Tony Black's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Flickering Myth Reviews: 92
7.3Avg. Review Rating

7
Action Comics (2016) #959

Jul 15, 2016

All the while, the mysterious hooded figure in green continues watching events through monitors and Action Comics compounds the multiple mysteries in play here while edging the narrative on slightly. It's beautifully rendered by Tyler Kirkham, expressionistically conveying not just the major action beats but also the more tender character moments, and his work helps prop up Jurgens' solid writing which nonetheless right now pitches a great deal in a holding pattern. We need to start pulling the trigger on some of these plot points or we're in danger of going in circles, and hopefully that will happen over the next issue or two.

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8
Action Comics (2016) #960

Jul 28, 2016

A very well crafted issue of Action Comics, knee deep in the midst of a storyline while managing to blast us further into the next phase of the plot, which balances strong writing with some really gorgeous artwork – especially when Wonder Woman & Superman are working together, both being terrifically rendered as they battle one of DC's biggest foes. The narrative needs to soon start evolving into a new area, but for now it remains a thrilling arc using some major players really well. Next up, ‘The Doomsday Protocol', which doesn't sound at all ominous!

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8
Action Comics (2016) #961

Aug 15, 2016

Another fine issue from Action Comics, which continues a strong run with this arc, truly making the most of having a powered up Doomsday back wreaking havoc, and it manages to balance both plenty of action (as you'd expect) and character points which continue the journey of everyone in Superman's orbit. The way the issue ends, too, will leave you very excited to see where the story organically develops next.

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8
Action Comics (2016) #962

Aug 30, 2016

Altogether, as numerous character points and one major cliffhanger suggests an exciting future for the story ‘Path of Doom' has given us, Action Comics has delivered with this arc a well written, well drawn story where Jurgens & Segovia have delivered a massive story for Superman while teasing multiple mysteries and exciting stories to follow. The tale isn't of course over, ever, but it's a strong issue to conclude an entertaining overarching tale.

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8
Action Comics (2016) #963

Sep 25, 2016

Even though the action may be scaled back for this issue of Action Comics, the storytelling and characterisation are all there, and it's great that the mystery of the two Clark's, essentially, is being confronted head on. It helps that Patrick Zirchler's artwork is gorgeous, with panels that balance espionage and mystery with heroics as Jurgens' flashback driven script guides Clark's journey. Looking forward to seeing where this one goes.

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7
Action Comics (2016) #964

Oct 5, 2016

Patch Zirchler's artwork here is the best in a while for Action Comics, with an excellent final few pages written to reflect Clark's Daily Planet article after his summit with Superman, which serves to get into the psychology of numerous characters before leading into a curious cliffhanger filled with portent. Though not the most explosive issue, it's an important one for putting plot pieces in play.

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8
Archangel #1

Jul 11, 2016

Overall, even if certain plots beats and character moments lack a certain context at first, Archangel is grown up, curious and thrilling graphic work, written strongly by Gibson & St. John and etched with a beguiling harshness by Guice which neatly complements the dystopic future with post-dystopic past. A really interesting start to what could end up a comic crying out for a TV or movie adaptation down the line...

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7
Archangel #2

Jul 13, 2016

With more tight but attractive artwork by Bruce Guice, the second issue of Archangel continues putting the establishing pieces in place and while not a great deal happens in terms of revelation or forward momentum, it still has plenty of action and suspense within the narrative as these characters swirl further down the rabbit hole, both in 2016 and 1945, for the story to hold your interest. Next issue looks like a turning point that could deliver some wartime glamour, and that should add some extra spice to a limited series that continues to entertain.

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6
Archangel #3

Oct 6, 2016

Nonetheless, Archangel at this point needs the previous elements of story to prop it up, and the subsequent chapters to add the next steps, because on its own its wanting. Well drawn, and Gibson's writing is sharp, it just lacks power and depth. Confident however the next issue will add more necessary shades to get this story back on track.

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8
Big Trouble In Little China / Escape From New York #1

Oct 5, 2016

By the ending, the course of these two has been firmly placed, with a mission to take care of which may explain why and how Jack is where he is – but forget about that! The plot is less important than seeing a really well written Jack in particular blagging his way again through adventure, and the tongue in cheek the whole comic very much has, knowing how silly the concept is. Strangely though, throwing Big Trouble in Little China & Escape from New York together already really works – it's gonna be a fun ride.

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7
Big Trouble In Little China / Escape From New York #2

Nov 14, 2016

At the end of the day, this Big Trouble in Little China meets Escape From New York crossover isn't one to consider too seriously; it's fun, it's loud, its brash and it's completely and utterly mad, and that's precisely the point. Greg Pak's comic so far has been like travelling back to the 80's and watching one of its gloriously silly high concept films come to life again and for that, this event series deserves lots of attention. It also has the promise to get even better as time goes on.

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7
Blue Beetle: Rebirth #1

Aug 31, 2016

In some respects, that's not a bad thing. You get your money's worth with this Rebirth of Blue Beetle but it's going to appeal much more to you if you're a fan of the fast talking, spiky back and forth between characters like Jaime & Kord, and sometimes I can find that a little wearing. Throughout though it's an entertaining and fun read, establishing well who the Blue Beetle is an the relationships between the main characters of the piece, and not wasting time in throwing this particular superhero into the action – Giffen & Kolins get away with doing an origin story without doing one at all, which takes skill, and all throughout its well drawn. Is it essential appointment DC reading? Not sure. It needs time to calm down, bed in and then we'll see.

