Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 11/17/2021

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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 Wonder Woman: Evolution #1, Fantastic Four Anniversary Tribute #1, and Getting Dizzy #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

AQUAMAN: THE BECOMING #3

Aquaman: The Becoming is a clear team effort as writer Brandon Thomas, penciler Scott Koblish, inker Wade Von Grawbadger, and colorists Adriano Lucas & Alex Guimarães all work in tandem to bring this ambitious and fun series to life. That’s not to say that isn’t the case for other comics, it clearly is, but in Aquaman: The Becoming each of these things are clearly top-notch and one their own would be noteworthy. One sequence in issue #3 in particular sees the art team channeling something that feels like David Aja’s Hawkeye in the best possible way. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 5 out of 5

BATMAN #117

The end of Fear State and Tynion’s Batman run is finally here. It’s no mystery that I’ve found the bulk of this run, and especially Fear State, to be a mess and while Batman #117 is less messy than previous issues, it’s certainly not raising the bar by much. The issue falls into the same trap that Tom King fell into with “City of Bane” and that trap is wrapping up the story way too quickly and way to cleanly. This issue sees, pretty much out of nowhere, the Bat Fam suddenly swooping in to save the day, Batman victorious, and after everything that has gone down for god knows how long in Gotham, suddenly the Bat symbol is what has restored everyone’s happy shiny hope. You can’t go super bleak and gritty only to “my bad” it at the end and make everything hopeful because Batman. It just doesn’t work that way. One big plus here, however, is that Tynion does set up a very clean canvas for the next creative team so here’s to hoping that this closure is just that – closure. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 2 out of 5

BATMAN SECRET FILES: THE GARDENER #1

This is easily one of the most visually and narratively beautiful installments of the Batman universe I’ve read as of late. The issue dives into the history and life of Dr. Bella Garten—and, more specifically, the way her past intersects with that of Poison Ivy. While it would’ve been nice to see a bit more of Bella’s own history, I do love and appreciate the ambiguity that this Secret Files takes with her origin, in part because seeing her story on the periphery of Ivy and some of the other characters in the DC universe is delightful. James Tynion IV’s script makes me genuinely feel for Bella and Ivy’s love story, and also proves to be the best thesis statement of Ivy’s overall role in the DC universe. Christian Ward’s breathtaking watercolor-like art helps take this issue into the territory of an instant classic, with its saturated colors adding even more emotion to the proceedings. This issue is a must-read for fans of Bella, Ivy, and even Harley—and also fans of the stunning ways superhero comics can tell a story. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 5 out of 5

BATMAN VS. BIGBY! A WOLF IN GOTHAM #3

Although Batman and Bigby have encountered and reencountered one another in each issue of the series thus far, each time sparring physically or verbally, this narrative is still focused on contorting its plot to place them in yet another misunderstanding to force a confrontation between potential allies. It’s a classic superhero trope that can be obnoxious the first time it appears and is downright tedious by the end of Batman vs. Bigby! #3. This is in the midst of Batman and Bigby alike allowing the plot to dictate their course of action – Batman’s shock at a giant wolf’s existence and quick leap to killing it (even as Gotham burns for unrelated causes) is astonishing for a prominent DC Comics superhero. The only saving grace of this issue are Level’s layouts which pay homage to Fables and are often as inventive and well executed as the work that made Buckingham so widely respected. They even make up for some very odd-looking faces. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

BLUE AND GOLD #4

DC brings in a number of notable artists from Booster Gold and Blue Beetle’s past to provide readers with several versions of how the pair originally met. While the lighthearted storyline is a mixed bag, seeing Kevin Maguire, Dan Jurgens, and Norm Rapmund’s art in addition to Ryan Sook’s work is a treat to behold. This comic definitely feels like a throwback to a previous era of DC comics, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

GREEN LANTERN #8

Green Lantern #8 packs a lot into 22 pages, giving us a feel for John Stewart’s new status and finally exposing the greater threat and those behind the destruction of the Central Battery, not to mention all of the shifting roles within the Corps itself. Writer Geoffrey Throne continues to play with larger concepts while exploring the new dynamics and status quo of a mostly de-powered Corps. Both stories are still running concertedly and both are still compelling unto themselves, though you can start to see the connecting lines forming between them. Chris Cross, Marco Santucci, Juan Castro, and Michael Atiyeh seem to be having a ball with the otherworldly action and vibrant power set, and while there are some hiccups on certain pages, for the most part, the team knocks it out of the park. Even the big reveal ended up being compelling, so if this storyline can stick the landing and bring these two stories together in a big way, this is shaping up to be quite the adventure. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4 out of 5

