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APRIL 17 Comic Reviews

DISCLOSURE: The following is a synopsis and reviews of this week’s comic books from multiple publishers. If you like our reviews and would like to purchase these books you can do so by visiting our partners at TFAW.com. If you decide to buy anything through our provided links we get a small commission which helps keep our website alive and running. Thanks for your time.

BATMAN: OFF-WORLD #4

While “Batman: Off-World” hasn’t completely won me over due to its somewhat derivative nature, issue #4 stands out as a notable improvement. In previous issues, the narrative focused on Batman’s rigorous training, preparing to combat alien adversaries, and laying the groundwork for future conflicts. However, in this issue, the Dark Knight is actively engaged in a significant mission against the nefarious Blakksun Mining Company, implicated in galactic slave trading. Blakksun, threatened by Batman’s interference, contracts a Thanagarian bounty hunter to eliminate him, creating a high-stakes cat-and-mouse game. This issue offers a deeper look into Batman’s psyche during the early stages of his career, revealing his evolution from a symbol of fear to a beacon of justice. His overconfidence, a stark contrast to his usual dominance in Gotham, adds a refreshing layer to his character. Issue #4 serves as a pivotal moment in the series, showcasing a more multifaceted Batman engaged in a genuinely intriguing narrative.

BATMAN/SUPERMAN: WORLD'S FINEST #26

Mark Waid and Dan Mora elevate the “World’s Finest” series with issue #26, encapsulating the quintessential elements of superhero storytelling. This issue balances humor and grave stakes effortlessly, a testament to Waid’s profound understanding of the DC universe and his skill in integrating a wide array of heroes and villains seamlessly into the plot. Mora’s artwork complements Waid’s narrative beautifully, depicting the iconic characters with a god-like presence befitting the grandeur of the DC Universe. Although the storyline builds on themes introduced in the Batman/Superman Annual, this issue stands alone as an accessible entry point for new readers. It continues to set the benchmark for contemporary superhero comics, demonstrating why “World’s Finest” is considered a flagship title in the genre.

CATWOMAN #64

The “Nine Lives” arc continues to redefine Selina Kyle’s character and explore intriguing aspects of the DC Universe. Issue #64 of “Catwoman” maintains the creative momentum with a compelling storyline that places Selina in a unique and challenging predicament. The narrative is skillfully crafted with clever writing that highlights Selina’s cunning and agility, while the artwork complements the tone of the story, enhancing the overall aesthetic appeal. This issue not only progresses the “Nine Lives” arc effectively but also sets high expectations for future installments, promising more innovative adventures and character development for one of Gotham’s most complex antiheroes.

GREEN LANTERN: WAR JOURNAL #8

In the latest installment of John Stewart’s solo series, “Green Lantern: War Journal #8,” the saga blends high-octane space-faring action with deep moral dilemmas involving the Green Lantern’s family. Creators Johnson and Montos continue to excel, delivering a nuanced and compelling narrative that explores dual aspects of Stewart’s life. The contrast between his cosmic duties and personal tribulations is profound, yet there’s a sense that the emotional depth of these parallel stories might have been better served by employing two different artists to match the varying emotional tones more distinctively. Despite this minor critique, “War Journal” stands out as my top pick among Green Lantern titles currently available, showcasing a mature, thoughtful portrayal of John Stewart. This series not only honors the legacy of one of DC’s iconic characters but also pushes him into new territories, promising exciting developments in future issues.

JAY GARRICK: THE FLASH #6

The concluding issue of Jay Garrick’s latest series, “Jay Garrick: The Flash #6,” offers a reflective look at the oldest member of the Speed Force. The series finale attempts to encapsulate the enduring spirit and legacy of Jay Garrick but falters slightly in its execution. The antagonist, Doctor Elemental, lacks the menacing presence and compelling backstory needed to pose a significant threat, which dilutes the narrative tension. Furthermore, the resolution feels overly tidy, with Jay and his family facing insufficient challenges to truly test their mettle. While the series overall provides a decent narrative, it fails to capture the kinetic energy and depth of character development seen in Adams’ previous work with another Flash, Wally West. It’s a respectable effort that unfortunately doesn’t quite reach its full potential.

JOHN CONSTANTINE, HELLBLAZER: DEAD IN AMERICA #4

“John Constantine, Hellblazer: Dead in America #4” dives into the haunting and often hidden horrors of small-town America, a theme that resonates deeply with those familiar with the landscape. This issue cleverly intertwines a seemingly simple con involving occult powers with much larger, more profound societal issues, reflecting the real-life horrors that occasionally make national headlines, such as the highly publicized Brock Turner case. Aaron Campbell’s artwork is particularly noteworthy, capturing the essence of small-town dread through his chilling depictions that enhance the narrative without glorifying the darkness within. This issue stands out not only for its gripping storyline and superb execution but also for how it handles the aftermath of tragedy, questioning what comes next after such horrors are uncovered. Through its poignant narrative and compelling visuals, “Dead in America #4” masterfully maintains the classic Hellblazer ethos while challenging readers to confront uncomfortable truths about society.

