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.
ACTION COMICS #1058
In the annals of Action Comics history, this particular arc is cementing itself as one of the most riveting in recent memory. As we inch towards its culmination, this issue stands out not just for its captivating narrative but for the nuanced themes of equilibrium it explores. The tension escalates as the narrative picks up from the cliffhanger of the previous issue, with Superman not only battling his doppelganger but also confronting the looming menace of Stone and Blue Earth. The tale artfully delves deeper into the histories of Osul and Otho, ingeniously intertwining them into the grander storyline, emphasizing their pivotal role. Having witnessed the aftermath of Warworld, skepticism was rife about how seamlessly these story elements would merge, but Johnson’s masterful storytelling has quashed those doubts. The supplementary stories included offer a tantalizing glimpse into the intricate world of the Super family. It’s undeniable – DC has a masterpiece on their hands, and this issue is the irrefutable evidence.
ALAN SCOTT: THE GREEN LANTERN #1
The anticipation and whirlwind of speculations that surrounded the release of Alan Scott: Green Lantern have been laid to rest with its stellar debut. This inaugural issue adeptly reimagines Alan Scott’s journey, shedding light on his nascent superhero days and even his life prior to donning the mask, all through a fresh and insightful perspective. Although Tim Sheridan’s script takes a few pages to gain momentum, it eventually unfolds into a gripping enigma, impeccably complemented by Cian Tormey’s fluid and evocative illustrations.
BATMAN BEYOND: NEO-GOTHIC #4
The fourth installment of Batman Beyond: Neo-Gothic is a masterclass in narrative innovation. While it deviates slightly from the tone set by its predecessors, it doesn’t falter in holding the reader’s rapt attention. This issue submerges fans into the labyrinthine recesses of Terry and Kyle’s psyches, a psychedelic odyssey stunningly portrayed by the combined artistic prowess of Max Dunbar, colorist Rain Breed, and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou. The tale is enriched by poignant moments, made even more impactful by the vibrant artistry and sudden stylistic shifts. The writing duo, Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing, weave a tale that oscillates between the enigmatic and the evident, and while certain elements might seem obfuscated, there’s an underlying assurance that clarity is on the horizon. The narrative culminates in a profoundly moving moment between Terry and Kyle, which feels both well-deserved and genuinely resonant. Though there are still mysteries begging for elucidation, faith in the series remains unwavering. With each issue, anticipation grows, leaving readers yearning for the next chapter.
BATMAN/CATWOMAN: THE GOTHAM WAR – RED HOOD #2
To be candid, this issue stands out as a striking example of missed opportunities. The overarching “Gotham War” event has largely fallen flat, but this tie-in, particularly focusing on Red Hood, disappoints even further. Its primary objective seems to be to shoehorn an explanatory framework for Jason Todd’s involvement in the event. Alas, this attempt is marred by its belated introduction and lack of depth. The hurried narrative progression does little justice to the characters involved. There’s a nod to the past with a glimpse of Jason and Rose Wilson, which could have been a poignant moment but is overshadowed by the narrative’s haste. Moreover, the seemingly arbitrary introduction of characters like Joker and Scarecrow feels like an afterthought. From an artistic standpoint, while competent, the chosen style clashes with the chaotic essence of the narrative. It’s a letdown, especially given the vast potential of Jason Todd as a character. He truly deserves a more refined portrayal.
BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #6
At its core, the primary narratives worth noting in Batman: The Brave and The Bold #6 are its opening and conclusion. The issue climaxes with Guillem March’s “Pygmalion” tale, which paints a vivid picture of a memory-stricken Batman as he navigates his role in Gotham. This narrative, with its unique take on familiar Batman dynamics, could have easily spawned an entire miniseries. March’s meticulous craft is evident, with particularly memorable sequences as Batman rediscovers his identity. Complementing this, the concluding monochromatic segment, masterfully illustrated by Javier Fernandez, exudes an atmospheric blend of shadows and light, reinventing Batman’s iconic imagery. Regrettably, the interluding tales fall short. These narratives seem perfunctory and are likely to be bundled into a redundant collection, forgotten in the annals of Batman lore. The inconsistency in quality is more disheartening than a series of ambitious attempts.
DETECTIVE COMICS #1075
The narrative’s atmosphere undergoes a palpable shift with the collaboration of Francesco Francavilla and Ram V, chronicling Batman’s harrowing confrontation with his inner demons and the looming threat of the Orgham family. As Batman teeters on the brink of insanity, trying to cling to fragments of his past, a group of empathetic law enforcers races against time to rescue him from the clutches of his adversaries. Francavilla’s artwork, more realistic than previous issues’ dreamlike illustrations, melds seamlessly with Ram V’s standalone tale, grounding the narrative while maintaining its enigmatic allure. The issue’s conclusion, without delving into spoilers, pivots the story in an unexpected direction, igniting intrigue about Batman’s ensuing journey.