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6
Deathstroke: Rebirth #1

Aug 16, 2016

Ultimately though, Deathstroke doesn't really fill the Rebirth brief as seamlessly as other comic book runs have done, in re-introducing the character to new readers like myself, primarily because Priest assumes you already have a level of knowledge about Slade Wilson going into the narrative. That's fine, but it makes this one much more for Deathstroke fans and DC completists only, and while it has some neat touches, is well drawn & decently written, going into much darker places than many other DC comics, it didn't do enough to keep me personally along for the ride.

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6
Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen #2

Aug 17, 2016

Once again we're delivered numerous cliffhangers, but they're much more establishing the next phase of the story rather than putting the Doctors in immediate peril, and that sums up this second issue of Supremacy of the Cybermen. It's fun, it's lightweight, it's written by George Mann & Cavan Scott in the vein of Doctor Who, but it doesn't really go anywhere fast, has a few iffy moments of drawing characters, and one senses even for Who it's trying to do too much at once at the expense of letting the myriad of characters breathe. Who fans though will continue lapping this up and it's a big enough story to carry on seeing where it goes.

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7
Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen #3

Oct 6, 2016

You can't fault Scott & Mann for stakes and epic reach with Supremacy of the Cybermen, which continues doing a good job bringing together multiple Doctors and companions to tell a vast narrative, but we're fully in complication phase here which means all plot, and not much substance. It's fun though and Who fans will, as they should, continue lapping it up.

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7
Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen #4

Nov 14, 2016

With the same glowing and bright artwork which has characterised the apocalyptic nature of the entire story, Supremacy of the Cybermen ramps up to odds that are near impossible to overcome, but the beauty of Doctor Who is knowing our hero will find a way. Let's look forward to a barn storming conclusion of an epic, enjoyably overblown series.

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7
Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen #5

Nov 16, 2016

Though not really ever feeling like a meal broken up into issues, as a whole Supremacy of the Cybermen has been an enjoyably epic comic book run, with some great artwork on the whole and a story which takes all the best Who tropes and dials them up to eleven. The denouement is very Doctor Who at its most modern, filled with piss and vinegar, but it brings this large scale tale to an enjoyable conclusion. A five part run worth the time of any Whovian, especially one following all of the comic runs.

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7
Flash (2016) #2

Jul 28, 2016

A series that continues to entertain under writer Joshua Williamson, The Flash‘s second issue retains a solid balance of character work with ongoing story, and one or two little suggestive nods toward the bigger Rebirth arc, and is drawn nice and brightly, with plenty of zest a colourful hero like Barry Allen deserves. A good read.

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8
Flash (2016) #3

Jul 29, 2016

With some fun cameos and mentions of major Flash arcs of the past, the third issue of The Flash takes the story into some wider, really interesting new places as Joshua Williamson continues exploring the meaning and capacity of the speed force, and a world where Barry Allen isn't the only fastest man alive. Carmine di Giandomenico continues to draw the series really well, full of live and crackling colour, and Williamson's strong blend of character work alongside a plot taking interesting strides makes for an enjoyable serial – and by the end, you'll be left very excited for what happens next.

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8
Flash (2016) #4

Aug 15, 2016

Well earned confidence too, as The Flash has been arguably one of the strongest, most consistent events in the DC Rebirth so far, under the stewardship of Williamson " here supported by artist Neil Googe in really bringing to life the broader speedster world in some expansive panels, before letting rip as Carver plans explode outward. With some great characterisation, and underlying sense of fun, and storylines stacked with plenty of places to go, if you're not reading The Flash, this is another great point to jump on for the next issue and soak it up.

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7
Flash (2016) #5

Aug 31, 2016

‘Barry Allen's Day Off' certainly seems like a feint, a calm before the storm by Joshua Williamson, lulling us into a false sense of security when The Flash still has a dark confrontation to come, but while not quite as impressive as some of the more action packed issues in the last couple of months, it's great fun and filled with interesting character moments – plus some gorgeous, lush and vivid panels from Felipe Watanabe, who draws the speed and intensity of the comic superbly. It also could well lead in to the darkest issue of this run yet, so roll on the next issue.

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9
Flash (2016) #6

Oct 4, 2016

By the end, The Flash leaves us on a huge cliffhanger as Barry faces his first real battle against Godspeed, and it looks set to be very high stakes for him in more ways than one. With great panels from Carmine di Giandomenico, and superb writing from Williamson as we've come to expect, The Flash is speeding towards a triumphant conclusion to an excellent opening arc.

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8
Flash (2016) #7

Oct 6, 2016

Carmine di Giandomenico's glorious artwork continues to the show the golden, etherealtexture of Godspeed against the pure red of the Flash, and helps enhance Williamson's panels as he skilfully continues constructing a story with stakes, emotions and consequences. We should be reaching an end soon to this story but the way the pithy cliffhanger sets things up, it's going to be quite the battle for The Flash.

