Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 5/12/2021

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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 X-Corp #1, Future State: Gotham #1, and Time Before Time #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.

And with that, on to the reviews — which are listed in alphabetical order, but first by DC, Marvel, and the rest of the publishers.

DC #1

American Vampire arrives at its climax and it looks absolutely stunning. The final few pages surveying the United States as darkness falls and the Beast rises are filled with dread; earlier installments featuring the Gray Trader with his “face out” and a hellish maw behind him are every bit as intimidating. Albuquerque pays off the promise of far greater monsters arriving on earth in spectacular fashion. The narrative surrounding this moment is not strong enough to support that imagery though. While the final few pages are specifically compelling, arranging the series’ heroes up until that moment requires taking far too many shortcuts. The excellent cliffhanger from American Vampire 1976 #6 is all but ignored and another impossible situation introduced in this issue is simply dismissed out of hand, likely because there was no conceivable path for the characters in question to escape their predicament. These shortcuts undermine what’s on the page and make all of the tension and terror packed into these pages an ultimately unfulfilling meal. Now that everyone is in place, let’s hope that longtime readers of American Vampire can discover a more satisfactory conclusion in the two issues remaining. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

Batman: The Detective finds its footing in issue #2 as the action moves from England to France. Each sequence in this issue captures something special about the setting. The early inclusion of Big Ben may feel a bit obvious, but seeing action play out on cross-continental trains and on Parisian balconies is a pure delight. Kubert and Hope capture the essence of these places and remind readers that Batman is globetrotting without transforming the issue into a sightseeing tour. They also ensure each sequence, even one that ends without a single punch being thrown, carries plenty of excitement. Taylor’s reintroduction of an old ally both deepens the mystery and provides a valuable counterpoint to Batman’s strict code of ethics. In an issue filled with interesting locales and travel companions, The Detective #2 promises readers that there is plenty to be discovered in this thrilling new conspiracy caper. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

Another month, another installment of Batman: Urban Legends in which the first two stories are complex and engaging, while the back half of the book falters and merely just exists. The first two stories largely focus on various familial connections in Batman’s life, those being his complicated father-son dynamic with Jason Todd and his absence from Cassandra Cain’s life. Lady Shiva also grapples with having abandoned Cassandra, as she and Bruce work out their demons in a physical altercation replicating their inner turmoil, showing new sides of both characters, while the Red Hood story emphasizes the various lessons Bruce instilled upon Jason as a young ward, as well as his reluctance to accept them. The backup stories focusing on The Outrider and The Grifter aren’t necessarily a chore, but the drop off in quality from the first half of the book to the second half makes for an exhausting experience, as the reader has to switch gears not only to focus on different characters, but also different narrative structures. Especially given how the backup stories don’t feel as though they fulfill the “Urban Legends” conceit of the title, we’re still left wondering what they’re doing there in the first place, yet the preceding stories still manage to salvage the effort. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 3 out of 5

DC celebrates Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration #1 and to call this anthology an outstanding offering would be an understatement. The 100-page issue features a ton of major DC characters in stories that range from funny to heartbreaking to action-packed to thought-provoking to just downright adorable offering something for every reader but more than that, it explores and celebrates a wide range of the Asian experience, weaving food and culture into these richly human stories. Gene Luen Yan’s story also debuts the Monkey Prince and the character is an exciting one that readers will want to see so much more from. In fact, if there is one thing I can say is a “negative” to this book it’s that there’s just not enough. As a reader, I want more. I want more of these stories, more of these characters, and more of the beautiful art that takes over each page. This is quite honestly one of, if not the, actual best anthology DC Comics has ever put out, period. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

Future State: Gotham #1 is a comic book that no one really asked for, but between the writers’ solid grasp on Jason Todd and their willingness to go (a little) outside the box with him along with the unexpected approach to the book’s art, it manages to land as a solid read. Even if you’re not sold on Future State comics or have no strong desire to revisit that setting, this remains a cool premise with interesting ideas, enough to potentially offer readers a look at a Gotham and Red Hood that they’ve never really seen before. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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DC #2

Comic Reviews - Future State Gotham #1
(Photo: DC Entertainment)

