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/SUPERMAN: WORLD'S FINEST #23
In this issue, Waid and Mora continue their thrilling crossover between Batman and Superman, blending elements from both heroes’ past and future. This installment of ‘World’s Finest’ solidifies its status as a top-tier offering in DC Comics’ superhero lineup. The narrative escalates the stakes higher than ever before, delivering a story that is both grand in scale and rich in detail. Mora’s artwork is a standout, with dynamic visuals that leap off the page, bringing the action to life in a way that is both vivid and immersive. The attention to detail in each panel, from the expressive character designs to the intricate backgrounds, adds depth and excitement to the story. The anticipation for the series’ release in the omnibus format is high, as it promises to be the ideal format to showcase these iconic characters and their epic adventures. ‘Batman/Superman: World’s Finest’ remains a must-read for all superhero enthusiasts, consistently delivering quality storytelling and stunning visuals that set it apart in the comic book landscape.
Issue #61 of ‘Catwoman’ marks a high point in the “Nine Lives” arc, showcasing Tini Howard’s exceptional storytelling skills. Howard’s script perfectly captures Selina Kyle’s mindset, elevating the narrative stakes beyond mere physical confrontations with villains. The issue delves into more intense and poignant themes, reflecting the complexities of Catwoman’s character and her journey. Stefano Raffaele’s artistry aligns seamlessly with the tone of the series, particularly in rendering the more grotesque and visually striking elements of this issue. His ability to convey emotion and tension through visual storytelling enhances the impact of the narrative. The issue’s engrossing nature not only heightens anticipation for the remaining arc but also generates excitement for Catwoman’s future adventures. It’s a testament to the creative team’s ability to evolve the character and her world, keeping readers eagerly awaiting each new development.
GREEN LANTERN: WAR JOURNAL #5
In ‘Green Lantern: War Journal #5’, the focus on John Stewart brings a unique and humanizing perspective to the Green Lantern saga. While it may not be the definitive Green Lantern story, it is shaping up to be a standout narrative for John Stewart. Johnson and Montos excel in portraying Stewart’s personal moments, particularly those involving his elderly mother, adding emotional depth to the character. This approach not only tugs at the heartstrings but also highlights what makes John distinct in the Green Lantern Corps. The issue explores new dimensions of Green Lantern’s powers, prompting intriguing questions about the limits and potential of these abilities. Although the Revenant Queen storyline could be stronger, the emotional core of the series remains compelling, driven by a deep exploration of John Stewart’s character. The series excels in showcasing the versatility and depth of Green Lantern’s world, making it a notable addition to the Green Lantern canon.
JAY GARRICK: THE FLASH #4
In the fourth issue of ‘Jay Garrick: The Flash,’ Adams and Olortegui continue to explore the roots of the original Scarlet Speedster. The narrative attempts to inject innovation by retconning elements of Jay Garrick’s backstory. However, the execution is not without its challenges. The series sometimes gets bogged down in its own dialogue, which can detract from the pacing and clarity of the story. Additionally, the comic leans heavily on standard superhero tropes, which can feel overly familiar and lessen the impact of the narrative. The story includes numerous subplots and characters, which, while ambitious, can lead to some of the more compelling elements, such as Jay’s family dynamics, getting lost or underdeveloped amidst the numerous story threads. A persistent critique in this issue is Olortegui’s handling of all the art. While the artwork is competent, the suggestion of using a different artist for depicting past events could have enhanced the storytelling by visually differentiating between timelines. While ‘Jay Garrick: The Flash’ may not match the pace and intrigue of Adams’ work with Wally West, it does have its moments of brilliance and excitement, making it a worthwhile read for fans of the character.
JOHN CONSTANTINE, HELLBLAZER: DEAD IN AMERICA #1
‘Dead in America #1’ opens a new chapter in the saga of John Constantine with a story teeming with potential. The issue expertly lays out the foundation for a rich narrative, showcasing an intriguing mix of characters, dynamics, settings, and thematic elements. The storyline follows Constantine’s mostly-dead journey across the United States, promising a series of encounters that are poised to challenge and possibly redefine perceptions of the nation. The comic combines humor and style in a way that is quintessentially Hellblazer, hinting at the dark and unsettling revelations to come. If the series follows the trajectory of past Hellblazer successes, readers can expect a story that delves deeply into the murky and complex world of Constantine, filled with surprises and thought-provoking twists.
JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. GODZILLA VS. KONG #4
Issue #4 of ‘Justice League vs. Godzilla vs. Kong’ continues to deliver the colossal spectacle and tension expected from a Kaiju-infused DC Universe. The depiction of Godzilla and other massive creatures battling the Justice League has been a highlight, showcasing impressive scale and action. However, this issue shifts focus, which somewhat diminishes the story’s momentum. The early emphasis on Superman’s current predicament and its impact on other characters feels somewhat disconnected, with dialogue and artwork that occasionally feel overdone and detract from the story’s immersion. The primary monster battle of the issue starts slowly and only finds its stride towards the end. Notably, the interactions involving Kong and Green Arrow stand out, capturing both the emotional depth and the dramatic impact that some other sections lack. Despite some setbacks in this issue, the series as a whole has been engaging and entertaining. The anticipation for what chaos and excitement issue #5 might bring keeps the readers’ interest piqued, suggesting that the series still has much to offer in its upcoming installments.
Issue #110 of ‘Nightwing’ interweaves the ongoing “Beast World” event into its narrative, introducing a new supervillain to Dick Grayson’s roster and featuring a touching appearance by Damian Wayne. The issue’s standout achievement lies in its skillful integration of the “Beast World” concept, especially the backstory of Apex Ava, which is presented succinctly, allowing the story to progress smoothly. Following these introductions, the plot unfolds with Nightwing teaming up with Jon Kent, offering a familiar yet engaging partnership dynamic. However, the true emotional core of this issue is the interaction between Dick and Damian. The exploration of their relationship, combined with Damian’s affinity for animals, adds layers of sentiment and depth to the story. Sami Basri’s artistry shines, particularly in capturing the nuanced expressions that range from humor to deep emotion, highlighting Damian’s internal struggle. Despite a somewhat didactic ending that feels akin to an afterschool special, ‘Nightwing #110’ succeeds in delivering a blend of charm, action, and humor, making it a delightful and meaningful addition to the series.
In ‘Superman #10’, the series continues to weave a tapestry of intriguing storylines, with a particular focus on the enigmatic character, Marilyn Moonlight. Introduced with a captivating design and mysterious powers, Moonlight’s sparse yet impactful appearances have steadily built anticipation. This issue, penned by Joshua Williamson, starts to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding her, striking a balance between revealing key details and maintaining an air of intrigue. The old west setting not only provides a visually engaging backdrop but also creates opportunities for character-driven moments, which Williamson skillfully exploits. Artist Bruno Redondo and colorist Adriano Lucas excel in bringing the unique combination of Moonlight and an old-west themed Superman to life, with visuals that are both striking and fitting for the narrative. Ariana Maher’s expert lettering ties the visual elements together seamlessly. The issue concludes with an exhilarating cliffhanger, making ‘Superman #10’ a standout issue that not only captivates but also leaves readers eagerly awaiting what comes next.
SUPERMAN: LOST #10
The tenth issue of ‘Superman: Lost’ illustrates the series’ struggle to balance ambitious concepts with effective execution. As the series culminates, the intertwining of previously sidelined Senate subplots and time-travel twists feels more like a hasty reset than a necessary conclusion, given the miniseries’ standalone nature outside the main continuity. The narrative demands a significant level of attention to connect the rapidly presented dots in its finale, which can be more taxing than engaging. Although the issue aims to explore grand themes like hope and purpose, it falls short in delivering these messages in a clear or compelling manner. The saving grace of ‘Superman: Lost #10’ lies in its visual presentation. Artists Carlo Pagulayan, José Luis, and their team of inkers imbue each scene with a visual splendor that often overshadows the story itself. Despite the story’s disjointed and confusing nature, the artwork provides a level of impact and engagement that the narrative struggles to achieve. ‘Superman: Lost’ might be better appreciated as a collected work, but as a standalone finale, it struggles to fully realize its ambitious narrative goals.