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7
Green Lanterns #2

Jul 10, 2016

Green Lanterns as a Rebirth series continues to impress, with Sam Humphries bringing humour and warmth, alongside character, to some very epic and overblown stories regarding good and evil, and the very duality of the Lanterns which is playing out theatrically in the background. This issue is chock full of colour and incident, while meaning something along the way, and as the Red Lanterns continue to tighten their grip on Earth, it'll be thrilling to see Jessica & Simon continue growing into their roles as they strive to overcome them.

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9
Green Lanterns #3

Jul 21, 2016

Altogether it's just a great little issue for Green Lanterns, which right now is excellently balancing a measure of broad, exciting plot, filled with consequences, and strong character work not even just for the two lead Lanterns but equally the supporting villains and characters in our leads lives. What could easily just have ended up quite an overwrought battle against some especially silly looking alien uber villains has a clear level of sociological and character depth to it, and hopefully this will continue as the Rage storyline right now shows no sign of abating.

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8
Green Lanterns #4

Aug 10, 2016

It's not a showy piece of artwork either from Blond but it solidly accentuates Humphries writing and allows the characterisation to breathe, which is one thing many of the new Rebirth issues are doing, and Green Lanterns is successfully each week making work. While it will be nice to see the plot really start kicking in further around the Red Dawn that is coming, and the cliffhanger suggests the partners may now have to face the ultimate test of their bond, Green Lanterns ability to create good drama around solid action is not to be sniffed at. Yet again, a fine issue.

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7
Green Lanterns #5

Aug 22, 2016

While lacking the same sense of drama and forward character development of the previous issue, this Green Lanterns run continues balancing character work with action, and gorgeous panelling, as these two heroes struggle to find their place in the world and overcome their own fears. It's a little in danger of repeating some of its character beats now so it'll be good to see some semblance of closure hopefully begin to arrive on the Rage storyline soon, allowing Simon & Jessica to really blossom into Lanterns with a great future ahead.

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7
Green Lanterns #6

Oct 3, 2016

Overall though, Green Lanterns as a series is off to a really healthy start, and looks set to continue its impressive run; taking two characters who could have been difficult & unsympathetic in Simon & Jessica and rounding them off well, while carrying through a plot which at the end backtracks a little but it's a small quibble. One of the stronger Rebirth runs so far – let's hope it continues!

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7
Green Lanterns #7

Oct 4, 2016

A solid issue of Green Lanterns which isn't afraid to pause for breath and zero in on character after the towering narrative of ‘Rage Planet', and further develops Simon Baz in particular in impressive degrees. Looks like we won't have to wait too long, however, before the Lanterns are thrown back in the fray.

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7
Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #1

Jul 28, 2016

After not being convinced by Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth, it now feels on the basis of this first issue that the serial could well find its mojo just as Hal himself did. Solid writing from Robert Venditti, if focused on operatic space bound drama much more than character, and some bright & expansive imagery from Jordi Tarragona, it's definitely a run that's worth exploring if you're into grand sci-fantasy, essentially, and could well be a slow burner into some fine storytelling.

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5
Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #2

Aug 16, 2016

Hopefully these strong narrative elements will come together soon, as Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps still hasn't managed to completely find its sea legs as an addictive part of the Rebirth series. It's blend of space opera with human, grounded characters and stylistics hasn't yet paid off into anything with particular depth or meaning, and from a narrative perspective it continues to circle around the houses. Venditti writes decently and Sandoval infuses the piece with colour, but it's neither the strongest written nor most attractive Rebirth comic out there. There is still potential to improve but right now it's Earth-based sister series Green Lanterns is putting it in the shade.

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6
Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #3

Aug 27, 2016

While Rafa Sandoval's explosive, colourful panels reflect the galactic, operatic nature of the comic, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps still feels like it's missing something, or perhaps even dragging out a story which could have been told much more quickly and economically. That's happening, admittedly, on several runs in the Rebirth within DC, but often they have the strong character depth to back it up – sadly, Venditti's run here simply doesn't, and it makes the whole endeavour feel frivolous and a bit hollow. It may be worth exploring where this opening arc ends ultimately but beyond that? The jury remains out.

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7
Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #4

Oct 4, 2016

Beyond that, as Hal undergoes his own trial and John Stewart–the defacto Lantern leader–debates whether or not he needs to throw Guy-like caution to the wind, there is plenty starting to go on in Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps to make this stop startfirst run of the comic engage more of the latter than the former. Let's hope we can now build to a strong finish.

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7
Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #5

Oct 6, 2016

Colourfully drawn as ever by Ethan van Sciver, Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps continues the better form from last week, balancing good character moments alongside the epic space opera plotting and a real sense of building toward the climax. It's still been far from the strongest Rebirth run, but it could well end on a high.

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6
Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1

Jul 16, 2016

Truth be told, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps isn't the best of the Rebirth trigger issues so far but it could evolve into one of the most entertaining series, and one of the most defiantly different given it takes place far away from Earth in the distant realms of space. It does characterise Hal well, introducing him as a character and giving his backstory with the gauntlet consuming him some necessary context for newcomers, but there are so many dangling elements hinted at and touched upon it sometimes feels more like a primer for the show to come, rather than a solid, well told one issue story.

