October 25, 2021

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Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 8/11/2021

30 min read

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 ’89 #1, Defenders #1, and The Unbelievable Unteens #1.

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

DC #1

Burton’s Batman movies blended gangster fiction, pop art, and the director’s fondness for gothic outsiders to great success. Batman ’89 #1 leans heavily on the first element. There remains every reason to believe that creators with such apparent connections and reverence for the source material will embrace the other pieces as the story progresses and Harvey undergoes his villainous transformation. The essence of those Batman movies is present here, and this issue will allow those who always wanted more of them to revel in the continued saga. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Here’s the thing. There’s a lot to love about Batman: Urban Legends #6, but if you read one story this week please read “Cheer” part 6, even if you haven’t been following the story from the beginning. Granted, if you’ve been reading it this whole time, you’re going to adore how Chip Zdarsky brings this compelling tale to a close, delivering some of the best Jason Todd character work in quite some time. I don’t mean Red Hood either, I mean Jason, who at times can feel quite one-dimensional. In Cheer however we see just how much Jason looks up to not just Batman, but Bruce Wayne, and in the Bat’s case, Zdarsky delivers an all too rare honest look into is psyche and what would ultimately bring some element of happiness into his world. That story is brought to life by Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira, Scot Eaton, Julio Ferreira, Oclair Albert, Marcus To, and Adriano Lucas, but for having a huge team working on it the story feels remarkably cohesive. Cheer definitely deserves praise, but Joshua Williamson and Trevor Hairsine’s Black Canary story “Solo” is stellar as well, and whether she’s playing off of Green Arrow, Batgirl, or some other surprising characters, Canary always finds a way to command the spotlight, and I’m all in on this story too. Meghan Fitzmartin and Belen Ortega’s Tim Drake story “Sum of our Parts” shines as well, and while there will be plenty of talk about Drake’s personal revelation, it’s seeing Drake’s compelling journey towards that conclusion that makes the destination impactful. Now, Zealot’s Blood For Blood from Matthew Rosenberg and Chris Sprouse didn’t really grab me, but it wasn’t bad per se, it just didn’t click with me in any meaningful way. Batman: Urban Legends #6 is absolutely loaded, so do yourself a favor and add it to your stack. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Detective Comics #1041 is worth the cover price solely for Dan Mora’s fantastic artwork. There’s a single page spread that is just absolutely wonderful and will probably be one of those Batman pages that gets shared around Twitter and other corners of the internet for years to come. Amazing artwork aside, the story itself is starting to sag a bit under the weight of so many converging plot threads and storylines. There’s just a lot going on, and the nature of the comic (with two stories every issue) means that it feels like some of them just get pushed to the background or brushed over. The B-story sets up an intriguing potential direction for the Red Hood and gives us more of breakout character Deb Donovan, which is great. I’m curious to see how much of that gets followed up in the main story and how much will be used in another series. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

While I’m still not loving the black and white for this story over all and that especially holds here given that Future State: Gotham #4 follows some of Gotham’s most colorful characters, this chapter of the story is actually kind of refreshing and delightful. The issue sees Harley Quinn and Punchline do battle all while being chased by a bounty hunter while in Michael Golden’s secondary story, Batman also ends up dealing with a group of Clowns. There are some interesting reveals here, though the issue breaks away significantly from the book’s overall main plot. That’s not a bad thing, Dennis Culver does a great job with the story, though it does open up a world of questions for where this all fits in. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Milestone relaunch continues with Hardware: Season One and judging by this debut, the line hasn’t missed a beat. Brandon Thomas teams up with a pair of industry legends in Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz for this story, one that feels like it was ripped straight out out Hardware #1. The lineart is very reminiscent of the books of yesteryear, complementing Thomas’ abundant use of captions and internal monologues exceptionally well. The story and plot itself isn’t anything to write home about just quite yet, another street-level superhero trying to take a one-percenter. We’ll see where it goes from here. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