‘Titans #7’ serves as a tie-in to the “Beast World” event, balancing its role within the larger narrative effectively. The issue addresses key plot developments, explaining the restoration of certain characters and the absence of others, pivotal for understanding the event’s progression. Tom Taylor skillfully reveals crucial connections involving Brother Eternity, both his role in initiating the “Beast World” event and his current situation. While this issue isn’t strictly essential for following the main storyline—editor’s notes in subsequent chapters could suffice for catching up—it enriches the overall experience with important context and details. The interactions among the Titans, particularly discussions about Nightwing, are exceptionally well-written, offering moments of levity and character depth. Starfire and Raven notably shine in several scenes, their characterizations adding layers to the narrative. The art by Travis Moore and Tamra Bonvillain enhances these moments, particularly in scenes involving “Foxwing,” with a blend of dynamic action and expressive character work. While not mandatory for following the “Beast World” event, ‘Titans #7’ offers significant insights and enjoyable content, making it a worthwhile read for fans of the series and the event.
WONDER WOMAN #5
Issue #5 of ‘Wonder Woman’ is predominantly a setup chapter, and it underscores a recurring challenge in Tom King’s writing style when applied to serialized storytelling. King’s narratives often fare better when consumed as a complete story rather than in piecemeal fashion. This issue suffers from pacing issues and a sense of directionlessness, suggesting a lack of clarity in the overarching story being told. Additionally, King’s portrayal of the Wonder Girls is criticized for lacking authenticity and depth, detracting from the overall quality of the narrative. The issue concludes with a mix of unconventional character appearances and heavy narration, which, while potentially intriguing, don’t necessarily compensate for the storytelling weaknesses. However, the redeeming feature of this issue is the art by Sampere. Described as “museum quality,” Sampere’s artwork elevates the comic, offering visually stunning scenes that provide a level of enjoyment and engagement that the narrative itself struggles to achieve.
The third issue of ‘Alien’ continues to evolve the series, successfully blending visually striking horror elements with a solid emotional foundation. Declan Shalvey’s script adeptly navigates between various events, maintaining a tense and engaging narrative flow. The artwork by Shalvey and Andrea Broccardo is effective in capturing both the brutal nature of the Alien universe and the human elements within the story. Although the combination of horror and emotion is well-executed, the overall presentation can occasionally feel disorienting, suggesting room for further refinement in balancing these aspects. This issue showcases the series’ potential, hinting at a rich and compelling storyline that could unfold in future installments. ‘Alien #3′ marks a promising step in the series’ development, indicating that it has the capability to grow into a standout title within its genre.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #42
In ‘The Amazing Spider-Man #42′, the “Gang War” storyline seems to be losing steam as it prepares for its final act. The resolution of key events in this issue appears somewhat anticlimactic, with major confrontations and plot developments wrapping up without much impact or tension. This creates a sense of stalling, particularly given the focus of the past two issues on a buildup that doesn’t quite deliver. Spider-Man himself comments on this narrative stalling within the issue, reflecting the readers’ potential frustrations. While Romita’s return brings a classic touch to characters like Kingpin and Typhoid Mary, and includes the issue’s standout comedic moments, his artwork is less effective in extended dialogue scenes. This is particularly noticeable in sequences involving Madame Masque, whose expressionless mask limits the emotional range of these panels. Despite these challenges, the issue maintains a certain vibrancy thanks to the character dynamics and visual style. Readers may be left hoping for a resurgence of the earlier momentum and a more fulfilling conclusion in the upcoming ‘Amazing Spider-Man #43’.
