Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 11/10/2021

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 Robin & Batman #1, The Thing #1, and Regarding The Matter of Oswald’s Body #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

ACTION COMICS #1036

Action Comics #1036 is something of a conundrum. It’s both a good comic in that Phillip Kennedy Johnson writes a really compelling issue with the continuing mystery of the Phaelosians being one of the strongest elements of his overall Superman run, but it’s also still a bit of a lackluster mess – something that can only be attributed to Brian Michael Bendis’ run which set up the events that lead us here. Nothing from the Bendis run was worth keeping, yet that’s what Johnson’s run is burdened with having to work with, particularly when it comes to the Durlan leader Thaaros who has a massive freakout at the mention of the Phaelosians. It just feels like we’ve seen this film before, albeit with Jor-El instead of Thaaros, and we didn’t like the ending then. The idea of Superman growing weaker (and that it’s magic and trickery, essentially, making it seem like he’s still his powerful self) also seems like the kind of dishonesty that Superman himself wouldn’t stand for. It doesn’t matter how genuine Johnson’s Superman is in the issue – and he absolutely is and there’s a particular moment that just feels so honest and perfect for the character – there’s just enough of Bendis’ stain lingering that brings everything down. The result is a functionally good issue that is just tainted by what came before, which is deeply unfortunate. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 3 out of 5

BATMAN: THE IMPOSTER #2

While I continue to have some major concerns about the diagnosis salad (I’m starting to question if Tomlin fully understands the conditions he tosses around) that is part of the Dr. Thompkins’ internal monologue about Bruce Wayne—and I really don’t buy the presentation of how Alfred would handle young Bruce—Batman: The Imposter #2 continues to be a really interesting exercise in realistically approaching the iconic character and his story. The various scenes and plot beats of the issue are well-paced, and fairly well crafted. However, this issue is where some of the seams are already starting to show. Some things feel too convenient, particularly the Bruce/Blair dynamic, while the moments about Bruce’s childhood is simply just wrong. Nothing about that portrayal lines up with adult Bruce even in this iteration – particularly if that diagnosis salad were remotely accurate. The only thing that really continues to hold is how the issue continues to show real challenges for Bruce in his early years as Batman. It’s something I just wish could be done with a bit more accuracy overall, complete with the negative consequences the issue offers. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 3 out of 5

BATMAN: URBAN LEGENDS #9

Batman: Urban Legends continues to tell some of the most captivating stories in the Bat-verse, and Urban Legends #9 is no exception. In fact, it’s a shining example of that concept at work. Sam Johns, Karl Mostert, David Baron, and Tom Napolitano deliver a heartbreaker out of nowhere in “Down The Rabbit Hole,” which not only commanded a new empathy for Tweedledee and Tweedledum but also explored life after being a supervillain in a compelling and quite emotional way. Not kidding, chapter 2 can’t get here soon enough. Then we have the equally excellent finale to “The Fearful” by Brandon Thomas, Cian Tormey, Raul Fernandez, Alejandro Sanchez, and Steve Wands, which is a completely different sort of tale but is no less riveting. Thomas has done wonders with The Outsiders and Duke in particular, and you’ll come away with a whole new appreciation of both after this issue runs its course. Oh, and please let that last page not be the last we see of this team DC…I beg you. Next we have the excellent exploration of the mind “Disinformation Campaign,” and while Anti-Oracle is the villain of this piece, the best part of the story is how writer Alyssa Wong explores Beth’s struggle with the role Red Alice plays in her life and psyche. Artist Vasco Georgiev and colorist Rain Beredo bring this struggle to life in a chaotic and vivid two-page spread that brilliantly depicts the chaos inside Beth’s mind, and is followed by a wonderful split page that brings the character into a new space. Now, “Azrael Dark Knight of the Soul” is solid as well, and Nikola Cizmesija and Ivan Plascencia bring a lovely stylized art style to Azrael’s hunt. The story just isn’t clicking for me, however, though it has its moments. Even still, this issue is one that should not be missed, because everything else here is a home run. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

