Steven Phillips's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Comic Bastards Reviews: 76
6.2Avg. Review Rating

8.0
4001 A.D. #1

May 10, 2016

I don't know how much of 4001 will take place in space or how much will be dedicated to the Rai/Father battle. And without looking ahead at Valiant's publishing schedule, I can only guess who will poke their head in on this event. Pretty much anything could happen. Issue one has my interest and my attention because I'm a fan of thoughtfully doled out bombast; 4001 has some to spare. This event is off to a good start.

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6.0
4001 A.D. #2

Jun 1, 2016

The book trades focus for scale. And, though the art benefits from this hugeness and grandeur, the characters become inconsequential. Let's hope things get better.

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6.0
4001 A.D.: Shadowman #1

Jul 6, 2016

Those looking for a concrete connection to the 4001 A.D. event aren't given much to work with here. The whole 4001 Valiant universe feels very much like an editorially mandated mix of loose affiliations. The writing team does an acceptable job shoving the Rai/Father war into the context of a largely unrelated conflict. Shadowman is a satisfying short story that doesn't require its connection to 4001 A.D. to hold together. I'm ambivalent as to whether or not that needless bond holds this story back or if it injects an exciting instigating event in the third act. Since you can enjoy this one-shot with zero knowledge of the summer event, I'll hesitantly recommend 4001 A.D.: Shadowman on its own merits, though only if you're very curious about the dark margins of the future Valiant universe.

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6.0
4001 A.D.: Bloodshot #1

Jun 8, 2016

It all adds up to what feels like a very complete, generally satisfying science fiction story. However, as a tie-in to this year's Valiant event, 4001 A.D.: Bloodshot is inessential.

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4.0
Aloha, Hawaiian Dick #1

Apr 13, 2016

There's a lot of reverence for mid-century crime fiction here. But that reverence never parts to reveal a unique identity. None of the rote dialog translates to insight nor does it earn any interest on the part of the reader.

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6.0
Another Castle #1

Mar 2, 2016

All that said — there's something here. The weak writing isn't straight-up bad. It just fails to bring any life to its premise. Instead this issue of Another Castle is being dragged behind beautiful art and the promise of a more involving set of adventures.

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8.0
Aquaman (2016) #5

Aug 17, 2016

Our story ends with what should be a predictable appearance. It is instead a pleasant surprise. As a Justice League member, Aquaman cannot act within a vacuum. His actions and plights are not limited to him in terms of blowback. One of the more interesting elements of Aquaman's mythology is the way he has to prioritize his hero work with his leadership duties. The events of this series so far constitute a major international incident that threatens to destroy Atlantis' image on the global stage. Abnett is doing an admirable job pressuring Aquaman from both sides of his sense of duty. Perhaps the events of this issue will increase the pressure. Perhaps the demands of duty will be relieved somewhat moving forward. Either way, I'm confident this creative team will hold your attention for at least a little while. You know, until this all gets wiped from continuity.

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6.0
Avatarex #1

May 27, 2016

Morrison's story could prove interesting moving forward partly because it doesn't show it hand too early. The brief glimpse of action is reserved. Our view into humanity is fleeting, but effective. While the bulk of issue one focuses on amazing sights, it is clearly the setup for something much grander. Your satisfaction with this issue may not match your curiosity for future installments. In other words, this intriguing beginning may only be that — a beginning with an uncertain payoff.

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8.0
Brooklyn Animal Control (One-Shot) #1

Dec 9, 2015

It has a fairly typical premise. The world we know is a carefully manicured cover-up. A young man clumsily begins to see things as they truly are. We've seen it. But if you can look beyond how well-worn some of its elements are, you can get a lot of entertainment from this book. Brooklyn Animal Control has a satisfying arc that ends with plenty of potential.

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8.0
Deluge #1

Jan 13, 2016

Deluge immediately captures your attention and doesn't slow its pace or tension until you've turned the final page. Oliva's approach to story-telling allows for rapid, energizing forward momentum. There aren't many moving parts to this drama, but Deluge operates them all in accord.

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4.0
Deluge #2

Feb 3, 2016

Deluge #1 was an intriguing introduction. Deluge #2 just feels like a joyless march toward a pointless end.