AVENGERS: TWILIGHT #1
‘Avengers: Twilight #1’ ventures into dystopian storytelling but struggles to find its footing. Dystopian narratives often excel when they offer cautionary reflections of societal issues or reveal core truths about their characters amidst a decaying world. However, this issue seems to falter in both respects, lacking a clear sense of purpose or direction. The potential for a compelling story is there, especially given the creative team’s capabilities, but this opening chapter falls short of the expectations for a high-profile limited series. The story needs a stronger thematic focus and more defined character arcs to fully engage readers and live up to its premise. The issue’s inability to effectively convey either a poignant societal message or a deeper exploration of its heroes leaves it feeling somewhat underwhelming as the start of what could be a significant series in the Avengers canon.
BLACK PANTHER #8
In ‘Black Panther #8′, Al Ewing’s narrative shifts focus to a more personal exploration of T’Challa, distinct from his roles as a king or leader. This approach brings a fresh perspective to the character, particularly as he faces the challenge of being stripped of his powers. This storyline presents an intriguing development for T’Challa, allowing for a deeper and more humanizing portrayal. By focusing on the man behind the mantle, Ewing is able to make T’Challa more relatable and engaging. While the overall plot might not be as tightly woven as in the series’ early stages, the character-driven approach adds a compelling depth to T’Challa’s journey. This focus on character over plot results in a narrative that not only provides new insights into T’Challa but also enriches the Black Panther mythos by exploring the hero’s resilience and adaptability in the face of adversity.
In ‘Cable #1’, the primary challenge lies in distinguishing and synergizing the two lead characters, Nate and Nathan, who are alternate timeline versions of each other. The comic skillfully navigates this challenge by creating distinct yet relatable personalities for both. Nate and Nathan share common ground due to their shared experiences, which provides a sense of continuity and familiarity. However, their portrayal avoids the pitfall of making them merely generational echoes of one another. Instead, they are crafted as unique individuals with their own perspectives and approaches, reflective of their different timelines. The nuanced characterization is a testament to the creative team’s focus on these characters, ensuring that their interactions and growth are central to the story. This attention to character development is a significant strength of the series, setting it apart from typical time-travel or alternate reality narratives. By achieving a balance between similarity and contrast, ‘Cable #1’ presents a compelling dynamic between Nate and Nathan, offering a fresh take on the complexities of characters who share a lineage across different timelines.
CAPWOLF & THE HOWLING COMMANDOS #4
Issue #4 of ‘Capwolf & The Howling Commandos’ brings Captain America’s werewolf saga to a climactic close. The issue showcases an intense battle between Capwolf and another werewolf, with the artwork vividly depicting the raw brutality inherent in these supernatural transformations. The visual portrayal of these fights highlights the ferocity and physicality of the characters, adding a visceral layer to the narrative. Dum Dum Dugan is given a prominent role alongside a romantic subplot, adding depth to his character and providing a humanizing element amidst the supernatural action. However, the issue seems to falter in its depiction of the villains, who come across as somewhat unmemorable and lacking in depth. This oversight in villain development may detract from the overall impact of the story. Despite this, the comic succeeds in delivering an action-packed and visually striking conclusion to Captain America’s unusual and adventurous stint as a werewolf.
‘Daredevil #5’ continues the “Seven Deadly Sins” arc, focusing on She-Hulk’s struggle with the sin of gluttony. The narrative unfolds in a way that allows the reader to discern the nature of the conflict before Daredevil does, adding an element of dramatic irony to the story. While this may reduce the suspense, it also provides an interesting narrative perspective. The physical confrontation between Daredevil and a gluttony-possessed She-Hulk, though brief, is depicted as an engaging and dynamic battle. The clash not only showcases their physical prowess but also highlights the emotional and psychological stakes of the arc. The issue seems to prioritize character interaction and thematic exploration over extended action sequences, which could be a point of contention for some readers seeking more elaborate fight scenes. Nonetheless, the issue’s approach to the “Seven Deadly Sins” theme adds a layer of depth to the narrative, making it a noteworthy installment in the Daredevil series.
