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 #20
In the breathtaking continuation of the narrative that revisited the iconic initial encounter between the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader, the prodigious Dan Mora once again graces the pages with his impeccable illustrations in World’s Finest. Teaming up with him, Mark Waid, a name synonymous with grandeur in comic storytelling, crafts an ambitious tale that seamlessly bridges the playful essence of the Silver Age with the more somber and reflective universe of Kingdom Come. Given Waid’s masterful creation of Kingdom Come, he stands as the unparalleled choice to delve back into its depths, this time offering a fresh perspective as a more naive Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent grapple with the revelations of “Earth 22.” This storyline is more than just a homage; it’s a heartfelt testament to DC’s rich legacy, embarking on audacious storytelling ventures that are both imaginative and deeply rooted in lore. As I’ve previously acclaimed, World’s Finest remains a shining beacon, constantly proving why it is, without a doubt, among the zenith of DC’s comic creations.
BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT PRESENTS – GENERATION JOKER #6
Wrapping up the captivating Generation Joker arc, the concluding issue unfortunately hinges on a series of plot conveniences that seemingly push the characters from Murphy’s “White Knight” universe into the shadows, perhaps until their next narrative venture. The resolution feels overly tidy, somewhat diluting the powerful sentiments the climax aims to convey, reminiscent of the simplistic resolutions found in vintage 80s cinema. Instead of offering readers a compelling journey of character evolution through deeds or ramifications, the majority of the ensemble, rather unceremoniously, vocalizes their transformative moments, mirroring the simplicity of a motivational classroom poster. The central conflict, built around a massive yet vaguely defined mech, although narratively clear, falls short in delivering high-octane dynamism. The presence of Harvey 2.0, surrounded by a myriad of more compelling and well-defined characters, feels overshadowed, particularly with the verbose exchanges. The issue ends with hints of more from the Batman: White Knight Presents universe, but post Generation Joker, one has to wonder about its future allure.
Navigating the turbulent waters of the “Gotham War” crossover event, this particular issue might pose as a challenge for readers exclusively following Catwoman’s journey. Tini Howard’s compelling script shines in moments, particularly emphasizing Selina Kyle’s intricate dynamics with Bruce Wayne, Scandal Savage, and the ensemble. Yet, the overarching narrative seems more engrossed with the macro events rather than diving deep into Selina’s unique narrative position. Visually, Nico Leon showcases moments of pure artistic genius, particularly as the narrative expands to include a diverse cast. However, when held up against the series’ prior achievements, one can’t help but feel this issue hasn’t quite reached its zenith.
In a narrative twist filled with urban flair, Cyborg – also fondly termed ‘The Booyah Kid’ – endeavors to enjoy an ordinary lunch date. But what should have been a simple outing soon turns chaotic as an onslaught of renegade synths crashes his plans. Intriguingly, amidst the turmoil, the spotlight doesn’t just remain on the action but also shines on the intricate character development. Dialogues between Cyborg, his AI-infused father figure, and the sharp-witted Estelle, offer layers of depth to the story. Estelle astutely observes and points out Victor’s predictable modus operandi in morphing his limbs into weaponry. The issue cleverly leaves readers hanging on the edge with Cyborg’s mention of backup. The looming question is whether the iconic Metal Men will arrive for reinforcement or if the much-loved Titans might make a detour to Detroit to join the fray.
This explosive issue of Fables plunges headfirst into high-stakes combat, with the eagerly anticipated clash between Peter Pan and Bigby Wolf taking center stage, while Snow White and her offspring contend with the feisty Tinkerbell. This action-packed sequence embodies Fables’ commitment to grandeur, making the prolonged buildup seem worthwhile, given the epic scale and sheer intensity of the confrontations. Even though the subsequent Fables epilogue somewhat dilutes the tension (by preemptively revealing certain fates), this installment resonates with the energy and charm reminiscent of Fables at its pinnacle, offering a taste of nostalgia for long-time fans since its triumphant return.
