Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 9/22/2021 – ComicBook.com

By Chase Magnett – September 22, 2021 11:00 am EDT
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 Aquaman: The Becoming #1, Death of Doctor Strange #1, and Once & Future #20.
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.
Though readers quickly learn that the first pages aren’t exactly what they seem, they do lead into the parts of Becoming that work best, Jackson Hyde’s relationship with those around him. The scenes he shares with other DC heroes of the piece (Aquaman, Mera, several Titans) are like a kaleidoscope of his personality shades, but a sequence where he shares a meal with his mother and is on the receiving end of flirtations might be its best. Where Becoming really sings is in its quieter moments – the big splash pages that revel in the setting or the larger action panels that compliment the dialogue setting them up. One panel of Hyde emerging from the sea and into the morning air at Amnesty Bay is simply wonderful. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 5 out of 5
While one of the major flaws In Tynion’s Batman run is exposition, specifically repetitive exposition, Batman #113 somehow manages to keep some of the worst of his tendencies at bay enough for the smaller pieces of the “Fear State” story to come together. That isn’t to say this is good. Tynion once again rehashes most of the things he’s already presented in recent issues—Simon wants to use fear to essentially take over Gotham with his Magistrate and Scarecrow has his own reasons for being part of it—and while it’s still a snooze-worthy premise even on repeat, revealing Scarecrow’s real motivation is a nice touch. The slower pace also helps things feel like less of a hot mess and Jimenez’s artwork certainly elevates the whole thing. Ultimately though, the closer we get to the end of Tynion’s run, the more it seems like the real plan is just to keep repeating things and hope no one notices there’s no “there” there. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Everything comes together in Batman: The Detective #5 in a thrilling fashion; just be certain not to think about the villain’s motive for too long. This issue features everything readers might want from a Batman comic – over-the-top action, uncanny detective work, and a network that sprawls across the globe. This is Batman at the top of his game confronting an antagonist who demands all of his resources, and that makes for a thrilling read when all of the pieces are assembled at once. That is especially true when Kubert draws a hostage situation with more than two dozen figures in play, but never loses track of the momentum once. The Detective #5 also earns the earlier connections and appearances that have primarily added flavor through this installment, also suggesting the series may be read in a more consistent fashion when collected. The only real issue with this issue is that Equilibrium’s motive for slaying those Batman has saved becomes obviously ridiculous after more than two seconds of consideration, especially given the cliffhanger here. Best to focus on the explosions and exciting reveals because it’s clear her character isn’t meant to last past issue #6. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
This Miracle Molly one-shot is easily one of my favorite Batman or Batman-adjacent comics I’ve read this year. The issue tells the quasi-origin story of the cyberpunk-influenced antihero, which spins out in an unexpected and emotional way, the circumstances of which I absolutely would not have expected when the character first made her debut. What takes the issue from compelling to downright revolutionary is the art from Dani, which adds her breathtaking salt-of-the-Earth surrealism to a tale that could have easily been chosen in more of a predictable style. Both the massive splash pages and the intricately-crafted panel layouts are a marvel to look at, especially when paired with Tom Napolitano’s striking color work. This issue succeeded in exactly what a Secret Files should accomplish—making me walk away with a deeper newfound appreciation for a flashy new character. — Jenna Anderson
Rating: 5 out of 5
The “Fear State” event has now made its way to the pages of Catwoman, and it has only heightened the series’ kinetic, unabashed sense of style. After the explosive events of the most recent issue, Selina is forced to reckon with what the future holds, with the help of an impressive and ever-growing cast of heroes and villains. Ram V’s script lingers in just the right places, while also taking on the daunting task of tying into the events of countless other issues. Nina Vakueva’s art perfectly fits the style of the series while also providing a must-needed frenzied feeling, one that is elevated by Jordie Bellaire’s colors and Tom Napolitano’s letters. This both feels like a pivotal chapter in the larger tapestry of “Fear State” and in Selina’s individual story, and it’s a piece of connective tissue that feels incredibly necessary. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The saga of Wally West taking over the mantle of the Flash continues, with Adams and Duce examining a light-hearted one and done story. While there are hints at a big threat on the way, it feels like the weakest part of the story, but is thankfully only given one page. There’s a lot of territory to explore between Wally and his children, Jai and Iris, and while there isn’t much here in terms of super speed, we get a good look into what really makes West different from his mentor, Barry Allen. Adams has a keen grip on what makes Wally West work as a character, and while this issue isn’t breaking the wheel, it makes for a good, and touching, superhero romp for the new Crimson Speedster. –Evan Valentine
