Vince Ostrowski's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Multiversity Comics Reviews: 256
7.5Avg. Review Rating

6
A+X #1

Nov 1, 2012

And there is the rub with these pseudo-anthology books. It's tough to get a variety of writers to deliver a message or a mission statement that's consistent, much less maintain a consistent quality of storytelling. I could take or leave a one-and-done story that I didn't care for and leave it at that, but I feel ripped off if I'm given 10 pages of a story that has barely gotten started. What is "A+X" trying to accomplish by doing that? I want to recommend Dan Slott's terrific half of the book, but unfortunately you can't fork over $1.99 for those 10 pages. You can't walk up to your LCS, rip out the last 10 pages, and say, "Sir or Madame, may I buy this damaged copy of "A+X" for half price?" Were it that you could, but unless you can figure something like that out, I can't recommend you having to take the bad with the good.

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6.8
Action Comics (2011) #13

Oct 5, 2012

All-in-all, Morrison throws a lot to the wall and only some of it sticks. When he's willing to whisk us through insane pseudo-explanations of what's going on, it often works. He doesn't even really bother with that here, but lucky for readers he does such a good job with the characters that the story ends up being worthwhile anyway. That's been the tenor of his run. If you've been sticking it out, this lands softly in the middle of what he's been up to.

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7.9
Action Comics (2011) #17

Feb 21, 2013

Okay, so Morrison needed an additional issue to finish his story up. It won't be over until “Action Comics” #18, but with his run clearly coming to a planned end you want to start seeing these threads coming together and they definitely do. It's clear why he needed an extra issue and that in and of itself is equal parts the joy and the frustration that characterizes this run. The inconsistent art doesn't help either.

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4
Action Comics (2011) #20

May 3, 2013

Don't make that mistake. What happened to Diggle and Daniel is something that can hopefully be avoided in the future. Daniel is an artist who will be doing steady work for a long time in this business and for this company. Whatever he does next is going to look great, to be sure. But he was left holding the bag for issue #20 and it's best to just let this pass and hope that the next creative team to pick up the “Action Comics” banner will get off to just as hopeful of a start. And this time, hopefully, the editorial staff will trust the men and women with the talents they've hired them for.

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3.8
Age of Ultron #2

Mar 15, 2013

Shouldn't an event like “Age of Ultron” dream bigger than this? Again, maybe it will sometime during its 10 issue span, but that doesn't make up for a 2 issue false start. We want event comics to be good. This cynicism that the comic fan collective seems to have when events roll around is not born out of thin air. But we buy them, because we want to like them. But when the far better stories are being written in regular ongoings like “Hawkeye”, “Daredevil”, “FF”, “Thor”, you name it – then what makes the event special? Are they special because they are designed to gouge you and overstay their welcome? That's obviously not the intention, but “Age of Ultron” #2 feels like it's doing just that.

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8
Alex + Ada #1

Nov 7, 2013

"Alex + Ada" doesn't enthusiastically endear itself to you right from the get-go, but it does welcome you in to the world of a man who has experienced emotional pain. Luna & Vaughn beautifully contrast this universally honest emotional state of being with a fantastical, yet sterile world of tomorrow. Just like Alex's marvelously advanced world does, "Alex + Ada" captures your eye with its simple beauty, then grabs your heart with the sometimes frighteningly identifiable pain of its protagonist.

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8
Alex + Ada #4

Feb 21, 2014

By now, we know who Alex is and we know what he wants, even if he's unsure about how to get there. "Alex + Ada" has generated a situation where a good person is doing something for the right reasons, but you have a feeling that everything might not turn out well. Because of that intensely personal sense of unease and mystery, "Alex + Ada" has quickly become appointment reading.

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7.8
All-New Invaders #2

Feb 7, 2014

“All-New Invaders” is a title for anyone who likes the Silver Age of Marvel and wants to see these characters revisit that time, if even only in their memories. There are some new, inventive nuggets for those fans to discover within. Fans of modern comics who wouldn't mind some classic sensibilities thrown into the mix with characters that they've been keeping up with in recent years will find a lot to like here too. Robinson and Pugh's efforts on these first 2 issues make one thing clear – whatever era their book is set in, their going to make these characters click together.

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7.8
All-New X-Men #3

Dec 6, 2012

While Issue #3 may not feel as important or as revelatory as the 2 that preceded it, it is a fine comic in its own right. Issue #3 feels like a bridge between the stellar introductory issues that set the table and the spinning out of events that will inevitably come from the occurrence on the issue's final pages. Sometimes a comic book just doesn't feel the need to shatter the Earth or blow up all the heroes this month, but that doesn't mean it can be called a misstep. This issue does its job and it's part of a greater work. If you haven't gotten on board yet, go back and grab these 3 issues. Bendis and Immonen have something very important going on here.

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6.5
All-Star Western #21

Jun 28, 2013

The book loses some of its grounding, but earns credit for being truly weird in a way that Jonah Hex hasn't been since he time travelled back in the 80"s series. Some moments are awkward and strangely edgy, other moments are pure comic fun.

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7.9
Amala's Blade #3

Jun 28, 2013

Though the visual humor is still strong, this issue is a little rougher around the edges, artistically, than its earlier installments.

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7.5
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #700.2

Dec 13, 2013

Morrell examines both Peter Parker and Spider-Man's efforts vs. the snow storm of the century, so he's given all kinds of opportunities to show the resilience of the character, but it's also a little hokey in the way that overly heartwarming stories can be sometimes.

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6.8
Amazing Spider-Man (1999) #700.3

Dec 13, 2013

These point numbered issues, for better or worse, do successfully harken back to when Peter Parker was your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. In reality, these stories aren't doing anything to push the character, which is where Dan Slott continually finds so much success. Casey and Van Meter choose to focus on tertiary villain characters a bit more, but don't end up doing a lot with them. What it amounts to is basically equitable to “status quo Amazing Spider-Man” from the '80s. That is, decent enough comics that for the most part won't be remembered down the line.

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6.5
Amazing Spider-Man (2014) #10

Nov 21, 2014

Issue #10 is unfortunately spends much of its time as a platform for spinning off characters and titles, but it's still a gorgeous-looking event book. It's on the 'Spider-Verse' checklist, and slots in to the greater story, even if it's largely utilitarian.

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8.5
Animal Man #22

Jul 19, 2013

It might even be overdoing it, but bringing back the body-horror aspects that made the 'New 52" debut of "Animal Man" so interesting to begin with is definitely a welcome occurrence.

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6.8
Aquaman (2011) #26

Jan 3, 2014

While Jeff Parker seems to have brought with him the ability to imbue “Aquaman” with a few more layers of complexity and levity, it's too early to tell how far he will go in defining the character beyond Geoff Johns' stoic ‘New 52′ incarnation. At least for one issue, he's not bogged down too heavily by the prevailing tone of DC Comics' current output. That makes this an issue worth checking out, even if it does suffer from one of DC Comics' other worst current trends – application of fill-in art work that appears to be an afterthought, rather than a well-planned occurrence.

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9
Aquaman (2016) Annual #1

Dec 1, 2017

Johnson & Fiumara's "Aquaman Annual" is a self-contained wonder of a comic, tucking a commentary on a very relevant issue with superhero comics inside an engaging and gorgeous adventure.

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8.3
Astro City (2013) #1

Jun 6, 2013

Busiek and Anderson's revival succeeds because they don't get stuck in the past, but instead remember what we liked so much about “Astro City” in the first place. That's far easier said than done. They don't overdo it on crowd-pleasing moments and even dare to leave readers out in the cold for bits and pieces, trusting them to put it all together down the road. So while not everything fits together just right in a tidy new #1 issue, Busiek presents a satisfying conundrum for his characters that somehow manages to set footing amongst a re-introduction that really is suitable for anyone new to "Astro City." A truly novel cliffhanger at the end is the delicious cherry on top.

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8
Atomic Robo: The Knights of the Golden Circle #1

May 2, 2014

“Atomic Robo: The Knights of the Golden Circle” is one of the least intimidating experiences you'll have jumping into the “9th volume” of something. Thanks to a terrifically focused creative team, “Atomic Robo” remains concerned with crafting a greater fiction, maintaining a sleek comic book pace, and welcoming new readers at every turn. It doesn't always get the attention it deserves, but take my word for it, there's no reason not to dip your toe in this time around. And long time fans will be pleased as ever with its return.

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6.7
Avengers (2012) #15

Jul 5, 2013

There's a little bit of "get on with it" in this title right now, but this issue really does give you the sense that the layers are peeling back and it will pay off eventually. Yes, yes " everyone keeps saying that about Hickman's "Avengers", but it really does appear to be true.

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7.8
Avengers (2012) #18

Aug 22, 2013

Nonetheless, “Avengers” #18 is a fine comic book in its own right, but it's an even better example of how to do an event tie-in correctly. Whether this issue is absolutely crucial to understanding “Infinity” remains to be seen, since we haven't seen the 2nd issue of the event yet, but it damn sure feels like it is. And it should be. Tie-ins shouldn't be useless and if you're going to sell specific titles as necessary, then they really should feel like it. What does the issue to do earn the “Infinity” banner? It advances the story told by the first issue of the event. It's written by the core event writer. It's drawn, expertly, by a top-tier Marvel artist. It also contains one or two of the aforementioned drawbacksto event books. And, I suppose if it's doing its job properly, it should.

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4.2
Avengers Arena #1

Dec 14, 2012

If you're going to write a book that is very clearly asking the audience to just accept a wild premise without explaining it, then just dive right in. Issue #1 isn't a book that seems to want its readers to come back for more, because it takes too long to get to the point, without saying much of anything. Dennis Hopeless is a talented writer and is ready for the big leagues, but this issue doesn't really show it. Instead, “Avengers Arena” #1 feels like exactly what it should have been actively avoiding: an excuse to latch on to a trendy premise and an excuse to kill off excess characters.

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6.9
Avengers Assemble #12

Feb 15, 2013

"Avengers Assemble" remains worth reading for terrific dialogue and art that highlights the comedic and interpersonal aspects of The Avengers. Unfortunately, the scope of this arc doesn't look to be as imaginative or as fun as the previous one was and towards the end the art starts to match that smaller, less interesting scope too. There's no reason to jump off of this book, but interested comic fans should definitely go pick up DeConnick's first arc before judging this book.

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5.5
Avengers Vs. X-Men #12

Oct 4, 2012

In a world where we're lining up the next big event while the previous one still has months to go, does it even matter? After all, it's only a week until it's NOW! and this series will just be “then.”

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7.3
AVX: Consequences #5

Nov 9, 2012

Either way, this is a book that is not to missed. It catches the reader up on everything they need to know from "AvX", puts it into context, and gets us all ready for whatever lies ahead in Marvel NOW!

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7.9
Batgirl (2016) #4

Oct 27, 2016

A more conventional issue of a Batgirl book that isnt conventional at all.

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8.8
Batman '66 #1

Jul 5, 2013

Fans of the classic show, obviously, will get a kick out of all the visual and verbal nods to the show, but even comic readers unfamiliar with the show will find respite from the darkness of Gotham in a completely valid take on the character that is as silly as they come

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7
Batman (2011) #0

Sep 14, 2012

Snyder and Capullo have been one of the most in-synch pairings in comic books and have set a mark of quality that few in the mainstream can live up to. That said, Capullo's art does most of the heavy lifting and even overshadows the writing at times. Snyder writes a thrilling enough story, but there's none of the usual meat behind it. None of the startling revelations or thematic weight that makes you stop and think about the implications of what's going on. It could be a case of a great team having set the bar too high, but it really does feel like no one had much to say about Bruce's early years.

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9.8
Batman (2011) #13

Oct 12, 2012

Snyder and Capullo choose to pay homage to the clashes of Batman vs. The Joker from issue #1, all those years ago, up to the present day. References and visual cues to “The Dark Knight Returns”, the Nolan films, and the animated series are flawlessly spun together for the beginnings of a story that looks to stand among them one day. Though so much feels familiar, this world is all their own. “Batman” #13 is a modern comic for modern sensibilities, a Joker that feels all their own, that very much still inhabits the decades long canon of DC Comics' most popular and enduring character. Enjoy it. It doesn't happen often.

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5.7
Batman and Robin (2011) #21

Jun 20, 2013

Batman is supposed to be in “the bargaining” phase, but it kind of feels like he's still just totally lost in the weeds (woods?) at this point. We're not seeing much of a growth trajectory for our characters here. Bouncing Batman off of the Bat Family could have shown a variety of sides to the character of Batman and his colleagues, but everyone is out of sync in a way that makes the exercise feel fruitless. The fill-in art makes the book feel a little less special, because Gleason has been known to spin emotional gold with these characters. Then again, it might be prudent to just wait it out. Where Batman goes from here will be much more interesting than where he is now, which is in a book that's in something of a holding pattern.

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7
Batman Incorporated #0

Sep 27, 2012

There's no reason to skip this issue and there's certainly a lot of fun to be had with it. On the downside, it continues the trend of the “zero month” interrupting a lot of story arcs that had a lot of momentum going through their current story arc at their own pace. This was an issue where the story seemed like we were not only going back to the origin of Batman Incorporated, but actually taking a step back to a place that Morrison's story has already moved on from. In a similar fashion, Frazer's art was perfect for Bruce Wayne's triumphant return from the grave in Morrison's “Batman and Robin.” It doesn't feel entirely right alongside the wacky antics and jet-setting present in “Batman Incorporated.” Instead, what we got was a fine enough comic that is a bit of an odd-man-out in Morrison's bat opus.

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4
Batman: Joker's Daughter #1

Feb 7, 2014

I can't believe I can honestly say this after such a depressing and relentless issue, but Meghan Hetrick is quite clearly a talent to look out for in the future.

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6.5
Batman: The Dark Knight (2011) #12

Aug 24, 2012

For an issue that seems solely focused on pitting Batman and his fears vs. Scarecrow and his mastery thereof, we got something relatively satisfying. Finch does most of the work in selling the big moments, but Hurwitz's subtle and dark touch is much appreciated on a book that felt out of place among its peers. As a series that is trying to find an identity for itself outside of the shadow of Snyder and Capullo's series, it has some work to do. Hurwitz has such a keen eye for making legitimate threats out of oddball villains that it would serve the book well to get away from Bruce's past and carve new territory. At least it's become a Batman book worth keeping an eye on, which is more than could be said of it a few months ago.

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8.3
Batwoman #22

Jul 19, 2013

It's a slow-moving book, but it remains one of DC's best, because it never feels like it conforms to expectations.