BLACK MANTA #3

Black Manta #3 offers up some interesting developments, revealing the story of a subset of Atlanteans that relocate back to Africa an ancient times and not only offers a bit of backstory for the events of this title, but helps maintain the integrity of the anti-Atlantean (and Aquaman) aspect of Black Manta while continuing to flesh that character out beyond just that conflict. We also get the introduction of Devil Ray as an antagonist for Manta and a solid set up for the back half of this series. While things do still feel pretty dense and this isn’t just a casual read, it’s honestly a pretty fascinating issue with a lot of strong developments. If you weren’t engaged in this story before, this issue will change that – and there’s even an appearance by Gentleman Ghost. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

FUTURE STATE: GOTHAM #7

Future State: Gotham is a series that I frankly continue to forget exists because it truly feels like it’s just continuing something that’s long since passed – that and, of course, the whole Magistrate situation in Gotham just feels worn out more broadly if you read as many Batman-related comic books as I do. That said, this issue does a really good job of wrapping things up with it’s currently storyline. There’s plenty of action as Jason genuinely “saves the day” as it were and a new partnership for a new Gotham forms. Fans of anything in the world of Batman can never have nice things and the issue ends with set up for the new Joker. Functionally? Future State: Gotham #7 is okay. It’s fun, it’s readable, it’s a good time. Joshua Williamson does good work. From a “how much more of this can we take” perspective, though, things feel really thin. This book felt a lot like a low key Fear State and now it feels like we’re moving to a high key “Fear State,” just with a different name. Gotham, and readers, need a break. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

I AM BATMAN #3

John Ridley continues to bring real world parallels and issues into the world of Batman in I Am Batman. In this issue, Jace Fox is forced to confront a Q-Anon-esque mob as they try to break out one of their own from jail. It’s a violent issue, one that pits the police against the mob against Batman, where none of the parties are really on each other’s side. I feel that this comic continues to struggle with establishing itself within the larger “Fear State” narrative – so much of this comic is dependent on understanding the current state of Gotham, it really lets the story and characters down. As long as you’re up on the Batman line, I Am Batman is a strong issue, but don’t expect to understand the full context of the comic if you haven’t been knee-deep in the line for months. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

THE JOKER #9

The ongoing series following the Clown Prince of Crime, or rather the shadow he spreads, and while it takes the time to revisit some of the most tragic and terrifying moments between the Joker and Gordon, it loses something in the world building it is attempting to set up. Vengeance, the heir apparent to Bane, opens up this wild conspiracy when it comes to the underworld of Gotham City and it very much creates a love it or hate it scenario. Tynion’s characterization is still on point and Stefano Raffaele’s art here is a grand slam, but the issue loses the forest for the trees when it has one too many balancing acts taking place. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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DC #2

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(Photo: DC Comics)

JUSTICE LEAGUE: LAST RIDE #7

You can’t fault creators at DC or Marvel for playing the hits and that’s how the conclusion of Justice League: Last Ride reads. Like so many other evergreen starting points for potential new readers it presents DC Comics’ core set of superheroes as paragons of virtue overcoming impossible odds in familiar configurations. Courage and good will win the day in a fashion that provides some satisfying splash panels, but nothing nearly as inventive as the early chapters invited readers to consider. It’s wholesome and nice enough, but if you’ve already read this story there’s no need to read it again. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

PENNYWORTH #4

Pennyworth #4 is, to put it bluntly, kind of bleak. Fortunately, while the issue ends in a very dire place for Alfred, we know he gets out of the situation. After all, Alfred goes on to serve as Bruce Wayne’s butler and that simply can’t happen if he freezes to death. That said, even with knowing that Alfred has to somehow survive things, the brilliance of the issue comes in showing the character at his absolute weakest. We see him face mortality, filled with regret and heartbreak. It’s a beautiful character study and it’s pairs well with the “present day” elements where we see Alfred face off with his unknown captor who goads him about his physical weaknesses now. This isn’t the most action-packed issue, but it gets to the heart of Alfred and helps even further developed the character in a way that is richly humanizing and deeply fascinating – and if you don’t want to kick Shirley’s butt after reading this issue, I simply can’t help you. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 4 out of 5

ROBIN & BATMAN #1

Robin and Batman #1 feels perfect, wherein I was wracking my brain looking for faults but wasn’t able to find any. The story of Dick Grayson has been told countless times before, but this feels like one of the best retellings of Robin’s early crime-fighting career beside the Batman. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 5 out of 5