NIGHTWING #113

Reviewing “Nightwing #113” is a challenge without venturing into spoiler territory, as the issue contains pivotal moments that are best experienced firsthand. This installment of Nightwing is emotionally charged, masterfully designed to pull at the heartstrings of its readers. The narrative craftsmanship in this issue is a testament to the comic medium’s power to convey deep, visceral feelings and complex storytelling. As Nightwing faces challenges that test his resolve and character, readers are treated to a rollercoaster of emotions that culminates in both devastation and a renewed admiration for the character and the series. The creative team behind this issue has elevated Nightwing to unprecedented heights, solidifying its status as perhaps the finest iteration of the series to date. The artistry and narrative are so compelling that they not only enhance the immediate reading experience but also enrich the overall appreciation of the comic art form.

SUPERMAN #13

In “Superman #13,” the “House of Brainiac” saga enters its explosive second chapter, featuring the long-anticipated showdown between Superman and the unruly Lobo. This issue picks up seamlessly from “Action Comics #1064,” with Joshua Williamson at the helm steering the narrative into chaotic yet thrilling waters. The inclusion of Lobo introduces a new dynamic, creating a volatile yet intriguing partnership with Superman. This issue shines particularly bright during a spectacular outer-space motorcycle chase, brilliantly brought to life by Rafa Sandoval’s dynamic penciling and Alejandro Sanchez’s vibrant colors. The artwork is so striking that it often steals the spotlight, especially during scenes featuring Lobo and Superman together, though their depictions of Brainiac are equally impressive. Longtime followers of the series will appreciate the development of the supporting characters, who each have their moments to shine amidst the overarching Brainiac threat. With multiple storylines intertwining, the series maintains a complex yet coherent narrative that continues to emphasize character development and evolution, making “House of Brainiac” a compelling read for both new and seasoned fans.

TITANS #10

In “Titans #10,” writers Taylor and Meyer skillfully advance the crescendo of the current Titans saga, spotlighting Raven as she emerges as a key antagonist. This issue continues to explore familiar themes with the use of inter-dimensional travel and Raven’s evolving powers, which help distinguish this storyline from previous arcs. Although some readers may find the recurring plot elements repetitive, the unique utilization of character abilities and the fresh take on dimensional adventures offer a distinct flavor to this installment. The narrative aims to build tension and anticipation, setting the stage for significant developments and confrontations. The creative team’s ability to balance character development with action-packed sequences ensures that “Titans” remains engaging, even as it revisits established narrative paths. The ongoing evolution of the characters and the deepening of the plot dynamics suggest that upcoming issues may bring new twists and challenges that could redefine the series.

WONDER WOMAN #8

“Wonder Woman #8” presents a challenging scenario where Diana finds herself ensnared in a 1950s-style domestic nightmare, crafted by The Sovereign using his lasso. The true villainy, purportedly stemming from The Sovereign’s overt misogyny, is actually revealed to be Diana’s own internalized limitations, specifically her belief that the lasso is unbreakable. This psychological twist aims to depict a battle against internal rather than external constraints. However, the execution falters as The Sovereign, who continually quotes biblical verses, lacks the development needed to establish him as a formidable foe, reducing the impact of Diana’s eventual triumph. The narrative attempts to engage with themes of misogyny and the patriarchy but ends up feeling convoluted and heavy-handed, lacking clear stakes and emotional resonance. Despite these narrative shortcomings, the artwork in the issue stands out brilliantly, capturing the oppressive atmosphere of the setting while highlighting Diana’s iconic resilience and strength. Ultimately, the issue strives for depth but gets lost in its own stylistic excesses, making for a reading experience that is as visually striking as it is narratively unsatisfying.

AVENGERS: TWILIGHT #5

In “Avengers: Twilight #5,” the Avengers confront a U.S. Army under the influence of the Red Skull, manipulated alongside Tony Stark’s estranged son as part of their scheme to subtly seize control of the United States. Writers Zdarsky and Acuna lean into overt political analogies, perhaps a necessary choice to mirror the intensity of current global politics. This approach, while heavy-handed, seems justified within the context of the narrative’s urgency and the scale of the threat. The Avengers, true to their nature, creatively counter each challenge posed by their brainwashed adversaries, showcasing their adaptability and heroism. The series, building towards a potentially climactic finale, hinges on the creative team’s ability to conclude the story effectively. The journey thus far has been fraught with tension and action, keeping readers engaged and anticipating how these myriad conflicts will resolve.