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8.0
Dishonored #1

Aug 3, 2016

This opening issue sets up multiple plot points and fits in several decent action beats, making good use of its length with a few exceptions. Writer Gordon Rennie has crafted a set of curious threads that he can hopefully tie together by the end of this promising arc.

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6.0
Dragon Age: Magekiller #1

Dec 2, 2015

Overall, Dragon Age: Magekillers #1 starts something interesting but stops just short of fully earning your time. I hesitantly recommend checking it out even if the continent of Thedas is your second home. My recommendation is built largely on expectation for future issues and the promise of further developments.

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8.0
Dragon Age: Magekiller #2

Jan 20, 2016

If this issue is about the caper, issue three promises to address an overwhelming crisis. It should be interesting to see how a couple of assassins handle a much larger threat to the land of Thedas.

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6.0
Dragon Age: Magekiller #3

Feb 17, 2016

Priority and responsibility seem to be central themes of this issue. Faced with the potential end of the world, our protagonists easily slip into the roles of heroes. As a result not much happens in issue three of Magekiller. Tessa gets fleshed out nicely. And the closing panels set up a major change to our heroes' motivation and direction. It's a good momentum-sustaining issue.

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4.0
Dragon Age: Magekiller #4

Mar 16, 2016

Issue four of Dragon Age: Magekiller isn't enough book to deserve your time, despite how entertaining previous issues have been. Let's hope things can get back on track as the series continues.

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4.0
Escape From Monster Island #1

Feb 3, 2016

The dialogue progresses in a remarkably predictable fashion, with little concern for the gravity of the mission. The clichs and tropes fly by so rapidly and casually, it's easy to hope Escape From Monster Island is attempting to satirize action cinema. But, by the final page, it becomes clear that the book is only really interested in monster fights. And to the comic's credit, the monsters are excellently illustrated. However, issue one doesn't leave a lot of room for those monster fights because of the necessary exposition. Nor does the comic build tension or drama in anticipation of future monster encounters. So despite spending nearly every page on our characters and their perils, Escape From Monster Island fails to generate any real interest in their well-being or collective ultimate fate. Worse, what few pages are spent on monsters is bereft of excitement, wonder, or curiosity.

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4.0
Evil Heroes #1

Aug 3, 2016

“Yo, what if the good guys were the bad guys?” asked someone, apparently. Well, thankfully, that question has been answered… many times, by better books, and with more subtlety than what we see here. E.V.I.L. Heroes is a premise wandering through decently illustrated pages of destruction in search of a point. I had middling hopes for this book based on the high concept presented by the title. And while I'm certain someone will find some satisfaction in yet again watching villainous versions of valiant heroes, I'm just bored by it.

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8.0
Faith (Mini-Series) #2

Feb 24, 2016

Issue two of Faith kind of leaves me waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak. It is still early in its run, so there's plenty of time for the tone to turn sour. This issue's events put the major facets of Faith's life in peril all at once. Perhaps for the first time she'll be faced with an impossible choice with no simple way out. Our hopeful, cheerful protagonist will surely endure many trials that will run contrary to her world view. I'm hoping we see her triumph and maintain her outlook, while still growing into a worldlier and thick-skinned hero.

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6.0
Ghostbusters: Deviations (One Shot) #1

Mar 16, 2016

Sad to say, this book is really bland. No one gets to stand out. Although everyone gets a moment in the dim spotlight. I can't muster a lot of excitement for the proceedings because the plot is extremely uneventful. No suspense. No horror. Plenty of tepid humor. Kelly Thompson's writing strips Gozer of nearly all his menace. And whether or not that chafes you will depend on how much silliness you want in your horror/comedy mix. As a petulant foil, Gozer is a little funny. And, if given enough room outside of a one-shot, his character could be quite charming in his disdain for his time on Earth. But, overall Ghostbusters: Deviations is weak and not as interested in the alternate reality concept as I think it should be.

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4.0
Godzilla: Rage Across Time #1

Aug 24, 2016

Where will the atomic gorilla whale show up next? Will these stories be confined to Japan? When will he pilot a mech in space? No matter. I'm excited to follow the further adventures of this accidentally heroic monstrosity, wherever they lead him.