STATIC: SEASON ONE #4

Static: Season One falls a bit flat this week, as the comic works overtime to establish an already supportive dynamic between Virgil and his family. The relationship between Virgil and his family is a complex one and the creative team seemingly wants to show how it differs from that of other teen heroes and their families. However, it feels like overkill at this point that takes up space (and exposition) that could be spent showing Virgil’s new look or focusing on his new powers or having more than 2 pages dedicated to a conflict that’s been brewing since issue #1. This issue is probably the most uneven of the series so far. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3 out of 5

SUPERMAN VS. LOBO #2

If it weren’t for Mirka Andolfo’s absolutely charming renderings of bizarre hook ups and exaggerated violence, Superman vs. Lobo would be an impossible slog. Yet the stylistic flourishes that can sometimes provoke a quick smirk or chuckle entirely on their own are bound to a story that is unsure of its tone, incapable of delivering humor, and tacking on plot points like they came off a roulette wheel. Pivoting from jokes about genocide to a bittersweet farewell is likely to give readers whiplash, and both are so broadly written to ensure no guffaws or tears might be elicited. Readers attracted to Andolfo’s excellent work would be better served following her publications at Image Comics and avoiding this nigh-unreadable comic book. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 1 out of 5

TITANS UNITED #3

At a certain point, I started playing a guessing game with this issue of Titans United—whether or not each new panel would function as the punchline to another joke. As it turns out, the vast majority of the issue proved to pass that test, something that could work tonally, if those quips weren’t trying to simultaneously function alongside a somewhat-unremarkable plot and dry characterization for most of the players involved. That being said, there are some enjoyable sequences and aesthetic flourishes, particularly when Jose Luis and Jonas Trindade are able to render the characters’ well-executed costumes. Titans United still seems at odds with the wide array of what people expect from the Teen Titans, but there’s still just enough charm in the pages of this series. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 3.5 out of 5

WONDER WOMAN #781

It’s so good to have Wonder Woman back on Earth, but it’s even better to have Wonder Woman dealing with the genuine complexities—particularly the emotional ones—of coming back from the dead. Wonder Woman #781 sees Diana trying to adjust to her return to life and it does so with an authenticity that is genuinely a testament to just how great Conrad and Cloonan’s work on this title is. They also give her a whole new threat via Dr. Psycho which connects back to her time in Asgard so there’s this sense of full circleness that is deeply welcome. The real standout this issue, however, is the art. Marcio Takara does great work here in an issue that is absolutely fantastic in every way. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Marvel #1

ALIEN #8

When watching a new slasher flick, even one stuffed with cliches, there’s still the joy of experiencing an audience react to the terror on a big screen. As Alien plays through its own set of familiar tropes, collected from horror cinema and the Alien franchise, for the second time around it lacks the benefit of a theater-going experience and rests exposed as familiar repetition. There’s nothing shocking about the heavily foreshadowed heel turn or the headstrong town ignoring the final girl’s pleas; this is a story set to deliver exactly what readers would expect from a comic with this title. It’s competently told, but if all we ought to seek from Alien is what we’ve seen before then there are far better comics to consider. This is simply more and that’s deeply disappointing. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #78

Sara Pichelli’s depiction of Morbius may be unmatched as she makes this awkward B-lister look lithe, powerful and often terrifying, even (or especially) as he’s been mutilated in combat. The Amazing Spider-Man #78 brings a little something to each of its many plots with Misty and Colleen continuing their investigation, Ben notching a win or two, Morbius setting himself up for more, and Peter’s loved ones uniting. However, it’s Pichelli that makes this one memorable. Both the small emotional moments as rivals connect and splash sequences filled with movement impress. Her range displays the fast-paced mix of stories that is ensuring this new era of Amazing Spider-Man takes off; it’s a delight to witness. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

AVENGERS: TECH-ON #4

The further we get into Avengers: Tech-On, the more it feels like a slow-burn Civil War redux with random sentai references thrown in for funsies. The plot bounces back and forth between Captains America and Marvel grousing about Tony Stark being Tony Stark, inevitably being interrupted by fights with classic Marvel villains given a Power Rangers-style redesign. The sentai elements remain little more than set dressing, while the main narrative, sparse as it is, consists of little more than reheated tropes from a decade ago. It might get by on style if the artwork was at all striking, but the visuals are muddy, hard to follow, and unmemorable (except for one neat two-panel trick involving Black Panther and a combo kill). The series continues to fail to build on the base pitch in an exciting way. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