THE FLASH #2
The Flash #2 meticulously zooms into the suspenseful climax of its inaugural issue, unraveling Wally’s enigmatic bond with the ever-elusive Speed Force. The sheer brilliance of the action sequences, which envelop a significant portion of the issue, lies not just in their gripping narrative but in the pronounced emphasis on Mike Deodato Jr.’s distinctive artistic style. The manifestation of arcane monstrosities is intensified by unconventional panel divisions and asymmetrical designs, rendering them profoundly unsettling. This creative choice also cleverly sidesteps overtly gruesome depictions, ensuring a broader audience accessibility. Moreover, as Wally traverses the vast expanse of time and space, understanding the intricacies of the Speed Force, Deodato’s iconic void-like white grids are employed to stellar effect, allowing readers to effortlessly navigate and conceptualize the multifaceted realms of the comic universe. Every progression in Wally’s nascent journey in this series is exhilarating. However, the culmination might leave newcomers a tad perplexed, eager for clarity in subsequent issues.
GREEN ARROW #5
Under the adept craftsmanship of Joshua Williamson and Sean Izaakse, Green Arrow’s latest installment unfurls a narrative brimming with unexpected twists. Just as readers brace themselves for revelations about the enigmatic Old Man Queen, the narrative abruptly swerves, introducing the intriguing Legion of Green Arrows. Amidst the unfolding chaos, one can’t help but wonder about Amanda Waller’s clandestine schemes. One of the highlights of this issue is the nostalgic reunion with Phil Hester and Ande Parks, whose association with Green Arrow is fondly remembered by longtime fans. The issue masterfully balances revelations with mysteries, ensuring readers remain hooked.
POWER GIRL #2
Power Girl’s current rendition is an electrifying joyride that captivates readers from the get-go. Williams’ narrative approach strikes the perfect balance between monumental stakes and light-hearted moments, ensuring Power Girl’s journey stands distinct from Superman’s shadow. The climax is a visual spectacle, packed with adrenaline-pumping action sequences that tantalize readers, leaving them yearning for the next adrenaline hit. From its inception to its cliffhanging end, this issue establishes itself as a commendable addition to a series that’s rapidly emerging as a fan favorite.
“Steelworks” consistently showcases its potential to be a standout series, and this issue reiterates that sentiment. Dorn’s astute characterization of John Henry Irons delves deep into his psyche, illuminating his unique positioning in the bustling Metropolis and his distinctiveness in the sprawling DC Universe. This installment devotes a considerable chunk to unraveling the intricate pasts of its antagonists, a narrative move that has always been a double-edged sword for the Steel saga. While Walker, the principal antagonist, still appears rather linear in his motivations, the Silver Mist – or Kerry’s evolution – offers a poignant counterbalance. His tragic origin, deeply intertwined with Irons’ actions, offers both a fresh perspective on their dynamic and lays a foundation for what promises to be a climactic confrontation. As the series approaches its conclusion, anticipation builds for a finale that does justice to its steadily built narrative.
TALES OF THE TITANS #4
“Tales of the Titans” masterfully centers Beast Boy in this riveting issue, narrating a gut-wrenching saga of self-reflection and personal evolution. Constant’s script delves deep into Gar’s psyche, presenting an achingly raw portrayal of his battles with anxiety and other mental health challenges, grounding the character in relatable human struggles. The somber, atmospheric art from Brandt & Stein further enhances this emotional odyssey, juxtaposing the overwhelming darkness of despair with glimmers of hope. This blend of emotive storytelling and evocative artistry delivers a story that is simultaneously heart-wrenching and uplifting.
UNSTOPPABLE DOOM PATROL #7
“Unstoppable Doom Patrol” offers a commendable blend of action, character development, and mysterious hooks, and this issue is no exception. The succinct recap of the Candlemaker’s lineage and intertwined past with the Doom Patrol serves as a handy bridge for newcomers or those seeking a refresher. The narrative pace is relentless, with the team facing myriad challenges, yet their resilience and unity shine through. The new entrants to the team not only integrate seamlessly but also display moments of valor, reinforcing the team’s formidable reputation. However, the real kicker arrives in the form of an unexpected figure in what can be dubbed as the issue’s epilogue – a tantalizing hint that promises further intrigue and suspense in upcoming issues.
