Shawn Hill's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comics Bulletin Reviews: 824
6.9Avg. Review Rating

10
1602 #6

Jan 22, 2004

Jean, Bobby, Angel, Cyclops, the Four, Thor, Quicksilver and Murdock all put on stunning displays of their powers and abilities in this issue, the most action-packed and best-paced one of the story thus far. And Scott McKowen turns in another classic cover, this time a war-torn Gothic nightmare.

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8.0
1602 #7

Feb 20, 2004

Theres one more beat to play in this darkening story, and signs point to it being a bravura display of Gaimans talent. His take on the Marvel universe got off to a slow start, but hes picking up all the threads hes been laying down, at an ever-increasing pace.

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10
1602 #8

Apr 19, 2004

Whats less interesting: Well, its clear that the time loop ending allows for both the restoration of the Marvel Universe and the continuation of this one, but, what the hey, if they can keep the world of Sandman going in Gaimans wake, why not 1602?

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4.0
52 #1

May 14, 2006

Art-wise: Giffens breakdowns arent enough to deliver his signature style, and Bennett is little more than competent. Lackluster.

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6.0
Action Comics #851

Jul 8, 2007

Itd be nice if there were a steady dose of interesting Superman stories, but thats the downside of the Hollywood influence. These big shots are busy and dont always finish what they start or make a full-time commitment. Its a waiting game for stories like this, but I guess it remains worth it.

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8.0
Action Comics #858

Nov 4, 2007

It would have been nice to have less of a recap and more clues as to whats going on in this dark future, but that nice surprise and the room Johns gives Frank to do what he does best still make this an exceptional issue.

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7.0
Adventure Comics Vol. 2 #1

Aug 16, 2009

The issue ends with a series of slices of future portents (which I think is how one crisis or another ended a few years back), and a lot of it looks quite promising. However, my major interest in the backup tale is that it affirms that Johns will be writing the Levitz-era Legion (more or less)--having consigned Legion Lost and Legion-Prime to other realms--and that's the best news of all.

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8.0
Adventure Comics Vol. 2 #2

Sep 13, 2009

Regardless, with art like this from Manapul and Henry, and the prospect of only better stories on the way, I'm sticking around for the duration.

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6.0
Adventure Comics Vol. 2 #6

Jan 17, 2010

I'll be deciding issue-by-issue until Paul Levitz takes over.

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5.0
Adventure Comics Vol. 2 #8

Mar 8, 2010

Final verdict: passable entertainment and quite attractive visually, if you're starving for a Legion fix. But their looming involvement in a New Kryptonian war could be dicey. Robinson may tie in the story to his currently much-improved JLA, and in fact an overall increase in excitement and full-length stories would improve this book.

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7.0
Adventures Of Superman #521

Dec 5, 2010

There are definitely enough Legionnaires to fill two books, and they will hopefully do so in a flexible but interrelated fashion.

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8.0
Adventures Of Superman #524

Mar 21, 2011

No one really has the charisma of Chuck and Luornu, whose powers (think Multiple Man and Mr. Fantastic, on a smaller scale) aren't all that but whose successful marriage and confidence and bravery have made them heroes many times over. Levitz does some good work connecting Chemical Kid to Chemical King (who died in the line of duty), and the adventure on the Kid's homeworld (where his wealthy family is attacked and the kids get in way over their heads) could become interesting. The book just needs the time for the new concept to click in. All the pieces are there for a home run, they just need a few more innings.

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4.0
Age of Apocalypse #2

Mar 14, 2005

Apparently living as scavengers and raiding human encampments, I suppose its morally ambiguous that X-23 and Wolverine merely slash them to ribbons. Its a flat-out execution, and even more troubling is that it motivates Wolverine to rejoin Magneto so he can kill more bad guys. While its an intense fight scene, its hard getting a reading on just what any of these mutants are supposed to be doing now that Apocalypse has been defeated. Considering Magnetos vision at Mirages hands, it looks like Yoshida is only planning more clumsily violent riffs on over-familiar X-men themes, rather than really answering the question.

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8.0
Alan Moore's Neonomicon #3

Dec 23, 2010

I won't decode the Aklo, though the lisping was just a minor perceptual adjustment (easy enough to substitute all those esses back in). If I start to understand Mer-demon, though, as Brears seems too, time to lock me up. This time I have more of an idea where next issue might go. Predictably, I still want to see it.

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10
Alias #25

Aug 12, 2003

Bagley is excellent in depicting the cockiness of an over-confident Jewel, walking head-on and unprepared into the Purple Man's nightmare. His hatred of costumed heroes makes her his whipping post, and Bagley's panel of a mind-controlled Jessica wearing the clothing of a sexual plaything is all the more tragic because it's Bagley drawing such a scene rather than Gaydos. Suffice it to say, under Killgrave's control, she pisses off the Avengers, leading to a very imposing Thor threatening her on the last page. Great work by all parties involved.

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10
Alias #26

Sep 9, 2003

All this, and the Purple Man face-off is still delayed till next issue. I'm getting a very Clarice/Hannibal feeling about this, not to mention Kira Nirees from DS9's "Duet." Ol' Purple is safely locked away; but he can still talk, and words have always been a weapon to Bendis.

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8.0
Alias #27

Oct 8, 2003

I hope so, because otherwise, the poor thing just can't win for losing.

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10
Alias #28

Nov 12, 2003

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6.0
Aliens: Defiance #1

Jun 9, 2016

The team of synthetic and female soldier certainly feels familiar, a riff on the 2nd and 4th films, though tech looks firmly planted in the first one. The grim mood gives us a bit of the 3rd film as well. We even see Amanda Palmer, the daughter Ripley left behind, as one of Zula's nurses. So all the pieces are in place, but it remains to be seen if Dark Horse has anything new to add to the franchise this time out. Last year's Prometheus era series were hit and miss, and also relentless downers. I'd love for this one to at least rack up a few wins.

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6.0
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #1

Jul 17, 2005

Oh, what happens: bog-standard plot, really. Little more than my initial summary. But along the way we get instant insight into Bruce, Vicky and Dick, and we get the promise of continuing drama from the dramatic final splash. Its an old story, but one that hasnt had much focus in the anti-sidekick Batman era. The title alone is an indication of who the star will be in this tale, so thats a draw for fans of the iconic partnership. Theres life in these old boys and girls yet.

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6.0
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #2

Sep 22, 2005

Visual splendor: Sparkling pencils by Lee are still a questionable choice of partner to Millers gritty sensibility, but its kind of fun watching two such distinctive styles clash. If you need a flying Batcar (and who doesnt?), Lees your guy.

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6.0
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #3

Jan 2, 2006

Canary is the second tough dame weve seen in this series, and if she and Vicky Vale show themselves capable of preserving the fatale as much as the femme, its all part of the noir-ish language Miller has developed for this Sin City-like Bat adventure. Its not the slightest bit subtle, but it is bright and glittery and loud and, thanks to Lee, even pretty.

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6.0
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #4

May 22, 2006

Look at this as an extremely mannered variation on the characters we thought we knew. Miller doesnt do subtle anymore. But his extreme stylization does offer memorable pleasures of its own. This isnt remotely realistic, but it offers a pulpy thrill.

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6.0
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #5

May 20, 2007

Bring it on, Mr. Miller! Whatevers coming next, Im ready for it! All expectations have been abandoned!

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7.0
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #6

Jul 30, 2007

Because the Goddamn Batman likes it this way!

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8.0
All-Star Superman #1

Nov 20, 2005

Superman is also manifesting new powers in this story, including some kind of cold vision, and a protective bioelectric field; I've got the feeling biology is going to play an ever-greater role as the death match between Lex and Kal-El unfolds.

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4.0
All-Star Superman #3

Apr 3, 2006

Summation: What works here, aside from Quitelys quirky yet crystalline art, is Loiss subjective experience of the day. Shes fought over, shes endangered, and shes entertained, enough to tire out even the most vibrant of reporters. Supermans chivalrous concern for her throughout is very touching.

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7.0
All-Star Superman #11

Jun 2, 2008

The issue ends where the series began, in Clarks office at the Daily Planet, where the bumbling reporter has apparently succumbed to heart failure, just as Luthor strikes. Superman made a lot of new friends as this series progressed, however. Luthor assures Lois and Jimmy (who handled Nasty with aplomb, by the way, appealing to the base instincts she wears, like all teenagers, on her sleeve) that Clark is the least of their worries, but I think the same can be said to Luthor. Hes got a deep hurting coming his way, and boy does he deserve it!

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7.0
All-Star Superman #12

Sep 21, 2008

"Umm there's me, Lex I ah think maybe you should stop threatening my friends." Simply brilliant, and I can't think of a better multi-purpose homage. Like Reeve, Morrison and Quitely in this arc have truly embodied the best that Superman can be.

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8.0
Alter Ego #65

Apr 2, 2007

Honoring the early titans of the industry that began sixty-some years ago leads inevitably to obituaries and eulogies in a publication like this, but TwoMorrows always makes an attempt to celebrate the work and life achievements rather than just mourn. Two heartfelt dedications to Dave Cockrum are included in this issue, mostly attesting to his humility and passion for his work, while sharing lovely splash pages from Superboy and X-Men with us. And the letters page, Re:, is as usual full of interesting clarifications and corrections regarding previous issues, including comments from the mouths of pros like Marv Wolfman and Mike Esposito. Alter Ego is an invaluable resource for the most dedicated collector.

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4.0
Amazing Spider-Man #512

Oct 3, 2004

Deodatos art is very strong, and excellent at selling the emotions in this talking heads issue. In fact, the lack of action in this issue is more compelling than more pointless fight scenes would be. JMS is doing so much right with these characters; too bad hes put them in such a clich-ridden plot.

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4.0
Amazing Spider-Man #513

Oct 31, 2004

Theres a tacky replay of Gwens fall, and a humorous intro that is just queasy-making in this context. Deodatos art is serviceable but uninspired. Its an abundance of dialogue, in a conversation wed have been better off avoiding.

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4.0
Amazing Spider-Man #525

Nov 7, 2005

Priestly (Deodatos model for Peter) involved in an terminal illness; Im not involved enough to keep reading all the other crossover parts to see how Peter evolves. Deodatos storytelling continues to give this Spider-title, at least, a distinctive look, and I may check in again when JMS is back.

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6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #529

Feb 26, 2006

Summation: A good-looking serviceable issue that makes the best of the hand

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4.0
Amazing Spider-Man #532

May 28, 2006

acceptance? Will Peter make the right choice next issue at last?

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7.0
Amazing Spider-Man #539

Mar 18, 2007

Garney doesnt succumb to the tendency to have Peter be all gangly and elongated in his wiry arachnid outfit; rather, hes very much the angry young man, emphasis on the man. He looks strong, athletic and intimidating. Peter is taking responsibility. Hes doing it emotionally, as always, because thats the only way he knows. The outcomes and his future are definitely in doubt, but judging from this intense issue, it looks like this extreme phase will be a wild ride. The villain is all too predictable in his behavior, but perhaps JMS and Peter will put a new spin on that inevitable confrontation, too.

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6.0
Amazing Spider-Man #566

Jul 22, 2008

A third random element enters the mix (as one imagines it will in New York city real estate matters): Kravens lair impinges on Vermins private space, and he attacks both she and Daredevil before issues end, for no other reason than basic animal fear and rage. Meanwhile, Vin uses the MGH to begin to fight for his survival, and somehow its going to lead up to next issues long-previewed cover, where what seems to be the capture of Daredevil and Spider-Man by Kraven probably wont be that simple. I dont know what else is going on in Peters brand new day, but he seems to possess his usual relationship with Lady Luck.

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6.0
American Vampire #22

Jan 2, 2012

How weird does the generation gap get when some of the "parents" are bloodsucking immortals? I'm sure we'll see, if Travis survives his lone wolf approach to his mission to stake.

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6.0
American Vampire: Second Cycle #1

Mar 25, 2014

This is a whole lot to have going on in a first issue, even with a helpful "previously" section in the final pages. Albuquerque's expressive art is more about drama and smoke and teeth and claws than it is about narrative clarity (in a kind of Gene Colan way, speaking of vampire precedents). So you have to submit to the ride without knowing the destination at all. If you liked the seductive southwestern thrills of American Vampire before " they're back.

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6.0
American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #5

Oct 17, 2011

Our two American spies/adventures/vampire hunters are captured and in dire straits. Their scientist amigo is on the loose, but the elder vampires he so prized have yet to come back to life. Earlier points in this story revealed eerie details like the ancient Egyptian statue that bled when exposed to light (for it was no statue at all, but instead a living, dormant, giant vampire).

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5.0
Angel: After the Fall #1

Nov 26, 2007

Comics have one advantage over TV shows; the budget for FX is unlimited. Neither the Buffy comic nor this one has fully exploited that factor yet. Urrus demonic anatomy loses form, and his inks are so dark its hard to make out the details of the more interesting creations. His characters are reasonable facsimiles of the actors, but the color palette and shading needs to lighten up considerably. Theres a way to do that and still not break the bleak mood, Im sure. I just hope this grim state of affairs doesnt persist forever; Angel was best when it was funny, even if some of the laughs were the equivalent of whistling in the dark.

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8.0
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures #1

Oct 23, 2006

Im reminded of another important comic book version of a vampire series, the 90s Innovation imprints of the Anne Rice novels. This series is not as ambitious as that one, contenting itself to normal rather than deluxe format and quality comic-style art rather than full painting. But thats fine, if it doesnt reach as high, it might also not fall as far. Things seem to be in place for a long run, and hey, if they cut all the sex scenes, they might even get up to book two or three in the next decade!

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6.0
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures #2

Nov 21, 2006

If theres a problem, its that the adaptation thus far is almost too faithful. It cant be accused of decompression yet, but I hope some judicious editing of Hamiltons detailed texts keeps the story moving at a brisk pace in the future.

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7.0
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures #4

Feb 5, 2007

Surely theres more blood to come, however, as the series continues to impress with its consistency. Booths work is at times too soft and pretty to capture the worst of what Anita faces, but its great to see an artist stick with a project long enough for a consistent style to be evident. Hes best suited to the romantic, seductive side of the vampires, but its not like that side of things will ever be off the page for long. This series is a love story as well as an adventure/action movie, and it remains a fun read about a memorable heroine.

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7.0
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures #5

Apr 24, 2007

This issue announces a hiatus until September, as well as a summer of new specials by different creative teams. Lets hope the quality level remains high when the book returns because so far the title has been an unqualified success.

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7.0
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: Guilty Pleasures #9

Mar 4, 2008

Which is all for the better, because this is all about the love story of Anita and her impending suitor, too.

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7.0
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The First Death #2

Nov 5, 2007

Guilty Pleasures gets quite grim by the end, so heres hoping for a much darker and more characteristic second volume that continues the extreme gorefest begun in this issue. Its Grand Guignol for the twenty-first century.

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6.0
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse - Necromancer #3

Jul 7, 2009

Anita's doing all this to find a zombie killer of children. There must be some way to balance the romance with the action in this comic adaptation, even if Hamilton doesn't really do it in all of her novels. This issue shows how hard that balance is to find.

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7.0
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse - Necromancer #4

Aug 25, 2009

We still don't have all the answers four issues in, but we know the two foes, Dominga the voodoo priestess and Gaynor the client who won't take no for answer, have done themselves no favors by attacking Anita and endangering her friends. One feels payback is on the way next issue.

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5.0
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse - Necromancer #5

Sep 22, 2009

One piece of evidence is found, a gris-gris that looks much more benign than what it is identified as being and when it starts moving towards its owner all by itself, that's a very creepy moment indeed. Over the course of the inevitable collected edition that will come from this series of issues, I'm sure all of this exposition will be crucial. But in a monthly comic, it's clear the creators still haven't really mastered the transfer of these tales to a visual medium.

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7.0
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse - Executioner #1

Oct 27, 2009

Over the course of the inevitable collected edition that will come from this series of issues, it will probably make more sense. But in a monthly comic, it's clear the creators still haven't really mastered the transfer of this story to a serial format. The story breaks and the ever-changing titles seem quite arbitrary.

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7.0
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse - Executioner #2

Dec 1, 2009

By my guess, she's got three more issues in this arc to make her point. With Lim providing the art, it's going to be creepy and witty and fun, usually at all the right times.

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8.0
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse - Executioner #3

Jan 12, 2010

That's definitely the implication at the end of the issue, as the thug without the knee injury arrives to make a rape threat to the bound Anita. He's way too stupid to realize he's just making her mad.

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8.0
Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse - Executioner #5

Mar 16, 2010

On the way out of the cemetery, Jean-Claude appears, called by her power. He's too strong to do her bidding like the other undead, but their dance has begun, and it's one that will ultimately make them the power couple of St. Louis, at least amongst the ghouls, goblins and demi-gods. For this reader of the original novels, Marvel has clearly found a team capable of interpreting them for the comics world.

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7.0
Anita Blake: Circus of the Damned: The Ingnue #2

Feb 12, 2011

Is there anything here for readers who aren't fans of the books? Well, sort of -- I've stopped reading the new books at this point (they've become extremely uneven), but I definitely enjoyed the first five or so, and I'm enjoying reliving my initial acquaintances with the characters on the painted page.

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7.0
Anita Blake: Circus of the Damned: The Ingnue #3

Apr 29, 2011

We're building up here (if I recall correctly from the novel I read years ago) to meeting one of Anita's strangest and most depraved foes and learning just how varied the world of occult beings can be. At this point you're either fully invested for the long haul, or you stopped caring long ago. The creators have succeeded in translating Anita Blake into the comics medium; I wonder if they know they've got 17 books left to go. At this rate they'll catch up in 30 years or so.

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8.0
Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter #11

May 20, 2008

Nikolaos seems to have all the cards at the end of the issue, but thats how cliffhangers work. I expect even more action in next months finale. And then I expect them to move right along adapting Hamiltons series of books featuring the stalwart Anita.

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9.0
Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse #2

Nov 4, 2008

The creators seem to have gotten the hang of translating a complicated series--and its contradictory main character--to our chosen medium. Hopefully they'll be as good at the action scenes when they come as they are at instilling a sense of creeping dread in this issue.

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6.0
Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse #4

Jan 13, 2009

I'm not sure if this series is still attracting new readers. It may not pick up more with an issue like this, which lacks either sex or violence. But hang in there, because it's more like Anita Blake herself than ever, and those two activities are an unavoidable part of her lifestyle choices.

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8.0
Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse #5

Feb 3, 2009

These sorts of intense sequences are what draw readers to Hamilton's series (well, that and the explicit romance, which has been happily on hold for this arc for the most part). She alternates intense emotional confrontations with the impediments of police bureaucracy and the thrill of supernatural attacks. Though this arc is billed as a conclusion, it ends on a cliffhanger like every other issue, so one can only hope that the Ruffner/Lim team of adapters will continue when the story does. They are channeling the novels with near perfection at this point.

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6.0
Annihilation #1

Aug 6, 2006

Divitos images are clear and sufficient to capture most of the drama, but not all that exciting. Though Galactus ancient foes have interesting designs in classic Marvel style, the scale of his defeat doesnt quite come across. Though that might be the way the script renders it through detached narration, too.

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4.0
ArmorX #1

Mar 6, 2005

While Im not that interested in a nerd fulfilling his will-to-power fantasy and seeking revenge (what is this, The Rage: Carrie 2?), I will add that Smiths promising art goes a long way towards making this schematic story appealing.

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10
Astonishing X-Men #3

Jul 30, 2004

The final cliffhanger stopped me cold, as I really predicted Joss wouldnt go there again so soon. How does Cassaday manage to make a vertical slit of red on Cyclops visor look wide-eyed in shock?

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8.0
Astonishing X-Men #6

Nov 7, 2004

The cover is the sexiest image I can remember in ages from Marvel, since Quitelys drool-worthy Emma from New X-men at least. Cassady makes a brilliant visual argument for why these two characters belong together, with Peters stoic impassive form merging with Kittys quite literally. His hand over her belly makes me think of babies.

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10
Astonishing X-Men #7

Dec 26, 2004

Theres both success and failure all around here, and perhaps some lesson gone unheard in the contrast between the X-men seeking positive press while a child suffers. Of course, it may not all be their fault, as there are hints of a nefarious presence at school. Whedon hasnt dropped any of the threads from his first arc, remaining intent on examining what it means to be gifted, or cursed, by power. Cassaday backs him up with epic style. Hes quite gifted himself at dramatic compositions and unique point-of-view shots.

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8.0
Astonishing X-Men #12

Sep 5, 2005

Real meat: If the last page reveal is true, Whedon is mucking about with Morrisons work to a greater extent than anticipated. And if he can make it work, more power to him. I have no idea where its all going, but Ive been waiting to see this group revitalized for some time, and this teaser will put us squarely back in the territory of Whedons strengths for the next arc: compelling and articulate antagonists and protagonists confusing even us about who

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10
Astonishing X-Men #13

Feb 19, 2006

This is, on one level, an issue in which nothing happens. Thats as it should be; its a re-introduction, and a new starting place. Things are poised to go in exciting directions, and one feels a certain streamlining in effect. The X-Men have lost their dead weight. As usual, it was Charles.

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6.0
Astonishing X-Men #15

Jun 27, 2006

I get the feeling the X-Men will recover from this. Well, maybe. Unless Perfection is really bad news. Until then, most of the fun this issue comes from Wolverine playing around with the students, who have some surprising responses of their own. As always, Whedons sympathies clearly lie with the kids more than the corrupted adults.

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9.0
Astonishing X-Men #17

Sep 25, 2006

Things have definitely gone cuckoo in this book at any rate. But this is the best issue yet of this arc, despite the unwelcome return of Danger. @#$%ing Shiar [tech] as Agent Brand grouses.

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10
Astonishing X-Men #18

Nov 20, 2006

Brilliant issue, raises the arc from "average" back to "great."

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7.0
Astonishing X-Men #19

Dec 31, 2006

Agent Brands role is crucial to this issue, and Whedon effortlessly morphs her from more annoying than S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Hill (whom she already outclassed mercilessly in a previous issue) to a woman doing her job in true Nick Fury style. Why did she kidnap the X-Men? Because she needs super-heroes to save Earth from aliens, and didnt have time to ask politely. And its not even against the Kree or Skrulls, but new aliens created just for this tale. Fingers crossed for bringing on the epic!

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8.0
Astonishing X-Men #34

Jul 2, 2010

I'm not sure if I can say that this is the issue we've been waiting for, where Ellis does more with the mutants in his charge than throw insults at them. A lot may depend on the surprise semi-reveal at the end, which either picks up on some threads left by Whedon or throws a wild curve ball into the works. This issue, though, shows he at least knows who the X-men want to be.

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5.0
Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #4

Jan 3, 2011

And, seriously, what is up with that cover? Is that Emma clinging to Wolverine's legs? How does Wolverine conquering Africa equate to Conan conquering everyone? And, shouldn't it be Scott's legs? And why would she ever do that? A cover like this just confuses me further about which book I'm reading. I have to accept that Kaare Andrews takes free license on the covers (and last month's was a funny comment on the Scott/Emma relationship), but again, it's another factor that would make more sense without the delays. I need a refresher course when each new issue arrives at this point.

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8.0
Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #5

Feb 18, 2011

I had to check and see if Ellis' run on the parent title has ended, as I couldn't recall how the final arc played out. Something about a little old man trying for revenge was it? This spin-off started before that tale was complete, but now there are ads for the title's new direction all over the place. Despite his underwhelming "Ghost Box" fixation -- the mutants already have time travel and space travel, do they really need alternate universe travel as well? -- this is a rocking issue, and a huge bump-up for a mini that has been somewhat uneven. I'm probably done with the main title, but it's nice to see Ellis go out on a definite high.

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7.0
Astounding Wolf-Man #4

Dec 17, 2007

Those wolves. Theyre always so impatient. And hungry.

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7.0
Astounding Wolf-Man #9

Nov 1, 2008

Yet its all succinctly and even cheerily portrayed by Howards clear graphic designs. He evokes a bit of an Oeming feeling, and Kirkman is evoking a bit of Bendis feeling as well with his nebbishy novice hero surrounded by more kick-ass threats. But the feeling here is that the Wolfman is the only one unaware of all he can become, and thats an interesting place to be. Lets hope he figures it out soon.

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7.0
Astounding Wolf-Man #10

Dec 6, 2008

As Zechariah explains it all to his doomed acquaintance in the hospital, Gary heals from a brutal training technique in the woods, a dismembered secret agent gets his partner to start putting his missing pieces back together, and Gary's daughter seeks Zechariah's help to defeather father, whom she thinks killed her mother. This title balances nimbly on an edge between wild fantasy and grim fatality, and thanks to Howard it always looks as great as it sounds.

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7.0
Astounding Wolf-Man #11

Dec 29, 2008

The end of the issue finds Gary in a holding pattern, but it's one with a plan and with some clear goals ahead. That's a nice spot to be in rounding out the first year of a title which has provided consistent entertainment, always offering a fast pace of action and emotional turmoil.

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7.0
Astounding Wolf-Man #14

Apr 6, 2009

Howard's art maintains a grim clarity, cartoonish and expressive without being humorous, and the colorists stay in the realm of blues and browns for Gary's incarceration, appropriately so. Another solid installment, full of such incident it seems to fly right by.

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7.0
Astounding Wolf-Man #19

Oct 19, 2009

Another solid installment. The only sad note is that you can feel Kirkman winding up for his endgame.

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8.0
Astounding Wolf-Man #20

Dec 14, 2009

In other words, things are as messed up as usual, Gary just doesn't know it yet. Great cover and interior art by Howard, whose storytelling is better than ever.

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8.0
Astounding Wolf-Man #24

Aug 17, 2010

Maybe the wolves can do something about it, because they pop back in, too. One way or another, it all ends for Gary next issue. It's been a great, dark, bloody ride. Howard is great as always. I'm not sure why pages 4 and 5 are a full splash of the elder wolf, who as usual says nothing useful in a very menacing way. But I think it'll all be clear in a month.

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9.0
Astro City: Astra Special #2

Nov 9, 2009

In fact, one thing she's deciding on doing is committing to a life's work of service at this crucial juncture and boyfriend Matt seems way out of his element as she lets him closer than she ever has before. But she has her reasons and they're revealed this issue in a stunning sequence that uses cosmological energy as a backdrop to the sort of conversation that any two young people might have when an issue of trust comes up. Busiek writes a story of young hopes and dreams clashing with the crass and exploitative interests of popular media culture and, if he fashions no real surprises in the story beats, he does fashion a compellingly heroic character in Astra. She's strong and wise beyond her years, and while that doesn't save her from human emotional pain, it does make her story a bright and hopeful display in the often shadowy firmament of Astro City.