GREEN LANTERN: WAR JOURNAL #2
In the sophomore issue of Jon Stewart’s new series, readers are offered a deep dive into the multifaceted world of the iconic Green Lantern. Not only does the story distinguish Jon Stewart’s unique Lantern philosophy from peers like Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, and Guy Gardner, but it also adeptly establishes a riveting new status quo for the ring bearer. Balancing the scales of narrative, readers are treated to an intimate view of Stewart’s day-to-day challenges seamlessly interwoven with his heroic escapades. The threats facing Jon are palpably intensified by their undead nature, but the addition of his mother to the equation adds a personal touch, underscoring the stakes even more. With Johnson and Montos steering the ship, the duo expertly capture the essence of a character hailed by many as the quintessential Green Lantern. Through this series, they’re not just narrating a story, but are making a statement about Jon Stewart’s unparalleled legacy.
HARLEY QUINN: BLACK + WHITE + REDDER #4
The fourth installation of “Harley Quinn: Black + White + Redder” is nothing short of a masterpiece, a sentiment echoed consistently throughout the series. Each issue has artfully ventured into diverse facets of Harley’s character, unraveling new depths with every story. In Zoe Thorogood’s “Harley Quinn and the Seven Sidekicks,” we are introduced to a side of Harley often unexplored: one wrestling with her internal demons, grappling with anxiety and self-worth. This introspective rendition contrasts starkly with the subsequent narrative, “A Voice Traveling,” where readers are presented with a fiery, vengeful Harley that resonates strongly with her portrayal in “The Suicide Squad” film. However, the pièce de résistance of this issue is the concluding tale, “Golden Years.” Venturing into uncharted territories, it paints an evocative picture of an aged Harley, reminiscent of the “Old Man Logan” approach. All these tales combined make this not just another issue, but arguably the series’ crowning jewel.
The opening sequences of this issue momentarily cast doubts, making it seem as if Hawkgirl would merely play second fiddle in her titular series. With significant screen time devoted to the freshly introduced Galaxy, and familiar faces like Supergirl and Steel, it seemed as though Hawkgirl might be overshadowed. However, as the story unfolded, she reclaimed her rightful position, culminating in a riveting climax where she single-handedly defeats a formidable fire-breathing dragon. Yet, this victory is not without its emotional toll. The aftermath is imbued with profound introspection, leaving Hawkgirl at a crossroads, questioning her path forward.
JAY GARRICK: THE FLASH #1
Jeremy Adams re-enters the exhilarating realm of DC speedsters, this time shedding light on the iconic Jay Garrick – the very Flash who laid the foundation for a legacy. Perfectly timed after Geoff Johns’ revival of JSA, this narrative witnesses Jay and his loyal companion, Joan, confronting a startling revelation – the sudden appearance of a daughter, erased from their memories due to the whims of time travel. Adams, in collaboration with the talented artist Diego Olortegui, crafts a tale that magnifies Garrick’s inherent qualities, delivering a quintessential superhero narrative. While it might not diverge radically from the conventional formula, it exudes a charm that appeals to the genre’s purists. Even though this inaugural issue might lack a groundbreaking twist to immediately captivate, it undoubtedly carves a niche for itself, promising Flash aficionados a spin-off series worthy of standing parallel to the tales of the legendary Justice Society member.
JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. KING KONG VS. GODZILLA #1
This issue takes an intriguing approach to a colossal crossover by sidelining its titular monsters for the majority of the narrative. But when Godzilla and King Kong do grace the pages, their presence is nothing short of seismic, leaving an indelible mark on the reader. Beyond the monumental clashes of these giants, the issue also delves into deeper subplots, ensuring that the audience remains hooked not merely for the promise of epic confrontations but also for the intricate interplay between heroes and villains. The debut of “Justice League vs. Godzilla vs. Kong” sets a tantalizing tone, and if it can adeptly distribute the limelight amongst the League, its adversaries, and the iconic monsters, it’s poised to become an unmissable rollercoaster.
