

Nov 20, 2012

And returning to “Lured” as a kind of frame one last time, this is an Amanda Waller that more and more finds herself recast as HST himself, who has the courage to leave out Einstein, but may do say at the peril of later having to pay the same ultimate price as Hemingway.

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8.0
Superman Family Adventures #1

Jun 4, 2012

If every other vision of Superman, subsequent to “Kryptonite Nevermore!”, is an homage to Hemingway, then what Art & Franco have achieved is Hemingway's summer home in Cuba. Now a museum, you can walk the grounds and look in by the windows, but the veil of history (and the Cuban Museum Board) prevents you from entering. And it is with a sense of pure delight, that Art & Franco resurrect that same sense of a museum that captures the past as a working, lived-in space, that you may look in on at any time.

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8.0
Superman Family Adventures #2

Jul 9, 2012

If not Occupy, this is certainly the challenge Bizarro represents to Superman. The idea that he can extend his cloak of family to include even the most imperfect analog of himself. And at the same time, begin to hold that imperfect clone to the higher standards of the Kryptonian symbol for hope that is emblazoned on both their chests. Red cloaking blue, and facing The Void. Art and Franco find both the inner Hokusai and the inner America in this magnificent issue. But their true genius lies in making this insight available for an audience still steeped in their own childhoods.

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8.0
Teen Titans (2011) Annual #1

May 14, 2012

Now, about this idea of Jung's. About the “collective unconscious” being visualized as an infinite, bottomless cavern where human feeling just eventually runs out…and about how this idea tore apart a friendship. It's a good story, and I'm sure somebody's already blogged about it…

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10
Ten Grand #1

May 20, 2013

Somewhere in this, in the muck of Straczynski's bold elevation of neonoir, there's a perfectly good Master's Thesis waiting to be written. Ten Grand comes with absolutely the highest, must unreserved praise.

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10
The Activity #15

Oct 8, 2013

“Buddy System,” issue #15 of the Activity, finally gets into what would be usual terrain for any espionage/military thriller—the simultaneous focus on crumbling relationships within the team, and vast geopolitical goings-on that push the team into high gear. The fact that every issue has slowly built up these tensions, both the interpersonal and the geopolitical tensions, for nearly two years now, really is the wonder of this book.

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10
The Avenging Spider-Man #5

Apr 1, 2012

The real power of this issue is the kind of country we've become not only since the tragic events of 9/11, but since the 2008 election of Hope and Change and promise that ushered President Obama into the Executive. Zeb's story has me tangled up in my own past. But it also pushes me to reach beyond myself and into something more, into the kind of world I'm living in, living through. The emotional core of this issue lies in the question, can we be free of the past. For Steve Rogers, it's not his wartime past as Cap that haunts him, its his past as a "puny" cartoonist that threatens him still.

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8.0
The Crow: Death and Rebirth #1

Jun 24, 2012

And in making that connection, John Shirley makes available the lasting idea of grunge.

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8.0
The Shade #7

Apr 16, 2012

Issue #7 concludes the second act of this Shade maxi-series. These last issues will see Shade travel to London to confront directly his most recent nemesis who seems to have gained control of a corporate dynasty founded by the great-great-grandson of Shade himself. Then, we hope, a return to America is on the cards. To live the kind of life where the word “security” isn't prefaced by the unseen, but acceptable notion of “maximum”.

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8.0
The Shadow #2

May 22, 2012

This is more than an invigoration of the character. Ennis' The Shadow is quite simply Nolan's Dark Knight against whoever it was that made Batman & Robin.

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9.0
The Wake #1

Jun 11, 2013

The Wake comes with absolutely the highest praise, every book should be this good.

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9.0
Thor: God of Thunder #1

Nov 26, 2012

What we see over time is a Thor broken by history, by the cold winters alone, we see that that brio as a calculated defense, a posture, rather than Thor's character. And we see the long march of time break Thor. There's always a hesitancy to acclaim any one vision of a character, particularly in populist medium, in the superlative. But with Thor: God of Thunder there is another hesitation—the hesitation at imagining a more finely-crafted, richer vision.

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5.0
Thor: God of Thunder #6

Mar 19, 2013

How it shakes out is just so. I don't want to be too hard on Aaron because this is a filler issue. This issue doesn't pick up on Marvel's strangest Team-Up ever, Present Day Thor and Elder Thor. And it doesn't peer into Gorr's plans for the bodies of all those tortured gods. Filler issues are notoriously hard to do, and for good reason. And to get at the pathos of villainy in just twenty-something pages is almost too hard an ask. On the other hand, why focus this filler on Gorr at all? So much like Aunt Bethany's spoons should have done, this issue falls squarely in the middle.

