Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 12/28/2022 – 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 John Stewart: The Emerald Knight #1, Miracleman: The Silver Age #3, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #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.
In many ways, Superman stories have been operating with one arm tied behind their back, to use a bit of a messy metaphor, for a couple of years now since Brian Michael Bendis’ run on Superman revealed Superman’s identity to the world in canon and upended just about every aspect of the Man of Steel’s story – as well as the stories of those in his direct orbit. Action Comics #1050 finally rights things for the character, undoing the controversial storyline and it’s done brilliantly. While the story is written by three writers—Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Tom Taylor, and Joshua Williamson—it’s almost impossible to tell where the story switches hands. The issue has great continuity of storytelling and is both inventive and provocative while staying true to core aspects of Superman and his world. It also addresses the dramatic shift. After all, Superman—like readers—had grown accustomed to his identity status. Now we are shifting again. The only real miss with this issue is the art. There are moments that are nice, but much of it feels a bit messy and almost unfinished in places. The colors overall are well done, however, which helps. Ultimately, Action Comics #1050 was billed as a major shift for Superman and it more than delivers. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
In the beginning, Batman: Beyond The White Knight clearly had its focus on Batman’s strained relationship with his family, and then slowly but surely Terry moved further and further into the spotlight. Now things come full circle in issue #7, and all those various threads are meaningfully woven into Terry’s heroic journey. Each member of the Bat family gets their own moment to shine, and even Ace gets some major love, though Bruce still finds a way to steal the show with a speech that would assuredly make Alfred incredibly proud. Sean Murphy, Dave Stewart, and Andworld Design have created such a stunning and unique corner of the Batman universe in White Knight, and frankly, I’m sad that another chapter is about to come to a close. If the finale hits as hard as this though, we’re in for something truly special. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
This tie-in continues to be a more than worthy story to not just explore Gotham’s present in this video game universe, but its past as well. In fact, the real meat on the bone when it comes to this series is the Court of Owls in Gotham’s earlier years along with those who donned a mask long before Batman and his crew had. The addition of a famous DC Comics villain works well in potentially uniting the two timelines, and I’m highly anticipating what Narcisse and Abel have in store. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 4 out of 5
Jaime’s taking his next step as a superhero, and like most journeys, at times taking a small step back can result in a big step forward. That’s where Jaime now finds himself, but despite the League’s best intentions, he already finds himself targeted by the newest addition to the Beetle family Dynastes, and the fight between sizzles courtesy of artist Adrian Gutierrez, colorist Will Quintana, and letterer Lucas Gattoni. Blue Beetle: Graduation Day is so visually distinct and expressive even when powers aren’t flying, but when they do the movement and energy found within is hard to beat. Writer Josh Trujillo also brings Ted Lord into the mix and the benefits are immediate, as the two are simply delightful together. It does take this issue a bit longer to get going, but the payoff is worth it as is the hook for next issue. Blue Beetle: Graduation Day is an easy recommendation, and it only looks to be getting better from here. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4 out of 5
I think I’ve finally figured out what’s not clicking about Sgt. Rock vs. The Army of the Dead. It has all the quips and fun action scenes you’d expected from a comic penned by Bruce Campbell, but the zombies never feel like an actual threat. Every time one appears, it’s mowed down just as quickly. They never seem to outnumber Easy Company nor overwhelm them, nor do the heroes ever appear to be on the back foot. There’s only two issues left and the group hasn’t suffered so much as a single significant casualty. Hence why this still hasn’t felt like a horror comic once you get past the colorful covers. — Connor Casey
Rating: 2 out of 5
There are going to be those who think that DC: Mech, now that it’s ended, was an okay comic and that’s fine. After all, all’s well that ends well as the Justice Squadron predictably does exactly what we knew they would and defeated Darkseid and his forces. But as has been the driving main problem with this series from the jump, this final issue in the series doesn’t really earn that victory. There are a lot of things that merely happen because you know they are going to as though this whole story is just a gee whiz foregone conclusion and all of it being so extremely derivative of things like Gundam that you hope DC wrote that franchise a check. The art this issue improves a bit, but at the end, this whole series and this issue in particular was just a bit of harmless and at time mindless fun – the absolute definition of mid. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 2 out of 5
DC vs. Vampires ends on a somewhat unsatisfying note. The big final twist involving Nightwing and Batgirl is well-executed, but nothing short of a sequel series will make this feel like a satisfying ending. There are better vampire stories out there within the DC Universe, and for now this one feels mostly unfinished. — Connor Casey
Rating: 3 out of 5
