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 #1057
In the riveting Action Comics #1057, readers are presented with a main story that is exceptionally gripping, albeit tinged with dark undertones. Titled “Revenge of the Demon, Part One,” Johnson exhibits a masterful understanding of Superman’s essence, portraying him with depth and nuance. Concurrently, the narrative introduces Blue Earth, positioning them as a formidable adversary, not just for the Superfamily, but for the world at large. These antagonists epitomize the dangers of xenophobic bigotry, a malignant ideology that threatens universal harm. Johnson skillfully unravels the insidious manner in which such beliefs can seep into societies. However, he also presents counterarguments, giving readers food for thought. The story culminates in a heart-stopping twist, promising to make this narrative a classic in its own right. That said, the backup stories are a tad uneven. Jurgens’ “Lois & Clark 2” has its moments but suffers from erratic pacing. On the other hand, Visaggio’s “Super is as Super Does” appears to be mired in its own inertia. — Nicole Drum
BATMAN BEYOND: NEO-GOTHIC #3
2023 has been a remarkable year for DC’s iconic Dark Knight, and Batman Beyond: Neo-Gothic is now contending for the most visually captivating Batman book of the year. The artistic trio of Max Dunbar, Sebastian Cheng, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou continuously surpass their own standards, and Neo-Gothic #3 is no exception. The depiction of underground Gotham is breathtaking, with the stark contrast of dark shadows illuminated by radiant purples, brilliant greens, and neon reds. In the narrative heart, the writing duo of Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing conjure a deeply atmospheric tale revolving around the Court of Owls. This installment evokes an unsettling aura around these figures, making them more menacing than they’ve been in recent memory. The narrative’s twists are executed flawlessly, with a strong hope that the character Kyle remains an integral part post this storyline. With so many commendable Batman tales this year, Batman Beyond: Neo-Gothic confidently asserts its presence, potentially overshadowing its peers.
BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #5
Batman: The Brave and The Bold #5 welcomes readers with the comeback of “The Winning Hand,” promising a powerful narrative delivery. The third segment of the tale crafted by King and Gerads showcases The Joker in a uniquely horrifying avatar, reminiscent of the relentless antagonists in classic slasher films. His sinister journey across Gotham transcends the usual confines, portraying him more as a spectral figure than a mere serial killer. Gerads’ artistic prowess shines through, making this version of the Joker both memorable and unsettling. Another notable story, “Down With the Kings,” reaches its pinnacle in this issue, delivering an adrenaline-packed confrontation between the team and a familiar foe, resulting in a pulse-pounding sequence that accentuates the team’s underdog spirit against a god-like adversary. Additionally, “The Angel of Gotham” stands out due to Jorge Fornés’ magnificent artistry, focusing on the daily lives and tribulations of Gotham’s denizens, while also highlighting their quest for justice. However, the series isn’t without its flaws. “Harcourt: Second Life” continues the somewhat lackluster journey of resurrecting a secondary character to align with a TV adaptation. The segment offers little excitement, with the character Harcourt feeling underdeveloped. Nonetheless, hitting the mark on three out of four narratives is commendable.
DETECTIVE COMICS #1074
After a brief hiatus spanning two months, Detective Comics makes its anticipated return, continuing the enthralling narrative of “Gotham Nocturne.” This issue plunges readers into a tumultuous Gotham, where Batman, under the disorienting influence of the perilous Azmer poison, finds himself spiraling uncontrollably. This poison-induced journey compels Batman to gravitate towards locales imbued with personal significance, and while navigating these physical spaces, he’s forced to confront the figurative ghosts of his past head-on. My only real contention with this installment is the initial moment of disorientation; recalling the preceding events in Detective Comics became a tad challenging due to the break enforced by the “Night Terrors” storyline. This gap seemed to momentarily drain the narrative of its compelling pace and momentum. Nonetheless, with bated breath, I look forward to witnessing Ram V’s innovative approach to Batman’s narrative, particularly in discerning how this symbolic breaking point for the Caped Crusader varies from previous tales that have similarly tested Batman’s resilience.