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Dick Grayson takes a side-step from his deconstructed superhero arc and jumps right back into the action here in Nightwing #84, the first tie-in to DC’s new “Fear State” event. The change in pace in instantly noticeable as gone is Bruno Redondo’s artwork, a brief departure for Robbi Rodriguez to step in. Rodriguez’s work is a perfect match at hand because the use of charcoal and chalk-like brushes creates a hasty story, and that’s exactly the type of script Tom Taylor lays out. With the steamroller they got moving with the previous issues, this one here feels like a step back as it avoids everything the title has been building towards completely. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 3 out of 5
Shazam #3 is fun but frustrating. There’s a power struggle going on down in Hell, but the story keeps pushing it back to the margins to be handled elsewhere. Then just as it looks like Billy needs to make an impossible choice as Deus Ex Machina swoops in to completely resolve the issue. At least the art is still great. — Connor Casey
Rating: 3 out of 5
While the third issue of Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow delivered on the hype the title has received over its short run thus far, issue #4 crumples a bit under the weight of its narrative. Very much a montage of sorts, with each little moment set to demonstrate just how worthy and wonderful Kara is as she and Ruthye make their way across the universe, the issue is starting to feel less and less like a cohesive story. there’s a lot space that’s taken in the issue recapping everything we already know. It’s a repetitive exposition, albeit well-written, that we don’t really need and frankly feels like it lends nothing to the story nor breaks any new ground as we further explore Supergirl as a character. She’s slowly shifting into this holy figure here and while the art is absolutely stunning, the story isn’t really substantive enough here compared to it. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 3 out of 5
Where the first arc of Alien sought to remix familiar elements from the franchise, “Revival” introduces a variety of new concepts to the series and offers a promising reset after that disappointing introduction. The story leaps ahead two years to a religious colony in the final stages of terraforming and claiming the moon Euridice (a wink and nudge for fans of Greek mythology). It’s the newness of this setting—opening with a beautiful splash of alien flora and fauna—which makes the promise immediately evident. This is a setting unlike any fans have seen realized on film and the people are every bit as different, too. While only broad strokes are delivered in the first issue of “Revival,” it’s apparent this faith is a response to the conditions the Alien franchise regularly addresses – rampant capitalism and oligarchic control. The new settings are pristine in Larrocca’s hands and set the stage for a number of exciting environments to be explored. It’s unfortunate that his human figures fail to bear that same grace, but the photorealistic style tumbles into the uncanny valley once more. This is particularly distracting at the end of Alien #7 when readers witness a chestburster emerge from a figure whose anatomy fails to deliver the intended effect. This issue is still a notable improvement upon what preceded it and it shows tremendous potential in exploring genuinely new territory rather than reimagining narratives already told in excellent fashion. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Death of Doctor Strange #1 is something we’ve seen plenty of before, yet here it doesn’t have the benefit of a publisher-wide event status. Marvel’s trying to set this up as its own miniature event while still including as many characters as it can. The first issue alone is a who’s who of Marvel Comics’ mystics and before you close the back cover, even the Avengers get involved. Despite all that, this introductory issue serves as an intriguing launch of something that might become something epic—or something that we’ve seen one too many times before. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Ben Grimm remains the most fantastic part of Slott’s FF run. He’s written so well and continues to be the beacon of hope the team, and the readers, need Ben to be, in spite of whatever is happening to him. The dilemma regarding Johnny’s powers may wear out its welcome sooner rather than later, but as long as Slott is using it to examine the relationships of the Richards/Storm family, it’s got some interesting juice left in the tank. — Charlie Ridgely
Rating: 4 out of 5
This is a bit of a slower issue of Gamma Flight compared to the previous three installments. The majority of this book sets in motion the events that will take place in issue #5, which is the final book in this mini-series. And while there is some good character work and action to be had in this issue, what’s here didn’t really resonate with me in a major way. Still, Gamma Flight has been nothing but great up until this point and I remain very much invested in seeing how the series will wrap up. –– Logan Moore
Rating: 3 out of 5
The final moments of “The Last Annihilation” have finally arrived and, well…they might be some of the quietest moments of the whole event. Naturally, our protagonists stop Dormammu from overtaking the galaxy—that much was a given. How they do so, however, was a pretty interesting concept in the grand scope of things, a moment that’s reminiscent of something ripped straight out of 1994. The issue also reveals Doom had ulterior motives all along (who woulda thunk?!), and suddenly the cosmos is safe. There are some interesting developments here with Rich Rider, but outside of everything else, this mini-event really ended with a whimper compared the other entries in the line the past few months. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 3 out of 5
