Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 4/20/2022

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 Captain America #0, The Nice House on the Lake #8, and John Carter of Mars #1.

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

DC #1

BATMAN/SUPERMAN: WORLD’S FINEST #2

Is World’s Finest the best DC comic book on the market today? Yes. Is issue #2 better than its first? Also, somehow yes. What works so unbelievably well about this story from DC’s past isn’t just Waid’s handling of the countless characters involved, but Dan Mora’s larger-than-life artwork that feels beyond appropriate for the story presented here. This story is moving at a thousand miles per minute but it never feels confusing. It’s classic superhero storytelling with two masters of their craft. Really, this issue should be read for Dick Grayson alone, whose working “relationship” with Supergirl and general anxiety around the Doom Patrol are two of the standout moments of the issue. I feel like this is one of those legendary runs that will be talked about for quite some time. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 5 out of 5

BATMAN: THE KNIGHT #4

Batman: The Knight is continuing to peel back the narrative onion that is Bruce Wayne’s early days, and this issue finds some inventive and action-packed ways to deal with that. Even with the built-in knowledge that young Bruce Wayne will presumably make it out of each issue’s predicament and become the Dark Knight we know today, Chip Zdarsky’s narrative is still able to add genuine stakes and clever consequences to every decision. Carmine di Giandomenico’s art is also excellent as always, even as the setting and fighting styles of a lot of the issue make it slightly harder to make heads or tails of things. Still, The Knight remains one of the best Batman-related books on stands right now, and it will be interesting to see where things go from this middle chapter. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4 out of 5

BLUE AND GOLD #8

Blue & Gold wraps up with a long-awaited reveal as to whom the Black Beetle, a longtime nemesis of Booster Gold, really is. It’s a cool reveal (albeit one that comes out of left field) and sets up for a nice finale fight and a satisfying end to the series. Overall, I enjoyed Blue & Gold. It had a throwback vibe to it. While the art was somewhat inconsistent at times, Ryan Sook wraps up the series on a strong note and gives us a happy memory to end Booster Gold and Blue Beetle’s latest misadventure on. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 4 out of 5

CATWOMAN #42

This new Catwoman run knows exactly what its strengths are, and runs full speed ahead into all of fun and frothy things that can result from that. As Selina’s efforts to take down the criminal cabal of Gotham, more elements about her supporting cast—and Black Mask—begin to come to a head. Tini Howard’s script is charming in all the right ways, with standout moments that are clever enough to keep the momentum always going. Nico Leon’s art is also a stylish noir joy, particularly with one sartorial sequence involving Selina that will surely delight fans. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4 out of 5

CATWOMAN: LONELY CITY #3

I genuinely lost count of the number of times that this issue of Catwoman: Lonely City elicited an audible reaction from me. Some of those reactions were a result of major moments or character reveals (of which there are many), while some were rooted in details as incredibly small as the color palette of a familiar costume or a clever trick with the lettering. Cliff Chiang’s work on Catwoman: Lonely City is truly unlike anything else I have read in comics, and every component of this issue deserves to be studied and adored like a sacred text. This issue illustrates everything that is lovely, wonderful, and brilliant about the medium of comics, and I can not offer it high enough praise. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 5 out of 5

EARTH-PRIME #2: SUPERMAN & LOIS

By its very nature, the Arrowverse-inspired Earth-Prime comic was going to be a bit of a mixed bag, something that is taken to its biggest possible extreme with Earth-Prime: Superman & Lois. The trio of stories serve as various prequels for elements of the series, shedding light on Clark and Lois’ first anniversary, Clark’s relationship with his father, and the dark path that affected the Clark from John Henry Irons’ universe. While each story is effective to various ways, they’re also filled with baffling and often-distracting creative decisions, including a heaping helping of cameos in the first story. Tom Grummett and Norm Rapmund’s well-executed and charming art is easily the highlight, although it feels at odds with the somewhat-sullen aesthetic of Superman & Lois itself. Overall, this Earth-Prime issue doesn’t seem to know if it wants to play into the expectations of Superman comics, or pay tribute to the show it’s serving as an adaptation of – but still, there’s more than enough here to justify reading it. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 3 out of 5