THE FLASH #1
While The Flash hasn’t always maintained its stature as a perennial must-read within the DC Comics’ roster, the presence of the right creative minds can transfigure the series into a juggernaut of superhero comics. With Spurrier and Deodato now helming the narrative, there’s an undeniable resurgence of energy evident. This inaugural issue offers readers a meticulously curated reintroduction to the quintessential facets of The Flash series. However, what’s truly commendable is the ingenious spin they bring to these traditional elements, imbuing them with a fresh, yet inherently ominous aura. This revitalized iteration not only introduces a formidable new adversary but also delves deep into the intricate dynamics of the West family, fostering a profound empathetic connection for the readers. Moreover, the choice of the artist underscores the narrative’s distinctiveness, allowing them to deploy their idiosyncratic artistry to its full potential. In essence, The Flash #1 encapsulates the brilliance of capturing lightning in a bottle, and arguably, there couldn’t be a more fitting analogy for The Flash’s narrative.
GREEN ARROW #4
Should every issue of Green Arrow exude such exceptional quality, I’d fervently advocate for a proliferation of Green Arrow-centric titles on par with those dedicated to Batman. And unquestionably, the anticipation for this particular issue was satiated and surpassed. This installment culminates in the much-awaited face-off between Oliver and the formidable Parallax Hal. This showdown is not only emblematic of Green Arrow’s core ethos but also serves as a conduit to unveil a pivotal revelation that further enriches the overarching plot. It’s evident that Williamson possesses a profound understanding and affinity for the characters he’s sculpting. His adeptness is palpable not just in the character’s dialogues and actions but also in the nuanced references to their intricate histories, which he seamlessly integrates into the current narrative. The accompanying artwork is equally laudable, juxtaposing contemporary aesthetics with a nostalgic nod to the 90s. When amalgamated with the compelling narrative, the outcome is a tapestry that resonates with seasoned Green Arrow aficionados while simultaneously beckoning and engaging newer readers. This issue is a masterclass in storytelling, encapsulating the very essence of comic book excellence.
POWER GIRL #1
Power Girl #1 presents a refreshing, invigorated start for our beloved heroine. The majority of this installment is devoted to meticulously deconstructing Power Girl’s persona, ensuring that both longtime fans and newcomers have a comprehensive insight into her multifaceted character. However, this introspection doesn’t come at the expense of adrenaline-pumping action or an enthralling narrative hook. Often, in solo stories, the convergence of different universes, especially when involving characters from alternate dimensions or timelines, tends to convolute the plot. But in this issue, the narrative tactfully avoids this pitfall, offering a streamlined storyline that is easy to navigate. Such a straightforward approach, which blends depth with simplicity, should undoubtedly serve as a benchmark for subsequent comic storylines.
SPIRIT WORLD #5
Spirit World has consistently proven to be a narrative treasure trove, and as it inches closer to its climax, the series unveils some of its most jaw-dropping revelations. The acclaimed writer, Alyssa Wong, crafts a narrative tapestry brimming with wonder, predominantly focusing on the enigmatic trio: Xanthe, John Constantine, and Cassandra Cain. But it’s not just the beloved trio that shines. The magical realm they inhabit, replete with myriad mysteries and enchantments, is equally spellbinding. While the series boasts an expansive cast, Wong’s dexterity ensures that each character’s integration is paced optimally, preserving the essence of the established narrative. Complementing the engrossing story is the exceptional artwork by Haining, accentuated by Sebastian Cheng’s vivid color palette. Their collaborative effort results in dynamic action sequences and character designs bursting with originality and flair. Spirit World stands as a testament to stellar storytelling, with the only sorrow being the imminent conclusion with just one more issue remaining.
STATIC: SHADOWS OF DAKOTA #6
The intense face-off between Static and Ebon takes center stage in Static: Shadows of Dakota #6. This confrontation transcends mere physical combat, delving deep into a cerebral battle of ideologies and unwavering determination. The comic adeptly juxtaposes the disparate life experiences of both Ebon and Static. Although they stem from analogous origins, their trajectories diverged due to their respective environments. Static, bolstered by a nurturing domestic and academic environment, managed to evade some of life’s harshest trials. In stark contrast, Ebon, deprived of such foundational support, gravitated towards a path marred by aggression. Yet, the narrative’s brilliance lies in its refusal to vilify Ebon. Instead, it emphasizes the gray areas of socioeconomic issues, steering clear from the overtly binary portrayals that often plague contemporary superhero comics. All in all, Static: Shadows of Dakota #6 emerges as an exemplary piece of superhero literature, blending action with profound social commentary.
