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DECEMBER 20 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 #2

“Batman: Off-World #2” showcases Batman’s remarkable adaptability in both exhausting and bizarre situations. The issue brims with action and combat, skillfully executed for those craving intense Batman adventures. However, the story appears to be morphing into a Batman-centric version of Warworld. While not inherently negative and offering a fresh contrast to the main continuity, the plot seems somewhat underdeveloped. There’s a looming question about the longevity of the story’s central theme and its ability to sustain interest.

BATMAN/SANTA CLAUS: SILENT KNIGHT #3

“Silent Knight” excels as a weekly event series, blending a vibrant collection of character moments with self-contained lore. Jeff Parker’s script in issue #3 skillfully enlarges the character ensemble without losing authentic emotional moments. Despite a less seamless integration of Michele Bandini and Trevor Hairsine’s artwork compared to previous issues, they still produce striking, larger-than-life visuals. As the series progresses, there’s growing confidence in its successful conclusion, marked by its unique and entertaining storytelling.

BATMAN/SUPERMAN: WORLD'S FINEST #22

Mark Waid’s narrative in “Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #22” brilliantly juxtaposes the superheroes of the past against their future counterparts. Although Alex Ross is not involved in this sequel to “Kingdom Come,” Dan Mora’s artwork feels inherently suited for DC’s pantheon of heroes. The comic is filled with beautifully illustrated complex scenes, showcasing Waid’s deep understanding of the DC Universe. The introduction of Gog as a formidable deity escalates the stakes with each page. This issue is a testament to effective superhero storytelling, combining grand battles with rich character development, and hints at the potential for an enduring series.

CATWOMAN #60

In “Catwoman #60,” the ongoing “Nine Lives” arc presents an intriguing mix of innovative ideas and complex storytelling. Tini Howard’s script enhances Selina Kyle’s narrative with engaging developments, though it occasionally struggles with the execution of certain scenes and transitions. Stefano Raffaele’s artwork complements the ambitious theme of the story without overcomplicating its visual presentation. The current storyline in “Catwoman” maintains a level of intrigue, promising enough to keep readers engaged despite some narrative imperfections.

CYBORG #6

“Cyborg #6” stands out notably, especially for the memorable moment of Cyborg unleashing a Kamehameha attack on Solace. This final issue boasts the best artwork in the series, coupled with a gratifying conclusion. It explores the evolving relationship between Cyborg and his father, addressing longstanding issues and bringing a sense of closure to Cyborg’s journey regarding his father’s decisions. The resolution offers a satisfying wrap-up, highlighting the development of both characters and marking a significant moment in Cyborg’s storyline.

GREEN LANTERN: WAR JOURNAL #4

Issue #4 of “Green Lantern: War Journal” continues to follow John Stewart’s conflict with the Revenant Queen and her ominous forces. Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s portrayal of Stewart is notably well-crafted, capturing the essence of the character effectively. However, the artwork by Montos sometimes struggles, with certain panels and pages lacking clarity and detail, which affects the portrayal of the intense battles and the emotional depth of the characters. Despite these visual setbacks, the strong character development significantly enhances the story. Additionally, the introduction of a new costume for Stewart, which retains the essence of the Green Lantern while adding a unique twist, is a commendable aspect. This series offers a solid exploration of a Green Lantern character who often doesn’t receive as much attention as he deserves.

HARLEY QUINN: BLACK + WHITE + REDDER #6

In “Harley Quinn: Black + White + Redder #6,” the series hits a low point. The issue includes a bizarre story featuring Harley facilitating marriage counseling, which, while structurally sound, feels oddly disconnected from her character, focusing more on random, one-off characters. Tini Howard’s “Sirens Rising” is particularly disappointing, portraying Harley in a seemingly infantilized manner and accompanied by chaotic, messy artwork that detracts from the narrative. The standout story, “Harleys All The Way Down,” introspectively examines Harley Quinn’s evolving persona, highlighting the character’s inconsistent portrayal across various narratives. This story, reflecting on the inconsistency in Harley’s character development, suggests a need for a more thoughtful and cohesive direction for her character, instead of continuous rapid changes.

