Zeb Larson's Comic Reviews

Reviewer For: Flickering Myth, Comic Bastards Reviews: 131
8.1Avg. Review Rating

5.5
Airboy #2

Jul 4, 2015

What happens when a book that you like takes a weird, offensive turn? In this issue of Airboy, some interesting and funny material is undone by some offensive jokes. Robinson and Hinkle try to understand their charge, even if they're mostly convinced they're in the middle of a very bad trip. It's no trip, though, and Airboy isn't too happy with the world of the second millennium.

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6.8
Airboy #3

Aug 7, 2015

Perhaps we'll get some more of this meta-commentary in the next issue. Or perhaps the purpose of this is to jumpstart Robinson's interest in writing again, breaking the figurative constipation of the first issue (it worked for Hinkle). Here's hoping.

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10
Alena #1

Aug 24, 2016

This is a violent and uncomfortable story, one that I'm not sure I'd want to pick up again because its depiction of teenage life is so uncomfortable. But it's still a good and compellingly dark read. It's clever and nuanced, and even if you can only read it once because it's so disturbing, you should do it.

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9.2
Big Con-Job #1

Jul 13, 2016

What we get here is a very interesting book that also raises interesting questions about nerd culture as it merges with popular culture. Are we losing something as these cons, and by extension the movies, TV shows, and comics that go with them become increasingly profitable? There's no real way to turn back the clock on that, but it might be useful to try and save some of the impulses that originally went into these conventions.

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9.8
Bitch Planet #5

Sep 10, 2015

Any other book which only published every two or three months would be in for some criticism. But this book is just too good: the end product is so polished and well-written that you can't be too mad. If there's anything to criticize, it's that I still don't fully understand how this game is played: it seems like people just beat the piss out of each other, and a ball moves to the other end of the court. Then again, that's basically my understanding of football. Cheers, Bitch Planet. Can't wait to see what "President Bitch" has in store for us.

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9.5
Bitch Planet #6

Jan 6, 2016

It's rare for a book to be able to hit so many emotions all at once, especially when the set-up guarantees that this will be sad. Yet there are moments of joy and defiance and above all, hope. Meiko might have ultimately been a victim of this system, but she gave them hell the whole way. Her parents might not have been able to keep her safe, but they did raise children who could pose a sort of existential threat to misogynist hierarchy. Isn't that important? The struggle must go on. Indeed, it looks as though it will in the next issue.

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8.8
Bitch Planet #7

Feb 19, 2016

So, maybe this will be the new pace for Bitch Planet? I probably shouldn't get my hopes up, and in any event I can't complain because the book is so good"but I can dream.

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9.3
Bitch Planet #8

Jun 22, 2016

Ok, I've written too much about this book again. It's just so good, though, and as it adds scholarly analysis on top of its parables and parallels, there's always more to discuss. Take another three months if need be, Bitch Planet. This is the best book being published right now.

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9.0
Black Road #1

Apr 13, 2016

"Long is the way and hard, that out of hell leads up to light." Magnus is leaving his own personal hell as he heads north. Maybe this is a revenge story, or a story of redemption, or just one guy trying to find either of those. It'll make a good read.

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6.5
Black Road #2

May 18, 2016

Perhaps some more flashbacks to Magnus' earlier life will help subsequent issues. He does talk about his wife and her death, alluding to some possible survivor's guilt that has stayed with ever since. I'm hoping that some of my ideas and criticisms are resolved the next time around.

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8.0
Black Road #3

Jun 22, 2016

I'm starting to think that this series will read really well as a TPB, but in its serial format, it just feels very brief in a given month. I'm along for the ride anyway, but I think it will really shine in a longer medium.

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9.4
Black Science #16

Jul 8, 2015

God, Rick Remender really knows how to twist a narrative knife into an emotional wound.

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8.8
Black Science #17

Nov 4, 2015

What's interesting to me about this arc is that the location feels like a kind of purgatory. The place is referred to as Godworld, but it really seems like a place where Grant has had to confront himself. He's alone again and has to confront himself over his failings, especially regarding his children. His hangups and fears about kinship and family are all coming to light, and as he travels through this place with his brother, it seems like Grant will have to confront more of those things if he wants to go home.

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9.3
Black Science #18

Dec 2, 2015

What comes next? Brian ends by saying that somebody wants to help Grant. Who is that going to be? I'm almost hoping this soul-searching hasn't ended yet, if only so it keeps taking us to some really psychedelic therapeutic settings.

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7.7
Black Science #19

Jan 7, 2016

Still, how does that mesh with Grant's attempt at failed heroism back in #15? Did Grant fail there because he did what others expected him to do, rather than what actually needed to be done? I might be able to buy that explanation. In that moment, he would have gone farther just helping to save his family rather than trying to be everybody's savior. Fixing the Eververse might be beyond his capabilities, but saving his family shouldn't be. Although there are those telepathic ghost aliens to deal with"

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7.0
Black Science #20

Feb 10, 2016

Well, maybe this arc is going to surprise me. If it continues to play it straight, I'm going to be pretty unimpressed, but then again, Remender is known for surprise twists or driving a knife in your emotional back when you're not looking.

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8.5
Black Science #21

Mar 30, 2016

This has been a good story arc, although I want to see how the new Grant will break from the old Grant (instead of just feeling better about himself). I imagine paying for his sins will start when he finds his children. I also want him to put his crew back together; as much fun as it is watching Grant chat with the computer, I'd like some more people again.