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7
Hellblazer (2016) #1

Aug 31, 2016

Alongside the good writing from Oliver, you have some excellent artwork from Moritat which paints in dulled greys and browns, dark greens, emphasising the washed out, stained world of John Constantine in impressive fashion. Hellblazer, much like the ‘rock star magician' theatrics one character describes Constantine as imbuing, has a style and chic all of its own and though I'm lacking historical context, there was enough in this issue to make me want to discover more about these characters and this story. A definite improvement over the Rebirth issue – consider me in for the ride.

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6
Hellblazer: Rebirth #1

Jul 21, 2016

Honestly, I don't know if I'll follow Hellblazer. As a newcomer I'm left indifferent to it, and to John Constantine, when I was hoping for a little more. It's an issue that may well reward fans of the character and the tone of the comic historically, as it's well written and quite often looks nicely grim and sardonic from artist Moritat, especially drawing the British locations, but in terms of narrative and establishing the run to come, it felt a little wanting.

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8
Justice League (2016) #1

Jul 21, 2016

Right from the off, this Justice League run on the whole feels strong and confident, with Tony S. Daniel & Sandu Florea's artwork equally alongside Hitch's writing lending different strokes to each location, while also adding a certain slight dark hue to the colour, an ominous sense of colouring which matches the storyline playing out during the issue. Wasting no time in throwing these major heroes into action, Justice League already has lots of exciting places it looks set to go.

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7
Justice League (2016) #2

Aug 11, 2016

So not as action packed an issue from Hitch, but no less beautifully drawn by Tony S. Daniel with that dark and creepy edge to whatever the Kindred are, and enough colourful panels to hold the attention even when there's a fair bit of superheroes here standing in a room and talking. For this issue of Justice League, that's no bad thing – Hitch provides a necessary issue in story escalation while not leaving behind too many character beats for our heroes along the way. This huge scale and rather creepy story is building nicely, and the next challenge for Superman especially is going to turn up the heat for sure.

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7
Justice League (2016) #3

Aug 23, 2016

If the last issue utilised exposition to forward understanding, this issue of Justice League forwards the story as Bryan Hitch moves around pieces on the board and sets the scene for the bigger battles to come, placing all of the JLA in different places and scenarios all tethered to the strong, strange enemy that is the Kindred. With some moments of characterisation amidst the large scale action, keeping one foot on the ground within what is a very out there narrative, Justice League manages to be enjoyable and beautifully presented as the stakes continue rising in this opening arc.

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7
Justice League (2016) #4

Sep 25, 2016

We reach a conclusion in this issue of Justice League which really throws a new spanner in the works, for one of our heroes in particular, leading to a startling extra complication you wonder how they're going to survive, but we now need to see Hitch starting to tie them all back together and race toward a conclusion this tale needs. That's likely to begin happening soon, but this is a fine middle issue throwing complication atop complication, drawn very well.

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7
Justice League (2016) #5

Oct 3, 2016

It's possible in hints to Wonder Woman by the Kindred before they meet their fate that all of this could have major repercussions later – talking of their aim being ‘the Forever Crisis' is too epic and ominous a thing to not mean something, and could well link to the overarching Rebirth storyline. We'll have to wait and see. For now, Justice League ends its first run with a decent finale to a solid, suitably epic and often colorful and vibrant storyline.

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7
Justice League: Rebirth #1

Jul 11, 2016

If not a groundbreaking start, it's a solid beginning for Justice League as the Rebirth ripples out across the DC universe. Hitch's story is filled with incident, while Henriques & Hanna nicely paint the Cthulhu-esque monster nicely in dark contrast to the vibrancy, fun and colour of the JLA themselves. With enough character elements established to carry the series onwards, and a potential new mega threat to come, the Justice League is well placed to deliver some great stories in the near future.

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7
Kong of Skull Island #1

Jul 15, 2016

By the climax, Skull Island begins to hover into view and after a scene-setting beginning, we are promised some adventure and mystery mixed with mythology, given how supernatural beasts appear to hover around the island itself, a place already peppered with legend. Kong and Skull Island looks gorgeous and while it tries to pack a lot into this opening issue, laying lots of threads on the table, it's an enjoyable beginning with the promise of an engaging story to come.

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7
Kong of Skull Island #2

Aug 17, 2016

Altogether this is a step up for Kong of Skull Island than the previous issue, with some great artwork from Magno which conveys the ancient world and delivers some major Kong smackdown action the previous issue slightly lacked, and strong writing from Asmus which further illuminates character while building out the social & political aspects of this ancient world – all the while ensuring there's enough action happening to justify the panels. It's not yet top drawer and essential a run, but it's certainly improving fast.

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9
Lucas Stand #3

Aug 18, 2016

For a comic which has started well over its previous two issues, Lucas Stand here reaches a pinnacle thus far, really finding its feet in balancing the ongoing saga of Lucas' deal with not quite the Devil with his own serious personal issues. It's just a great concept, fusing the supernatural with time travel with a hard-edged, violent, profane kind of pulp storytelling which befits the kind of world Kurt Sutter can create better than most, and if we keep getting issues which balance time periods like this with moral stories and strong character work, Lucas Stand could rank as a great comic book when the day is done. Pick it up if you haven't already.