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4.0
Gutter Magic #1

Nov 23, 2015

Gutter Magic offers intriguing gestures toward a world of wonder, without much in the way of follow-through. This is to low fantasy what cyberpunk is to hard science fiction. It's dirty, rough, paranoid, and dangerous. I hope subsequent issues can rally the comic's strengths and better support that core. I hope the book gets where it's going soon.

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6.0
Gutter Magic #2

Feb 10, 2016

With this issue, I'm on board with whatever Douek and company have planned. I'm concerned about whether or not the plot can delve deeper into its lore without stumbling over its own feet or ignoring character growth. However, I'm all-in-all optimistic for Gutter Magic's future issues.

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6.0
Gutter Magic #3

Mar 9, 2016

Issue three of Gutter Magic isn't filled with exposition, nor is there a ton of development. If, however, an issue needs to serve as an excuse to get the reader to the series' final destination, you could find worse vehicles.

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6.0
Gutter Magic #4

Apr 20, 2016

Issue four adds to the series via bits of mythos, but I'm only going to recommend it for the sake of closure.

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6.0
Harley Quinn and Her Gang Of Harleys #1

Apr 13, 2016

Really, the only big weakness in Harley Quinn and Her Gang of Harleys is the gang itself. They have distinct personalities that are certainly each given time to shine. However, they come across as little more than a handful of character traits and costume choices. The first issue's ending suggests we'll be getting deeper explorations of the gang's personal lives and motivations. Honestly, though, I don't know how one would write a better introduction here. Issue one might have been able to ditch its lead a little earlier to allow the gang more spotlight. But that would leave you with a bunch of unfamiliar faces competing for your attention. Issue two seems like it will better showcase the gang and their interpersonal relationships. And that's something the book needs more of.

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6.0
House of Penance #1

Mar 23, 2016

By the end, House of Penance carries you through your confusion with hideous sights. I can't say I'm looking forward to where the story goes. It is a really unpleasant experience of ugly people and ugly things happening in a world that barely seems to hold itself together. I'm interested, but not enough to feel driven to endure more of this flavor of horror.

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6.0
Hyper Force Neo #1

Apr 27, 2016

By the end of issue one I was fatigued and on the verge of a headache. But, I'd still recommend the book. It's a decent all-ages title that lacks coherence at times, but delivers enough fun, good-natured energy to warrant a try.

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6.0
Irwin Allen's Lost In Space: The Lost Adventures #1

Mar 16, 2016

Irwin Allen's Lost in Space: The Lost Adventure is commendable as a place for an unproduced. TV script. It remains to be seen if the rest of the story can take full advantage of the medium or if the book will flounder due to its small screen origin.

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6.0
Irwin Allen's Lost In Space: The Lost Adventures #2

Apr 27, 2016

On one hand I want to give the script the benefit of the doubt because of its roots as a show from the Sixties. On the other hand, I expect and hope the writing will make better use of its remaining characters. As of issue two they just sort of wait around and fret over the men folk. It isn't particularly interesting to watch, especially in an issue devoted to people standing confusedly in front of a rock wall. Hopefully things will pick up in that regard.

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6.0
Jem and the Holograms #11

Jan 27, 2016

Jem and the Holograms #11 marches on with the series' central ethos of aggressive beauty floating in a sea of dissonance while orbiting a tired old moral regarding the power of friendship. But Jem manages to be about the power of friendship without also being the most insultingly trite thing you've ever read. I can probably predict where the “Dark Jem” arc is going, but getting there will likely be a fun and charming ride.

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8.0
Jem and the Holograms #12

Feb 24, 2016

Issue twelve delivers a very satisfying amount of story in a single issue. And next issue seems to promise a focus on how Pizzazz is dealing with abandonment, obsolescence and her possibly career-ending injury. Should be fun!

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8.0
Jem and the Holograms #13

Mar 30, 2016

There's one thing in particular worth loving about Jem and the Holograms — while it may not be especially inventive, but it refuses to be boring. And hard to predict. I'm excited about what the future holds for these characters because the writing takes time to give them charming, relatable, attractive, and sympathetic identities, complete with foibles and strengths. Perhaps we'll get to peer inside Synergy's personal problems in future issues, as she's the least developed of our main characters. Maybe the bands will merge into a super group with Blaze at the helm as Jerrica finally has that important talk with Rio. There are many places the series can go. And there are few reasons not to go there.

