Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 10/13/2021

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Welcome to this week in comic book reviews! The staff have come together to read and review nearly everything that released today. It isn’t totally comprehensive, but it includes just about everything from DC and Marvel with the important books from the likes of Image, Boom, IDW, Scout, Aftershock, and more.

The review blurbs you’ll find contained herein are typically supplemented in part by longform individual reviews for significant issues. This week that includes Batman: The Imposter #1, The Immortal Hulk #50, Clear #1, and James Bond: Himeros #1.

Also, in case you were curious, our ratings are simple: we give a whole number out of five; that’s it! If you’d like to check out our previous reviews, they are all available here.

DC #1

BATMAN ’89 #3

Batman ’89 is encroaching on becoming a version of The Dark Knight filtered through Tim Burton’s aesthetic as Harvey Dent begins his descent into Two-Face. The issue opens with a few unexpected curveballs before settling into the main thrust, seeing Harvey fall from grace and Gotham City rattled. Bringing Catwoman back into the mix allows Sam Hamm to channel some of the kink and humor that laced the original Burton movies. The social issues tackled in previous installments are still present but referenced more subtly than before. However, it’s the art team that truly steals the show in this issue. Joe Quinones infuses readers’ first glimpse at Two-Face with equal part shock, tragedy, and grim comedy. Harvey’s eyes are full of sadness and confusion as he delivers a line of text that might as well be “Is there something on my face?” Quinones subtle frames the scene of Barbara Gordon riding with Harvey to the hospital, Barbara’s expression changing depending on which half of Harvey’s face is in the frame, reflecting her conflicted feelings. Quinones also excels at depicting Gotham’s cityscape, conveying the twisted gothic noir of the film. Meanwhile, colorist Leonardo Ito gets to shine during a hallucinatory dream sequence, melding EC Comics’ and Batman ’66 pop art stylings into a potent, eye-catching blend. Previous issues of Batman ’89 were solid, but the team seems to now be firing on all cylinders. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

BATMAN: THE IMPOSTER #1

Even with some questionable mental healthcare and slightly jarring visual moments, Batman: The Imposter #1 is the gritty, complex story that the main Batman title wishes it were telling. By leaning into the internal and external darkness, this comic is opening up a fresh look at the world one of comics’ most recognizable characters exists within and, while there are still two issues to go so anything is possible, Batman: The Imposter #1 feels like the most authentic Batman comic to appear in a very long time. There are many things in the darkness; this Batman: The Imposter #1 makes them worth exploring. . — Nicole Drum

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

BATMAN: URBAN LEGENDS #8

Batman: Urban Legends #8 kicks off with a lovely Batwoman story by Alyssa Wong, Vasco Georgiev, Rain Beredo, and Becca Carey, which refreshingly puts Kate and Alice in the spotlight but not as enemies. It’s truly a joy seeing them interact in this new way and how they both help the other overcome their faults throughout the story. The empathy you feel for Alice becomes one of the most important aspects of the story as it moves along, and by the end, there’s a welcome tension as to where things go from here, but it’s rooted in Kate and Alice’s evolving friendship. It doesn’t hurt that Georgiev and Beredo deliver an amazing Batwoman-Batgirl team-up splash page, though honestly there are stunners found throughout every story here. “Little Pyg, Little Pyg” wasn’t exactly my favorite story, but Christian Ward’s artwork is worth a look anyway. The same can be said for “Azrael: Dark Knight of the Soul,” which again didn’t really deliver a homerun storewide but did present dazzling artwork by Nikola Cizmesija and Ivan Plascencia. The bookends though were more than worth the trip, as Brandon Thomas, Cian Tormey, Raul Fernandez, Alejandro Sanchez, and Steve Wands’ “Outsiders: The Fearful” was excellent through and through, both in story and in visual splendor. This was not at all what I was expecting, and yet it still links to “Future State” and “Fear State” in compelling and unexpected ways. It might be easy to get a bit confused depending on how well versed you are in Batman lore lately, but overall it’s a perfect way to end Urban Legends. This wasn’t wall-to-wall greatness this time around, but what is here is definitely worth a look. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

BLUE AND GOLD #3

Blue and Gold continues the misadventures of Booster Gold and Blue Beetle as they attempt to launch their new heroes for hire-esque. But while Booster continues to try to write checks on Blue Beetle’s behalf, Ted Kord is still cash-strapped and mostly relying on his wits to survive. The constant crowd chatter and social media comments scattered throughout the panels tend to be distracting. I get that it’s tied to the gimmick of the comic and the distracting peanut gallery is supposed to be the point, but it doesn’t really add much to anything and is starting to wear out its welcome. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

FUTURE STATE: GOTHAM #6

Future State: Gotham #6 really kicks things up a notch as we go screaming towards the conclusion. Batman and Jason attempt to make their big move to stop Warmonger, but it doesn’t go quite as planned. While that’s somewhat predictable, it’s the interplay between The Next Batman and Jason Todd that really makes this issue a fantastic read. There’s a sort of choreography to the action as well, both visually and in terms of the written story. The result is a fast-paced and nail-biting issue that is a delight to read. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

HARDWARE: SEASON ONE #3

Taking a slight step back here is the standard high-flying Hardware action and in its place, a corporate whodunnit begins to form. That takes place throughout the vast duration of the issue and again, the proverbial crap hits the fan leading into next month’s issue. Regardless of the story or plot, it’s hard to get past Cowan and Sienkiewicz on the same team. It just so happens they work seamlessly with Thomas’ scripts so far. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