The latest issue of the series following the Clown Prince of Crime, or rather following the detective in search of said Joker, continues on a steady clip, taking us inside of the mind of Gordon and his thoughts on Batman’s greatest foe. With the issue giving us Jim coming face to face with his target, with Tynion and March doing a fantastic job of showing off the Gotham commissioner’s detective work here, it will be interesting to see how the series changes as a result. The Joker is a solid DC comic book and does a great job of exploring the world of the supervillain while also diving into the head of his victims. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 4 out of 5

The gold standard for modern, non-continuity takes on the Justice League must be Injustice, but the first issue of Last Ride takes aim at the king and this series doesn’t appear ready to miss. There is a similarly dour air about the proceedings as the League has been shattered by past events only hinted at in these pages. However, all of the characters on the page are consistent with those fans have fallen in love with over many decades. Writer Chip Zdarsky, in his first multi-part story for DC Comics, reveals a clear grasp on the publisher’s collection of icons. For each spat on the page or veiled threat, there’s a subtle note to remind readers of the rich history behind this collective. No individual ever seems out of place, much less out of character. Artist Miguel Mendonca supports this iconic approach to the cast with costumes and appearances that are easily recognized and timeless in nature. Even without much action in the debut, they deliver sequences that capture the grandeur of the League assembled. While much of the plot remains cloaked in mystery as both past and present events collide, the heart of Last Ride is evident from the start. This is a story that grapples with the great responsibilities of power combined with an absence of easy answers. No matter how heavy it feels, it never loses track of the still inspiring foundations upon which it is built and I, for one, cannot wait to see where it leads. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

Rorschach #8 is an… interesting comic. After plodding around for months, the central conspiracy picks up speed, as we see our (still unnamed) protagonist discover more participants to Wil Myerson’s would-be presidential assassination plot. The narration bit in this issue is actually quite effective, as it leads to a pretty cool reveal at the end of the issue. However, it’s still very unsettling to read a comic where Frank Miller (the comics artist) is dragged away and roughed up by police. It’s just wholeheartedly baffling on so many levels and the imagery of Miller in anguish just pulled me out of the comic and ruined any chance of me actually liking this book. I just am not a fan of this weird trend of using actual comics creators as fictional characters, especially when they are being dragged out of their house or murdered by police. It’s a very weird look for DC and this creative team, especially as it’s very unclear whether Miller actually gave consent for his likeness to be used in this way. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 2 out of 5

Superman #31 continues Superman and Jon’s investigation on an alien planet. The book shines when it spotlights Jon struggling to live up to his father’s image and keeps the main plotline from being a mostly standard sci-fi plot. The back-up story is pretty weak—the comic is trying to re-establish some of Metropolis’s wider cast, but it feels like this arc is spreading itself too thin with too little time spent on either characterization or plot. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3 out of 5

With the third part of Wonder Woman’s continued adventures in Asgard, one might expect the general conceit of Diana’s memory and power loss to be wearing a little thing, but that’s far from the case in Wonder Woman #772. The issue picks up with Diana inside Nidhogg the World Serpent’s belly looking for the all-important key, but it ends up being about a lot more than just that key. Diana gets some major clues to her identity and we see some of her memory starting to return, but it’s done in a way that still maintains the pulse of the story. In a sense, this issue feels like a turning point, one that restores the classic elements of Wonder Woman while also continuing this new story in a way that is rich and interesting. The issue is also absolutely gorgeous with some of the best Wonder Woman art in years. This is a beautiful issue. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 4 out of 5

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Marvel #1

If Black Cat #5 offered an elegance to the heist, then Black Cat #6 is all brash and bold and it’s perfect for this chapter of the story. After being duped by Fox (albeit duped in a way that actually arguably benefits her), Felicia has to find a way to save Manhattan. While this issue lacks tension, it’s full of energy and heart. There’s a good bit of action and Jed MacKay writes things in such a way that you can personally feel Felicia’s panic as well as her determination to make things right. It’s a great issue. It moves perhaps a bit too quickly, but it’s a lot of fun. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Children of the Atom begins investigating its cast of characters and removes itself from the holding pattern that made issues #1 and #2 a slog to read. Answers are still slow to come, but this issue begins to inject flashbacks that, while disorienting at first, make it clear there is an origin story and it’s certainly beyond what readers were anticipating for these young mutant hopefuls or their miraculously fit friend. Seeing those connections to a wider world provide some much needed momentum and also enhance the character-focused storytelling that has dominated each issue thus far. It’s easier to recognize the struggles and heart in a character like Carmen when the mundane and fantastic align. Many of the issues that affected this series’ launch persist, but Children of the Atom #3 is a dramatic improvement and one that signals hope for wherever this odd addition to “Reign of X” is heading. With answers inbound and tensions rising across multiple settings, I’m now anticipating the next issue of this series for the very first time. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Conan’s latest adventure appears to be nearing its conclusion, as part three of the “Land of the Lotus” arc throws a lot at the wall—and a fair amount of it sticks. This issue sees Conan and Meiwei crossing paths with a heretic and his followers, leading to a battle that will twist and turn in ways readers aren’t expecting. I can’t quite decide if the reveals in this issue are earned or a little ham-fisted, but they do all come together to make a generally entertaining and well-constructed story. This definitely isn’t a good jumping-on point for new Conan fans, but it’s a solid middle installment of a larger arc. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Reed Richards and Victor Von Doom chess-fencing is really all I should need to tell you to get you to buy this issue of Fantastic Four. It takes a bit to speed up, but this new arc shows a lot of promise. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 4 out of 5