WONDER WOMAN #2
The second installment of Wonder Woman is undeniably a visual feast, with Daniel Sampere showcasing an artistic prowess that is both captivating and masterful. His ability to simultaneously depict dual narratives through his artistry is nothing short of mesmerizing. However, despite the exceptional artwork, the narrative seems to falter. Tom King, while an acclaimed storyteller, appears to have become ensnared in a repetitive exposition of Diana’s combat expertise – a facet of the character that is already deeply ingrained in pop culture. As a result, the story feels stagnant, with a significant portion of the narrative dedicated to protracted battles that do little to advance the overarching plot. Added to this is the portrayal of key characters like Steel and Steve Trevor in somewhat two-dimensional roles. The story seems to be leaning more into King’s signature style than doing justice to the rich tapestry of Wonder Woman’s world. Readers are left yearning for a deeper exploration of the narrative’s direction, and despite its visual appeal, the story’s heart seems amiss.
ALPHA FLIGHT #3
Alpha Flight #3 is an adrenaline-fueled roller coaster, packed with twists and turns that almost warrant a bifurcation of the issue for a more measured narrative pacing. As part of the expansive “Fall of X” saga, this chapter sees our heroes – Aurora, Nemesis, and Northstar – eluding the relentless pursuit of the Box Sentinels. However, with Nemesis critically wounded and the looming threat of Department H, the stakes have never been higher. The narrative treads a delicate balance between high-octane action and political intrigue, occasionally creating a disjointed reading experience. However, the suspenseful cliffhanger revolving around the new Nemesis adds a refreshing element of surprise, leaving readers eager for the next installment.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #36
The current trajectory of The Amazing Spider-Man is laden with inventive twists, and the spotlight on Rek-Rap is undoubtedly among the highlights. Conceived amidst the chaotic realm of Limbo during the “Dark Web” storyline, Rek-Rap emerges as a comical caricature of Peter Parker – a blend of whimsical parody and the unpredictability reminiscent of Bizarro tales. While there was a potential risk of Rek-Rap’s comedic antics becoming redundant, this issue smartly grounds his absurdities within tangible stakes, facilitating an empathetic connection with readers. The synergy between Ed McGuinness’ distinctive art style and Zeb Wells’ clever scripting elevates the narrative, melding humor with eeriness as Limbo’s bizarre creations spring to life. In essence, The Amazing Spider-Man #36 is a masterclass in blending humor, stakes, and creative brilliance, solidifying its place as a must-read in the series.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #2
The latest venture into the life of Steve Rogers stumbles out the gate with its second issue, which, unfortunately, seems to have taken a step backward from its debut. While we are treated to some commendable moments showcasing Steve’s resilience against Nazis in the days before he became the super soldier we know, these high points are quickly overshadowed by perplexing narrative choices. The storytelling in this issue lacks the finesse and subtlety Captain America deserves, making its various elements come across as overtly forceful and unrefined. The narrative seems bogged down with convoluted conspiracies surrounding secret Nazi plots and an enigmatic evil entity that aims to erase “Hope” from history. One can’t help but wish the story gave more emphasis to Steve’s journey, rather than being overshadowed by these perplexing subplots.
CAPTAIN MARVEL #1
Launching a fresh chapter for Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel #1, steered by a talented team comprising Alyssa Wong, Jan Bazaldua, Bryan Valenza, and Ariana Maher, makes a promising debut. The series kicks off with “The Omen” arc, introducing readers to a captivating new foe. Notably, the narrative exhibits parallels to the narrative dynamics seen in The Marvels. However, it’s commendable that this series appears to take a divergent approach in handling the concept, ensuring it doesn’t merely mimic the aforementioned storyline. The inclusion of an unexpected character breathes a fresh air into the series, rejuvenating the dynamics. As the story unfolds, maintaining this distinct identity will be paramount. The groundwork has been laid for an exhilarating journey, and anticipation builds for the upcoming exploits of Captain Marvel.
DARK X-MEN #3
In the vast mosaic of Marvel’s Fall of X saga, Dark X-Men emerges as a distinct entity, painting a bleak picture of the mutant realm’s imminent crises. The team of Jonas Scharf and Frank Martin expertly captures this ominous ambiance with their artwork. What sets the series apart is its restraint from resorting to overused political catchphrases, opting for a more nuanced approach. However, with the series approaching its climax, concerns arise over Steve Foxe’s ability to give ample depth to the expansive cast within the confines of a five-issue storyline. As we delve deeper, the motivations behind characters like Azazel and Emplate remain shrouded in mystery. Simultaneously, Madelyne Pryor’s narrative arc appears stagnant. The revelation that Dark X-Men has ties to the previous Dark Web crossover involving X-Men and Spider-Man adds another layer of complexity. This is especially true given the spotlight on the relatively lesser-known mutant, Feint. While the pacing might lean on the slower end of the spectrum, the horror-infused narration keeps readers engaged, teasing them with the uncanny mysteries lurking in the shadows.
