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Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 9/21/2022

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

The review blurbs you’ll find contained herein are typically supplemented in part by longform individual reviews for significant issues. This week that includes Batman: One Bad Day – Two-Face #1, X-Terminators #1, and Stuff of Nightmares #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.

Contents hide

DC #1

BATMAN: THE KNIGHT #9

As we enter the final stretch of Batman: The Knight, Chip Zdarsky and Carmine di Giandomenico have turned their already-exceptional book into a must-read for Batman fans. This week’s issue places Bruce into the realm of Ra’s al Ghul, which recontextualizes his past, present, and future in stunning detail. Zdarsky’s script manages the rare feat of adding genuine surprises to a prequel narrative, and di Giandomenico’s art is stunning in even the most mundane of sequences. Seriously, don’t sleep on this book. — 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

BATMAN: ONE BAD DAY – TWO-FACE #1

[READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE]

Batman: One Bad Day – Two-Face reassures readers of this series’ tremendous potential with an (appropriate) second installment that sheds new light on an old villain from some of the most talented creators working with DC Comics today. Every tool is honed in developing a single, satisfying Two-Face tale, including machinations that build upon his simple motif and images that will linger long after the last page. Two-Face is allowed to be more complex than a simple duality of good and evil, and Tamaki makes it clear the complexity of a single person ought to be sufficiently terrifying. With Fernandez and Bellaire delivering dark notes in perfect style, this is one issue no fan of Two-Face or Gotham villainy should consider missing. — 

Rating: 4 out of 5

BATMAN/SUPERMAN: WORLD’S FINEST #7

DC’s best superhero book continues to earn its title as Waid and Mora return for a new arc featuring a super-powered young teen who crash lands on Earth in a scene reminiscent to Kal-El’s arrival. While this isn’t exactly a new scenario for either the Man of Steel or the Dark Knight, there is so much meat on the bone in this issue, and it’s told so well, that it feels fresh. There is some genuine emotion throughout and World’s Finest is simply fantastic storytelling that perfectly weaves through the elements of the DC Universe. Waid and Mora haven’t missed a beat following their initial arc and here’s hoping that they’re sticking with Batman and Superman for some time to come. — 

Rating: 5 out of 5

BLACK ADAM #4

Priest’s comics almost always pay dividends upon early investments in character and mystery; that wealth is already becoming obvious in Black Adam #4. The issue continues to pull on various threads in both the mundane and divine realms. Introducing a pantheon of gods tied to Adam’s origins and his recent ventures through space creates a fascinating inflection point and a much-needed counterpoint to Adam’s ancient perspective. This is also reflected in the expansion of Malik’s family with roots in D.C. that resonate with classic young superhero tropes and reflections of 21st century America. There’s an excellent balance of dense grids unwinding these introductions and new concepts alongside splashes that display the sense of power and awe that comes with gods (or godlike beings) walking the earth. Even in exploring the interstitial elements of this narrative, Black Adam never misses a beat and delivers one of the most engaging new takes on an old character at DC Comics in years. — 

Rating: 4 out of 5

CATWOMAN #47

Selina Kyle’s latest jet-setting adventure begins with a wide-ranging, but largely-entertaining ordeal. Tini Howard’s script is at its best in some of the issue’s least-chaotic moments, and particularly excels with the interpersonal rapport between Selina, Valmont, and other characters in the series’ orbit. Caitlin Yarsky’s art brings the stylish, action-packed adventure to new heights, with some of my favorite renderings of Selina in costume in recent memory. While parts of this issue just feel like fodder for the bigger story that’s on the horizon, I still thoroughly enjoyed it. —

Rating: 4 out of 5

DARK CRISIS: YOUNG JUSTICE #4

Dark Crisis: Young Justice finally gives some context as to what has been happening with Connor, Robin and Impulse. And the reveal is… an odd one. Jury is out on how well this will all tie back into the event, but if nothing else at least it’s trying to say something about fan culture. — 

Rating: 3 out of 5

DC VS. VAMPIRES: ALL-OUT WAR #3

All-Out War plays like a D&D module with a greater objective slowly unfurled across a series of heightening encounters. It’s a rote approach to storytelling that capably delivers action and suspense without ever demanding much investment from readers, which is ultimately to say that it’s a slight affair. That sort of comics event can still be a terrible amount of fun, but when it’s style over substance, style is required. Notable character deaths and plot twists in
DC vs. Vampires: All-Out War require readers to squint at the loose lines and lack of definition robbing the quick thrills of their essential speed. The issue still possesses some flair and attempts to rush from this encounter onto the next, but frivolous humor and middling depictions of action make it difficult to appreciate what might work best. 

