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DEC 13 Comic Book 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 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.


Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s run on “Action Comics” has generally been praised for its strong storytelling, but issue #1060 doesn’t quite hit the same high mark. The story picks up with the kidnapping of Otho-Ra by Norah Stone, leading to a frantic Superman seeking help from the enigmatic John Constantine. The narrative here feels more like the start of an uncertain quest, with Superman’s usual resolve seeming somewhat shaky. Constantine, while adding a dash of his signature magic and flair, comes across more as a dazzling cameo than a substantial part of the story. Norah Stone, the antagonist, is portrayed as a somewhat one-dimensional villain, lacking a clear and compelling motive. Despite these shortcomings, the issue isn’t without merit; it’s passably good but falls short of the series’ usual excellence. A notable aspect of this issue is the backup story titled “Squad Dreams,” written by Nicole Maines, Steve Orlando, and Fico Ossio. This story, a continuation of “Beast World: Metropolis,” sets the stage for an upcoming Suicide Squad miniseries featuring Dreamer. It stands out for effectively developing the character of Nia Nal, making it a solid addition to the comic.


In “Batman and Robin #4”, there’s a sense of the narrative elements starting to fall into place. The middle part of the issue might feel somewhat cluttered, especially regarding the depiction of Batman’s combat strategies, but the overall plot development is intriguing. This issue delves into the mysterious character Shush, revealing her past connections with Damian Wayne, which adds a compelling layer to the story. This exploration provides a much-needed depth to a storyline that occasionally felt surface-level in previous issues. The artwork in this issue is particularly notable for its dynamism and vibrancy, effectively enhancing the storytelling experience. The visuals are not just a treat for the eyes but also play a crucial role in carrying parts of the story that the narrative alone struggles to convey. Overall, “Batman and Robin #4” marks a noticeable improvement in the series, with its combination of an engaging storyline and striking artwork.


The second issue of “Batman: City of Madness” continues its unique Lovecraftian interpretation of the Batman universe. This issue explores the eerie and unsettling influence of the Batman from Gotham Below, who casts a dark shadow over several of Batman’s iconic adversaries. The hallmark of this comic is undoubtedly Christian Ward’s artwork, which brings a bright and vivid palette to a genre often characterized by darker hues. Ward’s artistic choices breathe new life into the horror aspects of the story, providing a fresh and visually captivating take on the Batman mythos. Additionally, the comic smartly utilizes Batman villains who are typically less prominent than the likes of Joker or Penguin. This decision allows for an exploration of lesser-known characters, adding an element of surprise and novelty to the cosmic horror narrative embedded in Batman’s world. “Batman: City of Madness #2” thus stands out for its artistic brilliance and its innovative approach to character and story development in the Batman universe.


“Gargoyle of Gotham #2” intricately connects Gotham’s present mysteries to the two-decade-old murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents, with Crytoon’s subtle influence unfolding in the background. Batman’s investigation takes him through Gotham’s gothic landscapes, from Arkham Asylum to church services, each setting reflecting the city’s moody ambiance. The issue also explores the deepening divide between Batman and Bruce Wayne, with Bruce distancing himself from public affairs, adding layers to his character. Masked figures and city leaders hint at a longstanding conspiracy, enriching the narrative. Artistically, the comic is marked by Grampá’s dynamic action sequences and atmospheric splashes, enhancing the story’s suspense and gothic tone.


“Batman/Santa Claus: Silent Knight #2” elevates DC’s holiday crossover with heightened stakes in the battle against Krampus and a series of well-executed character cameos. Jeff Parker’s script skillfully treads between the ridiculous and the sincere, maintaining an earnest holiday spirit throughout. Michele Bandini’s art adds to the festive yet adventurous tone, balancing the fantastical elements with a touch of realism. The issue stands out for its blend of holiday cheer and imaginative storytelling, making it a unique and enjoyable read in the realm of holiday comics.