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6.0
Jem and the Holograms #15

May 25, 2016

Issue fifteen is a weaker installment, one that doesn't feel crucial to the overall Dark Jem plot. Ultimately the whole issue is a lead-up to a big reveal that isn't given the dramatic weight it deserves. Not a bad issue by any stretch of the imagination, but kind of a weak one.

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6.0
Jem and the Holograms #16

Jun 29, 2016

As stated before, the climax of this issue won't appeal to every reader. Naturally. But, after following the Dark Jem arc from start to finish, I find myself slightly under whelmed by how it resolves.

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8.0
Jem and the Holograms #18

Aug 31, 2016

There's an inherent mystery to a story about change. I have to wonder how theses bands are going to look by the end of the story arc. I further wonder how much growth will take place from the beginning of this story to the start of the next. Many things are up in the air, and I hope they land somewhere interesting instead of hitting the ground and rolling under the couch to be forgotten.

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8.0
Jem and the Holograms #19

Sep 21, 2016

The proper introduction to the Stingers is downplayed while hinting at potentially dangerous repercussions for both our main bands. It was a good — if inevitable — idea to place a third, wild card faction into the mix. While the story so far has been about struggles between and within the Holograms and Misfits, the Stingers present some welcome variety. I'm continually entertained by Thompson's ability to take a lifestyle most can't relate to and make it feel accessible. A very strong issue, all in all.

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6.0
Kong of Skull Island #2

Aug 17, 2016

If you're here for the human drama, you're out of luck. There's plenty of humans and tons of drama. But it all feels so petty when the world looks to be falling apart around our characters. If you want giant monster fights, you're only going to get a little of that. There are an almost comical number of panels where the Kong just sit in the background, waiting to get in the game. None of Kong of Skull Island #2 is bad. The highs just aren't as high or consistent as I feel they could be.

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6.0
Leaving Megalopolis: Surviving Megalopolis #1

Jan 7, 2016

Reading Leaving Megalopolis: Surviving Megalopolis feels like I'm constantly trying to catch up. It's entertaining enough, but leaves me wanting the script to meet me halfway.

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6.0
Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #2

Jun 29, 2016

It remains to be seen how the mini will wrap itself up, but I'm unconvinced the destination will suddenly become worth the journey. I can't help but feel the issues could work much better as a single, judiciously edited-down, double-sized issue. As it is, Metal Monsters of Midtown is entertaining, but frustratingly paced.

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6.0
Lobster Johnson: Metal Monsters of Midtown #3

Jul 27, 2016

Zonjic's art holds together for the most part, subtle when needed and explosive when called upon to inject excitement. However, there's a stiff and restrained quality to gestures and expressions. Zonjic gets to let loose a bit when we're treated to the horrifying results of the bizarre technology powering our Metal Monsters.

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6.0
Lobster Johnson: The Forgotten Man (One Shot) #1

Apr 6, 2016

Arcudi and Mignola write a tale that moves with confidence and speed, allowing each scene to last long enough to serve a purpose.

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6.0
Luna the Vampire #1

Jan 13, 2016

Skipping breathlessly from panel to panel, The Adventures of Luna the Vampire #1 is almost a trifle, but an enjoyably goofy one. Nothing about it will stick with you for much longer than it takes to finish reading.

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6.0
Luna the Vampire #2

Feb 10, 2016

The Adventures of Luna the Vampire's writing retains the macabre enthusiasm and absurd fun that propels the artwork from cover the cover. If you can stand the gross but cutesy artwork, you've already decided you're along for the ride.

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6.0
Midnight Task Force #1

Aug 25, 2016

And yet that does not make a book great or good. It makes something passable. Scratch the surface and you'll see a very plain, somewhat successful noir pastiche.

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4.0
Miss Fury Vol. 2 #1

Apr 6, 2016

There's nothing much going on here. And I doubt future issues will be made less coherent if you skip this one. Better luck next time, Miss Fury.

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6.0
Nightwing (2016) #1

Jul 27, 2016

The premise for this new volume comes across as writer Tim Seeley playing around with our hero's sense of vulnerability. So, by necessity, the writing feels like it's performing without a net. We'll see how that works out.

