Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 11/23/2022 – ComicBook.com

By Chase Magnett
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, IDW, Scout, AfterShock, 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 Dark Crisis: The Dark Army #1, Doctor Strange: Fall Sunrise #1, and Once Upon a Time at the End of the World #1.
Also, in case you were curious, our ratings are simple: we give a whole or half number out of five; that’s it! If you’d like to check out our previous reviews, they are all available here.
While Action Comics #1049 may not be the best Superman story, it is a good one that ticks a lot of the boxes. We get a continuation of the fight that began in #1048 with Superman fighting with Kalibak and Orion to stop them from taking Osul and, as a part of that fight, offers a tone-perfect reminder of what makes Superman a hero with his optimism not just for himself, but for everyone. There’s also the continuation of Luthor’s plotting and machinations as he forces Metallo back into service and then gets Manchester Black involved as well. That, too, checks the right boxes as it underscores why Lex is such an insidious and dangerous foe and clearly sets the stage for something larger. Like I said, not the greatest story, but a good one that delivers everything it promises and doesn’t feel like “filler” as both pieces of things clearly are laying groundwork. The only real “miss” is the art – but even at that it’s not a huge issue. Mike Perkins, in many panels, delivers art that has a very classic, almost 1950s-era feel – though there are times when there is some figural distortion that’s a bit distracting. Those distortions for the most part are balanced by the use of color, which while pretty on the nose in how it uses color as a unifying theme for different parts of the story—yellows and reds and the like—keeps things from getting a bit too far outside itself. Overall, it’s an issue that works and is enjoyable as well. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 4 out of 5
Batman: Fortress releases one of its strongest issues to date, with Whitta and Robertson continuing the journey of the Dark Knight’s ragtag team attempting to discover the fate of the Man of Steel. Where this issue truly shines is in its dynamic between Batman and Lex Luthor, with the two great minds on opposite sides of heroism having a delicious dichotomy. I would absolutely love to see this particular team of oddballs make their way into the main continuity, perhaps as the new line-up of the Outsiders. Fortress is firing on all engines with this latest issue and both Whitta and Robertson are as well. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Gilded City takes the opportunity to take a wildly divergent swing from where you might expect this video game crossover title to go, but it truly shines as a result of it. Writer Evan Narcisse merges the Gotham of the present with that of the past, introducing several interesting aspects in each story. With the story of the present focusing on a tete-a-tete between Batman and Nightwing, there’s some interesting angles to their relationship brought up here, while the story of yesteryear introduces some fantastic elements. Gilded City might not tie into Gotham Knights as much as it could, but it acts as a solid spingboard to a fascinating tale of Gotham City itself. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 4 out of 5
Dark Crisis: The Dark Army #1 not only proves to be a fun romp advancing its ensemble of characters, but it proves just how much fun the larger Dark Crisis can still have before it comes to a close. This one-shot’s all-star team of writers and artists craft a clever, small-scale story with cool elements – one that is just as plucky as the characters gracing its pages. While its significance in the narrative tapestry of Dark Crisis remains to be seen, Dark Army is a consistently entertaining scrap of that tapestry. — Jenna Anderson
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Some fun banter and solid action make for the best installment of Bruce Campbell’s series so far. — Connor Casey
Rating: 4 out of 5
DC: Mech #5 continues this title’s general trend of being style over substance, or more specifically, of trying to shove the world of DC into the box of another genre only to end up with a very mid result. This issue in particular sees a high stakes fight that features only part of the “team” if you can call them that who has largely defected from the idea of the team for what is supposed to be a hail Mary pass. But while the two Green Lanterns facing off in what turns out to be a suicide mission for one of them, the very superficial and frenetic nature of this title overall leaves this chapter with only the most superficial of emotional weight. More problematically, this issue is paced almost as though it’s on fire, meaning that we’re rushing from element to element, beat to beat, trying to somehow frantically make any of this make sense with just one issue remaining. The art is okay, but again, by prioritizing style over substance, even that is sort of wasted. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