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9.3
Black Science #22

Jul 6, 2016

Of course, the challenge that has been supplied in fixing the peace could be the ticket to Grant's redemption, though that presupposes that Remender would be kind enough to allow Grant to enjoy that redemption. I can't help but feel that there won't be a happy ending here, and while Grant may be right about the difference between being loved and being in love, there's no evidence necessarily that that's true for Pia. Maybe the lesson is about learning to walk away from somebody when everything you do just ends up hurting them.

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8.0
Black Science #23

Aug 3, 2016

I've really enjoyed this particular world and its fantasy-meets-science arc, but the preview for the next issue makes it sound as though Grant might be returning home. What's going to happen? I honestly can't see an easy path from this issue's conclusion to our world, or rather, one that doesn't end in disaster for a lot of people. Business as usual, and Black Science is as good as ever.

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6.0
Black Science #24

Sep 19, 2016

Nor is Pia's rage toward Kadir entirely logical; whatever lie he told Pia's mother was probably more comforting than "your mad genius husband is dimension hopping with them," and in all fairness, he was wrongly stabbed in the chest. I suppose this does reunite Kadir with the others and explain the previously-notable absence of his blip, but I'm still not sold on this latest twist.

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10
Briggs Land #1

Aug 17, 2016

Overall, this is my comic of the week. I'm already partial to Wood's meditations on the United States and how it's a much more contested country than we usually like to imagine. Combining those with an intra-clan feud should make for good reading.

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8.0
Briggs Land #2

Sep 14, 2016

So, while this issue doesn't have the same "jump off the page" quality that the first had, it does present an interesting direction for Grace's character to evolve. If it pans out, that ought to make for good reading.

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6.0
Broken World #1

Jul 6, 2016

There was a good story here, and if you really like post-apocalyptic literature, this could still be fun. It's just not what it could have been.

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8.8
Bullet Gal #12

Jun 24, 2015

I'll miss the series now that it's gone, but Bergen has other material coming out to tide me over. Bravo to a bold and stimulating series.

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9.2
Burning Fields #5

Jun 17, 2015

The slow-burn is really paying off now. Whatever happens next issue is going to be bad, and now that Asag has had an issue to lie relatively low, the chaos that comes will be the next opportunity for the creature to strike. Bad news for the characters, but good news for us.

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8.3
Burning Fields #6

Jul 22, 2015

We're also just so close to the end that one can't help but wonder what Asag's end game is and how Decker will try and bring that about. It's inevitable that in a horror mystery, eventually you'll want to race to the end to see what happens, and that happens a little bit here too. Now I really can't wait for the penultimate issue.

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8.6
Burning Fields #7

Aug 20, 2015

Well, as usual, I want the next issue to get here right now. I'm wondering whether Dana will be able to make this problem go away with another bullet. We'll see.

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9.3
Burning Fields #8

Sep 23, 2015

We need more comic books like this that will try and ask important questions, particularly about terrorism, war, and corporate greed. They're not easy topics to delve into and they take a lot of work on the part of the writer. Unfortunately for us though, we're facing an awful lot of Asags in the real world, and we need to be thinking about them. Here's to the next outing by this team.

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8.9
C.O.W.L. #11

Jul 23, 2015

Still, taking the series as a whole, this story worked. Warner's desire to save C.O.W.L., partly out of altruism and at least partly out of ego ended up dramatically weakening the organization, while compromising the people who wanted to go out and actually be superheroes. Can we institutionalize do-gooding? Can you still be a hero if you make ugly decisions to keep being a hero? Warner may have won, but the last panel doesn't suggest a lot of hope or happiness on his part. C.O.W.L. was a fun ride, and I'm hoping we get to revisit it at some point.

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9.0
Cluster #1

May 7, 2016

I'm all for a nice, discreet endpoint in a series, but I actually finished this and hoped it could be continued. Without spoiling or giving away the ending, it works as a finale, but one that could easily stretch into one or even two different storylines. Brisson created a large enough universe that it almost deserves to be fleshed out in another installment. Or maybe that just means I really liked this.

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8.5
Descender #11

Mar 10, 2016

As we approach Descender's third arc, I feel like we're back on track again. Genocide and war are good for building dramatic tension, and Quon is once again staring down the barrel of a gun. Tim isn't in much better shape either. All of the characters are going to have to hit the ground running if they want to stay alive, and if humanity is going to survive, the UGC is going to have to step up as well. Should make for good reading.

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6.5
Descender #12

Jun 15, 2016

Descender is back with its twelfth issue and it feels"brief. It's not that the issue is necessarily bad, but there really isn't a lot that happens here. Not only that, what does happen is drawn out to such an extent that you could cut it in half, and the basic narrative would still work without any problems. After the excitement of last issue, which managed to end the second arc on such a strong note, this can't help but feel anticlimactic. I will be avoiding spoilers in this review.

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5.5
Descender #13

Jul 13, 2016

Can a story about Bandit be interesting? Let's hope so. I'm running out of gas for this series.

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4.0
Descender #14

Aug 17, 2016

As this is the penultimate issue of the arc, it should be the penultimate back story issue. The promo materials for next time promise "revelations" about a main character's sins, so that might make for better reading. If nothing else, this arc will be over and we can get back to business.

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4.0
Descender #15

Sep 28, 2016

Now, how he and Effie are going to end up reunited with Andy is kind of beyond me. If Descender follows its normal patterns, somebody is going to quite literally burst through a wall and spirit them away. I honestly can't see how else it will happen, and if they become an excuse to further prolong telling what happened to Tim, I might throw the next issue into an incinerator.

