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Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 12/04/2019

Welcome to this week in comic book reviews! The staff have come together to read and review nearly everything that released today. It isn’t totally comprehensive, but it includes just about everything from DC and Marvel with the important books from the likes of Image, Boom, Dark Horse, and more.

The review blurbs you’ll find contained herein are typically supplemented in part by longform individual reviews for significant issues. This week that includes Conan: Serpent War #1, New Year’s Evil #1, The Butcher of Paris #1, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1.

Also, in case you were curious, our ratings are simple: we give a whole number out of five; that’s it! If you’d like to check out our previous reviews, they are all available here.

And with that, on to the reviews — which are listed in alphabetical order, but first by DC, Marvel, and the rest of the publishers.

Slide 1 of 8DC #1

The second-to-last issue of Tom King’s run arrives with Batman #84, but it’s an issue that, with so much story left to tell, feels an awful lot like stalling as it takes readers not into a final showdown but reminds them how we actually got to this point. To be fair, it’s a beautiful stall. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no fan of Flashpoint Batman, but the way King presents the character is compelling and Jorge Fornes art (paired with brillaint colors from Jordie Bellaire) is comic book-y, visceral, and absolutely what lifts this last calm before the final storm right off the page. The last panels are a punch in the gut, visually and story-wise and very Batman indeed. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 4 out of 5

The final issue of Batman: Universe is all about scale. It transforms an unending, white void into a compelling setting and drafts the furthest reaches of DC Comics’ continuity into a single, sprinting spread. What begins and ends with the theft of a faberge egg has become an odyssey across space and time, one that also recognizes how much fun that sort of story can be. Even if the last minute twist to this story is introduced and resolved so quickly that it seems to serve no purpose, everything around it is told with such confident ambition that small missteps are easily ignored. This is a Batman story that recognizes why the character can go anywhere and appeal to almost anyone; it’s incredibly fun and a fitting conclusion to the best Batman comic of the Rebirth era. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

Month after month, Collapser has been a genuine joy to read, and this issue absolutely sticks the landing and then some. As Liam deals with the latest plot twist surrounding the black hole – and the impact it’s had on his family and his world – things culminate in an emotional and delightful third act. Shaun Simon, Mikey Way, and Ilias Kyriazis have crafted one of the most punk-rock and personal stores in comics right now, and it’s so satisfying to see where things end (for now, at least). — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 5 out of 5

Elements of the Dark Multiverse and Justice Doom War still feel shoehorned into Deathstroke, but at least they’re made to fit albeit uncomfortably. They provide ornamentation without meaning and plot devices with no other purpose than to assist in delivering the denouements that Deathstroke has been building to for quite some time. The final statement doesn’t reach the lofty heights of the journey preceding it though, reflections of family and identity are jumbled at the end, and the last few pages feel tacked on with too little space left to address the many deaths and betrayals racked up across this last story. It’s still a general pleasure, one packed with puns and genuinely surprising moments of action, but it’s also clear that the best days for Deathstroke were already in its past. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

For 16 issues, Si Spurrier has immersed readers back into the world of Sandman, teasing hints about the nature of protagonist Dora along the way. Now we have answers and they are satisfying ones at that. Everything Spurrier reveals here plays into the themes of he’s set forth from the start, a consideration of how modern technology affects our dreams, our relationship to what is true and what is literal. The issue suffers a bit from being an information dump with little forward motion, but Marguerite Sauvage does a wonderful job of illustrating it all, mixing magic with a modern sheen. It’s a sign of success that a story remains as engaging after a mystery has been solved as it was before, and The Dreaming succeeds at that. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 4 out of 5

Green Lantern: Blackstars #2 is loaded with crucial backstory and compelling exchanges amidst a grand narrative, but at times there just might be too much going on for any of it to land like it should. Grant Morrison delivers a tale that features a rewriting of the world as we know it, Superman and Hal Jordon on a collision course, a battle over the Controllers, and a deep dive into Belzebeth’s origins. That’s a lot of ground to cover, and somehow those aren’t the only subplots in the issue. Parts of it are intriguing don’t get me wrong, but overall there’s just so much here that it’s hard for any one area to really shine, and it feels like lt should’ve been spread out over another issue perhaps. Despite the overwhelming material, the Superman and Hal moments manage to stand above everything else, and that conflict is easily the biggest hook going forward. As for the visuals, Xermanico’s pencils and Steve Oliff’s colors shine brightest during the darker and sequences in the book. The fire filled streets of Gotham or the walk through Belzebeth’s history are stellar, though some of the brighter sequences fall short. This issue has great moments marred by an overwhelming amount of exposition and plot, and here’s hoping #3 finds the balance of the series’ debut. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 2 out of 5