BEWARE THE PLANET OF THE APES #4

The concluding issue of “Beware the Planet of the Apes,” Issue #4, manages to wrap up its compact storyline in a fulfilling manner, featuring a climactic battle between humans and gorillas that not only entertains but also enriches the broader franchise narrative. Initially seeming like a mere tie-in to the upcoming “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” film, the series gradually revealed deeper layers, providing new insights and context to the events of the iconic 1968 movie without altering its established lore. These revelations help reframe certain aspects of the original film, offering a fresh perspective that enhances both the original and the series itself. The narrative progression from a rocky start to a strong finish demonstrates a well-thought-out story arc that appeals to both longtime fans of the “Planet of the Apes” saga and newcomers intrigued by the lore and upcoming film. This mini-series exemplifies how a thoughtful approach to franchise storytelling can not only respect its roots but also expand on them in meaningful ways.

BLACK WIDOW & HAWKEYE #2

As “Black Widow & Hawkeye #2” hits its midway point, the unfolding story offers a mix of retrospective and present-day action, though it struggles to fully resonate. The issue largely leans on flashbacks detailing the origins of the current conflict and the initial encounter between Black Widow and Hawkeye. While these flashbacks aim to enrich the storyline by providing context and insight into character motivations, they somewhat detach from the main narrative arc, which is punctuated by a brief yet intense action sequence following the cliffhanger of issue #1. The flashbacks, though visually engaging and informative, feel more ornamental than integral, failing to substantively bridge the past with the ongoing events. Additionally, the introduction of a villain, whose identity hinges on deep Marvel lore, may alienate newer readers and seems to overcomplicate the narrative without adding significant depth. The historical partnership between Black Widow and Hawkeye, rich with potential, is acknowledged but not deeply explored, leaving the reader wanting more from their dynamic than mere acknowledgment of their shared past.

CAPTAIN MARVEL #7

Issue #7 of Alyssa Wong’s “Captain Marvel” series beautifully encapsulates the theme of family and the deep bonds that define it. Wong has carefully crafted the relationship dynamics, particularly focusing on Yuna and her interactions with Carol, culminating in a storyline that delivers both emotionally and visually. The narrative payoff is significant, blending intense character development with high-stakes action sequences that challenge Carol in unexpected ways. The artistic team, led by Jan Bazaldua and colorist Bryan Valenza, excels in bringing these dynamic confrontations to life, especially in an unsettling yet captivating final scene that leaves readers eager for what comes next. The portrayal of Genis as a formidable antagonist adds layers to the familial theme, showcasing the complexities of legacy and kinship within the superhero context. The issue’s strength lies in its ability to balance personal stakes with cosmic action, setting the stage for future developments that promise to escalate the excitement and depth of the series.

DEAD X-MEN #4

“Dead X-Men #4” presents a dense and complex conclusion to this chapter of the X-Men saga. Steve Foxe’s script is heavily laden with details and exposition, aiming to tie together various strands of the “Fall of X” event. The narrative density, while informative, can feel overwhelming, making the finale a challenging read that might require some time to fully digest. This issue attempts to bridge numerous plot points and character arcs, resulting in a script that is both ambitious and at times cumbersome. The overload of information and rapid pacing might lead to moments that feel rushed or forced, detracting from the emotional impact of the story. Despite these narrative hurdles, the issue serves its purpose in the broader context of the X-Men universe, though it may leave readers needing a moment to regroup before plunging back into the ongoing mutant dramas. This intense installment underscores the intricate web of storylines that Foxe navigates, highlighting both the strengths and complexities of weaving such a detailed tapestry within the expansive X-Men narrative.

FALL OF THE HOUSE OF X #4

The fourth issue of “Fall of the House of X” attempts to reconnect with the Krakoan era’s earlier, more ritualistic elements, particularly through Apocalypse’s reenactment of the Crucible. However, this pivotal scene, meant to rejuvenate the starving Krakoa with needed mutant energy, fails to capture the solemnity and depth of the original Crucible events. The artwork here struggles to convey Apocalypse’s combat skills effectively, resorting to indirect representations of his speed and ferocity that end up feeling lackluster and unconvincing. Furthermore, the narrative delves into Professor X’s controversial actions, perceived as betrayals by some, intended to preserve his vision for mutantkind at any cost. These crucial moments are overshadowed by heavy narration and a melodramatic tone that diminishes their potential impact. Overall, despite the significant developments intended, the issue falls short in execution, lacking the dramatic weight and clear visual storytelling necessary to make these moments resonate with the reader.