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4
Birds Of Prey (2011) #18

Mar 22, 2013

You want to think that Jim Zubkavich's replacement on this series wouldn't hang over judgement of the issue itself, and it really doesn't come down to that. This is a subpar and uninteresting start to a run, no matter the circumstances. But if there's a real story-driven reason that they preferred Christy Marx on this book over Jim Zub, then it has yet to be seen as of issue #18. Because there isn't anything novel in this issue. No hints of a new direction for the team. No growth or proof that this team has a reason for existing in the first place. One wonders if Zub's plans for “Birds of Prey” would have been better. Maybe not, but they certainly wouldn't have been less interesting than this beginning issue.

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8.5
Birthright #2

Nov 7, 2014

"Birthright" might not make you misty eyed this time around, but it's filling out its maturely-told story with plenty of heart

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9
Black Science #1

Nov 28, 2013

“Black Science” should surprise and delight all but only the most stickiest of sticklers who don't care to revisit pulp science fiction in any sort of throwback way. Scalera and White combine to create a tone-perfect pulp sensibility and Remender is firing on all cylinders in giving us another wholly-formed character to take us through all those gorgeous landscapes. As a collaborative effort, “Black Science” immediately impresses with its relentless sense of wonder mixed with grounded, complex characterization.

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6.9
Black Widow (2014) #1

Jan 9, 2014

At the end of the day, “Black Widow” is a Marvel 616 comic, which generally means that it's going to play safe with the character. That's not inherently a bad thing. This comic is entertaining enough, but it feels like the Black Widow comic that you were destined to get with a character that Marvel wants to be prominent and popular moving forward with their motion picture line. It's great that we have another female hero series to look forward to, and a visually compelling one at that, but it's at the expense of a character that feels like she should be more complex than this. Marvel is telling us she's complex, but until we see some truly tough and unique decisions being made in her quest for personal peace, we'll just have another solid and professional spy comic from Edmondson.

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8.7
Bodies #1

Aug 1, 2014

"Bodies" can be a number of things for the reader: a strong mystery story, a collection of individual stories (each one nearly as interesting as the next), or a deeply interconnected web of intrigue that exists for the reader to unlock. Whatever the case, "Bodies" certainly deserves to have eyes put on it.

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6.9
Brain Boy #2

Oct 18, 2013

"Brain Boy" #2 is a fine comic book, but it's difficult to point to things that it does exceptionally well. I'll tell you who this is a great book for: readers who are interested in superheroes, but who don't necessarily want to read Marvel or DC Comics. Readers who want to support the companies that come after the "Big 2" can feel comfortable checking this out. But someone who reads a lot of DC and Marvel may not find much that makes "Brain Boy" novel, aside from its lack of X-Men. Fred Van Lente, R.B. Silva, and Dark Horse Comics have made a book that deserves to succeed, but even though I hope it finds a nice-sized audience, there are just so many great comics coming out these days (a startling number of them are even from Marvel, right now).

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8.8
Brides of Helheim #2

Nov 14, 2014

"Brides of Helheim" challenges itself to go further than its predecessor and looks good doing it.

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9
Cap'n Dinosaur One Shot #1

Jul 18, 2014

That's the spirit behind "Cap'n Dinosaur": creating a homage to something everyone would recognize, and turning it on its head.

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7.9
Captain America (2012) #1

Nov 22, 2012

When it was announced that Marvel was deciding to mostly shift their major talents around on the major books, there were arguments as to whether they would have benefitted more from hungrier and fresher writers or from trying to grab from outside their stable. But when guys like Remender so clearly have a passion for the characters they've been assigned to, then we end up with great issues like this and a sure sign that Marvel's major creative stable still has plenty of new stories to tell. This is nothing less than yet another really smart pairing of writer, artist, and character – something that Marvel said was their aim with Marvel NOW! While I don't know what sort of silly initiative a company would introduce that didn't promise great writers and artist with great characters, what I am sure of is that “Captain America” certainly fits that bill.

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8
Captain America (2012) #9

Jul 26, 2013

Remender's long opening storyline on the title has been characterized by a rough, but strong emotional arc with an immense potential for fallout and weirdness in all the good ways. Remender and Romita bring out the emotional depths that are not seen as often in interpretations of the character. Romita was certainly an excellent choice for the opener, but given where Cap looks to go from here, it may also have been the right choice to go in a very different visual direction for the next arc. This was not one to miss, though – even if it got a little messy along the way.

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8.2
Captain America (2012) #13

Nov 8, 2013

No matter the era, no matter the dimension, and no matter the tone or genre, Rick Remender and his artistic partnerships can't seem to do much wrong with “Captain America” at this point. The cyclical nature of comics means that we're seeing some recycling of the common themes of Captain America, but they're approached from emotional angles that are new to the character. Remender is taking Cap through one hell of a trying journey, and while the setting and the feel of the book might be all over the place, it's hard to argue that this sort of bobbing and darting style of storytelling isn't keeping one of Marvel's oldest characters as relevant and as fresh as ever.

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9
Catalyst Comix #1

Jul 4, 2013

Joe Casey has made no bones about how good he thinks his “Catalyst Comix” is. It's the typical Joe Casey bluster, and while that's not a knock on him at all, it doesn't matter a whole lot once you've got his actual product in your hand. He's not wrong about the fact that this is a good book, but it's also not going to change comic books forever. What it does do, however, is show us a way that end-of-the-world stakes and crossover type can be made captivating in a variety of ways. All it takes is a trust in the intelligence of his audience and (perish forbid the “big 2″ ever try this) some unconventional art choices to create an “event” that truly feels special for once.

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8.6
Change #1

Dec 13, 2012

“Change” is a book that has a lot to offer the reader that will give it time and attention. You won't get anything out of this issue if you plan to lazily read through it and treat it like entertainment – though it is very entertaining. How important or memorable the miniseries is going to be remains to be seen, but it has high ideals beyond being the death of a major American city. Kot himself has said that it is about the “Death of Imagination.” The purely artistic and uncompromising choices made with “Change” #1 make that idea one worth exploring.

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9.7
Change #4

Mar 14, 2013

"Change" #4 is a brilliant conclusion that stays true to the avant-garde way the story has been told to this point, but ends with terrific poignancy. "Change" understands that we have the capacity to be emotionally complex people and that that is a fact that can torment and haunt us, whether you're in the business of being a creative person or just a person wrapped up in the give and take that being in love demands. Kot, Jeske, Leong, and Brisson turn a daunting sci-fi horror story into a story of personal desperation and acceptance in a visual way that only comic books can get away with. As such, "Change" will be a formidable candidate for best miniseries of the year. Not only does it command a re-reading immediately after its 4th issue, but it will be worth returning to over and over again to uncover even more of its treasures.

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9.3
Chew/Revival #1

May 30, 2014

All-in-all, the “Chew” “Revival” crossover went just as well as you'd hope it would. Nobody involved had to worry too much about what they could and couldn't do with one anothers' toys. You get an honest sense that everyone involved was only worried about one thing – having lots of fun in the spirit of creator-owned comics.

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6.2
Chin Music #2

Aug 23, 2013

“Chin Music” is a rare case where I can't exactly call it a great comic book through two issues, but I am absolutely ready to see a third. Niles clearly has a lot of fascinating alternate history to work with here and his mystic approach to such a riveting time period is beguiling. Just as beguiling is Harris' approach to the art, though it remains to be seen if that approach will end up being an optimal one. One of comics' assumed contracts with the reader is to tell a clear story through sequential art. Though his composition work is absolutely stunning, and his visual signature wholly his own, there are chunks of both issues where this style betrays the storytelling a bit. This makes the prospect of recommending it pretty frustrating, but the promise is certainly there. This might be the encyclopedia entry for a “trade wait”, even if that trade might not arrive until later in 2014.

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7.3
Conan the Barbarian #22

Nov 21, 2013

Wood and Burchielli look to bring Wood's "Conan" run to a fitting end, but it may do so in a more predictable way than the run deserves. Wood's "Conan" " to date " has been an offbeat take on the character and pretty consistently defied expectations. I guess this is the way things go, when one writer hands off to the next, but "Conan" #22 didn't have to labor over defining Wood's thesis one more time. The issue gets considerably better once the adventure begins again and shouldn't be missed by anyone who was enjoying this take on "Conan" to begin with.

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9.2
Curse #4

Apr 18, 2014

There's no two ways about it – “Curse” #4 is a jaw-dropper that puts a tremendously focused cap on what was already a strong series. The art is terrific, and Rossmo's particular segment in this issue is one that will be remembered when 2014 is coming to a close. More than anything, “Curse” works to satisfy the two sides of its personality that it wants to hang its hat on. It's visceral and violent when it needs to be. And when it doesn't need to be, then it's packed with plenty of character and heart.

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5
Daredevil (2011) Annual #1

Aug 10, 2012

This annual could have capitalized on all the current Eisner success of Waid's Daredevil, but instead ended up letting Alan Davis do whatever he wanted. I guess that's fine, if you've been clamoring to read the ClanDestine somewhere again. Readers that want more of what Waid has been doing need not apply.

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9
Dark Ages #1

Aug 14, 2014

"Dark Ages" is a genre mashup that goes well beyond its prerequisite duties to accurately and satisfactorily represent both of the genres its pulling from. In addition to checking those boxes, Abnett and Culbard pull some unexpected, eternally relevant themes into their storytelling that they use to fill out the world just enough, rather than weigh it down. In other words, "Dark Ages" contains a wonderful script that is both smarter than it has to be and fun enough to please the crowd, and a smart artist in Culbard who makes sure that the focus of the title is always in the right place.

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9
Dark Horse Presents (2014) #2

Sep 19, 2014

Understated and beautiful, "Banjo" is one you should be checking out. "Dark Horse Presents" may be back with an all-new lower page count format, but the quality is as good as ever. As I stated at the top, there's not a story here that you'll want to skip.

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3.5
DC Universe Presents #19

Apr 19, 2013

“DC Universe Presents” has been a great concept with flawed execution since the ‘New 52′ began. This final, Beowulf-centric issue is filled with the symptoms of all the worst of the series' problems: The ever-decreasing ability of modern comic books to tell a short story that also satisfies, a reliance on audiences to buy future or concurrently running comic books, a general disregard for what made classic characters work, and inconsistent art. Maybe DC would have actually been better off using issue #19 to cross the ‘New 52′ with the Scott Baio-verse? Now that would have made comic fans say “WTF.”

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7.9
Dead Letters #1

Apr 4, 2014

Chris Sebela and Chris Visions' “Dead Letters” feels like a well-worn premise that proves to have some tread left on the tires, thanks to a unique and aesthetically pleasing setting. Crime/mystery comic readers have plenty to choose from on the shelves, but shouldn't overlook “Dead Letters”, even if its first issue is more promise than it is delivery.

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5.5
Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #1

May 15, 2014

The rest of the story plays out as a straight visual narrative of somber duty and intrigue. It's not bad from a pure visual or a storytelling standpoint, but it wasn't an exciting or memorable note to begin Shang Chi's solo revival on. The issue teases a possible revival of Shang Chi's spiritual roots might be in store, but the series would have benefited from imbuing a little bit of that into the early goings. Benson could take this story to some great places if he quickly starts to incorporate the essential elements of the character. It would give Tan Eng Huat more to do, as well, which can only bring out the more exciting elements of his art. As of right now, this is a story told just as predictably as its by-the-numbers plot merits.

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8.3
Deadpool (2012) #1

Nov 8, 2012

It may be breezy and it may be inconsequential when compared to the rest of Marvel NOW!, but it's going to be awfully tough to top “Deadpool” #1 when it comes to pure enjoyment. With art this good, the book shouldn't be missed by anyone. Despite any misgivings about the Deadpool character owning a solo-series, he feels refreshed when written by two guys with a knack for comedy. You may roll your eyes a time or two, but I guarantee that you'll also chuckle a few times. If you don't, then what makes you think you'd like “Deadpool” in the first place? This is pure, unadulterated comics. A mix of comedy and mayhem that we just don't get enough of these days.

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6.8
Deadpool (2012) #20

Dec 6, 2013

“Deadpool” #20 is a visually-stunning throwback issue – even better than the few that came before it courtesy of this great team. Unfortunately, not enough of the jokes land this time around, whereas other trips to the past have reaped jokes upon jokes per page. Off-color jokes in the '70s totally worked, where a different sort of touch seems required in the cosmic Marvel setting. There are laughs to be had, but the hit percentage is low for a Merc that loves firing ‘em off.

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8
Deadpool's Art of War #1

Oct 17, 2014

A good choice for Deadpool fans who sometimes feel he overstays his welcome.

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7.5
Deathlok #1

Oct 31, 2014

"Deathlok" #1 was surprisingly engaging and felt current, even if it still didn't feel entirely "important"

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5
Demon Knights #23

Aug 16, 2013

nfortunately, while the winding plots may get tied up pretty well in its final issue, there aren't any of the expected emotional payoffs to the more intriguing characters in the book. The usually capable Phil Winslade is also not at his best, favoring expression and mayhem rather than detail. Unfortunately, like so many other canceled books, this one just feels like a phoned-in rush to a conclusion.

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8.5
Detective Comics (2011) #16

Jan 10, 2013

Shortly after putting Layman on “Detective Comics”, it became very striking how good the Batman books have been. Snyder and Capullo have been getting all of the press – and with good reason. Layman and Fabok haven't yet started aiming for the major landscape-shifting stories that Snyder has in his pocket. But with a Joker tie-in issue that delivers on every promise it makes, this is a great opportunity for more comic readers to see why Layman and Fabok might be the next great Batman creative team.

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7.9
Detective Comics (2011) #30

Apr 3, 2014

“Detective Comics” #30 is a relatively routine debut for “Batman” under Manapul & Buccellato, but a surprisingly winning one for “Bruce Wayne.” Since super-heroics have tended to be this creative team's strong suit, it stands to reason that things will even themselves out over their opening arc. As of right now, “Detective Comics” looks to be a needed change of style & tone for a character that is crowding even himself in the ‘New 52′, while still referencing and staying true to what is making “Batman” such a strong comic property at this point in time. A strong debut with plenty of room to grow.

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4.5
Dial H #0

Sep 6, 2012

All in all, this should have been a month for curious readers to take a shot on a weird book that they missed the first time around. A book that isn't selling well could have benefited from a new jumping on point. I guess that isn't the way writer China Mieville (nor the editorial staff) wanted to go. But with a story that doesn't take place in the regular narrative, it just feels like a missed opportunity. With a story that doesn't live up to the fun of what was going on in the first 4 issues and art that misses the mark as well, this is an issue that is easily skipped for new and old readers alike. Unfortunately, a month of “Dial H” feels tossed off, and I'm not sure this wonderful, struggling book can afford it.