I Am Batman’s prequel issue provides us with a deep look into Jace Fox and his motivations for becoming the next Batman. John Ridley and Travis Foreman lay out just about everything you need to know about Jace in this opening issue – he’s an idealist with a complicated connection to Batman and entirely different motivations than Bruce Wayne or just about anyone else who’s ever taken up the mantle of Batman. A lot of the events in the comics feel very relevant to the modern day and provide a more “for the people” style origin story for Fox. In some ways, this direction for Batman reminds me of Superman’s reboot during the New 52, bringing him in line with his activist roots. It’ll be interesting to see this new, more activist Batman in action, and I’m looking forward to seeing what sort of mark Ridley makes on the overall Batman mythos. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 4 out of 5

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DC #2

Comic Reviews - Batman 89 #1
(Photo: DC Entertainment)

Infinite Frontier is an absolute revelation of a comic. This issue takes its disparate collection of DC heroes, anti-heroes, and villains and ups the ante in some stunning ways. To say anything more would potentially ruin the various twists and turns, each of which are deeply satisfying and unabashedly exciting. Joshua Williamson’s script truly honors the spectacle of previous DC events while injecting in a modern sensibility, and the art led by Xermanico continues to be truly excellent. This issue proves that this has the potential to be among the classics of DC Comics events. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 4.5 out of 5

While this latest issue of The Joker barely sees the Clown Prince of Crime at all, the installment does give us more insight into the mind of Jim Gordon, along with a strange riff on the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Joker #6 does tend to spin its wheels just a tad, but it’s clear that Tynion has a good grasp on the world and characters that he is working with, making the comic still well worthy of your time, Joker fan or not. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Both halves of this story click into place as the conflicts of the past and present are clarified, including the circumstances surrounding Martian Manhunter’s self-sacrifice. The first half of the story set in the past is by far the most effective. It’s not a terribly complicated arrangement and that’s for the best as it provides J’onn, a wildly underserved character in the modern Justice League, with a clear, clean objective and motivation. It’s a stark moment, but also a sacrifice any hero would be proud to make. That weight helps to better inform the present and alludes to further sacrifices and mistakes. However, the present storyline has faltered from a lack of context, something that is radically altered in the final few pages of Last Ride #4 as villains arrive and this conflict begins taking shape. Mysteries continue to loom, but there’s now a clear direction and plenty of context for readers to dig into. As Justice League: Last Ride ceases any hesitation, it appears the best moments of this story still lie ahead. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

Tie-in comics can be a mixed bag, but Pennyworth #1 is easily one of the best. Even if readers have never seen the Pennyworth television show, Scott Bryan Wilson has created a story about Batman’s iconic butler that is instantly recognizable as the familiar character, but gives him a depth that will make the reader love him even more. The book is suprisingly action-packed, but maintains this steady sense of calm that puts it somewhere between a Batman-style adventure and a Bond thriller. Juan Gideon brings his A-game with fantastic artwork that is only enhanced by John Rauch’s perfect, vintage-feeling colors. This is a knockout first issue that is quite honestly great. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

Rorschach‘s penultimate issue pushes the (still unnamed) protagonist towards the comic’s obvious endgame. After following a strange and twisting conspiracy for 10 issues, our hero seems to finally connect that he’s been set up by the very people he’s working with. We see him grapple with that knowledge through an extended imaginary back-and-forth with the very people he had investigated throughout the series. We also finally get to see Jorges Fornes unload a bit with some brilliant artwork that utilizes the Rorschach blotches in an interesting and visually dynamic way that doesn’t ape the original Watchmen series. Although I’m still not particularly impressed with this comic, this issue feels the most “Tom King” it’s been from the start and sets up what should hopefully be an interesting conclusion. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3 out of 5

Wonder Woman #777 packs a major surprise when it’s revealed exactly where Diana ended up at the end of last issue and it’s kind of a refreshing and entertaining twist that Conrad and Cloonan have served up when Wonder Woman ends up on Earth-11. However, while fun and inventive and very much needed, Janus is proving to be a bit of an underwhelming villain and there is some slightly cliche dialogue in the issue that pulls things down just a little. That said, in terms of pure enjoyment, Wonder Woman #777 might be the most fun issue of this arc to date and Emanuela Lupacchino’s art is absolutely fantastic – especially in a fight scene that pits Diana against a male version of herself. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Marvel #1