HAWKGIRL #6

“Hawkgirl #6” brings resolution to Kendra’s journey with her past lives and the legacies of Carter Hall and Shayera. This issue introduces her new role as a Knight of the Nth World, with much of the action taking place on the Nth World against Vulpecula. This setting allows for interesting interactions with characters from the Nth World. However, the issue raises questions about the permanence of these developments for Hawkgirl. Will these changes endure, or will her character revert to a previous status quo in future narratives?

JAY GARRICK: THE FLASH #3

“Jay Garrick: The Flash #3” serves as a decent continuation of Jeremy Adams’ previous run focusing on Wally West, though it doesn’t quite reach the same level of impact. The series sticks to traditional superhero themes without significantly innovating the genre. The abundance of characters sometimes overshadows the more personal aspects of the story, such as the potential for deeper exploration of The Boom and her elderly father’s reunion. A suggestion for improvement would have been the use of two different artists to distinctly depict the past and present, enhancing the narrative’s depth. The issue concludes with an intriguing final page that piques interest in future developments, indicating some promising elements within the story, yet leaving room for a more dynamic and layered approach.

JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. GODZILLA VS. KONG #3

“Justice League vs. Godzilla vs. Kong #3” stands as a testament to Christian Duce and Luis Guerrero’s artistic prowess, particularly evident in issue #2. Their ability to depict epic battles between iconic monsters like Kong and Godzilla, as well as lesser-known creatures, is remarkable. The scale and physicality they bring to each fight scene are enhanced by Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt’s impactful lettering, adding an extra layer of intensity. Brian Buccellato’s writing adeptly maintains a fast pace, seamlessly transitioning between various fronts. He skillfully intertwines subplots and character dynamics, especially those involving Superman, within the larger narrative. This crossover series emerges as an unexpected but thoroughly enjoyable addition to the genre.

NIGHTWING #109

“Nightwing #109” takes a seemingly bizarre premise and executes it with exceptional skill. The fast pacing of the story immerses readers, reminiscent of swinging alongside the protagonist in a high-seas adventure. Byrne’s bold and engaging line work adds to the dynamic storytelling, capturing the reader’s attention as if they were a part of the scene. This issue’s pirate-themed narrative showcases the versatility of superhero stories, proving that an exciting and well-told tale can take any form – this time, as an enthralling swashbuckling adventure.

SUPERMAN #9

“Superman #9” continues the trend of 2023 being a standout year for the character, building on earlier plot threads and steering Superman and the series into exciting new territories. Joshua Williamson masterfully juggles multiple storylines, ensuring that emotional depth and personal stakes, particularly those involving Superman and Lois, remain at the forefront. The development surrounding Marilyn Moonlight is particularly engaging, alongside a significant and unexpected twist towards the end. Bruno Redondo and Adriano Lucas’s artwork deserves acclaim for its ability to shift effortlessly between intimate moments and grand action scenes. The vivid and dynamic lettering by Ariana Maher adds a distinct character to the series. With its continuous improvement, “Superman #9” solidifies its position as one of the exemplary Superman stories, showing great promise for future issues.

TITANS: BEAST WORLD TOUR – CENTRAL CITY #1

In “Titans: Beast World Tour – Central City #1,” readers encounter a complex narrative filled with an array of characters from the Flash family, navigating a dynamic period with Barry Allen stepping back and Wally West as the main Flash on the Titans. This issue uniquely intertwines various short stories, effectively merging them into a cohesive central storyline. Standout segments include those featuring Kid Flash, Avery, Jai, and Maxine Baker. The creative approach in linking these individual narratives enhances the overall storytelling, making it an engaging read for those following the intricate developments within the Flash family and the Titans.