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8.0
Nightwing: Rebirth #1

Jul 13, 2016

This is an excellent intro to the life of Dick Grayson. And it does an exceptional job teasing future storylines.

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4.0
Orphan Black: Helsinki #1

Nov 18, 2015

Orphan Black: Helsinki isn't creative enough with the show's premise (I looked it up, after the fact) out of the gate. As much as I like Veera as a protagonist, the army of writers seems somewhat more interested in expanding their mythos than in lingering on their lead character.

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6.0
Orphan Black: Helsinki #3

Jan 27, 2016

Issue three turns up the horror of living without power, a horror that only breaks when the story flinches away from the girls. Even then this issue's tertiary characters are struggling under creeping dread. Sudden changes to a strictly enforced status quo have left our antagonists anxious. It should be interesting to see if and how they reassert their power. And as that happens, how will our team of clones react to prove their own might?

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4.0
Overtaken #2

Mar 30, 2016

All-in-all, just a very bland read, though inoffensively so. A mild curiosity at best.

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8.0
Robyn Hood: 2015 Holiday Special #1

Nov 18, 2015

This is my first exposure to the Robyn Hood character and I will probably seek out her further adventures.

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4.0
ROM: Revolution #1

Sep 21, 2016

The comics medium allows for scenes of action that actually earn the "epic" description. Unfortunately, Rom: Revolution #1 doesn't fare well in that regard. The action feels strangely muted, confined by mundane settings and tepid banter. The art is fine if more than a little messy. Every panel is a little too heavily inked for my taste. The fights are certainly illustrated decently and with enough clarity that they are never confusing. Rom: Revolution's main problem comes from its structure. Rom tries to avoid a Wraith fight; Wraith eggs him on; Rom reluctantly fights Wraith while struggling to understand his opponent. It's repetitive to a maddening degree. Coupled with the non-linear structure of the plot, the repetition is difficult to settle into. Or care about. Or recommend.

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6.0
Skybourne #1

Sep 8, 2016

For all its exquisitely vibrant and vicious violence, there isn't much to say about this issue. I can't really recommend the first issue on its own unless you're particularly fond of Cho's art… or of fisting.

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6.0
Space Battle Lunchtime #1

May 10, 2016

Space Battle Lunchtime is inoffensive and promising, but so far not fully engaging.

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6.0
Space Battle Lunchtime #2

Jun 15, 2016

I really hope Peony escapes becoming a bland character surrounded by a far more interesting universe. She has moments when there seems to be something burning just beneath the surface of her placid demeanor. Notably, Peony clearly hates being underestimated. However, she typically occupies space while things happen around her. I know the technique has fallen out of favor in recent years, but I think Space Battle Lunchtime would benefit from a little inner monologue. Peony is so inaccessible to us it leaves her buried under her fun, creative, and constantly active surroundings.

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4.0
Space Battle Lunchtime #3

Jul 13, 2016

I don't know how well the series will hold up. The structure is beginning to wear thin, the characters are in a holding pattern, and I'm losing interest in the competition that gives the book its name. Space Battle Lunchtime hasn't lost me yet, but I'm not tremendously optimistic about the book's future.

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8.0
Street Fighter Unlimited #1

Dec 8, 2015

Unlimited hits its stride at more than halfway through. The dialog doesn't pick up until other dude, Ken, comes around to deliver some common sense and a bit of levity to the otherwise — up to that point — stolid and predictable writing. Our characters actually pull of in-battle chatter in a way that moves the plot and elucidates their personalities. Their postures and styles are well-illustrated. The fights are easy to follow. And Unlimited takes advantage of its medium to convey Ryu's inner turmoil through combat and words simultaneously. I'm looking forward to seeing where Ryu's path takes him, even if I probably know most of the story beats already.

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6.0
Street Fighter Unlimited #2

Jan 20, 2016

I wish Street Fight Unlimited's team had more freedom to explore character relationships and designs. However, they are bound by the constraints of the license more than restrictions of talent.

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8.0
Superwoman #1

Aug 10, 2016

Superwoman#1 is a very well put together opening that ends with a question you'll want to see answered sooner rather than later.

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6.0
Superwoman #2

Sep 14, 2016

Superwoman has promise, but only if you can look past any disappointment at the loss of the first issue's potential.