Detective Comics #1067 shows that strange times begets strange bedfellows. Batman makes a strange ally in the form of Mr. Freeze, who thaws him out in the aftermath of last issue. Freeze is the latest to provide Batman with a warning of what’s to come, although Batman still struggles to understand the full extent of what he faces. While the first arc was all grim portents, this issue also shows parts of Orgham’s plot unfolding, using more force than before. Another solid issue of Detective Comics that frames Batman’s familiarity with Gotham as a weakness instead of a strength. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 4 out of 5
At this point in the Harley Quinn series, I have no idea what’s going on because each issue is incredibly unpredictable and only loosely connected by the idea that Harley died and came back and is trying to find out who killed her. This issue seems to answer that with some poorly considered multiverse madness involving the Harley Who Laughs and we get a whole mess of other Harleys, an appearance by Old Lady Harley and a pretty thin attempt at profound emotion packed into some wacky quipping that still misses when it comes to characterizing Harley Quinn. The art’s okay, though. The issue is generally just an example of DC trying to throw things at the wall to see what sticks and in this case, nothing really does. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 1.5 out of 5
John Stewart receives an interesting new status quo as his journey in the Dark Sector comes to an end… and simultaneously begins anew. John Stewart: The Emerald Knight tries to have its cake and eat it too by both resetting Stewart’s status quo and giving him a bold new universe to explore while also shunting him out of exile from the Dark Sector so he and the other Green Lanterns can be reintegrated into the wider DC Universe. Surprisingly, the creative team finds a way to do both thanks to the use of a well-worn DC concept. Whether this strange status quo sticks remains to be seen, but it does seemingly find a way to separate Stewart from the pack of Earth’s Green Lanterns while celebrating his unique history. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
The Nice House on the Lake #12 finally reveals the series’ narrative foundations to readers as a series of flashback texts and emails detail the early invitations unknowingly survive the apocalypse, eventually detailing Walter and Norah’s precise roles in preparing the events of the past 11 issues. It’s an impressive bit of storytelling which showcases just how ambitious the series has been from its start, even as it hid some of its long-term ambitions from readers until the very end. That ending in issue #12 is satisfying in its own right as it presents the large cast of characters acting in tandem for the first time and considering their circumstances. Yet it also doesn’t reveal the many teases shown since issue #1 and instead hints that those elements will be addressed eventually. The Nice House on the Lake functions as a pause point, much as issue #6 did before – revealing new information and pushing the vast architecture of this apocalyptic sci-fi tale forward, an impossible invitation to resist. Yet its greatest promise remains in what still lies ahead. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
The scrappiness of Punchline: The Gotham Game proves to be its biggest blessing and its biggest curse. It certainly doesn’t help that the most significant turning point for this series happened in the pages of Catwoman – a thing that’s commonplace in superhero storytelling, but still causes this book to dance around a much more compelling narrative cavity. Still, there’s just enough that’s compelling here—weird character moments, wacky art, and a well-constructed fight scene—that stop this issue from feeling purely superficial. — Jenna Anderson
Rating: 3 out of 5
This comic series written by the same man that brought Edward Nashton to life in this year’s blockbuster film, “The Batman”, is an exceptionally worthy lead-up to the film while giving us a delightfully creepy take on how the Riddler of this universe was born. Much like how the Riddler’s aesthetic looked strikingly similar to that of the Zodiac killer, Dano is able to work effortlessly with artist Stevan Subic to weave a story that uses some ingenious methods of storytelling along the way. There are some scenes in this that will absolutely take your breath away and Riddler: Year One is a story that works entirely on its own, perhaps giving us one of the best stories revolving around the Gotham villain in quite some time. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The Dead Boy Detectives have existed in various forms since being introduced in “Season of Mists” in the midst of The Sandman‘s iconic run. What’s remarkable about The Sandman Universe Presents: Dead Boy Detectives #1 is how it embraces 30 years of narrative history and makes the dual leads of Edwin and Charles instantly accessible alongside a new mystery bound to thrill fans of horror and capers alike. In the course of a single issue, this debut summarizes its odd history, provides a substantial supporting cast and collection of villains, and frames all of this in a way that’s bound to leave readers eagerly anticipating the next installment. The inclusion of Thai mythology and a conception of ghosts distinct from western lore provides a fascinating new perspective that develops new mysteries and explores what is already present. In addition to Charles and Edwin providing familiar, but charming leads in classic Hardy Boys spirit, every addition comes with a distinct personality and plenty of ghostly flavor to make an impression. It’s difficult to predict where such an eventful and inventive issue may lead next, but Dead Boy Detectives #1 makes it clear that this series has serious lasting power ahead of it. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Stan Lee wrote the Just Imagine… line at DC Comics long after his star had faded at Marvel Comics in the early 00s. While modern readers think of him as an essential creator in establishing Marvel’s iconic gallery of superheroes, his contributions to that work (and comics as an artistic medium) ended before the 1980s were out. That shows in the reimagined versions of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and others in premises that fail to comment on the original works or provide anything substantially novel. So while the many talented artists and writers curated by DC Comics to pay homage to this monumental figure in superhero and comics history do their best to revive those best-forgotten Just Imagine… creations, there’s nothing of much value to be revived. Mark Waid’s “Make War No More” provides some fun nods to Lee’s proclivities as a superhero writer and Pablo M. Collar’s artwork in “Palindrome” is infused with momentous energy, but even skilled craftsmen find little artistic merit to homage in these short tales. Readers seeking reminders of what Stan Lee contributed to comics or an enjoyable superhero anthology will be best served looking elsewhere. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 2 out of 5
I continue to struggle to see much promise in Tim Drake: Robin, and that continues in this fourth issue. The choice of heavy narration continues with this story and while it seemingly is supposed to feel in the vein of the detective and mystery novels that Tim is so obsessed with—as his his adversary—it just feels too clunky. On top of that, while this issue does feel like it’s firing on more cylinders and things are starting to gel better—Tim is finally starting to use his brain and solve things—the whole issue is brought down by a weirdly infantilized Bernard who both reads and looks like a caricature. It’s the look of things that also brings this whole issue down as well. Riley Rossmo’s art just does not work for this title at all to the point of making the whole title nearly unreadable in how everyone seems juvenile in what should be a more mature tale. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 1 out of 5
Wonder Woman Historia continues with its latest release, further cementing the idea that this may one of the most intricately-woven comic tales of recent memory. DeConnick effortlessly ties together the Wonder Woman mythos with classic Greek mythology, putting a fresh stamp on myths and stories that have survived for generations on end. Nicolas Scott and Annette Kwok join the title and provide the necessary goods that mold this story into something of epic proportions. Though the script lurches forward a bit all too slowly, the payoff is entirely worth it. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
This week’s “teachable moment” features Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Captain Marvel, and Hawkeye stranded on an alien planet with some knuckleheads from A.I.M. While the absence of context or stakes more significant than a video game mission persists, there is a much-needed dose of charm contributed by the character lineup. Rather than having characters shout objectives and theories at one another across the issue, there’s evidence of flirting and some genuinely funny gags related to the men. Hawkeye’s role as the “himbo” of this quartet is undermined by Greg Land’s depiction of the superheroines who share a face and body type, to the extent that it’s disturbing to see their forms side-by-side at the end of the issue. This specific imagining of the female form possessing excessively thin limbs paired with consistent inflections to arouse fails to titillate and serves the entire project poorly. With a one-dimensional array of emotional responses, a singular sorrowful panel cannot even be asked to show a character’s face. Land’s lifeless and sexually-frustrated work ensures that the best issue of All-Out Avengers to date remains difficult to recommend. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 2 out of 5
“Dark Web” continues as Peter Parker squares off with his clone Ben Reilly for the first time since the latter’s memories were tragically wiped. The sturm und drang of this duo’s twisted history dating back to even before the infamous “Clone Saga,” rings loudly through the pages and infuses them with the exciting melodrama of long-running superhero comics. Ben’s grievances are sympathetic, but twisted by misunderstandings and lies, filling his fearsome facade with pathos. It’s a trip to see Ben empowered, winning, and entirely out of his depth. Before the inevitably tragic downfall arrives in 2023, there’s plenty of other threads to be addressed here, including expeditions to Limbo (suggesting an abundance of absurd terrors) and Madelyne Pryor’s own agenda. The Amazing Spider-Man #16 continues the Spidey event of the season with plenty of style and fun, as it builds upon decades of Marvel’s best (and sometimes worst) stories to concoct something novel. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Carnage goes in a much different direction than I was expecting with the beginning of this new arc. Following the titular symbiote’s recent adventure into the Norse world, issue #8 sets the stage for this series to go in some very different directions. And while I’m still not sure what to make of everything just yet, I remain greatly intrigued by what writer Ram V is looking to do with Carnage next. — Logan Moore
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Marvel’s “Dark Web” is in full swing, and Dark Web: X-Men is already cementing its status as a must-read tie-in. Gerry Duggan is delving into so much of what makes Madeline Pryor’s issues with the Summers family compelling and doing so in a delightfully off-kilter way. That’s also credit to the dynamite team of artists Rod Reis and Phil Noto and designers Tom Muller and Jay Bowen, who move from Jean and Illyana’s surreal and slightly haunting journey of the mind to Forge’s hilarious one-man band against Demonic Hot Dog carts to moments of emotional growth and security puppies effortlessly. With a sure-to-be thrilling throwdown on the horizon, I simply can’t get enough of this series, and if you’re keeping up with “Dark Web” it’s an absolute must. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
