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 1054
The latest issue of Action Comics is being hailed as one of the best in recent times, not just for the main story but also for one of the secondary stories. In this issue, Superman goes up against Metallo, marking a turning point for the villain while also reinforcing the qualities that make Superman such a great hero. The writing is solid and shows a deep understanding of Superman’s character. The art is good, though not exceptional, with a couple of panels at the end really driving home the threat with the return of a more terrifying foe. Of the two secondary stories, “Steel: Engineer of Tomorrow” is the real winner, offering nonstop action and heart while setting up more excitement for the future.
BLUE BETTLE GRADUATION DAY 6
In Blue Beetle: Graduation Day #6, writer Josh Trujillo delivers a captivating finale that lives up to the title’s promise of setting the stage for many more stories to come. The artwork, by Adrian Gutierrez, Will Quintana, and Lucas Gattoni, is stunning throughout and perfectly captures the energy and spirit of the characters. The story is propelled forward by the discovery of meaningful purpose and Jaime’s evolution as a hero, with Superman playing a key role in magnifying Jaime’s growth. The new status quo feels like a satisfying conclusion while opening up new possibilities for the future.
DETECTIVE COMICS 1071
Detective Comics #1071 provides the full backstory of the Orgham line and its ties to the League of Assassins and another surprising DC villain. While the reveal is fine, the arc sometimes meanders, making the ultimate reveals feel a bit less impactful. However, the series remains a great read and a fun, weird ride that will be remembered as an unforgettable Batman story.
GREEN ARROW 1
Green Arrow is back with a new ongoing series, and it’s shaping up to be a must-read for fans of the Emerald Archer. Despite not having had a series for a few years, Green Arrow has remained active in other titles like Justice League and Checkmate. The first issue manages to provide enough context for new readers while also satisfying longtime fans
HARLEY QUINN 29
Harley Quinn #29 continues Tini Howard’s run with a story that is both chaotic and introspective. Harley faces a real threat to reality and is forced to confront her own crisis while also learning valuable lessons about being a hero. The art by Sweeney Boo is fantastic, and the backup story from Adam Warren provides a great exploration of Harley’s psyche and anxiety.
LAZARUS PLANET REVENGE OF THE GODS 4
Lazarus Planet: Revenge of the Gods #4 is surprisingly good, considering the other issues in the mini-series were relatively weak. The story wraps up in a satisfying way, with emotional moments that make up for the predictability and lack of punch. The backup story is the real winner here, providing a fun read that sets up the Shazam title nicely. Overall, a solid issue.
THE RIDDLE YEAR ONE 4
In The Riddler: Year One #4, readers are taken back to Edward Nashton’s orphanage days, delivering what might be the best issue of the series yet. While the story does contain some “serial killer tropes,” the creative team of Dano and Subic weave an excellent and creepy tale of how one of Gotham’s biggest villains was born. Subic’s art stands out, perfectly capturing the essence of madness on the comic book pages. Depending on how this series concludes, it could become the go-to story for those looking to learn more about the master of riddles.
THE DEAD BOY DETECTIVES 5
The Dead Boy Detectives concludes in The Sandman Universe #5, with all of the mystery’s elements finally coming together. Following Jai’s second death, the surviving child-ghosts race through Los Angeles to discover who the summoner is and what they’re doing. The issue provides some of the most frightening imagery in the series yet, particularly in Jeff Stokely’s chilling depiction of Krasues. Thessally’s reappearance adds to the importance of the local mystery, setting up for an absolutely gut-wrenching decision. Overall, the series will leave readers nervously clutching their armrests until the very end.
TIM DRAKE ROBIN 8
Tim Drake: Robin #8 delivers the best issue of the series, portraying Tim as a competent and more mature young adult. The final arc of the series dispenses with the infantilization of Tim, throwing him into a complex conflict involving Batwoman. Fitzmartin’s writing is solid, and the narration style works well in setting up for the big mystery. The art by Nikola Cizmesija complements the story perfectly. This issue is the shot in the arm the series needed from the start.
UNSTOPPABLE DOOM PATROL 2
In Unstoppable Doom Patrol #2, readers are introduced to the team’s new base of operations and learn more about how this iteration of Doom Patrol operates. Dr. Caulder makes a comeback in a supporting role, and the team takes advantage of the chaos from “Lazarus Planet” to create their own Justice League-style operation. While there is a heartbreaking moment involving one of the new recruits, it moves the plot forward in a satisfying conclusion.
Alien #1 offers a new take on the Alien franchise, with classically blue-collar characters who are also a family, stuck in a precarious place due to corporate greed and oversight. Writer Declan Shalvey establishes the characters well, making this series feel fresh compared to recent Alien comic iterations. The art by Andrea Broccardo is solid, although there are moments where the tonal difference between the main family and the Xenomorphs can be jarring.
