Steven E. Paugh's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comic Bastards Reviews: 125
7.1Avg. Review Rating

10
4 Kids Walk Into A Bank #1

Apr 20, 2016

Altogether, while 4 Kids Walk Into A Bank leads to a place that's fairly transparent by the middle of the first issue, it remains a humongous achievement for this team and Black Mask in general. This sits right at the top of my recommendations for anyone looking how to do fun comics really, really, really well.

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8.0
Airboy #1

Jun 3, 2015

So here we are at the end, and while I first thought Airboy #1 was self-serving garbage, after sounding it out, I've gotta say that I kinda dug it. This is Robinson and Hinkle having fun, and even at its most self-analytic, it shouldn't be taken too seriously. It's sexy and grimy and shameful and hilarious, and while it wasn't close to being what I expected, I now feel it's exactly what I wanted: something weird.

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8.0
Airboy #2

Jul 1, 2015

Airboy #2 is exploitative, raw, inappropriate and offensive, and it's honest all the more because of it. It doesn't placate its readership with the kind of vapid, feel-good jargon in many other so-called "progressive" comics; you know, the kind that feel like they were lifted from some Facebook motivational sticker. It is insensitive and abrasive, but at least it feels true, and not just like it's trying to win points or be everybody's ism's poster-child. And in that, I find its style of swill refreshing; not to mention really, really entertaining. Buy it and roll around in it.

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6.0
Airboy #3

Aug 5, 2015

As entertainingly "postmodern" as it may be, Airboy isn't a game-changing book. It's clearly having fun with its blumpkins and boners, and is setting something up that could be interesting in however many issues that remain, but this was definitely its weakest entry. I'll still stick with it, though, because as maudlin as it can sometimes get (the Robinson crying scene was a bit cringy) and as intentionally incitory, I'm still enjoying the way it wallows in its own self-deprecation.

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4.0
Airboy #4

Nov 11, 2015

Still, not much happens in this, the end of the Airboy experiment, other than a small bout of action, a lackluster sense of "spiritual growth" and some great art, making it less the entertainingly caustic experience it started out as being, and more an obligatory bout of apologetic hand-wringing.

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8.0
Beast Commandos #1

Oct 29, 2014

That whole debate notwithstanding, I enjoyed the hell out of Beast Commandos. For the most raucous, ludicrous fun you can legally have with armed animals this week, accept no substitutes.

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4.0
Bitch Planet #1

Dec 10, 2014

Does this book deserve the praise that will be levied upon it in the coming weeks? Not really. It was okay; jumpy in parts and half-finished in others, but generally okay. Is it, as the review called it – and many more hence undoubtedly will – "the comic anthem of feminism?" No; at least not yet, but we all owe it more time to develop before any of us can make that call. Including the creators. Look, in the end, some folks will treat this like "The Second Coming" of feminist comics, and they'll be right! But only because it didn't come first.

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6.0
Bitch Planet #2

Jan 28, 2015

I remain cautious about the cult of personality around this book and still don't agree with those who think it will replace air as the thing we breathe, but Bitch Planet #2 was, if nothing else, a genuinely entertaining read.

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4.0
Bitch Planet #3

Feb 18, 2015

This issue does a similar thing, eschewing craft and relying on a cheap, feel-good ending to make the kids "pop," but without providing anything of substance. It feels easy, undercooked and unfulfilling, especially when measured against its supposed purpose. If you legitimately enjoy Bitch Planet and honestly get something from it as a reader, right on and more power to you! But I, for one, think we deserve better from something many would call a comic book feminist anthem.

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8.0
Black Dynamite #4

Nov 12, 2014

I'm very glad that I went back to Black Dynamite in its fourth issue, because this book here is right-the-fuck-on!

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8.0
Black Science #8

Oct 8, 2014

Visually, Scalera remains a perfect match for Remender in terms of storytelling. This and past issues may not have the stoney sheen that its very first issue enjoyed, but there is no denying the artist's atmospherically-blotted, hurried mastery of both action and expression. This may be a book about infinite worlds, but there is simply no other book that enjoys the same visual relish that this one does. As long as Scalera and Remender team up to deliver a story that begs me to read it further, I'll be here to enjoy the dark art of Black Science.

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8.0
Black Science #9

Oct 8, 2014

Visually, Scalera remains a perfect match for Remender in terms of storytelling. This and past issues may not have the stoney sheen that its very first issue enjoyed, but there is no denying the artist's atmospherically-blotted, hurried mastery of both action and expression. This may be a book about infinite worlds, but there is simply no other book that enjoys the same visual relish that this one does. As long as Scalera and Remender team up to deliver a story that begs me to read it further, I'll be here to enjoy the dark art of Black Science.

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8.0
Butterfly #1

Sep 24, 2014

I'm so happy I decided not to judge this book by its cover, or indeed its title. Butterfly #1 is a great spin on the espionage comic, loading its clip with armor-piercing narrative rounds that you won't see coming, but will, in the end, leave you breathless.

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6.0
Butterfly #2

Oct 22, 2014

I'm giving Butterfly #2 a 3/5, with the understanding that it's a strong 3/5. It grinds a touch here and there, gets perhaps more convoluted than it should near the end and suffers from a few artistic inconsistencies, but it has some fantastic bits of dialogue and introspection, and more than a few really, really interesting ideas that I cannot wait to see developed and brought together as the series progresses.

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8.0
Citizen Jack #1

Nov 4, 2015

I enjoyed the heck out of Citizen Jack #1. In both its chunky, fun and even exhilarating visual direction and its unabashed doofy narrative drive, this first issue shares throughout its pages the abrasive, grimy charisma of its lead and I can't wait to pig out on more!