Rating: 2 out of 5

DC #2

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(Photo Credit : Comic Book )

DCEASED: WAR OF THE UNDEAD GODS #2

After a so-so opening issue, DCeased: War of the Undead Gods #2 does an excellent job establishing just how massive of a threat Unliving Darkseid and his horde present. This is no longer a force concerned with infecting all manner of life in the universe with Anti-Life, but rather it’s complete annihilation. Tom Taylor also pulls out one of his favorite tricks by turning the series’ top villain into a Yellow Lantern, which is a nice Injustice callback. — 

Rating: 4 out of 5

FABLES #155

Fables continues to amble and weave its many plot threads across the mundane and magical worlds. It all feels very grandiose and layered, but it reminds me more of the Fables‘ second half when the comic seemed to lack direction after the fall of the Adversary. This has been a fun return to Fabletown (or at least, the remnants of Fabletown) but it seems like every issue I can’t help but wonder… what’s the point? For a comic book about stories, this comic seems to be lacking a coherent one. –– 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

THE FLASH #786

Crossover events can always be tricky when it comes to interrupting a superhero’s storyline in their main book, but Adams has been able to do well within the confines of Dark Crisis in relation to Wally West and his family. This latest issue is perhaps the best we’ve see so far as Wally, Linda, and their kids dive headfirst into the hero game, attempting to put out fires as the world slips into ruin. The Flash family staying upbeat in a dire scenario works well here, and while there are some foibles with the artwork here, it’s ultimately a worthy read if you’re looking for how the hero community is operating in a world without the Justice League. —

Rating: 4 out of 5

HARLEY QUINN 30TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL #1

To put it diplomatically, Harley Quinn 30th Anniversary Special is a book that is designed to simply be an interesting bit of collectible ephemera for fans of the character and little more and while that is generally the case with most anniversary anthologies, for the cover price one would expect a bit more of substance from this. The book features ten stories from a wide variety of creators and while some are interesting and each certainly explores a different facet or take on the very dynamic character, they don’t all work in terms of quality. Of the batch, “Siren Soiree” – written by one of the character’s creators, Paul Dini, is absolutely fantastic and “The Last Harley Story” from Rob Williams as also pretty well done. There’s also some good art throughout but where the issue misses, it really misses. “How to Train Your Hyena” from Stephanie Phillips with art by Riley Rossmo is silly to the point of being bad, as is “Cease and Decease”. If this issue had just been maybe half of what was ultimately packed into it in terms of number of stories, it might have been better but as is, it’s just a bit mediocre and doesn’t fully do the character much justice. 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

NIGHTWING #96

Taylor and Redondo’s Nightwing story so far has led to this very moment in time: the finale of their biggest arc yet. Time and time again, this dynamic duo shows readers they understand street-level superheroes more than any other active creator. Then comes a single issue like Nightwing #96 that cements the duo as all-time greats. In this issue, every single panel means something. Every punch and jump from Dick Grayson goes to further his story. Every story beat does wonder in helping press this story forward. Nightwing #96 isn’t just the most complete single issue you’ll read this week, but it’s one of the best comic books you’ll read this year. Taylor and Redondo have earned their spots as two of the best creators to get their hands on ol’ Dick Grayson – this issue alone cements that idea. — 

Rating: 5 out of 5

TITANS UNITED: BLOODPACT #1

The second of DC’s Titans-adjacent miniseries, this first issue aims to get fans hyped for the upcoming Brother Blood-related season — and eventually, it succeeds in that effort. The majority of the issue concerns a busy but occasionally-entertaining fight sequence, before dovetailing into a concept that feels intriguing enough to appeal to fans who don’t even care about the show. Lucas Meyer’s art ties it all together, with some interesting aesthetic flourishes once the aforementioned Brother Blood enters the fray. — 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Marvel #1

A.X.E.: JUDGMENT DAY #5

The penultimate chapter of A.X.E.: Judgment Day unleashes the apocalypse as The Progenitor marks its judgment with massacres of superheroes and mass destruction of cities across the globe. It’s a proper spectacle as rendered by Valerio Schiti and Marte Gracia who fill splashes with a resplendent array of costumes and ensure that even burning skylines possess a strange beauty. Spectacle is the primary focus of this issue as it builds tension about The Progenitor’s seeming infallibility as every plan posed against it has been rendered childlike. There is excellent work framing the final act that’s not quite revealed in this issue. However, elements like Cap and Nightcrawler being the most inspiring team-up in all of superhero comics promise that the last issue will deliver the goods. — 

Rating: 4 out of 5

THE AVENGERS #60

The Avengers drops its ongoing plot to check in on Hawkeye during the events of Judgment Day as the team’s greatest marksman is judged by a Celestial. The initial set-up framed by guest creators on the series is fun as Hawkeye stumbles through a conversation with a god making small talk and chowing down on cheeseburgers. His extraordinary attitude and sense of self will remind readers of the post-Fraction characterizations that have made him a significant presence once again. However, the subsequent series of didactic conversations on judgment and morality robs the premise of its whimsy. A superhero comic that reads like an undergrad philosophy project combined with Greg Land’s inept facial expressions quickly spoil any charm the issue possesses. When Hawkeye’s judgment finally arrives, it’s a relief regardless of the outcome. — 