THE FLASH #781

Not every comic book superhero story needs to be a world ending threat, or heck, even feature heroes battling against villains to save the day. With this latest issue of the Flash, we get the opportunity to explore a relationship that hasn’t been ventured into too often, and that’s with Wally West and the New 52’s Wallace West, aka the current Kid Flash. Jeremy Adams has a firm grip on the Scarlet Speedster of Central City and the relationships he holds, and I hope that Wally remains in the driver’s seat for some time to come, along with artist Fernando Pasarin. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 4 out of 5

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DC #2

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(Photo: DC Comics)

THE NICE HOUSE ON THE LAKE #8

Each issue of The Nice House on the Lake reads like an event unto itself, which is important for a comic book series limited to 12 issues that still draws natural comparisons to classic sci-fi conspiracy dramas like Lost and The Prisoner. Issue #8 provides the story something of a montage as it builds out the setting, core conflicts, and the cast in an inexact, but “long-enough” period of time to sense that the long-foreshadowed climax is nearing. It’s a reminder that even when the series is engaged in table setting, The Nice House on the Lake builds tension and intrigue masterfully with each page turn in one of the most exciting comics mysteries of 2022. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

NIGHTWING #91

Nightwing #91 finally puts the Ric Grayson storyline to bed, tying up any loose ends remaining from the years-old arc that took the beloved vigilante to the darkest place in his life. Here, Taylor’s script does an excellent job of balancing the two lives of a superhero – the one where they save the lives of anyone they can, and the one where they try to live a life of their own. It’s a charming tale, only added to by Borges’ lineart. Best yet, Wes Abott’s work on lettering really put a nice little bow on top of another excellent Nightwing story. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

REFRIGERATOR FULL OF HEADS #6

Tom Fowler appears to be having the time of his life drawing the fight between a snake-man and the severed but still biting head of a shark strapped to the front of an SUV in Refrigerator Full of Heads #6. There are a couple of panels where the artwork intertwined with the “CHOMP CHOMP CHOMP” lettering effects beautifully to give the sound itself a sense of character. As for the plot, that’s mostly left behind in the previous issue, which is probably for the best, allowing this issue to be little more than monster-fighting fun. What plot exists amounts to a cheap attempt to create sympathy for the story’s characters by backfilling some extra tragedy in their backstory. It hardly makes up for a series otherwise muddled in lore. The issue struggles with figuring out which of the two remaining protagonists the story belongs to, leaving it feeling unmoored. Refrigerator Full of Heads finds some of that grindhouse goodness in this final issue, but the heart that made Basketful of Heads delightful was excised from this subpar sequel long ago. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

ROBINS #6

What started as an examination of what it means to be a Robin and sidekick to Batman concludes in satisfactory fashion. The middle chapters dragged quite a bit, but the ending wraps everything up nicely and reveals new details behind the creation of the Robin role in Batman’s life. There are playful callbacks to Batman always winning when he has time to prepare, and Jenny Wren makes for a wonderful addition to the Batman and Robin mythos. — Tim Adams

Rating: 5 out of 5

TRIAL OF THE AMAZONS: WONDER GIRL #2

Admittedly, while this issue is presented as being a Yara Flor story, it’s really more of Cassie Sandsmark’s and spends the majority of its pages with Cassie breaking down in rather long-winded and somewhat unnecessary fashion how she arrived at who killed Hippolyta – which is actually a pretty shocking reveal. In a real sense, this issue almost doesn’t feel like it belongs in the overall “Trial of the Amazons” story since it doesn’t seem to fit and while getting an answer about the murder is an important piece of things, how this particular part of the puzzle works just isn’t clear. Between the lack of Yara Flor in her own comic and this sort of bloated way of solving the murder without really solving the why, Trial of the Amazons: Wonder Girl #2 seems like a misfit in the overall event and certainly speaks to just how erratic the editorial direction for this whole event is. That said. Jones and Melos give this book some fantastic art that makes the whole experience somewhat enjoyable. The bottom line is that this book leaves way too much on the table, but at least looks pretty doing it. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

WONDER WOMAN: EVOLUTION #6

Well, at least in Wonder Woman: Evolution #6 the art does seem to be a little more sophisticated than previous issues so it’s a touch less distracting (save for the appearance of Donna Troy, but turns out there’s a narrative reason for that). And story wise, things do seem to move a bit faster overall, which is nice. The big problem here is two fold. First, Phillips writes Diana as extremely one note, as though hope is literally the only thing she cares about and that she cannot see beyond her ideals of how the world should be which is such a strange take on the character as it almost swings her to the opposite of compassion. Second, things get weirdly preachy about climate change almost inexplicably, but then somehow isn’t even about the Earth’s climate at all and is instead about the sun exploding — and last I checked, actions on Earth have no control over a star going supernova. It’s such a weird mashup of things that it loses any impact that particular narrative thread might otherwise have all before dropping us back to the lab where all of this is happening and makes it clear that we and Diana are not quite done being tormented yet. I still haven’t quite figured out what we’re supposed to be taking away from things here, but at least this issue is easier to look at. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 2 out of 5

