Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 1/26/2022

By Chase Magnett
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 X Deaths of Wolverine #1, Peacemaker: Disturbing the Peace #1, and Cowboy Bebop #1.
Also, in case you were curious, our ratings are simple: we give a whole or half number out of five; that’s it! If you’d like to check out our previous reviews, they are all available here.
I am admittedly not a huge fan of “The Warworld Saga” arc, but even though it’s not my cup of tea I can recognize just how solid Philip Kennedy Johnson’s writing is this issue and just how well he understands Clark Kent. The issue largely sees Superman and the remaining members of the Authority dealing with being enslaved on Warworld. It’s a position that allows them to see a side of Warworld they didn’t know existed and, arguably, helps them begin to form a plan to survive and escape. That is, generally, the thrust of the issue. But the issue also spends much of its time sharing those observations through a journal entry by Clark and it’s that writing that reveals that even in this horrific nightmare of a setting, the heart of the character remains true. It’s through this that, even in this extremely bleak story, the hope that is so fundamental to Superman shines through like a beacon. Couple that with truly outstanding art and a warm color palette and it’s honestly one of the better issues of the arc overall. The Martian Manhunter backup story is also just top notch. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 4 out of 5
Aquaman and Green Arrow both deserve better than this weird, convoluted, confusing, and frankly half-baked trashfire of a comic. Four issues in and who knows what’s going on and why it involves lizard people. This issue doesn’t clarify anything, just advances the story to another weird place, though we do get a nice moment of friendship between the two heroes and there’s a moment of Oliver trying to correctly use Aquaman powers that is kind of nice. The art is okay. But beyond that, this issue functionally fails at everything. It’s obvious what the book is trying to achieve; this is clearly supposed to be a lighthearted Silver Age-esque story, but with no real clear direction to the story and too many heavy-handed references to things (such as the Arrowplane) whatever homage is intended is just missed. Maybe if you’re reading it just for fun, there’s redeeming value, but when these two characters deserve more substantial adventures, this is just not it. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 1 out of 5
There are going to be a lot of people who adore Batman/Catwoman: Special #1 who will sing the book’s praises and I will be the first to say that those people are not entirely wrong. Visually speaking, this is a lovely book, particularly the art and, even more particularly pages 1-13 which were done by the late John Paul Leon. The book is, in many ways, a tribute to Leon and deservedly so. Also worthy of praise is the approach to Selina Kyle’s life story through the lens of various Christmases. Christmas is, for many, a complicated holiday filled less with joy and merriment and more with pain and absence and that’s something that Tom King captures beautifully here while also using this format to show how one can grow and change and indeed their relationship to the holiday can as well. However, there are some story-specific choices that feel very awkward or absolutely unnecessary, something of an over romanticization of Selina and Bruce’s relationship in one regard while in another highlighting just how toxic the relationship actually is in that Bruce never seems to really know who she is even after years of being together. Helena’s middle name is a choice. And don’t get me started on the ending. This is, perhaps, the problem with King’s Batman/Catwoman more broadly. There are high concepts and whispers of fine execution but all of it done without a genuine understanding or respect for the characters. It’s like putting a gloss on something that’s rusting: the thing is still falling apart, you’ve just made it shiny and any attempt to go below that shiny surface will crumble. This would have been so much better with just a bit more care and substance and as a result, it’s the art that gets this issue the bulk of its rating from me. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 3 out of 5
This ghoulish guilty pleasure has definitely gotten better since its first started, with the vampires working their way through the heroes and villains of the DC Universe. Rosenberg and Tynion have a great understanding of this world, especially with some quiet moments featuring John Constantine trying to have a drink that is reaching for his throat. DC Vs. Vampires paints an apocalypse of a different color and does well at having everyone guessing, including readers. –– Evan Valentine
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Just as Deathstroke Inc. prepares to explain its entire premise, it flips that concept on its head. It’s this willingness to subvert expectations and manifest as much madness at the end of this issue as it delivers in the Crooked House at the start. Considering who Deathstroke and Black Canary are by placing them in revealing (and often impossible) situations has guided the series from issue #1; readers receive another version of this trope with parallel panels in an outstanding sequence set at Prometheus’s void. Yet it’s the final sequence of this issue that will have readers talking and with good reason. When all of the subterfuge is stripped away, there are familiar elements rearranged to pique curiosity. Lots of recognizable names and faces set in a new configuration that is upset almost as quickly as it is revealed. This non-stop approach to pacing and the seriousness of the reversals make this issue a thrill ride that only increases momentum. If it can maintain it, then Deathstroke Inc. just became must-read material. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