“Danger Street #12” concludes its series with a deliberate anti-climax, subtly unraveling the complex narratives built over 11 issues. The finale leaves many character arcs unresolved, quickly undoing major plot points and diminishing their impact. The issue features a notable artistic choice, focusing on Metamorpho’s arm in a splash page that symbolizes the narrative’s approach to emphasizing less significant elements. Jorge Fornés’s artwork shines, particularly in delivering comedic and emotional scenes, although the narrative doesn’t always support these moments. The ending leaves a sense of ambiguity and forgetfulness, making readers question the significance of the saga they’ve just experienced.


In “DC’s ‘Twas the Mite Before Christmas #1”, the anthology mixes classic holiday tales with DC characters, like Lex Luthor in a Scrooge-like role and Booster Gold as Santa, alongside stories with deeper messages, such as Batwoman teaching Hanukkah’s spirit and Superman’s life-saving talk. While the classic adaptations are amusing but forgettable, the message-driven tales, despite being somewhat heavy-handed, are poignant. Artistically, Andrew Drilon and Juan Bobillo stand out, especially in the visually innovative “It’s a Bunkerful Life” and the expressively drawn Bat-mite and Robin story. The anthology, though not essential, satisfies the appetite for holiday heroics with a DC twist.


“Detective Comics #1079” delivers a compelling heist story, masterfully revealing how the Orghams’ plans are cleverly turned against them. This finale wraps up the arc effectively, building upon previous character developments and subplots. The issue strikes a balance between intricate storytelling and engaging character arcs, setting an exciting premise for the next storyline. Its successful blend of coherent plotting and character depth makes this issue a notable and enjoyable entry in the series.


“Green Lantern #6” features the epic battle between Hal Jordan and a rage-powered Sinestro, revitalizing their classic rivalry. Jeremy Adams’s narrative brings a fresh dynamic to the fight, complemented by Xermanico, Scott Godlewski, and Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s stunning artwork. The battle scenes are visually spectacular, with large-scale constructs and vibrant colors. The issue concludes by refocusing on Hal’s personal journey, promising more thrilling adventures ahead. This issue not only captures the essence of Green Lantern lore but also sets a high bar for future storytelling in the series.


“Outsiders #2” finds its rhythm, showcasing the potential of the team’s new dynamic. The story involves an intriguing encounter with a lesser-known team from DC’s history, leading to a conflict that reveals both the universe’s heart and its darker aspects. The script by Colin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing shines in the issue’s latter half, capturing the narrative’s complexity and emotional depth. Robert Carey’s art style complements the expansive scope of the story, adding a visual richness that enhances the reading experience. This issue successfully piques interest in the future developments of “Outsiders,” hinting at more captivating stories ahead.


In “Speed Force #2,” the series embraces its Gen-Z humor, which may be hit or miss for some readers, but the heart of the issue lies in its excellent character-driven conflict. Jarrett Williams’ script strikes a fine balance between plot and character development, with Mr. Terrific featuring in some standout sequences. The art by Daniele di Nicuolo and Francesco Mortarino is both expressive and dynamic, effectively capturing the energy of high-speed action scenes and the subtlety of quieter moments. The issue’s visual storytelling adds a sense of liveliness that complements the narrative, making it an engaging read for fans of less mainstream DC characters.


“Superman: Lost #9” navigates the return to status quo for Superman, intertwining imagined responses and real-life scenarios through music to highlight his emotional journey. However, this approach results in a somewhat anti-climactic narrative, especially in the depiction of events on Earth, such as the political scandal Lois investigates. These plot points feel like underdeveloped ideas that don’t fully integrate with the main storyline. Despite these shortcomings, the issue ends on a cliffhanger that effectively raises intrigue, ensuring that readers will be eager to see how Superman and Hope’s story concludes in this miniseries.


“Titans: Beast World #2” continues the momentum from its impressive first issue, balancing humor and horror in its unique DC-wide crossover narrative. The transformation of Batman into a wolf and Black Adam into a lion adds an element of the bizarre, yet Tom Taylor and Ivan Reis manage to infuse vitality into this concept. Reis’s artwork stands out, arguably some of his best, enriching the story with visual flair. Despite not entirely matching the impact of its predecessor, particularly in its depiction of the animalistic heroes and villains, the second issue maintains a strong pace, only slightly faltering in its overall execution.