I AM BATMAN #2

John Ridley uses an uncomfortable real-life parallel in I Am Batman #2. Last issue ended with the cliffhanger that the vigilante/villain Anarky had been gunned down in the streets of Gotham. His murderer wasn’t a Batman villain or part of an organized crime unit, but rather a white teen radicalized by the Seer. The scenario is meant to evoke comparisons with Kyle Rittenhouse, who is on trial for allegedly shooting two people during protests organized after the police shooting of Jacob Blake. While I like that a superhero comic is taking a serious look at the very real and dangerous issues present in American culture today, I feel like Gotham (perhaps the symbol of government corruption and incompetence in the DC Universe) and an event with Scarecrow muddies the metaphor a bit. I trust Ridley more than just about any other superhero writer to “do the story right” but it’s hard to tell if this issue is supposed to make me feel uncomfortable or if it’s just my unease over seeing superhero comics botch these types of stories too many times in the past. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 4 out of 5

THE JOKER #8

At one point in this latest issue, Jim Gordon puts the issue as a whole in one perfect line with, “That’s a lot.” This latest entry of the comic that follows the Clown Prince of Crime and Gordon’s pursuit of him decides to mostly focus on the new Bane, adding a lot of back story that ultimately feels unnecessary. The issue itself is still solid and a quick read, but its one of the weaker entries of the series so far that really has been quite the thrill ride to date. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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DC #2

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(Photo: DC Comics)

JUSTICE LEAGUE: LAST RIDE #6

Justice League: Last Ride #6 delivers on the intergalactic climax it has been building across five issues. Every hero, villain, and in-between is engaged in a battle across Apokolips when the stakes and cast both grow even larger. Every stage of this is produced effectively, including a clear narrative for each League member amidst the chaos. However, there’s not much depth to this impossibly significant battle the Justice League is waging yet again. Like the third layer of a carbon copy from the start of the New 52’s Justice League, Last Ride delivers exactly what it promises but nothing more. It’s difficult to be excited for that when this is a confrontation waged so many times already. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

PENNYWORTH #3

Pennyworth continues to be one of the best things DC is putting out right now and this third issue, while a touch predictable, is thrilling. We continue to weave between the present at the past as Alfred’s story comes into focus, but this issue gives us something that a lot of Batman fans wouldn’t expect: Alfred failing. Watching Alfred make a massive mistake and suffer life threatening consequences for it (and, of course, the epic betrayal he is dealt) is a truly interesting and unique way of approaching this iconic character. This series is just so great and this issue is another hit. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

STRANGE ADVENTURES #12

The opening pages of Strange Adventures #12 paint a heroic showdown – an unexpected shift for Mitch Gerads’ panels. Brave rescuers speak boldly and are quick to righteous violence winning the day with seeming ease. This is strange for two reasons. First, it is not simply unexpected but unearned. The relationship between Mister Terrific and Alanna never reflected or grew to what they suddenly share, and many of their individual actions appear by the insistence of plot as well. It’s even stranger because this is the sort of narrative the rest of the issue and, seemingly, the 11 building to this sought to undermine and question. A series of digressive conversations cast questions at the stories we tell about war and empire, but they confuse suggesting an idea with possessing one. There are no clear answers to these sweeping themes, but this gorgeous text does not contribute to the conversation. The vibe of people trying better and choosing new heroes without ever interrogating ideology allows for endless projection, for readers to suggest whichever outcomes might most appeal to them. So it’s appropriate that Strange Adventures ends on Shaner’s soft, rounded, and reductive style. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

SUPERMAN AND THE AUTHORITY #4

Superman and The Authority was an enjoyable ride with excellent character designs, engaging superhero scenarios, and plenty of social and literary awareness embedded in the writing. It’s also a miniseries without much of a conclusion. Superman wraps up his showdown with Ultra-Humanite with a half-hearted shrug before rushing to introduce 2 new opportunities for readers to learn more. It’s the hucksterism at the end that undermines the semi-coherent attempts to make some final statements on the state of the superhero genre and its ties to history. Those notes and scrawlings are still intriguing on their own, but anyone who arrives at issue #4 seeking an ending or even a solid conclusory note is bound to be disappointed. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

TITANS UNITED #2

After an entertaining, but chaotic, debut issue, the second issue of Titans United finds its footing just a bit more. This installment gets to the root of the power-stealing problem that is plaguing the Titans, before discovering a conspiracy that ups the ante significantly. For diehard fans of the team, the highlight of the issue is definitely going to be seeing the group interact and banter, especially when paired with the consistently good art from Jose Luis and Jonas Trindade. While it might take another issue for the story of Titans United to really get going, this new installment proves that the foundation of a memorable story is largely there.– Jenna Anderson

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

WONDER WOMAN #780

While Wonder Woman’s 80th anniversary celebration was a fantastic comic, the real tribute to the character is this week’s Wonder Woman #780. The issue is largely spent welcoming Diana back to Earth and reestablishing her as a hero while, at the same time, showing the ways that her experiences with death and the afterlife have shifted her perspective and changed her. While I wish the art were a bit more refined and even perhaps a bit more “classic” Wonder Woman in this issue, there is just so much joy on each page as everyone welcomes back this beloved character. If you’re looking for big plot or major story, it’s not here. But there’s a pure love of the character and a hopefulness that just feels so good and, well, like Wonder Woman. It’s a fun issue and an inspiring read. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