HALLOWS' EVE: THE BIG NIGHT #1
Hallow’s Eve has always been a peripheral character in my radar, so diving into this one-shot was a delightful revelation. The simple act of donning a Captain America mask resonated deeply, revealing a multifaceted nature that piqued my curiosity and endeared her to me. This Halloween-centric narrative masterfully captures Hallow’s Eve’s essence, delving deep into her quirks and powers, painting her in a light I hadn’t anticipated. Amidst the spooky ambiance and playful antics, we witness a rare heroic facet of her personality, which begs the question – is there a chance for redemption lurking in the shadows for Hallow’s Eve? This issue seems to hint at that possibility, and it’s an enticing prospect.
THE IMMORTAL THOR #3
The third installment of Immortal Thor plunges us into a world where the mighty Thor finds himself ensnared by the ever-cunning Loki. With the tables turned, Thor is compelled to lean on his intellectual prowess rather than his formidable strength, unraveling a confounding riddle to gain his freedom. What is intriguing about this chapter is Loki’s ephemeral descent into villainy, which feels more like a performative act rather than a genuine transformation. Loki’s oscillation between heroism and mischief suggests a deeper, intricate motive – to mold Thor into the best version of himself. The jester analogy is profound, reminiscent of the Joker’s convoluted relationship with Batman as portrayed by Snyder and Capullo. But Ewing and Cóccolo’s interpretation is more nuanced, gently weaving the intricate dynamics of Thor and Loki’s relationship throughout the narrative. The third issue beautifully meshes with the overarching storyline of Immortal Thor while also standing as an evocative tribute to Norse mythology and folklore.
JEAN GREY #3
The latest escapade in the Jean Grey series plunges our beloved mutant into a realm that’s as enthralling as it is harrowing. Navigating through an apocalyptic dimension, Jean is pitted against a legion of adversaries spanning various timelines, setting the stage for a roller-coaster ride of emotions. The climax is particularly jarring as echoes of her tumultuous past as the Phoenix catch up to her, amplifying the stakes. For readers fascinated by multiverse storylines and introspective character developments, this issue promises a gripping journey. The narrative adeptly captures Jean’s internal struggles, mirroring her challenges against the vast multiverse, making this installment a must-read for fans and newcomers alike.
MARVEL ZOMBIES: BLACK, WHITE, & BLOOD #1
While the Marvel Zombies saga may seem to be an overstretched theme, the new spin on the Black, White & Red (rebranded as Black, White & Blood) suggests there’s still some uncharted terrain in the undead universe. The combination of Garth Ennis’ dark writing style and Rachael Stott’s gritty illustrations offers the standout story of this issue, painting a grim picture of a zombified Matt Murdock thrust into an eerie underground gladiatorial arena. However, it’s the unexpected intervention from The Punisher that truly sets the stage for some intriguing narratives down the line. Another notable inclusion in this edition is a haunting tale featuring Spider-Man. However, given the plethora of tragedies that have befallen the wall-crawler over the years, especially within the Marvel Zombie context, one wonders if it’s necessary to heap more agony upon the character.
MS. MARVEL: THE NEW MUTANT #3
Diving into the subconscious realm, Ms. Marvel: The New Mutant’s third installment strikes a balance between intriguing narrative devices and occasionally overwrought plot elements. Kamala’s journey into her dreamscape takes center stage, presenting an intimate reflection on her multifaceted identity, eliciting moments of genuine profundity. Although the collaborative efforts of Carlos Gomez and Adam Gorham on the artistic front might not maintain the consistency seen in earlier issues, there’s an undeniable allure to the narrative’s trajectory. The series teeters on the edge of monumental revelation, leaving readers with bated breath for its concluding chapter.
PREDATOR VS. WOLVERINE #2
Predator vs. Wolverine’s sophomore issue delivers precisely what the title promises: an electrifying clash between two iconic characters. Benaj’s writing skillfully respects the integrity of both characters, ensuring neither is overshadowed. However, the artistic approach, which rotates among Ken Lashley, Andrea Di Vito, and Hayden Sherman, is somewhat divisive. Though it’s conceptually fitting for various artists to depict distinct eras within the story, the resulting divergence in artistic styles at times detracts from the narrative’s cohesion. Some sections even seem slightly lackluster compared to others. But, despite these minor setbacks, the storyline remains a thrilling read, capturing the raw intensity and fervor that such a crossover demands.
REALM OF X #3
In the “Realm of X” series, this third issue serves as the calm before the storm. While the narrative might appear lighter in comparison to the emotionally charged and character-driven plot of the earlier episodes, it skillfully sets the stage for an explosive finale. The combat sequences are tantalizing, hinting at the grandeur of the forthcoming final showdown. While character growth takes a backseat, the meticulous planning and pacing throughout the series ensure that this particular issue feels neither out-of-place nor unnecessary. Its primary role is to heighten the anticipation, making readers eager for the grand conclusion.