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DC #2

JUSTICE LEAGUE #69

As a fan of both Brian Michael Bendis’ Justice League and Checkmate, Justice League #69 is a bit of a dream scenario, as it brings together both teams against a common enemy. As you might expect, watching these teams attempt to navigate the same space is incredibly entertaining, especially with the makeup of the current League and Checkmate teams. Phil Hester makes a return to Green Arrow alongside colorist Hi-Fi and inker Eric Gapstur, and while there are sequences that shine, others just don’t quite click as well, especially when they involve Superman. The villains at this point are also kind of a letdown for me, but the mystery behind why they are suddenly acting this way is intriguing, so I’m giving it a bit more time. On the Justice League Dark side, Ram V, Sumit Kumar, Jose Marzan Jr., and Romulo Fajardo Jr. once again deliver a gorgeous story packed with an intriguing twist by issue’s end, and I’m quite curious to see where it ultimately leads. The reveal itself isn’t as shocking as I’d hoped, but the JL Dark team has continued to flesh out this side of the universe in a truly compelling and unexpected way, and I assume this will be no different. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #7

Legends of the Dark Knight presents a one-off story about Batman, Azrael, and Ra’s al Ghul fighting over an actual Catholic relic containing the occasionally liquifying blood of a long-dead saint. St. Januarius is a real person (although he’s tied to Naples and not Venice as the comic suggests) whose blood is contained in an actual reliquary that liquifies three times a year. Of course, in the comic’s version, Januarius was a Templar with ties to the Order of St. Dumas (he was actually an early Christian martyr) and his blood has a possible amplifying effect to the Lazarus Pit (in reality, his blood likely liquifies due to how the blood is stored.) Ultimately, the story is a weird one, the art is mediocre, and the use of actual Catholic tradition with the serial numbers filed off is just weird. Next time, just… make something up instead of using actual names and pictures found on Wikipedia. It’s a lot less eyeroll-causing. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 1 out of 5

THE NICE HOUSE ON THE LAKE #6

Arriving at its midway point The Nice House On the Lake reveals some of its mysterious origins and lore before adding yet another potent (and genuinely surprising) turn to the story. The survival sample of humanity has begun to unwind their terrarium and reveal its purpose; this expository segment is revealed in both past and present. Both halves of the tale feature the subtle character work and existential stakes that have made each issue of the series a thrill to read, in addition to reality-warping visuals that continue to astonish. Even as it becomes increasingly clear this is an installment focused on revealing information to the reader, the focus never wanders too far from the narrative elements that make this series a joy to read each month. The only drawback is a collection of 4 text pages that add very little to the proceedings – remove them altogether and it’s difficult to say what exactly is lost. The Nice House On the Lake will be sorely missed for its upcoming 5-month hiatus, but when Bueno and Tynion return together they can anticipate readers awaiting them with bated breath. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

NIGHTWING #86

Nightwing‘s “Fear State” tie-in wraps up here after a few issues, and it goes about the way you expect. No one serious was killed off after the massive cliffhanger last month—surprise, surprise—and between Dick, Barbara, Tim, and the Batgirls, they manage to take down the oppressive forces reigning over Gotham. Instead of previous issues in this run, Taylor and Rodriguez take a tell-not-show approach, compared to the interesting paneling action sequences found in Taylor and Redondo’s previous work. The last few issues have slowed the steam engine this book had got started with its main story so hopefully next issue, it can get back on the right track. –– Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 3 out of 5

NUBIA AND THE AMAZONS #2

Nubia and the Amazons is providing me with what I always want out of a book in the Wonder Woman universe—a gripping, diverse, and action-packed soap opera. This issue dives head-first into the new status quo of Nubia and her new Amazon sisters, culminating with a series of events that are going to shake up what fans thought they knew about the Amazons. Stephanie Williams and Vita Ayala’s story is bursting from the seams with energy, which makes up for some of the (very occasional) odd sequences in the art and coloring. Overall, Nubia and the Amazons is expanding its corner of the DC universe in an unexpected—but necessary—way. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 4 out of 5

REFRIGERATOR FULL OF HEADS #2

What made Basketful of Heads such a tense read was throwing one strange, unexplained supernatural object, the ax, into an otherwise tense but mundane situation. That pretense is gone in Refrigerator Full of Heads, introducing a collection of Norse artifacts, which seems almost common knowledge. Similarly, this issue plays less for tension and more for laughs, as biker heads roll, literally. Refrigerator is shaping up to be the sillier sequel to a taught horror story—not an unfamiliar scenario—and is less likely to be remembered when finished. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

