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APRIL 24 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: DARK AGE #2

“Batman: Dark Age” takes a unique “real-world” approach by integrating the story of Bruce Wayne into the historical backdrop of Vietnam. This issue portrays Bruce Wayne as a recruit in Ra’s al Ghul’s shadow commandos, an interesting narrative choice given the character’s traditional aversion to working directly under others’ command, especially in a government-linked capacity. The choice to have Ra’s al Ghul cooperate with the American government is peculiar and goes unexplained, which might leave readers questioning his motivations and the plausibility of such an alliance. The portrayal of Bruce in this setting as more of a naive, wealthy outsider rather than a burgeoning vigilante hardened by warfare and covert operations, weakens the development of his dark, gritty Batman persona. This issue seems to trivialize the complex historical context of the Vietnam War, using it as merely a backdrop for a lackluster transformation of Bruce Wayne into Batman, which ultimately feels like a missed opportunity to deepen the character’s origin story.

BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #12

A year into its run, “The Brave and the Bold” remains impressively accessible to new readers while advancing multi-part stories. This issue excels in its exploration of emotional themes across the DC Universe. Highlight stories like “Left Unsaid” and “A Parting Gift” delve into the nuanced portrayal of grief, with characters like False Face and Swamp Thing playing key roles that resonate deeply with readers. These stories stand out for their emotional depth and impactful storytelling, making this installment a compelling read. The series shows it isn’t just about team-ups or action-packed adventures; it’s a thoughtful examination of its characters’ inner lives and struggles, suggesting it’s a must-read for those who appreciate depth and emotional resonance in their comic books.

DETECTIVE COMICS #1084

In this issue, Batman makes a dramatic return to Gotham City in a style reminiscent of iconic moments from the “Dark Knight Rises.” The narrative sets up an impending conflict, positioning Batman and his allies against the formidable Orgham family. While not groundbreaking in its plot developments, the issue successfully reignites excitement for the character after a period of deconstruction. Catwoman’s alliance with an unexpected partner adds a layer of intrigue, maintaining momentum. Although it doesn’t introduce revolutionary concepts, the comic effectively recaptures the essence of Batman’s vigilante justice and his complex relationship with allies and enemies alike. This issue is a solid “Hell yeah” moment for fans longing for a return to the classic elements that have long defined the Dark Knight.

THE FLASH #8

In “The Flash #8,” the ongoing challenges with the Speed Force and physics intersect dramatically with DC Comics’ broader narrative, especially with the surprise appearance of Amanda Waller during what was supposed to be a routine interview with Linda. This issue adeptly captures the hectic world of Barry Allen and other speedsters as they navigate numerous global catastrophes tied to the Speed Force. The story masterfully illustrates the chaotic nature of these events through Ramón Pérez’s dynamic splash panels, which showcase the extensive action without overwhelming the reader. Despite the flurry of activity, the core of the narrative remains with Linda and the rest of Wally West’s family as they grapple with his absence, adding a personal dimension to the high-stakes drama. This personal focus not only enriches the story but also sets the stage for significant developments in the upcoming “The Flash 2024 Annual” and other anticipated crossovers. While the issue is bustling with action, it primarily serves as a narrative bridge, moving pieces into place for future stories without significant progression in its own plot.

GREEN ARROW #11

“Green Arrow #11” manages to weave two distinct narratives into a cohesive and engaging single issue, making it feel like a more enriching experience than a standalone comic. Oliver Queen’s ongoing tension with Amanda Waller is juxtaposed with a heartfelt reunion with his extensive family. This duality not only enhances the depth of the storyline but also resonates strongly with longtime fans who appreciate callbacks to characters from the pre-New 52 era, who have been absent for years. The resolution of the conflict with Waller, albeit temporary, paves the way for the reintroduction of a well-known adversary, which promises excitement and challenges in future issues. This blend of personal relationships and unresolved conflicts makes this issue particularly compelling and a fan favorite for its balance of action and character development.

HARLEY QUINN #39

“Harley Quinn #39” might stretch a bit long, but it effectively captures the essence of its titular character in a way that feels true to her chaotic, heartfelt nature. This issue excels in developing Harley Quinn’s character dynamics, emphasizing her ability to oscillate between benevolence and havoc, which is central to her appeal. The narrative strength of this issue lies in its portrayal of Harley not just as a solo act but in her interactions with the ensemble cast around her, highlighting her complexities and inherent contradictions. The action sequences are infused with both humor and intensity, showcasing Harley’s unique brand of heroism that combines mischief with genuine caring. This installment stands out for its focus on character depth and relational dynamics, providing a satisfying blend of action and character-driven storytelling that captures the multifaceted nature of Harley Quinn.