The jumbo-sized Detective Comics #1050 brings in an unexpected villain and sets up March’s World’s Finest comic. This issue features three different stories – the continuing “Arkham Tower” arc by Mariko Tamaki and Ivan Reis, the Matthew Rosenberg and Fernardo Blanco “House of Gotham” story, and a teaser for the World’s Finest series by Mark Waid and Dan Mora. “The Arkham Tower” has struggled a bit due to some weird narrative choices, but I really liked the focus on Huntress and the reveal as to what’s really going on inside the Tower. Honestly, it feels almost like a retro comic in some respects, in that a supervillain is running an elaborate scam for very simple reasons. The Rosenberg/Blanco story is a bit odd, but interesting in how it shows Scarecrow trying to mentor a would-be protege in his own twisted way. “World’s Fines”t is… well, it’s a Mark Waid short story about Batman, Superman, and Robin that acts mostly as a teaser for his next work at DC. All three are perfectly fine stories that showcase the odd family Batman has built up around him without necessarily focusing too much on Batman himself. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Adams and a cavalcade of artists help bring us one of the weaker installments of his run so far, not to necessarily say that it’s bad, but that it doesn’t hold a candle to the initial adventure that Wally and Doctor Fate had. While it certainly has some strong examples of superhero action with the Flash taking on a number of the magical heroes that have been enticed by Eclipso, it suffers from the same tropes that can sometimes make a superhero story plod along. There are ways to balance the stories of the Silver Age with some modern flair and I feel that this latest story of the Scarlet Speedster wasn’t able to live up to its predecessors, especially when it came to the side plot following Wally and Linda’s kids. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 3 out of 5
Harley Quinn #11 is a new arc that sort of continues from the end of issue #10 and in terms of plot, this issue is honestly kind of lacking. It’s pretty weak overall and the set up just isn’t there. The only thing that truly works for the issue is that we do get a solid few panels of Harley being a therapist. We get to see just how insightful and intelligent she really is and while her derangement is often played up in terms of her character, when she’s written well, how brilliant she actually is and how good her instincts are (for everyone but herself) are never far from the surface. Phillips is a master working with that and seeing Harley in a group therapy setting gives readers the best of both worlds with Harley: the clown and the doctor, both of them equally wise and both of them forces to be reckoned with. Beyond that, this issue really isn’t anything to write home about; Keepsake is quickly wearing out his welcome. This issue in particular points out just how little to offer that character has. And the fact that he went after Kevin really hasn’t done him any favors. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 2 out of 5
While I wasn’t a fan of the last issue of The Human Target, issue #4 finds its footing with an interesting contrast of how Christopher Chance is different than the superheroes he’s now investigating. While Chance was almost antagonistic in his smarm last issue, he’s much more content to observe and draw out the truth little by little. At one point, Chance notes that he’s not a superhero and I feel that this issue did a much better job of showing that he’s not a part of this world while still showcasing how he fits within it. Greg Smallwood’s art remains the highlight of the series, but the writing is back to being fun… at least for now. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 4 out of 5
Justice League #70 surprised me after succeeding in making the Royal Flush Gang an actual compelling threat to the League, but it seems that wasn’t meant to last. Issue #71 quickly reveals that whatever threat they posed has been dealt with, and while I did enjoy how Brian Michael Bendis, Phil Hester, Romulo Fajardo Jr, and Eric Gapstur brought the fallout from their actions to life over the next several pages, it was a bit deflating to see them put down so quickly. Where this issue shines though is in its dialogue, specifically character confrontations that showcase what makes them so great in their roles. For Superman it’s patience. For Black Adam, it’s suspicion of power, and for Bones, well, it’s being awesome and having a skull for a head (figured that was obvious). The discussions between the heroes is what sticks out most here, and while the Checkmate aspect is also delightful, the Daemon Rose angle of all this just didn’t connect with me. Meanwhile over in Justice League Dark, this is more of an introduction to newcomers, offering a recap of what’s happened. Ram V, Sumit Kumar, Fajardo Jr, and Rob Leigh are pretty damn great at what they do though, and manage to still make this compelling (and stunning might I add) with every turn of the page. It’s not new ground per-se, but it’s still beautifully executed. This isn’t the strongest issue of Justice League or Dark, but there’s still a lot here to enjoy for longtime fans. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Disturbing the Peace embraces the horrific irony of Peacemaker’s ethos: Peace at any cost. It funnels that concept through two creators who excel at addressing stories of violence and inhumanity. While comparisons to The Punisher are bound to surface, Ennis and Brown do excellent work in carving out a unique space for this underutilized anti-hero and deliver a very compelling hook. The result is an impressive one-shot that applies elements of horror and action to create one of the most twisted reintroductions of a DC Comics character in many years and, despite the terror and ugliness on the page, it’s hard to resist wanting more Peacemaker for the first time in the character’s comics history. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Robin #10 leaves the island and tournament behind to investigate Damian Wayne’s genealogy. It’s an efficient series of retcons told with some stylish flourishes thanks to the addition of Roger Cruz and Norm Rapmund on art. Nothing in this issue contradicts the long, existing mythology surrounding Ra’s al Ghul; it opts instead to add to the villain’s earliest days. The inclusion of Ra’s mother focuses his life on a conflict between faith and science centering on the very real Demon summoned at the end of Robin #8. That lens on a very familiar character evokes additional parallels between himself and his grandson. Ensuring Damian remains central to this reimagining of Batman-related lore engages readers who might otherwise question why so much fictional history is relevant. Robin #10 is primarily focused on establishing the series’ next conflict following its tournament of fighters, and it offers a great hook at the end of this extended retcon recap. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Static: Season One #5 continues its mix of cool visuals, very out-of-place speeches, and cliffhangers that don’t seem to land right. This issue continues Static’s fight against Hotstreak while Static’s friends try to free the imprisoned Bang Babies from a government black site. While the pacing problems aren’t as bad as last issue, it still feels like the comic can’t find its focus. I think that some of this can be attributed to the use of a red background palette throughout the entire issue (due to the red lights at the blacksite) – it makes everything feel like it’s taking place at one spot instead of splitting the comic up into different scenes. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 3 out of 5
Superman ’78 #6 delivers readers an outstanding finale that firmly embeds this tale in the tone, style, and themes that ensured Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve’s presentation of Superman would resonate across a half-century. Superman’s battle with Brainiac illustrates the similarities that make them such compelling foes and highlights exactly what is extraordinary about Superman beyond his immense power. It’s the second half of this issue that delivers the most impressive sequence as Superman is tasked with gargantuan feats portrayed with immense scale and severity by Wilfredo Torres. He summons massivity that evokes the killer earthquakes and exploding dams from the end of Superman: The Movie and, as a result, presents a task so great that it evokes John Williams’ iconic score. Superman ’78 understands why its source material is beloved, but it succeeds because it presents those ideas well in comics and readers never have to imagine seeing this story in a different medium because it’s already an exceptional and inspiring Superman comic book. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The Superman and Robin Special does basically everything that one shots of its kind should – it delivers a well-executed standalone story, while also piquing readers’ interests towards other books. Set amongst the ever-escalating events of Jon Kent and Damian Wayne’s tenures in the DC Universe, the issue sees the super friends partnering together once again, and taking on a challenge that is both action-packed and earnest. While not every quip or line of dialogue lands as well as it could, it’s a thrill to see Jon and Damian together again, and the adventure they go on is jam-packed with cool wish fulfillment. While this isn’t necessarily the best storytelling these characters have gotten (either together or separately), it is still a fun adventure. — Jenna Anderson
Rating: 3 out of 5
When Task Force Z hits, it hits hard and this fourth issue is one that knocks you on your ass. Rosenberg does a delightful job writing Jason Todd, arguably one of the most complicated characters in the DC pantheon, and this title at its core is very much a Todd tale. Despite this book being about zombies and supervillains, it’s a surprisingly good character study on the battle between right and wrong. It’s still a bit slower than preferred, but at least the right beats are getting hit to propel this all to where it needs to go. –– Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
This installment signifies an explosive new status quo for the students and faculty of Teen Titans Academy – and it’s one that I’m very curious to see through to the end. Tim Sheridan’s narrative balances nearly every major character the series has focused on thus far, bringing satisfying and earnest conclusions to plot points while still leaving a lot of questions left unanswered. And with Rafa Sandoval and company on the art, the character designs and the dynamic feeling of everything on display really gets a chance to shine. Teen Titans Academy uniquely understands the fun, fiery potential of ensemble superhero comics like this, and I will follow it to the ends of the Earth. — Jenna Anderson
Rating: 4 out of 5
Sadly this is the final issue of Wonder Girl, though if you’re going to go out, you might as well go out with a bang, and Wonder Girl #7 certainly accomplishes that feat. Bringing the current story to its action-packed close, Joelle Jones, Leila Del Duca, Jordie Bellaire, and Pat Brosseau deliver thrilling battles and the Esquecidas and Wonder Women team-up we’ve been waiting to see. In fact, while I haven’t loved all of Cassie’s contributions to the story to this point, she shines brightly here, though the star of the show is still unquestionably Yara, as is a touching moment between Yara and her mother she lost so tragically all those years ago. Issue #7 brings things full circle, and it’s unfortunate that this could have been the launching point for bigger adventures. Still, at least we have “Trial of the Amazons” coming up the road, and if this has to be goodbye for now, it was a lovely way to ride into the sunset. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4 out of 5
Peter and Ben find themselves on opposite trajectories and The Amazing Spider-Man #87 charts their respective courses with humor and tension, respectively. Much of the issue is devoted to Peter’s very specialized form of physical therapy with Captain America and Black Cat. The dynamics of this trio deliver a series of increasingly strange, yet appropriate challenges which all serve to affirm Peter’s core character while showcasing just how far he still has to come. It’s clear these characters care for one another and watching their distinctive personalities paly off of one another during action sequences consistently results in smiles. The focus on Ben is much tighter and provides an unnerving undertone for the issue as mundane memory tasks are paired with striking close-ups and a final twist that will have readers eagerly awaiting next week’s issue. With a big change on the horizon, Amazing Spider-Man still knows how to showcase this status quo while building lots of anticipation for whatever comes next. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Robbie Reyes gets tortured a lot in this issue of Avengers Forever. After being captured by the Black Skull (a Red Skull in possession of a Venom symbiote), Robbie Reyes is pushed to the limit to find out what makes him so different from the many other Ghost Riders across the multiverse. While the overall storyline is intriguing (and serves to better separate Robbie Reyes from the other Ghost Riders), I’m not sure that the best way to sell a new comics series that’s a spinout of another larger Avengers storyline is to put that hero through 20 pages of weird brutalized torture. This is a grim, joyless comic – not really my style, but I’m sure some folks will enjoy this. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