AVENGERS BEYOND 2
Avengers Beyond #2 is a strange jaunt into a side story that focuses on the return of the Beyonder, but he doesn’t even appear in this issue. The writer, Drew Landy, drowns the story in exposition, leaving nothing to the imagination and making the story worse for it. The series seems to be suffering from an identity crisis, and readers may want to avoid it.
BETSY BRADDOCK CAPTAIN BRITAIN 3
In Betsy Braddock: Captain Britain #3, the ongoing conflict against Morgan Le Fay is combined with some heartwarming family moments, and the series seems to have found its stride. Tini Howard’s script provides great moments for Betsy, Rachel, and company, balancing their sense of responsibility and destiny. Vasco Georgiev’s art, while occasionally uncanny, features clever panel construction and whimsy that make for an enjoyable read.
CAPTAIN AMERICA SYMBOL OF TRUTH 12
Captain America: Symbol of Truth #12 features artwork by R.B. Silva and Jesus Aburtov, adding to the gratification of the “Cold War” story arc. Tochi Onyebuchi adds tension between Sam and Steve Rogers that will boil over in later chapters. While there are many moving parts to keep track of, the issue succeeds in showing the different story arcs at play.
CLOBBERIN' TIME 2
Clobberin’ Time #2 sees The Thing arriving on Krakoa, resulting in an irreverent team-up with Logan, plenty of gags, and thrilling action sequences. The artwork by Steve Skroce is impressive, with body horror that plays upon Wolverine’s healing factor. However, while the issue offers clues about a mysterious time-traveling villain, the jokes fall flat, making it a weaker follow-up to Clobberin’ Time #1. The villain remains a deus ex machina, driving absurd Marvel Team-Up-style stories.
In Daredevil #10, Matt and Elektra’s rehabilitation experiment comes to an end with tragic consequences that challenge the superhero genre’s underlying principles. A group of colorful superheroes arrives to attack the series’ heroes who just saved a child’s life and possibly the world, prioritizing imprisoning individuals over all else. Daredevil takes a clear stance against this position, making even Spider-Man look foolish, but the series also critiques its own protagonist. The sweeping attack’s visual intensity and dramatic fall meet the moment’s deep sadness and end on a note that could be a conclusion to this powerful run. However, Daredevil #10 only signals the start of a new chapter. Zdarsky and Checchetto’s ability to stick the landing remains to be seen, but the promise of this Daredevil series has never been clearer.
Deadpool #6 brings the book back to its roots of slapstick comedy. Wade and Valentine attempt to have a date, but Lady Deathstrike and Princess (Deadpool’s dog/symbiote/offspring) keep fighting assassins in the background trying to kill the two lovebirds. Long-time Deadpool readers know how Wade’s relationships tend to go, and it feels like there’s another shoe waiting to drop. Still, it’s nice to see the two characters being sweet to one another.
DOCTOR STRANGE 2
Stephen and Clea Strange embark on one of their most chaotic adventures yet as MacKay’s script embraces Marvel’s most obscure plot devices. The story features cameos from some of the Sorcerer Supreme’s most notorious opponents, including Nightmare, and is woven into another whodunit mystery. It’s both exciting and unoriginal, as it differs from “Death of Doctor Strange” but not by much. With a few missteps, this story could end up being one of Marvel’s biggest redundancies. Nevertheless, Doctor Strange #2 does an excellent job of laying the groundwork for an elaborate story.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALXY:
BANE OF BLASTAAR 1
Guardians of the Galaxy: Bane of Blastaar had a lackluster debut this week. The comic follows the guardians and Nova on another mission, but the introduction is a bit tedious with hard-to-follow dialogue. However, towards the end, the series starts to pick up and deliver some action. Overall, the slow start might test readers’ patience as the story unfolds.
The “Starship Hulk” story arc overstays its welcome, as issue #14 struggles to tie up the plot with confusing action scenes. The pages lack clarity, making it difficult to follow the story. However, the story finally comes to an end, and hopefully, the Hulk can begin anew with a more carefully planned direction.
THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN 5
In this issue, Tony Stark’s journey takes a darker turn as he faces personal challenges and struggles. Duggan writes a story that punishes Stark relentlessly, leaving him in a corner with seemingly no escape. The issue is raw and deeply personal, showing the readers a side of Stark that is seldom seen. The uphill battle is one that only Iron Man could face, and the future looks bleak for the Avenger.
MARY JANE & BLACK CAT 5
Writer Jed MacKay delivers yet another successful heist story in Mary Jane & Black Cat, building on Marvel Comics lore to develop characters and deliver surprising twists. The comic showcases the thrilling friendship between Mary Jane and Black Cat, and their interactions during the climactic battle and beyond are both dramatic and humorous. The sprawling legions of Limbo add to the fun, making for some of the most memorable and hellish images from “Dark Web.” Readers won’t miss Spider-Man when these two share the page, and they will crave more Black Cat (and Mary Jane) tales from MacKay.
