Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 12/7/2022 – 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 Batman #130, Dark Web #1, and It’s Only Teenage Wasteland #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 the end, the “Failsafe” arc concludes almost predictably and while the quality of Batman #130 isn’t quite to the high standards set by Batman #125, it’s still an interesting issue that positions the story to progress in intriguing directions. Yet it’s an unfortunately bloated and somewhat rushed conclusion that doesn’t quite land and leaves the reader wanting more because they’re just as tired as Batman is by the end. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
After a very strong first issue, Batman & The Joker: The Deadly Duo #2 falls a good bit short. Marc Silvestri’s art is outstanding here – dark, gritty, kinetic, it’s very visually interesting and fits nicely with the setting he’s trying to support, but in terms of the actual story, things start to get a bit overcooked and boring pretty quickly. There is no humor in this issue and there is a good bit of darkness that goes darker than necessary, not to mention a subplot involving the mayoral race that doesn’t really seem to have any momentum and a lot of bloat in terms of the “science” of the monsters Batman and Joker face as the issue opens. Things feel cluttered, story wise and while dark and gritty with a sharper edge is something that should work for Batman, this issue veers a little too far into the grim and the weird, ultimately creating a lack of balance that throws the whole issue off. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Dark Crisis: War Zone is a one-shot set between Dark Crisis #6 and #7, giving a few short stories among various heroes during the final climactic battle. Some are definitely better than others – Iris West and Linda Park get a fun interaction, Jim Corrigan and The Spectre have reunited which feels like it will be a bigger deal later on and we get to see Red Canary finally meet Black Canary after following-up on what happened in The Dark Army one-shot. While it’s unclear if its intentional, the vignettes all set up what is supposed to be the final climactic showdown as merely white noise as splash pages keep popping up as distractions for each story. The one story that manages to stand out from the crowd Green Lantern Corps scene and that’s mostly due to George Kambadais’ artwork. — Connor Casey
Rating: 3 out of 5
In the course of Slam Bradley trawling the streets of Gotham City in search of the missing infant Helena Wayne, readers learn a great deal about the detective’s past and the city and conspiracy he is investigating. Tall panels slide by like a montage running through the streets of unreputable neighborhoods with bright lights and plenty of character; they make Gotham City read as an active participant in the proceedings. Those images of the urban landscape are contrasted by claustrophobic interiors filled with violence, including a flashback to Slam’s departure from the GCPD and revelatory new confrontation. Each delivers their frame of violence as something mundane and brutal with the first panel of page making it exceedingly clear this is a noir tale, not a superhero one. All of this investment in the setting and Slam’s journey below its surface allows the final few pages to land with desperate intensity that’s bound to leave readers shaken. It also makes clear that the myth of Gotham City having once been a grand place for all of its citizens was always just that, and that’s where Gotham City: Year One promises to grow far more interesting in its second half. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
There’s a lot to unpack here in this latest issue following the Clown Princes of Crime, with readers left to wonder just which Harlequin of Hate is the real Joker. Rosenberg’s latest series is spinning quite a few plates and it can get a little lost when it comes to the sheer amount of characters that are introduced here. While it’s certainly fun interjecting the likes of the Secret Society, it might be a bit too much at the end of the day. The follow-up story is a head-scratcher in its story, leaving one to wonder just what is happening with Joker’s unfortunate encounter with Apokolip’s Big Barda, but its a fun story all the same. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Monkey Prince #9 feels very much like a completely different title than the issues before it. It’s more cohesive, a lot darker, and the stakes feel very high – not to mention the humor finally hits just exactly the way you expect it to and it works.The problem is that the story just sort of happens. There are wild developments that come out of nowhere that almost don’t feel connected to the series in any way and as a result, the issue’s plot is a bit chaotic and unorganized. It’s like Yang has lost the thread somehow and is now just pulling fabric together trying to patch the unintended hole. The art, on the other hand, is pretty great here – though there will likely be those who see the jarring difference in how King Fire Bull looks as compared to the rest of the issue as a bad thing. It’s not, it’s just different than what one might expect. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 3 out of 5
I have mixed feelings about Poison Ivy #7. On one hand, I love the idea of the story taking on capitalism, our destruction of the environment, and evil corporations in a way that is inventive and feels very of the moment and from that perspective, this issue delivers. But on the other, this issue is such a hard left turn from the first six issues. The cover says it all “Ivy Sells Out” and in a sense, this book feels like that. The first arc was a steady, interesting emotional exploration of the character and now this just feels like a “superhero” story, albeit one with a villain. It’s very much like reading an entirely different series, which is fine, but it doesn’t flow well from the previous at all. Additionally, the art this issue feels weird. There’s a surreal quality to it that feels cartoonish and not in a good way. There is certainly promise here—both in the art and the story—but it’s too early to see if it’s enough to carry. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
