Vanessa Gabriel's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Newsarama Reviews: 82
7.3Avg. Review Rating

7
Action Comics (2011) #5

Jan 9, 2012

While there is something fantastic in Morrison's cryptic references and unabashed imagination, the feeling of "Oh my gosh! That was so good" does not dwell in these 20 pages. It is clever and interesting, but serves more as disjointed, ambiguous groundwork than an action comic.

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8
Batgirl (2011) #31

May 15, 2014

Batgirl #31 is a beautifully drawn, engaging issue, and also serves as a pretty solid jumping-on point. Go for it.

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6
Batgirl (2011) #46

Dec 17, 2015

Batgirl's strength is its consistency of character, style and charm. Still, a cohesive voice and vision should not amount to predictability, and that's what we've got in Batgirl #46.

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5
Batgirl (2011) #52

May 26, 2016

As the "New 52" is winds down, this closing issue of a defining and innovative run for Batgirl doesn't quite do the book justice.

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8
Batman Incorporated #2

Jun 28, 2012

Engaging and robust, Batman Incorporated #2 is an exquisitely paced, satisfying chapter in Morrison's Batman manifesto.

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7
Batman Incorporated #11

May 23, 2013

With no Bruce Wayne and only a mention of Leviathan, you could probably skip Batman Incorporated #11. But then you'd miss out on all the fun (and probably a Grant Morrison reference later). Your call.

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8
Batman: Rebirth #1

Jun 2, 2016

Batman Rebirth #1 feels authentically Batman, and yet somehow fresh. The credit for that goes to Mikel Janin's swift, meticulous lines and June Chung's natural color palette.

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7
Batwoman (2010) #12

Aug 16, 2012

J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman are shooting straight from the hip in Batwoman #12. Williams makes his signature splash with his return to interior art duties. The story structure and art ebb and flow for a beautiful, nicely-paced issue.

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6
Batwoman (2010) #16

Jan 24, 2013

Despite the defining character dialogue, Williams and Haden Blackman's story is too dense. It lacks forward momentum and the bit of exposition that we do get feels forced. Batwoman #16 is not a gratifying read as a single issue. Still, visually " it is a hell of a comic.

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6
Batwoman (2010) Annual #1

May 1, 2014

Batwoman Annual has some gratifying moments, but overall it is not as significant as it should be particularly for a character-defining story years in the making.

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6
Birds Of Prey (2011) #18

Mar 21, 2013

Birds of Prey touts some of the best character potential in the DCU, let's hope Marx can find her stride in the coming issues and make them fly.

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10
Bitch Planet #1

Dec 9, 2014

The themes, characters and art of Bitch Planet #1 combined evoke an acutely sharp tone of defiance and an unequivocally satisfying first issue. From the "Caged and Enraged!" slogan on the cover to the sticky landing of the final page, this may be one of the most artful accomplishments for DeConnick to date. Bitch Planet's relevant and resonant mantra of non-compliance bleeds beyond the panels and will inspire you. You want to own this comic. It is going to start a movement.

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8
Bitch Planet #5

Sep 14, 2015

Metacontext fills nearly every panel of this issue, so you might think Bitch Planet #5 would be at risk of being buried by the weight of its feminist message. You would be wrong. The challenges and injustice that Kamau, Penny and the rest of the NCs face only serve to make us root for them more. Will they prevail? Will they survive? One thing is certain, it won't be without one hell of a fight. Through immense density of character, story and style, it is starkly evident that the creators put an insane amount of thought, care and intention into this issue. In doing so, they made Bitch Planet #5 overwhelmingly provocative, engrossing and sad, and it is deserving of the same level of thought and care from the reader.

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8
Black Canary (2015) #2

Jul 20, 2015

Black Canary is a worthwhile issue for the top-notch art alone. That, combined with the distinct characterization, make Black Canary feel authentic, even if mildly predictable at times. Perhaps once the narrative is further established and we move beyond the first arc, Dinah can do her own thing. And if Dinah stays true to herself, we should be pleasantly surprised.

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9
Captain America (2012) #11

Sep 16, 2013

There is so much story packed into these 20 pages and they are executed exquisitely. If you have never read an issue of Captain America or you've been enjoying Remender's run all along, you'll be fully engaged. Captain America #11 is a pivotal issue and powerful jumping on point.

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10
Chew #28

Sep 13, 2012

The pacing, character moments and art are as bold as Poyo is homicidal. Chew #28 is an excellent read.