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8.0
Citizen Jack #2

Dec 2, 2015

As a fan of fun political satire, I'm still really enjoying this book. Sure, it gets a bit silly at times – demons and talking dolphins do abound (though Cricket does remind me of a "cuter" version of the non-human outsider voice in something like Quinn's Ishmael). But it's an interesting application, albeit a somewhat flippant one, in the discussion on electability, and I for one am more than happy to continue to #GetJacked.

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6.0
Citizen Jack #3

Jan 13, 2016

Citizen Jack #3's massive tonal shift comes somewhat expectedly, with a swerve that may be telegraphed, but is not much less impacting for it. I continue to be high on this Image series, if for no other reason than to see how far and fast our "hero" will fall.

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6.0
Citizen Jack #4

Feb 19, 2016

I hope political fatigue isn't (ironically) hurting the allure of Citizen Jack, because it remains a very enjoyable book. It has a lot to say, not necessarily on the state of American politics, but on that of the American Dream, the destinies we hope are ours and what we're willing to do to make both come true. Oh, and hell. Also hell.

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6.0
Curb Stomp #1

Feb 25, 2015

Despite some of these shortcomings, however, I've got a lot of time for what's being put forward in this Boom miniseries. If nothing else, it's made me want to bite down and brace for what's next. I'm not sure what more you could ask for in something called Curb Stomp.

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4.0
Curb Stomp #2

Mar 26, 2015

In the end, I want to like Curb Stomp more than I do, but only because I think it could honestly be something both unique and great, if only it had a much stronger visual presence and a less wavering narrative voice.

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8.0
Dark Engine #3

Oct 8, 2014

Unfortunately, we don't get much of Burton's captivating high-sentence this time, which was a big draw for me, especially in its first issue; but that just allows Bivens and Fitzpatrick the space to wet its pages. Because of that, Dark Engine still feels like a work-in-progress of sorts, but it's that very same experimental and exploratory story-weave in this bat-shit crazy Image book that continues to keep me spellbound.

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8.0
Dark Engine #4

Nov 26, 2014

I know there are a lot of great books out there these days, but I do hope you're not missing Dark Engine. If you like your fantasy/time travel yarns cut from sterner stuff, look no further than right here.

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8.0
Dark Engine #5

Mar 4, 2015

Saying all that, Dark Engine #5 won't be for everyone. Its style is not what you might call "clean," for example. In fact, it's downright filthy; or better, decadent – which is one of the reasons I like it so damn much. It'll also lose people who are used to being spoon-fed their stories, demanding you work harder for it. You don't chew its visuals or text, you fucking gnaw at them – that's how meaty, how rare this story is written and drawn. As such, Dark Engine may not be the easiest meal to digest, but that just makes it all the more satisfying when you do.

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6.0
Dark Horse Presents (2014) #2

Sep 17, 2014

So the second issue gets a middle grade, but that doesn't mean I won't be back to check this out next month. I wish I knew how to quit you, sampler platter. I wish I knew how to quit you…

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8.0
Dark Horse Presents (2014) #7

Feb 18, 2015

Altogether, Dark Horse Presents #200 offers almost 80 pages of solid goddamn comic bookery, with a cover gallery thrown in for good measure. It is – in equal measure – fun, creepy, bizarre, thrilling, enigmatic, psychedelic, charming and insightful. Or in short, it is as William Trevor once said, "the distillation of an essence" of what makes comic books so damn great. Congratulations, Dark Horse Presents. Here's to 200 more!

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4.0
Dejah Thoris #1

Feb 3, 2016

Still, the art is the only thing that saves Dejah Thoris #1 from being completely unreadable, but it still doesn't do nearly enough to get me interested in coming back to this world. As someone who was excited to finally fill this blind spot in his nerd cred, that is extremely disappointing.

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8.0
Descender #2

Apr 8, 2015

All wrapped up with a fun, if slightly half-baked page with short descriptions of the galaxy's planets and their people, Descender #2 proves to be a great, more narratively condensed fallout to the first issue's literally earth-shattering introduction. Some readers may have a problem with it not touching on many bigger-picture points – and don't get me wrong, I too am excited to see more about the anti-robot post-apocalypse of worlds – but I thought this issue was a wicked, more introspective look at its main player in Tim. I continue to be high on this series as a familiar yet fresh take on science fiction, and will be sticking around to see just how Descender ascends.

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8.0
Descender #3

May 6, 2015

Descender #3, like the issues that precede it, come with very high marks from me, indeed, and as with any great meal, I have no problem in slowly, meticulously devouring its every course.

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4.0
Dream Thief: Escape #4

Oct 1, 2014

I remain a firm fan of this book as an ongoing, and am already looking forward to its next volume, if for no other reason than to see how "Escape" fits into the master plan, but I was disappointed in this hiccup final issue of its second series. I guess just hope Dream Thief will wake up a bit next time.

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6.0
East of West #17

Feb 4, 2015

So while I do think the incongruous slow pace / hurried presence of this issue does cause it to drag, it's still an integral piece to one of the best ongoing stories in the industry. Buy it, but don't dwell on it.

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8.0
East of West #18

Mar 11, 2015

I promise this will be my last review of this series. But what I can't promise is that I won't keep reading it, or continue to buy its volumes in trade. I suggest you do the same for as long as this creative team is producing East of West, which I hope will indeed last until the end of days.