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8.5
Dial H #4

Aug 2, 2012

Unfortunately, the writing style in the narration does tend to be a bit confusing at times – some sequences may require re-reading. So while I think that Mieville has a bit of work to do in shoring up his scripting for the comic book medium, there aren't flaws in the plot itself that are left unattended at this point. Sometimes the more uninhibitedly creative writers in comics can trip themselves up by throwing all their ideas into a script without giving everything a sturdy base to stand on. Early on it seemed like Mieville might fall prey to that very thing. Rest assured, “Dial H” #4 not only fills the characters out underneath the tights, and the masks, and the scaly skin, but gives us plenty of indication that there's even more to discover about this world and all the weird that inhabits it.

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6
Django Unchained #1

Dec 21, 2012

As merely sequential art, this is a visually wonderful look at a very specific time in history. Everything looks authentic and the story is well-paced and attractively rendered. This script was never meant to be a comic book though, and would have benefitted from some trimming. Then again, if it's trimmed, it's not Quentin Tarantino and it's not “Django Unchained” anymore. So you choose to keep everything in. If you're going to read this comic, you'll need to take the good with that inherent bad.

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5.9
Doctor Spektor: Master Of The Occult #1

May 29, 2014

“Doctor Spektor” #1 deserves a browse on the strength and goodwill of its creative team, but there are a lot of books, both past and present, that hit all of these exact notes and do a better job of it. Mark Waid is a relaunch guru, but a lot of his typically “money” sequences that are fit for first issues just don't hit home here. Neil Edwards is a talented artist to boot, but both the plot and the art really lose themselves in the issue's second half. Going forward, “Doctor Spektor” would benefit from a little more clarity of a vision and more personality.

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9
Dream Thief #1

May 16, 2013

So don't spoil the story for yourself. “Dream Thief” is one of those rare stories that is so much better than the gimmick of the concept that it's being sold on. The tagline about waking up and not knowing where you are or how you got there is a good one, but it doesn't begin to describe the densely packed comic book that you get here. Nitz and Smallwood have a robust story on their hands and passionately deliver it in a way that only a comic book can.

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5.2
Earth 2 #19

Jan 10, 2014

What used to be appointment comic book reading is now kind of more like a soap opera. Well, a soap opera where there's twists or shocking events on every fifth page. I'll admit that I'm enjoying this title post-Robinson, but it's mostly on a very cheap junk food level.

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8
East of West #13

Jul 3, 2014

Hickman and Dragotta continue to prove that “East of West” can jump to any part of the revolving door plot at any moment and command the interest of the reader. Plotwise, there aren't any weak points at the moment, as each character's role feeds into the greater narrative. This is impressive, when you consider that about a dozen major characters (among even more ancillary ones) are competing for the page. Issue #13 may have had to weather some uncharacteristic information dumping, but from the opening page to the end, the story makes a significant leap forward and looks incredible doing so. “East of West” continues to be one of the very best titles on the stands, making some impossibly large, completely fictional stakes seem important and impactful.

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8
Edge of Spider-Verse #1

Sep 12, 2014

"Edge of Spider-verse" couldn't have kicked this off in a better manner. Perhaps the best is yet to come, but this issue will help toward pulling you down the rabbit hole.

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7.7
EGOs #1

Jan 16, 2014

More than anything, “EGOs” feels like it's playing with house money a little bit. At least, it's acting like it is. Moore is throwing all kinds of stuff at the wall to see what sticks and Storms gets to stretch his admittedly “green” artistic muscles a bit on a book for a major publisher. The overall result is a comic book with a lot of great ideas, both conceptually and visually, but one that feels really raw. That said, the potential on both of those levels is so clear that you'll have a good time reading this one and watching it grow over time.

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8.5
Elephantmen #50

Jul 18, 2013

But from that rung hangs so much of what makes a country work. It's what makes home, home. And it's what would make America a finer place to live in, if we keep it in mind more often. “Elephantmen” #50 means to put it in our minds. It means to keep us from taking it for granted, just like they did to the elephantmen, just like we did before, and like we continue to do today, sometimes. Starkings, Medellin, and Bautista decided to pull back the curtain for the 50th issue – and it made for an issue that everyone could and should check out, even if they've never read “Elephantmen” before.

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8
Emily and the Strangers: Breaking the Record #1

Jun 27, 2014

It's nice to have “Emily and the Strangers” back, though it doesn't really feel like it ever left. It's been said that there is a dearth of all-ages comics on the shelves, but that's really been improving at a remarkable rate. Between the cartoon properties split between Boom! and IDW, and Marvel and DC's scant all-ages efforts, with something like “Emily and the Strangers” at Dark Horse there's plenty to choose from in the mainstream. If you go a little deeper, there's plenty more; that said, if you want as good an entry point as any, “Emily and the Strangers – Breaking the Record” #1 is a terrific place to start.

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5.7
Fantastic Four (2012) #3

Jan 11, 2013

While Fraction and Bagley are terrific comic talents, whatever they're doing here doesn't amount to a book that begs to be read. “FF” and “Hawkeye” are titles that aim outside the realm of what the average comic book is trying to do. That is, they aren't content to spend a whole issue throwing a team of cookie-cutter personalities against a generic bad guy. That's what this book is right now, and with respect to Lee & Kirby (who are undisputed past-masters of the medium), that doesn't work as well as it did over 600 issues ago. This team has the talent to push the series forward. Hopefully they will, but they haven't yet.

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8.5
Fantastic Four (2014) #1

Feb 27, 2014

“Fantastic Four” #1 is something of a reset button for the characters, distilling them back to their most basic character traits and visual iconography. But in doing this, Robinson is careful to keep the threads going from Hickman-to-Fraction-to-now going. In that way, this really is “Fantastic Four for Dummies”, but modern too. Aside from Robinson's typical two or three oddly-worded dialogue bits (anybody else notice these?), his opener on the title is as rich and balanced as his work has been since his renaissance with “The Shade” and “Earth 2.” Leonard Kirk provides an accomplished, dependable, and surprisingly melancholy take on the property. If their first issue is any indication, it stands to reason that the “Fantastic Four” relaunch couldn't have come soon enough and fantastic adventure lies ahead.

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7.5
Fashion Beast #1

Sep 7, 2012

The first issue of “Fashion Beast” only feels like a taste of things to come, but that taste is refreshing. Though some of it was clearly suited for a movie, it's a good thing that we're seeing it come out in a form that Alan Moore excels in. Luckier still is the fact that they picked an artist that clearly put a lot of aptitude into rendering it. There's not really a book like this on the stands right now. It remains to be seen how substantial “Fashion Beast” is going to be, but isn't it enough that we get another solid comic book from Alan Moore?

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8
FF (2012) #6

Apr 26, 2013

If you aren't a fan of quirk at any level, then this book won't satisfy you. For literally everyone else, this book is about as likable and good-natured as comic books get in the year 2013. Matt Fraction and Mike Allred have something eccentric and special going on here. And if Joe Quinones is in tow for art fill-in duties, then we are all the richer, as “FF” #6 very clearly proves.

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9
Five Ghosts #2

Apr 18, 2013

And what lies ahead is a comic that should be cherished. This is a book with a great premise that actually delivers on it and reads great all the way through. It's a book that will look great in your long box, on your shelves, on your iPad, on your wall, in a hardcover edition, or under blanket on your living room floor with a flashlight. At the end of the day, “Five Ghosts” is a book that just plain feels great to read.

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9
Five Ghosts #5

Jul 29, 2013

Too often the sad story is told in comics, about the little book that ultimately couldn't. Cancellations plague cult-favorite titles all the time, but “Five Ghosts” will not be one of them. With Image Comics continually gaining marketshare and visibility for its creator-owned upstarts, it's becoming increasingly more common that guys like Barbiere and Mooneyham can get their weird visions out there and keep them going. With a premise that has been followed through on in ways that only a great comic book can, “Five Ghosts” #5 is a rousing success that teases our imaginations and thrills with plucky adventure. And though the story clearly plays to the strengths of it being a comic, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see this story in other media someday.

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9
Five Ghosts #9

Feb 7, 2014

We're going to keep recommending this one until every single one of our readers have checked it out " it's that good.

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9.6
Five Weapons #1

Feb 28, 2013

Jimmie Robinson's “Five Weapons” is deserving of the highest of recommendations for anyone who loves the comic medium and it's pretty age appropriate for younger readers too. Every aspect of “Five Weapons” adds to a unique comic experience, with a script that is as colorful and varied as the joyful cartooning that it's paired with. There's no end to the amount of fun, humor, light action, and mystery that is packed across every page.

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5.8
Flash (2011) #15

Jan 4, 2013

Tucked away inside Manapul & Buccellato's “The Flash” are little pockets of visual storytelling that could hold their own against any in the history of the character. There are fleeting moments where the book transcends whatever story is being told to give the reader gorgeous landscapes of pure super-heroics the kind of which comic books were conceived to deliver. But that they are so spectacular in a book whose plot and characters are so thin is what makes this all the more disappointing. Duos like Fraction/Aja & Waid/Samnee find the synergy to create writing that serves the art and vice-versa. That is the stuff of Eisner awards. Manapul's interpretation of the Flash deserves a script that attempts to say as much about the character as his art does.

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6.5
G.I. Joe (2014) #1

Sep 26, 2014

"GI Joe" #1 doesn't blow the doors down, but it promises strong characterization, an engaging voice for a potentially complicated and dry plot, and some of the best Steve Kurth art ever put on the page. That's enough to earn a few more months goodwill. Hopefully it actually starts to feel more like "Joe" soon.

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8
Ghosted #2

Aug 16, 2013

Williamson and Sudzuka's “Ghosted” succeeds by taking a couple of very familiar (and pretty in vogue) genres and mixing them up. There's a little bit of horror, a little bit of “Hoax Hunters” paranormal procedural structure going on, and a whole lot of heist movie flair to tie it all together. With a balanced cast of characters and a pacing that never stays in one place for too long, “Ghosted” freshens up a bunch of things that we've seen in plenty of comics before. Sudzuka and Williamson are both veteran talents at this point – ready to be in the spotlight a little more. Hopefully, with enough support, “Ghosted” will get them there.

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7.5
Green Arrow (2011) #18

Mar 8, 2013

This might not be your daddy's “Green Arrow”, but he's safe to start reading again, in case any jaded fans were wondering. There's plenty of mystery to uncover that we didn't even know was there. The moments where Ollie has to face a past that he doesn't understand are the most satisfying parts of Lemire's story and there is clearly much more of that to come. Besides a few characters that don't resonate very much, this is a story that gets the reader inside Oliver Queen's head. The head of a man who is completely out of his element. Most importantly, “Green Arrow” has become a book that puts an up-and-coming character in the right hands with beautiful art that doesn't look like anything else on the stands.

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8.5
Green Arrow (2011) #27

Jan 10, 2014

'The Outsider War' continues to develop the partnership between Shado and Ollie, allowing Lemire to show off his ability to imbue personality and chemistry in a very short amount of time.

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7
Green Lantern (2011) #21

Jun 7, 2013

With mostly positive results, Venditti and Tan have crafted a first issue that acts as an “Idiots Guide to Green Lantern.” They don't take a whole lot of chances, but do promise you that their run will not try to walk in the same steps that Johns did – with the possible exception of a preview page for the upcoming year of “Green Lantern”, which was hardly exclusive to Johns, but just the type of thing he relished doing. This creative team may not take Hal Jordan and run him through the ultimate ringer like Geoff Johns did, but they've done enough here to warrant a probationary period.

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7.5
Green Lantern (2011) Annual #1

Aug 31, 2012

Storytelling problems aside, this is an essential issue for fans of what Johns has been doing with “Green Lantern” and the perfect place for curious beginners to start. Best of all, it's another New 52 Annual that commits itself to giving the reader the extra bang for that $4.99, twice the size of a regular $2.99 DC comic book and absolutely no skimping on the talent or content. It may not fully succeed in its storytelling, but it's hard to argue against the value.

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7.3
Green Lantern: New Guardians #21

Jun 21, 2013

The new direction for the lantern titles is not as immediately exciting or trend-making as the relaunch under Geoff Johns' was 10 years ago. How could it ever be? On the positive side, the work cannot be accused of latching on to what Johns was doing and trying to milk it. Both Jordan and Walker's best DC Comics work is present in this issue. Kyle Rayner seems to be a character that Jordan and Walker are excited about digging into, with ramifications that could potentially make the book pretty important to the overall ‘New 52′. “Green Lantern: New Guardians” #21 is one of those refreshing cases where you get to watch relatively inexperienced, but clearly talented people produce the sort of thing that you always knew they were capable of.

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9
Grendel vs. The Shadow #1

Sep 5, 2014

Don't miss out on this crossover match made in heaven.

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8
Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight #1

Oct 4, 2013

Nobody is holding out on “Grindhouse: Doors Open at Midnight”, for better or for worse. While the over-the-top traits of the story and mature depictions themselves are the extent of depth, there has to be a tacit understanding of that going in. I can't imagine that this didn't turn out exactly as de Campi envisioned, thanks to her willingness to go at the exploitation with gusto and bringing an artistic partner in Chris Peterson who was fully willing to go there with her. If this sort of cheesecake, gross-out sci-fi horror thing is your bag, baby, then you'll want to get in line for it.

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7.5
Groo vs. Conan #1

Jul 24, 2014

“Groo vs. Conan” is not to be missed by fans of Aragons work. Each and every one of them should apply. For Conan fans, there might be less to like, because Evanier and Aragons' sensibilities so clearly drive everything. Conan is a malleable and enduring property, while Groo is a creator-owned concept very near and dear to the hearts of these creators. While they treat Conan with respect, this is ultimately a book meant more for “Groo” fans. But Evanier and Aragons are talented, funny, and charming, and that mostly shows up in “Groo vs. Conan” – that should be enough to win over some Conan fans, at least.

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6.9
Guardians 3000 #1

Oct 3, 2014

An incredibly engaging first half gets let down in the second. Worth giving a few shots to earn a place in your rotation.

