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 1056
Yo, the wrap-up of the “Metallo Rising” arc ain’t all smooth – our baddie’s downfall feels a bit too speedy, which kinda grinds my gears given how wickedly twisted Cyborg Superman has been shown to be. But hey, that breakneck speed is balanced with some top-tier character development, the kind that makes us comic nerds geek out. Johnson slays it with Metallo, layering the dude with mad humanity that smells like a set-up for bigger things, all while not derailing the main story. The extra stories are pretty fly – Jurgens’ tale goes a bit darker than we thought with its villain, but it ain’t a downer, and the wrap up to the Steel story is solid, no doubt. All in all, this issue of Action is straight fire.
BATMAN BRAVE AND THE BOLD 2
Anthologies can be a hard sell, more so with superhero comics. You’re throwing more dough for more tales, but with a mix of creators, characters, and situations; plus, there’s always this worry among fans about whether these yarns “matter.” Batman: The Brave and The Bold aims to set the bar high and whip up a DC Comics anthology that’s a definite must-read. The series brings together a sick lineup of top-notch writers and artists, each capable of holding down a solo series featuring the characters from their tales, bundled into one of the dopest anthologies of 2023.
CITY BOY 2
City Boy’s wild concept paves the way for a manic yet fascinating new installment. The story by Greg Pak keeps it simple, letting it roll out in a chill yet epic fashion. Minkyu Jung’s artwork is over-the-top and bonkers, but just real enough to get us feeling for this grand ol’ adventure. If City Boy maintains this vibe, it could go down as a quirky and crucial chapter in the “Dawn of DC” era.
GREEN ARROW 3
In Green Arrow #3, fans get their hands on much-needed revelations and hints about Green Arrow’s fate. There’s a ton of intel to chew on for the hardcore DC fans, but the primary narrative keeps its lens zoomed in on the Green Arrow family. Fortuitously, we’re not left hanging long between each emotional reunion, and the unpredictable nature of the narrative leaves us guessing about the next turn in the tale.
DETECTIVE COMICS 1073
Detective Comics #1073 crafts a perilous version of Gotham, an urban landscape teetering on the brink of catastrophe that corners Batman, trimming down his allies and ramps up the danger from the Orghams, a core threat to the city and its inhabitants. If there’s a slight ding to this issue, it’s that the build-up to the impending disaster has been so drawn out, it’s a bit underwhelming that the “doom” is more ominous signals and future horrors. Yet, despite this, I’ve got complete trust in Ram V to continue steering this somewhat disquieting and potentially game-changing arc in the right direction.
Fables #159 takes the crown as the finest installment of the series’ comeback, largely because it captures the essence of the original series most authentically. Fables always shone when it lulled its audience into a sense of complacency before pulling a shocking plot twist that skyrocketed the stakes and narrative in an unexpected direction. The comic’s build-up to the dramatic demise in this issue was expertly paced – akin to observing someone serenely drawing a gun, taking aim, firing, and still being astounded by the unfolding brutality. With only three issues left in this arc, we’re poised for major plot twists and turns, the exact environment in which Fables truly excels.
HARLEY QUINN 31
Harley Quinn #31, much like its preceding chapters, is an oddball – if the previous issue seemed to be losing its plot, this one drives home the point that perhaps the narrative never had a clear thread to begin with. The dialogue stands as an island of excellence amidst an ocean of mediocrity, offering a silver lining to an otherwise lackluster issue, with the artwork being another saving grace. The narrative finally presents us with a more cerebral Harley, though the believability is undermined due to her simultaneous portrayal as infantile. This issue amplifies the peculiar dynamic in the Harley/Ivy relationship, which, yet again, appears to be on the rocks. The issue’s tone ricochets between chaotic and disjointed – an accurate reflection of Harley as a character, but it doesn’t necessarily gel well for broader storytelling.
