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January 24 Comic Reviews

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

AMAZONS ATTACK #4

This issue intensifies the already gripping saga, delving deeper into a complex web of mysteries and revelations. The unexpected twist of gods dying adds a mythological depth, while the involvement of Sivana introduces a layer of intrigue. The narrative expertly interweaves visions of Amazons from the past, enriching the storyline with historical echoes. The anticipation of how these multifaceted plot threads will converge in the finale is palpable, making the journey towards the resolution even more compelling. The storytelling is adept at balancing the unfolding mystery with character development, leaving readers eagerly awaiting how all these elements will seamlessly tie together in the end.

BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #9

This issue stands out as an anthology highlight, showcasing an impressive array of talent and diverse stories. Tom King and Mitch Gerads conclude “The Winning Card” with a climactic battle between Batman and Joker, reminiscent of ‘The Killing Joke’. The artistry of Gerads is particularly noteworthy, especially his use of silent movie effects to encapsulate Joker’s twisted persona. However, the story leans heavily on style, potentially at the expense of deeper substance. In contrast, Bruno Redondo’s “Nor Is The Batman” successfully combines art and narrative, offering a poignant exploration of Batman’s character and early life. Redondo’s dual role as artist and writer shines, bringing a unique perspective and emotional depth to Batman. “Here Comes Trouble” shifts gears to emphasize action, expertly balanced with humor, suggesting potential for further exploration of Wild Dog by Kyle Starks. Finally, “Communion” wraps up with a visually stunning underwater battle against alien threats, beautifully illustrated by Gabriel Hardman. Overall, this issue is not just an artistic triumph but also a testament to the storytelling prowess of the featured cartoonists.

DETECTIVE COMICS #1081

This issue marks the beginning of Batman’s symbolic restoration, crafted with surreal artistry by Riccardo Federici and Stefano Raffaele. It ties into the enigmatic origins of the Orgham family, leaving the reader to ponder the line between reality and illusion. The introduction of Doctor Hurt adds a layer of complexity and suspense, although it initially feels somewhat disjointed from the overarching narrative. This element, while intriguing, might seem out of place at first, raising questions about its eventual integration into the storyline. The opening of Ram V’s final arc in Detective Comics presents a mix of anticipation and slight disappointment, suggesting a need for further development to fully realize its potential. The narrative’s direction, while promising, requires additional exposition to fully satisfy the buildup of this climactic arc.

THE FLASH #5

This issue continues to unravel the intricate new metaphysics of the Speed Force within the DC Comics universe. The narrative smartly employs the perspective of Jai West, Wally West’s son, to provide a fresh and grounded view of the unfolding events. Jai’s unique powers and his evolving relationship with his father offer insightful dimensions to the plot. His authentic and clear voice aptly captures the innocence and confusion typical of a child facing massive, unknown challenges. As Jai grapples with both his emotional and superpowered upheavals, readers gain a deeper understanding of his character, which has often been overlooked in the Flash family lore. This exploration also sheds new light on Wally, offering a multifaceted portrayal of his character. While the issue can stand alone as a tale of Jai’s struggle with his future, his journey leads to more questions than answers, opening up further narrative possibilities. The action climax is engaging, but it’s the emotional depth and Jai’s narration that truly enrich the story. This issue reassures readers that despite the increasingly bizarre turn the story may take, it remains anchored in the human emotions at its core, ensuring a relatable and poignant narrative.

GREEN ARROW #8

This issue takes readers on an exhilarating journey with Connor Hawke, embarking on a revenge mission for the supposed murder of his father, Green Arrow (Oliver Queen). The twist that Oliver is actually alive adds a layer of intrigue and complexity to the plot. The artwork, led by Phil Hester, an experienced Green Arrow artist, plays a significant role in enhancing the storytelling, effectively conveying the action and emotion of the narrative. Additionally, the issue provides intriguing insights into Amanda Waller’s larger schemes involving meta-humans, adding a strategic depth to the DC universe. The combination of engaging art, dynamic storytelling, and the unfolding of larger conspiracies makes this issue a compelling read, offering both excitement and a deeper dive into the overarching plots within the Green Arrow saga.