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7.9
Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #5

Aug 1, 2013

With a movie on the way, Marvel clearly wanted to throw a lot behind this property. A top writer, a top artist, a key role for Tony Stark, a newsworthy guest appearance of a “Spawn” character, and stakes that look like they'll rattle throughout the Marvel Universe are all ingredients for something that should make for a top-notch title. You and I know, however, that it doesn't always work out as intended. Great talent and stunt casting can make for things that look like cash-grabs just as easily as they can turn out truly good stories. Though the biggest news story surrounding the comic (Angela) is the issue's biggest weakness, everything else works pretty well to bring you something that is definitely less of a cash grab than it is a property that's going places.

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5.8
Guardians of the Galaxy (2013) #8

Nov 1, 2013

Bendis dials up an 'Infinity' tie-in that manages to feel both like an extension of his own ongoing story and a fitting addition to Jonathan Hickman's event. The issue gets off to a slow start, unfortunately, by succumbing to Bendis' one major downfall " his penchant for characters to take pages and pages having arguments that don't need to be as wordy as he likes to make them.

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8.2
Halloween Eve (One Shot) #1

Oct 11, 2012

Montclare and Reeder have crafted a fine ode to the holiday by celebrating the heart behind it rather than the horror. But Amy Reeder is definitely the star here, breathing weird life into a fantasy world that is equal parts spooky, humorous, and heartfelt. “Halloween Eve” is the definition of a labor of love and definitely worth checking out for fans of the holiday.

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8.5
Hell Yeah #6

Jan 24, 2013

“Hell Yeah” is one of the best in a line of modern superhero comics that act as “love letters” to the genre while modernizing it. Keatinge's commitment to keeping the main character grounded in reality as well as Szymanowicz's commitment to improving on his work and rising to each new task give way to a book that doesn't just want your money. “Hell Yeah” wants to work to deserve your money. And it does.

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8.6
Herald: Lovecraft & Tesla #1

Oct 17, 2014

That's the sort of careful effort that went into “Herald: Lovecraft & Tesla” – the kind that produces added value and enjoyment upon re-reading. What looks like a simple buddy-buddy pairing on its face really becomes something much stronger in the actual telling. Strong character definition, exaggerations made in the name of pure fun, and an attention to detail make “Herald” a book to keep on your radar. You can find it digitally right now, and it's not too late to pre-order it from your LCS. If you have any affection for the historical names involved, give this one a chance to surprise you with an even deeper experience.

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9.5
Howtoons: [Re]Ignition #1

Aug 7, 2014

"Howtoons: (Re)Ignition #1 is the perfect way to sneak tidbits of education and do-it-yourselfitude into madcap entertainment. For that reason, you'll definitely want to introduce it to the young people in your life. It's got enough imagination and action to carry itself, but the projects are the irresistible cherry on top. Maybe, just maybe, it'll help sneak more physical comic books into the hands, hearts, and minds of kids again.

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8
Imagine Agents #1

Oct 18, 2013

In "Imagine Agents", the men in black go from place to place managing the imaginary friends and impossible creatures that seem to exist only in the minds of children. What lies behind that deceptively simple concept is a story that can go from being goofy and over-the-top on one page, to breaking your heart on the next page.

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7.5
Imperial #4

Nov 7, 2014

True to the nickname "funnybook", "Imperial" perhaps ties up a little too conveniently, but wins you over on its endless charm.

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7
Indestructible Hulk #1

Nov 23, 2012

In a contrast to the rest of Marvel NOW! so far, “Indestructible Hulk” in very unflashy in its announcement that this a new direction for the character. It's good comics though, and yet another check in the win column for Marvel NOW! which has only had a 1-2 misses among a lot of pretty good comic runs that seem to be getting started here. If this issue is only solid yet unspectacular on its own, at the very least it is a step in the right direction as Mark Waid and Leinil Yu clearly have a fun plan for this character.

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6.8
Infinity Heist #1

Sep 26, 2013

The mission statement of the various non-Hickman “Infinity” miniseries seems to be the creation of irreverent tales caused by ‘Infinity', but not really related to ‘Infinity' in many specific ways. Unlike “Avengers Vs. X-Men”, you won't be using these tie-ins to get the bigger picture of smaller events seen or mentioned in the pages of Hickman's overall narrative. I guess that makes putting the ‘Infinity' banner on these an attempt at grabbing an audience. It's probably even more appropriate to say that the existence of “Hunt” and “Heist” are to be quick cash grabs. However, thanks to some clever art choices from Barrionuevo and an in-your-face approach to some very minor villains, “Heist” is one superfluous tie-in that you can have enough fun picking up on a whim.

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7
Infinity Man And The Forever People #1

Jun 12, 2014

It's unclear what the future holds, creatively, for “Infinity Man and the Forever People.” The art is shifting, which is never seen as a positive thing in the headlines, even if the art that takes over is perfectly competent. This concept, as all under-utilized throwback concepts seem to be, is going to be a tough enough sell without a consistent artistic vision or modern big names attached. At the end of the day, most fans are picking this up to see Giffen and Koblish do Kirby. If you want to support that, definitely grab this issue, despite the fact that it's a little light on activity. It's too early to tell what we can even expect from future issues, and that's hard to put your good faith into.

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5.5
Infinity: The Hunt #1

Sep 13, 2013

It's difficult to figure out what Marvel and Matt Kindt were going for with this one. Truthfully, it's not a terrible comic – just a kind of inexplicable one. “The Hunt” #1 does two things, rendered in a playful art style: Marvel youth character summary pages and kids goofing off. If you are looking for anything other than those two things, you're not getting it here.

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7.5
Invincible Universe #1

Apr 12, 2013

“Invincible Universe” is a fine effort from Hester and Nauck. Not only are they solid craftsmen in writing and penciling respectively, but they are terrific fits for the universe that Robert Kirkman is letting them play in. They understand “Invincible” the way that Kirkman envisioned it. Even more exciting is the realization that “Invincible Universe” could be an analog to “Marvel Universe” or “DC Universe.” Kirkman's property has gone past the point of homage to a having a scope as wide as he wants it to be. Kid Thor could have his own book. There's a whole big world coming out of the imaginations of Kirkman and Hester. And in a world of cape comics that get bogged down by events and cyclical plots, this is a refreshing world worth exploring.

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8
Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #3

Jun 6, 2014

“Iron Fist – The Living Weapon” is a comic driven by these emotions over everything else. Kaare Andrews clearly “gets” what made kung fu such a sensation back in the '70s, and why it endures today in the raw, over-the-top revival films that have sprinkled out every few years. “Iron Fist” can be both a big, fiery book and a brutally emotional book, even as it moves through story elements that seem redone and warmed over at times. None of that prevents it from being the emotional gut punch that a good character deconstruction should be.

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6.5
It Girl and The Atomics #1

Aug 9, 2012

The hardest thing about playing in the same world as Mike Allred would have to be nailing the art. On that end of things, “It Girl and the Atomics” should satisfy the expectations of the reader. The plot was in a really interesting place by the end of the issue, but what led up to it seemed too inconsequential in comparison. The script was too little, too late in living up to the verve of the originals.

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7.9
It Girl and The Atomics #3

Oct 19, 2012

Madman's heyday is far behind us, but there's a good chance that any comic fan can find something to like with “It Girl and the Atomics.” There's not much below the surface, but I think Rich and Norton are reveling in that fact and play it up as much as possible. The books' own demeanor matches its main character's: taking this superhero stuff seriously would be boring.

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7.7
Jack Kraken One Shot #1

May 16, 2014

There's enough going on in "Jack Kraken" to make it worth your while, while also having the added benefit of being something of a victory lap for a creator in Tim Seeley, who has been recently having some big time success at a variety of publishers. The stories are rough around the edges, but each of them is visually and conceptually rewarding on some level if you give them a chance. Although it would certainly be fun to see, it's difficult to envision "Kraken" garnering the wild fandom or praise of something like Seeley's "Hack/Slash", but as a one-off it's a surprisingly affecting comic that comes from a place of true love for the genre " even from an incredibly young age.

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7.3
Journey Into Mystery #646

Nov 23, 2012

Even though the issue stumbled a little when it got to the meat and potatoes of the first arc, Immonen so clearly has a great grasp on these characters already and knows how to entertain a reader. This is a title that is sure to exist with a lower profile among the rest of the Marvel NOW! launches, but because of a strong focus on character and some beautiful work by Schiti, it deserves to be noticed. Hopefully, it will be.

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8
Judge Dredd: Mega City Two #1

Jan 24, 2014

It's difficult to project where such a talented artist like Ulises Farinas is going to go in this industry. Will he want to do even more mainstream work – or do his passions lie with creator-owned work like “Gamma”? For my selfish sake, I hope it's both, and plenty of it. But “Judge Dredd” is a great place for him to be right now, especially with an experienced writer like Wolk. Though this isn't indicative of your typical Dredd story, and feels much leaner than the stories in your average issue of “2000 AD”, this is a side event that shouldn't be missed. If you've never picked up a “Judge Dredd” title before, consider this lighter take on the character your official starting point.

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8.4
Jupiter's Legacy #1

Apr 25, 2013

Mark Millar and Frank Quitely have created a team effort in "Jupiter's Legacy" that is bringing out the best in both of their talents. Though already one of comics' greatest talents, Quitely continues to show growth as a storyteller and Millar uses his particular talents to great effect. Meanwhile, Millar avoids nearly all of his penchant for overindulgence to create a script full of big ideas without overdoing any of them. For once, Millar's usual brand of hyperbole and salesmanship might not be misplaced. With Quitely in tow, this just might turn out to be the comic book "event" of 2013.

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6.8
Justice League #20

May 24, 2013

While the ‘New 52′ feels as though it is actively funneling its properties toward a muddy mediocrity, “Justice League” #20 is starting to show many of the fun and classic characteristics that pre-Flashpoint titles had. It is Geoff Johns' ability to be a master “continuitist” that makes the updated team roster work. Unfortunately, the plotting itself borrows too much from what came before, with less elegance. And to further the credit toward Johns, the 10-page “Shazam” backup remains the best reason to pick up this title.

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7.8
Justice League #23.3

Sep 19, 2013

Issues like "Dial E" are reminders that the pure art of comic books will always be appreciated, even by the big dogs, even when they're otherwise mostly focused at their bottom line. All 20-odd artists deserve to have their art looked at by a wider audience. Despite whatever misgivings you may or may not have toward "Villains Month", this is a single issue worth supporting.

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5.5
Justice League Dark #0

Sep 28, 2012

Though we get a passable “Times Past” tale about Zatanna and Constantine, there's so much more potential to the Justice League Dark team and we're afforded none of it. The series itself doesn't spend enough time on the other players on the team the way it is, while the zero issue ignores them completely for characters that have had plenty of stories over the years. Another zero issue just skirts by the supposed premise of the month. If you're looking to know more about Black Orchid or Doctor Mist or any tales of the Justice League Dark as a team (which is promised by the solicitation), you're out of luck, mate.

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3.8
Justice League of America (2013) #3

May 10, 2013

Geoff Johns and David Finch seem to be attempting to make a darker team book. A place where misfits, B-listers, and morally questionable “heroes” will get together to take on problems that the Justice League can't. The problem is two-fold. For one, Johns' “Justice League” is already darkened with the ever-present tone of ‘The New 52′. “JLA” really doesn't feel significantly darker than that. For two, the conflict is born out of hot-headed heroes having itchy trigger fingers, rather than true disagreements and honest-to-goodness conflicts of interest. In that way, “Justice League of America” will satisfy those that still get a kick out of the gimmick of seeing heroes tee off on one another. For everyone else, check back in when the Secret Society actually shows up.

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5.5
Justice League Of America's Vibe #2

Mar 21, 2013

Make no mistake, “Vibe” is a competent street-level comic book when it wants to be. In those moments, “Vibe” succeeds at filling a hole in the “Young Justice” line that has been left by cancelled books and a poor “Teen Titans” title. When focusing on Cisco's stumbling coming-of-age superheroics, the book is breezy fun. But it strays from that focus a little too often and seems more concerned with tying into “Justice League of America”, dropping cameos, and trying too hard to prove its legitimacy rather than tell its story.

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7.8
Justice League United #2

Jun 13, 2014

“Justice League United” is a book that is somehow allowed to embrace the wacky, unlikelier aspects of the DC Universe and do its own thing in a line that still wants to be really cohesive to a fault. Maybe it's a sign that things are loosening up. Maybe a book like this can exist now that DC Comics has all the readers it thinks its going to have, post-relaunch. Maybe Jeff Lemire and Mike McKone are damn talented and would make a solid superhero title no matter what. Maybe I'm wrong about all of this and some books are bad, while some books are good, no matter the status quo or reason behind their existence. Whatever the case, “Justice League United” #2 is just flat-out good cape comics.

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8.1
Kill Shakespeare: Tide of Blood #1

Feb 22, 2013

For the uninitiated, the “Kill Shakespeare” series takes a bunch of well-known characters and throws them into a blender of fantasy and drama in an original period setting that is fun to look at. That said, if you are uninitiated, this may not be the best place to start. We catch up pretty much right where our main characters left off before and the conflicts would not be entirely clear, if you didn't read what came before this. In a series like this, that's preferable. This is a meaty issue and it gets right to the point without wading around in too much exposition or bothering to get everyone caught up. Considering that, you should run out and grab up the earlier “Kill Shakespeare” comics so you can get caught up. It's really worth it. Especially for Shakespeare nuts.

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8.8
King Conan: Hour of the Dragon #1

May 31, 2013

In some ways, sword-and-sorcery is as relevant as ever. As modern fans of visual storytelling in a variety of media come to discover a new appreciation for fantasy and fantasy-based dramatic machinations, there is no doubt that Conan will continue to maintain his throne among them. Books like “King Conan” endure because they find ways to stay relevant and satiate fans who like to see reinterpretations of classic stories. With a sense of comic book storytelling that is an expert mix of modern and vintage, “The Hour of the Dragon” satisfies the every need of “Conan” fans of any era.

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5
Larfleeze #1

Jun 27, 2013

When entertaining side characters get their own books, the question is always there, but “Larfleeze” #1 clearly proves that Larfleeze is just better in small doses. Giffen and DeMatteis make an honest effort to give Larfleeze some true depth, but they also can't avoid the narrative limitations of the nature of his character either. Even if you're generally a Larfleeze fan, this book is a little much and it might just be due to the character being stretched beyond his usefulness.

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8
Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland #2

Oct 31, 2014

"Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland" continues to be a fast-paced and good-natured homage to one of the great works of all time, and it looks great too.