GHOST RIDER: FINAL VENGEANCE #2

In “Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance #2,” Parker Robbins steps into the fiery shoes of the Ghost Rider, transforming into one of the most intimidating versions of the character yet. His ascension to this power, through a dark pact with Mephisto, rejuvenates his ambitions to dominate New York City’s criminal underworld, this time with a demonic twist. The narrative effectively showcases Parker leveraging his newfound abilities, portraying a chilling return to his roots as a criminal mastermind. However, the artwork by Kim, while generally strong, occasionally lacks the necessary polish and detail in some scenes, detracting from the overall impact. Additionally, the inclusion of Blaze and his ally feels somewhat peripheral, suggesting that their potential contributions to the storyline are underutilized. Despite these shortcomings, the issue successfully sets the stage for a compelling narrative, blending traditional Ghost Rider themes with fresh, dark elements that promise an intriguing progression.

GIANT-SIZE THE INCREDIBLE HULK #1

“Giant-Size The Incredible Hulk #1” offers multiple narratives, but the standout story connects directly to the ongoing Hulk series, serving as a crucial bridge from events in New Orleans to Bruce Banner’s next chapter. In this issue, Bruce is depicted on a contemplative journey, wrestling with his recent interactions involving Charlie and seeking solutions to unresolved dilemmas. The inclusion of a Crossroads Devil as a fellow traveler introduces a supernatural element that enriches the storyline, blending traditional Hulk themes with mystical undertones. This setup not only advances the plot but also deepens the character development of Bruce Banner, exploring his inner conflicts and the broader implications of his actions. The issue stands out as a significant addition to the Hulk saga, promising to build upon the series’ established narrative strengths while introducing intriguing new challenges and encounters.

MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN #19

Issue #19 of “Miles Morales: Spider-Man” sees the tension cranked to the extreme as a new villain, Rabble, emerges to challenge Miles in deeply personal ways. Knowing Miles’ secret identity gives Rabble a dangerous advantage, creating a palpable sense of dread throughout the story. The stakes are high, with the threat of tragedy looming over Miles and his close circle, adding layers of emotional complexity to the narrative. The creative team skillfully balances this tension with dynamic storytelling and engaging character development, culminating in a surprisingly upbeat ending that provides a satisfying conclusion to the ordeal. This issue not only reinforces Miles Morales’ legitimacy as Spider-Man but also demonstrates the series’ ability to introduce formidable new antagonists that enrich the overarching narrative and test the hero in significant ways.

ROXXON PRESENTS: THOR #1

“Roxxon Presents: Thor #1” serves as a meta-textual exploration of corporate influence on storytelling within the comic book industry. This issue, a fictional creation within Al Ewing’s larger “Immortal Thor” series, features Thor reading a comic given to him by the Minotaur, with the narrative crafted by the Enchantress and Skurge the Executioner. The comic is designed to reshape Thor’s existence to align with Roxxon Corporation’s business objectives. Ewing uses this setup to delve into the implications of corporate-owned media on narrative integrity and creative freedom. The comic cleverly addresses these themes, challenging readers to consider the real-world parallels in how stories are manipulated to serve corporate interests. This issue is a critical piece of the ongoing story, providing a reflective and insightful commentary on the power dynamics between creators and corporate entities.

THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MEN #2

In “The Spectacular Spider-Men #2,” writer Greg Weismann excels at developing a rich, multi-character narrative that spotlights both Peter Parker and Miles Morales, along with their extensive supporting casts. Weismann’s mastery of continuity allows him to weave together a complex tapestry of past events and characters, some unexpected, creating a dense and engaging storyline. His ability to manage numerous characters without losing focus is a testament to his storytelling prowess. Complementing Weismann’s script, artist Humberto Ramos brings vibrant, dynamic artwork to the issue, showcasing some of his finest work. His unique style adds an energetic flair to the Spider-Men’s adventures, making this issue a visually captivating experience. “The Spectacular Spider-Men” serves as a tribute to the legacy of Spider-Man, appealing to both long-time aficionados and newcomers, encapsulating the essence of what makes the Spider-Man universe so enduringly popular.

SPIDER-BOY #6

“Spider-Boy #6” marks a standout entry in the series, notable particularly for its absence of Spider-Man, which paves the way for other characters to come to the fore. Dan Slott uses this opportunity to delve deeper into the lives of Bailey, Christian, and the intriguing group known as Madame Monstrosity’s Humanimals. This shift in focus enriches the narrative, bringing fresh energy and deeper exploration of the series’ unique elements. The issue’s major revelations are impactful, raising significant questions and further complicating Christina’s circumstances. The exploration of the Humanimals provides a rich, internal perspective that adds layers to the storytelling. The artistic teams of Paco Medina, Walden Wong, and Erick Arciniega on “The Man Upstairs,” along with Julian Shaw and Her Sifuentes-Sujo on “So You’re Now a Humanimal,” deliver distinct yet cohesive visual styles that beautifully complement the narrative’s depth and complexity. “Spider-Boy #6” not only entertains but also deepens the mythos surrounding its characters, making the series increasingly compelling with each issue.