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9
Chew #31

Jan 24, 2013

This reinvigorated good cop/bad cop duo has fantastic chemistry and a brand new mystery to chew on. Chew #31 is a momentous start to the next arc, and it is loaded with subtle but defining character moments making this an excellent jumping-on point for new readers.

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5
Chew #51

Oct 27, 2015

Chew #51 is eloquently absurd, and maybe that is writer John Layman's signature dark humor just messing with us because he can. It is a playful middle finger to structure and pacing to indulge in fan-favorite characters, but the issue plays like a montage with no movie. There's only nine issues remaining in the series, and we've still got a chicken conspiracy to figure out, damn it. Like Toni said, "There's not much time left for our beloved characters." Chop chop.

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9
Daredevil (2014) #12

Jan 19, 2015

Daredevil #12 plays like a vintage "good guy gets that bad guy and the girl" kind of story. Yet, Waid and Samnee turn typical into exciting, and having this much fun with a tried-and-true story feels kind of perfect.

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9
DC Comics: Bombshells #1

Aug 12, 2015

Bombshells #1 is a strong start to the series. Each character packs a powerful punch in design and personality. Set in the era when DC Comics was in its infancy, these women are the flagships and the trailblazers. Full of potential and personhood, they usher in the Age of Heroines. Bombshells is a cleverly orchestrated breath of fresh air and quite fun to read.

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4
Detective Comics (2011) #45

Oct 12, 2015

The lack of cohesion in narrative, art and dialogue make this feel like a filler issue biding its time to get to the actual story. If Jim Gordon's robot version of Batman is a cop playing a hunch, then I am a seasoned comic reviewer playing my own kind of hunch. This is not interesting or entertaining. Detective Comics #45 makes me long for Bruce's fractured soul and obsessive psyche as Batman. I have no doubt that we'll find our way back to batarangs in the dark, but for now we'll call this editorial limbo.

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8
Edge of Spider-Verse #2

Sep 22, 2014

Strange speech bubble tics aside, from start to finish, Edge of the Spider-Verse #2 offers a fresh new character, an honest evolution, eye-candy art, a lot of story and cosplay inspiration for years to come. That's quite a feat for one issue. It is a must-read, and Spider-Gwen is worthy of the prime universe.

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10
Fables #150

Jul 22, 2015

Willingham and Buckingham honor all of the characters in this final issue, and it is nothing short of proper. Snow Queen, Pinocchio, Geppetto, Lady of the Lake, Flycatcher, Brandish, Cinderella, Frau Totenkinder, Clara, Grimble, King Cole, Beauty, Beast, Briar Rose, Boy Blue and most importantly, Rose Red, Snow White and Bigby Wolf. In the end, I felt my throat get tight and my eyes burn with tears, and I thought, "How perfectly poetic." Farewell, but certainly not forgotten, and always good for a reread.

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7
Fairest #9

Nov 8, 2012

Fairest #9 picks up the pace as Rapunzel gallivants through Tokyo's version of Fabletown and will inevitably lead her to face her demons, in the literal sense. Reading Fairest is like gossiping behind Fables' back " and it's juicy. And that Adam Hughes's cover? Yeah, that happens.

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8
Fairest #14

Apr 4, 2013

Fairest #14 is an enjoying read for all, but Fables initiates will get a little extra payoff.

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9
Fatale #3

Mar 8, 2012

Fatale builds in intensity, and just when you think you'll be left wondering; Brubaker punches you square in the jaw and makes you spit blood. The taste and the sting are unforgettable. That's Fatale #3.

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9
Fatale #14

May 16, 2013

The ongoing saga that is Josephine is an intriguing one and Fatale #14 is a must-read.

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6
Grayson #2

Aug 7, 2014

For all the acrobatics in art and discourse from the now enigmatic Dick Grayson, Helena's presence and one-liners are the best thing about this issue stealing the show from our title character.

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7
Grayson #19

Apr 28, 2016

Grayson #19 is a proper penultimate issue for the arc with an engaging stride and solid story structure.

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5
Happy #1

Sep 25, 2012

With such a solid creative team, you think I would have enjoyed Happy #1 more. But I didn't. You have to be in to this sort of thing. I don't mean you have to be into Morrison. You have to have a taste for violence, filth and psychopathology, and make sure you have an open mind on the tail end of that. Then perhaps it is enjoyable. Maybe Morrison's intention is not enjoyment. If that's the case, then he wins. Out of some masochistic desire, here I am wondering what happens next.