HARLEY QUINN #36

As Howard’s run on Harley Quinn progresses, issue #36 emerges as a surprisingly robust entry. The story delves deeper into the essential relationships that shape Harley Quinn, making her a more three-dimensional and relatable character. This approach helps to move Harley away from being merely a caricature, grounding her in more realistic and human aspects. However, the narrative appears somewhat directionless, struggling to find a clear path forward. The reliance on defining Harley primarily through her chaotic and eccentric persona hampers the story’s potential to explore more nuanced aspects of her character. While the issue shows promise in developing Harley’s character beyond the usual stereotypes, it still grapples with balancing her iconic ‘wild and crazy’ traits with a more substantive and meaningful character arc. The challenge lies in maintaining Harley’s unique personality while also allowing for growth and depth beyond the expected tropes.

THE PENGUIN #6

This issue takes a step back in time, delving into a “Year One” story arc titled “An Unimportant Man.” It revisits the early days of Batman’s fight against the mob, weaving a narrative through the perspectives of key players like Carmine Falcone, Penguin, and Batman, as well as introducing new characters. The storytelling technique, consistent with the previous issues, effectively sets the stage for this pivotal period. Artist Stevan Subic’s inclusion brings a distinct visual style to the issue, characterized by exaggerated forms and deep, murky colors that vividly portray Gotham’s gritty underworld. Subic’s artistry shines in depicting the grim reality and harshness of young Oswald Cobblepot’s life, deeply entrenched in the lower echelons of organized crime. This atmospheric portrayal lays the groundwork for the transformation into the character known as The Penguin, highlighting a world devoid of sympathy. While the narration occasionally feels overwrought, the exploration of Penguin’s origins and his evolving relationship with Batman is compelling. The issue’s final page, in particular, underscores the inevitability of Oswald’s descent into the Penguin persona. “The Penguin #6” elevates the series, making “An Unimportant Man” not just a significant chapter in the Penguin’s story, but also a notable addition to the Batman lore.

POWER GIRL #5

In a departure from typical story arcs, “Power Girl #5” opts for a light-hearted, almost dialogue-free issue centered around a super-powered cat solving a stray pet mystery. This approach provides a refreshing interlude before transitioning into the next major story arc. The issue stands out for its easy-going and fun narrative, offering a break from more serious superhero adventures. Its whimsical and charming nature makes it one of the most delightful reads on the comic stands this week. The creative decision to focus on a minor, yet entertaining adventure highlights the series’ versatility and the character’s appeal, adding depth to Power Girl’s world in a unique and enjoyable way.

TITANS: BEAST WORLD #5

As the penultimate issue in DC’s expansive crossover event, “Titans: Beast World #5” sees Amanda Waller taking drastic actions in a bid to save the world. However, the issue faces some challenges. Firstly, the split in artistic duties between Ivan Reis and Eduardo Pansica, though both are talented, creates a disjointed visual experience. Consistency in artwork is particularly crucial in a significant mini-series that sets the stage for future developments in the DC universe. Secondly, the revelation of Dr. Hate’s true identity may polarize readers, depending on their expectations and attachments to the character. While this issue might not be the strongest in the series, it still delivers an intriguing narrative, leveraging the strengths of the Titans-centric storyline. The comic manages to maintain interest and engagement, showcasing the potential of the crossover despite some artistic and narrative hiccups.

TITANS: BEAST WORLD TOUR – STAR CITY #1

DC Comics goes all out in the “Beast World” event, offering an anthology-like experience within a single, oversized issue for its World Tour editions. The Star City installment spotlights Oliver Queen and his extensive supporting cast, creating a rich tapestry of characters and narratives. A highlight of the issue is Ryan Parrott and Roger Cruz’s story, which features Black Canary and Red Canary in a standout narrative. Despite being part of a large, globe-spanning event, their story remains intimate and character-driven. This approach exemplifies how even within grand-scale events, smaller, more personal stories can deeply resonate with readers. The artwork, handled by a roster of upcoming artists, adds diverse visual flair to each story, further enriching the overall reading experience. The Star City chapter of “Beast World” effectively balances the epic scope of the event with detailed character studies, showcasing the depth and versatility of the DC universe.