In the one-shot “Titans: Beast World Tour – Gotham #1”, the comic effectively justifies its place within the larger Beast World crossover. The focus on Gotham City, especially Red Hood’s storyline, is a highlight, featuring stunning art and compelling character development. The humor in Killer Croc’s frustration over others encroaching on his territory adds a light-hearted touch. The issue, while engaging and fun, could have done more to bring new readers up to speed with the Beast World concept. Nonetheless, it succeeds in delivering an entertaining read that fits well within the whimsical premise of the crossover.


“Waller vs. Wildstorm #4” concludes with a serious and reflective tone, concentrating on the aftermath of the events in the previous issue. The story revolves around high-level meetings and discussions on accountability and power dynamics, mirroring real-world intelligence operations. Despite its realistic portrayal of these elements, the comic struggles in its execution, relying heavily on dialogue-driven scenes with little visual creativity. The emphasis on talking heads, even in potentially dynamic settings like space, results in a lack of visual intrigue. While the geopolitical themes are thought-provoking, the comic fails to utilize the medium to its fullest, leading to a somewhat lackluster and uninspiring conclusion to an otherwise ambitious miniseries.


In “Wesley Dodds: The Sandman #3”, Riley Rossmo’s artistic style perfectly complements the dream-like narrative crafted by writer Robert Venditti. The series delves deep into the psyche of Wesley Dodds, portraying dreams as an alternative to death, which influences his creation of a non-lethal sleep gas. Venditti skillfully connects this invention to the grim history of chemical warfare, adding layers of complexity to Dodds’ character as he grapples with the potential misuse of his formula. The introduction of “the Fog” as Dodds’ new adversary cleverly plays on the concept of the “fog of war,” adding thematic depth. The series continues to excel with its visually stunning artwork, richly developed characters, and morally complex storytelling, making it a standout in the comic book world.


“World’s Finest: Teen Titans #6” caps off the mini-series with an impact that leaves readers longing for more. Under Mark Waid’s creative guidance, the series exemplifies the potential of modernizing DC’s Silver Age characters. The conclusion of “Teen Titans” within the “World’s Finest” line is particularly notable for its effectiveness, leaving a lasting impression and opening the door for further contemporary interpretations of classic DC superheroes. The series’ successful blend of nostalgia and innovation makes it a memorable and engaging read, highlighting the enduring appeal of these iconic characters.


“Blade #6” presents a familiar narrative with Blade undergoing training under his former enemy, now uneasy ally, Dracula. The story explores conventional master-pupil dynamics and dark mirror themes, where Dracula hints at similarities between himself and Blade. While these tropes are well-trodden, the execution in this issue feels somewhat lackluster. The revelations about Blade’s new abilities, particularly the shift from using swords to his arms for combat, fail to impress visually. Although the issue is competently crafted and hints at an intriguing dynamic between Marvel’s renowned vampire and vampire hunter, it falls short in delivering a compelling or visually striking storyline.


“Captain America #4” struggles to leverage its main character, Steve Rogers, effectively, despite his central role in the series. The narrative falls short, unable to be salvaged by Rogers’ presence alone. Good intentions behind the story do not translate into engaging content, and the inconsistent character designs further detract from the experience. Sharon Carter’s brief appearance is marred by fluctuating depictions, detracting from the coherence and visual appeal of the book. Overall, the issue fails to capitalize on its iconic protagonist, resulting in a story that lacks both interest and consistency.


“Dark X-Men #5,” the series’ finale, centers on Madelyne Pryor, reflecting her dual role as the team’s leader and the story’s antagonist. This focus, however, results in other characters feeling sidelined, their narratives reduced to mere distractions. The issue attempts to explore themes of redemption and irredeemability among its characters, but this exploration feels superficial, leaving the impression that it says much without conveying much depth. The artwork maintains its dark tone, fitting the mood, but the action sequences lack inspiration. Despite its flaws, the issue includes surprising elements that add a touch of unpredictability, preventing it from being entirely dull.