UNSTOPPABLE DOOM PATROL #6
In the second-to-last installment of Unstoppable Doom Patrol, there’s an undeniable sentiment that this series ought to persist, particularly with Chris Burnham’s impeccable artistic talents driving the narrative. This issue is a veritable celebration of the quirky characters that have graced the Doom Patrol universe across various timelines. Opening with a simulated training session reminiscent of the Danger Room, readers are immediately thrust into the idiosyncratic world of Doom Patrol. Each character’s design is accentuated, underscoring their departure from traditional superhero archetypes. Even supporting characters, like the intriguingly christened Psylo-Simon, bask in the limelight, with Burnham’s artwork expertly exploring every nuance of their design in each panel. The meticulously choreographed battles, while engrossing, also serve to weave together past plotlines, brilliantly setting the stage for the anticipated finale in the next issue. Balancing momentum with intricate details, Unstoppable Doom Patrol #6 beckons readers to both eagerly anticipate what lies ahead and savor the peculiarities unveiled with each flip of the page. This might very well be the pinnacle of superhero comic entertainment this week.
The eleventh chapter of WildC.A.T.s, regrettably, perpetuates the series’ longstanding issues. As this maxi-series nears its conclusion, it’s disheartening to see the narrative continually overwhelmed by a plethora of characters and intertwined subplots enveloping the Wildstorm ensemble. Had the focus been more concentrated, predominantly on central figures like Grifter and Zealot, and then gradually expanding to the broader team, the storytelling would have undoubtedly resonated more profoundly. Presently, with myriad characters and dynamics to navigate, pivotal moments and character arcs risk being overshadowed. While the series deserves commendation for its character development, aesthetic appeal, and seamless integration into the larger DC Universe, a more narrowed narrative lens could have potentially revitalized this Wildstorm reincarnation.
THE AVENGERS #5
The Ashen Combine emerges as a formidable adversary to the Avengers, and in Avengers #5, Jed MacKay ingeniously intensifies the stakes, introducing unexpected narrative pivots. MacKay astutely directs readers’ attention to Vision and Captain Marvel’s enthralling confrontations against the likes of Meridian Diadem and Lord Ennui. Additionally, the enigma of the Impossible City and its role within the grander scheme is elucidated. While Vision and Captain Marvel’s individual skirmishes offer captivating sequences, the issue truly soars when delving into the tragic circumstances of the Impossible City. Paradoxically, these pivotal segments also coincide with a slight dip in the artistic rendition. However, the visual trio of Ivan Fiorelli, Federico Blue, and Cory Petit truly excel during Vision’s showdown with Meridian Diadem. Although Avengers #5 might not surpass its predecessors in the series in terms of overall impact, it undoubtedly encapsulates moments that will resonate with dedicated Avengers enthusiasts and primes the narrative for a riveting resurgence.
THE AVENGERS ANNUAL #1
The eagerly-awaited Avengers Annual brilliantly concludes the “Contest of Chaos” saga, thrusting the newest Avengers roster into a perilous confrontation with the enigmatic Agatha and a brigade of heroes, now manipulated and possessed. What’s notably amusing about this culmination is that, for an arc heavily predicated on high-octane battles between heroes, the grand finale seems to sidestep most of the explosive action. Apart from the formidable Captain Marvel and the mystical Scarlet Witch, many members of this exceptionally potent Avengers ensemble surprisingly don’t have pivotal roles. The narrative twist at the end offers a hint of potential developments in the future. However, readers might discern that they wouldn’t necessarily need to delve into this chapter to grasp the ramifications of the forthcoming storylines.