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7
Lucas Stand #4

Sep 25, 2016

Lucas Stand remains one of the most impressive, pulpy auteur projects that has landed for a while though, and it just drips Kurt Sutter's twisted, violent Americana from every pore. Vietnam is the great American ideological battlefield of the 20th century and its used to great effect, even if surprisingly it's not the finest issue in the pack, when perhaps it should have been. It does add important layers to Lucas' character and mission however and, consistently, you may wish to see Lucas grace a TV or movie medium one day after reading this.

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8
Lucas Stand #5

Nov 14, 2016

The conclusion of Lucas Stand could well top off what has been an exciting, dark, grim but thought provoking, adult series which really deserves to be adapted into a TV series. It's as uncompromising and pulpy as you might expect from Kurt Sutter and all the better for it. Another strong issue with the promise of a grand finish to come.

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7
Lucas Stand #6

Dec 18, 2016

It also helps them nicely set up a second run of comics if they choose to do so, with Lucas Stand ending not with complete resolution but rather a revived mission statement, and a character very much prepared to continue his bloody, vengeful & yet cathartic travels through time slaying demonic evil. On the strength of this visually impressive, tough cookie comic run, his story deserves to continue.

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7
New Superman #1

Jul 15, 2016

Even for what one presumes is something of a gimmick, and honestly there's as much chance you'll groan as cheer at the last page, New Super-Man nonetheless establishes a brand new potential legion of copycat Chinese heroes & villains who may not just riff off the main DC heroes we know and love, but could well tie convectively into the bigger, overarching storylines. We just have to get past the fact it's not the most beautiful comic out there and the lead character is an utter douche. Time will tell, but it's worth giving a few chances.

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7
New Superman #2

Aug 12, 2016

Though it may be too basic a story for some, with too unlikeable a character in the protagonist Kong, New Super-Man is uniquely different and well written enough by Lang to be an enjoyable part of the DC Rebirth project. With an obvious vein of East-West satire lurking beneath the superheroic action, and plenty of character development being laid for future growth and change, there's enough here to keep going back to, with the promise of really finding its feet.

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8
New Superman #3

Oct 3, 2016

Right now the biggest stumbling block to you enjoying New Super-Man could well be the main guy himself, with Kong remaining a very marmite character, but that's very much the point – he's growing into becoming China's Clark Kent and he continues to need time. The constituent elements around him right now are worth the investment.

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8
Penny Dreadful #2

Jul 1, 2016

Given the recent announcement Penny Dreadful is ending at the climax of its recently premiered third season, this new comic run is one to be savoured as nicely sitting alongside the TV series and accentuating the story.

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8
Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original #1

Aug 15, 2016

Around these character beats, you have a story with the club facing a dodgy drugs deal & enforcing a protection racket which surely will ripple through as the main action narrative–which allows artist Luca Pizzari to add plenty of flame and fire to his drained out, cool panels, but ones which often superbly convey classic characters such as Gemma, Tig, Bobby etc…–but the strength of this first issue of Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original lies in just how close it hems to the tone and style of the original show, unafraid to depict brutal violence & profanity amidst hard hitting action. We can only hope for more of the same after this strong start.

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9
Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original #2

Sep 25, 2016

Fans of Sons of Anarchy are going to absolutely lap this prequel series up, of that there is no question. Redwood Original is layered with all kinds of character points and beats long-term fans will eat up, while still managing to tell it's own clear, original story which, given the bookending violence of this issue and a dangerous villain SAMCRO look set to deal with, could match what the series gave us. A great issue of, so far, a great series.

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8
Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original #3

Nov 14, 2016

The biggest compliment about Redwood Original is that it continues to stand as almost like a lost prequel to Sons of Anarchy which could fit on the screen. Written with a strong dose of pulp nihilism fused with the kind of skewed family values the show espoused, alongside some brutal and colourful panels, it continues the strong run for this limited prequel series that any fan of SOA needs to have in their lives.

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8
Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original #4

Nov 15, 2016

With two more issues to go, it's almost a shame Redwood Original is heading towards its climax, given how consistently impressive it's turning out to be. Sons of Anarchy in everything from its pulped, stark and drained panels, to the gritty writer and bloody uber-violence, it continues to be the prequel series to the show you never knew you wanted.

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8
Suicide Squad (2016) #1

Aug 22, 2016

All in all, it's another fine issue for Suicide Squad, which might have gotten off to one of the strongest starts in all of the DC Rebirth issues yet. Rob Williams tells a great main story which has an intriguing plot and lots of character points, drawn gorgeously and darkly by Jim Lee, while his Deadshot-centric extra flashbacks story adds a great profile to one of the squad's most interesting characters, drawn by Jason Fabok with more of a grey, depressed but effective pallet, lacking the exuberant colour of the squad together. It's just a great package which looks set to go far.

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9
Suicide Squad (2016) #2

Oct 3, 2016

Beyond this, Williams and Ivan Reis in the Boomerang story do even better work than in Deadshot's one-shot last time, depicting the comical Aussie Captain as a man of wish fulfillment and fantasy (which allows them to wonderfully pastiche James Bond along the way) while touching on real undercurrents of pathos. Much like the rest of the issue, it's great, and Suicide Squad right now–simply–is the DC Rebirth comic to beat.

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8
Suicide Squad (2016) #3

Oct 5, 2016

Come the climax, Suicide Squad really begins throwing everything at the wall, introducing yet another large treat for Task Force X which will only add to the mess happening in the vault. If lacking some of the wit and bite of previous issues, it's a busy and well staged issue which continues the comic's excellent opening run.