DC Comics’ latest guilty pleasure is getting ready to come to a close, and where the series has shined throughout is demonstrated here far more brightly. Idiosyncratic pairings such as Green Arrow, Grifter, and Swamp Thing teaming up make for some interesting storytelling that we haven’t seen before. While there are some holes in terms of why someone like Dick Grayson wouldn’t be able to shake the vampiric influence on his mind but Damian can certainly qualifies as a head-scratcher, it’s not enough to take you out of the story. All the creators involved here, Tynion, Rosenberg, and Scmidt, are clearly having a blast and that fun is infectious, making for a solid penultimate issue. –Evan Valentine
Rating: 4 out of 5
“Year One” mercifully concludes in Deathstroke Inc. #15 with nothing new added to Deathstroke’s plot or character and familiar elements reheated past their expiry date. There’s nothing surprising in this final issue; Deathstroke completes the mission and overcomes his rivals in action sequences that never quite make sense given the stillness surrounding an open airplane at cruising altitude. A deep-seated fear of eyes fills most of the issues with characters almost always drawn squinting rather than possessing emotionality or intent. All of their ideas and reactions pour out in dialogue that simply states narrative observations with no shift in inflection or perspective. Given the many Deathstroke comics and origins already in existence, it’s a valid question why another “Year One”-style story was needed and Deathstroke Inc. #15 has no reply. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 1 out of 5
Detective Comics #1066 kicks off the next arc of Ram V’s epic Batman tale, with some of the haunting terror of the previous arc taking a back seat to a more customary Batman story. The Orgham family has established themselves within Gotham while running their more shady business in the backdrop of the series. The tone change is a bit jarring, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Every good horror story needs some air to be most effective, and I’m assuming what this chapter brings. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Harley Quinn #24 is an interesting mix of exposition and sparing use of action. The bulk of the issue centers around an interrogation of Zsasz that leads to a major revelation about who killed Harley and the two things ultimately give the issue a solid payoff. That said, there’s a lot of wasted space in this issue, meaning that Phillips spends a bit too much time on the exposition in the interrogation (complete with more of the sort of corny humor that doesn’t really fit Harley due to how trying to hard to be Harley it is) almost to the point that the payoff with the revelation of her killer on the final panel feels a little worn out. Sure, the reveal is definitely something that sets up for an exciting turn in this story, but other than the art, this issue drags in ways that weighs things down more than it serves the story. To perhaps put a finer point on it, the issue feels tired. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 3 out of 5
After eight issues of The Human Target playing it cool, we finally get to see Christopher Chance one-upped. Chance is a paranoid mess, as his cover-up of Guy’s death has attracted some undue attention. This issue shows Chance on the run and really puts his smarmy flaws on display. While the cool and collected facade has been shown off all mini-series, it was great to see Chance lose his unflappability at the hint of Batman. Best issue of the series to date. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Two issues in, Punchline: The Gotham Game is a fitting portrait of its titular protagonist – capable of a lot of potential, but unsure exactly what to do with it. As Punchline and the Royal Flush Gang’s crusade on Gotham City draws the attention of Batman, it culminates in a conflict that is well executed on a narrative and clinical level, but doesn’t feel like it has any meaningful stakes (especially when its central plot twist has already been spoiled by upcoming solicitations from Catwoman). Time will ultimately tell if Punchline: The Gotham Game actually changes its titular character or the DC universe, but it’s at least a largely-entertaining read. — Jenna Anderson
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Three issues in to Tim Drake: Robin and honestly, it’s not really going anywhere or improving. The issue is confusing in terms of its story as it once again spends too much time in Tim’s head and somehow doesn’t say anything or even go anywhere. The writing here is very poorly executed, as though there’s no real direction so what we’re getting instead is a stream of consciousness set of notes that someone hopes will become a plot soon. The art is also bad, this time to the point of distraction as the issue is packed with Robins and it’s virtually impossible to tell any of them apart given how generic and yet poorly done the art is. Rossmo isn’t a bad artist generally just specific but when their style fails it fails hard, as it has here. By the time the story finally clears—both in terms of art and narrative—to try to push some semblance of plot forward, there’s almost nothing there. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 1.5 out of 5
After encountering a group of human survivors, the synthetic squadron tasked with recovering an egg earns a history lesson in what has been going on with the otherworldly species and the ways in which it has evolved to be even more brutal. As is the nature of the Alien series, however, our protagonists might have even more deadly threats to worry about. The standout element of this issue is its artwork, as it blends together the gloss and sheen of expected sci-fi fare with a unique grit and realism to accurately reflect the cinematography of the various entries into the Alien movie series. The storyline effective offers us enough narrative momentum to keep us engaged in the concept and the ways in which this series aims to deliver new takes on the familiar formula, potentially confirming that this book has finally found its groove and is about to let loose a vicious storyline. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 4 out of 5