FANTASTIC FOUR #16
In ‘Fantastic Four #16′, the focus shifts to a different quartet – the four children residing in Aunt Petunia’s old home. This issue cleverly combines homework hijinks with a touch of scientific history, surpassing expectations set by its seemingly straightforward premise. The children’s attempt to create a universal solvent leads to a series of cause-and-effect scenarios, artfully providing each child with a moment to shine and establish their role within the family dynamic. This narrative choice delivers a heartwarming and entertaining exploration of family relationships, all while playfully engaging with familiar high school tropes. The adventure is both delightful and resonant, emphasizing the familial bonds that define the Fantastic Four universe. Artistically, the issue faces some challenges in consistently rendering The Thing, but overall, the visual presentation aligns well with the series’ tone and style. This issue stands out as a charming and well-executed standalone story that adeptly balances lighthearted fun with deeper themes of family and belonging.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #10
The penultimate issue of this ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ run shines a light on the series’ unfortunate impending conclusion. The defense of Grootspace sets the stage for a series of beautifully crafted and emotionally poignant character moments. Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing demonstrate a profound understanding of these characters, enriching the narrative with depth and authenticity. Kev Walker’s artistry complements the story’s cozy yet otherworldly atmosphere, particularly as the battle escalates in scale and intensity. The issue evokes a sense of heartbreak with the realization that this compelling Guardians story is nearing its end. However, there is also an anticipation for a powerful and memorable finale. The balance of character-driven storytelling and visually impactful art makes this issue a standout in the series and sets high expectations for its concluding chapter.
THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #14
Issue #14 of ‘The Invincible Iron Man’ continues Tony Stark’s foray into mutant-related drama, serving more as a bridge to future story arcs than a standalone narrative. Tony takes a somewhat secondary role in this issue, but his involvement is portrayed with a level of entertainment and wit that highlights Gerry Duggan’s strengths in dialogue and plot development. Andrea di Vito’s artwork is a mixed bag, delivering some visually impressive moments alongside others that feel awkwardly executed. Despite these inconsistencies, the art doesn’t significantly detract from the overall quality of the issue. This installment successfully piques interest in what lies ahead for Tony Stark, suggesting that intriguing developments and challenges are on the horizon. The issue effectively sets the stage for future storylines, leaving readers curious and eager to see how Iron Man will navigate the unfolding events.
‘Jackpot #1’ presents an interesting shift in the bustling “Gang War” landscape of New York, offering Mary Jane (MJ) Watson a more prominent role as Jackpot. Her persona and powers have been compelling in past portrayals, and this issue attempts to build on that foundation. Celeste Bronfman’s handling of the dynamic between MJ and Paul is a standout feature, particularly in their therapy scenes, which reveal depth and complexity in their relationship. These moments are some of the most engaging in the issue, and more focus on this aspect could have further enriched the story. MJ’s interactions with other heroes like She-Hulk add another layer of intrigue to the narrative. However, certain dialogue choices for MJ disrupt the flow of the story, particularly in key sequences that set the tone for the issue. The art team, consisting of Joey Vazquez, Eric Gapstur, Edgar Delgado, and Erick Arciniega, delivers stunning action sequences, with Electro’s scenes being particularly noteworthy. Despite the impressive artwork, this iteration of Jackpot struggles to fully resonate, leaving a desire for more exploration of MJ and Paul’s everyday life challenges outside of the Jackpot persona. The issue shows potential for Jackpot’s character development but falls short in advancing her narrative in a meaningful way.
MIGUEL O'HARA: SPIDER-MAN 2099 #3
In ‘Miguel O’Hara: Spider-Man 2099 #3’, the storyline introduces Werewolf by Night 2099, portrayed as Creighton Russoff, who inherits his family’s lycanthropic curse. This character’s transformation is triggered by a traumatic event, and he subsequently becomes an unwilling pawn of a malevolent corporation. The narrative explores the dynamics between Werewolf by Night and Spider-Man 2099, with the latter recognizing the manipulation and deception surrounding Werewolf by Night. This realization paves the way for potential future alliances and appearances of Werewolf by Night in upcoming 2099 storylines. The issue sets a clear foundation for this character, hinting at deeper explorations and developments in future installments of the 2099 universe.