WONDER WOMAN #4

“Wonder Woman #4” presents a challenging and somewhat disjointed narrative. The issue includes poignant moments, such as Wonder Woman granting a dying child’s last wish, beautifully crafted by King. However, this touching scene feels oddly placed amidst an ongoing anti-Amazonian crisis, striking as uncharacteristic for Wonder Woman to divert attention from a significant threat. The issue also delves into a complex geopolitical subplot that comes across as forcefully exaggerated and lacking nuance, particularly in its portrayal of misogyny. The insensitive handling of a suicide attributed to Wonder Woman’s victory exacerbates this issue. Furthermore, the narrative seems both rushed and stagnant, with unresolved elements like the “daughter of Wonder Woman” subplot adding to the confusion. Overall, the issue appears to suffer from a fundamental misunderstanding of Wonder Woman’s character and a disregard for sensitive topics.

ALIEN #2

“Alien #2” displays competent storytelling but tends to fall into a predictable pattern. The narrative rhythm oscillates between character development, building tension, and leading to inevitable scenes of gruesome carnage. This structure, while effective in maintaining a certain pace, occasionally sidelines deeper character exploration. Fans of the Alien franchise looking for this familiar formula will appreciate Declan Shalvey’s script and art, complemented by Andrea Broccardo’s contributions. While the series doesn’t yet achieve groundbreaking status, it holds potential and could evolve into a more nuanced and compelling story as it progresses.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #40

In “The Amazing Spider-Man #40,” the storyline transitions smoothly into the middle phase of the ongoing event, skillfully balancing action with strategic narrative developments. This issue effectively introduces new alliances, phases out less critical characters, and sets the stage for the 2024 climax. The dynamic between Spider-Man and Tombstone provides a mix of humor and tension, enhancing the story’s appeal. The inclusion of C-list villains adds depth to the action sequences. Each new character introduced feels significant and contributes meaningfully to the buildup of larger plot elements. The artwork by Romita, particularly in the portrayal of gangland battles and the introduction of new villains, adds a captivating visual element. His illustrations of wide-scale brawls and looming antagonists underscore the appeal of Marvel’s New York City setting. “Gang War” continues to be an engaging and entertaining storyline within the “Amazing Spider-Man” series, promising more exciting developments and chaotic encounters.

ASTONISHING ICEMAN #5

“Astonishing Iceman #5” concludes its series on a strong note, effectively bringing Iceman’s character arc full circle and preparing him for future endeavors. Steve Orlando has successfully highlighted Iceman’s humor and family dynamics throughout the series. This final issue emphasizes Bobby’s selflessness and newfound courage following the events of the Hellfire Gala. The Cleaner emerges as a formidable and deadly adversary, a fact vividly depicted through the artwork of Vincenzo Carratu and Java Tartaglia, especially in the climactic battle scenes. While the inclusion of lengthy emails and memos, particularly one that recaps the series, might seem excessive, this minor issue doesn’t significantly detract from the overall narrative. The series not only sets the stage for Iceman’s upcoming adventures but also serves as an accessible entry point for new readers.

CAPWOLF & THE HOWLING COMMANDOS #3

By the third issue, “Capwolf & the Howling Commandos” appears to be losing momentum, with the story largely treading water. While Phillips delves into the backstory of the antagonist Ros, the exploration feels superficial, lacking in depth and failing to drive the narrative forward. However, Magno’s dynamic artwork shines during action sequences, delivering impressively depicted combat scenes. Despite these visually striking moments, the character development of Capwolf remains somewhat stagnant and underwhelming. The series struggles to maintain a compelling pace and depth, with the latest issue feeling particularly static in terms of overall story progression.

DAREDEVIL: BLACK ARMOR #2

In “Daredevil: Black Armor #2,” readers revisit Daredevil’s armored era, with a twist involving notable Marvel characters. Spider-Man joins as a witty conversational counterpart, while Sabretooth and Hobgoblin emerge as formidable adversaries. However, the central conflict intriguingly revolves around Matt Murdock’s confrontation with Baron Von Strucker. This nostalgic journey back into a specific period in the Marvel Universe demonstrates the creative potential of integrating new stories into established timelines. The issue explores how past events can be recontextualized and expanded upon, offering fresh perspectives on familiar narratives and characters.