America Chavez: Made in the U.S.A. got off to a stellar start, but while there are elements to love about the series’ big finale, it, unfortunately, doesn’t quite meet that same high bar. The issue kicks off with personal stakes for America in the form of her brother and the starlings Catalina has collected, but after a few pages, the starlings are pretty much dropped from importance until after things are done, which just seems like an odd choice compared to how they’re presented initially. The ending to Catalina’s role in this story was also pretty abrupt and underwhelming, though that does lead to several moments afterward that highlight the series’ and America’s strengths. This is where America and writer Kalinda Vazquez shine, as the lessons learned are conveyed in a relatable way those spotlights on family completely pull you in, making you feel as if they’re your family too. Meanwhile, artist Carlos Gomez and colorist Jesus Aburtov are on their A-game, conveying the sense of loss and hope emanating from America and Catalina throughout. Also I will pay someone to give me this same team on an America and Spider-Man team-up book because that Boricua exchange was comedic gold. It wasn’t the finale I initially hoped for, but it still gets America to a new place and brings some welcome new elements into her life that should only make her adventures even better, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for her from here. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 3 out of 5

Avengers: Tech-On #1 from Jim Zub and Chamba launches Marvel’s attempt to adapt its familiar superheroes into the genre trappings of Japanese sentai shows like Super Sentai (the basis for Power Rangers) and Ultraman. The Red Skull, wielding the power of Thanos’ leftovers, strips the Avengers of their abilities, forcing them all to turn to Iron Man-designed armor suits to remain Earth’s defenders. What could be a fun genre mashup is a dull exercise in going through the motions of familiar tropes. Zub’s dialogue is flat and only seems interested in the surface-level references to standard character lore. Chamba’s artwork renders these characters with a touch of anime-inflected style, adding larger, expressive eyes and physiques that wouldn’t be out of place in a shonen manga. But he practically rumors all the linework from the pages, letting the digital coloring do all the work, resulting in forms that lack definition. The use of Red Skull here is also questionable, not because of the character in itself, but because he shows up with a redesign inspired by Japanese culture and “Orochi” minions. Somehow, borrowing the trappings of a genre created in Japan but applying Japanese touches to the Nazi villains and his minions while keeping the (broadly) American heroes in the forms most familiar to moviegoers comes off as exploitative. But even setting aside cultural sensitivity issues, with the central premise not coming to the fore until the final page, Avengers: Tech-On #1 is running on nothing but wasted potential. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 1 out of 5

It’s been a challenging journey as of late for Carol Danvers, and before she heads into whatever is in store for “The Last of the Marvels,” we get a quick little breather in the form of Captain Marvel #31. Granted, most would not call a battle in a research lab sewer against a deadly creature “a vacation,” but then again Carol’s life is anything but normal. Kelly Thompson’s dialogue and banter are as sharp and funny as ever, and Lauri-ell adds another layer of fun and flavor to the mix. The chemistry between Carol, Rhodes, and Lauri-ell is easily the issue’s biggest strength, and they all look dynamite thanks to the stellar artwork of Takeshi Miyazawa and Ian Herring. Now, while the issue does stand out for its comedic timing and superhero battle, it does also thankfully set the foundation for the series’ next big storyline, so don’t worry, because there is some substance with all of the fun. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4 out of 5

Children of the Atom has come to an end and the finale rushes to put things right before these five new heroes risk being dropped down the mutant memory hole forever. The series always presented itself as a character study with each of the first five issues focusing on a different member of the team. That’s also why this conclusion is deeply unsatisfying as page after page is spent on different monologuing individuals explaining what they learned. The dialogue is troublesome enough—filling entire pages with something that’s barely removed from an afterschool special—and not a single “lesson” reads as being genuinely learned. A parent flips from spouting anti-mutant rhetoric in flashbacks to having the exact right words. In rushing to set things right, Children of the Atom #6 breaks any sense that these are real human beings growing. What’s more is the complete disconnect from the issue’s thematic focus and visual interest. A showdown with Hordeculture provides some action, although an ambitious spread fails to effectively communicate how the teens take down a new X-Men and the action beat does not reinforce or connect with yet more speeches. The notion of five teens challenged by notions of identity and growth remains an alluring premise, especially within X-comics, but Children of the Atom failed to provide an effective focus for those characters and the finale shatters any illusion that they were much more than feel-good wish fulfillment. Alas. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