“Guardians of the Galaxy #9” stands out with its blend of a self-contained story and broader implications for the team. Writers Colin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing demonstrate a deep understanding of each Guardian’s character, adding layers to the narrative. Kev Walker’s art is a highlight, offering creative fight scenes and engaging cameos that enhance the reading experience. This issue not only delivers a satisfying and cathartic story but also reaffirms the strengths of the current Guardians run, making it a compelling read for fans of the series.


“The Immortal Thor #5” concludes its first arc with a flourish, showcasing Al Ewing’s redefinition of Thor’s essence. Ewing shifts the focus from Thor’s ability to control the storm to the worthiness and virtue required to do so. This issue also explores the origins of the Utgard gods, adding a layer of mythological depth. Martin Coccolo’s art is a standout, particularly in the portrayal of Utgard-Thor, whose immense presence is emphasized through panels he barely fits into, a visual testament to his grandeur. The conclusion teases future mysteries and Thor’s next formidable opponent, hinting at potential meta-commentary. Immortal Thor’s debut arc establishes the series as essential reading, blending compelling narrative with striking visual storytelling.


In its third issue, “Marvel Zombies: Black, White & Blood” continues to explore the Marvel Zombies universe, although it struggles to justify the need for more content in this vein. However, the issue features a standout Black Widow story, showcasing her efficiency and resilience in a zombie apocalypse, thanks to her spy background. This gripping tale is flanked by a visually intriguing Demon Days story and a Disco Era Luke Cage story that begins promisingly but quickly loses focus. The highlight of the issue is the middle chapter, which is worth diving into for its unique take on Black Widow in an undead world.


“Miles Morales: Spider-Man #13” makes an impressive entrance into the Gang War crossover event. The artwork by Federico Vicentini, Bryan Valenza, and Cory Petit elevates the issue, brilliantly capturing the escalating action. The story provides ample context for Miles’ recent adventures before diving into the heart of the conflict. Notably, the issue shifts away from the usual reliance on Peter Parker, featuring guest appearances from Misty Knight and Colleen Wing. The involvement of Miles’ Uncle Aaron adds a personal dimension to the storyline, integrating family dynamics into the backdrop of a street-level gang war. This issue successfully balances character development with dynamic action, making it a strong addition to the crossover event.


“Moon Knight #30” marks both an end and a new beginning for Marc Spector, delivering a narrative that is as hopeful as it is poignant. The creative team of Jed MacKay, Alessandro Cappuccio, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Cory Petit masterfully crafts a finale that feels both thrilling and satisfying, while simultaneously laying the groundwork for an exciting future for the Moon Knight legacy. This issue also highlights the strength of Marc Spector’s supporting cast, which has grown significantly throughout the series. While it’s a bittersweet farewell for many fans of the character, the issue leaves the door open for more intriguing adventures with the Moon Knight ensemble, promising an exciting continuation of the saga.


“Punisher #2” maintains the momentum of the series debut, delivering a solid Punisher narrative, yet it still struggles to differentiate its protagonist from previous iterations. David Pepose introduces a significant plot twist, demonstrating narrative creativity, but the story doesn’t fully justify the need for a new Punisher character. Artist Dave Wachter excels in the action sequences, particularly in a standout stairwell fight scene that showcases excellent movement and spatial awareness. While the issue is engaging for Punisher fans, the series as a whole has yet to find a unique voice or direction that sets it apart from past versions of the character.


“Silver Surfer Rebirth: Legacy #4” returns with an issue that unfortunately fails to capture the essence of the series. The plot progresses, but the execution feels lackluster, with convoluted developments that don’t resonate strongly. The issue ends on a significant cliffhanger, which may pique the interest of readers for future installments. However, this particular issue struggles to maintain the allure and intrigue typically associated with the Silver Surfer character, resulting in a somewhat disappointing entry in the series.


“White Widow #2” presents a captivating exploration of Yelena Belova, distinctively separated from the broader Black Widow narrative. This issue delves into Yelena’s personal journey, her internal monologue, and her experimentation with personal preferences, seamlessly blending elements of a character study and a conspiracy thriller. The inclusion of an intriguing supporting cast adds depth to the narrative. The story strikes a balance between light-hearted character exploration and gripping plot development, affirming that Yelena has long deserved such a dedicated and well-crafted story in her own right.