THE SANDMAN UNIVERSE: NIGHTMARE COUNTRY – THE GLASS HOUSE #5
Every masterful suspense narrative possesses that electrifying moment when all its divergent threads converge, heralding the climax. This very sensation is palpably felt as “Nightmare Country – The Glass House #5” reaches its concluding pages, elevating the anticipation for its imminent finale. The journey leading up to this climax, while echoing the series’ consistently high standard, occasionally feels weighed down by dense exposition aimed at demystifying the stakes and riddles. Die-hard fans of “The Sandman” are treated to nostalgic nods, with tantalizing hints and the chilling spectacle of King of Pain’s inquiry hinting at the surreal horrors lurking ahead. This issue masterfully constructs a runway, priming readers for the grand descent of “The Glass House #6.”
Marking its monumental 850th issue, “Superman” delivers a veritable treasure trove for its ardent followers. Joshua Williamson’s deft writing orchestrates a symphony of storylines he’s meticulously woven since the series’ inception, offering readers a glimpse into the lives of beloved characters like Perry, Lex Luthor, the Superman family, The Chained, Dr. Pharm, Mister Graft, and more. As the issue unfolds, it becomes evident that while new faces join the narrative tapestry, none of the central characters are lost in the shuffle. At the heart of it all stands the iconic Man of Steel, rendered in stunning detail by the artistic talents of Gleb Melnikov, Dan Jurgen’s, Norm Raymond, Edwin Salmon, and Alejandro Sanchez. Melnikov’s portrayal of Superman exudes charisma, and Ariana Maher’s exceptional lettering magnifies each scene’s intensity, whether subtle or monumental. The occasional discordance in artwork transitioning may slightly jar the reader, but it’s a minor blemish on a canvas that’s otherwise a celebration of storytelling excellence.
Tom Taylor’s storytelling prowess takes center stage in Titans #4, deftly grounding superheroes in authentic, human emotions and dilemmas. Rather than resorting to the typical superhero trope of thwarting yet another menacing villain, this issue sees the Titans embarking on a mission with profound real-world implications. Intrigue shrouds the narrative as Taylor introduces the enigmatic Church subplot, a compelling mystery that promises significant revelations in the subsequent issue. Readers are left with a palpable sense of anticipation, yearning to uncover the depth of this looming conundrum.
ASTONISHING ICEMAN #3
Astonishing Iceman #3 serves a dichotomy of brilliance and missteps. Steve Orlando crafts an unanticipated alliance between Iceman and the rebellious Captain America offshoot, Aaron Fischer. This union not only underscores Iceman’s captivating essence but also lends freshness to the narrative. Fischer’s dynamic with Iceman accentuates the looming threat posed by The Cleaner, pressing both heroes to their brink. The artistry of Vincenzo Carat, Java Tartaglia’s vivid color palette, and Travis Lanham’s lettering dynamically emphasize the action, drawing on the duo’s distinct capabilities. However, the issue’s momentum is intermittently stifled by elements that feel inorganic and imposed. This is particularly evident in certain dialogue exchanges that appear to hurriedly establish character backgrounds or shoehorn humor, which detracts from the story’s immersive nature. Such inconsistencies, unfortunately, hamper the narrative’s pacing and tone, casting a shadow over the otherwise exhilarating face-off between Orchis and Iceman. One can only hope that the forthcoming issue navigates these challenges more adeptly.
AVENGERS INC. #2
Ewing and Kirk’s innovative spin on the Avengers, portraying them in a detective light, is enchanting. This particular issue is a delightful escapade, tracing Janet Van Dyne and the revamped Victor Shade as they unravel the origins of a name. Ewing’s narrative finesse is especially commendable, deftly capturing the essence of the central Avengers trio while delving deep into Marvel’s rich lore to weave an engrossing tale set in the Avengers Mansion. The comic’s tone is refreshingly light-hearted, offering readers an inventive perspective on the Avengers, different from the battle-worn, often grim personas they’re accustomed to. As much as this issue thrills, there’s a lingering desire for a more extensive roster beyond the current duo. Nonetheless, the evolving mysteries hint at potential team expansions and intriguing revelations in subsequent issues.