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

AVENGERS FOREVER #9

The Avengers Forever formula reaches its peak this issue – we get an oppressed variant of a beloved Marvel hero who discovers who she’s meant to be right as the multiversal army of Avengers recruits them for a multiversal war against the multiversal Masters of Evil. This comic would be enjoyable as a one-shot if not for the fact that we read a variation of this story multiple times over the past few months. This feels a bit excessive and gratuitous. — 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

CARNAGE #6

Carnage’s journey into the depths of the Norse world continues here in issue #6. While it has been fun to see Carnage placed in a universe that he’s typically not part of, many questions still linger about the symbiote’s motives, in addition to the motives of other characters that have started to play a role in this series. Even though I’m continuing to wonder more about where this series may be heading, Carnage #6 is at least filled to the brim with more ridiculous action sequences, which makes for an enjoyable read. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

EDGE OF SPIDER-VERSE #4

With Spider-Ham, the Disney Princess Version of a Spider Person, the Spectacular Spider-Mobile, and more, Edge of Spider-Verse #4 is probably the weirdest issue yet of this series and, save for a few spots where the overall “plot” is forced into things, this is honestly the most delightful. All of the stories are a good read, but David Hein’s “Once Upon a Spider: The Spinstress Princess” is an easy standout and Luciano Vecchio’s art is wonderful here as well. Does any of this really seem to be going anywhere in terms of the larger event we’re leading up to? Who knows – the little anthology of slice of life stories for these wildly different Spider characters is just distracting enough that plot is hard to follow, but this issue is charming. Also, why don’t we get more Spider-Mobile? We could use more Spider-Mobile. — 

Rating: 3 out of 5

FANTASTIC FOUR #47

There’s nothing especially exciting about this issue, but Reed Richard’s inner-monologue throughout the whole thing makes it worth the read. Yes, it’s a tad hokey at times, but Reed perfectly articulating exactly why he loves his wife, brother-in-law, and best friend will always make for an enjoyable read. — 

Rating: 3 out of 5

Marvel #2

IRON CAT #4

Iron Cat has become a bit more cliched than I would have liked. While Iron Man has played a primary role in this series from the beginning, much of this story has centered around the conflict between Black Cat and her former partner Tamara Blake. Rather than continue to deepen or resolve that conflict in an interesting manner, Iron Cat #4 just makes Iron Man, Black Cat, and Tamara team up against a common foe. It remains to be seen if this new narrative focus goes in an interesting direction in the future, but I’m pretty let down by how Iron Cat #4 has panned out purely because of how predictable it has become. 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

JANE FOSTER & THE MIGHTY THOR #4

This series continues to be a madlib of Thor characters and locations. There’s some decent action in issue #4, but it’s just never anything more than an assault of Asgard’s greatest hits on every page, entirely too busy to allow you any time to care. — 

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

LEGION OF X #5

The first arc of Legion of X arrives at an astounding climax filled with powerful forces and hidden motivations that play off one another to many villains’ dismay and the reader’s delight. It’s a story plotted like a game of Mousetrap, but in this edition everything works perfectly and the journey to the big payoff is also a thrill. While the cast is too large to provide every member a moment, it’s still nice to catch a glimpse of Juggernaut and hear a quirky aside from Doctor Nemesis. Legion of X #5 focuses its attention on its dual protagonists, Nightcrawler and Weaponless Zsen. The big showdown only comprises about half of the issue offering abundant space to ponder the implications of change and Zsen’s perspective is enlightening, even if her thoughts ultimately prove bittersweet. Legion of X has proven itself to be the idiosyncratic, imaginative, and idealistic culmination of the Krakoa era of X-Men comics; let’s hope there’s lots more to come. 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

MECH STRIKE: MONSTER HUNTERS #4

The Monster form of Thanos is awesome, as is Doctor Doom’s final form. After shockingly little action in this series recently, this issue finally cranked up the fight scenes. —

Rating: 3 out of 5

NEW MUTANTS #30

New Mutants #30 pulls triple duty as Vita Ayala’s sendoff issue, a 40th-anniversary anthology, and, for some reason, a teaser setting the stage for Marvel’s upcoming Deadpool series. It succeeds on all fronts. Ayala crafts a series of stories that draw on various eras of New Mutants‘ history. By weaving in themes of intersectionality and mental health that defined their run, Ayala makes this standalone issue feel like an appropriate endcap to the two years of stories that precede it and makes those themes feel like they’ve always defined what the New Mutants and should be about. The Deadpool story at the end, by Alyssa Wong and Geoff Shaw doesn’t fit the theme, despite featuring the New Mutants, but does manage to make a case for checking out that Deadpool series, which is the point. It’s a nice package and a solid ending for an era of New Mutants. — 

Rating: 4 out of 5

STAR WARS: DARTH VADER #27

Against all odds, Darth Vader goes up against a planet-killing machine, putting his convictions and his powers to the test, resulting in devastating and unexpected repercussions. After all the adventures we’ve seen Vader embark upon, he’s showcased his abilities in countless ways, with this installment finding a new and surprising why to show a unique blend of power and tactical abilities, surely delighting readers. Given how difficult it is to show new facets of Vader, the book succeeds in that realm, leaving us to wonder with anticipation where his allyship with Sabé could take them next. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