THE PENGUIN #9

“The Penguin #9” delves into a dark narrative where Oswald Cobblepot, the infamous Penguin, expertly manipulates Gotham’s criminal underworld by framing his own children, Addison and Aiden Cobblepot, for a series of crimes, including bombings that are strategically designed to catch Batman’s attention. The issue portrays Batman’s relentless, though questionably effective, use of torture to gather information, which becomes a controversial point for readers. Despite the straightforward plot, the comic explores an array of details that build out the depth of Penguin’s scheming, though the narrative does become predictable before reaching its midpoint. Repetitiveness in detailing these events might dull the suspense, but the intrigue spikes with explorations into Penguin’s complex personal relationships. After initial story arcs that positioned Penguin as a solitary figure focused on power, this issue attempts to pivot, suggesting potential genuine connections or romances, adding layers to his character. However, the execution leaves readers skeptical of any significant emotional revelations, setting the stage for an anticipated twist that may redefine these relationships.

POWER GIRL #8

“Power Girl #8” serves as an interlude within the larger narrative arc of the Superman series, focusing primarily on setting up future events rather than advancing its own plot. While the issue may lack standalone excitement, it excels in engaging readers with the promise of what’s to come. The comic balances the necessity of exposition with the ongoing development of Power Girl, aka Paige, as a character. Her journey through personal growth and heroism is portrayed with a warmth and complexity that continues to endear her to the audience. This issue, although heavy on setup, successfully captures the essence of Paige’s struggles and triumphs, making even the preparatory narrative feel vital and interesting. It cleverly uses the backdrop of a larger storyline to enhance the personal stakes for Power Girl, ensuring that readers are invested in her upcoming challenges and adventures.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #48

In “The Amazing Spider-Man #48,” readers are treated to a gripping conclusion to the latest encounter between Ben Reilly and Peter Parker. This issue is filled with optimism and character-driven narratives that stand out, even as it ties into the “Blood Hunt” and sets the stage for the Sinister Six’s impending return. Peter Parker’s innovative approach to problem-solving is showcased in a notable team-up with Betty Brant, highlighting his resilience and strategic mind. Todd Nauck’s artwork brings dynamic action to life, particularly with a menacing portrayal of the Goblin Queen, enhancing the visual thrill of the comic. Although this issue is part of a two-part story, it manages to feel both consequential and entertaining, encapsulating the quintessential elements of Spider-Man storytelling—intense action, emotional depth, and unexpected twists. The setup for future arcs is deftly handled, promising significant developments and maintaining the series’ longstanding tradition of weaving complex, engaging tales.

THE AVENGERS #13

“The Avengers #13” presents an intriguing twist in the saga of 3-D Man, paralleling Firestar’s critical role for the X-Men in their conflict with Orchis. Initially, the turn of 3-D Man towards darker inclinations was shrouded in mystery, sparking curiosity about his true intentions. The revelation of his covert operations with Black Panther is a highlight of the issue, delivering a well-crafted surprise that enriches the storyline and deepens the strategic layers within the Avengers’ ranks. This issue not only excels in plot development but also in emotional resonance, particularly marked by the conclusion featuring a poignant letter from Tom Brevoort. His departure as editor after a long tenure adds a sentimental note, reminding readers of the enduring impact of his stewardship on the Avengers series.

BLADE #10

“Blade #10” culminates in what was intended to be a climactic battle with the villain Adana, a confrontation teased from the series’ inception. However, the execution falters as the issue fails to establish the significance or implications of this showdown, leaving readers questioning the purpose of the conflict. The narrative suggests early on that Adana’s plans may have already reached fruition, casting a shadow of futility over the events that unfold. Despite this, the battle itself is visually striking, thanks to Casagrande’s vibrant and dynamic artwork, which masterfully captures the chaos and intensity of the fight. While the action is exhilarating, the lack of narrative grounding diminishes the overall impact of the issue, turning what could have been a meaningful battle into a spectacle that feels somewhat hollow, serving more as an action showcase than a pivotal moment in the storyline.