In its third installment, Blade remains unwavering in its tone, blending sharp wit, grisly horror-laden action, and an overarching Marvel epic setting. Yet, this issue primarily serves as an expositional platform, with Blade himself being spotlighted in just an elongated, atmospheric dinner sequence. The initial pages pulsate with energy, providing an unobscured introduction to the ominous new antagonist, The Adana, and their chilling reprisal against a team of budding magical superheroes. The subsequent narrative meticulously constructs the foundational steps for Blade and his newfound allies to counter this formidable adversary. This process hints at renowned Marvel characters, intensifying the suspense for the upcoming confrontations. Although the narrative momentum appears slightly restrained, with concise action intervals and minimal character depth exploration, the artistry, particularly the expansive splash panels, captivates readers with Blade’s international escapades. Even the elements that usually come across as routine in serialized superhero tales are executed with finesse in Blade, setting a commendable baseline for future episodes.
THE IMMORTAL THOR #2
Immortal Thor’s narrative evolution persists into its second chapter, witnessing Thor’s ascent as he embraces his newfound potency. Instead of relying on the famed Odin-Power, Thor now wields the formidable Thor-Power. His audacious actions are perceived as naïveté by his adversary, Toranos, yet it is this very audacity that confounds Toranos and possibly facilitates an unexpected moment of camaraderie between Thor and his sibling, Loki. If one were to interpret the nuances of this scene, it might represent one of the most poignant portrayals of unconditional love ever witnessed in superhero comics. Thor’s unwavering trust in Loki’s multifaceted persona, despite his inherent apprehensions, permits Loki to transition into his latest avatar – the Teller of Tales. Artistically, the grandeur of Thor and Toranos’ duel is encapsulated through expansive two-page spreads, with imagery from one page seamlessly transitioning into its adjacent counterpart. A notable narrative device is the amalgamation of overarching narration with intimate thought bubbles. While the former (presumably originating from the Utgard realm) infuses an epic ambiance, Thor’s personal reflections establish a deeper connection with readers, emphasizing his intrinsic bond with humanity. The meticulous attention to detail ensures a harmonious narrative tapestry, where every element coalesces to form an enthralling story.
THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #10
In this anticipated issue, the wedding between Iron Man and Emma Frost serves a clear purpose – an instrumental path to achieve a larger goal. While Duggan’s writing leans heavily on exposition to pull Tony Stark out of his predicament, the predictability doesn’t undermine the palpable tension built up throughout the story. Fans should brace themselves for a twist, as history has shown that this creative team is no stranger to dramatic climaxes.
JEAN GREY #2
The saga continues as Jean Grey #2 delves deeper into the Phoenix narrative. Readers are treated to a concise but powerful flashback, shedding light on the Phoenix’s destructive potential. As Jean grapples with the loss of those dear to her due to the Phoenix’s rampage, a spark of hope emerges, hinting at a possible way to free Jean from the Phoenix’s grasp.
MIRACLEMAN BY GAIMAN & BUCKINGHAM: THE SILVER AGE #6
In this emotional rollercoaster of an issue, readers are offered a haunting glimpse into Dickie Dauntless’s past. His traumatic upbringing in an orphanage, marred by sexual abuse, paints a clear picture of his complex feelings towards Miracleman and his own sexuality. The narrative unfolds as suppressed memories resurface, culminating in a poignant moment of acceptance when Dickie consents to a heartfelt gesture. This raises deeper questions about Miracleman and Miraclewoman’s relationship with humanity. Neil Gaiman’s intricate storytelling is beautifully complemented by Mark Buckingham’s evocative illustrations, capturing the essence of each character and their inner turmoil.
MOON KNIGHT: CITY OF THE DEAD #3
Moon Knight: City of the Dead #3 sees a significant transformation, embodying Marc Spector’s dual nature. Not just a symbol of nocturnal justice, Moon Knight also reflects Spector’s constant internal struggle. David Pepose’s narrative artfully balances the portrayal of Spector’s benevolent side with Moon Knight’s ruthless aggression. Sean Damien Hill’s sketches, complemented by the vivid colors from Rachelle Rosenberg and intricate inking by Jay Leisten, brings action-packed panels to life. From Moon Knight’s impressive arsenal to the heightened intensity of each fight scene, the visuals do not disappoint. Marc’s evolving bond with Layla provides depth, grounding the narrative amid the action. However, occasionally the dialogue tilts towards melodrama, slightly overshadowing the central theme. Yet, the overall exploration into the Moon Knight’s lore has left fans eagerly anticipating the next installment.