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9
Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1

Aug 12, 2016

It also helps that Suicide Squad is really well drawn by Philip Tan, with a starched edge of sinister, realistic grit contrasted with a twisted colour and flavour when we see the bad guys in action. When you combine such nice panels with Williams' great writing and intelligent storytelling, which establishes Task Force X really well–particularly for people who may not be all that familiar with the concept going in–then what you have is almost an alternate reality companion to the recent David Ayer movie, albeit one doing the job far better. If you're yet to see the movie, do yourself a favour – save your money and buy this instead.

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6
Superman (2016) #3

Jul 21, 2016

If lacking the dramatic weight some of the previous Superman issues have had thus far, it's nonetheless an entertaining read. Coloured beautifully in many places, with a story which balances current action with mythology baiting historical touchstones, there's plenty to enjoy both in this issue and one suspects in a much darker and more personally troubling arc for Superman yet to come.

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7
Superman (2016) #4

Aug 11, 2016

Patrick Gleason here gets to draw more vivid and colourful panels in this issue, making the most of an explosive contrast with ice at the Fortress of Solitude, and quite how he depicts the central ‘souls' at the heart of the story is excellent, but his work sits alongside Tomasi's writing as he forwards this very personal story for Superman into its next mini-arc. It's refreshingly not about a world-ending conflict, this challenge for the Man of Steel, and indeed excitingly by the end of this issue, it appears Superman & his super family may be heading beyond the atmosphere as the connections to his home planet deepen.

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8
Superman (2016) #5

Aug 19, 2016

All in all, one of the strongest issues yet in a great Rebirth run for Superman. Tomasi & Gleason continue building the character work between this most unusual family dynamic, keeping the central themes of why Superman does what he does, and how it affects those he loves, alongside some excellent panels and a story which gets to his Kryptonian roots. As this story arc begins building to a presumed climax, let's hope Superman keeps on being super.

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8
Superman (2016) #6

Sep 20, 2016

As every good arc should, this first run of Superman under Rebirth concludes the battle with the Eradicator by very much setting up the next phase of the story, whereby it places Superman's journey as not his alone. Indeed at one point, when asked by his nemesis, Superman explains he has never felt alone, and that's key – it took Jon, it took Lois, it took the support of the JLA, all of those elements to defeat the Eradicator. With gorgeous, explosive artwork, a strong story which presents a rousing new Superman for us to follow, and a great final delivery which suggests a fun arc to follow, 'Son of Superman' has been a genuine success.

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8
Superman (2016) #7

Oct 4, 2016

It's just a really nice story for Superman, not ending on a giant cliffhanger or a dark portent of things to come – rather just an overarching gag between Clark & Lois, and a fun denouement moment which sells a gorgeous looking issue all about family, and the juxtaposition between it and being the hero looking out for the little man.

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6
The Hunt #1

Jul 24, 2016

While not groundbreaking or particularly thrilling, it's a solid if relatively unremarkable start for The Hunt. Colin Lorimer writes well and he colours even better with that blend of normality and complete terrifying insanity lurking in the shadows, and he establishes the world around young Orla going forward with efficiency. It needs to kick into an extra gear as the plot mechanics roll out, but there is plenty of potential within to be a strong horror drama unafraid to pull some dark, mature punches.

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8
The X-Files (2016) #4

Jul 13, 2016

While very scene-setting and hard to pin down in terms of the actual narrative, this issue of The X-Filesis well written, looks beautiful, and takes some bold moves with character continuity I'm excited to see play out.

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5
The X-Files (2016) #5

Aug 24, 2016

Props to Joe Harris for trying something different in this outing for The X-Files, and ‘Ishmael' as a combined story definitely eschews the traditional investigation tale to try and connect to Scully in a brave way, but the escalation and build up of the mystery fails to pay off in a satisfying, emotional manner. It's a shame because I'd like to see Harris continue experimenting with different kinds of cases. This one, though looking good with some strong artwork, just doesn't click. Next up, it's mytharc territory so hopefully the run can get back onto firing in all cylinders.

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7
The X-Files (2016) #6

Sep 21, 2016

Though it is firmly an exercise in establishing the main players, the central mystery and connecting up to the new mythology Harris is playing with in his comic, 'Came Back Haunted' is an effective opening issue which blends a return for Dow Smith lending his own brand of edgy, grainy panels which add a real sense of dripping atmosphere to The X-Files world (after the colour & brightness of 'Ishmael'), mixed with a creepy mystery loaded with a real-life connective to global geopolitics and the humanitarian crisis which, like many good X-Files, keeps it with one foot in the real world. A solid beginning for a story that, certainly judging by the cliffhanger, is going to some exciting places.

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7
The X-Files (2016) #7

Oct 19, 2016

On the whole, a solid second part to the biggest story The X-Files revival has attempted yet, with Joe Harris fusing long-form storytelling with weird happenings, a creepy atmosphere, and a great rabbit hole for Mulder & Scully to be sent down. Part three surely will start to explore quite what this all means, and the answers no doubt will be spooky.