MIRACLEMAN BY GAIMAN & BUCKINGHAM: THE SILVER AGE #7
‘Miracleman: The Silver Age #7’ concludes the miniseries focused on Dickie Dauntless, formerly Young Miracleman. Gaiman and Buckingham craft a narrative that, in retrospect, seems predictably aligned with classic paradigms of paradise and its inherent challenges. Miracleman’s creation of a utopian Earth and his self-proclaimed godlike status inevitably lead to the need for an opposing force, a role that Dickie gradually assumes. The storytelling prowess of Gaiman and Buckingham shines throughout the series, maintaining engagement and suspense even as the ending becomes apparent. The artistry of the issue, particularly the use of two-page spreads, underscores the gravity of Miracleman’s position and the gradual shift in his relationship with Dickie. The nuanced panel compositions subtly portray the evolving power dynamics, elevating the story beyond a typical superhero deconstruction. The series, conceived before the post-Authority era of superhero narratives, stands out for its thoughtful and innovative approach. The final pages set the stage for the concluding chapter of Gaiman and Buckingham’s Miracleman saga, leaving readers in anticipation and speculation about the ultimate resolution of this complex and layered story.
WHITE WIDOW #3
‘White Widow #3’ continues to excel in its portrayal of Yelena Belova, raising the standard for her as a solo character. The series, regretfully a four-issue mini, blends humor and action seamlessly, a formula that has proven effective in previous issues and continues to shine here. The combat scenes are brisk and engaging, complemented by a monologue that adds a light-hearted, breezy quality to the narrative. This combination results in an issue that is as enjoyable as its predecessors, providing a balanced and entertaining reading experience. The series demonstrates a strong understanding of Yelena’s character, presenting her in a way that’s both true to her roots and fresh for current audiences. The regret that the series is limited to a mini run is a testament to its success in developing Yelena’s character and delivering a compelling story.
In ‘X-Men #30′, as the team gears up for their ultimate confrontation with Orchis, the story shifts its focus to the compelling romance between Synch and Talon. This subplot, which has been one of the most rewarding narratives of the Krakoa-era, takes center stage. The issue balances advancing the overarching storyline with deepening the relationship between Synch and Talon, including parallels with another iconic mutant romance. For newcomers, there’s a brief recap of the pair’s history, while long-time readers will appreciate the continuity and depth of their relationship. Their mission against one of Orchis’ formidable weapons serves as the backdrop for both action-packed and humorous moments. Phil Noto’s artistry, characterized by its soft and humanizing style, complements the emotional depth of the story, particularly evident in the cliffhanger ending. The issue skillfully intertwines personal narratives with larger plot developments, making it a standout installment in the series.
ARMY OF DARKNESS FOREVER #4
Tony Fleecs’ work on ‘Army of Darkness Forever #4’ showcases his innovative approach to storytelling within the franchise. His narrative style is characterized by its unpredictability, consistently taking unexpected turns and maintaining a dynamic pace. This approach works exceptionally well in balancing the three distinct plotlines that run through the series. Artist Justin Greenwood, along with colorist Brad Simpson, brings a unique visual flair to the comic that resonates with fans of the ‘Army of Darkness’ franchise. Their artwork captures the essence of the series while adding a fresh perspective. The combined efforts of Fleecs, Greenwood, and Simpson could position this series as one of the most creatively ambitious and engaging iterations of ‘Army of Darkness’ yet. Their ability to keep the readers engaged and guessing is a significant strength, contributing to the comic’s appeal and memorability.
BLACK HAMMER: THE END #5
‘Black Hammer: The End #5′ accelerates towards its conclusion with a well-paced script that briskly sets the stage for the finale. Jeff Lemire’s writing effectively positions the characters and plot elements for the series’ culmination. This issue sees significant developments, particularly for Lucy Weber, whose storyline has been in a holding pattern for several issues. Her character’s progression in this issue adds much-needed momentum and depth to the narrative. Lemire’s skill in intertwining multiple story threads and character arcs becomes evident as he builds towards a climactic ending. Readers who have followed the series will find this penultimate issue rewarding, as it promises a satisfying and potentially explosive conclusion to the Black Hammer saga.