DAREDEVIL #8

“Daredevil #8” celebrates the 60th anniversary of the character with a special extended issue that explores various epochs in Matt Murdock’s life. Saladin Ahmed leads with a main story that reintroduces a significant figure from Daredevil’s past, adding a nostalgic twist to the celebration. The issue also includes several short stories that revisit different phases of Daredevil’s career, including the iconic era of his yellow suit, providing a retrospective look at the character’s evolution. However, despite these historical nods, the current narrative arc, “Seven Deadly Sins,” stalls with little to no advancement, hinting at a struggle to regain the compelling momentum of past runs. This anniversary issue, while a festive compilation of Daredevil’s rich history, contrasts sharply with the more cohesive and impactful storytelling seen under previous writers like Chip Zdarsky, suggesting that the series is still in search of a new direction that can similarly captivate its audience.

G.O.D.S. #7

In the penultimate issue of “G.O.D.S.,” the spotlight shifts dramatically from the series’ protagonists, Wyn and Aiko, to a less explored yet pivotal character, Dimitri, the emissary of The Powers That Be. This issue dives deep into Dimitri’s backstory, unveiling his motivations and the subtle manipulations that have peppered his actions throughout the series. The narrative crafts a personal and introspective look at Dimitri, culminating in a bold and defiant declaration of his values, which adds depth to his character arc. While the story aims for a poignant, tragic twist, its impact is somewhat diminished by its predictability, lessening the emotional punch it intends to deliver. Despite this, the artistic quality of the issue remains exceptional, with stunning visuals that continue to captivate. As “G.O.D.S.” approaches its conclusion, there’s a palpable sense of escalation and deepening investment in the characters and their journeys, teasing the audience with the promise of either more intriguing developments or a fulfilling end to the saga.

JACKPOT AND BLACK CAT #2

“Jackpot and Black Cat #2” continues the adventures of Mary Jane (MJ) and Felicia Hardy as they navigate the challenges posed by the enigmatic Obscura organization. This issue, while showcasing moments of brilliance in the partnership between New York’s newest dynamic duo, struggles with some of the same issues that marred its debut. Obscura is depicted as ominous yet lacks tangible menace, diminishing the sense of threat. Additionally, MJ’s adeptness with her newfound Jackpot abilities detracts from exploring more nuanced aspects of her transition into a superhero role, potentially sidelining deeper character development. The narrative introduces several twists that add intrigue but is also hampered by pacing and developmental inconsistencies. Despite these hurdles, the issue provides enough engagement through its central characters and plot twists to keep readers hopeful for improvements in subsequent issues.

NIGHT THRASHER #3

“Night Thrasher #3” takes a bold step by positioning readers to question their allegiance to the protagonist, Dwayne Taylor, a move that is intentionally crafted to evoke strong reactions. This issue delves into the personal and emotional upheavals that Dwayne faces, exacerbated by his own decisions and the significant transformations in his life since the series’ inception. Writer J. Holtham skillfully navigates this turmoil through the potent and relatable expressions of anger and frustration shown by Silhouette, which vividly leap from the page, enhancing the narrative’s emotional depth. The art by Nelson Daniel, enriched by Matt Milla’s coloring, vividly captures these moments of conflict and vulnerability, setting the stage for an impending climactic battle. The portrayal of empathy and love amidst the turmoil adds a compelling layer to Dwayne’s character, keeping readers deeply invested in his journey and eager to see how his challenges will resolve in the looming finale.

PREDATOR: THE LAST HUNT #3

“PREDATOR: The Last Hunt #3” intensifies the peril despite the protagonists’ initial seeming advantage, decked in full armor and backed by a heavily armed platoon led by a character closely related to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic role from the original film. The comic sharply pivots as the Predator exhibits its lethal efficiency, shredding through the armed group with a horrifying ease that underscores the alien’s terrifying prowess. This issue effectively juxtaposes the initial confidence of the human characters against the sheer brutality and skill of the Predator, emphasizing the stark disparity in combat capabilities. The visceral, graphic depiction of the Predator’s rampage through the ranks serves as a gripping reminder of the alien’s deadly nature, making this installment a thrilling, albeit grisly, addition to the series. Fans of intense, action-packed narratives will find this a compelling read, though it’s clearly not suited for those with a lighter taste in comic book violence.