Daredevil #33 begins by explaining last month’s shocking cliffhanger and it’s a satisfying solution to the proposed puzzle; it also leaves Elektra/Daredevil with a terrifying new threat. Establishing such high stakes and maintaining them is a tightrope walk, but one this opening action sequence dances across crafting a clear cause-and-effect sequence that is thrilling and leaves room for round two. This flashy introduction pairs well with Kingpin’s more meditative mood and Detective Cole North’s descent into Matthew/Daredevil’s new “kitchen.” Even for an issue without more than a single glimpse of its leading man, it certainly sets expectations sky high with another intimidating final splash—one readers have every reason to believe will (once again) pay dividends in Daredevil #34. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

Defenders #1 is all introduction, but given the mighty aspirations it sets for the story to come that groundwork is required. What is truly impressive about this debut is not the plans it lays out for itself, although those may be great indeed, but how it makes even the most mundane storytelling tasks something to ponder. There are no missed opportunities through a relatively familiar collection of story beats and superpowered characters, transforming even an invitation into a cataclysmic collection of panels. Rodríguez’s imagination and creativity and unleashed on every page promising an impactful story from the start. If this first issue provides an accurate thesis statement for what’s to come, then the best still lies ahead and that’s saying something considering how accomplished the layouts and concepts presented here are. I’m ready to marvel at whatever comes next in this odyssey spanning all of space and time in Marvel Comics. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

Life Story is every bit as engaged with American history as the superhero mythos that inspires its title—something likely to put off loyal Fantastic Four fans as they encounter the consequences of international action. The miniseries continues to reserve superhero aesthetics for climactic moments, opting instead to focus on interpersonal complexities and the interwoven themes of technology, hubris, and apocalypse. Johnny Storm narrates a chapter in which both nuclear and climate apocalypses appear every bit as likely to eliminate humanity as Galactus provides an engaging counterpoint. His narration provides an excellent throughline for the issue, allowing Izaakse to emphasize “action” that’s compelling, but doesn’t involve any fisticuffs. Although the overall arc comes up short in contemplating how individuals should behave in the face of catastrophe, it offers a tone and story that can inspire even if good outcomes are far from assured. As a reflection on both family and country, Fantastic Four: Life Story tells a tale that emphasizes heroic humanity above superpowers—it’s about time. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Marvel #2

Comic Reviews - Defenders #1 2021
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

Writer Saladin Ahmed makes the most of what otherwise might be called a “filler issue” that bridges the gap of two storylines while also setting the stage for a new costume by doubling down on the personality of its star. Ahmed’s take on Miles Morales and his duty to family and community remains a highlight and the webslinging each issue only elevates it all. Guest Artist Chris Allen does good work filling in, delivering one of the most memorable splash pages in the history of this series that harkens back to the McFarlane era of the wall-crawler. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 4 out of 5

With this week’s installment, Runaways officially hits 100 legacy issues—and the creative team not only rises to the occasion, they soar above it. This issue takes all of the plot twists and turns that have plagued the team lately and throw them into an epic and unexpected blender, one that is filled with heart-wrenching moments that will change the team forever. Rainbow Rowell’s script is effortlessly executed and deeply satisfying, even while raising a thousand new questions. And Andres Genolet’s art is so perfectly emotive and heartfelt, bringing a style that has felt essential to this series in recent issues. I’m heartbroken that this seems to be the end of the Runaways’ story for the moment, but they could not have gone out on a higher note. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 5 out of 5

From the start, Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow has been a fantastic “What If?” story, but now that the finale is here everything, even last issue’s curveball, comes together brilliantly. The issue sees Peter face off one final time with the Symbiote, in an action-packed fight that also takes the reader into the very heart of the character. While the story does wrap up pretty quickly and neatly, there are some interesting ideas and concepts introduced at the very end as well that kicks the door wide open for this particular take on the Marvel Universe to get further exploration. Between the action, the world-building, and the pure heart, this is a fantastic issue that caps off a truly great Spidey story. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Despite quite a few wonky dialogue exchanges at the beginning of the issue (balancing innuendo and Star Wars has always been a challenge), the action throughout this latest High Republic tale is rather exciting. The connective tissue to previous issues isn’t as strong as it needs to be, but it’s an enjoyable read nonetheless. It seems like even more excitement is ahead. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 3 out of 5