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Marvel #1

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(Photo: Marvel Comics)

THE AVENGERS #55

The Avengers #55 provides the series with a reset point and may offer more to incoming readers than those who have stuck with the past 54 issues of narrative. With the team’s lineup scrambled—a wrecked home base, ever-worse enemies, and plenty of new faces—it’s clear that this series is establishing its endgame, and it starts by focusing on Nighthawk. Considering he was a key antagonist for the last big Avengers crossover, Nighthawk’s presence assists in highlighting the enormity of current problems. This issue provides proper highlights in a spread depicting Mephisto as the ultimate villain for the series and a review of which Avengers now lead Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. These overviews provide impressive visuals and a reminder of the potential found in this collection of powerhouse characters. Yet the conflicts and conversations along the way don’t meet the expectations set by those inclusions; encounters with the Serpent Society act as background music of little importance except to remind readers of what’s currently happening. On its own The Avengers #55 simply keeps the train moving forward, but ought to offer plenty of elements of interest for those who have skipped the current volume altogether. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

CAPTAIN AMERICA #0

This is classic comic book storytelling at its finest, with art and words working in tandem to create a spellbinding action set piece that keeps the pages turning and the reader with the ultimate feeling on its final panel: What happens next? The good news is that this comic is designed clearly to elicit that question but also to immediately answer it. Though the scripting and character work by the three writers show a clear understanding and grasp of their respective takes on the two characters that share the title, it’s the artwork by Mattia De Iulis that takes this story and elevates this material to a one-shot that is a total distillation of what Captain America is, was, and can be. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 5 out of 5

DOCTOR STRANGE: NEXUS OF NIGHTMARES #1

Though not explicitly a tie-in to the upcoming feature film, this new one-shot by writer Ralph Maccio, Artist Ibrahim Moustafa, and colorist Neeraj Menon seems to be made explicitly for selling newcomers on the concepts of Doctor Strange as a character, recapping his origin, abilities, and some of his enemies, with Wikipedia like minimization. It’s not poorly written, but Macchios’ style of overly wordy panels is grating, and in fact would suit that purpose well, but it’s not something that longtime readers are going to find much interest in. Moustafa’s artwork is the main selling point though, transcending what appears to be a commercial for the MCU with unique layouts and highly detailed figures. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3 out of 5

HULK #6

This particularly Hulk run already looked more closely at what it meant to be Hulk closer than the usual Banner/Hulk “always angry” dichotomy, but Hulk #6 manages to get even more in-depth and meta still. It’s fitting then that a depiction of Hulk’s Hulk is a bit abstract, a but blurry both in terms of presentation and details as if to suggest that it’s a layer of the hero so unexplored it’s difficult to conceptualize. As always, Hulk #6 ends with a tantalizing preview of what’s to come which wouldn’t normally be worthy of a callout, but it’s something this Hulk series has consistently excelled at. — Tanner Dedmon

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

SHANG-CHI #11

Shang-Chi is really starting to get crazy in this ongoing story arc, but not necessarily in a bad way. Issue #11 feels pretty rushed in some ways, especially with how it sets up the major battle that will take place in the next installment. Still, this series continues to be thoroughly enjoyable to read with every new chapter and it’s something that I look forward to each month. Despite things feeling like they’re moving a bit too fast, I cannot wait to see how this arc concludes. — Logan Moore

Rating: 4 out of 5

SPIDER-GWEN: GWENVERSE #2

The villain of Gwenverse continues to be an issue, making the ultimate stakes feel hollow and uninteresting. But when you put “Finale” in the back of your head, an Avengers team made up entirely of Gwen Stacy variants is a ton of fun. Each has their own unique personality and they all find different ways to pop off the page. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 4 out of 5

WOLVERINE #20

Deadpool wants a spot on Krakoa and winds up on a secret mission with Wolverine. Benjamin Percy does an excellent job writing Wade’s manic personality without it becoming grating and the amount of violence mixed in with comedy is prime Deadpool. There’s not much Wolverine, but their team-ups are always fun. — Connor Casey