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8.0
Thunderbolts (2012) #11

Jun 25, 2013

The final verdict? Despite the slight struggles with the storytelling modes and moments, Way and Dillon's Thunderbolts deserves as much credit as can be given for unlocking the true narrative potential of Hulk, and then evolving the idea of the Thunderbolts in its high concept. Moreover, Way has taken pains to conduct readers down a logical storytelling path and not merely bombard them with information. That's the mark of a true storytelling, and it evokes a sense of trust in the reader. Enough trust to follow where he may lead.

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8.0
Transfusion #1

Oct 15, 2012

Suffice it to say then that, Transfusion is alarmingly, amazingly good. By reintroducing the idea of humans needing to compete for essential resources, and humans once again being subject to top-tier predators, Niles offers the seductive notion that biology might arise from culture, rather than the received wisdom of the reverse being true. In the space of just 22 pages then, Niles seems to have inaugurated an entirely new subgenre of scifi, and catapulted himself onto the very short list of great innovators of the genre, like Philip K. Dick or Robert Heinlein. Transfusion simply deserves, underline deserves, to be read.

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10
Uncanny Avengers #1

Oct 14, 2012

Uncanny Avengers succeeds, not only as great comics, but on equal footing with great literature. It is the best kind of way to kick off the new MarvelNOW!.

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8.0
Uncanny X-Force #24

Apr 25, 2012

This isn't about cold, clinical surgical strikes. This is about betrayal. The betrayal that brought Robert Drake to this point of being a psychopathic killer, and the betrayal of Kurt Wagner's ideals, necessary to undertake this indefensible action. So by the end of the issue, we really have worked our way back to The Iceman Cometh…. This really is a story about necessary illusions, and the question, after all of this unsanctioned life-taking, can the members of X-Force ever really return to the more honor-bound ideals of the X-Men?

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7.0
Winter Soldier #2

Feb 22, 2012

The “dirty work” that Brubaker presents us with, is not the dirty work envisioned by Tom Clancy and writers of his generation. This isn't sanctioned military incursions on foreign soil where the President is shielded with plausible deniability. This isn't predawn raids into some third-world somewhere. The dirty work is the underside of rapid progress of technology, its the putting down of the things that hold us back. In Brubaker's hands, Bucky enters into the greats of literary characterization. Because he is wholly without the capacity to imagine the redemption he so ardently seeks. What would it look like? What would it look like if Bucky finally learns to let go of the past and learns to love again? But for Bucky there is only the precious now, threatened to be engulfed by a past that has long ago outlived its usefulness, a past that now threatens what tomorrows might come. This is A Touch of Evil, not The Dirty Dozen.

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8.0
Winter Soldier #5

May 20, 2012

For Brubaker to have articulated this profound drama of the curse of history, in so conventional a format as 22 pages of a monthly comicbook, is a peerless achievement. Like Hamlet or Crime and Punishment this book is not only a challenge to you, but a choice you must one day make for yourself.

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9.0
Wolverine and the X-Men #4

Jan 29, 2012

This book represents the very pinnacle of what a mainstream comicbook can be. It demonstrates the immense range of Jason Aaron as a writer, it forms itself flawlessly around the over-coded visual storytelling of Chris Bachalo and then reforms around the beautiful drama of angles Nick Bradshaw brings. My advice is only this; if there's even the slightest chance you'd be interested in Team Cyclops and the increasing militancy his faction represents, read those books first. It's hard to imagine any book to be the equal of this one.

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9.0
Wonder Woman (2011) #7

Mar 26, 2012

As beautiful as the tale of Eros conducting us through postwar postmodernism, down to artisanal under-Firenze, down to mythic under-under-Firenze is, this is simply set dressing. The real story here in this issue is the body-blow after body-blow that Diana's personal outlook takes. The real story is the skill and the genius, and the courage with which Brian is able to craft a character as psychologically "secure" as Wonder Woman into a greater arc of neonoir. The real story isn't even the truth she learns"it's the truth she learns about herself, about her refusal to accept the gift of a whip from the Smith, and about what her lasso really means, and how its power is effected in her arsenal and in herself.

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8.0
Worlds' Finest #1

May 7, 2012

In the end, perhaps it's easiest to say that Worlds' Finest comes with the highest possible praise. This is a book that simply deserves to be read.

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8.0
X-O Manowar #4

Sep 5, 2012

At their hearts, Valiant and X-O Manowar both, have always been about the evolution of the establishing into the unexpected. And that's why, a singular mind like Rob's is needed to tell the tale of a man catapulted into the future, 16 centuries.

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