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8
Loki: Agent of Asgard #2

Mar 7, 2014

Fans of Garbett's work on Bryan Q. Miller's "Batgirl" will be pleased to find that his work here is even better, and the tone of the book is quite similar. This one looks like it's going to delight month in and month out.

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8.5
Lumberjanes #1

Apr 10, 2014

“Lumberjanes” #1 is 100% charm all the way through. While the irreverent story is a pure attempt at fun, silliness, and friendship incarnate without any baggage, it's nothing less than an impressive effort from all of the myriad talents that went into its creation. “Lumberjanes” is a labor of love, and it shows, from the lighthearted script to the playful art and lettering. Share this one with your whole family, because summer is right around the corner and it's not too early for a little camping adventure.

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6.9
Magneto (2014) #1

Mar 7, 2014

One issue in, "Magneto" looks to be a comic that is going to rely on the strength of the character work and an appreciation for subtle art if it's going to gain a readership. Cullen Bunn gets the character right, and it's one of the most satisfying interpretations of the character in years. Walta delivers the dark menace that we've been missing for a while. But "Magento" is not an iconic-feeling comic, and appears to be slow-playing its way along at this point. It's one to keep tabs on, but not necessarily essential.

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7
Magnus: Robot Fighter #1

Mar 14, 2014

“Magnus: Robot Fighter” will please fans of the character with the way that it throws constant references in and shows love for the main characters. Modern reboots or relaunches tend to try and take a more cynical or darker view of a property, but in the capable hands of Van Lente that ends up rarely being the case. Cory Smith's art is breath of fresh air too, doing the basic designs of Russ Manning proud and tightly telling a story that is enjoyable, even if it feels relatively routine.

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9
Manifest Destiny #2

Dec 12, 2013

“Manifest Destiny” is yet another example of some up-and-coming comic book talent with previously low exposure coming together to create something that feels beyond their years. With a concept and execution that stands up against any of the dozens of dynamic creator-owned works already running today, Image Comics' has another winner on their hands. “Manifest Destiny” is the “next big thing” from a publisher that is constantly releasing the “next big thing.”

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8.6
Mara #1

Dec 27, 2012

Wood and Doyle have a winner on their hands here. “Mara” is light social commentary that is incredibly relevant, wrapped up in an attractive and fun package. Best of all, it's an incredible showcase for Ming Doyle, whose work we will all be happily enjoying more of in the near future. For someone with relatively little experience with published work, Doyle's “Mara” shows just how refined her work already is and how much she's ready for the big leagues.

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9
Marvel Knights Spider-Man #1

Oct 3, 2013

The ‘Marvel Knights' banner promises us a mix of unique creative talent that will deliver us stories that are edgier and different from what we get in these characters' regular ongoings. In this case, “edgy” is an appropriate word – not for the maturity of the content – but the boldness of the storytelling. As great a job as I think Dan Slott has done with Spider-Man, you just aren't going to get this kind of story in a regular Spider-Man book. You won't get a 5-issue arc with this kind of commitment and detail given to a truly strange artistic cornucopia, anyway. Whether the story “matters” or not, with a creative team like Kindt, Rudy, and Staples doing work as expansive and weird as this, you won't want to miss it. After all, what “matters” more than great creative teams on great characters like Spider-Man?

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7.5
Marvel Knights: Hulk #2

Jan 17, 2014

Issue #2 becomes proof positive that Kowalski is quickly developing a signature style and pushing beyond his influences to become a stellar comic book talent.

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5.7
Mighty Avengers (2013) #3

Nov 8, 2013

It's such a shame that the story of this book has to be Greg Land's art, month in and month out, because Al Ewing is setting up one hell of a team. That said, Land's art has to be the story of any review, because it's just not effective in telling a story

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7.9
Mighty Avengers (2013) #7

Feb 28, 2014

“Mighty Avengers” has been a relatively low-key title in that it doesn't hold much weight in the events of the greater Marvel 616. Even its recent foray into ‘Infinity' didn't do a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. What “Mighty Avengers” is is a compelling showcase for some characters that aren't playing big roles at Marvel right now. White Tiger is a fascinating character with a past worth exploring and it's nice to see her given that chance. Ewing hasn't been at Marvel long, but he's proving himself to have the scripting and structural chops to be the next big player, and along with Schiti, is quietly crafting a scrappy title with a lot of heart that I hope gets the attention it deserves.

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9
Minimum Wage #1

Jan 10, 2014

“Minimum Wage” #1 proves that Bob Fingerman is nowhere near short on stories to tell. Rather, it's proof positive that he's more willing to be emotionally raw and honest than ever, while never losing sight of the essential comedy of life. It's early in 2014, but “Minimum Wage” looks like it's well on its way to being one of the sharpest looks at the human struggle that mainstream comics will produce this year. Not bad for a comic that seeded its roots in the very specific '90s landscape of Indie Comics. It's more relevant and personal than ever.

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9.7
Moon Knight (2014) #4

Jun 5, 2014

There's no doubt that “Moon Knight” by Ellis, Shalvey, Bellaire and Eliopoulos was extremely special right out of the gates. Issue #4 is a real statement-making installment, though. By now we know exactly what the mission statement of this run of “Moon Knight” is, and it's fearless. It's a shame that the Ellis/Shalvey run is only destined to run for a 6 short issues, but any of these issues can be picked up on their own and blow you away. If you haven't been following along to this point, make “Moon Knight” #4 your starting point. There's nothing else at Marvel Comics like it – and never has been.

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7.5
Morbius: The Living Vampire #1

Jan 3, 2013

All of the very well-exectued aspects of “Morbius” #1 add up to a comic book that does everything right, but doesn't bowl the reader over. Ideally, your first issue would grab the reader, not let go, and drop an ending that leaves them absolutely clamoring for next month's issue. “Morbius” doesn't really do that, instead preferring to establish a strong lead character first and ask the reader to trust that they are headed to some place worth going. Keatinge and Elson attack a relatively thin premise with so much professionalism that they have earned that trust from the first issue.

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8
Moth City: The Reservoir #1

Jan 24, 2014

The images are gritty and violent when they need to be, packing a real gut punch for anyone who puts the time in. This was a different time and a difficult time, and the events of this particular story are shocking as they come while feeling pretty authentic.

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6.7
MPH #1

May 23, 2014

Duncan Fegredo's art is not to be missed, whatever it is he's working on. That said, Mark Millar is traditionally a stronger opener than he is a finisher. With that in mind, “MPH” is a surprisingly ordinary affair, with a bare minimum attempt to link the superhuman with the reality and not much aside from it. The cast is interesting, the central character is appealing in some ways, but “MPH” #1 survives almost entirely on Mark Millar's formula for a pitch and not much more beneath the surface.

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8.9
Ms. Marvel (2014) #2

Mar 21, 2014

“Ms. Marvel” is another cult success, though I suspect the cult will be relatively large. While “Avengers” and “X-Men” are always going to be your heavy-hitters, the market needs books like these, especially when their quality is high enough to match the good intentioned ideals that the books stands for. G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona have imbued an old property (and a new character) with such an overwhelming sense of warmth and inclusion. Everyone is welcome and everyone should give it a chance.

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9.2
New Avengers (2013) #2

Jan 18, 2013

It's obvious what Jonathan Hickman was referring to when he said he left Ultimates for “a job offer he couldn't refuse.” Writing the “Avengers” books is an opportunity that Hickman couldn't afford to turn down. But with his creativity firing on all cylinders, it's really Hickman's talent that Marvel couldn't afford to miss out on for Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

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5
New Avengers (2013) #8

Jul 26, 2013

A grand, "important" issue if you're invested in Marvel's oncoming event, but a bummer compared to the dark, personal approach taken earlier in the series.

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7.8
New Warriors (2014) #2

Mar 7, 2014

Marcus To's clean cartooning always produces handsomely rendered character and clean, vibrant action sequences and "New Warriors" is no exception to that fact. To is one of the most reliable artists in comics and his approach remains true, giving the proper gravity to the new role that the New Warriors are looking to carve out for themselves in the Marvel Universe.

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7.7
Nightcrawler (2014) #1

Apr 11, 2014

What begins as the perfect picture of a writer trying to find his feet with a classic character again, ends as a celebration of all of the stuff that made that character great. While issue #1 doesn't blow the doors off of the X-Men status quo, it's not trying to. It's going to be fun to see Claremont sort of work around the back, with a solo title, rather than trying to run things or recapture past glories again. Fans who drifted away from the X-Men titles in recent years (maybe even because of the lack of Claremont) would do well to come back around and check out this title. The early exposition will get you caught up, clunky as it might be, and after that you just might be reminded of why you fell in love with these characters all those years ago.

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8
Nightwing (2011) #0

Sep 20, 2012

Higgins and Barrows have been combining to build fresh new aspects into a decades old character. New readers can easily start here, as the creative team sweeps the reader briskly through a rollercoaster of an origin tale worthy of the #0 label. If you can overlook an odd moment or two, and a timeline that has been completely screwed, you'll find an enriching story at the heart of this book.

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7.5
Nova (2013) #4

May 17, 2013

Nonetheless, “Nova” is a fine coming-of-age story. A kid around Sam Alexander's age couldn't help but identify with him. Loeb and McGuinness have relaunched a property that could have kids pretending to don the Nova helmet to dart around their backyards. The approach that this creative team is perhaps the most simple of the ‘Marvel Now!” titles, but it's also one of the most elegant. “Nova” is about a boy, his dad, and a thirst for adventure. For pure escapism, you could do a lot worse than Loeb and McGuinness' “Nova.”

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6.8
Occupy Comics #1

May 23, 2013

If you have been a part of an "Occupy" movement, or are just glad that there are people out there that are, this book is a buy. It's a browse for anyone else who might be on the fence.

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8
Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare #1

Oct 9, 2014

The actual miniseries in earnest is set to actually start hitting comic book shops in 2015, so you'll have to wait to read more of the twisted tale. If you're not going to be in NYC and don't feel like scouring eBay for a copy later, make a note for next year. One way or another, “Oxymoron: The Loveliest Nightmare” wants to creep you out and you should think about letting it.

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8.8
Peter Panzerfaust #14

Sep 20, 2013

At this juncture, you're either in “Peter Panzerfaust” or you're not. Jumping on would be tough, because Wiebe and Jenkins so quickly crafted this fully realized world and are confident about plowing forward in it. If you're not on-board at this point, I would emplore you to go back, check the early issues out, and get caught up. If you are on-board, then you already now how well “Peter Panzerfaust” is rewarding you for your time and money with great storytelling that builds on itself.

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8.2
Planetoid #5

Mar 29, 2013

Taken as a whole, it's pretty cool just how much story and the wide span of time Garing has packed into these 5 issues. When this is collected, the existence of this story will be that much more impressive and the strength of the storytelling will be much more apparent. It hurt that this final issue spent months and months in a delayed limbo. Hopefully comic shop goers have kept it in the back of their minds, because a one-man operation this impressive shouldn't be missed by anybody. “Planetoid” is a terrific effort from a new creative talent that very clearly has the brightest of futures in the comic book industry.

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7.5
Powerpuff Girls #1

Sep 27, 2013

It remains to be seen whether the character arcs will pay off, but comic fans can appreciate that they're being attempted. It would have been easy for Troy Little to show up and plop down a 5-issue miniseries that rehashes all the highpoints of the hilarious and subversive cartoon. He doesn't settle for doing that, which is a boon to the book, to be sure. Kids will love it for its colorful sense of heroism and fun, but their parents might come back for the truly new territory that the series is attempting to mine out of the property. The subtle adult skew that the original cartoon could sometimes have might not be present, but other than that, these are the girls you remember and Troy Little was the right guy to do it.

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8.5
Pretty Deadly #3

Dec 20, 2013

“Pretty Deadly” isn't going to be for everyone, but it's something everyone should try on for size. The story is just starting to coalesce into something with real meat and coherence to it, and it's quite satisfying to see it come together. DeConnick and Rios are too damn talented to have expected anything else. Regardless, it's still a pretty elusive story right now, so be aware of that. If nothing else, “Pretty Deadly” accomplishes something that we should all strive for in our creative endeavors: a glorious sense of creative freedom.

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9.2
Prophet #39

Sep 12, 2013

It is a massive coup to have Stokoe art within these pages and just goes to show how good Graham's jam-session of an ongoing comic truly can be. Every creative choice that Graham has made, whether with the art or the writing, has made “Prophet” the award-worthy comic that it's known to be today. It is also a testimonial for letting creative people do their thing and trusting their instincts. If more modern comics followed the “Prophet” model for re-appropriating unrefined ideas, we'd have a lot more great comics to read.

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9.5
Punisher (2011) #16

Sep 28, 2012

Greg Rucka and a bevy of talented artists have crafted a new side to the Punisher that feels like it was somewhere in there all along, just waiting to get out. They also navigated Rachel Alves-Cole through a sneak-attack of truly great character development over just 16 issues. It's stunning to think of the transformation that took place. With Rucka leaving mainstream comics in distaste, we'll be missing out on a writer who knows how to grow characters better than most. Hopefully the positive work he's done with these two characters does not go wasted or unnoticed. If there's any bad taste left after the final issue of this run, it's a bittersweet one based on the fact that Marvel dictated its end. There are so many stories left in here just dying to be told.

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7.8
Punisher (2014) #1

Feb 6, 2014

Edmondson has a good thing going over at Marvel right now. While I gave “Black Widow” #1 a 6.9 (which I still think is a good score), it improved dramatically after a first issue that felt very much like a standalone “pilot” episode that didn't really indicate its full potential as a series. Edmondson & Gerads' “Punisher” #1 doesn't feel like a pilot and seems like it's going to feed much more into an ongoing story for Frank Castle in his new setting. They've placed Castle into what is essentially a new life for the character. Fans who want to see Rucka's dropped storylines pay off won't get that opportunity, but if they can remember what the Punisher was like before that seminal run, they'll find enough to enjoy here. It's not the emotional and harrowing title that once earned a 9.5 here, but it's solid comics.

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7.6
Punisher: War Zone #1

Oct 26, 2012

Whether “Punisher: War Zone” is going to reach the heights of pathos and storytelling that his most recent ongoing series did remains to be seen, but if issue #1 confirms anything, it's that Marvel was right to make this a separate miniseries. It's a clean break from what came before. Enjoyable enough for fans of that story, while quickly driving Frank Castle in a new direction for new and old readers alike. And, you know, toward Marvel NOW, too.