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8
The X-Files (2016) #8

Nov 30, 2016

Overall, one of the stronger issues in a four-parter which has taken its time in crafting an intriguing, pervasive story in series lore. ‘Came Back Haunted' here balances well the international travelogue & potential mytharc mystery of Mulder's experience with the political wrangling Scully has to face to find him, in the best traditions of the show, while still keeping the narrative moving. Throw in a less than oblique nod to a show that is very inspired by The X-Files, and you have a great build up to what will hopefully be an exciting finish to this multi-part story.

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7
The X-Files (2016) #9

Dec 28, 2016

A good, solid end to a story which may become clearer and hold deeper resonance down the line, ‘Came Back Haunted' ends well and establishes plenty of pieces Joe Harris can pull out and use further down the line. You continue to feel a larger mystery is being constructed here by the writer which will pay off down the line dividends, and such storytelling is in the best traditions of The X-Files when the show is firing on all cylinders. Confident this consistently quality will continue into 2017.

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8
The X-Files (2016) #10

Jan 18, 2017

To be fair, the first part of ‘Contrarians' doesn't need little green men in order to tell a strong, interesting and timely political story, heavily in flashback, in which Joe Harris sets up a neat mystery that may well unfold into a bigger paranormal enigma in the second and final issue of this story. It's great to see The X-Files unafraid to be political, especially in this day and age.

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7
The X-Files (2016) #11

Mar 1, 2017

Stick around too for a delightful stinger of a final moment which brings ‘Contrarians' full circle in many ways. If this issue lacks the raw, post-election anger Joe Harris poured into the first, it nonetheless reeks of mythological understanding of the series and the greater political and conspiratorial elements of the characters and story being told. A brief, therefore, but stylish and enjoyable two-part story, very nicely drawn, which ends here in satisfying fashion.

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7
The X-Files (2016) #12

Mar 29, 2017

Even though it's more of a prelude and preamble as an issue, ‘Skinner' yet again continues Joe Harris' mission to expand out and deepen the mythology of the show and characters, and like he did with William Scully explore hitherto unseen elements of their past histories. It works better as a choice with Skinner given he always had one foot in the enigmatic shadowy forces Mulder & Scully have chased, and his Vietnam experiences are coloured not just by fear of the paranormal but grief at what war made him do. It's going to be fun to see just how Harris tells the second half of this story as he stitches these variables together.

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8
The X-Files (2016) #13

May 12, 2017

Some may end up frustrated that Harris keeps the source of the paranormality here on the fringes–bar a few suggestions typically from Mulder–but that would be to ignore the character conflict which dominates the story. The talisman is but a catalyst for Skinner's own realisations here, which Harris conveys well alongside the undercurrent of Army tribunals and military justice rippling away and affecting Skinner's journey. With some great art from Andrew Currie, who captures our main characters very well, this is a very good conclusion from Harris to an illuminating and fascinating X-Files story.

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7
The X-Files (2016) #14

May 31, 2017

As always backed up by Dow Smith with panels filled with shadow and edgy texture, Harris' first goodbye salvo with ‘Resistance' is a solid beginning, filled with continuing character and mythology pieces, some dark and nefarious scenes, and a brooding, ominous final moment which suggests some serious stakes are in play. Oh, and, final fanboy geek moment: that mention of Tunisia in Scully's files connected to Firas – ten to one his father is Conrad Strughold from Fight the Future. Calling it now!

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8
The X-Files (2016) #15

Jun 28, 2017

Going into the penultimate issue, with both Mulder & Scully facing their own cliffhangers which place them in danger from the burgeoning new conspiracy, ‘Resistance' continues to establish a deepening new threat at the highest echelons of power it's hard to imagine how our FBI heroes can combat. Joe Harris also continues his response to the madness of the Trump administration which gives the issue a satirical, relevant sense of bite. The X-Files looks on course for a strong, meaningful ending to the Harris era.

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8
The X-Files (2016) #16

Jul 19, 2017

Giving Skinner more of a presence has also been a boon to this story, he once again straddling the line between helping Mulder and what he can't tell him, which helps further build 'Resistance' into the kind of spooky mythology story you almost wish the TV show was tapping into. Tight, complex, filled with unerring moments and a real sense of impending doom that fits the zeitgeist of our time, 'Resistance' sets the scene for what could be Joe Harris' best story yet for this continuation series of The X-Files as he bows out of the job.

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8
The X-Files (2016) #17

Aug 30, 2017

So as the curtain comes down, remember this entire continuation run is essential reading for any fan of The X-Files, and ‘Resistance' caps off an excellent ‘series finale'. Get them solo, get them in trade, but get them, as the guys as IDW have crafted some fantastic extensions of this great show over the last few years and have kept the flame burning. As a team, Joe Harris, Matthew Dow Smith, Jordie Bellaire, Chris Fenolglio, Denton Tipton and more, you will be missed and thank you, on behalf of all X-Files fans reading. The truth is that you did good.

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6
The X-Files (2016) Annual #1

Jul 27, 2016

It's a shame because 'Illegal Aliens' does have some bright moments, some solid characterisation, and the artwork is on the whole pretty decent. It's just the narrative and tonal approaches that jar, and Andrew Aydin's work here lacks the clear throughline Joe Harris gives his comics or truthfully that same sense of real enigma. One could argue that it fits the new mini-series continuity, especially in relation to how Mulder approaches the conspiracy aspects, but it just doesn't have the same wonder, drama or even comedy to make it a truly rewarding reading experience. Possibly one for The X-Files completists only.