STAR WARS: DARK DROIDS – D-SQUAD #2
The stakes get higher in this second installment as our beloved astromech droid, R2-D2, embarks on a perilous journey to rescue his companion, C-3PO. The unlikely alliance with the notoriously murderous 0-0-0 serves as a testament to the broader cause that binds the droids of the galaxy. As BT-1, manipulated by the Scourge, unveils a sinister plot, the intervention of various iconic droids adds layers of intrigue and complexity to the narrative. This issue of “D-Squad” is a celebratory nod to the robotic wonders of the Star Wars universe, exploring their depths, heroism, and unexpected shades of character that have often been overshadowed by their human counterparts. The comedic chemistry and contrasting dynamics between R2-D2 and 0-0-0 amplify the story’s charm, blending humor and high-octane action seamlessly, ensuring an enthralling experience for all Star Wars enthusiasts.
STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #37
As the Scourge continues its relentless spread, targeting droids across the galaxy, Aphra finds herself grappling with not only direct onslaughts but also subtle, insidious threats, highlighted by the Scourge’s attempt to corrupt her ex-lover, Magna Tolva. The “Dark Droids” narrative has lent a noirish, pulp dimension to the Star Wars canon, and Doctor Aphra’s tale fits this grim setting like a glove. Her escapades, naturally skirting the edge of danger, become all the more thrilling with the horror-infused undercurrent the Scourge brings. Every page, every panel is laced with adrenaline, seamlessly transitioning between high-octane action and moments hinting at monumental shifts in the overarching narrative. The issue concludes with a tantalizing hint at potential, lasting transformations in the Aphra saga, making it an unmissable chapter, especially for those keen on deciphering the trajectory of this series.
UNCANNY AVENGERS #3
In this installment of “Uncanny Avengers”, the narrative appears to take a detour from its core story, coming off more as a series of tasks than a flowing chapter. While Gerry Duggan demonstrates a commendable understanding of the team’s dynamics, the events of this issue feel somewhat disconnected, especially when juxtaposed with the significant developments at the Hellfire Gala. Emilio Laiso’s artistry shines during high-octane sequences, delivering exhilarating action-packed visuals. However, the calmer, introspective scenes lack the same depth and engagement, making one yearn for more from the visual narrative.
UNCANNY SPIDER-MAN #2
While the inaugural issue of “Uncanny Spider-Man” felt slightly condensed, introducing readers to a fresh backdrop and only hinting at the forthcoming plotline, the second issue bursts forth with gusto. As Nightcrawler confronts Orchis head-on, the narrative intricately weaves in multiple new characters, laying out their agendas and bolstering the overall stakes of the series. Amid the frenetic battles, moments of nuanced character growth punctuate the storyline, seamlessly integrated so as not to hamper the overall momentum. Particularly riveting is a skirmish in Central Park that not only offers action but also delves deep into Nightcrawler’s psyche and unique skillset, setting the stage for an enthralling series that’s only just begun.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST – DOOMSDAY #4
“Doomsday #4” draws the curtains on this prequel narrative, seamlessly linking past and future events. Even though readers are acquainted with the ultimate fate of the story, Guggenheim leverages this familiarity, diving deep into character arcs, exploring the rationale behind their decisions, and adding layers to their personalities. Throughout its run, this miniseries has been a visual spectacle, offering readers a plethora of intricate panels and sequences to devour. Yet, it masterfully avoids feeling repetitive or overwhelming. While it might not reinvent the wheel in the realm of X-Men lore, “Doomsday” stands out as a heartfelt homage to one of the franchise’s most cherished tales.
BLACK HAMMER: THE END #3
In the latest installment of “Black Hammer: The End,” the narrative plays heavily on the meta tone that has become synonymous with the Black Hammer universe. The End #3 unfolds in a maze-like structure, seemingly trapped within a multitude of Black Hammer stories and references. Notable and unexpected character appearances are abundant, lending a sense of thrill to the narrative. However, there’s an overindulgence of comic book conventions and clichés which, although potentially a deliberate choice, risks overwhelming even the most devoted of Black Hammer followers. The narrative labyrinth, while intriguing, can border on excess, making this a challenging read for some.
The fourth chapter of “Brynmore” embraces its anticipated essence, capturing the chilling atmosphere befitting its genre. While the character development and core plot might seem slightly subdued, the series doesn’t truly suffer from this choice. The streamlined narrative tempo aligns well with the story’s objectives, rendering an experience that is swift yet impactful. The result is a pleasantly eerie offering that epitomizes atmospheric horror. Light in content but heavy in ambiance, this issue taps into the seasonal spookiness, providing just the right amount of chills to make it a worthwhile read.
DRIVE LIKE HELL #1
At first glance, “Drive Like Hell” might be dismissed as a mere spiritual sibling to iconic tales of supernatural vehicular narratives. And while there are clear echoes of the Ghost Rider mythos or cursed car sagas, this debut issue carves out its unique lane. The intriguing blend of demonic elements intertwined with a botched bank robbery propels the story in an unexpected direction. Yet, the real enigma lies in uncovering the significance of the central car. What mystery does this vehicle hold? What is its origin, and why is it pivotal to the overarching narrative? These questions form the crux of the series’ allure, beckoning readers to embark on this hellish ride.