The only point of interest in All-Out Avengers is the continuing teasers that each of these one-and-done climaxes is part of a grander conspiracy and adventure. Yet there’s nothing for readers to concern themselves with in a larger adventure lacking any clear characters, stakes, or even basic elements of plot. The promise of another world-threatening catastrophe after watching Disney-fied, generic versions of the Avengers tackle such a thing in each issue is uncompelling, to say the least. Land’s depiction of these supposedly iconic iterations lie flat on the page and the foes in All-Out Avengers #3, a horde of Red Skull LMDs, are visually unimposing and primarily serve to leave dull green checks for the Avengers’ force to cash. Mentions of fascism utilize the word like a child’s conception of “evil,” lacking any level of consideration. It’s a tedious battle that provokes little interest as neither the story at hand nor the story promised provide readers a cause to continue beyond seeing more of this… and that reads like a threat. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 1 out of 5
The Amazing Spider-Man #14 shifts away from Peter’s ongoing trials and tribulations to focus on the series’ prior volume’s hero: Ben Reilly. Absent from the world since the climactic events of that volume, it details his missing time in four seasons from four distinctive artists and wisely makes each one a distinct vignette. The scenes build upon one another but are satisfying in their own fashion. These instances developing Ben’s terrible mental state and new alliance with Madelyne Pryor serve primarily to lay the groundwork for the upcoming crossover event “Dark Web,” but it grounds all of that action in character. Ben and Madelyne’s motivations and interests are made clear in dialogue and action, rendering them sympathetic even if villainous. However, it’s Ben’s romantic interest Janine who merits the largest spotlight. She receives as much attention on the pages, including a stunning sequence in the “Spring” section, that makes her own transformation seem heroic – responding to years of cruelty by seizing her own will and empowering herself. The Dodson’s evoke a real sense of tragedy in “Fall” and Ryan Stegman makes clear that hell is coming for both Spider-Man and X-Men comics in “Winter.” By the end of The Amazing Spider-Man #14, the villains of “Dark Web” are framed as anti-heroes and the event ahead looks exciting for readers with any interest in these creators or characters. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Avengers Forever reaches the start of its true crossover event, with the Multiversal Masters of Evil finally preparing to attack Earth-616. Honestly, this story has been kind of a weird mess and even this issue (the most focused issue in a while) has been more goofy and crazy ideas than anything coherent. This series has been a good focus on Robbie Reyes and what separates him from other Ghost Riders, but the series just has not lived up to its epic billing. –– Christian Hoffer
Rating: 2 out of 5
“The Red Fist Saga” continues to reimagine mystical superhero tropes in a fashion that fills them with new meaning. Daredevil and Elektra’s reformed Fist is capable of empowering its adherents, but this leads to questioning who those adherents should be and that’s far more significant. Daredevil #5 returns to themes introduced years ago in Zdarsky and Checchetto’s original Daredevil #1 and follows up with a key figure from Devil’s Reign; it’s becoming increasingly apparent how all of these threads are weaving a genuine saga. The emphasis in this issue is upon sin and redemption – acknowledging once again that the carceral system is a fascist abuse of power, never intended to make society more safe. Artist Rafael de Latorre’s action sequences are thrilling, but it’s the depictions of minor villains that fills these characters with humanity and lands Daredevil’s rhetorical points. The response by various popular superheroes creates new conflicts in Daredevil’s path to revolution. Wherever the series is building, Daredevil #5 makes clear just how sweeping and compelling its ambitions are. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Writers B. Earl and Taboo (member of the Black Eyed Peas) have a better footing of their story now in issue #2, making you wonder if so much of the set-up in #1 was necessary or if they were just getting to the reveal of the big bad (New Mutants favorite The Demon Bear). In any event, this is a more cohesive narrative but one that has hills and valleys visually. Artist Juan Ferreyra is at their best when channeling Bill Sienkiewicz, drawing a wild and gangly Spider-Man even when he’s just chatting with the Demon Bear (in one of the series’ more clever moments). — Spencer Perry
Rating: 3 out of 5