REALM OF X #2
Realm of X #2, though taking a more subdued pace compared to its predecessor, continues to unravel the intricacies of its mutant ensemble. The series’ strength lies in its meticulous character development, giving each mutant a chance to shine and grow amidst the challenges of their newfound world. It’s not just about action sequences but delves deeper into personal transformations, making it a treat for fans who cherish intricate character arcs.
SPIDER-MAN: INDIA #4
Following the grandeur of Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, Spider-Man: India #4 unfortunately pales in comparison. The narrative lacks originality, mirroring events from Peter Parker’s life rather than establishing Pavitr Prabhakar’s unique identity. The backdrop of a mundane office building for most of the action feels underwhelming, missing opportunities to highlight the vibrant Indian culture. This rendition of Marvel’s iconic hero, despite its potential, comes off as a missed opportunity.
STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #36
Amidst the galactic chaos, Doctor Aphra and her companion, Lucky, find themselves in a terrifying predicament, trapped by a swarm of Scourge-affected droids previously thought to be out of action. On another front, Princess Leia, sensing potential danger from a mysterious distress call, dispatches Tolvan to discern its origins. The Dark Droids narrative, till now, has leaned into a comedic tone with its infected droids plotline. But this particular issue shifts gears, masterfully blending humor with edge-of-your-seat tension. Aphra’s desperate attempts to elude the relentless droids echo classic horror movie tropes, heightening the stakes. In parallel, Tolvan’s journey that hints at a possible haunted ship encounter adds another layer of dread. The reintroduction of Tolvan suggests an inevitable showdown between him and Aphra, adding anticipation for upcoming issues.
The climactic installment of this Storm retrospective offers a holistic view of its overarching themes, though certain subplots remain dangling. The story shines a light on Travis’s manipulative nature, under the aliases Blowback and Grift, revealing how he attempted to undermine Storm’s confidence for his gain. The culmination of this subplot where Storm triumphantly reasserts her autonomy offers a poignant moment of character development. Still, the narrative’s ambiguity surrounding Travis’s backstory complicates readers’ emotional reactions. While Storm’s personal journey is emphasized, her initial disagreement with Kitty Pryde is hastily glossed over, leaving readers longing for a more comprehensive resolution. Artistically, the issue occasionally suffers from a lax detailing, and though the grandiose sequences capture attention, subtler moments seem to lack depth. Despite its potential, the series appears to be bogged down by its numerous subplots, somewhat overshadowing Storm’s core narrative.
ULTIMATE INVASION #4
In the latest installment of Ultimate Invasion, The Maker’s sinister machinations approach their crescendo, signaling the dawn of a reimagined Ultimate universe. While this wasn’t the narrative arc many fans had predicted, it skillfully intertwines temporal mechanics, examining the complexities of world-altering endeavors, echoing the distinctive style of Jonathan Hickman. The fate of Howard Stark, an occasionally overlooked character, holds the emotional core of this issue. His tragic mission, combined with the visual spectacle masterfully crafted by Bryan Hitch, ensures each page is a captivating experience. From grandiose battle sequences spanning different time frames to meticulous panels depicting intricate lab tasks, the illustrations consistently dazzle. As the Ultimate series braces for its revival, this issue lays out a guiding principle for its future trajectory. It remains to be seen if the promises of Ultimate Invasion will bear fruit, and if the subsequent issues will capitalize on its groundwork or diverge to explore new horizons.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST – DOOMSDAY #3
Trudging through the narrative landscape of X-Men: Days of Future Past – Doomsday #3 can be likened to traversing a vast, featureless desert. The plot progression feels sluggish, at times almost stagnant, and leaves readers longing for a hint of momentum. The script for this particular installment appears lackluster and devoid of fresh inspiration, failing to either enrich the iconic saga it promises to pave the way for or craft its own identity within the series. Doomsday #3 seems to exist without purpose or direction, and that stagnant existence may be its gravest shortcoming.