MONICA RAMBEAU: PHOTON 5
The final issue of Monica Rambeau: Photon has a satisfying conclusion, but it takes too long to get there. Writer Eve L. Ewing rushes through the setup to get to the better half of the issue, which features some of the best work by artist Luca Maresca and colorist Carlos Lopez. The final eleven pages blend the history of the titular hero with her unlimited power potential, creating unique panel-free pages that add to the appeal of the series.
SINS OF SINISTER DOMINION 1
Sins of Sinister is the latest installment in a 4-year string of ambitious X-Men events, featuring clever writing and impressive artistry. The franchise embraces grand sci-fi concepts, internecine political conflicts, and superhero antics, carving out a unique space for the mutant mythos. While the event promises readers a continuation of this era of expansion and ambition, it ultimately fails to deliver a satisfying ending.
STAR WARS: DARTH VADER -
BLACK, WHITE & RED 1
DARTH VADER – BLACK, WHITE, & RED #1 receives praise for delivering two stories of attempts to defeat Darth Vader and one story of his overwhelming presence. The Marvel imprint continues its impressive run by providing captivating tales in a rudimentary color scheme that heightens the intensity of each ordeal. While the two stories about defeating Vader are compelling enough, Peach Momoko’s tale stands out for its hallucinogenic and nightmarish imagery, making it one of the most gorgeous and frightening Star Wars books to hit shelves this year. Despite the other two stories feeling like dips in quality compared to what Momoko pulled off, the book still delivers riveting tales of Vader’s villainy, and readers eagerly anticipate what this title has in store for us down the line.
STRANGE ACADEMY: FINALS 6
STRANGE ACADEMY: FINALS #6, the first series of Strange Academy, concludes on a satisfying note. Though the finale went exactly as most predicted, writer Skottie Young and artist Humberto Ramos manage to check most of the boxes they needed to before this title sailed off into the sunset. The character of Doyle Dormammu, despite being the son of one of Marvel’s most notorious villains, fulfills the prophecy and becomes the most heroic student at Strange Academy. Young excels at breaking down barriers and preconceived notions while juggling school work and dating problems, amplifying it with his work on Doyle’s character, which truly comes full circle.
Unfortunately, THOR #33 does not live up to expectations. While Nic Klein’s cover art is impressive, the story is a lifeless mess that becomes more convoluted with the addition of Thanos.
VENOM LETHAL PROTECTOR II 2
Lethal Protector II’s second issue continues to indulge in Marvel’s 90s aesthetic rather than just being a throwback to Venom’s roots. While fighting alongside Silver Sable, Venom takes on a legion of soldiers and references many Marvel characters such as Cardiac, Vulture, Nick Fury, and Dr. Doom. The comic’s tone feels more akin to a Deadpool story with Venom cracking jokes throughout the issue. Though unexpected, it doesn’t detract from the overall experience.
After resolving the false reality they were trapped in, Wasp begins to lose steam. The majority of the issue focuses on the Wasps battling an unremarkable green blob that appeared in the first issue. While the pseudo-science used to defeat it is adequately explained, it fails to be engaging. Additionally, many emotional beats are conveyed through dialogue, leaving little room for new visuals. Despite being clear, action sequences lack impact or movement. The issue’s ending is blunt, but it retains the charm of the miniseries. Overall, it’s the least impressive installment of the series.
BEHOLD, BEHEMOTH 5
The conclusion of “Book One” in Behold, Behemoth #5 finds its strongest moments at the end. The plot is somewhat convoluted due to its multiple timelines and unclear roles for various antagonists. However, the emotions and motivations surrounding Greyson and his troubled ward are clear enough to give the conclusion a satisfying payoff. The story tackles broad themes of purpose, persistence, mental health, and a world in decline. The imagery remains the series’ greatest strength, featuring stunning splash pages and twisted, arcane landscapes, including the titular Behemoth. Though the story may need to be clearer, the potential for a “Book Two” and the promise of more grand adventures and lore make Behold, Behemoth an intriguing read.
BLUE BOOK 3
Blue Book’s backup story steals the show, as Lonnie Nadler and Jenna Cha provide a gruesome and compelling interpretation of Tarrare, an infamous figure from the French Revolution who suffered from an insatiable appetite. The story offers a fresh perspective on Tarrare’s life, blending history with horror in an impressive way. In contrast, the main story continues to feel stale for anyone familiar with UFOlogy. However, Nadler and Cha’s work demonstrates the potential for the book to produce real gems in the future by reimagining folk tales and “true weird” stories.