The penultimate issue of Sword of Azrael frames the series’ ultimate antagonist and Jean-Paul’s necessary revelations in preparing to face them. It ties together elements of lore from the Fourth World, Batman, and even Catholicism into a portrait of corrupt systems and the powers they unleash that’s thrilling to explore on the page. Jean-Paul’s battle with a long lost peer produces impressive imagery and a fight sequence filled with slashing lines and immediate violence, and it constructs one of the story’s greatest surprises to date. The realizations that arrive and how Jean-Paul Valley chooses to address the elements of Azrael in himself leads to a cliffhanger that will leave readers tapping their knees until the finale arrives and a pair of stunning splashes that make his identity exceedingly clear. Wherever Sword of Azrael ends, it’s clear that it’s (anti-)hero still has plenty of story left to tell. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
The climactic trilogy of “Avengers Assemble” is dragged through its second installment without much to be added with both the current and ancient Avengers continuing their battle against the Multiversal Masters of Evil. Since their introduction, these empowered versions of familiar villains have raised the question: What could possibly stop these monsters after hundreds of Earths and Avengers have fallen? The answer here is: The necessities of plot. Some extraneous characters on both sides fall, but there’s little found in the way of cause and effect. Problems and solutions are quickly invented within the narrative captions without requiring much grounding in the nearly 100 issues of story told thus far. Rather, final sacrifices and motivations are invented in the moment and land with a thud. Even the spectacle of a multiverse-defining battle is lost amidst a cast of characters who have grown stale over the past several years. At the end of the road, there’s simply not much substance or interest to be found in The Avengers. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty kicks off its second arc with Cap bringing in his own allies to fight The Outer Circle. It’s a nice reminder that Cap still has plenty of friends who are (almost) as well connected as the grand conspiracy that has been pulling society’s strings for the last 100 years. The ending sets up a fun second arc that pits Cap against another familiar foe – a revitalized AIM. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 4 out of 5
Kelly Thompson has shown on several occasions the ability to maximize a team and let its individual members shine, and that is once again on display in Captain Marvel #44. The Captain Marvel and X-Men team-up puts the foot on the pedal and never lets up, but though the action is fierce it’s the dynamic within the team of Cap, Spider-Woman, Hazmat, Gambit, Polaris, Wolverine, and Psylocke that makes this issue so much fun. The mix of personalities, connections, and abilities allows for lively set pieces and thrilling combinations, though artist Sergio Davila, inker Sean Parsons, colorist Arif Prianto, and letterer Clayton Cowles perhaps shine brightest when they’re embracing the small but always charming moments in between. At times the artwork can be a bit inconsistent from page to page, but it didn’t happen often enough to take me out of the adventure, and Captain Marvel and the X-Men continue to be a winning combination –– Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4 out of 5
Damage Control saved some of its best chaos for the finale, and Gus is right in the center of all of it. That’s what makes it all work though, as writers Adam F. Goldberg and Hans Rodionoff utilize him perfectly throughout in both comedic moments and moments of revelation. Plus, this issue is just bonkers fun as Gus unknowingly unleashes a robot army, an uprising that artist Nathan Stockman and colorist Ruth Redmond bring to delightful life, especially any scene involving Machine Man. The last major reveal isn’t at all what I was expecting and sets things up for an intriguing next chapter if Marvel decides to go that route, and after all is said and done I quite enjoyed my time in chaotic corner of the Marvel Universe. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Matt Murdock may aspire to find a better way, but it’s much easier to imagine a dream than it is to implement one. The difficulties he and his fellow leaders in The Fist encounter make the significance of these ideas all the more grand. Second-tier villains are confronted with therapy and care, yet their experiences expose the bars that still remain. It’s an impressive series of sequences that challenge how hard any genuine reconstruction of the justice system will be given abundant time and resources, and the former is not forthcoming. The most impressive moments of violence come not between superheroes and supervillains, but from within these characters, whether they’re revealing frustration or cracks in a broken system. Daredevil continues to root out parallel injustices between Marvel’s world and our own with appropriate gravitas and an endgame that is anything but certain. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