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8.0
Four Eyes: Hearts of Fire #1

Jan 6, 2016

All-in, the parity of art and page narrative in Four Eyes: Hearts of Fire #1 is astonishingly well done, thanks not just to the seamless confluence of Kelly and Fiumara's storytelling, but also to the efforts of letterer and designer, Thomas Mauer, who does a fantastic job at balancing the book's pace. As I said earlier, it is a credit to this entire team that I could enjoy a later issue of something so steeped in previous story so much. And just as I had a great time plowing through Volume 1 to fill in its gaps, I look equally forward to seeing what its future issues will bring.

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8.0
Four Eyes: Hearts of Fire #2

Feb 24, 2016

Four Eyes: Hearts of Fire #2 is a damn triumph, and if you are sleeping on this, as I did, then it's time to wake up and smell the burning.

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8.0
Four Eyes: Hearts of Fire #3

Mar 30, 2016

So yeah, I remain a firm fan of this book as this weird, amazing snapshot of a parallel world where dragons exist during the Great Depression, but are in no way its most terrifying element. If you've missed it so far, stop waiting and get caught up. You won't be sorry you did.

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4.0
Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #1

Jan 13, 2016

And yet, perhaps because I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to my beloved Green Lantern Corps, or because I still believe that this team has it in them to make something great, I'm going to stick with Green Lantern: Edge of Oblivion… for now, at least. This "lost amalgam world of refugees" setup could be interesting to see unfold, and it does hint at the possible resurgence of a Green Lantern: Mosaic-type title. In the right hands, that could be fucking brilliant, and just the shot in the arm the GLC concept needs to retake its spot atop DC's currently hurting library. Only time will tell, of course, but if something doesn't change, then like the dying universe in which this book is set, my time for Green Lanterns is in danger of finally running out.

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6.0
Grindhouse: Drive In, Bleed Out #3

Mar 25, 2015

I have to say that "Blood Lagoon" is not my personal favorite GrindHouse story. It's still an incredibly enjoyable read, but for now I see it as the tantalizing appetizer to what I expect will be a full-on, bloody gorge in its second part next month.

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6.0
Grindhouse: Drive In, Bleed Out #4

Apr 22, 2015

Ironically, of course, the quick two-and-shoo (that's a good equivalent for one-and-done, right?) nature of this series means that I will still be on-board next time for "Lady Danger," the subsequent story arc in the Grindhouse series. I just hope that de Campi can recapture the black magic she ensorceled the book (and me) with so many times previously, and that "Blood Lagoon" was just a sputtering, bloody hiccup on the way to another truly inspiring death rattle.

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8.0
Grizzly Shark #1

Apr 6, 2016

But I gotta say, while it didn't evoke the peals of laughter I was expecting, GrizzlyShark was as full-tilt delirious as you'd expect, and a pretty great way to spend a good 15 minutes. I'll definitely be back for more.

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6.0
Grizzly Shark #2

May 11, 2016

In short, Grizzlyshark #2 is fun and silly and kind of stupid, clearly capitalizing on the success of similar cinematic fare, like Sharknado. If you're into that kind of stuff, with an even more decidedly Tom & Jerry bent, then you're gonna love this book. If not, you might just want to skip it. I'll personally be sticking around, not because its cliffhanger leaves me on bated breath, but because next issue finally promises the always-intended showdown between Grizzlyshark and Seabear. And you can call me a sucker if you like, but that I've gotta see.

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8.0
Holy F*cked #1

Sep 9, 2015

If you haven't yet figured out that Holy F*cked isn't for everyone, then you need more help than I am able to provide. It's kind of in the name. However, those of us who hold nothing sacred except the sophomoric, and enjoy the simple pleasure of graphically scathing books like The Auteur, will instantly want to go back for sloppy seconds after blasting through Holy F*cked #1 like a big rubber dick through Satan's rectal cavity. If that mental image doesn't sell you on this book, nothing will.

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6.0
Holy F*cked #2

Oct 14, 2015

Saying that, I still love this art, and the way Arruda Massa and Marino are able to work together to undermine an all-ages style with sexual blasphemy (great name for their band) is particularly unique and well received. With the fate of the bastard child of cosmic order in the balance, and the story of righteous vengeance at play between perhaps history's two most famous divine sons further unfurling, I'm looking forward to where in the bluest of hells this book is leading; and perhaps more importantly, how in the holy f*uck it's going to get there.

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6.0
Holy F*cked #3

Nov 18, 2015

As with all of the issues previous, I really enjoyed Holy F*cked #3. It may not change many hearts and minds (though it will almost undoubtedly offend them), but it continues to be a hugely entertaining series that lifts a solid, steady middle finger to both traditions and polite sensibilities. And I, for one, respect that.

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8.0
Holy F*cked #4

Dec 9, 2015

As the last sup of its ingestible blast-phemy, Holy F*cked #4 is a credit to the series as a whole. Much like ill-gotten sacristy hooch, its consumption represents the simple fun of unrepentant merrymaking within an otherwise sacrosanct situation, and indeed like a fart in church, is all the more satisfying for it.

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10
I Hate Fairyland #1

Sep 4, 2015

I Hate Fairyland #1 is the comic book equivalent of snorting a whole packet of Pixie Stix, or mainlining a bushel of Sour Patch Kids. It's weaponized sugar, and barring any unexpected crash, we can all look forward to reveling hard in its high every month.

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10
I Hate Fairyland #2

Nov 18, 2015

I never thought I'd have this much of a blast with I Hate Fairyland, but even after only two issues, it has turned into one of my most anticipated monthly(ish) reads. Clever, cuddly and raucously caustic, it scratches an itch I never knew I had.