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5
Punisher: War Zone #2

Dec 7, 2012

This book smacks of Marvel interference, because it is clear that Greg Rucka is a better writer than this. His 16 issue story is so masterful and introspective that it could not have possibly been meant to end like this. This is impersonal. This is messy. This is out of left field. This is a writer with a character arc that deserved a better art match, or a maintaining of the talents of Marco Checchetto. This is Marvel wanting The Punisher dragged back into the fold by the Avengers and slapped on a team book. Fine, they got him. And we, the readers, got the short end of the stick.

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8.5
Rat Queens #2

Oct 24, 2013

Truth be told, “Rat Queens” is just another in a long line of creator-owned comic booking that Wiebe and whoever his latest artistic partner happens to be are making look extremely easy. Here, it's Roc Upchurch, with a playful style that stretches the comedy of these characters far beyond an already sharp script. This is a book that feels like it has legs just based on the unique concept alone, but it's the ability of Wiebe and Upchurch to put pure entertainment on every page and favor strong characters above all else that should make “Rat Queens” a mainstay on your pull list.

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5.5
Reality Check #1

Sep 5, 2013

It's pretty unclear what “Reality Check” #1 intends to be. The term “reality check” is usually associated with someone coming to a realization about themselves or a situation that they're in. If that applies to our main character and there is some true growth in future issues, then “Reality Check” will deserve every bit of credit that I couldn't give it here. By trying to make Willard both a sad sack, sympathetic character and someone with a seemingly immature worldview, the story is trying to have it both ways at this point. Despite fun and expressive art, it's tough to get fully behind this one just yet.

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6.5
Red Lanterns #21

Jun 28, 2013

Better for Guy Gardner to land here, than to spend time doing more of the same over in “Green Lantern Corps” – a title that needed a fresh, new direction just as much as this one did. It's also better for Atrocitus to go back to playing a supporting villain, than to traipse around making speeches as the lead character. There's an opportunity for Charles Soule to develop new power struggles in a title that had no true antagonist or direction. He's not entirely there yet, but if Soule is aiming for the Sons of Anarchy feel that he says he is, then he and Vitti look like they might be at the very least pointed in the right direction.

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8
Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde #0

Aug 15, 2013

I had to ask myself: if you were an alien would it be easier assimilating into a small town? Or would it actually be easier to blend in and disappear in a city of tens or hundreds-of-thousands? I don't know what the answer is and I guess it ultimately doesn't matter, but I found myself asking questions like that while reading the issue – its patient pace allowing me to stop and wonder as I rediscovered the world and art of “Resident Alien.” The story doesn't grip you with any details on the mystery yet. It would have been nice to give some context for what ultimately lies ahead in this miniseries, but taking its time to reintroduce you (or introduce new readers) isn't a bad move either. As such, issue #0 was a pleasant, slow dip back into the hot tub. But it isn't until the end that Harry perks up at the prospect of a new case: “…the game's afoot,” he thinks. And so do we perk up, as well.

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9.5
Revival #2

Aug 16, 2012

Whether horror comics are your thing or not, this book deserves your attention. Seeley and Norton have crafted a world that is original without calling attention to itself. It's horror with an incredibly strong attention to character and theme, without pretension. It's two talented guys using 22 pages to tell a comic book story the way that it was supposed to be told. Quite simply, “Revival” is nothing less than a beautifully professional effort from top-to-bottom.

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5.9
Revolutionary War: Knights of Pendragon #1

Jan 31, 2014

If the words “Zombie King Arthur” do anything for you, I assure you that there is a lot more ridiculousness that follows along those same lines in ‘Knight of Pendragon'. There are pacing issues and it gets almost irredeemably goofy in parts, but these characters were clearly a joy for Williams to write. Were they to get their own series again, he'd be an apt choice to write it, and were it a more action-oriented title, Sliney would be a good choice to draw it. This particular one-shot story just didn't completely come together, either as a standalone story or a part of the greater whole that is ‘Revolutionary War'. And unfortunately, I fear they won't get another go-around soon enough. I hope I'm wrong.

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4.5
Robocop: Last Stand #1

Aug 8, 2013

There's a common problem with comic book adaptations that act as the only way the story will ever see the light of day. Whether it is thought that the best idea is to adapt it straight-forwardly or whether they're choosing to bare the inherent weaknesses of such faithful endeavors, it makes for a story that rarely leaves the proper impression in its first installments. “Robocop – The Last Stand” takes too long to get started, without giving us colorful enough characters to latch on to. The issue ends right in the middle of a scene of dialogue that is reaching toward some dramatic arc, but stops before it even reaches some sort of emotional or philosophical cliffhanger. All along the way, it is impossible to divorce the work from the script's original writer, so much so that the parallels to his far greater works hang over it like, well, some kind of Dark Knight or something.

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8.8
Rocket Girl #2

Nov 14, 2013

“Rocket Girl” is one of those rare comics that can hit every note it tries to hit. Whether mugging for laughs – or pulling back to inspire awe, their approach ends up working. Montclare and Reeder clearly see their worlds, both real and imaginary, different from everyone else. But they're on the same wavelength with one another, and “Rocket Girl” is the wonderful, imagination-fueled result of that.

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9.6
Saga #9

Jan 17, 2013

Believe the hype. “Saga” is made of the stuff that the very best comic runs of all time are made of and is likewise a world you never can see enough of.

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7.9
Samurai Jack #4

Jan 23, 2014

“Samurai Jack” is such a specific type of property that it might easily go unnoticed by comic book readers who weren't already fans of it. I'd urge anyone who didn't watch the cartoon to check it out if they're at all interested in all ages action-centric tales with a willingness to be goofy sometimes. Those of you that are or were fans of the character – this should be on your pull list already. Rectify that, if it's not.

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9
Satellite Sam #2

Aug 9, 2013

Few comics manage to handle mature themes with a truly mature and intellectual hand. “Satellite Sam” just might turn out to be “The Great American Comic Book” because it chooses to award our patience and intelligence in the way that only the greatest books and television shows and films do. Whether it endures as an all-time great comic remains to be seen. Some might knock the fact that the book isn't aiming to accomplish things that only a comic book can (I would argue against that, but that's a whole other editorial), but as a piece of pure storytelling? “Satellite Sam” is an exciting and engaging period piece to spend time in.

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5.8
Savage Wolverine #10

Oct 25, 2013

If anything “Savage Wolverine” is an experiment that fails as much as it succeeds, but when it succeeds, it reminds us why we love artists like Jock. There is a strong visual sensibility here that proves that artists have just as much to do with the storytelling process as writers do. It also shows us that you still do need a snappy or, at minimum, an interesting script to make a fully compelling read. Jock doesn't show the ability to deliver that yet, but does turn in a visually magnificent book that any fan of his should check out. In a comics landscape where Marvel seems more than willing to take risks with storytelling, “Savage Wolverine” is a better message of goodwill and a recognition of great artistic talent than it is a great book.

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9.3
Secret #3

Aug 29, 2013

The secret in “Secret” potentially goes so deep that the wait for another issue might be unbearable. Were it not that Hickman is writing something like over 9000 comic books, it would be pretty upsetting. On the other hand, the fact that we don't get to enjoy Ryan Bodenheim on a regular basis is unbearable in its own right. We comic fans complain a lot about not getting a consistent output sometimes, but these creators don't owe us anything. If it takes a year between issues, whether its the script or the art that we're waiting on, when the result is an issue this good, it's worth it. Be that as it may, one of the only weaknesses of “Secret” is that Jonathan Hickman books don't read well with a year between issues. But then again, whose would?

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8
Secret Avengers (2013) #4

May 9, 2013

Spencer and Ross are trying to line comic books up with reality in a way that feels legitimate and as current as possible. They've succeeded by building a team that makes sense and trying to imagine how that team and the people they work for would deal with international affairs. But aside from how prescient it might be, it's also just plain fun to look at.

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6.9
Sex #1

Mar 6, 2013

“Sex” really straddles that line between a buy and a browse. There's a lot of provocative stuff going on and there are hints in there that this book very well could transcend its shock value. Getting past the shock value is going to be a tough hill to climb though, if the narrative falls into being as dry as much of this book was. If you really dig erotica, this isn't really that. There's a lot more plot going on. But the erotic is clearly going to be a major player in this title, so that plot needs to up pace if it's going to catch up to the sex. After all, no one wants to watch the parts where the guy is delivering the pizza or explaining how he's going to fix the cable. Still, with art this good and a willingness to push buttons (even for an Image book), there's reason to at least keep “Sex” on the radar.

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7
Sex #5

Aug 2, 2013

This is as slow as slow burns go. That's not entirely a bad thing, but don't expect there to be much forward momentum. If you're not mesmerized by the sex and the art (like I am), then you'll likely find this a dry affair.

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9.3
Sex #8

Nov 1, 2013

For a book that started out erring a little on the side of the mundane, “Sex” is anything but that at this point. “Sex” #8, in particular, is one of the finest comics this year as far as pure subtextuality goes. By the time Casey and Kowalski are done, “Sex” 1-8 feels like a finished, polished work – even if few of our questions have found answers. The revelations within are entirely character based, and incredibly satisfying. There's more “Sex” to come, and while issue #8 is not a place to start reading – it does serve to validate everything that has come before it, and secures its place as one of the most interesting projects in comics.

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7
She-Hulk (2014) #4

May 9, 2014

“She-Hulk” #4 may feel a bit like a transitional piece so early in the run, but there's no reason to skip out on it. Reading “She-Hulk” is like watching the darkly comic parts of great television like Mad Men. The characters are playing up the day-to-day absurdity of things that are really mundane. Dropping it into a superhero setting and cutting through it with trips to Latveria and Doom-bot brawls makes it all the more wonderfully absurd. Give this one a chance. It's quirky in all of the right ways.

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7.6
Sheltered #1

Jul 11, 2013

“Sheltered” #1 begins to prove its true worth when it tears away from the obvious comparisons and the starting-point premise that has been well-tread in modern science fiction and horror. Ed Brisson brings his particular talents for crafting characters that are unique and immediately identifiable, while Johnnie Christmas is a young talent that shows plenty of good storytelling sense here. While both the story and the art are a little raw, it happens to serve the story well a decent amount of the time. And by the time things are over at the issue's gripping conclusion, you have a book that you'll want to return to again next month.

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8.2
Shutter #4

Jul 10, 2014

“Shutter” #4 continues Keatinge and del Duca's visually moving look at nostalgia and a loss of innocence. It's a decidedly grown-up look at the difference between childhood as you experienced it then, and how you remember it now. Those elements are packaged and delivered in the spirit of something resembling an antique anthropomorphic curiosity shop. “Shutter” errs on the side of non-specificity, but with enough heart and storytelling prowess you don't need to know all the rules – now or ever, really.

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8
Silver Surfer (2014) #1

Mar 27, 2014

There's a definitely “the best is yet to come” aura being given off by this first issue, but rest assured that the premise is delivered on. Dan Slott is at his Slottiest, and Allred is as Allred as Allred gets. The biggest compliment I can pay to “Silver Surfer” #1 is that both of these creators are doing work that is so inherently “them” and their doing it in a way that clearly feeds off of one another's talents. Nobody is trying to be something they're not and yet they're still giving us a big, bold, funny comic book. That's a relatively rare thing in work-for-hire comics, yet lately over at Marvel Comics it seems to be happening with a delightfully surprising frequency.

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7.5
Snapshot #1

Feb 8, 2013

If you look past the majorly questionable decision made by the central characters, you'll find a rewarding book with some fun dialogue and plenty of twists and turns. It's really hard to overlook that decision though, especially coming from two guys who are incredibly unequipped to handle the consequences. But if it weren't for that decision then there wouldn't be another issue of “Snapshot” and any excuse to read a book from this team is worthwhile.

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8
Sovereign #1

Mar 20, 2014

“Sovereign” reveals its treasures in bite-sized pieces, which as I already mentioned, comes off as something of a double-edged sword. You'll be clamoring for more of each of these stories by the time you're done, but you'll also feel like you probably didn't get your claws in deep enough to any of them. If this comic keeps delivering on the deep epic-fantasy foundations its building in issue #1, and Maybury keeps his design-sense sharpened, “Sovereign” will absolutely be a long form story worth investing in.

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9
Spread #1

Jun 19, 2014

"Spread" combines the best aspects of Justin Jordan's most previous creator-owned works: the straightforward and taut storytelling skills on display in "Dead Body Road" and the ability to collaborate with a terrific artist to produce over-the-top and violent imagery, as he did on "Luther Strode." Strahm's choreography elevates "Spread" to something greater than pure gore. Forall its blood and horror and desperation, "Spread" #1 is beautifully realized.

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8.1
Star Wars (2013) #7

Jul 12, 2013

Brian Wood continues to capture the heart in the core and the banter that made the original Star Wars trilogy so much better than the prequel installments. The characters on the page are the same ones from the original film, and it shows in the way Wood gets the voices down pat.

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6.9
Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1

May 1, 2014

“Star Wars: Rebel Heist” #1 performs just like its hero tends to when he allies are in a jam. It comes through as a fully fleshed tale of intrigue by the end and, in the end, gets you with its roguish charm. But it's messy and takes its time in getting there, all the while kind of telling you what you already know. For fans of Han Solo, the book is a must, because it celebrates the character by embodying the point of view of a fan. For everyone else, it's worth a browse, because it really does pull through in the final pages.

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7
Station to Station One Shot #1

Aug 30, 2013

"Station to Station" is a quality one-off story, even though it might not be very substantial. It expands on the most basic storytelling strengths of the Bechko/Hardman pairing, while not being particularly flashy or deep. It's just good, solid homage work. Definitely worth your time if you're as big a fan of big rubber monster movies or weird science horror stories as Bechko & Hardman seem to be.

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6.5
Steed and Mrs. Peel Vol. 2 #0

Aug 30, 2012

This is one of those books where there are some wonderful parts that don't quite add up to a whole. The banter between our heroes is enough to carry you through to the end, but without establishing the players it's a little shallow on reflection. And while there are fun things to look at throughout, there are also too many noticeable art stutters along the way to ignore. One would hope this world will open up a lot more once the series gets going.

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2.8
Stormwatch (2011) #19

Apr 5, 2013

It was actually fun for a few pages to see a storied creator like Jim Starlin come in and perform his own little "Flashpoint" on a struggling book, but what he goes on to replace it with is no more assured or momentous than what had come before. In fact, based on issue #19 alone, there is nothing to distinguish this team from the one that came before aside from a few character swaps. The mission statement purports to be the same. Perhaps the fresh characters will be enough to inject life into this series down the road, but right now the table setting feels awfully dry. Without art dynamic enough to hook the reader in and plot that unfolds in the driest way possible, "Stormwatch" hasn't yet found its niche in the DC Universe.