The holidays are upon us and how better to prepare for the joy of Christmas with the pure, unadulterated bonkersness that is Harley Quinn? Harley Quinn #68 serves as the title’s “Christmas Special” and during a time of year when sometimes the hustle and bustle of family, friends, and holiday cheer can be a bit too much, the book offers an absolutely delightful bit of levity that is sure to make even the most humbug of grinches smile. The story itself in the episode is honestly a little thin—but it’s perfectly fitting for the absolutely bonkers adventures the book takes readers on each and the parts of it that pack a punch do so in precisely the way you’d expect a holiday tale to. The art is what wins here with a bright and beautiful holiday display, Harley style. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

At first glance, choosing Donna Troy to be one of The Batman Who Laughs’ six targets in the “Infected” event seems like a no-brainer. Troy’s entire identity has been rebooted so many times over the years, so it only makes sense that a sinister force would be able to twist her mind if given the right push. But there’s more to Donna Troy in Deathbringer #1 than mere internal self-loathing, as the book shows her struggle with her leadership role with the Titans as well the group’s reactions to her sudden betrayal. And unlike Dark Knights where every issue ended with the new villain conquering their respective book, this leaves the door open for Troy to be more than a silent henchman for the evil Batman doppelgänger. If you’ve enjoyed the event and its subsequent tie-ins so far, you’ll enjoy this. — Connor Casey

Rating: 4 out of 5

Slide 2 of 8DC #2
Comic Reviews - New Year's Evil #1
(Photo: DC Entertainment)

The Inferior Five is a book that you either really enjoy or really don’t. After an issue that felt like things were starting to even out and make sense, The Inferior Five #4 comes back feeling a bit messy, a bit hurried, and with artwork that looks as messy and rushed as the book feels. There are a few more plot-related reveals here, but they’re hard to appreciate when the book itself is unfortunately just so difficult to look at and follow. The only real reason this book succeeds on any level is the Peacemaker backup story each issue and this installment continues that trend. Hopefully somehow the narratives start to come together as they tease to be doing soon. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 2 out of 5

Justice League #37 features big battle sequences, heroic sacrifices, and the destruction of a world or two, as the Justice League and their allies from across time and space make one final attempt to stop Perpetua, Lex Luthor, and their army of enhanced beings. Both my praise and complaint about this issue mirror my opinions of the rest of this arc. The comic is noisy and overpacked, even though the various plot threads are starting to converge. Cool moments are visual in nature only, there’s no real impact in the story because none of the dozens of characters featured in this arc have gotten any real development or time to shine. On the other hand, this comic is a manic, action figure battle of epic proportions, and the stakes and tone are about as ambitious as the Justice League can possibly get. This is unmistakably a “big” Justice League story, perhaps the biggest we’ve seen in years, which makes it so baffling that it all seems so rushed. The fun is still there, but the gravity is unfortunately a bit wasted due to how quickly everything is moving. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3 out of 5

Sam Lane was not a notable character in Lois Lane and the plot of “Event Leviathan” has barely been referenced, which raises the question as to why this comic book is #6 instead of being published as a one-shot memorial. It is an issue dedicated to the slow ritual of a military funeral with intermittent flashback sequences meant to inform that present. Not only is this framework stilted and uneffective, but it holds no connection to the ongoing series it is supposedly part of. Everything about this issue feels separate and unnecessary, with the exception of an artstyle that cannot effectively convey the human emotions it attempts to portray here; sobs and grimaces contort human features in an absurd fashion. Lois Lane #6 is a mediocre, perfunctory funeral issue and one that has no reason to be part of the series to which it’s attached. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