When a creative team fully understands who a character and what makes them compelling in the first place, it is a truly magical thing, and I can’t think of a better recent example than Moon Knight. Jed MacKay, Alessandro Cappuccio, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Cory Petit bring their absolute A-Game to Moon Knight #3, and I’m being serious when I say that the last four pages left me completely giddy and jumping out of my chair. There’s already been a few quintessential Moon Knight moments in this run, but if you aren’t hyped on Moon Knight after issue #3? Well then truthfully nothing will ever get you hyped, because this was simply a home run all the way through. A payoff with Hunter’s Moon that feels satisfying but leaves room for more is coupled with an introduction to new elements of the Khonshu and Moon Knight legacy that open up all sorts of possibilities, culminating in an ending sequence that showcases just how volatile and badass our favorite hero can be. Plus, it’s all absolutely gorgeous, so if you didn’t pick it up, you might want to turn around right now and head back to the store, because this issue more than deserves the return trip. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 5 out of 5
I’m a sucker for a comic that captures the true essence of a family, and that’s part of why Reptil has become a favorite over the past few months. The trio of Humberto, Julian, and Eva are the heart of this book through and through, and it’s their friendship that really makes the series work. You care about them as individuals because Terry Blas invested the time to really explore their unique personalities and what each of them brings to the table, but their scenes are just as compelling when they’re simply talking at the house because of how heartfelt their connection comes across. The same goes for Beto’s connection with his Uncle, and while I never really came around to the villain, I appreciated the concept behind the villain, and it led to a moment of growth for the hero and a thrilling final action sequence, which Enid Balam and Carlos Lopez knocked out of the park. Reptil truly surprised me, and it showcased just how great this hero and his mythology can be, so fingers crossed we don’t have to wait too long before we get to see back in action. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4 out of 5
In pursuit of Han Solo, Valance and Dengar collide with a number of other bounty hunters, as Valance ends up uniting with an unexpected ally in hopes of “rescuing” Solo from carbonite. Of all the characters involved in the “War of the Bounty Hunters” event, what Bounty Hunters has going for it is that it has the most exciting figures. Narratively, there’s little to engage with, as Valance is merely continuing his trajectory towards Solo, while we’re offered a handful of exciting panels featuring combat. Given how one-dimensional all the characters featured in Bounty Hunters typically are, not being a complete slog automatically makes this installment feel refreshing, even if it’s still not as engaging as the other titles participating in the ongoing event. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 3 out of 5
Just when you think that Peter David can’t get any crazier with this story, Symbiote Spider-Man: Crossroads #3 drops and the bar gets set to a new level of insane that is unlike anything we’ve seen before and for all the chaos, this slightly disjointed story is proving to be a heck of a ride. The issue finds Spidey hanging out with Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur, which is pretty wild by itself, but the real insanity is what goes down with Bruce Banner. David busts out the Guilt Hulk. It’s an unexpected hard left turn that rocks the rest of the issue – Doctor Strange starts to come up with a plan to save Peter, but that doesn’t quite work out but really, Guilt Hulk is more fun to focus on here – but it’s one that just makes you crave more. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
We’re already at the penultimate issue of The United States of Captain America and while that’s a bit sad because this has been a fantastic series, this is also the issue where things get crazy. Steve and Sam are joined by Bucky as they put out the call for heroes of the Captains Network, but things take a turn when not only does Steve reach out to an unexpected hero to have held the Captain America mantle, but the villains make their big move. What works so well witht his issue is that Cantwell manages to use a completely insane twist—spoiler, it involves Nazis—and use it as commentary on the state of our nation today. On top of that, the new “Captain” introduced in the issue, Arielle, is the kind of hero that one might not associate with Captain America, but is an excellent addition, taking on the rich and untouchable. While this issue has a distinctively more “comic booky” feel than previous issues, it’s absolutely fantastic. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 5 out of 5
X-Corp boasts one of the most unique rosters in the Krakoan lineup, and when the series takes advantage of that stellar lineup, it absolutely shines. Thankfully most of X-Corp #5 got the memo, and it allows the issue to lean into its strengths. Tini Howard’s eclectic group is just so different from other teams, and when Howard runs with characters like Mastermind, Selene, Madrox, or Trinary the book feels fresh and distinct from the other X-books. That’s not to say the moments featuring Angel and M are bad at all, but they just don’t have the same lift and energy that the other characters bring to their scenes. Meanwhile, Alberto Foche and Sunny Gho craft some lovely sequences throughout, and Angel and Selene both shine in their talented hands. As for flaws, it is a little befuddling how the X-Men, who now have all the technology and resources at their disposal, are still consistently infiltrated, surprised, or deceived, especially when reading people and intentions is something M and Angel are supposed to be good at. Thing is, the Madrox stuff this issue makes up for it, as does Mastermind, so I’ll let it slide. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