While Saga of the Swamp Thing may have been the first superhero comic to truly consider the terrifying potential of plant life, X-Force has fastened onto that fount of creativity and applied it to espionage in a number of fashions, often unsettling and gruesome. X-Force #22 summons both in an issue that draws together several recent plot strands and offers a momentary conclusion. Although much of the issue delivers exposition disguised as dialogue, the ideas themselves are engaging enough not to care, and the related bits of action and gore deliver upon that imagined promise. It also centers the X-Force team and their dynamics, with Beast providing some disquieting beats (as he uses a toe-knife possibly inspired by It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia). X-Force #22 is a return to form as it delivers a compelling villainous arc in a single issue and embeds that in a story in which there are obvious bad guys, but no one looks particularly good. Who would have thought espionage and salad blended so well? — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

After reading X-Men: Legends #5, it was unclear how Peter David would write X-Factor out of the political ethics quagmire he’d written for them. I couldn’t have guessed that the answer would be having Quicksilver tattle to a supervillainous dictator in super speed. The way the issue depicts members of X-Factor not only resorting to calling on Doctor Doom, portrayed here strictly as an oppressor, to solve their problem, but seeming to revel is unsettling. David’s original X-Factor run was always a strange blend of humor and mutants in an ethically compromised position simply by the nature of their working with the government. This issue keeps some laughs, but the characters here no longer seem ethically compromised but morally absent. These X-Men: Legends stories often struggle to justify their existence, but this one may make the previous work it intends to complement retroactively worse. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

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Other Publishers #1

Bitter Root comes to an unexpected conclusion with issue #15. As the afterword states, this isn’t the end of the Sangerye family’s story, but it is the end of this particular chapter for now. While there is certainly a lot of action in the issue, what I enjoyed most is that how the Sangerye had to find a solution that didn’t involve direct violence against the monsters plaguing humanity. While the conclusion felt a bit rushed, I still loved this comic as a whole and I hope that it won’t be too long until we see the next generation of Sangerye continue the fight. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 4 out of 5

Patrick Foreman & Brian Hawkins’ race-swapped story, the later of whom pens the script, continues to spin an interesting tale that’s worth the read; though perhaps this month features a moment where the concept doesn’t fully work (E.G.: Would Public Enemy as we know them exist in this world of swapped racial dynamics?). As outlined before the Twilight Zone aesthetic in both form and function continues to be a fun exercise with artist Marco Perugini continuing to do great work with the gray-scale of the visuals. Like the previous issue though the wheels feel like they’re spinning, with the series not yet moving past the core concept into something bigger. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The team of Palicki and Cavalcanti do a lot of world-building in this second issue of the story that is steeped in magic and mysticism, and the series proves that it’s able to juggle the extraordinary with some lovable characters. While the series could use a bit more stability with its overall arc, it still managed to be a fun read and had me laughing more than a few times. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

After a near-fatal break-in attempt, Tyler attempts to cope with the close call, resulting in him growing closer to one figure from his past while distancing himself from another. It seems that the voices he hears in his head aren’t limited only to him, while the one person he thought he could trust might end up being the one he should be afraid of. With each issue Bunny Mask, we’re given only enough clues about the supernatural mythology to justify the events of each issue, making for an impressive accomplishment for a series to continue to captivate the reader while also leaving them almost completely in the dark. Rather than being a delivered a library of horror-story tropes, each issue finds ways to surprise and creep us out, both with its twisted story and unsettling art. We still have no idea what direction this frightening series is going, but we’re happy to go along for the ride. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 4 out of 5