The 200th issue of Black Panther doesn’t bring us any closer to finding out who is behind the assassination attempts on T’Challa’s sleeper agents, but there are some quiet character moments worthy of recognition. Omolola, Shuri, Storm, and Gentle all get time in the spotlight, and the relocation to Mars/Arakko offers a change of scenery while also introducing more supporting characters. Both backup stories will factor into the future of Black Panther, but the one most readers will be focusing on features a new Wakandan hero. His origin story establishes how completely different from T’Challa he is, but in a satisfactory way. Just like the intergalactic empire of Wakanda allowed the franchise to grow in new ways, this character will hopefully have the same type of impact. — Tim Adams
Rating: 3 out of 5
One would think a series featuring two iconic leaders of the Avengers would put more of the focus on them, but Captain America/Iron Man somehow manages to make them bystanders in their own team-up book. The evil plot by Veronica Eden is further explained, though it only gets more strange with an odd romantic relationship thrown into the mix. The side characters of the Paladins are slightly entertaining, but much of the dialogue between Veronica, Cap, and Iron Man turns cringeworthy near the end of the issue. The way our heroes react to the news that Veronica wants to eliminate all superheroes would make a reader think this is the very first time they’ve ever encountered a villain with those goals. — Tim Adams
Rating: 2 out of 5
The Death of Doctor Strange is over, and I’m left wishing the series provided a bit more. The roller coaster ending of whether or not the eponymous sorcerer was really dead was all too expected. Perhaps it’s because the finale was spoiled thanks to the archaic nature of the distribution of direct market comic books, but the event ended with a whimper rather than a bang. Despite being teased as the most dangerous villains the Marvel Universe has ever seen, the Three Mothers ended up one-dimensional and purposeless, and their child the same. The Death of Doctor Strange had promise, but it never reached the heights it could have. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 3 out of 5
Wilson Fisk’s M.O. has to always play chess while others are playing checkers, to stay five steps ahead of those who threaten you. That’s why things get really interesting whenever someone introduces someone who stays further ahead than Fisk, turning him into a goldfish instead of the great white he wants you to believe he is. Devil’s Reign straddles closer and closer to a pseudo-Civil War event with each passing issue, but Zdarsky’s scripts are fully aware of that with some meta references throughout. The weakest point at the moment is that it all just feels aimless—though a Daredevil story at heart, Murdock’s taken a backseat to the likes of Otto Octavius and the Thunderbolts. Even then, the book is firing on all cylinders. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4 out of 5
The premise is simple: Winter Soldier wants details on his past, but Wilson Fisk might be the only one with his file, forcing Bucky Barnes to break into the mayor’s stronghold. What follows is a hypnotic, ethereal, and at times nightmarish mission for the hero, who grapples not only with his own dwindling mental state in the throes of exhaustion, but also Fisk’s. While writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly’s narrative can be overwhelming, art from illustrator Nico Leon and colorist Felipe Sobreiro manage to capture the frenzied and hallucinatory state of our main character. Whether it be sneaking through the woods, infiltrating a mansion, or confronting a larger-than-life character, each panel is exaggerated, surreal, and dizzying, thrusting the reader into Winter Soldier’s state of mind. Fisk feels like he’s as big as a house, and from Bucky’s perspective, he genuinely could be. Not just in the perspectives, but also in the plays of shadow and light, it’s hard for the reader to ground themselves in the book’s reality, which, while surely perplexing for some readers, manages to capture a specific and otherworldly storytelling spirit. Fans of Bucky Barnes will surely want to check out the book to see a more mystical look at the character, though fans who prefer the gritty and grounded version of the character might not connect with the experience as strongly. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 4 out of 5
Iron Man has always been a series that amazes me, but multiple key points of this issue had me shaking my head in the best kind of disbelief. Between the emotional character beats, a shocking decision that Tony makes as the “Iron God”, and the return of another obscure Marvel character who I never would’ve expected to see in this book, every element of this issue was a brilliantly-constructed, witty surprise. Christopher Cantwell’s narrative knows how to balance the spectacle and novelty of superhero storytelling, with conversations among a few characters in plain clothes feeling just as—if not more—exhilarating than action-packed battle sequences. With the help of Frank D’Armata’s colors, Julius Ohta’s art is breezy, moody, and gorgeous, especially as the number of characters within this book continues to grow. No Marvel book is currently delivering the kind of reverential and revolutionary blockbuster storytelling that Iron Man is currently taking part in. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 5 out of 5