007: FOR KING AND COUNTRY #5
The fifth installment of 007: For King and Country encapsulates the quintessence of James Bond in a meticulously constructed comic avatar. Through distinct rectangular panels and a vivacious spectrum of colors, especially in the introductory segment, the comic resonates with the inherent suaveness synonymous with Bond. Yet, it doesn’t shy away from presenting the darker, tragic facet of this universe. The narrative plunges readers into a realm of thrilling espionage teeming with cutting-edge gadgets, unforeseen betrayals, and intricate plot twists. At its crux, the story unveils a gripping confrontation between unwavering faith and the tainted realist. Each thematic strand unfurls seamlessly: the ambiances ooze melancholy, nostalgia is imbued with the weight of past tragedies, and the covert operations emanate palpable tension. While there are instances that tread on familiar, almost clichéd, grounds, they are skillfully integrated into the narrative framework. Even for someone not deeply immersed in the Bond lore, the series offers an enthralling experience. The looming questions of ideological clashes and the fate of interpersonal ties entangled in the web of deceit keep the reader hooked.
BLACK HAMMER: THE END #2
Black Hammer, intrinsically, serves as a magnifying lens onto the very fabric of the comic genre, unearthing the nuances and intricacies that make it a medium worth our dedicated time and attention. Black Hammer: The End #2 exemplifies this introspective approach. While it abstains from the typical action-packed sequences, it compensates with profound, intimate moments that conjure poignant reflections on both the superhero realm and the broader comic medium. The narrative pace might not surge forward with notable events, but the profoundness of the script compensates by offering readers a sublime experience. This installment reminds us that sometimes, the heart of a story isn’t about the action or the spectacle, but about the essence and soul of its storytelling.
Delving deeper into its third installment, “Brynmore” is finally beginning to unveil the menacing horrors it initially hinted at, presenting a narrative interwoven with both the bloodthirsty undead—vampires—and the ever-menacing zombies. Niles’ approach to pacing remains somewhat enigmatic. Many of the issues, rather abruptly, conclude mid-scene, depriving readers of the traditional satisfaction of a cliffhanging climax. However, “Brynmore #3” distinguishes itself from its predecessors. It feels more fleshed out and purposeful, weaving narratives rich enough in intrigue and suspense to beckon readers into the next chapter with bated breath.
CONAN THE BARBARIAN #3
As Titan embarks on its third chapter of the Conan narrative, it offers readers an immersive leap forward from its preceding issues. While neither of the earlier releases faltered in quality, this edition showcases the vast, unexplored terrains of potential within a Conan epic. Diving deep into the enigmatic, mystical, and eerie aspects of Conan’s universe, every page brims with heart-racing anticipation. Coupled with this are the retro art styles that come alive, especially when intertwined with haunting apparitions and the undead. The visual treat is undeniably amplified, making this issue not just a read, but an experience that avidly engages and enthralls.
DARK SPACES: THE HOLLYWOOD SPECIAL #2
The visual narrative of “Dark Spaces: The Hollywood Special #2” is one characterized by masterful artistic evolution. Initial spreads set a foundational aesthetic reminiscent of a bygone era, etching characters and scenarios that echo the opulence and decadence of Hollywood’s golden days. But as the story unfolds, especially during Viv’s surreal journey, the colors shift to a more luminescent, blacklight hue, skillfully disorienting readers just as Viv herself feels lost. The environment she eventually finds herself in is painted in muted, earthly shades—a stark contrast to her origin, making readers question her new surroundings. The enigma deepens; the series does not readily part with its secrets. And while this cloak of mystery can sometimes border on frustration, the second issue, much like the first, captivates with its unexpected turns. It dangles the promise of answers, making readers wonder if continued investment will eventually yield the narrative payoff they’re yearning for.
DARKWING DUCK #9
In this rollicking issue, the revival of the “Justice Ducks” arc is a comedy goldmine. Darkwing Duck #9 uproariously portrays Darkwing’s nocturnal prowls through the streets, where his superhero endeavors end up more as slapstick misadventures than valiant feats. Deibert and Lauro’s deft handling of the comic pays homage to the original animated series, giving readers a sense of continuity as if they’re watching a sequel to the beloved Disney Afternoon show. This nostalgic connection can be a double-edged sword, but the balance in this issue tips more towards a positive reminiscent thrill. Drake Mallard’s interactions—whether with allies or foes—are a highlight, and there’s a palpable sense that the narrative is gearing up for some intriguing twists and turns.