This volume of X-Men is determined to drive home a sense of bigness, and Pepe Larraz does it instantly with the first two pages of this issue. Between the size of The High Evolutionary’s ship on the opening page and the regality and pomp of his arrival on the following splash page, the issue quickly communicates an impressive sense of scale. Larraz then drives home a palpable sense of impact when the battle ensues. Marte Gracia’s unusual green color palette may be growing on me, or it might be best suited for stories involving aggressive alien space people. Either way, it sets a visual tone that sets X-Men apart from other superhero series. Gerry Duggan strays dangerously close to losing each character’s personality in exchange for quippy one-liners, but he gets the laughs for the most part. Despite all the bigness and action, there are some wonderfully intimate character moments, including a brilliant bit of visual storytelling involving Synch giving away some blood. X-Men #3 is about as impressive a superhero comic as you’re going to find on the shelf. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Of all the X-Men: Legends issues thus far, X-Men: Legends #7 is the one that feels least stuck in the era that inspires it. That’s partly down to Wolverine and how his solo stories tend to have a well-established tone and model that writers often don’t stray far from (and often fall flat when they do). It’s also in part due to Larry Hama’s mastery of the fundamentals of storytelling and his familiarity with this character. Here, Hama throws as many of the quintessential Wolverine tropes at readers as he can muster, including the teen girl sidekick (Jubilee), and the trip to Japan. He also starts pulling one villain after another out of the woodwork towards the end, which is distracting. Bill Tan’s artwork feels more of a time, specifically the early 2000s, but he sells the blood and gore and brutality of the fight scenes that Hama stages. There are some pages that look awkward, as if the colors have overtaken the linework and give everything a fuzzy digital gradient, but on the whole, this is a solid Wolverine solo outing. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 3 out of 5
If The Way of X, and its final chapter The Onslaught Revelation, possess a clear flaw, it’s an excess of ambition. This is a superhero series which sought to address potent philosophical questions concerning identity, purpose, and justice, and then did so with abandon. The capstone of this Nightcrawler-led exploration is equal parts treatise and one-crazy-night adventure. It deftly avoids the pitfalls of Onslaught’s original revelation by combatting a psychic entity with psychic concepts; this is what ensures the story functions. Everything about the conflict is steeped in character and Spurrier elevates new additions and never-were’s, like Lost and Fabian Cortez, to being fully realized individuals. Even if elements of the resolution appear hand-wavey, they are rooted in the resolution of real conflicts filtered through the lens of superhero tropes. And every emotion resonates from the page, alongside a series of spectacular Bob Quinn designs that reflect the strange psychic space in which these conflicts of ideas are made real. The adventure, even in moments of vagueness, is nothing short of astounding as a result and what it promises next holds even more potential. Bravo. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
And just like that, Black Hammer: Visions comes to a close with arguably the biggest creative team of the title—Scott Snyder and David Rubin. Featuring a Western tale complete with the Horseless Rider, Snyder takes readers on a quick trip to the macabre as we visit ghosts and the undead. Combined with Rubin’s artwork that adds an instant pulp feel to it, Visions #8 may be the prettiest book of the bunch itself. As with other entries in this anthology, this book neither really adds or detracts from the primary Black Hammer storyline. It does, however, finally lay some groundwork for the Horseless Rider, giving a character we may or may not see again some time to shine. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4 out of 5
The conclusion of this series is nearly as confounding as its debut, as Tyler and Sherriff Roger aim to uncover the truth of what’s happening to them, only for the mystery to grow ever deeper. Part of the appeal of Bunny Mask has been its ambition in regards to its horrors, as well as the ambiguity that allowed it to be defined to one subgenre. However, now that we’re at the fourth and final issue, we’re left with an underwhelming feeling of not knowing why these events transpired in the first place, leaving us frustrated with its lack of resolution. While a follow-up volume was teased in the final pages, that still doesn’t make up for such an abrupt ending to the series, even if this issue managed to deliver some of the book’s most unsettling sequences yet. Given the potential of the concept, we wish we could have gotten just a bit more insight into the overall experience, as things felt both rushed and unresolved with just these four issues. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 3 out of 5
Elodie and her friends delve into a dungeon while the true mastermind behind the accumulation of magic is revealed. Generally, I’m still a fan of this series, but I wasn’t a fan of the revelation that Elodie’s husband was in a coma and not dead. While that certainly doesn’t change Elodie’s core motivation for revenge, I feel like it too neatly sets up the last page reveal. Still, the worldbuilding in this comic and its take on fantasy tropes are both great, and By The Horns continues to be a fun read every month. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Chu #8 excels with a near perfect example of comedic timing. It’s willingness to inject goofiness through the form of skulled backgrounds and emojis into unexpected situations works perfectly alongside the expressiveness of Chu‘s cast. The unique twist put on time travel mechanics is also a refreshing new take on what is often an overcomplicated story device. — Tanner Dedmon