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DC #3

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(Photo: DC Comics)

ROBINS #1

One of the more highly anticipated titles to release at the end of 2021 is Robins. The title starring all of Batman’s former proteges was the winner of the DC Round Robin online vote, and succeeds in giving each vigilante their time in the spotlight. Tim Seeley has a long history in the Batman corner of the DC Universe, and accurately nails the voices for Nightwing, Red Robin, Red Hood, Spoiler and the current Robin, Damian Wayne. Since the Robins are reuniting to discuss whether or not it was a good idea to accept the position, it would have been nice to focus more on this part of the story, inside or outside of their costumed identities. The reflective scene around a kitchen table lets each character get some much needed weight off their chests. The art by Baldemar Rivas, Romulo Fajardo Jr., and Steve Wands matches the tone a reader would expect from a comic featuring Robins. There are young and vibrant colors throughout, and the character acting manages to capture the perfect facial expressions. — Tim Adams

Rating: 3 out of 5

SUICIDE SQUAD #9

The current Suicide Squad easily features one of the concept’s most intriguing teams, though you might not get that from the group on paper. When you see them in action though, the roster absolutely shines, with characters like Nocturna, Match, Talon, and the always delightful Culebra consistently stealing the spotlight whenever they’re in the mix. Meanwhile, artists Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, Dexter Soy, and Marcelo Maiolo are also doing some stellar work throughout the issue, blending their styles into one cohesive whole and crafting sequences that pop with color, style, and a certain creepiness when the need arises. Waller is more often than not portrayed as the villain in this premise, and that’s the case once again here, but you’re not rooting for this team simply because Waller’s worse. You’re rooting for them because you actually care, at least for some of them (no one “roots” for Major Force after all). Suicide Squad has really turned into something special, and you seriously don’t want to miss out on all the fun. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4 out of 5

SUPERGIRL: WOMAN OF TOMORROW #5

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #5 turns the tables a bit, and while it’s not uncommon for a Tom King story to be a bit bumpy in its overall narrative like this (and, frankly, its frequently more of a weakness than a strength), this issue takes that aspect of thing and really creates something special. This issue sees, Ruthye and Kara venture to another world in their pursuit of Krem, but this time, Kara is vulnerable meaning that it is Ruthye who must be mighty. Yes, this very much feels like the riff on True Grit that this series very clearly is, but King makes it genuinely feel fresh here. The pace is harrowing and complex, as is the tone. The issue honestly makes one squirm a bit and wonder how things are going to come out. This issue has actual emotional stakes that linger after you’ve done. And Evely’s art is an absolute revelation. Hands-down, this is the best issue of the series thus far and it is exquisite. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL #5

Superman: Son of Kal-El #5 is an issue that came with a lot of hype because of the impact it has on Jon embracing his sexuality and while that is a component of things, it’s a very small one – and that’s a good thing. Where this issue, and indeed all of Taylor’s work on this series thus far, truly excels, is in how Jon deals with embracing his role as a hero, his powers, and his legacy. The issue sees Jon turbo charged, as it were, which allows him to do great things, but he also has to face his human nature as well. And it’s that duality—the godlike being also being very human—that feels both like a luxury to read, but also is just so special and impactful. Taylor is creating something special with this story and yes, this issue could have moved the story a bit further forward, lingering here in these life lessons for Jon is time well-spent. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 4 out of 5

WONDER WOMAN: EVOLUTION #1

Wonder Woman: Evolution #1 sees Diana put to the test when she’s chosen as a representative in a cosmic trial for the fate of humanity. But while that’s an engaging premise, in the execution what we get for this first issue is a lot less dynamic and a bit slower to unfold and while setting the stage for the larger story to come is critical in a first issue, so is setting the expectation, which this issue sets at a fairly low bar. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 2 out of 5