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6.0
Surgeon X #1

Sep 8, 2016

Surgeon X presumably has a message. To some, this book might come across as manipulative scare-mongering. And I'm not convinced that's an inaccurate appraisal. That really remains to be seen. What's obvious is that Sara Kenney knows the subject matter and wants to say something, but this issue fumbles a bit in the delivery of that message.

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8.0
The Shadow Glass #1

Mar 23, 2016

The Shadow Glass #1 is an excellent opening issue. It displays an infectious understanding and appreciation of the comic medium that can't be denied. The storytelling takes familiar hero's journey concepts and, without mindless referential self-indulging, crafts a genuinely engaging narrative. I only hope future issues can keep to this level of quality.

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8.0
The Shadow Glass #3

May 18, 2016

Great fiction tends to transcend its genre to express something poignant about being human. In that respect, The Shadow Glass is less about breaching supernatural veils and more about the almost universally terrible transition into adulthood. Issue three in particular is frank and beautiful in its depiction of the terrifying confusion of awakening sexuality.

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4.0
The Six Million Dollar Man: Fall of Man #1

Jul 13, 2016

There's potential here for a more entertaining work, but what we're given is just potential without payout. The next few issues of the mini can easily swing toward excellence. Right now, it's just shy of mediocre.

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6.0
The Six Million Dollar Man: Fall of Man #2

Aug 10, 2016

This issue is a slight improvement over the first, mostly due to more visually interesting antagonists. Beyond that, however, Fall of Man is bland at best.

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4.0
The Six Million Dollar Man: Fall of Man #3

Sep 14, 2016

Six Million Dollar Man: Fall of Man works best if you relax and let the action wash over you. Though, really, that's like asking you to turn off your brain. Thinking should not hurt your enjoyment of a thing. And, in this case, thinking is the enemy.

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8.0
The Violent #1

Dec 9, 2015

This is the first issue in a five-issue arc titled “Blood like Tar” and I look forward to seeing where the next four issues take Mason. I'm also more than a little terrified.

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8.0
The Violent #3

Mar 2, 2016

In issue two of The Violent, Mason crossed a moral event horizon. In the third issue, Brisson has Mason give in to an inexorable gravitational pull of self-destruction. It seems highly unlikely this story will end happily for most characters. And the quiet simmer is becoming a violent boil.

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8.0
The X-Files: Origins #1

Aug 31, 2016

I'm excited about this book, as a casual fan of the television series and as a reader of speculative fiction. The pacing of each half is very efficient, packing a not insignificant amount of backstory into the framing narration. There're fun and suspense in decent amounts. And I can imagine the twist and turns of the plot being very engaging.

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6.0
TMNT: Bebop & Rocksteady Destroy Everything #1

Jun 1, 2016

Despite a few flaws, Rocksteady & Bebop Destroy Everything is shaping up to be a very entertainingly out-of-control time-travel tale.

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6.0
TMNT: Bebop & Rocksteady Destroy Everything #2

Jun 8, 2016

A decently funny and (at very few times) kind of sweet issue.

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8.0
TMNT: Bebop & Rocksteady Destroy Everything #3

Jun 15, 2016

This issue, being the midway point of the mini-series acts as fulcrum. And, boy howdy, does it enact a bunch of changes to increase the book's momentum. It's a really confidently written farce of both time-travel stories and event comics.

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8.0
TMNT: Bebop & Rocksteady Destroy Everything #4

Jun 22, 2016

With most of the development and exploration I've been hoping for, issue four is a good, character-driven chunk of story before the mini-series comes to a close.

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8.0
TMNT: Bebop & Rocksteady Destroy Everything #5

Jun 29, 2016

There's a pleasant sense of closure that doesn't negate the possibility of future consequence and adventure. This mini succeeds as a mini because it pulls elements of the past into a complete story that looks to the future. I don't expect this to be a crucial read for fans obsessed with canon. But as a supplement to the turtle-focused adventures you're most accustomed to, Destroy Everything gets the job done. It's funny and surprisingly touching when you consider it's about a pair of dangerous, time-displaced lunatic freaks.

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4.0
X-O Manowar: Commander Trill #0

Dec 2, 2015

With the barest of plots, functional art, and minimal characterization, Commander Trill #0 is just filler. Sadly, I can't recommend sacrificing your time or money here.

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