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Other Publishers #1

ARMORCLADS #2

In Armorclads #1, I took issue with the lack of attention given to the mechanized suits themselves. In Armorclads #2, it’s become much clearer that the focus of this series is on the people inside the suits as opposed to the capabilities of the mini mechs themselves. It may be a bit cliché, but the ragtag group is an admirable one even if there hasn’t yet been one standout character to be invested in. Visually, this focus on the humanlike qualities of our cast does still feel like it’s holding back the potential of the fantasy universe to a degree with nothing really in #2 selling the setting any further than the debut issue did. — Tanner Dedmon

Rating: 3 out of 5

ARROWSMITH: BEHIND ENEMY LINES #4

Arrowsmith #4 finally gives some context to the mission the series has been centered around as well as some more details on Guy and how magic in this world works. It’s a ton of exposition to get through but I can never accuse it of being boring. — Connor Casey

Rating: 3 out of 5

ASSASSIN’S CREED: VALHALLA – FORGOTTEN MYTHS #2

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla – Forgotten Myths #2 spins a grand story of wars and Gods, though the sweet yet complicated relationship between Baldr and Loki is really what deserves all the attention. Writer Alexander M. Freed keeps the dynamic between them entertaining and unexpected, feeding into their established natures without ever being truly predictable. Artist Martin Tunica and colorist Michael Atiyeh are at their best when the locations command most of the page, especially when in Jotunheim. At times the backgrounds and characters seem to lack some detail or feature odd expressions, and if you’re not familiar with the Gods of Valhalla you might get a bit confused, but it’s still a compelling next chapter and I’m intrigued to see where it goes. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 3 out of 5

BLACK HAMMER: REBORN #11

Black Hammer: Reborn #11 might be the most “Black Hammeriest” issue one of this world’s books have ever been. The meta-ness of Lemire’s writing takes center stage here as the worlds of the Black Hammer universe continue to conclude. It’s humorous, and the writer is sure to include some more cameos for longtime fans of the series. Yarsky’s artwork continues to be a delight for the series, injecting some levity in an otherwise dark tale. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

BOLERO #4

Bolero #4 tries to explain more about the history of the characters that we’ve been with from the start. This focus of the latest installment helps to better explain the actions that our characters have been making in recent issues, which is something that I was previously finding a bit inconsistent. Despite this change of pace, my biggest issue with issue #4 is that I struggle to see how it sets up the conclusion that is coming up. Honestly, Bolero could’ve ended here in issue #4 and I think the way in which it could have done so would have made this story come to a natural resolution. Instead, I’m a bit hesitant to see how things will wrap up next time around. — Logan Moore

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

THE COLLECTOR: UNIT 731 #1

I’m not sure there could be a worse time for The Collector: Unit 731 to make its debut. It’s unclear whether the story is reactive to our present time or simply hit some bad luck with its release, the tale of vaccine trials being forced on American prisoners during WWII feels frustrating, at best. This first issue offers nothing in the way of a hook to keep you reading, nothing to set up that the story could be more than just a miserable time as a prisoner of war. Hopefully there’s something more interesting going on here by the time all is said and done. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

FAITHLESS III #3

Faithless III #3 is surprisingly tame in its depictions of hellish eroticism just as it is more predictable in its story. Perhaps even more surprising than that is that the middling nature of both of those elements made it more digestible and, to a degree, more enjoyable. But in that sense, this particular issue felt like it shot for neither the modest nor graphic ends of the spectrum. Perhaps it’s better off aiming for one of those extremes even if it doesn’t succeed in all its efforts. — Tanner Dedmon

Rating: 3 out of 5

THE GOOD ASIAN #10

The Good Asian ends on a somewhat somber note, with Edison Hark finally getting some answers about his adoptive father and sister and their connection to the brutal murders plaguing Chinatown. I can’t say it was the most satisfying ending, but The Good Asian established early on that Hark was a man of moral compromises. His decision to choose compromise over justice made sense for him and made sense in the context of an immigrant group trying to assimilate by not standing out. I’m excited to see the next Edison Hark adventure and I think overall The Good Asian was one of the better noir comics we’ve had in quite sometime. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Other Publishers #2