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8.0
I Hate Fairyland #3

Dec 16, 2015

Still, I don't hate I Hate Fairyland #3, and it continues the series' roll as one of my most surprisingly enjoyable reads this year (SPOILER: It even made my Comic Bastards year-end list). If Young and company can keep the pace and those jokes fresh, then like Gertrude, this book will never get old for me.

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8.0
I Hate Fairyland #4

Jan 20, 2016

I Hate Fairyland got my nod for one of the best books of 2015, and if it keeps up its pace, its fun and its humor — which, again, I thought would wear out, but comes back in a big breath of fresh air this time — it will continue to be a highlight of 2016.

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8.0
I Hate Fairyland #5

Feb 19, 2016

I Hate Fairyland is that rare thing these days: a "cute" comic that doesn't pull punches and is actually able to elicit some very real laughs. Missing it is not an option.

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8.0
Iscariot #1

Oct 13, 2015

S.M. Vidaurri is an exceptional talent in the comic book game right now, crafting stories outside of the classic mould, and doing so using a vibrantly stained palette, a refined narrative cantor and a literally breathtaking artistic drive. If you're looking for true magic in your comics, look no further than Iscariot.

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6.0
Jughead (2015) #1

Oct 5, 2015

At the end of the day, though, and despite some of its stylistic tics, I really enjoyed Jughead #1. It did exactly what it needed to do, which is: be fun. And with the promise of ridiculous misadventure (the most outlandish examples of which – i.e., teachers becoming superheroes and indeed Jughead's Time Police – were always my favorite part of old school Archie Comics), I'll be sticking around to join Zdarsky and Henderson as they guide everyone's favorite manic pixie hamburger guy forward; stumbling, bleary-eyed and hungry for more.

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4.0
Jughead (2015) #2

Nov 18, 2015

With a sense of humor that I felt largely didn't pay off and a visual direction that feels too sparse and samey (yet weirdly inconsistent in quality), not to mention a palette that felt too heavy in some places — particularly Jughead's dream –there is nothing really bad about Jughead #2, but also nothing that makes me want to stick around for more.

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8.0
Jupiter's Circle #1

Apr 8, 2015

As much as I enjoyed this first issue, I remain wary about Jupiter's Circle. Millar is very, very good at inaugurating titles, but has proven less deft recently at maintaining them. I hope, however, that he can muster his old magic to keep course with this book. Maybe I'm just a sucker for this kind of throwback story and style, but I genuinely think there's real substance to be mined here, and I look forward to seeing how it may color the established world Millar is working with at large, and whether, indeed, it can come around full-circle.

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6.0
Jupiter's Circle #2

May 6, 2015

Jupiter's Circle #2 may not be the most unique story in the world, but it does continue to be a great exploration by Millar, Torres and the whole team into the more secret battles undertaken by The Greatest Generation of superheroes. I continue to be interested in seeing how this portion of the Jupiter mythology affects our understanding of the Legacy to come, and will be here for at least as long as the quality storytelling in this series – both visual and in narrative – holds out. Now if you'll excuse me, this smoothie isn't going to top itself up.

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6.0
Jupiter's Circle #3

Jun 3, 2015

Altogether, Millar and Torres are working well in Jupiter's Circle to deliver a book that feels light and airy, while at the same time cutting deeper grooves of commentary, both within our very real society and in the world previously established in Jupiter's Legacy. I'm not sure it's a "must read" for casual observers, or fans of that universe specifically, but for my money at least, Jupiter's Circle continues to be a fun use of the medium and superhero subgenre, and this third issue once again effectively whets my appetite for more.

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6.0
Jupiter's Circle #4

Jul 1, 2015

Despite how it might sound, I'm still invested in Millar's Jupiter's Circle. Sure, as I've mentioned before, this kind of conceit has been done elsewhere, in places like Watchmen and Superbia, but while this feels less willing to make a statement after making such a big one in its first arc, the "other side of superheroism" approach still feels fun and interesting here. I may stop covering it after this, but I'll probably continue keeping up with Circle, if for no other reason than to see when, where, how and why this folds into the Legacy story.

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6.0
Jupiter's Circle #5

Aug 5, 2015

I continue to be a great fan of this series, even if this is most likely the last time I cover it for the site. At this point, I am interested to see it folded back into Legacy as a cross-time study on repercussions. Sins of the father, and so on.

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8.0
Killogy: Halloween Special #1

Oct 8, 2014

Look, the Killogy Special Halloween Special One-Shot isn't reinventing the horror comics wheel, but nor does it mean to do so. It's a bare-bones hell-world story with a succinct but fun plot about rivers of blood and cannibals and horror punk icons. Oh my! As such, it's just the delicious kind of crazy comic booking that will scratch your budding October itch.

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10
Memetic #1

Oct 22, 2014

Maybe it's just my own headspace that's being attacked by the false pleasantries of the Happy Little Sloth, but hot-damn did I love Memetic #1, for its supple storytelling, natural pacing, terrifying premise and exceptional artistic execution. Buy this book … it's blissssssss.

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6.0
Memetic #2

Nov 26, 2014

I do think Donovan could stand to spend more time better fleshing out his background details and work on a few significant gaffs in perspective, but for the most part, his energetic style is a blessing to the book. If Tynion can now separate himself from trying to please millennial emo fans and focus on the painfully interesting world story he has set up, I'll still be a Memetic fan. Otherwise, I'll just have to admit this story isn't for me, unplug and move along.