By The Horns #4 continues Elodie’s quest for vengeance, even though her goal has shifted towards taking down a cabal of warlocks rather than killing unicorns. Elodie clearly has issues with unicorns still, even though she’s an effective team with the pair who have reluctantly joined her party. There’s still some information that we seem to be missing or hurdle that Elodie needs to subconsciously overcome, because even she doesn’t seem so stubborn to discriminate against creatures who have saved her life multiple times. This is a fun issue with some uneven pacing, but I’m continuing to enjoy each issue. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 4 out of 5

Campisi: The Dragon Incident mashes together dragons with inner city organized crime. The end result is a surprisingly nonchalant tone, and while the main character isn’t very likable there might be something fun here. — Connor Casey

Rating: 3 out of 5

If the first issue of Clans of Belari did a lot of legwork to set up this world, the second issue is heavy on characterization. Although there’s a lack of action or excitement as a result, this switch in focus allows us to get to know the protagonists better at the center of this story, which is one thing that felt lacking in the inaugural book. We’re also introduced to what seems to be the main villain of the series moving forward in issue #2, but I’m not sure what to make of him just yet. If nothing else, I will say I’m more invested and interested in seeing where Clans of Belari goes from this point on, so in that regard, this is a solid second outing. — Logan Moore

Rating: 3 out of 5

Scout’s latest offering that continues the story of Phantom Starkiller tells its story seamlessly following the conclusion of its initial issue, this time around focusing on the major villain of this intergalactic universe. Count Draco Knuckleduster #1 might have a ridiculous name, but that doesn’t stop the issue from being a tremendous amount of fun, mimic the pulp action of the 1980s, while also telling a solid story along the way. Definitely one of Scout’s best series at the moment. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 4 out of 5

Deep Beyond #7 takes the story a lot deeper, but the continued issue of interesting elements that don’t fully connect that has been an issue for the whole series remains strong here. The issue doesn’t build on the importance placed on Paul in Deep Beyond #6 and instead, takes the reader into the past to establish another plotline with connections to the “present” story. With all of the new information, it’s almost a situation where each new issue requires a from-the-start re-read, which makes things a bit cumbersome. The art here is a bit improved, though and there’s a sharp turn at the end that injects some interest, but it feels a bit like a case of too little too late this deep into the series. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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Other Publishers #2

Going into Eve #4, I was worried that it wouldn’t cover the necessary ground in its penultimate installment—and I couldn’t be happier to be wrong. This issue takes the reveal of Eve and her doppelganger and uses it to cover a profound amount of the series’ worldbuilding, answering almost all of the key questions while also providing a gut punch of emotional moments. Victor LaValle’s script is one of the most heartfelt and honest parables about the current climate crisis that I’ve seen, and it could not make me more excited to see where this incredibly personal, but universal story ends up. With subtly-inspired art choices from Jo Mi-Gyeong and color work from Brittany Peer, this issue largely knocks it out of the park. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 4 out of 5

The second and final part of Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden’s latest Hellboy story plays out about how you’d expect, but just because it fits the mold doesn’t mean it’s not still entertaining. Artist Shawn McManus is given the heavy-duty task of near non-stop action beats throughout, plus flashbacks with distinct visuals, and a house that is being destroyed. They do solid work with this throughout, save for one panel where the most minor piece of poor work is the most noticeable I hate to say. The Secret of the Chesbro House didn’t re-invent the wheel for Hellboy but is a nice distraction for fans of the character. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3 out of 5

The penultimate installment of The House of Lost Horizons quickly whittles down the suspect list as the intrepid investigators work their way through various alibis and stories. It’s easy to see in the moment how the larger mythos surrounding Sarah Jewell could easily infuse future mysteries for a more engaging whodunnit, but in the moment they read as box-checking—clarifying characters before revealing the murderer. However, the final act of this issue provides a lot of promise for the finale and plays upon classic mystery tropes in outstanding fashion. Readers are returned to a clue that many of us likely overlooked and it leads to a thrilling revelation, as well as an excellent chase sequence from artist Leila Del Duca. With so much exposition covered here, it’s not difficult to imagine the final revelations paying off much of the careful table setting that has occurred thus far. If you’ve come this far, then I expect you’re eagerly anticipating The House of Lost Horizons #4, whether or not earlier issues have met or exceeded expectations. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