Amazing Spider-Man: King’s Ransom pulls out its first issue this week with some shocking revelations Peter should have seen coming. With the Avengers assembling on his behalf, Spider-Man’s mission to save a friend bites back when a secret is revealed about Boomerang. And by the issue’s end, fans will be left smarting by a surprise move on Fisk’s behalf. — Megan Peters

Rating: 3 out of 5

Like most other books Al Ewing has his hand in writing, there’s something much bigger in play than the title of the book suggests. Here, the writer is already establishing his own lore in this corner of the Marvel universe, enough so it ought to make the Hickman’s of the world blush. With two separate plots and an ensemble cast to boot, it’d be understandable for this story to collapse under pressure. Except that it doesn’t, and this team does an excellent job of juggling everything the script demands. This arc is off to an exceptionally strong start, and if the first two issues of the story are any indication, fans will soon be in for a delightfully tasty treat. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

To be kind of blunt, Heroes Reborn #2 reads like a DC comic, but not in a good way. The issue delves into Hyperion’s story and while the character has always been a pastiche of Superman, it’s dialed up to 11 here in a way that feels uncomfortable. That discomfort is likely intentional, but it just doesn’t quite gel as the issue spend a few too many pages deep in exposition. The reader gets acquainted with Hyperion and gets a deeper sense of just how upside down this world is, but so much of it just feels extravagant. The real meant of the story comes in the final pages where we start to see Hyperion’s sense of reality shaken and see Blade make his next move, but it’s the pacing of things that just isn’t quite there. Still, it’s an intriguing read and while it feels a little bloated, the concept remains solid. Here’s to hoping that things will start picking up going forward. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 3 out of 5

“Heroes Reborn” brings the Squadron Supreme into the limelight, and one of their most powerful takes the lead in the newest one-shot Hyperion and The Imperial Guard. The character and in fact the entire team have never really clicked with me previously, but writer Ryan Cady does a lovely job of bringing some of Hyperion’s more endearing qualities to light throughout the issue and conveys quite a bit of the team’s personality and charm before issue’s end. That’s a rather impressive feat, especially with a cast of characters that aren’t anywhere near household names. Artist Michele Bandini and colorist Erick Arciniega only heighten the book’s strongest aspects with some gorgeous artwork throughout, showcasing the immense power of the book’s lead while also conveying the necessary emotion for the heart-wrenching moments to hold their necessary impact. Granted, this isn’t necessary reading, at least at this juncture of Heroes Reborn, but I wound up really enjoying my time with these characters, and if you’re a fan of the line up you will likely end up enjoying your time here just like I did. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Marvel #2

Comic Reviews - X-Corp #1
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)

We’re only two weeks into “Heroes Reborn,” but the event has already showcased a surprising amount of potential—something that is on full display in Peter Parker, The Amazing Shutterbug. The issue takes on the dual tasks of mashing up Peter’s status quo with that of DC’s Jimmy Olsen, and just subverting his history on a larger scale. For the most part, it largely succeeds on both of those fronts, all while Marc Bernardin’s script injects a sense of heart and energy that helps the story become more than just a gimmick. The art from Rafael de Latorre, Ron Lim, and Scott Hanna also helps the series establish its own tone, all while embodying just enough of the tropes that the issue is supposed to be homaging. Even if you don’t read the overall “Heroes Reborn” event, this issue still has something special that deserves a closer look. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 4 out of 5