CHILDREN OF THE VAULT #3
As tensions escalate, Children of the Vault #3 unfurls an explosive showdown between Cable and Bishop, pitting them against the titanic forces of the Children and Orchis. Their guerilla tactics and rapid-fire sequences paint a panorama where the sheer magnitude of these global dominators dwarfs even the most formidable of superheroes. Yet, it’s precisely this monumental scale that tailors an arena for Cable and Bishop to display a cornucopia of futuristic weapons and tactics, which is an undeniable treat for ardent Marvel sci-fi aficionados. While the narrative crystallizes the obscure goals and affiliations of the Children vis-à-vis humanity, there’s a discernible tinge of regret that the story’s promise from its inaugural issue seems diluted by prioritizing action over nuance. The anticipation of impending threats from the Krakoa era of X-Men is undoubtedly tantalizing, but a deeper dive into the motives and strategies of the conflicting sides would have enhanced the narrative texture. Luca Maresca’s stellar artistry, with his penchant for detailing mammoth firearms and their catastrophic payloads, however, assures readers of a visual spectacle, even if the story feels slightly wanting.
CRYPT OF SHADOWS #1
Crypt of Shadows returns, serving up a chilling medley of eerie tales featuring Marvel’s iconic characters. Victor Strange, the malevolent spectral brother of Doctor Strange, steers the anthology with his darkly humorous interjections, although his cryptic hints about his destiny feel somewhat peripheral. The anthology’s distinct stories yield mixed results. Steve Orlando’s “Brick by Brick,” seamlessly intertwined with his ongoing Scarlet Witch arc, emerges as the crown jewel, illuminated further by Paul Azaceta’s art, which masterfully captures ethereal flames, sinister skeletons, and ominous silhouettes. Another notable narrative is “Without Fear,” which fuses Daredevil and Man-Thing into a riveting team-up, accentuating Alex Lins’ artistry while exploring the melancholic parallels between the tragic protagonists. However, the shorter tales involving Deadpool, Hulk, and Werewolf-By-Night, although competent, falter in leaving a lasting impression within their confined canvas. Marvel and horror enthusiasts will find moments of delight in this spooky special, even if the overall value proposition might be debated.
Following its exhilarating debut, Daredevil #2 adopts a more tempered cadence, perhaps to the detriment of the initial momentum. The myriad queries swirling around Matt’s miraculous evasion from Hell and his unexpected ordainment now simmer on the backburner, as he effortlessly re-embraces his vigilante mantle, memories intact. This quick transition risks trivializing the anticipated seismic shift in Daredevil’s journey, relegating it to a mere episodic aberration. The conspicuous absence of any infernal elements in this issue only amplifies this sentiment. However, there’s potential for a resurgence of demonic encounters that could recalibrate the narrative arc and reintroduce the intrigue that had fans hooked initially.
DEADPOOL: BADDER BLOOD #5
Deadpool: Badder Blood culminates in a high-octane crescendo, boasting an ensemble of iconic characters: Deadpool, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Cable, and the intriguing Venompool. Together, they orchestrate a grand takedown of what can only be described as the most unmistakably Liefeld-inspired squad since the famed Youngblood era. While the narrative doesn’t quite resonate with the poignant emotional depths reminiscent of Thumper’s backstory in the original series, it certainly outpaces the somewhat ponderous Millville subplot that dominated much of this miniseries. The vibrant clashes and witty dialogues make this finale a satisfying resolution, albeit with a nostalgic nod to the classic Liefeld style.
GHOST RIDER #19
The Ghost Rider series diligently delves deeper into the backstory of the enigmatic Talia Warroad. As her origin story unravels, readers are drawn into a sinister amalgamation reminiscent of iconic horror tales like Children of the Corn and The Exorcist. The narrative artfully integrates elements of suspense, garnished with graphically intense and gruesomely detailed sequences. Yet, there’s a lingering undercurrent of mystery that, paradoxically, feels somewhat superfluous. Given that the audience is already privy to significant facets of the tale, the deliberate obfuscation at times seems more contrived than compelling.
THE INCREDIBLE HULK #5
Navigating the vast expanse of The Incredible Hulk’s narratives can sometimes feel repetitive. Yet, every so often, an installment emerges that is nothing short of spectacular, leaving reviewers grappling for fresh superlatives. Johnson’s innovative rendition of the Hulk is undeniably one such gem in Marvel’s current repertoire. Seamlessly interweaving elements of thrill and horror, each page is a testament to storytelling brilliance, replete with twists, turns, and tantalizing teases. The series perpetually keeps readers on their toes, invoking an insatiable curiosity about its subsequent direction. In essence, The Incredible Hulk, under Johnson’s guidance, is an exhilarating roller-coaster that every Marvel aficionado should embark on.
THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #11
Tony Stark’s journey has always been a compelling narrative when he’s grappling with challenges that seem overwhelmingly towering. Throughout the latest chapters featuring Iron Man, Gerry Duggan has masterfully illustrated this struggle, allowing readers to resonate deeply with Stark’s trials and tribulations. In Invincible Iron Man #11, the progression is meticulous and unhurried, with Duggan deftly maneuvering the nuances of the story, akin to a seasoned player delicately placing chess pieces in a grandmaster game. The precision in plotting ensures that the narrative elements are perfectly aligned, amplifying the anticipation and immersion in Tony’s odyssey.
MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN #11
There’s a refreshing consistency in the way this series employs a “mentor/guest-star of the week” approach. From the early days of the series, where we witnessed Misty Knight mentoring the fledgling Spider-Man, to the recent introduction of Blade and his formidable daughter Brielle, each installment promises an exciting new dynamic. This particular issue focuses on vampire-hunting exploits, adding a thrilling dimension to Miles’ ever-expanding world. Moreover, Hightail’s trajectory as a character is particularly riveting, given the shocking revelations by the issue’s conclusion.
MOON KNIGHT #28
Moon Knight #28 sees the impending culmination of a saga that has had fans on the edge of their seats. Writer Jed MacKay masterfully amplifies the suspense, with layers of complexity unfurling with every turn of the page. The artistic synergy between Federico Sabbatini’s visuals, Rachelle Rosenberg’s vibrant color palette, and Cory Petit’s nuanced lettering brings this story to life, capturing both its intensity and subtleties. The skirmishes portrayed reverberate with kinetic energy, setting the stage for an imminent showdown with Black Spectre that promises to be a landmark moment in the series. A special nod to the character of 8-Ball, who has emerged as a dark horse, enchanting readers with his depth and unpredictability. While the rapid pacing of the issue does lead to a somewhat abrupt ending, it only heightens the anticipation for the forthcoming chapters. Undoubtedly, the wait for Moon Knight #29 is becoming increasingly tantalizing.
SCARLET WITCH #9
Even with the impending arrival of another Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver miniseries, the realization that this is the second to the last issue of Scarlet Witch remains emotionally poignant. The central narrative of this issue offers an entrancing and thrilling ride, skillfully highlighting Wanda’s multifaceted nature and laying the groundwork for her future triumphs and tribulations. Complementing the main tale is a whimsical tie-in to Strange Academy, providing readers with a delightful and profound exploration of Wanda’s significance. Every artist and writer involved has poured heart and soul into the tales, and their collective dedication leaves readers eager and curious for the forthcoming chapters and storylines.
THE SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK #1
Irrespective of your sentiments towards the Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk series or prior iterations of She-Hulk comics, Sensational She-Hulk #1 promises elements that will captivate your attention. Embodying the essence of Marvel’s “world outside your window” ethos, the twin narratives within this issue offer readers a whimsical yet profound glimpse into that world, and the myriad quirks and vibrancy of Jen’s existence. Boasting innovative storytelling techniques, visually striking art, and an unwavering adoration for the titular character, Sensational She-Hulk #1 arguably stands as one of the most impressive introductions to the character to date.
SPINE-TINGLING SPIDER-MAN #1
Launching with unparalleled panache, Spine-Tingling Spider-Man presents a breathtaking interpretation of Marvel’s iconic protagonist. From the get-go, Juan Ferreyra’s artistry, in collaboration with Joe Caramagna’s lettering, dazzles readers with a blend of classic and contemporary styles, embodied in a captivating splash page action sequence. Spider-Man’s magnetic charisma is palpable, ensuring that every moment he’s featured is pure gold. Yet, the genius lies in the subsequent narrative shift by writer Saladin Ahmed, who seamlessly transitions into a horror-centric plot, casting a hauntingly different light on Peter’s universe. Despite the tonal shift, the engrossment remains undiminished. Ferreyra’s talents shine brightly, not just in the hero-centric moments, but also in the more unsettling, eerie segments of the storyline. Spine-Tingling Spider-Man #1 surpasses expectations, ensuring that readers are eagerly awaiting the unfolding saga.