WONDER WOMAN: THE ADVENTURES OF YOUNG DIANA #1

The all-star team of Jordie Bellaire and Paulina Ganucheau bring us a tale of a young Diana before she left Themyscira. The 80-page comic is a complete comic that follows Diana as she learns about an uncomfortable part of her home’s history. It’s a long and winding tale that reminds both Diana and the reader that Themyscira was not always a paradise of love and peace. There are bits where the comic drags a bit, but I thought that this was both a great look at reconciling the problematic nature of history with what we were previously taught and also a great introduction to a version of Themyscira that appears to be continuing in 2022. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Marvel #1

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #76

The new era of The Amazing Spider-Man seems almost ready to begin as all of the cliffhangers from issue #75 are continued, but not quite completed, in issue #76. There is a lot of ground to cover with Peter deathly ill, albeit in an unclear fashion, and Ben Reilly still outlining his role as a new Spider-Man, for himself and readers alike. This sophomore outing maintains all of last week’s strengths with clear character work and outstanding artistic contributions, but it also fails to provide a clear hook or provide more than half-steps forward for either of its leading heroes. It’s the stretched pacing between two Spider-Men that leads this outing to feel like it’s still arriving at the point. Hopefully, writer Kelly Thompson can stick the landing in two weeks before many readers lose patience with this set up stage. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

THE AVENGERS #49

“World War She-Hulk” has contained some intriguing ideas and some visually splendid battles, but there’s a twist in this latest chapter that I just don’t buy. The Avengers #49 delivers “World War She-Hulk” part four by Jason Aaron, Javier Garron, Flaviano, David Curiel, and Cory Petit, and the issue doesn’t waste any time getting to the action. All the sudden we have Winter Hulk vs Namor and, well, everyone else, and then we start to have Red Widow and all these other moving pieces making their plays. Then about halfway through the book makes a revelation that kind of comes out of nowhere, and while the narration then launches into an explanation of what’s happening and how everything led to this point, it simply feels too forced, and also kind of makes those past few issues feel inconsequential. It’s pretty to look at in spots thanks to Garron, Flaviano, and Curiel, including an awesome Thor sequence and a Hulk-centric final battle, but you never really get behind the action because it kind of feels abrupt and like you’re missing an issue in-between. There’s still another chapter to go, so we’ll have to wait and see if it can stick the landing, but so far this series hasn’t quite captured the promise it had, and this issue in particular stumbled quite a bit. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 2 out of 5

BLACK PANTHER LEGENDS #1

This new dive into the early days of T’Challa works well at filling in the nuances for fans of the MCU that might not be too familiar with how the future king of Wakanda would grow into his role. Writer Tochi Onyebuchi has a very good grasp on the world of Wakanda and the diverse characters that are spotlighted here, but the issue finds some faults when it comes to Setor Fiadzeigbey’s artwork. The art does an above-average job at capturing the energy of some of the action scenes but definitely feels like it could have used one more go-over when it comes to the detail of both characters and environments. Legends is a good read for comic readers looking to learn more about T’Challa but it has a few rough edges that stop it from being truly great. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 3 out of 5

DARKHOLD: IRON MAN #1

Marvel’s Darkhold series has arrived just in time for the Halloween season, and so far it’s got the most promise of any horror-themed event in recent memory. The elder god Cthon wants to invade Earth, and in order for Scarlet Witch to stop him, she’ll need the help of five heroes to fight him in his realm. The only catch is they have to read from the Darkhold book, which immediately turns all five of them insane as they read about the worst possible version of their lives. First up is Iron Man. Given Tony’s history, this issue could’ve gone in a thousand different ways, but Ryan North keeps it simple by focussing on Tony’s origin story and how his unyielding drive for improvement can lead to disastrous endings. You can see what will go wrong pretty quickly, but the book keeps taking more and more horrific turns, all while playing at the malignant imagery of flesh merging with metal. Remember that gross-out scene in the first Iron Man where Pepper freaks out about the puss in Tony’s chest hole as she’s pulling out the electromagnet? Imagine an entire comic dedicated to that feeling of discomfort. — Connor Casey

Rating: 4 out of 5

ETERNALS FOREVER #1

In a one-shot that seems designed exclusively to catch up readers on who the heck these characters are before a new movie, writer Ralph Macchio, penciler Ramon F. Bachs, and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg attempt to channel much of Jack Kirby’s initial run on the characters, albeit lacking in the dynamism and boldness that made his work so memorable. The story is largely one note and introductory of the concepts as a whole, so far well-versed Eternals fans it might read like little more than a Wikipedia page with some art (art that sometimes feels full of life and other times flat). That said, for newcomers it’s a fine entry point for who and what happens within the limited amount of comics featuring the Eternals. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3 out of 5

GAMMA FLIGHT #5

Gamma Flight wraps up here in issue #5 in a way that left me wanting more—which is both good and bad. Part of this desire is because the throughline conflict isn’t really outright resolved in the way that you might expect once you turn to the final page. And while it could be seen as anticlimactic because of this, I actually found myself enjoying the way in which Gamma Flight closed out. Many of the different character arcs end in a satisfying way, even though I do feel like this series came to a conclusion a bit too suddenly. Still, from start to finish, Gamma Flight has been nothing but enjoyable and is definitely worth reading if you’re someone who has enjoyed The Immortal Hulk. — Logan Moore