In case it wasn’t clear that one of the members of the Black Eyed Peas is writing this book, two full pages are dedicated to characters singing one of their songs. It’s not that Deadly Neighborhood Spider-Man is bad, it’s just trying to spin a lot of plates, and only spinning some of them well. Artist Juan Ferreyra continues to be the real reason to give this one a look, imbuing the psychedelic plot line with a visual style that enhances some of the nonsensical writing. While most of this series doesn’t feel like a Spider-Man comic by virtue of the dialogue and plot, Ferreyra is able to remind you that the wall-crawler is still the star. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 3 out of 5
Tradd Moore’s ambitious Doctor Strange series continues to be impressive, if not perhaps filling itself with a little too much. It’s not to say that anything here is bad or uninteresting, but there’s so much happening that sometimes it’s a lot to take in. Special guest artist Jensine Eckwall contributes some images to the new issue, bringing in work that feels like living wood carvings and which stand alongside Moore’s as unique and filled with life. This is all to say that even if some of the plot isn’t totally clear, it’s gorgeous to look at, so it’s still a win for you as a reader and for Tradd and his collaborators as storytellers. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 5 out of 5
The true villain at the center of Midnight Suns finally reveals itself in issue #4, but this revelation doesn’t make the story that much more compelling. While Midnight Suns continues to have enjoyable action set pieces with each new installment, its storytelling has started to feel a bit disjointed and hasn’t built at a steady pace. Even with these qualms, I’m still looking forward to seeing how this series wraps up with its forthcoming final issue. — Logan Moore
Rating: 3 out of 5
Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham finally continue their 30-years-delayed run on Miracleman with Miracleman: The Silver Age #3, and the decades that have passed since the previous issue have only made this deconstructionist fable more potent. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 5 out of 5
The premise of “Moon Knight vs. Vampires” is one that seems perfect on its surface, and if you’ve been keeping up with the series lately, you know that assumption to be correct. Moon Knight #18 thankfully sticks the landing too, once again showcasing how Moon Knight so wonderfully fits Jed MacKay like a blood-soaked glove. The same can be said of the talented art team of artist Federico Sabbatini, colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, and letterer Cory Petit, who are able to bring a sense of fun to the bloody proceedings while also never sacrificing the welcome edge the character and his supporting cast thrive on. I mean, how many other vampire battles involve history with Gods, sliver-laced nails, and Moony umbrellas? You’re correct, so very few, so don’t miss out on what is one of Marvel’s best books each and every month with just a touch of vampire goodness thrown in. You won’t regret it. –– Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 5 out of 5
After the fake-out introduction to this Murderworld premise, in which a series of one-shot issues details the exploits of 200 volunteers risking Arcade’s deathtraps hoping to win a grand prize in the mode of Squid Game, Murderworld: Spider-Man focuses on developing the story’s characters and sub-plots. It’s a notable improvement with an anti-heroine guiding readers down this dark rabbit hole, while several threads of Marvel Comics continuity ground the story in the lives of more familiar heroes. It’s the Spider-Man part of the title that doesn’t get much play as this installment is so busy laying the groundwork for what’s to come there’s hardly any attention paid to the murderous Spider-people lowering the number of contestants. Readers now have some rooting interests and a clear sense of what to expect, perhaps the next one-shot will balance narrative and classic Arcade carnage as promised. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 3 out of 5
New Mutants #33, the final issue of the series, concludes its current arc while teeing up a new title focused on the group of mutants drawn into Escapade’s orbit. Thus, the arc climaxes with a moment meant to emphasize the support network that has sprung up around her and her best friend, Morgan Red. But for a moment foreshadowed throughout the story, which is the very thing that catalyzed these events, the issue feels cramped when the moment comes, awarding it almost no room to breathe among the base plot mechanics. Peppered throughout the standard supervillain standoff with Sublime are bouts of undercooked dialogue that seem intended to be hip, youthful, and fun but come off feeling more like an impersonation than something authentic. The visuals reflect the issue’s stressed pacing, with almost every page laden with panels, and the most space is given to the wrong moment, one that comes too early and fails to pack the intended punch. The story’s intent is admirable, and there’s at least one good gag, plus the comic-strip style interludes which, while awkwardly placed, are sincerely sweet. However, the execution lacks the polish and depth needed for the story to leave a lasting impression. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 2 out of 5
Spider-Men: Double Trouble continues to be a ton of fun with its second issue. Miles winds up at a convention full of villains and spends a good chunk of the book either running from or fighting off entire waves of baddies. Peter isn’t given much to do, but it feels like they’re saving the team-up fights between the two for later in the series. — Connor Casey
Rating: 4 out of 5
Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings concludes on a really great note that doesn’t simply tie up all of this arc’s ongoing threads in satisfying ways, but it grows Shang-Chi himself in a manner that feels earned. Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings #6 continues to expertly blend action, storytelling, and world-building without ever feeling heavy-handed or awkward. For my money, Shang-Chi remains one of the best ongoing Marvel comics around and I’m already looking forward to the next “Master of the Ten Rings” series. — Logan Moore