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Marvel #1

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #78.BEY

Similar to its main story running through the Spider-Man Beyond era, Amazing Spider-Man #78.BEY delivered a ton of enjoyable moments. If you’re a fan of the X-Men, you’ll be happy to see our new Spider-Man, Peter Parker’s clone Ben Reilly, run through his own Danger Room training sequence against an army of robotic Avengers. An advantage of these one-shot issues during a major storyline is it gives supporting characters like the Daughters of the Dragon (Colleen Wing and Misty Knight) the chance to shine. Jed MacKay offers up some witty dialogue between Colleen and Misty. Their partnership and friendship really shines through as they fight together against robotic enemies and an extraterrestrial threat in another dimension. The art from Eleonora Carlini, Federico Blee, and Joe Caramagna is energetic and fun as well. By the time the issue ends, fans will be wanting to see more out of Colleen and Misty’s adventures. — Tim Adams

Rating: 4 out of 5

BLACK PANTHER LEGENDS #2

Hot on the heels of T’Challa suffering the biggest loss of his life, he comes into contact with X-Man, and his future wife, Ororo a.k.a. Storm. The art works well enough at painting the scene between this future king and queen, though the dialogue tends to lean into “stilted” territory, which is unfortunate as writer Onyebuchi has a good handle on these characters. This second issue feels more like filler than an instrumental part of T’Challa’s life. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

DARK AGES #3

Each issue of Dark Ages is composed primarily of barely-related moments that are designed, individually, to spark reactions. There’s a tea party filled with superheroes and their children that winks at merry Marvel fans, and a twist on the hero’s scouting party that is focused entirely on delivering one big shock. These moments assessed individually are well crafted, but as pieces of a larger story it seems clear that the individual moments take priority. There is minimal to no set up as the stakes for each death or character beat are assumed. Heroes who have gone unseen suddenly appear and are provided big dramatic beats and the combinations of abilities are always tailored to suit the plot. Characters are drafted based upon the needs of an individual scenario, which makes for an uninspiring read. After the emotional effects of a moment fade, they are easily forgotten as so little is grounded in character or story. Dark Ages seems to be designed like a dopamine-delivery system, capable of offering brief boosts for familiar Marvel fans before being forgotten altogether, although Coello does deliver some nice design work in Dark Ages #3. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

THE DARKHOLD: WASP #1

Wasp is my favorite installment in The Darkhold thus far, but it unfortunately reads as incomplete. Jordie Bellaire’s twisted take on The Wasp focuses on the dissolution of her marriage, pulling from Avengers canon to provide a clear setting and circumstances. It’s written in a fashion that builds ample amounts of tension, contrasting familiar superhero fare with a growing sense of dread oriented around the nature of sex in wasps. Even when the inevitable moment arrives, it still feels horrifying, especially as depicted by artist Claire Roe in silhouette. Roe’s designs throughout the issue highlight Janet’s alienation and revitalize a number of memorable eras in Avengers history. Yet when the turning point from the familiar comes, the issue ends. Many threads exposed earlier are left unaddressed and the ramifications of a climactic choice are entirely unaddressed. If there was an issue #2 coming, this would be a potent set-up, but it falls short of satisfying as a one-shot. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

FANTASTIC FOUR ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE #1

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby changed an entire industry with the debut of the Fantastic Four 60 years ago. To celebrate the anniversary, Marvel Comics assembled some of today’s best and most notable artists to recreate Fantastic Four #1 and the beloved wedding of Reed and Sue from Fantastic Four Annual #3. It’s a nice gesture, but the final product yields mixed results. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 3 out of 5

KANG THE CONQUEROR #4

Kang the Conqueror finally arrives at the inevitable twist established in its first issue. There’s no emotional response to the revelation, not because it’s obvious, but because this miniseries reads like an indulgent Wikipedia entry. The vast majority of text is composed of expository captions that summarize massive swaths of time and each pivotal moment into little more than a moment with no attachment; this transforms Carlos Magnos’ impressive panels into little more than a montage. Listing events makes for a terribly dull comic and that’s essentially what Kang the Conqueror is doing. While it’s possible to imagine a tragedy or character study built atop these bones, the context of a story well told and worth investing in is work left to the reader. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

KA-ZAR: LORD OF THE SAVAGE LAND #3

It took a couple of issues for Ka-Zar to really find its footing, but it’s certainly firing on all cylinders now. The hints of a potential savior complex have been all eliminated, replaced with a tale of a man caught between the sins of his people and what he knows is right for others. Everything about Ka-Zar’s life represents both beauty and destruction, from his consumption of meat to raising a family in the Savage Land. This third issue really digs into what this dilemma can do to a heart, even one that is guided by all the best intentions. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Marvel #2

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(Photo: Marvel Comics)