2022 is the year that proved Marvel Comics to be the dominant publisher of quality superhero events. In the wake of the masterful Judgment Day, it provides a crossover modeled upon one of its all-time best and delivers a first issue that suggests it is fully capable of setting the bar for a modern “Inferno.” With years of thrilling character work climaxing in a hellish vision of Christmas on Manhattan and many of the best creators at Marvel Comics involved in what’s still to come, Dark Web #1 promises readers the gift of another spectacular crossover this holiday season. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Fantastic Four #2 affirms this series’ style of re-introduction to Marvel’s first family, flaws and all. A familiar mode of story—small town strangeness addressed by recognizable members of the team—is told with Reed and Sue Richards while the mystery box at the series’ center goes largely unremarked. This iteration of the first issue’s story features another mystery involving familiar sci-fi elements, but the repetitive staging makes the melodramatic elements less touching. Instead, it plays like a puzzle that primarily serves to leave readers wondering where these individual pieces are building. While Fantastic Four #2 provides some affecting notes on Reed and Sue’s marriage, as well as the nature of their greatest villain Doctor Doom, it also seems to be playing familiar tunes from the series six-decades of history. This issue provides another solid, but unspectacular entry in a relaunch still waiting to be launched. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 3 out of 5
The first arc of this larger-than-life story is rippin’ and roarin’ to it’s seismic finale, and the story to date has been nothing short of rubber-burning romp. In fact, romp’s probably the wrong word for it – this story from Percy and Smith has turned into its own demonic seance balanced of hues with heavy metal and Sturgis. This issue, in particular, is one of the most thorough of that arc, explaining much of the mythos and lore this creative team has introduced in a little reimagining of the Spirit of Vengeance. –– Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Immortal X-Men #9 is a delightfully deranged deconstruction of the lives of Moira X as presented in House of X/Powers of X. As “Sins of Sinister” draws near, Minister Sinister begins to become desperate and ends up turning the Quiet Council into a meatgrinder, one that he’s caught in as much as anyone else. Kieron Gillen balances what could be bleak gore with Sinister’s inappropriate gleefulness and frustration, which makes the issue feel feeling over-the-top and keeps the real darkness of a matter-of-fact accounting of events at bay. It’s a fine line to walk, but this issue does it well. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 4 out of 5
I think I’ve started to realize that one of my biggest problems with Marauders is its artwork. While it has a nice style when standing on its own, the way that many of the panels within this series flow together (especially during action sequences) make for a grueling and confusing reading experience. Marauders #9 doesn’t only fall prey to more of these art annoyances, but the story that’s being told feels like it requires an X-Men encyclopedia to fully grasp. — Logan Moore
Rating: 2 out of 5
The next chapter in Miles Morales’ web-slinging adventures gets off on the right foot. Cody Ziglar captures Miles’ voice and even injects some Peter Parker-esque wit and charm to his trash-talking. Federico Vicentini, Bryan Valenza, and Cory Petit deliver some killer art that really takes off during the fight sequences. An intriguing new villain is introduced that has the potential to be a longtime thorn in Miles’ side for the foreseeable future. — Tim Adams
Rating: 5 out of 5
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1 launches this week with an out-of-this-world cliffhanger any kid would hat. As our heroine finds herself inching away from her superhero work, Moon Girl’s focus turns to the wild world of roller derby. The only thing that can make her life crazier is an in-disguise ally with a mission of her own and a pair of worried parents who helicopter like none other. — Megan Peters
Rating: 3 out of 5
This New Mutants story arc continues to lean on a nonexistent familiarity with Escape and Morgan Red that simply doesn’t exist as if we’ve skipped ahead past the part where we build the characters up straight to where we try to break them down. There’s a continued instance that Escapade and Morgan’s shift away from identifying as supervillains is significant, but it’s built on simply telling us that’s important without making it concrete. There’s a commendable attempt here to make a new character stick in the Marvel Universe—a challenge, for sure—but there’s a sense that this is being rushed which makes it hard to invest. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 2 out of 5
Predator #5 introduces a new iteration of the title as Theta is forced to finally address the company and humans she abandoned long ago. Astar employees, similar to those of Weyland-Yutani, aren’t driven by any inherent evil, but by the demands of a corporate master compelling them to follow orders. This shift in dynamics creates a necessary transition in setting and power dynamics to frame the final showdown of Theta’s arc. The new characters are provided just enough space to differentiate a couple for the coming fight, but there’s little definition to be found beyond some broad strokes. Predator #5 serves primarily to contextualize Theta’s enormous achievements and interest in them beyond the Predator’s drive for revenge. As a set up for the finale, it gets the job done and plants seeds for future Predator comics, but on its own this installment is simply laying the groundwork for a final battle every reader was anticipating since issue #1. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 3 out of 5