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4.0
Eclipse #1

Sep 7, 2016

We don't really get much insight into David's character either, apart from the fact that he likes watching old Superbowls and has a bunch of dogs. The woman he's trying to protect isn't introduced until the very end, so the premise is all this issue has to go on, and unfortunately, it sinks under the weight of inconsistencies.

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10
How to Survive in the North #1

Jul 27, 2016

This is a worthwhile read, both because of the story and its meta-story about loneliness and endurance. This is the kind of historical fiction I want to see people writing, because it also challenges the reader to understand why they find it compelling in the first place.

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9.0
Indoctrination #1

Jun 27, 2016

It's in this that the book has some real potential to actually play with ideas. It's easy to write a book that condemns the San Bernadino shooters, or the Paris attacks, or Omar Mateen. Such a book though doesn't provide any real answers beyond decrying bad people, which feels good but solves very little. Bad people don't think they're the bad guys; they think they're providing some kind of solution or justice. Understanding why they do what they do, and making it clear through a book like Indoctrination, is a step toward understanding why people need ideologies like this in the first place.

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8.0
Invisible Republic #4

Jun 26, 2015

The next big question is why Arthur McBride was able to attract so many supporters, apart from the general unpopularity of the military government that ruled at the time. Nobody inspires a revolution and then manages to tame the forces he kicked up for 42 years without some kind of inspirational charisma. One panel shows Maia marching in a crowd of McBride supporters, which suggests that something lured her back to Arthur's side. Perhaps in the time that they were apart, Arthur has learned how to lead people.

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8.8
Invisible Republic #5

Jul 31, 2015

As the new characters come in and Arthur begins to take shape as a demagogue, Invisible Republic is finally feeling real. The story of Maidstone and the rise of the Malory regime feel like pieces of our own history reassembled to tell a familiar story, but one with its own unique elements and tragedies. The geopolitical context is in place, there's a cast of characters to follow, and there's a reason to invest in those characters. I'm more excited for this series than I have been in a while, and I'm looking forward to the second arc.

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9.3
Invisible Republic #6

Sep 25, 2015

My earlier skepticism about this series has melted away, at least as long as it keeps producing issues like this. There aren't enough political thrillers in the world of comics, and this book is a welcome relief.

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8.6
Invisible Republic #7

Nov 27, 2015

Nica's been upfront about Arthur being the face of the revolution rather than an actual leader, and if we're sticking with that interpretation, then the feud between Maia and Nica could be one that stretches back for decades. Nica might have left the planet because Maia had the upper hand when Arthur was head of the government, and that he's out of power, she wants another shot. Of course, I could be wrong: Arthur could have been a more adept manipulator than anybody gave him credit for, and Maia might be interested in politics now because the revolution turned out so badly the first time. We need a lot more information, but the levels of intrigue are really shaping up here.

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8.4
Invisible Republic #8

Dec 23, 2015

So, I'm hoping to see how Nica figures into Arthur's schemes of leadership and the broader revolution in the next issue. We need some time spent on the outside of the group, if only to see the changes that are coming.

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9.0
Invisible Republic #9

Feb 24, 2016

All in all, this was one of Invisible Republic's strongest issues. It leaves us on a few strong cliffhangers: how has the group changed while Maia's been gone? What will Nica try and do with Croger? How is Earth wrapped up in all of this? This series took some patience to get into, but I feel like the effort has been rewarded.

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5.0
Invisible Republic #10

Jun 9, 2016

Maybe I was right earlier and Maia's playing her own game, in which case my feelings on this story arc would change. It's still possible that the twist is there, but I feel like the possibilities are dimming somewhat.

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8.8
Joyride #2

May 25, 2016

There's still a few lingering questions about the series that I want to see explored, the biggest of which is humanity's decision to isolate itself. We've seen that while the cosmos has some hostile elements, it's not full of genocidal beings or deadly viruses. Certainly, some of the beings exist on a higher plane than human beings, but not in a malevolent sense. Is that why humanity locked itself away in angry silence? The realization that we're just another small part of a big galaxy? That seems to be where we're headed, with the inevitable conflict between the Special Interceptor and Uma setting up opposite sides of that question. Uma wants to embrace the weirdness, while the Interceptor (and implicitly, earth's government) want to play it safe and stick to the known.

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8.0
Kingsway West #1

Aug 2, 2016

This is a well-done opening issue, in no small part because it doesn't hold back with just how weird this particular world is. Mirko Colak does strong work with the art, taking old standbys like a Jackalope and reimagining them ever so slightly to be just a bit more monstrous. Probably my only complaint was that I never caught the name of the Chinese freelander Kingsway is working with; I'm sure that will be easily cleared up next time around.

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6.0
Kingsway West #2

Sep 21, 2016

With all of those good things in mind, I must say I really have no idea what the ending of this issue was all about. Was Sonia's appearance a vision, or is it connected to Toy in some way? Was it just a hallucination brought on by his wounds? Was Toy supposed to be connected to Sonia's disappearance in some way, and has she been playing a larger game? Or was it just unclear writing? I guess we'll find out soon enough.

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8.0
Long Lost #1

Sep 18, 2017

So, to sum up, the book, it's off-putting because it doesn't lay out the stakes the way that first issues of a book normally do. That being said, I think that's a deliberate decision to tell the story more organically. I'll keep reading.

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8.8
Lucas Stand #1

Jun 22, 2016

Overall, the issue works because of the main character's self-loathing, as well as the prospect of some divine and infernal combat. If it's developed right, this could be a real page turner.