GRRL SCOUTS: STONE GHOST #6

Grrl Scouts: Stone Ghost slows down a bit here in its final issue and I think it’s for the benefit of the series. That doesn’t mean that Stone Ghost isn’t still insane from start to finish, but there’s far less jumping around in the story this time around, which I appreciated. This slower pace also really allows the writing to especially shine through in issue #6, which is something I think has flown under the radar a bit up to this point. Still, the general style and artwork found in Grrl Scouts is the biggest highlight of the series overall and makes Stone Ghost worth reading on its own. — Logan Moore

Rating: 4 out of 5

HELL SONJA #4

The penultimate issue of Hell Sonja proves to be a clever and necessary change of pace, using a unique metaphor to break down the Sonjas’ current fight. It’s within those circumstances that Christopher Hastings’ writing strengths are truly able to shine, all while raising some compelling questions about exactly how all of this will come to a head. Pasquale Qualano’s art and Kike J. Diaz’s colors are also absolutely excellent in this installment, with some distinct and aesthetically-pleasing decisions made at practically every turn. While Hell Sonja has been somewhat of a bizarre ride, this issue makes me eager to see where it will all end up. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 4 out of 5

HOME SICK PILOTS #14

The penultimate issue of Home Sick Pilots finally reveals what happens when all of the ghosts of the Old James House are reunited after months of journeying and anticipation. It delivers on the same forms of oversized spectacle and intensely personal human terror that have defined these phantoms from the start. As the story walks through its plot beats and sets the stage for next month’s finale, it’s the depiction of these events that keep reader interest held without any issue. The fate of the Nuclear Bastard and final form of the James House both make impressive use of their respective splash panels, and every bit of connective tissue keeps the series’ spine-chilling mood intact with excellent use of color and a varied styles of ghostly depiction. Even with the pace moving notably faster than the build through this final arc, everything that rush to the finale delivers is so impactful that it’s never an issue. With one issue left to go, Home Sick Pilots is prepared for an impressive climax. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

ICE CREAM MAN #29

Ice Cream Man #29 leaves a lot to the reader’s interpretation as it walks through an amusement park of a dead man’s life. The tour takes one of the dead man’s friends into different memories and attractions built around them. It paints a portrait of anxiety with a wide array of colorful metaphors that are bound to induce the feeling in readers – albeit in a far safer fashion. The gaps leave space for readers to imagine and the details make the absence in question feel all too real resulting in one of Ice Cream Man‘s most poignant endings to date, especially as questions about the exact nature of this death remain unresolved. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

JOHN CARTER OF MARS #1

John Carter rose to fame from Burroughs’ timeless novels, which have since been adapted into various comic book series from Dynamite Entertainment. The latest installment comes from Chuck Brown, George Kambadais, and Jeff Eckleberry. Even if this is your first time reading a John Carter story, John Carter of Mars #1 does a satisfactory job of filling readers in on the basics while teeing up more adventures to come. — Tim Adams

Rating: 4 out of 5

JONNA AND THE UNPOSSIBLE MONSTERS #9

Jonna and the Unpossible Monsters returns for its third and possibly final arc. The mysterious cliffhanger handed to readers at the end of #8 remains every bit a mystery as Rainbow and Jonna are quickly forced to fight for their lives after an astonishing flashback that hints to the origins of these monstrous entities that have wrecked the world. The next leg of their journey is paced like a chase sequence with a variety of clever encounters along the way, including a delightful use of lettering that paints quite the picture in the dark. The consistent cleverness and creativity displayed on each page ensures the series remains an absolute delight and guaranteed page turner. Given the weighty revelations and impending conclusion denoted by #9 (of 12), it’s possible to feel impatient as it still feels like this wondrous story has miles and miles to go. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

KAIJUMAX: SEASON SIX #6

Zander Cannon’s Kaijumax finally comes to its end with Kaijumax: Season Six #6, and—like its characters—the issue manages to find a balance between hope and despair. It might have been tempting to expect Kaijumax‘s finale to see a massive shift in the status quo, an overthrow of the corrupt institutions laid bare throughout the series’ run, but that’s not really what the series is. The issue hits a more heartfelt and bittersweet note, showing how high even one person seeing us for who we are can lift us (in one case, literally). It’s about balancing righteous anger with reveling in what life has allowed us. Zander Cannon has given us six “seasons” of thoughtful, creative, masterfully-made comics that—despite being about a prison for giant monsters—are authentically human in ways that many more conventional comics cannot match. And it concludes on a note that will have longtime fans smiling for sure. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 5 out of 5