RISE OF THE POWERS OF X #4

“Rise of the Powers of X #4” strips away the complex sci-fi elements previously woven through the series, narrowing focus to a monumental superhero showdown that’s been brewing. This issue serves as a prelude to a grand battle where mutants confront a near-omnipotent adversary, leveraging their diverse abilities in what promises to be an epic finale. The narrative structure of this installment heavily relies on expository dialogue, interspersed with brief bursts of action, to lay out the stakes and mechanics of the impending conflict with clearer precision than earlier chapters. Although the plot itself revolves around setting up what appears to be a universe-resetting event, the execution feels somewhat lackluster, serving more as a functional bridge to the next big narrative shift rather than a compelling story in its own right. Individual character moments shine sporadically, offering satisfaction to fans of specific mutants, yet these instances occasionally feel disjointed from the main narrative thrust. With its setup for a climactic battle in the next issue, this comic positions itself as a necessary, if somewhat cluttered, staging ground for what hopes to be a more thrilling culmination.

SCARLET WITCH & QUICKSILVER #3

The third issue of “Scarlet Witch & Quicksilver” dives deeply into the complex tapestry of the Maximoff family’s history, delivering a dense narrative filled with extensive dialogue and lore. Steve Orlando’s script enriches the series with vibrant, character-driven banter that showcases the dynamic between the siblings, while Lorenzo Tammetta’s art brings this dialogue to life with expressive visuals that capture the emotional nuances of the characters. Despite the heaviness of the lore, the issue maintains a palpable sense of energy and movement, contributing to a lively reading experience. As the miniseries approaches its conclusion, the buildup of detailed backstory and character interactions sets high expectations for the finale. This installment, though wordy, succeeds in deepening the understanding of the Maximoff family dynamics and raises anticipation for how these revelations will impact the concluding narrative, hopefully validating the series as a worthwhile exploration for fans of the Scarlet Witch.

SPIDER-PUNK: ARMS RACE #3

“Spider-Punk: Arms Race #3” captivates with its energetic art by Justin Mason and sharp, witty scripting by Cody Ziglar. Mason’s frenzied visual style captures the punk aesthetic perfectly, infusing each panel with a raw, kinetic energy that complements the fast-paced narrative. Ziglar’s dialogue is equally lively, filled with rapid-fire quips that underscore the characters’ vibrant personalities, although this barrage of banter sometimes overshadows deeper character development and narrative depth. This issue continues to explore the dynamics within the Spider-Band and their ongoing conflicts, but the incessant quipping leaves some readers yearning for a more substantial exploration of the storyline. Despite this, the comic maintains a strong appeal through its unique charm and the promise of further exciting developments, keeping anticipation high for what’s next in this unconventional Spider-Man series.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #6

“Superior Spider-Man #6” progresses in a straightforward manner, offering a plot that is easy to follow even for newcomers to the series. The narrative structure is coherent, moving the story along without significant surprises or depth. However, the characterization falls short, with the cast coming across as overly exaggerated and lacking genuine depth, reducing them to mere caricatures engaged in simplistic interactions. This superficiality extends to the dialogue, which occasionally dips into corniness, detracting from the overall engagement with the characters. The art style, described as having a distinct “Marvel” fuzziness, does not enhance the reading experience, feeling somewhat unrefined and lackluster. Overall, while the issue isn’t terrible, it lacks the compelling elements that typically draw readers deeper into the world of Spider-Man, resulting in a somewhat middling installment.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #4

“Ultimate Spider-Man #4,” penned by Jonathan Hickman, stands out as a masterclass in character-driven storytelling, eschewing action sequences to focus on rich, dialogue-heavy scenes. This issue takes a bold narrative approach by dedicating its entirety to character interactions, which are meticulously crafted to deepen the reader’s understanding of the central figures. David Messina’s guest artwork adds a unique flavor to the issue, reminiscent of Marco Checchetto but distinguished by sharper angles and more pronounced inking, which beautifully highlights the drama of a pivotal dinner scene. The combination of Hickman’s engaging script and Messina’s striking visuals creates a captivating issue that is both unique in its execution and profound in its exploration of characters. This approach not only maintains the series’ high standards but also reinforces Hickman’s reputation for delivering exceptional narrative depth, making this issue a standout in the ongoing Spider-Man saga.

WOLVERINE #48

“Wolverine #48” delves into the emotional landscapes of both Logan and Victor Creed, offering an insightful character study that contrasts their handling of loss and grief throughout their prolonged, tumultuous lives. This introspective beginning is particularly effective in highlighting Wolverine’s rich backstory and the complexities of his character, set against his often brutal, violent nature. The narrative then transitions into setting up the grand finale of “The Sabretooth War,” shifting focus to include Graydon Creed alongside the already featured Victor. This addition, though somewhat perplexing given the existing plethora of Sabretooth variants introduced earlier, potentially sets the stage for an even more dramatic confrontation. As the action returns to Krakoa, the stage is set for what promises to be an explosive clash, tying together threads of personal vendetta and overarching conflict, poised to captivate readers with its anticipated intensity.