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6.5
Lucas Stand #2

Jul 21, 2016

Oh well, I think that issue #3 will pick up again. At some point, this series will have to address Heaven, because stories about Hell invariably have to feature the other side of the coin. His psychiatrist seems to have a redemptive bent about her; is she more than she seems? That would certainly fit her into the story better than just being a sounding board for Lucas to talk to and express guilt. Meanwhile, Lucas' new sojourn in time should make for interesting reading.

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6.0
Lucas Stand #3

Aug 17, 2016

This issue is also helped out a lot by Dedham, who gets along almost too well with Lucas. I say "too well" because their association can only last for this go around, and it's a shame to lose interesting repartee. Oh well. I've no doubt that the next issue should produce some interesting material, even if I can sense where the twist is going to come in.

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4.0
Lucas Stand #4

Sep 27, 2016

Speaking of which, we've only got two of these left, and I'm not entirely clear how this is going to be resolved. I guess that counts as suspense? I just don't see an end game.

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7.0
Nailbiter #14

Jul 2, 2015

I was also struck by several weird things in the issue. Did Finch and Crane just happen to have three diving suits hanging out in the car? For that matter, given the history between Crane and Warren, why would the angry crowd let her drive away with him? What happens to Alice would feel more meaningful if we'd spent more time with her in this past story arc, but she's been basically ignored since issue seven. And in any event, there's no reason to believe the worst has befallen her. Hopefully the lag time to the next revelation will be shorter, or we spend more time on character development in subsequent issues.

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5.0
Nailbiter #16

Oct 8, 2015

Are we supposed to think that Warren is behind the killing in Atlanta? It feels like (yet another) red herring, just because I'm not sure how he would have gotten from Oregon to Georgia in a night and kill somebody ritualistically by dawn the next day. It being a false twist is not necessarily a bad thing. I'm hoping it's another killer that will give the series a plotline to work with that isn't "Is Carroll going to wake up?" Is the fact that the guy is made-up as a devil a reference to Devil's Day, November 1st? Maybe. Hopefully there will be a reason to care in #17. I've basically run out of those for this series.

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7.0
Nailbiter #17

Nov 8, 2015

Barker's increasingly violent fantasies make for fun reading, just because it is an interesting way to depict somebody's descent into psychopathy. The fact that they're cute and funny can't quite sustain the book. Nailbiter has taken a few good steps in the right direction, but this book will need a few more of those.

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5.0
Nailbiter #20

Feb 3, 2016

I don't really care what comes next for this book, nor do I care much to continue reading it. The things that made it funny ended a long time ago, and we never had enough invested in the characters to treat it like a drama. Williamson has made it pretty obvious that the FBI is either guilty or involved in a cover-up. Who cares what comes next?

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5.5
Nailbiter #21

May 5, 2016

Honestly, the best thing about this issue was not having to hear about Carroll waking up. It was no shock that Alice isn't the killer, and the fact that she was spared (while blindfolded) is silly as well. Finch will be back in Buckaroo imminently. Maybe this thing with the Blonde will make for better reading. We need something.

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8.0
Narcopolis Continuum #1

Dec 9, 2015

I also want to know what Ambro's got planned for this drug. Clearly, what Ben has discovered is going to threaten the future, and nothing spoils the future like time-travel in the present. Are they really irresponsible enough to try and apply something like this? Or is there another angle here? I'm curious to see that revealed.

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8.0
Narcopolis Continuum #3

Mar 2, 2016

That's what this book seems to be coming down to. Nevermind managing to save his father; if what we saw in this issue was any indication, trying to save his family has actually managed to make things worse. Now the question is whether he can simply stop a dystopia from coming to pass. Grieves' conversation with Ambro in the finale should make for good reading.

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9.5
Paper Girls #1

Oct 8, 2015

It's hard to say much more given that there's a lot of ambiguity woven into all of this. All I can say is that I'm stoked for #2.

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8.8
Paper Girls #2

Nov 8, 2015

Overall, the issue is still a compelling one. Because we know so little and could safely assume that things would start to go to hell, issue #2 doesn't pack as many surprises as the first issue did. The easy solutions like trying to find an adult or call 911 all fail, predictably. We can probably rule out the Rapture; as Erin says in a roundabout way, nothing in the Bible mentions mutants wielding Apple products for the End of Days. Still, we're not left with much, and we're going to have to wait for the next issue to get a few more clues.

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8.5
Paper Girls #3

Dec 3, 2015

This book is a great enigma, but I feel like somewhere there are the small details I'm missing that will crack it open. Now that the invaders are talking to the girls, we'll learn some more. Oh well, maybe something will jump out to me next issue.

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9.5
Paper Girls #5

Feb 4, 2016

I'm digging the direction this very unusual book has taken. The girls may not be in Time Bandits quite yet, but they're headed in that direction. Now they have to figure out where KJ went, and what they're doing in the future.

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8.5
Paper Girls #6

Jun 8, 2016

I have a feeling next issue will be back to the action as we get some idea what the device is for, and what the new Erin's plans are. KJ probably isn't going to show up for a little while longer, but there are plenty of ways we could be surprised on that. This was a good opening issue for the new arc.

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8.5
Punisher (2016) #1

May 6, 2016

Matt Dillon's art is strong for this book. Overall, Becky Cloonan has pulled off a considerable feat in giving an interesting angle for the Punisher, as well as dragging me back to Marvel. I'm looking forward to what comes next.

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8.6
Rebels (2015) #4

Jul 9, 2015

Is Washington going to give Seth and the Green Mountain boys the credit they deserve for bringing the artillery back to Boston? Or is Seth going to come away from this experience feeling the same way about Virginians that he does about Albany and Boston? And how is Mercy holding up, given that Seth has declined a chance to go and visit her? Should make for good reading.