Marvel #3

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(Photo Credit : Comic Book )

STAR WARS: THE MANDALORIAN #3

As compared to last issue, this chapter gives us much more exposition and narrative momentum as Mando brings The Child in to collect his bounty, offering up some history into the Mandalorian purge, some double-crossing, and some unexpected rescues. While the narrative itself closely replicates the events of the TV show, the artwork once again offers up a new interpretation of scenes that were already compelling, crafting a vibe akin to classic 2000 AD comics. In fact, it almost comes as a disappointment that this art style lends itself so well to the journeys of the bounty hunter that being given the story we’ve already seen unfold isn’t quite as thrilling, but with the number of excitement exchanges we can look forward to just over the horizon, we’ll surely be returning for more. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

STRANGE #6

Jed MacKay pens what is perhaps the best issue of this new series, an entirely Wong-focused adventure, giving the reader unique context and insight into the character that largely lives on the margins of Doctor Strange tales. Artist Lee Garbett and colorist Java Tartaglia get to largely play the hits as far as Marvel characters and magic is concerned, delivering a noir tale with magic unlike anything else being published by the House of Ideas right now. There are unfortunately some instances of wonky anatomy throughout that aren’t supposed to be magically altered that make for hilarious double-takes, the only downside for the entire issue. — 

Rating: 4 out of 5

ULTRAMAN: THE MYSTERY OF ULTRASEVEN #2

It’s not that Ultraman: The Mystery of Ultraseven’s latest issue is boring to read, it’s just a major building block toward the rest of the narrative in a way that requires a lot of seed planting; scribes Kyle Higgins and Mat Groom continue to find unique ways to tell this story. Artist Davide Tinto and colorist Espen Grundetjern elevate what could be dull exposition storytelling in some comics with their engaging artwork. Every panel pops on Ultraman, even if it’s just a conversation between two characters, which makes the uncommon moment of kaiju fighting all the more fun to enjoy. — 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

X-MEN: LEGENDS #2

Have you ever wondered why Wolverine had a different mask in Giant-Size X-Men #1 in 1975 than he did when he first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #181 in 1974? Well, Roy Thomas, or at least someone at Marvel, sure did. They can now sleep at night knowing that they’ve spent two issues on a story that seems to exist only to answer this question that no one else had asked. Impressively, this story running in a series designed to cater to X-Men continuity wonks is made even more convoluted by tying into a Captain America plot from the 1970s and the Beast’s short-lived tenure as the spotlight character of Amazing Adventures from the same era. Yet, this continuity control is part of Thomas’ signature and remains as capable a writer as he ever was. The story is unlikely to disappoint his fans, and David Wachter draws it well, but for anyone else, its existence is likely to raise more questions than are worth pondering. — 

Rating: 2 out of 5

X-MEN UNLIMITED: X-MEN GREEN #2

X-Men Green #2 feels like it tries to do too much at once, at least tonally. The core plot threads of Green are greatly compelling and Nature Girl’s arc in this series is one of the most interesting things that I’ve seen in any X-Men comic in quite some time. Despite this, X-Men Green tries to inject a bit too much comedy, specifically in the form of Sauron. While these moments of levity are still fun, it makes X-Men Green feel like it’s not taking the story as seriously as I would like it. Despite these small qualms, I still believe that this series is worth checking out if you haven’t already done so via Marvel Unlimited. — 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

X-TERMINATORS #1

[READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE]

X-Terminators #1 is a mood. Actually, it’s a couple of moods. There’s the girls’ night out vibe that comes from getting mutant party girls Dazzler, Jubilee, and Boom-Boom together at a bar. Then there’s the grindhouse vibe that comes from having said mutant party girls get bloody battling vampires and other monstrous creatures. The two pair together nicely, each one cutting into the expectations and excesses of the other to create a well-balanced comic book concoction that proves delightful to read and that stands apart from the much more straight-faced attitude of the rest of the current X-Men line. — 

Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Publishers #1

20TH CENTURY MEN #2

20th Century Men could be a lot easier to follow. The changes between time periods feel jarring, but all of the different stories are at least well written and wonderful to look at. It’s a big, dense read. Plenty who read, however, will be satisfied. — 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

ACTION JOURNALISM #1

Dynamite premise. Beautiful artwork. Action Journalism is a bonafide hoot. No really, this debut issue clips along at a splendid place while simultaneously introducing desirable characters and a lived-in world. It has great action and is full-on cosmic camp. The best part of it all? These aliens designs are… well, out of this world. — 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