WOLVERINE: MADRIPOOR KNIGHTS #3

By its third issue, “Wolverine: Madripoor Knights” solidifies itself as a nostalgic journey, revisiting earlier dynamics between Wolverine, Captain America, and Black Widow. While the action scenes are engaging and the artwork effectively complements the fast-paced narrative, the series largely trades on past glories without adding significant new insights or developments to the characters. The narrative voice, especially Wolverine’s, along with the superficial treatment of the trio’s personalities, suggests a missed opportunity to explore deeper aspects of their evolution. This approach renders the comic a pleasant, if somewhat superficial, homage to earlier adventures. For longtime fans, this series might evoke fond memories, yet newcomers or those seeking more substantive content might find it lacking compared to the more nuanced portrayals available in contemporary storylines of these iconic characters.

X-MEN: FOREVER #2

“X-Men Forever #2” serves as a crucial supplement to the ongoing “Fall of X” saga, filling in gaps that might seem like deleted scenes to the main narrative unfolding in “Rise of the House of X.” This issue focuses on the mutants in the White Hot Room, who play varying roles in aiding Professor X’s elaborate scheme against Orchis and in the resurrection of the Phoenix. The dialogue-rich issue meticulously unpacks complex strategic elements that might have been overlooked in the main series, providing clarity and depth to the overarching plot. Additionally, the comic shines in its exploration of personal stakes for characters like Destiny, whose anguish over revelations concerning Mystique and Nightcrawler adds a poignant layer to the narrative. Similarly, Exodus and Hope Summers are depicted grappling with their roles in these grand schemes, enhancing the emotional and ideological stakes of their missions. While not as central to the primary narrative arc as “Rise of the House of X,” “X-Men Forever #2” enriches the broader storyline with significant character development and intricate plot details, making it a valuable read for those deeply invested in the X-Men universe.

CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA PRESENTS... THE CULT OF THAT WILKIN BOY: INITIATION #1

The inaugural issue of “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Presents… The Cult of That Wilkin Boy: Initiation” dives into the seductive yet perilous allure of fame. This narrative expertly weaves the horror elements of soul-selling into the glamorous but cutthroat world of rising stars in the entertainment industry. Throughout the issue, various characters grapple with the moral and existential consequences of their pacts with demonic forces, reflecting a dark satire on the entertainment industry’s often-debilitating cost of success. The climax builds to a tense and dramatic conclusion where one artist faces the dire repercussions of their deal, risking everything to settle their sinister debts. This setup promises a series that explores deep themes of ambition, sacrifice, and redemption, all wrapped in a chillingly supernatural context.

DAWNRUNNER #2

“Dawnrunner” issue #2 continues to unravel its complex, layered narrative with confidence and flair. The creative team behind this series trusts its audience’s intelligence and engagement, refraining from overt exposition and allowing the story to unfold organically through its richly crafted world and nuanced character interactions. This approach rewards attentive readers with a deeper, more immersive experience as each new revelation adds complexity and intrigue to the overarching plot. The second issue enhances this dynamic by introducing new elements that challenge the characters and further entangle the stakes, making for a gripping read. The series’ commitment to sophisticated storytelling, combined with a clear trust in its audience, marks “Dawnrunner” as a standout title that encourages and respects reader engagement and interpretation.

DUKE #5

“Duke #5” concludes its narrative arc within the expansive Energon Universe, aligning it with the larger storyline involving G.I. Joe’s conflict against all Transformers. This final issue brings together various plot threads that have been developing over the series, culminating in a resolution that, while satisfactory, may not stand out as particularly remarkable. The series has experienced fluctuating levels of intensity and engagement across its run, with some installments outshining others. As a result, “Duke” is likely to be more coherent and impactful when read as a collected trade, allowing for a continuous, uninterrupted experience that better showcases its narrative and thematic ambitions. The finale itself wraps up the current storyline adequately, setting the stage for future explorations of the universe while providing closure to the immediate conflicts introduced throughout the series.