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9.4
Rebels (2015) #7

Oct 16, 2015

So, what are legends good for? Molly Pitcher's anonymity is powerful, because it's a reminder that there were many Molly Pitchers who served during the war. When history fails, folk tales might have to fill the gap. Wood reworks that tale to good use here. Cheers.

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2.0
Red One #3

Sep 7, 2016

This comic might have the dubious distinction of being the worst comic I've read in all of 2016. When it's not confusing or bombarding you with heavy, repetitive dialogue and narration, it's sexist.

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2.0
Red One #4

Oct 5, 2016

And now, once again, this series is on pause for a year. I shouldn't be complaining given how much I mock this book, but it is awful storytelling to keep hitting the pause button. A year from now, anybody still reading this (and me, because I hate myself) will be trying to remember what the hell happened last time, and why we should care.

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9.1
Roche Limit: Clandestiny #3

Jul 14, 2015

Some of the issue takes a second close reading, especially when you consider Skaargred's words and weight them against what Danny says earlier in the issue. And, of course, there are numerous lingering questions. How much of what happens is a vision or hallucination? What is Skaargred doing here, and how does it relate to MoiraTech? Moreci is very good at leaving more questions than answers, but if this follows last volume's pacing, we're due for some answers in the next issue.

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9.2
Roche Limit: Clandestiny #4

Aug 26, 2015

If that is the case, we have an excellent setup for the third volume. Even if Sasha can defeat the monster, there's a whole other problem waiting back at home (which of course assumes that she can defeat this thing). Since we can be sure that there is some of intelligence at work in the anomaly, one can imagine that it won't take defeat lightly, either. And as for the here-and-now, we know that Sasha is going to go off and try to kill the monster that's out there. How will she fare? Will it be using the memory of her dead family against her, or can she stay sane long enough to do the job?

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9.5
Roche Limit: Clandestiny #5

Oct 14, 2015

What else is there to say about this book?Roche Limitis trying to tackle bold questions about human nature and how we can reach through to the better angels of our nature. The book's sci-fi setting brings human nature right to the foreground, paradoxically, by juxtaposing us against the cosmos. That alone should push this book into the status of a classic.

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9.0
Roche Limit: Monadic #1

Mar 16, 2016

There's not too much more that I can say in this review without completely spoiling the whole book. I want to see how these two characters are working in relation to one another. If time doesn't matter where they are, then they might be closer than we're initially led to believe. It's good to have you back, Roche Limit, at least one last time.

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8.5
Roche Limit: Monadic #2

Apr 27, 2016

We're still left with a lot of questions. How will our protagonists kill the aliens? What ever happened to the ship from the last issue of Clandestiny? And what is Sasha going to find in the middle of the lake? Two more to go.

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9.0
Roche Limit: Monadic #3

Jun 8, 2016

We're set up for an excellent action piece in the upcoming issue, one with an appropriately high body count. But for me, that pales before finally seeing how this whole thing is going to end. Roche Limit, for all of its bleakness and horror, has been a series about the capacity for hope in the face of overwhelming problems. It is, in its own way, an optimistic series. Is that going to hold through to the end, or is the rug going to be swept out from under our feet? I can't wait to see.

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9.5
Roche Limit: Monadic #4

Jul 6, 2016

Fare thee well, Roche Limit. This series set a high bar for others to follow.

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8.5
Sombra #1

Jul 20, 2016

And if the connections to Heart of Darkness/Apocalypse Now are a good thing for the most part, they are fairly literal in this first issue. On top of everything else, there's a pretty far out-there journalist named Esteban Tolva who's got shades of Dennis Hopper's character. None of this is inherently bad, but I want to attach a big caveat. Apocalypse Now falters because the content that wasn't straight out of Conrad wasn't nearly as compelling (Robert Duvall's character aside), but you also don't want to make a straight remake. This first issue of Sombra is a stage-setter, and I'm just hoping that it both makes a break with Heart of Darkness to say something new, and that it does so well. I'm optimistic for the next issue.

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9.3
Southern Bastards #9

Jun 17, 2015

It's a mystery, but the Homecoming arc is off to a good start.

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7.5
Southern Bastards #10

Jul 29, 2015

So, what really happens here? Not very much, and I'm basically just waiting for the next issue to focus on a different person in town.

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9.2
Southern Bastards #11

Oct 8, 2015

Boone makes for an interesting addition to the cast of characters. In one sense, he's similar to the other characters from this arc because he similarly feels morally compromised: doing evil to save others, and tolerating the moral decay in Craw County. Yet unlike the Sheriff, he's not accepting it passively, and he's ready to escalate from killing rapists to trying to take down Boss. The issue reads all at once as a take on all of the changes in the South over the last hundred years as well as a profile of another person who can't stand the corruption all around him. Now Boss has to worry about one more thing that could ruin the Homecoming game. Should be fun.

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8.7
Southern Bastards #12

Nov 11, 2015

This issue might read in a confusing way, but it's worthwhile. The art and visual imagination behind it is gorgeous, for one thing, with the extended cartoon dreamscape humorously childish and sinister all at once. I'm sticking with my theory that the dream chicken is Foghorn Leghorn, which gives the issue a little extra humor. Not a lot really happens in this issue, though it is good to have the reminder that Tad exists, and it is a fun read. All in all, a worthwhile read.

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9.3
Southern Bastards #14

May 11, 2016

I wish that we had been able to spend a little more time inside Roberta's head and visit her past. She alludes to her time in Afghanistan (Alabama was apparently the perfect warmup for Kabul), but I would have liked to see a few more bits of it. Then again, she's about to go and apply that skillset to Coach Boss. Should make for good reading.