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9.0
Astro City: The Dark Age Book 2 #4

Oct 2, 2007

Anderson also turns in his usual affecting job on the ground level. His characters brim with emotion, wear appropriate costuming, and find their moods reflected in their postures along with (this being a pulp comic) their deformities and cartoonish exaggerations. What makes it all work is the series of small moments that Busiek orchestrates (featuring brief but powerful glimpses of Hellhound, Tommy Gunn, the Platypus, The Incarnate, the Irregulars, the Jade Dragons an abundance of richly colorful street fighters to fill out the gritty urban milieu) into a remembrance of things past, and times bygone. One gets the feeling he could keep doing this forever, and in fact there are two more Books planned. The only drawback I can think of is the infrequency of the issue. But thats because theyre always, like this one, worth the wait.

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6.0
Astro City: The Dark Age Book 3 #1

May 10, 2009

Thom Young: Well, of course. While the Romantics didnt invent escapist fantasy, they certainly adopted it and cultured it. We wouldnt have superheroes, western heroes, Sherlock Holmes, or hardboiled detectives if it wasnt for Romanticism. I love all those things, too, but I just get a feeling that Busiek is no longer building on the foundation he set down in the mid 1990s--but, as I mentioned, it could be that I just need to read the entire Astro City canon in one run rather than in the scattershot method that I have lately.

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9.0
Astro City: The Dark Age Book 4 #4

May 10, 2010

Of course Anderson's art and Alex Ross's covers are as perfectly in synch with Busiek's words as always. This series remains the best justification for Wildstorm's continued existence. It may be infrequent, but the quality remains high. This is a surprisingly happy ending for a series that focused so often on murder and death and criminal betrayals and conspiracy theories. As a capstone for a dark and unsettled interlude it makes perfect sense in Astro City.

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7.0
Authority: Prime #2

Dec 3, 2007

The real ogre behind it all is Henry Bendix, as always, the megalomaniacal mad scientist that created half of them and repeatedly endangered them all. Its indirectly his fault when the inevitable happens and two heroes are grievously injured. This cliffhanger promises even worse consequences next issue. Of course, Gage also might want to let us into that bunker before the mini-series itself is over.

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8.0
Authority: Prime #4

Jan 26, 2008

The individual battles are cool, with Apollo and Midnighter facing nightmare versions of themselves, the speedster proving especially challenging for many of the heroes, Rose Tattoo coping with her serial killer guilt, and the Engineer using her web interface to crack some of Bendixs defense systems. Its a logical, solid fight, shown step by step, and though it gets us to some clichd places (everythings fine, except for that wily stealth traitor) it does so with style and gusto. Midnighter makes some dirty jokes, Apollo takes everything seriously as always, and Hawksmoor kicks the hell out of his opposition. This is what you want from an Authority tale, especially if youre nostalgic for the good old days.

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6.0
Avengers (1998) #80

Mar 29, 2004

Which looks like whats happening at the end of the book, as the mysterious foe manipulating the Wrecking Crew (Morgana?) whisks away friend and foe alike for a presumed mystical conflict in the final issue. Unlike his shoddy work on the X-men, which has veered from the histrionic to the improbable, seldom settling on anything resembling the characters weve long known, Austen proves adept here at dealing with the big guns of Marvel in a bombastic, dramatic way.

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6.0
Avengers (1998) #81

May 3, 2004

Morgan isnt a very effective menace here, nor do Brian or Megan play more than cameo roles. Austen is so concerned with his characters, he strings them on a rudimentary and not especially lucid plot. Hes lucky he has the expressively detailed Coipel to smooth over the obvious gears as they grind along.

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8.0
Avengers (1998) #500

Aug 1, 2004

What I like best is that I have no idea where this is going, or whats going to happen next. If certain beloved characters get irrevocably changed for the worse, Ill be miserable, but until then, this is an auspicious debut.

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6.0
Avengers (1998) #501

Sep 5, 2004

I suppose I could go on about three women being knocked unconscious in this crisis, too, but Im just not as disturbed by that as I was by the rapes and murders blighting the maligned DC heroines in Identity Crisis. These gals are tough, and while Ive always found Bendis to be aware of sexism, I wont say he creates it so much as depicts it. This story is still going somewhere, maybe even somewhere good, but the mix of awkward human miscommunication and catastrophic events reads uneasily, as if a full-on grasp of the real scope of these characters caught up in these events is proving elusive.

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6.0
Avengers (1998) #502

Sep 26, 2004

Im still enjoying this story, but only because I know nothing in comics ever lasts.

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2.0
Avengers (1998) #503

Nov 7, 2004

Final thought: Lets never speak of it again.

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6.0
Avengers (2010) #3

Jul 26, 2010

It's a fun, action-packed issue, a decent installment in the ongoing arc about future doomsday scenarios. Tension and drama is even upped in a traditional way when Tony tries to reason with old Pocky Lips and finds himself faced with a traumatized, stammering, paranoid android indeed. Time travel in this book, and demonic possession in the other? Am I reading Avengers again?

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7.0
Avengers (2010) #6

Nov 1, 2010

As all the elements reach their planned climaxes, we're left with scenes of subtle cunning, base betrayal, insouciant attitude, and predictable sequels. Not all of the beats convince, but most of them are interesting, and the main characters have their usual characteristic moments of banter. If it's not quite the epic this title meant to have to restart (you just can't do epic if your formula is alternating blitzkrieg and truce, with no stages of development in between), it's definitely much better than the inane distractions of the old numbering, with the team hounded and reviled as criminals. It's good to have the adventures of the team be their own again, though I think New Avengers and its comedic bent is a little closer to the best Bendis can do in the Heroic Age.

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6.0
Avengers (2010) Annual #1

Jan 12, 2012

It does allow for a powerful final moment for Simon, even as the Avengers are yet again mired in all-too predictable public reprobation. Bendis creates another death knell for the illusory Heroic Age, but I'm choosing to see it as his swan song; he's really got nothing left to say about the Avengers, and can't be off the books soon enough for my taste. All of them.

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7.0
Avengers 1959 #1

Oct 9, 2011

The dudes are by definition badass in Chaykin's noir-ish period, and the femmes are usually fatales. The first scary sequence is when Fury has to defend himself from a samurai streetwalker. She ends up impaled on a pointy parking sign. The second is when Dominic Fortune has to push his date and himself out of his airplane because it's getting strafed. They're both wearing nightgowns.

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8.0
Avengers 1959 #4

Dec 16, 2011

Chaykin cheats us of another scene where Namora and the Blonde Phantom subdue a freak in a robo-wheelchair (whom we already saw fenestrate Sabretooth), but it does make for a funny reveal. Skul's attack on Wakanda is literally powered by Count von Blitzkrieg, and the rabid racism on display earns serious payback, surely coming next issue. I mean, it's called "The Exquisiteness of Battle," after all! Chaykin has taken a kernel of a flashback idea from one of Bendis' main Avengers titles, and turned it into winning and inventive lost Avengers classic.

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7.0
Avengers 1959 #5

Jan 20, 2012

Oh well, they're all big kids, and this was a story for big readers. If we do it again, can we have even more fights? You get the sense that, when Victor slams a foe into a wall, or the Blonde Phantom kicks her tormenter in the throat, that's where Chaykin's heart really lies.

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6.0
Avengers Academy #18

Aug 19, 2011

I've been Team Gage since he was at Wildstorm, and he's really come onto his own with the high concept of this title, surely the best thing to come out of the whole Dark Reign/Initiative brouhaha. Partly due to Mike McKone's initial presence, surely, this title has felt like the Marvel take on what the Teen Titans could be, in a way entirely different from the ostensibly similar Young Avengers (legacy-invested teens) and Runaways (criminally apologist teens).

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6.0
Avengers Assemble #12

Feb 19, 2013

This is a much more somber look at the Black Widow than the Secret Avengers version. Which is weird to say, since I also insist on reading it as an homage to one of my favorite Ms. Marvel comics (#20, when Dave Cockrum designs an eerily convincing tribe of talking lizards), though the Siberian versions seem to prefer all too human fashions.

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6.0
Avengers Finale #1

Nov 14, 2004

Bendis didnt earn this tribute issue, and it galls me that hes the one to write it. But, damn it, he does it well.

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10
Avengers/Thunderbolts #5

Jul 15, 2004

Grummet and Erskine have a clean style that recalls the lamented Power Company, while the departed Kitson still supplies the covers. The final silhouette of Hawkeye with an arrow poised is an excellent example of their skill. Unlike a recent silhouette I complained about by Bart Sears that muted a powerful moment, this one captures the mystery and ambiguous nature of Clints decision, underlining an already powerful cliffhanger.

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7.0
Avengers: Children's Crusade #4

Jan 7, 2011

I've got a stake in whether Wanda is healed, or forgiven, or exiled further. But that's not the only reason I'm sticking around. This isn't just the Big Guns, or big catastrophic demonstrations of power (you'll find that in the Bendis titles, which are actually best when they're funny). And it isn't espionage. It's the tapestry of the Marvel universe, full of charismatic heroes and those who believe in their legacy.

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9.0
Avengers: Children's Crusade #6

Jul 14, 2011

Avengers: The Children's Crusade #6Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2011By: Shawn Hill Allan HeinbergJim Cheung, Mark Morales (i), Justin Ponsor (c)Marvel I simply can't believe how many great things happen in this issue. I'm having a hard time taking it all in, or taking it all seriously. It's surprising to get everything you've hoped for, all at once. I don't want to get my hopes dashed again. Smashed to the little bits they were left in after "Avengers Disassembled."

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10
Back Issue #17

Sep 4, 2006

This one is all about the ladies, and its all for their fans.

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8.0
Back Issue #20

Feb 19, 2007

Also not to be missed is a letter from the famed Arnold Drake, who writes in to correct a misconception about a character he co-created, Deadman, that saw print in a previous issue. Though firm about his version of the facts, the letter is gracious throughout, and I take it as a symbol of the goodwill that TwoMorrows has built up. Drake seems quite proud to have his work acknowledged so lovingly, and the frank dialogue here is evidence of the soundness of the TwoMorrows policy (across its publications) to quote their sources in full and leave any editorializing largely to those self-same creators. A stance of worshipful awe wont do a critic much good, but its a fine policy for curators compiling a catalogue raisonn, which is what the TwoMorrows publishing operation amounts to for comic book artists and writers.

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6.0
Batman #658

Nov 12, 2006

So we get cinematic excess this issue: torpedoes at sea, rocket ships and parachutes, a sky full of flapping man-bat wings. Its all very dramatic, its got a familiar but effective rhythm, and its over before you know it. Talia makes a passionate plea in the midst of that, an offer to Bruce of something hes never had and cant accept now, because her mad dreams of domination dont jibe with his goals of protection. But she had to try, and then the stage is cleared for the oldest foe, abruptly, just like the end of a movie.

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7.0
Batman #679

Aug 17, 2008

Daniel's better with more straightforward Gotham crime, but this story veered off the straight path long ago. Of course where there's madness, there's Arkham, where the Joker awaits, but that'll be next issue. I'm sure it'll be okay. After all, Bruce still has his Bat-Radia.

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8.0
Batman #680

Oct 5, 2008

Some details still don't quite make sense for me, but I'm sure they will if I decide to re-read the whole run someday. In the meantime this issue more than does its job of preparing us for a major showdown soon, one that doesn't leave Bruce completely on his own: Gordon, Talia, Damian and Robin all remain at large. I'm sure they too are smoking guns left on the mantelpiece for just the right moments to come.

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7.0
Batman #682

Dec 7, 2008

To his credit, Garbett does a good version of an iconic Robin, a pretty good Batwoman, and a passable Alfred (who probably didn't do it, btw). His best panel is near the end, with a look of suspicion on Bruce's face as he figures out something about his dire predicament. We've been reading, it would seem, a personal apocalypse.

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8.0
Batman #701

Jul 18, 2010

Batman #701 is a great issue, a satisfying coda to Morrison's reign on Batman. It turns out "killing" him was the best way to invigorate Batman yet. In seeing how much he could suffer--bending without ever being broken--we found the real man again. We now get a chance to spend some final days with a man we wish could survive his personal apocalypse.

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7.0
Batman and Robin #10

Mar 14, 2010

My favorite arc of Morrison's Batman run was the Black Glove story, so I'm all about further detective work with colorful allies, and I have a feeling Damian may surprise us yet.

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8.0
Batman and Robin #13

Jul 11, 2010

I remain mystified at the logic-defying antics of Thomas Wayne (aka Dr. Hurt?), and I dont really think the Bat legacy can survive such a paradigm change to the mythos. However, Morrison is all about tweaking that mythos to test what still works and what doesnt, and when it comes to the major properties like these stalwart characters, its always good to run them through their paces to see if theyre still fighting fit. Morrison is really performing a service on Batman, giving us new ways to appreciate him in his ostensible absence.

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7.0
Batman and Robin #15

Oct 24, 2010

Irving's fight sequences, while intriguing, seem to fragment the action into bits and pieces, but that's part of his truly unique style, which is forgivable since the whole package is so coherent and entertaining. This entire arc is reading like a terse, elegantly choreographed stage play, and it's about time to get your bravos ready.

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10
Batman Dark Detective #1

May 10, 2005

Of course, we got that insight into her mind while Batman had intruded upon her boudoir, with Silver clad only in a towel for the whole sequence, so that might have something to do with her lasting allure, too.

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8.0
Batman Dark Detective #6

Aug 4, 2005

Satisfying: The best thing about this series is how distinct each issue has been as a complete package of entertainment. The first issue set up the basic conflict between Bruce and the Joker (as it needed to, so convoluted has their relationship become in other books), the second played with the Scarecrow's role (linking this series thematically to the recent film), the third caught up in Two-Face's machinations, the fourth a choice between illusion and reality relating to love, the fifth a mysterious flashback to childhood, and now this final one a haunted funhouse and climax. It does go a bit off the rails with the Joker losing his focus and descending into chaos for the fiery climax, but even that fate is one that effects him more than anyone else, leaving all the pieces in place for a sequel.

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9.0
Batman Incorporated #8

Mar 6, 2013

This book has been the place where Leviathan grew and grew. This, and Batman and Robin, and Batman itself, have been the place where Damian realized he was a hero, not a villain. All in-born arrogance to the contrary, he liked beating the bad guys, without an agenda of domination of his own. In these stories, Damian took the risky position of siding with his father against his mother, thus making an enemy of an insanely vindictive criminal. These are risks that heroes take every day, and Damian has proved his bravery many times over. He even gets a touching moment of bonding with Dick, celebrating the team they formed while Bruce was time-lost, which was pretty great, he's right about that.

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7.0
Batman Incorporated #11

May 28, 2013

The issue reminds me of nothing so much of those extra loopy old Morrison Doom Patrol issues that took cheap but hilarious shots at a variety of the Marvel, DC and Image superhero teams of the time in barely concealed homage/rip-off/extravaganzas that made Crazy Jane, Cliff and Rebus all the more poignant and dramatic in turn.

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7.0
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6

Nov 14, 2010

The art is a weak point in the issue. While Garbett provides a decent Kirby-esque Fourth World pastiche at a needed moment, most of his sequences are standard DC house style, adequate depictions of muscular guys standing amidst flashy lights. Perez is a wee bit less stiff and more expressive on his pages, and the styles don't clash at all, but we've had the distinctive work of Georges Jeanty, Frazer Irving, Ryan Sook, and Chris Sprouse on this series, so it's too bad the final issue has to settle for competence rather than inspiration. That damned hyperfauna, not to mention the "bush robots," could have been a lot weirder.

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6.0
Batwoman #4

Dec 20, 2011

Notice I didnt say Batwoman, even though this is her title. Shes still about two steps behind on the whole drowning ghost thing, though I expect her to spring into action when she learns about Betty next issue.

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8.0
Batwoman One Shot #0

Nov 28, 2010

In the end, Batwoman seems to pass muster with Bruce; truly, her shallow faade as the jaded socialite is a role not dissimilar to his spoiled playboy. If Williams can keep sharing art and writing duties with this level of stylish execution, I'm definitely on board for her upcoming solo series.

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8.0
Beware the Creeper #4

Aug 4, 2003

Another pleasure in this title has been the many cameos from the past; so far we've seen Gertrude Stein, Man Ray, Jean Cocteau, and Hemingway. This issue we get Josephine Baker, who, like much of frivolous Paris, has gotten caught up enough in Creeper mania to don her attire. I'm not sure if anyone else would have thought of merging Ditko's mad character with French Surrealism, but it turns out to have been a great idea.

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8.0
Beware the Creeper #5

Sep 4, 2003

It's the closest we come to seeing inside this enigmatic, reserved figure. Because, as it turns out, despite the title, she wasn't the main character after all, and neither was Judith.

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6.0
Beyond #1

Jul 2, 2006

As always, the test of a good first issue is will I buy the next one? And the answer to this one is yes, like a drowning man swims towards an island oasis. Even with a reset button looming in the very premise, this one looks like an uncomplicated fun ride.

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8.0
Beyond #2

Aug 10, 2006

This issue we get a couple of surprise guest stars including Dragon Man. Next issue promises more of the same. Kolins art handles the serious injuries and emotions with aplomb, but also has a bright and shiny quality that keeps things from getting too heavy and grim. In fact, in light of whats going on in the rest of the Marvel Universe this month, this is the most fun Ive had in four-colors in weeks!

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6.0
Beyond #3

Sep 11, 2006

I wont reveal the surprise attempted-infiltrator of their ranks this issue (though if youve checked out future covers you can guess), but when I saw him I cracked a big smile. McDuffies love and knowledge of the Marvel universe informs every page, and Deathlok looks amazing under Kolins quirky inks. The nanotech scene especially impresses, updating one of the original cyborgs to the present (though that big support system tank on his back seems a little retro still). This is a fun book, but this issue is very much a transitional one, staving off the big guns for later.

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6.0
Beyond #4

Oct 9, 2006

Theres a lot of talking in this issue, however, and not so much action. The plot sidesteps rather than advancing, literally into another dimension. McDuffie had better hurry up and get us to the confrontation with our main foe before the issues run out.

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8.0
Beyond #5

Nov 3, 2006

The Verdict: Who cares about the Beyonder anyway? Im on board for the tensions of this particular motley crew. And to hear Medusa make a joke.

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9.0
Beyond #6

Dec 11, 2006

The title refers to science and quantum experiments, but also quite literally to the Watcher and his own brand of coping with the non-interference policy of his race. Uatu comes off as exceedingly clever, and McDuffie, as he does with nearly every character in this rousing adventure tale, manages to deepen the Watchers mythology without violating their legacy. He and Kolins have delivered a solid series employing the richness of the Marvel Universe with a nimble mix of humor and tragedy.

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8.0
Birds of Prey (1998) #69

Jul 15, 2004

I recently added this book to my sub, after noting Id bought the last four issues in a row. While the art team has yet to settle down (I prefer Adrians crisp style to either Benes or Bennet, for the record), one only wishes the failed TV show featuring the same characters had had scripts as tight as Simones.

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8.0
Birds of Prey (1998) #71

Aug 11, 2004

That ending seems rather oddball, but I guess it relates somehow to last issues ghost in the machine Huntress cover by an inspired Land. I much prefer this issues wonderful emblem of friendship and support by Texiera. If that guy ever painted a decent story I might actually enjoy it, though I usually avoid painted art like the plague.

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4.0
Black Lightning: Year One #1

Jan 11, 2009

If this series is the reset button for the character, it's going to need more innovation to go with the solid visuals.

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6.0
Black Panther (2005) #1

Jan 30, 2005

This isnt a bad start, but Ill need something really fresh and new to keep my interest in this series, some spin beyond another round of Panther vs. the big white hunter.

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4.0
Black Panther (2005) #14

Mar 30, 2006

Visuals: Eaton teams well with Janson for solid super heroics. Its interesting to note that Ororo is being drawn with completely African features these days; that wasnt always the case, but I suppose it makes more sense than the idea that her mutation gave her white features, blue eyes and brown skin. At any rate, shes quite beautiful, and Eaton does good work with her corny Davis-designed recent costume.

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6.0
Black Panther (2005) #24

Feb 5, 2007

The art, on the other hand, is little more than serviceable. This title deserves a regular artist and a distinctive visual style to go with Hudlins words.

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6.0
Black Panther (2005) #30

Sep 3, 2007

Arthur Suydams inventive covers continue the Zombie apocalypse theme, and Portela does a consistent job on the inside putting across Hudlins moments of very grim humor, with some especially effective silhouettes at crucial dramatic moments. Definitely qualifying as a funny book this month, one hopes the story of TChalla and his wacky crew will eventually get back to more serious themes.

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7.0
Black Panther (2005) #33

Jan 3, 2008

Andre Divito, fresh off her excellent work in the recent space war, is a welcome presence on the art. Her clear, fluid style (a bit redolent of Scott Kolins solid work) is always in sync with the writers words, evincing a command of storytelling that keeps the story fast-paced and dramatic, but slows down for the conversational moments as well. This book has found its stride.

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9.0
Black Panther (2005) Annual #1

Feb 26, 2008

Hudlin has taken what seemed like an editorially mandated alliance aimed at propping up flagging sales (Storm's popularity has far outshined the Panther's for years) and turned it into a believable relationship, here one with believable offspring, diplomatic allies, and challenges in making sure a Wakandan son can safely marry the daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. The future developments are believable and many of them compelling in their scope. Apparently, this marriage is a positive for both characters.

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5.0
Black Widow & the Marvel Girls #1

Dec 1, 2009

If you ever wanted to see Natasha team up with Storm, stick around.

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6.0
Black Widow (2004) #1

Oct 1, 2004

The art is quirky and totally suited to the material, and Natasha, though following almost the same plot of her recent Daredevil appearance, is definitely the sole protagonist. Ill be around for the ride, but hoping for some surprise twists along the way.

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8.0
Black Widow (2004) #3

Nov 29, 2004

Natashas first encounter with a spook in this issue led inadvertently (sort of) to his death, possibly at the hands of his betrayed wife, and the body count is rising. Whats most interesting about this story is how Morgan manages to trade on the traditional femme fatale motif for babes in the spy game, and also maintain Natasha as the heroine were rooting for. Well done.

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6.0
Black Widow (2004) #4

Dec 31, 2004

Through him, Morgan gets in a passing jab at the second Black Widow, Yelena, all part of placing the attention squarely back on Natasha as the one and only. (Well, our one and only, as were just now learning of her twenty-six sister Black Widows from the original project, which may be a big retcon but not necessarily a disastrous one). This is turning into a distinctive Black Widow adventure.

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8.0
Black Widow (2004) #5

Feb 1, 2005

Also interesting: Not that Ive really got their process figured out, but this issue Sienkiewicz seems to have asserted his style more fully over Parlovs breakdowns. While the result is not quite a full-on sequel to the crazed Elektra miniseries he completed with Frank Miller, its probably as close as were going to get. Parlov has offered a solid basis in sturdy anatomy to the visionary Sienkiewicz in this series. A good example of Sienkiewicz genius is how he manages to make Lyudmila a wicked witch without sacrificing her humanity to do it. You can still see hints of her beautiful youth in her decay; a remnant of grace remains, fitting for a misguided star scientist.

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8.0
Black Widow (2004) #6

Feb 26, 2005

His only advantage, however, is a trick, and once Nat is onto the trick, well the remaining loose ends will have to wait for the sequel. If its as well-illustrated and cleverly plotted as this story was, Ill be back.

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6.0
Black Widow (2010) #1

May 21, 2010

But that's it, and I'm left to wonder, is the entire four-issue series going to be full of minor details about also-rans? I was expecting more than just background detailing from this project.

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7.0
Black Widow (2014) #1

Jan 14, 2014

Natasha would never let that happen to her. But what happens when she meets a foe who can match her skill, or gets caught in a trap she can't escape? This issue doesn't tell us. I'm looking for higher stakes on this title, and also more dramatic art. Noto's painted work is well-drafted and composed, but the red of her hair and even the black of her suit are muted. His pastel world has a sense of realism, but it doesn't really capture the excitement the character lives by, or make for excessively clear fight scenes. Natasha shouldn't live in a gray or brown world; she should be going to extremes.

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8.0
Black Widow 2 #1

Oct 5, 2005

The Way She Looks: Not worth it to distinguish inks and pencils here, as Phillips looks to be providing breakdowns to anchor Sienkiewiczs emotionally expressive inks. Seans figures are a bit squatter, but thats about it; its a good formula, avoiding Bills sometimes obscure layouts while taking full advantage of his moody drama.

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8.0
Booster Gold #1

Aug 19, 2007

Im subscribing to this title, in the hopes that the series can keep up with this stunning debut. And that Johns and Jurgens stick with the title for at least 24 issues. Make that 26; half of 52 is good enough.

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7.0
Brilliant #2

Jan 13, 2012

The action this issue involves Amadeus again using his powers unwisely (but with a goal in mind). Hes apparently become a kind of junior Magneto, but the sequence where he bilks the system at a casino shows just how reckless and unsubtle these kids can be. Theyre already in over their heads, which they intuit more than know. If Bendis keeps up the level of character work, however, we might still care when the really bad things start happening.

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8.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #2

Apr 9, 2007

Other threads percolate under the radar: who Amys lover was (still held in reserve by the military), what that weird chest scar means for its recipients, which of Buffys old paramours is still haunting her dreams. No telling which one will come up first, but this issue was definitely familiar ground, full of intriguing incidents, funny quips, deadly danger and characterization galore. Welcome back, Buffy! You were missed!

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8.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #4

Jun 11, 2007

The potential is there to make this season crucial to the Buffy canon. In fact, I dont even have to cross my fingers: Im sure it will be.

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7.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #8

Nov 12, 2007

This is how youre supposed to feel when Buffy meets Faith. Confused. But in a good way.

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9.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #10

Jan 7, 2008

Back to the demon lair, the creature reveals some harsh truths about Willow to Buffy and vice versa. Both have selfish and very human reasons for recent questionable actions, and finding them out doesnt drive a wedge so much as reveal an ongoing estrangement, despite their evident closeness. Soldiers in the same army dont always share the same goals, and the same girls who can together defeat their crafty oracle (Buffy slices him up with a blade of Willows magic fire, pretty nifty) with such ease and power can sadly stumble when it comes to just talking things out honestly.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #11

Feb 9, 2008

Whoever Twilight is (and the merciless teasing about his identity continues apace, good one, Joss!), he's not as clever as he thinks. Because if Buffy didn't doubt, she wouldn't still be human. But she doesn't just doubt, she learns. And she'll get her foe's information yet, though I'm sure the price will be as high as ever. As Buffy says to ruefully conclude the excellently paced issue, "Yay me."