MOON KNIGHT #5

Jed MacKay, Allessandro Cappuccio, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Cory Petit continue to deliver one of the best books at Marvel these days in Moon Knight, and Moon Knight #5 embodies everything that is putting this series into comics of the year contention. In “Horoscope” MacKay takes another compelling look under Marc’s mask to reveal the toll serving Khonshu has taken on him, both as a person and as a hero, going to show that this series can be just as potent without a punch ever being thrown. Thankfully there is a bit of action, and the work Cappuccio and Rosenberg are doing in these pages is masterful, as every time Moon Knight enters a room it’s like they’ve created another poster for the wall. Then MacKay puts the cherry on top with a promising new nemesis to cause havoc in Marc’s life. Moon Knight hasn’t missed, and this is no exception. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 5 out of 5

S.W.O.R.D. #10

S.W.O.R.D. #10 dives deep into a previously underserved character, adding new depths of interest. Despite that, the narrative plays out with almost the exact twists and turns telegraphed by the previous issue. The artwork is pretty straightforward, conveying events clearly without adding much to the mood or emotional beats. S.W.O.R.D. is now neck-deep in cosmic conspiracies, and it should be exciting to see how those wheels within wheels continue to turn. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 4 out of 5

SHANG-CHI #6

This is a very hype issue of Shang-Chi. All of the narrative setup that has taken place since this series began comes to a head here in issue #6, and the result is nothing short of excellent. Without giving too much away, Thor is the latest Marvel superhero that comes toe-to-toe with Shang-Chi this time around and the bout between the both of them is likely my favorite so far. Per usual, even outside of the main fights and conflict within this issue, the series continues to do a great job of setting up future storylines as well. It shouldn’t be a surprise at this point, but Shang-Chi continues to be great on all fronts. — Logan Moore

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

SPIDER-WOMAN #17

Pere Perez and Frank D’Armata’s work on Spider-Woman has been stellar up to this point, but Spider-Woman #17 is easily one of my favorite issues from the duo thus far. From the classic western vibes of the movie set and the killer fight sequence in front of a green screen to all of the delightful expression work in between, the artwork constantly delivers. The same goes for the story and camaraderie between Lindsay and Jess, with writer Karla Pacheco exploring Drew’s doubts about her recent decisions and balancing the parental and superhero aspects of her life. While I will always love Jess and Carol’s dynamic, Drew’s friendship with Lindsay is delightful as well, and it’s been wonderful getting a fresh perspective in the series. Throw in some wild west stunts and lots of snacks and you’ve got yourself an issue you won’t want to miss. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4 out of 5

STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #16

Following her close encounter with the Crimson Dawn, Aphra finds herself in desperate need of repairs, forcing her to find assistance from one of the allies she’d least like to owe anything to. Of course, such aid doesn’t come without a price, as Aphra is forced on a mission that sees yet another unlikely reunion. Following the “War of the Bounty Hunters” event, Doctor Aphra feels like it’s in a place of a reboot, with even the repairs of her techno-arm serving as a fresh start for the character and the adventures she’s about to embark upon. While there’s still a few too many players in the mix of the series, a common hindrance of this book, it makes a great jumping-off point for new readers who met her in that crossover event, while the overall nature of the Crimson Dawn and the ways in which they’ve laid dormant in all corners of the galaxy could present this upcoming adventure with opportunities to let all of Aphra’s charm and cunning be displayed at the forefront. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 3 out of 5

X-FORCE #25

X-Force #25 delivers exactly what its cover promises: Wolverine goes surfing on Krakoa. That is absolutely a selling point for this title; it expands upon life in this new status quo and offers moments of introspection for a pair of its leads. Although there’s not much action (beyond a perfectly over-the-top surfboard), this issue pays off one long-running subplot and establishes an exciting hook for what comes next. But above all else, it focuses on the individuals who comprise X-Force, traumatized folks seeking to channel their personal lessons into something of value. There’s minimal schmaltz as it showcases (relatively) mundane activities or small details that could be forgotten beneath endless waves of spycraft plotting. This is the foundation that has made X-Force a consistent bright spot amongst the modern X-line, and its presentation of both Wolverine and Kid Omega showcase two excellent characters readers will likely be thrilled to follow for another 25 issues in this form. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Other Publishers #1

ARMY OF DARKNESS 1979 #3

The tonal whiplash present in Army of Darkness 1979 #3 is so severe as to leave your neck sore after reading it. It moves from Ash tearing into streetgangs with his chainsaw to making jokes about fighting his mom while middle aged women brandish rolling pins. There’s plenty of gore and juvenile humor, which can make for a potent combination, except they are never working in sync here. Instead, it reads as though each page was imagined as it was created with jokes and horror tossed in with little consideration for how it affects any other element of the story. What’s more is that the color work is so blotchy as to make the pages actively difficult to read at times with already roughly assembled characters barely conforming to the forms and shades they are cast in. Keep it. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 1 out of 5