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10
Southern Bastards #18

Oct 2, 2017

Southern Bastards is not Walking Tall, because the rot that exists in Craw County isn't just because some bad guy moved into town and nobody's gotten rid of him yet. There's something deeper in the culture of this place that produces bad men, and there's a strikingly thin line between the bad men and the Tubbs who give out nickel beatings to people who deserve them. I'm curious to see exactly how that tension is developed, especially given all of the Rubicon imagery we're treated to.

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9.0
Southern Cross #4

Jun 27, 2015

It doesn't hurt this issue that Andy Belanger's art is especially cool here as Braith hallucinates, dreams, and dives deep into pretty some pretty trippy visions. I'll admit that I have a strong preference for psychedelia and surreal artwork, and this issue has some of the coolest comic art I've seen since Translucid. Overall, this was the series' best issue so far, and I'm looking forward to more.

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9.1
Southern Cross #5

Sep 16, 2015

I'm curious what the future of this series is going to be given that we're so close to the conclusion. Earlier issues pretty explicitly stated that Braith was going to die (though that could have been misinformation), and we're just now getting the news about these artifacts, it would be nice to see a subsequent volume exploring them in greater detail. I'd like to see where this goes.

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9.2
Southern Cross #6

Dec 9, 2015

So, cheers to Southern Cross for a really strong first arc. Mixing sci-fi, horror, and a mystery is not an easy thing, especially sustaining that mystery for a few issues. What comes next is wide open, but it's got a strong foundation to build on.

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10
Southern Cross #7

Sep 14, 2016

It's good to have this series back. It's just too much fun to look at, and as we've just begun to scratch the surface of who these artifacts came from and what they're doing, we have a lot of solid mystery to dive into. Cheers, Southern Cross.

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8.0
Southern Cross #8

Oct 12, 2016

And, as usual, I'm still in love with the artwork of this book. The sort of Mad Max/Alien jumble works especially when in separating the guards from the miners, whose looks actually can be divided into those two. And I've always been a big fan of the back matter artwork and advertisements, but the computer with a VHS player is too good: it just riffs off of so much good '80s sci-fi. I'm already pumped for more of this book.

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8.5
Strange Fruit #3

Apr 27, 2016

Seeing as how we're so close to the end, I can't help but speculate as to how all of this will end. I can't imagine any kind of happy ending, at least not for the whole town. Such a conclusion would be difficult to pull off, especially in light of how it actually played out, and might come across as atonal. Then again, with the Klansmen still out to get the visitor, I can't imagine this will end with him just patching up the levee and giving a friendly wave to the state of Mississippi. The African-American preacher referred to the visitor as a sign and visitor from God. If that's the case, Pickens and many others had best hope that God is not just.

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8.8
The Autumnlands #7

Nov 16, 2015

Let's hope the next hiatus isn't quite as brutal as this one. Everything works here, again: the art, the novel-within-a-comic, the link between magic and technology, and the contrast between legend and reality. Cheers.

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9.3
The Autumnlands #9

Feb 10, 2016

Please come back sooner next time, Autumnlands. There aren't nearly enough books doing fantasy very well, and we need you.

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9.0
The Autumnlands #10

Apr 14, 2016

In general, this was a really good issue. I got a kick out of the fact that the goatmen appear to be in Irish, in contrast to the English sheepmen. Ben Dewey's art is always a pleasure to look at, but the sheer number of creepy-crawlies and grotesqueries in this issue gives him a lot of fun things to draw. I'm going to be curious to see how they tie this all back together with the beasts in the cities, especially now that magic is coming back. Of course, Learoyd and Dusty have more pressing problems: the fight should be a fun one.

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9.0
The Autumnlands #11

Jun 22, 2016

We're coming up on the end of this story arc.Whatever we learn about the Galateans and their connection to the Autumnlands will make for a good cliffhanger going into the third arc. The best fantasy series in comics right keeps soldiering on.

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8.0
The Autumnlands #12

Jul 27, 2016

Then, of course, there are all sorts of practical questions about what happened in the temple. Bertie had reasons to be angry with the Galateans, so did he have something to do with the temple's fate? If not, what happened to him? And what about the observer? There will be plenty of things to look forward to in #13.

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8.0
The Autumnlands #13

Oct 6, 2016

I was relieved that Aelbert has made it out (at least for the time being), even if I genuinely assumed he was a fine paste after that explosion. And I walked away from Learoyd's interaction with the Galateans with a weird amount of respect: he lets them make a choice to spare them rather than command them to do so. And since this is the penultimate issue of the arc, I have to wonder what will come next. Will they be able to deter armageddon, or merely defer it? What happens if more of these pseudo-deities show up? I for one want to see what's happening back in the cities. Something tells me that if the apocalypse is coming, Sandhorst has made sure that they're all going to be laughably unprepared for what comes next.

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7.2
The Fade Out #7

Jun 25, 2015

So, this was an issue on the way to something else more interesting. Hopefully subsequent issues will flesh out Valeria further, and we can at least reasonable assume that Drake Miller will be important for the future.

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8.9
The Fade Out #8

Aug 5, 2015

It might seem anticlimactic for this to be the end of Fade Out's second arc, given that the climax is Charlie learning about Gil's scam. However, things are getting ready for some major action in the third arc. Given Brodsky's ruthlessness and perspicacity, I can't imagine that Gil is going to get away with the con he's pulling. The question is whether he will end up dragging his family into the mess he's created, and how Charlie will react to it.