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Marvel #2

THE IMMORTAL HULK #50

Beyond some minor quibbles at the end, The Immortal Hulk #50 stands as a colossal climax for one of the most critically and commercially successful superhero series of the past decade. This issue, sized like a graphic novel, reads with the same potency and compelling throughline as the best issues from the run. Even as its climax leaves readers with more to contemplate than cheer, it is the clear destination from where this series began. Questions of science, faith, the worth of man, and the problem of evil have been drawn out through this idiosyncratic tale and its finale confronts them as well as any work in its genre. That ambition alone might be enough to secure The Immortal Hulk‘s place in the Marvel canon, but its ability to deliver an insightful conclusion guarantees it. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

IRON MAN #13

These past thirteen issues of Iron Man have been some of the best comic book storytelling I’ve read from Marvel in recent years. This installment brings Tony Stark and his “Space Friends” in a no holds barred fight against Korvac, one that both brings a satisfying and emotional finale to the story that’s been seeded across the series thus far, and also catapults its major players into uncharted territory. Christopher Cantwell’s take on these characters never ceases to amaze and surprise me, mixing their pulp coolness with a gravitas that is consistently incredible to read. Cafu’s art—especially as the fight sequences and action on display only grow more complicated—always remains dynamic. This series is a masterpiece, through and through. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 5 out of 5

KANG THE CONQUEROR #3

Ironic twists of fate and unintended consequences are essential fare in time travel stories, but they are predicated upon the audience’s understanding of time travel. In Kang the Conqueror, as a possible necessity of weaving so many timelines and stories together, the logic of time travel is hand-wavey and refuses to acknowledge any clear rules. As a result the ironic twists that arrive in Kang the Conqueror only read as a further step in a preordained path rather than anything consequential based on this young Kang’s choices thus far. It’s a next step weaving together various reference points from history and assembled through an unceasing collection of narrative captions. Readers are led by the hand through what happened next, including the introduction of Kang’s most constant rival, but none of this reads as being inevitable or even logical in its progression. It’s all simply a matter of what must be included and explained in the story next, which doesn’t make for a terribly engaging narrative – no matter how well drawn it may be at points. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

KA-ZAR: LORD OF THE SAVAGE LAND #2

Seeing heroes actively wrestle with the consequences of their people is a great idea for a Savage Land tale, and this issue hits on a ton of solid concepts about causing the harm you’re trying to prevent. The ideas at play are forward-thinking and endlessly interesting, but a lot of the purpose gets lost in the process. The pages feel cluttered and messy, making the message hard to grasp and the story hard to follow. Still, despite the shortcomings, there’s a lot of good stuff to find buried inside Ka-Zar. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN #31

The promise of this issue’s content teased at the end of #30 was quickly fulfilled as writer Saladin Ahmed and artist Christopher Allen have created a near-perfect comic that is almost exclusively one sequence. Allen’s ability to depict and maintain consistency in movement during this 20 page action scene is rivaled only by the detail he puts into each moment, it also helps that his depiction of Taskmaster is the kind that will have fans of the character beaming. Ahmed uses this issue to prove that his work with Miles isn’t limited to just reflection and personal meditations, where he excels, but that he can also develop a kick-ass action concept. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 5 out of 5

SHANG-CHI #5

Shang-Chi continues to be a fun read with every new issue, but this latest chapter is probably my least favorite so far. This time around, Shang-Chi ends up taking on Iron Man in his pursuit of doing battle with every main superhero from the Marvel pantheon. The bout between Iron Man and Shang-Chi and Tony Stark is quite uninteresting, though, leaving many of the main plot developments in this issue simply setting up the conclusion of this storyline. Despite being a bit underwhelming compared to previous issues, I’m still more than interested in seeing where Shang-Chi goes from here. — Logan Moore

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Marvel #3

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(Photo: Marvel Comics)

STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #15

In the face of one of the galaxy’s deadliest assassins, Aphra, Sana, and her temporary allies all attempt to make an escape, with Aphra uncovering an artifact that could present her with freedom, but at great cost. Given how ambling and uneven the series has been in recent issues, this installment offered a streamlined adventure with action, excitement, and Aphra’s signature wit, while also bringing her involvement in the “War of the Bounty Hunters” event to a close, at least for the time being. We’re hoping this is merely the beginning of a streamlined narrative, as the series’ recent complications have been due to having too many characters and too few interesting characters, with the conclusion of this tie-in storyline hopefully allowing for a somewhat fresh start going forward. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 4 out of 5

STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC – TRAIL OF SHADOWS #1

Trail of Shadows wants to bring mystery and noir to the Star Wars universe, but the book kicks off with some shaky execution. Neither storyline in this balancing act is incredibly interesting on their own, and going back and forth between them just jumbles them both. Hopefully, as they eventually merge into one, a clearer vision will yield better results. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 2 out of 5

STAR WARS: WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS #5

For lack of a better term, all hell has broken loose with a number of different parties all wanting to claim Han Solo in carbonite as their own, and while we know he ultimately ends up with Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine, his actual trajectory to that destination is the result of explosive action and double-crosses. The conclusion of the event also sets the stage for some potentially major revelations and storylines in the coming months, almost to an overwhelming degree in regards to how they could impact the galaxy far, far away as we know it. Without getting into spoilers, these revelations will surely be met with mixed reactions, as some will surely find them similar to those seen in other storylines or be frustrated with the implication that there could be canonical complications with established storylines, though on their own, they make for some exciting possibilities for this specific era of Star Wars storytelling. With the “War of the Bounty Hunters” coming to an end, the biggest and most exciting reveal, that Qi’ra was running Crimson Dawn and colliding with the Revel Alliance during the time of the original trilogy, will still serve as the higlight, which was revealed all the way back in the debut issue. In this regard, the overall narrative was somewhat underwhelming, especially given that none of the tie-in issues were especially enlightening, though devout bounty hunter fans will surely have appreciated all the action and excitement of these supporting characters coming to the forefront. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 4 out of 5