ALL-NEW FIREFLY #8

All-New Firefly #8 is full of familiar Firefly tropes. One narrative thread is a ship with some mysterious, potentially valuable, or dangerous loot on board. The other is a standoff planetside where things are not going well for the Serenity crew. The setup leads to familiar actions and tradeoffs as characters give themselves up or risk their lives as they attempt diffuse the situation or rescue one another, which usually leads to more trouble. The familiar dance might be tiring, but with All-New Firefly continuing the trend of using unfamiliar sci-fi elements like portals, it’s somewhat reassuring to see the basic Firefly narrative structure still intact. The visuals are serviceable, offering stellar storytelling but not much to make the experience memorable. There may be a bit too much going on in this story arc—speaking for myself, between the Tax Collector and the monks, I’d almost forgotten the whole Jayne has a son subplot—and I may be grading on a curve because the series has been on shaky ground lately, but this totally unremarkable but competently crafted issue of All-New Firefly somehow feels like a win. — 

Rating: 3 out of 5

BARBARIC: AXE TO GRIND #2

Barbaric: Axe to Grind provides some much-needed context for Owen’s blood feud with Gladius and it’s appropriately a doozy. I feel like the creative team deserves props for trying something different with the barbarian trope, even if their explanation is a bit long-winded. This comic could probably use a little bit more breathing room to really tell a story, but it’s at least been pretty an entertaining and interesting ride so far. — 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

BEWARE THE EYE OF ODIN #4

Beware the Eye of Odin has a fist-pumping climactic battle, but it only ever felt like the first portion of a much larger story. The back half of the issue suddenly rushes our heroes right to the end and drops a few surprising bombshells in the process. — 

Rating: 3 out of 5

BLOODSHOT UNLEASHED #1

Valiant’s relaunch of Bloodshot takes the intriguing route of recruiting the anti-hero to hunt other super-soldiers. Deniz Camp and Jon Davis-Hunt are a dynamic pairing, with parts of the story jumping back and forth between the past and present to give readers a quick overview of Bloodshot’s history and powers. Bloodshot Unleashed is a summer popcorn action movie brought to the comic page in the best way possible. Definitely looking forward to following this story to its blood-soaked conclusion. — 

Rating: 5 out of 5

BRZRKR #10

It feels like it’s been a really long time since the last issue of BRZRKR and that kind of space between issue 9 and issue 10 definitely helped make issue 10 feel a little more fully formed. B now has the location of his mother’s gift so the next phase of things is set into motion, but there are some revelations about Diana here as well that call into question what might be going on in terms of the journeys of everyone involved. While this is an issue that does still suffer a bit from having a lot of moving parts and there are pages that feel a bit like filler the final pages ramp up quite a bit of tension, just enough that this epic story feels like it may have gotten well back on track as it rounds into its finale. 

Rating: 3 out of 5

Other Publishers #2

CHILLING ADVENTURES PRESENTS… WEIRDER MYSTERIES #1

Chilling Adventures Presents launches Weirder Mysteries this week, but its debut issue falls flat with its spooks more often than not. Between vampires and supernatural encounters, the first act of issue one is seamless and tells a witty tale with action to boot. However, its second mystery drags with little to no tension. Not even Archie would be scared by the second, but this issue’s first mystery proves this fall event has petrifying promise. — 

Rating: 3 out of 5

CRASHING #1

The latest series from Matthew Klein and Morgan Beem at IDW explores a world in which super powers exist and hospitals and medical staff are dealing with the fallout. It’s a unique, interesting perspective that also remains fresh through the series’ protagonist, Rose, who is pushing herself to the limit while almost losing her life due to a super-powered accident. While Rose is holding secrets of her own, the series does a great job of taking you into her head, using biting dialogue as well as presenting a multi-faceted character. This book almost feels as if it would have worked without the inclusion of super powers, had it just wanted to be a standard medical story, but its made the better for it and is well worth picking up if you want something new on your pull list. The environment of the series feels as though you could cut the tension with a knife. Crashing is absolutely worth your time and you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t give this one a look. — 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

CREEPSHOW #1

Creepshow steps forward with its first issue this week, and the wickedly strange series is just the treat ahead of Halloween. Filled with heart-pounding tales and impressively poignant messages, this debut issue will make your blood rush. So if you are looking for a delightfully deadly read this fall, Creepshow promises to deliver in blood. — 

Rating: 4 out of 5

THE DEADLIEST BOUQUET #2

The Deadliest Bouquet continues its slow build around the mystery at the center of this series. I still believe that the three sisters who serve as the main characters of the story are all well-written and characterized throughout. On the art front, though, issue #2 features more than a handful of awkward panels. This is primarily in regard to some of the faces and body contortions that characters are featured with. The jury’s still out for The Deadliest Bouquet in the long term, but I’ve enjoyed the story that is being woven thus far. — 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

FRANKENSTEIN: NEW WORLD #2

After kick starting the issue with major revelations about the status of Earth in a post-BPRD: The Devil You Know world, scribes Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, and Thomas Sniegoski take things slow in Frankenstein New World #2. This journey is a big one for our characters so the time spent digging into what has become of the surface world is one that longtime readers will find rewarding. By that same nature, artist Peter Bergting and colorist Michelle Madsen get the fun job creating this world from scratch and giving it a unique visual language compared to everything that has come before it. They even get the chance to show Frankenstein in action as a hero, something we haven’t seen in years in these comics. — 