A new team of Marauders has entered the frame, and while I will always be partial to the team that set sail after House of X, I can already see the potential in this newly assembled squad. Steve Orlando is clearly having some fun with the ensemble, and if the many scenes between Kate and Bishop are any indication, he’s already found the pulse and identified the tone of our favorite high seas adventurers. A building the team montage is almost always fun, and this is no different, especially with artist Crees Lee and colorist Rain Beredo at the wheel. That said, Tempo is already starting to steal the show, and if get more sequences like her fast-forwarding breakup, we are in for a treat. Some introductions are obviously better than others, and the villain’s introduction does feel a bit drawn out for the sake of it, but those flaws can’t hold back what a promising introduction this is to the new Marauders, and with a perfect treasure hunt thrown into the mix by the end, the future is looking quite promising. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
The creative team behind the hit Black Cat series are reunited once again! Jed MacKay and C.F. Villa deliver an unexpected team-up between Black Cat and Mary Jane Watson, with Peter Parker’s life hanging in the balance. Having two of the most important people in Spider-Man’s life be the protagonists in a tie-in to Amazing Spider-Man‘s Beyond era works so well. Mary Jane and Felicia Hardy are presented as resourceful and intelligent lead characters, making me wish we could see more of the duo working together in the future. A connection to an awesome 2020 miniseries also enhances the story’s greatness. — Tim Adams
Rating: 5 out of 5
The two lead characters in Trail of Shadows have been intriguing to this point, but it’s easy to lose interest in their mission over the course of this issue. With side stories (that are admittedly enthralling), the main plot has become quite lost in the shuffle. Between new characters and a clever hook, however, there’s enough here to keep you entertained. — Charlie Ridgely
Rating: 3 out of 5
As far as exposition-dump/filler issues go, Thor #21 is about as interesting as you’ll find. Virtually nothing happens on the majority of its pages, and it does quite a bit just to fill you in on why a hammer is angry at its owner. It may be hard to take the villain of this arc seriously, and Thor can only take so much pain and agony before the series becomes tiresome, but Cates does well to at least make every conversation in the issue engaging. It’s past time for the hammer to strike the nail. — Charlie Ridgely
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
There’s a sense that X Deaths of Wolverine #1 is attempting to punch above its weight class, taking something that feels like simply the next arc in an ongoing series and propping it up as a pivot point for an entire franchise. It’s overly ambitious in its concept and underwhelming in its craft. There’s something of interest hidden beneath in the mingling of mortality and technology, fate and the future, but it’s all buried under strange storytelling choices and messy visuals. Perhaps future issues can build on the groundwork lain here and find the sense of scale it’s reaching for by playing off of events in its companion series, but this debut issue is a frustrating start. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 2 out of 5
X-Men #7 shift focuses on team leader Cyclops and the exaggerated reports of his death, turning back the clock to explain how Scott Summers adopted the Captain Krakoa persona. Gerry Duggan’s self-aware style of superheroes suits the premise well, allowing him to build Cyclops’ importance as a fighter, leader, and symbol sincerely without becoming overbearing. Artist Pepe Larraz and colorist Marte Gracia make the most of the opportunity to unleash their complete mastery of superhero aesthetics. The X-Men drop down from the Treehouse framed like gods descending from Olympus. Larraz use angled panels to help increase the sense of scale, layering one atop the other in masterfully controlled chaos. And yet, he shows a delicate touch with his figures in the body language between Emma Frost and Scott upon his resurrection. They lean on each, literally and figuratively, with a graceful familiarity that feels natural for a former couple turned close friends and allies (for now). Meanwhile, Gracia saturates the page with Cyclops’ ruby red eyebeams, whether in a powerful team-up panel with Synch or one of the most preposterously perfect two-page spreads to appear in some time. It all amounts to an impeccable superhero comic. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Army of Darkness 1979 ends like it forgot that it was a critical part of this (or any) narrative. The first few pages are dedicated to establishing a denouement that is anything but satisfying. Between these two baseball-related moments disconnected from every other event in the series, readers are treated to more outdated cultural callbacks that seem to think references make suitable substitutes for humor. The action is devoid of any causality with settings so thin that Ash smashes through wooden objects that simply do not exist before or after their destruction. A final showdown with the Necronomicon-wielding gang leader is crammed into only a handful of panels so minimal it leads readers to question why any of this was a big deal. After months spent searching for a redeeming quality in this series it’s apparent that Army of Darkness 1979 has finally reached its appropriate destination – unsold copies forgotten altogether in back issue bins. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 1 out of 5
Absolute insanity. Larger than life. However you want to say it, Black Hammer: Reborn #8 is what this has all been leading towards. Colonel Weird’s antics are frustrating while reading Reborn on a monthly basis, but a quick binge of the title proves exceptional. But that’s beside the point—this issue has it all. Alternate dimensions! Doppelgangers! Curse words! Murder! Seriously, this issue is a genre-bending thriller that takes you to plenty of points in the Black Hammer universe, giving you whiplash as each turn of the page. The script and plotting is dynamite as is the pacing and artwork from War and Sheean. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