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Things fall apart in She-Hulk #9 and, while readers might anticipate how the series’ various threads may collide, the fashion in which Jennifer Walters responds is instantly memorable. While the issue honors its form well, including some gamma-smashing action, egotistical scientists, and tragic, if inevitable, turns, it seems to acknowledge that all of this is part of the superhero comic. Each step forward is familiar and presented well, but something more is needed after decades of superhero comics in this vein. What’s most impressive is how the unique twist to this climactic battle builds upon She-Hulk’s own history and is presented in a fashion that’s so memorable upon the page. While She-Hulk #9 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it reminds readers that this She-Hulk series is very aware of what came before and why these storytelling structures can become frustrating over time. It will be fascinating to see how it addresses that particular conflict as it moves ahead. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
After seeing some unexpected setbacks, Aphra’s allies find themselves recuperating thanks to the Tagge family, though not the person who tasked them with their mission, all while Aphra herself may have found the loophole that will allow her to take control of her own body. The current Doctor Aphra storyline is just too crowded with storylines and characters to really invest all that much in any of them, and despite each scene managing to be entertaining, every time we jump to a different group of characters, things feel jarring and like we’re starting from scratch. It doesn’t make things any easier when some of these figures are having conversations within Aphra’s consciousness and both appear as Aphra, resulting in an experience that is dense and convoluted, spreading our interests too thin. There’s some hope for the overall storyline and this chapter may have just been a necessary yet overly complex step to get somewhere more exciting, but with Doctor Aphra historically missing the mark and deviating from its most exciting elements, we hope that there’s a major momentum shift in the future. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 3 out of 5
Han, Chewie, and Phaedra find themselves in a position to make a major score, but it won’t be without some calculated risks on all their parts, and as they put their plan into motion, a figure from their past threatens their future. The reunion between Han and Chewbacca puts the book back on its best foot, as this issue features the beloved pair plotting and scheming for their own financial future. From the banter between our three heroes, the Empire-based action, and the tease of what’s in store for them in the future, this chapter delivers the best of what Han Solo & Chewbacca has to offer. While other Star Wars comic book series aim to add new insight into the franchise as a whole, this chapter just delivers compelling and entertaining character sidequests that are sure to delight longtime fans of the galaxy far, far away. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 4 out of 5
While it might be easy to remember both the Jedi and the Guardians of the Whills as relatively honorable figures, this installment of the series shines a light on how things aren’t always as they seem. The Jedi are given reasons they can’t trust the Guardians and the Guardians are given reasons to distrust the Jedi, leaving readers to wonder if either side is really honorable in their intentions or if what’s “right” is all just a matter of perspective. Even though this theme comes across in the book as a whole, the experience of actually consuming the narrative is a bit confounding. Between jumps in time and the passage of time within those time jumps, along with the character designs and ambiguous backgrounds, makes for a rather confusing experience. If the events of the first two issues of this series don’t resonate strongly enough with a reader, it’s easy to be overwhelmed, with the jargon of The High Republic also not making things any easier to comprehend. We only hope that this issue helps get some exposition out of the way to make for a more cohesive journey going forward. –– Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 3 out of 5
The premise for this series is simple: two Jedi are tasked with exploring uncharted territories in hopes of connecting them to the rest of the “civilized” world more effectively. This debut issue does little more than establish the premise, the characters, and the dynamic between them, and while there might not be major reveals, this introduction is still highly entertaining. What little we know about these new figures is charming and compelling, delivering a relatively fresh dynamic of peers whose relationship is nearly as close as siblings, though we can’t help but feel like there is an ominous air to the journey they’re embarking upon. Hopefully the next issue elucidates on those points a bit more, but to merely give us two fully realized figures in the era of The High Republic is more than some other series has done, leaving us to look forward to what The Blade has in store for readers. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 4 out of 5