Generally, it’s very difficult to pull off a multi-creator, multi-story epic of an issue with so many characters and so many different stories which has an end result of a truly great issue, but New Year’s Evil #1 does it spectacularly. While all 10 stories in the issue are a pleasure to read, there are some major standouts. “Bright and Terrible”, the Sinestro-centric story from writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson and artist Sumit Kumar is one of those that sees Sinestro be the hero of the story—a very Sinestro fashion, of course. There’s also the deeply moving, punch-in-the-gut of a tale “Father Christmas” by writer Dave Wielgosz and with art by Cian Tormey that is so finely crafted that it may make you see Chronos in an entirely different light. Overall, it’s a stunning, festive, deeply enjoyable read sure to be a holiday classic for years to come. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

Superman: Up in the Sky #6 starts out on a weird note. What Michael Bailey calls Superman’s “angry red eyes of anger” are on display; while he is certainly entitled to be frustrated it took a 12-part story to find this poor girl, he’s also staring down a traumatized child. That scene never happens in the comic, and the content in the second half of the issue—once Superman finds the girl—is some of the best and most endearing art and storytelling that the series has had since its first or second issue. The story shows Earth’s heroes easily subdued by the alien invasion which Superman takes out single-handedly, and it feels like a disservice to those characters. It also makes it harder to get excited by the emotional payoff that Batman delivers, reminding everyone why Superman is great. Superman’s characterization feels like it comes out of an Elseworlds story where his relentless determination makes him into an automaton, spouting punchy lines of dialogue that would feel like another character. The art is largely beautiful and, while sometimes the moment-to-moment storytelling can suffer (those scenes of Earth’s heroes being decimated by the invasion could maybe have been punched up by some different choices by Kubert), the layouts and emotions are always top notch. — Russ Burlingame

Rating: 4 out of 5

Wonder Woman: Come Back To Me ends with its sixth issue this week. The beefy finale brings Diana’s fight with a spoiled princess to its brink, but fans will be left feeling lukewarm when a last-minute baddie comes to undo much of the progress made with Diana’s match. The deus ex machina end will be a familiar one to comic readers, but this one will leave fans feeling more hollow than usual. — Megan Peters

Rating: 3 out of 5

Young Justice #11 is the sort of installment where you can see the work of set up and introductions being done on the page, and that’s not a good thing. Introducing Naomi takes up a large chunk of the issue and it’s only that character’s combination of charm and excellent design which makes this extended addition of a new teammate enjoyable. Subsequent plot developments are all driven by necessity rather than character, including a headlong rush to trouble with no clear motive. It’s the function of winding down the multiversal travels in order to allot space for new villains and troubles, but that transition isn’t very exciting on its own. Better luck next time. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

Slide 3 of 8Marvel #1

I cannot recall a time when a switch of artists gave me such a rude awakening as the change from Patrick Gleason to Oscar Bazaldua. It almost seems that rather than incurring a delayed issue, Marvel decided to steam forward with Bazaldua, whose artwork seems almost unfinished. For the life of me, I almost believe that Oscar doesn’t have a firm concept of what Dr. Doom looks like! While Spencer’s script is still strong as ever, ingeniously making use of Spidey’s continuity in creating an interesting moment between brother and sister, the presentation is so distracting that the art almost takes you out of the experience entirely. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 3 out of 5

Telling an entire event in a series of single issues requires a lot of heavy lifting from each of those issues, even if they’re a bit longer than your standard Marvel comic these days. Unfortunately, that results in this Fantastic Four story primarily existing as a plot summarizer with a handful of action panels to connect explanations of what’s happening and why. First, it explains what Annihilation Scourge is all about, then how the Fantastic Four will play into it, and how readers should understand the heroism—complete with an extended explanation as to why neither Reed nor Johnny should feel any guilt over past actions. The occasional splash panel looks sharp, but is diminished by a torrent of expository dialogue that leaves no room for interpretation or nuance. This issue certainly connects the dots, but watching the creators draw that line doesn’t leave much room for fun. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