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7.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #14

May 12, 2008

Surprising murders do not instant classics make, but great dialogue and beautiful art still make this an above average read. The momentum of Season Eight rolls on.

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8.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #16

Jul 6, 2008

Buffy is a bit overwhelmed by her sudden visit to 200 years from now, but at least she's wearing a hot dress. I get the feeling, as both Slayers are fighting with the same scythe, they'll work things out sooner rather than later. Merging Joss's TV phenomenon with his first comic book hit is an inevitable idea; I'm sure next month will be more about surprises than nostalgia.

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7.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #18

Sep 7, 2008

One more conversation, as Buffy and Melaka's sister find themselves kindred spirits (a real cop and a cop for demons), before Melaka gets the drop on Buffy. Which was probably a really bonehead move, but a great cliffhanger in Joss's completely entertaining merging of his two Slayer franchises. Amidst all the other danglers, the lack of closure and information might be more frustrating, but we know this series, at least, tends to come out on time.

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7.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #27

Aug 10, 2009

Where all these refugees turn up is on Oz's doorstep, and Espenson and Jeanty channel the full-on Seth Green irony within an inch of their lives. Oz is, as usual, fairly copacetic with the arrival of a nuclear sub in his mountain retreat, but as he points out, "You just made my home into a very big target." Buffy's doing her unavoidable thing of endangering her family and friends again, because her lifestyle choice leads her to oppose some pretty nasty characters. Luckily, being a family of werewolves might give Oz's folks a bit of an edge over, say, Joyce and Dawn.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #29

Oct 9, 2009

As is usual in a Whedon series, surprise alliances and last-minute reveals up the stakes of the battle in ways that thrill and evince a long term plan. Clever stuff. I almost hate the idea of Twilight finally revealing his whiny self because there's no way that issue can be as good as this one was.

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10
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #31

Jan 16, 2010

Ray Tate: Not pesky at all. It's been a pleasure, Shawn. We'll have to do this again.

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8.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #38

Nov 4, 2010

I don't remember where Faith is (probably fisticuffs), but Giles and Buffy get a tender reunion moment where they both acknowledge that they've become grownups and peers. Which Buffy has heard before, but she's always been one for extra dollops of affirmation. Jeanty turns in one of his top attempts at character recognition, losing the details as always in widescreen but zooming in for several effective close-ups. I'd actually like to learn more about Angel's (and Buffy's) god-like son, and I'm worried that solving the Hellmouth/Seed riddle might lead to shutting down the Slayer Army again, but this issue is balls out rushing to the finale, and it's a rollercoaster of fun!

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6.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #40

Jan 24, 2011

There are hints that Season 9 won't try so hard to be epic. I'm in favor of that. I only hope there's a way not to punish Buffy for saving our asses again and again, too.

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7.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 #2

Oct 15, 2011

Yep, it's poor pitiful Buffy again this issue, which is not a path I want to revisit particularly. I can only hope these echoes of the uneven Season Six won't continue for long. We already went through that in the wildly spinning highs and diverse reveals of Season Eight. I'm hoping for more of a Season Five or Season Seven vibe at this point: one featuring a foe geared to foil Buffy's particular gifts, until she figures out to foil theirs.

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7.0
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Riley #1

Aug 23, 2010

Fittingly, this issue mostly concerns how Riley and Samantha act as a couple in service of their country, in loyalty to each other, and as infiltrators of Twilight's misguided regime. Espenson makes sure to parallel his journey with Angel's own, as both are undertaking a ruse for Buffy's sake, or at least that's what they tell themselves. The character is the same man we've come to know and this is a solid issue of entertaining back story for those of us still immersed in season eight as it nears its end.

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6.0
Captain America And The Falcon #4

Jul 1, 2004

News that a new artist is coming on board is very promising, as Priests grasp of these characters (maybe he can pick up the pieces of Avengers once Bendis is finished?) is as entertainingly sound as ever.

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8.0
Captain America And The Falcon #6

Aug 9, 2004

Nothing. Well, theres still the Cuban stuff to resolve, and the Anti-Cap is pretty much off-screen this issue even though hes driving the plot. Things are a bit hectic. But the developments all make sense for steady readers. Im glad I stuck with this book, because its rising as high on my reading list as Black Panther did before Velluto left. With the right artist, Priest is on par with best Marvel has to offer of the guys in tights.

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4.0
Captain America And The Falcon #13

Mar 10, 2005

In the end, events are too over the top to make sense. Im not sure about Steves fate, but I dont see Anti-Cap (a straight-up murderer) and Falcon lasting long term, and Im completely non-plussed as to why he needs to recommit to the costume, which weve seen him happily deploy throughout this series. Is he still cheesed at being framed and betrayed? Well, then go get em already!

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6.0
Captain America And The Falcon #14

May 24, 2005

Also interesting: Its a shame Priest wasnt matched by old-school talents like Jurgens and Palmer from the beginning of this series. Their clarity and complete command of super-hero anatomy would have worked both to clarify Priests complex plotting and as an ironic contrast to his story about how old values are beautiful but misplaced post world-wide terror. Jurgens Cap and Anti-Cap are startling contrasts fighting across rooftops and subways, and his morbid Paris a Gothic and moody treat.

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6.0
Captain Marvel (2012) #1

Aug 8, 2012

But for heaven's sake, at least get an inker and colorist, ASAP! The art undermines the words at every turn, and including a selection of fan art celebrating the new look (or comparing the recent Dodsons-illustrated Avenging Spider-Man issue where she debuted) serves only to underline the disconnect.

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8.0
Captain Marvel (2012) #11

Mar 25, 2013

Almost as interesting as the book is the letters page, which has quickly become one of those classic ones were fans and creators are sharing with great openness and sincerity. All you have to see is the young woman from North Carolina who made her own costume, and poses in front of the pilot school she attends, to know that DeConnick is really onto something, and whichever artist partner she gets is going to have to face equally high expectations.

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8.0
Captain Marvel (2012) #16

Sep 24, 2013

Carol's a little too gung-ho to sacrifice herself and there's an extended reference to the birth of Phoenix herself in the face of outer-space mishaps in there somewhere, but you know what? Forget about Infinity, and just enjoy the fireworks. With Pat Olliffe drawing them, they're pretty awesome.

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6.0
Captain Universe/Invisible Woman #1

Nov 25, 2005

Sexism watch: Whats also nice is that the Uni-force doesnt dominate or erase Sues mental faculties, it actually talks to her informatively, and she talks back, acting on her own with rational decisions and Reeds intelligence a useful tool. Eventually advancing the problem herself, if not solving it fully. An all-around enjoyable issue.

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4.0
Civil War #3

Jul 23, 2006

What we get from Millar is an interesting series of early scenes, though two of them completely restate TChalla and Stephens positions from Illuminati; and one whopping big grand finale that is a laudable cliffhanger (if its one thats been overused in several books lately). But in between is a fight scene that alternates between incoherence and brutality. Hercules (of all people) comes off better than anyone else in the melee, while Jans comments grate incoherently. She complains about Stephens stupid house (its the Sanctum Sanctorum to you, lady!) and implores Yellowjacket NOT to grow in the middle of battle (what else is he good for then?). How come Stature and Black Goliath and Atlas can grow all they want, but never poor Hank? At least we get a gratuitous Spidey buttshot on page 18. Thanks for filling in for Spider-Woman this month, Pete.

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6.0
Civil War #4

Sep 24, 2006

This issue hurts to read as much as seeing Thors hammer smash Caps shield on the cover. Its exciting, in the manner of surviving a car accident.

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6.0
Civil War: The Confession #1

Mar 19, 2007

I didnt enjoy this issue, but I have to admit it was needed, and fulfilled its role as a painful coda. The Marvel Universe is full of victims now rather than heroes, and the suffering here is on the scale of Bendis darkest Daredevil issues, but it has much more depth than the parent series and does show Bendis working in his favored mode: tragedy.

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8.0
Clandestine #5

Jun 17, 2008

Griffin has found a way to siphon off the various Destine powers for his own use. Its not too often when you can blame a whole story on a bad genie, and mean it as a complement. But for Davis fans, seeing him let loose on a dream pet project is a simple endorsement: its watching the master at work.

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6.0
Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Superwoman/Batwoman #1

Dec 27, 2007

The best move that Palmiotti and Gray make is that, once Dino is chastised and our challengers make their case, these women act like the JLA, and get quickly down to business. Our Atom was here but hes moved on, and the journey hasnt yet ended. Which is to be expected, as hes just the excuse that powers these world jaunts. Meanwhile this was a fun, mildly diverting, totally slight and missable stop along the way.

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6.0
Countdown To Infinite Crisis #1

Apr 3, 2005

Still, Teds friendship with Booster is sensitively portrayed, and by the time we get to the gorgeous spy drama of final chapter (where Jiminez hints even more than the story at compelling new directions for O.M.A.C.), the tension is riding high. The burgeoning society of super-villains has promise for the DC universe as well, though if the price is going to be the deaths of all supporting characters, it may not be worth the ride.

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6.0
Crime Bible: Five Lessons of Blood #4

Jan 26, 2008

This series, though well-executed as a procedural mystery with super-hero trappings, is leaving me cold and a little turned off as it progresses. I dont think I want to learn these lessons. But Ill be back next issue, because Rucka is the undeniable master of these characters. Im just thinking theyll do fine in the larger super-hero world too and not just on the mean streets with the crazies. Renee and Kathy should get that chance.

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6.0
Daredevil (1998) #63

Aug 22, 2004

And if the writing is a bit too grim and gritty for this Mark Bagley/Tom Grummet (heck, Frank Miller even!) fan, then the art is about 300 shades to dark. I admit Maleev has an almost photographic command of anatomy and shading, but thats only if your camera is covered in grime and unable to focus in bright light. If I wanted to watch a movie, Id be at one, which is the same attitude I apply to Alex Ross. Instead, Im reading a comic, and I want some four color spandex with bright and shiny inking, please. Hes the main reason Im not a regular reader.

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8.0
Daredevil (1998) #64

Sep 16, 2004

Also interesting: Oh, yeah, Matt tries to patch it up with Milla, and Madame Hydra gets released. Theres a lot going on for one issue, but most of it involves Matt mopping up after the duplicity of his own double-identity. If only he were honest about all his lies and deceptions like Tasha, right? We know, Bendis, we know.

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7.0
Daredevil (1998) #67

Nov 28, 2004

Also interesting: In the present day, an unwilling Gladiator (seen trying to go straight even in the past) may be Matts best hope, but, knowing Bendis, the bonds of the past are pretty hard to break for anyone. This arc explores that sense of inevitability with strong sequences that trace an ongoing enmity between two big players in Hells Kitchen.

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6.0
Daredevil (1998) #73

May 22, 2005

To sum up: No Daredevil. Possible literal demon. Sad, deluded people. In the continuing story of Bendiss examination of how men in tights might impact real word despair and corruption, this is another chapter.

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6.0
Daredevil (1998) #75

Jul 25, 2005

Less interesting: Its something of a disappointment that the supernatural explanation is the one that Bendis goes with after all. The psychological implications of good and evil surrounding the devilish vision (and the parallel to Matts angelic actions in devilish garb) seemed to be heading to some bigger, more world-shaking reveal. I was expecting Mephisto or the Watcher or some other Nocenti-level mumbo-jumbo to be behind a larger plot, but rather its a very small plot: a weak person uses magick ill-advisedly and hurts a lot more people for that foolishness. Not bad, just smaller-scale than the story at first seemed.

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4.0
Daredevil (1998) #76

Aug 28, 2005

The ongoing plot: Something about all this matters to Matts struggle to stay a lawyer now that everyone knows hes Daredevil. The Decalogue showed us one reason that should happen (illegal though it is): the common people DD protects need him. I expect this arc to offer another argument. But the problem for me is its the answer to a question I never would have asked. Where does Matt get off donning a red suit and busting up criminals? The answers beyond simple: hes got powers, and hes a hero. That used to be all it took.

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4.0
Daredevil (1998) #80

Jan 3, 2006

Its par for the course for a Daredevil story these days. Bleak, grim and generally unpleasant, enlivened slightly by the bristling between the female players (though even Night Nurse plays on a level where Milla cant compete and doesnt belong). Her blindness apparently renders her inarticulate and dependent. Im counting the months until this title is freed up to go in a different direction after this creative team is gone.

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6.0
Daredevil (1998) #87

Jul 28, 2006

Everything leads to a totally right final reveal. Good news all around. Or at least it will be when Matt finds out. Brubaker explains it all in the letters page. And while he never had me fooled, he definitely does have me entertained. And I dont even like this crime noir gritty stuff.

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7.0
Daredevil (1998) #99

Aug 12, 2007

This tense sequence, cutting back and forth from one worst-case-scenario to another, is the essence of this title, and of what Brubaker and Lark bring to a book that is like Spider-mans worst day ever, issue after issue. Not always to my taste, but I applaud their craft.

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6.0
Daredevil (1998) #507

Jun 11, 2010

I'm not sure where this arc is going after reading this issue, but it's slipping its grip on Matt's usual reality, and doing it with criminal mysticism rather than the usual amount of religious angst. Hopefully, he'll get his head on straight before it's too late.

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7.0
Daredevil (1998) #509

Aug 15, 2010

At this point, not having all these questions answered only raises the stakes. This story is dark and punctuated by moments of extreme violence, but its an exciting mystery so far.

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7.0
Daredevil (1998) #510

Sep 12, 2010

In the end, Foggy and Dakota learn there are worse things than ninja attacks, and we experience a growing sense of inevitable doom. It's beyond time for a desperate move of salvation, but there's no cavalry on the horizon. I'm still intrigued by this dark and dramatic story. Though there are many ancillary titles, this tale knows its place in a set geographic corner of the Marvel universe--keeping things coherent and focused on a tight, Daredevil-ready group of supporting players.

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8.0
Dark Shadows #3

Jan 28, 2012

We've got a group here at this late point in the series who know each other's secrets, but who act as a unit despite their curses, so when werewolf Quentin allows vampire Barnabas to feed, you know it's just a way of powering up to face Angelique. Her confrontation with Caroline in the town pub is well-played, a war of the blondes between the good human one and the reanimated porcelain doll.

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7.0
Dark Shadows #4

Mar 22, 2012

Campbell doesn't hold back on the blood and gore, but is almost better on the simple eeriness of levitating witches, glowing possessed eyes, and the flutter of batwings in the many looming inky black shadows. When Angelique fails, things return to the normal quiet gloom of Collinwood, but it looks like the ghosts of Barnabas' many victims will be showing up next issue. That's the right move now, as we need to be recaptured by his plight in this new medium as his original fans once were two generations ago.

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8.0
Dark Tower: The Long Road Home #1

Mar 11, 2008

Jae Lee has become a master of style who also delivers the solid meat of a story, and here while backgrounds are conveniently blurred masses of colorful fog, the principle players have such character and the expressions and details of costume and posture are more than enough to bring each figure to vivid life. Theres a little bit of a sense of seeing a series of frozen tableaux, but the eerie stillness does befit the classic multi-genre hero quest, anchoring Kings pastiche of sources into a convincing world of its own. The covers for this Marvel-produced corner of the Dark Tower mythos have all been memorable, and this second volume of tall tales seems poised to repeat the success of the first.

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8.0
Daughters of the Dragon #5

Jun 6, 2006

Where else are you going to get a line like this: The Mole Man has so much bling and no one to share it with? Youre also of course going to get Colleen baring her boobs to her sparring partner the American Samurai at a crucial moment, and sex that breaks the furniture when Misty reunites with long-time lover Iron Fist. But brace yourselves for the final issue, because girl, theres going to be all kinds of kung fu up in here!

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6.0
Day of Vengeance #1

May 5, 2005

Not gonna talk about the talking chimp, though.

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5.0
DC Universe #0

May 4, 2008

Libra and the Secret Society: they're nothing next to Darkseid. As always. Jury still out.So, basically, I read at least two of the Trinity already (and Superman when the Legion shows up), I don't care about Hal Jordan, and I'll give Final Crisis a shot mostly for J.G. Jones. Would I have done all those things before reading this issue? Yes.

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6.0
DC Universe Halloween Special: 2008 #1

Dec 22, 2008

The costume was designed for her, and Arthur Light stole it. That only makes sense if you forget who came first in Justice League lore, but I suppose we can now since Infinite Crisis. Things are so up in the air that we have to accept the new order when we're informed of it. With a story like this (where Dr. Light fights the unworthy Mammoth and Shimmer), that's somewhat easier to do. Because we've seen this Dr. Light be rude, and we've seen her nemesis attack her and steal her power. But now we get to see her take it back, and swear to do better from now on. And what better use of the Christmas spirit than to offer a rebirth from ignominy to glory?

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7.0
DC Universe Legacies #2

Jun 20, 2010

In fact, the horizontal compositions echo classic funny papers formats, but the tale doesn't seem dated--just cheerfully nostalgic. The whole is an essay in storytelling, but it has to be completely formulaic in order to get the job done so quickly.

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8.0
DC Universe Legacies #5

Sep 21, 2010

George Perez turns in the art on the main story, and thus turns back the clock to 1985 effortlessly. The back-up feature may be even better, as it is a 100% Silver Age type tale of several time and space travelers who have been kidnapped to do battle on an alien planet, illustrated by the amazing Walt Simonson. It's fun to see these guys (including Adam Strange and Tommy Tomorrow and Captain Comet) both follow and break the rules of old conventions, in a manner as entertaining as it is goofily artificial. One of their foes wields a deadly vacuum cleaner!

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4.0
Dead Space Extraction #1

Sep 14, 2009

And the worst thing is, Image supposedly knows how to tell those. This is a case where more editorial oversight was called for. The big picture was completely lost. Perhaps this dank, ugly world will appeal to some (if they can get past one of the least interesting covers I can ever remember having seen it basically amounts to "some skulls, I think"). Inappropriately indistinct painted comic art fatally entombs a dull story.

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9.0
Death of the New Gods #2

Nov 5, 2007

The large cast of intelligent uber-beings keeps our interest as we move to a truly surprising cliffhanger, one of those good ones that though it is a legitimate reveal only deepens the larger mystery. This one looks like a winner, and an un-billed Countdown tie-in that may actually amount to something.

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8.0
Death of the New Gods #8

Apr 27, 2008

He awakens where he began, mourning the loss of a generation of heroes and villains he knew so well. And so should we, but never more than if the events of this series don't stick. Maybe it's time for a Fifth World, though Darkseid and Orion live on. Will the new world equal the glory of all that has passed? That's a daunting task.

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6.0
Defenders (2005) #1

Jul 24, 2005

Overall: Good effort, but with quite a few kinks left to be worked out. So far, the title of the issue is all too true.

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8.0
Detective Comics #854

Jun 28, 2009

Finally, The Question feature is another examination of the drug-related problem of sex slavery--a popular theme in superheroine comics these days. I don't know if the divergent threads will link together, or if Renee and Kate are meant to become an item again. However, this issue is very good start in making Batwoman a character rather than a stereotype.

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8.0
Detective Comics #858

Nov 1, 2009

Betrayal, scars, secrets, and never-healed wounds of loss have enriched and complicated Kate's backstory. Her prickly personality is becoming easier to understand--as is her driven need to wear the costume.

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5.0
Detective Comics #861

Jan 31, 2010

I'm enjoying the Huntress in her team-ups with Renee, and while the action is brutal in their fight with the killer, the emotions run just as high once things calm down and dirty deals are done. Rucka's writing remains strong, but I think I like him better when the old Bat isn't around.

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6.0
Doctor Strange: The Oath #1

Oct 1, 2006

This time, its Wong whos sick rather than Stephen himself. And were still angsting over his origin, the failed surgeon/car accident thing. Its all part of the medical nature of the Macguffin, a little elixir bottle that everybody wants and is willing to kill for. Exploring the Drs medical side is a reasonable way to go, but this issue just feels so perfunctory, if clearly told. Surely the distinguished Doc rates better than pratfalls and stock characters? A disappointment coming from Vaughan, rescued (for now) by the charming art.

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6.0
Doom Patrol (2004) #2

Jul 30, 2004

While I praised a similar cover on Byrnes JLA arc (where all the heroes are surrounded in tight full-figure formation by their foes), it doesnt work as well here with less-iconic characters. Some of that might be remedied next issue when these newcomers get costumes. A lot rests on how Byrne handles Cliff Steele, too, because hes usually the focal point for these outings. That might change with Rita alive again, though, as she does show a lot of welcome attitude and spunk, especially on the final page when she criticizes the Chief.

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4.0
Doom Patrol (2004) #5

Nov 4, 2004

This title cant continue with ciphers going through the motions in minor key, underground adventures, however quirky the concepts. The Doom Patrol has always been a team of misfits banded together for mutual support. Even when Morrison decided that it was the Chief who damaged them in the first place (literally creating his own dysfunctional family of followers), he didnt lose sight of that. Theres a hint of true friendship between Rita and Cliff, the teams most intrepid adventurers. But otherwise Byrne so far has just achieved good looking characters vs. generic threats, and my interest is waning.

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6.0
Doom Patrol (2009) #1

Aug 9, 2009

Anyway, with the Doom Patrol, I'm in. We've got the core team, we've got a lot of bad attitudes, now all we need is the right art and some good stories. Weirdly good.

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7.0
Doom Patrol (2009) #6

Jan 11, 2010

Clark is already up to the challenge. He channels all the flashbacks with accuracy, somehow making sense of the Doom Patrol at their wackiest in several different eras. I especially like his look for Larry. Bandages, sure, but also jodhpurs and a bulky green sweater, suspenders and combat boots. It's an adventurer's garb, and Larry is still addicted to adventure.

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7.0
Doom Patrol (2009) #11

Jun 14, 2010

Its still a superhero book, and current foe Thayer Jost is trying to use that against the team since DC humans have been so traumatized by Blackest Night that all metahumans look evil. I dont think Giffen is moving towards healing any of these fractured psyches. So instead were reading an in-the-trenches scenario of soldiers who evince a precariously balanced madness in the face of an unbalanced, mad world. Thats not a bad take on the concept, and its brave of him to attempt to integrate the unusually complicated Morrison characters. Im all about a New Brotherhood, so Im sticking around to see how this confrontation plays out.

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8.0
Doom Patrol (2009) #15

Oct 14, 2010

A deus ex machina of a sort saves them, but not before everyone learns a little bit more about not just their angst causing alienation, but also their anguished but deep familial ties. It'd be fun to see this group interact more with the rest of the DC universe, though painting them all as unrepentantly surly Wolverines is certainly another valid way to go. This title is under appreciated.

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8.0
Doom Patrol (2009) #20

Mar 14, 2011

Their only port in the storm is an old acquaintance of Cliff's in Vegas, and his proposal is the worst of all worst-case scenarios: it happens their host knows General Immortus, and Immortus wants to lead his former enemies in the Chief's absence. The most pitiful thing is our gloomy losers actually consider his offer. I wouldn't put major crazy blow-ups and kiss-offs out of Giffen's purview at this point, so I'm definitely on board for whatever's left of this underrated series. I hope it goes out with a bang!

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8.0
Doom Patrol (2009) #21

Apr 11, 2011

You'd think the Doom Patrol would work fine in a darker, more realistic era, and that Giffen would be able to keep updating a 50-year old property for a modern audience. Well, aesthetically, he has, as I declare this run the best since Morrison's, and the run most steeped in the DCU proper. Cliff decides, as he always does, to regroup the team and retake the island. Even as he admits his own complicity in the Chief's manipulations over nearly every iteration of forming and reforming the team, it's still a cause he believes in and a way to use what's left of his life. It's all he knows how to do, and that makes him the codependent heart of one of the DCU's most intriguing band of weirdoes.

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8.0
Doom Patrol (2009) #22

May 9, 2011

That there is no next issue doesn't mean the Doom Patrol is down for the count; somebody is sure to remember how much fun hermaphrodites, robots, schizophrenics and gay islands are again, before you know it!

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6.0
Drax #1

Sep 25, 2005

Brietweisers style is a little bit Bryan Hitch, and its quite clear and strong at conveying information, despite being hampered by too-fussy word balloons of alien speak. This isnt as promising as the initial issue of Black Panther, but depending on how the story goes, the creative team looks solid.

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5.0
Eternals #1

Jun 18, 2006

But Ike Harris and Mark Curry are dull, and the disguised Deviants chasing them are standard-issue heavies. Theres going to need to be something fresh here, because this first issue reads like a script for a new TV show, with all the formulaic parts in place, but with no real spark to make it distinctive.

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8.0
Eternals #6

Jan 29, 2007

Not that they havent realized their place in the scheme of things. When Iron Man tries (ridiculously) to enforce the registration act on these divinities, Zuras (Zeus) clears him up real quick: If you saw two groups of children arguing over which of them could play in some waste ground, would you choose sides?

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8.0
Eternals #7

Mar 5, 2007

These gods are something else than super-heroes, but not too much, as their new agenda is to find and awaken the 90 remaining sleeper agents. They also have to do the Celestials bidding, handle the Changing Ones with diplomacy, and prepare for something called the Horde. Thanks to the clever dialogue and a recurrent sense of awe Gaiman achieves (with the epic-sized collaboration of Romita, Jr.), Id definitely come back for more Eternals.

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6.0
Fables #56

Dec 25, 2006

I usually find this book a bit lightweight myself, preferring the more traditional superheroics in Willinghams DC-universe title Shadowpact. But in its way this issue celebrates Christmas far more poignantly (and a bit more economically) than the current Infinite Holiday Special.

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6.0
Fables #67

Nov 19, 2007

That will wait for next issue, though. This issue, the fun is to be had in the Age of Chivalry visuals of Buckingham and Leialoha, who conjure up convincing suits of armor and a plethora of ghosts, trolls and weaponry. The battle with Grinder the Troll has a big and blocky Kirby-esque feel, and theres definitely a feeling of arcane ancient systems at work. As someone dipping in without keeping regular track of the series, the issue is confusing in the details but clear and entertaining in the overall plot of a king trying to protect his lands non-violently.

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7.0
Fables #71

Mar 24, 2008

It takes another fable, a certain Mr. Hansel, to finally take her by surprise towards the end of the issue, and even then her intel is far better than his. This is a fun, action-packed little adventure, and yet another example of how adaptable this concept is: Spy-thriller one week, sword-and-sorcery epic the next, and all sorts of charmingly Vertigo things in between. Another winner from a master of mixing the playful with the macabre.