DEADPOOL: BLACK, WHITE & BLOOD #4

Deadpool: Black, White & Blood has delivered far more hits than misses, and while the artwork shines throughout issue #4, the stories don’t always pack the same punch. The crown jewel of this particular issue is “Cherry” by Christopher Yost, Martin Coccolo, Matt Iacono, and Joe Sabino, who delivers an absurd premise but in this case absurd couldn’t be more of a compliment. It’s just ridiculous in the best way, and the artwork only makes it better. If you ever wanted to see Deadpool taking on a fruit punch inspired dinosaur, well, that’s an awfully specific request to be fair, but if that’s your wish, you will adore this story. Meanwhile both “Samurai Version” and “Operation Payback!” feature lovely artwork from Hikaru Uesugi, Michael Allred, and Laura Allred, but story-wise they just aren’t nearly as interesting. The twist on “Payback” is delightful for X-Men fans, but the story to get there just didn’t hold my attention. Overall, this is an issue that starts out strong but loses some steam over time, though there is quite a bit of fun to be had. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 3 out of 5

ETERNALS #7

After a brief hiatus and venture into some world-building one-shots, the main Eternals story has returned… and boy howdy, it’s a doozy. The political intrigue takes center stage here and doesn’t give up. While that type of plot could be a bit strenuous to some, Gillen and Ribic lay it on so thick here, you have no choice but to get involved. To top it all off, a surprise ending you’ll never see coming if just the neatest little cherry on top. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

EXCALIBUR #25

The battle for the Citadel and Avalon drive the stakes in Excalibur as high as they’ve ever been (complete with some exciting new charts at the end) and maintains a tight focus on a team battling back-to-back against overwhelming odds. Yet in a world filled with magic each turn of the battle seems driven by plot rather than character or any mechanism of suspense. Things happen when it’s convenient for them to occur and most of the big twists in this battle are explained as they occur. It deflates the proceedings, especially as it becomes clear the narrative is shifting into a holding pattern by its end. There are notable shifts in the power dynamics and a thrilling story is laid out ahead, but here it’s a matter of arranging the pieces of that story as performed by magic, both literal and metaphorical, which isn’t nearly as exciting. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

HELLIONS #17

Hellions tempted readers from the very start to believe in the lie Krakoa was selling to this black ops squad of expendables – redemption and purpose. Hellions #17 tempts readers to believe yet again, even after the team has experienced and delivered so much suffering with seemingly nothing to show for it. Yet it’s impossible not to root for these (ironically) deeply human individuals, flawed and still striving. So the tragic conclusions delivered in the series penultimate issue are all the more punishing. Some of the most shocking panels from a series that has consistently delivered the X-line’s best thrills are delivered like a gunshot with striking colors and an impressionistic shift in Segovia’s style. Each moment bears the weight of emotion wonderfully and delivers the punishing collision of events which only seem inevitable in retrospect. It’s a wonderful, terrible climax for Hellions – exactly the sort of capstone this excellent series merited. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Marvel #2

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(Photo: Marvel Comics)

MILES MORALES: SPIDER-MAN #32

Though not exactly a stumbling block, Miles Morales: Spider-Man #32 largely feels exactly the same as the previous issues. Starling and Miles banter, they fight Taskmaster, he leaves. Ahmed’s work with the character keeps things entertaining throughout, and a surprising final page keeps the interest alive for what’s to come, but this feels like a misfire in a way. That said, Ahmed’s work on the entire series has been top-tier and this month features artist Christopher Allen filling in and giving us Taskmaster look we’ve never seen before. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3 out of 5

SAVAGE AVENGERS #26

Few villains could serve as the antagonist over 26 issues and not fear tiresome, and Kulan Gath happens to be one of those villains. Perhaps it’s the way Gerry Duggan has written him over the past few years, as a cold and calculating sorcerer with few intentions other than to kill. Maybe it’s the way Pat Zircher draws the legendary Conan baddie, with a horrifically grim face soaked in blood. No matter the case, Kulan Gath is one of the most terrifying characters in the Marvel stable and with just one issue left, it’s anyone’s guess as how the eponymous heroes plan on stopping him once and for all. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC #11