There comes the point in many noir tales where the protagonist digs too deep, his seemingly routine investigation turning into something decidedly less mundane. That’s the point Sam Dunes reaches in Scott Snyder and Francis Manapul’s Clear #4. Dunes’ fall through the looking glass is evident from the issue’s cover, which displays a palette shifting from the previous issues’ neon lights to a darker black, red, and gold mix. Within, we find Dunes wrestling with himself—literally—and Manapul never shows one Dunes in a panel without the other, emphasizing their entanglement as he leverages their horizontal movements and panel verticality to create a thrilling cliffside struggle. Manapul drenches his scenes in inky shadows, his sharply drawn character standing in relief of the darkness and soaking up the dismal atmosphere of Snyder’s script. His colors use the yellow of the faux Dunes’ eyes to symbolize menace throughout, contrasting with Dunes’ natural blue motif. The issue begins with Dunes hanging on for dear life and ends with him willingly diving off a bridge, a poetic microcosm of Dunes’ descent through the pages of this masterfully crafted slice of tech-noir storytelling. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Cowboy Bebop‘s art is celebrated to this day for its use of color and detail to make its universe feel big. Mathurin aand Titov honed into that fact while adding their own distinct style to the Bebop crew. The fights are inked bloody, and each member of the team is given tiny tics which make them feel real. This issue succeeds in making the Cowboy Bebop-world lived in where Netflix failed. And with more issues on the way, it’s safe to say fans will want to jam with this Titan miniseries a bit longer. — Megan Peters
Rating: 4 out of 5
Sztybor and Hervas have really carved out an interesting patch of land in the environment that is Cyberpunk 2077, managing to tell a gritty, noir-esque mini-series that is swathed in futuristic technology. The latest issue, like the two previous, does a great job of amping up the brutal action of this world while also telling a story with plenty of surprising twists along the way. Cyberpunk‘s latest game might be rife with problems, but its world certainly isn’t, and You Have My Word is another testament of just how rich the universe can be. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 4 out of 5
I really like how Dark Blood wraps up here at the conclusion at issue #6. The narrative feels like it comes full circle by the time you reach the final page and it ties up some of the larger themes and storylines in a satisfying manner. Overall, I think Dark Blood floundered a bit in its middle issues, primarily because it just became a bit too bloated. Despite this, I’d still recommend the series to anyone looking for a superhuman story that takes place against a much different backdrop. — Logan Moore
Rating: 3 out of 5
Deadly Class #50 is a great example of what a lettered can bring to a comic. Wes Craig’s art is brilliant, and the visual storytelling is virtually unparalleled. Still, Rus Wooten absolutely killed in some key moments, making his work stand out in a way few mainstream American comics expect. — Russ Burlingame
Rating: 4 out of 5
It’s unlikely fans would predict three years of Firefly comics culminating in Mal going to therapy. And yet, here we are. Greg Pak’s time writing Firefly brought bold changes to its formula. He drastically altered the dynamics between the characters, sending Mal into semi-retirement and making Kaylee the new captain. He also leaned heavily into the sci-fi aspects of the space Western. Firefly #36 is unapologetic. It lacks any grand statement about why Firefly is good or the relevancy of its themes, nor is the crew involved in any backs-to-the-wall fight for their life. There’s little drama at all, forcing Pak to pull a couple of false conflicts out of the ether to keep things moving. Simona Di Gianfelice’s expressive characters and loose linework suit a script that’s rooted more in conversation and emotion than combat and conflict. Her compositions leave plenty of room for Earth That Was’ natural beauty, highlighted by Francesco Segala’s fiery autumn color. These artist touches emphasize the temptation for Kaylee and her crew to stay; the issue’s only actual conflict. It’s not the conclusion most would expect, but little about Pak’s run has been, and this finale radiates that he’s entirely at peace with that. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 3 out of 5
Frontiersman #5 brings another villain into our hero’s way, but first, he must navigate the ordeal that is livestreamed porn. With humanity all looking his way, the Frontiersman is reminded of his loved ones right when death is imminent. But in the end, he is simply reminded of what’s right and proper for superheroes to feel. — Megan Peters
Rating: 3 out of 5
Getting Dizzy #3 pushes forward with one of its most dramatic chapters yet. Our heroine finds herself shaking as secrets about her powers and new crew are revealed. Things only get worse when it is revealed that her skating haven has been shuttered, but the real mess rears its head when a Negatrix manages to pull her under in the worst way. — Megan Peters
Rating: 3 out of 5
Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost remains both extremely weird extremely compelling at the same time. Compared to most other comics, though, the reason I continue to like this series is because of its art rather than the narrative. And that’s not to say that the storytelling here is bad (the writing is quite good) but it’s more to express that you really never know what kind of hyper-stylized art you’re going to see when you flip to the next page of Stone Ghost. If you’re looking for something that’s genuinely unlike any other comic being sold at the moment, this is worth picking up. — Logan Moore
Rating: 4 out of 5
Narratively this issue adds very little to the larger story of Gunslinger Spawn and the Spawn line as a whole, in fact some of it reads like a mini-Wiki for new readers. About the only thing compelling about this comic is Brett Booth’s artwork, which harkens back to the earliest days of Spawn comics (McFarlane is one of five credited inkers, so maybe that’s where some of it comes from). Specifically Booth’s splash pages offer the most visually impressive moments of the series as a whole because even McFarlane knows to let that image breath without five dialogue boxes. An interesting ending can’t save this either though as it will almost certainly be squandered eventually. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