X-MEN: RED #18

The finale of “X-Men: Red,” issue #18, stays true to the series’ ambitious scope and large-scale storytelling. Despite the challenges of multiple crossovers and tie-ins, the final showdown between Storm and Genesis encapsulates the series’ hallmark of combining clever tactics with character-driven action. The climax is visually stunning, reminiscent of iconic moments from ‘Preacher’, and offers a fitting resolution to the war for Arrako. The issue provides closure for many characters of Arrako’s diverse ruling class, though the vision of the future for Arrako feels somewhat rushed. Nevertheless, “X-Men: Red” concludes as a memorable chapter in the X-Men saga, solidifying Arrako’s place in the Marvel universe and leaving a lasting impact on its readers.


“The Alternates #4” culminates the series with an inventive and emotionally impactful conclusion. The combined scriptwriting talents of Tim Seeley, Patton Oswalt, and Jordan Blum deliver a compelling narrative that skillfully navigates complex plot twists and surprises. The artwork by Christopher Mitten and Tess Fowler is strikingly beautiful, adding a raw edge to the expanding storyline. This issue solidifies “Minor Threats” as one of the most innovative new superhero universes in recent times, showcasing a blend of exceptional storytelling and artistic prowess.


In “Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees #2,” the serene atmosphere of Woodbrook established in the first issue is disrupted by a sudden murder. This development introduces a spectrum of new characters and potential clues, effectively deepening the mystery. Patrick Horvath’s artistry skillfully blends human behaviors with animal traits, enhancing the storytelling. The narration by Sam adds a chilling layer to the plot, contrasting everyday actions with a sinister undercurrent. The emergence of another victim escalates the tension, indicating that the threat in Woodbrook is far from over. The issue navigates this suspenseful journey with a gripping narrative and a compelling cliffhanger, promising a rewarding resolution in future installments.


“Captain Ginger: The Last Feeder #2” takes readers on a wild, space opera adventure with its cat-centric cast. The story follows the feline crew as they navigate a series of escalating challenges, from an attack on their shelter to the unexpected discovery of long-extinct human beings, referred to as feeders. This twist presents the cats with a significant dilemma regarding the future of humanity. The issue excels in its imaginative storytelling, blending science fiction elements with the unique perspective of its cat characters to create a vibrant and engaging narrative.


“Dark Spaces: Dungeon #2” further cements its position as a standout horror comic with its latest issue. Scott Snyder masterfully transforms various settings – from the confined spaces of a hotel room and an elevator to the vastness of a private plane – into claustrophobic stages for a menacing narrative. The sense of imminent danger and proximity to the killer is palpable in each scene, making for a tense and immersive reading experience. This issue showcases Snyder’s ability to maintain suspense and horror across diverse environments, solidifying “Dark Spaces: Dungeon” as a top contender in the horror comic genre for the year.


“The Enfield Gang Massacre #5” gears up for a grand finale, masterfully blending the essence of a classic Western with the intellectual intrigue of detective stories like Sherlock and Benoit Blanc. Writer Condon skillfully navigates the mix of genres and tones, creating a narrative that is both familiar and refreshingly unique. The issue’s excellence is further amplified by Phillips’s brutal yet captivating artwork, contributing to the comic’s overall dynamic and engaging experience. This combination of clever storytelling and striking visual presentation ensures that the series concludes on a high note, promising a finale that’s as entertaining as it is impressive.


In “A Haunted Girl #3,” the narrative picks up pace, weaving together elements from the earlier issues as protagonist Cleo comes to grips with her role in an impending apocalyptic scenario. The story progresses swiftly, with Cleo confronting her own challenges and darkness to take action against the looming threat. A significant plot twist adds complexity to her situation, enhancing the story’s suspense. The issue’s brisk pacing raises concerns about whether the miniseries can conclude satisfactorily without rushing its finale. Despite this, the comic’s engaging storytelling and well-executed build-up to a larger conflict make it an intriguing and thought-provoking read.