Star Wars fans witnessed what a fall from grace and a descent into the Dark Side of the Force looked like in the prequel trilogy. But Anakin had the weight of the entire universe on his shoulders, being told he was the “Chosen One” and could bring balance to all living things. The High Republic is exploring what that fall looks like for another Jedi, one that isn’t heralded as the second coming. It creates a thoroughly relatable tale, as you can see the line between right and wrong continue to blur. These characters remain the biggest strength of the entire High Republic endeavor. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 4 out of 5

STRANGE ACADEMY #13

No matter what the plot requires of these characters or where they’re heading, there’s always a tremendous amount of heart in Strange Academy—even when you think there’s no possibility for some warmth and optimism. Despite falling during the same time as Death of Doctor Strange, there’s no telling when this story takes place, but it doesn’t really matter—at least not as of yet—for continuity’s sake. Again, Young does an excellent job of balancing this ensemble and giving every character their own chance to shine. On that front, it can’t be said enough just how well he understands these characters and pulls just the right strings to make them shine. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

THE THING #1

The thing is, Ben Grimm is always best when he’s left crawling out of a hole he made for himself. More often than not, Grimm’s own thoughts are his worst enemy, and that’s on full display in The Thing #1. Mosley tells a poignant tale of self-worth and the desire for companionship—a story that tugs at the heartstrings every step of the way. But again, it’s Ben Grimm we’re talkin’ about here—even when facing the toughest of battles, there’s still a hope and belief that all will be well. Call it naïveté or foolish expectations, but it’s awfully hard to root against The Thing, and Mosley, Reilly, Bellaire and company know that better than anyone else. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

VENOM #1

Following a version of Venom that was heavily influenced by his 90s output, writers Al Ewing and Ram V are teaming with artist Bryan HItch for a new version, one that picks up the pieces of King in Black but attempts to send Eddie Brock down a new path. Unfortunately some of that path, a rip-roaring space adventure, doesn’t work, but it’s Earth-set shenanigans are of interest (naturally a final page teaser will raise the eyebrows too). Hitch works in tandem with inker Andrew Currie and colorist Alex Sinclair to give you the stylized Venom poses fans are eager for, shaping this one up to be a title to keep an eye on in the future. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Other Publishers #1

ALMOST AMERICAN #3

It’s not difficult to believe Almost American is recounting a true story because, like much of life, it drifts aimlessly forward recounting events as they occur with little inflection between each one. Throughout most of issue #3 Jan and Victorya bemoan their state as wards of bureaucracy and restate that they simply want an ordinary life again and again, although they never bother to define what means for them. Notes on historical buildings and other connections suggest broader ideals and specific operations, but they receive only gestures and are never incorporated into the narrative. And so by the final page in which the thrilling news of another to Portland is announced, readers are left to wonder why they would want to continue reading this very realistic portrayal of surprisingly uncompelling international espionage. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

CHICKEN DEVIL #2

Chicken Devil is a series that is almost impossible to explain but Buccellato and Sherman have created a story so gonzo that it absolutely demands your attention. The series’ story is as chaotic as its artwork and truly is able to tell a story that is totally unpredictable. Sherman’s art here does a fantastic job of using the landscape of the page in unique ways that you won’t see in many, if any, comics on the market today. I have absolutely positively no idea where Chicken Devil is going with its story, but I cannot wait to find out. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

JAMES BOND: HIMEROS #2

James Bond: Himeros got off to a solid start, but unfortunately issue #2 doesn’t do anything to build on that momentum, and Bond continues to be the least interesting element in a series with his name in the title. Part of it is that Sarah and even the assassin sent to take her down are just more compelling as characters, but it’s also to do with the fact that Bond just doesn’t make much of an impression when he’s in a scene, even one full of car chases and gunplay. Antonio Fuso and Adriano Augusto’s artwork shines in those more action-packed sequences, but more often than not the artwork is just a bit too cluttered, making it difficult to completely figure out what’s going on. There are fun moments here, but overall Bond is getting lost in the shuffle. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

MAGIC: THE GATHERING #8

The newest issue of Magic: The Gathering slows the pace a bit so that new player Tezzeret to provide crucial information about the Cult of Marit Lage’s plans. The issue assumes some familiarity with Magic: The Gathering lore in presenting Tezzeret. There are several references to him being a betrayer of Ravnica, and generally hated and untrusted, but no explanation as to why. Still, McKay manages to get the gist of Tezzert’s role in the Planeswalker pantheon effectively. The issue has the tone of a middle chapter of a long-running superhero series, restrained in action but allowing for the relationships between the heroic Planeswalkers of Ravnica to shine through and further solidify. Again, you’d need a lot more background on Magic’s history to understand these characters fully. Rather than try to recap, McKay wisely lets the relationships between the members define them and further invest the reader in their adventures, to admirable effect. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