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8.0
Memetic #3

Dec 31, 2014

Memetic has had its ups and downs in the scant three issues of its existence, with a bit of spoiled filler between two substantial slices of bread. I do think that it could have used more time and even pacing, but then I'd also be worried it would dip back into unfulfilling affairs of the heart. I do hope, however, that this team (or something very much like it) can come back, and maybe explore other corners of this universe. As enticing as the ending is, I don't think we need a follow-up (and wouldn't want one), but a parallel narrative would be fun.

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8.0
October Faction #1

Oct 8, 2014

The October Faction #1 – which is, kind of surprisingly, an ongoing at IDW – isn't breaking any conventions within the monster hunter idea, and it certainly isn't as fresh as the duo's previous pairing in Monster & Madman. But I'm still on-board, if for no other reason than to get more of Worm's darkly evocative art.

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6.0
October Faction #2

Nov 12, 2014

Still, I had a good enough time with The October Faction #2 that I decided to write this review, so it's obviously doing enough right that I want to stay on-board. I just hope it can fix its little glitches enough so as not to scare me away completely.

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8.0
Past Aways #1

Mar 25, 2015

Together, Kindt, Kolins and Crabtree (which sounds like the best legal firm in the multiverse) may not be reinventing the wheel with their time-traveling band of scientific malcontents, but there's more than enough to chew on in Past Aways #1 to make me salivate for more. Don't get left behind on this one.

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8.0
Past Aways #2

Apr 29, 2015

I honestly wasn't sure about Past Aways, picking it up mostly on the integrity of Kindt's name value. However, in this, its all-important sophomore issue, the entire creative team has proven that it is a story with greatly engaging character depth and a bevy of narrative and artistic grooves, all of which will keep me coming back. It's great, doggone modern storytelling, and I'm one curious puppy who will be back for more next issue.

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8.0
Past Aways #3

May 27, 2015

With all of the similar-seeming fare out there currently, I really, really hope people are giving Past Aways a chance, because I've had one helluva ball with this series and expect the same for anyone else smart enough to pick it up and check it out!

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6.0
Pencil Head #1

Jan 20, 2016

I'm still figuring out Pencil Head #1, which stands to reason really, since it feels like it's still trying to figure itself out; that, perhaps, being the point. But I'm invested in the story and especially the art, and regardless of how the ending sort of trailed off, I am interested in seeing where this goes, and more importantly, how it gets there.

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6.0
Pencil Head #2

Feb 24, 2016

For anyone interested in a deeper read, however, I'm not sure what to say. Mostly because I'm not sure who this book is for. McKeever's friends and colleagues? Industry veterans? The new blood who would acknowledge some of the references? I'm not sure, but barring the stuff with the weird little creatures, I'm pretty sure it's not me.

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6.0
Pencil Head #3

Mar 23, 2016

This will be great for past and current comics professionals, obsessive students of the medium and personal friends of McKeever, but for everyone else, Pencil Head is beautifully illustrated, but is ultimately a forgettable series.

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8.0
Postal #3

Apr 23, 2015

Postal is one of those rare gems in comics. It may not be bristling with action on every page, but its calculated burn is steeped with intrigue and incredibly unique, character-driven storytelling, the refreshing likes of which come too few and far between in this industry.

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8.0
Postal #4

May 27, 2015

In its fourth issue, Postal continues to prove itself to be something quite special within our favorite little medium; a standout in an ongoing upswell of increasingly great storytelling, and one of the strangest, most well-written detective yarns in recent memory. If you're not reading this, you need to change that. Posthaste.

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6.0
Postal #5

Jul 15, 2015

Issue five of this Top Cow/Image joint feels incongruous to the rest of the series' storytelling, and an odd fit within the overall narrative. Luckily, Postal #5 doesn't instantly exclude this title from being one of my most eagerly anticipated releases each month. Definitely check it out if you are, like me, already a firm follower of the series, but don't make it a jumping-on point if you're a new reader.

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4.0
Q2: The Return Of Quantum and Woody #1

Oct 15, 2014

Like I said, maybe Q2 will appeal to old fans of the series, if for nothing other than a shot of nostalgia. Unfortunately, it's just not for me, because I've already been spoiled by something better. See you when my Quantum and Woody comes back. Until then, I'll be over with The Delinquents.

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8.0
Roche Limit #1

Sep 24, 2014

If you hadn't noticed, I was delightfully surprised after reading Roche Limit, flipping through its first pages thinking I'd almost immediately put it down. Very early on, though, it hooked and dragged me in, not unlike the bifurcated corpse of an ill-fated astronaut. I just hope Moreci, Malhorta and company can keep this story together as it goes along, without suffering the disintegration of two genres coexisting too closely within the same gravity.

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4.0
Roche Limit #2

Oct 29, 2014

Even though I wasn't a huge fan of this issue, I'm going to stick with Roche Limit. I think Moreci and co. have some very interesting things planned for this series, and I want to be there when it all unfurls. I'll just chalk this one up to the creative team needing to fit the story into a trade, and hope that its pacing finds its own Roche limit soon. Otherwise, this thing is going to collapse under far too oppressive a gravity.

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6.0
Rowans Ruin #1

Oct 7, 2015

Rowans Ruin #1 will most likely be paired with Scott Snyder's Wytches, which I don't think is too far off a comparison, depending on how well this team can follow up this issue. In my opinion, it needs to back away from the more blatant scares (i.e., the Scooby Doo zombie guy) and ramp up its more atmospherically simmering menace, if it wants to become a valuable new addition to indie comics' collective horror obsession. If it can do that, I'll continue to be on this story, both in rise and in ruin.