COBRA COMMANDER #1
‘Cobra Commander #1’ enters the Energon Universe with an issue that may resonate with invested fans but falls short of the mark compared to other miniseries within the same universe. The issue’s introduction to the Energon Universe lacks the impact and engagement found in other related series, making it the weakest start among its peers. For followers of the Energon Universe, the comic offers enough to keep them interested, but it doesn’t deliver the compelling opening that might have been expected. The narrative and character development need to ramp up in subsequent issues to match the quality and excitement of the other titles in the universe.
THE DEVIANT #3
In ‘The Deviant #3′, the narrative takes a bold turn by focusing on a key side character, diverging from the series’ main protagonists. This shift adds a fresh perspective and deepens the overall story, injecting a new layer of intrigue and emotional complexity. The flashbacks exploring the timeline of the murders are particularly effective, offering unexpected insights and adding a sense of danger and intensity to the plot. The creative team is in top form, with their collective talents converging to create a captivating and multifaceted narrative. The decision to temporarily sideline the lead characters is a risk that pays off, allowing for a deeper exploration of the series’ world and supporting cast. This issue stands out for its narrative choices and execution, showcasing the creative team’s ability to innovate within the series’ framework.
THE ENFIELD GANG MASSACRE #6
The conclusion of ‘The Enfield Gang Massacre’ in issue #6 delivers a powerful and emotional impact, despite the ending being foreshadowed in the series’ opening. The creative team of Condon and Phillips has masterfully woven a Western tale that prioritizes character development over plot, deeply immersing readers in the lives and fates of its characters. This approach makes the final events of the series feel intensely personal, evoking a sense of loss akin to losing a friend. The portrayal of the harsh realities and injustices of the Old West is both captivating and enraging, adding layers of depth to the narrative. The story’s ability to still surprise and move the audience, despite an early reveal of its conclusion, speaks volumes about the storytelling prowess and emotional resonance achieved in this series. ‘The Enfield Gang Massacre’ leaves a lasting impression, celebrating the spirit of its setting while acknowledging its brutal truths.
FACELESS AND THE FAMILY #3
In ‘Faceless and the Family #3’, Matt Lesniewski’s pencil work stands out for its exceptional quality and attention to detail. Each page is a visual feast, filled with intricately drawn wonders and oddities that convey a dynamic sense of movement and weight. The issue’s split narrative offers a striking contrast between an intense action sequence and a quieter, emotionally charged storyline centered around Faceless. Lesniewski’s ability to blend over-the-top concepts with a nuanced emotional depth is remarkable. The expressiveness captured in each panel is especially noteworthy, given the challenge of conveying emotions without always showing faces. This penultimate issue of the series showcases a unique comic style, perfectly aligning with the surreal and emotionally rich narrative. The combination of visually stunning artwork and a compelling story makes this issue a standout in contemporary comics.
The second issue of ‘Invasive’ continues to deliver a dark and spine-chilling experience. The use of muted colors accentuates the eerie atmosphere, while sudden moments of horror are effectively highlighted with brighter visuals. This stylistic choice enhances the spooky essence of the story, making it a perfect read for fans of the horror genre. The comic skillfully plays with tension and suspense, keeping readers on edge throughout. The art and narrative work in tandem to create a sense of unease and anticipation, ensuring that the audience is constantly wary of what might lurk on the next page. ‘Invasive #2’ maintains the high standard set by its predecessor, offering a gripping and haunting tale that is both visually and narratively engaging.
KILL YOUR DARLINGS #5
Issue #5 of ‘Kill Your Darlings’ departs from its established narrative path, choosing instead to delve deeply into the backstory of Rose’s mother and the origins of Rose herself. This shift in focus is unexpected and leaves readers anticipating a return to Rose’s ongoing storyline, which makes the abrupt “to be continued” ending feel like a narrative twist. Despite this jarring transition, the issue maintains the series’ trademark tragic and emotionally charged writing. The exploration of Rose’s familial background adds layers to her character, enriching the overall story with depth and context. However, the sudden deviation from the main plot might leave readers feeling temporarily unmoored, highlighting the challenge of balancing character backstory with ongoing narrative momentum in a serialized format.