THE RIDDLER YEAR ONE 5
The Riddler: Year One #5 might seem like a hard pill to swallow for some, yet in the context of preceding issues, it exhibits a complementary continuity. Instead of a linear, well-structured narrative, this issue feels akin to peering into a deranged mind expelling a torrent of chaotic ideas on paper… surprisingly, in an intriguing way! It’s an ingenious approach to guide readers through the labyrinthine psyche of the future Riddler, but it might also pose a challenge for some readers to fully comprehend. With its borderline experimental nature, I commend the audacity of this attempt, even if it might be considered the weakest issue so far, due to its unusual presentation. Undeniably unsettling, this issue may pose a challenge for traditional comic readers seeking to connect with its unconventional form.
TIM DRAKE ROBIN 10
Tim Drake: Robin #10 does an admirable job of tying up loose ends from the series’ brief run, introducing a hint of maturity that was sorely missing in the earlier chapters. Alas, despite being a marked improvement over previous issues in terms of pacing, it stumbles on the development front. A considerable portion of this issue and its conclusion felt half-baked – not rushed, per se, but rather skimpy, choosing to present the most surface-level interpretation that could have been better articulated with a more thoughtful selection of details. Taking a step back and assessing this from a series-wide perspective, rather than a single-issue approach, this might be more indicative of the series’ shaky beginnings than the issue’s ending, but the outcome remains – weak development, loss of narrative focus, and a few dissatisfying moments due to lingering unanswered questions. A few art glitches, with missing details, further mar the overall impact. Despite these flaws, Fitzmartin commendably weaves the series’ disjointed halves together and ties up most loose ends, a feat worth acknowledging.
UNSTOPPABLE DOOM PATROL 4
The decision by DC to increase the length of Unstoppable Doom Patrol’s run grants the creative ensemble a chance to pause, breathe, and delve into a character-centric issue. This is precisely what we encounter in issue #4, as we’re given the privilege of observing the team’s one-on-one therapeutic sessions with a psychiatrist. This offers us a snapshot into the intricate tapestry of each character’s lengthy past, while simultaneously setting the stage for the origin stories of new entrants Degenerate and Beast Girl.
Alien #3 presents a step up from its predecessor, though this emerging series seems to hinge heavily on the extent of carnage it can serve up to its audience. Author Declan Shalvey possesses a bevy of intriguing characters in his arsenal, but the predictable Alien story archetypes – the corporate operatives and the foot soldiers – feel disappointingly stagnant. The only characters exhibiting any depth are those at the heart of the narrative – the scientist family. Illustrator Andrea Broccardo grapples with a visually demanding task, depicting an array of explosions and startlingly brutal scenes, some of which are among their best work in the series so far. Colorist Triona Farrell deserves a special mention for lending a sense of depth to the bloody, fiery action sequences, yet this remains a relatively standard Alien tale.
THE AMAZING SPIDER MAN 28
Doctor Octopus’ current visual design harks back to his Silver Age roots – a portly, irate man exploiting mad science to assert his dominance. But there’s never a moment of doubt about his status as a legitimate threat, even if his new Ocktoids oscillate between being adorably malevolent. As Octopus wreaks havoc in Spider-Man’s world and unveils traps laid throughout the past year’s worth of Amazing Spider-Man comics, artist Ed McGuinness emerges as the ideal match for the content. It’s genuinely entertaining to watch the Ocktoids maneuver through diverse formations, demonstrating their enhancements in real-time action. This leaves ample room for the outsized personas embroiled in this battle, including Norman Osborn and J. Jonah Jameson, to rekindle old disputes and exhibit their evolution over the last decade of comics. With such a diverse array of iconic characters juxtaposed in a refreshingly novel manner, Amazing Spider-Man #28 conjures the enchantment of classic 1970s Spider-Man excitement within a contemporary style. No matter where Doc Ock’s plot may veer, readers will undoubtedly be eager to tag along.
AVENGERS BEYOND 4
This comic is an enigma, shrouded in the thickest fog of confusion. Having repeatedly perused this issue, and even backtracked to scrutinize the preceding three, I’m still struggling to decipher its raison d’etre or comprehend its intended message. Issue four perpetuates the perplexity, featuring an obscure brigade of Z-tier doppelgangers who bizarrely confront Earth’s Mightiest Avengers. The attempted humor interjected through this unfamiliar ensemble is cringe-inducing at best. The dialogue falls flat, with the “Bootleg Avengers” epitomizing the series’ missteps in narrative rhythm. With just a single issue remaining in this mini-series, we ought to prepare ourselves for a finale that commences in an unrelated location, reflecting the pattern established thus far. Regrettably, Avengers Beyond fails to articulate its own purpose and can be readily omitted from your reading list.