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Dark Blood really feels like it’s starting to hit its stride. The last issue did a lot of legwork when it comes to the backstory, but issue #3 puts us right back into the midst of the action. The thing I enjoyed the most about this new chapter of Dark Blood came with its racial commentary. This is something that has been prominent in the series from the beginning, but the way in which it is touched on in a more subtle manner here in issue #3 is to great effect. All in all, I continue to be interested in Dark Blood and I’m very much looking forward to the coming installments in this six-issue run. — Logan Moore
Rating: 4 out of 5
Dune House: House Atreides #10 is yet another installment that does little to address the series’ continued failings. Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson’s dull narration is delivered with the same eyesore metallic green captions. The writers’ dialogue is clumsy, seeming to trip over itself at several points as the Harkonnen’s sit around twirling mustaches in the dark, any semblance of the subtle intrigue having left the series at this point. Dev Paranik’s fondness for triangular panels and harsh angles often renders pages jumbled and hard to parse, and confusing compositions hamper his looser panels. Even for the most dedicated Dune fan, there’s not much here to recommend. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 1.5 out of 5
The second issue of Boom’s latest horror series manages to tell a far more compelling story than its first, primarily thanks to flipping expectations on their ear. With this new installment, Gailey and Bak are looking to not only explore the horror but examine the characters simply living with it. It’s an interesting turn for the series to take and it definitely is able to pique interest as well as flip the script when it comes to particular characterizations. If you might have been put off by the first issue, definitely check out the second. — Evan Valentine
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Frontiersman sets out with its first issue this week, and it takes environmental education to the next level. A whole host of superheroes are introduced from long ago, but one stands out as a man with Mother Earth on his mind. When the older man is called to make a stand, readers follow the hero as he catches up with the world, but the question remains whether the Environmentalist wants to reenter society. — Megan Peters
Rating: 3 out of 5
Good Luck reveals the “grand purpose” for the Unfortunates and the truth behind the Kismet Zone in Good Luck #4. This is another trippy issue in what’s been a very trippy series to date. I enjoy how the creative team keeps layering its reveals in every issue. Everything makes sense thanks to the worldbuilding and context of the past issues and many of the puzzle pieces falling into place aren’t treated as revelatory moments but as natural progressions of an already cosmic-level plot. I also enjoyed how artist Stefano Simeone seemed to show how reality itself seems to be stuttering or glitching in the background of several panels, which was a clever bit of foreshadowing for the end of the issue. All in all, Good Luck is a great and weird comic, and seems to be flying under the radar of a lot of comics fans. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Impossible Jones definitely feels inspired by Robert Kirkman’s Invincible—a reinterpretation of classic superhero tropes with a self-aware sense of humor and a bit of social commentary (though nowhere near as bloody). The first issue isn’t the easiest of reads—Jones’ powers make for some very odd panels and the story is told completely out of our—but there might be something fun here. — Connor Casey
Rating: 3 out of 5
Rainbow has lost her sister, Jonna, once again and issue #6 traces her path through the petrified forest as she struggles to find shelter for herself and rescue Jonna. Samnee portrays this new locale in a series of spreads that typically connect across the top half of the page – each one showcases a wide swath of booths, shops, and inhabitants quickly developing this dense, urban locale into a living and breathing space. Rainbow’s fearful path through so many hostile figures is wonderfully traced in her own expressions and reactions, as she hesitates to trust anyone here. That build is also beautifully paid off with a final line of dialogue bound to evoke laughter. Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters #6 may only trace a single segment of the story—barely addressing any character beyond Rainbow—but her journey through such an engaging setting under so much pressure is a thrill to read. Once again I cannot wait to see what the next issue may bring. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
There are a lot of complex stories at play in Killadelphia, especially in recent issues. But this week’s Killadelphia #17 brings everything together in a way that shifts the story in a way that takes it from the relatively contained battle for America’s soul to one for the very world as we know it as the past (literally) wages war on the present with the idea of the future in the balance. Thomas Jefferson and Abigail Adams form an alliance this issue and the Sangsters get their own breakthrough, but just as those two things come together, the Sangsters and the reader find out that Philadelphia isn’t the battle ground, it’s the opening shot. Barnes does an incredible job of storytelling generally, but this is a twist that is complex, unexpected, and serves as a reminder of why Killadelphia is one of the best comics currently in print. — Nicole Drum
Rating: 5 out of 5