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6.0
Fables #106

Jun 27, 2011

The vile Mr. Dark is clearly anticipating a big battle at the beginning of the issue, but the inexorable persona of the North Wind soon has him begging and bargaining for mercy. Buckingham/Leialoha do a great job of the monster's morphing through various wraith-like forms during the battle, which unfolds over several splash pages. The North Wind, by contrast, remains stalwart and unchanged, busy invoking an ancient clause that seals the fate of both beings. It's interesting if a bit anticlimactic that their promised confrontation results both in eternal sacrifice and a simple scene of closing a lid that shouldn't have ever been opened.

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6.0
Fall of Cthulhu #7

Oct 22, 2007

In short order Jason is acting up in school, stealing from girls and destroying property. These things always build to a violent climax, and this one is quite grizzly. Its the utter destruction of an innocent family, triggered by the evil of comic books. I always knew those would lead to no good.

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7.0
Fall of Cthulhu #8

Nov 19, 2007

This is a chilly thriller that hints of far worse than it shows. Thats just about the perfect tone in a world where every day is Halloween.

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8.0
Fall of Cthulhu #9

Jan 8, 2008

This tale reads like an interlude in the earlier tales of corruption, because this creature was vile from the start. The beautiful veneer that coats this story in familiar, comforting style only exaggerates the horror within. This is a comic that delivers exactly what it promises, whether youre ready or not.

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4.0
Fantastic Four #536

Apr 3, 2006

Final score: McKone is still a good choice of artist, both for his action sequences and his way with the characters. And I love the Fantasti-Car, always have. But the art was good on Illuminati, too.

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8.0
Fantastic Four #538

Jul 3, 2006

Now if only Spidey could wise up again, too.

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6.0
Fantastic Four #542

Jan 18, 2007

Theres a funny tone to this issue, gallows humor amidst the ruins, but that alone raises the book above the crude muck of the Civil War itself. And McKones art, especially in the mostly low-key discussion scenes, is full of humanistic detail and pleasing spatial clarity. So much good here, but the book is in a holding pattern waiting to get back to an actual story that makes sense.

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8.0
Fantastic Four #545

Apr 30, 2007

And the scenes involving Gravity are the promised payoff to the Beyond! series, which ended unexpectedly with his tragic demise. Now hes become just the sort of cosmic character the FF is designed for. McDuffie stepped on board to find the crew in tattered disarray, and hes streamlined them all back to the fast track in just a few issues. Its a miracle that someone was able to fashion a silk purse out of the aftermath of Civil War. While the implications of that title still havent been adequately resolved, at least this title is fun again.

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7.0
Fantastic Four #546

May 28, 2007

And thats the special strength of comics to me. If you dont know what he and Johnny discuss that leads to Johnnys delighted bellow of Cosmic Torch!, you still get the gist and if you do, you realize just how clever and observant TChalla really is. Layers, all handled with fun energy by McDuffie, who provides a nice sense of closure at the end of his welcome first story that addresses this retooled title in a retooled Marvel world, advancing the plot without breaking it and starting all over again.

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5.0
Fantastic Four #578

Apr 30, 2010

Is that clear as mud? Im totally lost, only grateful that Eaglesham makes it all look so pretty. Seriously, the art is the least of this books problems. In striving for sci-fi immersion, Hickman has achieved incomprehensibility. I wont even ask where Ben is.

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6.0
Fantastic Four #583

Sep 26, 2010

The real core of the issue, thankfully, is familial dynamics. While Ben deals stoically with further mutation, Valeria takes action to correct a failing she finds in Reed, and takes it all the way to Latveria. Hickman seems to have a strong handle on who Doom is (even in his current reduced state), and his Valeria is one of those charming child savants. But I don't think we get hint one of who might be killed to make Three happen, and I can only hope Epting sticks around to make sense of it when it does.

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5.0
Fantastic Four (2014) #1

Mar 4, 2014

Leonard Kirk's art is strong, as always. Kesel gives it a real nice spit and polish with his clean lines. But nothing can make these rote motions really feel fresh.

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5.0
Fantastic Four (2014) #8

Aug 20, 2014

Then Robinson reveals the new status quo for the title, which is a divisive period on three not very original fronts: evil rich mad scientist, super-prison, and American idol wannabees. While it's nice that there's such a clear plan, Reed and Sue at least seem to accept their reduced status with too much aplomb.

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6.0
Fantastic Four: First Family #1

Mar 10, 2006

Casey is definitely going somewhere with this motley crew of inmates and observers, though its too early to tell if itll reinvigorate or simply restate an already overloaded franchise. So far weve still got depressed Ben and nurturing Sue, but now weve also got depressed Johnny and a nearly autistic Reed. A fair start, though.

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6.0
Fantastic Four: First Family #2

Apr 17, 2006

Im guessing Casey wishes to underline the family loyalty of the FF in contrast to this murderous loner, but Im unsure after this issue about whats being saved and whats being discarded from the iconic tales of the Four. The addition of concerns about media and public perception and governmental control is timely, but I expect more novelty than that in this new take on old favorites.

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8.0
Fantastic Four: The End #1

Oct 29, 2006

This is the fun potential inherent in The End: final takes that are character-defining on all our favorites, and Davis is ideally suited to expand his cast as broadly as he needs to. Without much editorial interference (which he suffered on his unimpressive X-Men run wrapping up The Twelve storyline shouldnt be a problem in this Elseworlds-style tale), hes free to play with the toys with love, respect and creativity. His impressive dialogue promises to keep the emotional lines (as sorrowful as some of them seem to be) intact. This first issue is something the Fantastic Four (and their fans) need right now: a love letter.

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8.0
Fantastic Four: The End #4

Jan 8, 2007

This is the sort of jam-packed issue that is usually the penultimate one of a mini-series, but theres no sense that Davis is rushing. Rather, hes got even more to wow us with in the last two issues. The only reason for the one-bullet deduction is that this is a project designed for the long-term reader. Not that new readers wont find a lot to love and entertain, but the resonance of the concept and Davis meticulous details grows exponentially for those who get every reference along the way. This is an homage to all the Marvel was and can be again.

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6.0
Fantastic Four: The End #6

Mar 9, 2007

A predictable Alan Davis comic is still a beautiful comic. He chose this ambitious amount of characters, and he doesnt stint on them, keeping track of nameless spandex suits as well as the heavy hitters. He also manages to use the title concept in a new way, as this isnt really the end of the team as we knew them. Rather, its been a look at what became of them after a particularly tragic ending, and how they got better eventually. This issue sees an end to their suffering, with hope back in the picture at last.

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6.0
Fear Itself #7

Oct 23, 2011

The weaknesses were also consistent. Sorry Matt, while everyone sounds right, the beats of the story were just too telegraphed. It was big. It was epic. It was devastating. But I was more entertained by Skirn and Greithoth torturing the students in Avengers Academy than I was by the simple martial battle steps in the main story. There was some quirky deviltry afoot in that part of the crossover, and seeing how the heroes coped in New Avengers and some of the other affected titles led to some strong character showcases. Though even there it got to the point that I was pretty tired of seeing the trade dress on yet another title by the end of the summer.

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9.0
Final Crisis #2

Jun 29, 2008

This fight is horrifying, both in its desperate, elaborate verbiage and in the eerie glow of green that illuminates the afflicted Lantern and flashes off Batman's black leather. J.G. Jones has always had a singular ability to merge realism with expressive special effects, and here with colorist Alex Sinclair he achieves storytelling that is cinematic not in the sense of trying to look like a movie, but in the sense of being dramatic, crystal clear, well-edited and visually surprising. His sequence of images creates a seamless montage. When a certain character returns chasing a bullet through time, you realize that this short mini-series may just be the epic we were promised, for once.

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9.0
Final Crisis #5

Dec 14, 2008

And, yes, glimmers of hope, too. Because Darkseid always forgets one thing; in a pantheon, the darkest god always has a counterpart.

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8.0
Final Crisis: Legion Of Three Worlds #5

Jul 26, 2009

The Legion Lost crew (who were formerly the Reboot Legion) choose to remain lost, while the "eat it grandpa!" team turn out to have Superboy Prime's legacy to cope with directly. Meanwhile, it seems the Levitz/Giffen League (from just before to the five-year Gap) are back to being our main team--with a revived Superboy (Conner Kent) set to share some new adventures with them.

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7.0
Final Crisis: Resist #1

Nov 9, 2008

Along the way, Ruckas use of Grodd, Cheetah, Brother Eye, and especially Mr. Terrific and Snapper is both assured and inspired. He demonstrates how the entire DC universe is in peril.

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7.0
Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D #1

Aug 31, 2008

It works as another corner of Grant's Crisis-style take on the DC Trinity: Wonder Woman transformed into a monster, Batman near death, and now Superman having to cope with a bracing world of corruption. It's a different style of storytelling from the mini-series itself: there we're seeing a series of drive-by effects, whereas Superman here has gone beyond the surface results to at least one cause. Along the way we get a retelling/retooling of the Monitor origin myth, and the vampire moment is just one of many blood-chilling thrills to be had. However, the mix and match elements are the kind of Morrisonian patchwork we get sometimes when he's spread himself too thin; it's a good call this one is only two issues.

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6.0
Flash (1987) #219

Mar 22, 2005

While Johnson is serviceable, I anxiously await Moraless arrival on this title, as I think he can do much more with the most interesting aspect of Ruckas run, the operatic plotting of the gods. Plus, his Diana is beautiful.

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7.0
Forever Evil #4

Dec 31, 2013

Fatherless, friendless, hapless Power Ring, on the other hand is worried only about himself. Reaching out in any direction for help with his dominatrix ring and finding only cold rebuffs from his supposed allies. The Crime Syndicate doesn't tolerate weakness. He's definitely the reversal of everything Johns' beloved Green Lanterns are capable of being, which makes him a very revealing case study. When Sinestro shows up at the end, you realize that for Johns Power Ring is as bizarro as anyone ever needs to be.

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8.0
Formerly Known As The Justice League #3

Sep 9, 2003

And what a bonus that he's doing the covers, too. Without reading the story, you're not sure why Mary Marvel's gone all Savage She-Hulk on Cap Atom, or what the female thumbs down on the monitor might mean, but you know you're in for a show. The brutal battle inside, when it comes, doesn't disappoint. As the pitiful excuse for an infomercial (drawn in winning SuperFriends style by Maguire) says in the intro, "not quite Supergirl, but close!"

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6.0
Giant-Size X-Men #4

Oct 4, 2005

Old timers: The reprints concern the original Thunderbirds bravado and sacrifice, his funeral, and the revenge plot of his brother James, another wounded soul. They make a very strong set as an homage to a short-lived character. The art, by Cockrum, Bolton and Romita Jr., is top notch. Leonardis work on the new story is very loose and sketchy.

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6.0
GLA #1

Apr 11, 2005

The gags do come amidst the drama, visual jokes that Pelletier pulls off despite his Bagley-esque command of anatomy and facial expression. I wont tell any of them, and they are funny, but be prepared for a deeper comic than advertised.

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8.0
GLA #2

May 10, 2005

Less interesting: No, its all good. The less we see of DUrge the better, and it turns out Slotts ideas work even better without Mr. Immortals blinding optimism to mask the obvious: this team is doomed. Maelstroms two-page rant is old school fun, and if Ive learned nothing else this issue, I know this much: I need my monthly Monkey Joe fix!

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10
GLA #4

Jul 29, 2005

What a final splash page! The exact opposite of the downer endings of so many recent stories, and a counterpoint to the maudlin (but still somehow giggletastic) cover art. Does everyone recognize Bertha's fashion inspiration? What a brilliant last minute realization in six panels!

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8.0
Green Arrow (2001) #62

May 22, 2006

I find myself intrigued by the changes in Star City over the one-year gap (if confused by the ease with which Oliver apparently reveals his secret identity to his foe). The final payoff splash page is a vicariously thrilling moment as only comic books can deliver.

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7.0
Green Arrow / Black Canary #1

Oct 16, 2007

This issue he portrays a reckless, violent Canary, though her feelings are understandable. Shes got friends and family of exceptional skill to be smart for her, and its great to see just how respected and loved she is. While Im not all that sure about his ability to depict a sane Canary, Im fine with his Green Lantern and Batman, who are her main allies this issue. Thanks mostly to Chiangs undeniable talent, Ill definitely check back in next issue in hope of the best. But it could really go either way at this point.

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7.0
Green Arrow / Black Canary #3

Dec 17, 2007

A series of shocking reversals, reveals and changes ends the issue, putting a finale to this opening arc, but leaving new events gaping in a cliffhanger. Im not sure how to feel about it (though it was predicted on the website boards months ago), but Im happy enough with this series thus far that the dire development isnt going to be a dealbreaker for me.

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6.0
Green Arrow / Black Canary #5

Feb 18, 2008

Ollie is in fact on the precipice of putting down the costume when circumstances force his hand again. Something worse than mere assassination is going on, and Winick, by keeping the focus on emotions and family ties, is keeping me interested thus far. I have no idea where the story's going, but I feel like the writer does.

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5.0
Green Arrow / Black Canary #7

Apr 14, 2008

The battle with Mace Boy is underwhelming, and the final revelation only underlines what weve always known: Green Arrow is a Batman imitation. Because hes the imitation, he has more flaws, and he gets to have a wife (rather than just doomed girlfriends). But must he have the same villains, too? After all the changes of One Year Later, and then the gritty recent mini-series, this more humorous and fluffy title has yet to find a way to balance the jokes with any sense of urgency. And though Dinah has had some showcase moments of physical prowess, shes definitely a supporting character in her husbands story. Can we expect her turn to come, given their shared billing?

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4.0
Green Arrow / Black Canary #9

Jun 16, 2008

No amount of fake aliens, British accents, silly disguises or pointless guest stars has helped. Well, maybe Batman can goose the proceedings, as hes the first A-lister to grace these parts since the lost, and his relationship to Ollie is an interesting one. And Speedy continues to be a fun and complex character in battle, and in the Queen family dynamics. But things are way off without Connor. Its past time to solve that first quest and get on with showing us just how exciting Ollie and Dinah can be together.

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6.0
Green Arrow / Black Canary #10

Jul 14, 2008

Theres no character development to speak of this issue, so anybody just tuning in wont know why Green Arrow cares, what his relationship is to Dinah, whether Mia has a crush on Dodger, who Connor might be or why it matters that our criminals have been misled. But, hey, Plaz cracks some funny ones, so at least theres a chuckle or two. Its pretty thin stuff, stretched out way too long, redeemed mostly by the repartee and by Nortons solid battle choreography. I understand it all quite well, but without knowing why, Ive stopped caring whats next.

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6.0
Green Arrow / Black Canary #12

Sep 12, 2008

The art (Mike Norton still doing a passable gloss on original series artist Cliff Chiang) leans one towards the former, but Winick cant often avoid the pathos of the latter. So maybe the way to go is to pick one tone for one story, and wait to change it once the story is over. That would be more exciting than the frequent perplexing frustration of this first fitful year of the title.

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5.0
Green Arrow / Black Canary: Wedding Special #1

Sep 24, 2007

But until he figures out who Ollie and Dinah are as a couple, and why theyd ever tempt doom by getting together, Im going to be a little doubtful of their new ongoing series.

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5.0
Green Arrow Year One #6

Oct 29, 2007

Jocks work is heavy on the dry brush inks, which gives an immediacy and lack of polish that fits the story. He has a bit of a Gaydos quality, though his work has even less room for the soft and pretty. His cover is easily his best contribution, though, with Ollie affecting a convincingly gangsta Robin in the hood pose.

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6.0
Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special #1

Jul 1, 2007

The backup tale shows a much younger Sinestro befriend and mentor Hal Jordan, who doesnt seem to take his ring seriously enough. This tale is introduced by Lyssa Drak, a Talokian rendered in all the femme fatale glamour Dave Gibbons can evoke. Hal has never been the most likable of the Lanterns (I mean, they had to invent Guy Gardner to give him somebody to appear better than), but theres a feeling in this flashback that an opportunity was lost when the Guardians cast Sinestro out so abruptly.

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6.0
Guardians of the Galaxy (2008) #22

Jan 26, 2010

The Rift idea isn't a very new one (basically a haunted doorway to hell), but in Guardians the writers keep the focus squarely on the interesting cast of characters they've assembled. This issue is a satisfying conclusion to several recent plots, and promises more significant battles to come for fans of the Realm of Kings.

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8.0
Harker #7

Sep 27, 2009

It's a good tale, solidly told by creators talented in this medium. Let's hope we don't lose them to the telly too soon!

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8.0
Hawkeye Vol. 2 #1

Aug 3, 2012

He shoots one arrow, two coins and a playing card in this issue -- and throws a bunch of punches, only some of which land -- but I've got no worries. If this is how these guys do a slice of life, they're going to be just fine when the stakes get higher and the big targets start popping up.

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6.0
Heroes for Hire #7

Mar 5, 2007

Lets hope they can keep up the style of this largely successful update of Marvels melding of old school kung fu and Blaxploitation film archetypes. So far its been a fairly sick balance between the ridiculous and the sublime, and Id miss that flavor if Marvel couldnt keep it going.

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6.0
Heroes for Hire #10

May 28, 2007

That boon is apparently not to last, however. More Golden, stat!

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6.0
Heroes for Hire #12

Jul 30, 2007

This issue is fine, as far as it goes. But the title has been swamped with villains and plots not its own and has really lost its footing on the original concept (bad girl bounty hunters). The cover, by Takeshi Miyazawa, is the best part of the book. Clay Mann isnt bad, but his style is suited to Daredevil or Vertigo, not to alien invasions and little green men and insect goo.

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5.0
Heroes for Hire #13

Sep 17, 2007

The life hasnt gone out of this title, but the humor has, and that was a big part of it. Soap opera angst and torture scenes (of our heroes, not their quarry) arent what we signed on for. They need a savior, and soon.

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4.0
House Of M #1

Jun 6, 2005

However will they be able to kill her if she gives them everything they ever wanted? The selfish heroes will rationalize their way into forgiving her then, right? Well, the glowing elliptical void that eats Peter and the setting of a desecrated church for this dark rebirth should give us some hints.

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6.0
House Of M #2

Jun 27, 2005

And this issue, in this topsy-turvy world where mutants rule and humans, while not hunted or policed or chained, are a dwindling minority, the Beast gives us a patronizing, chilling lesson in how unconcerned the dominant class can be for the problems of the minority group. Its an odd reversal, both more subtle than other stories that just posit nightmarish mutant despots, and more inflammatory. To assert that attempts to isolate the mutant gene are reverse racism is something like the height of irony. I hope.

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8.0
House Of M #4

Jul 22, 2005

Most interesting: Wanda doesnt appear, but Emma certainly does, and that panel of her coming home, composed and complacent, to find a blood-stained, scruffy Wolverine and his posse in her living room is worth the price of the issue alone.

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6.0
House Of M #5

Aug 12, 2005

Visual flair: Coipels as at home with these A-List Marvel characters as if hes been drawing them for years. Well, it has been a couple by now I suppose. His version of Lorna especially is one of the loveliest ever, but he nails all the emotional scenes, too. A panel with all the players arrayed before a yet to wise-up Peter is very well composed.

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6.0
House Of M #6

Sep 16, 2005

And that may be the most moralistic lesson of all.

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2.0
House Of M #7

Oct 17, 2005

And really, nothing could save this tripe. The final page replays issue one of this series, and is such an obvious deck-clearing move it possesses zero suspense. Next month: the X-Men will still be here, and Wolverine will still be in every book. Plus, more mini-series! That crazy witch! What was she thinking?

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6.0
House Of M #8

Nov 8, 2005

Visual flair: Theres a brilliant sequence where Nightcrawler (looking extra cuddly under Coipels pencils) bamfs throughout the complex searching for Logan. Coipel does a really great tough but human (and in this case haunted) Logan.

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5.0
House of M: Avengers #1

Nov 11, 2007

Thats an interesting concept to explore, and it may happen as The Man organizes a force to send against Luke and his non-mutant band of heroes, led by a surprising agent. For this story to work, much less expected and odd variations need to develop on this provisional and topsy-turvy earth. We shouldnt see familiar events just replayed; we should see new and strange outcomes and alliances. And more intriguing art (how about Kelly Jones, Mike Allred, Khari Evans, Charlie Adlard, Paul Gulacy?) would be a huge plus as well. As of now, the basic concepts are present but relatively undeveloped.

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2.0
Identity Crisis #2

Jul 18, 2004

I had thought the vogue for turning spandex heroes feet into the dirtiest of clay was a nineties phase whose time had passed, but Meltzer resurrects it in unwelcome ignominy. What a disappointment, considering his knowledge of continuity (Phobia as a supporting character, though now revealed as a murderous dominatrix; Cap Boomerang revealed as a letch, a word which has no meaning in the context of this story), but this is a complete missed opportunity, a nadir for the team, and maybe for the genre.

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6.0
Identity Crisis #6

Nov 14, 2004

Plus, believe it or not, Zatanna speaks! Its as if she needs to do that to use her power or something!

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2.0
Identity Crisis #7

Dec 19, 2004

I fear were supposed to see Ralph as at peace and resolved to his loss at the end of the issue. No way. What we witness instead is the mad rambling of a shock-damaged victim, woefully losing touch with reality. Meltzers jarring attempts to intrude realistic crime drama upon the meta-hero world falls flat once again, because in the DCU, we know ghosts are real. What Ralph needs is a medium, not kindly advice to just hurry his impending senility along. Calling Madame Xanadu! Save Ralph from existential despair! Conjure up the ghost of Sue before he morphs into a villain himself!

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7.0
Immortal Iron Fist #1

Dec 3, 2006

In one issue Brubaker and Fraction capture what was essential about Iron Fist before (mysticism, action-packed battles, robot foes like Mechagorgon) and promise to up the stakes on the very colorful life led by a fairly normal, bland young man. The last page reveal is suitably enigmatic, promising more to come from Dannys newly mysterious heritage. There are challenges ahead to keep this rather reactive character vital, but this is a solid beginning that could lead to a new era of greatness.

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7.0
Immortal Iron Fist #2

Jan 2, 2007

Im still hoping for Master Khan to be behind it all! His villainy certainly wouldnt compromise the formulaic nature of the storytelling thus far, but stories like this are the reasons formulas work.

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7.0
Immortal Iron Fist #8

Aug 27, 2007

They have jettisoned one aspect of the old days that I miss, though. Jeryn Hogarth has been kidnapped, and his mother is being tortured; Dannys chosen CEO seems completely without resources of his own, and that wasnt the case back in the day. Maybe it was a cheesy James Bondian bit of fluff, but Jeryn always traveled with his own bodyguard cadre of deadly supermodels. If the writers can reinvigorate everything else about Dannys pulpy, contradictory roots, surely they can update the femizon police force. It would have been fun seeing them kick Hydras ass, too.

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8.0
Immortal Iron Fist #11

Dec 27, 2007

David Aja is fully on board with his grounded style, perfect for an action/spy/exotic locale sort of tale. Hes proven surprisingly spry in coming up with inventive designs for the quasi-mystical combatants in the escalating competition. This book has about seven things going on at once, and each is balanced and clear with through-lines and narrative climaxes hitting not predictably, but satisfyingly exactly where they should. Immortal Iron Fist continues to be one of the years revelations, proof that theres life in the old dogs if theyre revived in style.

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10
Immortal Iron Fist #12

Jan 22, 2008

This title is currently without equal. The imaginative scope is breathtaking!

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6.0
Infinite Crisis #1

Oct 16, 2005

Saving grace: But man, that final page reveal is the way its done! I may end up having the same problems with this series I had with the original Crisis (flashy, but not worth the cost; what fun is it to see so many old friends if its for the last time?), but at least for this issue I love all the riffs on that original industry-defining Crisis.

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6.0
Infinite Crisis #2

Nov 12, 2005

The eyes have it: Otherwise, however, Jiminez is stellar, pulling off a grand scale that easily matches whatever the script calls for. Especially chilling is his OMAC invasion of Themyscira, where he contrasts the Amazons martial ferocity with the hovering and indifferent robots.

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6.0
Infinite Crisis #3

Dec 30, 2005

Jiminez is doing a great job of unearthing the emotional elements in this tale where he can find them, but these brief glimpses dont quite a story make. With all these goings on, there should be some sense of going somewhere, and some answers as to why. Is it all just the Luthors vying for control, or is it something more? Compared to these stunningly beautiful patchworks, Power Girls recent JSA: Classified origin tale was crystal clear. And believe me, it wasnt.

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5.0
Infinite Crisis #4

Jan 23, 2006

This ones remaking things, just like House of M remade Marvel. As usual, it tramples our memories underfoot to do it. When are we going to get to the point where our heroes act like it, and start to fend off the violent insanity?

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7.0
Infinite Crisis #5

Mar 5, 2006

Summation: Still, Ill settle for a coherent story that makes sense even without thematic consistency, especially if it looks as good as this one does. While One Year Later may turn out to be nothing but a marketing gimmick across the line, Infinite Crisis does actually seem to be making some changes after all.

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8.0
Infinite Crisis #6

Apr 9, 2006

Bad things happen this issue. But this time theyre earned, and appropriately devastating.

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7.0
Inhumanity #1

Dec 10, 2013

Medusa's taking it slightly better, and the artists for Inhumanity promise to have no end of fun playing with those undulating scarlet tresses of hers. There's not a lot more to the story than that this month, as we get a brief history of the Inhumans, some speculation about Thanos, and a surprise move by Karnak that catches the Avengers while distracted and ineffective. It remains to be seen whether Fraction can do with the Kirby/FF legacy what he tried with Asgard a few years ago. As it was with Immonen on that work, however, the apocalypse will be gorgeous.

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7.0
Invincible #58

Jan 19, 2009

This book is a solid read. It's lighter than both Walking Dead and Astounding Wolf-Man, and it's juggling a heavy load of characters well. Definitely worth the time of the old-school hero fan.

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7.0
Invincible #63

Jun 20, 2009

Let's see. Plot-wise in this issue, Atom Eve wakes up and rush's to Mark's aid. Invinciboy also tries to help, and is nearly killed. The hero coordinator does his best to remove the bodies from the field, while Eve and Mark are overwhelmed by the gloating and talkative Conquest. That's plenty, but it's also one long similar note, and Otterly sustains it with more than a few three panel pages. Some stories are denser than this. But few are as visceral.

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7.0
Invincible #65

Aug 24, 2009

Almost as interesting as the issue itself is the letters page, where Kirkmans readers take him to task for the seeming murder of Atom Eve. Its like the death of Phoenix all over again, 25 years later. The outrage is in one way the ultimate compliment to how involved readers are in Kirkmans story. He handles the abuse in his flinty but entertaining manner, but I dont have any worry about his readers. Kirkman knows exactly what hes doing and where hes going with this title. They just need to become as invulnerable as Mark!