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7
Harbinger (2012) #5

Oct 19, 2012

Joshua Dysart uses furious pacing that quickly defines the enemies and allies of our star-crossed protagonist. Peter's anger leads him into a pivotal showdown, and his suffering will inevitably have you rooting for him. As the psionics are unleashed, Khari Evans packs some serious punch into 14 pages of dynamic action. With assists from Matthew Clark and Jim Muniz, the art is intense and emotionally charged.

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8
Harley's Little Black Book #1

Dec 3, 2015

Harley's Little Black Book presents her exploits from a first-person perspective that is as cheeky and eccentric as you might expect as she heads across the pond to London in a freighter crate to "save" Wonder Woman.

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8
Justice League (2011) #46

Dec 17, 2015

Justice League #46 is a tapestry of gods and chaos drawn gorgeously by artist Francis Manapul.

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5
Justice League United #1

May 15, 2014

Justice League United #1 is a comic that exists, but I am not sure why.

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6
Kaptara #1

Apr 27, 2015

Touted as the "gay Saga," Kaptara #1 feels more like a Galaxy Quest spin-off. And contrary to pop-culture's stereotypical assertion on the matter, making something "gay" does not beget instant fabulousness. Zdarsky did manage to get a couple of belly laughs out of me, and McLeod certainly rendered some strange "Oh, sh#@!" panels. Still, Kaptara isn't quite the magical unicorn it wants to be. Yet.

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7
Klarion #1

Oct 9, 2014

Nocenti's dialogue is bitingly heavy-handed at first in an attempt to capture an edginess that magical teenagers might possess. By the end of the issue, it finds its avant-garde stride, and you'll start to feel comfortable and curious in Klarion's odd new world.

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4
Klarion #6

Mar 12, 2015

If given some room to breathe, perhaps the Witch Boy could have been an eccentric asset to the DC roster. Instead, at its end, Klarion is a confusing read and an ill-fated send-off.

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8
Lady Killer #1

Jan 12, 2015

Lady Killer #1 is worth its weight in gold for the art alone, but the enigmatic Josie Schuller is the real appeal. We've been properly set up with what she does and how she does it, now we need to know why. I'm thinking we should tune in for the next episode to find out.

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10
Lady Mechanika #3

Dec 20, 2011

Lady Mechanika #3 is in a league of its own in regards to beauty and creativity. Benitez and Steigerwald remind us that there are endless possibilities in store in Mechanika as the search for the mysterious mechanical girl leads straight into the biggest inventors convention of the year. I invite you to come along for a ride in the Helio Arx " next stop, Mechani-Con!

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10
Lazarus #1

Jun 25, 2013

Masked in science fiction, but inspired by the devastatingly increasing amount of lack in the world, Rucka and Lark have begun an important story. With haunting images and a compelling narrative - I am certain that Lazarus will take its place among the ranks of the comic elite and lay waste to the rest.

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9
Lazarus #10

Aug 7, 2014

Lazarus #10 is chillingly cohesive and a shining installment of what this title has to offer. Time to jump on if you haven't already - you'll leave this issue dying to know what happens next.

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7
Miami Vice Remix #1

Feb 10, 2015

For the leaps and bounds of aesthetic innovation in this issue, it is tempered by a clunky plot and too easy character moments. Still, the novelty is enough to spend the cash and hope for some better juju.

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7
Midnighter (2015) #2

Jul 6, 2015

Still, Midnighter #2 digs deeper into Midnighter's impetuous heart. It is broken but honest. It is this smash-mouth honesty that makes the Midnighter fascinating. With a repeated middle-finger to soulless capitalists and caveman homophobes, the character and commentary makes no apologies and offers no filter. I like it.

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9
Midnighter (2015) #7

Dec 3, 2015

Shaky segues aside, Midnighter #7 is a strong example of a compelling issue, and continues to be one of the best titles in the DC roster.

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8
Ms. Marvel (2014) #6

Jul 17, 2014

Ms. Marvel #6 is full of heart and humor, continuing to be one of the most delightful additions to Marvel's superhero line-up.

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6
New Superman #1

Jul 14, 2016

This is a solid start that could turn out to be quite fun.

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7
Pretty Deadly #1

Oct 22, 2013

The amount of thought and care that DeConnick and Rios have poured into Pretty Deadly could fill a library, making this story worthy of many re-reads. While it may be plenty worthy of the effort, it also requires it. In doing so in the first issue, Pretty Deadly #1 runs the risk of being suffocated by the weight of its own gravitas and complexity. But like a swift drop of a spur to a skull, I suspect the story will crack open and pour out when the reaper of vengeance arrives. Just give it a little more time.