SPIDER-WOMAN #6

In “Spider-Woman #6,” Jessica Drew grapples with the aftermath of startling revelations, seeking stability in a narrative that continually throws her into new, unexpected challenges. Writer Steve Foxe introduces a change in setting that reinvigorates the plot, highlighted by a dynamic train sequence crafted by artist Ig Guara and colorist Arif Prianto. The introduction of a surprising villain adds intrigue, weaving her directly into Jessica’s ongoing personal and heroic struggles. The issue also hints at new characters and future complications, maintaining a sense of anticipation. Although the shift across the country may seem like a deviation from dealing directly with previous issues, there’s a promise that these narrative threads will eventually converge. “Spider-Woman #6” balances character development with action, keeping the series engaging and leaving readers curious about how these changes will impact Jessica’s journey.

STAR WARS: MACE WINDU #3

Issue #3 of “Star Wars: Mace Windu” continues the intense chase to escort Azita Cruuz safely back to the Jedi Order, a journey that highlights not everyone recognizes or respects Mace’s authority as a Jedi. The issue primarily extends the ongoing chase sequence, focusing less on plot development and more on showcasing Mace Windu’s adeptness as a Jedi and his personal traits. The narrative style, reminiscent of “The Mandalorian,” emphasizes a straightforward, objective-driven plot that allows readers to immerse themselves in each moment, regardless of its simplicity. While the storyline may not shake the foundations of the Star Wars universe, it succeeds in delivering a consistently entertaining read, filled with action and insight into Mace’s character. With only one issue remaining in the miniseries, there’s potential for a strong conclusion that could wrap up the series satisfyingly. Regardless of how it ends, the series has thus far provided a solid and enjoyable portrayal of Mace Windu’s adventures.

ULTIMATE BLACK PANTHER #3

“Ultimate Black Panther #3” continues to break new ground in its portrayal of T’Challa, with writer Bryan Hill steering the narrative in fresh directions after a more conventional start. This issue, heavy on dialogue, is elevated by series artist Stefano Caselli, who masterfully maintains visual interest and dynamic flow despite the script’s density. Caselli’s expertise in depicting movement across panels shines, ensuring that the pacing remains engaging throughout. Additionally, colorist David Curiel faces the challenge of lighting scenes predominantly set at night or within dark caves. His skillful use of color and shading not only enhances visibility but also adds depth to each scene, contributing significantly to the overall atmospheric tone of the comic. The combined efforts of Hill, Caselli, and Curiel make this issue a compelling exploration of Black Panther’s world, reinforcing the series’ evolving narrative.

WHAT IF...?: VENOM #3

“What If…?: Venom #3” stands out less for its exploration of new territory and more for its rapid progression towards a larger narrative culmination. This issue sees Venom attempting to control Dr. Stephen Strange, an endeavor that quickly fails without much conflict or transformation. Unlike its predecessors involving She-Hulk and Wolverine, this episode offers little in terms of exploring the symbiotic possibilities of Venom fused with Strange’s magical abilities, briefly enhancing his cape but not delving into the potential alterations of his magical powers. The quick dismissal of this ‘Venomized’ version of Strange and the lack of internal turmoil make the narrative feel rushed and superficial. The series appears more focused on setting the stage for an impending crossover with Moon Knight than on fully developing its unique character combinations, leaving something to be desired in terms of depth and innovation.

ANIMAL POUND #3

Issue #3 of “Animal Pound” delves deeper into the socio-political dynamics of the series, portraying a compelling and satirical look at the emergence of a two-party system within the setting of an animal shelter. This issue cleverly uses the accelerated passage of time to explore evolving conflicts and the slow transformation of the community’s political landscape. The allegorical narrative becomes particularly resonant with the rise of Piggy, a webcam star turned populist figure, whose portrayal mirrors contemporary political figures in the United States. This character’s development highlights the comic’s allegory to George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” effectively drawing parallels to modern societal and political challenges. Artist Peter Gross plays a crucial role in conveying the story’s depth through his exceptional linework, which captures pivotal moments and emotional subtleties of the characters without compromising their animalistic features. As “Animal Pound” unfolds its central thesis through these intricate political and social commentaries, it evolves into a more gripping and intellectually stimulating read.