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8.0
The Lighthouse #1

Mar 13, 2017

Paco Roca's The Lighthouse is an interesting and quirky read, perfect for a Saturday afternoon where you don't need a heavy story but could do with something that's still thought-provoking. It's a quick read but one that still manages to pack a fair bit of material into just over sixty pages: war, peace, dreams, and the collision of all three of those.

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9.0
The Violent #1

Dec 9, 2015

So, don't pick up this book if you just want twenty-four pages of guys punching each other. It's probably going to be a slower-paced book, and it's about a different kind of violence. It looks like Brisson wants to ask some different kinds of questions about urban life and poverty, and I'm intrigued. I'm looking forward to #2.

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9.3
The Violent #2

Jan 13, 2016

What comes next? Mason doesn't have much in the way of leads, as his wife has apparently fallen back on old bad habits. Will he be able to find her? And will his actions here catch up to him before he can find Becky? Ed Brisson is right about second issues being the real litmus test of a book's quality. If the first sets up the basic premise of the book, the second is where theme is teased out. Based on that, we're in for a good book.

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9.0
The Violent #3

Mar 2, 2016

I'm really digging this series. It's violent in a way that is fundamentally uncomfortable, targeting families. Joel might have had some nasty stuff happen to him, but it was quick and comparably merciful to watching Mason's life be torn away from him bit by bit.

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8.0
The Violent #4

May 4, 2016

My hope is that this story is continued, because I honestly believe that it was just getting to its sweet spot. It can take time to create payoff, but putting in the time as a reader is worthwhile. Let's hope that The Violent hasn't met its final end just yet.

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9.3
The Violent #5

Jul 14, 2016

I want to see where this goes next, in no small part because I want to see whether these themes are explored in more detail, or we switch to something else entirely. Brisson has said that the second arc would take place in 1986 (the same year as the '86 Vancouver Expo, but I'm probably reaching in trying to pin a connection on that). I'm along for the ride.

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8.5
The Walking Dead #143

Jun 27, 2015

The rest of the issue that doesn't focus on Rick and company is brief, receiving no more than a page or two. Some of the dialogue is a little clunky: “The world is my father, and I've got its looks” is one of those things that sounds better in your head than out loud. They feel like little reminders that there's a fragile life that Rick has built that is on the verge of being swept away by yet another war. Nothing of terrible significance happens apart from Ezekiel running off, but it's not the point. The peace and relative bliss of the last sixteen issues is about to come to an end, and these scenes that were reminiscent of ordinary life pre-apocalypse will likely come to an end. Perhaps everything can be averted next issue, but it doesn't look good.

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9.0
The Walking Dead #144

Jul 9, 2015

People don't usually respond well to mass killings, and somebody's going to want revenge. Combined with the fallout coming from the Hilltop, and Alexandria looks to be a deeply fractured community. To me, I can't help but wonder whether this is where Negan will have a chance to come back. With a new threat that's extraordinarily dangerous and a bunch of people who want revenge, Negan might be the right man for the job.

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7.6
The Walking Dead #146

Sep 11, 2015

Yet this issue feels a little lifeless, as it is a transition piece between what happened two issues ago and what comes next.

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7.8
The Walking Dead #148

Nov 16, 2015

But it's what happens to Rick at Alexandria that is the most interesting here. Merely trying to sit down and calmly explain everything to the people who lost loved ones isn't going to keep them from doing something dangerous. And if this keep going the way that it has, Rick is going to turn Alexandria into a garrison to stop his own people from going to war. This is how Negan comes back into the story, though whether can be trusted in any way, shape, or form is up for dispute. And by bringing Negan back into the body politic, can he retain Dwight's loyalty, or stop the place from tearing itself to pieces?

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7.0
The Walking Dead #149

Dec 17, 2015

I'm going to try and focus on what worked in this issue, because I'm curious to see where it will go. Negan isn't a free man yet, but he's still in an influential position. Is he right this time, or is this just another act by the devil?

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9.3
The Walking Dead #150

Jan 14, 2016

So, while this issue wasn't quite the "huge" issue that we were led to expect, it teases an interesting direction for the future. Is Rick going to take a stand against the Whisperers with his army, or is the army just a way to keep everybody distracted? And is Rick going to change from what he's done here? That should make next the 150 issues interesting.

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8.0
The Walking Dead #151

Feb 10, 2016

A lot of little things are being set in motion: Michonne taking over for Ezekiel, Dwight training the army, Eugene discovering more survivors, and even Gabriel volunteering to fight. Those little things are going to become more significant too. The pessimist in me thinks something bad will come of all of this, but if nothing else, it will be fun to watch.

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9.0
The Walking Dead #152

Mar 6, 2016

Perhaps I'm wrong, and Negan has been waiting for this moment to escape. I kind of hope that I'm right, though, because it suggests two interesting arcs for Negan. It could be a kind of redemptive arc, channeling his gift for manipulation and killing into a socially-useful direction. Or, it's one hell of a revenge story, as Negan tries to make Rick more like him.

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7.0
The Walking Dead #153

Apr 11, 2016

As for the other stuff that happens, it's all bits and pieces. Eugene is still talking to the unknown person on the radio, but we don't really know anything about them yet. Dwight and his men are still training. Michonne and Aaron set off to find Negan, but this receives relatively little attention. That decision might have the most immediate payoff as the two head into a dangerous place, though I'm wondering whether they'll meet with Negan peacefully rather than throw down with the Whisperers. None of this is bad, and I'm confident that it will all matter eventually, but having played the waiting game many times now, I wish there was a bit more than "what's Negan going to do next."