STAR WARS #39
Jabba’s Palace, an iconic setting for any Star Wars enthusiast, now serves as a treacherous trap for Lando Calrissian. Finding himself in the jaws of danger, not only from the infamously unpredictable Rancor but also from the surge of Scourge-infected droids, Lando’s situation looks bleak. However, an unlikely savior emerges in the form of a seemingly inconsequential protocol droid. But it’s Lobot’s unique abilities that place him in the crosshairs of the Scourge’s vile intentions. This issue thrums with the intensity of a desperate escape from a near-impregnable fortress but unfortunately sidesteps the larger narrative threads of the Dark Droids story arc. This approach aligns with the action-focused ethos of the event but does leave readers hungry for a richer tapestry of plot progression.
“Antarctica” has the potential to deliver a narrative that effortlessly pulls readers into its icy depths. While the revelations embedded in its storyline tease an enticing allure, the path to these disclosures feels more convoluted than it needs to be. Unveiling these hidden gems of plot points feels like a chore, a labor of love, rather than the effortless discovery readers might have anticipated. The landscape of the story, both literal and figurative, is vast and waiting for exploration, but it demands more than just a cursory glance.
BENEATH THE TREES WHERE NOBODY SEES #1
The primary lament with this inaugural issue is that its solicit inadvertently strips away the elements of surprise, laying bare the bones of a story that is meant to be unveiled layer by layer. The atmospheric tension and darkly charming visuals the comic promises are indeed delivered with expertise. The tale marries the evocative artistry of comic-book storytelling with the sinister undertones of thrillers like “Silence of the Lambs” and “Dexter”. If you’re fortunate enough to have missed the solicit’s detailed synopsis, this comic is a genuine treat, presenting both macabre and mesmerizing elements. Future reviews will tread carefully, avoiding the pitfall of revealing too much, to preserve the experience for those yet to delve into its pages.
THE BONE ORCHARD MYTHOS: TENEMENT #5
As the saga of “The Bone Orchard Mythos: Tenement” unfolds, it seems we’re treated to its richest installment yet. While Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino, the masterminds behind this series, have truly come into their element, it’s a tad disheartening that such a peak emerges this late in the narrative. But then, there’s Sorrentino’s artistry. It’s a feast for the eyes, adorned with his signature panel designs and intricate layouts, making it impossible not to be entranced. As we stand on the precipice of the tale’s climax, there’s no denying my piqued interest. Imperfections aside, I’m on tenterhooks awaiting the story’s resolution.
Diving into “Coda #2” requires a meticulous pace and a sharp eye. The intertwined stories of Hum and Serka occasionally blur lines, making differentiation a challenge at certain junctures. Yet, when given the attention it demands, the payoff is worthwhile. Hum’s journey is jarred by an unexpected death, setting the stage for a series of tumultuous events that inexorably pull him and Serka into a reunion. However, this reunion isn’t imbued with the warmth one might anticipate. There’s a palpable tension in the air, heightened by emerging threats that become more defined with each page turn. And while the narrative technique seems slightly more jarring in this issue than its predecessor, the momentum remains intact, carried forth by stunning artwork that seamlessly blends the fantastical with the whimsical. – Nicole Drum
“Good golly gracious!” is perhaps the best exclamation for “Dwellings”. It’s like delving into a treasure chest of horror tales, exquisitely wrapped in an art style reminiscent of beloved classics like Charlie Brown and Calvin and Hobbes. This juxtaposition of the grotesque with the endearing harkens back to familiar feelings of comfort, all while introducing elements of the macabre. Especially fitting for a spooky season, “Dwellings” delivers a full-bodied experience, transporting readers to a world where the horrors of reality and the supernatural coexist in the coziest, yet most disconcerting of settings.