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6.0
Rowans Ruin #2

Nov 4, 2015

But we're back to what I said before – I still like Rowans Ruin #2, and will definitely give it at least one more issue to see if it settles into itself and can kick the story open a bit. It's certainly not an action-packed, gripping supernatural adventure, but rather a more methodical slow burn… with millennial speak. So I guess Veronica Mars fans might instantly dig it, but for others it will be a more acquired taste.

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4.0
Rowans Ruin #3

Dec 2, 2015

I am sticking with this book until its end, but am thankful that said end comes with only one more issue attached. Hopefully the team can wrap it up in a package that makes Rowans Ruin more than just the sum of its parts, but I remain dubious that this will become anything other than decent-looking shelf gristle.

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8.0
Shaper #1

Mar 19, 2015

Despite some of my misgivings, I'll be sticking around Shaper for issues to come, for what I feel will be a somewhat oddly-paced, but otherwise fresh-faced space chase.

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6.0
Shaper #2

Apr 15, 2015

Like its first issue, though much less literally, Shaper #2 ends on a bit of a shock, but it boasts a much more evenly-paced build to that crescendo and for all its faults, is a book I plan on sticking with for a while. It wouldn't call it a necessarily vital read, but if you've got a spare four bucks and an empty space in your pile this week, definitely check it out.

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10
Space Riders #1

Apr 1, 2015

All-in, Space Riders #1 is a tremendous start for the series and a general achievement, not just for this team, but for Black Mask Studios, which, thanks to books like 2013's Ballistic and the recent We Can Never Go Home, is quickly becoming my favorite "one to watch" publisher. I feel completely unabashed and totally justified in giving this puppy a perfect score, for being the comic book equivalent of a "sex hammer," because it just fucking nails it.

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8.0
Space Riders #2

May 13, 2015

Space Riders #2 won't be for everyone, relegated mostly to those readers with a good sense of humor and childlike whimsy. Its second issue does have a few hiccups in that it jumps around at points with perhaps a bit too disordered an attention deficit, but it remains one of the single best forms of entertainment you could possibly spend money on this week.

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8.0
Space Riders #3

Jun 17, 2015

I look forward to reading this book every single damn time it drops, and while next issue will be its last (hopefully not ever), I'm excited to see how Space Riders will end; not to mention how it will look as a trade, hopefully with a decent collection of concept art and a comprehensive list of the drugs these guys are taking.

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10
Space Riders #4

Oct 7, 2015

Not for the first time, and despite its near four-month delay, I am giving Space Riders a perfect score. Together, Rangel, Ziritt and Black Mask have delivered to us all a true gem of comics, one that I expect…nay, demand to see as the crown jewel on many year-end lists.

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6.0
Spread #4

Nov 5, 2014

As the writer himself notes in the back matter, the middle of a run like this is always going to be problematic, but I think the team here is doing well enough in throwing a fresh pair of paint on a tried-and-true canvas. In that, I wouldn't call Spread #4 an absolute must, but it's also most definitely not a bust, and I for one am staying aboard to see it through.

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4.0
Spread #5

Jan 21, 2015

I was pumped when Spread first dropped, and have enjoyed it in varying turns since. I'm stepping back from the series for now, but rest assured that I'll be the first one back if it can recapture its consistency and once again realize its promise.

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10
Supreme: Blue Rose #3

Sep 17, 2014

You have to forgive me if I'm brazilian waxing too philosophical in this review, but I tend to go overboard like this when I get excited. I could also – very easily – be getting everything wrong, but with something like Supreme Blue Rose, that's also half the fun.

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8.0
Supreme: Blue Rose #4

Oct 15, 2014

As I mentioned earlier, Supreme Blue Rose isn't going to be for everybody, but if you dig stories about the transcendental nature of comic book characters caught adrift in their own chaotic continuity, you might want to check this one out.

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8.0
Supreme: Blue Rose #5

Dec 10, 2014

The only thing I wasn't over the moon about this issue was its ending, which felt like it came prematurely, but that doesn't stop me from recommending Supreme Blue Rose to anyone looking for a book that actually makes you think, and entertains you so fully and satisfyingly in the process.

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8.0
Supreme: Blue Rose #6

Jan 14, 2015

As much as I loved Supreme Blue Rose #6, this is where I check out from reviewing the series. That's not to say I won't continue loyally reading it every month, but I'm not sure there is much more to say. I recently gave it my vote for 2014's best new reboot, but after a few years, I think we'll look back on it as something much, much more important to the medium. I don't think I could give it much higher praise than that.

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6.0
Supreme: Blue Rose #7

Mar 4, 2015

Supreme Blue Rose has been one hell of a ride through semi-formed ideas and the actual process of story building. While the pacing made this finale feel slightly choked at the bottleneck of unused ideas (purposefully, it could perhaps be argued), as a whole, this incredibly gorgeous and thought-provoking miniseries has successfully bolstered the fascinating study that the Supreme conceptual legacy has become.

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10
The Auteur: Sister Bambi #1

May 7, 2015

If you want tongue-in-(butt)cheek comics that tickle your neck while going for the jugular, accept no substitutes… because, quite frankly, there are none.

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10
The Auteur: Sister Bambi #2

Jun 25, 2015

I honestly don't know what else to say about this book, or how better to pitch it. And I might need to stop reviewing it altogether, because I probably just sound like a very broken record at this point. But suffice it to say that you should be reading The Auteur: Sister Bambi (as well as its original series), buying it with all the money you are able to throw. If you want comics that take chances, don't hold back and offer truly new ways to test your limits and those of the medium, this is where you need to be. Period.