Killer Queens steps out with issue #2, and the long-awaited update checks in on our heroes as they face a fascist regime. A slew of quirky lines keep the action going while frantic art portrays a high-risk battle filled with tension. And by the end, a cliffhanger leaves our heroes wide open for a revolution that would leave the Guardians of the Galaxy jealous. — Megan Peters
Rating: 4 out of 5
Just when you think you’re getting the feel for writer Sean Lewis’ take on the material in King Spawn a word balloon pops up that almost certainly comes from Todd McFarlane himself, credited with “Additional Dialogue” in the book, which brings it all back to Earth. In the same way that a buffet line might offer an attendee a few choice items in a row for their plate followed by several dishes no one wants, King Spawn works in spurts when allowed to break free from the 300+ issues of continuity and work as its own series. At times artist Javi Fernandez gets the chance to give us something really wild with his pages but it must come after several others that are just people talking that feel like they’re stuck in the 1990s. King Spawn is frustrating. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 3 out of 5
Despite its title—which conjures an image somewhere between the Paul Blart: Mall Cop franchise and any cult-classic 80s action movie—I truly didn’t know what to expect going into Mullet Cop. The ride that Tom Lintern takes readers on in this first issue undoubtedly a bizarre one, placing its titular officer of the law (well, law in a post-apocalyptic capitalist hellscape) against a formidable underground gang. The elements of what’s at play in Mullet Cop are odd enough to pique your interest, and are delivered in an off-the-wall, deadpan demeanor that is tonally jarring, but ultimately grows on you. Lintern’s art is arguably the star of the show, crafting a fully-realized world that still has some minimalistic, unanswered qualities to it. Mullet Cop is definitely a genre-bending experience, and it might take another issue or two to see if that experience is worth the journey. — Jenna Anderson
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Another entry in this graphic novel adaptation, this issue of Norse Mythology finds Thor and Loki in Jotunheim, the land of the Frost Giants. The tale involves Utgardloki, quite literally, the giant version of Loki and the end result is a playful story where Asgardians and giants trick each other in a series of contests. The story itself is necessarily not something to write home about, since again, it’s an adaptation of a centuries-old tale. At the very least, however, at least it’s fun to consume in a sequential format. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
The Old Guard: Tales Through Time concludes on a pair of graceful notes that turn their focus to the modern day. “Many Happy Returns” delivers a concise heist—no easy feat—focused entirely on sentimental value. Artist Nicola Scott does an excellent job mapping a museum and showcasing each hazard in the journey to remove a single piece from its exhibits. The adventure is a joy to itself, but the final connection makes for a very fulfilling read. “The Bear” is less specific in its approach, but that is purposeful as it allows readers to be told by “Isaac” who he is. The story functionally serves to showcase this man picking up supplies, but each interaction reveals a bit more about himself and the relationships he cultivates. Leandro Fernandez delivers spectacular work in detailing the forests and mountains in the northernmost reaches of the Americas. Silent panels are nothing short of stunning and already have me anticipating The Old Guards return, even if quiet moments like this will be dearly missed; I’d happily read more of these short tales whenever they might appear. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Just when you think you have a grasp on where Once & Future is going the series likes to smile and then massively shift directions. That’s what happened last issue as Duncan, Gran, and Rose all find themselves in a world completely overtaken by the Otherworld, and if you thought Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, Tamra Bonvillain, and Ed Dukeshire were done shaking things up, Once & Future #20 shoots down that theory and introduces major characters from Arthurian legend – widening the story’s scope and raising the already epic battles to new heights, and that last page… good Lord. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Radiant Black feels as if it has truly come into its own, and issue #8 continues that momentum as Kyle Higgins doesn’t skimp on the action but powers it all with rich characterization and growth. The battle with the mysterious force hunting them is full of surprises and is pretty damn brutal in spots, and it really is a joy to watch all of the Radiants working together. While watching the team is great, it’s hard not to notice that Radiant Red is an absolute beast and delivers some of the issue’s slickest scenes thanks to Arcelo Costa and Natalia Marques. That said, the duo delivers some of their best work when things are a bit calmer, especially in one sequence between Marshall and Radiant Pink. It’s a perfect showcase for the humanity and awkward conversations that make this series feel so relatable, especially for those who aren’t the smoothest in social situations. To be fair, most aren’t running from a technological powerhouse trying to kill them, but hey, you get the point. Radiant Black is hitting on all cylinders, and the ride should only get more wild from here. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