The Defenders have been known as a non-team since their inception–only to form as a team throughout the previous four issues of Defenders: Beyond… only to crumble apart once again. When it comes to cosmic ideas, few do it better than Ewing, and his work on this title is evident of a writer having carte blanche to write what they want. While Javier Rodriguez’ artwork continues to shine through to the end, the story as a whole goes out with a whimper, little more than an overly-meta take on a story. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 3 out of 5
To bad mouth any recent work with Doctor Strange would be doing a disservice to the writers making recent attempts under the banner, but Tradd Moore’s work in Doctor Strange: Fall Sunrise already feels like the pinnacle of what an artist can do with a character that hasn’t felt fresh in years. Rather than chase the facsimiles of the MCU and the version of Doctor Strange that, arguably, most of the world is familiar with, Tradd Moore and Heather Moore have gone back to the basics. They give readers a Strange that feels like he’s commanding the panels around him and beckoning you to turn the page. Fall Sunrise is a late but auspicious arrival to the conversation of 2022’s best comics. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 5 out of 5
The final issue of Captain Marvel feels like a farewell letter from Peter David to the character that he helped forge for Marvel decades ago. While the battle between Genis and Shatterax has its highs and lows, the real meat of the issue is the discussion between two celestial entities that is quite intriguing. It’s a bittersweet ending for Rick Jones and Genis, but it feels like an appropriate one and I’m certainly hoping that other writers will make use of this Captain Marvel in the future, along with the new, albeit familiar, status quo that is set up. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 4 out of 5
This is a rare complaint from me, but Midnight Suns feels like it’s moving a bit too quickly. Midnight Suns #3 does a lot of jumping around and presents new conflicts every couple of pages. While this makes for a brisk and rather enjoyable read, it feels like the story is starting to get muddled and is losing its focus. Perhaps that’s to be somewhat expected in an ensemble comic like this, but it does make Midnight Suns less engaging. — Logan Moore
Rating: 3 out of 5
Darth Vader is beckoned to the Eye of the Webbish Bog, showing the Sith Lord various events unfolding around the galaxy, as well as his own possible future. Much like all of the current ongoing Star Wars titles themselves, this one-shot is a mixed bag of narratives, as what’s going on with Doctor Aphra and with the various bounty hunters aren’t nearly as exciting as what’s going on with Qi’ra or with Luka, Leia, and Lando. Given that this book ultimately serves as a prologue to the upcoming Hidden Empire event, it does a compelling enough job of giving newcomers a primer while justifying it as an in-world narrative as opposed to merely being an anthology of shorter stories to set the stage for the event. However excited we might be to see a rebellious droid taking on Luke Skywalker, it reminds us how dull Beilert Valance’s journey has been in recent months, so while the book succeeds in summarizing the status quo of the galaxy far, far away, it won’t offer too much to longtime readers that’s worthwhile or essential. –– Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 3 out of 5
Set before Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda reflects on an earlier mission in his life in which he ventured to a community on a remote in need of assistance from an intimidating threat, with the lifestyle of the locals convincing him to stick around a bit longer than the mission required. Having really only seen Yoda during the events of the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy, the opportunity to witness Yoda at the height of his abilities automatically made this book fascinating, even if the actual dynamics of this debut issue felt relatively formulaic. This is far from the first time we’ve seen a beloved hero stick up for vulnerable figures in the face of an ominous threat, yet by witnessing Yoda in his element and completely disconnected from the Skywalker Saga, it feels like an entirely fresh concept. Yoda is spry, skilled, and clever, reminding audiences of just how many adventures he embarked upon throughout his life and piquing our interest about what the rest of this series could explore and how it may shed new light upon such a well-known Jedi Master. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 4 out of 5
X-Force emphasizes the power behind the team in one of the series’ best issues to date. The plot is structured around a single mission that draws in many familiar faces from writer Benjamin Percy’s work on the X-line and that task provides plenty of bloodshed and excitement, but it’s not the purpose of this issue. It provides space to explore how the missions of foreign intelligence and national security have warped both Sage and Beast; it paints a striking portrait. Text pages are even used to great effect in telling a narrative with multiple layers; what could be defined as a “retcon” simply feels hidden until now. It’s an exciting and multi-layered examination of X-Force’s gruesome work and where it leads. What’s far more exciting is the threat that some of those blacker than black secrets are about to be exposed. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