Rating: 4 out of 5

GUNSLINGER SPAWN #12

No narrative stakes exist in Spawn comics and Gunslinger Spawn is just the latest example of that fact. Almost nothing that happened in the previous issue matters when it comes to reading #12, but Todd McFarlane’s shortcomings as a scribe make it seem like there’s a grand plan here. The only thing that keeps this series worth looking at is the artwork by penciler Brett Booth, inker Adelso Corona, and colorist Ivan Nunes. While the lead character is seldom interesting he at least always looks cool, and the latest issue brings some gnarly gore to the table thanks to the art team. — 

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

HELL IS A SQUARED CIRCLE #1

Everyone has had a bad day. Hell, most of us have them on an all-too-frequent basis. Still, none of us have had as bad of a day as what Ted “The Irish Mooska” Walsh has on a regular basis – the wrestler living a living Hell. Hell Is a Squared Circle takes the idea of wrestling comics and flips it on its head, adding some crime noir flavors that take this story to the top. Light on dialogue and heavy on narration, this one-shot is an excellent piece of character work from Walsh’s own point of view, someone who manages to better his life after one tribulation and another, only for it all to come crashing back down on him. The art from Francesco Biagini and Mark Englert is nothing short of kinetic, with each chop, headlock, and punch jumping right off the page and into your eye sockets. At a heftier 48 pages, this zine packs one hell of a punch, going places you’d never expect. — 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Other Publishers #3

ICE CREAM MAN #32

Many issues of Ice Cream Man focus on the blackest of black humor with endings that curdle one’s blood or raise eyebrows with frightening irony; it’s this approach that ensures a drop of sincerity can electrify readers whose expectations are set. Ice Cream Man #32 utilizes a nine-panel grid to tell the story of four week’s in rehab with each day presented in a single page. It opens with a mock advertisement for the treatment center introduced in this plot that establishes a clear expectation of descending darkness and despair. And the issue does pull on the series’ familiar motifs constantly threatening a terrible page turn that will devolve into pure nightmare. This tension expresses a perspective on the world that reflects what the protagonist sees as an addict with every next step being a possible wrong step. However, it’s what arrives at the end when the eponymous antagonist finally makes an appearance that plays upon those expectations so wonderfully. In acknowledging the often painful experience of treating addiction, it creates a space for understanding amongst so many terrors and discovers a glimmer that might be hope – the most incredible twist ending imaginable in Ice Cream Man— 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

JUSTICE WARRIORS #4

Justice Warriors #4 opens less surefooted than some of the past issues—perhaps it’s because it’s more talkative and expository than others?—but it finds its pace soon enough once the buddy-cop escapades resume. Schitt and Swamp share an uncharacteristically touching moment (though one that’s still imbued with the series’ signature humor) before getting right back to the irreverence. I’m not sure if the Libra focus holds up quite as well as some of the other topics of parody, but the unpredictability of Justice Warriors keeps readers in check given that any opinion of any one character or plot element could swing wildly from one issue to the next. — 

Rating: 4 out of 5

THE LONESOME HUNTERS #4

The Lonesome Hunters is a great comic because its two main characters react the way most people would when faced with the supernatural – fear, confusion, and rage. This might be one of the best comics to ever grapple the sort of mix between the modern-day and magic, because it does so with the very grounded foundation that most people would have no idea how to react to body-possessing magpies or evil cults or immortality-granting swords. The Lonesome Hunters features the opposite of a destined hero and it’s really quite refreshing. — 

Rating: 5 out of 5

MANIFEST DESTINY #47

The penultimate issue of Manifest Destiny does not disappoint as it lays out the final steps towards an apocalyptic battle for the soul of a continent. While it is primarily comprised of discrete sequences unpacking the cliffhanger trails extending from Manifest Destiny #47, each individual thread builds towards the same inevitable decision and provides a number of essential characters with poignant denouements. What’s most impressive in the build to Manifest Destiny‘s climax is the sense of Shakesperean tragedy it strives toward as each turn of the knife and painful or ironic conclusion seems inevitable upon reflection while hurting in the moment. There’s an excellent varying of style and approach to these climactic pages as well. Splash panels depicting deaths or crucial expressions veer near the abstract and create emotions in the background and color palette as the world seems to morph beneath the psychic pressure of this finale. It’s an impressive effect and one that will leave readers eagerly anticipating Manifest Destiny #48 in December. — 

Rating: 4 out of 5

NITA HAWES’ NIGHTMARE BLOG #8

Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog #8 is a fantastic issue of comics. At this point, I’m convinced that Rodney Barnes can do no wrong with his horror universe, but that’s not what makes this issue a truly great work. It’s the use of color. Luis NCT applies color in sort of a specific theme to each page and section of the book—some areas red is very prominent, while in others blues or teals—and all of it works in a perfect symphony with Szymon Kudranski’s art. It’s the color that does so much of the storytelling here, as Nita’s life complicates and the horror of the supernatural world colliding with the real world deepens. Yes, Barnes does a lot of great work here as Nita. has to confront her own emotional trauma and hurt, but it’s the color that truly evokes her pain. This isn’t just a comic book. This is art. — 