KILLADELPHIA #21

I say this with the utmost respect and in absolute awe, but Killadelphia gets weirder and weirder every issue. And yes, that’s a very good thing. This issue we get two things: a narrative that explains the real creation of the world and the vampires in it as well as a small taste of the humanity that still exists in Philadelphia despite the insanity currently going on. This entire series has seen Rodney Barnes creating a mythology that is equal parts American history, human history, and various religions and folklores all thrown into a blender with wild new ideas but this issue may just be the most unique thing yet and I am still not quite over George Washington being a vampire. This issue also has some subtle humor which is so needed and grounding with a book full of such heavy concepts. As always Jason Shawn Alexander brings some incredible art and Luis NCT’s color is spot on perfect. Truly, Killadelphia is always good but this issue? Magnificent. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

MAGIC: THE HIDDEN PLANESWALKER #1

Magic: The Hidden Planeswalker turns back the clock a bit to show how and why Liliana Vess disrupted her new life as Strixhaven’s Professor Opal to become involved in the Marit Lage scenario from her point of view. The script establishes Liliana’s character well: a woman who has spent a long time causing suffering and using her past suffering as justification, now trying to find peace and maybe balance the scales. And because this is Liliana, secrets are very much in play as she jousts with the malevolent Tezzeret. The linework here is thin and delicate, combined with coloring that accents a shadowy based with luminescence when active magic is involved. Add in some well-weighted compositions, and you have an issue that fluctuates from the appearance of fragile stained glass to something built for maximum dramatic effect, which makes for a compelling read. While some of the lettering choices stand out poorly—the book would need a much more comedic tone for “CHOMP, BITE” to appropriately represent the sound a monstrous grub makes attempting to eat someone—The Hidden Planeswalker #1 is a stellar start nonetheless. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Other Publishers #3

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(Photo: Dynamite Entertainment)

NIGHT OF THE GHOUL #6

The final installment of Scott Snyder and Francesco Francavilla’s Night of the Ghoul arrives this week and while landing a horror comic can be a tricky thing, issue #6 manages to pull it off in a fashion that is just as heart-pounding as the previous chapters of this time shifting tale and that delivers on a twist that while perhaps not entirely unpredictable is surprising nonetheless. The issue sees Forest and Merrit heading to Panama Studios so that Merrit can screen his movie before he dies – and presumably before the Ghoul rises again. At the same time, Orson and his mother are in pursuit of sorts and it’s a short series of discoveries/reveals for both Forest and Orson that flip the entire story on its head and sets everything ablaze. Snyder has shown over this series that he knows exactly when to hold back and when to charge ahead and that heightened skill in restraint is evident here, but the real heavy lifting is the art Francavilla shows so much in the art—particularly the facial expressions and their nuance—that reveals the twist long before you really let yourself believe it. It adds a completely different level of terror to things that is just sublime. I may be biased because I love a good horror story, but this was fantastic. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

POWER RANGERS #18

The Omega Rangers have carved out one of the most interesting corners of the greater Power Rangers universe, but it would seem they are upping the ante in Power Rangers #18. That goes 10-fold for those who, like say the person writing this, are fans of the Power Rangers seasons beyond Mighty Morphin, as writer Ryan Parrot is moving this adventure into the world of In Space, and it couldn’t make for a better combination. Splitting the Rangers up to focus on two threads keeps the story moving and creates scenarios rich with character growth opportunities, but it also allows artist Marco Renna, colorists Walter Baiamonte, Sharon Marino, and Sara Antonellini, and letterer Ed Dukeshire to keep things lively with locations and creatures that pop off the page. Both threads also offer up compelling hooks moving forward, especially if you happen to love stories involving adorable characters and Rangers from In Space. I happen to love both of those, so you can see why for me this issue was a win across the board. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE WAR ON WEED #1

Fans of Duggan and Posehn’s long run on Deadpool are bound to enjoy The Secret History of the War on Weed, especially if they’re inclined to imbibe the titular substance. This satirical riff plays to the same tone those fans are familiar with, including a constant barrage of linguistic humor, exaggerations in every form imaginable, and plenty of absurd violence. It’s bound to be cathartic for many readers given the heinous reasoning and outcomes of a “war on drugs” that targeted users of a substance substantially less harmful than alcohol or tobacco. They restrain no ire in taking Nancy Reagan and her cohort to task for the grievous harm inflicted upon the American people with a narrative voice that offers all of the issue’s best beats. However, most of the story is aimed at evoking a smile through consistent action and surface-level gags. It’s a romp and doesn’t aim to make an argument that most sensible voters have already heard and embraced, although it does provide some useful sources at the end. Regardless of your habits, there’s fun to be found in this issue and the rating below will likely seem too low if you’re reading it while celebrating the holiday this Wednesday. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