DOCTOR STRANGE #10

The conclusion of the first arc in this expansive Doctor Strange narrative sees Stephen Strange taking an expected moral high ground. The artistic team, Ferry and Moore, employ a psychedelic style to match the multi-dimensional nature of the story. Despite their efforts to create a visually immersive experience, some panels suffer from less refined line work and shading, momentarily disrupting the reader’s engagement with the story. These moments of inconsistency in the artwork occasionally detract from the otherwise captivating narrative and visual spectacle that the series aims to deliver.

G.O.D.S. #3

“G.O.D.S. #3” continues to impress with its emphasis on character-driven dialogue and exploration of cosmic power dynamics in the Marvel Universe. The issue balances various narrative threads, from Wyn’s breakup with Aiko in the first issue to Mia DiMaria’s recruitment in the second. The third installment intertwines Mia’s interactions with Dimitri and introduces Amelia, the last true Cassandra, whose role is more instrumental to the plot than character-driven. Amelia’s tragic inability to prevent the foreseen destruction adds depth to the story. Jonathan Hickman’s script is infused with subtle humor and humanity, preventing the extensive worldbuilding from becoming overwhelming. Valerio Schiti’s dynamic linework, combined with Mart Gracia’s coloring, ensures the issue is vibrant and energetic. The series skillfully unfolds its complex mysteries in a way that captivates readers, promising a compelling journey through its intricate narrative landscape.

THE INCREDIBLE HULK #7

“The Incredible Hulk #7” takes the collaboration between Hulk and Ghost Rider to new heights, delivering a story that is as exhilarating as one would expect from such a pairing. The narrative captures the essence of both characters, combining the Hulk’s raw power with Ghost Rider’s supernatural intensity. This issue is characterized by a grim and gory spectacle, perfectly aligning with the established personas of these beloved Marvel characters. The storytelling and artwork synergize to create an experience that is not only visually striking but also narratively satisfying for fans of both the Hulk and Ghost Rider.

THE ORIGINAL X-MEN #1

In “The Original X-Men #1,” the challenge of reinvigorating Marvel’s first five mutants after six decades of storytelling is evident. This latest iteration struggles to add anything substantially new or engaging to the rich history of these characters. Despite the efforts to revisit the origins and exploits of these foundational members of the X-Men, the issue falls short of providing fresh insights or compelling twists that could justify another return to their early days. The narrative appears to tread familiar ground, leaving readers questioning the necessity of this addition to the X-Men’s extensive lore.

SPIDER-BOY #2

“Spider-Boy #2” showcases the character’s rapid and impressive growth since his reintroduction. His adventures alongside Spider-Man have been enjoyable, but his interactions with the broader Marvel universe truly highlight his potential. In this issue, Spider-Boy teams up with Captain America and Squirrel Girl in two separate stories, each offering a platform for his unique personality and charm to shine. Writer Dan Slott successfully develops Bailey as an engaging character, distinct from Spider-Man while still sharing certain similarities. The interactions with other heroes bring out the best in Spider-Boy, a facet beautifully captured by the artistic teams of Paco Medina and Erick Arciniega, and Ty Templeton and Dee Cunniffe. The artwork across both stories is outstanding, enhancing the narrative’s emotional depth and festive atmosphere. The touching conclusions of these stories make “Spider-Boy #2” a delightful read for fans and potentially a convincing introduction for new readers to the character’s appealing qualities.

SPINE-TINGLING SPIDER-MAN #3

In “Spine-Tingling Spider-Man #3,” Saladin Ahmed takes the narrative in unexpected and engaging directions, building on the solid foundation of the previous issue. This installment is filled with twists that keep both Peter Parker and the readers on their toes, creating a sense of suspense and mystery around the central antagonist and their intricate plans. Even when elements of the plot seem apparent, there are layers of complexity and surprise. The eerie atmosphere is amplified by the artwork of Juan Ferreyra and the lettering of Joe Caramagna, enhancing the comic’s ominous tone. Ferreyra’s brief but impactful portrayal of Spider-Man is particularly noteworthy, capturing the essence of the character in a visually stunning manner. This issue sets the stage for an enthralling horror-themed adventure in the Spider-Man universe, leaving readers eagerly anticipating the developments in issue #4.