WARHAMMER 40,000: SISTERS OF BATTLE #3

It’s difficult for me to believe this is only the third issue as, for the third installment, a crew of Sisters delve deeper into the tunnels hunting out heresy while intrigue brews amongst their commanding officers in space. Unattached to any stakes invested in character or even this fictional world’s history, it’s the same set of actions repeating themselves. While they may be functionally delivered there’s a malaise seeping into the occasionally confusing battle sequences which continue to rattle like a string of firecrackers – all the same until they eventually end. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

X-FORCE #24

X-Force #24 brings the big spy comics energy as a cautionary tale of paranoia unbound is paired with a long-seeded revelation that demands nobody be trusted. It’s a delightful balancing act as Beast’s visceral chase of the nesting doll mercenaries deep into his anatomy is met with meditative scenes which slowly develop a mystery. Both are part of the same genre and occupy different strands of the same web, and so they reflect one another in fascinating fashion. It’s a tragedy in two parts, but only one is self-inflicted. Watching either character unravel is heartbreaking because their madness and calm alike are what draws readers into a fearfully tense state, and the consequences of what’s seen here are bound to cause far more harm before all is said and done. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

X-MEN #4

X-Men takes a detour in its fourth issue that isn’t entirely satisfying. Gerry Duggan and the guest art team of Javier Pina and Erick Arciniega spin a slightly spooky yarn of the mystical villain Nightmare taking advantage of Doctor Strange’s recent death to frolic through New Yorkers’ dreams. Upon noticing the Tree House for the first time, he can’t help but pay a visit, biting off more than he can chew in the process. Such an incursion in the realm of dreams should be an opportunity to do something altogether different and unexpected. Instead, Nightmare elucidates barely-beneath-the-surface subtext, spelling out the simple motivations driving these characters that weren’t all the hard to discern previously. There are some small revelations, but the way they come through feels like cheating, simply saying the quiet part out loud instead of letting each character’s truth emerge organically. Visually, the only difference between the dream world and the physical realm is a ruddy overlay. There’s an interesting premise here, but the plot built around it is too thin, which might be why the latter portion of the issue shifts focus to the new villain, who will presumably become a relevant threat at some point. Yet here, his presence doesn’t amount to more than a vaguely defined menace. There’s the start of a good idea here, but the execution is boring, and the whole thing runs its uneventful course too quickly to be fulfilling. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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Other Publishers #1

ARMY OF DARKNESS 1979 #2

The sophomore outing provides a clearer outline for the story and its conflicts. Ash makes new alliances and enemies with clear enough directions. It’s a ramshackle assemblage for jokes and a few forced action beats. The self-aware tone puts nearly all of these elements beyond effect as it’s unclear who this joke is being played upon, perhaps the reader. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

BLACK HAMMER: REBORN #4

Whatever you think is going to happen, doesn’t happen. That’s typically the case whenever a character like Randall Weird is involved but maybe even more so here. This continuation of the primary Black Hammer story is a twisty adventure through the Para-Zone that throws one surprise—er, punch—after the next at you until you’re beaten and your eye’s half swollen shut. Between the script and Yarsky’s exceptional lineart, Lucy Weber’s desperation and heartbreak bleeds off the pages throughout this issue and it hurts—like really bad. –– Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA #9

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina roars to life this week with a new chapter that brings two familiar heroes into hell. With Archie and Jughead in the grave, fans are left wondering about our vixen’s goal, and things get wild when we visit the world above. After all, it seems Satan himself has unleashed itself near Riverdale, so Sabrina is about to have one wild job on her hands. — Megan Peters

Rating: 4 out of 5

CLEAR #1

Scott Snyder and Francis Manapul’s Clear, a new Comixology Original series, is a neo-noir, cyberpunk murder mystery. It’s also a work drenched in the existential dread that comes from staying informed about all the crises facing the modern world and the feelings of impotence that come with no direct means of doing anything about it. Manapul delivers a perfectly executed cyber-noir atmosphere, scenes appearing like neon lighting shining through a dirty window. Snyder has a reputation for novelistic writing, which applies here, and such style works well in this genre, creating something that feels like Blade Runner but with better internal monologue. There’s a certain self-righteousness ingrained into telling the story of the only clear-seeing person left in a world potentially beyond saving, but Clear‘s themes ring true. With the impeccable execution of two masters at the top of their game to back it up, this is easy to recommend for anyone who wants unnervingly relevant genre fiction. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

COMPASS #5

Compass closes with its largest battle yet filled with plenty of twists before a bombastic last moment that reads like something directed by Lucas. It’s a culmination of everything the series has delivered thus far, including both strong historical foundations and the fun of pulp dynamics. The issue never lingers too long on a single sequence or feature as it’s filled with further developments, and beautifully paces them to ensure the issue is never easy to set down. There is a certain pat quality to the resolution of this conflict with all parties quite easily appeased with only one removed, but it’s also easy to forgive given the likable nature of these characters. Compass‘ use of historical verisimilitude never strove for realism, but offered a rich and descriptive setting for this delightful adventure. A potential continuation suggested by the final page would be very welcome. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