Yoda finds himself captivated by the Scalvi people for some reason, as he sticks around with the villagers to see them build the necessary defenses to fend off attacks. While he might not be betraying the codes of the Jedi Council by building emotional connections to them, there’s some reason he’s sticking around and it could spell doom for both him and his newfound allies. With how little we know about Yoda, other than him seemingly being the high-water mark for the Jedi, seeing him waver to some degree when it comes to sticking tot he Jedi credos makes for an enticing concept, even if his real motivations have yet to become clear. Much like how elements of the original trilogy made a figure like Luke Skywalker all the more interesting in the sequel trilogy, it’s possible that, while this adventure might not immediately make itself clear as to why it’s so fascinating, the ultimate reveals the book is heading towards makes the Yoda we met in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back all the more fascinating and complex, while this book itself also manages to surprise and entertain with each issue. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 4 out of 5
Though this issue of Strange Academy: Finals starts off awfully slow, things pick up before too long, giving readers an exciting battle. Some may call this another one of those filler issues as it comes with the same general vibes as an annual issue. What stands out here, however, is that the title has seemingly revealed its true protagonist—hint, Calvin, hint—and given him the much-deserved spotlight. If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that both Young and Ramos care deeply about this batch of characters, that much is evident through their consistent work on this book. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4 out of 5
This new Thunderbolts series has been very hit or miss since the start, and frankly never been able to stick to the thesis that it seemed to be presenting in issue #1. The finale however manages to stick the landing, delivering a largely self-contained story that explores all our characters and gives most of them a chance to shine. While the previous issues have often left something to be desired, artists Sean Izaakse with Netho Diaz (featuring inks by Izaakse and Victor Nava) give this one a more memorable flair than the others, in particular for how it explores the big villain’s powers. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
What has now become a tradition for the House of Ideas, Timeless #1 takes readers on a journey around the Marvel Universe as it teases the next year’s worth of storytelling. Only here, Jed MacKay managed to craft an extensive framing story that knocks Kang the Conqueror on his ass, leaving the villain fighting his greatest threats yet. It’s a genre-bending script that crosses the lines from sword and sorcery to sci-fi and fantasy before looping back around. While the teases are fine and dandy, MacKay and a team of artists do a splendid job at intertwining an Arthurian tale with the Marvel Universe with the end result being an absolute delight. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4 out of 5
Readers that have come to expect a certain level of unique, hard-edged science fiction from AL Ewing and Ram V will find themselves lost with the latest issue, a tie-in to the “Dark Web” crossover that is mostly nonsense. There are moments of note, specifically the actual scenes with Venom and Eddie, which lean hard into the ongoing plot threads, but for the most part it’s confusing and dull. Artist Bryan Hitch manages to keep it interesting visually however, even if it’s hard to parse what the heck is actually happening at times. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 3 out of 5
Few comics radiate the joyful energy that presumably went into making it back out at the reader like X-Terminators. X-Terminators #4 gets bogged down with Dazzler’s vampire ex-boyfriend’s monologue explaining his whole deal, which probably wasn’t necessary since readers already know he’s a sleaze, and that’s all the narrative needs. Similarly, the references to the Vampire Nation entangle an otherwise self-contained story in the current events of the Marvel Universe for little payoff. However, the issue proceeds to offer some things readers have likely never seen in an X-Men comic before, nor even considered they could see. For instance, Jubilee and Boom-Boom belittling someone for their creepy alleged kink while wearing, essentially, sexy Halloween costumes or the word “bathroom” rendered as onomatopoeia. The expressive, vibrant artwork offers plenty of dramatic flairs and ensures the visual energy matches that of the plot, keeping things fast-paced and fun even when the action slows down. Those who believe superhero comics are and should only be serious business need not bother. Those who are looking for a good time should call on X-Terminators. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 4 out of 5
It’s admirable how committed this X-Treme X-Men revival is to seeming like it began serialization one month after X-Treme X-Men #46 closed out the original series. The debut issue put it bluntly, declaring that this is “the next arc of X-Treme X-Men,” but it’s there in the presentation, with a cover that uses early-2000s style Marvel Comics trade dress. Salvador Larocca’s art style, though different from the uninked style he experimented with in X-Treme‘s first 24 issues, has been consistent enough over the years to still feel of that era, especially when he’s using the black gutters that were in vogue at the time. With the last issue’s recap of Wolverine and Kitty Pryde out of the way, X-Treme X-Men #2 begins the story in earnest. While it features some of Chris Claremont’s favorite tropes, like a disembodied psychic villain, the story sells the tension between mutants and humans in Chicago as the B-plot, involving superhumans belonging to the ant-mutant group Purity, emerges. It’s better than almost all of what appeared in X-Treme X-Men‘s pages during the second half of its run, meaning anyone who found anything to enjoy in that original series will likely find something to appreciate here. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
There is a lot of intrigue and mystery to be found in 007 #5. Just as it appears James Bond is betraying his handlers and country, Bond pulls a fast one to set up his hunt for payback to avenge one of his fellow agents. This is one of the stronger issues of the series, and provides plenty of answers to some lingering questions. — Tim Adams
Rating: 4 out of 5