BLOW AWAY #1

“Blow Away #1” is a standout debut that excels in weaving a complex narrative through masterful storytelling and meticulous environmental detail. Writer Thompson skillfully utilizes the setting to craft a narrative that is both gritty and nuanced, ensuring that the visuals effectively complement the story without overwhelming it. The artwork plays a crucial role, enhancing the immersive experience and adding layers of depth to the unfolding mystery. The issue introduces a series of compelling mysteries and rich details, carefully balancing the revelation of information to keep readers engaged and eager to explore further into the narrative. This first issue sets a high bar, promising a journey that’s not only intriguing but also visually and emotionally engaging, making it an excellent start to what appears to be a promising series.

BLUE BOOK: 1947 #3

In its third issue, “Blue Book: 1947” takes the reader to Roswell, diving into the most infamous UFO incident in U.S. history as part of its exploration of UFO phenomena’s emergence in popular culture. While the series maintains a slow, methodical approach to storytelling, this installment starts to pick up interest as it tackles the well-documented Roswell event. Despite this, the narrative remains somewhat dry, possibly due to its heavily factual and historical alignment. The issue’s secondary story, which explores urban legends surrounding a remote road in New Jersey, proves to be more engaging. This subplot introduces a fresher, more creative take, juxtaposing the main story’s straightforward recounting with a more atmospheric and intriguing urban legend, adding a welcome layer of variety and intrigue to the overall issue.

COBRA COMMANDER #4

Issue #4 of “Cobra Commander” continues to add depth to one of the iconic villains of the 1980s, transforming him from a somewhat one-dimensional character into a complex figure with clear motivations and formidable ruthlessness. This issue showcases Cobra Commander in a particularly intense light, culminating in a dramatic and violent confrontation with Nemesis that highlights his desperation and merciless nature. The narrative now poses intriguing questions about how his storyline will converge with that of Duke, as both narratives are evidently set on a collision course yet have remained distinct so far. The anticipation builds around how Image Comics will manage to intertwine these two dynamic story arcs effectively, maintaining the integrity and development of Cobra Commander’s newly explored depth while advancing the broader narrative framework.

THE DISPLACED #3

In “The Displaced #3,” Brisson and Casalanguida continue to enhance their gripping horror narrative published by Boom. The series follows the eerie plight of “The Displaced,” a group of individuals struggling to survive in a world that has seemingly erased their existence from both past and present memories. As they navigate their bewildering circumstances, they encounter a variety of challenges and unexpected advantages that add complexity to their existence. This issue introduces new dynamics and dilemmas, deepening the mystery and suspense that characterizes the series. Boom Studios has carved out a reputation for delivering top-notch horror comics, and “The Displaced” solidifies this standing with its unique approach to the genre, continually surprising readers with inventive plot twists and dark revelations. The series not only maintains the suspense but also enriches the horror landscape with its innovative storytelling and hauntingly beautiful artwork.

GOLGOTHA MOTOR MOUNTAIN #2

“Golgotha Motor Mountain #2” dives deeper into its surreal and hallucinatory narrative, blending reality with the fantastical elements of a drug-fueled cinematic adventure. In this issue, the plot thickens around a film within the comic called “The Pistolero,” which intriguingly intersects with the lives of the main characters. The storyline captures a mind-bending trip induced by a cosmic space rock, skillfully portrayed through dynamic and immersive artwork that transports readers between the gritty world of Golgotha and the bizarre, horror-inflected realm of the movie. The art effectively bridges these contrasting environments, enhancing the trippy quality of the comic and engaging the audience in a visually and narratively complex journey. This installment succeeds in pushing the boundaries of traditional comic storytelling, offering a unique and compelling experience that stands out for its creativity and boldness.

HACK/SLASH: BACK TO SCHOOL #4

The finale of “Hack/Slash: Back to School” in issue #4 sees Zoe Thorogood delivering a powerful conclusion that firmly anchors the series within the Hack/Slash universe. This ending brings with it the expected blend of horror, tragedy, and dark humor that fans have come to appreciate from the series. Despite a few panels that appear hurried and less polished, the overall artistic execution remains strong, with Thorogood’s distinct style coming through vividly in key scenes that showcase her ability to blend different artistic techniques. These moments of visual brilliance overshadow any minor flaws in the artwork, leaving a lasting impression of the intense, eerie, and yet somehow playful tone of the series. “Back to School” manages to respect the established canon while introducing fresh elements and concluding on a note that encapsulates the essence of Hack/Slash—scary, sexy, and unapologetically fun.