DEEP BEYOND #9

I’m still not seeing the allure of Deep Beyond. Nine issues in and with so many twists and reversals and what feels like a truly pointless motivation from the politian in the story, nothing feels like it has any real stakes. Jolene and her cre are back in the “real world” as it were, Paul is somehow not dead, but his alliance is being played in a way that makes it seem like everyone is about to be killed and the oh so bad politician will win. And yet, we’ve done this already so we know that’s not likely to be the case with issues still to come. And the actualy what and why of the story is still pretty murky. It’s just another kind of confusing and murky issue of a sries that might make more sense all at once rather than serialized like this. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 2 out of 5

ELECTRIC BLACK DARK CARAVAN #1

Electric Black takes on the challenge of setting up not just a single story, but an entire universe and its mythos. There’s something there, using a traveling carnival and religious cults to set up a battle of good vs. evil is certainly an awesome place to start, but this first issue gets too caught up in trying to build a foundation rather than just telling a compelling story. There’s a seemingly unending amount of dialogue and very little of it is actually dedicated to advancing the plot. A little more focus could result in a much better series moving forward. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

ET-ER #1

Javier Pulido’s style and colors lend themselves easily to a series like ET-ER, which is exactly what it sounds like. Writer Jeff McComsey injects the right amount of a Men in Black-style introduction into this world that the idea immediately feels well constructed but frankly it gets a little overwhelming when the nonsensical space jargon starts to fly. Pulido’s art is the thing that makes this one shot sing though, when they can make the mundane parts of a regular hospital exciting, imagine what the alien side of it looks like. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Other Publishers #2

HOME SICK PILOTS #10

After drawing the many players of Home Sick Pilots back together across the series’ second arc, they prepare to collide in an issue wonderfully showcasing the many reasons to appreciate the series. Much of the focus is on the titular band members, but their paths reveal enough of the support cast (and one genuinely terrifying antagonist) to remind readers of all that is at stake and then build upon it in dramatic fashion. This provides ample opportunities to also showcase the excellent design work that makes each issue memorable, whether it’s the human-sized horrors with their cold expressions or the kaiju-sized monstrosities. Even as Home Sick Pilots #10 denies readers the conflict they’ve been seeking for months, it does so with sufficient elegance to also remind us that the wait will likely be worth it. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

JAMES BOND: HIMEROS #1

James Bond: Himeros #1 lays out the entire mission setup and background on all the major players in a straightforward albeit slightly boring way, and while things do pick up considerably once Bond is in the picture, the art style at times gets in the way and keeps the issue from achieving its full potential. It has all the ingredients for a great Bond tale though, and this is certainly a solid start. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

LUNAR LADIES #2

Lunar Ladies brings our queens one step towards victory as their escape brings them a step closer to their kids. Of course, back on Earth, our favorite lass is figuring out the ways of humanity, but their trip isn’t all fun and games. With new allies on her side, the renegade army of clone boys has new enemies to face, leaving our Lunar Ladies with a leg up in their convoluted new war. — Megan Peters

Rating: 3 out of 5

MAMO #4

Mamo‘s melancholic take on magic continues as Jo learns about the true cost and nature of a witch’s magic. Mamo’s strange post-death mutilation and scattering was dark enough, but to learn that it was all a ploy to bind her granddaughter to a location was equally twisted. It’s horrific and sad without being grotesque, and honestly this is just the sort of grey and sad magic story that we need more of. Magic is always magical, but it doesn’t always need to be fantastical. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 5 out of 5

MAZEBOOK #2

Make no mistake about it—Mazebook is undeniably from the mind of Jeff Lemire. The fever dream surrealism only scratched the surface last month, and shoots off into the sky at a 90-degree angle here. This story is about as small as can be, even though the plot is absurdly large in scope. In standard fashion from this creator, there’s an abundance of mystery that will continue to build up so if that’s your thing, Mazebook is a superb read. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

NINJA SCOUTS #1

Ninja Scouts is the comic book equivalent of a Saturday morning cartoon and it is absolutely charming. The book follows an after school club that happens to be the actual Ninja Scouts—think a truly epic Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts—who end up defending their neighborhood from an ancient mask. There isn’t a lot here in terms of deep commentary or substance to break down, just three kids learning about themselves, their limits, and their skills and working together to save the world, but it’s delightful. Everything about this comic, from the story to the art is fresh, fun, and frankly, you’ll want more after reading this one shot. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

NINJAK #4

Ninjak #4 wraps up the “Daylight” arc brilliantly as it solidifies the imposing new threat to the global spy community and ratchets up the stakes for Ninjak specifically. There is a moment early in the issue that provides quite a distraction from this landing, though, as art duties are rotated mid-chase. The connection between two pages is unclear and requires readers to shrug and push ahead. While Pulido’s replacement does a fine job of portraying the action as it continues, the transition combined with this last minute shift from such a distinctive style makes the transition a genuine distraction. Fill-in artist Beni Lobel acquits themself admirably contributing an excellent visual metaphor for psychic confrontations at the issue’s end. The story remains compelling to pull readers past a rough transition and along for a climax filled with new mysteries and worsening conditions – albeit a few less notable layouts. Ninjak has established itself as the Valiant series to read and, given the cliffhanger in Ninjak #4, that’s unlikely to change when artist Mike Norton joins in issue #5. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