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7.5
The Walking Dead #154

May 6, 2016

In any event, I'm hoping for the latter. Notwithstanding Michonne's dust-up with the Whisperers, what happens here is a little lifeless (though I'm entertained to think that Eugene might be engaging in the zombie wasteland's first long-distance relationship). We're getting close to the end of the arc. Something's going to go down.

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8.0
The Walking Dead #155

Jun 7, 2016

The idea that Negan would side with the Whisperers just to get back at Rick has never sat well with me. I just can't imagine that Negan would abandon all his desire for power just to burn everything down; it would send him down the path the Governor trod, and we've already seen that narrative arc. Instead, the idea that all of this is as series of mistakes leading to calamity seems more like The Walking Dead than just a simple war.

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9.3
The Walking Dead #156

Jul 9, 2016

Overall, this makes for one of The Walking Dead's better issues in recent memory. It deepens Negan's character, subverts a lot of people's expectations, and makes this new war all but inevitable for #157 and the new arc.

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8.0
The Walking Dead #157

Aug 3, 2016

This war has been such a long time coming that I didn't think I would be excited when I finally got to it. But reading this issue actually got me pumped for it, and more importantly, to see what comes next.

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6.0
The Walking Dead #158

Sep 8, 2016

I'm surprised that we've gone to a Negan-Beta fight so quickly; it's hard to imagine any fight ending before one (or both) of them is killed, and it would make for unusual pacing. But maybe Beta's death wouldn't actually mean very much. With the horde unleashed and his men wearing down Rick's army, even if the Whisperers are killed or driven away, the walkers can remain and wreak havoc in what Rick built. If that happens, any victory will be a Pyrrhic one.

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6.0
The Walking Dead #159

Oct 7, 2016

Perhaps next issue will be a little juicier. Dwight's attempt to try and eliminate the Whisperers from the inside probably won't be that neat, but there should at least be some drama with it.

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8.5
The Wicked + The Divine #12

Jul 3, 2015

The art style in this issue was a dramatic departure from past issues because of Kate Brown's guest work. It's got much of an anime sensibility to it, which I normally don't enjoy, but it works here. It works in part because it sets this issue apart from what came before, and given all of the dramatic changes in the narrative setting out with a fresh tone is not a bad thing. The new direction and characters are good, even if we're just postponing the question of Laura's fate.

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9.5
The Wicked + The Divine #13

Aug 5, 2015

Overall, this was an excellent issue, and it leaves us with some additional questions even as Tara makes a tragically early exit off stage. Ananke's destruction of the suicide note raises questions about her ulterior motives. Even though she did genuinely seem to care for Tara, she was also protecting the image of the Pantheon. How would people react if they knew all of this? It couldn't be good. Next issue is about Woden. What other ugly secrets are we about to learn about Woden?

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9.3
The Wicked + The Divine #15

Oct 14, 2015

I'm hoping that eventually we can break away from the issue model of looking at each deity, but it's not tired yet. This book has been on a winning streak for its last few issues, and I'm curious to see what the shape of the new arc will be in the next issue.

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8.0
The Wicked + The Divine #16

Nov 11, 2015

Oh well, at least the plot has continued to move in an interesting direction. Even a weaker issue of this book is still stronger than many other series.

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8.8
The Wicked + The Divine #18

Apr 6, 2016

Wicked + Divine is promising a lot of action in the coming issues. Also, hopefully, no more delays! I won't lie and say I don't miss the musing on art and gender, but I do like a good fight scene too. I'd like some answers in the next couple of issues, but this was a hell of a way to come back.

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8.0
The Wicked + The Divine #19

May 5, 2016

Of course, I'm just speculating here without too much hard evidence in my docket. I'm sort of hoping that this is the case and the authors are bringing in this commentary, because that may be the story that I want. Still, I can't help but think that this is where we're headed in the next few issues.

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6.5
The Wicked + The Divine #20

Jun 8, 2016

I also can't help but suspect that Cassandra will end up coming around anyway, so this just feels like an excuse to give us the story of what really happened to Inana and Laura. With all this in mind, I'm hoping we can get back to the meta-plot issues sometime soon, because I'm already pretty bored with divine temper tantrums.

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8.0
The Wicked + The Divine #21

Jul 14, 2016

Well, for what it's worth, my rating is relatively high this month in spite of the Pantheon's free-for-all. I'm curious to see what comes next and have faith that it will be interesting and thought-provoking.

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6.0
The Wicked + The Divine #22

Aug 19, 2016

And now we get a little break from the series, though we have an upcoming one-shot that will focus on the Pantheon in the 1830s. (I want the 1920s Pantheon, personally, but oh well). When we return to this, we'll finally get to see what Laura will with her divinity now that she's on a mission of revenge. Will it just be a big party? Probably.

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8.5
Transference #1

Jul 7, 2015

This was a strong opening issue. How Colton will react to these revelations, and how his team reacts should make the second issue just as strong.

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8.0
Tumor #1

Aug 25, 2016

Tumor is a strong read; we could definitely use more innovative takes on noir like this.

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8.7
We Stand On Guard #1

Jul 4, 2015

Given that we don't get to spend too much time getting to know any of the characters, the best part of the book to focus on is the American-Canadian relationship. There are plenty of little Canada references here: one of the resistance fighters worked at Canadian Tire, everything is bilingual, and of course hockey has to be mentioned at least once. Les LePage's French dialogue has its brilliant moments, especially when he's explaining he "went" in his pants only a little bit. Yet the best sequence is the Superman bit, where one member of the group almost rants about how Joe Shuster was really Canadian and therefore Superman is actually a Canadian character.

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