HELEN OF WYNDHORN #2

In “Helen of Wyndhorn #2,” the exploration of the grand estate and its mystical secrets deepens, providing a captivating blend of mystery and supernatural allure. This issue diverts slightly from the dramatic reveals of the debut, focusing instead on establishing the daily norms of its inhabitants and introducing new, enchanting creatures. These elements are introduced gradually, enhancing the narrative’s pacing and allowing for a more profound development of character relationships and the overarching mystery. The juxtaposition of everyday life with the gradual unveiling of the estate’s fantastical elements enriches the story, making the eventual revelations all the more impactful. Bilquis Evely’s artwork is a standout, with her depiction of both the manor’s lavish interiors and the breathtaking exteriors. The detailed settings, from book-laden studies to weapon-filled halls and beyond to the ethereal gardens, are rendered with such precision and beauty that they alone could draw readers through the series. This issue effectively sets the stage for future developments, promising further wonders and deepening mysteries.

I HEART SKULL-CRUSHER #2

“I Heart Skull-Crusher #2” continues its unique blend of anime-inspired aesthetics and dark sports comedy, making for an irresistibly fun read. The series thrives on its over-the-top humor and a central character whose ludicrous yet endearing qualities make her a standout. This issue packs each page with humor and dynamic action, capturing the essence of its genre while keeping the storyline engaging and fast-paced. The heart and humor embedded within the narrative ensure that the reader is constantly entertained, turning each page with anticipation for the next twist or joke. This approach keeps the series fresh and exciting, establishing “I Heart Skull-Crusher” as a distinctive and delightful addition to the sports anime genre.

JAMES BOND 007 #4

“James Bond 007 #4” marks a return to the roots of Ian Fleming’s iconic spy, focusing on intricate spycraft and the unraveling of complex state secrets. This issue strays from high-octane action to weave a tighter narrative around espionage and intrigue, as Bond and Moneypenny delve into the possibility of M being a mole. The plot cleverly plays with layers of deception, testing the characters’ loyalties and acumen in classic Bond fashion. Garth Ennis’s influence brings a unique blend of sharp humor and narrative depth, echoing the grit of Fleming’s novels while incorporating the spectacle familiar to fans of the Bond films. This installment manages to balance the essence of Bond’s literary and cinematic personas, crafting a compelling spy thriller that respects its roots while providing fresh, engaging content for both new readers and long-time fans.

KILL YOUR DARLINGS #8

“Kill Your Darlings #8” concludes a narrative that, in many respects, deserved a broader canvas to fully explore its rich thematic and plot potentials. The story encapsulates a significant time skip and culminates in an epic battle that suggests a saga worthy of a more extensive series. Despite these ambitions, the existing eight issues deliver a compelling and well-crafted story, complete with a surprisingly upbeat ending that contrasts starkly with the dark, complex beginnings of the series. This unexpected resolution offers a satisfying closure to the characters’ journey, effectively tying together the various narrative threads woven throughout the series. While the limited scope might leave readers yearning for a more expansive exploration, the depth and quality of the storytelling ensure that the series stands out as a memorable and engaging read.

LOTUS LAND #6

The finale of “Lotus Land” in issue #6 delivers a potent conclusion to the series, blending life-affirming moments with an undercurrent of unease. The narrative style, heavily inspired by noir elements akin to “Blade Runner,” culminates in an ending that is as thought-provoking as it is somber. The resolution, though not conventionally happy, feels thoroughly justified within the context of the meticulously crafted universe by Van Poelgeest and Filipe. The series leaves a lasting impression, with a finale that resonates with the darkly atmospheric tone set from the beginning. As the narrative wraps up, there’s a lingering hope among fans that Boom Studios might revisit this universe, potentially with or without Strikman at the creative helm, suggesting a strong attachment to the story and its characters.

MOON MAN #2

In “Moon Man #2,” writers Scott Mescudi and Kyle Higgins delve deep into the backstory and contextual details of the series through extensive exposition in the first half of the issue. While this narrative choice aims to build a solid foundation, it unfortunately slows down the pacing and diminishes some of the issue’s dynamic potential. Marco Locati’s stylized artwork, although impressive, struggles to maintain engagement during these dialogue-heavy scenes. However, the comic finds its stride in the latter half, which features minimal dialogue and allows Locati’s art to truly shine, showcasing his capability in visual storytelling. Colorist Igor Monti complements Locati’s illustrations with vibrant and impactful color work, particularly in the action sequences, where the visuals leap off the page. This dramatic shift from a text-intensive first half to a visually driven second half highlights the strengths of the artistic team, even as it underscores the challenges of balancing exposition with visual narrative.

QUICK STOPS II #4

“Quick Stops II #4” brings the series to a chaotic conclusion that feels more erratic than ever. Throughout the series, there has been a noticeable lack of coherence or a strong narrative hook, and the final issue only exacerbates these issues. Jay and Silent Bob, characters who might have offered some semblance of direction or comic relief, instead feel awkwardly forced into a plotline that spirals into absurdity with the introduction of sacrificial cult elements. This sudden genre twist seems not only misplaced but also a desperate attempt to inject intrigue or purpose into the storyline. Unfortunately, the series concludes without finding its footing or justifying its existence, leaving readers with a sense of frustration and disappointment. The finale underscores the series’ struggle to develop a compelling or meaningful narrative, making “Quick Stops II” a perplexing and unsatisfying read from start to finish.