An odd couple comedy featuring Nova and Annihilus is good for two gags: the concept itself and a hilarious case of forgotten identity. Of course, Annihilation Scourge: Nova oversells it and leaves a lot more misses than hits on the page. The issue does avoid the pitfalls of this week’s Fantastic Four installment though and varies its pacing and tone after an initial exposition dump. There’s ample space provided for brawling and a cliffhanger that manages to surprise. It’s still a plot machine that does little to distinguish itself from so many similar events across the past decade of Marvel comics, but at least it’s good for a few moments of levity and doesn’t overload the reader with excessive captions. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

There are some wonky flashbacks throughout this issue and they deter a bit from the action and pacing of the overall story. However, in spite of its flaws, Black Cat is still largely enjoyable and remains an exciting caper that modern comics could use a lot more of. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 3 out of 5

Conan: Serpent War #1 is well-crafted but overstuffed as it struggles to get introductions out of the way so that it can move towards the conflict. Despite this shortcoming, the issue does establish an exciting tone; anyone who enjoys a good pulp fantasy tale will appreciate it. When the issue ends with first meetings, readers will be eager to see what comes next. And now that the “gathering the party” portion is out of the way, fans can look forward to what looks to be a thrilling adventure. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 4 out of 5

Daredevil #14 reminds readers why this is one of the smartest superhero series published today after a brief detour through melodrama. Each conversation in the issue exposes ambiguity and revels in the lack of clear answers. A discussion of police violence leaves cops and vigilantes alike recognizing the shaky ground on which they stand. Each new exchange encourages readers to reconsider their own notions about the themes presented in Daredevil. It’s a touch unfortunate that the presentation is workmanlike, capably delivering information, but rarely inflecting on it in an interesting fashion. Even with a standard delivery, the content is so good that it will be a long wait for Daredevil #15. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

Doctor Doom #3 digs deeper into a world of multiple timelines and existences in the human world and the afterlife, but it does so in a manner that avoids being too convoluted. Many stories dealing with web-like settings like these will bounce back and forth so quickly that it’s hard to keep up, but Doctor Doom knows how much time to spend in each area be it the past, present, Hell, or on Earth. Scenes where Doom brawls with Mephisto himself in Hell are visually stunning compared to the still impressive but tamer parts of Doctor Doom with those scenes coming together to make what’ll perhaps be one of the most varied and forward-moving issues in the series. — Tanner Dedmon

Rating: 4 out of 5

Slide 4 of 8Marvel #2

For the first time Excalibur reads as though it’s building towards something. The rearrangement of the Captain Britain mantle, Apocalypse’s hidden designs, and even baby Shogo’s transformation all pay off in unexpected, exciting fashion here. The telling is still familiar, with the standard fight and continuation of various sub-plots that are contained in most superhero team books, but the individual moments all provide something enjoyable and interesting, if not extraordinary. It’s the dynamics between this odd cadre of characters that are most appealing, something enhanced by the addition of Rictor in bookend-like sequences. Otherworld is also lit up in glorious colors and with plenty of high fantasy tropes to thrill both readers familiar with these stories and those looking for a break from the rest of the current X-Men line. Excalibur has slowly, but surely, discovered what works in its pages and finally delivered a standout issue. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

When a hacking job goes wrong, a man finds himself trapped in the digital version of Hell, with his only hope for escape being in the body of a metallic monster. Once freed, this “Ghost Rider” aims to right the wrongs and exact justice upon the person who doomed him to this metal husk. Fans of ’90s action and sci-fi will have a lot to love about this book, as it envisions futures reminiscent of Judge Dredd and the Terminator films, both in its narrative and in its art. Fans might not automatically think that the Spirit of Vengeance would lend itself well to technology, and those fans would be right, as Ghost Rider 2099 goes down all of the expected avenues to deliver a campy adventure. The book deliver about as much as excitement as possible with its concept, though the premise is inherently flawed, likely only appealing to a certain subset of readers. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 3 out of 5

Adding Kamala’s brother into the story at the moment she seems like she may be losing control could prove to be the most interesting development of the series so far. Mixing family dynamics and superheroics has been Ahmed’s bread and butter with Ms. Marvel and it’s still working wonders. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 4 out of 5