MAMO #5

Mamo ends on an optimistic note, with Jo and Orla discovering a solution to the trap set by Orla’s grandmother. It comes at a cost (as magic often does) but Orla learns that others don’t always mind sharing a burden. This has been a fantastic comics series about loss, complicated relationships with the place you call home, and learning how to make connections with others. It’s a must-read series for 2021. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 5 out of 5

MAZEBOOK #3

I think I’ve already said that Mazebook is “peak-Jeff Lemire,” but that’s something that becomes more apparent with each passing issue. The Twin Peaks-ian intrigue is off the charts here in Mazebook #3, and it’s counterbalanced with a sense of hopeless—maybe even blind—optimism. Thankfully there’s some hope that runs throughout, otherwise this title would be one miserable tale, at least so far. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

MIGHTY MORPHIN #13

Mighty Morphin #13 kicks off “The Eltarian War,” and while it features plenty of stylish Power Rangers action, this is very much a showcase for the villains. The Eltarians get the spotlight for much of the issue, as Ryan Parrott presents them as a truly lethal threat to the Rangers, though perhaps more impressively as a threat to Lord Zedd. The scenes between Zartus and Zedd are some of the issue’s best, and while I’m definitely curious about Zordon’s fate, I’ve got to admit this subplot is perhaps the thing that is driving me forward most in the midst of everything that’s going on. Oh, and if you’re a Grace Sterling fan like me, you’ll be in heaven. Artist Marco Renna and colorists Walter Baiamonte, Sara Antonellini, and Katia Ranalli do a superb job of crafting vibrantly colored and high-intensity action sequences, and while the Bulk & Skull scenes don’t look quite as polished, there are far more hits than misses overall. “The Eltarian War” is only beginning, but it’s off to a stellar start. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Other Publishers #2

MY DATE WITH MONSTERS #1

Writer Paul Tobin and artist Andy MacDonald have an interesting idea on their hand but the first issue of My Date With Monsters is so stuffed with building this world and an overabundance of word balloons that it is almost a chore to read. Fleeting moments of character building, a soft sequence between a young girl and the heroic monster that her mother works with, might be its best, because it offers subtlety in the storytelling. There’s a lot going on here and it doesn’t always make sense, but MacDonald’s art does keep it interesting even when a page seems to be almost exclusively text. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

NO ONE LEFT TO FIGHT II #2

If you’re a fan of beautifully illustrated comics, then look no further than No One Left to Fight II. The art team of Fico Ossio, Raciel Avila, and Taylor Esposito deliver vibrant pages as the FightVerse crew attempts to get answers to what ails Vâle. As entertaining as it is to see our main characters travel inside Vâle’s body for answers, the true highlight of the comic comes from the introduction of the robotic D.A.D. Visually seeing where Krysta gets her robotic arm from is a nice touch. We’re no closer to learning what’s wrong with Vâle, but Aubrey Sitterson and Fico Ossio set up another mystery with the tease of a new character to readers with ties to Timór. The only thing I would change about No One Left to Fight is actually including more fight sequences. The title may say there’s literally “No One Left to Fight” but some butt-kicking here and there would be greatly appreciated. — Tim Adams

Rating: 3 out of 5

NYX #1

Clunky exposition weighs down at lot of Nyx #1, but by the end it manages to show some real emotion with its titular character. Your mileage may vary on the artwork as its decent enough but the aggressive titillation may come off as distracting. — Connor Casey

Rating: 3 out of 5

ORDINARY GODS #5

I continue to generally enjoy Ordinary Gods quite a bit. This series has found a way to continually keep me on my metaphorical toes and is always introduces new ideas and nuggets of lore into this world. That being said, some of those tidbits of backstory are starting to become a bit convoluted and confusing. I feel like some aspects of the story haven’t been fleshed out enough for me to get a clear idea of every character’s motivation. Perhaps this will change in the future, but all the same, I’m still enjoying every new issue of Ordinary Gods. — Logan Moore