CAPTAIN AMERICA SYMBOL OF TRUTH 14
As we reach the terminus of Captain America: Symbol of Truth, we find “Cold War” relegated to the annals of history, and dedicate substantial narrative focus to Sam Wilson, unadorned by his patriotic suit and shield. After the series’ whirlwind of events, it’s reassuring to observe that Joaquin Torres/Falcon’s status hasn’t been consigned to oblivion, even if the storyline doesn’t furnish us with a decisive conclusion about his recent transformation. I confess I will feel a sense of longing for this comic, particularly in light of the absence of any announcements about Sam taking center stage in his own series.
CARNAGE REIGNS OMEGA 1
Carnage Reigns: Omega undertakes the laborious task of interweaving a crossover event encompassing three distinct series, all while advancing its own expansive plot. The issue predominantly centers around an alliance between Miles Morales and Tony Stark, with the duo elucidating the final steps of their mission to vanquish Cletus Kasady and his upgraded, tech-imbued abilities. Though some narrative space is allocated to tie up loose ends— such as Red Goblin’s unconventional input, the destiny of Cletus’ apprentice Kenneth, and rogue Iron Man suits—these elements are hastily resolved within a few pages, resulting in an unsatisfying denouement for some of 2023’s most unexpected characters and series. As a finale, this issue delivers on the action and meets the requirements of fans drawn in by Red Goblin or Carnage, but it ultimately feels like a detour. Yet with foreshadowing of the multiverse-roaming Carnage, it’s evident that this motley ensemble of comics has a considerable journey ahead. If “Carnage Reigns” is just a detour, then this set of symbiote-infused series should maintain its status as an essential read for those who’ve become accustomed to its surprisingly high standard of quality.
DAREDEVIL ECHO 2
Thus far, the Daredevil & Echo series seems less engrossed in reuniting its namesake characters and instead, diverts its attention to their 19th-century ancestors. These predecessors are embroiled in a confrontation against a mystifying “Blind One,” with Demogoblin unwavering in his pursuit to resurrect this apparently eldritch deity. However, the issue falters when, following a brisk skirmish at the commencement of the comic, the duo appears all too ready to accept defeat and track the subsequent victim. The introduction of a far more intriguing hero towards the end of the issue may infuse some much-needed vitality into the upcoming third issue, but for now, the comic feels somewhat devoid of vivacity.
After an initial run of seven issues that favored light-heartedness, Alyssa Wong’s Deadpool series makes a poignant diversion with its eighth installment by reintroducing Wade’s daughter, Ellie, albeit in a rather deceptive manner. The narrative initiates with Wade ensnared in an illusory reality constructed by a trio of assassins. While Wade’s gradual awareness of this deception doesn’t quite attain the emotional heights of the classic Superman story “For the Man Who Has Everything” (where Black Mercy ensnares Superman), the revelation of Ellie’s falseness lands a substantial emotional blow. With Princess getting abducted and subtle allusions to Wade maintaining his bond with the real Ellie, this installment signals a promising trajectory for the series.
GHOST RIDER 15
Percy and Smith’s Ghost Rider has consistently delivered an engaging narrative, which has arguably elevated it to one of the most compelling Ghost Rider stories in recent years. Percy orchestrated a riveting plot over 14 issues before pulling out all stops for the series’ grand finale. However, this climactic end falls disappointingly flat, offering a lackluster conclusion to the Spirit of Vengeance’s recent saga. It’s a surprisingly insipid denouement to an otherwise thrilling narrative journey that had previously managed to keep readers captivated with its deft storytelling and intriguing plot developments.