BEYOND THE BREACH #5

Artist Damian Couceiro gets to stretch his legs in a big way wit the final chapter of this arc of Beyond the Breach, delivering a unique flair for one sequence that gives this conclusion a visual punch that it was building toward narratively. Writer Ed Brisson also threads the needle in solidifying the larger concept and the lead characters in a way that the start of the series seemed uninterested in doing. By the end this has become a really solid comic and I’m eager to see it explored further in another volume. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 4 out of 5

BLACK COTTON #6

The Patrick Foreman and Brian Hawkins created and heavily Twilight Zone-inspired series comes to the conclusion of its first arc, bringing just enough of that Rod Serling flair for an ending that we can call it a landing that was stuck. Hawkins’ script is perhaps its most wordy due to the nature of the narrative at this point but it flows like wine. Artist Marco Perugini’s art style continues to be the big thing that defines this entire series’ memorability but sometimes what’s seen here takes on the form of quick-drawn movie storyboards in terms of quality. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #31

As Buffy the Vampire Slayer continues its slow roll towards the multiversal armageddon that it has been promising for months, nothing speaks more clearly to how the series fails to capture what worked about the original TV show this issue’s most dramatic scene. Here, Buffy reveals to her mother that she is a slayer, much as she does in season two, resulting in one of the most heartbreaking sequences of the whole series. But here, the visuals fail to sell the importance of the moment. The series is overly-busy, and it hasn’t given Joyce and Buffy’s relationship enough weight for any of this to feel meaningful. This comic just can’t land the big beats, making it feel like a hollow endeavor. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 2 out of 5

CLEAR #2

In its second issue, Clear deepens its alternate universe history as it explores Dunes’ origins. It turns out our protagonist was on the frontline on Red Day, which Snyder depicts like the collective jingoistic bubble that surrounded 9/11 bursting on fast forward. Upon plunging the United States into a discouraged, disillusioned malaise that made its citizens easy marks for the kind of escape offered by veils. The issue lingers on the irony of how the once competitive, now monopolized technology sold as vital to preserving human connection now isolates us more than ever, to the point that shared veils are illegal for fear of fomenting violent action. Manapul doesn’t get quite the same opportunities to flourish here as he was in the first issue. However, he still turns the high-quality visuals expected of a master as Clear continues to dig into what is so subtly haunting about our current existence. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 4 out of 5

COMMANDER RAO #1

I really didn’t know what to expect going into Commander Rao, but the one-shot comic managed to captivate me in quite a lot of ways. The story follows the titular commander, a woman in a sci-fi future who takes down a warlord for very personal reasons. While I personally am not a fan of the gradient-heavy coloring style utilized in this comic, the character design of the main protagonist and the kinetic feeling of the action sequences had me hooked throughout it all, as did the heartfelt story that’s a little too good to spoil here. It’s safe to say that I’m a fan of the concept of Commander Rao after reading this, which is all you can ask for a one-shot of this kind. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4 out of 5

DEEP BEYOND #10

As we get closer to the end of Deep Beyond, things are a bit more interesting. Yes, the story overall remains pretty fragmented and I maintain that some of the backstory would have been better served earlier in the series—and there is a reveal in Deep Beyond #10 about Jolene that kind of feels forced and out of character—but we’re definitely picking up some steam toward what feels like a showdown between the group looking to expose the truth and the darker powers that be who wish to obscure it. Told mostly in flashback to give some context for who Jolene is seeking for assistance, this issue really feels fleshed out and cohesive, unlike some of the more frenetic previous offerings. It’s a solid issue. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

EAT THE RICH #4

Eat The Rich gets better with each issue thanks in part to breaking free from the shackles of similar horror properties such as Ready Or Not and Get Out, throwing in some surprising curveballs with this latest issue. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the stellar final page, which is so hilariously coordinated that it demands you pick up the next issue just to see how the series of events will go down. The more we are able to explore the characters in the quieter moments, the harder the horror hits and Eat The Rich certainly seems as its looking to end its story with a bang. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Other Publishers #2