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7.0
Invincible #68

Nov 23, 2009

Invincible did have a firm grip on Dinosaurus' neck at one point, though, and that was after the creature was revealed as a sort of were-monster who can't control when the demon takes over. Was Mark really going to settle for a final solution before being interrupted? Given that this is a Kirkman comic, I'd have to say yes. And that's pretty scary. All in all, a solid comic with a satisfying spectrum of plot threads unfolding at a brisk pace.

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7.0
Invincible #70

Feb 22, 2010

Remembering the damage one angry Viltrumite caused Earth in the past, I hesitate to imagine the carnage of the impending Viltrumite War. But I'm hooked now, so I won't have to imagine for long. Kirkman shows his usual mastery of subplots, but this minor skirmish is just a windup for the next big pitch.

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9.0
Invincible #81

Jul 31, 2011

Invincible #81Posted: Sunday, July 31, 2011By: Shawn Hill Robert KirkmanRyan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn (i), Nick Koutsis (c)Image So, the Viltrumite war is over, with none of those rat bastards currently in evidence. All the bloody carnage and apocalypse scenarios and incredible cost of human life and damage to Mark's body are healed or being repaired, and despite all that excitement, the book is even better for it.

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7.0
Invincible #82

Sep 8, 2011

This is one of those issues where a lot of plot threads alternate on a variety of fronts. I generally love those issues, if I'm as invested in a series as I am in this one. Lots of things happen, some of them a little confusing if you've forgotten past details, others very exciting and cool. And of course, given that it's Kirkman, usually funny.

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6.0
Invincible #85

Nov 28, 2011

While it's not completely believable that every leader in the known universe is a super-strong muscular male with a mostly sympathetic female (of one species or another) on his arm and in his bed, such a stereotypical tough guy setup does allow Kirkman to create a parallel of empathy between the Great Allen and Telia and Nolan and Deborah (and Mark and Eve, whom we've seen have many bedtime tte--ttes), just in time to break it forcibly in the cliffhanger. While not as interesting as Mark's story on Earth, check-ins with the supporting players like these are important because of the long-term plot implications. And Cory Walker's version of space opera is exuberant, brightly lit and funny, despite the dark note on which we end.

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8.0
JLA #98

May 19, 2004

Also, whats up with Byrne and gorillas? He spent a substantial portion of his Wonder Woman run getting one ape involved in a dead-end subplot, and now hes got another one centrally featured in this series. Yes, looks cool, but big protective brutes are beyond clich, no matter how many arms they have.

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7.0
JLA #109

Dec 12, 2004

Less interesting: The Qwardian stuff is rather formulaic, and as yet not clearly tied into the main plot. And while this is Garneys best issue yet on the title, hes not turning in his best work. Theres a lack of detail to the art that one senses doesnt quite live up to Busieks vision. Still, the new Power Ring design is good, and Lois is quite the memorable vamp.

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6.0
JLA #111

Feb 22, 2005

These planet-destroying warlords come off as generic and, therefore, dull, with little true sense of the alien about them. Garney is much stronger with the iconic in-your-face fisticuffs, making one wish the alien stuff had been left out. And even there, theres some sloppiness, as on the cover where some of the heroes fight their exact doppelgangers and others fight their recognizable alternates. Confusing.

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8.0
JLA #112

Mar 22, 2005

This is one of those darkest before the dawn issues, where things go from bad to worse. Its almost humorous how Busiek manages to layer the cliffhangers in this issue, as each plot thread seems to end on a note of mystery before it quick-cuts to somewhere else. Batman finds a world darker than his own, the CSA dont know what to make of the JLE, while in space Power Girl takes a hit for Jonn and the Qwardians still struggle among themselves for dominance. If Garney can keep up the epic scale that Busiek calls for, this battle could get even more interesting. The CSA show up in space at the end, and though I think I know where this is going, I cant wait to see it happen.

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4.0
JLA #115

Jun 12, 2005

Leaden: Carter Hall comes off as a conservative blowhard, with Oliver less than an articulate critic. Its nice to see Hal back, but hes a bit hard to take as the voice of reason to someone who hasnt been reading about his Rebirth. This issue is too decompressed, and flows out of a story that left too many danglers. The schematic, committee-approved design of Countdown is dreadfully obvious: long-term plans designed to provide story, but without the drama that true passion or inspiration would bring.

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8.0
JLA Classified #4

Feb 20, 2005

That unwelcome return on the final (title) page is the punchline to one long joke-filled read, one that just isnt as funny given the DC Universe it now has no part of. Oh for the days when he was the worst of these heroes worries.

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10
JLA Classified #9

Jul 3, 2005

Poignant final coda: Thats what this issue is. And you get the sense, in several seemingly offhand comments, that Giffen, DeMatteis and Maguire are completely aware that theyre putting these toys away for perhaps the final time. Im upset about that, but these guys at least have nothing to be ashamed of.

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6.0
JLA Classified #17

Feb 27, 2006

Art-wise: No doubt, this is the element keeping the book on my buy list. Garcia-Lopez and Janson are the definition of storytelling consistency, and Id never pass up a rare chance to see Garcia-Lopez draw Superman.

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10
JLA/Avengers #2

Oct 29, 2003

Will even Galactus fall to Krona's mad quest? At the end of this issue, I have no idea what to expect next, and that's the best place I could think of to be. Bravo!

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10
JLA/Avengers #3

Nov 29, 2003

Basically, it's the best ever JLA/JSA crossover, only with the Marvel heroes along to darken and deepen the ride. Clark may not have much use for 'em, but we fans have been dreaming of this meeting for many, many years.

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10
JLA/Avengers #4

Apr 6, 2004

Busiek also has Krona admit, under prompting from a dubious Metron, that he no longer really seeks knowledge, only domination and conquest. Which is a pretty major character flaw, to reveal your villain to be just an angry and vindictive boob. And then theres the unlikely denouement that allows a TNT arrow to undo all Kronas plans. But why quibble over the comic-book gears grinding away as is their job? This month, they delivered us a whole heaping helping of heroes, villains and time-lost moments. They all did what they do best, and some even stopped to reflect on it as they did.

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10
JLA: Another Nail #2

Jun 21, 2004

Is Davis on a nostalgia trip, harking back to a kindler, gentler DC-verse complete with nave sexism? Or does he have something else in mind, as many of his males (especially Ultra-Man, his costume in shreds post-battle) are just as sensually coded as his females? Hard to say with this transitional issue, as the vignettes move by so quickly, each one overloaded with affection and playful lore.

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10
Joss Whedon's Fray #8

Aug 12, 2003

Moline's art is better for me in static splash pages than in action sequences, which tend to lose detail and coherence. Still, he achieved memorable designs for Gunther, Melaka and Urkonn, and also had a lot of fun imagining a world of future tech every bit as grubby as our own. Dave Stewart's colors are as ever definitive, setting the tone for Melaka's violent, fluid future (notice how her pink skin and the red blood on the axe on Moline's striking cover contrast with the greenish background). This is one series, despite the many delays, that was worth the extended wait.

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8.0
JSA (1999) #63

Jul 19, 2004

7. Finally, this is the way a team book should be done, with attention paid to every character and a humanistic, lively tone to the proceedings. While there is a signature Johnsian cliffhanger splashpage, this one substitutes whimsical mystery for the violence to which his epilogues are often prone.

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6.0
JSA All Stars #8

Dec 15, 2003

The cover, by the immensely talented Cassaday, is as beautiful as they all have been. How clever that the oldest heroes get his realistic touch, while their kids are rendered in antique pointillist dots.

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6.0
JSA: Classified #1

Aug 25, 2005

In sum: There are two books featuring Superman's cousin on the market right now. Both are trying to formulate an origin that makes sense and explore the character of Superman's fun loving and more innocent distaff partner. This is the one that isn't crap.

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8.0
JSA: Classified #2

Aug 28, 2005

Conner plays on this problem by never showing Supergirl up close in the airplane rescue sequence. Shes just a squeaky voice in the distance that Clark quickly dismisses, but Karens problems are beyond his means, too. I take a lot of solace from the final panel, though, as Ive enjoyed many previous appearances of PGs revealed tormenter. Second issues are good places to get the villain in place; lets hope their antagonistic tussle results in more, rather than less, definition for our threatened heroine.

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8.0
JSA: Classified #4

Nov 1, 2005

Remember when there used to be two of everybody?

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6.0
Justice League of America (2006) #1

Aug 27, 2006

Heck, Im happy a Meltzer comic actually had women with speaking lines, period. This is not the travesty that was his Crisis of taste, and with the potential to pick up on the good from 52 rather than the bad from the hopefully now finite Crisis; Im cautiously optimistic. But get better art, soon.

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8.0
Justice League of America (2006) #10

Jun 25, 2007

*The Villain is the Hero in His Own Story

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6.0
Justice League of America (2006) #13

Sep 30, 2007

The covers the right idea, though, answering this series debut a year later with a parade of villains rather than heroes. If this title had a problem under Meltzer, it was in finding a consistent foe to aim the heroes at; they were distracted by guest stars, and the pace was very leisurely. This issue is quite lively, but we need a greater sense of drama and more realistic visuals to up the stakes.

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5.0
Justice League of America (2006) #19

Mar 24, 2008

How can we already be at the Detroit League and were only at issue #19? Hello? Anyone minding the store at all?

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7.0
Justice League of America (2006) #22

Jun 22, 2008

More importantly, while Reddy's dilemma drives the plot, McDuffie and Benes make a multitude of small character moments--in dialogue, narration and body language--that remind us page by page we're amongst a team of DC's very best. That's how the League should feel, whether battling a world-level threat or striding through the Halls of Justice. The tinder is lit, the sparks are flaring what remains is to fan the flames into a full-on roaring fire. And maybe throw in a fresh villain or two, please?

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7.0
Justice League of America (2006) #24

Aug 23, 2008

On that tip, the other thing to fix is Maris powers, and thats where the cover comes in at last. Theres a sinister presence manipulating the animal-based power set, and on the cover he looks a lot like Marvels Shadow King. Apparently hes more spidery than that, as well find out next issue. Fall-out from 52 and a large cast beating the odds, thats what we want from JLA. Get a regular penciller and keep a stable crew for a while, will ya? Now that its going good, dont screw it up!

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7.0
Justice League of America (2006) #28

Jan 5, 2009

The quips along the way are more mean-spirited than funny, and he overdoes the self-referrential talk about the lesbian marriage of Donner and Blitzen, but, then, some girls are just that way. It's nice to see Shadow Cabinet and Milestone again, as they stand for an impulse towards diversity and inclusion that the comics industry has often lacked. They're as good candidates as any for what amounts to this year's JLA/JSA crossover, and the story shows this book back on track after having gotten lost in the shuffle of recent crossovers and grander plans than these. Luis even does a passable (but more importantly consistent) riff on the style established for this title by Benes. If the story seems to have nothing to do with current events in Final Crisis, well, that's another plus in some ways.

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6.0
Justice League of America (2006) #30

Feb 23, 2009

The backup story from Len Wein (another of the Origin & Omens featurettes) finds Kendra and Speedy at odds, supposedly a portent of a growing fracture. We also see that Dr. Light will soon join the team. We dont know why, though, as she seems zombified in this issue. This crossover has been too mysterious for its own good.

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5.0
Justice League of America (2006) #31

Mar 30, 2009

Aside from one egregious error on page one (where for some reason we see Diana when it's Dinah who's speaking), Davis does a fine job on this talking heads issue. He blows up everyone's faces to poster size, in fact, the better to let us see the beautiful people argue. And the best dialogue comes from Mari calling John Stewart an Uncle Tom (no kidding). It's a grim but competent issue, capturing Dinah's bitter mood. It's just that she (and the title) deserve better treatment than a cold-hearted dismissal.

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7.0
Justice League of America (2006) #32

Apr 27, 2009

No, it's one of leadership and direction. I fear this strong issue comes too little and too late in McDuffie's run, but I'm hoping at least its sequel (also with Morales on art, supposedly) will be as good. I'm counting my blessings at this point with this star-crossed title.

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6.0
Justice League of America (2006) #38

Oct 24, 2009

And as for Dr. Light, she quite reasonably questions Mari's point of view, she mentions her children and her work, she nurses her injured shoulder without whining about it, and she tries to make a constructive contribution to the discussion. She offers professional help to Plaz (who is sort of melting), and jumps into the fray when Despero attacks. Robinson achieves in one issue what no one else has managed in years. And I know he's done great work in the past with teams, though mostly informed by the perspective of nostalgia for DC's oldest characters. He's got to be new and flashy for the JLA, and interestingly he's interviewed about enjoying Joe Kelly's run from years back (which was somewhat controversial and strange). He must have some ideas for real stories, so here's hoping they get started soon.

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6.0
Justice League of America (2006) #39

Dec 7, 2009

The worst part of the entire book is the premise that the bad Dr. Light be revived again, as having been reduced to a pile of sludge by the Spectre was an ideal fate for that creep. I'm tired of seeing him fight his distaff namesake, who has always been more worthy of the costume than he. I hope Robinson, who makes the dialogue stick this issue, keeps his renovation of the good Dr. Light going strong next issue, as I'd love her to say lights out to the villain for the final time.

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5.0
Justice League of America (2006) #40

Dec 21, 2009

With Red Tornado already disposed of and Plastic Man a near-useless puddle, the women have few allies and yet lack the strength to fend for themselves. Except for Dr. Light herself, who manifests the power all the zombies keep telling her she lacks--finally. Zatanna returns from her off-screen battle, apparently victorious, and then everyone faints. It's a grim, predictable story, merciful only in its relative brevity. I hope it purchased Robinson the time he needs to really get things running in a new direction next issue.

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7.0
Justice League of America (2006) #41

Feb 1, 2010

It's a little problem that these events take place after the as yet unfinished Cry for Justice, but a big relief that Blackest Night gets one page of reference and is otherwise just blamed for everyone's bad mood. It definitely gave me one. But the decks are clearing, and this looks like the beginning of a bright future for a title that's had more than its share of hard knocks.

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7.0
Justice League of America (2006) #43

Apr 5, 2010

They don't need company wide distractions. They've been staging their own internalize multi-world crossovers for decades now, with a cast that can apparently multiply to infinity (or at least 52 different worlds, probably). Here's hoping the four core members revealed this issue provide a basis for a truly classic lineup to come.

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6.0
Justice League of America (2006) #44

Apr 29, 2010

Then we swerve to JSA headquarters, where its all subplot exposition, what the, huh? time, but then we finally found out something that, while it is good news, is also sort of a non-starter, as the character has been a yo-yo of mediocre writing for most of his or her history. But maybe Robinson has plans, as he does for rest of his ersatz, imitation big leaguers team. Im all for the imitations if it means were going to get character development from them. Robinson is trying hard to give each character distinction, and Bagley is working overtime to sell drama with wideshots and splash pages galore, but the story hasnt quite caught fire yet.

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7.0
Justice League of America (2013) #7.2

Sep 20, 2013

So when the Syndicate intimates that they've killed the Justice League, including Firestorm, they've done the unthinkable as far as she's concerned. She wanted him to always be there, she's even tried to replicate him artificially to solve her own plight. Who knows if this story will go anywhere from this point, but Gates' one-off tell is competently told and compelling, making you want to see whatever act two will follow. The art by Santacruz is 100% DC house-style, in that it's never flashy, but it is carefully delineated and gets the job done. Tony Daniel's cover, however, is the really killer part, taking full advantage of the 3-D luxury to send shards of ice in your face!

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6.0
Justice Society of America #41

Jul 26, 2010

Batman has the firepower he needs to stage a rescue mission, but they're still flying blind as they don't know what's going on. They gain an ally who figures out mysteries by the end, though, and as long as the story keeps looking this good I'll follow it to the end. Even though I know Robinson is capable of more nuanced work than this series of fight scenes. By the way, if you find the cover hard to track, it's part of a continuous wrap-around for each of part of the crossover, the final piece of which reveals their ultimate foe.

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6.0
Killer Stunts, Inc. #1

Apr 17, 2005

Still, the strong art and the potential likeability of the characters counts for a lot. Theres a nice fist fight in a garage that recalls the far quirkier film The Transporter. If Kinney can make his bland hero more distinctive, and perfect the formula of movie stunt/real stunt/mystery, things could look up from this promising debut. Kids got potential. And maybe drop the B-movie gangster junk altogether; the movie industrys hinky enough on its own to provide all the story Billy needs.

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6.0
Last Days of Animal Man #1

May 30, 2009

In fact, things are set up for better payoffs in the future, if only Conway can lose the lame-o Bloodrage and take the power failure arc somewhere interesting. IE, I dont see Buddy developing mystical powers now that his animal ones are wonky (as Storm did in the Belasco alternate future in X-men) or starting to steal human powers like Rogue or as Vixen recently did. And thats just fine; Ill keep buying just for the Brian Bolland covers.

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8.0
Legion #21

Jul 23, 2003

It was wise of DnA not to really attempt to restage a battle with the Legion's greatest foe other than Mordru; Universo is a much wiser and more manageable choice than Darkseid. And seeing the ingenuity of our two heroines as they try to overcome their teammates without hurting them allows for some needed character work, while Batista's pencils keep all the players clear and distinct. Dream Crime is shaping up to be the strongest, and most Legion-like, story of DnA's run. And it's doing it without mass destruction.

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8.0
Legion #22

Aug 4, 2003

Batista falls down a bit on the complexity of Shikari's armor, but he makes up for it with his brilliant depiction of the now somewhat humanoid snake Jeka in action, as well as clever takes on Wildfire and Invisible Kid's use of their powers. While one might like for Universo to have more motivation than just a mad hunger for control, and for them to shy away from the Darkseid threat that may still loom, this is rousing adventure in old school Legion mode, and it's a refreshing change from the more brutal events of recent years.

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8.0
Legion #23

Sep 4, 2003

Universo's final fate is ironic and just desserts for him. It makes for a humorous coda that homages the Legion's rich history. While some of this issue (after the welcome surprise beginning) was predictable (including that conventional sci-fi fate and the final conflict coming down to a battle of wills and flashy lights), there were several interesting bumps along the way. Just what is going on with Jo and Tinya's kid? This was the most conventional and solidly planned story of DnA's run thus far, and I say they and we have earned it.

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10
Legion #24

Sep 29, 2003

Lightle comes up with some intriguing ideas (like the infrared goggles and light-suits required to exist in a world of night), and the battle where she must reclaim the usurped darkness is dramatic and fittingly morbid. The coda, where Legion leader Jazmin welcomes back a powered-up Tasmia, shows just how far Umbra has come. Great job by all.

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4.0
Legion #25

Nov 6, 2003

While this issue gets points for effort, and certainly isnt a step back for DnA (who seem bent on exploring Legion lore right now rather than making more of it, which is a welcome change from two creators seen as destructive in their early stories), its not a success. The energy and excitement of the Universo arc has been replaced by nostalgia and uncompelling mysteries. Perhaps regular art and story-length will better serve the title next month.

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8.0
Legion #26

Nov 17, 2003

What he and DnA seem to be doing with this and the last arc is taking aspects of the rich history of the Legion and reconfiguring them to tell a new, if nostalgic, adventure. It's the first time since the early days of the Reboot that the Legion has enjoyed this approach (which is also, if you think about it, what made the Levitz/Giffen era so appealing). It's long overdue.

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6.0
Legion #27

Nov 29, 2003

Oh, and the kiss between Brainiac and Lyle? It's about time, boys. We were all waiting.

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8.0
Legion #32

May 9, 2004

As things stand, the Legion has to rescue some captured teammates, resolve Garth's status, and solve a racially motivated space war created by one of their own members gone horribly astray through time. That's a lot to put on the one remaining issue by this team, but it's still more exciting than reviving a pale shadow of Darkseid, as in the last anticlimactic arc.

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6.0
Legion #33

Jun 8, 2004

Like many of DnAs stories, this issue is a bit schematic, more sketched in than fully explored. They rely greatly on Batista, whose bright and sparkling pencils go far to fill in whatever blanks one finds in the script. Overall, however, the DnA run will be seen as having had more hits than misses, and as keeping the Legion alive and flourishing while other titles old and new floundered.

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6.0
Legion #36

Jul 30, 2004

Im willing to give Simone more set-up time for an uneven issue, especially one as busy as this, as I feel the story is still heading somewhere interesting. The sense of their best still not being good enough (in a bad, but not hopeless situation) provides a welcome amount of tension.

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6.0
Legion #38

Sep 2, 2004

The art by Jurgens and Smith is more than serviceable, bringing a nice clarity to these young adult heroes. The ceremonial dress from the first issue shifts to conventional costumes by storys end, fitting for an epilogue that comments on the cyclical nature of these adventures. Kevin Nowlans excellent cover finds a wary team regrouping for final battle.

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8.0
Legion of 3 Worlds #2

Oct 19, 2008

Is any of this deep? No, but it sure is pretty, and full of incident.

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8.0
Legion of 3 Worlds #3

Feb 8, 2009

Superboy-Prime is the excuse to rifle through and endanger a history that the character doesn't understand, but we do. And it seems that so Johns does, too--though the storytelling is the writers popular method of alternating between expository scenes and violent murders that informed his Infinite Crisis.

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6.0
Legion of Monsters: Man-Thing #1

Apr 13, 2007

McKeever as well may have found a perfect match for his Gothic tendencies in Simon Garth. Hes one of those 70s vengeful lone wolf characters, who come into town and right a wrong, only to be left as empty when they leave as when they arrived. The definition of a drifter, this muscular revenant has consciousness of a grim and fatalistic sort, and an extreme version of morality. Here hes improbably looking for love, but McKeever somehow finds a modicum of romantic whimsy amidst the forensic brutality. Its a Valentine Halloween, macabre without being Grand Guignol.

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6.0
Legion of Super-Heroes (2004) #1

Jan 2, 2005

Never having been 100% on board with the reboot or DnA era teams (lots of strengths, but several storytelling weaknesses as well), Im quite open to a fresh take on the concept. So far, the hit and miss ratio between preserving the best of the past while adding a sense of freshness is favorable. While Rebel without a cause isnt the freshest idea ever for a funny book, these rebels do indeed seem to have a cause.

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8.0
Legion of Super-Heroes (2004) #2

Feb 1, 2005

What entertains about this title is the established appeal of the concept; a bunch of talented, precocious teens has gathered from diverse, fantastic backgrounds. Each is optimistically determined to do their best, together. I picked up my first issue all those years ago because there was no where else to read the exploits of a green-skinned boy and the blue-skinned girl, who shared a harmonious culture with skins pink and brown, and dressed in futuristic gear to face sci-fi threats. This is the perfect title for a sense of wonder, and Waid is finding it all over again.

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8.0
Legion of Super-Heroes (2004) #10

Oct 21, 2005

this incarnation. Nice to see some promised growth for Projectra, Lyle and even a possibly mellowing Brainy.

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6.0
Legion of Super-Heroes (2004) #15

Mar 21, 2006

These are all imaginary stories, and as such theyre harmless. Weirdly, the most significant character of both the main and Waids backup story (a clever introduction of the current roster of heroes) turns out to be Bouncing Boy. I have no clue what that says about the future of this title.

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7.0
Legion of Super-Heroes (2004) #37

Dec 30, 2007

New artist Manapul is a real find; he grasps the dynamics of each character immediately, and builds on rather than abandons the quite compelling Barry Kitson recent redesigns. All in all, while not galaxy-shaking, this new issue has a fresh energy and goes through all the expected motions with style and confidence. Its a great base from which to build as solid and legendary a new era for the book as Shooter is capable of (though it is interesting to compare this titular appearance to the currently much more nostalgic take going on in Action Comics). Id say both iterations prove how much life is left in this old concept still. Welcome back!

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7.0
Legion of Super-Heroes (2004) #39

Mar 6, 2008

I think what shes going to need is her friends, and I think despite the plethora of annoying burdens, this team is poised to rise again.

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7.0
Legion of Super-Heroes (2004) #40

Apr 3, 2008

Despite all these distractions, the Legion is able to dispatch away teams to gather intel on the invaders, and Invisible Kid takes his own side mission to try and bond with the Tritonian girl who fought with them in Shooters first issue. These plots are ongoing, as is a possible dire development for Projectra. Shooter is following a common tactic of putting the team through a testing crucible in his initial run on the title, but hes doing it with subtlety and solid fiction construction skills that bode well for a long and intriguing new epoch of grittier realism and stability. Tension is building, and one feels that any major changes in plot or character direction will be well-earned, in fact probably foreshadowed and explored fully. When did good writing itself gain a nostalgic aspect?

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7.0
Legion of Super-Heroes (2004) #44

Jul 27, 2008

What would be complicated is crystal clear thanks to Shooter's ability to focus on each member as a player in a larger organization, and things finally look slightly up for the beleaguered team, at least until the latest threat to the solar system arises. Even then, who does Earthgov call for help? That's right, the possessors of those wondrous flight rings.

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5.0
Legion of Super-Heroes (2010) #13

May 23, 2011

There's a lot of potential here, but hopefully the consistently grim tone will be offset by a little light before too long. The Legion shouldn't just be an army: but also a family.

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6.0
Legion of Super-Heroes (2010) #14

Jun 20, 2011

That's pretty much it. Blow up Titan, go on and on about Oan power batteries, have Saturn Queen be more depraved than Superboy Prime in his (sorry!) prime whatever, it's all good. We care about more important things: are the teammates doing a good job, and are their personal lives going well? We've got our priorities!

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8.0
Legion of Super-Heroes (2010) Annual #1

Feb 6, 2011

Brian Douglas Ahearn's drawings for the board game are irreverent and goofy, but I think it's probably indispensable as the best guide yet to just who is who and what is what in Legion lore at this point.

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6.0
Legion of Super-Heroes (2011) #1

Sep 25, 2011

Inside, Francis Portela does an excellent job with cleverly modernized new costumes, as Levitz combines the survivors from Legion Academy with the main team to begin a new adventure against the Dominators, apparently. There's an especially nice splash page that divides the current roster into a variety of sub-teams who might work for future missions.

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9.0
Legion: Secret Origin #2

Dec 5, 2011

It seems the Legion survived the 52 onslaught just fine, only not in either of the two main books. Maybe the focused tone of this miniseries will reverberate.

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8.0
Madrox #2

Oct 24, 2004

The assassin is deadly, and when he targets one of the multiple Madroxes, the question becomes, just which one is the copy, after all? Endless permutations possible on this concept, and an interesting plot challenge in that the main character can easily be two or more places at once. Not sure when David will have room for this supporting cast with so many leads, but this launch is an entertaining yarn already.