RICK AND MORTY FINALS WEEK: BRAWLHER #1

The “Rick and Morty Finals Week: Brawlher #1” stands out as a highlight in the unpredictable world of “Rick and Morty” tie-ins. This particular issue, part of the “Finals Week” anthology, offers a refreshing take as the Smith family finds themselves inside a video game, leading to a clever and self-aware exploration of gender dynamics. Christof Bogacs’ script is packed with sharp humor and clever character moments that capture the essence of the original show while adding a unique twist. Beck Kubrick’s artwork complements the writing well, maintaining the familiar visual style of “Rick and Morty” but adding distinct, whimsical touches especially effective in the more fantastical scenes. This issue manages to balance the series’ trademark absurdity with engaging storytelling and character development, making it a notably enjoyable read for fans and newcomers alike.

SAM AND TWITCH: CASE FILES #2

“Sam and Twitch: Case Files #2” appears to be a symptom of Todd McFarlane’s overextension across multiple projects, particularly within the Spawn universe. This issue suffers from a lack of substantive content, offering little in terms of plot advancement or originality. The story treads familiar ground without introducing new elements or twists, which could have rejuvenated the series’ narrative momentum. Artist Szymon Kudranski delivers a visually appealing effort, employing a noir-esque aesthetic that suits the detectives’ grim and gritty world. However, the strong visual style is not enough to compensate for the story’s thin plot and lack of dynamism. The disconnect between the artistic quality and narrative depth highlights a missed opportunity to deepen the series’ lore or character development, leaving “Sam and Twitch: Case Files #2” feeling uninspired and repetitive.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE UNTOLD DESTINY OF THE FOOT CLAN #2

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Untold Destiny of the Foot Clan #2” delivers a robust blend of martial arts action and clan politics, vividly brought to life by Matteus Santolouco’s exceptional linework and dynamic panel layouts. The narrative tension escalates as Karai, striving to master the magical ninjutsu techniques passed down by her grandfather, Shredder, faces internal challenges within the Foot Clan. After her previous defeat by the Dog Star Clan, doubts about her leadership surge, particularly from characters like Zodi and Rocksteady. This internal conflict is skillfully explored by writer Erik Burnham, who contrasts Zodi’s ambition to usurp Karai with Rocksteady’s unwavering loyalty, stemming from his respect for Karai’s proven strength despite her human status. Burnham’s nuanced writing deepens what could be simplistic characters, infusing the Foot Clan’s internal dynamics with complexity and raising the stakes in their ongoing struggle against the Dog Star Clan.

UNDERHEIST #3

“Underheist #3” intensifies the series’ dark, unsettling atmosphere, masterfully maintained by David Lapham. The issue opens with a tension-filled reunion between David and Mr. Wexler at the original crime scene, drawing readers into a suspenseful scenario underscored by grim visuals of shadows and distorted faces. The tension peaks in a classic gangster setup where David, the inside man, must maintain his composure amid dire circumstances. This sequence is both thrilling and crucial, revealing key supernatural elements of the plot that add layers to the ongoing mystery. Lapham effectively uses disorientation to mirror protagonist David’s psychological state, enhancing the narrative’s immersive quality. While the monthly serialization may leave readers feeling momentarily lost, this mirrors the protagonist’s disorientation and builds anticipation for a potentially horrifying revelation. “Underheist” skillfully balances crime and supernatural horror, promising more chilling developments as the series progresses.

THE WEATHERMAN #4

In “The Weatherman #4,” the narrative converges on a critical juncture, blending high stakes with a frenetic pace that mirrors the escalating crisis. The plot unfolds rapidly as Jenner and Ian deploy a devastating virus on Venus, while political turmoil disrupts Mars, culminating in a coup that targets both planets. The suspense is palpable as Cross discovers Jenner’s dual-target strategy, setting the stage for a desperate race against time to thwart a catastrophic plan that threatens humanity’s survival. This issue is particularly gripping, marked by a sense of urgency that pervades the storytelling and drives the characters towards potentially drastic solutions. Although the rapid progression of events might give the issue a rushed feel, this effectively reflects the chaotic developments within the story, capturing the desperation and critical decisions facing the characters as they navigate their most perilous challenges yet. The narrative intensity of “The Weatherman #4” sets a new high for the series, promising dramatic confrontations and high-stakes outcomes in forthcoming issues.

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