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6
Suicide Risk #1

May 2, 2013

Mike Carey is not known for slow-burning stories, so “Suicide Risk” feels instantly uncharacteristic. That said, he's earned enough trust for this story to be one to watch. There's nothing that says that Carey isn't trying to approach this story more methodically than usual. But with such a talented artist in tow you want to see more chances taken. Instead, “Suicide Risk” is a winning premise that stumbles in execution in its first issue.

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8
Super Powers #1

Nov 25, 2016

"Super Powers" looks to be special in the same way that Art & Franco's entire oeuvre is special, but doesn't do anything beyond that. These guys comfortably know who they are, and we're all luckier for it.

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3.5
Superboy (2011) #21

Jun 14, 2013

There's something going on with “Superboy” that is keeping him stuck perpetually in an ugly costume and a grim world. It's something that Justin Jordan can't seem to do anything about, because this certainly doesn't feel much like a Justin Jordan comic book. Stopping short of mentioning the full editorial credits of the “Superboy” #21, it's clear to me that there's a commonality to the problems with the ‘New 52′ books that seem most troublesome. A commonality that has little to do with how fans remember these characters or what they're asking to see. A slapdash visual product only perpetuates the idea that this is a book being pushed on us, rather than one that feels like it's developing organically.

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4.5
Superior Carnage #1

Jul 19, 2013

Perhaps Shinick has something up his sleeve to morph this into an approach to the character that we haven't seen before. It certainly doesn't feel that way, because Carnage never really seems like anything other than a pawn in his own book and the final few pages of the book do very little to tease us into coming back. Segovia has a handful of great moments among ordinary work with an ordinary character. Ultimately, “Superior Carnage” falls short of the other titles with the ‘Superior' banner, even though it's not a terrible comic. It's just another Carnage comic. In a book with a high fictional murder count and a massive prison break, that ends up being its greatest crime.

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8.1
Superior Foes of Spider-Man #1

Jul 5, 2013

The cover and the title may deceive you. These men and women are in no sense of the word “superior” to anything. They're not meant to be. The irony isn't immediately present, so just go in expecting comedy to trump any sort of dramatic plot or heavy character work – at least in this first issue. The comedy is so satisfying that it doesn't matter that the book doesn't really tie in to what's going on in “Superior.” In fact, it's better off for that fact. This title can be enjoyed by anyone who isn't reading what Dan Slott is doing with the Spider-Man character. And if you go in with the right mindset and a keen sense of humor, you will enjoy it.

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8.5
Superior Spider-Man #27.NOW

Feb 14, 2014

For all of my hyperbolic praise, let's make no mistake " "Superior Spider-Man" is what it is " a cape comic. But with Dan Slott at the helm and an art team that includes the very best work of Giuseppe Camuncoli, to date, "Superior Spider-Man" is one of the best examples of what cape comics still have to offer in the year 2014. Subversion of genre and character tropes, re-explorations of classic comic book errata, and the best in slam-bang action.

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6
Superior Spider-Man #30

Mar 28, 2014

Can something be absolutely essential while still feeling flat and unceremonious at the same time? There's no doubt that this creative team, who has given us so many great comics with Otto Octavius under the Spidey mask, is up to the task of capping this series off in a fitting way. The fact of the matter is that they just didn't do it here, in the very issue where they decided to bring the one true “Amazing Spider-Man” back. My criticisms of this issue betray just how good I think this series (and Dan Slott's run as a whole) has been, I know. But Peter Parker's return could have felt more spectacular, amazing, and ultimately superior to what actually played out on the page.

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7
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #1

Jul 25, 2013

‘Superior Spider-Month' has run the gamut from great successes to forgettable moments, but “Team-Up” lands somewhere in the middle with the promise to go to high places from its first, establishing issue. Yost and Lopez are an exciting team if fun and humor is going to be a main course on the menu, so despite a slow start, this series will be one to follow for a while.

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7.9
Superman (2011) #35

Oct 24, 2014

"Superman" continues to be surprisingly quiet and disconnected, even with two of DC's most popular and powerful creators on it, but that doesn't mean it's not a fine title.

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6
Superman (2011) Annual #2

Aug 2, 2013

There's nothing groundbreaking here and, again, it doesn't tell anything in the way of a complete story, but it's moving our characters closer to their sweet spots. It's moving us back, hopefully, in the direction of Superman and Lois being colleagues and giving Superman familiar villains that test the full breadth of his character.

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9
Supreme: Blue Rose #3

Sep 19, 2014

This is going to have a place on some year end lists, for sure.

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6.8
Swamp Thing (2011) #19

Apr 4, 2013

Soule and Kano are off to a fine start with “Swamp Thing” #19, but there is a clear effort to sell the character of Swamp Thing to readers that haven't been interested in him yet. Trying to gain more of an audience (or keep an audience that could potentially have left with Snyder) is an understandable practice, but there are clear storytelling issues that are caused by this. Soule has a really strong grasp on the character of Swamp Thing, but somehow manages to whisk him into multiple cameos that do damage to the focus on character that Soule and Kano handled so well in the early stages and turns him into a more conventional superhero, where he doesn't work as well.

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7.5
Sword of Sorcery #0

Sep 21, 2012

If there are any major problems with “Sword of Sorcery”, they lie in the fact that these books really couldn't be more opposed to one another from a tonal standpoint. Yes, they're both fantasy tales, but that's where the similarities end. Amethyst is a bright comic full of humor and spectacle, while “Beowulf and Grendel” is a dark, snow-covered tale with some relatively mature content. These books would work wonderfully as separate 20-page issues, but go together like peanut butter and pizza. (Apologies to you weirdos that maybe like that sort of thing.) There's a lot to like in both of them, but for completely different reasons.

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7
Sword of Sorcery #1

Oct 18, 2012

“Beowulf” is unapologetically tearing through a post-modern sci-fi setting that feels so nihilistic and wacky that it's amazing that it's part of the same stringent “New 52″ editorial that no one can seem to get anything past. It's a treat to see something so different. “Amethyst” is something different too, to be sure. If “Amethyst” can eventually pay off on all of the plot threads that it's going through so many pains in setting up, then this comic will end up being entirely worth the $3.99 cover price.

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8.5
Teen Dog #1

Sep 12, 2014

At this point, "Teen Dog" basically revolves around a too-cool teenage dog rolling into school and the shenanigans that ensue from there. Each page has a punchline or two, or a fun use of perspective. What makes Jake Lawrence's creation so potent is the way that it tells jokes at the expense of no one in particular, and engages with the reader through a rapidfire pacing.

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1
Teen Titans (2011) #14

Nov 30, 2012

So with ill-fitting art, weightless fight scenes, insipid dialogue and pandering romantic elements. There are so many good comics coming out every week. Don't let something more deserving miss your $2.99. This whole corner of the new 52 needs a reboot. And it honestly leaves one wondering whether its a blessing or not that there were only 19 pages of story.

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7
Terminal Hero #1

Aug 8, 2014

"Terminal Hero" is going to be one to watch, definitely. But I recommend it with some minor pause, because I'm not sure who this protagonist is that I'm agreeing to follow. The plan is clearly to sort that all out and have some sort of magnificent arc for the character, to be sure, but it'll take some doing for him to garner the requisite sympathies from readers.

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9.5
The Auteur #1

Mar 6, 2014

We endlessly praised “Shaolin Cowboy” earlier this year for its artistically studious and indulgent approach to staging a hyper violent fight sequence with great detail, humor, and vitality. “The Auteur” carries that same spirit with it, though much more is thrown at the wall. While “Shaolin Cowboy” was delivering basically one thing, in a variety of ways, “The Auteur” is grabbing stuff from every corner of its creators' unwieldily minds to entertain you. “The Auteur” is perfect for fans of entirely original, entirely uninhibited, independently minded comics that play by their own rules and nobody else's.

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9.8
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1

Oct 10, 2014

One of the best issues of the year in comics.

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9
The Eltingville Club #1

Apr 24, 2014

“The Eltingville Club” feels like a huge spotlight thrown on the hobby in a time where hot-button social issues seem to hit comic book social media at a weekly clip. As relentless as Dorkin is, an alarming amount of it rings true. Aside from getting the typically detailed and evocative humor cartooning that you expect from an Evan Dorking comic, you get something that should feel like it hits us all extremely close to where we live. This is one of the sharpest, harshest, most honest things you'll read all year.

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7
The Fox #1

Oct 31, 2013

All in all, “The Fox” draws upon the best, most pure aspects of street-level cape & cowl books, with a distinct comedy bend. If you find yourself missing Peter Parker right now, Paul Patton just may be somebody you'd be interested in following. The issue isn't perfect – the backup doesn't stick its landing – but it's a funny, funky book that certainly looks to carve out its niche with plenty of Dean Haspiel personality.

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6.2
The Green Hornet (2013) #1

Mar 28, 2013

What Waid and Indro's work all amounts to is a comic that can be described as “perfectly fine.” It doesn't aspire to be more than a straightforward pulp adventure without any surprises. It's an attractive package and light on exposition, which is a boon to a genre that can be overly grim and wordy. It ends up feeling somewhat inconsequential though, when there are just so many outstanding books on the shelves these days. But if you really like what Dynamite generally does, then you might like this.

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6.7
The Illegitimates #1

Dec 19, 2013

“The Illegitimates” is a lot of fun without being jokey or goofy. It plays its spy story with “Zucker brothers” straightness and key moments that are really hammered home by the art and the tone set by the writers. The post-Bond premise is so masterful, however, that you end up wishing there was more here in its first issue. Issue #1 is mostly setup of that very premise, and while I must say that its promise is enough to bring you back next month, I'm not sure the issue itself was quite the banger that a 1st issue should be. This one is slower, subtler burn than the premise would have you believe.

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8
The Mercenary Sea #1

Feb 13, 2014

The comic shop rack is sorely lacking in sea-faring titles, and at the same time you can never have too many comics that try to capture pulp adventure and swashbuckling like “The Mercenary Sea” does. Symons and Reynolds are working hard to fill that hole, and with all kinds of little hints at things to come, the results are potentially sprawling and massive. Even with a sense of adventure, too many of these books get bogged down with overly moody situations and characters. While the cast of “The Mercenary Sea” has plenty of scars, they don't let anything get the way of the sense of fun and camaraderie. The story gives each character a little moment to shine, and Reynolds' artistic approach is something truly different and worth rewarding.

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8
The Midas Flesh #5

Apr 25, 2014

As the ramifications of the adventure get bigger and more problematic for our principal characters, the journey becomes more and more enjoyable for the reader. Subtle comedy is still allowed to exist, but takes a backseat to the devastating events of issue #5. That's not automatically a bad thing. There's room for both in “The Midas Flesh” – a comic that embodies everything we love about big, galactically-important event stories without any of the baggage.

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6.5
The New 52: Futures End #8

Jul 4, 2014

The series treads water here a bit. Not bad, but not much to sink ones teeth into. An inoffensive transitional issue common in weekly ongoing titles.

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8
The New 52: Futures End #9

Jul 4, 2014

A great looking issue that moves the plot forward more than most.

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9.1
The Private Eye #1

Mar 20, 2013

Vaughan and Martin's story went from being completely off-the-grid, to a delightful tease to kick off the week, to what will certainly end up being the “pick of the week” for many a comic fan this week. “The Private Eye” is so good that it beat the rest of the books this week before they even showed up. But comics aren't about who's beating who. Comics should be about creating, and sharing, and cultivating a culture of imagination that we enjoy in a way that makes sense for everyone involved. “The Private Eye” is a darn fine detective story, but more importantly, it represents what digital comics can aspire to be.

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8
The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #1

Aug 23, 2012

Mark Waid is finding a mini-rebirth in comics as a purveyor of fresh, crisp takes on characters. Though The Rocketeer wasn't mired in continuity issues and didn't need “rebooting”, Waid's approach works so well that one wishes this were an ongoing book. In truth, this feels like it would be an even better opener if the series were more than four issues. Perhaps then the lack of a compelling villain would be less troubling. Still, if you like the idea of throwback heroes that give dashing smiles as they dart into action and don't mind the heavy play towards a love-triangle, then I can't imagine you not getting caught up in this book. The bits with our hero, both costumed and not, are as pure as comic books get.

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8.5
The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #2

Sep 13, 2012

"Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom" is keeping a delicate balancing act between the man in the flight suit and the hero that soars into danger at first blush. Though the story treads into unbelievable territory, it does so with the same gusto that our hero exhibits when launching himself into the sky. For that reason, and for another opportunity to see Samnee's perfect fit, you shouldn't miss this.

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7.4
The Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #3

Nov 2, 2012

It's hard to say that this issue took a step back, because the action is ramping up and Waid and Samnee have put everything in place for the story's logical conclusion and that action is certainly satisfying. But this is the first time in this series where there is some downtime that isn't filled with great character moments. The middle section of the story feels like the means to an end, which should go relatively unnoticed when read as a series, but stood out in this issue. Regardless, if you've come this far, there's no reason to quit. You will feel satisfied by where this story is going. If you haven't been reading this, there's still every reason to pick this up at some point. The art is gorgeous and Waid is very much suited for this kind of character.

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9
The Saviors #2

Jan 30, 2014

“The Saviors” couldn't really come recommended more highly for a title that is doing exactly what it means to do. There's enough that sets it apart from other genre stories, but ultimately it just wants to be a paranormal conspiracy chase book with a memorable character dynamic at its center. It's a very good one, at that. J. Bone's visual approach is so simply stunning and playful that readers will want to stick around to see what James Robinson gives him to do next.

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8
The Shade #11

Aug 17, 2012

Still, it's worth reading an overly wordy script to get the payoff on the themes that Robinson has been playing with. It's a lucky enough event that Robinson's miniseries was able to make it to its conclusion. It's even luckier still, for readers who've stuck with it, that this story proved to be worth telling all the way through.

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8.9
The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys #1

Jun 13, 2013

And what a striking impression the book does leave on the reader. If “Killjoys” commits any crime, it is in refusing to compromise on the fragmented story that it wants to tell. The Killjoys would tell you that that isn't a crime at all. Individuality is so important in a comic book industry that tends to fall into repetitive cycles and trends. “Killjoys” is a celebration of expecting the unexpected and carving out your own path. Welcome back, Gerard – we needed more comic books like this.