“The King of Killers, Book Two” has transitioned Punisher from being the continuation of its’ titular anti-hero’s story to an outright reimagining – transforming Frank Castle into a grindhouse superhero with an exceedingly grim origin bound to make the squeamish squirm in their seats. It’s a genuinely fun take on the character that opts to deliver black humor in flashback’s to Frank’s horrendous marriage to Maria rather than recast the adolescent Frank as a school shooter-turned-superhero. The overwrought costumes and pageantry surrounding The Hand’s showdown with the Greek god of war Ares make for a great spectacle on the page that leans into its’ most violent opportunities for plenty of moments capable of producing a quick smile and grimace. Punisher #8 is simply a great deal of twisted fun, utilizing both of its distinctive art styles to great effect. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Secret Invasion #2 does a better job of slowly raising the stakes. Not only does it shed light on who has been compromised in the latest invasion of the Skrulls, but it also helps explain why this new conflict needs to be feared rather than taken lightly. Still, this new Secret Invasion series hasn’t done much yet to validate its re-hashing nature just yet. Hopefully, as the plan of the Skrulls comes more into view, I’ll begin to feel differently on this front. — Logan Moore
Rating: 4 out of 5
The stakes couldn’t be higher in Spider-Man #3, and yet everything feels remarkably status quo for the heroes. There are moments of stress mind you, but the overall vibe by Spider-Man and the assembled crew of universe savers are pretty chill and lacking in real urgency. Writer Dan Slot peppers the issue with moments of comedic gold, and Peter continuously saying he’s the chosen one is hilarious and also important. Mark Bagley and Edgar Delgado’s artwork and colors are bright and colorful and the duo handles a litany of characters in seemingly every panel with ease and all the style you expect. That said, the heroes and their approach just doesn’t come off as intelligent enough for heroes of this stature, especially Peter. The same goes for the rest of the heroes (and even Morlun) who all rush in as if it’s their first day on the job, and most have presumably been at this for a bit. It left off in an intriguing place, however, and the issue’s levity and action were able to outshine those flaws, so I’m still very much invested in how this all turns out. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 3 out of 5
Qi’ra hopes to use her Crimson Dawn resources to take down Palpatine once and for all, with her fleet and artifacts potentially giving her a better chance than expected against the Galactic Empire. A key component in her plan, unfortunately, will draw even more attention from the Sith if she chooses to implement in, possibly spelling her doom before fully realizing her schemes. Much like the first issue, this installment is relatively engaging throughout, but feels more like it’s dumping exposition as a prologue to get audiences ready for something that could potentially be fulfilling as opposed to being fulfilling on its own. We spend more time with the Archivist in this issue than with Qi’ra, with the issue culminating in a tease of what could be coming in the future, without necessarily being offered anything with any major ramifications. We hope that these pacing issues are intentional and a payoff is on the way that makes the journey worth it, even if the book itself isn’t necessarily disappointing from either a writing or artistic perspective. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 3 out of 5
Thanos: Death Notes is a one-shot tied into Donny Cates’ ongoing Thor run as “The God of Thunder” attempts to learn more about “The Mad Titan” after seeing a vision of his own death at the hands of Thanos dual wielding two new weapons. What follows is a trio of short stories that reflect on the different aspects of Thanos. J. Michael Straczynski will likely get the most attention given his notoriety, and to his credit, he does present an interesting wrinkle in the relationship between Thanos and Death. But it’s Christopher Cantwell who winds up stealing the show with “All That Is,” bringing some truly haunting imagery to what starts out as a seemingly harmless Tony Stark story. You don’t necessarily need to be following the latest ongoings with Thor to appreciate this comic as it’s a must-read for any Thanos fans out there. — Connor Casey
Rating: 4 out of 5
This is easily one of the best jumping-on points for a modern Marvel book that I’ve seen in recent memory. Kicking off the “Legacy of Thanos” storyline, this narrative lays some interesting groundwork between Thor, Valkyrie, and Corvus Glaive that compellingly looks at the legacy of Asgard, Titan, and the rest of the cosmos. There’s just enough of a balance between pathos, exposition, and (brilliantly-rendered by Nic Klein) action sequences. I’m definitely excited to see what the future holds. — Jenna Anderson
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Tiger Divison kicks ahead with issue #2 this week, and its intense mission only gets bigger as this update unfolds. After walking right into an ambush, the team is left stumped when its leader Tae becomes the target of a high-tech swarm. It is only after some heartbreaking flashbacks come around that we learn who is behind the comeback, and it promises to tear a former bromance apart. — Megan Peters
Rating: 4 out of 5
This final issue proves that The Variants is, by far, among my top comics of this year. Jessica’s fight for agency and identity—and to potentially save the fate of the entire multiverse—culminates in a way that’s brilliant and genuinely unexpected, with an absolutely exceptional narrative crux. I can not overstate the magnitude of the work that Gail Simone, Phil Noto, and company do in this issue — not only creating a cornerstone of Jessica’s story, but probably the entire Marvel universe too. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 5 out of 5