KISS accepts an offer to play a private concert for a tycoon who claims to be a huge fan of the band as a reward to his workers, only for this to be a dangerous and deadly ploy to get the band there for reasons not entirely known to us. While we might only be one issue into this series, there’s nothing about it that feels like anything more than a chance to cash in on the KISS name and brand. Readers are only given minor hints at where the story is headed (which is set to feature robots and kaiju, for some reason) or the significance of having KISS be the main characters. Even the art features lots of big panels with generic backgrounds, feeling more like filler than an opportunity to tell a unique story, so while we can’t give up hope on the concept entirely, it’s surely off to an underwhelming, albeit inoffensive, start. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 2 out of 5

Mamo #2 builds on the first issue with a more detailed explanation of Orla’s magic, the fey, and other aspects about this strange, whimsical world of the comic. What I’m most impressed about is how Sas Milledge presents magic in the comic – the fey and other creatures are small and easy to miss, and the villagers have inadvertently upset the balance in unexpected ways. I enjoyed the gentle mystery of the comic and how it seemed dangerous without imposing – there’s no violence but there is harm here. Honestly, as a fan of folklore, I’m a wholehearted fan of Mamo and can’t wait to read more. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 5 out of 5

A Man Among Ye seems to thrive in chaos, but it takes a bit of a different approach in the seventh chapter. Skepticism, subterfuge, different perspectives, and promises of treasure fill the pages of this issue with varying results. The time spent setting up a newcomer, Amira, is understandable, but it leaves little room for Anne and her crew to take the spotlight. Couple that with a new assailant and asides from Jack and there’s little left of what made the past issues so intriguing, but it’s not a totally unappreciable direction to take either assuming the delivery in the next issue was worth the setup. — Tanner Dedmon

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Revelation prequel continue with the ultimate Skeletor origin story, one that may or may not be accurate. As seen in this title’s debut issue last month, this comic series is doing some heavy lifting when it comes to fleshing out the world of Eternia even further. While the plot narrows here and focuses on just two characters, that world-buidling is still as active as ever—almost to a fault. If anything, Masters of the Universe: Revelation #2 exists to get from Point A to Point B without providing a meaningful trajectory forward, a rarity this early in a comic arc. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 3 out of 5

Midnight Western Theater #3 provides an intriguing clue about Ortensia’s past and her transformation from wide-eyed young girl to a practitioner of the occult, before turning to a strange tale about an Native American who seemed to be led to an encounter with a monstrous skinwalker. Ortensia and Alexander only make a fleeting appearance in the issue, but it’s an important role in the one-off story. While I enjoyed the mostly standalone nature of the comic, I felt like this issue mostly spun its tires in terms of the overall series – we get a few brief glimpses of some new mysteries, but there’s still plenty to learn about the comic’s actual leads instead of spending a full issue following a character who (at least at first glance) doesn’t have a larger role to play. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3 out of 5

Well the much-talked-about issue is finally here, and it will undoubtedly have people talking. The big reveal, which I won’t spoil here, is quite effective, but it’s effective because of the foundation that’s laid in the pages leading up to it, and that’s not something that should get glossed over. A twist is only good if you care about the characters and world at the center of it, and writer Ryan Parrott successfully creates compelling conflicts that help you buy into the decisions they make and why. There are no sudden changes of ideals without the context necessary to believe in them, and when we finally get to the destination, it all comes together quite nicely. All of those elements are heightened thanks to the gorgeous work of Dan Mora, Raul Angulo, and Jose Enrique Fernandez, and they even gift the Power Rangers world with a brand new character and killer design that fans will be clamoring to see more of. Mighty Morphin #10 sets the table for some big things to come, and it did so with impact and style. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Other Publishers #3

Comic Reviews - The Unbelievable Unteens #1
(Photo: Dark Horse Comics)

Ordinary Gods continues to be one of my favorite new series in 2021. The world and plot that writer Kyle Higgins has established continues to become more engrossing with every turn of the page in this follow-up. While there isn’t much action in this second issue, we are presented with explanations about many of the questions that were presented in the last book. Even though there are still many more questions to be had than answers at this point, I’m still very excited to see how Ordinary Gods evolves from here. And if the last panel of this issue is anything to go off of, this series seems like it’s only just beginning to gear up. — Logan Moore