ELVIRA MEETS VINCENT PRICE #3

Elvira Meets Vincent Price consistently finds new ways to be just as charming as its titular protagonists. This issue—which sees them continuing their fight against the apocalypse with an excursion in Cairo, Egypt—gets a bit too wordy for its own good at times, but balances that out with endearingly campy jokes and well-plotted set pieces and action sequences. Juan Samu’s art also proves to be a delightful component of the whole affair, especially as more and more characters get thrown into the series’ orbit. This series is shaping up to be one of the silliest, but spookiest, horror-related titles around right now. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 3.5 out of 5

GETTING DIZZY #1

As expected from writer Shea Fontana, Getting Dizzy #1 is a bright story filled with one-liners and referential quips for readers to laugh at. Artist Celia Moscote pairs the lively dialogue with gorgeous art that is both bold and soft. Natalia Nesterenko brings that art to life with a gorgeous color palatte befitting any magical girl. And in true superhero style, letterer Jim Campbell brings weight to Fontana’s story with all the right emphasis. –– Megan Peters

Rating: 4 out of 5

GROO MEETS TARZAN #4

Groo Meets Tarzan comes to a close, still retaining the same strengths and weaknesses of the prior three issues. Seeing Mark Evanier and Sergio Aragones’ characters placed right next to each other is certainly worth the price of admission, but much like the early parts of the series, being plunked into their real life exploits feels out of place here. If the mini-series had been able to just focus on the hilarious crossover between these two characters, and perhaps trimmed down the series to either two or three issues, it would have been all the stronger for it. At the end of the day, this series is for die-hard fans of both characters, but might be confusing to those outside of the fanbase. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

JONNA AND THE UNPOSSIBLE MONSTERS #8

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #8 is focused on discovery – the plot is found in the midst of dreams and action. Jonna and Rainbow’s shared journey begins to suggest hints about what happened to their world (and what might be done to repair it). A subtle sequence on the first page leads into another explosive sequence that introduces an abundant use of spreads throughout the rest of the issue. Each step forward brings them further to a moment of revelation, including a stunning dream sequence in Rainbow’s sleep. Repeat readings of both the issue and series so far will reward readers as the visual cues and callbacks embedded in the final few pages layer meaning into a cliffhanger that will leave readers ready for more. That’s true seemingly every month when it comes to discovering more of Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters, though. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

KING SPAWN #4

King Spawn continues its trend of feeling like an extension of the flagship series but without the… ahem… chains that come along with that. Writer Sean Lewis embodies the best of that world in his writing, not overloading the prose, but letting the art tell half the story. In fact Javi Fernandez’s work is the best thing about this series on the whole, bringing a moody, grim, and violent world to life in a way that might make it the most satisfying book for Spawn readers in years. Though the journey of separating this title from the other Spawn books and making it it’s own is continuing, I like where it’s headed. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 4 out of 5

THE LUNAR LADIES #3

The Lunar Ladies ends its story this week with issue three, and the damning issue neatly wraps a lunar ambush on Earth. As locals fall in the midst of battle, the ensuing war plays out loosely as natives fight to save their own while our heroines go after their traitor. In the end, a surprise will have fans reevaluating the real villain behind the attack and whether an all-female society will change in light of their experiment. — Megan Peters

Rating: 3 out of 5

MAW #3

Maw kicks off with a wild start that pits a wayward wife in the worst situation. While looking for a new thrill in life, our heroine has her life cut short when a group of wary men head out looking for trouble. Their mission ends ugly after killing the innocent woman, but things turn sideways when a zombie takes one of the men for themselves. And thanks to a sobering cliffhanger, fans are left wondering what kind of town they’ve stumbled upon. — Megan Peters

Rating: 4 out of 5

NORSE MYTHOLOGY II #6

A book like Norse Mythology depends mostly entirely on its artwork. That’s not a slam to P. Craig Russell or Neil Gaiman, by any stretch of the imagination, it’s just that these are the retellings of Norse tales that have been told for centuries. In this issue, the book brings on two stellar artists for the stories at hand. There’s the final half of “The Apples of Immortality,” featuring the always-dynamite work of Gabriel Walta, whose work on this book gives it a certain warmth as the folk tale begins to wrap up. Then there’s Sandy Jarrell’s art on “The Story of Gerd and Frey,” reminiscent of the classic Bronze Age comics that made most of us fall in love with the medium in the first place. Between the two artists at hand, Norse Mythology II #6 might be one of the better collections of this second volume yet. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Other Publishers #3

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(Photo: Boom Studios)