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9
The Unwritten Vol. 2: Apocalypse #1

Jan 24, 2014

Peter Gross poured a lot into this one. He's the best kept secret in comics, as far as how amazingly versatile his abilities are.

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9
The White Suits #1

Feb 17, 2014

"Who are the White Suits?" Barbiere and Cypress take an elegant, but simple pitch and build a true mythos around it. For fans of noir or hard crime stories, this story has many different hooks with which to try and grab you. Barbiere proves once again to be a terrific artist-friendly writer and in turn we get something amazingly inventive out of Cypress. For fans of mind-bending artistic showcases and strong collaborative efforts, "The White Suits" is essential reading. It's absolutely stunning.

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8
The Woods #1

May 8, 2014

Once the supernatural events take place, the comparison's to “Morning Glories” and “Sheltered” come into focus. It remains to be seen whether “The Woods” will get as brutal and cutting as “Sheltered”, or as mysterious and clue-filled as “Morning Glories.” That's less a criticism and more a public service announcement that says that “The Woods” doesn't have an immediate hook beyond its influences. It's got a cast of characters that are well-realized (for their first issue) and a mysterious glowing indication that the cast is no longer in the world they once knew. That's enough, for now, considering most first issues don't get a chance to establish their characters properly or get to the point. “The Woods” manages to do both, rather deftly.

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9
Thor: God of Thunder #1

Nov 15, 2012

I actually undersold it in the introduction, because this book looks to give us so much more than just a good fit of writer to character. Aaron and Ribic are clearly looking to give us an expansive and gorgeous exploration of the timelessness of an immortal Asgardian being weighed against whatever weaknesses they can find in that concept. Stories of gods and supermen can become tiresome when writers aren't creative enough to find those weaknesses. From the very first issue, it's clear that Aaron and Ribic have a plan to put Thor and company through the ringer. And we're all the richer for it.

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9.5
Thor: God of Thunder #2

Nov 29, 2012

After a near perfect opening issue, Aaron and Ribic have topped themselves. It's the best of what Marvel NOW! has to offer, because it delivers on Marvel's current mission statement better than any of their other books, so far. “Pairing great characters with great creative teams.” Obviously that's something that every comic company strives for with their characters, but rarely does anyone nail it as well as Marvel did with Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic, and Thor. That makes it not only the shining star of the NOW! initiative, but one of the very best books on the stands right now from any publisher.

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6.8
Thor: God of Thunder #17

Jan 17, 2014

'The Accursed' arc comes to a close, and though it didn't tell us much about Thor as a character (in contrast to the way that the first two arcs of Aaron's Thor run were pretty much built around it) " it was a fun enough romp with a particularly cunning villain in Malekith.

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9
Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #1

Aug 2, 2013

This is Sprouse's baby, and his love for the character and this world definitely shows. His art looks more refined than ever.

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5
Tomb Raider #1

Feb 28, 2014

Perhaps future issues will flesh everything out more, but it would take a lot of patience or a really enthusiastic devotion to the property to stick with this one.

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8
Trees #2

Jun 26, 2014

While “Trees” #2 isn't as provocative as issue #1, it enriches the overall narrative — a narrative that looks to be the start of something really worth digging into over time.

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9.6
Trillium #2

Sep 6, 2013

Easily a candidate for some end-of-the-year awards, but then again, isn't that always the case when Jeff Lemire does his own thing? A more assured creator-owned creative talent you'd be hard-pressed to find. “Trillium” proves that Lemire has plenty of legs after the award-winning “Essex County” and “Sweet Tooth” have long been put away. There's plenty of “Trillium” left, so if it wasn't already on your radar by now, get it on there. And if Jeff Lemire isn't yet someone you're paying attention to, then what are you doing? Every creator-owned thing he does should be on automatic pull by now.

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6
Ultimate FF #1

Apr 17, 2014

“Ultimate FF” could be something great yet, but a more consistent artistic vision is needed. Actually, the book is just a handful of visual tweaks away from being as wholly appealing a product as something like Remender & Scalera's “Black Science” – with a similar conceptual aesthetic, as well. Unfortunately, that sort of improvement doesn't look to be possible with the split-duty sort of art that we're getting on this title. As a love-letter to the science explorer aspect of Marvel's First Family, the book passes muster. As a complete visual product, it seems to devolve a little bit as the story goes on.

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8.8
Umbral #2

Jan 2, 2014

“Umbral” is yet another Image Comics series that is not only perfect for fans of its genre, but actually transcends the genre to become something more. It's a book that looks unlike any other thanks to the wholly original penciling and the witty, subtle touch of Johnston's script. “Umbral” is a must-buy for fans of sprawling, unfolding fantasy and strong character work. Above all else, it's yet another strong creator-owned comic that does things that few other publishers would attempt.

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9
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #1

Feb 14, 2013

"All-New X-Men" may have gotten most of the hype, but "Uncanny X-Men" is not to be overlooked as its terrific companion piece. Much like in the earlier days of "New Avengers", Bendis has a reason to write multiple books about the same corner of the Marvel Universe. Bachalo is clearly invigorated by these characters as well, turning in some really meaningful work that stands among his best. "Uncanny X-Men" is an exciting revival of age-old characters and long-time creators that continue to find new ways to surprise us after all these years.

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8.8
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #9

Aug 2, 2013

Chris Bachalo adds something to this series that is definitely missing when he takes issues off. Bachalo's controlled chaos does wonders for the book, as well, where alleigances are tested and confrontations can explode at any time.

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7
Uncanny X-Men (2013) #14

Nov 22, 2013

This may be Bachalo's best issue of Bendis-penned X-Men too, as new design-work peppers the pages and he finds ways to keep the conversational panels as dynamic as the word play.

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8
Undertow #1

Feb 20, 2014

“Undertow” delivers on all of the promise that “Aquaman” has failed with for a while now. I keep bringing it up, because this is another example of a couple of lesser known creators and Image Comics beating the bigger guys at their own game. By providing the groundwork for what looks to be a rich, politically-minded action-adventure character piece, Orlando and Trakhanov give us yet another Image Comics genre series to put on our pull lists that we can all point to as a shining beacon of quality. The type of quality that gets us excited come “Image Expo” time and then actually gets delivered on.

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7
Vandroid #1

Feb 28, 2014

The story starts off a little dry, with plenty of exposition to set the time and place, but once the schlubby scientist responsible for the creation of the titular android gets going, things start to pick up. By the end of the issue, the charm of the art wins you over and you'll want to see what happens next.

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8.2
Velvet #2

Dec 5, 2013

Brubaker and Epting can do a book like this in their sleep. Their seemingly effortless ability to create an enjoyable, albeit simple (sor far) spy story means that this was a book you could trust to pick up without reading a review of it. Their names alone are marks of quality. What I can tell you is that you'll be getting a book that lives up to their unique pedigrees and delivers yet another female protagonist to love.

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9
Wild's End #1

Sep 12, 2014

With a timeless look, a strong sense of character and relationships, and a twist ending that makes the conceit of whatever comes next incredibly intriguing, "Wild's End" is another Abnett and Culbard book not to be missed.

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5.3
Wolverine (2013) #2

Apr 11, 2013

Paul Cornell and Alan Davis are two names to get excited about when it comes to building a comic book creative team. There is something holding this book back though, and it's happening on both ends. Their comic sensibilities match one another's, but it doesn't feel like they have a handle on what they want to do with this character yet. For Cornell, it's a matter of figuring out what makes Wolverine go out and take on a case like this. For Davis, it's building a distinct-looking world around a character that he has such a nice grasp on. This is a team capable of creating a book worth reading, but “Wolverine” volume 5 isn't quite there yet. Check back when the ‘Hunting Season' arc is over.

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10
Wolverine In the Flesh #1

Apr 1, 2015

Oh yeah, the art is good too (they got Wolverine's costume exactly right, which is the most important thing). It looks good. They did a good job.

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6.3
Wolverine MAX #1

Oct 25, 2012

There's definitely something for Wolvie fans to take away from this issue though. If you want a book that delivers the content the uncouth, kill-happy 616 Wolverine promises, then you'll get hints of that here. It doesn't push the pedal down all the way when it comes to carnage, but it'll whet your appetite. If you want a book that is true to who Wolverine is, but in a setting completely separate from the colorful capes of the Marvel proper, then this first issue is for you. But if you want something new or different from Wolverine's usual solo adventures wandering amongst the ghosts of his haunted past, then you're out of luck because that's exactly what's going on here. It's fine – it's just not as fresh or as pretty as it could have been.

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5.9
Wolverine: Japan's Most Wanted #1

Jul 12, 2013

While “Wolverine: Japan's Most Wanted” is a noble effort to advance the medium, there are clearly some problems that need to be ironed out. It's an extremely young medium, so the storytelling choices and logical approaches to the technology will get better and better. The technical complaints are, to be sure, very minor. Still, this digital comic does suffer from a story that feels redundant. If the intent was to focus more on this being a presentation of the technology, then they've succeeded. As a compelling story that will get you to click the “Buy” button next time? Wolverine comes up a little shorter than usual.

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6.9
Wolverine: Japan's Most Wanted #2

Jul 26, 2013

This is a comedy book. Jason Aaron has always been a writer that has had an exceptional ability to weave comedy into dramatic situations and characters, but his foray into Marvel Infinite Comics is about has broad as he's ever gotten. Set aside the price and this is a pretty darn fun story

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9
Wonder Woman (2011) #11

Jul 20, 2012

Issue #11 is said to be the beginning of a new “arc”, but Azzarello is really creating one continuous story, in which every issue builds directly on what has come before it. It would be difficult for me to recommend this issue without advising you to go back to the beginning of Azzarello's run, so I will do just that. It's the type of story that is so much more rewarding if you've been on board from the start, and thankfully after a short lull in the story, the relationships are really starting to pay off. With Cliff Chiang back from a small break, this book is as much fun to look at as it is to read again.

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8.5
Wonder Woman (2011) #15

Dec 20, 2012

Azzarello and Chiang have redefined Wonder Woman for the New 52, but they went about it the right way. Dialogue that is clever and meaningful, but economical. Visual design-work that is just as economical, but incredibly appealing. They were the right team for a character that needed a boost back into prominence and they were the right team for bringing the New Gods back, if this issue is any indication. Basically, Azzarello and Chiang would be the right team for pretty much any DC book right now, because they approached their New 52 work as intelligently and carefully as they could have.

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7.8
Wonder Woman (2011) #28

Feb 21, 2014

"Wonder Woman" continues to be an endlessly compelling story about a rock solid hero at the center of a dysfunctional family for which she continues to find ways to remain unfazed. It's a shame that the end is near.

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9.6
X-Men (2013) #1

May 30, 2013

Perhaps the time to call attention to an all-women X-Men team is in the 2 months (or more, with the delay) running up to the book's release, but within the actual panels of the first issue, Wood and Coipel are concerned with getting down to some very “big idea” stuff very quickly. A book that carries adjective-less “X-Men” title with nothing but women at the center is just as big a deal as it's being made out to be and a really great step in the history of a male-centric franchise in a male-centric genre, but none of that fanfare need be within the pages. If “X-Men” wants an audience it'll keep, then telling gripping, good-looking stories is the way to do it. The triumph, the celebration, and the payoff of having an all-women cast comes with having a well-made title that proves to be just as exciting as anything else on the stands. Congratulations, “X-Men” – you did just that.

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6.2
X-Men Legacy (2012) #1

Nov 16, 2012

I'm a big proponent of “weird” being a great thing in comics. It's a medium that can show us the visually impossible and the weird and immerse us in those better than any other. “X-Men Legacy” has the potential to do that, but in order for the “weird” to add up to anything, you need a strong storytelling sense behind it. Spurrier does an excellent job with the characters, but the story and the art really stumbles especially over the final sequence and leaves the reader wanting just a little bit more.

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5
X-Treme X-Men Vol. 2 #1

Jul 26, 2012

I don't think that there is any such thing as a bad character, and Dazzler is already proving herself to be some kind of asset to this group, but she is definitely the main character of this story. Pak and Segovia embrace the inherent ridiculousness of her pop-star character with goofy outfits and cheesy dialogue that just didn't work for me. If you're not a Dazzler fan, this issue won't do anything to change your mind. And the wonderful high science concepts were too few and far between.

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9.3
Young Avengers (2013) #2

Mar 1, 2013

It's tough to think of many creative teams that are so well matched for their characters and their potential subject matter. It's clear that Marvel wants a youth book that could potentially reach that “confused adolescence” rather than talk down to a younger crowd. “Young Avengers” is a mature, modern, wry take on the fantasy of superheroes and the idea that these people have lives outside of their costumes. Plus, it's steeped in plenty of Marvel history that we know and love, so there's that. Most importantly, it seems like Gillen & McKelvie are allowed to do pretty much whatever they want to, which is usually what results in the best books. Now it's up to the readers to support that.

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9.8
Zero #2

Oct 17, 2013

With its unique approach to the creative partnership between writer and artist, Ales Kot's "Zero" has been a resounding success. Thanks to the synergy of Kot and Walsh, the first issue was an action-packed exercise and a ticking timebomb of tension. Here, the second issue is just as good and just as important, even though it couldn't look or feel more different. It will be fun to see what "Zero" becomes as more and more artists and stories begin to fill it out. Smart individual stories look to weave a greater tapestry of who these characters are and what "Zero's" core themes will be. If Kot is good to his word (and I believe that he is), then we can expect the writer and artist to continue to serve the story. If we can expect Ales Kot and his artist to craft stories this good month in and month out, "Zero" is going to be an essential book for anyone who loves the pure craft of comic books.

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9.5
Zero #5

Jan 21, 2014

"Zero" is only 5 issues deep and yet it's already established itself as the most scintillating comic books on the shelves. It's not just critically acclaimed, but consistently one of the most entertaining books too. It didn't take long to become a water-cooler series here at Multiversity Comics, and it's easy to see why. Because of Ales Kot's commitment to keep the book thrilling, to meet high standards of quality, to challenge what you think you know, and to put the absolute pitch-perfect creative talent out with every single issue, "Zero" has become one of the finest specimens that the comic book medium has to offer.

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9
Zero #8

May 22, 2014

As long as Ales Kot stays so laser-focused on propelling Edward Zero through his life's reconstruction and continues to garner such amazingly strong artistic efforts from his collaborators, “Zero” will remain among the best comic books on the stands. It's remarkable to see what every member of the team gives to the overall narrative each month – and it spans literally from cover-to-cover. In this way, “Zero” continues to be an unmatched beacon of the collaborative spirit of comic book creation.

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