BULLS OF BEACON HILL 4
In Bulls of Beacon Hill #4, tensions rise as the protagonist confronts their past with their mother and is reunited with their lover. The issue builds to a final showdown between the protagonist and their father, with the winner walking away with their life intact.
After a slow start, Weisman and Kambadais hit their stride with Gargoyles #5. The issue delivers a coherent plot that’s stronger than anything seen in previous issues, and Kambadais’s action scenes are a delight to see.
Killadelphia #30 is a must-read comic, not just this week, but possibly this year. The much-anticipated crossover between Killadelphia and its spinoff Nita Hawes’ Nightmare Blog delivers on all fronts as Nita comes to the city to join the fight against the vampires. But what sets this issue apart is the secondary story that runs parallel to the main one. In it, we get a glimpse into Seesaw’s past and the story of someone close to him whose life was destroyed by human cruelty and violence. This issue brilliantly balances its horror with an authentic examination of the human experience, offering a lesson that never sacrifices the story’s pacing. Rodney Barnes delivers a sober and beautiful message that you can’t help but receive.
LOCAL MAN 30
Local Man continues to impress with its third issue, as Jack’s journey as a hometown vigilante takes an unexpected turn. Tim Seeley and Tony Fleecs’ work on this series is exceptional, balancing reverence and originality, and weaving a gripping mystery.
THE NEIGHBORS 2
The Neighbors #2 adds emotional depth to the story but fails to progress the plot. The issue delves into Oliver’s struggle with agoraphobia since his transformation, and the difficulty he faces when the outside world reacts to him. While this angle is fascinating, it takes away from the main mystery, leaving Casey with a creepy smile as she stands around unnoticed.
Plush has been a unique and enthralling series, and while the finale may not have many surprises, it still provides a satisfying and brutal conclusion. Writer Doug Wagner delivers the payoff fans have been waiting for, and artist Daniel Hillyard, colorist Rico Renzi, and letterer Ed Dukeshire bring their best and bloodiest work yet. The first two pages set the tone perfectly, and while there are no major twists, the series ends with possibilities for future stories. Plush was a delightful gem, and I hope to see more of this quirky cast.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #139 shows how far the series has evolved from its roots. Once a story about a family of martial artists, the Turtles are now learning magic to fight a near-omnipotent godlike being. While it may seem odd considering the series’ community-focused earlier issues, this shift in genre is not off-brand for the Turtles. Although Kitsune’s attempt to explain the concept of a magnetic personality through quantum physics falls a bit flat, Fero Pe and Ronda Pattison’s art brings energy to the story. While the central idea may be clunky, the execution is top-notch.
TMNT THE ARMAGEDDON GAME 7
As the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles event reaches its climax, The Armageddon Game #7 delivers climactic payoffs that have been building throughout the saga. The issue is filled with solidly drawn action that keeps fans on the edge of their seats. While the dialogue may drag on at times, the story never loses momentum and leads to a satisfying conclusion. The Armageddon Game ends on a high note, setting the stage for the final act.
TMNT THE LAST RONIN - THE LOST YEARS 3
The Lost Years of The Last Ronin continue to struggle with its storytelling, mostly due to its persistent use of flashbacks. While it’s understandable when April recounts stories from her past, the issue’s opening with a one-page flashback before jumping into the future feels unnecessary. Michelangelo then spends most of the issue catching readers up on what was missed, which is frustrating. The issue is also filled with tropes, such as Michelangelo learning from a blind wise man during his travels through Asia, which is cliché, but the issue acknowledges its use of B-movie martial arts influences. The story feels like a middling act of a Saturday afternoon movie, enjoyable enough for some but not as satisfying as the original Last Ronin series. Hopefully, the series doesn’t continue to diminish.
Despite still being overwritten and relying heavily on tired tropes, Torrent #3 shows improvement in terms of its writing and story compared to the previous two issues. While the art still isn’t great, it suits the issue’s style. When Michelle realizes the system has failed her, she takes matters into her own hands, and her actions provide an interesting glimpse of the harsh reality of the system. While Michelle is still a bit of a caricature, small moments in this issue provide hope for character growth. The story remains clichéd but the improvement in the writing is a positive shift.
Vanish #6 leaves the reader feeling conflicted about the characters, revelations, and story found within the issue. This is easily the most compelling issue of the series yet, and Donny Cates plays with the reader’s perspective and emotions in a fascinating way. The artwork by Ryan Stegman, Netho Diaz, JP Mayer, Jay Listen, Sonia Back, and John J. Hill is stellar, and the heartbreaking reveals hit hard. The character designs and action sequences are well done, and the issue leaves the reader questioning who to root for. The issue provides more questions than answers, but it’s hard to turn away from this story, and the need for more answers is urgent.