Navigating the nuanced atmosphere of a courtroom is no easy feat, especially when the objective is to grip the audience with riveting drama. Yet, Greg Weisman masterfully transforms what could have been a drab court proceeding into an engrossing saga in recent “Gargoyles” editions. While Kambadais truly shines when illustrating action-centric sequences, his sleek, minimalist strokes in this issue lend themselves to the storytelling, ensuring the legal drama doesn’t lose momentum. It’s a testament to the synergy between writer and artist, where even a sequence of dialogue-heavy scenes in a courtroom can be made to feel like a high-stakes thriller.
GIANT ROBOT HELLBOY #1
“Merging the improbable with the iconic” might be the best way to describe “Giant Robot Hellboy.” Stemming from one of Mike Mignola’s spontaneous quarantine sketches, the comic breathes life into a whimsical concept with surprising depth. Mignola’s collaboration with Duncan Fegredo, a beloved artist in the Hellboy universe, amplifies the charm of this new iteration. Transporting Hellboy into a retro world of 60s spy intrigue interwoven with classic kaiju confrontations is a stroke of genius. This nostalgic blend of espionage thrillers and towering monsters makes it an accessible entry point for those unfamiliar with Hellboy, while die-hard fans will revel in this refreshing take on their beloved demon.
Jock’s signature artistry in “Gone #1” lives up to expectations, delivering visuals that resonate with intensity and depth. Yet, the narrative seems somewhat fragmented, with the world-building elements appearing ambiguous. The story’s structure feels like glimpses of nebulous ideas floating in Jock’s creative realm. However, the central character, Abi, stands as a beacon amidst this swirling chaos. As the plot orbits around her, navigating a tempest of conflicts and enigmas, it becomes evident that the story’s potential lies in her journey. If the subsequent issues lean into this and unravel the intricate layers of the narrative, addressing its complex undertones, readers could be in for a rewarding experience.
I HATE FAIRYLAND #10
The irreverent charm of “I Hate Fairyland” is unmistakable, and its return in the latest issue is like a siren call for its loyal fans. Gert, the ever-rebellious protagonist, remains mired in her ceaseless quest to break free from Fairyland’s clutches. But this time, she’s not only confronting the challenges of Fairyland but also grappling with doppelgangers from multiple dimensions. The predictably gory escapades that follow — replete with the series’ signature blood spatters, visceral details, and over-the-top violence — have become almost routine for Gert. However, beneath this façade of repetition, there’s a hint of weariness that raises the question: How much longer can Gert endure this relentless cycle?
ICE CREAM MAN #37
In a seamless blend of macabre humor and somber realism, “Ice Cream Man #37” delves into the tragic psyche behind the creation of the Figglybumps. These fuzzy, seemingly benign children’s mascots warping the battlefield with their whimsy could easily have turned the narrative into a shallow parody. Still, the juxtaposition of their creator’s harrowing suicide casts a shadow that adds gravitas to their actions. The Figglybumps, with their paradoxical combination of horror and hilarity, embody the duality of creative struggles. In contrast, the poignant dialogue amidst the bereaved family resonates with the raw anguish and helplessness that often lingers in the aftermath of a tragic loss. The narrative refuses to offer easy answers, driving home the haunting realism that even in a world filled with fantastical elements, some wounds never truly heal.
KAPTARA: UNIVERSAL TRUTHS #3
As the curtain lifts on the mysteries surrounding Keith’s presence on Kaptara and the planet’s enigmatic history, “Kaptara: Universal Truths #3” pulsates with action, comedy, and unexpected heart. The issue unfurls with a large-scale battle brimming with familiar characters and an avalanche of the series’ quintessential bizarre humor — the antics of the stained-glass-themed foe serving as a comedic crown jewel. Yet, beneath this veneer of absurdity lies a poignant undercurrent, manifesting in Keith’s emotional turmoil and Orb’s reactions. The narrative deftly weaves these threads, striking a harmonious balance between its comedic roots and emergent depth. With the plot steering toward significant upheavals, the tantalizing promise of upcoming issues beckons readers with the hope that their patience for Kaptara’s return will soon be rewarded manifold.