At a certain point, it feels like the novelty of Red Sonja: Black, White, Red could soon grow stale—but luckily, the breadth of storytelling on display in this installment indicate that that isn’t happening anytime soon. Each of this issue’s three stories spins a tale that continues to get to the heart of the legend of Red Sonja, in contexts that are thematically alike but could not be more radically different in execution. All three also utilize the motif of red accents well, either by accenting flashback sequences or just adding more oomph to a pivotal battle scene. While all of the stories have endearing qualities, both “Dawn of a Crimson Day” and “Ssshhhhhh!” deserve praise for being almost entirely free of dialogue, a decision that allows for the visual storytelling to really shine. — Jenna Anderson
Rating: 4 out of 5
As noted in our review of issue #1, writer Ricky Mammone clearly has a big grasp on the world he’s created for Second Chances but at times it’s almost too dense of a read with how much it’s throwing at you. The story is easy to track, an improvement over the first issue, but the quantity of information these 22 pages hold is dizzying. Artist Max Bertolini does good work as well, inhabiting a black-and-white aesthetic that’s perfect for this style of storytelling, with some cool character designs thrown in for good measure. Where Second Chances really stumbles in the economy of its storytelling which goes all-in on its least interesting character and does little to make his POV very interesting. — Spencer Perry
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
St. Mercy #2 feels completely different from the first issue. Rather than focusing on the main characters introduced in the initial book, the series shifts its attention to a group of outlaws that are infighting in the west. The story at the center of this conflict is somewhat interesting, but I fail to see how it plays back into the events from the first book in a meaningful way. I’m sure those answers will come in due time, but for now, I’m still left scratching my head and wondering where this series is going. — Logan Moore
Rating: 2 out of 5
With Star Wars Adventures doing its best zombie tribute, a remote planet becomes infected with corrupted oil, hideously transforming droids into flesh-driven machines, forcing Anakin, Padmé, and Jar Jar to take drastic measures. For a tribute to zombies, this book worked surprisingly well. With a few simple narrative tweaks that fall entirely within the realm of the galaxy far, far away, readers are given not only a creepy concept with the narrative but some ghastly imagery, as a severed C-3PO crawls across the ground, craving for meat. Embracing this subgenre worked surprisingly well for this Halloween-themed book, managing to both pay respects to authentic zombie lore while also telling a believable tale within the Star Wars franchise. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 4 out of 5
The pace of events in Stillwater are not slowing in the slightest and the final page of Stillwater #10 is bound to leave readers with mouths agape. A number of tense encounters lay out the town’s new status quo, specifically its new management. Immortality is a potent promise and its effects are sprawling and unpredictable; the subsequent shift away from Daniel’s perspective to take in the entire setting is useful here. Daniel has a role to play, but Stillwater is at its best when contemplating the complexities of a community. The decisions and plans made here are already creating ripples and laying out an exciting invitation for whatever might come next. It’s unclear exactly where Stillwater is focused, but it’s bound to keep readers hooked, especially after an issue like this. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 4 out of 5
Right off the bat let’s just give some love to Luca Claretti and Giovanna Niro, who have brought the magical world of Summoner’s War: Legacy to life throughout the series, though issue #6 is easily one of their most impressive works. If you love big action and sizzling colors you’ve come to the right place, and odds are you won’t find a Mammoth and a Frost Phoenix battling a Fire Spirit and a Gryphon like this in many other places. Meanwhile, Justin Jordan brings this arc of the story to a satisfying close while showing the growth of the team and Rai in particular, who feels like the leader and the force Abuus saw potential in. Summoner’s War: Legacy has continually surprised me, and I can’t wait to return to this charming world down the road. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4 out of 5
I’ve been a little mixed on Sweet Paprika, but have to say I think the series is really starting to reel me in. Mirka Andolfo and Simon Tessuto are adept at capturing moments in a way only they can, as each conversation, exchange, and embarrassing moment takes on a life of its own in Andolfo and Tessuto’s trademark style. That’s been consistent from the beginning, but what’s really taking hold is the empathy and richness of Paprika herself, and midway through the issue I found myself really rooting for her to not only show up her ex but also tune out those who try and push her down and attempt to shift her into their image of what she should be, and that’s why when she hurts, you do too. That is what’s been missing for me thus far, but it seems to be here in spades, so consider me hooked. — Matthew Aguilar
Rating: 4 out of 5
Image’s Syphon is once again a tale that is saved by its breathtaking artwork, wherein Edwards is able to elevate the by the numbers story with some challenging, mind warping pages. The main problem with Meaney and Ashraf’s story here is that it seems hellbent on telling as much story as possible in the little time it might have, causing some whiplash when it comes to readers. It’s certainly a story to admire the art, but I wish the comic itself gave its characters time to breath and let the story come to them. –– Evan Valentine
Rating: 3 out of 5