The prison break at Beast’s black site prison in space goes almost exactly as readers would anticipate in that a lot of unnamed characters die and grandiose plans turn to ash. It’s the culmination of years upon years of storytelling surrounding Hank McCoy’s adoption of the CIA’s ethical standards, and the moments in which Beast attempts to control this disaster deliver the issue’s highlights. While the chaos provides plenty of action on the page, it provides an aesthetic of violence with a handful of standout moments, including one splash page that is grotesque on both a visceral and moral level. The inclusion of Sage’s rock bottom moment and quick turn to recovery feels tacked on to the central plot, and the choice of language and moments portrayed provide it with the tone of an after-school special. X-Force #35 frames the conflict between the team and Beast in the open for the first time and promises a fascinating and ugly conflict ahead. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Where X-Men Red #8 promised to deliver the wrath of Emperor Vulcan come again, X-Men Red #9 absolutely delivers in one of this year’s best titled issues. The violence deep within the Shi’ar Empire embraces the notion of Omega Mutants with inspired feats of power against some of Marvel’s most powerful figures. It’s a concept that weaves it’s way into this issue’s text contributions and through the finale as these events began with resurrecting Gabriel as a Krakoan power play. The dominoes fall in a fashion that has both tragic and surprising turns, but every twist is earned and longtime readers of Ewing’s Marvel stories will feel particularly rewarded. The displays of power resonate on the page without demanding many splash panels. Each transition is displayed in an interesting fashion with the violence possessing a clear sense of power resplendent in shining colors and more subtle changes will leave readers gaping. This quick turn to chaos pays off in a terrifically entertaining issue that promises only bigger things ahead. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Chris Claremont and Salvador Larroca go 20 years into X-Men comics’ past with X-Treme X-Men #1. Introduced on the issue’s opening page as “the next arc of X-Treme X-Men,” it’s clear that the creators want this miniseries to function as a natural extension of their original run, picking up where X-Treme X-Men #46 left off in 2004 (but with Larroca returning on art, having departed the book following issue #24, and sporting a style different from the uninked experimentation of his original X-Treme X-Men work). That’s fine for what it is—most folks have decided long ago whether they can find something enjoyable in Claremont’s 21st-century X-Men work, and its unlikely many were expecting a return to this divisive series to change anyone’s minds about it—but this arc apparently doubles as a sequel to Kitty Pryde and Wolverine, a completely unrelated miniseries published in 1984-1985. In a way, such a sequel keeps in the spirit of the second half of the original X-Treme X-Men run, which gave readers the sequel to God Loves, Man Kills. However, to ensure readers are caught up on this story—which is decades older than the decades-old series this miniseries is meant to revisit—Claremont spends the entirety of this issue simply recapping the events of that miniseries. It’s like someone adapted a comics’ YouTube video into a comic book and it’s exactly as tedious to read as that sounds. It’s entirely possible that, with this bit of homework out of the way, the remainder of this miniseries will be something enjoyable for fans of Claremont’s X-Men voice, but this issue is a waste of everyone’s time. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 1.5 out of 5
All Against All is an interesting new sci-fi series set in Earth’s distant future. An alien species is harvesting the remnants of Earth for biological matter that they can use in special warsuits. Unbeknownst to the majority of the alien scientific group studying and harvesting the animals, there is a sole human survivor. Why his presence is kept secret is unclear, but it’s clear that the aliens are cruel but conflicted and that the human is ready to hunt. An intriguing set up that will depend on a solid execution in future issues. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 4 out of 5
Behold, Behemoth remains an astonishing comic to witness; the introductory sequence of issue #2 is filled with sprawling landscapes, clear emotions, and a gripping, tragic sequence bound to make some readers wince. Yet that sequence continues to lack context and what is provided in the series’ earliest issues is insufficient for readers to fully invest in a situation that’s hardly sketched. Elements of physical transformation, military governance, and religious zealotry are all addressed, but revealed in a fashion that only suggests theories about how this narrative fits together. Each piece is clear, but how they fit remains a puzzle. Given the powerful imagery and carefully crafted individual sequences, this lack of clarity does not undermine the serialization altogether, but it suggests this is a story that is not best served by a brief, monthly format. Hopefully that will change in the pages of Behold, Behemoth #3 or readers will be better served waiting for these scraps to be collected. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 3 out of 5
Blood Stained Teeth continues to weave an intricate vampiric tale. By now, multiple threads are left open, seemingly crawling further away from each other as the frenetic script blows by at a breakneck pace. The story falters because of that, jumping from one point to another, taking readers out of the loop at the most inopportune of times. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 3 out of 5