X-Men‘s return to the vault takes some twists and turns, with Gerry Duggan furthering and resolving certain plot threads left dangling by Jonathan Hickman’s exit from the X-Office. While these movements aren’t as gripping as those founding ones, they’re still stellar and open up plenty of new and exciting possibilities. Cassara continues to shine, though colorist Guru-eFX continues to struggle to make the linework pop the way some of Cassara’s other colorists do, most notably Dean White. Despite that, this arc proves to be vital for Forge, in particular, showing that some time away from X-Force and with the X-Men may do him some good. Time will tell, and readers will be eager to see more of the Maker’s development. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
The 06 Protocol carries on with issue two, and the update is filled with action if nothing else. A slew of deaths littered the release, and its exploration of corruption feels like anything you’d find in a Bourne or Bond entry. But with its heavy-handed exposition, The 06 Protocol reads a bit too heavily for action lovers on all parts. — Megan Peters
Rating: 3 out of 5
It’s fun seeing Bloodshot and X-O Manowar in a bloody team up mission. While it appeared Bloodshot Unleashed existed in its own little corner of the Valiant Universe, an appearance by X-O Manowar proves it’s all connected. Of course, it helps that an alien invasion is the cause of their team up, since X-O spends the majority of his time out in space. Jon Davis-Hunt and Jordie Bellaire deliver some gruesome carnage courtesy of Bloodshot, which we’ve pleasantly come to expect with each issue. — Tim Adams
Rating: 5 out of 5
Creepshow #3 moves forward with some delicious scares that involve everything from furry friends to ancient temples and beyond. Filled with gruesome art, Image’s horror run continues to dominate the scene with unexpected thrills. So if you are looking for some snapshot horror, Creepshow is the place to go. — Megan Peters
Rating: 4 out of 5
Wildfire‘s finale is a quick read as, with the betrayal of the troop now out in the open, all that’s left is to watch the fire turn to ash. The mystery of the bodies seen in the resolves exactly as anticipated, up until a point. Rather than going how one might assume in the end, the protagonists a moral choice suggesting that, if the world is as broken and divided between those who set the fires and those who put them out as the series and some of its characters seem to suggest, then perhaps the only right way to live in direct defiance of that reality. The creative team is on fire (pun not intended, I promise), with Snyder wrapping things up in his signature style, and Sherman and Pattison concluding what should be breakout work for both. Wildfire proved to be a brilliant debut both for IDW Originals and Snyder’s Dark Spaces concept. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Well, The Department of Truth finally did something unexpected. I’m probably the only critic who isn’t particularly high on this multi-Eisner award winning story, but I do like when the creative team really nails an ending and does so in a way that doesn’t warp the rules that they’ve previously established. In hindsight, this mostly cynical and messy story was building up to this moment, but I think the creatives did a very good job swerving in a way that readers aren’t going to expect. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 4 out of 5
Eight Billion Genies barrels forward here with another action-packed issue. Though this series has always carried a lot of story, the exact size of the world at hand hasn’t really been explored until now. As close as ever to crumbling under the weight of its story, Eight Billion Genies #6 focuses on two particular groups while introducing the concept of havens. It’s here a lot of the exploration is done off-page in exposition dumps through the use of captions and genie narrations. It’s such an expansive world, it’s a shame they don’t explore it on-page through Browne’s dynamic art. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Eve: Children of the Moon #2 offers readers the backstory for Selene, detailing her origin and offering a bit more explanation of the world this story is set in and why she is so resentful of Wexler. It’s not just a valuable bit of world building for this series, but it’s also a beautiful and finely-crafted tale of survival. Victor LaValle’s writing here is lovely and it deeply humanizes Selene while Jo Migyeong’s art is gorgeous and haunting. While this issue does feel a little slow in pacing, that’s actually a very good thing as it lets you soak the story. You’re left wanting more even as the story shifts to the present and leaves on a big cliffhanger. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Fear of a Red Planet #1 presents readers with a future where humanity has engaged in interplanetary travel only to migrate all of Earth’s problems to a new colony on Mars where corporations dominate every aspect of employee’s lives with little hope of escape beyond narcotics. It’s a cynical portrait and a potent setting for a murder mystery, which is exactly what this story appears to be. The introductory issue clearly lays out the core conflicts and essential figures for readers to know in an economically drafted script. However, loose linework often makes identifying those figures difficult. Exterior panels are reminiscent of Gabriel Hardman’s work on Invisible Republic, capturing the grit of life beyond Earth’s atmosphere, but it struggles to detail individuals in closely-situated interiors. Well-defined character faces and expressions are essential to a mystery and, given the solid foundation laid in this debut, readers will be hoping it doesn’t prove much of a problem moving forward. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Forever Forward‘s latest issue has some hilarious and intriguing parts of its story that help make it a strong entry in Scout’s time-traveling epic. Unfortunately, the artwork drags down the series as it lacks some serious polish while also inexplicably missing some necessary detail in portraying its characters. It’s a shame as the series’ story is perhaps at its strongest here but there are simply too many artistic mistakes that stop Forever Forward from finding some solid footing along the way. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Hitomi continues to build at a nice pace; Hitomi #2 is largely focused on the two main protagonists at the center of this story and their burgeoning relationship. The writing and character work from author HS Tak continues to be strong throughout and issue #2’s artwork remains a big highlight. I’m still not sure what Hitomi could be building to, but I’m still invested all the same. — Logan Moore
Rating: 4 out of 5
The standouts from Image! #8 are a pair of Casanova entries, the continuation of the utterly bizarre “Closer” short story and the preview for James Tyrion IV’s WorldTr33. “The Blizzard” remains the anthology’s most gripping story, but it’s starting to suffer from the format in that not enough is happening in each issue. — Connor Casey
Rating: 3 out of 5
Does anyone learn anything at the end of Justice Warriors? Hardly, but considering how steeped in satire the whole run has been, it’s hard to imagine getting anything but the conclusion that we did. Each issue prior has featured spatterings of action mixed in with pointed commentary, but Justice Warriors #6 leans much more heavily on the former with some impressive, surprising results. A quick trip to cyberland deserves a callout as an unexpected deviation from the art style we’ve become accustomed to that was a refreshing precursor for the climax. Of all its jabs, Justice Warriors‘ social media wrap-up at the end stands out in particular as a clever culmination of its big finish. — Tanner Dedmon
Rating: 4 out of 5
This new era of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers has only just begun, but impressively the stakes already feel immensely high for a series just two issues in. Despite having the help of some of their enemies, Melissa Flores skillfully conveys that the Rangers are still very much underdogs, and it gives welcome weight to the battle and the twists and turns throughout. Credit to Simona Di Gianfelice, Raul Angulo, and Ed Dukeshire for raising that tension even further, in part due to what seems to be a raised viciousness in the fights themselves, better conveying the physical toll these battles take on the Rangers. The use of expression and physicality easily stands out, and while there are moments where certain scenes look a bit stilted, they weren’t frequent enough to take me out of what was happening. This new era of Power Rangers hit the ground running and at this point shows no signs of slowing down in the least. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4 out of 5
The slowest of slow burns, Mindset chugs forward with an intricately woven plot. Every time the web this story has weaved has come dangerously close to collapsing, things are pulled back as the narrative evens itself out. Still, this is a Lemirian-style book that’ll have you questioning reality; here, even more so. This issue of the tale is nothing short of a punch to the gut, there’s no way to get around that. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4 out of 5
Once Upon a Time at the End of the World #1 introduces readers to Maceo and Mezzy, two adolescents surviving in solitary on a planet utterly devastated by untold crises – the former squirreled away in a tower, the latter wandering the wasteland. Their version of the apocalypse codes like an inverted Neverland in which wondrous inventions and childlike logic are paired with hellish landscapes and a corrosive color palette. Read charitably, it’s a fairytale imagining how children might survive an ever-worsening series of crises, but the lack of grounding or characterization in that fairy tale renders it a momentary diversion. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 3 out of 5
Phew, this comic sure is something. From the leap, the Parasomnia line has depended on overly complex plot threats by design, using timelines and dimensional travel to direct the minds of readers one way before subverting expectations with a well-placed page turn. Even under the premise of a genre-spanning thriller, The Dreaming God #4 is a poignant tale of familial—blood and otherwise—loss and the grief that comes with it. To that point, Bunn explores that in a superb manner. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Sacrament #4 lays out the final stakes in the battle between Father Vass and the devil, as well as the austere future of humanity and the species’ failing faith. Both conflicts enhance one another as every person possesses a different perspective on what it means to witness the supernatural evil in their midst. Throughout Vass’ multiple conversations with its victims in this issue, it’s clear that this struggle is emblematic of a larger one and focuses attention upon how it will change the individuals involved. Rais and the authoritarian brutes surrounding them are both given space to further define their perspectives, often with bone-chilling effect. However this story of sci-fi exorcism ends, Sacrament #4 has prepares readers for a terrifying trial before the final page. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Set before the events of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Poe and Finn find themselves on a mission to find livestock to feed the Resistance, running into one setback after another. Despite these challenges, they’re presented with a unique opportunity that brings with it a major risk for a major reward. Anytime we can more of the exploits between these fan-favorite characters is a welcome one, even if this book gets off to a shaky start. The first half is very dense with dialogue, making for a daunting read, but the back half makes up for it with an emphasis on action. The narrative fully honors the dynamic between the beloved characters while the art offers a more playful aesthetic that never feels childish. It’s a difficult illustrating style to define, with the closest comparison being that it feels like a Saturday morning cartoon, in that it deftly balances a simpler design yet without sacrificing tonal complexities. If this issue earned a standalone series, we wouldn’t be disappointed, as we’re given an adventure full of action and humor to flesh out the relationship fans loved watching throughout the sequel trilogy. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 4 out of 5
Stuff of Nightmares lives up to its title in its third installment, furthering Isaac’s descent into madness while also introducing new elements of intrigue that should make the finale all the more compelling. R.L. Stine plays with classic Horror elements while A.L. Kaplan, Roman Titov, and Jim Campbell deliver those elements with a vintage flair that plays on the genre’s strengths. At the heart of it all is a tragic story of people affected by a disturbed man’s aspirations, and as all the various pieces collide on the board, I couldn’t be more invested in how this ultimately ends. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4 out of 5
The highlight of Transformers: Shattered Glass II has been learning of Transformers I’d never heard of before (e.g. Flamewar, Cannonball), and seeing familiar faces like Rodimus Prime and Megatron with new status quo. There’s a lot of alliances to keep straight, and if you’re not up to date on the Shattered Glass event there will be some context clues to pick up on. We’re one issue away from the conclusion, so it will be interesting to see which Autobots and Decepticons make it alive to the end. — Tim Adams
Rating: 3 out of 5
This issue of The Vampire Slayer showcases some of what the series does best, and what the series does worst. The personal dynamics between the Scooby gang and the banter that goes on between them (particularly Faith and Spike’s asides when the rest of the group gets serious) walk the line between being familiar and fresh, and the visuals of the issue fit its conversational focus. Yet, some of the specifics are off, or at least confusing, in part because of how hard it is to distinguish between the main Buffy canon and the various other timelines in the Buffyverse that Boom Studios has jumped between at an almost alarming pace. For example, it’s understandable that Giles might be surprised by the tidiness of Xander’s home, but why is Willow so shocked? Weren’t they friends before the Slayer stuff happened? Or is that a false assumption based on previous iterations of the series? It’s hard to keep track. Similarly, while Spike is enjoyable here, his debut in the series implied sinister intent that simply hasn’t been followed up on, implying that his befriending Xander was for ulterior motives when it seems to have been, or at least become, an earnest bond with real narrative arc getting us from point A to point B. If he’s still playing the long game, then it’s been going on long enough that its starting to become difficult to remember that it’s a game. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 3 out of 5
Vanish picks up the pace quite a bit with its third issue, delivering a thrilling and bloody brawl and moving the stories and characters that surround Oliver forward in a small but effective way. Most of the attention however is on Oliver’s battle with two members of The Hollow, a battle Ryan Stegman, JP Mayer, Sonya Oback, and John J. Hill bring to life in stunning and bloody fashion. Donny Cates weaves in such creative ideas in what would otherwise be a traditional superhero throwdown, and Oliver’s struggles with overcoming his past and the weight of it all while also almost needing to remember his past and draw upon it to get through his current predicament remains compelling. I would have loved to see more of the supporting characters and move their stories forward a bit more, but there is a great hook in this regard for next issue. Vanish seems to be hitting its stride with issue #3, and issue #4 can’t get here soon enough. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Ricardo Lopez Ortiz joins What’s The Furthest Place From Here? #8 on art duties, as we get to spend time with the Big Business family of little piggies. This wound up being one of the more enjoyable issues of the Image series, with a centralized story arc featuring blood, betrayal, and a new family being formed. — Tim Adams
Rating: 5 out of 5
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