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8.0
The Auteur: Sister Bambi #3

Jul 29, 2015

I don't think this ranks as high against the other incredible issues of this series, and it may rely a bit too heavily on the way it frames its loaded argument. But while it's not quite up to snuff with the issues that have preceded it, that still makes it better and more worthwhile than about 98% of all other comics out there. And that's saying something.

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10
The Auteur: Sister Bambi #4

Sep 16, 2015

And it does all of this while suplexing crazy murder zombie lions.

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10
The Delinquents #2

Sep 17, 2014

Despite taking a longer release time than is desirable, and maybe because of it, Delinquents #2 is a comic book that does not skimp on story. From start to finish, this thing delivers full-on, gassed-up comic bookery of the highest order, and if you're not reading it, maybe it's you who's off the rails.

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10
The Delinquents #3

Oct 22, 2014

In its winks, sly smirks and out-loud ostentation, The Delinquents #3 continues the unfortunately-impermanent miniseries' standing as one of the most purely entertaining comic books on the stands right now. If you're missing it, I honestly feel terrible for you.

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8.0
The Delinquents #4

Nov 29, 2014

In the end, I've loved every minute of The Delinquents and hold it to be a great exemplar of the Valiant voice: unconventional, irreverent an most of all, fun.

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2.0
The Discipline #1

Mar 2, 2016

Unfortunately, that isn't enough to keep me on-board with The Discipline. I'm not dropping it necessarily out of protest, but because it does not do well the thing it's trying to do, relying too heavily on the manufactured hype of reputation that precedes it. Satisfy your own curiosity in reading it if you must, but don't expect the satisfying sexual experience you may be promised.

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8.0
The Dying and the Dead #1

Jan 28, 2015

It may just be the start, and it's nearly impossible to say where this will lead, but I found The Dying and The Dead #1 a satisfying amuse-bouche for what promises to be a decadent narrative feast.

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8.0
The Dying and the Dead #2

Apr 1, 2015

If you can muster the patience for its already meticulous build (and the admittedly longer wait between issues), then The Dying and The Dead #2 will be right up your street. It certainly was mine; and while I have no idea where it's going, I am very much looking forward to how it's going to get there. Sort of like Life. And Death.

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8.0
The Dying and the Dead #3

Sep 2, 2015

Still, The Dying and The Dead continues to be captivating storytelling in every regard. If you've been sleeping on it so far, you'd be forgiven for waiting until its 2016 comeback, and leave the waiting on bated breath for the rest of us suckers.

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4.0
The Empty #1

Feb 11, 2015

Interestingly – or perhaps not – The Empty #1 feels … empty, bringing nothing new to the post-apocalyptic world story and actually coming across as both boring and actively insulting. I'll be keeping an eye on this book, but mostly through a painful wince of what's coming next, rather than legitimate interest. But I live in the sincere hope that Robinson can change my mind or prove me wrong in subsequent issues … dubious though I remain.

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8.0
The Empty Man #4

Sep 24, 2014

I do wish Cullen Bunn had the time to slow down his story, as that is where his mastery shines – in the liner notes – and maybe see Del Rey take more chances with her effectively infectious art, but I am still enjoying the absolute hell out of The Empty Man. With an ending that confuses as much as it folds the various stories into each other, I'll be coming back for another shot of this book next month, for its penultimate issue.

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6.0
The Empty Man #5

Nov 5, 2014

While The Empty Man #5 was far from the book's best entry, I'll still be sticking around for the grand finale. Unfortunately, I fear that's more of a commitment to finishing it off than actually being interested in what may happen next.

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4.0
The Empty Man #6

Dec 10, 2014

If you've been keeping up with The Empty Man, you should at very least get to this point, not because it necessarily finishes everything you want, but just to see if it'll have something for you if and when it continues. As for me, I think I'll sit the next round of infection out.

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6.0
The Goddamned #1

Nov 11, 2015

While it's an intriguing, gorgeously sullied story that will undoubtedly congeal in some very cool ways (I mean, who doesn't want to see Cain vs. Noah?), I wasn't blown away by The Goddamned #1. But what it has set up is more than enough to keep that old Christian myth-obsessed side of me sated for now, and wanting to consume more next time.

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8.0
The Goddamned #2

Dec 16, 2015

So, while I was fairly resigned after reading The Goddamned #1, I have to say that its second issue was just the pick-me-up / tantalizing taste of things to come that this series needed to get me back on-board. Noah pun intended.

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8.0
The Goddamned #3

Feb 24, 2016

My about-face on The Goddamned continues after this issue, thanks to a combined visual and narrative style that evokes its story better than the source material. Which is the fucking bible, by the way.

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6.0
The Manhattan Projects: The Sun Beyond the Stars #1

Mar 18, 2015

Even with a name like "The Sun Beyond the Stars," and with all of the positive things going for it, this isn't the best The Manhattan Projects has to offer. Don't get me wrong, it has boat-loads of charm, but it doesn't grab me the same way the first three trades of the original series did. So while I enjoyed its easy wit, it also lacked the challenging spirit of the book's origins. Fun? Absolutely. But in a way, it felt almost too limber. Still, I'll most definitely be sticking around, if just to see where this star trek boldly goes.

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6.0
The Manhattan Projects: The Sun Beyond the Stars #2

Jul 29, 2015

Ours is but to wonder, unfortunately, but the delay isn't doing this book any favors. And while it remains in its middle-of-the-road malaise as a total package, its art is simply too good, and too one-of-a-kind, for me to pass up. At least for now.