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10
Madrox #5

Jan 22, 2005

Most interesting: David puts the definitive spin on Madroxs allies Rahne and Guido, yes, better than Claremonts recent attempts. Like Jamie, theyre talented people who dont quite fit in anywhere else. Their dialogue is funny. In fact dialogue has been a great strength of this series. As in any good film noir, everyone converses quickly and often. Things only slow down for dramatic effect, as when Jamie turns the tables on his ex-girlfriend and her mobster allies. Ive got nothing against a femme fatale introduced for that purpose. Sheila may not stack up to Bridget OShaughnessy in looks or style, but Jamie does a dead-on Bogie homage as the series winds down to a typically witty, action-filled conclusion. Great pulpy cover by David Lloyd, too, which perfectly captures the goofy wittiness of the series. More please!

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6.0
Man-Thing #1

Jul 25, 2004

The thing is, Man-Thing isnt Swamp Thing. His role isnt to restore or protect the Green; hes a shambling monster that burns the guilty, a kind of scourge, yes, but of human wrongs to each other not just to the ecology. Rodionoff is going to have to address the unique supernatural nature of this swamp creature if he wants the book to do more than just echo its forbears.

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6.0
Manhunter #1

Aug 19, 2004

Im curious enough about the main character to wonder what motivates her. What dark secret from her past sets her so against the super-criminal element? Theres not even a hint of an answer yet, but there should be if the series is going to build momentum and interest. The old way to do a series of this type was to have volumes of interior monologue as the main character works her way through her problems. This issue is fully second-person, and barely omniscient narrator at all. Still, at least this is not an example of decompression, in that we spend half the book watching the hero decide to take an inconsequential action. This Manhunter acts quickly and decisively, as if coming to a decision long in the making.

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8.0
Manhunter #2

Oct 1, 2004

Saizs art has the efficient clarity of Ivan Reis, or of any of the JSA pencillers. He finds a darkness appropriate to this series, a film noir tone that befits his hard-boiled gumshoe leading lady, and especially the extreme villains Manhunter is starting to attract. In fact, hes almost reaching a J.H. Williams level of expressive clarity in certain panels, though he still falls short of the style Jae Lee masters on the covers.

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8.0
Manhunter #4

Nov 23, 2004

Yeah, this is how the road to hell is paved, which I imagine will come into greater contrast when Kate confronts the JLA next issue for the first time. Jonn is likely to see right through her. But this walk on the seamier side of the DC-verse, so far, is refreshingly frank, and while Manhunter is pretty much already a criminal herself, her unwavering confidence is a pleasure to read.

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8.0
Manhunter #6

Jan 22, 2005

Final word: This title is a sleeper. It deserves a wider audience. Andreykos look at an unpleasant flawed character is deeper than it first appeared, evidenced here by a tender passage where she and her ex start acting like adults regarding the welfare of the child she put in danger. This is a unique spin on a solo female title, miles away from Wonder Woman, more like some odd mix of (mortal enemies) Ms. Marvel and Mystique.

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8.0
Manhunter #9

Apr 26, 2005

Pinas art is serviceable, but not up to the usual standard of Jesus Saiz. Palmiottis familiar inks help maintain a sense of dark, realistic continuity, but Blancos are a bit more sketchy. Still, these revitalized players are all familiar from their IC incarnations, and this is the perfect book to give them a memorable workout.

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8.0
Manhunter #11

Jun 27, 2005

While losing Jesus Saiz to Infinite Crisis was a big blow to this book, DC seems to be putting in the effort to at least find artists capable of a similar style so that his absence isnt too jarring. All the characters he created are still recognizable, and Im still happy to count this among my favorite monthlies.

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8.0
Manhunter #31

Jun 12, 2008

Gaydos, a welcome new addition to the Manhunter team, has dealt with struggling anti-heroes before, both with Daredevil and with Jessica Jones. But while Jones, in her post-Jewel private eye phase was equally determined to succeed despite frequent setbacks and missteps, Kates approach is not so fraught with insecurity. If anything, her greatest dangers come from her recklessness -- she takes on the big boys, whether shes ready or not. Shes a trained lawyer, after all. Who knows, she might just get lucky. Im sticking around in hopes it never runs out.

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8.0
Manhunter #32

Jul 7, 2008

The issue begins with Kate and the Beetle both having trouble with their super-suits, which seem to think theyre natural born enemies. Thats the sort of quasi-humorous, mundane oddity (what kind of heroes arent fully in charge of their own arsenals?) that keeps this series grounded. This is another solid new tale of an intriguing revival for the long-suffering but smart title character.

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7.0
Marvel Comics Presents #1

Oct 1, 2007

Also interesting is the Weapon Omega story, which reads like the next installment of Oemings abruptly truncated Omega Flight series. Someone seems to realize that theres an unfinished story in Michael Pointer, the mutant who was used by the Collective to kill Alpha Flight. It galls me to have to explain that awful non-story, but I liked Oemings series and in this tale Koslowski tries to build something out of the non-entity that Michael has been ever since Bendis dropped a bomb on him. USAgent is excellently used as a pro disappointed to be in the midst of such amateurs, and Andrea Di Vitos art achieves a lovely Tom Grummet feel, the highest of compliments from me. I cant remember if the last Marvel Comics Presents produced anything lasting (didnt it debut with the original BWS Weapon X story, come to think of it?), but Im willing to stick around for more of this one.

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7.0
Marvel Divas #2

Aug 11, 2009

The ride is still fairly bumpy, however, mostly I suppose down to dialogue more than plot. The tone is shaky, but the intent seems to be good and the product is at the very least an intriguing effort.

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6.0
Marvel Milestones: Blade, Man-Thing, Satana #1

Oct 31, 2005

Thomas and Romita werent. Worth the price of admission, a very minor classic.

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6.0
Marvel Spotlight: Dark Reign #1

Jan 13, 2009

So out of the ten or so new or affected titles discussed here, Im still interested in four of them after reading these feature and creator interviews, but planning to give the rest a wide berth.

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8.0
Marvel Zombies Vol. 5 #1

Apr 6, 2010

I won't reveal Machine Man's partner, but he has another new teammate by issue's end, and we're well on our way to another wild ride.

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6.0
Metamorpho: Year One #1

Oct 8, 2007

The other major player is Java, a revived cave man whose personality development and loyalties are something of a mystery. Theres nothing new at all here, really, but its competently done and may be the best approach to take to a character whose colorful body is made up of a combination of shape-changing elements in an uneasy but interesting patchwork. Jurgens is playing it as straight as possible and the basic competence shown so far reads as more interesting than any fancy postmodern retcons on the concept would. What remains to be seen is if Metamorpho has a different resonance in the 21st century than he did in the 20th, where his freakish but trippy nature had a niche-level entertainment value.

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7.0
Mighty Avengers #2

Apr 24, 2007

The technique of interspersing the battle sequence with flashback vignettes is a bit schematic and could read as a delaying or decompression tactic, both sins Bendis has been guilty of in the past. But these read as mini-movie montages, mostly cluing us in to the current back stories for our cast, whom Carol has just assembled. Forgivable in a second issue, especially one like this that improves upon the first.

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6.0
Mighty Avengers #3

May 21, 2007

Cho provides solid storytelling for most of the issue, amidst all the cheesecake, but the really scary moments of Terminator-esque transformations he hints at with Ultron dont really come off; she has no costume, just a glistening silver body, and she looks rather bland against all her spandex foes. Soccer Mom Ultron is an intriguing idea, but he really doesnt take it all the way to the creepiness the concept needs. Hey, Cho: my eyes are up here!

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6.0
Mighty Avengers #6

Dec 27, 2007

The issue looks great, as usual, with Cho more than capable of rendering the familiar occurrences inside: A microscopic journey into an artificial environment, a maddened hero who does more harm than good, a last minute save that shouldnt work but does because of dramatic timing. Its all pretty shallow, but action-filled, which still makes it more fun than the usual issue of the companion title.

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7.0
Mighty Avengers #24

Apr 21, 2009

That unfortunate misstep aside, the issue is strong and Slott's script is full of interesting dialogue, and a truly fresh take on the Cabal (which splinters amusingly due to Osborn's failings this issue) and the current state of play in the Marvel Universe. It's definitely fun to read a Hank Pym who's both large and in charge.

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7.0
Mighty Avengers #25

Jun 2, 2009

Plus, I mean, c'mon, if anyone deserves a wakeup call after the Invasion, my money's on Reed way more than poor Hank. Give 'em hell, Assemblers!

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7.0
Mighty Avengers #26

Jun 16, 2009

Slott's new direction is more than I could have hoped for after the plot-driven first year of Mighty; now the story telling is sub-plot driven, and he's got plenty of them!

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6.0
Mighty Avengers #27

Jul 14, 2009

Back in the new Avengers Infinite Mansion, science whiz Pym has dreamed up a sort of Tardis-like homebase that could be full of surprises, though they don't all come off clearly in this issue. It's a neat idea that will hinge on how the team uses it, but with the humor of the last few issues nearly gone, and the subplots from those issues also on hold (will the team ever learn their Wanda is really Loki?), the exciting pace of Slott's characterization slows somewhat. While I'm not against the Inhumans playing a role in this title, I'd prefer it be more than a hatchet job on their reputations.

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8.0
Miracleman #1

Jan 21, 2014

The great moment this issue is that transition from "old footage" (billed as a 1956 prologue) that occurs with a radically weird zoom into the Don Lawrence Miracleman's impossibly perfect shining smile. We get lost in the glint in his eye, and when we turn the page, Gary Leach has brought us into a realism that seems to make the past Mike remembers so vividly all the more unlikely. And thus begins our exploration of the superman, Nietzsche model.

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6.0
Miss America 70th Anniversary Special #1

Jun 9, 2009

I'm not completely sure why the back-up stories in Miss America's issue are Whizzer solo tales, but it may simply be that more of his stories were made and remain available for reprint. This is hardly a surprising statement on the place of female characters perennially in comic books. Here we get a hint of what a Marvel counterpoint to Wonder Woman might have looked like, had she kept the spotlight longer.

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6.0
Moon Knight (2011) #1

May 8, 2011

So, had her series continued under Bendis (without that nice Avengers welcome mat), she'd probably still be on the run, betrayed, nude, and stalked by murderous family members. Moon Knight is more of a loner; he just has to contend with his own mental instability, and a self-destructive urge to test himself against stronger foes. I guess that passes for heroism now, but this book is going to need a bigger agenda to really make it worthwhile.

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8.0
Ms. Marvel (2006) #5

Jul 14, 2006

I have faith in Reed to reflect that complexity, just as I have developed a respect for De La Torres art. His Carols a bit slender, but shes more than just boobs and butt, and she looks amazing streaking like a comet through the night sky. This title is on an uphill climb.

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7.0
Ms. Marvel (2006) #8

Oct 23, 2006

At the end of the issue, she suffers a home invasion (the kind of thing that repeatedly happens to solo female characters; how better to put them on the line than to invade their most private space?). Rogue has come calling. Maybe she can beat some sense into Carol.

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7.0
Ms. Marvel (2006) #21

Nov 12, 2007

This is, by the way, nearly as long as Ms. Marvel's first series lasted, but this story has really picked up the pace from the rather lethargic and peripheral Puppet Master arc, and got us back on track with Carol becoming a first-tier cosmic super hero. Reed hasnt quite balanced Carol and her various jobs with her supporting cast, but picking up long-running plotlines like this is a step in the right direction.

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7.0
Ms. Marvel (2006) #39

May 26, 2009

Oh, and there's also an energy being that appears mysteriously in Saudi Arabia, and who by the end of the issue comes into direct conflict with Karla over that precious human cargo. This subplot seems to be rather standard issue, but I have confidence Reed will take it in surprisingly nuanced directions. After all, he's just completely changed main characters and managed to keep the book squarely focused on Carol Danvers' ongoing issues regardless. As it was in Civil War and Secret Invasion, this book promises to be one of the more entertaining fronts of Dark Reign.

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7.0
Ms. Marvel (2006) #42

Jul 21, 2009

It's almost a shame when the Sentry shows up to save LA from the fallout, but that's just one more complication in this unpredictable tale Reed is unfolding.

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6.0
Ms. Marvel (2006) #44

Aug 31, 2009

This book has far outpaced the run of Ms. Marvel's previous title and is still going strong moving into its 4th year under the same writer. Can we say that Carol has achieved her goal of becoming an A-lister at last? Perhaps not yet, but she's certainly a thorn in Osborn's side and is sure to be a major player in the downfall of his Dark Reign.

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7.0
Ms. Marvel (2006) #45

Sep 28, 2009

Reed has yet to run out of ideas for identity switches in this new series of setbacks for the title character (whoever that may turn out to be). Briones replaces Sana Takeda (who only does the cover), and his style of exaggerated anatomy this month recalls Brett Blevins (in a good way), but with a grungier paint job. His work fits the tone of Reed's potentially confusing story, giving each raving blonde her own distinct identity. Karla's glee at tossing people out of windows might be the most terrifying sight in the whole story.

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8.0
Mystique #9

Jan 10, 2004

Ryan is a one-man argument for the potential of this new virtual inking process, as hes the only yet whos made it look good. The colors and computer-finishing look great on his art, enhancing rather than obscuring his solid command of anatomy and his effective storytelling, most notably in the dramatic high-speed action sequence. Hes a great match for this story, and even cover artist Mayhew works well enough on this arc. Mystique is the last person to object to pin-up exploitation, after all.

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8.0
Mystique #16

Jul 9, 2004

Less interesting: Mystique is diverted from concerns over how the DermaFree company may be using her own cells by an extended fight sequence, and its unclear whether her ending confrontation with a mutant traitor will lead her back to it. Still, as I said, theres a very satisfying and efficient manner to the storytelling that keeps this book at the top of my reading list each month, and thats certainly better than bad.

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6.0
Mystique #22

Dec 31, 2004

Still interesting: This book is on its way out, and McKeever, even with his changes in focus, has preserved the appeal of the title as an energetic spy yarn featuring a memorably inventive anti-hero. This weeks battle sequence, Mystique v. military helicopters, is brilliant mutant vs. ammo action. McKeever has understood her powers from the start (if not always her personality), and this book will be missed.

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7.0
Namor: The First Mutant Annual #1

May 20, 2011

Such telling and other very funny lines are to be found throughout the script; in fact, Dr. Nemesis gets to be the resident cynic laughing off the aliens and monsters with only dart guns and hidden tech devices as his defense. Asmus also captures Emma perfectly in only a few words at the denouement, when she reacts to Scott's return as only she would (and as Scott has learned to love). However, she and everyone else back at Utopia Infirmary look like someone is stretching the film mercilessly from frame to frame, undercutting the intended sentiment.

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6.0
New Avengers #1

Dec 5, 2004

So the two plots (the criminal breaking out a criminal & the heroes trying to resurrect another) dovetail nicely. The chatty, informal tone instigated in Avengers Finale is maintained here, and one gets a sense that when this team does come together, theyll do it by articulated choices. Though not without flaws, this is a promising debut.

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8.0
New Avengers #2

Jan 9, 2005

Not cool: Nothing this issue, its pretty good. But am I dreading the arrival of Wolverine? You betcha! That little attention hog doesnt need to repeat his Cyclops-shtick with Cap as his irritant, or vice versa.

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6.0
New Avengers #3

Feb 4, 2005

Less interesting: Three issues in, and already the one potential traitor is the sole female on the team. I dont like this sense of Cap sheltering and protecting Jessica, as if shes just a big screw-up on her own. While I understand the conflicted feelings over that last page where she conspires (finally, a plot is emerging!) this aint New Thunderbolts, and I dont really need a mole on the team myself. And stop making Tony a pouty playboy; weve already got that in Ultimates. And for Gods sake can we please stop recounting Wandas meltdown on every summary page like its something to crow about? Im continuing to give Bendis rope on this series, hoping neither of us trips up.

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6.0
New Avengers #4

Mar 26, 2005

Also, Ive got no clue how Finch gets both a breast shot and butt-shine out of Jessicas solo cover, but the interior art mostly compensates for the cheesecake.

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8.0
New Avengers #5

May 5, 2005

And the story is a pleasant surprise. The last thing I wanted last issue was another Savage Land, Mutates or Karl Lykos story. But it turns out thats good, because its actually all about something else. Layers, you see. Theres a final page reveal that is visually downplayed by Finch, leaving the mystery a bit frustrating, but also deeply intriguing. Its a pleasure to see the Bendis/Finch team creating a book thats fun as well as violent.

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4.0
New Avengers #6

Jun 26, 2005

Thank goodness the Sentry story is finally about to start, because theres far less damage this slipshod writer of continuity can do to someone who was only made up a few years ago rather than a few decades. Right? Wonder wholl be sacrificed to justify the next plot? Though I have a guess.

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4.0
New Avengers #7

Jul 21, 2005

Cinematography: McNiven sets up battle scenes with clarity, but hes no better or more suited to the material than Finch, and I really cant see the need for the switch. Good cliffhanger, though, so things might pick up.

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6.0
New Avengers #8

Aug 7, 2005

Art-wise: Still not sold on the McNiven art. His figures are as spindly and odd as Finchs, just in a different way. His poses for Spider-Woman vs. the Wrecker are much better this issue; he dwarfs her physically, but hes not at the same time making her small. I do like the slow-motion blur effects he (or someone) adds to his battle scenes, and hes a competent storyteller, but Coipels still the best of this lot.

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6.0
New Avengers #13

Dec 4, 2005

Its okay. It wouldnt be if it werent getting on with the Spider-Woman subplot, but theres finally movement on that front, too. Heres a glass raised to achieving something better than middling next issue.

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10
New Avengers #15

Feb 9, 2006

The second is a joke I wont spoil. Well, unless you read my Pulse review, which is rarely in synch this month with Bendiss best-selling book.

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8.0
New Avengers #22

Jul 27, 2006

It's a revelation to find that Luke still knows what heroes are. What they've always been. Vigilantes we love.

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4.0
New Avengers #26

Dec 22, 2006

Instead shes a single woman in a small village whose food is stolen by children. When shes done being a victim, she falls into the other mode Bendis has for his non-emotionally crippled women: lover. Clint has come to her for vengeance, for answers, for absolution. But all he finds is sex, and he settles for that. Wandas frequent references to her spooky, unseen Aunt Agatha (obviously the crone to her maiden, still no nurturing mother to be found in her sterile world) hint at a deeper female enigma to be plumbed, but Agathas not really the ghost of this story. Neither is the confused, frustrated Hawkeye. Rather, that role falls to Wanda, because Bendis has stripped her of everything, including her color.

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5.0
New Avengers Annual #1

Apr 23, 2006

As sentimental as I am about the wedding tacked on the end of the issue, Im also appreciative that we didnt actually see the wedding disturbed, and Im seriously impressed with Coipels vision of the main characters. All these factors add up to average, when what we were hoping for was a classic.

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8.0
New Avengers (2010) #1

Jun 18, 2010

The Stooges Avengers! The Bert & Ernie Avengers? The Lenny Bruce Avengers!

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7.0
New Avengers (2010) #5

Oct 15, 2010

New Avengers #5 would be less palatable without an artist as gifted as Stuart Immonen to sell every mood, every glance, every line of dialogue, and every glancing beam of power. This work may not be his best ever (I think I'll let the more expansive Nextwave stay unchallenged on that front), but he's a vital part of a team clearly capable of creating a book thats equal parts fun and violence.

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8.0
New Avengers (2010) #13

Jun 10, 2011

Superia has injured Mockingbird, and we've been waiting three issues to see if she survives. They've been flashback issues illustrated by Howard Chaykin, so the wait has been somewhat ameliorated, but I was getting a little tired of all the hand-wringing.

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7.0
New Avengers (2010) #16

Sep 16, 2011

I'd like to welcome everyone to a personal love letter from Bendis to the character that put him on the Marvel map, Daredevil. C'mon in, it's okay, they know you're watching. They're ready to share their intimacy with all and sundry.

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2.0
New Avengers: Illuminati #1

Mar 26, 2006

S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Hill comes off as neither a bitch nor an idiot for once. And now at least I know whose side Im on in Civil War. Poor Peter Parker. He picked the wrong team already.

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5.0
New Avengers: Illuminati #4

Aug 6, 2007

Which means he wont be Marvel Boy at all anymore when theyre done, but nice try. I mean, it worked so well with Sentry.

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8.0
New Mutants (2009) #23

Apr 7, 2011

Things get really weird when Rogue and Gambit reach their goal, a hidden room in the complex that Magneto doesn't recall building. Inside are some really strange time effects, and even weirder spacial anomalies. We still don't find out what's going on, or who "X" might be, but the mystery just deepened in very interesting ways.

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8.0
New Thunderbolts #1

Nov 16, 2004

Also interesting: Niciezas baroque interest in the fringes of Marvel lore is showing again, as what an odd bunch of fish-men he dredges up for the attack. He and Busiek are lucky to have Grummett on hand, as he especially excels at differentiating crowded fields of combatants. That visual busy-ness fits well with the story, which wouldnt be the Bolts if it werent full of deceptions, doubts and lies, right from the start. These are flawed people, and as reality TV shows us, flawed people make drama.

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6.0
New Thunderbolts #4

Jan 16, 2005

Also interesting: Niciezas way with words, giving a satisfying voice to narration by Purple Guy, running commentary by Swordsman, and the requisite convincing gruffness to Wolverine.

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8.0
New Thunderbolts #6

Mar 13, 2005

The central players in this new title are fittingly the newest members. Radioactive Man proves he possesses the potential for nobility in a world of changed political fortunes and allegiances. Speed Demon pretends a detachment he doesnt show in his actions, as heroism seems to be calling to him. The others push Blizzard to his limits, and even the frivolous adrenalin junkie Joystick is finally beginning to show some nuanced levels as she performs a crucial military action against the armies of Hydra. I thought Id miss Karla (a.k.a. Moonstone, the star of the Avengers/Thunderbolts mini that served as the bridge between v.1 and v.2 of Thunderbolts) more than I do, but perhaps Nicieza has said all he could with that character. The one constant in this title is change, so though weve set a few players on a righteous path by the final page, weve still got the need for new funding, various ongoing ruses, Atlass deteriorating sanity and Mimis unresolved health issues to keep t

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8.0
New Thunderbolts #7

Apr 18, 2005

Also interesting: Grummett and Sienkiewicz alternate art chores, splash page profiles for the former and the newscast talking heads format for the latter. This works surprisingly well. Ill take Bills expressive inking over full narrative clarity any time. However, I do wonder about Nicieza including actual people as his commentators. When Black Panther provides Dondi Reece, does the Marvel Universe also have room for the actual Condoleeza Rice?

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10
New Thunderbolts #9

Jul 1, 2005

Visually: Guest art by Cliff Richards is strong, if not my ideal choice for this title. He masters all the characters, however, including a recognizable Tamara and other familiar faces from the near and distant past.

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8.0
New Thunderbolts #18

Feb 13, 2006

Niciezas device of introducing each character (I count eleven) with short capsules about their motivations is effective shorthand, and while this issue is more setup than plot advancement, its a fun read for all the potential conflict it portends. The book finally seems to have shaken free of a year of crossovers, and to have returned to its primary theme, character studies of muddled, gifted people who might be heroes, if only they could escape their villainous impulses and pasts.

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8.0
New X-Men #144

Aug 12, 2003

Bachalo adds complicated backgrounds, scenic vistas and even actual facial expressions this month, and the arc promises to look very cohesive when it's done. Not that I know what will happen next, except maybe Scott getting it together. Morrison's characteristic move is to make everything look as bleak as possible for the defeated heroes, and then pull off a hat-trick of a last-ditch effort in the subsequent issue, turning the tables from out of left field. For all we know, Weapon XIV is all daisies and happiness and can turn off Weapon XV with a smile.

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6.0
New X-Men #145

Sep 9, 2003

The fact is, while the focus and intent of this surprisingly workable teamup of Scott and Logan is clear, dealing with only the boys away from the Mansion just isnt as fun as having the full-complement of teammates on hand. Morrison has written an action-heavy X-men side adventure, but hes dropped all sub-plots to do it. Its time to end this little offshoot of his odyssey and get back to the big picture.

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10
New X-Men #146

Sep 17, 2003

Not to worry, though, because Phoenix has been back for some time, and she's no longer bothering to power down.

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6.0
New X-Men #147

Oct 8, 2003

Which is to say his success is hollow, and probably fleeting as well.

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10
New X-Men #148

Oct 17, 2003

Too bad there's no Beast as the cover implies, but I'm assuming Scott, Emma and Hank have roles left to play in this darkening, intensifying and openly savage arc. Morrison's achievement, more than perhaps anyone else who has taken on Marvel's mutants, is to show our heroes as victims. Not whiners, mind you, but sufferers on an epic scale. Not just from each other, and not just from prejudiced humans, but of their own powers, of the implications inherent in their own particular gifts and burdens. This issue, more than even the horrors in "Ambient Magnetic Fields" or in Cassandra Nova's ruthless first arc, builds to the level of compelling tragedy.

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10
New X-Men #149

Dec 1, 2003

Jiminez outdoes himself this issue. His scenes of hapless humans falling from the sky are chilling, and his understanding of both Xorn and Charles is compelling. Chuckry's toned down his colors for this gloomy issue, another fitting touch. This is gonna make one lovely TPB when the arc is collected. While it's a shame ostensible Morrison-partner Quitely won't be around to wrap up the run like he began it, I can't think of better choices than Jiminez or Silvestri to take us out.

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10
New X-Men #150

Dec 24, 2003

That tragic tone, the real sadness running through these pages, is a wonderful echo and re-imagining of a seminal X-men event, Jeans death at her own hands while Scott watched in #137 of the original title. The reverberations of that event echo through this entire arc, and seem intent on informing the final futuristic impending coda as well. Thats okay with me; Im still mourning that first of Jeans infinite deaths myself.

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6.0
New X-Men #151

Jan 10, 2004

But Bad Beast is a clich, and Skylark (at least this issue) is a complete cipher. Much more emotionally powerful is the flashback coda, where Emma and Scott ponder the mystery that was Jean. Its a complete echo of her Byrne/Claremont funeral, but even Byrne didnt draw ultimate Bond-babes like Silvestris chic and sexy take on Emma. His Image-style art makes a welcome return, and even if the story is mediocre, at least we know from the cover that no matter what age, Wolverine will always have a hot ass!

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4.0
New X-Men #152

Jan 30, 2004

While theres undeniable coolness in the were walking splash page where the rag-tag remaining mutants begin their final stand, Im really looking for more than small details as the reward for following this run to the end. I want to know whats going on with Jean, Emma and Scott, dammit!