Rating: 4 out of 5

After a first issue that was good—but not great—Red Sonja: Black, White, Red is showing the true potential of its concept. This issue’s trio of stories all subtly get to the root of what makes Red Sonja storylines so fun, whether in watching her go up against grandiose villains, helping the common man, or some combination of the two. This issue also takes some creative, but not quite groundbreaking, approaches to the series’ muted color scheme, with the crimson red elements of each story really able to pop. The tones of each story—both narratively and visually — feel unique, but also perfectly encapsulate the significance of Red Sonja herself, particularly with David F. Walker, Will Robson, and Hassan Ostmane-Elhaou’s “Listen Close.” Anyone who is a fan of Red Sonja and the kind of stories she’s capable of being in could definitely stand to check this out. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 4 out of 5

It took a while to get there, but The Secret Land #3 gets exactly where it needs to be. We’ve seen plenty of stories of Nazis dabbling in the occult, yet Emgard and Aira manage to keep this take fresh by keeping the story grounded and all-too-realistic. The story is tiny in scope, even though it involves inter-dimensional travel and beasts from other realities. Now that there’s only one issue left, part of me wonders we didn’t get this horror-laced insanity much earlier on. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

I am thrilled to know that The Silver Coin will continue as an anthology series, including many more talented writers joining Michael Walsh in months to come. However, if the series ended here with Walsh’s origin story for the titular, cursed object, it would be a masterful volume unto itself. In The Silver Coin #5, Walsh returns to colonial America and tracks a witchhunter into a town well served by a pagan observer. The cruelty and injustice of his actions set against a witch’s kindness creates a stark relief that effortlessly summons the complex thematics of this era. Walsh recognizes that this story’s timeless quality come from its simplicity and focuses on telling the story well. There’s no need to show the devil or develop additional lore—instead, the characters make it clear that one death or a thousand can be a tragedy as clear caregivers, cowards, and plain monsters. It’s an excellent end note for now and one that promises so much more, as the sins of the past only inspire new terrors across the centuries. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton introduces its most (and perhaps only) charming cast member yet in Allison Sainte-Marie, an incredibly talented young martial artist without a career due, yet again, to Trigger. Readers who thought the car chase from last issue set a high bar are bound to be astounded by the roadhouse style brawls that Allison brings with her. It also highlights Terry Komodo’s genuine skills in a series of increasingly hilarious confrontations. Allison’s inclusion also shines a spotlight on the misogyny that pervades Hollywood and is embodied in Trigger’s corpse. Her treatment rarely undermines her own skill and agency, but walks a delicate line. As the series comes ever closer to finding a suspect, the various sidekicks prove to be an impressive ensemble (less Miles Ngyuen’s unending blank stare). This is an already impressive and consistently entertaining series that appears to only possess room for growth as it continues. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

While nearly every Star Wars tale focuses around the Jedi, its outcasts and scoundrels have always made for the franchise’s strongest characters. Ty Yorrick is no exception. A Force sensitive monster hunter tracking down alien beasts around the galaxy? Yes please. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Unbelievable Unteens #1 begins to flesh out yet another corner of the Black Hammer world readers have yet to visit. In true Black Hammer fashion, it scales back on the classic superhero tropes by stripping these ideas down to their core so Lemire and company can hit hard on what works. On that front, Unteens is a peak-Black Hammer book. It never takes itself too seriously and has as much fun as one can have while existing as a comic. I don’t want to call it “peak sequential storytelling” or anything quite like that, but you can definitely tell when creators are having a blast making a comic book—and that’s abundantly apparent in the pages of Lemire and Crook’s The Unbelievable Unteens #1. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

The New Day: Power of Positivity still has the heart of why the WWE trio is so successful. Unfortunately, the book decides to diverge even further away from what really happened when the group rose to prominence, and what they’ve swapped in is just goofy. It also makes a mad dash towards its conclusion in the final few pages, ending the two-issue series on little more than a shrug. New Day still rocks, but this comic stumbles. — Connor Casey

Rating: 2 out of 5

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