20th Century Men #5 contemplates utopia in multiple forms, but never allows readers to forget the terrible machines that churn ever onward and deny these dreams despite the resilience and ingenuity displayed by so much of mankind. It speaks to the series’ breadth and depth that so many artistic approaches are required to capture the many sequences, spread across various eras and settings, that compose this genre-infused, anti-war piece. The softest, unbound forms are saved for moments of tremendous and ultimately humane tragedy while ferocious lines shred panels in depicting the savageries of violence. Like every issue before it, 20th Century Men #5 will leave readers anxious to discover what comes next, but they will have plenty to contemplate in the interim given both the hope and despair evoked in this excellent issue. –– Chase Magnett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
While containing a lot of its graphic violence and blood, Bloodshot Unleashed #4 also has elements of a psychological thriller filled with hallucinations. Bloodshot has finally met his match in Verlane, who is just as much a ruthless soldier and murderer as our protagonist. — Tim Adams
Rating: 3 out of 5
Spin-off comic series can always be tricky, because a creative team has to juggle creating a story that can stand on its own while also helping to expand on the universe of the main series. Something Is Killing The Children has become a runaway hit and this series focuses on the house that helped Erica Slaughter start her monster-hunting ways. What Book of Slaughter does is not just expand on the main series’ events, but also does a fantastic job of catching new readers up to speed with the universe in an ingenious way that works into the spin-off’s story. Book of Slaughter works both as a story unto itself and great ancillary material to Something Is Killing The Children, acting as a solid recommend to old and new readers alike. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Creepshow #4 puts on a terrifying show this week with two spooky stories. The update puts childhood friends, cursed legacies, and gory deaths on the map with some sinisterly good artwork. So if you are looking for a solid fright as the new year begins, Creepshow continues to deliver scares with each new issue! — Megan Peters
Rating: 4 out of 5
I was a little hesitant at the beginning parts of the issue since it’s very heavy on exposition, but the setup pays off later on as we’re introduced to more players in this supernatural game. In fact, the information dumps are educational, because we learn the definitions of terms like “haoma” and “gusion.” Another fun issue from a well-oiled creative team. — Tim Adams
Rating: 4 out of 5
Frankenstein: New World began with a tease of many years beyond the story of Hellboy, and though a taste of that has arrived in the final issue it almost leaves too many doors open. Writers Mike Mignola, Christopher Golden, and Thomas Sniegoski had a fun story in here, but one that seems to have gotten sidetracked focusing on new monsters that frankly aren’t that interesting, not when a walking, monk-warrior Frankenstein is the lead character. Artist Peter Bergting and colorist Michelle Madsen do good work though, giving this wild forest local and cast of characters a proper moody setting that carries this one to the end. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 4 out of 5
Image’s latest 30th anniversary anthology has a few Christmas short stories sprinkled in among its usual installments. “Dead Eyes” produces the best of them, while “The Blizzard” and “Hack/Slash vs. Image” continue to be the best of the reoccurring installments. The rest ranges from boring to outright depressing. — Connor Casey
Rating: 3 out of 5
Just when you might think the conceit of Immortal Red Sonja is running out of steam, this week’s issue provides a fascinating bridge between its past and future. Dan Abnett’s script melds the mythological and the scrappy with a wonderful ease, and Luca Colandrea’s art matches the bizarre majesty of it wonderfully. All of that, combined with a genuinely clever cliffhanger, make me continue to be excited for what the rest of Immortal Red Sonja has in store. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4 out of 5
Somehow, Killadelphia #26 might be the best of the series to date. The issue does two things. First, it continues to ramp up the road to war as Anansi starts assembling allies and second, it gives us Abigail’s story through her own words. The two pieces somewhat intersect by the end and while Abigail hasn’t exactly been the most sympathetic character in this series to now, there’s something humanizing about finally getting her story. That’s very much what this series does best: it sheds light on the struggles and inequities in history, the humanity of various elements of things and Abigail’s story—that of a woman in a time when being a woman had very sharp limits—is fascinating. Juxtaposed with the atrocities she’s committed in the series and the rest of the story in this series, the complicated and enthralling story of who we are as Americans—even set in this supernatural horror tale—just keeps getting better. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 5 out of 5