STAR WARS: DARTH VADER #41

“Star Wars: Darth Vader #41” initially teases Darth Vader’s infection by the Scourge, but quickly reveals it as a ruse for his own strategic purposes. The issue unfolds into a chaotic sequence of exploding droids and battling troopers, culminating in a somewhat anticlimactic finale. This installment underscores a fundamental problem with the “Dark Droids” event: the lack of compelling stakes and a somewhat uninteresting antagonist. Despite being a sprawling storyline, it fails to significantly impact the overarching narrative of the original trilogy. The issue suggests that a different storyline, possibly allowing Vader to sidestep the “Dark Droids” crossover, might have been more satisfying, as the current plot doesn’t add much to the character’s legacy or the Star Wars universe.

SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #2

“Superior Spider-Man #2” struggles to fully realize its potential, evident in the minimal appearance of the titular character by only the second issue. The concept of Doctor Octopus and Peter Parker working together presents intriguing possibilities, yet the execution falls short. The main villain of the series is criticized for being one-dimensional, overshadowing the potentially complex dynamics between Octopus and Parker. Additionally, the narrative seems to focus more on Spider-Boy, further diluting the spotlight on the main characters. While the series has the potential to delve into fascinating character interactions and plot developments, it has yet to achieve this, indicating room for improvement in future issues.

UNCANNY AVENGERS #5

“Uncanny Avengers #5” concludes with an underwhelming finale that fails to fully deliver on the narrative expectations set by the series. Gerry Duggan’s vision for this volume, initially poised as a significant response to the Hellfire Gala massacre, ultimately feels more like a transitional piece than a conclusive chapter. While the story acts as a bridge to future events, it doesn’t effectively address or resolve the themes introduced by its predecessor. Despite this narrative shortfall, Javier Garrón’s artwork shines, particularly in a standout action sequence that is further enhanced by Morry Hollowell’s coloring. This visually creative moment is a highlight in an otherwise disappointing conclusion. The series, in the end, seems to serve more as a narrative device for moving characters and plot points into position for subsequent stories, rather than a compelling and self-contained exploration of the events following the Hellfire Gala.

UNCANNY SPIDER-MAN #5

“Uncanny Spider-Man #5” stands as a poignant and effective conclusion to a long-running Nightcrawler narrative woven throughout recent X-Men comics. This issue acts as both a climax for Nightcrawler’s storyline in the “Fall of X” and a resolution to the Hound threat, featuring numerous clever plot twists that encapsulate the character’s spirit. The story concludes with a series of epilogues reminiscent of “Lord of the Rings,” each grounded in the extensive backstory developed in “Uncanny Spider-Man.” These final moments provide a heartfelt farewell to the character’s journey, effectively wrapping up major story arcs. The narrative has consistently tested Kurt Wagner’s optimistic faith, ultimately reaffirming his importance and the hopeful perspective he offers to readers. The issue manages to deliver a satisfying, though somewhat rushed, culmination to years of storytelling centered around Nightcrawler.

WOLVERINE #40

“Wolverine #40” features a team-up with Spider-Man, a typically engaging pairing, but takes an unconventional turn by setting much of the story in an aerial dogfight in Earth’s upper atmosphere. This setting is peculiar for both characters, who are not traditionally associated with such environments, but it does provide an opportunity for introspective moments from Wolverine. The issue hints at a return to the central plot of the “Fall of X,” suggesting an end to Wolverine’s series of monthly team-ups. While the aerial setting might seem like an odd choice, it serves as a transition back to the main storyline, potentially laying the groundwork for more focused and character-appropriate adventures in future issues.

ANIMAL POUND #1

“Animal Pound #1” offers a fresh and modern interpretation of George Orwell’s classic, “Animal Farm.” Crafted by writer Tom King and artist Peter Gross, the miniseries retains the fable-like essence of the original while embedding it within a contemporary political allegory. Set in an animal pound where domesticated pets like cats, dogs, and rabbits face adoption or euthanasia, the story introduces a clear class structure among the animals and their human keepers. The first issue focuses on a broadly defined revolution, abstaining from diving into specific details. Its charm lies in the storytelling of this uprising and the realistically grounded visuals, setting expectations for deeper literary ambitions to unfold in subsequent issues. The series promises to explore complex themes through the lens of this unique and allegorical setting.