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4.0
The Surface #1

Mar 11, 2015

I'll stick around The Surface for a couple more issues to see if its depth is anything more than the facade its name implies, but I do so warily and with no small amount of anxiety that his so-called "Psychomagic" is all just smoke and mirrors.

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6.0
The Surface #2

Apr 8, 2015

Overall, I still don't hate The Surface, and I think its second issue is a much better, more intriguing and well-constructed read than its mis-paced number one. But particularly Kot has a lot of ground to cover if he wants to make it more appealing as a strong work of metafiction on anything but a visual level alone.

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4.0
The Surface #3

Jun 17, 2015

I can't remember how many issues The Surface is planned out for at Image, but unless it takes a massive turn next issue, this will most likely be my last gasp with the series. Given what this team is capable of, I came into the project expecting much more than is being given, and still live in hope that it will morph into something truly great. But for now, I've only found a thing reliant on a rehash of what passed for interesting 20 years ago.

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8.0
Tokyo Ghost #1

Sep 16, 2015

To broaden that idea of a first line, inaugural issues, too, are important; to set tone, atmosphere and of course, interest. And in both the phenomenal initial hook for this issue, and it being itself a great way in to what I think will be an intriguing story, Tokyo Ghost #1 scintillates. And I for one will be coming back for more copulation next time.

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8.0
Tokyo Ghost #2

Oct 24, 2015

Visually stunning with a topical narrative that takes a stance without feeling pretentious, all wrapped in a fun steampunk adventure, Tokyo Ghost #2 is a fantastic complexity of factors that ranks pretty damn high on my list of recommendations. Definitely check it out!

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10
Tokyo Ghost #3

Nov 18, 2015

What else can I say other than I fucking love every bit of this book, and this issue especially. In a library increasingly buoyed by truly stellar work, Tokyo Ghost stands as Image Comics' most brilliant and seductive gem.

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6.0
Tokyo Ghost #4

Dec 18, 2015

Even with some of its problems, which may very well have only rubbed me the wrong way, I'm still high on Tokyo Ghost, both because of its art, but also because its last page tease of a "returning character" bodes interesting times for our heroes going forward; as does the big character death this issue. I do hope Remender can fold some of the weaker elements this issue back into the story with later issues explaining them, and that Murphy and Hollingsworth can continue to keep pace. If that can be managed, then I'll continue coming back to get stirred by Tokyo Ghost's haunt for many issues to come.

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10
Tokyo Ghost #5

Jan 20, 2016

Given the cliffhanger and, at least to me, completely unexpected ending, it is uncertain where Tokyo Ghost will pick up after it returns to stands this Spring; but one thing is without question: I will be there when it does. And you should be, too.

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8.0
Trespasser #1

Feb 10, 2016

I enjoyed the absolute hell out of Trespasser #1 as a completive comic dutifully written and illustrated, all for a damn-near criminal steal at $1.99. For a quiet story that will resound for days, look no further than here.

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10
Trespasser #2

Apr 13, 2016

We're still not sure bout any of it, being kept at an arm's length from the answers; but the questions are so well anchored, so grounded in this relationship and what little we've seen in this world, that it almost doesn't matter. It's the getting-there that is important — which, let me be clear, is the very craft, beauty…hell, the entire fucking point of storytelling — and so far, this creative team has made that journey a spectacularly enticing one. And they have done so by teasing it out with a less-is-more approach, which initially made me okay with a one-off tale, and now makes me demand more.

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8.0
Valiant Sized Quantum and Woody #1

Dec 3, 2014

Anyone missing books like the recently-cancelled Superior Foes should fill that vacuum with Valiant-Sized Quantum and Woody. It is a deliciously filling morsel for both regular and new fans alike, and a great way to tide yourself over until Quantum and Woody Must Die #1 drops (with mafackin' Steve Lieber art) in the new year.

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6.0
Vampblade #1

Feb 3, 2016

As she collapses in the postcoital bliss that follows her nerdgasm of wish fulfillment, it becomes just as impossible to take Vampblade seriously, as it is not to enjoy it. And in that way, it has something else in common with Ms. Marvel: they both explore empowerment and the ability to feel comfortable with whatever skin you find yourself in. Of course, instead of heavy-handed, feel-good life lessons about racial and religious tolerance, we get piercing leather-clad nut kicks, nipple chains and nigh-bare butts. To-may-to, to-mah-to, though, am I right?

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6.0
Voracious #1

Jan 6, 2016

I'm definitely going to stick with Voracious for the time being. Like so many Action Lab: Danger Zone books that have come before it, this is a comic with great potential, both in its sense of humor, its artistic reach and the intriguing unfurl of its highly entertaining story.

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6.0
Voracious #2

Mar 9, 2016

Voracious has some truly great things going on in it, both in the story itself, and in some of its periphery; that recipe for "Dr. Kay's Troodon Sausage Stuffing" is a nice touch, for example. I continue to thoroughly enjoy this book, and remain hungry for more to come!

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8.0
Voracious #3

Apr 13, 2016

Given the trajectory of this book so far, it's almost a sure bet that we'll see his evolution, as well as Naso's as a writer, happen as it occurs, which I'm looking forward to quite a bit. In fact, after reading this issue, I have to say I'm the most excited I've been about Voracious since hearing its name and reading its solicits. This is a fantastic example of a creative team picking up its ball and running like hell with it. Great work, all around.

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