NO ONE LEFT TO FIGHT II #1

After the break between No One Left to Fight and No One Left to Fight II, one might’ve expected the sequel to start with—or at least showcase—a raucous brawl. That’s not the case here, but the direction it took turned out to be a better route anyway. Reconciliations between Timor and Vale were needed, and while most fight-filled narratives typically handle these clumsily, No One Left to Fight II presented an honest and succinct start to amends between the pair. Vale’s hard truths also included a smart callback to the way he told Winda he loved her “like a sister.” Set all this to the backdrop of towering, neon mushroom forests and their carefree, dreamlike inhabitants and it’s clear No One Left to Fight II hasn’t lost a step. — Tanner Dedmon

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Other Publishers #3

NORSE MYTHOLOGY II #5

Regardless of the story at hand, Gabriel Walta is the perfect artist for an anthology like Norse Mythology. His folk style is perfect for this zany adaptation of the Apples of Immortality… and so many of the other short stories in this series, for that matter. In terms of the script, it’s a simple story that needed to be stretch into a sizable comic script, and Russell manages to do that exceptionally well without sacrificing any of the pacing. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

ORDINARY GODS #4

This is a less action-packed issue of Ordinary Gods, but the series as a whole continues to move at a great pace in its fourth installment. Although very little happens in this chapter overall, it continues to introduce characters that should become commonplace moving forward. The thing that I like about Ordinary Gods quite a bit is how it teases a larger backstory that has taken place in this world, and it slowly opts to lift the veil on this history in unique ways. Even though not a lot happens in issue #4, teases like this keep me interested in this series even when it moves a bit slower. — Logan Moore

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

POWER RANGERS #12

Review. — Name

Rating: X out of 5

RICK AND MORTY: MR. NIMBUS #1

Rick and Morty: Mr. Nimbus #1 is a wild exploration of Rick’s most epic friendship and its gnarly branches. This explosive comic dives deep into Rick and Nimbus’ feud with one another as the mortal rivals test each other time and again. From trust to love and hate, this debut issue uncovers some of Rick’s deepest feelings with the quips fans expect, and its loose ending will leave readers what’s coming next for our star-crossed besties. — Megan Peters

Rating: 4 out of 5

SECOND COMING: ONLY BEGOTTEN SON #6

The final issue of Second Coming: Only Begotten Son in a sense inhabits the “this meeting could have been an email” space, but in the best way possible. While a few issues of the series felt a little like filler at times, this final issue brings the entire message of the series together in a way that stands alone. Jesus is in Heaven visiting God and gets some much-needed perspective while on Earth, Sunstar is about to become a father, something also gives him some much-needed perspective. In between those two anchors we get an interesting meditation on how belief grows in the world as well as what it really means to find a happy ending as well as our place in the universe. It’s not often that comics just directly hand out wisdom, but there’s plenty here: “There are no happy endings other than the choice to be happy.” It’s a solid issue with a strong message. I wish the series on the whole had been a bit more like this, but even for all the questioning, we land in a good place. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 4 out of 5

THE SECRET LAND #4

Being a four-issue mini-series, The Secret Land needed to step on the gas. Luckily for those keeping along, this finale puts to pedal to the metal as this crew wraps up everything nice and tight—putting the neatest little bow on this demented tale. While the book started awfully slow, far too slow for my liking, the back half was paced exceptionally well, including this final issue. Now that it’s over, I wish there was more of this story to continue. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

THE SIX SIDEKICKS OF TRIGGER KEATON #5

It’s the penultimate chapter and, while a showdown with 100 stuntmen provides plenty of excitement and humor, it seems to be focused on buying time before solving the mystery. That the solution arrives from an offhanded comment entirely unrelated to this issue’s events makes it read like a prolific digression in a shaggy dog story. It’s the issue’s best moments that prevent it from falling into that sub-genre, however, as it features the sincerity of a “getting the band back together” sequence. As members of this idiosyncratic crew reveal themselves in interesting ways, it’s easy to smile and laugh as they find small triumphs and moments of courage. It’s played with the same excellent action panels and sense of humor that has been present throughout The Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton, and it ensures the issue is still a joy to read even as it hesitates to find its conclusion. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #45

It’s a road trip issue featuring many Sonic the Hedgehog heroines camping. The set up for the adventure ahead is clear, but also framed in a manner that will be useful to many states and other areas facing forest fires. It’s the dynamics between the four characters and their various subplots (including a surprise departure) that makes issue #45 much better than a PSA, though. There’s a constant blend of pathos and humor as struggles are shared between friends on an adventure filled with a number of jokes experienced campers may appreciate. As a difficult task looms for a cliffhanger, expectations are high for how these heroes might handle a very problem facing their own community. Although, next issue’s cover with characters posing with smiles against a forest fire may be in poor taste. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Other Publishers #4

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(Photo: Dynamite Entertainment)