Marvel has set a high bar with Marauders, and the series continues to not only meet that bar but surpass it in new and interesting ways. Like #1 and #2, this issue explores a different aspect of the Hellfire Club’s role on Krakoa and does so with the same mix of charm and political intrigue. Writer Gerry Duggan has found a delightful rhythm with Sebastian Shaw, and while the introduction of a returning mutant isn’t initially as interesting as the events of past issues, his interaction with Sebastian slowly reveal promising layers that we can’t wait to see explored. Artist Michele Bandini’s style feels like a natural extension of Matteo Lolli’s style from previous issues but lends Shaw’s Blackstone empire a welcome edge that compliments the character’s personality. Marauders is only getting better with time, and if you miss out on one series, don’t let it be this one. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4 out of 5

There’s a page in Old Man Quill #12 where various characters from across the “Old Man” stories watch in horror as things go wrong. The only recognizable ones originate from the original “Old Man Logan” story in the pages of Wolverine, which tells you about everything you need to know about how this comic functions. Even with a smattering of new concepts stuck on the hood, it’s the same car being driven by creators who can’t manage a stick (whereas Mark Millar and Steve McNiven apparently can). Even the dumb joys of the original are lost as this finale wraps up in an all too familiar fashion for the superhero genre, papering over anything resembling permanency and missing any of the entertainment factor found from tapping into the Western or other fare. The resolution is cartoonish and all the pieces are essentially reset for another story advertised in letters column. It’s amazing that people are still reading these things when they can’t even be bothered to play the hits. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 1 out of 5

Savage Avengers #8 is strongest when the oddball trio of Doom, Doctor Strange, and Conan are allowed to play off each other, and the other parts of the issue just aren’t nearly as entertaining. Writer Gerry Duggan is able to play each character’s personality off the other members of the “team” extremely well, with Conan adding a fun wildcard element to the mix. The visuals are solid, though they don’t add the desired punch to the combat until later in the issue, where magic becomes more prominent and with it bursts of color. As for the narrative, at the moment it just isn’t that compelling, but for some the team’s unique chemistry will be enough to overcome that flaw. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 2 out of 5

Spider-Man & Venom: Double Trouble continues to be a hilarious romp with its second issue. After dropping a twist at the end of the premiere issue that the pair had switched bodies, we see Peter stumble his way through the comic in a fight with Green Goblin while Venom (as Spider) reveals his sinister plan… to win a American Ninja Warrior-style game show! If Gurihiru’s art style manages to hook you in right away, you’re in for a fun, light-hearted ride. — Connor Casey

Rating: 4 out of 5

Slide 5 of 8Marvel #3
Comic Reviews - Conan Serpent War #1
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

After a flurry of conflicts on the battlefield, our Jedi manage to find a way to resolve the issues, thanks in large part to some unexpected assistance. While the final moments of this installment does offer readers a reminder of a Jedi’s true purpose in Star Wars mythology, as they are peacekeepers and not warriors, that whole message was muddled through months of muddled storytelling with characters that were difficult to care about and a mundane series of aggressions in hopes of engaging the reader. With the book’s final words to the reader essentially meaning “Find out more by purchasing Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order,” the events of this series would have made for a much more effective cutscene than a story that unraveled over the course of months. Fanatics of the game might appreciate the expansion of its mythology, but the rest of Star Wars fandom will find the book completely disposable. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 1 out of 5

In this issue of Sword Master, we learn that Sword Master’s sword is actually much smarter than he is. The sword shows signs of sentience in both stories in this issue, and literally prevents its holder from making rash decisions. This is a bit of a problem, given that Sword Master’s sole personality trait is “rash” but maybe he’ll pick up some wisdom at some point. I don’t know what else to write about this comic—it’s bad, the storytelling and characterization are lazy, and the art is wholly mediocre. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 1 out of 5

Just as Thor Odinson gears up for a comic relaunch, this star-studded one-shot highlights some of the other characters who have been worthy of Mjolnir. While elements of this might not be incredibly accessible for casual readers, it still proves to be an enjoyable and rather retro read. The real standout here is the third story from Kathryn Immonen and Tom Reilly, which features a surprisingly poignant team-up between Jane Foster and Sif. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4 out of 5