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8
Punk Mambo #0

Nov 18, 2014

The forks in Punk Mambo's road lead her down an unusual path, one that convenes with Sid Vicious and is unnaturally long. This path also leads us to a notable new character and a tenacious comic worth the real-estate in your longbox.

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8
Rachel Rising #25

May 1, 2014

As Rachel and Co. begin a new chapter into the mystery that surrounds them in their bewitched town, Rachel Rising #25 is a solid jumping on point and will certainly pique interest as to what has come before.

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10
Rat Queens #7

Jul 17, 2014

Rat Queens #7 is full of exquisite aesthetics, biting sarcasm and a proper shagging (or three). You'll want to read this one.

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7
Robin (2021) #1

Apr 27, 2021

There is a ton of opportunity when exploring the most skilled hand-to-hand combatants of the DCU, and Robin #1 is a fast-paced, punchy leap to an island full of possibility. But if you want the readers to care what happens next, let's not forget to earn the feeling amidst all the fight.

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9
Saga #6

Aug 16, 2012

Saga #6 hits all the right notes. There is plenty of action, a magic sword, a couple of moons, a lot of emotion, some well-timed humor and enough blunt-force cursing that lands the vibe of this issue somewhere between sci-fi phenomenon and a sitcom on HBO.

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6
Saucer Country #4

Jun 14, 2012

I think it is evident that Issue #4 is a stepping stone to see the bigger picture, but it feels like Cornell is holding out on us. Saucer Country #4 is a little dodgy on the fluidity and only almost works. I am looking forward to a bigger stride in Issue #5.

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9
Shade, the Changing Girl #1

Oct 7, 2016

Once you adjust to the kinesis of Shade the Changing Girl #1, its oddity leaves a rainbow of curiosity for the issues to come.

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6
Superman (2011) #47

Dec 28, 2015

Superman #47 is a solid issue with some solid flaws. Its strength is in the art and pacing, its weaknesses are in the semantics. But the plot points presented here are necessary, and it is an enticing set-up for the next chapter. So, you kind of have to read it.

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5
Superman/Wonder Woman #9

Jun 18, 2014

Superman/Wonder Woman #9 may be a necessary chapter in Kal and Diana's relationship to move the Superman: Doomed story along, but it does so at the expense of character authenticity. Whatever resolution may come of Superman's fight with death, a return to the honest repartee between two of the DCU's most powerful people will be a welcome one, if it ever comes. Let's hope for the composure of this title that it does.

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3
Superman: Rebirth #1

Jun 2, 2016

Superman: Rebirth #1 should make it easy for the reader to jump in to the story, especially one of a flagship character of the imprint. Instead, the issue is convoluted and confusing. As Lana Lang attempts to honor the "New 52" Superman in death, the other, post-Crisis Superman jaggedly narrates through flashbacks and cold conversation with Lana.

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10
Sweet Tooth #30

Feb 2, 2012

By tapping into some of our most instinctual emotions, Sweet Tooth #30 is absolutely captivating. Lemire has placed me firmly on the edge of my seat in anticipation of the next issue.

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10
Sweet Tooth #39

Nov 8, 2012

This is the climax. It is the beginning of the end. Sweet Tooth #40 is the final issue, and Sweet Tooth #39 is everything it needed it to be, should be, and could be.

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6
The Creep #1

Sep 13, 2012

The Creep #1 presents a picture of desolation and sadness in the aftermath of suicide, but there remains a small sliver of hope " that is, if Oxel can put the pieces together.

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5
The Fearless Defenders #1

Feb 11, 2013

Despite the feeling that The Fearless Defenders #1 is trying too hard, it is mostly excusable because this is a first issue. Bunn really does present us with captivating characters, and the chemistry is definitely there. The concept of The Fearless Defenders is a good one, but I was not WOWED. This is a comic book after all, and the book cannot stand solely on good writing. The art needs to carry its weight. With all the potential a comic book can muster, The Fearless Defenders #1 still feels like a rough draft.

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8
The Green Team #1

May 28, 2013

With good intentions at the helm, Baltazar and Franco's signature purity gives The Green Team #1 a fresh start, and I think the answer to that question will be inspiring.

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10
The Legacy Of Luther Strode #6

May 26, 2016

The Legacy of Luther Strode is not only an impeccably realized concept, it is a life lesson, and the final issue exemplifies that.

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8
The Legend of Luther Strode #6

Aug 8, 2013

This issue is an entertaining and appropriate resolution to this story, but when The Legacy of Luther Strode rolls around next year, some complexity is in order.