The first arc of this new run has come to a completion, and it’s a lot to take in. The dialogue and pacing reads as a story that was shoehorned into being a four-issue tale, rather than giving it the time to breathe over a traditional five or six-issue arc. That said, the frantic pacing of this issue syncs up perfectly with the lines of Rodriguez, a match really under-appreciated in the current comics landscape. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
In what has been a staggeringly disappointing entry into the World of Hellboy, The Silver Lantern Club #4 offers the best story yet from this mini-series. Writers Mike Mignola and Chris Roberson give us a double whammy, think The World’s End meets An American Werewolf in London (one sequence a literal direct lift) and it quickly becomes the best this series has had to offer. The work from artist Christopher Mitten continues to leave a lot to be desired but I’ll give him this, he draws a mean looking werewolf when the occasion calls for it. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
The whirlwind love story of Aaron and Jace has passed through some pretty dark places, but House of Slaughter #4 gives us our most heartbreaking glimpse yet into how their story played out with a twist that will have fans hooked to see how things play out moving forward. James Tynion IV and Tate Brombal are maestros of dialogue, showcasing how lonely and difficult the life of a monster hunter can be in painful but necessary exchanges between Aaron and Jessica and Aaron and Jace. Meanwhile, artist Chris Shehan and colorist Miquel Muerto deliver one of their most impressive monster sequences yet, including a creature that Cloverfield would love, though it’s their way of delivering compelling conversations that impresses most. We’re finally starting to get the bigger picture while the heart of the story comes into the view, so don’t expect the House of Slaughter train to stop moving anytime soon. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4 out of 5
Human Remains is a fascinating comic — one that manages to thread just enough perseverance and hope into what could easily be a nihilistic, dire affair. As the ensemble of characters continues to grapple with their monster-filled new normal, the ramifications of emotion and survival are further explored. The issue’s series of events continue to weave in new elements of worldbuilding (there’s an addition of two characters who I would read an entire spinoff miniseries about), while still delivering the poignant emotion and gore that have been at the series’ center since its inception. With every new installment, Human Remains is continuing to break my heart — and keep me intrigued for what’s next. — Jenna Anderson
Rating: 4 out of 5
Etymologists and entomologists are often confused in this story following one of the former’s quests to find the origins of language and an ur-word that will unlock truth. It’s a fable-like story and setting that still serves up Ice Cream Man‘s patented brand of unnerving, disquieting occurrences. Addressing language begins on the cover itself, rewarding readers with an eye for detail and a willingness to consume background elements. As the quest progresses, familiar strains of madness creep in and readers can see doom coming long before the protagonist. It’s engaging to see this series apply its tropes and tone to a less-familiar storytelling mode, and it pays dividends in an outing that is entirely satisfying on its own while casting a shadow towards the series’ long-game and possible conclusion. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Invincible Red Sonja #7 is really more of the same at this point. Barely serviceable art that doesn’t even try to do anything interesting or even good with the sexualized schtick that is Sonja being mostly nude the whole issue is the only thing that is really noteworthy. The rest is just a weird hodgepodge of “hey, what if we added this weird thing as a challenge” that ends up with crazy stuff like spider people climbing trees and strange catgirls looking like they want to eat someone’s leg. At this point, I’m not even sure what the plot of this comic is as each issue just seems to be more about throwing random, bonkers things at the wall to see what sticks because that is, at its heart, what Sonja seems to be about. The opening is kind of interesting, though, in that we get to see how observant Sonja really is and it’s kind of nice to see Sonja’s intellect come into play. It’s the one thing that elevates this issue from being just a weird jumble. That, and it feels like we might be setting up for something. So at least there’s that. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 2 out of 5
Stakes are finally introduced into Joy Operations in its third issue as Joy’s family is revealed and readers are introduced to her past. In a long series of spreads, Joy’s battle with deadly amorphous blobs is interlaced with a retelling of the most important moments in her adult life – establishing a marriage, deciding upon children, rising to the top of her career. It finally offers some insight into what makes this person tick. Yet all around this exposition dump, the rest of the series still struggles to cohere. Multi-colored blobs don’t make for compelling action sequences, especially when stuffed around panels devoted to clearer storytelling. The betrayal of this action sequence and conspiracy that made it necessary remain so ill-defined that it’s impossible to vest any interest in the sides of the conflict. Instead, there is an assumption that all of this is inherently interesting, but it’s largely confusing when it isn’t simply dull. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 2 out of 5
Monstress is back and last we saw Maika she’d just been betrayed by Tuya and the aftermath of that betrayal is where Monstress #36 picks up with an unconscious Maika near death and everyone making plans for what to do with her. It makes for a remarkably quiet issue, but there’s still a lot that happens on these pages. At its core, Monstress #36 is about the political game being played and the motivations each of the key players have within it. One of the great strengths is how Marjorie Liu gives each of the major factions a bit of space to play out their reaction to the news about Maika and then also use that space to set up for Maika’s own response. From the very start, people have been underestimating Maika in this story and they’ve done so again and Liu sets up a major turn for the story quietly and with perfect pacing. On top of that Sana Takeda’s artwork is astonishingly good, especially the final page. Some of the best storytelling and art comes when creators know how to use restraint and both Liu and Takeda prove themselves masters of it here. This is a powerful and brilliant issue. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 5 out of 5