DAREDEVIL: BLACK ARMOR #3

In this issue, Matt Murdock, under the alias “Jack Batlin,” showcases his unyielding spirit by spearheading a rebellion in Baron Von Strucker’s underground fight club. The narrative skillfully uses flashbacks to illustrate the importance of a corner man in a fighter’s journey, drawing parallels to a present-day scenario involving a familiar character undergoing a significant transformation. This issue also raises intriguing questions about the villains’ perception of Murdock, as they seem oblivious to his true identity despite his exceptional fighting skills. A notable moment is the direct confrontation between Daredevil and Von Strucker, with the latter engaging in a physical brawl, a departure from his usual behind-the-scenes machinations. This issue combines action, character development, and a touch of mystery, maintaining the suspense and excitement characteristic of the Daredevil series.

G.O.D.S. #4

“G.O.D.S. #4” continues to explore the complex relationship between Wyn and Aiko amidst its high-concept plot. Jonathan Hickman, often viewed as a writer more focused on ideas than character development, surprisingly provides a poignant moment through Valerio Schiti’s artwork. A silent panel capturing Wyn’s emotional reaction to Aiko’s actions is particularly impactful, illustrating a depth of character engagement. The narrative introduces a new plot device that promises to fuel long-term conflicts in the series, hinting at more immediate, dramatic developments. This issue’s antagonist emerges from a unique setting akin to Plato’s Cave, where science and reality blur, challenging the protagonist’s understanding of the world. Hickman and Schiti have crafted a story that is not only intellectually stimulating but also emotionally resonant. The series stands out for its beautiful art, intricate storytelling, and the compelling way it interweaves philosophical themes with personal narratives. “G.O.D.S. #4” is a testament to the creative team’s ability to blend high-concept ideas with deeply human stories.

THE IMMORTAL THOR #6

“The Immortal Thor #6” opens with a striking metatextual element, featuring a comic panel within a panel that shows Loki and Thor sharing stories by a fire. Al Ewing cleverly draws parallels between the storytelling power of a campfire and the printed comic page, subtly critiquing the commodification of stories in modern times. The issue’s abrupt ending, however, feels somewhat disjointed and hastily tacked on, detracting from the overall narrative flow. The main story, where Loki recounts Thor’s first encounter with the Utgard gods, unfolds at a measured pace, filled with rich detail and character development. A poignant moment occurs when Thor, reflecting on his past actions, offers a heartfelt apology to Loki for past cruelties, highlighted by Martin Coccolo’s sensitive linework and Matthew Wilson’s warm color palette. This intimate scene underscores Thor’s growth and remorse for his youthful arrogance and ignorance, offering a nuanced exploration of the brothers’ complex relationship. Loki’s response, subtly indicating the layers of their bond, leaves readers pondering the intricacies of their dynamic long after finishing the issue. Overall, despite its abrupt ending, the issue effectively delves into the emotional depth of Thor and Loki’s relationship, making it a memorable addition to the series.

MIGUEL O'HARA: SPIDER-MAN 2099 #4

This issue introduces Terror Inc., a character from the Heroic Age, into the futuristic world of Spider-Man 2099. For readers unfamiliar with Terror Inc., his interaction with Spider-Man 2099 offers an engaging and fresh dynamic. The callbacks to Terror Inc.’s collection of body parts from various present-day heroes and villains add depth and intrigue to the character, making him a fascinating addition to the 2099 universe. The suggestion of a future collaboration between Terror Inc. and Spider-Man 2099 instead of conflict opens up exciting narrative possibilities. This issue stands out for its ability to blend characters from different timelines, creating a unique and entertaining storyline that both honors past lore and explores new directions for future issues.