The next chapter in this 2099 line never quite feels like it belongs in that neo-futurist landscape. The plot and characters as written by Jody Houser, while interesting and fitting for such a story, feel like they could be present day and never leans enough into the 2099 aesthetic to make it seem like part of the line. Art by Francesco Mobili and Geraldo Borges is the high point, tapping into the werewolf-like transformation of this new symbiote host. Overall it’s a fine piece, but nothing about it screams 2099 like one would expect. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3 out of 5

Natasha continues her mysterious mission as solo as she can, even though two long-time allies make a cameo to try and “aid” in various ways. As far as Black Widow comics go, this issue is right in the middle of the pack—save for a pretty hefty cliffhanger, nothing particularly stands out. At the very least, the art is a beautiful thing to take in as it relies heavily on that over a lengthy narrative. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 3 out of 5

As the “Dawn of X” era of X-Men continues, it reveals more and more how ill-suited Leinil Francis Yu’s artwork is to the tone. This issue sees the X-Men going toe-to-toe with nihilistic, octogenarian, radical botanists in the Savage Land. It’s a premise that verges on the ridiculous, like something out of Nextwave or Jonathan Hickman’s own The Manhattan Projects. But Yu’s incapable of communicating that kind of energy with his sculpted, grim-faced characters. But this issue is weak by Yu’s own standards, with visuals and characters posed seemingly at random. There’s enough pure fun here that the issue isn’t a total wash, but it’s a messy affair. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

Slide 6 of 8Other Publishers #1

20XX kicks off a new series from Image Comics with a unique appeal. The black-and-white debut will launch readers on a roller coaster of emotions as they are introduced to a world on the brink. With Mother Nature having dished out revenge against those who abused her, readers will meet a woman who survives the assault and enters a dangerous world she never cared to know about. — Megan Peters

Rating: 4 out of 5

The “Archie and Sabrina” arc comes to a close in this week’s issue, in a way that is rewarding and largely satisfying. Even with a sort of sense of finality, there’s definitely some new reveals and potential plot twists, down to the final panel. It’s been a lot of fun seeing Spencer, Tamaki, and company approach this arc of storytelling, and even as it’s grown a bit more muddled (largely from shifting back to characters outside of Archie and Sabrina), there’s still a lot to celebrate. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4 out of 5

However Archie vs. Predator II ends, the journey will have been worth it for this issue. After establishing its tone and building out a conflict, the penultimate issue is able to go wild with each and every action-packed sequence. The sprawling battle against the Predators is smartly divvied up into a variety of styles, including selfish scheming and spaceship heists. Even romantic tension crackles in this issue as every moment builds toward something new in an Archie-verse largely without rules. With so many highlights, this is a comic that is pure joy to read, embracing the superficial joys of genre fare. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 5 out of 5

With Buffy and Angel stuck in the Hellmouth, the new issue of Buffy the Vampire Slayer focuses on Robin Wood and his new charge, new Slayer Kendra. The idea of having a Watcher who is as young as their Slayer is an interesting one, but whether Kendra sticks around the comic reboot any longer than she did the original series remains to be seen. What stands out most in this issue is how insufferable Giles is, a far cry from his composed, paternal television counterpart. It’s another example of the series jumping into the deep end. We haven’t spent enough time with this version fo Giles to understand if this is his nature, or if it’s the effects of the Hellmouth. It’s hard to see past that, but the personality conflict Robin has with Willow and Xander is an unexpected delight. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

The allure of the afterword and consideration of historical facts make the failures of this first issue more grievous than they would be otherwise. The Butcher of Paris #1 provides the same general sheen of competence that surrounds most new, direct market series which are forgotten before their second issue arrives. However, the concept at the foundation of this particular series demands better treatment, but it doesn’t look like readers can expect that in future issues of this muddled retelling. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

The showdown with cyborgs concludes early in the pages of COPRA #3 providing ample room for the team to finally reassemble (something years in the making for longtime readers) and for Fiffe to deploy a wide array of different skill sets. This issue delivers some affecting and personal romantic moments to accompany the gruesome battle and seething tensions present elsewhere. Every few pages provides a new mode of storytelling, developing characters in addition to maintaining an active, diverse story that never repeats itself. Even an interstitial issue like this one can feel essential in COPRA where no page is ever without purpose. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