Ed Brisson’s craftsmanship in the Predator series perseveres in dazzling readers, unfurling narratives where the eponymous alien hunter’s involvement continually astonishes, and yet isn’t deemed compulsory. Netho Diaz, the artist, faces the extraordinary challenge of rendering a diverse group of characters within an alien craft, all while ensuring the environment never lapses into monotony or banality. The efforts are boosted by colorist Erick Arciniega, who lends further depth to the Predator ship sequences, deftly employing a variety of lighting schemes depending on the scene’s context. As the narrative gears up for a gore-filled final chapter, several potential trophies await claim in the forthcoming Predator #5.
SHE HULK 14
In She-Hulk #14, the intellectual and emotive tug of war between She-Hulk and Scoundrel, which extends across both their professional and romantic domains, reaches a critical juncture. This issue, primarily divided into two distinct segments, commences with a consultation between the Fantastic Four and Jen concerning her enigmatic suitor, culminating in a face-off between the duo. The initial sequence brilliantly showcases Rowell’s flair for depicting the voices of the FF, punctuated by a stunning display of lettering finesse. However, the issue’s latter half, fraught with romantic and dramatic tension between She-Hulk and Scoundrel, promises to render She-Hulk #15 an eagerly anticipated read in the coming month. The increasing tension is masterfully accentuated through strategically placed close-up panels. While many comics dabble with the “will they-won’t they” trope, She-Hulk #14 accomplishes this with an unparalleled blend of enjoyment and panache.
The inaugural issue of Silk excelled in its exploration of the central dream narrative. Although author Emily Kim maintains this theme in Silk #2, the narrative affords more time to reality, yielding mixed outcomes. The underlying plot remains largely obscure, rendering the narrative’s wandering trajectory somewhat lethargic. Artist IG Guara persists in showcasing commendable work within Cindy Moon’s dreams, dabbling with cowboys and pirates in this issue. Yet, when reality takes the center stage, which it does for the majority of this installment, the narrative seems to lack a certain vital element. The prospect of engaging scenarios featuring Silk retains its allure, making it a worthwhile read, even though the series exhibits a yearning to progress the narrative.
SILVER SURFER GHOST LIGHT 5
Silver Surfer: Ghost Light’s final issue recalls the initial promise it made in its debut, shifting focus back to Toni, her brother, and the enigmatic Al Harper, while relegating the comic peculiarity of The Stranger to the backdrop. The book leaves readers speculating on Harper’s continued presence in the future, yet concludes with enough resonance to validate its existence. The series can be characterized as an enjoyable resurrection of the quintessential Silver Surfer lore, albeit with minimal additional elements.
STAR WARS DARTH VADER BLACK WHITE AND RED 3
Continuing the legacy of its predecessors, the third issue of Darth Vader – Black, White & Red embraces the delightful yet unsettling retribution of the Sith Lord with not only its ongoing narrative but also two standalone tales. All three sections align well with the grim side of Marvel’s roster, portraying Vader with a potent blend of savagery and refinement. The most striking narrative in this issue is Daniel Warren Johnson’s “Annihilated,” characterized by a chaotic, exaggerated art style that poses a novel contrast to the calculated terror inflicted by Vader. While Vader is typically depicted as having control over his emotions, this issue takes a more unrestrained approach with its art, hinting that Vader’s intimidation can fracture the reality of his victims. Even though it refrains from delving into the full-blown surrealism of Peach Momoko’s story from the debut issue, with one more issue left, this series appears to be one of the most consistent Star Wars miniseries in the franchise’s recent history.
STAR WARS DOCTOR APHRA 33
The unexpected discovery of a Jedi Temple by Aphra and Luke could spell potential doom rather than deliverance. Confined within the mysterious temple, the evolving dynamic between Aphra and Luke breathes fresh life into the narrative, contrasting the series’ usual slew of supporting characters. Whereas bantering might become monotonous in other Star Wars comics, the bond between these two characters grows stronger with each page, ensuring reader investment. However, the narrative lacks momentum, making this issue feel like it’s treading water. If there were slightly more plot progression (beyond the potentially thrilling final page), the issue would be more engaging and fulfilling. Nothing in particular falls flat, but we’re left hoping for the next issue to revitalize the narrative with a more thrilling step in the characters’ journey.