Silk pushes forward with a confident take on Cindy Moon as she continues investigating the gang war in Queens. As her loved ones come into danger, the heroine is forced to go on the defensive when Fujinet’s ruler proves to know more than she lets on. And in the end, a cliffhanger will leave fans questioning everything they know about the embroiled heiress. — Megan Peters

Rating: 3 out of 5

The second issue of Spider-Man: Spider’s Shadow #2 somehow manages to improve upon its debut, proving that Chip Zdarsky has not only a masterful grasp of the various facets of Peter Parker/Spider-Man, but also is an absolute gift to the “What If” story. This issue sees Peter fully embrace the symbiote and there’s something about seeing a version of Spider-Man that is this direct and black and white about how things should be that is more thrilling than the actual Spider-Man stories of recent years. Again, everything works here from art to color to story and on top of that is a thrill ride with unexpected twists and some major emotional stakes. It’s a knockout book. — Nicole Drum

Rating: 5 out of 5

Well, Karla Pacheco broke my heart this week. Yes, she certainly did, but that’s happened before (see Jessica’s falling out with Carol for proof) and on that occasion, it ended up becoming a source of growth for the character, so I can only hope that this latest development will end the same way. If It doesn’t though, well, I riot, but as much as I hate to admit it, it was coming for quite some time, and you really can’t fault Roger for reacting that way. Artist Pere Perez and colorist Frank D’Armata ensure you feel every ounce of heartbreak from that sequence, though they also impress throughout the issue’s jailhouse battle, and always deliver superhero fights with weight and physicality. That said, the main crux of this issue surrounds Los Espadas Gemelas De Toledo or the Twin Blades, and so far the jury is out on whether or not I’m going to truly become invested in this duo. It’s a wait-and-see approach, and while that is most of the issue, it’s bookended by some must-read material, which is likely to send Spider-Woman fans reeling. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

With Luke reunited with the rest of the Rebel Alliance, time has come to meet up with more missing members as he, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2 follow a lead on Boba Fett and Han Solo. Readers don’t need to keep up with all of Marvel’s other Star Wars titles, but for those who are, this issue will be all the more fulfilling, as it follows up on the events of the “War of the Bounty Hunters” prelude, which explains Boba Fett’s journey in leading up to when we catch up with Luke. Regardless of those connections, this issue is silly and full of action without ever feeling absurd or like it betrays the spirit of the series, just allowing audiences to see what our favorite characters got up to in the time between the original films. While we won’t expect major ramifications for this new storyline, we can’t wait for the fun that’s being established in this title-spanning event. — Patrick Cavanaugh

Rating: 4 out of 5

The High Republic just isn’t afraid to get dark or messy. In its most action-packed issue yet, The High Republic delivers on the thrills, even if a little bit of the polish does get rubbed off in the heat of battle. Still, these are characters that absolutely reach the standard we’ve come to expect from the most beloved beings in Star Wars lore. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 4 out of 5

The latest expansion to Marvel’s ever-changing X-Men universe is actually a return of sorts, as X-Corp #1 reenvisions the X-Corporation concept in a post-Krakoa world. This time around it’s really just a natural extension of what the X-Men are already doing in the worlds of medicine and international shipping, and X-Corp #1 wisely leans into all the scheming and ever present risk that big business brings with it. While it’s only the first issue, X-Corp already possesses an impressive blend of charm, action, intrigue, and personality that has made Marauders so special, and if this issue is anything to go by, we might just have the next must-read X-Book on our hands. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sadly, X-Factor #9 is rushing to a conclusion as the comic is ending as part of the X-Men’s line post-Hellfire Gala shift. There are a lot of great character moments (I loved the bit where Rachel Grey refused to let herself be used as psychic conduit to make dinner plans), but the plot of the comic feels very rushed to make sure there’s no loose ends. I’m not sure why X-Factor is ending—the fan support was definitely there and it had a lot more relevance than some other X-Books—but we’ll at least get to see these characters enjoy a big Gala… which frankly feels like this comic’s place to shine. — Christian Hoffer

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Other Publishers #1

Aggretsuko: Meet Her World steps out with a new issue this week, and its adventure explores Retsuko’s world as a woman in a male-dominated field. When gang is given a chance to Paint & Sip, traditional gender roles are called to the floor in a hiliariously real dressdown. And by the end, the issue shows how anyone of any gender can enjoy painting with a glass of wine. — Megan Peters