GODZILLA: WAR FOR HUMANITY #2
Godzilla: War for Humanity #2 is an explosive display of kaiju chaos. Jake Smith’s distinct cartoonish style beautifully emphasizes the unique characteristics of each monster, providing a visual treat. The issue wastes no time, introducing the spiny titan Anguirus, who is swiftly challenged by the menacing Zoospora—a fungus-laden kaiju that has quickly become the centerpiece villain of the series. Their fierce confrontation, coupled with the subsequent inclusion of the Mech-Godzilla doppelganger, M.O.G.U.E.R.A., results in breathtaking visual sequences. While Zoospora’s grotesque projectile vomiting technique adds an element of dark humor, the human side of the story somewhat pales in comparison. Their desperate quests for understanding the unfolding events sometimes come off as prolonged explanatory interludes. Some aficionados might appreciate the nuanced interactions with the kaiju, but the narrative’s directness leaves little room for unexpected twists. That said, the brewing ideological clashes around Godzilla’s existence hint at a riveting storyline, making the upcoming conflict an anticipated event for readers.
MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS #112
The intensity rises as the “Darkest Hour” storyline continues its momentum in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #112. Melissa Flores showcases a novel approach to the Morphin Grid’s enigma, artfully weaving personal dynamics within the Mighty Morphin and Omega Ranger squads. Under Flores’ guidance, old team interactions are rejuvenated with a burst of freshness, with the narrative arcs around Matt and Grace standing out particularly. Complementing this are the visual contributions of Henry Prasetya, Matt Herms, and Ed Dukeshire. Their artistry navigates seamlessly between various scenarios, granting each sequence its unique aura while preserving the comic’s unified aesthetic. The issue’s conclusion reiterates the comic’s prowess in reinvigorating classic motifs. As “Darkest Hour” unveils its mysteries, the anticipation intensifies, keeping readers on their toes for what’s yet to unfold.
In the latest installment of “Monstress,” we find ourselves navigating a labyrinthine narrative dense with plot progressions, leaving us both excited and slightly overwhelmed. Issue #48 sees Liu taking an audacious leap in the story’s timeline, springing forth unexpected shifts that shake the core narrative. Such a rapid progression, though packed with intrigue, can occasionally blur the lines between events, demanding a meticulous reading to glean every nuance. Amidst these twists, the heartfelt reconciliation between Maika and her spectral younger self emerges as the emotional centerpiece, beautifully rendered both in words and visuals. Takeda’s artistic brilliance shines through, imbuing the narrative with depth and intricacy.
The volatile world of “Newburn” intensifies in this issue, placing our titular protagonist in a veritable cauldron of danger. Newburn’s audacious strategies, especially a masterfully crafted heist sequence, come to the fore as he grapples with the suspicions of the formidable Yakuza and the Albanos. Despite the intricate webs of intrigue and ever-present threats, there’s an almost Zen-like precision to Newburn’s every move, turning action sequences into gracefully executed tactical ballets. Subtle hints peppered throughout the issue foreshadow a looming storm of confrontation. Key allies, ensconced in law enforcement and the criminal underworld alike, seem poised to make their own power plays, underscoring the transient nature of Newburn’s balancing act. As long as the narrative treads this precarious path, readers can expect a roller-coaster of high-stakes suspense and surging adrenaline.
THE ODDLY PEDESTRIAN LIFE OF CHRISTOPHER CHAOS #4
“The Oddly Pedestrian Life of Christopher Chaos” continues its intricate dance of blending the ordinary with the supernatural. The series has creatively breathed life into a motley crew of youths, drawing inspiration from iconic Universal monster archetypes. Yet, the haze around their raison d’être, adversaries, and backstories muddies the waters, making it challenging for readers to be fully immersed in their quest. The ties that bind both the natural and paranormal forces in pursuit of Christopher and his allies remain enigmatic, even when they appear on the cusp of an intersection. While there’s no shortage of hints at concealed truths, Christopher’s personal history remains shrouded, making it a tad tough for readers to form an empathetic bond with him. Embedded metaphors resonate with themes relevant to queer youth, but they occasionally appear more decorative than integral. The saving grace lies in the series’ vibrant reinterpretations of classic horror figures, lending a touch of allure to the narrative. With promises of revelations in the offing, one hopes the next issue brings clarity, anchoring the storyline as it unfolds further.