PUNISHER #3

In “Punisher #3,” writer David Pepose begins to distinguish his take on the character, carving out a unique identity within the familiar Frank Castle narrative. The story introduces fresh elements that set it apart from typical Punisher tales, incorporating new characters and perspectives. Dave Wachter’s artwork in this issue is particularly noteworthy, delivering striking and at times horrifying visuals that would be as much at home in a horror comic as in a Punisher story. This artistic approach enhances the dark and intense tone of the narrative. The issue marks a turning point in the series, hinting at exciting and potentially unexplored directions for the character and the storyline. The creative team’s efforts in redefining and expanding the Punisher’s world suggest promising developments for future issues, building anticipation for what’s to come in this evolving series.

THE RESURRECTION OF MAGNETO #1

“The Resurrection of Magneto #1” begins what could be an intricate and nuanced character study, set against the backdrop of an impending reboot. While it’s too soon to fully assess the ambitions and ultimate quality of the series, this first issue establishes a solid foundation. Al Ewing, known for his ability to surprise and challenge reader expectations, crafts a narrative that, at this stage, seems to promise a straightforward saga focusing on two of Marvel’s most iconic characters. The issue effectively sets the stage for what could evolve into a more complex story, keeping readers engaged with the familiar yet intriguing dynamics of Magneto’s character. Ewing’s reputation for delivering unexpected twists suggests that this series could develop in unforeseen and potentially exciting ways, maintaining the interest of both long-time fans and new readers.

SPIDER-WOMAN #3

“Spider-Woman #3” takes readers on an unexpected emotional journey, masterfully executed by Steve Foxe. The issue’s major twist delivers a visceral impact, leaving readers eager to see its ramifications unfold. Foxe brilliantly orchestrates a team-up between Spider-Woman and Madame Web, drawing out the strengths of each character in a narrative that feels both personal and intense. Jessica’s mission is portrayed with a depth of emotion that resonates deeply, thanks to the combined talents of artist Carola Borelli and colorist Arif Prianto. Their work captures the range of emotions – frustration, grief, anger, and heartbreak – with vivid clarity. The issue leaves readers both hopeful for a positive resolution and deeply invested in the outcome, regardless of its direction. The emotional depth and character development in this issue are likely to resonate strongly with Spider-Woman fans, ensuring their continued engagement with the series.

STAR WARS: THRAWN – ALLIANCES #1

“Star Wars: Thrawn – Alliances #1” explores the intriguing dynamic between Anakin Skywalker and Thrawn in the past, and Thrawn’s interaction with Darth Vader in the present. The narrative setup offers a fascinating exploration of Anakin’s drastic transformation into Vader and the potential tension between Vader and Thrawn under Emperor Palpatine’s command. The shared history of the characters connected to Batuu presents an interesting premise, though the choice of location might initially seem less thrilling compared to other iconic Star Wars settings. The concern that Batuu’s inclusion could be more of a branding synergy with Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge rather than a narrative necessity is noted, but it’s early in the series to make a definitive judgment. The debut issue, while not revealing much in terms of narrative direction or generating substantial excitement, sets the stage for what could evolve into a more engaging and complex story. Fans are likely to remain cautiously optimistic, hoping that the initial setup is a stepping stone towards a richer, more satisfying narrative in the upcoming issues.

THE SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #3

“The Superior Spider-Man #3” marks a significant milestone in the series, heralding a return to the classic elements that define Spider-Man. Dan Slott skillfully reintroduces Peter Parker’s iconic snark and humor, crafting an issue that not only entertains but also resonates with long-time fans through numerous deep-dive Easter eggs. The plot progression is notably dynamic, pushing the boundaries to the extent that it teases the emergence of a truly ‘Superior’ Spider-Man, adding an intriguing twist to the series’ concept. This issue stands out for its successful blend of humor, nostalgia, and innovative storytelling. The balance between honoring the traditional Spider-Man persona while exploring new directions demonstrates Slott’s adept handling of the character and his world, making this issue a compelling read for both new and dedicated Spider-Man fans.

X-FORCE #48

“X-Force #48” sets the groundwork for what seems to be the climax of the series, yet it arrives at a point where the climax feels somewhat diminished in its impact. The issue features two action sequences, but they seem more obligatory than transformative, as they don’t significantly alter the narrative’s direction. Instead, these sequences appear to function as a setup for the upcoming X-Men reset. The issue addresses the problematic character of Beast, attempting to reposition him as a hero despite his history of war crimes. This approach brings into question the overarching purpose of the series. After years of storytelling and weaving through major events, the series seems to be heading towards a reset, leaving readers to ponder the narrative’s ultimate significance. “X-Force #48” may set expectations for future developments, but as it stands, the issue lacks substantial depth or a compelling resolution to its long-standing conflicts, leaving readers to hope for more meaningful developments in subsequent issues.

THE BONE ORCHARD MYTHOS: TENEMENT #8

Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s “The Bone Orchard Mythos: Tenement #8” continues to excel as both a character-driven narrative and a chilling installment in the horror genre. Sorrentino’s distinctive design work and inventive panel layouts are highlights, contributing significantly to the eerie atmosphere of the series. However, there are moments where the character illustrations seem inconsistent, with facial features appearing mismatched to their bodies, disrupting the horror logic established in the story. Despite these occasional visual discrepancies, the issue remains an engaging read. It builds upon Sorrentino’s typically exceptional work, showcasing a blend of horror elements and character exploration that has become a hallmark of the series. This installment in “The Bone Orchard Mythos” maintains the series’ momentum, offering readers a compelling combination of terror and narrative depth.

DAMN THEM ALL #12

“Damn Them All #12” brings readers to the climactic conclusion of the series. In this final issue, Ellie demonstrates the culmination of her hard-earned knowledge and the tough lessons imparted by her uncle Alfie. Her mastery of bending magical rules to achieve her desired outcome is on full display, showcasing her willingness to pay the necessary price for her actions. The issue also intriguingly hints at a deeper and more complex relationship between Ellie and Alfie than previously revealed, adding an additional layer of intrigue to their dynamic. This concluding chapter strikes a balance between action and character development, wrapping up the story in a way that feels both satisfying and true to the series’ spirit. The comic manages to maintain its fun and engaging essence throughout, culminating in an ending that is both fitting and rewarding for long-time readers.

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS: SATURDAY MORNING ADVENTURES #1

Fans of the original Dungeons & Dragons cartoon will find a delightful dose of nostalgia in “Saturday Morning Adventures #1.” This comic captures the essence of the beloved TV show, transporting readers back to a simpler time of Saturday morning cartoons. While the plot might not be particularly complex and the art not overly flashy, the comic’s success lies in its ability to evoke fond memories of watching adventurous kids and their encounters with fantastical creatures, including the iconic five-headed dragon. The comic may also subtly reference the cultural context of the time, including public service announcements and the controversies surrounding Dungeons & Dragons. For those who grew up with the cartoon, this issue is a comforting trip down memory lane, capturing the essence of a childhood spent in front of the TV, immersed in the world of fantasy and adventure.

GARGOYLES: DARK AGES #5

The fifth issue of “Gargoyles: Dark Ages” seems to take a divergent path from what has been established in the prequel series. Weisman’s script attempts to deepen the lore of the Gargoyles universe, but it falls short, coming across as superficial and lacking in enthusiasm. The dialogue suffers from a simplistic approach, and the narrative’s rapid pacing allows little room for readers to fully engage with or become comfortable in the story’s world. This brisk pace and elementary dialogue contribute to a sense of disconnection, undermining the depth and complexity that fans may expect from the Gargoyles franchise. As a result, this issue feels somewhat disjointed from the series’ previous momentum, leaving readers longing for the richer storytelling and character development seen in earlier installments.

GHOST MACHINE #1

“Ghost Machine #1” serves as an introductory anthology for the new imprint Ghost Machine, published under Image Comics. This compilation showcases a diverse range of genres, including anti-hero vigilantes, sci-fi family comedies, and outright horror. Among the varied stories, a few stand out notably. “The Unnamed” introduces the concept of supernatural heroes born from the crucible of war, with characters like Geiger & Redcoat offering an intriguing blend of historical and fantastical elements. “Hornsby & Halo” cleverly intertwines the realms of angels and demons with the timeless debate of nature versus nurture. “Rook Exodus” impresses with its marketable design, hinting at a potential hit in terms of mask merchandise. This anthology sets a promising stage for the upcoming titles under the Ghost Machine imprint, suggesting that 2024 could be a year of significant and exciting developments for Image Comics, especially if these stories live up to their initial promise.

HEXAGON BRIDGE #5

“Hexagon Bridge #5” concludes the series not with dramatic action but with a contemplative resolution. Adley’s journey culminates in a deeper understanding of her lost parents and the mysteries of the parallel worlds they’ve encountered. Meanwhile, Stadler finds renewed purpose. However, this final issue feels more like a prelude to a future chapter rather than a definitive conclusion, leaving some narrative threads open-ended. The lack of a confirmed sequel or continuation adds a layer of uncertainty to the series’ resolution. Fans of the series may find themselves in a waiting game to see what direction Richard Blake and Image Comics will take next. This approach, while potentially frustrating, keeps the door open for further exploration of the rich world and characters established in Hexagon Bridge.

THE HOLY ROLLER #3

In “The Holy Roller #3,” the narrative finds a more balanced rhythm, allowing for deeper character development and a more detailed exploration of Levi’s vigilante origin story. This shift is a welcome change from the previous issue’s faster pace. However, the portrayal of villainy in the series is somewhat heavy-handed, bordering on caricature, particularly in its depiction of anti-Semitism. The exaggerated nature of the storytelling, including the depiction of Levi’s father, provides some humor but also risks oversimplifying complex themes. Despite these criticisms, the issue is engaging, with art that complements the story’s tone. The narrative is moving towards a potentially compelling climax, provided it delves deeper into the nuanced aspects of hatred and the responses it provokes. For the series to reach its full potential, it will need to move beyond surface-level depictions and explore the deeper, more intricate issues it raises.

JUSTICE DUCKS #3

Following the conclusion of Darkwing Duck’s series at Dynamite, the universe continues with “Justice Ducks #3”. Carlo Lauro resumes his role as the artist, while Rodger Langridge steps in as the new writer. This issue offers a solid continuation of the “Terror That Flaps in The Night” storyline, focusing on the superhero team’s revival. While the story is engaging and appropriate for an all-ages audience, it doesn’t venture far beyond the familiar ground laid by the previous Darkwing Duck series. It provides a satisfactory Disney Afternoon-style narrative with a few amusing moments, yet it leaves a sense of unfulfilled potential. The new Justice Ducks series, while competent, doesn’t push the boundaries or explore new depths as much as it could have, leaving readers to wonder what additional layers and complexities could have been added to this beloved universe.

LOTUS LAND #3

“Lotus Land #3” by Van Poelgeest and Filipe stands out as a visually stunning and atmospherically rich entry in the noir genre. The fusion of a futuristic setting with a classic noir aesthetic is executed brilliantly, with the panel work emerging as a highlight of the issue. The creative team excels in crafting evocative and captivating imagery within the confines of the comic format, immersing readers in the vivid world they’ve created. “Lotus Land” distinguishes itself as one of the most compelling noir-style comics in recent years, marked by haunting visuals and strong character development. Each page demands careful attention, drawing readers deeply into the narrative. With only six issues planned, fans are left hoping for further exploration of this intriguing universe in future projects from Boom. The series’ ability to create a unique and absorbing world is a testament to the talents of the creative team.

MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS #116

In “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #116”, part of the “Darkest Hour” arc, writer Melissa Flores adeptly maneuvers the plot, maintaining high stakes and tension. Just as the heroes seem to be gaining an advantage, they’re met with new challenges, keeping readers on edge. This issue marks a significant moment, especially for fans of the “Shattered Grid” storyline, as it revisits and develops a beloved character dynamic. Flores expertly intertwines hope and tragedy, crafting a narrative that is both compelling and emotionally resonant. The art team, comprising Adam Gorham, Marco Renna, and Joana LaFuente, brings this tension to life with striking visuals, creating memorable moments that set the stage for future developments. The “Darkest Hour” arc lives up to its name, with this issue feeling like a pivotal turning point in the story. The combination of strong character dynamics, impactful art, and a gripping plot leaves readers eagerly anticipating the next steps in this high-stakes saga.

NEWBURN #14

“Newburn #14” delves into the backstory of Easton Newburn, providing crucial insights into his past as a mob detective and enforcer. The narrative is steeped in Newburn’s signature terse style, with the focus being more on the compelling characters involved rather than the mystery itself. The use of text pages, initially appearing as a means to condense exposition, cleverly leads to a last-page twist that promises future repercussions. The story, while adding depth to Newburn’s character, adheres to a familiar trope involving tragedy and a pivotal night of violence, which, while dramatic, somewhat strains believability given the series’ otherwise realistic tone. The return to the present timeline in the final pages resonates more strongly, as it reconnects with the ongoing narrative. While providing necessary background information, the issue primarily sets the stage for a return to the current storyline, leaving readers anticipating how these new revelations will impact future events.

PROJECT: CRYPTID #5

The fifth issue of “Project: Cryptid” unfortunately falls short compared to its predecessors in the Ahoy Comics anthology series. The storytelling in this latest installment is somewhat muddled, lacking the clarity and impact of the earlier issues. The major highlight of this issue is Gene Ha’s stunning artwork in the third story, which stands out for its excellence. However, the narrative elements of the anthology don’t quite match up to the artistic quality. The first two stories in particular suffer from structural issues that detract from their effectiveness. Despite the visually appealing artwork in the final story, the overall content of the issue struggles to live up to the standards set by the anthology series thus far. For fans of the series, the artwork may be a draw, but the narrative shortcomings make this issue less compelling as a whole.

UNIVERSAL MONSTERS: DRACULA #4

“Universal Monsters: Dracula #4” successfully completes its ambitious task of reimagining a classic horror tale for contemporary audiences and a new medium. This final issue masterfully stages the climactic confrontation between the forces of good and evil on the dark, atmospheric streets of London. The portrayal of this epic struggle is both grandiose and intimate, encapsulating vast themes within a few key characters and moments.

THE SCHLUB #6

“The Schlub #6” concludes its current run with a blend of bombast and snark, tempered by a genuine emotional core. The narrative crescendos as Roger and Cirrus face pivotal decisions amidst the escalating battle to save the planet. Ryan Stegman and Kenny Porter’s script handles these crucial moments with a mix of humor and depth, striking a balance between lightheartedness and seriousness. However, some of the peripheral storylines feel underdeveloped, lacking the same level of engagement as the main plot. Tyrell Cannon’s art, complemented by Mike Spicer’s color work, delivers a consistently zany and dynamic aesthetic, capturing the unique tone of the series. The final issue of “The Schlub” wraps up the current storyline effectively, leaving room for future developments, and maintains its distinct style and tone throughout.

SLOW BURN #4

“Slow Burn #4” continues to struggle with pacing issues, which might be less noticeable when reading the series in its entirety but become apparent in the serialized format. This issue attempts to navigate two timelines, an approach that provides intriguing character insights but falters in execution. The differentiation between the timelines, primarily done through color, is not always clear, leading to some confusion. As the penultimate issue, it seems to focus more on character studies rather than advancing the overarching narrative significantly, creating a sense of stagnation. While these studies add depth to the characters, they don’t fully compensate for the lack of plot progression, leaving readers with the feeling that the story is treading water instead of building towards a climactic conclusion.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #147

Issue #147 of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” continues the “Road to #150” at a measured pace, with its dual narratives progressing but without hitting any major milestones. The artistic team of Federici and Pattison adeptly handles the diverse elements of the story, from April’s emotional turmoil to the more action-oriented sequences. The art style, featuring precise linework and flat colors, effectively captures the essence of each scene, whether it’s a moment of quiet despair or a dynamic battle. Federici’s creative panel layouts and the strategic use of sparse backgrounds enhance the storytelling, particularly during fight scenes and moments of character introspection. The subplot involving Raphael’s mental state, while not thoroughly explored in this issue, adds an intriguing element to the narrative. Despite its solid craftsmanship, the issue doesn’t quite reach the heights of the series’ most memorable installments, concluding with another cliffhanger that sets the stage for future developments. While “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #147” is well-executed, it falls short of being a standout issue in the larger series.

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