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8
The X-Files X-Mas Special #2016

Dec 21, 2016

Raise a glass of port to Harris, Wayne Nichols, Matthew Dow Smith, Denton Tipton & all the folks at IDW Publishing bringing us Philes wonderful continues adventures for Mulder & Scully as we hope for their return on the screen. Merry Christmas to you all guys, and here's to a great 2017.

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5
The X-Files: Deviations (2017) #1

Mar 3, 2017

Though the ending suggests more are on the way, I'd be happy if this was the end of The X-Files Deviations, in truth. Beyond the one-line gimmick of Samantha being the Mulder character, it's not a concept which really feels like it has legs, certainly none which have the ability to tell an inventive, original version of the show we know so well. For anyone who wants a greatest hits, fill your boots. If you want some more subtlety and intrigue, stick with what Joe Harris is doing on the revival run.

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6
The X-Files: Funko Universe #1

May 21, 2017

Does Funko really have a place in The X-Files universe? Maybe not. If you can simply enjoy this as a light, frothy piece of colourful entertainment, as much for kids as for adults, any X-Files fan will find something here to raise a smile.

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8
The X-Files: Origins #1

Aug 31, 2016

Even though it's arguably targeted at a young adult comic book audience, X-Files: Origins can be enjoyed by an age of X-Files fan, and it's just fantastic to see a project like this, which further mythologises Mulder & Scully as pop culture legends, come to fruition. The artwork is relatively basic from Chris Fenoglio but it doesn't need to be showy, and is always well drawn; it fits the low-fi grunge co-writer Dow Smith has brought to the adult comics run while still retaining that sense of youthful verge, playfulness and retro-70's aesthetic. While it will have to be careful not to contradict canon or chew on the show's internal mythology too heavily, Origins deserves faith already in that it'll be a fun, engaging, and well characterised mini-series exploring a whole new angle to the show. A fine start.

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7
The X-Files: Origins #2

Oct 3, 2016

Much like the first issue, The X-Files: Origins continues to impress as a piece of history in the lives of the iconic Mulder & Scully which fits tonally, coupled with some bright and expressive artwork from Dow Smith, while telling an interesting and mysterious story that, in proper X-Files tradition, is throwing up a range of intriguing questions it'll be fun exploring the answers to. It's still in the set up phase, moving pieces on the board, but it balances great character work while immersing us into the mystery our duo look set to uncover.

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8
The X-Files: Origins #3

Oct 26, 2016

This might be favourite X-Files: Origins issue yet, and let's face it they've all been top quality; a real blend of continued development for our teenage Mulder & Scully as events begin shaping who they are as young people, mixed with a light blend of conspiracy and intrigue while fits in the brighter, bolder and more colourful texture of the panels. The only downside, frankly, is that we only have one more issue left before the curtain comes down and, hopefully, secrets are revealed.

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8
The X-Files: Origins #4

Dec 7, 2016

One hopes The X-Files: Origins may not be a one-time thing, on the basis of how well Dow Smith, Houser and the team at IDW have presented the youthful origins of Mulder & Scully, with some gorgeous artwork which captures that youthful exuberance as well as the show's dark and sinister tone. While it does close off their original investigations here, enough doors and character beats are left open for the writers to further explore down the road, which hopefully will further connect to established show canon from the series. A great finish to a mini-series which has added a delightful extra shade to the myriad X-Files universe.

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7
The X-Files: Origins II - Dog Days of Summer #1

Jun 21, 2017

Once again boasting colourful, expressive panels from Chris Fenoglio & Corin Howell which retain an X-Files flavour while equally feeling summery, bright and youthful, Dog Days of Summer is a great start to a sequel series completely in step with what came before; indeed once the run is through, no doubt both the first & second seasons of Origins will be enjoyed as part of a continuing tapestry. If the story mechanics can really kick in now and match the strong characterisation of young Mulder & Scully, this sequel could well eclipse its already charming predecessor.

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7
The X-Files: Origins II - Dog Days of Summer #2

Aug 12, 2017

Though very much still in the process of establishing mysteries, conspiracies and plot points, Dog Days of Summer continues to be a strong prequel to the events of The X-Files for our intrepid FBI agents as children. Lovely, bright, expressive panels from Corin Howell & Chris Fenoglio equally add to the tone and feel of Dow Smith & Houser's story as the narrative wheels turn. It continues to feel totally in step with the strong first run and increasingly you realise, once complete, this is going to make a delightful, continuing story over numerous trade runs. Essential for X-Philes and beyond, especially children.

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5
Torchwood #1

Aug 3, 2016

In other words, off the back of this, it's one for Torchwood fans and completists only because John & Carole Barrowman make almost no concessions to any new audience you'd imagine they'd want to capture with this, given how John is constantly fighting for either the show or just Captain Jack to return to screens (which you suspect he wants more than the rest of us, but there you go). It's inked relatively well by Antonio Fuso & Pasquale Qualano, and it's got some broad adventure concepts, plus it has a wry sense of fun in the dialogue that fits the tone. It just needs to settle down, bed in, and tell a story properly before it truly becomes worth reading.

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