Rating: 3 out of 5

Birthright continues barreling towards its finale, some eight years in the making. With Birthright #49 here, the story is quick to wrap itself up, bypassing the slow-burn methods of issues in the past for a brisk story that rushes to the end. By now, little character development can be had, so it makes sense Birthright #49 is constructed to wrap up its narrative, rather than giving the book’s character some time to breathe and grow. That said, you can see the ending here coming from a mile away, with one of the book’s most predictable moments coming in the closing panels. At the very least, the cliffhanger does set the story up for an epic finale—let’s just hope it pays off. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Patrick Foreman and Brian Hawkins’ bizzaro version of our world continue to offer intrigue and a unique take on American racial dynamics that could probably only live in comics. The latest issue remains just as interesting as the first with artist Marco Perugini continuing to explore his simple aesthetic and panel breakdowns. About the only trouble with Black Cotton #2 is there’s a lot of page space devoted to some things that feel like filler in the grand scheme of the story, but in the end it’s all good to look at and a dynamic read anyway. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Even though Colonel Weird got his own miniseries not that long ago, the bizarre hero takes center stage here. The tale at hand is an Elseworlds-style approach to this superhero world as ol’ Randall traverses multiple realities. Featuring a script from Mariko Tamaki, Black Hammer: Visions #4 puts these characters into interesting scenarios as actors with no real impact on the larger world at hand. That said, this story does begin to show Weird’s decreasing mental capacity as his mind is spread throughout all of space and time. At the very least, it’s another interesting addition that fans of this particular superhero franchise will enjoy, but it’s not a must-read for those looking to jumping into it all for the first time. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Buffy the Vampire Slayer #25, from Jeremy Lambert and Valentina Pinti, is billed as a milestone issue and featuring a crossover between the BOOM! Studios rebooted Buffyverse’s timeline and the original television series (or a universe close enough to it for horseshoes). But FRANY’s cover for the issue is misleading. Featuring Xander’s eyepatch, blue-haired Faith, and Spike, the image suggests readers will catch up with the original Scoobies where the Dark Horse Comics series left off. Instead, the reboot characters creep along the edges of the show’s second season(ish) without much of a sense of purpose. These characters don’t interact with their alternate universe sleeves, meaning they take little away from this adventure other than the knowledge that Xander’s vampiric turn isn’t a multiversal constant and that they are marginally happier in some different universes. The story bucks all the potential to examine how the characters and franchise have changed over the years for cheap fan service to mark an arbitrary anniversary. The story does channel some of the tone fans of Buffy love, with the Lurkers being appropriately creepy and the beats about shrimp tacos bringing the humor. But it also suffers from all of the usual problems this series struggles with—a lack of grounding and mediocre visual storytelling—making it hard not to feel like this forgettable issue could have been something more. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 2 out of 5

After a frankly embarrassing sophomore outing, Firefly: A Brand New ‘Verse offers signs of what the series could be at its best in its third issue. Writer Josh Lee Gordon and artist Fabiana Mascolo pepper Zoe’s reunion with Simon and Kaylee with little callbacks to the original show, which fans should appreciate. More importantly, the issue finally explores Zoe’s relationship with her daughter, Emma, revealing a mother’s complex feelings for a child born after her father’s death. While Zoe loves Emma, it’s impossible for the teenager not to constantly remind her mother of Wash, especially as she seems to have inherited many of the traits that once made Zoe fall in love but that she now blames for her husband’s death. The way Mascolo depicts Emma’s reaction to overhearing Zoe expressing these feelings to Kaylee—a three-tier sequence of Emma running through the house’s front door into the empty night with increasingly drastic motion—is beautiful in its simplicity. Equally affecting is the emotional sequence of Salo guiding Emma through a meditative exercise, using Wash’s last words as a kind of mantra. It could be cheesy and on the nose, but Mascolo frames it gracefully, and it works. It isn’t a perfect issue, as Simon explicitly stating that his family’s safety is paramount and then ignoring Zoe’s warning boggles the mind, and Lucia Di Giammarino’s colors are still too washed out. However, it’s a step in the right direction. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 3 out of 5

Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s new series makes a slightly better case for the humanity at the heart of its story but once again feels like a work derivative of post-apocalyptic, even Las Vegas-set, stories. Johns’ writing with a pair of new characters that become the focal point of the issue carries some freshness but he can’t help but take the focus back to other less interesting characters while also giving us little reason to feel interested in why they’re front and center. Frank continues to do tremendous work though aided by moody and bold colors by Brad Anderson. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Other Publishers #2

Following an intergalactic road trip filled with fascinating new settings and cultures, it appears Devil’s Odyssey is prepared to enter its final act with one final planet, Bojan-Feq. This new setting seems an ideal candidate for both the remnants of humanity and the themes of Grendel alike. Grendel Prime and Sigma-7 confront three new species who have constructed their society around ritual combat—an ideal candidate for Earth’s ultimate warrior. Yet it’s in Grendel Prime’s atypical response to a violent culture that this issue finds its surest footing and poses the most interesting questions of Devil’s Odyssey so far. Issue #6 poses itself as an extended introduction to this diverse world and its many peoples and provides an intriguing tour of multiple biospheres and species by its end. Wherever the finale of Devil’s Odyssey is heading, the series now finds itself on familiar thematic ground well worth exploring for at least two issues, if not longer… — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

The House of Lost Horizons arrives with a creative team and premise guaranteed to maintain the attention of fans. It is a locked room mystery populated by a collection of easily identifiable suspects with red herrings and supernatural affectations to spare. However, even with that potent set up the debut may not maintain the attention of newcomers. The arrangement is comfortable for good reason as it has collected mystery and horror fans alike for nearly a century in novels and other media, yet there’s little of note added in these pages. While the introduction is generally well told and the foundational characters and clues are easily recognized, one ambitious spread is difficult to navigate with word balloons and layout alike failing to provide a clear sequence. Set so early in the issue it may turn off some readers altogether. Yet with that confusing arrangement set aside, there’s plenty of potential to build upon here following an interesting, but lackluster introduction to A Sarah Jewell Mystery. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 3 out of 5

Ice Cream Man #24 delivers one of the series’ most confident and sincerely creepy installments to date. An element of magic realism remains as the eponymous antagonist looms over the proceedings with a collection of phone bankers to narrate the collapse of Jerry’s life. However, it’s that collapse which makes for the issue’s truly terrifying elements. A feeling of purposelessness pervades each page as death creeps ever closer—impossible to placate or avoid. Comparisons will be made to the comics work of Grant Morrison, but credit really goes to Jon Stone’s The Monster at The End of This Book for an especially cruel trick played upon readers before the final page. Here it is played so effectively that I almost wrote this review with an admission that I had not read the final few pages of the comic. It works because Ice Cream Man #24 is structured around a very real terror, rather than a supernatural one, as individuals are left to big others to sympathize and place a dollar value upon ending their suffering. This issue reflects a largely careless society and after you remove every fantastical element it reflects our reality. Chilling, to say the least. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Karmen steps out with an emotional rollercoaster of an issue this week. The update finds our lead wrestling with mortality as she discovers how wasted her time on Earth was. When another ghost finds their way to her, all bets are off as a heated argument bubbles to the surface before a quiet reminder closes Karmen‘s best issue to date. — Megan Peters

Rating: 4 out of 5

Writer Jed McKay and artist Ig Guara establish the series’ core mystery and the major players on the world of Ravnica in Magic: The Gathering #2. Ral Zarek, Kaya, and Vraska continue to investigate the attacks on their lives and quickly realize those efforts may only have been a means of getting to Jace Beleren, who’s still comatose after attempting to read the surviving assassin’s mind. After another attack that infuses the otherwise intrigue-heavy issue with some needed action, the three Planeswalkers have a suspect in mind and call a meeting of the Guildpact, allowing the creators to revel in introducing all 10 of Ravnica’s guilds. McKay and Guara do an excellent job of distinguishing each character’s—and by proxy, each guild’s—personality through their words and actions. McKay’s dialog is particularly well-chosen when dealing with the cleverer guilds, though he writes the more aggressive clans more a broader voice. Guara’s artwork still somehow feels both incredibly busy and somewhat empty at the same time, pairing over-emphasized figures in the foreground with often blank backgrounds. Still, if you’re going to do mystery in Magic, Ravnica is the place for it, and you can sense the fun McKay is having while weaving these threads. — Jamie Lovett