KILL MORE #2
Delving into a nightmarish landscape where a city is plagued by an alarming proliferation of serial killers, “Kill More” presents a harrowing narrative reminiscent of Gotham City’s darkest hours, albeit sans Batman’s looming presence. As writers Wilson and Fuchs unfurl their tale, there’s a palpable atmospheric tension drawing readers into this nefarious world. The story introduces an ensemble of intriguing, sinister characters, each killer imbued with their own brand of malevolence. Yet, the narrative primarily revolves around the two main detectives, which, while lending a sense of grounded realism, sometimes detracts from the eerie allure of the series. Some scenes, dripping with horror and suspense, have the potential to elevate “Kill More” into a horror aficionado’s delight. However, the narrative occasionally feels cluttered, making it challenging to sustain a cohesive, spine-chilling effect in the midst of the Halloween season.
MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS #113
Amidst the looming shadows of the “Darkest Hour”, the Power Rangers find themselves cornered and desperate in issue #113. Melissa Flores artfully navigates this bleak scenario, crafting a story that accentuates the Rangers’ dire circumstances but also offers glimmers of hope through their resilience and tenacity. The introduction of the Drakkon Rangers and the HyperForce Rangers not only stirs nostalgic emotions but also injects fresh dynamism into the storyline. As battles rage across the pages, the artistic trio of Di Gianfelice, Angelo, and Dukeshire vividly capture each confrontation, with particularly standout visuals when spotlighting the villains. The issue masterfully portrays the essence of the “Darkest Hour”, encapsulating the trials and tribulations of the Power Rangers in a manner that’s bound to captivate their ardent fan base.
Consistent in its delivery of gripping mysteries, “Newburn #12” maintains the series’ established cadence but with a nuanced deviation that discerning readers would surely pick up on. This installment meticulously lays out a mystery that moves in tandem with the reader’s deductions, culminating in a twist that’s immensely gratifying. Zdarsky brilliantly intersperses mundane, everyday elements amidst the established backdrop, creating a storyline that mirrors the gritty realism of our world’s most compelling crime tales. Phillips’ artistry, especially in portraying nuanced emotional exchanges, provides profound depth to relationships that have been simmering beneath the surface, guiding readers subtly toward impending plot revelations. This issue, serving as both a standalone enigma and a prelude to intensified drama, assures that the narrative temperature is set to rise exponentially, promising exhilarating developments for both the characters and their enthralled audience.
ONCE UPON A TIME AT THE END OF THE WORLD #10
In the intriguing latter half of “Once Upon a Time at the End of the World”, the narrative continues its convoluted dance between metaphor and actual events, particularly surrounding Mezzy and Maceo’s ever-evolving dynamic. The perplexity of whether the transformation of their perceptions of each other into nightmarish beasts is a symbolic representation of love turning to hatred, or perhaps the hallucinogenic result of noxious underground gases, remains a central theme. However, issue #10 chooses ambiguity over clarity, leaving readers in a state of perpetual bewilderment. While Del Duca’s illustrations vividly encapsulate the protagonists’ chilling views of each other, the narrative’s tendency to excessively indulge in metaphorical elements blurs the storyline’s progression, culminating in a denouement that lacks substantial closure. The intricately detailed artwork that initially distinguished Golgonooza loses its finesse, further exacerbating the series’ dwindling impact. Yet, Nick Dragotta’s interjection of a hardened, post-apocalyptic portrayal of Maceo and Mezzy offers a fleeting moment of intrigue, albeit insufficient to redeem the narrative’s overarching ambiguity.
RARE FLAVOURS #2
Delving deeper into the culinary realm of the macabre, “Rare Flavours #2” meticulously crafts a narrative pattern, seamlessly integrating new elements while maintaining the essence of its inaugural issue. The intensifying narrative arcs unfold briskly, ensuring a rhythmic pacing that tantalizes readers’ appetites. A particularly evocative segment focuses on the nuances of spices, drawing a poignant comparison between a specific chili and its cultural roots. Such multifaceted culinary explorations hint at the series’ aspirations to transcend its central demon-director plot, providing a rich tapestry of gastronomic tales. With its harmonious blend of familiar storytelling devices and innovative narrative threads, “Rare Flavours” cements its reputation as one of 2023’s standout original series, promising readers a smorgasbord of thrilling tales and unforeseen twists.
THE RIBBON QUEEN #4
Delving into the dark recesses of crime and retribution, Ennis and Burrows present a chilling police procedural where justice manifests through grotesque comeuppances. Issue four offers a comprehensive exploration into the genesis of the Ribbon Queen and the pivotal events that charted the series’ protagonists’ trajectories. While the issue’s narrative depth occasionally wades into the quagmire of over-exposition, “The Ribbon Queen” persistently retains its macabre allure, masterfully intertwining elements of horror. The synergy between Ennis and Burrows remains palpable, ensuring that, even if “Ribbon Queen” isn’t their magnum opus, it remains an enthralling, eerie experience. As the series approaches its midpoint, anticipation builds for “The Ribbon Queen” to further embrace its inherent horror strengths, delivering a finale that leaves an indelible mark on readers’ psyche.