THE RIBBON QUEEN #3
Ennis and Burrows plunge further into uncharted territories of the horror genre with their creation, “The Ribbon Queen”. The narrative, centered on a morally corrupt police department embroiled in a chilling supernatural mystery, crafts an atmosphere dripping with suspense and intrigue. The series excels in dialogues, painting chilling images in readers’ minds even in the absence of graphic body horror. But for those thirsting for visceral thrills, this issue does not disappoint, offering its quota of blood-curdling gore. Yet, it’s worth noting that one of the most unnerving moments is devoid of any supernatural elements. This scene, where the sheer tension between two individuals sharing a drink at a bar is palpable, showcases the duo’s genius in crafting horror from the mundane. While “The Ribbon Queen” may not clinch the title of the year’s premier horror comic, it undoubtedly stands out as a formidable contender.
RICK AND MORTY #9
As the TV show’s ardent followers eagerly await its next season, the comic book adaptation amps up its audacious apocalyptic narrative. This particular issue is a whirlwind of chaotic action, interspersed with nostalgic nods to Jack Kirby’s distinctive style. Yet, amid the frenzied sequences, Alex Firer’s script shines by weaving in a touching emotional arc for Morty. The visual bedlam, meticulously captured by Fred C. Stresing, is filled with scenes that oscillate between the bizarre and the brilliant. The culmination of this story arc evokes a twinge of melancholy, considering the impending close of the series is looming.
THE SCHLUB #2
With just a duo of issues under its belt, “The Schlub” is fast emerging as an exhilarating superhero escapade. The narrative’s core—hinging on an imaginative body swap—orchestrates situations that perfectly balance humor with high-octane action. The genius behind the script, Ryan Stegman and Kenny Porter, captures the essence of both protagonists, lending them distinctive voices that resonate with authenticity. Tyrell Cannon’s artwork is a delightful throwback, reminiscent of 90s Image-style visuals. His artistic prowess brings to life both epic superhero showdowns and the quirky antics of a caffeine-driven dentist with equal zest. This early run of “The Schlub” teases a series bursting with potential and vibrant energy.
STUFF OF NIGHTMARES: RED MURDER #1
“Stuff of Nightmares: Red Murder” one-shot serves as a sinister homage to the nostalgic horrors of R.L. Stine’s iconic Goosebumps series, albeit with a decidedly more macabre twist. The narrative delves into the enigma of a malevolent impersonator, who, cloaked in the garb of a beloved horror comic book hero, embarks on a bloodthirsty spree, targeting fans at a horror convention. The narrative adeptly balances humor and horror, with pointed jabs at the superhero genre and the comic book industry resonating effectively. But as captivating as the plot is, the story’s twist is somewhat predictable, even with Stine’s deft attempts at misdirection. The artwork, while commendably rendering the visceral gore, occasionally lapses in clarity, especially during dynamic action sequences. Yet, for those nurtured on a diet of Goosebumps and the chilling tales from anthologies like “Tales From The Crypt”, this is a familiar yet thrilling detour.
VOID RIVALS #4
“Void Rivals” deepens its integration into the expansive Energon Universe, drawing iconic figures like the Decepticons and Autobots into its narrative tapestry. Kirkman’s ambitious vision to craft a universe transcending the bounds of just the Transformers is evident. However, the sporadic appearances of characters like Shockwave and the Arc sometimes come off as narrative sidetracks, diverting attention from the core story that has been the heartbeat of “Void Rivals”. While the series retains its core sci-fi allure, its position as the progenitor of Image’s new Energon Universe raises a few brows, given the somewhat disjointed interweaving of narratives.
WHAT'S THE FURTHEST PLACE FROM HERE? #14
The hauntingly beautiful horror realm sculpted by Tyler Boss and Matthew Rosenberg stands as a testament to originality and inventive storytelling. The post-apocalyptic visuals are both eerie and captivating, enhanced manifold by Roman Titov’s masterful color palette, making every page a visual banquet. If there’s a chink in the armor, it’s in the narrative jumps that sometimes muddle clarity. However, even when the story teeters on the precipice of confusion, Boss’ distinct artistic prowess ensures that readers remain riveted, eagerly speculating about the next twist in this surreal odyssey.