DUNE: HOUSE CORRINO #2

“Dune: House Corrino #2” masterfully introduces Tyros Reffa, a pivotal new character in the expansive universe of Dune. The efficiency and clarity with which Reffa is introduced amidst the novel’s complex tapestry of narratives is commendable. Reffa is not only given a distinct perspective and motivations but is also placed in a setting that vividly contrasts with the primary story arcs, enriching the world-building with its unique natural beauty and architectural marvels. This issue excels in grounding each subplot within its individual settings, making secondary arcs compelling even for those less familiar with the original Dune saga. While the issue’s portrayal of military elements might not fully capture the formidable essence of the Sardaukar as detailed in Frank Herbert’s original works, the visual representation of both the environment and human creations adds a notable depth to the story. Overall, “Dune: House Corrino #2” is an engaging chapter that, while perhaps not essential to the main Dune narrative, offers a fascinating exploration of its universe and sets the stage for further developments.

DUTCH #3

“Dutch #3” concludes more as a stepping stone than a standalone narrative, effectively serving as a prologue to the upcoming “Blood Squad Seven” series. This final issue wraps up without making significant contributions to its own story arc, instead positioning itself as a precursor to a new series that aims to critique and explore the more problematic comic trends of the 90s. Although the premise of “Blood Squad Seven” holds potential, “Dutch” itself does not seem crucial for understanding or appreciating what’s to come. Readers may find that the series doesn’t provide enough substance or relevance on its own, suggesting that skipping “Dutch” might not detract from enjoying or understanding the subsequent series.

FERAL #2

“FERAL #2” continues the emotional intensity that defined “Stray Dogs,” establishing a similar pattern of deep emotional engagement. This issue, crafted by writer Tony Fleecs, artists Trish Forster and Tone Rodriguez, and colorist Brad Simpson, significantly expands the series’ world while dramatically increasing the stakes. The narrative skillfully intertwines high-octane danger with profound heartbreak, punctuated by fleeting moments of hope that are swiftly and poignantly snatched away. The creative team adeptly incorporates real-world elements into the characters’ backstories, enhancing the reader’s emotional connection to them. This layering of personal histories within a broader, suspenseful context makes “FERAL #2” an intensely gripping read that tugs at the heartstrings. The series promises to be a compelling journey, delivering a rich blend of suspense and emotional depth that engages readers on multiple levels, making it a highly recommended monthly read.

IF YOU FIND THIS, I'M ALREADY DEAD #3

“If You Find This, I’m Already Dead #3” escalates its narrative into a cosmic showdown, transforming the initially disorienting journey through an alien culture into a titanic clash among deities. Writer Matt Kindt deftly expands the scope of the series from a personal survival story to a mythic battle, aligning perfectly with the series’ progression. In this issue, the battle is not only a spectacle of divine power but also a showcase of Dan McDaid’s artistry, with his splash panels effectively capturing the grandeur and terror of the gods in combat. These panels artfully juxtapose the immense scale of the battle against the protagonist Robin’s smaller, more vulnerable presence, emphasizing her role and perspective within this colossal conflict. The dense, detailed layouts contribute to a feeling of overwhelming odds that Robin faces, enhancing the epic quality of her struggle. This issue delivers a satisfying conclusion that stays true both to the epic scale introduced and the personal narrative thread that has run throughout, making for a compelling and memorable finale.

THE INFERNALS #3

“The Infernals #3” continues to deepen its dark, captivating exploration of a demonically entwined family saga. This issue enriches the established characters and dynamics, exploring the siblings’ cruel and ambitious nature alongside their aesthetic and humorous traits, which lend a unique charm to their dark narratives. The plot twists introduced in this installment expand on the demonic conspiracy, adding layers of complexity and intrigue to the family’s interactions and their overarching goals. Visually, each demon character is distinctively designed, with their grotesque appearances enhancing the eerie and menacing atmosphere of the series. The artistic choices, including detailed lettering and vibrant background colors, effectively complement the storytelling, enriching the otherworldly and sinister ambiance of the narrative. As the series delves further into the demonic realms and their inhabitants, it successfully combines horror with a twisted sense of family drama, making for an increasingly engaging read.

MAN'S BEST #2

“Man’s Best #2” continues the series with a nuanced, albeit slower-paced, exploration of its animal protagonists stranded on an alien planet. This issue delves into the dynamics within the trio, particularly focusing on Athos the cat’s leadership qualities and shortcomings. While the series promises an adventure akin to “Homeward Bound” in space, this installment spends considerable time on character development and dialogue, which, while enriching the characters’ depth, sometimes disrupts the narrative flow. The detailed artwork is stunning but also contributes to a somewhat cluttered and oppressive atmosphere when combined with the dense dialogue. This artistic and narrative choice, while technically impressive, occasionally overwhelms the story’s pacing. However, the series hints at future developments regarding alien creatures, known as “clankers,” and potential shifts in leadership dynamics, suggesting that upcoming issues may return to a more balanced mix of action and character exploration. As it stands, this issue presents a thoughtful if slightly stagnant, chapter in the animals’ journey, promising more complexity and perhaps a quicker pace in future installments.