Despite its title suggesting a solo story, Storm #2 reiterates that this is an ensemble narrative, featuring the X-Men of the era in a significant capacity. The issue delves deeper into the conflicts and relationships orbiting Storm, progressing at an accelerated pace. This rapid development can sometimes lead to characters appearing one-dimensional – Kitty appears as a defiant child, Rogue comes off as a mindless bruiser, and Wolverine is painted as a possessive and anger-fueled admirer. Even Storm appears unusually hasty in introducing a man she has just met to her extended family. The issue teeters on the brink of farce when Kitty, grounded, dons a ludicrous disguise to sneak into a high-profile social event attended by her teammates. The narrative’s subtext cleverly engages with the concept of biological mutation. Attempting to emulate the stark art style emblematic of 1980s X-Men comics, the line work is commendable, but the modern coloring doesn’t echo the same vibe. The narrative feels exaggerated yet remains quintessentially X-Men at its heart.
The concluding installment of the current Thor series lands with an attempt to ground its convoluted run and its themes before the arrival of The Immortal Thor in August. Thor #35 splits across two timelines. In the past, Thor orchestrates a heartfelt reunion between Leah and her father Loki, which is depicted with intricate portrayals of bygone legends. The present timeline presents a hastier resolution of an ongoing conflict involving Doctor Doom and Hela. The storytelling prowess and nods to Nordic mythology lend a degree of effectiveness to the first half. Thor’s stoic demeanor and his guarded words imbue a sense of epic scale, even in the absence of thrilling events. However, the current affairs seem petty in comparison, as hasty resolutions between villains and dismissive portrayals of massive dragons diminish the grandeur. Like the run it concludes, Thor #35 has its moments of brilliance amidst a sea of chaos, failing to achieve complete coherence.
WARLOCK REBIRTH 3
Three issues down, Warlock: Rebirth is still grappling with its identity. The introduction of Eve Warlock lacks impact and direction, while Adam appears more of a placeholder protagonist than the strongly established character he was in prior narratives. Not that the comic is poor – all players perform their roles adequately, but nothing about Warlock: Rebirth leaves a lasting impression. The series feels aimless, yearning to be significant but bereft of a clear vision to guide its transformation.
X MEN BEFORE THE FALL HERALDS OF APOCALYPSE 1
For those intrigued by “Fall of X” but have overlooked or bypassed much of “X of Swords,” this prequel issue serves as a refresher, revisiting the most pivotal elements of that previous crossover event. Despite its humor, a well-structured action scene, and stunning illustrations of Amenth and Okkara, the comic essentially provides a recollection of past events, sprinkled with hints of what’s to come. The inciting event, a visit from Clan Akkaba, might be familiar to avid X-followers from months prior. What this comic does exceptionally well is framing this lore and the characters, largely absent over the past years, for upcoming events. As a dedicated X-fan, the portrayal of the unique union between Apocalypse and Genesis offers a new perspective that builds anticipation for future showdowns. Regrettably, their offspring lack the same focus, mostly standing as mere background figures in their own dialogue. While not mandatory reading, for those invested in the ongoing and upcoming X-adventures, it prepares the stage competently.
007 FOR KING AND COUNTRY 3
The suspense escalates in the third installment of Dynamite’s new James Bond series. 007 and Gwendolyn Gann are on the run from the law, with other agents hunting them, betrayal lurking around every corner, and trust continually threatened. The plot’s intrigue and espionage continue to amplify with each issue, surpassing the intensity of the preceding miniseries. This relentless suspense keeps readers on their toes and eagerly awaiting the next move in Bond’s high-stakes game.
BLUE BOOK 5
The fifth issue of Blue Book finally veers slightly from widely known information about the infamous Hill UFO case and starts to narrate a story. It portrays the Hills struggling with unexpected fame as their story leaks to the press. The comic attempts to bring closure to the Hills, particularly after the husband’s unforeseen demise. However, this feels more like an afterthought rather than an earnest attempt to translate real events into a storyline beyond a conventional recounting. The secondary book explores a weirder concept – the ectoplasmic phenomena during seances and their debunkings – though the narration and pacing seem somewhat disjointed. Despite the notable creators involved, Blue Book appears to have largely missed the mark, failing to live up to its potential.