Events rapidly accelerate in Canary #4; the trio of heroes establish a new place of operations and begin their investigation of the town while the town continues to fish in the mysterious well to inevitably disquieting results. The parallel plots quickly set the stage for events to spiral out of anyone’s control and that ought to fill horror fans with glee, especially considering the grotesquerie showcased in this issue’s cliffhanger. Even if the forms of this plot are apparent, it’s a great deal of fun to watch how events escalate in Canary especially when they’re set against Dan Panosian’s sweeping views of the American west and the nightmares he summons from deep within its soil. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Castle Full of Blackbirds is struggling a bit to find its footing as time goes on. I’m enjoying some of the mystery and intrigue at the center of this series, but the 20-page nature of each installment means that the story is moving very fast and doesn’t have much room to breathe. Issue #3 isn’t horrible by any means, but if the story keeps moving so quickly, it’s going to end up feeling more jarring in the future. — Logan Moore
Rating: 3 out of 5
Do A Powerbomb #6 pulled the rug out from under everyone and threw in a twist no one saw coming, so you can imagine the expectations the series carried heading into its finale. Writer and artist Daniel Warren Johnson, Colorist Mike Spicer, and letterer Rus Wooton were more than up for the challenge however delivering one of the most thrilling yet poignant issues in the entire series, and one that caps off one of 2022’s best comics in epic fashion. Do A Powerbomb #7 is simply stunning from beginning to end, showcasing a literally heavenly event in the ring that showcases the team’s understanding of what makes wrestling matches so captivating. Part of that equation is also the storytelling throughout the match and into the book’s final pages, and as with any true story in the ring, it’s not so much about the ending as it is about the journey, though Do A Powerbomb has no issue delivering on both. It’s a lovely end to what has been an amazing ride, and hopefully, this isn’t the last we see of this wonderfully unique wrestling world. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 5 out of 5
An intricate game of time travel is being played in Earthdivers #3. We get to see two different versions of a character interact with our main cast, dropping valuable knowledge of the past and present all at once. It was actually turned out to be more enjoyable to hang out with our supporting cast more than the main player who went back in time to kill Christopher Columbus. — Tim Adams
Rating: 3 out of 5
Golden Rage feels like it needed more time to grow. The end of the series here with issue #5 felt quite rushed and didn’t bring about any satisfying conclusions to various character arcs or the overall plot. While it ties up on a somewhat optimistic note, it seems clear that there was a lot left to explore in this world. Whether we’ll ever see more from Golden Rage in the future remains unclear, but if this is truly the end, it’s pretty disappointing. — Logan Moore
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Though just the second of five issues, Hellboy in Love has already told a completed and unique narrative in the franchises’ larger tableau. Frequent Mignola collaborator Christopher Golden continues to deliver on the romantic angle of the storyline, while the traditional paranormal side leaves bit to be desired. Part of this is that artist Matt Smith, a new titan of the Hellboy franchise, is at his best in this series with the quieter moments. Hellboy and Anastasia holding hands is such a beautiful and tender moment, but it must come after several action beats that seem to like any kind of flow from one to the other. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 4 out of 5
Hexware #1 brings a delicious blend of high-tech and and the occult to Image Comics for readers looking to take a bit. Set in a world far ahead of our own, readers will find themselves sorting through the fantastical and the supernatural while Hexware‘s heroine kickstarts a dangerous mission. So if you love sci-fi as much as you do fantasy, this comic is definitely worth a try. — Megan Peters
Rating: 3 out of 5
Dark Horse Comics has a new addition in It’s Only Teenage Wasteland #1 by Curt Pires, Jacoby Salcedo, Mark Dale, and Micah Myers. There are early comparisons to titles like The Nice House on the Lake and What’s the Furthest Place From Here, but It’s Only Teenage Wasteland quickly differentiates itself from the competition. The first issue introduces a diverse cast and fleshes them out to the point where you can see where they’re coming from and what viewpoints they hold. Plus, the ending will leave you on the edge of your seat. — Tim Adams
Rating: 5 out of 5
Kaya #3 presents readers with a classic quest as Kaya and her Lizard-Rider companions are tasked with stopping a monstrous predator from ravaging the livestock of local farmers. Each step of the adventure is told with crystalline clarity – characterizing the individual relationships among the young warriors in addition to the nuances of this beast and the trap laid for it. Once the creature appears, Wes Craig treats readers to a sequence that leads ever further down a rabbit (or, rather, a spider’s) hole, including a splash page that will widen eyes and amplify expectations. It’s a fast-paced and utterly thrilling bit of action storytelling that delivers a stellar individual issue while surely developing the series’ underlying tensions and plots. If Kaya continues to deliver this pacing and promise with each issue, it will quickly rise to the top of many readers’ must-read list. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Combining the motifs of a futuristic satire with a whodunnit murder mystery gets you Know Your Station, a new series that is trying to do a lot but manages to succeed at most of it. Writer Sarah Gailey is quick to throw a lot of the world building at the reader, some of it clumsy, but manages to weave it together at its best when writing the sassy omnipotent AI at the core of the story. Artist Liana Kangas does their best work when depicting simple shots or exploring wide splashes, sometimes filling the frame with images seems to add too much. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