Rating: 5 out of 5

ORCS!: THE CURSE #3

I’ve continued to enjoy the appearance of many new characters that have appeared in Orcs: The Curse. It has made for a nice breath of fresh air outside of the main cast that Orcs primarily centers around. Despite this, I do think that The Curse has a bit too much going on at once right now. There are a lot of plot threads throughout issue #3 that feel greatly distinct and disjointed from one another. I’m hoping that these threads will converge in an interesting manner in the future, but for now, it gives Orcs: The Curse a lack of storytelling cohesion. — 

Rating: 3 out of 5

PARASOMNIA: THE DREAM GOD #2

The second volume of Parasomnia continues to weave a complex tale across multiple timelines across multiple plots. The book—and probably most stories ever told—are best when the various plot points begin to come together. At this moment in time, unfortunately, The Dreaming God is far from that point and the end result is rendered slightly confusing. In a sense, this book has a shallow depth—it has many layers to the story, but each of those layers is light on characterization and plot progression. They do, however, standout because of the top-notch lineart courtesy of Andrea Mutti, only amplified by the excellent watercolors throughout. — 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Other Publishers #4

PEARL III #5

In a series that has already been filled to the brim with great artwork, Pearl #5 features some of the best that we’ve seen so far. Michael Gaydos’ art has been my favorite part of Pearl since the beginning, and that hasn’t changed just yet. Sadly, on the story front, I just continue to find myself unengaged with this arc for Pearl as a character. While it has continued to shed more light on her backstory and family roots, issue #5 hasn’t drawn me in further. With issue #6 set to end this latest run on Pearl, it seems unlikely that my opinion will change on this front, but I’ll hope that I’m wrong. –– 

Rating: 3 out of 5

PUBLIC DOMAIN #4

While the debt collectors in Public Domain have provided the series’ with action sequences and tension, it’s difficult to perceive them as a useful addition to a plot so strongly centered on family dynamics, grappling with artistic and personal ambitions, and a darkly-tinged 21st century humor. They are simultaneously made to be dangerous and silly in a confrontation lacking in a clear tone and one worth pointing out because of how much it contrasts from every other sequence in the issue. Familial conversations are layered with subtext and personality; new ideas and ventures reflect both hidden desires and worthwhile goals. There’s a great deal of novelistic narrative being carried in these pages and it’s well served by Zdarsky’s character’s clear expressions and posture that informs them every bit as much as their words, even if it’s typically set against drab backgrounds in this setting. It’s an odd thread that distracts from an otherwise impressively ambitious pursuit. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

RADIANT BLACK #18

Upon first meeting Radiant Yellow several issues ago, he instantly became one of the most intriguing characters in the ever-expanding Radiant world. Now he gets a welcome spotlight in Radiant Black #18, and it’s instantly become one of my favorite issues in the series thus far. Writers Kyle Higgins and Laurence Holmes chronicle the life of Jack Hirsch across several different eras, each one unearthing a new heartbreaking layer in Jack’s past that further fuels him in the present. Each timeline is brilliantly brought to life by the talented team of artist Stefano Simeone and letterer Becca Carey, as you walk alongside him as he looks ahead at all the promise the future holds and feel the gripping weight of reality and the toll an out of sorts work-life balance can have on relationships. You feel the sting of regret and desperation and then hold fast to the last tether of hope and happiness for as briefly as it can last. Radiant Black #18 is everything I love about comics wrapped into one issue, and I couldn’t recommend it more. — 

Rating: 5 out of 5

ROGUES’ GALLERY #3

Rogues’ Gallery goes to a bananas new level in issue #3 as the real aim of the super fans comes sharply into view and while the whole series is an examination of toxic fan culture dialed up to 11, the chilling turn this issue feels no less authentic even with the startling comic book twist of it all (literally). Both in terms of writing and art, this issue moves at a breakneck pace that is dizzying and disorienting and absolutely spot on for the tone of the issue and echoes Maisie’s own disorientation as quite literally comes under attack. Much like the previous issue, Rogues’ Gallery #3 is a very well-done issue from every aspect. — 

Rating: 5 out of 5

SAMURAI SONJA #4

The penultimate issue of Samurai Sonja proves to be as esoteric and emotional as its predecessors – but with rewarding results. This issue places Sonja’s legacy into a beautiful and complex battle, one that fluctuates between wordless panels and significant exposition with impactful detail. The highlight of everything, for me, is Miriana Puglia’s art and Kike J. Diaz’s color work, both of which bathe the tumultuous events in an evocative, but beautiful world of oranges and greens. I have no idea how Samurai Sonja will come to a close, but after this issue, the bar it has set for itself is pretty high. — 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