Upon reading the synopsis of Brynmore, one might anticipate a narrative rich in monsters and horrors – typical hallmarks of Steve Niles’ storytelling. However, Brynmore #1 curiously omits these elements. Instead, the first issue is a 20-page exposition dump introducing readers to the protagonist, Mark Turner. The characterization of Mark is rather shallow, and the comic instead leans heavily on clichés as Mark, a single dad, relocates to a small town in an attempt to restart his life. The story appears superficial and trite on the surface, with predictable plot points, making the inaugural issue a rather flat experience. As the series progresses, one can only hope that there is more depth and complexity hidden beneath the initial simplicity.
DARKWING DUCK 6
Dynamite’s run of Darkwing Duck has been a mixed bag, with its strong points and weaknesses emanating from its resemblance to episodes of the original TV series translated into comic book format, with a few new spins. Regrettably, the sixth issue hurls a multitude of elements at the readers, increasing the stakes of Drake Mallard’s latest adventure seemingly out of the blue. Although there are intriguing twists and turns, the issue struggles under the enormous cast of characters suddenly thrown into the fray. For some fans, the return of certain characters might be a delight, but their sudden reappearance in the narrative feels unearned, causing the issue to lose some of its potential impact.
HELLBOY AND THE BPRD 1957 FEARFUL SYMMETRY 1
The exploration of Hellboy’s history proceeds with the release of Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1957 – Fearful Symmetry #1, a fresh one-shot initiating another cycle of tales. Set in a distinct year far enough from Hellboy’s finale to avoid narrative interference, these comics vary from somewhat essential to delightfully pulpy, yet forgettable entertainment. Regrettably, this issue leans more towards the latter. While the storyline is acceptable, the artwork presents an almost immediate obstacle. Whether it’s a clash of styles or a lack of visual coherence, the art doesn’t gel with the narrative, creating a jarring reading experience that detracts from the overall enjoyment of the comic.
HELL TO PAY 6
Hell To Pay concludes “The Shrouded College” in an intense and unpredictable fashion, perfectly setting the stage for the story’s next segment. While Charles Soule’s narrative ends the first part, it also cleverly entwines threads that will potentially shape the ensuing arc. The finale is teeming with captivating plot twists which, although startling, seamlessly align with the story’s flow. The combat scenes are riveting and the book reaches its peak when artists Will Sliney and Rachelle Rosenberg explore the supernatural aspects, and this issue is chock-full of such elements. Hell to Pay has been a roller-coaster ride of suspense and action, and with the conclusion of this chapter, the anticipation for Book 1 is building.
LOCAL MAN 5
With each issue, Local Man solidifies its brilliance, artfully presenting a biting yet respectful commentary on the superhero genre of the 90s. The plot crafted by Tim Seeley and Tony Fleecs effortlessly combines humor and action, with both the main and backup stories dealing emotional blows. The artistic style evolves with every panel, particularly in the sections where homages are paid to classic comics, enhancing the nostalgic value of the series. Local Man continues to be a series that no comic lover should overlook.
THE NEIGHBORS 4
In its fourth installment, The Neighbors delves deeper into the enigma of a family’s new surroundings as they each embark on their journey to understand the nature of The Neighbors. This exploration gives rise to striking panels and sequences that blur the boundaries of reality, presenting readers with eerily unsettling images. However, the transitions between different experiences and viewpoints aren’t always seamless, and given the dreamlike nature of many scenes, readers might find it challenging to track narrative shifts. This sense of disorientation is further heightened by the lingering mystery surrounding the series’ supernatural antagonist. In its current stretch, the narrative seems slightly ill-suited to serialization, leaving readers longing for more clarity and cohesion.
The father-son dynamic, which was the highlight of Nostalgia #1 and felt slightly lacking in the second installment, makes a strong comeback in Nostalgia #3. Adding to this, Scott Hoffman introduces an element of intrigue that enhances the narrative. Hoffman deftly focuses on the evolving relationship between Craig and Nathan, and this rapport takes center stage throughout the issue. Flashbacks offer insights into Craig’s past, but these snippets are artfully intertwined with the ongoing adventure, thereby maintaining the narrative’s momentum. The creative team of artist Daniel Zezelj and colorist Lee Loughridge bring each location to life with distinct vibes, and their scope broadens significantly with an unexpected journey to space. This shift in setting brings about additional conflicts, subtly altering the tone of the story while keeping Craig and Nathan’s dynamic at its core. If this balance is preserved, Nostalgia #4 promises to be a compelling read.