Night of the Ghoul #4 is easily the scariest issue of the series yet. Snyder continues with the structure of splitting the story between the film Inmann has been searching for and the hell unfolding in the present with Inmann and Merrit in the retirement facility and both stories are reaching a terrifying pitch. As the film’s characters prepare to draw out the Ghoul so that they can kill the monster, the Ghoul is on the cusp of being summoned in the retirement home. Both narratives see the characters running out of time to save themselves and others and it is in that tight timeline that a full range of things is going on. There’s a lot of exposition in the “film” part of the story, offering history and lore that only make the present hellscape in the story all the more urgent. Yes, it’s a very trope heavy book and a trope heavy issue, but it really works here, especially with the very well-executed art that gives everything a rich and cinematic feel. Snyder is writing a great tale, but Francavilla is the real MVP. The issue is not without weakness, however. There are a few things that don’t move with the same speed or intensity as the rest of the issue and Orson, as a character, is kind of annoying and not in a good way. Other than that, this is a wild ride of an issue that can only get crazier from here. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 4 out of 5
Just when you think Once & Future has no twists left, it goes and hits you with a left hook out of nowhere, and issue #24 fits that bill to a tee. Writer Kieron Gillen sets what is most likely going to be a long play hook at the very beginning, and then when you figure you’ve got a handle on where things are going, you are suddenly presented with not one but two major elements of chaos that could disrupt the whole story, and those elements are making an already thrilling rollercoaster adventure that much better. Artist Dan Mora, colorist Tamra Bonvillain, and letterer Ed Dukeshire once again make a case for the best art team in comics, creating lush locales, brutal battles, and show-stopping introductions that any fan of classic adventure stories will absolutely love. This issue had everything the series has come to embody, and I can’t recommend it enough. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 5 out of 5
The first issue of Power Rangers Universe focused on the core group of new characters and successfully fleshed them out throughout the issue while also building this grander story. Issue #2 isn’t quite as effective in this early on though, Part of the reason for that is there’s quite a bit going on in the first several pages, as it picks up in the middle of a battle, and while Simone Ragazzoni’s pencils and Mattia Iacono’s colors are as eye-catching as ever, the pages themselves are filled to the brim more often than not, and so there’s not a ton of room for them to breathe. That can lead to some confusion and frequent re-reading, with colors and a multitude of sound effects consistently overlapping and making it hard to figure out what exactly is going on. That eases up a bit as the issue moves on, and writer Nicole Andelfinger delivers several stellar sequences that truly convey the heroism of the cast. As the book continues there’s more breathing room, in regards to both the artwork and the characters, and you start to see the magic once more created in that first issue. Hopefully, issue #3 can keep that momentum, because when this book works, it’s an easy recommend. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 3 out of 5
Seven Swords wraps up with a fun, climactic battle, forcing all of the main characters to battle Satan himself inside the Roman Coliseum. As has been the case from the start, you’ll appreciate this issue all the more if you’re familiar with each of the famous literary characters. — Connor Casey
Rating: 4 out of 5
Pages of droning dialogue combined with very little action make for yet another uninspiring issue. — Connor Casey
Rating: 2 out of 5
Sleeping Beauties brings itself closer to the end as more women discover the pros and cons of their alternate world. Inked in blood, this new issue brings several plots to a close as death chases everyone like a fox. And of course, its cliffhanger promises that even wilder revelations are on the way for our sleeping beauties. — Megan Peters
Rating: 3 out of 5
Stray Dogs: Dog Days #2 features more individual stories of dogs that were tragically affected by the sheer evil of their serial killer abductor, but thankfully it also holds some welcome healing and closure. Seeing the killer sent running by a protective dog is therapeutic after seeing what he put so many through, though there is a heartbreaking ripple effect, so you don’t get out unscathed. Earl and Sophie’s stories provide their own windows into the past, but it’s Victor’s story that delivers the book’s most heartfelt moments. Victor is just precious, though we know what ultimately befalls him and his owner. That’s when the book takes a turn and moves us to the present, and while I won’t spoil it, what follows is a heartfelt tribute and coda to those lost, those left behind who are processing the anger and regret, and the memories that you always cling to after the last hallmarks of this evil are burnt away. This story is frankly what this series needed, and for fans, is a must-read. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4 out of 5
Two Moons #9 in many ways feels like the calm before the storm. That’s not to say that nothing major happens in this new installment, but much of the book’s events feel like they’re setting up a major climax for issue #10. Despite much of the groundwork being laid here, there are still a lot of great character moments to go along with some artwork that continues to be stellar. — Logan Moore
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
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