The story of our titular bank robber continues this issue with a hospital escape and a powerful moment between Dead Eyes and a mobster that is easily worth the price of admission. McCrea is still on his A-Game here, doing some of the best work of his career as Duggan gives us a solid story to follow. While I’m crossing my fingers for more surprises, Dead Eyes does what it sets out to do with some of the best creators in the business today. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 4 out of 5

Through the past six issues, Death or Glory has been hit or miss for this comic reader. Luckily for #7, it hits—and it hits hard. This issue blends Western with blockbuster action and a little mystery thriller. Hell, there’s even one moment that made me laugh out loud, so you might as well through comedy into the mix as well. The story itself is still a bit too slow for my liking, but I can overlook that with all of the other positives in this month’s issue. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

Slide 7 of 8Other Publishers #2

DIE #10 is truly a fantastic comic book. Not only does the comic feature some of the biggest power moves to date, it also provides a ton of insight into Ash and her complicated identity. Honestly, Ash is one of the most complex characters we’ve seen in monthly comics in quite some time, and I absolutely loved how her motivations during her stay in DIE intertwined with her desires in the real world. Most importantly, Ash has a level of self-awareness that’s truly fascinating. She knows exactly how her manipulations hurt others, but she does them anyways with little to no regret. While we’d usually look at Ash as the villain, her reasoning is so nuanced… and real that we can’t help but to root for her (or at least wait with bated breath to see what happens next.) This is easily Image’s best comic of the year. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 5 out of 5

Just when you think Everything has gone too far with the overwhelming sense of unease and discomfort, the series’ fourth issue manages pick up the pace by finally diving into what the heck is going one with the enigmatic Lori character. The rest of the story continues to crawl at a snail’s pace, but there’s still just enough of a mystery to keep the reader trudging through the palpable sense of dread. — Connor Casey

Rating: 3 out of 5

Young adult drama plays much better than any longterm supernatural mysteries in Ghosted in L.A.. As soon as a mysterious door is introduced, it’s quickly reduced to a subplot, something to be mentioned but not even provided a visual reference point. On the other hand, fights between longtime friends and clear emotional statements resonate. There’s an honesty to these summarized conflicts, one that’s enhanced with excellent character designs and color choices. While #6 doesn’t have much of a clear focus, the character work on the page provides reason enough to keep going, as it’s far more engaging than any of the ghostly mysteries that are deployed primarily to fill space here. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

James Bond’s debut checks all the character’s boxes—witty quips, romance, chases, and gunfights—within the first few pages. But from that point on, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that you’re reading a James Bond comic. That itself is a victory because even without having the star character fill its pages for the majority of the issue, James Bond #1 sets up a compelling story that could easily stand alone as its own series. It’ll constantly have you pondering the hows, whos and whys of any good James Bond adventure, and the characters and settings are drawn so warmly and invitingly that you’re instantly drawn in without knowing much about them. James Bond is off to an explosive start and has the potential to only get better from here. — Tanner Dedmon

Rating: 5 out of 5

Sydney Duncan has plotted a thoroughly pulpy western with this new series, featuring all the hallmarks of a gritty southern-set shoot em up though some might be a hair cliched. Paired with artist Natalie Barahona, the series has an intense reflection of the time period and pulls no punches, with the fantastic color work being the main highlight. Some out of place moments in the art stand out though, but they can’t outdo the mood and movement on display. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3 out of 5

Manifest Destiny #39 (and presumably the next several issues) are about gender, specifically gender in an era fraught with systemic imbalances. However, much of that is reduced to a “will they, won’t they” dynamic between two characters and a stock character type that most genre fans will be well acquainted with even before they arrive at the final page. It’s a familiar way to address an interesting topic in a similarly interesting setting, one that robs both elements of almost all interest. Rather than pushing the story forward, #39 doubles down on existing tensions with no clear destination in sight and a detour that’s less than appealing. Considering the inconsistent nature of the art in this issue, it’s a bad sign for the future of the series. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

Granted, it’s only one issue so far, but this is exactly what any fan of the Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles could want in a crossover. The personality and charm of both franchises shine through from the opening page to the final panel, and if the series can keep it up we’re going to have a “Mighty Morphin Heroes in a Half Shell” classic on our hands. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 5 out of 5