SHAOLIN COWBOY: CRUEL TO BE KIN #5

It almost feels like a reader needs to first pay attention to the dialogue taking place and the artistic background separately to really appreciate the work Geof Darrow is putting into this new volume of Shaolin Cowboy. Along with getting the most dialogue out of the Shaolin Cowboy this entire series, there are tons of little nuggets to find in the street background and buildings as he prepares to fight his next nemesis. It’s also rather entertaining to see racists dealt with in bloody fashion. — 

Rating: 4 out of 5

SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER! 2 #2

Shirtless’ journey of self-discovery takes him from a family entertainment center worker back to his old sensei. Of course, he has to cause a little chaos along the way, which is understandable for someone who walks around shirtless and grew up with bears. We spend less time with Agent Silva and more with Shirtless, which works out okay. The comedic element of the series continues, especially when part of the villains’ evil plan is revealed. — 

Rating: 4 out of 5

Other Publishers #5

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(Photo Credit : Comic Book )

STAR WARS: HYPERSPACE STORIES #2

On a reconnaissance mission, Luke and Leia head to a snowy planet and try to investigate why the region is being explored by the Galactic Empire, encountering a number of locals with various opinions on the conflict between the Empire and Rebellion, leading to a dangerous encounter. For a story aimed at younger readers, Hyperspace Stories succeeds in delivering complex themes in a longer format than some of its peers, as the idea of remaining neutral in the face of tyranny is a heady idea to be tossing on young fans, yet this book managed to convey those concepts without being convoluted or pandering. The strength of the story, however, is undercut by the artwork. While it’s clearly meant to be a bit more playful or colorful to appeal to younger readers, it all looks very rough or even merely sketched, especially on facial expressions in which we see very little emotion. Still, the book’s theme is an important message and the series manages to navigate the appropriate tones for a book geared at these specific ages. 

STUFF OF NIGHTMARES #1

[READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE]

Stuff of Nightmares lives up to its name but not in the ways one might expect, and ultimately that’s what won me over. “The Monster Makers,” part one by R.L. Stine, A.L. Kaplan, Roman Titov, and Jim Campbell sets the tone brilliantly within its first few pages thanks to its mysterious narrator, and Kaplan and Titov raise the tension with every pane, creating a chilling aura around an unassuming house of mystery. When things actually start to reveal themselves Stine puts his foot on the gas and rides the momentum through to its bloody and compelling first act conclusion, and the answers those future stories hold are compelling enough to keep me hooked. While this genre is a bit hit and miss with me in general, Stuff of Nightmares #1 genuinely immersed me into its unsettling and at times gruesome world, and you can consider me captivated. — 

Rating: 4 out of 5

USAGI YOJIMBO #31

“The Secret of the Green Dragon” may serve as prologue for future epic—establishing new links in imperial conspiracies, altering key relationships, and reintroducing an essential nemesis—yet it is so thrilling in its own right that awaiting the next turns only adds excitement. Usagi’s flight from Komori ninjas proves to be thrilling with environmental obstacles and battles delivering some of Sakai’s most exciting sequences of the year. The ninja pursuers sneak up on readers as well as the series’ protagonists as their blades and faces are tucked into the environment and revealed with excellently placed panels and page turns. While the action is exciting, it’s the consequences of those confrontations that sets the stage for future tales and makes this one feel consequential. Chizu is one of Sakai’s most complex characters and he provides readers plenty to consider as her journey continues, as she does for both Usagi and Yukichi. While every issue of Usagi Yojimbo seems like a gift, “The Secret of the Green Dragon” has proven to be a comics highlight in 2022. — 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

VANISH #1

Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman have been on a hot streak lately, and their latest creation Vanish has all the potential to be another major hit for the all-star creative team. Cates and Stegman are joined by colorist Sonia Oback, inker JP Mayer, and letterer John J. Hill, who quickly get readers up to speed on a fantastical new world full of magic, deception, and brutality. Oliver is the epitome of rough around the edges, but a trip to the past sets the stage beautifully, revealing the state of the world and how it got there, how Oliver ended up in his current state, and what his mission is moving forward, all while Stegman and Mayer bring a grandiosity to the world and style to the magic used within it. Then things get murky and brutal, and you simply can’t turn away from the action and the story’s momentum as the issue moves into its second half. There are still quite a few questions to answer, but that’s part of the fun of it all, and while this grittier world might not be for everyone, I’m already 100% all in. — 

Rating: 4 out of 5

WHERE STARSHIPS GO TO DIE #4

Where Starships Go to Die is trying very hard to wrap up all of the bizarre symbolism spread throughout the previous issues into one cohesive idea and it almost sticks the landing, but then the writing starts getting bogged down again in clunky dialogue and bad horror tropes. —

Rating: 3 out of 5

WYND: THE THRONE IN THE SKY #2

Some excellent dialogue scenes and a solid introduction to a new villain. This is really getting good.

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Hello everyone Iam Ravi year old web devloper, web designer i have completed 10+12 and currently working on article writing and making content.

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