“House of Slaughter #20” heads into its final chapter with momentum but struggles to deliver a satisfying conclusion. The focus shifts away from the protagonist Bait, who has been central to the storyline, relegating him to a side character in his own tale. The narrative instead concentrates on secondary characters and is weighed down by excessive dialogue, diluting the story’s impact. The climax, which sidelines Bait during a crucial battle, feels anticlimactic and overshadowed by the trauma inflicted on him. While the ending teases something intriguing for Bait’s journey, it’s not enough to offset the disjointed and underwhelming execution of this final issue, leaving readers with a finale that fails to fully realize its potential.


“Masterpiece #1” sets the stage for an intriguing narrative centered around Emma, a teenager poised to adopt the alias ‘Masterpiece’ and orchestrate a heist. The comic teases the formation of her crew, likely comprising individuals with unique skills, which adds an element of anticipation regarding who she’ll recruit and their capabilities. Additionally, the potential involvement of her parents promises to add another layer of excitement and complexity to the story. While the series may seem to start as a slow burn, it holds the promise of developing into a richly layered and rewarding narrative, brimming with intrigue and suspense.


“Operation Sunshine #3” continues the series’ trend of presenting a complex and somewhat convoluted story. Writers Zebrowski and Parks attempt to clarify certain aspects from the previous issue but quickly introduce new complications, making the narrative resemble a staircase where steps are occasionally missed. The side quest involving Hex and Steve adds further layers of complexity, and a confrontation involving Anwar relies heavily on visual humor, which doesn’t always land effectively. The issue, while offering an intriguing exploration of Hex’s history, struggles to find a clear direction, oscillating between being a vampire epic and a jumbled mix of elements. To fully realize its potential, the series needs more focus and fewer jokes.


In “Phantom Road #7,” writer Jeff Lemire takes the narrative through a series of unpredictable twists and turns, making it one of the most enigmatic entries in his repertoire. The issue adds an overwhelming dose of mysticism, bordering on incoherence, which might leave readers struggling to piece together the plot. Seven issues in, much of the story remains elusive and difficult to comprehend, suggesting a need for greater clarity and coherence in future installments. Despite its ambitious storytelling, the comic struggles to provide a clear and understandable narrative, leaving much of its plot shrouded in mystery.


“Underheist #1” by David and Maria Lapham is a masterfully crafted crime thriller that expertly captures tension and suspense. Lapham, known for his work on “Stray Bullets,” employs an 8-panel grid to heighten the drama and seamlessly blend flashbacks with current events. The story follows David, a construction worker entangled in debt, as he plans and executes a daring heist in the tunnels beneath New York City. The narrative introduces a rich cast of characters and hints at David’s murky past, including supernatural elements, culminating in a dramatic cliffhanger. The contrast between the claustrophobic tunnel system and the expansive Manhattan skyline underscores the characters’ daily struggles versus their larger ambitions. The unfolding violence is depicted with a rawness characteristic of top crime stories. “Underheist #1” promises to be an enthralling series, with its initial issue setting a high bar for crime comics.


“Scrapper #6” brings a predictable yet satisfying conclusion to its storyline. The final issue wraps up Scrapper and his allies’ battle against SMITE, culminating in a relatively positive ending despite the series’ often bleak tone. However, the resolution feels somewhat rushed, with certain plot elements resolving too neatly, leaving a sense of missing details. The ending leaves room for potential future stories, suggesting that Scrapper’s adventures may continue. Despite its rushed feel and a desire for deeper exploration, the issue remains an enjoyable read. It successfully concludes the series while maintaining the possibility of further development for its characters.


“Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories #12” tells a compelling tale of a Rebel engineer whose quick thinking leads to the rescue of a young survivor, intertwined with the fate of a cherished stuffed Wookiee toy. The story skillfully captures the essence of the Star Wars saga, resonating with both young and mature audiences. It echoes the spirit of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” focusing on unsung heroes of the Rebellion. The narrative reveals the toy’s unexpected significance, intertwining it with key moments from “Return of the Jedi” and iconic characters from the franchise. This installment stands out for its portrayal of bravery in various forms, enhancing the original adventure without contradicting established lore, and culminating in an inspiring journey that adds depth to the overarching Star Wars narrative.

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