NOT ALL ROBOTS #4

Not All Robots loses the metaphor a bit in issue #4, but it still manages to deliver a poignant message. The robot uprising is finally upon us, as older model robots are put out onto the streets by the rise of the Mandroids. Of course, this leads to the robots taking their frustrations out on human protestors, which leads to a fateful showdown between Snowball and his human “owners.” All along, the robots were supposed to represent the insecure white men who have formed the bulk of the alt-right and incel movements. That line gets decidedly blurred here, although there’s still a stronger message that comes through about who holds the power and how to change that. It’ll be interesting to see how this series wraps up next issue. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3 out of 5

POWER RANGERS #13

Mighty Morphin set the stage, but Power Rangers #13 is where “The Eltarian War” truly kicks into high gear. Writer Ryan Parrott brings several of the chess pieces on the board into one place, and it sets the stage for one amazing battle to come. The Omega Rangers are such a breath of fresh air when they finally come together with the Mighty Morphin team, and Yale is clearly an MVP in every scene they’re in. The same goes for Trini, and seeing the Mighty Morphin and Omega Rangers team-up against the Eltarians makes for thrilling action-loaded battle sequences from Francesco Mortarino and Raul Angulo, who even Alpha gets a scene-stealing moment to shine. Some unlikely allies spice things up even more, so if you needed a reason to get hyped about what’s to come, look no further than Power Rangers #13. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

PRIMORDIAL #3

The exploration of animal minds in Primordial is outstanding. While some of the tools (e.g. fractured inset panels) have been used before in works like We3, it’s the diverse array of skills and methods on display that set the expansion of Laika, Abel, and Baker’s minds apart. Their language skills are a complement to a story told with abstract forms, entrancing color design, and stylistic shifts that speak to memory and environment. Reading Primordial #3 immerses readers in the experience of these test subjects cruelly flung into space to die and the visuals are the primary focus of the story – a testament to humanity’s inhumanity. In the midst of their exploration of the unknown in space, there remains an intriguing spy story on Earth that takes just the right amount of space on the page to ground the overall narrative. Yet what is most impressive about Primordial is that the human characters are, at most, peers to the animals in space. And the way these animals deliver their story, one driven by both history and science-fiction, is nothing short of astonishing. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 5 out of 5

SAVAGE HEARTS #5

Savage Hearts comes to an end in issue #5 in what is perhaps the most anticlimactic conclusion possible. In some ways, I’m fine with this since this series from its inception has been nothing more than a romantic comedy. As a genre, romantic comedies often have endings that are nothing more than cliches. So in that sense, what happens at the end of Savage Hearts is pretty on brand. Despite this, the final issue is so straightforward that it’s boring. While Savage Hearts had some great character moments throughout its five-chapter run, the series as a whole was inconsistent. — Logan Moore

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG: IMPOSTER SYNDROME #1

Imposter Syndrome provides a follow up to the delightful Villains miniseries as Doctor Starline prepares to use a new set of villains to enact their devious schemes. This time he aims to use doppelgangers of Sonic and Tails, Surge and Kitsunami, who possess a similar set of powers and team dynamics but lack the heroes’ moral compass. This dynamic is sufficient to fuel some crossover elements and a fun bit of mid-issue action, but it’s the basis of Starline’s plan that makes Imposter Syndrome essential Sonic reading. Surge and Kitsunami, despite their misdeeds, remain sympathetic protagonists because Starline is manipulating them in a dark fashion that expands upon a core plot point in the central Sonic title. This twist adds nuance to another villainous plot from Starline and creates tension that both readers of all ages are bound to enjoy. Imposter Syndrome is well situated to add some memorable characters to the Sonic canon and tell a new version of a familiar tale. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC ADVENTURES – THE MONSTER AT TEMPLE PEAK #4

Ty Yorrick’s first story is over, and what a good tale it has been. Ty is a rich and well-rounded character, and some flashbacks to her past deliver one of the most emotional moments of the High Republic era so far. There’s a lightsaber duel in this issue that really shows just how well the weapons can translate to the comic medium. All around a solid conclusion to what has been a rather enjoyable arc. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 4 out of 5

X-O MANOWAR #8

X-O Manowar is coming to its roaring conclusion, and it seems peculiar to drop an issue full of exposition as the penultimate of the run. On one hand, Shanhara manages to answer most dangling questions about this story, almost in a Q&A-style set-up that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to sequential storytelling. On the other, at least this issue positions the book in a better place to stick the landing—it just did so in the safest, and arguably most boring, way possible. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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