The Least We Can Do is a struggle to read through. I’m convinced that the comic would work better as a single volume – the issue ends on another weird note/story beat that had me convinced the review copy was missing pages. Sadly, the pacing remains a mess as well. The action sequences are fine – there’s been enough talking about the various magic and powers in the series to understand what’s happening, but the actual story beats remains a mess. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 2 out of 5
Albeit touching at times, Little Monsters #8 doesn’t do a great deal to move things forward. Still, that’s not to say it’s stagnant – it moves backwards and sideways as opposed to forward to add even more background still to our ragtag vampire group. The muted focus on black and white artwork does work against Little Monsters in a way within this issue given that some characters like Romie and Victoria honestly look quite similar to one another in the right light which in turn can make some otherwise impactful segments a bit confusing. — Tanner Dedmon
Rating: 3 out of 5
Magic: The Gathering #21 is a transitional issue in every sense. There’s a new co-writer, with Rich Douek joining Jed MacKay for a story that’s partly about the planeswalker heroes enjoying a brief respite while also setting up the next chapter of the “hidden planeswalker saga.” The three different artists aboard make the reading of it feel disjointed as the styles are not similar nor are they sectioned off in a way that makes any particular sense. It’s a minor annoyance in a functional if not particularly eventual issue. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Nocterra‘s Val Special reinvents the lead character from the series for her new status quo, and in doing so, gives fans a look at what feels likely to be coming in the future. With a script by Scott Snyder and Tony Daniel and art by Snyder’s Justice League collaborator Francis Manapul. While the Blacktop Bill Special had a lot going for it, Denys Cowan’s style was so wildly different from Daniel’s that it was sometimes challenging to see the story in the same universe as the ongoing. There’s no such problem here, especially when Manapul’s colors so perfectly match up with the palette fans are used to. The special throws a lot at you, and as Snyder is sometimes wont to do a lot of it is in expository bursts, but everything it throws at you feels rewarding and entertaining. — Russ Burlingame
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Bendis and Edgar take the opportunity to dive a bit further into the world of The Ones and in doing so, jack up the humor that help to make this issue feel a bit lighter than the premiere issue, which works well. The Ones has an interesting hook and Bendis is clearly having fun with the characters here, delivering punchy humor that had me chuckling a few times throughout my read. While the time jumps might throw some readers for a loop, they do work well in painting a picture and I’m interested to see where the comic moves to in the next chapter considering the humorous ending. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 4 out of 5
Quick Stops #2 gives fans the View Askewniverse crossover they never thought they’d get to see – Randal Graves from Clerks and Brodie Bruce from Mallrats. Fans of both films will appreciate seeing the two cousins finally get the chance to interact, being brought together for the funeral of another relative. What follows is classic Kevin Smith snappy dialogue, a very distinct type of eye-rolling bathroom humor and a legitimate passion for comics and late-90s pop culture. Like most Smith productions, it’s best appreciated if you have solid background knowledge on Smith’s entire catalog of work. — Connor Casey
Rating: 3 out of 5
The world of Radiant Black continues to expand and evolve in new and exciting ways, and after Radiant Pink’s showstopping appearances in the core series, it’s time for Eva’s spotlight in her very own mini-series. Thankfully she doesn’t disappoint, as writers Meghan Camarena and Melissa Flores bring together Eva’s charming demeanor and vivid power set and combine them with a compelling series hook, and the combination should net the hero an even bigger and well-deserved fanbase. Radiant Pink rides a wave of delightful energy throughout, and the pairing of Eva’s eternal optimism pairs well with Maddie’s more pragmatic approach, and there’s also welcome depth to explore in the loneliness and solitude this existence can bring. Artist Emma Kubert, colorist Rebecca Nalty, and letterer Becca Carey land those moments with impact but also shine when Eva’s powers are the focus, and you can’t help but lock in on all that vivid imagery as the book moves into its second half. Once that final hook clicks into place, it all makes for a stellar debut and a series that no Radiant fan will want to miss. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4 out of 5
Rick and Morty vs. Cthulhu is basically what it sounds like – a madcap tour of Lovecraft’s various fictions with Morty eradicating eldritch terrors wherever he finds them. The series is in keeping with the irreverent tone of the Rick and Morty comics (writer Jim Zub is something of a Rick and Morty pro, having written the duo before) and Lovecraft’s work are treated with both respect and appropriate disdain for Lovecraft himself. If you’re a Rick and Morty fan, you’ll enjoy this comic. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 4 out of 5