FEAR THE FUNHOUSE PRESENTS... TOYBOX OF TERROR #1
Journey into a nightmarish realm with “Fear the Funhouse Presents… Toybox of Terror.” This anthology horror unfurls a tapestry of terror that descends upon the unsuspecting town of Riverdale. The comic intricately weaves together classic horror elements, pulling inspiration from iconic characters such as M3GAN and the notorious Chucky. As readers traverse its pages, they’re treated to a mosaic of chilling narratives that pay homage to the illustrious history of horror. Each story in this anthology bears its own signature twist, beckoning enthusiasts of the genre. If spine-tingling tales with nods to revered horror icons are your cup of tea, you’ll find this anthology irresistibly alluring.
THE FORGED #5
“The Forged #5” adopts a more introspective tone, standing out as the most subdued issue in the series. Yet, this seeming calm belies a depth of character exploration, granting readers a unique window into the hearts and minds of Victory’s formidable team. As they savor their brief respite, the narrative delicately peels back the layers, revealing the women beneath the warrior facade. Alongside this exploration, the series’ hallmark worldbuilding and humor continue to flourish, shedding light on the intricate mechanisms driving the empire. Far from mundane, the storytelling renders the intricate workings of bureaucracy and downtime utterly captivating. Action enthusiasts needn’t fret, as the issue boasts a handful of exhilarating sequences, notably a fierce showdown spotlighting Victory. But the true magic lies in the intimate moments that expose the intricate dynamics and camaraderie amongst the team. While the issue’s cliffhanger might seem to surface unexpectedly, it expertly sets the stage for an exhilarating finale to this arc, ensuring readers are firmly anchored for what’s to come.
In “Grim #14”, Jess and Eddie are thrust into their darkest fears, confronted by nightmarish scenarios tailored to prey on their deepest vulnerabilities. Their paths are riddled with trials that will test Jess’s mettle before her inevitable showdown with Marcel. What stands out prominently is the narrative’s brilliant structure, where the epilogues and prologues are masterfully intertwined, creating a narrative loop that keeps readers on the edge. Each issue’s denouement, thanks to this technique, culminates in a gripping cliffhanger, ensuring that readers are constantly left hungry for more.
HACK/SLASH: BACK TO SCHOOL #1
Zoe Thorogood, the prodigious comics talent, rides the wave of her recent success from “It’s Lonely at the Centre of the Earth”, diving headfirst into an already renowned universe. By handing the reins over to Thorogood, Tim Seeley—Hack/Slash’s co-creator—has arguably orchestrated the series’ most thrilling revival in a long time. Zoe’s artistic idiosyncrasies, a blend of intricate detailing and side-splitting one-off panels, find a harmonious home within this franchise. The comic straddles the line between gore-filled scenes and playful innuendos, striking a balance that avoids coming off as gratuitous or overtly lurid. Instead, Thorogood’s touch accentuates the narrative, infusing freshness into an otherwise weathered franchise. She demonstrates that while playing in another’s domain, she can preserve her unique storytelling voice, and in doing so, she breathes vital life into a flagging series.
JUNIOR BAKER THE RIGHTEOUS FAKER #2
“Junior Baker The Righteous Faker #2” is a narrative labyrinth, overwhelming in its ambition to be profound and avant-garde. Its aspirations to break molds and challenge conventions occasionally overshadow the core narrative, often at the expense of a cohesive storyline. The comic attempts to weave a tapestry of intricate details, but the density of its content risks alienating readers, veering away from storytelling and leaning heavily into artistic extravagance.
KILL YOUR DARLINGS #2
Picking up the narrative threads after its gripping debut, “Kill Your Darlings #2” takes readers on a poignant journey, unveiling a glimpse into Rose’s life post the harrowing death of her mother. The stark, mostly dialogue-free pages powerfully portray the deep scars left by the initial trauma. However, the narrative takes a twist when an eccentric, imaginary friend – visualized as a curious blend of a pink elephant and Crocodile Dundee – makes his entrance. The genius of the story lies not in evoking anticipation or exhilaration with this new character but in inducing an unsettling sense of apprehension. The reader is left in a state of anticipatory tension, constantly questioning the line between imagination and reality.