OPERATION SUNSHINE #4
‘Operation Sunshine #4’ delves into the extensive history of Anwar and his family, providing key information to the overall story. However, this deep dive into the backstory comes at the expense of the comic’s pacing, leading to a slower, more exposition-heavy issue. The narrative’s reliance on telling rather than showing has been a recurring aspect of the series, often resulting in a lack of dynamic action. Despite this, the issue sees some progression towards the end, as the pieces of the mission begin to come together. The wealth of backstory is engaging in its own right, but the format of the comic seems to struggle to accommodate the density of the narrative. This issue highlights a need for better balance between exposition and action in the storytelling approach. The concept remains strong, but the execution in the comic format appears to challenge the creative team’s ability to maintain a compelling pace.
OUR BONES DUST #2
Ben Stenbeck’s ‘Our Bones Dust #2’ continues to build upon the strong foundation laid in the first issue. Stenbeck expertly expands the world and characters he has created, offering a deeper look into the political satire at the core of the story. His prowess in staging scenes is evident throughout his comics career, and this issue is no exception. Stenbeck demonstrates an exceptional ability to convey character details and narrative nuances visually, further enhancing the storytelling. The issue not only showcases Stenbeck’s artistic skills but also his ability to weave complex and engaging narratives. His handling of both visual and thematic elements in ‘Our Bones Dust #2’ confirms his talent as a storyteller who can effectively use the comic medium to its fullest potential.
SAVAGE DRAGON #267
In ‘Savage Dragon #267’, Erik Larsen delivers a narrative twist even within the seemingly calm setting of a wedding issue. This 100-page giant not only features captivating backup stories but also focuses on the much-anticipated wedding of Angel Murphy and Frank Darling, Jr. The issue begins with an extended flashback, masterfully chronicling the ups and downs of Angel and Frank’s relationship. This approach effectively sets the emotional tone for the wedding, highlighting the depth and longevity of their bond. Their relationship, enduring longer than many comic series, receives a well-deserved spotlight in this issue. However, true to the unpredictable nature of ‘Savage Dragon’, the story takes a dramatic turn by the end, casting doubt on the couple’s future and possibly leaving fans apprehensive about what’s next. Larsen’s ability to blend heartfelt moments with sudden narrative shifts exemplifies the dynamic and surprising storytelling that ‘Savage Dragon’ is known for.
THE WEATHERMAN #1
‘The Weatherman #1’ marks a new entry point for both returning readers and newcomers. Despite being unfamiliar with the earlier volumes, this issue effectively brings readers up to speed, offering a concise overview of the backstory before diving into the current narrative. The story centers on Ian as he grapples with his past mistakes and seeks redemption. The issue skillfully constructs a complex world, balancing exposition with forward-moving plot. The artwork in the issue stands out, complementing the storytelling with its quality and style. The initial setup lays a solid foundation for the series, setting expectations high for future developments. ‘The Weatherman #1’ successfully re-introduces the universe and characters, making it an engaging and accessible starting point for new readers while maintaining continuity for existing fans.
WHAT'S THE FURTHEST PLACE FROM HERE? #17
Issue #17 of ‘What’s the Furthest Place From Here?’ delivers a satisfying and action-packed narrative as the Academy kids confront their oppressors. The long-awaited showdown is both thrilling and gratifying, showcasing the characters’ skills and resilience. The issue is particularly notable for the reunion of Alabama, Prufrock, and Sid, adding an emotional depth to the action. The depiction of the kids storming the compound and systematically overcoming their adult adversaries is a highlight, capturing the tension and triumph of their struggle. This episode in the series stands out for its dynamic action sequences and the successful culmination of built-up tensions, making it a memorable and rewarding read for followers of the story. The issue’s focus on the children’s uprising against their oppressors is both empowering and engaging, striking a balance between action and character development.