BOREALIS #1

“Borealis #1” attempts to weave a complex narrative involving a native Alaskan police officer, Osha, returning home after a botched undercover operation. The story ambitiously tackles themes of addiction, murder, community corruption, and supernatural elements, but the sheer breadth of these themes within a single issue leads to a convoluted and overwhelming narrative. The multiple timelines and profusion of characters contribute to this complexity, making it challenging to keep track of the story. Despite the creative team’s efforts to portray each sequence with clarity, the character development, particularly of Osha, falls short, leaning towards caricature rather than a nuanced portrayal. The exaggerated interactions, such as with her grandmother, and unrealistic scenarios, like surviving a three-floor fall, add to the narrative’s lack of authenticity. The first issue of “Borealis” struggles to establish a compelling story hook, leaving readers with a muddled impression. Future issues may provide the necessary space for the story to develop more cohesively.

THE DEVIANT #2

“The Deviant #2” showcases writer James Tynion IV’s exceptional storytelling skills. The narrative immerses readers in an unsettling yet captivating world, where the protagonist’s experiences are so vividly portrayed that they evoke a strong empathetic response. The supporting characters, while reminiscent of familiar archetypes, are written and designed to fit seamlessly into this specific story. Hixson’s artwork skillfully balances feelings of comfort and discomfort, a testament to the artist’s ability to navigate complex emotional landscapes. The overall presentation of “The Deviant” is a testament to the collaborative excellence of the creative team, making it a standout contribution to the genre. The comic successfully engages readers with its eerie atmosphere and deeply resonant character dynamics.

GEIGER: GROUND ZERO #2

“Geiger: Ground Zero #2” effectively concludes the current chapter of the Ghost Machine story, while simultaneously setting the stage for the expansion of its universe. The issue delves deeper into the characters of Molotov and Geiger, exploring their collaborative efforts and the eventual erosion of their trust. This exploration adds depth to their relationship and enriches the narrative. Additionally, the inclusion of a Junkyard Joe short story in the epilogue offers a bonus treat for readers, providing extra content that complements the main story and enhances the overall reading experience.

GODZILLA: WAR FOR HUMANITY #3

In “Godzilla: War for Humanity #3,” the pace accelerates, showcasing some of the series’ most impressive imagery and action sequences. The issue is filled with a diverse array of kaiju, including a trio of monsters attacking Tokyo and the reappearance of two iconic flying kaiju, along with Godzilla and Minilla. The comic dedicates ample space to sprawling spreads and splash pages that vividly depict the destruction caused by the kaiju and the crumbling urban landscapes. However, the narrative coherence suffers as a result of the focus on action. Key plot points and character decisions seem to be driven more by convenience than logic, such as a scientist’s abrupt decision to kidnap Godzilla’s child and a team of scientists overlooking crucial information. While the series has established a tone that accommodates a degree of silliness, this issue arguably stretches it too thin, compromising the story’s overall believability.

KILL YOUR DARLINGS #4

Issue #4 of “Kill Your Darlings” introduces additional narrative twists, though their effectiveness remains uncertain. The focus on Rose’s troubled childhood and her mother’s neglect adds a new layer to the story, but it’s unclear whether this represents a retcon or a distorted reflection of Rose’s childhood memories. The issue also advances the plot surrounding the entity possessing Elliot, revealing its capabilities in both the imaginary and real worlds. A twist in the final panels suggests that Elliot is under the control of a higher power, adding another layer of intrigue. While the story risks veering into clichéd territory, it has so far managed to navigate these tropes without undermining the overall quality of the narrative. The series continues to engage readers with its mix of psychological and supernatural elements, maintaining interest in how these developments will play out in future issues.