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8.0
New X-Men #153

Feb 20, 2004

In Morrisons dystopia, the one remaining Sentinel has converted to aiding the mutants, as if too horrified to go on otherwise. Morrison clearly celebrates the diversity Sublime is (has always been) threatened by, and thus showers us with a kaleidoscope of magical mutant moments. A green-haired be-winged angel. Tito (one of Beaks more kick-ass descendants) employing an emblematic fastball special with a still fearsome Wolverine. Jean showing up in a variation of her Goblin Queen getup. Old bats Cassandra and Martha reminiscing about old friends and surrealist painting. That last reference, to an image called Europe After the Rain is the key to this entire story. Like many of his compatriots before him in the field of science fiction, Morrison is enacting his own nightmare of a fallen empire, caught in the death-throes of decline.

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8.0
New X-Men #154

Mar 19, 2004

Silvestri excels here; upping the mystery and the sense of whimsy in this surreal Phoenix summit (they all wear the glorious unisex original I am fire, and life incarnate! Cockrum design), alluding to pivotal moments from Jeans past like the Mkrann Crystal (the first time she jump-started the universe). The promise of what might have been, had Morrison and Silvestri been fated to spend more time as a team, is thoroughly apparent in this visually stunning issue. Finally theres some synergy between their divergent styles (and, for long-time readers, many allusions to the last time Silvestri led a tour through Jeans psyche, as Madelyn Prior died at the end of the Goblin Queen saga). His rather pronounced tendency towards symmetry doesnt impede Morrisons view askew concepts, and his work on emotional expression at pivotal moments is greatly improved over previous issues.

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6.0
New X-Men (2004) #46

Jan 22, 2008

By the end of the issue, all the pieces and parts have come together, though were back to having Bishop, Cable, and Predator X fighting over a very cute little baby. Its decent enough as a New X-Men issue, if confusing, and the writers do keep the systemic overload of characters in character. But the cover (one of Finchs best, looking like a lost Durer etching full of young mutants) eclipses the art within completely.

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8.0
Next Men #6

May 14, 2011

EDITOR'S NOTE: Ray Tate also reviewed Next Men #6. Read his thoughts, too!

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8.0
Next Men #8

Aug 4, 2011

Next Men #8Posted: Thursday, August 4, 2011By: Shawn Hill John ByrneJohn Byrne, Ronda Pattison (c), Neil Uyetake (l)IDW I did not realize until I went back and checked (did you know that the most collectible issue of Next Men volume 1, by the way, is #21, which features the debut of Hellboy?), but Byrne has picked up this comic exactly where the first series left off. I mean exactly. All that has happened in these 8 issues thus far is what he was planning back then, so, for long-term readers, we're getting a full story that just happens to have a 17-year-long blip in the middle. Will someone someday come along and fill in those issues that would have been, just as Byrne himself once attempted with X-Men: The Hidden Years? No need, I suppose, because his plotting is air-tight. And the art is just as good.

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8.0
Nextwave: Agents Of HATE #1

Jan 22, 2006

Lets not kid ourselves about subtlety here: General Anger leads the Highest Anti Terrorism Effort, the Captains actual name is unprintable, and the corporate goons (who are testing Marvel Universe-style WMDs) are actually poking Foom with a big stick and thus must be stopped. But the clever lines are clever, even Machine Man has a personality, and the pared-down team seems to have a varied power set for taking on their foes. Theres a lot in place here that could guarantee some fun, in yet another entry on Elliss drive to update stupid heroes for real world (or at least currently cinematic) threats. Its all about the synergy.

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4.0
Ocean #6

Jul 14, 2005

Sprouse's art looks great, but could we please have some narrative captions again, ever? The retro-aliens had the look of bizarre gods from old sci-fi serials, but those old stories at least clued us in to when and where a scene change occurred.

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6.0
OMAC Project #2

Jun 7, 2005

Saiz is a real find for the DC universe, grounding this story with nuanced facial expressions, strong spatial arrangement and imaginative sci-fi tech.

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6.0
Omega Flight #1

Apr 1, 2007

In fact, all his tangle with them seems to achieve is pissing them off royally. The ending of the battle sequence is rather abrupt, but it leaves us hoping for the cavalry to arrive next issue. Art-wise, Kolins does a great Sasquatch (keeping him somehow super-cuddly as well as grandly over-sized), and makes Talismans mystic visions beautifully dreamy and symbolic. The Wrecking Crew isnt the most novel of threats, and the team is an as yet untried and unassembled. Well have to wait until the full team is present to judge the chemistry of this concept, but this is a decent, if somewhat formulaic, attempt to relight the fire.

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6.0
Omega Flight #3

Jun 5, 2007

This tale is exciting and nice to look at. Its brutal and action-packed. It also doesnt make much sense. Lets hope it will before its over.

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5.0
Omega Flight #5

Aug 13, 2007

All in all, one can sense that while this battle is over, there were plans to move on to further stories with this crew, and no plan once the ongoing was truncated into a mini. We get a rather abrupt denouement, with Michaels standard-issue redemption (still with no indication of his personal characterization in sight), and then a vague and inconclusive where are they now? wrap-up that leaves open the possibility of the team continuing, or not, with or without a kamikaze Bill, a re-retired Talisman, and a missing-in-action Sasquatch. A disappointing finish to a new title that showed promise at the outset, one that deserved more of a chance to prove itself.

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8.0
Oracle: The Cure #2

Apr 19, 2009

If Barbara Gordon is anything, though, its clear-headed--and this issue gears Barbara up for an epic confrontation with the old Batman foe. Who knows what the results will be?

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6.0
Outsiders #3

Aug 26, 2003

Another winner, if still a bit showy. The last Teen Titans lost its way by telling the wrong stories about complex people. Can Winick pick the right ones?

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6.0
Outsiders #4

Sep 25, 2003

Art this issue is subbed by ChrisCross, who has some fun with the characters (a look back at the last Brotherhood of Evil is especially fun), but he's no substitute for Raney, who's found an ideal canvas with this team. Still, the sequence where Roy and Grace plan a little respite for two shows CC has learned a thing or two about comic timing from his long collaboration with Peter David.

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6.0
Outsiders #9

Feb 25, 2004

Im hoping he is a part of continuity, because this book (like Titans) is all set to dig up a variety of old threads from all over the Dc-verse, making it ideal for long-term readers and avid fanboys. The middling score, however, comes because this issue is almost all just DEMON SMASH, with lots of defeat and not much heroism for our good guys. Well, except maybe for Grace, who is REALLY. TICKED. OFF, and rightly so, promising some intense payback next issue.

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6.0
Outsiders #11

May 3, 2004

The remainder of the issue is given over to the heartiest of male bonding rituals, and guest artist Conrads muscular men in tights dont belie the homoerotic allusions made by Winick in dialogue. Robin and Speedy go way back, and sometimes it takes a friend to help you see what you cant make out yourself. Its nice in fact to see Dick let his guard down a bit, recalling the optimistic Robin of old. This sort of identity crisis, and its beat in the ongoing narrative, may be formulaic. But, under Winicks careful construction, its also warm and authentic and funny.

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6.0
Outsiders #13

Jul 1, 2004

Less interesting: Oh, what of the heroes? Uhm, Jades pretty, Shift is funny, and its nice to see anyone (Jade) challenge Dick on his policies - but its really not their issue. This is the antagonists turn in the spotlight, and Raney handles the action well. He also comes up with a pretty good new Goth look for Shimmer, leaving us still a bit curious about any changes due to her revival.

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8.0
Outsiders #16

Oct 12, 2004

I thought at first the ornate cover was by Lightle, but its Ian Churchill restraining himself a bit to celebrate Jades power with only a slightly impossible pose.

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6.0
Outsiders #24

May 29, 2005

ever actually been a useful fighter yet in this series?

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6.0
Patsy Walker: Hellcat #1

Jul 1, 2008

Patsy's long-forgotten psychic powers may be called for to combat whatever controls those weird bears (Moondragon once thought her an adept worth training), and I think it's been sometime since the powers of the Cat exo-skeleton transferred to Patsy's body itself. She's super-strong, I think she still has the tensile projecting claws, and she can sense sorcery. I wasn't sure when I began this issue, but I may just stick around to find out how she copes.

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6.0
Patsy Walker: Hellcat #2

Aug 5, 2008

Along the way she finds her missing luggage, and there's time for a fashion show (other heroes have fisticuffs every issue, Patsy has wardrobe malfunctions), and she ends up using a Land Rover as her means of return to those pesky anthropomorphic bears and deer. I can't see too many people having the patience all this whimsy requires, but if a sort of Buffy on overdrive tone works for you, there's plenty of fun to be had in this decidedly offbeat corner of the Marvel universe.

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7.0
Patsy Walker: Hellcat #4

Dec 23, 2008

It's around this time that Patsy learns that the talking Aztec calendar accompanying them in their overloaded SUV is the girl's father, but, hey there's plenty of dysfunction left for the next issue. Why not sign on to one of the weirdest rides (with the best covers currently coming out on any title, each a work of glory by Immonen's husband Stuart) currently coming from the House of Ideas?

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6.0
Patsy Walker: Hellcat #5

Feb 10, 2009

But, no, she's been out in the great wild world of spirits and totemic animals for the last three issues, and nary even a Sarah Palin joke in sight. She's too busy amusing herself to poke too much fun at others. She gets everyone to compromise, and seems from the letters page (which she answers personally) to be ready for her next starring role in a "romance," or perhaps in a model-icious comic. Which is sort of what this one was: a surreal mix of campy magic and near silly-animal heroics from start to finish. Somehow, Immonen kept it all frothy enough to stay afloat through all the whimsy, though a lot of the mystic hullabaloo was pretty hard to follow. Can Patsy settle down to a more conventional narrative and still be entertaining? Of course she can; even if she fails she won't stop trying. That's what heroes do.

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4.0
Phantom Stranger (2012) #0

Sep 13, 2012

Where's Cassandra Craft? Where are Tannarak or Tala? Where's a Lovecraftian tentacle monster, or even a hint of real mystery or terror? A ghost even? Or a conniving demon? For that matter, I'd settle for Constantine or Doctor Thirteen! Zatanna? Lemire is using half of them pretty well in Justice League Dark, but this bland Stranger wouldn't fit in anymore. He seems unlikely to become someone who at least knows all about people who matter. This is one big misfire, a disappointment.

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10
Planetary #25

Apr 10, 2006

Perfect issue, heres me salivating for more.

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7.0
Planetary #26

Oct 30, 2006

But what a grand show it was. And a real achievement, as Elliss words and Cassadays art, though delivered so infrequently, now comprise a body of work that is unassailably whole and complete and consistent from start to finish.

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10
Planetary #27

Oct 11, 2009

After all the setbacks and losses, all the misery that the Four fomented in their greed, the good guys are finally whole and fully functional again--and they're not planning to be nice about it.

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4.0
Power Company #18

Jul 13, 2003

The art also suffers this issue. Von Grawbadger may have been a sentimental choice (he inked the first issue and some in-between), but his inks are heavy and stiff over Grummett's detailed pencils. Prentiss Rollins' lighter, more linear style is definitely missed.

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6.0
Power Girl #6

Oct 25, 2009

There's nothing inherently bad about this issue--including the characterization--but it's far from a classic. Because of the art, and Conner's clever way with tasteful T&A, I can give this issue an average rating, but surely there's something better to do with Power Girl now that her continuity has been resolved?

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5.0
Power Girl #10

Mar 29, 2010

The battles (with the Manhawks, with Satanna, and ultimately between BFFs Terra and Power Girl) are, as always, depicted well by Conner. She really understands how Terra's earth manipulation works with very dynamic visuals, but the story is otherwise pretty thin. There's got to be more than Satanna just making life hard for Kara, and by issue's end, there is. Terra's change in attitude is a subtle depiction, and it's quite in line with what we know of the title's main villain. Ending up where we began with the Ultra-Humanite could work just fine for the next two issues. But, after many months of rambunctious space babes, alien lotharios, and a would-be demi-goddess, I think I'm ready for a regular old criminal case or two.

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8.0
Promethea #26

Jul 13, 2003

Strong is their chosen agent, as he knew an earlier incarnation of Promethea. This was the least interesting aspect of the book for me, as I know nothing about Strong (another in Alan Moore's stable of ABC books). From his appearances here, he seems to be another Superman analog with a multi-cultural super-family. Fine, but let's hope next issue Sophie actually takes up the mantle of her responsibility again, cause then we can see Moore's Superman deal with his version of Wonder Woman. Hmm, I wonder who's side he'll ultimately take?

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6.0
Promethea #27

Sep 29, 2003

But all is not lost. Because Tom Strong, having clued in by her crushing dispatch of him that this is NOT the Promethea he knew in the fifties (that would be the self-described "nicest" and longest-running Promethea, alter-ego of artist-writer Bill Woolcott from 1939-1969), makes plans to assemble a team of science heroes. It's time to reconvene America's Best!

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6.0
Promethea #28

Dec 11, 2003

Oh, yeah, and we find out what that ominous water glass was all about, sort of, in an homage of sorts to one of the strongest of the early Promethea issues (the one featuring wizened mystic Faust, one of Moores strongest characters). Weve also got Dennis (who killed the 50s Promethea in a rage of sexual confusion) and Stacia on hand, so Ill venture to say all the players are in place for well, whatever Promethea has in mind. Shes never been known to play by any recognizable rules thus far, so Im sure I wont see it coming.

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8.0
Promethea #29

Mar 14, 2004

Im not so great on the art, though, as I find Williams digital painting a distraction. The pages with Grays inks are much stronger, and I dont see why they couldnt suffice for the transformed Manhattan as well. The Warhol homage of the cover wouldnt have been apparent were it not so labeled, its much too busy and colorful to compete with that master.

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6.0
Promethea #30

Jun 1, 2004

Well, Prometheas done very little for a few issues now, so all the conflict has occurred with supporting characters. Their stories are diverting, but Sophie herself must have a stake in this as well.

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6.0
Promethea #31

Sep 2, 2004

Its been going on since when, 1999 or so? Next issue may offer some closure. Or, it may not. As Moore would say, we all made it up together anyway.

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4.0
Promethea #32

Feb 26, 2005

This issue is the equivalent of an emcee hustling the fans out of the auditorium after the show. The characters done all shes going to do, the fat lady has sung, and though she said many interesting things, theyre not recaptured in this hazy farewell. I enjoyed every step of the way up and through the Kabala, which I thought Moore turned to full storytelling advantage. But I prefer my Promethea fighting, not talking, and thus find some consolation in how good Wonder Woman is again (which wasnt the case when this book began, some seven years ago). As Heidi Klum would so efficiently say: Youre out! Auf Wiedersehen!

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4.0
Real Talk: Bluewater's Milestones of Art Series #1

Dec 13, 2012

Real Talk: Bluewater's Milestones of Art Series A comic review article by: Shawn Hill, Jason Sacks, Daniel Elkin Some comics are too big, hypeworthy or insane for one reviewer to cover. Which is why we have Real Talk, an outlet for a group of reviewers to tackle a comic together and either come to a consensus or verbally arm wrestle until there's nothing left to say.

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5.0
Real Talk: Invincible #100

Feb 6, 2013

You ask, "Are we interested in permanent change as its own reward, or change as an evolution on a spectrum of possibilities?" This makes me question my biases here: as a reader more of graphic novels than single issues, am I expecting too much from this resolution?

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6.0
Red Sonja: She-Devil With a Sword #0

May 1, 2005

More cant be said, really, at this point, as we have no hint of future goals or past history from this outsider perspective. Sonja remains an abstract concept, an intriguing anomaly. This intro issue does its job, however, as Im planning to look for #1 in June. The art by Rubi recalls the quasi-painted look that worked so well for Kubert in Gaimans 1602 series for Marvel, similarly dealing with ancient days, and the cover by Land is a gorgeous fantasy.

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8.0
Runaways #15

May 26, 2004

I refuse to see Jo Chens cover as anything other than a Superman homage, updated for the audience this book deserves. Rather than a stalwart ubermensch lifting a pickup truck, we now have a little girl with children of the damned eyes holding up (of course) an SUV. Chens covers have followed the Marvel rubric of dramatic solo shots while also managing to tie in pretty well with the events facing the young characters inside. I wait impatiently for each new issue, and am so glad the first digest finally came out in Marvel Age.

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10
Runaways #16

Jun 21, 2004

This book is as fresh as anything on display in Marvel right now, and thats without a naughty Greg Horn cover in sight. Oh, yeah, brilliant shock ending as the mole is revealed. See, I managed not to review the whole issue without giving it away!

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10
Runaways (2005) #1

Feb 22, 2005

And that doesnt even touch on Vaughans bit of meta-commentary, a third plot where a team of disgruntled former child stars (including Chamber from Generation Next!) is being set up to take on our young upstarts. Basically, theres enough story for three minis here already in issue one. Were lucky enough to have Alphona and Yeung still on board for their unique spin on manga-style, so its a winning package for all concerned.

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8.0
Runaways (2005) #19

Aug 18, 2006

Jo Chens haunting cover, of the effervescent Karolina in a black lace mourning dress, perfectly captures the mood of the issue. R.I.P., Gert.

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8.0
Runaways (2005) #25

Apr 8, 2007

Joss loves last-page reveals/cliffhangers, and this one is complicated by mixing in new characters with familiar faces. While this isnt the same book produced by the previous creators, its a great start that avoids shocking changes in favor of elaborating on and expanding the ever-evolving complications that seem like destiny for the starring cast weve come to love.

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8.0
Sandman Presents: Thessaly Witch for Hire #1

Feb 12, 2004

But you know it cant be that easy. For this to work, shes going to have to meet someone actually able to cause her injury, and best them nonetheless. Or at least distract them long enough to survive. Just like the last two times. Willingham is an able writer, coupling a powerful imagination with a morbid cynicism thats just right for this character. Still, unless he comes up with some fresh angles, this latest installment could end up merely a retread.

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8.0
Sandman Presents: Thessaly Witch for Hire #2

Mar 14, 2004

Kudos again to cover painter Tara McPherson. This issue, in hues of blood red, shes dreamed up a very spooky Thessaly who chills despite her cute kitty slippers. Maybe its got something to do with the Kirby dots crackling around her head.

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4.0
Sandman Presents: Thessaly Witch for Hire #3

Apr 9, 2004

The creators seem to know theyre treading water, as they promise all-out action in the finale. I definitely prefer an active Thessaly to a passive, frustrated one.

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6.0
Sandman Presents: Thessaly Witch for Hire #4

May 9, 2004

The way out of the impending doom just too, and awfully convenient. Still, it does exact a price, and it also ties up a loose thread from previous issues (ie, what Fetch is made of), so it's not all bad. On the whole, this has been a fitfully charming series that had better set-pieces than it did an overall story. Above mediocre, but far from classic.

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8.0
Savage Dragon #0

Jul 31, 2006

Meanwhile, the aliens have moved on in their giant battleaxe space arc, searching for an uninhabited planet to call home, never to return. And if you have any doubts about Larsens perennially juvenile sex obsession, you have only to look at the well, we have to call them codpieces, dont we that all the Savage men seem to wear. Its brutal and unsubtle and hilarious, and it lets us know that whatever has happened to Dragon since his time on Earth, this life is still a better one than the one he lost.

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10
Savage Dragon #100

Nov 6, 2003

The inkers each leave their marks on Larsen's pencils, with Sienkiewicz, Austin and Timm working the most radical changes, while Beatty, Simonson and Ordway prove the most compatible. It's a nice gesture from the comic book community towards Larsen, who just by himself rebooted a universe of his own making. To long-term readers, his achievement in staying with this title for a decade means a lot, and justifies the high cover price. There are no ads in this issue.

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6.0
Savage Dragon #109

Aug 4, 2003

Savage Dragon isn't in a deep or tragic phase right now, but it's as much fun as ever. This issue debuts a new ongoing Mighty Man back-up serial. MM is another of Larsen's clever twists on convention: Captain Marvel analog Mighty Man, through an outrageously unlikely sequence of events, reverts to friendly, sweet nurse Ann Stevens whenever he slaps his wrists together, and vice versa. She's an ideal companion for the regular guy dragon, all of his power tempered by an unexpected sensibility.

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6.0
Savage Dragon #111

Oct 26, 2003

There's also a Chris Giarusso strip, so the usual big bang for your Image buck from one of the hardest working guys in comics. And a great dark cover with a really, really cheesed off (and toasty, poor guy) Dragon as charcoal briquette.

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6.0
Savage Dragon #115

Jul 26, 2004

Yep, its 100 pages of pulse-pounding action and melodramatic soap, possessing not an ounce of subtlety, and while it hasnt hit greatness for awhile, its still the same fun old ride, only more of it!

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7.0
Savage Dragon #132

Oct 2, 2007

Also included in this issue is the usual long letters page and the most heartfelt tribute to the recently passed Mike Wieringo Ive yet read. While not involved in a major story at the moment, the Dragon remains an entertaining, humorous and clever spoof of many previous superhero books.

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7.0
Savage Dragon #140

Nov 17, 2008

I'm not too sure how all this will play out; probably with a kryptonite-analog to take down the crazed superman. But it is fun to see Image's major players overlap, treating each other like professionals and forming (at least for these few issues) a kind of Image League of superstars. Let's hope they take some lessons from the other Leagues, and start cooperating in the service of their common goal.

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7.0
Savage Dragon #141

Dec 4, 2008

Which doesn't mean we don't get our usual quotient of gore (from a bloodied but unbound Dragon) or cheesecake (from the habitually half-clad Witchblade and the ever lovely Phantom Lady). While we're not exactly seeing teamwork in action (everyone pursues their own agendas, and it's amusing to see the Image stars skulk away from the reporters' glaring lights after the battle), Larsen captures the free-for-all flare that still defines Image.

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8.0
Savage Dragon #145

Feb 28, 2009

You can feel Larsens renewed commitment to his flagship title, in his highly detailed art, and in his what just happened? plotting. Nows a good time to jump on Dragons ride, as we near an anniversary issue.

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7.0
Savage Dragon #149

Jun 15, 2009

Larsen is on a roll again with this title. As always, its full of surprises, action, tight costumes and massive creeps. The inking is especially solid and detailed these days. Can he do it? 200 issues, all with the same artist/writer? Of course he can. Next month, hes 75% there!

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6.0
Savage Dragon #159

Apr 19, 2010

Or game changer, as climactic denouements usually are for Larsen. I feel for the kids this issue: I want the shiny happy Dragon back, too.

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7.0
Savage Dragon #177

Dec 29, 2011

This is one of his tighter-illustrated issues, so the city looks very believably threatened by the giant terrorist zombie, and several major stories have had their climaxes.

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6.0
Scarlet #2

Sep 5, 2010

I don't read comics to find out how bad everything can potentially be all around me; I read them to escape into a world a little more perfect, a little more attractive, a little more powerful and widescreen than my own. So I give this book an average score for being efficient at doing what it does for those who might be into it; personally, I miss the Skrulls.

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6.0
Seaguy #1

May 26, 2004

2. Silly: To put it in the apparent catchphrase of the simple-minded Chubby: Da fug?

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6.0
Seaguy #2

Jun 21, 2004

But, oh, the story. The wasps (theyre mechanical), and the plight of Chubby the Choona (whos averse to water). Climbing the steps of Atlantis even though youre in scuba gear and underwater. Dying of thirst even though you can talk to animals and your Bumblebee can apparently spin around the globe. The complete and utter lack of any Bearded Ladies. Did I mention the glaciers covered in chocolate? Oy, my headaches back.

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4.0
Seaguy #3

Jul 26, 2004

That final view of the moon, once a relic of insatiable hubris, co-opted (and paid for in sand) by the still dimly understood overlords known as Mickey Eye, is chilling.

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9.0
Secret Avengers #1

May 28, 2010

While colorist Rainer Beredo keeps things shadowy, there's a sense of vitality and direction that instantly galvanizes the team in a way that serial-killing antics never could. Some new faces, but some old--because, as Hank says, "once an Avenger and all that."

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6.0
Secret Avengers #4

Aug 20, 2010

So this is a good, solid issue, but it's a bit of an anti-climax to the fears building up around the Serpent Crown, which is veering off on a tangent by issue's end. Maybe it will all add up, but I wanted more of a story advance than one cool moment involving Cap.

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7.0
Secret Avengers #7

Nov 26, 2010

Moonknight and the Beast don't get much play this issue, but it's no surprise to see the Widow and Ant-Man succeed at stealth maneuvers. The inspired team up of Valkyrie and Prince of Orphans (invading an enemy stronghold at night) shows versatile subtlety on the part of the former and further wellsprings of wisdom from the welcome presence of the latter. It's all apparently being orchestrated by some sorts of demonic creatures, but that hardly matters as it's the excitement, action and character interplay that attracts, the typical best weapons in Brubaker's inventive arsenal.

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8.0
Secret Avengers (2013) #1

Feb 19, 2013

So this comic seemed like a Marvel NOW! sure bet, and #1 comes pretty close, with a few caveats. There couldn't be a more Bendis-derivative Avengers comic since he's finally off the franchise. This issue picks up threads from The Initiative, from Civil War, and even Secret War. It has a very heavy dose of Maria Hill and even the palpable off-screen presence of Daisy Johnson. Nick Fury has well and truly become Samuel Jackson in 616 (yes, I believe how they did it in continuity, but it's still ripe for humor), and Phil Coulson is all over the place.

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6.0
Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #2

Jun 17, 2008

While not blown away by this series thus far, I've found that each issue has offered its fair share of surprises and quality storytelling. Maybe you just can't go wrong with the FF, the Negative Zone, and little green (wo)men.

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6.0
Secret Invasion: Inhumans #3

Oct 14, 2008

The dialogue is still clever, though, with a few very wry jokes and a real sense of family for the over-burdened and sometimes dysfunctional Royals. Im not sure what Im hoping for the conclusion of this series: surprises rather than stock plot devices? Yes, that would be nice. Hopefully the narrative freshness of the first two Skrull-heavy issues can be recaptured.

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6.0
Secret Invasion: Requiem #1

Dec 30, 2008

Also included are a detailed bio on Wasp, and three pages of probably not even all of her costume changes over the years. This is a respectful package for her fans, making the best of a badly dealt hand.

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8.0
Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers #1

Jun 24, 2008

These were the exact questions I had about the Skrull components of two of my favorite teams when this invasion began, and hats off to Yost for answering them. The issue is beautiful, action-packed, and full of consistently accurate character moments. Let's hope the whole series is like this.