Robert Windom & Kelvin Mao’s loud satire of religion and global politics comes to an appropriately explosive and messy ending. Even after following this series since its beginning I’m not sure I could explain much of it to you, let alone what the ending means, but it at least has a narrative throughline that makes sense. As has been the case since issue #1 however, the art and panel layouts by Jae Lee with colors by June Chung remain the big selling point. Seven Sons #7 is perhaps the standout of them all as the frenetic paneling of the last issue, coupled with its extra pages, make it a visual feast. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
These short stories in Shock Shop have been fine for what they were, but both ended up resulting in some greatly anticlimactic conclusions. The main reason for this is that both “Familiars” and “Something In the Woods In the Dark” come to such sudden ends that it’s hard to know how I’m left to feel about either. This is more true with the latter tale, especially since it was one that did some extensive character work in its early chapters. While I never expected deep storytelling from these narratives, I’m hard-pressed to feel even a little bit satisfied with how both have wrapped up. — Logan Moore
Rating: 2 out of 5
Sonic the Hedgehog #55 carefully articulates the many sides of its climactic conflict, drawing four distinct positions that create a quickly changing series of alliances and confrontation. The story moves nearly as fast as its eponymous hero in drawing new characters into each sequence and altering the dramatic tensions. Readers, young and old alike, will appreciate Sonic and Tails’ attempting to help everyone, even when it puts them in unexpected positions. Artist Adam Bryce Thomas ensures that each shift in the action arrives with impact focusing on speed lines and exciting compositions to reveal every change. When the cliffhanger arrives and every figure racing about the setting is drawn together readers are left with sky high expectations raised throughout the issue. 2023 promises to be a great year for Sonic the Hedgehog. –– Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Fero Pe and Ronda Pattison have found a killer look for the ongoing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series during “The Armageddon Game” event. The tightly drawn characters and sharp line work pair well with the colors that just verge on bright while maintaining the book’s grounded, street-level tone. It’s the perfect look for Sophie Campbell’s story of unrest in Mutant Town as one new threat emerges after another. This is Turtles at its best. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 4 out of 5
The main Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Armageddon Game miniseries suffered a bit for being the cornerstone of the event. Where the main TMNT ongoing series and The Alliance miniseries can focus on Mutant Town and Karai, respectively, The Armageddon Game takes a wider view, checking in with the whole Splinter Clan as they’re spread across space. The result is a comic that is visually bogged down, with thick lines and lots of panels per page making the comic feel heavy. That’s not to say the visuals aren’t strong, because they are, and Tom Walz does his best trying to make everything feel cohesive by touching on several recurring themes, most notably the new skills Shredder taught the Turtles. Having to do most of the heavy narrative lifting for the event simply prevents this issue from singing quite as sweetly as the others. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
A divergence from That Texas Blood‘s regular story, Condon and Phillips craft a charming Christmas tale that should warm the heart of even the grinchiest of Scrooges. Though a story with seemingly little bearing on the overarching story with Sheriff Joe Bob, That Texas Blood #20 takes a deep dive into the growth of the Coates family and that, at heart, is what makes this title so special in the first place. This team always opts to put character first, and the end result is much better for it. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 5 out of 5
Undiscovered Country #22 unleashes some genuinely nasty surprises that are sure to leave readers twisting in their seat. A new antagonist’s introduction serves to provide readers with a significant new scale of context that promises to deliver nightmares for months to come, as well. The design of this new figure and setting make the extended exposition of unraveling one time travel trap worth the wait, although the amount of dialogue dedicated to explanation promises no space for subtext to hide. This is a plot-heavy issue that revels in revealing much more of the series’ design, and it promises much more to come before this arc concludes. The final page suggests what threads will be unraveled in the new year with a cliffhanger reveal that puts a perfect pin in this installment. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
No matter how fun of a book it is to look at, the actual experience of reading Vampirella vs. Red Sonja is too frustrating for its own good. This issue takes wide swaths of time to even get to both of its protagonists, much less meaningfully advance their roles in this ever-convoluted multiversal lore. Dan Abnett’s script definitely is entertaining, but it still feels inexplicably disjointed to anyone who isn’t a diehard fan of every character involved. Alessandro Ranaldi’s art and Ellie Wright’s colors make this chaotic journey more palatable – but it still remains to be seen if that journey is even worth taking in the first place. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 3 out of 5
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