KLIK KLIK BOOM #5
The grand finale of Klik Klik Boom delivers an exhilarating climax, living up to its explosive title. Our protagonist, Sprout, remains a testament to character development as she manages to convey depth and growth without relying on spoken words. It’s a mesmerizing experience to witness a character evolve so richly in silence. Artistically, Dabbs showcases his incredible talent, particularly in a few standout scenes where his lineart, capturing the dynamic movement of fight sequences, is both visceral and captivating. These sequences stand not only as highlights of the issue but also rank among the most memorable visual moments in comic arts this year.
LOCAL MAN #6
The latest chapter in the “Local Man” saga introduces readers to an accelerated and gripping narrative rhythm. The story evolves, unveiling higher stakes for Jack and the characters surrounding him. It’s a testament to the creators that they manage to tread the line between divulging information and maintaining suspense so masterfully. Giving away more details might border on spoiler territory. However, it’s evident that the synergy between Tim Seeley and Tony Fleecs is in top form, with their combined efforts delivering a riveting primary plot, complemented by an equally stylish and intriguing backup tale. This issue reaffirms their prowess in storytelling and artistry.
The fourth installment of “Scrapper” recalibrates its trajectory, adopting a more measured pace. This allows for clearer storytelling and unveils a fresh set of anthropomorphic characters, the feline inhabitants of New Verona. These cats, especially one named Snowball, inject a new layer of intrigue and charm to the overarching narrative. Beyond these feline introductions, the issue sheds light on the machinations of SMITE and provides insights into their endgame. Although the plot progression occasionally feels like it’s treading water rather than charging ahead, the inclusion of the cat characters and the exploration of SMITE’s intentions ensure that readers remain engaged. The episode, overall, stands as a worthy addition to the series.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #144
The timing of Sophie Campbell’s announced departure from the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series is uncanny, coinciding closely with the release of issue #144. This specific issue, which marks the culmination of the current narrative arc, seemingly echoes the atmosphere of a farewell. Throughout the storyline, each Turtle experiences introspection, facing and addressing their internal struggles, eventually seeking healing from their recent ordeals. This process of recovery and mutual support among the characters could have easily felt like a poignant concluding note from Campbell. Yet, the narrative suggests more adventures are in store, especially with the introduction of the formidable force, Armaggon. Although Gavin Smith’s artistry was a strength in the earlier action-packed segments of this arc, the emotional depth of this concluding issue feels somewhat undermined by the characters’ sometimes stilted expressions. Nonetheless, despite some artistic hiccups, TMNT #144 sets the stage for what promises to be an impactful conclusion to an era in the Turtles’ storied comic book journey.
TIME BEFORE TIME #28
As “Time Before Time” approaches its end, issue #28 ramps up the stakes and tension. The series, which has been meticulously layering its plot elements, now gears up for a rapid sequence of events and resolutions. While the pacing might have benefited from more expansiveness to fully explore the repercussions of the narrative turns, the overall execution remains commendable. This series has consistently delivered engaging content, and its looming conclusion evokes a mix of anticipation and melancholy among readers. The upcoming issue #29 is poised to provide a potential conclusion, leaving fans eager and hopeful for a fitting closure.
WILD'S END #5
It’s worth reiterating just how masterful the narrative in “Wild’s End” has been. Employing the essential principles of comic book storytelling, the team weaves an alien invasion narrative that is rich in character depth and emotion. Despite the word “grounded” often hinting at a more raw or unrefined narrative, here, it signifies a story anchored in genuine emotions and stakes. Although the tale touches upon the raw instincts of survival and contains glimpses of unexpected violence, the visual tapestry portrays a radiant world filled with verdant landscapes — a reminder of what’s at stake for the characters. Personal struggles intertwine seamlessly with broader challenges. For instance, the Skipper’s subplot about the succession of his boat, introduced earlier in the series, returns to prominence amidst the dire circumstances, emphasizing continuity and character development. In a world of comics that often relies on superficial gimmicks, “Wild’s End” remains a sterling example of storytelling at its finest, emphasizing the power of an engrossing narrative told with sincerity and skill.