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6.0
Secret Six #1

May 29, 2006

Last time we watched Catman evolve into a player; and both the Countdown series and the Special had a role to play in the overarching Crisis. But the Crisis is over, and now the question is: how do the Six fit into the new world order?

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7.0
Secret Six Vol. 2 #6

Feb 9, 2009

Jumping from origin to origin to betrayal to setback makes this issue a bit uneven, as one senses Simone had a lot of agendas to fulfill at once, and she doesn't do it seamlessly. But, then, her title characters are full of scars and old resentments and crucibles of terror and patchworks of incomplete healing anyway. She's uncovered a fresh corner of the DC world by exploring the tattered lives of these secondary villains, and it's a consistently intriguing one with all the potential an ongoing series needs.

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8.0
Secret Six Vol. 2 #8

Apr 13, 2009

There's a bonus of an inspired sequence with Ragdoll, who has his own counterpoint to play to the pretty people's story. In this strip, Amanda Gould's charming cartoons just make Simone's smart words all the more biting. This series is a nasty piece of work, and it better keep it up!

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7.0
Secret Six Vol. 2 #10

Jun 5, 2009

And maybe most telling of all, when the team is literally dropped into a nest of gun-toting guerillas, their effectively simultaneous leap into action (if hemmed and hawed by a lot of nervous verbiage) is the truest sign of all: for all their sins, this group has formed a formidable collaboration. And their clients better watch their backs.

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7.0
Secret Six Vol. 2 #11

Jul 4, 2009

Or maybe I just love how difficult it is for Ragdoll to make any sense at all of his surroundings, as his own moral judgments are as alien as they are consistent to a logic all his own. His position as ironic Greek chorus is always amusing.

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7.0
Secret Six Vol. 2 #16

Dec 14, 2009

Seems she's joining the team (at least for the short-term), which pisses off Scandal and turns Ragdoll on. After months of battling slavers and demons, Simone lightens things up considerably with a lovely tale of mentoring and promise. Sure, mostly of more carnage, but that's a promise!

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8.0
Secret Six Vol. 2 #28

Dec 6, 2010

Ahh, who'd want it to anyway? Life's so much more interesting on the dirty streets and the battlefields of the fallen.

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4.0
Secret War #2

Jun 1, 2004

As theres been no action to speak of yet in the story, theres nothing really to distract from the shortcomings in the art. This book is a disappointment, one that would benefit greatly from competent inking and more conventional coloring.

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2.0
Secret War #4

Apr 7, 2005

At least Bendis has patterns. They should really pipe him over to DC, and let him revive Dr. Cyber in epic battle with Wonder Woman. A woman who hates beauty because shes been made ugly is right up his ally. Bendis is the David E. Kelly of comic books. This is the worst comic I've read this year.

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7.0
Serenity: Better Days #1

Mar 15, 2008

There are games within games in this issue, clever switches in points of view, and all the soapy frustration you could hope for. As this is set long before the endgame of the movie, things are still relatively hopeful and energetic, too. No closure yet in sight, and Whedon still gets to build the worlds that go with his funky and junky spaceship. Conrad returns as well on art duties, and he has the characters down, plus a degree of storytelling skill that makes Serenity one of the better quality of comic adaptations from another media. An editor's note inside explains the lack of multiple covers for this issue: each issue has a portion of one big poster, which will add up when you've bought all three. As it's by Adam Hughes, that's just one more bargain for your dollar.

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6.0
Seven Soldiers of Victory #0

Feb 27, 2005

Whats refreshing within that stereotype is that Shellys a writer, and thus the authors most immediate stand-in, the everywoman at the heart of this installment. While not quite thought balloons, the narration clues us in to her feelings, fears, doubts and hopes. That sort of interior monologue, being privy to their thoughts as they act, is something thats been denied so many heroines lately, and this flow of thoughts is the vine that roots and grounds the unfolding petals of this story.

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10
Seven Soldiers of Victory #1

Oct 30, 2006

This issue is all in the details, but theres no point describing them. Its Easter egg after Easter egg on page after page, and whether it all fits together with the tragic mystery that began the series or not, its a real page turner.

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8.0
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Bulleteer #1

Nov 6, 2005

She who was the subject of fantasies of penetration has become the ultimate penetrator. You cant blame Yanick for using every means at his disposal to get that message across.

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8.0
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Bulleteer #3

Feb 6, 2006

I dont pretend to know how this story fits into the larger overall pattern. No recognizable Sheeda yet in this story, though they have figured into the others Ive read sooner or later. Still, with references to two characters from the seminal SS #0, this story has the most resonance with the overarching themes of the project. That story too had a female protagonist coping with sexual stereotypes and a world wider and weirder than any shed imagined. Unlike Alix, however, she didnt have a bulletproof shell.

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5.0
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Bulleteer #4

Mar 17, 2006

Ultimately: The wheels grinding towards the series conclusion show in this issue, especially when some form of the Vigilante shows up to recruit Alex to final battle against the Sheeda. If that issue is anything like this series, her bulletproof hull will insulate her from her own naivet regarding her place in a world of super-attributes, and she won't be the one to die. Sally's sob story, however, doesn't come off as intended.

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8.0
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Frankenstein #2

Jan 10, 2006

And we all know, even the most beautiful gem has its requisite flaws.

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8.0
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Klarion The Witch Boy #1

Apr 24, 2005

Thanks to a few useful allies (a sympathetic Father, his cat Teekl), Klarion has an edge on the other kids. But also thanks to his own innate cleverness, hes more prepared than others when real true evil rears its deadly and hideous head. Good cliffhanger, and yet another example of Morrison creating his own self-contained multi-title crisis with help only from some of the best artists around. If DC was only Vertigo, this is how it would look.

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10
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Klarion The Witch Boy #2

Jun 24, 2005

If Zatannas adventure shows the appeal of Morrisons cleverly adaptable concept for Seven Soldiers, Klarions tale blasts it into the stratosphere. Theres not a foot placed wrong.

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10
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Klarion The Witch Boy #4

Oct 27, 2005

Grim visions: Irving outdoes himself with this issue, somehow mixing up dire, macabre irony with a real sense of fun and beauty, even in a palette thats mostly black and blue. Its not been a particularly easy ride, but it has been a fascinating, stylish, gloomy and Gothic good time. And if the last installment was a little too Lost Boys for me, well: Even mothers can make mistakes, offers Klarions, in a very nice little summation of all of Grants subtext.

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6.0
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Zatanna #1

Apr 10, 2005

At the end, as Zatanna picks up an unwanted sidekick, it seems Morrison has fit her into a fairly Constantine-like role, which is a fair, if not groundbreaking, direction to take with the character. The problem remains, at the center of it all, how to define this beautiful young woman with more power than she knows how to use, and who remains much less naughty than nice.

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8.0
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Zatanna #2

Jun 10, 2005

Still interesting: The third great thing about Seven Soldiers, by the way, is that each issue is also a self-contained story. Last issue an out of sorts Zee tried to figure out her dilemma, only making it worse. This issue she solves part of it, in a way that feels final but leaves the door open for whatever comes next. This is an ideally conceived, if not yet epic, comic book.

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10
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Zatanna #3

Aug 12, 2005

The scenes of graphic violence are quite graphic, but Sook makes the violence hit home with the shocked expression on Mistys face. And I love how, in the presence of Neh-bu-loh, as Zatanna comments about the charged air, that the womens hair starts rising in a snaky dance of its own volition. As bad as Neh-bu-loh is, though, the Faerie Queen sounds worse. Poor Misty.

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10
Seven Soldiers of Victory: Zatanna #4

Nov 28, 2005

The real one where they hopefully all dont die, as in the hat trick first one?

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8.0
Shadowpact #1

May 22, 2006

There are some intriguing plot machinations dealing with the One Year Later theme, as the heroes seem to have entered the blood shield and never come back out. Leaving it standing for a year where a town used to be seems unlikely for a world with a JLA, but Im very intrigued as to where this is going. I may lose interest if Willingham steps back from the art, but so far big thumbs

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6.0
She-Hulk Sensational #1

Mar 30, 2010

The issue is rounded out with a reprint from the John Byrne era, where he got away with completely objectifying Jen because he let her talk directly to the audience while he did it, and because he drew her so well in clothes or out. Byrne has to be given credit for contributing greatly to the character's longevity, as his take on Jennifer as a big, happy green girl who had a lot of fun (in direct opposition to the morose and haunted affliction experienced by her cousin Bruce) has remained influential. He also had a knack for depicting the equivalent of a hot female weightlifter, a challenge that even some of Marvel's other best artists have periodically missed the mark on. The story is a silly one involving space truckers, but it's a little gem nonetheless.

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8.0
She-Hulk Vol. 2 #1

Oct 24, 2005

Gaack! I can even forgive the unfortunate choice of Greg Horn as cover artist. THIS month. Can we have Mayhew back please?

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10
She-Hulk Vol. 2 #3

Jan 2, 2006

Earlier days: This issue may only be the third, but its also the 100th issue of solo She-Hulk stories (Im glad someones counting), and so we get two pertinent reprints, the first issues of her first and second series. One features beautiful art by John Buscema and her origin, the other is John Byrnes comical approach that innovatively broke the fourth wall. Byrne has always drawn the sexiest, most accessible Jennifer Walters, and Slott has managed to retain that appeal while giving her comical stories that also possess poignant drama.

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8.0
She-Hulk Vol. 2 #10

Dec 20, 2004

All girls have to do today is read this book to get the same thrill.

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5.0
She-Hulk Vol. 2 #22

Oct 29, 2007

So while Im not blown away by this odd issue, Ive got a lot of faith in David to figure out what hes going to do to make it his own. Hes quite rightly been lauded for writing some of the classic Hulk tales over the years, and his psychologically convoluted X-factor remains a favorite title. I just hope, along the way, he figures out how to do it without bumming Jennifer out permanently.

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8.0
She-Hulk Vol. 2 #29

Jun 3, 2008

Deep stuff about loss, disappointment, rebellion and self-flagellation here, all in a little comic about a sexually permissive green giant, whose every cover emphasizes her figure whether its by Deodato, Mayhew, Granov or Horn. Pretty solid stuff from Peter David, and the unanswered questions mean the plot is still far from unfolding.

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8.0
She-Hulk Vol. 2 #31

Jul 22, 2008

Humor remains paramount for David, but he mixes it with drama so most of the laughs are more like uneasy chuckles. When Monet stops tearing up the real estate, she locates Darwin and scans his friend (but these Skrulls are immune to mutant telepathy, remember?). The way the Skrull Talisman (he's sort of their version of Silver Surfer, pre-world-conquering horde arrival) is ultimately revealed is as a hilarious manifestation of Darwin's power. So while X-Factor has an off-month (they're in a state of flux at the moment), She-Hulk is better than ever. Let's hope the crossover ultimately benefits both books, as it heads back to X-Factor next month.

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6.0
She-Hulk Vol. 2 #32

Sep 2, 2008

There is one story that finishes in this issue: Jenn takes note of a Skrull transport herding humans to a concentration camp, and frees the prisoners with her usual directness. And the art team continues to turn in impressive work; the cel-shaded look is a fresh one for this title, and their She-Hulk captures the delicate balance between sexy and strong. But otherwise this title has a case of "serialitis"; all the crossovers have impeded ongoing development, and it's time to focus on the title character again. Soon, anyway.

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6.0
She-Hulk Vol. 2 #35

Dec 2, 2008

The plot complication here isn't really just a Macguffin, something like it happened all too recently in China, and it's a powerful point for superheroes to bring up. David has kept this title fresh since taking over, and proves it this issue by already forgetting the Skrulls were ever a problem.

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7.0
Sif #1

Apr 20, 2010

What she's going to need is a foe, but I'm guessing it won't be a generic hive mind or Loki himself quite yet, either.

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6.0
Son of M #1

Dec 19, 2005

In the end, two established characters show up to aid Pietro. All in all, aside from the power loss, this is pretty par for the course for a Quicksilver story. Ive liked his previous stories and series, and I think theres a lot of potential in this one (potential to use the Terrigen Mists is my first guess). Otherwise, the only new thing is the helpful contrast of a mutant who wishes hed lost his powers, but didnt. Understandably, since his power is having Cthulu for an abdomen. Deeply creepy. It cant talk, but it hisses. Spooky. Pietro walks through this story like a zombie. As Peter says, Ha. Ha. At least his fate is being chronicled, while Wanda rests conveniently off-panel, again, as usual. Hine has a clear perspective on this character, and looks ready to do some much-needed character repair.

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7.0
Spider-Woman #4

Dec 22, 2009

Only, as she'll never actually understand the real Jessica, it's not as entrancing as she hoped. Jessica is in an even more dire situation by issue's end than she was at the beginning. She's also in too shell-shocked a state (following her Skrull captivity) to be open to seduction from any quarter. But she does somehow, just barely, seem to be on a path of staying true to herself. This book is alternately horrifying, creepy and (at weird moments) funny. Maleev's realistic style with lurid colors makes it easy to identify with a character who hardly knows herself. You have to decide if that weird mix works for you.

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8.0
Spider-Woman #7

Mar 19, 2010

As does a funny line from Agent Brand (funnier than her trying too hard sign-off, anyway) reminding Jessica not to be a spazz: "If I wanted someone bouncing off the walls I'd have hired Spider-MAN." Bendis ends the issue with Jess at last coming in from the cold and that works for the series as well.

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8.0
Spider-Woman: Origin #1

Dec 25, 2005

The mounting sense of calamity leads to a pretty abrupt cliffhanger, but its a good one that gives me hope that this six issue series, though stylishly decompressed, will do the job of covering all the ground of a heroine who had several guest-appearances and a 50-issue series before her first death (of the many revivals since, this is the big one).

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7.0
Spider-Woman: Origin #4

Mar 20, 2006

Summation: This has been a compelling, coherent if downbeat series that has followed a main character and a limited supporting cast through escalating predicaments. It looks fit to make sure all the guns left on the mantelpiece during the story will be fired in the final chapter.

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6.0
Squadron Supreme #1

Mar 19, 2006

title of this first arc makes that clear.

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8.0
Star Trek: Alien Spotlight: Romulans #1

Feb 29, 2008

Note that the issue offers four alternate covers: one by Byrne, one by Zach Howard, a photo cover from the episode itself, and an uncolored sketch version by Byrne.

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7.0
Star Wars: Han Solo #1

Jun 16, 2016

Han and Chewie enter the race, and find that they are outclassed by the wealthy participants, except for the most successful and oldest one, Lo Ree Anno, who herself was once an outlier to the event but now garners great respect. She flies (you guessed it) solo. Not too many surprises in this narrative, but lots of local color and immersion in the larger Star Wars universe. Liu has set herself up a solid formula that seems ready to give each issue a splashy show-piece or two. Brooks excels at humans and aliens, and the whole seems designed to give us a fun ride with the Han we know and love best.

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6.0
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #24

Feb 2, 2008

The action is very cinematic, and looks a bit shinier Phantom Menace era actually than it does resemble the rougher and scrappier Luke and Leia years. And Raana Tey is a memorable character, a formidable force in battle intent on a misguided mission. She's a zealot, but also a real Knight. There's an interesting discussion between Zayne and Shel about whether one can even serve the Dark Side if one thinks one is doing what's right. It's all a lot to be going on for a reader who has only dropped in for one issue before the major crossover looming in Dark Horse's entire Star Wars stable in the coming year. But hopefully the solid storytelling will continue into the new direction.

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7.0
Star Wars: Legacy #18

Feb 2, 2008

Cade's a man who generates his own trouble in a dark world full of way too many opportunities. But there are always glimmers of hope, of light in the darkness, and one senses he just might find them one day, despite himself. Duursema and Ostrander have fashioned a rich world full of colorful characters that really does maximize the legacy of the cinematic tales.

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8.0
Steed and Mrs. Peel #0

Sep 3, 2012

The issue comes with the choice of several promo covers (depending on what your shop orders), as BOOM! debuts often do, and while I was partial to those that homage the more famous Hellfire Club of the X-Men (including parodies of Uncanny X-men #134 and New Mutants #39 by Josh Corvey), I ended up picking the cinematic one by Mike Perkins that features the Union Jack. It’s the most like what you’ll find inside.

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7.0
Stormwatch (2011) #1

Sep 11, 2011

But I ended up doubting that DC could find anything of worth to bring into the New 52, and somehow merge with the more iconic Justice League (or at least Martian Manhunter), who seemed from the iffy preview art to have been shuffled off to the outskirts to try and sell a minor title. I mean, how well could they work in a universe where the Justice League is taken seriously, since they are pretty much a parody of such traditional virtues and values?

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7.0
Stormwatch (2011) #4

Dec 13, 2011

The villainous biomass doesn't matter so much, and we only get passing references to the giant horn and the angry moon that are also part of the current apocalypse this time, but that's fine, because we also get to see an ancient city reborn, we get cool captions like "inside the monster," and we get that tender caress between Midnighter and Apollo, who have finally met cute. It seems DC isn't scared of them anymore. Good, so let Cornell write the stories he wants and let the robot kill Adam One, and everything will be fine!

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5.0
Stormwatch (2011) #5

Jan 9, 2012

That battle between Midnighter and Harry Tanner (master of energy swords, apparently) is well-choreographed, and would be sort of epic if we knew anything about who Harry was or whether to believe or doubt him. Then a lot of things happen very quickly, just a few touching on the widescreen scale that should be a signature of this title. Cornell has one more issue to wrap up his vision, and then the creative direction changes. He's leaving everything in ruins, apparently, which could be either a gift or a curse. This issue remains frustratingly obtuse, because the potential for epic scale is there, but so far unrealized.

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7.0
Supergirl & The Legion of Super-Heroes #16

Mar 27, 2006

Its funny how times have changed. Once I longed for Superboy to get his dull butt out of the way of all the fascinating characters Grell and Cockrum were dreaming up in the exciting and glamorous future. And he did, as his supporting cast eventually took over his series. But that was thirty years ago, and now Im pleased to welcome back a member of the El family to the fold. Shes provided the spark, at least in this issue, to ignite a moribund title and inspire different sorts of stories for their second year.

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6.0
Superman Annual #14

Aug 24, 2009

Its all a very complicated way of saying that Lar is by nature an explorer, an open-minded one at that, but the tale has mythological resonance. Pinas art is ideally suited to the story, creating beautiful Daxamites, recognizable extraterrestrial races from DCs lore in nascent developmental stages, and a suitably noble and heroic Lar at different stages of his life. Its just kind of funny that Mon-El turns out to be a little more human than Kal-El himself can ever be.

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7.0
Superman (2011) #1

Oct 2, 2011

It worked in the movies, at least the ones with Christopher Reeve, because of Reeve and the rest of the cast of amusing character actors. And Supes is fine as a team player, whether with the Legion or the Justice League or whoever he's helping out. But alone, being the perfect guy who never actually gets what he really wants? Not for me.

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10
Superman/Batman: Generations III #7

Jul 15, 2003

There's a sense of urgency to this story that may have been lost in the guest-starred complexity of Gen2. Mostly, this is the best place at the moment to see Byrne playing in his own little version of the world. It's not a bad place to visit.

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4.0
Superman/Batman: Generations III #12

Dec 15, 2003

The novel idea of sentient para-demons, which made a very compelling morality play a few issues back, is given only lip-service here. In fact, I think I read a similar reality-shaking cataclysm in Savage Dragon about 35 issues ago, and both the conflicts and the consequences were explored more deeply than the reset button we get for a finale. The ending is tragic, but the frustration over the perfunctory clichs of the plot obviates a true sense of mourning.

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8.0
Swamp Thing (2004) #1

Mar 20, 2004

Hmm, I did say the dread name Arcane above. Not sure if the adherence to continuity is going to lead to a revival of that damned nemesis, but theres plenty more Diggle can throw into the mix from all over DC continuity if he wants. Breccia seems the perfect partner for a newly horrific journey.

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8.0
Swamp Thing (2004) #3

May 8, 2004

Most of that place, wisely, is Tefe, the youngest and least tried member of the group. Its a hoot to see Sargon (especially Breccias devilish, wizened and levitating version) ply his wares on young Tefe. Its like a seedier, less powerful Dr. Strange forcefully conscripting a student. Now, if Tefe stays this dumb for long shes going to outlive her usefulness as a character, but Vaughan found levels within her teen angst, and Im confident Diggle (who writes a fairly hilarious Constantine, no easy task) can do that too.

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8.0
Swamp Thing (2004) #4

Jun 8, 2004

Diggle is drawing from the work of Moore, Veitch, Collins, Millar and Vaughan, all the eras of the past, to create this latest chapter in the saga. Breccia, on the macabre scale, is easily as creepy as Bissette and Totleben; the final splash page is both goofy and horrifying. Next month: when monsters clash!

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6.0
Sword of Sorcery #0

Sep 23, 2012

As dark as these titles are, I’d rather see them go even darker than settle into the predictable clichs that have thus far been the extent of the plot movement. The characters (save for the overloaded Beowulf) are blank slates that need to be filled in fast.

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9.0
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Vol. 2 #2

Dec 29, 2011

If it all seems like a lot to mix up in one issue, Spencer's pacing and Craig's creatively jagged and dynamic layouts (either the panels are skewed, or the perspective inside them is, in dramatic variations from page to page) keep it all quite clear. This book has a long history, but Spencer is using it to tell new and thrilling stories.

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5.0
Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Cyborg Superman #1

Oct 9, 2007

While competently done, this book was depressing, with an antagonist who comes off as more of a big whiner than a truly scary player.

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2.0
Tales of the Unexpected #1

Oct 15, 2006

There are also swarms of roaches and attacks by angry spectral rats (though why theyre angry at their one protector isnt so clear), and even the Spectres vengeance is rendered so confusingly you dont even get that righteous thrill youre supposed to when the guilty are punished. Because, apparently, theres still a rape going on in another apartment that the Spectre doesnt care about.

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7.0
Tangent: Superman's Reign #2

Apr 21, 2008

The back-up story is actually more interesting, with an intriguing alternate take on the Metal Men and a very funny new version of Guy Gardner. His story also mentions Power Girl, who was one of the cleverest re-imaginings from the initial story. Tangent's biggest idea may be that Superman is evil, but its best ideas are the inspired differences of the smaller characters. I'm willing to keep reading the standard model plots to meet more.

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5.0
Tangent: Superman's Reign #3

May 26, 2008

The back-up story with the amusingly geeky Gardner continues to be more interesting than the upfront action tale, as he recounts the Tangent Earths alternate history, which includes Superman saving the world from a Galactus-class Ultra-Humanite. Its blatant exposition, but thats part of the point of Jurgens Tangent alternate reality. What we dont see this issue is the Tangent Batman indicated on the cover.

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7.0
Tangent: Superman's Reign #5

Jul 21, 2008

In the back-up story with Guy Gardner still sharing with his probable captors how much he knows, Pasarin does a very good job of capturing the insouciant and giddy flair of the Joker, who was the highlight of the original Tangent concept to this reviewer. He's definitely in over his head in the Nightwing facility, but this is a mystery that hasn't grown tiresome yet. While some of the underlying concepts of the Tangent universe dont make a lot of sense, the overall mandate to create a very different world out of familiar names is an intriguing one that keeps Dan Jurgens on his toes as he explores his many variations on the theme. The plot is advancing in a very formulaic way, but that's okay if the formula is a good one, and the sense that various threads might converge is slowly becoming evident.

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6.0
Teen Titans (2003) #1

Jul 21, 2003

His design for the new Titans Tower is fine, though, and while I'm not sure, I think it's in Gateway City, Byrne's West Coast home for Wonder Woman. After all these years, Titans West Coast lives!

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6.0
Teen Titans (2003) #2

Aug 14, 2003

McKones turning in his best art yet on this title, toning down his distortions to capture a truly heroic looking group who have yet to explode into confident action as a team. If Johns can avoid the most obvious sorts of cliched superteam plotting, this book might truly become as classic as the Wolfman/Perez era it quotes.

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6.0
Teen Titans (2003) #3

Sep 17, 2003

And the answer to the moral question posed? Of course the youngsters should join the fight. This is the DC-verse, after all, and they're already among the most powerful and best-trained. It's a foolish waste of resources not to use them, and a missed training opportunity, too. Only together would they have a hope of taking down their foe.

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8.0
Teen Titans (2003) #4

Oct 17, 2003

McKone is doing his best work on this title, and those climactic scenes are perfectly captured in all their shock and gore. I can't imagine Johns could find a better match to get his stories across, and I'm happy to see this title finally get down to business and move on from troubling notions about motivations and other obligations. Robin puts the younger set's ethos into words all too succinctly: he doesn't like anyone "telling us who we are. I chose to become Robin, nobody picked me." As Konner responds, "I hear that."

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8.0
Teen Titans (2003) #5

Nov 18, 2003

On the art front, McKone is great on everyone save Wonder Woman, who looks a bit goofy on the final page. His sometime cartoonish proportions work better on kids than adults.

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8.0
Teen Titans (2003) #6

Dec 24, 2003

McKone outdoes himself this issue, turning in his best work yet on the title. Too often JLA guest-spots come off as cheesy outside their own title, but he does the five power-houses in this story proud, while continuing to develop the best looking Titans since the Buckingham/Grayson days. His storytelling is clear, his tech inventive, and has heroes look glamorous and strong.

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8.0
Teen Titans (2003) #9

Mar 20, 2004

Id like to see Raven triumph for once over the adversity in her destiny, and Id like Starfire to be more than den mother to this crew, but overall this is another fun-filled installment of one of the best team books around.

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8.0
Teen Titans (2003) #16

Sep 26, 2004

This is high concept, but its a good one, and Ive got my fingers crossed about the upcoming special. This Superboy is finally starting to live up to his name.

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8.0
Teen Titans (2003) #17

Oct 22, 2004

The feral Beast Boy is a clich. Unlike the re-imagined Duela Dent, hes just a stock character in an otherwise creative dystopia.

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6.0
Teen Titans (2003) #20

Jan 23, 2005

Also interesting: Its nice to see Grummett taking on the improved and deepened Superboy. Conner clearly is on the verge of manhood. And both of those epilogues, while not moving the plot forward very much, remind us of the ongoing subplots of this title, with a nice change-up on the trademark Johns-style cliffhanger.

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4.0
Teen Titans (2003) #24

May 27, 2005

Art-wise: Clarks work is passable but uninspired; most of the credit should go to Thiberts inking which, though decorative, maintains a high level of detail.

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4.0
Teen Titans (2003) #29

Nov 18, 2005

Color me confused by this entire issue. The distractions of Infinite Crisis are having a deleterious effect on the storytelling, and the musical artists are sub-par. This ones going down.

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