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9
The Legend of Wonder Woman #1

Jan 18, 2016

The strength of this story is in De Liz's most-ages approach to Diana's origin. Not only is the issue beautiful, the art and story are accessible and charming. Perhaps it will make way for that indelible impression on the next wave of Wonder Woman fans, delivering the same kind of classic DC story that can be recalled at the drop of a hat.

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6
The Movement #1

May 2, 2013

The Movement is about the people that society doesn't care about and what society's ill-treatment can create. They are angry, self-righteous, indignant and tired of being ignored. It's what you'd expect, but they've got super-powered "justice" on their side and more characters to be revealed. The Movement #1 is a slow burn, but it has potential. It could be the kind of story that we haven't had the privilege of before. Mainstream comics is ready for this. Mainstream comics needs this.

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7
The Movement #4

Aug 8, 2013

Its consistent pacing and placement through the issue make for an intricate and engaging story.

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6
The Movement #10

Mar 6, 2014

There's great energy in The Movement #10, if only it were channeled better.

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8
The New Deadwardians #4

Jun 28, 2012

The New Deadwardians #4 continues with sophistication, which I suspect will make its unraveling that much more interesting.

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8
Thief of Thieves #14

May 30, 2013

Thief of Thieves #14 is a strong start for writer Andy Diggle. Diggle launches into a new arc and doesn't employ any coyness with this story " this is a straightforward, hit-you-where-it-hurts kind of a set-up, and you most certainly want to know what happens next.

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9
Trillium #7

Mar 6, 2014

Trillium #7 is engrossing, heartfelt and rich with nuance setting the stage for a remarkable ending. This issue and the story as a whole will takes its place among the stars, as it should.

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9
Uncanny X-Force (2010) #21

Feb 2, 2012

This train doesn't seem to be losing any steam. Uncanny X-Force #21 is another great issue.

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7
Wonder Woman (2011) #0

Sep 20, 2012

Wonder Woman #0 is a nostalgic and endearing glimpse into the youth of Diana of Themyscira. I enjoyed it.

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4
Wonder Woman (2011) #20

May 16, 2013

The first few pages of Wonder Woman #20 are graced with Cliff Chiang's beautiful art. Matt Wilson's colors are a perfect compliment. That ride is short-lived, because most of the issue is drawn by fill-in artist, Goran Sudzuka.

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3
Wonder Woman (2011) #25

Nov 21, 2013

Woman #25 is a filler issue that does little to engage the reader and serves mostly to set-up the next issue.

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5
Wonder Woman (2011) #35

Nov 3, 2014

As the story moves from the red heat of battle to cool blue of resolution, the true glory is owed to Matthew Wilson's phenomenal colors. As the dust settles and Diana stands tall, we are reminded that nobody makes a more beautiful Wonder Woman than the two of them. But just because Wonder Woman #35 is wrapped in a perfectly pretty package does not mean the contents are worth your time.

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9
Wonder Woman (2016) #2

Jul 14, 2016

This creative team is an impeccable match for Diana's origin story, and Wonder Woman #2 is a wonderfully compelling start for our princess.

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9
Wonder Woman: Earth One #1

Apr 6, 2016

Wonder Woman: Earth One is a story of war and peace, power and compassion, men and women, of a mother and her daughter and sisterhood. For many, it will not be what you expect, and for some readers, it won't be what you want in a comic. Except, Wonder Woman: Earth One is exactly what we need. I invite you to submit to the vision of Morrison and Paquette, as it is a truly singular interpretation of our Wonder Woman.

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8
X-23 (2010) #20

Jan 5, 2012

Liu has brought Laura full circle; acknowledging her controversial past with authenticity, ultimately evolving and solidifying the character. That evolution is evident in X-23 #20, and makes for a really good read.

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6
X-Men (2013) #7

Nov 21, 2013

Despite its virtues, the issue relies too heavily on nostalgia and would benefit from a more creative narrative. X-Men #7 will mean the world to some, and not a whole lot to the rest.

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4
X-Men (2013) #10.NOW

Feb 10, 2014

A flagship title with this powerhouse of characters shouldn't be burdened with unmet potential and wasted momentum. But it is and X-Men #10.NOW suffocates from its depthless characterization and inconsistent narrative. If these characters and stories are given more room to grow, then X-Men can be better. A book of this caliber simply should be better.

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7
Young Avengers (2013) #5

May 23, 2013

Young Avengers #5 is a mixed bag, but a promising one.

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