LOTUS LAND #2

“Lotus Land #2,” created by Darcy Van Poelgeest and Caio Filipe, builds upon the intriguing world established in its first issue, enriching the narrative and allowing the setting to flourish. The artwork is particularly striking, evoking a Blade Runner-esque aesthetic that leaps off the page. The protagonist, Strikman, is portrayed as a classic, tough noir detective, yet his role as a concerned father adds a compelling layer to his character, enriching the story beyond typical genre conventions. This issue impresses with its well-crafted character development and engaging plot twists. Additionally, the comic book cover of this issue stands out as a highlight, earning special recognition for its creative design and visual appeal.

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: FORGE OF DESTINY #4

The concluding issue of “Masters of the Universe: Forge of Destiny,” penned by Tim Seeley, delivers a satisfying finale with a mix of character-driven moments and dynamic action. Artist Eddie Nunez showcases his talent through the energetic and fluid depiction of the action sequences. However, it’s color artist Brad Simpson who truly shines in this issue, adding depth and emotion to each scene with his skillful use of color to enhance the narrative’s mood and tone. Simpson’s work in coloring plays a crucial role in bringing the story’s dramatic beats to life, highlighting the emotions and elevating the overall visual experience of the comic.

NEWBURN #13

“Newburn #13,” aptly titled “The Man with the Plan,” brings together the intricate plots and hidden secrets of the series into a dramatic and revealing climax. The issue underscores the untouchable yet vulnerable nature of Easton Newburn, particularly as those close to him are endangered. The story is compellingly told from Emily’s perspective, offering a fresh insight into Newburn’s world as she uncovers his secrets and faces violence linked to his past deeds. Her evolving understanding of Newburn parallels the readers’, creating a tense and engaging narrative. The issue effectively portrays Newburn’s character through his actions and dialogue amidst escalating chaos, culminating in a final panel that leaves readers pondering his motivations. As a culmination of the series’ previous 12 issues, “Newburn #13” emerges as a nuanced crime saga that pays off its subtle storytelling with a profound character study and narrative resolution.

RARE FLAVOURS #3

“Rare Flavours #3” continues the culinary journey of Rubin and Mo, but this time with an unexpected twist that challenges their newfound comfort. The issue delves into the preparation of raan, a mutton dish that symbolizes the importance of time and careful attention in cooking. This culinary theme elegantly mirrors Rubin’s perspective and his appreciation for humanity’s diverse cultures. The narrative skillfully balances subtlety and complexity, intertwining Rubin’s monstrous secret with empathetic storytelling. Despite the violent and surprising developments in the plot, the issue maintains a focus on character development and the deeper meanings behind their culinary adventures. “Rare Flavours” promises a continuous exploration of discovery, refusing to settle and constantly evolving its narrative.

SHIFT #1

“Shift #1” offers fans of the “Radiant Black” universe a deeper look into the origin and evolution of the character Shift. Split into five chapters, the one-shot comic navigates through different periods in Shift’s life, from his days as a mercenary to his transformation into a Radiant-powered supervillain. Writer Kyle Higgins weaves a story rich in intrigue, incorporating elements reminiscent of heist narratives. The collaboration of various artists, colorists, and letterers brings diverse styles and personalities to each chapter, while maintaining a cohesive aesthetic. Particularly notable is the reunion of the creative team of Higgins, Daniele Di Nicuolo, and Walter Baiamonte, who set the stage for significant developments in Shift’s story. This issue is essential for fans of the franchise, offering a compelling exploration of one of its most intriguing characters.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #146

As writer Sophie Campbell nears the conclusion of her tenure on “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” she crafts a storyline filled with boundless possibilities. This issue immerses readers in a world where the Turtles are familiar with magic, time travel, and face an interdimensional shark monster threatening reality, with Donatello at the center of the chaos. While the issue has to navigate the complexities of explaining these fantastical elements and aligning the present heroes with their future selves, it remains engaging. Artist Vincenzo Federici brings to life Campbell’s ambitious and imaginative ideas with dynamic and compelling visuals. The journey towards “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #150” is shaping up to be an enthralling adventure, filled with unexpected twists and creative storytelling.

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