THE SCHLUB #3
“The Schlub” continues to surprise and entertain in its third installment, diving deeper into its unique blend of humor and heroics. By expanding on its foundational gimmick, the series keeps things fresh, unveiling even zanier challenges for the central duo to tackle. More than just a superhero story, issue #3 evolves into a heartfelt exploration of personal growth, touching upon themes of self-worth, romantic entanglements, and intricate family dynamics. Layered within the narrative is an enrichment of the series lore, accentuated by Tyrell Cannon’s vibrant illustrations that pay homage to classic comic art styles, while still maintaining a distinct contemporary edge. Given the trajectory of “The Schlub”, it’s poised to redefine superhero satire, positioning itself as a standout in the genre’s pantheon.
SLOW BURN #1
Unveiling an atmospheric fusion of historical mystery and poignant personal narratives, “Slow Burn #1” delves deep into the eerie backdrop of the Centralia mine fire, one of America’s longstanding enigmas. Anchored by the story of Roxane, a junkie on the run with her ailing accomplice following a failed heist, the plot weaves a tapestry of suspense and emotion. Ollie Masters exhibits masterful storytelling prowess, presenting a narrative that’s both gripping and deeply human. Roxane’s portrayal is particularly compelling, embodying a delicate balance of vulnerability and determination, making her an easy character to empathize with amidst her chaos. The artistry further elevates the narrative, capturing the haunting desolation of the ghost town and the palpable tension that permeates every panel. A truly immersive experience, “Slow Burn #1” promises a tale teeming with stakes, humanity, and lingering intrigue.
SOMETHING IS KILLING THE CHILDREN #34
James Tynion IV and the creative team behind “Something Is Killing the Children” return with an installment that is nothing short of a masterpiece. Issue #34 is a rollercoaster of suspense, drawing readers into its fast-paced, tension-filled narrative that seems to end all too soon, leaving them yearning for more. As the story’s various elements and characters move inexorably closer, it’s clear that an explosive climax is on the horizon. Tynion’s expertise in building suspense is in full display, rendering even the preliminary stages of combat brimming with excitement. The artistic team, led by Werther Dell’Edera with colors by Miquel Muerto, continues to outdo themselves. Their portrayal of Cutter is particularly noteworthy, a testament to their skill given the bevy of eerie creatures and monstrous entities populating the series. This issue grips readers from the first panel to the cliffhanger ending, setting up a torturous wait for the much-anticipated Issue #35.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES X STRANGER THINGS #4
In this climactic conclusion to an unexpected mash-up, the story unfolds the underlying reason behind the intriguing fusion of TMNT and Stranger Things universes. It becomes evident that the very fabric of these dimensions intertwines through alien influences. Our valiant heroes are presented with the monumental task of safeguarding the city, leading to a whirlwind of intense confrontations. Familiar faces from the TMNT lore make unexpected and heartwarming cameos, amplifying the sense of nostalgia for fans. The phrase “the more, the merrier” seems apt as the narrative dives into a frenzied mesh of plots, making it a wild ride. While parts of this issue might seem like sensory overload, the dazzling action sequences take center stage, particularly a brilliantly conceived set-piece that interprets the “Upside Down” in a unique visual metaphor, challenging traditional comic layouts. The artistic ambition is palpable, providing a glimmer of brilliance in an otherwise overambitious crossover.
UNIVERSAL MONSTERS: DRACULA #1
Breathing new life into an age-old tale, Universal Monsters: Dracula #1 offers a fresh take on a narrative known to many. Drawing inspiration from Bram Stoker’s literary masterpiece and the chilling portrayal by Bela Lugosi, this adaptation, penned by James Tynion IV and brought to life by Martin Simmonds, strikes a balance between homage and innovation. Iconic figures like the ominous Renfield and the tantalizing Lucy Westerna are reimagined with depth and nuance, ensuring that both newcomers and aficionados of the Dracula mythos find something to latch onto. Simmonds’ prowess shines especially bright in the eerily silent panels, adding layers to the narrative through unsettling imagery, like the depiction of Renfield as an abyssal void occasionally populated by creeping critters. Dracula’s portrayal strips away any comedic undertones, focusing instead on his menacing elegance. This revamped adaptation stands as a testament to the potency of the Dracula legend and the genius of its current creative team.
VOID RIVALS #5
Expanding on Image’s nascent Energon Universe, Void Rivals carves its niche by drawing only loose ties to the recently introduced Transformers lore. Although certain alien races might strike a chord with dedicated Transformers enthusiasts, this series thrives on its originality, allowing Robert Kirkman to conjure an engrossing cosmos, rich with meticulously crafted characters. Kirkman’s signature storytelling flair is evident in every twist and turn, weaving an intricate web of narratives that continually stoke the embers of curiosity. The pace, characters, and universe-building culminate to form an enthralling reading experience, marking another feather in Kirkman’s already illustrious cap.