MONSTRESS #51

“Monstress #51” continues to excel as a standout issue within the acclaimed series, diving deeper into its rich lore and intricately woven plot lines. This issue strategically pieces together fragmented knowledge among various factions, setting the stage for an impending colossal convergence. The narrative skillfully builds tension and anticipation, signaling a dramatic escalation that is both imminent and inevitable. Callbacks to earlier events in the series enrich the storytelling, creating a rewarding experience for long-time readers who appreciate the depth and interconnectedness of the narrative. While the issue is dense with lore and detail, which might slow the pacing and feel overwhelming at times, the complexity is precisely what makes “Monstress” so engaging. The meticulous attention to detail in both the plot and the lush, elaborate artwork makes this issue a critical and compelling part of the saga, promising dramatic developments and profound revelations in the upcoming confrontations.

ONCE UPON A TIME AT THE END OF THE WORLD #14

“Once Upon a Time at the End of the World #14” masterfully blends action with emotional depth in its penultimate issue, setting the stage for a climactic finale. This issue transitions seamlessly between the brutal present-day conflicts and the poignant memories of Maceo and Mezzy’s past love, enhancing the narrative impact of both timelines. Dragotta’s artwork excels in depicting the visceral violence of the Wastelanders’ battles while also capturing the tender moments of the characters’ earlier years. The effective use of temporal shifts not only enriches the understanding of the characters’ motivations and feelings but also intensifies the emotional stakes of the conflict. The layouts and transitions are impressively designed, conveying the full arc of the characters’ journey and setting up a suspenseful anticipation for the series’ conclusion. This issue beautifully balances the raw brutality of its setting with the deeply personal stakes involved, promising an unforgettable conclusion in the next installment.

OPERATION SUNSHINE: ALREADY DEAD #1

“Operation Sunshine: Already Dead #1” picks up where its predecessor left off, but struggles with some of the same narrative complexities that challenged the initial series. The issue attempts to establish the main threads of action involving two bugs and their enigmatic vampire boss, Anwar, who continues his cryptic and seemingly duplicitous maneuvers. The narrative structure is somewhat disjointed, with new details introduced abruptly as if they were previously established, which can confuse readers. Anwar’s character remains perplexing, not in a manner that adds intriguing mystery but rather in a way that muddles his role and motivations within the story. While the setup suggests a high-stakes, multi-faceted conflict, the execution so far lacks clarity and coherence, making it difficult for readers to fully engage with or understand the overarching direction of the plot. This issue, though ambitious in its scope, faces execution challenges that need to be addressed in future installments to fulfill the series’ potential and deliver a compelling narrative.

SOMETHING IS KILLING THE CHILDREN #36

“Something Is Killing The Children #36” takes readers on a poignant journey into the past, providing critical backstory for Erica, the series’ beloved monster hunter. James Tynion IV masterfully explores a pivotal moment—five years prior—that reveals the profound impact of Jessica’s death on Erica’s life and her consequential estrangement from The Order. This issue isn’t just a dive into personal history; it expands the series’ lore by introducing an innovative and unexpected method of monster creation, adding depth and intrigue to the universe Tynion has crafted. The artistic team, led by Werther Dell’Edera and colored by Miquel Muerto with lettering by Andworld Design, continues to excel. Their work is particularly noteworthy not only in the dynamic and visceral battle scenes but also in the beautifully rendered moments of grief and fleeting hope, which are emotionally resonant and visually distinct. Issue #36 maintains the high standard of storytelling and artistic quality that fans have come to expect, promising that the journey with Erica is far from over and remains essential to the series’ unfolding narrative.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #150

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #150” presents a more introspective than explosive finale to what has been a momentous run. Focused primarily on Donatello and Venus, the issue creatively addresses the threat of Armaggon, who menaces to disrupt the timeline, in a manner that emphasizes intellect over brute force. This approach aligns with the hallmark of Sophie Campbell’s tenure, which has consistently highlighted the importance of community and character depth over grandiose battle scenes. While some may find the use of multiple artists throughout the issue somewhat jarring, Campbell’s decision to personally illustrate the final pages underscores her profound connection to the characters and provides a fittingly tender conclusion to her narrative. The finale, though perhaps understated in terms of action, succeeds in delivering a heartfelt denouement that reflects the series’ enduring themes of kinship and resilience.