Napoleon Dynamite #2 mostly moves away from re-hashing jokes from the movie and pushes a bizarre mix of storylines that includes a podcaster investigating Rico Dynamite’s possible involvement in a murder to Pedro’s student council presidentship under fire due to a scandal. While this comic is weird… it’s at least the sort of weird we expect from Napoleon Dynamite and hinges on the characters being weird and wacky. I’m still not sure who this comic was made for, but it’s at least not a bad comic. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3 out of 5

Slide 8 of 8Other Publishers #3
Comic Reviews - The Butcher of Paris #1
(Photo: Dark Horse Comics)

Over the Garden Wall’s latest spooky miniseries comes to a close, and it’s a delight in a surprising number of ways. Now that Wirt and Greg have been put in this position—and the true nature of the town they’re in has been revealed—it’s a race against the clock to get everything back to a new normal. What results from there is way more endearing than it could be, and ties everything up in a nice narrative bow. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4 out of 5

The scale of Simonson’s Ragnarok is growing, even if much of this week’s issue emphasizes personal battles between more mundane forms. The most monstrous legends of Norse lore loom large over the proceedings, planning from a distance and promising forthcoming twists in Thor’s descent, some that already pay off by the crowd-pleasing final page of this issue. However, the best moments in #3 come between a vengeance-fueled, barely named soldier and the current antagonist. It reminds us how easily Simonson can infuse seemingly un-notable figures with legendary status, and offers a great spectacle that offers an ending to this chapter of an ever-expanding epic. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

McFarlane continues to spin the yarns of your favorite demon, and though the piece still feels like something left in a display from the 90s we’ve got to give him props for making it accessible and interesting even for first-timers. Though semi-cliched in its basis, it’s a fun enough story that feels intrinsically “comic book.” Jason Shawn Alexander’s art remains the primary selling point for the book and he’s able to stretch his legs into exciting and peculiar territory here. There’s also a killer cover by Francesco Mattina! — Spencer Perry

Rating: 4 out of 5

Star Trek: Year Five delivers another stellar episode, though this one doesn’t have the same thrill-factor as some of its predecessors. Kirk and the crew hatch a daring plan to escape the Tholian web and, against the odds, it all goes well. It’s al well-done, but the series has set such a high bar that being just good feels underwhelming. The reveal of the identity of the Obsidian Tholian at the issue’s end should have fans talking and suggests Year Five is only going to get more wild as the series continues. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

The horrifying tale that unites the worlds of extraterrestrial threats with the paranoid era of the “Cold War” continues to be a solid blend of human drama and terrifying galactic beings, though the series hasn’t lived up to the promise of its first issue. While this issue ramps up the sense of paranoia and the tormented head space of our protagonist, he’s surrounded by characters who just didn’t get the chance to be as fleshed out. A wonderful premise hamstrung by some weaker elements. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 3 out of 5

After the tragedy tinged nature of the past several issue, Sakai delivers readers an action-comedy of sorts filled with familiar faces. The plot of the issue is driven by a MacGuffin that has Usagi re-teamed with Gen and Stray Dog, and evoking a fourth, fan favorite character, but that is primarily an excuse to watch these ronin wear themselves out fighting wave after wave of bandits. The action is as propulsive as ever, even when it devolves into a gag that delivers more laughter with each panel of repetition. It’s a delightful, one-and-done tale that will please new readers and veterans alike. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

After presumed missing (likely due to being in another dimension), Veronica returns to Riverdale and hopes to get back to “normal,” but a new student arrives who has a lot more in common with her than she’d like. While the arrival of another vampire isn’t a good sign, Dilton reportedly has information about her ancestors that could help not just Veronica, but the entire town in its quest to remove the vampiric curse. Vampironica’s last outing in an Archie Horror crossover with Jughead was overly complex while also being disappointingly shallow at the same time, with this first issue of a new series serving as a welcome reset to the character. The art is a strong as ever and, while the book mostly delivers the expected humor and character beats, the story is setting itself up to be a much more straightforward narrative that will allow for a more streamlined adventure worthy of its title. While this debut issue doesn’t tease limitless potential for the book’s future, the fact that it is merely a serviceable premiere is a strong enough launching point. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 3 out of 5

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