SLUMBER #2

Slumber #2 creeps into being this week with another tantalizing update. When a killer cop finds himself face to face with our Dream Eater, secrets being to surface from the past. The issue’s unsettling art will feed readers as they flip through this brilliantly paced entry. And by the end, a bloody cliffhanger sets up the next phase of this Image Comics hit. — Megan Peters

Rating: 4 out of 5

STAR TREK: FERENGI #1

Did you enjoy the Ferengi-focused episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine? Then boy, does IDW Publishing have a treat in store for you with Star Trek: Ferengi. The issue occurs sometime during the Deep Space Nine and uses the beloved brother Quark and Rom as its protagonist. After an overlong chase sequence seemingly designed to give Andy Price an excuse to draw the non-Ferengi DS9 character into the issue to awkward results, it settles into a story following up on Ishka’s attempts to gain rights for Ferengi women. Quark comes off in this issue like a classic cartoon capitalist like Uncle Scrooge, or Phoney Bone dragged into adventure with philanthropic goals way out of his comfort zone. It works because of how Price and the rest of the art team depict him, often bathed in shadow and comedically framed as the victim of a prank. The issue also does a great job of visually power dynamics, with the female Ferengi offering towering over their cowering male counterparts as they leave them behind. There’s a touch of art nouveau in the issue’s style that gives it a distinct look from its Star Trek comic book counterparts, and it proves to be a delightful romp. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

STRANGER THINGS: KAMCHATKA #2

Thanks to the help of a mysterious ally, the young Anna and Leonid continue their quest to save their father, with Dr. Orlov’s time potentially running out, as he’s tasked with resuscitating a Demogorgon. The book continues to demonstrate the best way to honor the proper Stranger Things franchise, delivering thrills, chills, and tried-and-true action-adventure tropes, feeling like an homage to classic genres without merely being a carbon copy. There are spies, evil scientists, monsters, and kids in peril, which are major components of the Netflix series, with KAMCHATKA clearly knowing what makes that series work. However, the characters in this spinoff — either due to the lack of time we spent with them or their one-dimensional nature — means they fail to be as compelling as the residents of Hawkins, Indiana, leaving us more engaged by the overall storyline than by the cogs of the storytelling machine. We aren’t really trying to predict the destination this book is headed to, but we’re enjoying the ride, all while keeping our fingers crossed that we could learn exciting information to amplify the effectiveness of what’s to come in the new season of the Netflix series. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 4 out of 5

TRANSFORMERS: BEAST WARS ANNUAL #1

Transformers: Beast Wars kicks off its annual this week with a couple of stories that will leave readers laughing or picking their jaws up from the floor. A slew of unsung characters from the franchise makes their way to the top in this delicious entry to delight fans. From rotten luck to jungle dates, this issue’s stories will take readers around the world, and each one rolls out with little zingers that fans will love. — Megan Peters

Rating: 4 out of 5

THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #1

The Vampire Slayer #1 starts Boom Studios’ latest foray into the Buffy the Vampire Slayer multiverse, and it hits the same stumbling block. Like its peers, The Vampire Slayer leans on readers’ assumed familiarity and attachment to Buffy’s cast of characters to hook readers in but never clarifies how much previous knowledge they should assume applies to this particular branch of the multiverse. However, The Vampire Slayer does an impressive job of powering through that awkwardness with appropriately light, witty dialogue between the characters and an art style marked primarily by energetic, expressive character designs, somewhat reminiscent of Humberto Ramos during his Crimson days. Through some circumstances that remain unexplained, The Vampire Slayer sees Willow Rosenberg replacing Buffy Summers as the Slayer. Willow brings her skills as a witch to the table but lacks some experience in monster-fighting. This change in roles upsets the familiar dynamics between the characters and feels a solid pitch for an episode of the TV series. The issue goes overboard in showing how helpless Buffy feels – her being unable to recognize a flamethrower in a cabinet of otherwise medieval weapons goes beyond funny to straining believability. Otherwise, The Vampire Slayer #1 offers a solid start to a new adventure series, regardless of its connection to the Buffyverse. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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