The finale of Manifest Destiny will not disappoint readers who followed this remarkable series across a decade at Image Comics. While the comic’s perspective on Lewis, Clark, and Sacajawea has evolved across the course of the story, it’s apparent here at the end that none of the characters in this quest were heroes; they were simply human. This is the sentiment that undergirds the anti-climatic climax and makes it ring out as the most fitting of final chapters. Every decision, mistake, and folly function perfectly within these individuals as they have been presented, which makes each revelation all the more tragic in turn. Manifest Destiny #48 does not need to provide readers a morality tale because the truth and consequences of this terrible effort can be trusted to readers. Even as hellfire and demons burn amidst these lush renderings of the Pacific northwest, the small expressions and moments between individuals garner just as much attention in this attentive portrait to human ambition and cowardice. Manifest Destiny finds a pitch-perfect landing point for its portrayal of the United States’ genocidal expansion and what it may teach us about ourselves in 2022 and beyond. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles set the bar quite high for franchise crossovers, and now the team of Ryan Parrott, Dan Mora, Raul Angulo, and Ed Dukeshire are back for another round. It would be easy to fall short of expectations with a sequel, but Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II #1 instead builds off the foundation set in the original series and jumps straight into the delightful moments only achievable with this particular pairing, and by issue’s end the foot is firmly planted on the gas pedal moving forward. Oh, and it’s absolutely gorgeous, so it looks like Power Rangers and TMNT are about to deliver another epic adventure that no fan should miss. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4 out of 5
My Bad #2 is just as offbeat and self-aware as its predecessor, though I think I the book’s charm really comes down to its ridiculous yet charming assortment of ‘heroes’. Part of the fun of this series is just getting all these characters together and watching the chaos ensue, but this particular issue shines brightest during Help Wanted by writer Bryce Ingman, artist Peter Krause, colorist Kelly Fitzpatrick, and letterer Rob Steen. It’s a story that gifts everyone with a character that I hope to see more of simply because of how wonderfully absurd he is, and it worked as a fantastic lead-in to the entertaining Perfect Date. Coupled with the ongoing quest to find the deadliest Pizza Delivery man ever, you’ve got yourself a chance for comedic gold. –– Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 3 out of 5
The promised romance arrives after the extended meet-cute of Once Upon a Time at the End of the World #1 and it creates a much warmer atmosphere amongst the hellscape that is Earth’s promised future in issue #2. Maceo and Mezzy are an odd couple, but a short sequence of misadventures in this dystopian setting make the attraction between two lonely young people possessing idiosyncratic charms becomes clear. There are plenty of opportunities for visual flair amongst the showcase of their trip further from Maceo’s home, including a wide collection of near-death experiences and a long list of essential skills. All of the devilishly detailed imagery of the first issue is buoyed by a story and characters who are fun to follow. While this issue also begins to lay the groundwork for future battles, there’s plenty to appreciate in the present of Once Upon a Time at the End of the World #2. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
To be honest, Plush #2 is a gory shock to the system, and while I’m still trying to process it all. I have figured out that I need to know what’s happening and how all this ends. Artist Daniel Hillyard and colorist Rico Renzi are taking no prisoners, delivering a brutal walloping that can’t help but grab your attention. And yet, it’s really the last few pages that hooked me. Writer Doug Wagner takes a quick break from the carnage and gives us some human interactions to latch onto, and while I have no idea how all this plays out, I’m endlessly intrigued. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
The Roadie becomes so convoluted with issue #4 that I’m not sure what to even make of its conclusion. For a series that wanted to lean directly into the often-cited connection between rock music and demonic imagery, The Roadie tried to do far too much with its premise to the point that it became greatly boring. I’ve said it before, but The Roadie should’ve absolutely been in my wheelhouse as a longtime hard rock fan, but the fact that I found nothing here to latch onto makes this an easy pass. — Logan Moore
Rating: 2 out of 5
Sacrament #5 provides readers with an exorcism ending that’s bound to feel familiar given the inclusion of both an old priest and a young priest, but avoids any cliches or homages in the telling. Rather, the nihilistic future it’s constructed seems to provide punishment enough for the characters involved and allow each to test themselves in a battle of faith. Depictions of both possession and the Devil himself produce plenty of unsettling imagery and ensure that even low-key settings in which one person prays over another are filled with tension. This dramatic presentation of humans twisted by outside forces strengthens the core conflict, which is not so much about the battle at hand as the will to persist in fighting different versions of it for a lifetime. What’s most impressive about Sacrament at its end is how the comic cherishes a small spark of light in such a dark expanse as space. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
We Only Find Them When They’re Dead was always bound to make for a beautiful hardcover collection with 15 issues of absolutely stunning Simone Di Meo artwork to collect, but this finale makes clear that the collective reading experience is bound to be even more rewarding than the serialized one was. The final extended dialogue of a story that spanned centuries and generations of characters (in more than one sense) pulls upon the full set of the series’ collected eras to bring meaning to its earliest mysteries and provide a metaphorical conflict to be pondered. Spectacularly lit splashes filled with light speak to grand ideas and the immutable cloth of history in a finale that is filled with the grandiose, even if it’s spectacle arrives primarily in passive form. We Only Find Them When They’re Dead seems to achieve many of its ambitions in arriving at its finale, and it seems a series well served by rereading and collective consideration; I look forward to doing so in 2023. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
of
Copyright 2022 ComicBook.com. All rights reserved.

source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *