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March 6 Comic Book Reviews

DISCLOSURE: The following is a synopsis and reviews of this week’s comic books from multiple publishers. If you like our reviews and would like to purchase these books you can do so by visiting our partners at 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.

THE BAT-MAN: THE FIRST KNIGHT #1

Writer Dan Jurgens and artist Mike Perkins delve into the origins of Batman with The Bat-Man: First Knight #1, offering readers a nostalgic journey back to the Golden Age of comics. Through a captivating narrative, Jurgens and Perkins resurrect the gritty, pulp-inspired Batman that first graced the pages of Detective Comics #27. This iteration of the Caped Crusader emerges as a powerless vigilante navigating a world fraught with crime and corruption, armed with little more than sheer determination. While celebrating the character’s roots, Jurgens and Perkins weave a compelling tale that transcends mere nostalgia, infusing it with contemporary relevance and narrative depth. The result is a captivating pulp adventure that harkens back to the essence of the Golden Age Batman while offering a fresh perspective for modern audiences.

BATMAN #145

In Batman #145, readers find themselves returning to the core essence of the Dark Knight after the tumultuous and convoluted “Joker: Year One” storyline. The issue navigates through a landscape of dialogue-heavy scenes interspersed with sporadic action sequences, all while setting the stage for the impending confrontation with the enigmatic Failsafe. Despite its readability, the issue grapples with the aftermath of the previous arc, leaving readers questioning the coherence of editorial oversight. The abrupt dismissal of the “Joker: Year One” arc adds to the confusion, casting doubts on the direction of the narrative. Moreover, the prolonged exploration of the Failsafe/Batman of Zur-En-Arrh storyline feels overcooked and redundant, hinting at a need for fresh narrative avenues. One notable flaw lies in the characterization, as the narrative often portrays characters other than Bruce Wayne as lacking in intelligence, particularly in their failure to decipher the true nature of Failsafe. This narrative device only serves to muddy the waters further, leaving readers frustrated with the lack of clarity.

BIRDS OF PREY #7

Following the conclusion of the “Megadeath” arc, Birds of Prey #7 thrusts readers into a new chapter brimming with intrigue and excitement. Kelly Thompson’s script effortlessly channels the spirit of Gail Simone’s iconic run on the title, delivering sharp dialogue and dynamic character interactions that pulse with energy. Artist Javier Pina’s illustrations complement Thompson’s narrative perfectly, injecting each panel with a sense of kineticism and visual flair. Together, they elevate Birds of Prey into one of DC’s standout series, with each issue reaffirming its status as a must-read for fans of superhero comics.

BLUE BEETLE #7

Blue Beetle #7 pays homage to the legendary Keith Giffen with a heartfelt tribute evident on every page. The creative team, consisting of Josh Trujillo, Adrian Gutierrez, Will Quintana, and Lucas Gattoni, collaborates with a roster of talented artists to craft a time-spanning adventure that encapsulates the joy and humor synonymous with the Blue Beetle franchise.  The dynamic duo of Jaime and Booster Gold steals the spotlight, their banter and camaraderie evoking nostalgia while propelling Jaime’s internal journey forward. As the narrative unfolds across different timelines, readers are treated to a plethora of homages and cameos that celebrate the rich history of Blue Beetle. This blend of action, personal growth, and offbeat charm strikes a perfect balance, ensuring a thoroughly enjoyable reading experience for fans of Giffen’s work and the Blue Beetle legacy alike.

KNEEL BEFORE ZOD #3

Kneel Before Zod #3 shifts gears from political intrigue to an adrenaline-fueled brawl, resulting in a slightly uneven installment. Dan Casey’s script shines brightest during the series’ intense moments, although it occasionally gets bogged down by exposition-heavy dialogue. Despite this, the punk-inspired tone remains intact, courtesy of Dan McDaid’s artwork, although some inconsistencies in facial expressions and anatomy detract from the overall presentation. While the series retains potential, this issue falls short of fully capitalizing on it.

POISON IVY #20

Poison Ivy #20 continues to explore Pamela’s revised origin story, albeit at a pace that may feel slightly drawn out. Despite this, the narrative succeeds in humanizing the character, portraying her as flawed yet accountable for her actions. The introspective approach adds depth to Poison Ivy’s character, offering readers a nuanced portrayal that reframes her iconic status. As the narrative delves deeper into Pamela’s psyche, it prompts reflection on her choices and their repercussions, underscoring the complexity of her character. This introspective exploration sets a compelling precedent for other DC characters, hinting at intriguing developments to come in the main storyline.

SHAZAM! #9

In Shazam! #9, Mark Waid bids farewell to the series with a delightful encounter between Billy Batson and the often-overlooked DC superhero, The Creeper. Artist Emanuela Lupacchino brings The Creeper to life with eccentricity and flair, perfectly capturing his outrageous costume and unpredictable demeanor. The issue maintains the series’ trademark fun tone while giving spotlight to its guest star. The story unfolds in a classic train heist scenario, tapping into nostalgia and delivering simple pleasures for readers. While the plot may lack surprises, the interactions between Billy and The Creeper provide moments of clever banter and contrasting personalities, adding depth to the issue. Despite its somewhat inessential nature, Shazam! #9 offers a pleasantly distracting read that showcases the charm of the titular character alongside an intriguing guest appearance.

SUPERMAN '78: THE METAL CURTAIN #5

Superman ’78: The Metal Curtain #5 continues to capture the charm of the beloved Superman: The Movie, with cartooning that echoes the performances of the iconic film and dialogue reminiscent of Richard Donner’s signature humor and warmth. However, the issue struggles with pacing and tension, particularly in its handling of Metallo’s threat. While the story pays homage to the Cold War era, the lack of genuine tension surrounding Metallo’s actions undermines the stakes of the narrative. The rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union is depicted in a somewhat superficial manner, with little exploration of its complexities. As a result, the impending showdown between Superman and Metallo feels anticlimactic, lacking the excitement expected from such a confrontation. Despite its shortcomings, Superman ’78: The Metal Curtain #5 maintains its nostalgic appeal but falls short in delivering a compelling finale.

ALIEN: WHAT IF...? #1

Marvel’s Alien: What If…? #1 kicks off a multi-part event with a promising start, offering a fresh take on the Alien franchise. The issue focuses on Carter Burke from Aliens, presenting him as a delightfully detestable character whose machinations drive the narrative forward. Unlike previous Alien comics, which often struggled with underwhelming characters, this series effectively captures Burke’s unique brand of “worminess.” The story explores an alternate timeline where Burke’s fate diverges from the events of the 1986 film, offering intriguing possibilities for the character’s development. The narrative strikes a tonal balance reminiscent of the Aliens movie, while also introducing fresh elements that keep readers engaged. With its compelling aesthetic and faithful characterization, Alien: What If…? #1 sets the stage for an exciting journey through uncharted territories of the Alien universe.

THE AVENGERS #11

In The Avengers #11, readers are treated to an engaging one-off story centered around the often-underappreciated Edwin Jarvis. The issue showcases the vibrant personality of the Impossible City as it interacts with Jarvis, providing a refreshing change of pace from the typical Avengers-centric narratives. Meanwhile, fans are treated to some classic superhero action as the Avengers confront the formidable Man-Slayers, resulting in a satisfying blend of character-driven moments and thrilling battles. Moreover, the larger narrative concerning the Ashen Combine receives significant development, adding depth to the ongoing storyline while still allowing this issue to stand on its own merits. Overall, The Avengers #11 delivers a satisfying read that balances character exploration with advancing the overarching plot.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #7

Captain America #7 marks a departure from the exposition-heavy approach of its initial arc, opting instead for a new storyline that introduces intriguing new elements. While the narrative may be somewhat convoluted at times, it succeeds in piquing readers’ interest with its fresh direction and introduction of compelling supporting characters. The shift in focus allows for a more dynamic exploration of Captain America’s world, presenting new challenges and adversaries for the iconic hero to face. While the story may not surpass the quality of its predecessor, it offers a welcome change of pace and sets the stage for potential growth and development in future issues.

DOCTOR STRANGE #13

Jed MacKay’s Doctor Strange #13 brings together a stellar ensemble of characters, weaving them into an exhilarating team dynamic that feels like Marvel’s own version of Jumanji meets Dungeons & Dragons. MacKay’s creative concept breathes new life into the Marvel Universe, offering readers a thrilling and inventive storyline that keeps them eagerly turning pages. The issue is a testament to MacKay’s skillful storytelling, as he seamlessly integrates each character into the narrative, allowing their unique personalities to shine while also driving the plot forward. With its inventive premise and engaging execution, Doctor Strange #13 is a must-read for fans of the mystical side of the Marvel Universe.

GIANT-SIZE SPIDER-GWEN #1

Giant-Size Spider-Gwen #1 serves as a bridge between Gwen’s past and future as a solo superhero, offering readers a charming and enjoyable oversized issue. While it may not introduce groundbreaking concepts, Melissa Flores’ script effectively creates narrative tension and highlights the dynamic between Gwen and MJ, a relationship that fans have come to love. Artist Alba Glez’s illustrations bring a chunky yet dynamic sensibility to every page, providing a fresh interpretation of the universe’s diverse character designs. For diehard Spider-Gwen fans, this issue offers a worthwhile exploration of Gwen’s journey and is definitely worth checking out for its blend of charm and familiarity.

MS. MARVEL: MUTANT MENACE #1

In Ms. Marvel: Mutant Menace #1, Kamala Khan faces the challenge of discovering her mutant heritage amidst the fallout of the “Fall of X” event. With Iman Vellani, the actress who portrays MCU’s Kamala, taking the reins alongside writer Sabir Pirzada, the issue showcases a deep understanding and appreciation for the character. Despite the chaotic backdrop, Pirzada and Vellani craft a fun and organic story that captures the essence of Kamala’s superhero journey. Artist Scott Godlewski’s illustrations complement the narrative, bringing the story to life with vibrant energy. While the ending may feel somewhat abrupt in setting up a new mystery, Mutant Menace stands as a solid outing thanks to its engaging storytelling and compelling character dynamics.

THE SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK #6

The Sensational She-Hulk #6 kicks off its latest arc with aplomb, leveraging the repercussions of previous issues to propel Jen into a new and exciting status quo. Rainbow Rowell’s script is filled with whimsy and delightful banter, setting the stage for a storyline that promises to captivate readers. Visually, the issue is a feast for the eyes, with glorious fashion and visual comedy enhancing the narrative’s appeal. As the story unfolds, readers are left eager to see what lies ahead for She-Hulk. With its perfect blend of humor, drama, and aesthetic flair, The Sensational She-Hulk #6 sets a high bar for the series’ future installments.

THE SENTRY #4

In “The Sentry #4,” we witness a compelling narrative of vengeance and heroism as Mallory, a burgeoning superhero, confronts a chilling adversary. This issue intricately portrays her battle against a serial killer whose egomania knows no bounds. With the legendary Jessica Jones by her side, Mallory navigates the murky waters of moral dilemmas and the heavy responsibility that comes with her powers. As the story unfolds, we delve deeper into Mallory’s psyche, exploring her fears, aspirations, and the indomitable will that drives her. The climax of the issue serves as a pivotal moment in her journey, marking her transition with a powerful declaration of her identity and purpose as a superhero. This chapter stands out for its intense emotional depth, stunning artwork, and a narrative that challenges the protagonists in unforeseen ways.

THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #1

Greg Weismann and Humberto Ramos reinvigorate the Spider-Man saga with “The Spectacular Spider-Man #1,” bringing their unique flair to the iconic character. Known for his vibrant and dynamic art style, Ramos captures the essence of the web-slinger with unparalleled grace, while Weismann’s storytelling, honed through his work on the “Spectacular Spider-Man” animated series, imbues the narrative with a fresh yet nostalgic feel. This issue focuses on the evolving partnership between Peter Parker and Miles Morales, exploring their efforts to balance superhero duties with personal lives, including their attempts to maintain a weekly coffee meeting amidst chaos. The story is rich with character development, presenting a solid supporting cast that adds depth to the Spidey universe. The duo’s creative synergy brings forth a Spider-Man comic that may very well set a new standard within the Marvel universe, capturing the quintessential spirit of Spider-Man while charting new territories.

THANOS #4

“Thanos #4” endeavors to explore the grandeur and darkness of cosmic warfare, pitching a newly formed Illuminati against the formidable Thanos. Despite the high stakes and the promising premise of cosmic entities clashing in a battle of wits and power, the series struggles to hit its mark. The narrative grapples with character portrayals that seem to deviate from their established personas, leading to a disconnect for the readers. Additionally, the art style, while unique, does not resonate with the expected gravitas of a Thanos-centric storyline. The recurring theme of Thanos’ complex relationship with Death is touched upon, hinting at a new twist yet to unfold. However, this installment feels like a missed opportunity to delve deeper into the lore of Thanos and the Marvel cosmic hierarchy. Fans may find themselves longing for a narrative that fully leverages the dramatic potential of Thanos and the new Illuminati, leaving hope that future issues will capture the epic scale and emotional depth worthy of the Mad Titan’s legacy.

ULTIMATE X-MEN #1

“Ultimate X-Men #1” is a groundbreaking issue that surprises and delights in equal measure, veering away from traditional X-Men narratives to present a story infused with magical girl elements. This innovative take introduces an enchanting lead character whose journey is marked by the discovery and mastery of her powers, set against a backdrop of relatable teenage struggles and triumphs. Peach Momoko’s unique artistic vision breathes life into this tale, merging the familiar with the fantastical to create a visually stunning and emotionally resonant world. The powers are illustrated with a vibrancy that captures the awe and wonder of their magical nature, making each panel a feast for the eyes. As the story unfolds, it teases the potential for integration into the broader superhero universe, yet it stands firmly as a captivating narrative in its own right. The promise of future issues expanding into a full-blown saga makes “Ultimate X-Men #1” an exciting prospect for fans of all genres, signaling the birth of a series that transcends traditional comic book classifications.

VENOM #31

“Venom #31” marks the explosive beginning of the “Symbiosis Necrosis” crossover event, a storyline that, while echoing familiar themes, is reinvigorated by its exceptional visual storytelling. Ken Lashley’s art, enhanced by Romulo Fajardo Jr.’s vibrant colors, elevates the narrative, transforming it into a visual spectacle that captivates and thrills. This issue is a testament to the allure of Marvel’s symbiotes, showcasing their chaotic beauty through dynamic panel layouts and the meticulous depiction of their unique, otherworldly forms. The artwork promises a sensory overload, with the fluidity and texture of the symbiotes rendered in mesmerizing detail, embodying the perfect blend of elegance and horror. Fans of the symbiotes’ lore will find themselves engrossed by the visual feast that unfolds, making “Venom #31” a standout issue that promises both nostalgia and novelty in its exploration of the dark and twisted world of symbiosis.

WEAPON X-MEN #1

“Weapon X-Men #1” offers a playful and imaginative take on the X-Men universe, reminiscent of the indulgence of a sugary cereal commercial designed to captivate and entertain. Christos Gage embraces the whimsical concept of “Oops, All Wolverines!” to curate a team made exclusively of Logan variants, plunging readers into an adventure that is as absurd as it is delightful. The series borrows the successful formula of “Exiles,” mixing it with a unique twist that showcases the versatility of Wolverine’s character across different dimensions. Nolan Woodard’s artistry is key to balancing the diverse personalities and visual styles of the Logan variants, ensuring each character remains distinct while contributing to the team’s dynamic. The action sequences are crafted with a keen eye for detail, highlighting the differences and similarities among the Wolverines, creating a visual and narrative harmony that enhances the story’s appeal. This issue promises a roller-coaster ride through the multiverse, offering both humor and action in a fresh exploration of the Wolverine legacy.