After reminding the residents of Harrow County about Emmy and bringing her effigy to life, Bernice learns that there’s a lot more hiding underground than haints and fair folk, as the key to stopping what’s happening above ground could be discovered in the caves. This installment delivers a lot of exposition about the history of the haints and the fair folk, so it ultimately feels underwhelming from a narrative perspective, as the pieces are clearly being put into place for whatever comes next. Even if there aren’t many shocking reveals or revelations, this issue has all the eerie charm that fans would expect from the series, as it also teases plenty of excitement just over the horizon. — Patrick Cavanaugh
Rating: 3 out of 5
Tart: Devils and Demagogues continues the ongoing adventures of Tart, a time-traveller battling demons throughout time and history. Tart and her friends have powerful tools at their disposal, but are limited to only intervene when demons are involved. And boy, does a demon get involved in the second half of the issue. Readers of the series should keep in mind that while this is a #1 issue, it’s actually the 11th and 12th issue of an ongoing comics series. What I’ve read is intriguing though, and I certainly think it’s the sort of comic that fans of fantasy and sci-fi will like. — Christian Hoffer
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin #4, the art team cuts lose more than in previous episodes. A beautiful training sequence even channels Frank Miller in a couple of panels, though it could have benefitted from a more fluid sense of motion. More pages from Kevin Eastman are always welcome in a Ninja Turtles book, and the flashback to Splinter and Donatello’s fall brings a samurai-movie shine. It’s fun seeing Casey Marie fill in the Carrie Kelly role to Mike’s Batman, and Tom Walz nails the back and forth of their dialogue in his script. There’s something beautifully poetic about TMNT beginning life as a Miller parody and now doing its riff on The Dark Knight Returns. This fourth issue is the first in the series to live up to that potential fully. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 4 out of 5
That Texas Blood has Southern-fried Satanic rituals and even then, that might not be the craziest part of this book. Throughout the past two or three issues, this story has largely taken place in just two scenes. Yet, Condon and Phillips always manage to lay the tension on thick enough. Maybe that’s as a result of the storytelling framework they’ve introduced, using Joe Bob’s flashbacks as a way to easily skip through time. Or maybe it’s Joe Bob’s inner desire to find out what’s right, no matter what the cost—sometimes straddling the line of naivety, or so Sheriff Sam would have you think. Even then, they never manage to focus on one beat or character for too long, helping keep things fresh as the story moves along. Few books of the past year have annoyed me in the sense I can’t pick up the next issue immediately after closing the back cover, but hot damn—That Texas Blood continues to fire on all cylinders. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The Transformers #35 gives Transformers fans their most basic desire: a big, old-fashioned Autobots versus Decepticons battle. Anna Malkova delivers on the scope and scale, with some great shots of Sky Lynx making passes over the battlefield and the Rainmakers getting taken out by Autobot snipers. Brian Ruckley is wise not to let too much dialogue or narration get in the way, focusing mostly on Optimus Prime appeal to Termagax. It’s what readers expect from a Transformers comic and it’s executed well. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 3 out of 5
Transformers: Beast Wars #8 seems to want to capture the essence of its cartoon source material to a fault. Strange then, that new artist Winston Chan’s art style—less flat than his predecessor’s and more fully rendered—does little to flatter the simplistic character designs. Combined with the sterile ship corridors that serve as the primary setting for the story and the sparse backgrounds, there’s not much captivating about the visuals. Erik Burnham’s simple plot seems primarily concerned with establishing a conflict engine to keep producing a parade of new characters and fights as Blackarachnia’s code corrupts precisely 51% of the pods falling to the planet’s surface. On that note, the concept of individuals’ moral values reprogrammable by external access is one that this series is ill-equipped to tackle. And so it doesn’t. There’s little here to hook anyone but the most dedicated Beast Wars fan with such a thin plot. — Jamie Lovett
Rating: 2 out of 5
The horrible hippies strike back in Vinyl #4 and there’s plenty of bloodshed for readers to enjoy. Much of that violence is showcased in montage with close up panels of individual wounds suggesting a chain of events rather than depicting it. The results are underwhelming as there’s little creativity in the displays – simply the infliction of many terrible wounds. This is not balanced by any rising tension amongst the characters. Yes, the situation is worsening by the moment, but the individuals wander through unclear geography as if on rails. Even as they watch a looming threat murder someone in an adjacent room, they can easily continue as if wandering through a haunted house. The results are anything but haunting as it’s a list of horrors displayed with concise, clean linework and well-conceived designs, they simply have very little to offer beyond their initial aesthetic appeal. — Chase Magnett
Rating: 2 out of 5
After a misstep last month, X-O begins to fnid its footing once again. Hopeless quickly forwards through the plot here, jumping weeks at a time so as to progress the story and move things right along. Clipping along as things do, Aric’s still not out of the woods as the mystery surrounds Shanhara—and it’s thicker than ever. This book really still doesn’t have a clear-cut antagonist yet, it’s just an ancient viking warrior fighting with his alien suit. Luckily for fans of the character, that’s often when he’s at his best. — Adam Barnhardt
Rating: 4 out of 5
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