STAR TREK: THE MIRROR WAR #1

Star Trek: The Mirror War has begun in earnest. While it may lead to something more exciting, the first issue primarily rehashes familiar Mirror Universe tropes. That’s in addition to regurgitating the plot of the previous miniseries, Terra Incognita, despite Star Trek: The Mirror War #0 existing to tie up that thread. The Tiptons are prolific writers of Star Trek comics, and their ability to strike a tone similar to the source material has always been their most bankable talent. Here, that ability filters through the Mirror Universe’s aesthetic lens, which strips the characters of most of their likeability and replaces it with an over-the-top standoffish ruthlessness that makes it hard to invest the characters fully. Artist Gavin Smith and Colorist Charlie Kirchoff bring a visual style that feels inspired by ink wash artwork, a suitable means of visually representing the darkness that’s woven into the fabric of this morally inverted timeline. It smacks of noir, an unexpected vibe for a Star Trek comic, but that only works to a limited degree, as some of the colorings on the necessary sci-fi elements like phaser blasts feel out of place in contrast. Star Trek: The Mirror War #1 is an inoffensive start, if not particularly exciting, but if the series is to live up to the event hype around it, it will need to hit the gas hard and find something new to do with the 55-year-old plot device that is the Mirror Universe. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

STAR WARS ADVENTURES: GHOST OF VADER’S CASTLE #4

This month’s issue doesn’t bring with it much narrative momentum, as it’s merely a compilation of nightmarish encounters centered around Vader and the possible transition of Lina’s brother into a Sith Lord, forcing her brain to confront unsettling visions at nearly every turn. At points channeling A Nightmare on Elm Street and other points embracing Village of the Damned, this installment feels merely like a compilation of frightening concepts without ever having to craft a long-form narrative around them. While this could sound like an underwhelming experience, merely getting these brief explorations of a variety of horror tropes does come together in a more effective way than potentially having to craft entire narratives around minimal ideas, giving readers more scares per page than previous chapters in this title. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 4 out of 5

TELEPATHS #2

Telepaths pitches an electrifying premise – the sort of thing that could be excellently produced as a network drama on a budget. The implications of a large subset of humanity gaining telepathic powers delivers endless problems and exciting solutions on day one, and that’s exactly what this issue delivers. Bouncing between three key sets of characters, it covers the landscape of a United States in crisis well. It’s frankly astonishing how many perspectives and significant details are fit within a neat 20 pages without ever bogging down the story in droning exposition – Straczynski knows how to write plot-oriented dialogue. Epting makes the characters instantly recognizable and delivers realistic expressions that make the crises seem all the more pressing. It’s hard not to perceive his talents as being squandered given that much of the issue is dedicated to Sorkin-esque walk-and-talks with only an occasional montage of the outside chaos. That speaks to the fit of this story for the medium it currently occupies, as well, when it seemingly begs for a longform treatment in prose or television that could contain the sprawl this story seeks. In any case, what’s here is delivered well and presents a tantalizing big idea, even if the presentation isn’t necessarily thrilling. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

TRANSFORMERS: KING GRIMLOCK #3

Transformers: King Grimlock #3 continues what is turning out to be a pretty interesting series, even for someone like myself who isn’t especially well-versed in Transformers. As one might have guessed after last issue, Arko turns out to be an important figure even though she and Grimlock have parted ways. What works really well here is that there is a lot of pretty fun and also fascinating action in the issue as well as the distinct storylines between Grimlock and Arko. The art leaves a bit to be desired—and at times makes it a little hard to follow the action—but this is an intersting story and a decent issue overall. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 3 out of 5

TROVER SAVES THE UNIVERSE #3

Trover Saves the Universe continues to be so off the wall and wacky that it’s getting hard for me to even follow the throughline story. And while this is a series that is more about gags and goofs than it is a compelling narrative, this third issue continues to move at such a fast pace that it’s jarring. Personally, I’m really starting to bounce off of Trover Saves the Universe quite hard, but your mileage may vary if you enjoy the property a bit more. — Logan Moore

Rating: 2 out of 5

THE UNBELIEVABLE UNTEENS #3

The wheels of plot churn forward ever so slowly with our eponymous group here in The Unbelievable Unteens. While the present timeline moves forward inches—if that—in this issue, Lemire and Crook balance the pacing out with flashbacks that still help manage to propel this title forward. Speaking of that, Lemire’s ability to swap between the classic methods of Silver Age comic storytelling and the tips and trick used in the modern-day is a sight to behold. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

VAMPIVERSE #2

Already from the second issue, Vampiverse is doing just enough to separate itself from the majority multiverse-hopping romps surrounding a singular popular character. This issue starts to shed a bit more light on the reality-warping journey of several different Vampirellas, before building on a twist that’s predictable, but meta in a way that’s incredibly interesting. The script from Thomas Sniegoski and Jeannine Acheson seems to be setting up a fascinating, entertaining reckoning for Vampirella’s storied history, while Daniel Maine’s art and Francesca Cittarelli’s colors are more visually striking than the majority of mainstream books I’m reading right now. This second issue definitely surprised me, and here’s hoping the latter installments do as well. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4 out of 5

WE HAVE DEMONS #1

We Have Demons #1 is a solid horror-laced comic by the Batman and Dark Metal creative team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. The comics series follows Lam, a young woman estranged from her father who discovers a rather important secret after his death – he was a demon hunter, one of only a handful left in existence. The premise is a well-worn one, but Snyder and Capullo gussy it up with some neat worldbuilding and backstory and some pretty gnarly visuals. It was an interesting choice to put all the exposition and backstory right at the front of the chapter, and it’s a credit to the creative team that they keep it interesting enough to the point where we actually get to see the demons. A cool first chapter, but I hope that the comic doesn’t rely too much on edgy visuals and wanton violence and opts to build a story of substance instead. Snyder and Capullo are a creative team capable of delivering a home run, but they have also delivered some self-indulgent “all sizzle, no steak” stories. It’s a bit early to tell which way this comic will go. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 4 out of 5

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