Rating: 4 out of 5

This is the most action-packed issue of Maniac of New York so far, which is both a good and bad thing. On the good side, the straightforward nature of this issue made it far easier to enjoy since it primarily featured well-drawn setpieces involving our main characters and the titular Maniac. On the other end, with this series wrapping up next time around in issue #5, I can’t say that chapter four did anything more to pull me in where previous issues left me wanting more. I haven’t been hot on Maniac of New York throughout the entirety of its run, but I’ll cross my fingers and hope for an enjoyable conclusion. — Logan Moore

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

You’ve got to love a good curveball, and Mighty Morphin #7 certainly lives up to that title. Not only does it continue the momentum from last issue but it takes several threads in unexpected and exciting directions, including a major storyline involving the new Green Ranger. You keep expecting writer Ryan Parrott to go “got ya” throughout the issue, switching to a safer course, but thankfully that isn’t the case. Artist Marco Renna and colorist Walter Biamonte are true to form, and know how to deliver a stylish Ranger battle while highlighting the small character interactions that make this series shine and payoff down the road, and not going to lie, it’s always great to see Kimberly put Tommy in his place. Eltar’s role in this story is one of the most intriguing elements thus far, but Grace Sterling continues to be the book’s ace up its sleeve, and that isn’t changing anytime soon. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Other Publishers #3

Though slower to start, Alex Child and Grant Morrison’s new horror series finally amps up the scares in a big way in the latest issue from BOOM! Artist Naomi Franquiz gets to stretch their legs into some amazing territory with the types of frights that this narrative has baked into it while also making sure that the lead characters continue to grow and feel real on the page. Proctor Valley Road is turning into a dark horse for the best new horror comic of the year and issue three is the reason it’s in the running. — Spencer Perry

Rating: 4 out of 5

Following the shocking events of the initial issue of Project Patron, Orlando and Piazzalunga aren’t wasting any time in introducing new, interesting elements into this world wherein a “Superman” is piloted like a mech suit. We learn more about the characters who share the burden of being the hero, diving into the mystery that caused one of their deaths, as well as the sacrifices they had to make in order to win the opportunity. It’s a unique story that is firing on all engines so far, and I look forward to seeing more mysteries unfurled. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Recount pushes forward with a satisfying climax that lays waste to insurrection at its core. The violent chapter puts power in the hands of citizens demanding peace, and readers will be as grateful for the push as they are the issue’s ending. After all, justice isn’t a linear reality in a situation like this, and more work will always be needed to heal wrongs against any people. — Megan Peters

Rating: 4 out of 5

After five issues and multiple series spent building towards a conclusion that seemed inevitable (in more than one way), Resident Alien manages to surprise its readers one last time. Discovering this final issue is an experience best saved for fans who have awaited this moment for nearly a decade. What I will say is that the series always held a special appreciation for life on Earth as an existence without neat character arcs, but instead one where things are constantly changing, often in subtle and unexpected ways. This conclusion holds that same optimistic view of humanity that doesn’t rely on cheap sentiment, only earned experience and every bit of this finale is earned. While I hope Resident Alien might return in some form down the road, but know it won’t need to. This is the satisfying sort of conclusion that reflects the series honest perspective on life, a story that never really ends. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

Between a plot involving a virus and political resistance, Uprising is as timely as ever with its themes to a point where it’s almost too on the nose. The thing about this book is that it doesn’t go out of its way to avoid the tropes that cape books use week-in and week-out. Instead, JMS and company embrace that and try to bend the norm to fit their story. The characters here are still spread a little too thin, but at the very least, this story lives up to its name. The wheels of the train are starting to churn ever so slowly, but you can really feel the steam start to build here. It just has yet to be seen whether this book will move forward full steam ahead or crash off the rails. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 4 out of 5

The latest run of Savage wraps up here and it continues to be hilarious in all the right ways while also further exploring some interesting themes that have been around since this series began. Issue #4 takes time to flesh out why Kevin has been betrayed by his brother, with the cause—once again—being equal parts funny and meaningful. Most of this issue is filled with wacky, intense action sequences, but it also continues to be chock-full of engaging and witty writing. If there is one thing that I loved about this series as a whole, it’s that writer Max Bemis really let his voice shine through in all of these characters. As a whole, Savage is one of the most surprising comics I have read in quite some time and is an easy recommendation for anyone who enjoys the medium. — Logan Moore