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS: CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON LIVES! #1

“Universal Monsters: Creature from the Black Lagoon Lives! #1” revitalizes the classic horror icon with a fresh narrative twist that skillfully integrates modern sensibilities into the storied franchise. Set against the lush and perilous backdrop of the Amazon, this issue not only captivates with its atmospheric setting but also introduces compelling new characters and conflicts that promise to redefine the Creature’s legacy. The creative team’s approach to updating the series with contemporary storytelling techniques and character development is both ambitious and respectful of the original material. This reboot by Image Comics not only appeals to long-time fans of the classic film but also aims to attract a new generation of readers with its intriguing premise and striking visual presentation. The series sets a promising tone for what could be a new and exciting chapter in the saga of one of cinema’s most enduring monsters.

PINE AND MERRIMAC #4

“Pine and Merrimac #4” continues the engaging detective adventures of the eponymous duo, blending humor, pacing, and action in the familiar style of the series. This issue, however, hints at more than just detective work. As the miniseries progresses, subtle clues and developments in the margins have hinted at deeper, more sinister elements at play. Issue #4 brings these elements to the forefront, delving into the dark underpinnings of the powerful conspiracy the detectives are unraveling. The revelation of what truly lies behind the curtain is handled smoothly, integrating naturally into the ongoing narrative without the need for heavy-handed exposition. This seamless integration leads to a climactic cliffhanger that not only satisfies the buildup of tension but also sets high expectations for the next issue. The mix of well-timed humor, character chemistry, and unfolding horror makes this issue a pivotal turn in the series, promising a gripping continuation in the episodes to come.

RARE FLAVOURS #5

“Rare Flavours #5” offers a shift in perspective to the hunters, adding depth to the overarching narrative and enriching the themes explored throughout the series. This penultimate issue does more than advance the plot; it invites readers and characters alike to introspect on the cultural, temporal, and personal journeys they have undertaken. Set against the backdrop of India, the story intertwines personal quests with broader reflections on desire and cultural heritage, encapsulated through the culinary experiences depicted. The detailed illustrations of food, complete with recipe notes, not only enhance the storytelling but also celebrate the rich culinary traditions of the setting. Each depicted meal suggests untold stories and traditions, expanding the narrative scope and deepening the reader’s engagement with the cultural exploration. As the travelogue approaches its conclusion, the series continues to weave a tapestry of flavor, culture, and personal growth, setting the stage for a reflective and satisfying finale.

THE SIX FINGERS #3

In “The Six Fingers #3,” the narrative complexity deepens as Johannes starts to decipher the cryptic messages that have pervaded his environment in Neo Novena. This issue marks a significant development in the overarching mystery, as Johannes comes closer to understanding the true nature of his reality and encounters his counterpart, intensifying the plot’s intrigue. The story skillfully plants seeds of doubt about the nature of the world the characters inhabit, leading to rampant theorizing among readers. Questions about virtual realities, existential roles, or even metaphysical purgatories begin to surface, making this installment particularly compelling. The series expertly maintains suspense and builds anticipation, drawing readers into a web of speculation and anticipation. The blend of literal and metaphorical exploration in “The Six Fingers” crafts an absorbing mystery that promises significant revelations and narrative twists in upcoming issues.

W0RLDTR33 #9

“W0RLDTR33 #9” solidifies its standing as a premier horror comic, expertly blending eldritch terror with cutting-edge technological themes. The concept of the “Undernet” serves as a modern reinterpretation of Lovecraftian horror, infusing the digital world with a sense of the uncanny and the unknown. This issue builds upon the apocalyptic tension introduced in the first story arc, maintaining a looming sense of impending doom that heightens the narrative stakes. The creative team excels in developing a cast of characters who are compelling and relatable, which intensifies the impact of the horror elements—as readers are more deeply invested in their fates, each encounter with danger feels increasingly personal and terrifying. The storytelling is rich and immersive, promising not only to sustain its current acclaim but also to potentially set new standards for horror in the comic book genre. As “W0RLDTR33” progresses, it continues to weave intricate plots and complex character dynamics, setting the stage for future developments that are eagerly anticipated by its growing fanbase. The comic’s blend of horror, technology, and human drama makes it uniquely positioned to captivate and terrify readers, ensuring its place at the forefront of contemporary horror comics.

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