X-MEN #32

In “X-Men #32,” Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto skillfully steer the narrative back to the series’ roots, focusing on character dynamics and personal struggles rather than the broader, often politicized themes of recent storylines. This issue shines a spotlight on Shadowkat, Magik, and Lockheed, reuniting these characters with a deep, shared history for the first time since the traumatic “Mutant Massacre.” Phil Noto’s artistry is on full display, masterfully capturing the weight of Magik’s battle against Orchis’s nanobot infection—not just in the physical toll it takes but in the emotional exhaustion that etches her features. Yet, it’s the joy of their long-awaited reunion that truly lights up the pages, rendered with such warmth and vibrancy that it becomes a visual celebration of friendship and resilience. While the narrative is somewhat bogged down by references to concurrent “Fall of X” events, this issue stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of the X-Men, blending action, emotion, and nostalgia into a compelling package that will resonate deeply with fans old and new.

CRAVE #4

“Crave #4” momentarily shifts gears from its previously unabashed exploration of desire to focus more intently on storytelling and character development. This issue peels back layers to reveal the intricate web of motivations behind the controversial app wreaking havoc on campus life. Although the narrative setup might seem disjointed at times, the unfolding mystery adds a new layer of depth to the story. “Crave” has always been marked by its erratic pacing and thematic fluctuations, but this issue attempts to strike a balance, prioritizing narrative cohesion and character insight over its more sensational elements. The intrigue surrounding the app’s creators and their objectives adds a compelling twist to the series, promising a richer, more nuanced exploration of its central themes in future issues. Despite its inconsistencies, “Crave #4” offers a tantalizing glimpse into the complex dynamics at play, setting the stage for a more introspective journey through its digital dystopia.

THE LAST MERMAID #1

Derek Kirk Kim’s “The Last Mermaid #1” marks a triumphant return to the medium, showcasing his exceptional ability to weave compelling narratives with minimalistic elegance. The debut issue introduces readers to a mermaid protagonist, an emblem of resilience and determination, navigating the desolate waters of a post-apocalyptic Earth. Clad in a mech suit with an aquatic-themed helmet, she embarks on a solitary quest for the planet’s dwindling reserves of clean water. Kim’s storytelling is both haunting and beautiful, choosing to let the imagery—such as the dilapidated Golden Gate Bridge and the paradoxically beautiful, yet deadly, sunlight—speak volumes about the world’s fate without delving into the specifics of its downfall. The artwork, rich with golden hues and atmospheric details, envelops the reader in a world teetering on the brink of extinction, where survival hinges on the slimmest of margins. This issue is a masterclass in visual storytelling, with each panel painstakingly crafted to evoke a deep emotional response, setting the stage for a series that is as mesmerizing as it is thought-provoking. The mermaid’s journey through this forsaken landscape serves as a chilling allegory for our own environmental challenges, making “The Last Mermaid #1” not just a story of fantasy, but a poignant reflection on humanity’s trajectory.

NIGHT PEOPLE #1

“Night People #1” embarks on the ambitious task of weaving together the intricate narratives from Barry Gifford’s novel into a coherent comic book narrative. Chris Condon tackles this complex adaptation with a keen eye for detail, though the narrative sometimes struggles to seamlessly connect the intersecting tales. The true standout feature of this issue is the artwork by Brian Level, with Ronda Pattison’s colors, which plunges readers into the murky depths of the Deep South’s criminal underworld. The artistry on display is both raw and visceral, capturing the essence of the setting with unflinching realism. Gore and grim aesthetics are not merely included but are integral to the storytelling, enhancing the atmospheric tension and immersing readers fully into the narrative’s dark core. Through meticulous attention to visual motifs and the psychological landscape of its characters, “Night People #1” delivers a visually compelling journey that promises to evolve in its subsequent issues.

PINE AND MERRIMAC #3

“Pine and Merrimac #3” dives deeper into the enigmatic cult at the heart of its plot, skillfully balancing the intrigue of the investigation with the nuanced development of Linnea and Parker’s relationship. The narrative briskly advances the central mystery, yet it’s the personal moments between the protagonists that truly captivate. Flashbacks to Linnea’s past as a homicide detective provide crucial insights into her character, enriching the storyline and setting up a suspenseful cliffhanger. These glimpses into their shared history, coupled with a humorous anecdote from a past case, underscore the depth of their connection, contrasting sharply with the darker tones of the central narrative. While the issue propels Linnea and Parker closer to the conspiracy’s heart, it smartly focuses on character development, laying a solid foundation for the series’ next, potentially tumultuous, chapters.

RANGER ACADEMY #5

“Ranger Academy #5” successfully stakes its claim within the larger Ranger mythology, introducing a refreshing and dynamic cast that quickly endears itself to readers. Maria Ingrande Mora excels in exploring and deepening the relationships among the academy’s diverse group of characters, with Sage and Tula’s evolving dynamic taking center stage in this issue. While the main storyline progresses more slowly, allowing room for character growth and the build-up to a pivotal moment for Sage, the narrative remains engaging throughout. The art team, comprising Jo Mi-Gyeong on pencils and Joana LaFuente on colors, with Ed Dukeshire’s lettering, brings the Academy’s world to life with a vibrant and expressive style that captures both intimate moments and high-octane action sequences with equal finesse. As the story hints at unveiling major revelations in the upcoming issue, the anticipation builds not just for the plot twists ahead but for the continued journey with these beloved characters.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: THE LAST RONIN II – RE-EVOLUTION #1

In “The Last Ronin II – Re-Evolution #1,” the creative team embarks on a venture arguably more challenging than launching a new series: they reimagine the iconic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles saga by introducing a fresh ensemble of characters, each with compelling stories and distinct identities. This issue sets the stage for high stakes and deepens the mystery surrounding Clan Hamato’s latest generation. While the narrative keeps the central antagonist shrouded in mystery, it hints at a complexity within the turtles that goes beyond their mastery of martial arts. The absence of a clear villain and the intriguing hints at the turtles’ deeper qualities lay a tantalizing groundwork for the series, stirring anticipation for what lies ahead. “Re-Evolution #1” skillfully balances the introduction of new elements with the rich legacy of the franchise, promising a journey that will captivate both long-time fans and newcomers eager to explore the evolving saga of Clan Hamato.

UNDERHEIST #2

“Underheist #2” elevates the series’ intrigue with a significant increase in supernatural elements, transforming the aftermath of a botched heist into a journey through the surreal. The narrative smartly maintains focus on David’s desperate quest for escape from his dismal circumstances, grounding the burgeoning mysteries in his personal struggle. This approach ensures that the story’s expansion into the occult feels both compelling and cohesive, rather than overwhelming. The artwork intricately weaves clues and symbols into the panels, inviting readers to decipher the occult forces at play behind the characters’ misfortunes. The climax of the issue is particularly striking, masterfully playing on the confusion experienced by both David and the readers before revealing a scenario of nightmarish proportions. “Underheist” is shaping up to be an unparalleled crime saga, blending eerie mysteries with a crime narrative to create an atmosphere that’s as enthralling as it is unsettling.

VOID RIVALS #7

“Void Rivals #7” propels the series forward by introducing new dangers and enigmas to the lives of Darak and Solila, while simultaneously weaving a tapestry of potential deceit. This issue exemplifies the series’ strength in blending science fiction with the expansive lore of the combined Transformer/G.I. Joe Image universe, without allowing the iconic franchises to overshadow the original story. Robert Kirkman’s emphasis on character development and world-building enriches the narrative, ensuring that the homage to the Energon universe enhances rather than detracts from the primary storyline. The introduction of new adversaries and the hint of betrayal adds layers of complexity and intrigue, promising a multifaceted story arc that prioritizes character dynamics and plot evolution. “Void Rivals” stands out as a beacon of storytelling within the genre, striking a delicate balance between honoring its roots in established universes and charting a bold, new direction.

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