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Scout’s Honor ends with a perfect climactic issue. After getting weighed down by plot for the past couple of installments, the finale gives readers an epic final confrontation while also getting at the heart of the series—invoking the Boy Scouts of America while pointing out the organization’s all-too-real flaws. The series is a must-read, even if you never were a Scout yourself. — Connor Casey

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Other Publishers #4

Comic Reviews - Time Before Time #1
(Photo: Image Comics)

We’ve spent seven issues to this point hearing about how deadly the seven secrets can be, but Seven Secrets #8 is where the series backs it all up with massive impact, and I mean that in the ever so literal sense. Tom Taylor and Daniele Di Nicuolo back up the threat of the Seven Secrets in spades, and if this was just the first secret, I can’t even imagine what the rest of them are. The payoff delivered, and so does the issue overall, featuring all the high octane bus chases and hand-to-hand combat you expect with some trademark witty banter to break up the decimation and fallout from the last issue. It’s quite the impressive mix, and while I was just a bit bummed by that last panel’s retreading of what’s come before, it couldn’t damper what a wonderful time I had reading everything that came before it. — Matthew Aguilar

Rating: 4 out of 5

Aftershock’s original series have run the gambut from incredible to a little inconsequential—and luckily, it seems like Silver City will fall within the former category. This debut issue dives into the history of its protagonist, Ru, and her journey through the unconventional afterlife of Silver City. Writer Olivia Cuartero-Briggs initially crafted this series as a novel, and it shows, with an approach to worldbuilding and characterization that feels fully realized and fascinating in a way that wouldn’t usually be expected for a first issue. Luca Merli’s art and colors compliment it all brilliantly, bringing a salt-of-the-earth, punk rock approach to each panel and piece of character design. I’m intrigued to see whether or not Silver City can keep up the momentum of this first issue, but either way, I’m enjoying getting lost within its world. — Jenna Anderson


Rating: 4 out of 5

My primary question after turning the final page of The Silver Coin #1 was how well the series could maintain its most promising elements in an anthology format; The Silver Coin #2 puts any concerns in that regard to rest. The series’ second issue switches narrative modes from the monkey’s paw to a summer slasher making it clear that each new writer to accompany Michael Walsh will pull the coin (and its hideous effects) in new directions. Even when it’s possible to see the twist coming, the overall effect is no less horrifying for the coin’s victims, dead or alive. Walsh’s depictions of iconography from 80s slasher flicks is devastating in their brutality. The titular silver coin is made all the more ominous by its relative silence in such a loud one-and-done piece of comics horror. On its own The Silver Coin #2 delivers a tale sure to satisfy horror fans, but as a second issue it promises that this anthology will not disappoint or repeat itself as new writers join the effort. Whoever drafts the next story, it seems all but guaranteed that Walsh will deliver new nightmares not to be missed. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

After the sprawling chao racing arc, the current story in Sonic the Hedgehog benefits tremendously from a focus on five heroes. In this issue each character is spotlighted amidst a constant influx of action trapped in Eggman’s test facilities. There are a handful of essentially perfect pages where each panel delivers a new pun or action beat sure to delight young readers. Yet the reading experience is enjoyable at all ages with heroic leaps and growth evidenced in addition to some colorfully creepy designs for new villains. On its surface this is classic Sonic action with all of the animals behaving heroically in the face of seemingly endless challenges, but their dialogue and inventive solutions provide plenty of fun in addition to the familiar formula. As the two teams on each sides of Eggman’s devilish portals converge, Sonic the Hedgehog #39 promises a thrilling conclusion to this very peculiar set of obstacles. — Chase Magnett

Rating: 4 out of 5

Stake continues to have the same problems it’s been dealing with since its first issue hit the shelves, wherein it doesn’t feel like it has steady footing in its concept. There are certainly interesting tidbits thrown in about vampire lore, specifically with a new character introduced in this latest issue, but our heroine simply doesn’t feel likable enough to hold her own series. I once again have to return to the art, that blends colors in with the standard black and white mock-up but doesn’t feel like it knows when and why the color itself should be included. Rather than creating a dazzling effect, it’s more distracting than anything. — Evan Valentine

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

As far as debut issues go, Time Before Time #1 really has everything you could ask for. It wastes no time introducing its world, characters, and narrative thrust to ensure this will be a series you’ll come back to time after time. It’s one of the more refreshing comic books I have read in quite a while and I can’t wait to see how it evolves in the future. — Logan Moore

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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