Rating: 3 out of 5

OUT #2

After setting up an intriguing premise with the first issue, Out falls into a series of standard war tropes with its second issue. The Nazis have a vampire and are seeking to use it to turn the tide of World War II. To bring it up to full strength, the vampire needs to feed, and the Nazi commander in charge of the remote prison has plenty of POWs to serve as meals. While the language barrier presented in the first issue seems interesting, this issue only references it briefly, choosing instead to focus on how much of a monster the Nazi commander is. That pushes what could be an interesting and unique horror comic back towards the realm of the ordinary, which is a bit of a shame. Hopefully, Out returns to its more unique traits, because this issue felt like very standard period horror material. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

PHENOM X #1

I can’t decide the moment when I realized Phenom X #1 would be a lot to get through—when scenes devolved into wall-to-wall chunks of dialogue, or when that dialogue involved the first of several half-hearted penis jokes. This issue begins to recount the story of Max Gomez, an ex-convict who gets superpowers from an underground illegal experiment. At this point, there’s nothing on a narrative or visual level that makes Phenom X #1 stand out—it all feels a bit too wordy but empty for its own good (which is understandable, since it has four separate credited writers, including actor John Leguizamo), and the art is decently-executed, but inherently dated. If anything, this issue just feels like storyboards for a hypothetical live-action adaptation starring Leguizamo—but maybe it’ll eventually have some value beyond that. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 1.5 out of 5

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Other Publishers #3

PROVENANCE OF SECRETS #1

The trappings of noir have found their way into comics countless times, which meas that you need to do something unique to really stand out from the crowd. Luckily, Provenance of Secrets does so in spades, introducing a concept I can’t help but be intrigued by, even if the text of the narrative itself gets a little repetitive and the protagonist is a little one note. While I don’t want to spoil exactly what that plot entails, it taskes a supernatural approach that could defy expectations. Especially with Christian Dibari’s moody, intriguing art, Provenance of Secrets has the potential to be a genre-bending and compelling debut. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 4 out of 5

REGARDING THE MATTER OF OSWALD’S BODY #1

The conspiracy ahead remains hidden both from readers and the key actors of this miniseries, but it’s set up in Regarding the Matter of Oswald’s Body #1 is a fascinating affair. Each character introduction adds something significant to the story’s heist and what that particular heist reflects about the nation whose history it will forever alter. Cantwell and Casalanguida avoid obsessing over the facts of the case in order to get at a larger truth about America’s collective obsession with this moment and what it says about us. Whatever conclusions they’ve arrived at, I’m very interested to read more. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

RICK AND MORTY: CORPORATE ASSETS #1

Rick & Morty: Corporate Assets takes some well-deserved shots at online influencers and certain toxic fandoms, but it’s lacking in jokes and its hook comes off more as annoying than creative. — Connor Casey

Rating: 2 out of 5

A RIGHTEOUS THIRST FOR VENGEANCE #2

The intrigue that Rick Remender laced in his first issue of A Righteous Thirst for Vengeance is built up and out in the follow-up, giving us enough answers to clear the picture up but offering even more mysteries that the plot continues to feel fresh. As with the first, artist Andre Lima Araujo’s work is unparalleled and a master class in detail. With minimal dialogue throughout the artwork is what is telling almost the entire story and it’s a sign of a great writer and artist that they can push their entire narrative by giving us just the images. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 5 out of 5

SEA OF STARS #11

Sea of Stars has had its ebbs and flows, but it perhaps saved its best issue for last, because Sea of Stars #11 is an absolute treasure of a comic, and deserves bountiful praise. Jason Aaron and Dennis Hallum bring the book’s characters and the lore that propels this cosmic tale full circle, and at the center of all of it stands the unlikeliest of families and heroes. There are entire series that don’t toy with one’s emotions as much as this one issue, and you will assuredly be swept away with the otherworldly artwork from Stephen Green and Rico Renzi, with swaths of beautiful blues, purples, greens, and pinks filling every inch of real estate. Sea of Stars #11 is everything you want in a finale, and I couldn’t recommend it more. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 5 out of 5

THE SIX SIDEKICKS OF TRIGGER KEATON #6

The solution to this series’ core mystery arrives with a thud. It’s set up as it’s established, setting aside some early contextual grounding, and the results don’t reveal anything new about this motley assortment of characters. Those characters remain their entertaining selves and deliver plenty of excellent one-liners and gags. That sense of humor combined with deeply charming designs have provided The Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton with abundant charm, but the story’s conclusion seems to rely entirely on that well-established charm. It’s most striking in the final few pages as the story leaps ahead to reveal a conclusion in which hard luck heroes get to have their cake and eat it too. It feels cheap compared to early highlights that were heavy on both heart and hard luck. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Other Publishers #4