THE ODDLY PEDESTRIAN LIFE OF CHRISTOPHER CHAOS 1
The Oddly Pedestrian Life of Christopher Chaos is aesthetically charming, with its modern gothic ambiance built around an innocent queer protagonist. However, the storyline lacks cohesion in this first issue, leaving readers wondering about its direction. The comic’s initial classroom monologue unfolds into what seems to be a more realistic world, but strange elements emerge every few pages, indicating that Christopher’s life is far from normal. With characters oblivious to the weird happenings and bizarre incidents such as ghostly men and werewolf shootouts, it becomes hard to decipher the reality of the story. Whether it’s the case of an unreliable narrator, metaphorical storytelling, or something else entirely, it remains unclear. While the unique artwork might engage readers initially, maintaining their interest over time may prove challenging.
STAR WARS THE HIGH REPUBLIC ADVENTURES 7
Crafting a Star Wars narrative not centered on established characters is a demanding task. Balancing the distinct essence of the Star Wars universe without relying solely on connecting to existing events becomes even more challenging, especially when targeting younger readers and exploring the High Republic era. However, The High Republic Adventures brilliantly rises to the challenge. It skillfully weaves an accessible and whimsical narrative that captivates younger audiences without overwhelming them with extensive mythology. The series also resonates with readers by addressing relatable struggles without seeming patronizing. The protagonist, Sav Malagán, is torn between her desires, societal expectations, and the complexities in-between. This penultimate issue of the series paves the way for potential revelations about her character and, hopefully, will conclude this thrilling journey on a high note.
TMNT THE LAST RONING THE LOST YEARS 4
This fourth installment of The Last Ronin – The Lost Years seems to stumble on the same stumbling blocks as the previous entries. The practice of initiating each issue with multiple flashbacks remains disorienting. Furthermore, the dialogue, which exudes an enchanting Bronze Age appeal, might not captivate those unfamiliar with that period of comics or the “modern” epoch that saw the inception of the Turtles. Some scenes are also marred by shadows obscuring closely-framed characters, making them hard to identify. However, a commendable and somewhat familiar narrative persists as we see Mikey embroiled in the typical gladiator trope. This appears as the latest diversion from his impending face-off with Death Worm—a journey that arguably has overstayed its welcome. Yet, the impressive artwork somewhat redeems the narrative. The style subtly transitions based on the era being depicted, and even a single page showcasing Kevin Eastman’s skill is a delight. Although The Lost Years remains a niche series targeted towards hardcore fans who thoroughly enjoyed the original The Last Ronin miniseries, it does a decent job of catering to their tastes.
Vanish has been an emotionally grueling saga, driving readers to fervently hope for Oliver to reclaim his life. The climax in Vanish #8 delivers the most potent blow yet. The creative team of Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, V Ken Marion, and Sonia Oback craft a gut-wrenching yet thoroughly gripping finale. While the narrative themes and the element of surprise are compelling, a happier ending might have resonated more profoundly with some readers. The conclusion is a tough pill to swallow, but it aligns with the overarching themes of the Vanish series. This emotional resonance is integral to the series’ impact, so the ending is arguably appropriate. Despite its disheartening nature, the conclusion leaves a lasting impression and will undoubtedly provoke thought and reflection, attesting to its success.
W0RLDTR33 continues to set the bar high for horror comics this year, as Tynion and Blanco skillfully weave numerous intriguing storylines around a spine-chilling cybernetic virus. This issue delves deeper into the Undernet, raising more questions and intensifying the eeriness of the narrative. Despite the inherent challenges of presenting horror in comic book format, W0RLDTR33 never misses a beat, firmly establishing itself as a must-watch series in the genre. Horror enthusiasts would be remiss to overlook this fascinating narrative from Image Comics.