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(Photo: Boom Studios)

STILLWATER #11

Stillwater leaps ahead after the town’s dramatic upheavals and the new status quo isn’t much different from what preceded it, and that’s an absolutely intentional decision. The paranoia and power structures are still in place, but more competent individuals are now pulling the levers of power. It’s fascinating to see how many similar decisions are made under this new system and how those who have risen and fallen respond. Although one notable incident feels squeezed into the proceedings and lacks much emotional resonance, it highlights that none of the underlying tensions in Stillwater have been addressed. Stillwater remains a taut thriller and where it goes next under its current leadership offers a thrilling proposition. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

TELEPATHS #3

The cops versus gangsters narrative at the center of Telepaths #3 would have been cliched on a network television show decades ago, but feels especially ill-considered in 2021. Police officers are shown to be a heroic force of insurgents in over their heads as they battle recent prison escapees. Yet their opponents’ position, escaping from a carceral state and seeking to flee their current (and future) oppressors, are the ones existing as insurgents. Simple applications of good and bad guy labels offer some sympathy to the gang composed entirely of non-white Americans, but still signals them to be the villains of this story. It’s reductive plotting that provides plenty of exposition about these new telepathic powers but no insight or substance for the characters and conditions they affect. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 2 out of 5

THE UNBELIEVABLE UNTEENS #4

The Unbelievable Unteens comes to a roaring conclusion with the fourth issue of its mini-series—and it ends just as any Black Hammer title should. I’ve said it plenty of times before, but this world is built upon the deconstruction of the genre. While these books oftentimes upset the status quo and turn superhero tales on their head, they unmistakably pay tribute to the comic stories that have made the industry so grand in the first place. Unteens is now an exception, as this tale weaves through the trials and tribulations any teen superhero team may face. Despite this cast of characters now finding themselves as adults, this still ended up as one of those rare coming-of-age stories for grown-ups, and it’s that much better because of it. Speaking of which, this issue probably includes the best work from Tyler Crook on the series yet. In addition to a phenomenal color, Crook is able to watercolor pain and sorrow into the faces of our heroes in a way we don’t see all too often. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY #17

A fever dream is often used in comparisons for some of the craziest things you’ve seen—but now I’m not even sure if that can be used to describe Undiscovered Country. This book has taken what seems to be years (and years, and years) to get where it’s been going, but it subverts your expectations at every turn. Snyder and Soule trade wild surprises and shocking twists for a snail’s pace of a plot, and the book still remains consumable. That said, this issue with Ace is some of the best character work that’s been done on the series forward into future issues. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

WE HAVE DEMONS #2

At this point, the partnership of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo is a well-oiled machine. Snyder knows the right tone and mood that goes with Capullo’s art style, while Capullo knows when to lean in on the gore and horror to deliver humor, “metal” moments, or surprising emotional gut punches. My main criticism of We Have Demons is that the comic feels a bit juvenile at times – there’s a bit about how cursing is the language of demons, but (and I say this as someone who curses like a sailor) there’s an almost eye-rolling amount of cursing in this issue. Outside of that minor complaint, this is a fun comic that doesn’t take itself too seriously. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 4 out of 5

WHAT’S THE FURTHEST PLACE FROM HERE #1

Why are a group of kids bunkering down inside a music store? Where did all of the adults go? What caused this postapocalyptic world? These are some of my questions after reading What’s the Furthest Place From Here. Tyler Boss and Matthew Rosenberg (4 Kids Walk Into a Bank) are back with a Lord of the Flies-inspired series with just the right amount of humor sprinkled in the dialogue and art. Since it can be hard to get readers to invest in a series introducing new characters and a new world, the character emojis on the credits page are a big help to keep track of everyone. While the colors help to set the mood and tone for the story, some of the panel transitions made it hard to tell exactly what was happening. It’s only a minor gripe, as the characters are intriguing enough to keep the reader’s attention. What will be key is providing readers with enough answers to some questions in each issue to keep them coming back for more. — Tim Adams

Rating: 3 out of 5

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